Sears house?

My Busia (grandma) has an old Chicago bungalow, and my curiosity has gotten the best of me. Perhaps my dad knows, or I could even ask my Busia (but she might take it the wrong way…somehow), but I’m super curious to know if it’s a Sears home. It’s the only one like it on her block, and it appears to be really close to the Westwood model I’ve found in books. It’s slightly different though, but I don’t know if those were changes made over the years, or if it’s all coincidental that it looks so much like the Westwood.

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floorplanWhat I’m pretty sure the layout of my Busia’s house is (dimensions on bedrooms might be off, but the orientation of doors and placements of windows, closets, stairs, etc. are all correct)…versus the Westwood from Sears.



Our five Christmases

It started with my parents on the 23rd when we went out to breakfast and then exchanged gifts…






On the 24th we were off to my aunt and uncle’s house to celebrate with my dad’s side of the family…




On the 25th we woke up and did the typical present exchange amongst just us…




Lily picked out this shirt and pink fuzzy socks for me

And she picked out this shirt for Art

Then we headed to my in-law’s for more food and presents…





And we ended back at my parents’ for my mom’s side of the family for–you guessed it–more food and presents…




And then we all slept HARD.


Recent life in Instagrams

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Our very first camping trip

We went on our very first camping trip. I chose Ottawa Lake Campground in Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine State Forest. It turned out to be an excellent place with tall the amenities we like (flush toilets, hot showers, electricity). Here are some visuals…







And now I would like to document some successes and some, uh, “learning moments.” Seeing as this was the first camping trip we’ve taken as a family and my first since I was a young teen, we were bound to learn a lot this go round.

Things we did right:

-Set up immediately upon arrival. The sky opened up into a thunder/hail storm just moments after returning to our site after we had set up and taken a little walk around.

-Packed loads of aluminum foil and baby wipes. I think we could have accomplished anything with those two items well stocked.

-Packed fresh foods for snacks, just like if we were to be at home.

Things we could do better next time:

-Invest in some vacuum seal bags. The car was PACKED on the way up. We were able to condense a bit for the way home, but the pillows, bags, and blankets would take up loads less space if vacuum sealed.

-Don’t pack anything in paper Whole Foods bags. They will rip.

-Invest in an electric (or battery? or both?) heater and fan. We didn’t need the latter, but borrowed the former from my aunt and were very happy to have in when it got down to the high 30s/low 40s at night.

-BUY DISPOSABLE EVERYTHING FOR EATING. Yeah, we safe the earth all day long at home. We don’t even use paper towels in the kitchen. But for camping? Washing dishes sucks. I would much rather invest in some bulk Costco buys and have more time to enjoy that have to think about washing everything all the time.

-Put aluminum foil around anything you want to put near the fire and don’t want soot on (think tea pot, cast iron skillet).

-Buy more wood than you think. Maybe we’re sucky fire-builders, but more wood is good.

-Triple check the food list. I forgot the fresh veggies for snacking and ended up only packing the fruit. We survived, but I sure did miss it.

-Use suntan lotion like woah, even when it’s cold. Art got the worst of it, followed by Lily, and even my nose is a little red. Because, duh, we were outside during every waking hour for three days.

I’m so excited that the trip was such a success though and that we get to do it whenever we want now. I’m going to research some local campgrounds so maybe we could do little two day trips too since set up and take down wasn’t a big deal.

Yaaay, camping!

A new year

I’ve never much cared for the New Year holiday. I don’t see it as anything incredibly significant, just another minute passing to another day that so happens to be in another month to another year. It is a good time to be reminded of the past 12 months though and reflect, and look forward on what’s to come. And of course it comes with inspiration to make ourselves better in one way or another, but resolutions fail so much that I hate to call them that.

This year I’m looking forward to watching Lily turn more into a kid and be less of a toddler. I can already see the transformation beginning.

I’m also eager to start tackling our long list of home improvements to make this house more enjoyable to live in. I like our house–I really do–but there are just a few things that need to be added or changed up and it will just be that much better.

We’re also switching up how we eat. We’ve fallen into some routines that are good recently and some that aren’t. I’m excited to get rid of the bad food habits. We’ve already enrolled in a weekly produce co-op (sharing the box with a friend) and I’ve found sources for pork, chicken, and eggs; cheese; and milk–all local, all humane, all awesome. Now I just need to actually buy the food, y’know, and keep eating it.

And physical laziness…I want to remedy that, obviously, and I want to take baby steps otherwise I know I’ll fall flat way too quickly. Slow and steady and hopefully some new habits will be formed.

We grew a lot in 2011–literally and figuratively–in about every sense of the word. Here’s to 2012!

Goodbye, 2011