valentine’s day crafty treats

we love creating unique valentine’s day cards and gifts! it’s our jam!

ok, so it was in three parts…1) they made valentines for their non school friends 2) they made valentines for their school friends and 3) olive created her own valentine’s day mailbox to bring to school to collect said valentines!

ellie is finally showing an interest in crafting! a few times before, this past year, she’s not been interested. she enjoyed accompanying olive during the journey but she would eventually lose interest within 10 minutes or so. this time around, she’s participated in everything and has worked diligently along side olive in creating her own unique crafts! oh, so proud of my girl!

olive and ellie created beautiful works of art individually and we happily sent them out to our friends with an added extra jazz on each envelope. they seriously worked so hard on each of them! i was impressed by olive and ellie’s van gogh capabilities.

next up, class valentines. i did all the prep work and the girls assembled everything, including all the bags! they did such a great job inserting the lollipops into each card too…i was surprised because it wasn’t easy! way to go girls!

finally, olive created her valentine’s day mailbox {mind you, they did NOT do all their crafting in ONE day! LOL it was over the past few weeks!}. she was so excited to create something fun. she did all the work except handling the hot glue gun. she picked all the decor, assembled, and glittered! what a pro!

enjoy the pics below…the girls worked so hard and i course, i had to post a gazillion similar pics of them, cause those faces can’t be denied! LOL

happy valentine’s day!

*****

D I Y  C A R D S

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[working so hard on their cards for their non school friends!]

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[showing off their works of art]

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[the yearly shot over olive’s shoulder]

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[olive was sooooooo detailed, each card was so meticulous with artistic details]

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[working so hard!]

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[showing off her yellow crayon colored card…she’s just getting started!]

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[her face has really changed this year. – insert crying mom face – ]

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[van gogh…right?!]

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[showing off her card! i ripped the washi tape but she did everything else!]

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*****

 S C H O O L  T R E A T S

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[bath bombs]

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[ellie’s face…i love her!]

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[they are the sweetest]

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[stickers and tattoos]

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[inserting the lollipops into her cards]

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[ellie doing her best to insert the lollipop herself]

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[the finished product!]

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[she’s so proud!]

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[happy valentine’s day!]

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[class treats]

*****

V D A Y  M A I L B O X

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[creating her mailbox]

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[her finished project]

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xoxo

a day of chill

we had a long overdue date with dana and famille. it was a cold and dreary day in chicago which called for a cozy day date with this beautiful family. we traveled north to their abode to hang out, have some lunch and catch up.

dana and scott are pregnant with their second b o y! such exciting news…we are so excited for them and can’t wait to meet him. it’s pretty amazing to think about our journey together. i met dana yearrrrssssss ago…maybe 12 or 13 years ago? we were single or kind of single and years later, as the circle of life happens, we are married to wonderful men, and have the most beautiful children. we weathered good times and really bad times and have stayed close together through life’s crazy ride!

the girls were so excited to see the toys…LOL naturally! ellie loved rosie, the dog, and they settled in quickly as hc and i were happy to be there and spend some time with these two lovely people.

the boys grabbed some strong libations while us gals caught up with each other. after some time, we decided to grab some grub from a corner eatery down the block. we gathered everyone together and took a short walk to the restaurant to grab some food to go. we debated on eating at the place as it’s not spacious and there were so many individual people on their laptops scattered throughout the place, there wasn’t a conducive spot for  a large group like us. no matter…we were happy to go back to their place to eat and relax in a comfortable environment!

as we spent the afternoon at their abode, dana’s parents stopped by to drop off some things! we were so happy our paths crossed and we had a chance to say hello and hang out for a bit with the rubin’s!

after several hours of fun, we said our goodbyes and headed home to our sweet home. it was a perfect sunday spent with wonderful friends.

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[little abe]

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[love this family]

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[the girls loved abe’s toys!]

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[he’s so cute!]

