deck the halls ’18

we are fans of decorating for christmas after thanksgiving and we attempt to do it after we celebrate olive’s birthday.

olive cracks me up…she wanted to pick out an outfit to decorate in {while i am and all of us are in pj’s…ok, ellie wanted to wear a dress too}. she chose her springtime ballet recital outfit – so fancy!

hc lugged all the boxes of decorations up and put our tree together. we then we pulled out the ornament box and proceeded to decorate the tree. the girls ohhh’d and ahhh’d over all the ornaments. ellie proceeded to break two glass ornaments! not good. we were so worried that we might have left shards of glass behind!! the second ornament she broke right by her feet!!! good thing grace was fast acting – she snatched ellie off the floor in .5 seconds! thank you grace!!

after we decorated the tree…hc and olive attempted to put up the star but with us having a new big and tall tree this year…it was a bit difficult, but they tried!

once the tree was done, the girls took a break and hc and i continued to decorate the rest of the house. man, it’s exhausting to decorate! i don’t know if i will even attempt this when i get older…i will be too tired! haha!

well, after much time and trips to home depot for lots of fresh pine garland and nubs, we dressed our home in love and festiveness!

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[olive called my pajama’s bacon pj’s! hahaha!]

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[she loves the candy canes, gifts from matt’s mom]

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[her outfit of choice to wear while decorating the tree]

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[my little fire ball]

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[she broke this glass ornament and one other…oy, it was such a disaster! no one wants shards of glass on your floor!]

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[true disheveled pj time]

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[attempting a star topper but the tree was too tall!]

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xoxo

olive’s birthday

olive’s birthday fell on tuesday of this year.

we started the morning with a happy birthday song with a big gold 5 balloon in her room. she woke up smiling – goal! hc made her a birthday breakfast and afterwards, she chose her outfit of the day. a gold sequined dress {courtesy of miss tashina}, lavender tights, gold converse, and a gold flecked caplet. the most perfect outfit ever for a birthday.

i took her to school and excitedly dropped her off for the day. there, she was star of the day, natch. she led the class. she got to wear a birthday crown and mama made stupid treats for the class. as in, i brushed lettered her name onto the brown paper bags, put stickers on them, olive filled each bag with coloring books, activity book, chocolates, candy canes, and more stickers! i really hoped the kids enjoyed them!

hc chose to stay home for her big 5 birthday! we were excited to have him home. about 20 minutes before her class ended, hc, ellie, and i hopped into the car to go pick olive up and take her out to brunch! to my dismay…in which i understand, hc wanted to go pick her up. i know i am always picking her up but this was her birthday! so, i reluctantly let hc do the honors and be the person she saw when she got out of class. we then drove to a local brunch restaurant and enjoyed our time together, celebrating miss olive!

later that day, we just snuggled, relaxed, and then later on, after dinner, we sang happy birthday to miss olive with a vanilla bean cake!

happy birthday beautiful girl. we wish you all the love, happiness, and fortune in life!

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[she chose this fancy little outfit for her birthday at school and yeah, that pose? trouble]

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[dada took the day off to celebrate olive’s birthday]

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[my budding artist]

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[she’s oh so sweet and sassy!]

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[olive was upset we made her wear her caplet outside because it was cold. look at the pouty face. [mama: *eyeroll] ellie is happy though!]

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[she loves to color and draw every day]

xoxo

thanksgiving ’18

preparations for thanksgiving this year was feeling good.

olive’s birthday party was done and done. we were gearing up for turkey day and black friday weekend. food was purchased, plans were finalized, desserts were bought {sheesh…who has time to bake?? not i said the cat}.

we did our usual, in the morning we go to aunt wendy’s house for an early turkey treat and then we head on over to my parent’s house for another gobble gobble dinner.

i am quite thankful my sister kim basically does all the prep and cooking. like seriously…without her, i’m not sure who would do it. we have hc’s family obligations during the day and i always feel bad i can’t be there to help out more. once we arrive, though, i jump right in to help with whatever i can. she’s such a good cook anyways, no one would want me in the kitchen full time. hahaha!

well, both sides of the family get togethers were wonderful, fulfilling, yummy, and so good. life is great when you’re with family. another beautiful thanksgiving on the books. we are so incredibly thankful.

