sectional | rug | pouf | art | desk | chairs | plant pocket
The first half of the year has escaped us for obvious reason, but we’ve also been full steam ahead at Tree House, too! Life lately has been fun, challenging and really, really exhausting, and somehow, it’s already (the end of) March. March! Initially, Scott and I were going to sit down and create a big, fat to-do list. We were going to cover every last project we wanted to complete, both in our home and in Tree House. Like, everything. It felt overwhelming, and finding the time to actually make that list was, ironically, becoming it’s own to-do. But then Scott suggested something quite novel, and I was like, yes! Rather than list out all the walls we need to paint, trim to install and tile to lay (we’re workaholics at heart; it is what it is), maybe 2018 is a year where we need to focus on balance? Instead, maybe we create an attainable list of goals for our year ahead. A short list.
So here we are in March, and we’re just now fine tuning our 2018 goal list to the things that really matter. You know that feeling when you hit ‘buy now’ on a pair of concert tickets, and for weeks, you get that random rush of excitement thinking ahead to your future night-of-fun? This list is like that. This list gives us something to look forward to. This list makes our goals real, a realization of the hard work we’ve already put in and will continue to put in. Writing things down makes makes those things real and tangible, don’t you agree?
1| Host our first official ‘Friends’ Weekend’ at Tree House
We’ve had friends help with demolition, and our families have taken turns rolling up their sleeves, too. But no one has come to relax, run through the dunes or take naps in the middle of the day, and that’s the obvious end goal! It has been difficult without a kitchen – because a microwave balanced on top of a refrigerator does not a kitchen make – but at the very least, we’d like to have that functional kitchen before we kick back. Our cabinets are scheduled for an end of April delivery, and then it’s full steam ahead. Never mind that we don’t have a proper table or enough sheets for all the beds, but if we can make coffee in the morning – using a coffee maker that lives on a real, live countertop! – then we’re calling that good enough. Tree House was always meant to be filled with friends and family, and this summer, we’re going to make that happen.
2| Open our doors for (more) Sunday Cocktails
lounge chairs | pouf | jute cushion | table | dining chairs | cobalt sconce
We live on a street with really tight knit neighbors (and feel incredibly lucky to have that), and we love nothing more than to gather together, pitch in for drinks and dinner and send all the kids into the rumpus room (by the way, Scott grew up with the term ‘rumpus room,’ which always makes me laugh, but it’s such a visual, isn’t it?). Growing up, Scott has the best memories of playing with the neighborhood kids while all the parents poured themselves drinks to unwind at the end of the weekend and gear up for the week ahead. However, unless it’s the middle of summer and we can spill out onto the back patio, we don’t host as much as we’d like because of Jack’s anxiety. So many people = so many stressors for our nervous boy. But! Now that we’ve seen an immense change in him due to proper training and – let’s be honest – a proper dosage of medicine, we’d like to change that. This will be the summer where we host Sunday Cocktails with the neighbors, with friends, with family. Period.
3| Treat ourselves (and Lucy) to air conditioning (for the first time!) in this home
We are looking forward to this so much! This summer will mark five years of living in – and renovating – our Chicago home. The first wave of demolition and repair wiped our bank accounts clean, so much so, that the luxury of air conditioning was very, very far down on the priority list. Longtime readers might remember when we had scary standalone heaters (yikes!) that were replaced with a modern furnace system, but what we didn’t do was add air conditioning. Because, money. And because our home was split into several apartments at some point in its history, we now have three separate furnaces for each level of this house (including the garden apartment). Well. We’ve been saving and setting aside money for the better part of the last 6 months to put towards air conditioning, not only for our sakes, but for Lucy’s and the pups. This will be the year where we can close the windows – and in turn, cut down on the outside filth that settles onto every. last. surface – on sweltering summer days! Side note: Does anyone in the Chicago area have an HVAC go-to that you can recommend?
4| Celebrate our ten year anniversary with gusto
For the longest time, we had a tradition and a promise to one another to visit a new-to-both-of-us city every year on our wedding anniversary. Originally, it stemmed from the idea that we would discover a city where we could see ourselves living, and we might-maybe-consider leaving Chicago. The problem? While we kept that promise and hopped all over the place, we couldn’t stop defending Chicago and why, to us, it’s the best! Chicago has the food, the sights, the seasons and the water – why would we leave?, we asked ourselves. (More on that decision making here.) And then we bought this house! Since moving into this home, we still make it a point to travel every year – travel is the most inspiring and energizing thing we do for ourselves – but this year? This year we’ll be celebrating our 10 year anniversary! And we have a little Lucy Sun, too. We can’t decide if we should make it a family trip (we’re leaning that way) or if it should just be the two of us, but we know that no matter what, we’ll celebrate with gusto! We’ve discussed everything from another (abbreviated) California coast trip (road trips are our very favorite; see California, PNW and, above, Route 66), Austin (I’ve never been) or somewhere in the Caribbean. What we do know is that we want to be warm. Our anniversary is in November, and we usually plan to take the time off in September or October before we fall too deep into the holiday season. Any suggestions?
