soccer

we signed both the girls up for soccer this fall and they loved it! ok, olive loved it more than ellie. LOL she was more like, wtf are you making me do?

their other classmates have participated in soccer the years prior and were seasoned so this was all so new for all of us!

this year like everything, was very different. they started the season late due to covid restrictions and then the park district decided that teams would not compete and only scrimmage within their own roster. which was fine, cause they were able to play in some form!

it was so cute to see them practice and play. especially the 3/4 year olds. they kind of listen and kind of don’t listen and run all over the place. hahaha! ellie didn’t give two craps about chasing the ball. she constantly complained she was tired. oh girl! the good news is by the third game…she was finally getting the hang of it and scored TWO goals!! i got one goal on vid! i was super proud!

in ellie’s group, there was a girl who was so skilled! she basically scored almost every goal and had the ball at every single game! she had to be told by her parents to pass the ball and yet it was still difficult for her because she would pass the ball to another player and that girl wouldn’t know what to do with it or would kick the ball alllll the way off the field, or score into the wrong goal, etc. it was fun to watch because they were so cute and innocent!

rich and i were obviously new to the routine as well and we definitely showed up as newbies! for their first practice, we dressed both girls up in their game day uniform and forgot their practice balls. LOL hello. we stood out like sore thumbs! then came their first game day. we nailed it and dressed the girls up in the uniform, brought their balls {which they didn’t need. ugh} and didn’t bring any chairs to sit down in while we watched the game. doh!

overall, the soccer season was awesome! it’s always great to be able to have the girls with their friends and mom and dad can hang out with their cool parents too! olive’s soccer season was so fun. we loved every practice and every game we attended. the weather was super amazing and we had the warmest sunniest days and nights to hang out in. now ellie’s season was cut short – she only made it to game three…more on that in the next post! stay tuned!

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[olive after her first soccer game]

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[that’s olive to the far right!]

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[there she is in the white jersey furthest back!]

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[my sweet ellie at practice…little did we know to not put her in her game outfit. LOL…newbies!]

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[pretty much ellie watching as girls played]

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[number 67]

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[ellie with her school buddies!]

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[in between ellie’s game and olive’s game, we would head out to breakfast!]

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[my sweetie pie at egg harbor]

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[fresh veggies at the farmer’s market right by the restaurant]

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xoxo

first day of school ’20

the girls had their first day of school in september and the anticipation was off the charts!

uhhhhh, yes it’s november and i am finally posting about their first day of school. LOL if you read my previous post, i’ve been a little busy and my blog fell to the wayside. but don’t worry…you’re in for a treat! i have a gazillion posts coming right up!

it started back in march when the pandemic was in full swing and the girl’s school went to home learning. obvi…with all that was and is going on, the idea of in person learning was teetering all over the place.

month after month…the argument, controversy, and passion around this topic peaked as we got closer to august. no one knew what was going to happen and the uncertainty and anxiety was through the roof for me and fellow moms i knew. it became overwhelming.

i am sure for teachers, administration, and everyone who was involved in this process felt something to this extent. it was insane.

i was told by so many people who did not have children, they were glad to not be in my shoes! i told them i was glad for them too cause it wasn’t fun at all.

at first, we were under the impression that school was going to be in-person during the summer. then as we inched closer to the school year starting, it started to look different. the first day of school was scheduled for the third week in august and a couple weeks before that date, the school sent out a survey asking us for our opinions. like whhhaaaaa?

they asked about how we felt with in person learning, remote, hybrid, etc. would we keep our kids in school if it was strictly remote and so forth. with us being in private school, there was no question we wanted our kids back. for many many positive reasons. yes, we were in the middle of a pandemic but to not get into anything specific, we saw the benefits of in person learning.

we are a fortunate school to have high enrollment…the best this year compared to recent years. we currently have 600+ kids in our elementary to 8th grade class. any other year, we would celebrate this but during a pandemic…we were like uhhhhhh, how are going to physically distance all these kids and keep in person learning?!

there were so many sides to the argument but this was one side i felt strongly about. we can go down the rabbit hole concerning this but i’d rather not right now.

after much back and forth from the school and a whole lotta talk from the parents, the school settled on all three options. you could choose remote, hybrid, and in person all day {with a different agenda}.