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[three out of four looking at the camera is good enough]

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[ellie loving aunt wendy’s couch]

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[jump, jump, jump]

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[aunt vicki and jane]

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[sisters eating together]

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[plate o food]

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[uncle eddie and jane]

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[i’ll be sad when i can’t put her hair up like this anymore]

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[olive and hannah]

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[uncle steve and danielle]

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[some sorta shot]

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[hc and grace]

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[she’s so fun!]

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PART DEUX

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[the cutest cousins]

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[hc, ba, and terry]

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[sisters]

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[the family that buffalo checks together, stays together]

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[mom in her element]

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[we’re getting more photo time as a family of 5]

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[beautiful arrangement by kim]

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[agata and dan]

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[i kept screaming, ‘cheek to cheek!!!’…this was as close as they got to ellie]

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[so delicious]

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[cookie decorating]

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[i said, ‘olive, show me your cookie’. she picked it up aaaaand…]

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[her face…too cute when her decorations started falling off! she was like, ‘ohhhhhh no’]

xoxo

olive’s first haircut!

it was time.

all these years, i’ve always asked olive if she wanted her hair cut. she always said no. if i felt that i needed to get her hair cut, i would have done it but i didn’t care. so i just waited. i waited for miss olive to feel that she was ready and that time had come.

her long, long hair was getting quite tangly and it bothered her. one day while i was brushing her hair, after a bath, i asked her if she wanted to get her hair cut. she said yes and i was like done! after several more comb throughs and more yes’s, i scheduled an appointment at kids snips in oakbrook. my nephews have been going to the same stylist for yearrrrrrrrrs, so naturally, we had to go there too and get olive’s first haircut by keisha.

it was a very snowy day when we woke up. we hustled, headed out, and just made it to our appointment with a few minutes to spare. as we were pulling into the parking garage, olive immediately remembered coming here with my sister and her cousins to get their hair cut. she screamed, “we’re going where bennett and reagan get their haircut!” i was amazed that she would remember something like that just from pulling into a parking garage {especially since my sisters don’t usually park where i park in the mall}.

i’ve never been inside this ‘salon’, so it was all brand new to me. it’s so small and crowded!!! for every child there were two parents, so with it being so tiny, you can imagine how packed it gets inside, with no room to sit. olive was so excited to get her haircut and loved this place. keisha took olive right away. she was wonderful, very sweet to olive, and so kind to us.

olive ended up getting 9-10 inches in total chopped off! the initial cut was over 7 inches and then keisha trimmed it some more. after her haircut, keisha styled her hair and olive absolutely loved it!!

her first haircut was a success!!! olive was so wonderful and so was her stylist keisha. the total process took 15-20 minutes! it was so fast! thuy met up with us after olive’s haircut and we all then went shopping, natch!

from the moment olive was born…i was waiting for her first haircut and it did not disappoint. i was so happy she was happy and excited for her haircut, i couldn’t have asked for a better combo. her hair is now so easy to comb through and doesn’t get crazy tangly!

happy first haircut my beautiful girl!

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[ready for her haircut. she was much more excited than she appears! lol]

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[keisha undoing her hair]

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[really ellie…such a funny girl in the background]

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[she’s so grown up…wahhhhhhhh]

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[measuring how much we’re going to cut]

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[snip, snip…]

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[there it goes!]

