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Thread summary:

Advice needed, relocation from Midwest to Orange County, California, kids play hockey, husband urgent care doctor, family practice trained, typical salaries, public versus private schools, charter schools, Classical Core knowledge curriculum

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Old 05-06-2008, 06:22 PM
 
11 posts, read 42,993 times
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I need some advice. I was born and raised in the midwest and have hated every cold, overcast moment of it! I would love to know from someone who has relocated from the midwest what their thoughts were.

My husband and I are in our late 30's and early 40's, we have 4 grade school age children, we are conservative, love to run and stay physically fit. My 10 year old plays hockey. We are from the state of hockey, Minnesota. Do kids play hockey in OC?

My husband is an Urgent Care Doc, family practice trained. Anybody have an idea about typical salaries. What part of OC would you recommend living in?

Minnesota has exceptional public schools and we have done private. What do you think of the public schools in OC? I've heard that California public schools are struggling. I've been researching charter schools, specifically Classical Core knowlege curriculum.

I appreciate any thoughts, good or bad. I'm really trying to convince my husband to give it a try. I need sun!! Even my 4 year old hates the cold overcast days and wont go outside to play.
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Old 05-06-2008, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Laguna Woods, CA
198 posts, read 351,656 times
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I am a retired English teacher who lived 55 years in Maine. My wife and I moved out here in 1998. We too are runners, and both of us are eternally grateful for having made the move. I currently substitute about 70 days in the Irvine School District and the Saddleback Valley Unified District. We live in Laguna Woods, a senior retirement community, and we make frequent road trips to Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and throughout California.

Being from Minnesota, you will appreciate the facts about south Orange County. No snow...ever. No mosquitos or any other flying insects...you can literally leave windows and doors open without worry...that said, there are small lizards that love to sneak through open doors...they are harmless. No humidity. A rainy day is an event out here. The sun comes out nearly every day, and the year we moved here, we went for more than 400 days with complete sunshine. The temperatures rarely go below 40 during the winter nights and move up into the 60's for most of the winter days (winter is like the middle of December through February). There are days where the temps go even higher. Summer days are hot, and the evenings are the best, and there is very little humidity. We rarely use our air conditioner, but we turn on an electric heat pump for an hour or so on winter days just to take off the chill. I personally like to wear long pants and perhaps a long-sleeved flannel shirt in the winter, and it's all shorts and T-shirts in summer.

The public schools in south Orange County are excellent, and if your kids are good students there will be lots of great teachers and programs for them. I work in the high schools, and the AP and Honors courses are among the best anywhere. Irvine has excellent schools as do all the cities in Saddleback Unified...Laguna Hills, Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, and Laguna Niguel. There are some exceptional private schools as well. San Juan Cap, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach, and San Clemente also have good schools.

North Orange County is an older area. The schools are fine as well, but from the tone of your post, I suspect you will be looking closely at south county.

I don't really know what kinds of salaries the physicians make in the area, but there are many fine hospitals and urgent care facilities in the area. The medical facilities and the health care in the area are among the best there is anywhere. Physicians do very well in California.

UC Irvine also has a fine hospital and medical facilities.

Living here is expensive, but I suspect you hubby won't have much of a problem finding a nice position. There are some absolutely lovely areas to find homes, the beaches are terrific all year round, and the weather is the best it gets.

If you have had it with Minnesota winters, this IS the place to come. You won't regret a bit of it, and your children will be able to play sports outdoors all year round. I believe some schools have ice hockey, and the public and private school sports are better than most in the country. Remember, these kids can play baseball, tennis, swim, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, surfing, and any other outdoor activity you can think of 12 months a year if they wish.

As to running, my wife and I log about 80-100 miles a month on a terrific 5 mile trail...there are place to run, hike, mountain climb, mountain bike all over the place....there are the Santa Ana Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains, the Santa Monica Mountains, and the Sierras all within driving distance...you can ski and surf in the same day.

