new year, new me

Ahhh, new year, new you.

I’m so familiar with both my optimistic and sarcastic thoughts on this phrase.

While I love a fresh start, I’m a little weary of change these days. (See update on previous year.) A new baby, a new home, a promotion…while I’m grateful and excited for all that happened in 2018, I’m also looking forward to finding my groove with these great changes in 2019.

That said, I did think of something broad I’d like to work on: Improving my health and my family’s health.

Now, for me, I don’t mean run to the gym and work out religiously in January and then fall off the wagon. Yes, I want to make better food decisions. Move my body and way more often. But it’s not just for me anymore. I want to take care of my physical body so that I can live a long life with my family. If that doesn’t motivate me, I’m not quite sure what will. I mean, look at this guy.

My girl has (another) cold, so she wasn’t feeling celebratory last night, but I still love her so and want to see her grow. (Shout out to my sis for bringing over the NYE goodies!)

But health is about so much more than the physical. I’m talking mental, emotional, and spiritual health, too. I want to make time to slow down and read a book instead of being hypnotized by an Instagram video on icing a cake. I want to call my 97-year-old Grammy and go see her when I can because she’s funny and wise and I love her so much. I want to go on dates regularly with my husband instead of twice a year. I want to have a hobby again. I want to plan a vacation. I want to live in the present instead of being sad about the past or anxious about the future.

And I want to blog again.

Last year was about the big things…this year is about self improvement, challenging myself to be my best, while slowing down to enjoy life. Taking care of myself and my family is number one.

Happy New Year to all!

hello again

Hello. It’s me. I’ve been wondering after all of these months if you would like to read.

To go over…everything…

Yes, everything. My life has COMPLETELY changed since my last post.

I have a son.

Another redhead—can you believe it? #shockofalifetime He’s six months old now, and this little man fills my heart with more joy than I knew was imaginable (yes, the love does multiple and not divide). I so wanted a sister for Elle, but he perfectly completes our family, and I am so grateful for him.

We’ve moved.

We are living in a cozy, sun-drenched townhouse in the burbs close to family. It’s right by a clearing (shown above), which is wonderful for watching the sun set. We briefly considered buying a place…and then I went into labor after a long day of house hunting, so…

So many other things have changed.

Work is different.

I take the Metra train to Union Station and walk into the Loop. I was promoted shortly after maternity leave, for which I am so grateful. There’s not much better than an organization and management that truly supports its employees during all seasons of their lives. Sometimes, even though challenging, work feels like a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of life with two.

My weekends are different. Both children started school. Having two kids is SO different than one (and having a three year old makes you feel a little nuts sometimes). Ellie is mostly potty trained.

My morning are different. And my evenings, too, for that matter. Sleep is something I will hopefully do in a few years. My guy loves to snuggle and nurse.

I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you and just say this year has brought about the most change I’ve ever experienced so quickly. And you really learn a lot about yourself and those around you when your nights are days and days are nights. I’ve learned family will always help if I let them. That I have to slow down to keep my sanity. That I can’t let anxiety get the best of me. That I know a lot more people awake in the middle of the night than I thought. That I need to be kinder—to myself and others. That I really need to figure out how to make more time for me. That I would do anything for my family.

While this season of life has its challenges, it also has great rewards. I am so grateful for the little things. For my children’s laughs. For my husband’s hugs. For my family who left supplies at my front door when the stomach flu plagued our home. And viral bronchitis. And double conjunctivitis. And more stomach flu. For time with loved ones, and that we are now closer to loved ones, whether they are by blood or by choice.

There’s never enough time, but I’d like to dedicate some more to this space. I hope I can see it through in the new year and post as often as I’d like, but please be patient, and I hope I’ll make it worth your read.

Xo. Stephanie

Week #8 – Architectural Artifacts

After Bridget, Lauren, and I went to Lincoln Antique Mall, we drove north to Bridget’s second pick: Architectural Artifacts. From the outside of the building, you have no idea what you’re about to experience.

The only thing I knew about Architectural Artifacts was that you can get married/have your wedding reception there (hello! I’m a recent bride!). I had no clue of the vastness or the sheer volume of vintage pieces and salvages items they have. I’m talking rooms of just mantles, just doors, and so much more. With at least four or five floors of showrooms (it’s hard to remember!), we decided to take a right first into a room filled with lots of lighting, tiles, stained-glass windows, accessories, and teeth (yes, I typed “teeth”). But the cool thing about this place is that just when you think you’ve conquered a room, there’s more. This space would be amazing for hide and seek…

If you keep walking, you’ll find a beautiful atrium filled with tons of natural light. From there, you can either go up and explore the showrooms (which is what we did) or downstairs where they hold their events. We made it our mission to visit every room, which took hours, and a pit stop along the way for a Twizzlers snack. But it was so worth it. We saw vintage bikes (photo below), chemistry sets, medical chairs, Spanish bakery signs, chairs of all shapes and sizes, chandeliers for every style, old country and anatomy maps, church kneelers and pews, exotic rugs, a bench with attached seats from an Italian ice cream shop, iron gates, and way too much more to share in this post.

I truly have never seen such interesting finds in my life. They are a little pricey, but if you can afford it (and even if you can’t), you’ve got to see this place to believe it.

And I can’t imagine how pretty a wedding would be here. A woman showed us how the space is laid out for an event, where the bride and groom are center stage for their ceremony at the top of the main floor stairs, and then how one big main event space is broken up into smaller spaces to create a truly one-of-a-kind venue. And the chandeliers in the “dining area” (which are near a fountain, I kid you not) were gorgeous.

I know I’m kind of drooling over this place, but it reminded me why I’m doing this blog. I really felt like I experienced something completely new that I probably wouldn’t have visited on my own. Thanks, Bridge and Laur!

Architectural Artifacts (Be sure to check out their website for just a fraction of the merchandise they have in-house!)
Atrium Events (their event space website)
4325 N. Ravenswood Ave.

Note: I made Bridge and Laur pose for these photos. I hope you enjoy this stunning photo gallery!

IMG_2521 IMG_2520 IMG_2484 IMG_2504 IMG_2505 IMG_2506 IMG_2485 IMG_2486 IMG_2487 IMG_2488 IMG_2489 IMG_2490 IMG_2494 IMG_2495 IMG_2498 IMG_2499 IMG_2501 IMG_2502 IMG_2503 IMG_2508 IMG_2510 IMG_2511 IMG_2512 IMG_2514 IMG_2515 IMG_2516 IMG_2517 IMG_2518