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[excitement]

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[she’s so happy…i can’t tell you how happy this picture of her makes me]

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[she LOVED her style by keisha]

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xoxo

happy 5th birthday my dear olive!

wow…i can’t believe it’s been five years since this beautiful girl has joined us. it’s surreal. my life changed when she was born. of course it did. but what i mean is…life had meaning. life had purpose. life was fulfilling with her in my world.

in your younger years, you wander. you wonder. you live life self centered. as a mother…you realize that this {having children} is what life is about. my heart is so full and the love that i experience every day is like no other. i feel so incredibly blessed to have her as my child and so fortunate to be able to do this. to raise kind humans and do my damndest to raise someone who can make a difference in this sometimes dark world.

sooooooo, olive’s birthday party turned into a surprise party because i went off of something she said a few months ago. she had watched something on her iPad and said to me, “i want a surprise party!”. i said, “how am i suppose to throw you a surprise party while you’re in the house?” she says, “i’ll just go in my room and when i come out, everyone can say ‘surprise!'” bahahahahahaha! ohmergawd…i LOVE her!!!

so, last minute, i told her guests that it was going to be a surprise party! it worked out perfectly! hc dropped the girls off at my sister, thuy’s place, in the morning. hc and i hustled and decorated the house for the party, readied the apps, and the guests started to flow in. about 15 minutes after the party started, my sister shows up with olive and ellie.

i was so excited. i couldn’t wait to see her reaction! i heard her say to thuy why were there all these cars at our house. ha! she walked in and everyone yelled ‘surprise!’. her facial expression was priceless! i was in heaven seeing her so elated! afterwards, she greeted all her guests and made her way around.

olive chose her brown horse theme. she talked about it for months. months!!! it was the first time she chose her theme, so i was in a bit of a pickle because i have always been the one concocting her themes. now that she is independent and opinionated, she expressed exactly what she wanted for her 5th birthday party and i had to go with it. i was a bit stumped but in the end, i figured it out and we had the most wonderful horse themed party!

side note: i went to party city to get some horse themed balloons. uhhhhhh, i didn’t know they carried NOTHING horse related. whaaaaaaaa?! so, as the young male teenager was ringing me up, i asked him if that was a poop emoji balloon on the wall. he said yes. so i said to him, “i will get that balloon. i can’t believe you guys don’t have anything horse themed for my daughter’s birthday party. i’ll get the poop emoji balloon because i think it’s horse’s shit that you don’t have anything else i can get.” yup. i said that to him. he found it funny too.

well, i hope you enjoy the pics! we had such wonderful time celebrating our baby girl turning 5! happy birthday olive. we are so utterly blessed to have you in our lives. thank you for being you. we love you to infinity and beyond!

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[the balloon that stood out. she loves hello kitty!]

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[my story about the poop emoji balloon above. tassels by glamfete]

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[flowers by my sister kim]

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[daniel and auntie missy]

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[stop horsing around!]

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[terry, dan, and agata]

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[calligraphy place cards]

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[bandana’s for our guests]

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[banded flatware inclusive of the party theme]

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[easy cups for kids or adults!]

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[horse favor bags]

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[a party staple]

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[i love our fireplace]

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[i heard her asking about all the cars in the driveway…]

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[i love her facial expression when she saw everyone and mine!]

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[i love this]

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[she’s oh so sweet]

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[y’all…i love her so much!]

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[greeting her guests]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[cousins]

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[with ba]

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[grace, annabelle, and edwin]

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[gramma and olive]

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[backdrop by glamfete. she’s such a princess!]

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[oh how i love her so]

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[i can’t post enough pics of her]

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[this is sooooooo ellie and olive]

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[olive showing off her beautiful unicorn painting]

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[here comes the cake]

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[happy birthday day to you!]

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[make a wish!]