Feel free to PM me if you need more specific information, but once you move to southern California, you will never go back. There is traffic and it is crowded, but there is so much more here to make life sweet than most other places could ever muster.
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:30 PM
 
Location: Mission Viejo, CA
2,498 posts, read 11,398,921 times
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I don't know if any of the high schools have hockey teams in Orange County. The lack of snow sort of makes it hard to get into the "hockey spirit". Chances are you will not run into very many people that have kids playing hockey. Baseball, basketball, soccer, and football are the sports that dominate youth sports in Southern California. The Aliso Viejo Ice Palace has a hockey league though so the kids can definitly join that.
Here is a link:
Aliso Viejo Ice Palace

Overall, I could see you fitting in in So Cal. Being physically fit is very important to a lot of people around here. There are tons of great places to run and excercise whether along the beach, through beautiful parks, through a canyon or wilderness area, or on the trails of many of the cities. Orange County is also a very Conservative County, with lots of churches (one of the biggest in the country in Lake Forest- Saddleback Church) and a strong tendancy to vote Republican (unlike the rest of California). I don't know if you will find any Core Knowledge public schools. None of the school, not even charter, are Core Knowledge Schools in Orange County. There are only 34 Core schools in the whole entire state! Schools are good if your kids are motivated to excel. Los Alamitos, Anaheim Hills, Yorba Linda, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Coto de Caza, Fullerton, Rancho Santa Margarita, and San Clemente are all communities and cities with good schools and there are other cities with good schools too- This is just a very brief list.

My sister left Minnesota eight years ago. Her husband is a Northwest Airlines pilot and was based in Minneapolis. They could not stand the weather and when they got the chance he put in for a base chance to Honolulu!!! They love being in sunshine so much after living in the dreary Minnesota climate for seven years, Hawaii was the best paradise ever! They couldn't imagine going back.
Good luck- Also, check out the Picture of Orange County sticky at the top of the OC forum main page
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Old 05-07-2008, 01:40 AM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
300 posts, read 1,253,597 times
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Hello!

If what you really want is better weather, research some other states- too! I am a southern california native. My husband moved here from the midwest and continues to HATE it here. (We are planning on moving to colorado to strike a balance and to start our "life".) The reasons he hates it are: very high cost of living and the people. Orange County has this rep for being "fake". A lot of the areas where its nice to live tend to have that "fake" quality of people. You, being from the midwest, will for sure notice this. Im sure you will be welcomed, but it will be a culture shock to some extent.

It sounds like you guys are established and can afford it here- so Im sure thats not an issue. But its somthing to think about since you could be pocketing that extra cost of living and saving it for your kids college or your retirement. Everything is more expensive here- gas, auto insurance, home owners/renters insurance, etc.

OC is pretty conservative/rebublican- so thats seems to be a match for you.

The schools are crap. Its sad, but true. Im sure there are a few local schools in good districts that arent crap- but overall, the public school system here is really bad. Even when a school says its "award winning", check into it and see how it compares to schools on the national level or schools in your current area. Its easy to be a good school when a california school is comparing it to another california school.

My husband and I are young professionals without kids of our own. The reason we are leaving is primarily the cost of living (especially to start out here- good luck for the first time home buyer!), the fact that husband hates it, and that the schools are bad (for our future children). Also, this is something to consider, there are a lot of illegal immigrants here (well, all over CA for that matter) in the cheaper parts of OC (more inland or in random cities where they continue to migrate). I know people have lots of different opinions on what that does to the economy, etc.- but I do feel its dumbing down the school system and costing tax payers in CA a lot of money. If the kids and their parents could speak english, it wouldnt be so bad in the schools. And if they could pay for all of their own care and expenses or contribute taxes, it wouldnt be so bad for the tax payers. But they cant and they dont. So it will be interesing to see what this state turns into down the road.

One city can be great, and the next city over it can be all non-english speaking illegal immigrants. Thats why its so important to be able to live in a nice area (local schools, crime, etc.). If you stay close to the coast, you are pretty much okay. Not knowing anything about CA can be tricky when you are trying to figure out whats a nice area and whats not.

If you can afford to live in a nice neighborhood and find or send your kids to a good school- OC is great. I would recomment seriously analyzing your finances to make sure you can have a good quality of life here, everything considered. There are tons of people here living the dream OC life and living hand to mouth- even professionals and college educated people. There is a lot of emphasis on the surface- living in the right city, driving an expensive car, living in a gated neighborhood. Nice tract houses ("McMansions") in a little gated community in average "nice" city (like irvine, for example) will cost 1M. And irvine isnt even on the coast! Its pretty crazy. Money doesnt really go far. The quality of living is only really good for those who can truly afford it, or for those who want to have fun going into debt.