5| Prioritize family time
This one is self-explanatory. We imagine beach breaks during DIY weekends at Tree House, evening walks with the baby and the pups and entire Sundays off where the only thing on our agenda is a picnic in the park. (How novel, right?) After this terribly long winter, all of us – especially Jack and CC! – need more fresh air, more stress relief and more exercise. We need this reminder to build empty space into our schedules for all those reasons and more. So, 2018, the year that we schedule ‘nothing’ into our calendar? Ha! Side note: This family photo (missing Libby!) was taken by our close friend Renee of Gooch Too Photo. She gifted us a trio of photography sessions over the course of Lucy’s first year, and I legit cried when she told me. She is the best children photographer in Chicago, hands down.
Don’t they say that writing things down makes it happen? Fingers crossed. And we can’t help but wonder, what are your goals? The ones that really, really matter? The ones that are the most important?
Writing down goals makes them so much more real. I love that yours include gathering with friends and taking time off…these things are so important to remember to do! And I had no idea you didn’t have AC at your place! I figure that’s fairly commonplace in Chicago, but just not an option where I live in Austin. You’d be burnt to a crisp here by the middle of May. And if you do come to Austin for your visit, I recommend waiting until mid-to-late October at the earliest. We’ll still hit 100+ degree temperatures well into September and it’s just miserable. Late Fall, Winter and early Spring are pretty great in this town. I have a whole list of my favorite things to do here that I’ll send along if you do end up booking the trip!
Thank you for the tip! That’s our only hesitation with Austin – we’d have to go much later than we normally would to avoid the insane heat. It gives us something to think about. If we do choose Austin, we’ll definitely be looking for things to do – and most importantly – places to eat!
Ok I love this idea! Isn’t the reason we fix up our homes to live in them to the fullest of their potential?! Side note, I am so excited to see how your Tree House kitchen turns out. The before and afters are going to be staggering!
You said it perfectly!
I love the idea of these types of goals – gonna take my husband out for dinner and try for the same! I’m in Chicago and Deljo is our go-to. Five years ago, on a sweltering July 2 night the A/C on our top two floors bit the dust. The kicker? We had just spent 6 weeks completely gutting and refinishing every single inch of the house and were finally moving in the following day. Oh, and yeah, I had 9 year old twins and my husband was traveling. #nostress The repair guy came at 9pm and worked till 10:30 to get everything up and running. Since then, Deljo has replaced the HVAC for our top and first floors and installed a tankless water heater. Top notch service!
Oooof, sounds fun, ha! Thank you for the rec! We’ll look them up.
If you come to Austin, definitely do it in November-December. I’d also say March through mid-April, but SXSW kicks the prices way up until it’s over. It is beautiful here now, though, and makes everyone want to move here. Little do those people know that in about 3 weeks, it’s going to be as hot as the face of the sun & twice as humid until the end of October, which coupled with the terrible traffic, makes things extra super fun! (I work outdoors, though, and have to do a lot of driving, so that may color my perception a little!) But if you have any questions, want leads on cute places to stay, etc, drop me a line!
Austin is awesome!! But I’m biased because I’m from Texas :) November is the perfect time to go though, it literally doesn’t get cool here until about…. November, haha. It’s outdoorsy and such a fun city. Definitely recommend! I live in San Antonio and as a millennial probably visit Austin about once a month!
Austin is a great idea, but I have to sing out for my hometown, New Orleans! Both cities are chock full of amazing food, music, culture and friendly people! I lived in South Central Austin for a few years following Hurricane Katrina, so I feel like I can whole hardheartedly say you can’t go wrong with either!
Ooh, that’s a great idea as well! Scott has always wanted to visit New Orleans, and my last memory there (from college) is… hazy at best, haha. We’ll have to add it to the potential list, thanks!
Seconding the suggestion of New Orleans! It’s an incredibly kid-friendly town and there is so much to do, see and EAT! You will love it! October is one of the best months!
Thirding New Orleans. I’m a somewhat New Yorker and, outside of NYC, New Orleans is my favorite city in the country. We went three years in a row for a variety of reasons and can’t wait to go back.
Just dropping a note to say that my husband and I used American Vintage Home to install air conditioning (Spacepak A/C for us) in our 100 year-old condo here in Chicago. They were professional, polite, and wore over-the-shoe booties while working. Be still my heart.
Anyway, two thumbs up. Drop me a line if you want to chat further about my experience!
Just looked them up, I love that they specialize in old homes! Thank you!
I need to create a short list! I love it!
