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
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?