Also, OC is sort of made fun of by LA people. I had no clue about this until I started commuting to UCLA for grad shcool. Its comical. OC people think their county is the best, and LA people think its laughable. Too "suburbia", too conservative, too republican. I happen to love OC since its my home- I am sad I have to leave in order to "make it" as a young family- especially when both of us are educated from good schools.

There is a TON of money in OC. Mostly coastal OC. If you have the means, you will love it. But if you have to sacrifice parts of the lifestyle you currently enjoy in the midwest, it may not live up to your dreams. (Things like a much smaller house for the same amount of money your current home is worth, arranging your schedule around high traffic times everyday, etc.)

I would also cuggest checking out Arizona. Scottsdale, Prescott, certain parts of Pheonix, Flagstaff and Sedona are the nicest parts. Scottsdale is like an OC in the desert and you can afford more house there. Lots of sun. Developing area. You may like it.

Oh yeah, about hockey. I dont know of any local public school that has an ice hockey team (or roller hockey, for that matter). If he plays hockey, he will probably have to play Club hockey (private leagues). My cousin used to play ice hockey and he was in a private league and loved it. There is a niche for that!
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:26 AM
 
11 posts, read 42,993 times
Reputation: 14
Default Thanks for advice

I really appreciate all the feedback. I know there is no "perfect" place to live and raise a family. But because I suffer from SAD and need sunshine in my life, I can't help but believe that having more sunny days would help make it easier to deal with some of the negatives.
I also feel my kids are missing out on a much more active and healthy lifestyle because we are inside so much of the year.
It is such a big decision. Thanks for all your input. I'm open to more.
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Laguna Woods, CA
198 posts, read 351,656 times
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I have to disagree with Preppyglam about the quality of schools. She and her husband have no children, and yet she berates the quality of the schools. I taught in a fine Portland, Maine high school for 25 years, and I have subbed in some excellent high schools here in south Orange county. The education, programs, athletic facilities, and teaching staff is as good as anywhere else and in many cases much better. The classes are more crowded here, but our schools more than adequately prepare good students to compete with students from all parts of the country in the best colleges.

The sunny days and the terrific climate do make the days much more pleasant than facing the snow, ice, and the dark long winters of a snow state. The year round access to the outdoors is a definite plus, and the athletic programs available to your children are unequalled anywhere.

Yep...lots of people, lots of traffic, and lots of diversity, but the quality of life, in my opinion, is unsurpassed. We would never leave the area, and putting up with some of the excess of many of the residents is mind over matter.

As to Arizona, Scottsdale and Phoenix are brutally hot during the summer. Flagstaff is a lovely area, but there is snow and ice, and if you think OC is expensive, Sedona is really lovely, but the rich have discovered the place and most of the land has been bought up....Sedona also gets some cold weather and snow, but it is quite beautiful. It's roads are still mostly two-lane, and during the summer months, and during most school vacations tourists fill the area. Tucson has become popular and is rapidly growing...milder summers than Phoenix and cooler winters.

I still favor south Orange County for a young family. The resources available are plentiful and extend throughout the area and the state. For what it's worth winter heating bills and clothing costs go away as do the snow, the ice, the humidity, the bugs, rusty cars, the winter blues, cabin fever, and it never gets dark throughout the winter earlier than 5PM.

Come on out for a vacation. Check out the place...do a little research and experience a week or two.
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Old 05-07-2008, 10:29 AM
 
Location: SD
895 posts, read 4,237,069 times
Reputation: 344
Quote:
Originally Posted by westsidegirl View Post
I need some advice. I was born and raised in the midwest and have hated every cold, overcast moment of it! I would love to know from someone who has relocated from the midwest what their thoughts were.

My husband and I are in our late 30's and early 40's, we have 4 grade school age children, we are conservative, love to run and stay physically fit. My 10 year old plays hockey. We are from the state of hockey, Minnesota. Do kids play hockey in OC?

My husband is an Urgent Care Doc, family practice trained. Anybody have an idea about typical salaries. What part of OC would you recommend living in?

Minnesota has exceptional public schools and we have done private. What do you think of the public schools in OC? I've heard that California public schools are struggling. I've been researching charter schools, specifically Classical Core knowlege curriculum.