My husband and I are clinging to a trip we’re taking to Santa Fe in May. Since my parents lost their home in Harvey, they’ve lived with us on and off…and they’re back with us because my mom broke her shoulder this weekend, so the RV they’ve been staying in is a no go. It’s been a really tough 7 months for everyone, so May can’t come quickly enough.
That said, I’m going to put out there: I want some quality, non-work, non-caretaker time with my family soon. Florida beach trip needs to happen.
Also, we host an annual Christmas party, but like you, I’d like us to have more casual get togethers beyond that.
Austin in November would be great. Texas is hotter than hot, but by then, you should get pretty decent temps. And the food is AMAZING. So many great spots.
Sorry to hear about your mom! Hoping she heals soon and you can make all those goals happen in 2018!
Not necessarily “warm” but Maine in September/October is pure MAGIC. I know you guys love road trips, so you should do a road trip up or down the coast of Maine. The foliage is ridiculous that time of year, there are tons of rocky beaches, lobster and lighthouses for sightseeing. :)
Hi Kim! Weird, I thought I replied to this, so sorry if a comment shows up twice. We LOVE this idea, and it’s something we talked about doing when Lucy is older to enjoy it a bit more!
I absolutely love Charleston, SC. My husband & I visited last year on cheap $100 RT flights and loved every minute of our long weekend visit. The city is walkable (no car necessary unless you want to take an Uber to a plantation or other sites) and full of delicious food options. You’d work hard to find a bad meal there! Everything is charming and great for a couples’ weekend or even one with little baby in tow!
We’ve never been! Thank you for the suggestion. We’ll have to take a closer look!
I love how your goals are so much about people and time and enjoying your hard work. I’d second both Austin and Charleston. We did Austin in May and found the weather to be awesome, but obviously locals know what October is like. Charleston that time of year would be lovely. If you do go to Charleston, try to sneak to one of the nearby beaches. If you could get lunch on Kiawah Island at the main inn, the she-crab soup is THE BEST IN THE WORLD.
We honestly don’t spend enough time enjoying the work we put in, and we need to change that. This post is our own personal reminder. And thank you for the suggestion! Yes, we definitely want to spend time on a beach or near water wherever we go!
Having been married 27 years with two kids 23 & 18, I recommend a kid free vacation if you can swing it. As the kids get older this is harder to accomplish with schedules etc. You need time to connect without kids. I know you can do it will her because she is little but use this time as a couple.
We go back and forth on this for the reasons you’ve said! Some of my favorite memories are the times I spent with my grandparents alone, and we think that depending on if she’s still nursing, it might just be EASIER to have her come along with us. When she’s older, she’ll be aching to spend time with her grandparents more. But, who knows. Lots to think about!
We’re currently planning a much-needed long weekend for just the two of us. Some parents seem to thrive on doing everything with their kids, including all vacations, but I’m not one of them. I need time to connect with my husband like an adult again! We took a trip when M was 5 months and nursing, and it was heavenly to have that little break from being the 24/7 dairy. I also missed her, but it was totally doable.
However, we also took her to Italy for 2 weeks at age 1/5. That was great, too!
I love to travel, so I can’t suggest a location. They’re all great! Love your goals for the year. Keep being fabulous :)
We just can’t decide what to do! Maybe we’ll have a better idea in a few months once Lucy comes into her own more?!
I love Charleston! And check out Carefree Comfort for the a/c.
Travel Suggestion! Any of the beaches on 30A in South Walton County, FL. There is an airport nearby, and October is the BEST month! I live here now, and have vacationed here my whole life before moving. It’s still warm enough to swim in the gulf, and a lot of the tourists have gone for the season. There are a lot of beaches with their own neo-urbanism set up (everything is within walking and biking distance from your place). Alys Beach is my favorite, but Seaside and Rosemary Beach are also great. Rachel at Pencil Shavings Studio recently did a write up on it here too, if you’d like an outside perspective! :)
Ooh, I’ll definitely have to refer back to this post for future vacation ideas! Thank you, Rachel! I’ll also check out Pencil Shavings Studio.
TOTALLY OFF TOPIC REQUEST FOR ADVICE: how did you get Lucy to take a pacifier? Did she just go for it immediately? Our two-week old nurses for comfort but I’d love to be able to pop something in her mouth that isn’t attached to my body to help her self-soothe! So far she is NOT interested (in bottles or pacifiers). Any tips are appreciated!
Lucy started nursing for comfort right around the 1.5 week mark, and I was so confused. At first I thought, ‘she CANNOT be hungry again, right?!’ So I texted my friend the problem and she said, ‘get her started on a paci, stat!’ The next time she cried for me, we gave her a pacifier, and she took right to it, luckily. That said, we were gifted a few different brands during our baby shower, and the ONLY one she will take are these Chicco pacifiers. (The same goes with bottles, she ONLY likes these Comotomos.) Perhaps it’s an issue of finding the right brand/shape for your girl? I wish I could help more!