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[the girls goofing around at the corner eatery]

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[scott and abe]

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[goofy girl]

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xoxo

NYE ‘19

well, gosh…at the rate i posted this nye post, it might as well be 2021! i legit forgot that i had this waiting in queue. LOL!!!!!!

per usual, we always do too much. between christmas eve and new year’s day, we hosted 4 events. yes, f o u r. as gwen said, ‘b a n a n a s’.

this new year’s eve was a bit more quiet as the 5 usual suspects that typically celebrate with us, did not celebrate with us this time around but we had two new comers!!! huy and tashina stayed in town and they were able to ring in the new year with us!! such a gift to have and we were so excited to celebrate with them!

we decided to do heavy apps and drinks…i am 100% ok with that, as i love grazing. my parents came over and they were legit like, “what?…there’s no real food?” LOL so we ordered chinese food for them to eat, in which everyone else ended up eating it too! hahaha!

kim made a burrata and buffalo chicken dip, we had flaky apps, onion dip, shrimp cocktail,  charcuterie board, and a few other dishes i can’t remember! we ate to our belly’s content, imbibed delicious beverages, and fire placed our way to midnight. or more so, 11 o’clock as we always ring in the new year on new york city time! but this year, we celebrated at 11 pm and everyone ended up staying until midnight {helloooo, we have kids!} and we truly rung in the new year in accurate fashion!

there were streamers and confetti everywhere…as a good new year’s party should have! now, everyone did trickle out and hc and i started to clean up. yes, we are too type a…we love to wake up to a clean house and just chillllllllll.

the next day, hc let me sleep in as i was beat down from the holiday season {i ended up having walking pneumonia, bronchitis, and a sinus infection that was formulating the whole week after christmas and did a smack down on me on new year’s day…ugh!} he did an amazing job prepping everything for us…honestly, he doesn’t get enough credit. this man works so hard to make us happy and it fills my heart with joy. he did a little extra cleaning, he started a fire in the fireplace, he got both girls ready, fed, and set for the morning and letting me sleep in was the best gift of all!

he then prepped breakfast and we enjoyed the entire day in front of the fireplace while the girls occupied themselves with toys and make believe.

it was a perfect evening and day to start 2020 with. i am so blessed and i could not have asked for a better way or people to ring in the new year. may God bless us all!

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[table centerpiece]

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[a little sugar sprinkles for the champagne]

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[disco balls, fresh garland, and noise makers]

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[ellie and uncle huy]

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[favors for the kids, popper, crackers, candy, glow sticks, and streamer!]

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[tashina and me]

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[photo booth]

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[new years day breakfast]

xoxo

true food experience

we were given the opportunity to try out the brand new true food kitchen in oakbrook center! we were excited! who doesn’t want to try out a new restaurant in the area…privately?! everyone within the restaurant was personally invited and we were treated like royalty! it was so fun and a wonderful experience!

the restaurant is fueled by the philosophy of food should make you feel better! they believe that nutrition and delicious dining should go hand in hand! the dishes are creative, beautiful, and flavorful. they use whole foods, organic, and partner with amazing chefs to creative delectable dishes at each location!

we started off with a herb hummus and edamame dumplings…both soooooo savory and delicious!! i also had the prairie mary drink and my husband ordered a libation just as tasty! hc ordered the unbeetable burger and i chose the korean noodles. hc loved the burger and i thoroulgly enjoyed my glassy noodles! olive and ellie highly recommend the grass fed burger and expressed strong opinions on how yummy it was!

we had such a great time chatting it up with everyone, learning so much about the restaurant, the history, and appreciating the passion behind the food. i feel that a lot people hear ‘organic, healthy, or whole’, it’s not going to be tasty or filling but trust me, it’s amazing! every bite, every morsel had my mouth singing!

i’m a fan, my fam are fans and i so positive you will be too!

come check out the new location at oakbrook center and find out for yourself! you will not be disappointed!

happy eating my friends!

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[we have fun together]

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[get yur drink on]

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[this babe is so extra]

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[spicy bloody mary]

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[this was sooooooo freakin’ yummy!]

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[my girl gang]

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[korean noodles with tofu]

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[goofing around]

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[dig in!]

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xoxo

christmas ’19

we did our usual…christmas eve at my parent’s house with my side of the family and christmas day at our house with hc’s side of the family.

for christmas eve, my sister kim, usually plans the main entree and we bring additional dishes. we all partake in the food and decor. we have always had christmas eve at my parent’s house our whole lives, so although we all don’t live at home, it’s only natural for us to host it there every year!

this year started very late for us as mass at st. mary’s was pushed back another hour, causing us to be a bit behind. our day flew by as we were trying to prepare for christmas day, eve, get ourselves ready, do odds and ends around the house prepping for our guests for christmas day.

i was hoping we could prep the salad i wanted to bring over before we headed to mass but we completely ran out of time. we hustled our way to church, attended a very beautiful christmas eve mass and came home to to put together the not so quick salad. ughhhhhhhh. we finally arrived at my parent’s house after 7! i believe that is the latest we have ever come over on christmas eve!!!

reagardless, the holiday spirit was in full swing. the house smelled yummy, the candles were lit, christmas music was blasting, glasses of wine were plentiful as we laughed, talked, cooked, and the kids played.

