Happy Sixth Anniversary, Chicago

So I realize (and feel bad about) the fact that I haven’t posted in awhile. Okay, it feels like forever. And to say we were busy is an understatement. Ellie is now 13 months (what?!?), we had a great birthday party for her at Historic Wagner Farm in Glenview, we had her Christening a few weeks ago, and I chopped off my hair (12 inches; fourth time donating it).

You may wonder, what is more exciting than all of these things? Well, not much, but because I am the Second City Gal, it only feels appropriate that I share that today is my anniversary of living in Chicago. Nate and I moved into a tiny apartment in the Fulton Market/West Loop area six years ago.

Before that, I was living in the burbs while commuting to Lincolnshire for work, and visited Nate in Milwaukee while he attended law school. In 2010, after I landed my first job in the city, we decided to take the leap and move in together. The rest is history.

When an old post showed up in my Facebook feed, it took me back to that fateful day six years ago, and reminded me how much my life has changed. I’ve changed jobs, relationship statuses, became a mom to George, became a job to Ellie, and so much more in between.

And all along the way, the city has been the backdrop of my story. When I first moved here, I didn’t know how to get around at all–I got lost in the Loop. With my iPhone. Now, I love walking around, going to my favorite restaurants, the ease (and disgust) of the Blue Line, saying “hi” to friendly faces…like Frank Sinatra says, “it’s my kind of town.”

Our lease is up on our current apartment next month, and we debated the big question: city or suburbs? We are in the burbs just about every weekend visiting family…so does it make sense to just bite the bullet and move there? The answer for us, right now, was no. I’m not ready to sacrifice less time with my baby during the week and the convenience of the city. Not yet. 

So, whether you like it or not, Chicago, you have me for another year. Let’s make it one that we’ll never forget. XO

Help Us Raise the Roof! 

When I first met Nate 14 years ago, he told me he grew up on a farm. But being a suburban gal, I had no idea what that meant. 

It meant he and his family are hard workers, determined people, and have a strong sense of community. (To name a few things.)

Nate’s mom does even more with the farm: she hosts weddings and seasonal festivals in the main barn and on the property. 

Of course, when I first visited, I didn’t appreciate like I do now. That’s because the farm is a part of me as it has been for Nate and his family since they moved there 30 years ago.

My love of the farm only grew. Harvesting fresh produce (or almost picking a praying mantis), eating home cooked feasts (usually from the garden, when possible), visiting the shed to see if Grandpa Ted is around or in the field…these are all normal now. 

Every fall, we return to Knoxville for the Scenic Drive, an event that gets me in the mood for my favorite season: autumn. I love seeing familiar faces of artisans and friends, checking out new vendors, and eating my father-in-law’s signature beef stew that he cooks in a kettle on the fire outside. I’ve done a lot of odd and fun jobs, from grilling to apple pressing to selling Grandma Jan’s wreaths and arrangements. And I leave a bounty, too: decorative flint corn to hang on our fence, pumpkins to stack by the front door, freshly made candy for the ride home, and other goodies from the farmer’s market on-site.

The weekend after Thanksgiving, we return again for the Christmas event. This time, it’s colder, and we can do Christmas shopping! One year Nate’s aunt and grandma made ornaments out of Grandpa Len’s old work clothes to sell. These are now some of our most treasured decorations on the tree. Pottery, hand-knit hats, and Grandma Jan’s wreaths and swags, are also some of our favorites.

These events are special year after year, but we also hosted our wedding on the farm almost five years ago. We were married in the walnut grove, dined under the stars in a tent, and laughed and cried and danced in the barn until the floor boards shook! It was a perfect day with the ones we love, and I hope I never forget how magical it all was.

So why am I telling you all of this? The barn needs your help. This beautiful historic barn is in need of a new roof. It’s expensive, but necessary, and will keep the barn going strong for years to come. This barn means so much to so many. To me, it’s home. 


Whatever you can contribute, I sincerely appreciate your consideration. My family works so hard to bring these wonderful events to Knoxville, and I want to make sure to keep the tradition going strong. For me, Ellie, our family, and the community.