Chicago :: weekend edition

Last weekend me and two of my lady friends went to the windy city for 48 glorious hours.

Chicago!

Chicago!

Chicago!

Chicago!

Chicago!

Chicago!

Chicago!

We walked the magnificent mile but didn’t really shop. Instead we went on an architectural boat tour of the city, we rented electric bikes and road up and down the lakeshore, we walked around Navy Pier, and ate lots of delicious food. We spent a lot of time in WholeFoods having eye-sex with all the organic and fresh foods and safe, allergen free options. What is it about WholeFoods? I can’t get enough.

We stumbled upon Eataly and our 30 min wait for a table became an hour, we were starving already and by the time we sat down we couldn’t wait to try everything. Market style, community driven, shop/eat/look/taste/meet/relax/read hubs are my favorite types of places. The San Miguel Market in Spain, the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids, The Public Market in Madison, Pikes Place Market in Seattle. I could hop around the world just to visit these places and never get tired of seeing crowded hallways with bustling people. Jostling dark red glasses or pipping hot mugs while you have to strain to hear the music over all the conversation. Paper bags punctuating footfall traffic and all the packages crinkling and cashier bells ringing. Each market smells different too, like the perfume of a city.

I remember the market in Nigeria where I was born, probably my earliest memories; This dusty, smelly place where all the commerce happened. It was wild and it was always the beginning of my favorite things: meals around a table. Even as a little girl I loved the preparation just as much as the presentation. The whole idea of getting ready to feed people, I’ve always loved it. And markets like this just make it all so attractive to create time and space for falling in love with food or bringing people together around a table or discovering something entirely new.

It’s my jam, basically.

This weekend was a blast. I can’t wait to go back and see what’s changed again, and to ogle WholeFoods like the red light district that it is for the modern housewife.

A place to call my own, a place called home.

It’s been more than three years now that we’ve lived in our house, almost completely transformed from the house we bought. I saw through all the rotted wood, chipping paint, and overgrown landscaping and I could imagine serenity. I could see twinkly lights and flowers and I envisioned a sense of welcome, of light, I wanted to feel embraced by this place.

I was smitten with this little pigeon loft in the backyard daydreaming of owning chickens and watching more babies learn to walk while we made a life, wild in love and careful in purpose.

BeforeAfterTinyHouse

Before and After, on the left is the pigeon loft as it sat on the property when we bought the home. On the right is the aftermath of our dreaming, scheming, sweating, painting, planting and going for it.

TinyHouse

TinyHouse

TinyHouse

TinyHouse

TinyHouse

TinyHouse

TinyHouse

TinyHouse

TinyHouse

TinyHouse

This is what I do. I create spaces for souls to unwind. I haven’t always known how to say that out-loud. That *this* is what I do. I tell stories and I love houses and when those two things collide? It’s the storytelling of the life we live, where we live it. And I’m honored to share this with you, to do this for you.

xox
Jodi

I’m willing to grow up.

I get really sad sometimes. Sad about the way things turned out or the way my plans are foiled by reality and their underbelly of expectations. I can get wound up, tight, in the vortex of back-sliding and it’ll take months to recover my sense of sight.

And then I look through old photos, or current ones, and I see things like this:

upload

Aftermath.

Last night.

Oliver picked me a Mothers Day Bouquet. 😍 Then blew me a kiss. I'll take 8 of him, thank you.

Birthday treats! Gosh, I love this stuff.

Pure Michigan. I get to live here. #nofilter #lakemichigan #saugatuck

Just what the doctor ordered. #relax #goodreads #bigdreams #simplelife

Not cilantro. #seedlings #garden2015 #notsnow #nasturtium Reaching for the sun! They make me giddy.

Early morning walk in the clouds.

When she laughs, it explodes into the air around her. She is so beautiful to me. #siblinglovestory (And he adores her, too.)

From my garden, first birthday bouquet of the year. #allthefeels

You're flirting with me, Lilacs. 😉

There's a bee on that tree cookie: it walked onto Aaron's hand. Those dimples are kind of ridiculous. #beeboy #urbanbees #beekeeping #OllieFarms

Oh, Oliver. You are the purest soul.

And it’s all I need to still the inner storm. To cut off the need to feed the demon of yesterday. It reminds me that here and now, today is enough.

That I already have everything I need.

And I’m satisfied and free.