they were able to please most. let me tell ya…the strong opinions of everyone had my head spinning and what made me angry and sad was the finger pointing at the administration. there was and is no handbook on this. they are doing their best to accommodate everyone and of course there are so many people who aren’t pleased. if you don’t have positive intent towards them and don’t understand they have our best interest in mind…well, you are not kind hearted and compassionate and honestly…very self involved.

yes, there were times i was angry at decisions being made. naturally. i do have my opinions but never once did i attack our administration. i know them and know that in their hearts, they were doing their best.

so, fast forward to the first day of school in september {it was delayed a couple weeks}. it was bonkers, it was madness, the traffic jam, rules, regulations, guidelines, and everything in between that was so different than any first day we’ve ever experienced.

the line of cars to drop off was so long and overwhelming. olive and ellie were already late to their class. we finally pull up to where we need to drop olive off. she had her mask on, her backpack on, and her two very large bags of supplies ready to go. as she struggled to get out of the car and shut the door {we weren’t allowed to get out of our cars to help} and juggle all her stuff…i started crying.

so emotions flooded in. i couldn’t believe it was her first day of first grade. i couldn’t believe that she was finally at school. i couldn’t believe that she had to wear a mask all day. i couldn’t believe that after months of tense feelings, we were finally, finally here. i couldn’t believe i couldn’t walk her to the door like i did every day last year. i was sad to see her go, i hoped she had a great day. i was so excited that she was going to be with her friends. so many feels happening at once, i bawled.

as i picked her up from school, she LOVED, loved her first day! that was worth the months of unknown! she loved seeing all her friends and was so excited to be back in class! fast forward to november, our in person learning is still going strong and olive absolutely loves seeing, interacting, and having fun with all her classmates.

thank you to the teachers who do their best every day and thank you to our entire school staff for making this happen with a smile! we very much appreciate all of you!

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[i love back to school!]

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[my wonky made cake]

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[aren’t they so cute]

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[my sweet girls ready for their first day!]

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[ohmygosh i love her so much]

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[she’s so fun]

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[olive trying to show me her loose tooth!]

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[first day of school!]

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[ellie and finn]

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[carrying all her supplies and mask’d up]

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[coming out of class!]

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[after school on the first day!]

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xoxo

stade’s farm

guys, it’s been a minute. school was starting and that was a big event in itself {of course i blog about it later!}. then i swung into a busy photography season and i was swamped. between working and working and working, living life, being a mom, wife, and a friend…it was craaaaaaaazzzzyyyyyyy.

I had no time to write a blog post to keep up with our digital memories or else I wouldn’t sleep at all. so i chose to sleep the few hours i did every night. LOL

so, i’m finally catching up on life’s happenings and i pray i don’t get so behind like i did this past season! i literally have something crazy like 13 blog posts to publish…so i hope you stay and follow along with us!

august 16, 2020

we wanted to do something fun and visit a sunflower farm. there was a really cool one i wanted to visit called von bergen but their third installment of flowers did not pan through and they didn’t open up the maze for visitors! having already planned for us to go that day, we had to recalculate on what to do.

i found a place called stade farm and we decided to see what this place was all about. it was a cute farm area but their sunflowers were subpar. they were so picked over and the ones left were so ragged looking…but I managed to get some pretty blooms together!

the girls had so much fun picking veggies and flowers. it was a great place for them to explore, experience, and have fun with their cousins. bonus, it was a super warm and nice day…so the weather was on our side!

afterwards we stopped by a total mom and pop ice cream shop on the way home. it was super delicious, cute and quaint. the challenge was, it was sooooooo small, i swear there were 25 people packed into that little space ordering ice cream. even though everyone was wearing a mask…covid or no covid…it was claustrophobic!

anyhoo, it was a perfect ending to a great day!

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[my sweet girls]

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[my silly sister kim]

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[she’s so proud of her big olive’ pepper]]

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[hanging out with the cousins]

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[ice cream after farm life]

xoxo

new buffalo

we needed a getaway. we needed a change of scenery. we wanted the beach.

we wanted to be in a place {state} where we felt their safety measures where in alignment with ours. we wanted a house where there was enough time in-between stays and thoroughly cleaned. we wanted to be near the beach and close to a ‘downtown’ area. hc scored and found a place to fit – d. all of the above!

olive and ellie were so excited to go on a vacation! olive was so disappointed this past march when we cancelled our spring break trip to california. she was excited to fly on a plane, stay in a hotel, and go to the beach. so, we kind of hit 2/3!