everyone was joyous and the mood was bright. as we sat down for dinner, olive helped my dad say the dinner’s prayer, and we all then tried pulling our christmas cracker with our neighbor. the trick was to make a wish and the person holding the longest end, their wish would come true!!! we all held crackers with each other and pulled and pulled. we were laughing so hard as some of us could not get our cracker to pop! LOL we were practically crying and then some of us didn’t even get the long end of the stick and we couldn’t stop laughing!

dinner was delicious and the kids could not wait to open up their gifts! per usual, we cleaned up, set up desserts and the kids started to open up their gifts. one by one, group by group, we opened up all our gifts. it was getting so darn late and ellie was becoming deliriously tired. she was not in a bad mood, grouchy, or anything of that sort but she was out of it!

i held her in my arms, like she was a little baby, and literally rocked her to sleep. her eyes rolled back and forth and i swung her and within a few minutes she was o u t. oh she was so tired. it was so cute and darling that i rocked her to sleep…i don’t think i have done that since she was a newborn!

there were so many gifts and the girls had so much fun. christmas eve was definitely a wonderful, enchanted success!

*****

C H R I S T M A S  E V E

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*****

christmas day started out slow and, per usual, before i knew it…the deadline was approaching and i was not ready! i still needed to finish the table settings, i didn’t get everyone’s names out on place cards, i hadn’t set the flatware, i didn’t start the charcuterie board…shoot! shoot! shoot! i always wonder, where did the time go?!! LOL there was still soooooooo much to do!!!

but in the end..it all falls into place. the guests arrived early, per hc’ s whole side of the family and the festivities began with a bang. aunt wendy put together the drinks, his cousins and aunts brought sides and different entrees and hc was putting the finishing touches on the prime rib and ham.

everyone was in good spirits and the food prep was humming along perfectly. after an hour or so of warming everything up, it was time to eat. hc had everyone gathered around before food was served and proceeded to give a little speech. this was our first christmas without his dad and it was a tough one. hc tried to continue on with his speech but i picked up, in tears, thanking everyone for coming and that it was our first christmas without papa and we felt blessed that everyone was here to celebrate together.

that was pretty much all i could spit out. there were tears shed and lots of hugs given. what a heavy but heartfelt day. we miss him so, so much and it’s not the same at all. such a big void in the day that will never be the same but we continue to share all the wonderful memories of him and that warms our hearts and keeps us going.

overall, it was a very beautiful and wonderful christmas day with our family. the food was delicious, the decor was festive, and the energy was palpable.

we deeply miss you papa.

C H R I S T M A S  D A Y

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[sisters]

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[charcuterie]

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[danielle, daniel, and mark]

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[hc and jennifer]

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[with auntie missy]

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[me and hannah]

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[opening up presents from auntie missy]

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[family]

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[dinner by candlelight]

xoxo

gingerbread house ’19

typically the girls get to make gingerbread houses with their cousins but this year, my sister  kim suggested for us to participate in aster hall’s gingerbread house event but i couldn’t make it work so they went to that and i bought a house for the girls to decorate at home. was that a run on sentence?! LOL

i told olive that we were going to decorate a gingerbread house and the first thing she asked was if reagan and bennett were coming over to decorate. wah wah. i told her no and she was a wee bit disappointed.

nevertheless, olive was super excited and couldn’t wait to get started! i prepped all the details and did most of the frosting but she did the rest and she did a great job!! she was so detailed and particular with all the candy and patiently placed each one with deliberate intent.

ellie had absolutely zero interest. she played along the first few minutes and then she was like, buh bye. see ya suckers. LOL olive continued to work on the house until every last candy was used up. she must have been focused on that house for at least an hour. such determination! i continued to frost the house until even piece of candy was gone and olive was super satisfied with her work. once the house was complete, she worked on the gingerbread man and women, carefully frosting outfits on each cutout. she made sure to tell me that they couldn’t be naked. hahaha! ok baby girl…whatever you want for the gingerbread people.

once she completed them, i frosted their legs and attached them to the side of the house. well then. voila!!! her beautiful gingerbread house was finished and looking quite marvelous! well done miss olive…you are a true creative artist!

