Raising children in Pittsburgh

When are you giving us grandchildren?

We’ve been hearing that a lot recently.

It’s forced us to gather as much information on raising a child in Pittsburgh that we possibly can.

Admittedly, we are being over analytical about it.

It makes us think..how exactly are we going to bring children into this world? We both have things about our childhood that we don’t want to repeat. We both grew up in households that struggled in one way shape or form and we also don’t want to repeat that.

Being your typical determined-but-totally-scared-parents, we are starting to try to plan. One thing that’s smacked us in the face is that we’re part of the HUGE swath of America that makes too much to qualify for anything beyond the Earned Income Tax Credit. We have debt just like everyone else and are terrified of all the associated costs like child care. How are we going to pay on our debt and have a baby to give him or her the best possible life Pittsburgh can provide?

When we started talking about having a baby years ago, we had hopes our incomes would have increased more by now. Of course…that hasn’t happened.

We are trying to compile a list of our options: Pittsburgh neighborhoods that can help us afford a baby and all possible child care options. Does anyone have a specific suggestions? I’m going to document the information I compile in this post.

update 4-20

Jess called Small World in downtown Pittsburgh and they are the cheapest daycare at almost $1000 full time.
The daycare in the USX tower on Grant Street in downtown Pittsburgh is just over $1000 a month.
Duquesne University is just under $1000 a month.
We were told that infants in daycare were required to be “full time” – which means being charged 5 days a week.

update 4-24

We’re still trying to pull a lot of information together. We’re looking at day care accreditation. Here is a Google search I did:

day care accreditation Google search

When I click on the first link to search around downtown Pittsburgh I see this very informative warning:

day care research for pittsburgh

IMPORTANT INFORMATION — Before you begin visiting child care providers you should review their inspection reports, their quality rating (QRIS), and the information on required background checks. You can find all of this information here by clicking on your state.



Clicking through some of the links provided by the site I found a great description of some of the tax credits available. They can definitely help us – like I’m sure they do a lot of families – but its not the same when the up cost is a little out of reach or would bury you financially right now.

A link I found very helpful:

helpful child care tax credit information

moving into a new apartment near downtown pittsburgh

A quick post: we are moving into a new apartment with intermittent access to high speed internet access. I have more plans to keep expanding the site, the cool things to go in Pittsburgh calendar and to add more pages.

We’ve moved into uptown…less than a mile away from the Golden Triangle (downtown). It already feels like this area of Pittsburgh is more of an actual community and neighborhood than downtown is and could be.

HUGE props to State Senator Jay Costa!

State Senator Jay Costa is the Democratic Leader Representing the 43rd District in Pennsylvania. It is the district that includes downtown Pittsburgh. He is a superb community leader for everything that Pittsburgh needs…he even held a telephone community meeting tonight (Here is the link to monitor for future meetings! It was while I was at work unfortunately so I couldn’t attend…I miss SO much due to my work schedule!).

He recently posted an extremely true and great article on his Twitter account:

Senator Costa Twitter















and I responded:

my twitter response to senator costa










I was able to have a conversation with a rep from his office about my concerns about downtown Pittsburgh. It was a frank conversation about the fact that…as many downtown Pittsburgh resident friends of mine have said…downtown retail is BROKEN. Downtown has one of the highest amounts of residents of any nearby neighborhood (12,604 according to the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership for the area encompassing the Golden Triangle and parts of the North Side, uptown and the Strip District) but has trouble supporting a modern way for residents to get necessities like groceries. A friend of mine that is trying to put a traditional grocery store in the Golden Triangle recently got told by a downtown Pittsburgh civic organization to not even try.

We have chosen to move to a larger apartment in Uptown so we could be closer to our car. It’s the only way we will be able to get what we need to support our (hopefully) growing family. We tried to live in Pittsburgh without a car…but once you decide to have a child it’s impossible.

I appreciate Senator Costa taking the time to document my concerns and hopefully he will use them to continue to improve the state of residential infrastructure in downtown. I hope you will support him in all his efforts moving forward.

PS. I have been learning a lot over the last few months about the politics that control downtown. I – along with a lot of people that pay attention – have the opinion that downtown politics are a fractured, disorganized mess that hasn’t caught up with the current positive climate of growth. It’s also a shame that the city’s fortunes have changed so dramatically over such a short period of time…from virtual bankruptcy to a sought after hub of the modern urbanism movement. That drastic change has the city reaping the benefits of an updated and growing tax base…without putting much real thought into varying the retail side of the tax windfall.


carless in downtown Pittsburgh?

I’ve made no secret about what I believe is missing from downtown Pittsburgh amongst all the recent attention the city has been getting. Pittsburgh is NOT a carless city

I’ve been working with a few people that have been eyeing retail opportunity in downtown Pittsburgh and might be involved in something that could be coming soon.

We’ve enjoyed the attempt at being carless in Pittsburgh but it can’t be maintained. I’ve been at so many events in town where the keynote has been about the interconnectivity of Pittsburgh. One meeting was held specifically with a number of downtown residents and a lot of them talked about the *livability* of downtown: the trouble with parking, bicyclists not obeying laws in downtown and how far people have to go to get essentials.

The city has been VERY successful with connecting neighborhoods from a leisure point of view: Bike Pittsburgh, Healthy Ride, Uber, etc all make it easy to get around the city for fun. We use all these options as much as possible and they enhance life in the city…but more is needed.

I will be updating this post as more information makes itself available.



Thank you to our neighbors

An open letter to our downtown Pittsburgh neighbors.

I realized I never said thank you to our neighbors and veterinary students that helped us through a traumatic personal event.

Recently we experienced a terrible accident that took one of our beloved pet cats – Marley – from us. Here is one of my favorite pictures of him:

our cat Marly chilling
our cat Marly chilling






This pic shows him at peace and comfortable. That’s one of the ways I prefer to remember him.

This post is to say thank you to our downtown Pittsburgh neighbors that stopped to help. As Marley lay hurt, a number of strangers stopped to watch over him and comfort Jess as I ran to get help. They did everything they could in our time of great need and concern for Marley. It takes a very special person to stop and not only help an injured animal but a total stranger.

Everyone that stopped will be remembered for the rest of our lives. You are not only the embodiment of what makes this city great you also are one of the reason why downtown Pittsburgh has the potential to be a great neighborhood.

-Mike and Jess