Console Cabinet Table / Target Lamp / Anthropologie Mirror (Also love this one, which we have in our dining room!) / Rouzati Rugs Runner / Framebridge Frames / Similar Chandelier Here and Here (Ours was installed by the previous owners so not sure...

Console Cabinet Table / Target Lamp / Anthropologie Mirror (Also love this one, which we have in our dining room!) / Rouzati Rugs Runner / Framebridge Frames / Similar Chandelier Here and Here (Ours was installed by the previous owners so not sure where it’s from!) / Sofia the First Dress

Definitely having a two-coffee morning over here. I’m feeling chatty. Here are the first things that come to mind right now:

I’ve been writing for 15 minutes every morning. I love writing fiction, and having a little side project has been so nice. I look forward to it more than I look forward to reading a chapter of a book or watching a show every night! When I was younger, I used to write a lot, but I would get so caught up in editing while writing that I never got very far with it. Lots of half-finished “works.” Now that I’m starting up again, I’m trying really hard to just write. (Kind of like how I write this posts: Whatever first comes to mind, GO!) And it’s been going well. It’s probably not the most eloquent, but the words come far more easily when I’m not writing and editing at the same time. Anyway, I think this could be my needlepointing. ;)

Emma went back to school last week. We held her the last time pre-k students were invited back for in-person instruction, but with the CTU/CPS agreement (and having spoken with parents who did send their kids), we decided to give it a go. I was equal parts nervous and excited, but gosh. What a difference. When we picked her up on Thursday, she told us it had been the best day of her life.  We were starting to get pretty worried about Emma for a few reasons. In one day, though, we saw her return to her happy self. It goes without saying that we’re overwhelmingly grateful to both Chicago educators as well as those across the country. At the moment, only pre-k students are in-person here in Chicago, but grade school students will slowly return in batches over the next few weeks. I’m praying—for everyone’s sake—that it all goes smoothly!

CARLY IS PREGNANT! I moved this post from Monday to Tuesday so I could include this, haha. But Mitch and I are just so happy for Carly and Mike. 2020 was obviously such a rough year, but so much goodness came from it, too—and this is a prime example! I can’t wait to meet this little one and foresee the kiddos spending lots of happy summer days on Nantucket together. So much to look forward to. Again, Congratulations, Carly and Mike! Welcome to life’s greatest adventure.

My dad passed the Series 24! The Series 24 is the “general securities principal exam,” and it’s administered by the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. It’s really hard, and requires months of studying. But Dad did it, and woo-ee! I’m so happy for him. I’m also so happy for my mom, who must have been very bored over the last couple of months with her husband holed up in his office—during a pandemic, no less. (Tons of people to be happy for right now. ) Celebrate good times.

I’M ALSO SO HAPPY FOR TAYLOR SWIFT. See? As a longtime fan, this is just the best news.

I’ve been washing my hair every other day during the workweek. I normally cannot pull this off, but I suppose it’s been made possible by how dry our home has been. (Humidifier has greatly improved the situation, but it’s still winter in Chicago!) What a time-saver. The best is when I wash my hair at night on “wash days,” too. Showering/getting ready takes me no more than 15 minutes in the morning when I do that! Hallelujah.

Today is Neal’s birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NEAL! We love you guys. Hope you’re having the best time right now and can’t wait until you get back. It’s.Been.Too.Long. (Said everyone but especially Noodle.) 

This wouldn’t be a “10 Things” post if I didn’t talk about my “one home project every day” thingy. First, I need to brag a little because Mitch and I—the most unhandy homeowners ever—HUNG BOOKSHELVES IN EMMA’S ROOM. (They’re from my childhood bedroom, but they look just like this.) It was mighty stressful. We messed up with the first shelf and used the wrong anchors, but we somehow kept it together and continued on and got it right on the second try. (Even managed to cover up the holes in the wallpaper with the shelf!) I love how it came out and can’t wait to show you guys. I want to change out the books every month to get Emma excited about new reading, and the plan is to share here, too! Anyway, next up is replacing burnt-out lightbulbs with LED ones, and organizing the mudroom closet. Exciting stuff over here, guys.

This is the perfect springtime-in-Chicago quilted jacket. It’s looks like a spring jacket, but it’s lined with ultra warm PrimaLoft… which means this jacket understands that springtime does not actually exist in Chicago. ;) Finally! A jacket that gets us!

New show alert: “Firefly Lane.” I haven’t watched it yet, but it’s based on the novel, and I’ve had several friends bring it up over the last week. Reader Honour also recommended “I’m Sorry” on Netflix, so going to give that a try as well. :) Thanks, Honour!

Have you surfed around “The Primal Scream” NYT series? Whoa. It’s definitely worth a read, especially if you’re a mom who’s recently hit the pandemic wall. From the introduction: “We hope this series serves as a primal scream for America’s mothers, a visual representation of their struggles. We’re showing all the messy, heartbreaking moments of everyday fear and chaos, and the rays of joy that can sometimes shine through. If nothing else, we want moms to know that someone is listening.”

We’re really into Magformers and sensory boxes right now. Our friends Dave and Natalie have a ton of Magformers (a top-rated STEM toy), so I bought some for the girls. HUGE HIT! They’re really spectacular. They’re well-made and encourage kids to be creative and imaginative while also developing fine motor skills. A quick search on Pinterest will provide you with tons of activity ideas, too. As for the sensory boxes, Danielle and Margot sent Emma one from Young and Wild + Friedman for her half birthday (adorable) and I cannot get over how much time she spends with it. She builds things; she makes up little stories using the unicorn characters; she sorts and organizes. I highly recommend if you’re in need of more activities to keep the kids busy this winter. The best part is that I feel like we could easily make our own sensory kits using stuff we already have around the house, too! (These boxes would work well.)