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[i can’t with these babes]

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[details]

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[they’re so silly]

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[she’s so diligent and precise]

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xoxo

a visit with santa

our seasonal visit with santa was a bit of an obstacle this year. every year, i will get an email stating when santa was coming to town and to make a reservation. every year, i do but not this year. i pushed it off and by the time i checked the site to make a reservation, the entire month was booked!!! whaaaaa?!

yes, and on the random days i checked in to see if they had any openings, they were booked. ughhhhhh. one day, we showed up, the girls all jazzed out for santa, and stopped by the place to see if there were any openings, nope. they were booked. extra yuck.

i was feeling defeated. i mean, there were plenty of options everywhere to visit with santa. it wasn’t like this was the only choice but i was a stickler for wanting to go there because it’s been the only place we’ve ever gone to for a visit with the guy in red.

sooooo, one day, i stopped by and they had open slots for visits {they apparently said the weekend before christmas would be open to walk in’s}, i put in our name and was super excited! olive had written a letter to santa weeks prior and it was urgent to get it in his hands!

the girls got dressed up and we had plans to hit up dinner at roka akor afterwards. we arrived at the santa station and it was a bit crowded. we checked in and there was a lot of commotion going on inside. people were irritated and annoyed with their wait times and reservations. right after i checked in, a girl came up to me and asked, “how did you make a reservation?”, i was like, uhhhhhh…i stopped in earlier in the day. there was a particular women there who was mouthy, rude, and obnoxious. she constantly got into the host’s face and had such attitude and was so angry at her because they had been waiting a bit to see santa. what a prime example of patience and kindness she was showing her kids! LOL there was such a negative vibe going on, it was almost unbearable!

i must admit, the wait time was way too long and i assume they overbooked people, causing all of us to wait longer than expected. our reservation was at 6 and we didn’t see santa until 50 minutes later!!!! there was no turning back…we needed to see the big guy but our restaurant reservations were at 6:45!

well, of course we didn’t rush our visit with santa. we walked inside the airstream and santa was just chilling. ellie freaked out and olive was so excited! immediately olive went over to sit with him. she spent a few minutes with him while ellie hid behind hc. when it was time for some pics, i literally had to peel ellie off of hc like she had the claws of life on him. it was funny. for us, apparently not for her. she resisted but i reassured her he was super nice. santa read to them and was super kind and patient. ellie was doing just fine, although still quite skeptical.

overall, i was so proud of both babes for being so good! i always say 3 is the magic number. olive was open but not keen on santa at that age and then the following year, she was a super fan! i am expecting the same with ellie…next year will be even better!

we literally ran to the restaurant after the santa visit! i had called to let them know we were going to be late and they were so gracious with letting us get there 25 minutes later than expected! the restaurant was so good and we had a wonderful experience.

our visit with santa ended being fantastic despite the horrible wait time and environment and our dinner as a family was just as fun and delicious! i would have to say it was a win win evening!

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[ellie not impressed but olive enjoying reading time with santa]

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[classic looks from my girls]

xoxo

christmas programs ’19

olive and ellie had their christmas programs right before christmas break!

ellie’s program was during her class time, in the morning. i am the only person who goes. i feel a little bit bad that it’s just me because most of the kid’s parents both attend along with both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, or anyone who will go. then there’s just me. ellie is the only child who only has one parent show up. well, hell, at least she has someone, right?!!

well, after her stage fright stint with her ballet recital, she kicked that into high gear for her christmas singalong. she froze up and sang not one song, not one word. nope. wasn’t doing it. she would not sing. i sat front row and encouraged her to sing and she angrily shook her head no at me the entire time. ugh.

girlfren was alllllll smiles before the program started then she shut down. oh well. at least she looked cute!!

E L L I E’ S  C H R I S T M A S  P R O G R A M

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[she looked super excited but the performance didn’t show it]

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[ellie’s skeptical face the whole program]

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****

O L I V E’ S  C H R I S T M A S  P R O G R A M

olive’s program was at night. it was the k-5 classes and they were set to perform first. i was so excited! i was also stoked that i was photographing the performance and as a yearbook photographer for the school, i was reserved front row seating! yahooooooo!

i dropped olive off at the main school and walked into the church and found my partners in crime on the yearbook staff. i finally met carolina {after many text messages exchanged} in person and then found morgan and gabbed with her on what our game plan was for the program.

the kindergarten class walked out and the show commenced! they all looked so cute and festive! they sang their songs and did such a great job! i was snapping pics and before i knew it, their performance was over! whaaaaaaa?! that flew by so fast! i hardly snapped enough pictures! then each class performed and they all did such a wonderful job!!! each class sang unique songs and each class did fun narrative choreograph to some songs. that always makes it even more fun when you see the kids get so into it!

the very last performance, all the grades came out and sang silent night together. the best part about that? the whole audience joined in and it was so darn moving. goosebumps. oh my…i love our school!!!

the whole program was so well done. the kids did such an amazing job and kudos to the music teacher, mr. barker, for working so hard with the kids and pulling off such a wonderful program! it was such a magical night.

