Happy New Year, friends! We hope 2019 is treating you well, and just think, it’s already Friday! (These last few days were tough; who’s with us?) 2018 was absolutely packed full of change for us around here. We grew by a count of one tiny human – who turns 1 year old next week! – and we can’t even imagine our lives without little Lucy Bear. We made huge progress on our Tree House, and we carved out time to make a few pretty major changes here in Chicago, too. Overall, even we were surprised when we looked back and realized that we succeeded in completing all of our 2018 goals. Let’s recap and see how we did!
1| Host our first official ‘friends’ weekend at Tree House
sectional | rug | ottoman | counter stool
Check! A rotating cast of family and friends spent time with us in Michigan. Sometimes we worked, sometimes we didn’t – but we always had a blast.
We had a great time during a work-free reunion with old family friends in August, reunited with Daniel, and then we rung in 2019 with a final few relaxing days with our friends, (a different) Daniel and Meghan, and their sweet pup, Roo. (They’re the same amazing couple that helped us with our first big Tree House demo weekend and our backyard makeover!) We were thrilled to start 2019 off with friends-that-are-basically-family. Kim whipped up her yummiest batch of Korean BBQ while Daniel mixed batch after batch of incredible cocktails, and we ended the year laughing until our sides hurt while we played games in the loft. Here’s to hoping that 2019 brings many, many more late nights with friends and family at Tree House – sans work.
2| Open our doors for (more) Sunday Cocktails
modern trellis | patio table | chairs | umbrella
Check! We certainly could have squeezed in a couple more of these, but we had more than a few spontaneous and loosely planned gatherings on the back patio. We even met some new-to-the-block neighbors that have since become new friends, and we strengthened the existing relationship with our block that we already love so much. mornings would turn into afternoons and afternoons often turned into evenings, which sometimes turned into late nights. We’re calling this one a win, and we have no plans to stop this year!
3| Treat ourselves (and Lucy) to air conditioning (for the first time!) in this home
arm chair | dining chairs | table | vase
HUGE check! We waited 5 long summers to check this one off our list, but with Lucy in our lives, we knew we couldn’t put this off any longer. (In years past, our second floor would get warmer than the thermostat could read, and we would shut ourselves in our bedroom with a window unit – ha!) We hired our trusty HVAC contractor (who has done every last bit of heating, cooling, and water heating work in our home) in April of last year. Ironically enough, a late winter storm hit on the same day of the install, dumping almost three inches of snow on Chicago. The crew worked outside in the cold for a few days to get the work done, but temperatures remained so low that we couldn’t even test the system properly until many weeks later!
We gave up a few square feet of yard space out back to make room for the new machines, but the trade-off was absolutely worth it. We still flung the windows open on breezy spring and fall days, but we relished in a cool and comfortable home after long walks on hot summer days. It’s been a major change for us and we’re glad to have this house fully modernized!
4| Celebrate our 10 year anniversary with gusto
Check! We spent a relaxing week in a gorgeous Airbnb in Malibu while Kim’s mom, dad and sister came to Chicago to house/baby/dog/cat sit. We braved a wind storm that knocked out power to our rented home for almost a whole day and worked hard to get all of Kim’s breast milk home safely. Beyond those slight challenges, we did whatever we pleased and enjoyed great food, great beaches, leisurely hikes and all that sunny Southern California has to offer. Our evenings were spent curled up on the patio that overlooked the ocean while we dined on takeout and caught up on true crime podcasts. High points were seal-watching at Point Dume, cocktails at The Black Cat (in Silver Lake) and a few stops to Malibu Pier! We. Chilled. So. Hard. Here’s a recap of everything we did.
5| Prioritize family time
Kim’s coat | Scott’s coat | Lucy’s booties + hat
Check! Now that our human family is a power trio, we’ve been lucky to spend more time with our parents and siblings than ever before – haha. My Cincinnati family and Kim’s Pittsburgh family are all within reasonable driving distance or a quick plane ride away, so we’ve all logged some pretty good miles road-tripping back and forth for visits.
When we weren’t with parents and siblings, our little family – pups, too! – has found our rhythm and made sure to experience all that Chicago has to offer with Lucy. Zoos, museums, and conservatories have all seen multiple visits. We made more than one – two? three? four?! – trip(s) downtown to take in the twinkling holiday lights along Michigan Avenue, State St, the multiple giant trees and the ever-festive Chicago Athletic Association. Lucy is no stranger to great neighborhood restaurants and loves herself a good happy hour! Family comes first around here, and we’ve come to realize that our favorite city in the world gives more fun family-friendly options than we could have imagined. Nothing, if we can help it, will change here. We’re dedicated to making family time our new normal.
The year was a whirlwind. We often times couldn’t remember if something happened in 2018 or 2017, and more often than not, we’re confused as to what day of the week it even is. We often remind each other: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Our 2018 goals leaned very personal by design; family was – and still is! – king. Reminding ourselves of our goals throughout the year helps to keep us accountable for our decisions on a day-to-day basis, and just like that elephant, every small bite helps us to realize those goals over time.
The majority of our 2018 goals will still hold true in this new year, but we’ll be upping our renovation goals, too! We’ll divulge our plans and projects for the year ahead next week. Thank you for being here! If there’s anything you’d like to see more of on Yellow Brick Home, we’re all ears (er, eyes?). We’re so looking forward to sharing our DIY and renovation story with you in 2019!
OMG Air Conditioning! We spent a small fortune to put a split-ductless system in our condo 2 springs ago, and we constantly say it was The Best money we have ever spent on our home! So worth it!!
The AC install is definitely near the top of our money-well-spent list! Absolutely worth it!
hey guys! happy new year! your blog is a source of almost-daily diversion/joy for me – so thank you for continuing to put in the time and effort to make it happen!
here’s a semi-weird suggestion, probably NOT along the lines of what you had in mind: 2019 is the last year of the full federal tax credit for solar, and we are thinking of going for it on our chicago house. the final out-of-pocket cost is actually way lower than we thought it would be – and with AC (one of our main motivators to look at it, because, Chicago summers) energy costs, it makes even more sense. Wanna join us on the solar journey? :)
Hi Kara! We’ve actually given solar energy a lot of thought, but we’d likely need to replace our whole roof prior to an install. For better or worse, our current roof has some life left in it and we’re not quite there yet! If there’s something that we’re missing, please fill us in!
oh – yep – totally understand. the federal tax credit is phasing out – but over a couple of years – so when your stars align you might still be able to benefit.
Did you see your photo on Apartment Therapy? As I was scrolling, I thought, “I recognize that wallpaper!” Guess you can officially call yourselves “insanely organized.” Congrats. ? https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/best-organization-tips-265614
Haha, hooray! Thanks for that link!
It never ceases to amaze me how children help us see old things in a new way. I remember someone telling me (pre-parenthood) “I was never a fan of zoos until I saw the look on my daughter’s face when she saw Elsie the elephant for the first time and I suddenly realized what a magical place a zoo was.”
Aw, love this. It’s so true. We’re always talking about how we can’t wait for Lucy to experience X, Y, Z… even if those things are things we’ve done a million times before. It will be different, more magical and more special with her by our side.