Here’s a guide to making warm, chewy bagels. I just texted it to Mitch and said “Please?” HERE’S HOPING.

Have you heard of CUUP bras? I’ll preface this with the fact that while some of them provide decent coverage, others are nearly see-through. But they’re so soft and comfortable! And I love that they’re designed for real women with measurements made on those same real women. The fabrics are high-end yet very durable, too. I actually think I may have included this in another “10 Things.” Not sure, haha. Either way, I really love mine and as long as I’m not wearing a light t-shirt, I don’t have any issues.

Listen to “In Your Hands” by Nick Mulvey. It’s just so pretty.

When it’s safe to travel again, where do you want to go? I’m toying with so many ideas. But right now I’m really interested in getting back to Europe. The last time Mitch and I were there was back in 2012 when we were engaged (Ireland/London/Paris), so it’s been a minute! Would love to take the girls to Paris and then go somewhere by ourselves, too. Maybe somewhere on the Mediterranean. A girl can dream.

I cut Lucy’s hair. She was moving around like crazy so it’s definitely not perfect. But it’s a cute little bob, and she’s less shaggy, that’s for sure. (This is such a hard age with hair. I don’t want to cut bangs because that’s both risky and a commitment, but her hair is always falling in her eyes and she pulls out clips!)

Have you seen these kids’ dachshund sweaters?! Heavens. I’m in love. I just wish they were on sale!

I’ve never loved a little girls’ dress more. I’ve been loving The Beaufort Bonnet Company and Bella Bliss lately. It’s pricey, but there are some good sale finds every once in a while. And the clothing is precious!

Getting exercise and sunshine has been more challenging lately. It’s been snowing here, and temps are ridiculously low—often in the red. I’ve been so committed to getting out every day, but I’m having trouble finding the motivation lately. I also don’t love going by myself and no one will accompany me, haha. Not even Noodle. (So silly but I get bored and lonely! Bringing my camera is helpful, though.) But the show must go on! Actually, you know what? I’m going to finish this post and then get myself out there. BOOM.

The “dibs” parking situation in Chicago is apparently getting REAL because we’ve been getting so much snow. Have you heard of this concept? Do you have it where you live? The idea is that when a person puts in the work to dig out a parking spot, he or she puts a placeholder—like a chair–in said spot to “hold it.” Some people say the placeholder should be good the whole day or even multiple days, while others say it should only be good for the amount of time it takes the person to retrieve their car from elsewhere and get it into the dug-out spot. Anyway, things can get contentious very quickly! I’ve never seen an altercation in realtime, but the NextDoor app has been reporting on the craziness since we’ve had so much snow lately. I’m waiting to see a Bernie Sanders cutout as a dibs placeholder. That would be hysterical.

On a somewhat related note, did you see this video of Bill Murray re: Chicago winters? Oh, I just love him so much.

I’m going to be working with Cricut! I’m PUMPED. Did I already tell you about this? I may have. Woo-ee. My memory is shot. But in case you haven’t heard of the thing, it’s a cutting plotter, or computer-controlled cutting machine, designed for home crafters. I’m not the craftiest mom but I’d like to be, haha, and there are so many amazing ideas on Pinterest! Right now I’m most looking forward to making my own mugs, making sweatshirts for the girls, and labeling everything in the toy room and kitchen. But I haven’t done a deep dive yet. Any Cricut users out there?! Any fun ideas?!

I bought these disco ball string lights for the girls. I thought they would add some magic to their rooms this winter. (This is the idea!) We’ll see if it works. I’ll report back.

What’s something little that’s been bringing you happiness lately? I’d love to hear! I’ve been staying on top of the housework lately, which has made a big impact on my outlook. (As has the Larkin Family “one home project every day” movement.) Every other day, I’ve been making sure to do a load of laundry, vacuum a room or two that needs it, tidy the basement, and wipe down the bathrooms. Every morning, I make the beds. And every night, I wipe down the kitchen and put away any clutter. Each task really only takes a few minutes, and I now never have to clean the house top to bottom, which is such a nice change. I wake up feeling refreshed instead of overwhelmed, too!

I adore this seagull wallpaper. While we don’t live by the ocean, there are surprisingly a lot of seagulls in Chicago! Wouldn’t it look cute in a linen closet or something? I’m a fan.

I think I’m going to highlight my hair next week. I KNOW. I spent the last several years trying to nurse my damaged hair back to life, and it’s finally healthy. But I’m now gray. I’m thinking about doing something like this. My stylist Nicole left the studio and went out on her own a while ago so she’s going to do it for me! (She will also tell me if this is a bad idea and rein me in. )

Another update on the humidifier situation: It’s working! In case you missed it, our walls and molding were cracking because our Aprilaire humidifiers were broken. We had one fixed and one replaced, and wow. What a difference. My skin has improved, and some of the cracks are sealing themselves up. For example, our cutting board split down the middle… and the crack is now gone. Isn’t that wild? If you’re having dryness issues in your home, I’d highly suggest installing one or investing in a portable one!

I love this “We’re In This Together” sweater. Isn’t it the best? Makes me feel hopeful.

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