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[she was sooooooo darn good throughout the whole program]

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[on their way to the church]

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[they did such a great job!]

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xoxo

winter ballet recital ’19

it was olive and ellie’s ballet recital! ellie’s first!

they had practiced all season long and i am always excited for every program they have been in. now, olive is now the seasoned pro but this was going to be ellie’s first recital! we all could not wait to see her perform!

it was the day of the recital and i was getting both girls ready. tights. check. tutu’s. check. shoes. check. hair buns. check. within 10 minutes of us needing to leave, ellie started to melt down. she was crying and not making sense. in my gut, i had a feeling that she didn’t want to perform but i brushed it off. we loaded the girls into the car and when we arrived at the center and i led the girls into the green room, ellie freaked out. she kept saying, ‘i don wan tooooo. i don wannn toooooo!’ right then my feeling solidified and i knew she was getting stage fright. i coaxed her, i asked her, i reassured her but she was not having it.

her teacher was so sweet and kind and even took ellie upstairs, 10 minutes before the show was to begin and tried to calm her nerves by playing music to distract her but it didn’t work. i was so bummed!! i wanted to see ellie perform. during her practice, she was soooooo good! she was one of the better performers amongst her group, so i was sad that she wasn’t going up on stage! i carried her to the auditorium and sat down with our family. i told them she was having stage fright and it wasn’t going to happen. womp womp.

olive was the first to perform and she did amazing!! she’s so poised, so confident, and has such great presence on stage! what a ham! i was so proud of her! after her class performance, all of the dancers in the show were fabulous and the little ones were the cutest!

once the program was over, we all congratulated olive and we had a celebratory lunch down the street from the center, where she performed. i am so proud of both my girls for working hard all season long! crossing my fingers this coming spring season will be the recital ellie will perform at!

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[she’s so sweet!!! she’s so fearless!]

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[she’s a natural]

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[LOL…you can’t even see olive!]

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[olive is so extra]

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[she loves copying her sister!]

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[my darling babe]

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[i love ellie and all her faces]

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[olive and gramma…oops, didn’t adjust my aperture]

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[with auntie thuy]

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[my fiery girl]

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[i love their little buns]

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[these two…]

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xoxo

fire station field trip!

ellie’s first field trip!

ellie’s very first school field trip was to the fire station! i was excited for her but i always feel like ellie likes nothing new and different. LOL

we arrived right on time and parked in the lot and were ushered inside by her teachers. we lined up inside waiting for instructions and someone to lead the group. finally, a fireman starting talking to us and within a couple minutes of him starting the tour, they were called to duty!!! they all jumped into the fire truck and sped away on a call. that had us laughing as were like, okuuuurrrrrrrr, now what do we do?!!

well, ellie’s teacher has done this field trip so many times and was super familiar with the entire layout and what they do there, she started walking us through the station. it was a very, very quick call as they returned after 10 minutes?

the official tour began and all the kids were in awe. ellie was skeptical of everything and everyone…oh gurl. calm down! they even handed out firemen hats and ellie would not wear it. i put it on my head and when she saw me wearing it and saw the other kids wearing it, she finally wanted to wear it. ha!

once the tour was over, all the kids took turns to sit in the fire truck. only ellie didn’t want to. she saw the other kids being lifted into the truck by a fireman and she was not having it. i asked her over and over if she would sit in the truck and she kept saying no. then i told her i would lift her and the fireman wouldn’t and she agreed. well there was nooooooo way i could lift her into the firetruck! nope! so when it was her turn, i quietly asked the fireman to help me. i was going to lift ellie up {to have her think i was going to put her into the seat} and he would take her from me, from behind, and she would have no clue i wasn’t the one putting her up there. hahahaha!

her first field trip was a success! we had so much fun together and came home happy campers!

via tandeminlove.com[the kids loooooved the fire truck!]

via tandeminlove.com

[she never wants to go outside the usual until she sees someone else doing it…she refused to wear the hat until she saw me and the other kids toting ’em. oh em gee girlfren]

via tandeminlove.com

[i had to double post cause i love this face and that smile]

via tandeminlove.com

[getting the tour and the breakdown of the truck]

via tandeminlove.com

[she was so hesitant about sitting in the fire truck…again..until she saw everyone else doing it. LOL]

via tandeminlove.com

[all the kiddos on the field trip]

xoxo