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[she’s so silly! her cousin bennett gathered all the horses around olive]

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xoxo

brunch with matt and johann

we love these guys! hanging out with them is always so fun.

we had planned for a dinner at our house but everything that day was so topsy turvy. i forgot about plans to have the fam over for pumpkin carving that evening, so i asked matt if they could do brunch instead and they so graciously agreed to change the plans for us. plus, the weather was so unfavorable for our christmas mini photo sesh that morning, that those were cancelled. it was one erroneous surprise after another.

well, all eventually spanned out quite well. we made it to brunch early and had a wonderful time with matt and johann. we ate at oyster bah, a place we’ve never been to, and enjoyed our experience. as usual, we gabbed and gabbed and gabbed with one another while the girls were too cute and sweet.

the girls were dressed in their christmas outfits and looking so darn darling. so many strangers loved their looks and commented on how cute they were. well of course!

our hangs with matt and johann is always a good chunk of time. we love spending it talking and catching up. sometimes our brunch get togethers can be a couple hours. i am thankful i have two girls that can hang. olive is always so good and ellie can lose interest after an hour or so. once that happens, i usually attempt to entertain her until we leave {by walking around, typically}. she’s our short tempered, stubborn, tenacious babe. she loves to love and loves to hate. when this girl wants something, she won’t wait and will definitely let you know!

after ordering our entrees. manger, and drink after drink, we were ready to go. it’s always so lovely to hang with these two. i absolutely love their dynamics, humor, and friendship. until next time matt and johann! we love you guys!

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[hc, matt, and johann]

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[coloring away]

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[cheers!]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[i love this babe!]

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[playtime by the stairs]

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xoxo

fall mini sesh

once we passed some major milestones for these girls {first birthdays…pregnancy…where we pretty much took photos together every year}…i am now signing up for fall photos every year!  it’s a perfect way to document your growing family and to look back at the beautiful pictures and remember the sweet moments.

we had a full day…i had an eye appointment to blog about, so that took some time in the morning, then we had a neighbor’s kid’s first birthday party south of us, then from the birthday party, we had to jet to our family photos up north. it was a whirlwind that we mastered. our timing had to be just right because the photos were timed with the photographer and if you were late, you lost out on your time.

i definitely didn’t want to lose out on any time whatsoever. so, we left the party early and got to our location with 10-15 minutes to spare – the great part?! we were the first subjects, so we gained that time with our photographer, tricia! we were so lucky to have almost 25 minutes with her {it was a 15 minute session}.

the girls were great {minus a few ellie moments} and we were able to get in a lot of different shots. olive has become such a ham {ahem…i wonder how???} and really entertained us.

tricia at patricia anderson photography has been our photographer since before olive was born {5+ years!}. she is local and i highly recommend her! we love her patience, artistic view, and quick turn around when it comes to the pics.

i am so excited to share! happy fall y’all!

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[grace]

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[our tribe]

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[this one melts my heart]

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[our glamour shot]

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[this is everything!]

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[my girls]

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[my heart melts!!!]

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[daddy daughter]

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[they’re so sweet!]

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[she’s such a ham!]

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[ellie being calm for a second by herself in the tall grassy field]

xoxo

trick or treat ’18!

halloween 2018

halloween always brings back vivid memories for me. i remember my halloweens so distinctly; like the years where it was freezing cold, which halloweens were so warm you didn’t need a coat, houses that gave out the big candy bars and what costumes i wore. i loved the spooky shows, cartoons, and sitcoms that would create story lines around halloween. it was all so wonderfully, hauntingly good.

halloween has always been a faaaaaaavorite holiday of mine. i thoroughly enjoy the lighthearted goodness of it…not so much the scary, creepy, gory part of it but the spooky, fun, childish, change of season piece of it. the changing of the leaves, the chill in the air, and the tradition of trick or treating excites me!

ellie napped during the afternoon and i was hoping to get over to my dad’s house by 3pm but that did not happen! hc came home early and we fiiiiinally headed over to my parent’s house by 4:30 pm…so late! the temp was amazing…it was near 60 degrees and that’s like summer in october! i am sure we missed a bunch of trick or treaters going over so late but chest la vie. we waited for my sister, thuy, to come by and once she arrived, we snapped pics and went on our merry way with the girls to have some fun trick or treating.

i walked along with the gang for a bit and decided to return to help my dad out. one, i looooooooove to hand out candy but two, i wanted to make sure i did that part because my dad’s knees are the best and i didn’t want him to walk up and down the stairs to answer the door.

once hc and the gang returned, we poured over their treats and turned on the telly to watch some fun halloween cartoons! we answered the door a few more times and then the trick or treaters tapered off and then we gather together for dinner.

oh, we had so much fun! at the girls loved knocking on all the doors. little elle belle tried sooooo hard to keep up with her big sis. it was so heartwarming to watch them hit up each house in their own unique way. olive running ahead and ellie trying to catch up to olive. oh how i love them!

i’ll declare this halloween a complete success!

