Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We had a wonderful (but short) trip to Washington last weekend. It was great to be there, spend time with the Johnsons and even celebrate a late Christmas! We squeezed a lot into a long weekend but also manged to have lots of time to relax. And there were lots of the three F', food and football!

Hanging out with the Johnson side. I realized that I didn't really have any candid photos of Washington family so I tried to get some. I love this one with Matt, his grandpa and Matt's cousin's son, Tristan.

Debbie, Matt's cousin's daughter, Maggie, and Jeff.

Matt and Tristan

Mark and Maggie

Matt and his uncle Al

The next day we got to hang out with the Anderson side. Here is Matt, Matt's uncle Jim, cousin Maggie and uncle Doug.

Mark and Matt. You can see in the background how green and lush it is there, even in January!

Jim and Matt's cousin Justin.

The Johnson fam.

The birthday boys. Jim's mission throughout the day was to make Jeff feel as awkward as possible with extended hugs and making him sit on his lap...and I think he succeeded!

We were able to be there for Jeff's 30th birthday which was fun. This is at Jeff and our friend Jenny's joint birthday party.

We went bowling on the way to grandma and grandpa's in Shelton which was a first for all of us. I liked the old, rustic-looking sign.

Turns out Mark is an awesome bowler and whooped us all! Here he is in action.

So it was rainy and cloudy almost the whole time we were there but at least it was warmer than freezing Chicago.

And at least we were able to see Mount Rainier on our way back to Chicago which is always beautiful.

Thanks Johnsons for a great trip!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Our apartment

I meant to do a post a long time ago with pictures of where we live for those of you who live far away from us. I know I like to picture where people live so maybe you do too. I also like to capture things in photos so warning: there are lots! Oh, and I also love our furniture and things with stories so get ready for those too.

This is the courtyard of our building. I took these pictures in fall when the leaves were bright yellow and beautiful.

Courtyard looking out the other way.

And here is our door. Fascinating, right? Our building is over 100 years old, which I love cause that means it has some character.

This is what you see when you walk in our door. On the left wall is a special picture to us that I took in Bolivia as an anniversary gift to Matt. Straight ahead is the bathroom; straight ahead and to the right is our bedroom; to the left is our living room, dining room and kitchen.

Bathroom. Small but functional...and bright.

Bedroom. I love our bedroom because it is bright during the day and cozy at night.

Hanging on the mirror are all the Nepali bead necklaces I've received from clients. Wearing these necklaces means you are married in their culture.

Living the right of the entryway. One of my favorite finds among all the antiques that I have acquired so far is the bench to the right. They are actually old theater seats from a theater in Chicago close to where we live. We bought them from a woman who was a costume designer 30 years ago at this theater. She said one day the whole staff were told very abruptly that the theater was shutting down and there wasn't enough money to pay the employees what they were due. They told the staff to take anything from the theater that would equal their pay. This woman took these seats, a sewing machine and some other stuff.

If you have lived in Bolivia you may have noticed the map in the picture above. Here is it close up. It is a map of South America as it was in 1775 and it looks old but I don't think it actually is. There was a man that used to walk around Cochabamba selling these maps and told us, "You have it to buy it now if you want it because I am leaving town tomorrow!" So we totally bought his story (and some maps) feeling like we would have these unique and awesome maps because this guy was only in town today! My plan was always to hold onto them until we moved back to the States and do something wonderful with them. Well, lo and behold, we saw this guy probably once a week every week for the next year; selling the same maps to everyone around town (and probably giving them the same story).

Anyway, I'm glad we bought them and they really are unique now that we are here. I found this awesome and beautiful frame for one of them at a church rummage sale for super cheap. I mean, framing is not as cheap but it is worth the investment. And when we look at the map it reminds us of Bolivia...and all the times we saw that map salesman guy...and all the places we saw that map.

more living room...

and more.

One of my favorite finds in this room is this leather couch/chaise that I found at the same church rummage sale where I found the frame mentioned above.

