I just wanted to give you all an update on our relocation plans since you have been so helpful with advice. DH will be working in northwest Mount Vernon and I am currently looking for a job at an architectural firm all pretty much anywhere in the Puget Sound. DH's job begins mid-Feb/March. We spent last weekend visiting the Pacific Northwest for the first time to make sure we would like to live there (no real worries there) and what areas/neighborhoods we liked.
On Thursday we flew into SeaTac, grabbed a late lunch on House of Hong (DH loves dim sum) and then drove around downtown for a little bit. I didn't realize how steep the hills were downtown! Around 3pm we drove up I-5 to Bellingham. We drove through the small downtown of Mount Vernon to get a feel for where DH would work. In Bellingham we had some dinner & beers at Broughton Brewery Downtown. Friday morning we drove around checking out neighborhoods and fell in love with all the walking paths and greenbelts everywhere. We had lunch in Fairhaven. Our realtor was great and showed us nice housing developments that fit our desires, but most fell just outside our price range, especially if I don't find a job for months. My job options in Bellingham are more limited than they would be in Seattle. The 3 inches of snow to clean off our car Saturday morning sort of sealed the deal that we wanted to live further south. (Don't worry we know how Seattle virtually shut down but that that doesn't happen that often - much less often than Bellingham).
We drove through Everett, Mill Creek, Snohomish, Lake Stevens, Marysville, Arlington & Mukilteo. We both know we are going to have horrible commutes but feel like Lake Stevens and Marysville will suit us the best. We liked the neighborhoods there and the close proximity to shopping. Mill Creek was great but too far of a commute for DH. As long as I can utilize public transportation and park and rides I'm perfectly fine with a long commute. I'm used to at least 30-40 minutes currently. The Seattle area is beautiful! We cannot wait to get there and start exploring all its wonders.
DH will be out again next week for some meetings in Bellevue. Any further advice you have as we pinpoint houses to look at, job hunt etc, let me know. TIA