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[ellie’s current favorite pose]

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[my beautiful girl in her pegicorn costume]

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[this is definitely a treat]

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[can you guess hc’s costume? if you can, in the comments, i’ll give you a starbucks card!]

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[olive was on fire! running house to house!]

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[the girls with their super aunty]

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[ellie was constantly trying to catch up]

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[she was always two steps ahead, or maybe ten steps ahead!]

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[hc consoling ellie after she fell down a step…poor babe!]

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xoxo

pumpkin carving

every year my family and i carve pumpkins together! it’s a fun tradition that makes the holiday a little more special. we love ordering pizza or putting together a quick dinner and then carving pumpkins in hc’s heated garage.

the fam came over with apps and we noshed on food until the pizza arrived. we ate and drank and ate and talked and ate and hung out. after our early dinner, the kids were begging for desserts. i said no dessert until i was done in the kitchen {cleaning up, washing dishes, etc.}. i’m sure they were rolling their eyes in annoyance…hahaha! i have a process for everything.

fiiiiiinally we served dessert – festive cookies, ice cream sandwiches, chocolate ice cream, salted caramel cupcakes…it was all so yummy! olive thoroughly enjoyed her chocolate ice cream. i have to say, it’s the cuuuuuutest thing to see her admire reagan so much. she loves copying him and doing anything he’s doing. olive wanted a cookie but when she saw reagan eating chocolate ice cream, she had to have it too. i think she thinks he’s the coolest {literally}.

the kids and adults then went outside and carved their pumpkins. ellie colored hers {she was a pro!} and olive asked for a scaredy cat cut out {which hc obliged}. the boys wanted intricate designs and ended up just bringing their pumpkins home to finish. it was a school night and they had to go.

overall it was a fun afternoon! it always is with family. i love spending the holidays with them and they honestly make our world go round. life is good when it involves them.

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[like wtf? hahaha!]

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[just enjoying her ice cream]

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[cousins are the best!]

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[intense coloring]

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[she was sooooo into it!]

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[olive’s pumpkin coloring]

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[the gang hard at work]

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[i drew the outline and hc cut it out]

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xoxo

school costume parade prek5

i love cute little things like a costume parade at school! it’s just wayyyyy too adorable to watch! these young school days have my heart, i love how sweet and innocent it is. i look forward to moments like this!

hc and i split our duties. hc dropped ellie off at my parent’s house {plus, he was going to take off to work after the parade} while i took olive to school to get her ready for her parade! i also hauled her class treats in the biggest bag ever and i couldn’t wait to give them to the teacher to pass out to the students. i was so excited…maybe just as or more excited than olive! hahaha!

once we arrived at school, i fixed her up, attached her wings, gave her a hug and ran outside to where everyone was gathering for the parade. i adjusted my camera settings and waited for hc to join me. the parade started on time and i couldn’t wait to get olive’s attention. as i waved to her and yelled her name, she gave me a happy, shy look. she usually does that in situations like this. it’s so hard to read her reaction!

the kids circled around the park outside and then grouped together for class pictures. it was so fun to see all the kids costumes. i must admit, the polar express conductor was a fav! the little boy was so cute with his mustache, so flippin’ cute!

after the parade, hc left for work and i went home to grab ellie belle and couldn’t wait to come back to school to pick up olive and hear about her halloween fun filled day at school!

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[olive seeing us and waving]

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[my pegicorn]

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[a little creepy, but the only way i could post her class pic…pardon the blurry faces!]

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[staring adoringly at her!]

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[dada and his girl]

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xoxo