I appreciate any thoughts, good or bad. I'm really trying to convince my husband to give it a try. I need sun!! Even my 4 year old hates the cold overcast days and wont go outside to play.
You sound a lot like us (except we only have two of the four in school). My husband is from Iowa (we've actually traveled to Minneapolis on vacation bc my husband's bf lives in St. Paul--pretty in the summer but I wouldn't set foot in the state past October) but we lived in Florida since we graduated from college. Making the decision to move from FL was very difficult for us for a lot of factors but the main one was lifestyle. Our decision came down to OC and the midwest (OKC to be exact). Financially, OKC would have made us extremely comfortable. We would have had a huge house & no debt. But having a huge house & no debt was nothing compared to being able to have an outdoor lifestyle and lots of sunshine.

OC is not cheap, especially where we live, but besides housing and a few dollars increase in everything else, we don't regret our decision. Dollar for dollar - there is just a slight different in COL from FL to CA. (Our car insurance was actually cheaper here but grocery costs increased--people do a lot of shopping at Costco). All of our children's (many) activities cost about the same in both states (gymnastics, horseback riding, art, dance, my gym, tennis).

I would never argue with anyone about public schools because I'm not knowledgeable enough. I made the decision to put my kids in private school and don't regret the decision but it's an extra $11k/year/child. Tuition and children's activities are actually our biggest expenses right now.

We decided against buying a home, which is stressful with four children, but the ability to move or wait for the market eases our mind.
And my daughter's friends' brother plays at the Aliso Viejo ice rink (mentioned in missionhome's post) on a league and I would recommend it. They're very happy and travel all over the place for games and such. Their daughter also skates there too (because they're there A LOT).

The weather is definitely colder in California than Florida so it will be a huge improvement for you. The sun is usually shining. We've had a yuck week so far and there's something called May grey and June gloom. (There was actually a huge post on here last year about this). My husband lived here in May and didn't have much to say except it was smoggy and it burned off toward the middle of the day. The kids and I moved in June and I didn't find it too gloomy but it was overcast (smoggy) in the morning but by 10AM, it was beautiful. Two months of yuck compared to nine months of freeze in Minnesota sounds good to me! There are rarely clouds and the sun feels great. Lots of times, I wear long sleeves in the morning and change into short sleeves by mid morning.

I should mention that I live in South OC (Laguna Niguel). My husband is running about five miles every evening after our children go to bed. He was logging in lots of bicycle miles and mountain biking on tons of trails but has run out of time (I nixed it in favor of getting a break).

And to give you a laugh, my own 4 year old asked me when we were moving back to Florida the other day. "Why?" I asked. She replied, "It's cold in California, Mommy." Thought that would make you smile.

My advice to you is to have your husband put feelers out for jobs and see what's out here for (professionally and financially). Then you need to visit. When we visited, we toured an elementary school, saw lots of houses, visited the grocery store, a mall and spent lots of time driving around. We also (like you) read these boards and talked to people randomly to ask their advice on good places to live in OC. Everyone is going to tell you that they love where they live so it's just a matter of you figuring out what works for your family. We chose our area based on things important to our family -- distance to the beach, topography (I can't stand flat Irvine), and distance to a good gym (like your son with hockey - my daughter does gymnastics three times a week). LOL-this is the farthest we've lived from the ocean in 12 years (4 miles)!!!
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Irvine, CA to Keller, TX
4,829 posts, read 6,903,971 times
Reputation: 844
Quote:
Originally Posted by preppyglam View Post
Hello!

If what you really want is better weather, research some other states- too! I am a southern california native. My husband moved here from the midwest and continues to HATE it here. (We are planning on moving to colorado to strike a balance and to start our "life".) The reasons he hates it are: very high cost of living and the people. Orange County has this rep for being "fake". A lot of the areas where its nice to live tend to have that "fake" quality of people. You, being from the midwest, will for sure notice this. Im sure you will be welcomed, but it will be a culture shock to some extent.

It sounds like you guys are established and can afford it here- so Im sure thats not an issue. But its somthing to think about since you could be pocketing that extra cost of living and saving it for your kids college or your retirement. Everything is more expensive here- gas, auto insurance, home owners/renters insurance, etc.

OC is pretty conservative/rebublican- so thats seems to be a match for you.

The schools are crap. Its sad, but true. Im sure there are a few local schools in good districts that arent crap- but overall, the public school system here is really bad. Even when a school says its "award winning", check into it and see how it compares to schools on the national level or schools in your current area. Its easy to be a good school when a california school is comparing it to another california school.

