Thank you all for your replies.
hriel1 - Yes, we will be mindful of when it *no longer works* for us or our children and make adjustments accordingly, even if it means moving back to shore.
Sailingdog - We are looking under $40k, which eliminates most catamarans. I would *love* a catamaran, but we also don't want to pay for double slip fee at the marina. Maybe we get a smaller starter
boat and someday move up to a catamaran (though DH is resisting the starter
boat idea). I've looked at the Boat Inspection Trip Tips. It is invaluable, thank you for sharing this resource.
olson34 - we actually know that couple! Funny, they are fixing up a 45' unfinished boat because they will be starting a family soon. We'd like to stay in the 38-40 range, though.
Lakesuperiorgeezer - wow, it never occurred to me to look on eBay. We've looked at yachtworld, fsbo listings, and craigslist. Will add eBay to the mix. Thanks for the book recommendation, I'm going to check it out.
Justjon - Yes, we've been visiting the marina every other weekend to meet with people living aboard. There is a whole system of winterization including shrinkwrapping that we are learning about.