Our word for 2014: LIVE

MAN, 2013 was a doozy. It started out pretty well. Lots of snuggling with a new baby. Matt started a new, much more demanding job. I went down to part-time at work. We decided to house hunt in March and then things got off course. We found a house, got into a bidding war, and then slowly entered the nightmare that would be the next six months of dealing with actually getting into the house. We spent weeks preparing our house to put on the market and it sold within days to lovely people. Moved in with my parents for four weeks, which turned into about four months. My sister had a baby. We finally moved. The Gala I work on came quickly after that and I was consumed with work. We raised $3.7 million. We hosted Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, and then my sister's baby shower in the span of two weeks.

I'm sure I'm missing lots of things in there... A started walking. B started eating... sometimes. We decided to keep W in preschool because of his late birthday. We got new tires on our SUV and a new bed for our room. We spent time in Michigan and Wisconsin. B took a bad fall, that resulted in a concussion and stitches. W had a million cavities filled (poor thing has my teeth). B started preschool. We were gifted an awesome swing set and Matt took it apart and put it back together. My grandpa died. I started contributing to Chicago Parent.

What I'm trying to say is it was always something and we kind of just put our heads down and hunched our shoulders waiting for the next thing to fall on us. After March we didn't have any real time to just BE. We made a lot of quick decisions that resulted in major changes. Our family was in a domino effect... Things just started going and we were running from place to place, making decision after decision. Our life completely changed in 2013. Like COMPLETELY. We went through some very stressful times. A lot that I didn't share here... As I posted half of the number of times that I had in previous years.

So, in 2014... We're going to focus on the word: LIVE. We need to be in every moment, focus on the things that will just allow us to live our lives every day in the best way. It might sound silly, I'm sure. But, we're really trying to live our lives in 2014 and get out from the changes that were so consuming in 2013 when we spent a lot of time with our heads down, trying to run from one thing to the next or weighed down by the stress of our day to day lives. And piece by piece we'll bring our home renovations to light for all of you... And then you'll see what we were dealing with!

Do you have a word for 2014?


HAPPIER In Our New Home, But Still Purging

We are finally getting settled into our new home (which as I say again and again should explain the relative silence around here). Things are good. We renovated this house, so picked out practically everything in it. It's tailored to our tastes... Our colors. Our tile. Our cabinets. We're happier in this house than we were in the last house. But there is so much we miss from our old house. The same way I still miss things from my old vintage apartment near Wrigley and our first shared apartment in Bucktown. You might be in a better space, but there is so much to miss at the same time. And sometimes all of your old things just don't fit in your new space.

When we decided to get our old house ready to put on the market a high school classmate of mine put up a Facebook post about a garage sale to support her family's fundraising efforts for cystic fibrosis. I emailed her to let her know I would happily bring stuff over that I thought was sell-able and filled the back of my SUV with clothes, kids toys, books, kitchen wares. It felt great to purge and know it would support a good cause.

We have a ton more room in the new house. More closets, more storage, more cabinet space. More of everything. But I'm trying as hard as I can to make sure we don't just fill the space with stuff. To make sure that everything has its place and is something useful. So, as unpacking started I found myself questioning why I should hang onto things. And then I started repacking boxes of stuff for the garage sale I plan to have this year. Now I'm determined to have the biggest and best garage sale known to suburbia.

A few years ago I made a deal with myself to always say YES when a donation truck was in the area... It helped me clean stuff out and keep the donate bag from overflowing and I donated a lot over the years. Looking forward to my new plan for purging and making a little money at the same time, so for the next six months I'm hanging onto it instead of leaving it by the front door. Win/Win - right?

Do you donate or sell stuff you no longer need? Any garage sale tips to share?

This post was inspired by Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin where she runs a nine month experiment to create happier surroundings. Join From Left to Write on January 6 we discuss Happier at Home. You can also chat live with Gretchen Rubin on January 7 on Facebook! As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.