My husband and I are young professionals without kids of our own. The reason we are leaving is primarily the cost of living (especially to start out here- good luck for the first time home buyer!), the fact that husband hates it, and that the schools are bad (for our future children). Also, this is something to consider, there are a lot of illegal immigrants here (well, all over CA for that matter) in the cheaper parts of OC (more inland or in random cities where they continue to migrate). I know people have lots of different opinions on what that does to the economy, etc.- but I do feel its dumbing down the school system and costing tax payers in CA a lot of money. If the kids and their parents could speak english, it wouldnt be so bad in the schools. And if they could pay for all of their own care and expenses or contribute taxes, it wouldnt be so bad for the tax payers. But they cant and they dont. So it will be interesing to see what this state turns into down the road.

One city can be great, and the next city over it can be all non-english speaking illegal immigrants. Thats why its so important to be able to live in a nice area (local schools, crime, etc.). If you stay close to the coast, you are pretty much okay. Not knowing anything about CA can be tricky when you are trying to figure out whats a nice area and whats not.

If you can afford to live in a nice neighborhood and find or send your kids to a good school- OC is great. I would recomment seriously analyzing your finances to make sure you can have a good quality of life here, everything considered. There are tons of people here living the dream OC life and living hand to mouth- even professionals and college educated people. There is a lot of emphasis on the surface- living in the right city, driving an expensive car, living in a gated neighborhood. Nice tract houses ("McMansions") in a little gated community in average "nice" city (like irvine, for example) will cost 1M. And irvine isnt even on the coast! Its pretty crazy. Money doesnt really go far. The quality of living is only really good for those who can truly afford it, or for those who want to have fun going into debt.

Also, OC is sort of made fun of by LA people. I had no clue about this until I started commuting to UCLA for grad shcool. Its comical. OC people think their county is the best, and LA people think its laughable. Too "suburbia", too conservative, too republican. I happen to love OC since its my home- I am sad I have to leave in order to "make it" as a young family- especially when both of us are educated from good schools.

There is a TON of money in OC. Mostly coastal OC. If you have the means, you will love it. But if you have to sacrifice parts of the lifestyle you currently enjoy in the midwest, it may not live up to your dreams. (Things like a much smaller house for the same amount of money your current home is worth, arranging your schedule around high traffic times everyday, etc.)

I would also cuggest checking out Arizona. Scottsdale, Prescott, certain parts of Pheonix, Flagstaff and Sedona are the nicest parts. Scottsdale is like an OC in the desert and you can afford more house there. Lots of sun. Developing area. You may like it.

Oh yeah, about hockey. I dont know of any local public school that has an ice hockey team (or roller hockey, for that matter). If he plays hockey, he will probably have to play Club hockey (private leagues). My cousin used to play ice hockey and he was in a private league and loved it. There is a niche for that!
preppyglam,

Sad to see that you had to go through the OC reality, but I am glad to see that you and your husband were smart enough to see that there were options better for you and you future family. I raise my children in Irvine and while it was fun the pressure financially was tremendous. We were one of those families living week to week. We lived very comfortably, put 2 children through college but did it with great sacrifice. You are also right about the schools. They have real problems with no solution in sight.

We moved to a small town in TX where the housing is incredibly affordable and the lifestyle is much slower. We still have 2 to get through HS and college but it will not be such a huge burden now. There are things we miss about CA but we are much happier now that the financial pressure has been lifted. The people here are more friendly but I think that has to do with not having to keep up with the Joneses.

We looked at Arizona too. Prescott and Sedona are beautiful! Our oldest lives in TX so we decided to make the trek to TX and live out our twilight years in a more family friendly state. Good luck to you and your husband in Colorado. It is cold but very beautiful!
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
27 posts, read 86,678 times
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I'm moving from the Midwest also. However, I'm 22 (turning 23 the weekend I plan on moving) and single. I'm excited for the big change!
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Old 05-07-2008, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Irvine, CA to Keller, TX
4,829 posts, read 6,903,971 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StacyLee View Post
I'm moving from the Midwest also. However, I'm 22 (turning 23 the weekend I plan on moving) and single. I'm excited for the big change!
My son (24) who lives in Newport Beach, CA loves where we live in TX but would not move here while he is still young.

Orange County is a great place for young people willing to rent and have roommates. The quick pace, lots to do, and entertainment on every corner is what he likes. He has commented that when he settles down he will consider his options outside of CA because he saw how hard it was to raise a family in Orange County/CA.
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