what i love about new buffalo michigan is that it’s literally a hop, skip, and a jump away. it’s so close but yet far enough away. we whizzed up there in no time and settled into the house.

once things felt in order at our temp home, we headed out to explore and grab some grub to fill our empty bellies. the girls had the best time exploring the beach, walking through town, and seeing new things. after some beach time, we stopped by the stray dog for some grub. while we were waiting, we stopped at their shop and picked up a few things for myself! a sweatshirt and a baseball cap with their logo. so cute! after dinner, we strolled down to beachside scoops for some ice cream. yum!

we pretty much had glorious beach days. we tried mom and pop type restaurants, ate at cool ones, and celebrated ellie’s actual birthday at oinks dutch treats while we were there. there was a lot of beach time and it was perfect. i loved how slow our days were. i loved sitting in the sand getting dirty and making sandcastles with my girls. i loved standing in the water while the waves crashed around me and I could hear the sweet giggles of my girls splashing in the water with their dad. i loved the warm summer nights and the sound of the thunderstorms rolling in. i loved riding around in hc’s jeep and exploring the town. there was so much fun packed into several days and we didn’t want to leave.

check out all the pics down below. it’ll tell our story! thanks new buffalo michigan. you were just what we needed during this pandemic and it was the perfect little getaway for us all.

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[they’re super happy to be on vacation!]

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[werking it]

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[i love her so much!]

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[puzzle time]

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[the beachiest house i ever did see]

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[finding fun things along the way]

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[ellie is obsessed with birds! just like me as a kid!]

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[sisters]

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[our first night dinner – the stray dog]

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[ready for the beach]

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[they’re so fun]

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[aaaanddd how many photos can i post of them?]

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[building a crab fortress]

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[seriously…she did such a great job! she even made the palm trees to the right]

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[relaxing]

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[dang olive, why you always look so mad?! LOL]

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[so serene]

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[at redamak’s for burgers!]

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[she’s a snuggler]

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[at oink’s!]

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[whoa!]

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[happy birthday my dear sweet ellie!]

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[they’re ready to go!]

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[searching for the ripe ones]

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[look at ellie]

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[weighing in our picked blueberries!]

xoxo

ellie’s 4th birthday ice cream party

months of scheming with it finally leading up to her fourth birthday party!

i am always stressed before a birthday party because i just take on too much! LOL it’s all me! i had gathered so much decor during our shelter in place and it got out of control! hahaha!

every day i did some sort of project or errand, leading up to her party on saturday. but can you believe i literally spent all day saturday s t i l l putting her party decor together??! cray. down to the very last minute. gah!

i loved her ice cream theme and had so much fun with it! i created the balloon garlands, chalk board sign, bought chalk ice cream cones, and a ton of supplies to decorate the tables with. of course, my talented sister did the florals for me. she does for every party i throw and i am utterly grateful that she is always willing! i always say, it’s not complete without flowers!!! as you will see in all the pictures below, i tried my best to capture all the details!

we had a family party first. for two hours, we had our immediate family inside, celebrating ellie. we did apps and served delicious food from cedar grill {a local restaurant}. while everyone was still eating, the good humor dave ice cream truck came by!

we weren’t sure if it was going to rain later in the day, so hc set up a tent – just in case. he also filled our baby bath tub with ice and drinks for our other guests coming by. we had invited olive and ellie’s school friends and our neighbors to swing by and grab an ice cream bar!

so that turned out a little crazy! our family partied inside and our friends partied outside and we were running back and forth to make sure everything was ok. LOL we wanted to keep our family separate and inside, while our friends socialized outside to keep contact to a minimum. it was hard to manage it all but truly, it was ok. although i felt that i was running around like crazy, it all turned out to be super fun. especially for the kids! they had a blast running around and playing!

once our friends left, we sang happy birthday to miss ellie and served the delicious fun cake! ellie was smitten and so cute in her reaction when we sang to her! so adorable!

thanks to everyone {family, friends, neighbors} who came by to say happy birthday to miss ellie. it turned out to be a beautiful day! ellie was super happy over everything and having all the people she loves here to celebrate her, made it all that much more special.