But maybe my most favorite of the room is this trunk that we use as a coffee table. I found it in Eagle River, WI at an antique show in the small town's high school. The dealer told me that it was actually a carpenter's working station. This is evident by the well worn metal on top and the leather hammer holders and wood tool trays on the inside. When I bought it, it was bright red and green which I didn't love. I ended up using a water-based umber-colored gloss to make the colors darker and now it's perfect!

Yes, the pumpkin is lit too.

Continuing into the dining room.

And of course this table has a story. It used to be my brother Eric's friend's table. It is actually an old cellar door that he found in an alley by North Park. He had made it into a make-shift table with some two-by-fours and was getting rid of it because he was moving. I happened to be hanging out at Eric's place when he was saying he was going to throw it out so I took it with me that night. I brought it to my parent's house because we didn't room for it yet and my dad couldn't resist a project. He found an old table to make a base for it and started to work on it that day. I love the finished product! And I was able to find some great antique chairs that go with it from the Kane County Flea Market.

You can still see where the hinges used to be.

On the other side of the dining room is our little office nook.

Our old Washington license plate...good times with the Saturn.

And part of the kitchen. It is probably the least aesthetically pleasing room of the whole place but where I love to spend time cooking. The cabinets are pretty awful but oh well.

And there you have it. Now you can picture where we spend our days (of course I've changed some things around since taking these pictures). We will probably only live in this place through the end of our lease in June but that will just mean making a new place our own!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Some of our December...

We had a great December this year so here are a few pics to show you what we were up to...

This was taken by one of the kids I work with at World Relief by the lovely Christmas decorations in the youth room there.


I never take many pictures on Christmas...I guess I'm just too busy soaking it all in. I love the feeling on Christmas! And it's been rejuvenated now with the little ones in our family and seeing how excited they get to celebrate. We celebrate the same way we have since I was little with dinner at Grandma and Grandpa Wallgren's then a big ole sleepover and swedish pancake brunch on Christmas morning. The difference is now that there are lots more people a part of it with all the husbands and babies added to the family over the years. Then we went to my aunt's house on the Erickson side for Christmas dinnner and we look forward to celebrating with the Johnson's in WA in January.

I did manage to get a few pictures of our nieces...
Caroline and Addison in the dresses Greta made.

The Wallgren bros with their dad wearing his classic Christmas teal sweater/red t-shirt combo

Sonja and Nolan

Opening presents Christmas morning

As if we didn't have enough traditions, this one is a (relatively) newer one of going to tea at the Drake the day after Christmas with the Wallgren side women. But this is followed by the even newer tradition of day after Christmas brunch at my aunt's house with the Erickson side.

Grandma Wallgren with all the Wallgren girl cousins minus Linnea who was in Minnesota.

Me with Gwen and Sonja at some point in December.

Hanging out with Luke, Jaime and Ryan when Luke was in town. Missed you, Molly!

I think in this picture Luke is explaining to us how people in California "get" hooded sweatshirts and we don't.

This one's for you, Luke...

We both had the whole week off of work and wanted to go somewhere random so we went to to St. Louis for a few days just to explore and do something different.
The Arch

We went to the museum and stuff below the arch but didn't go up to the top cause we're cheap.

It was fun to explore the neighborhoods and see a different city. And it was during that freakishly warm weather so it wasn't bad walking around. Oh yeah, and the Panera's there are still called 'St. Louis Bread Co.' which is pretty awesome.

A pretty fancy sign for a store that's 'gone'.

The vast Illinois farmland on the way home.

It's not exactly the best thing in the world to be driving through vast farmland when there are tons of tornado warnings and few tornadoes spotted in the places we were here I am looking for funnel clouds. Spoiler alert: we made it home safe.

And we made it home for the Wilson wine/New Year's Eve party. This is the first picture of us in 2011 and it happens to be an awesome one!

Happy New Year!
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