Pigeon loft to Tiny house

We’ve visited this shed here before.

outdoor shed: my dream office

This weekend we had some major progress. Thanks to our neighbors we found someone who was willing to help us complete this project in their spare time. It’s a bigger deal than we thought – thank goodness we didn’t try to tackle all of this ourselves. So in the matter of 2 years this shed, formerlly a Pigeon Loft, has become a pretty fantastic Tiny house.

A little light at the end of the tunnel. Ran out of paint. #studio #tinyhouse

And from this
outdoor shed: my dream office

to this.

The porthole window is something I found 11 years ago when we bought our very first house on Perry St on the northside of Holland. It’s one of the only things that has made every move with us and not somehow been sold at a garage sale or on craigslist in the mean time. I think I had it hung in our first house but the rest of the time it’s been in storage or up in a garage waiting for a home.

The french doors I found at an architectural salvage store in Kalamazoo.

We had to retrofit the doors to fit the opening and we have another door for the side to install yet (hoping to make it a dutch door).

When we started the project, we took the entire roof off to add windows around the perimeter of the whole building. New siding and a corrugated metal roof later – the outside is mostly finished. I painted this weekend but ran out of paint – so that’s on my list of things to finish this week.

Let’s talk about the inside – this is where it started.

outdoor shed: my dream office

Pink and poop. And, little did we know, a working honey bee hive. Unfortunately we had the bees removed before we knew what to do with them (or transfer them to a hive for us to keep) and then Aaron spent a weekend gutting the interior. This pigeon loft had become the home to many little creatures.

And the interior of the building now is just a blank slate. I’m getting so excited to see it come together.

#studio #tinyhouse

From the inside #studio #tinyhouse

So here’s what I’m thinking – for the wall that you look at when you open the french doors – what about the entire wall in this tile?



The remaining three walls in a plywood – clean, simple, raw – like this:



We’re keeping the floor cement and have the chandelier for the interior …

Chandelier for #studio - was going to paint but glad I waited. Love the original look of it. #tinyhouse

For the exterior lights – we’ll either have one or three and are trying to decide between this one or this one.

lights

We’ll keep you updated on the progress and plans for this space and how we hope to unleash it and share it.

Twinkly lights included šŸ˜‰

Memorial Day weekend 2014

Only a month late. Our Memorial Day weekend was a good one this year.

Memorial Day Parade 2014

We started out watching the parade downtown.

Memorial Day Parade 2014

And besides the fun of a parade and the ages of our kids, the fact that we love our city and got coffee from a favorite coffee shop … this Memorial Day weekend was really different for me. I remember standing as these men and women passed down the street in uniform and seeing my Grandpa in formation. I pictured my brothers carrying flags and riffles, I saw my son marching in front of me. I saw Aaron in those crowds and I was so thankful.

I tend to shy away from political topics on any level. I just don’t love politics. But I do understand their place, corrupt as they can be. None of that mattered that Saturday morning as I looked in the eyes of the men who served this country, who saw horrible things and returned home to Norman Rockwell’s version of America. The dichotomy of that situation must haunt some of them, still today. I saw in their faces: pride, life, wisdom. I saw in their eyes and the wrinkles that they collected: love, laughter, generations.

Memorial Day Parade 2014

I saw sacrifice and I stood there as a bystander on the side of the road clapping behind my children as they waved flags, unaware of where this world has already been. Of where this world is undoubtedly headed again – probably in their lifetime.

I think of the generations after World War II and how 2 or 3 later, the shock and memorial of it all just isn’t a part of our every day life. My kids weren’t born when 9/11 happened, they only have our memories as an account.

And I had to wonder … is that enough? Is it right that if it’s not our everyday reality, it isn’t one at all?

It was a good weekend, like I said, but a hard one. It was heavy and I felt it and it was so important.

It lingered in the air for a while, I struggled through my first pass at the recap and anger was more a part of the equation than trying to understand what just happened. The realization. The importance of not being passive.

————-

We ended our weekend with friends at their new property. Hay fields, baby turtles, decrepit buildings. We ended this really hard weekend with hope. In the midst of something we could obviously see needed rehabilitation – we planted ourselves as a people group and made something from nothing.

We ended this weekend the only way that mattered: together.

Walcott farm, Fennville

Walcott farm, Fennville

Walcott farm, Fennville

Walcott farm, Fennville

Walcott farm, Fennville

Walcott farm, Fennville

Walcott farm, Fennville

Walcott farm, Fennville

Walcott farm, Fennville

Walcott farm, Fennville

Walcott farm, Fennville

Walcott farm, Fennville

Walcott farm, Fennville

God Bless America.