[the birthday girl]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[bar area]

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[the sweetest sisters]

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[dessert table]

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[gorgeous ice cream cake by strictly sugar]

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[sugar cookies by claire’s cookies]

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[favor bags]

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[ice cream tablescape]

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[i can’t get enough pictures of this cake]

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[gorgeous blooms by my sister kim]

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[party hats]

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[ice cream and macaron chalks]

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[party decor]

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[floral arrangements by my sister kim]

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[hand painted party favor bags]

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[i can never have too many angles of this]

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[the always silly dan and agata]

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[the girls with auntie missy]

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[chalk mouse]

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[love them]

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[kisses]

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[gorgeous balloons by paris312]

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[such a beautiful garland]

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[with gramma]

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[avery and lan]

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[my silly girls]

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[barbara and lynne]

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[drink tub]

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[ice cream truck party]

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[ellie and alex – he gave her a bouquet of flowers! how sweet!]

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[little finn and her sweet ice cream dress]

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[elly and dekker]

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[waiting patiently for the piñata to get hung]

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[first strike]

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[spencer did the first break!]

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[the sweetest friends]

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[ready for cake!]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[happy birthday to you!]

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[she gets the melting ice cream cone!]

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[DIY cookie kits for the girls! they had so much fun decorating the cookies on their own!]

xoxo

fourth of july ’20

celebrating the fourth of july in quarantine style!

we were sad there wasn’t a parade this year but no matter, we made the most of our time celebrating ‘merica’s birthday!

we invited just our family and did the usual. grilling, chilling, and fireworks. i did the typical decorating…and as always, i was like, “oh, i don’t have enough decor.” LOL i created a red white and blue charcuterie board to munch on and whipped up some red white and blue drinks to sip on!

my sister thuy wanted to make roast beef sandwiches, so we decided to grill a few hot dogs and burgers for anyone who wanted to eat that. we procured the usual side dishes {potato salad and corn} and just had fun.

hc set up the water tub and the sprinkler for the kids and later on in the day, we filled up water balloons for a toss and fight! one fun activity led into another…the kids played in the water, had their water balloon fun, and guests played badminton during our slow, warm afternoon.

after we ate, we served the delicious desserts {it was so good!] and lit up some fireworks!!!! really, it was a lot of snap it’s and sparklers, the most the kids can handle right now. of course, in fourth of july fashion, olive’s wrist got burned!!! poor babe! she had a sparkler going and her cousins tried lighting their mega sparklers off of her flame. well a fiery spark flew and hit her bitty wrist. ohhhhhh, poor thing burst into tears! it was red and i put an ice pack on it but you know how burns go, it doesn’t seem bad at first until it’s bad. my poor babe’s skin soon bubbled after that. ughhhhhhhh. i felt so bad. like a bad mom who didn’t realize her burn was worse than it was because i kept telling her to calm down but then i realized how bad it really was!!! but no worries friends, she is totally recovered right now! thank God!

after fireworks, that pretty much wrapped up our evening! it was a slow and fun afternoon celebrating the birth of our nation! happy covid 4th america!

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[feeling festive]

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[red white and blue charcuterie board]

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[scavenger hunt]

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[patriotic desserts]

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[cupcakes and macarons by toni patisserie]

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[silly cousins]

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[the most delicious cake]

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[my loves]

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[thuy, ellie and ba]

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[mes seours and babes]

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[love that smile]

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[showing off their muscles]

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[my festive babes]

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[red white and blue drinks]

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[having lunch]

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[the way she looks at thuy]

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[reagan, terry, kim, and bennett]

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[delicious corn]

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[our nutty nephew]

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[he’s so silly]

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[rimma and ellie]

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[water balloon fight]

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[with all her might]

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[here comes the water balloon]

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[catch it!]

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[awww missed!]

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[splat!]

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[here it comes!]

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[almost!]

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[missed!]

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[splat]

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[macaron]

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[yummy cake]

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[they’re ready for their scavenger hunt!]

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[she was slightly afraid and then loved holding the sparkler]

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xoxo

father’s day 2020

father’s day was relaxing, casual, and perfect.

during a pandemic…you try your best to be cautious, celebrate in a safe way, but still have fun! we decided, since it was the first father’s day without papa around, we kept it intimate with just hc’s side of the family.

for lunch, i ordered from a local bbq restaurant in the area. there’s no better meal for hc for father’s day! of course he had to go pick it up in the chevelle! gramma, missy, and grace came by to visit!

before we sat down to eat, hc and i gave grace her graduation gift, as we never see this girl anymore! i said, ‘lucky you!…the only daughter to get a big gift on father’s day!’ LOL

well, since the girls saw grace getting a gift, they felt it was fitting that hc opened up his presents too! so they grabbed his gifts and were excited to see him open them up. you know how kids are…they love watching anyone open up a gift! they gave him an amazing dad book, an old fashioned tee shirt, cubs masks, and a box of rocks. literally. they painted them for the garden! so creative and fun! that was a gramma driven gift!

after lunch, we just hung out and talked. hc took his sister and mom for a walk around the house to check out the garden grounds and then we hung out on the front porch for a bit and chatted. while we were doing that, grace needed me to take a few photos of her in her graduation gown for school. of course i happily obliged.

we had a low key and good time together. being with family is always best. happy father’s day hc! you’re one in a billion and we’re so thankful to have such a wonderful person in our lives.

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[we finally saw grace, so we gave her a graduation gift]

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[a new laptop!]

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[daddy daughter duo]

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[eager for dada to open up his gift!]

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[chicago cubs masks]

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[garden rocks painted by olive, ellie, and grace]

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[ladybug by grace]

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[catering by mission bbq]

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xoxo

every day’s a sundae

our casual ice cream outing turned into a mad mess. LOL

i thought, oh – we should head out to every day’s a sundae! it’s so warm out and an ice cream treat would be perfect! hahahaha!

because of the limited number of people allowed inside the shop, we waited outside for a bit. so there we were, waiting in line…tick tock tick tock. it really did seem like a long time! then we read that only three people were allowed inside at a time. there was four of us, so i relented. i wasn’t feeling it for some reason…and i was the one who wanted to get ice cream! LOL really, it’s for the girls…it’s always for the girls.

anyhoo, it made sense for hc to go inside with the girls and let them pick something fun and yummy. after a few minutes, out they came with their cool treats! we decided to walk across the tracks to the fountain so the girls could enjoy that while eating their ice cream.

right as we got to the train crosswalk, a freight train came roaring by! it was so fun to watch and feel the energy and power of it whizzing by. the girls thought it was so cool!

we finally made it to the other side and that’s when all the ice cream craziness broke out. hc’s ice cream was spilling over the edge of his cup like it was running water. it dripped everywhere! out. of. control. i kept yelling ‘unprofessional’! i said to him, the first thing you do with a full ice cream cup is to scrape the lip of the cup and get all the ice cream that could melt over. he kept telling me he did. shyeah.

then ellie started dripping her ice cream everywhere! oh em gee. so i took over and was feeding her the ice cream. while i was scooping ice cream up for ellie. olive was like, ‘uh oh’. i turned around and she has tried to place her cup full of blue ice cream on the ledge but ended up putting half of it on the edge and it flipped over onto her dress and all down her leg and shoe. gahhhhhhh!

what. a. disaster. hc and i had to laugh. a scenic thought of getting ice cream on a warm summer day turned into a war with melting ice cream. haha! well, regardless, they finished their ice cream, we wiped our hands down, and proceeded to walk around downtown and soak in the gorgeous weather.

indeed it was a beautiful evening.

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[she’s so silly!]

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[enjoying some ice cream with dada]

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xoxo

pool party

summa time. the livin’ easy.

i tend to veer towards olive’s classmate’s moms socially. we all hit up kindergarten with the knowledge that we were in for the long haul. our kids were going to be in school together for the next 9 years! get togethers come easily and we all rely on each other for support in all areas of our lives, in which i’m so thankful for!

i felt bad for ellie as she truly just hangs out with olive’s friends. just a month ago, she started asking about her friends. oh, baby girl! my bad! i needed to get in touch with her preschool friends!

well, it’s good to have a friend who has a pool as pool time, right now, had been so scarce! i coordinated with this mama as she coordinated with other mamas and boom! we had a full fledge party on the horizon!

i’m so thankful to kelli for opening up her home to all of us! not only is her house gorgeous, her backyard set up is a dream!

as soon as we arrived the girls were game! into the pool they went without looking back! the best part of this whole experience {besides visiting with the mamas?} was ellie becoming 100% comfortable in the water. last year, even with her floatie, she would n o t go into the pool without one of us holding her. she was so scared! while in the pool at kelli’s house, she only would hold onto the ledge and not let go. after a 20 minutes or so, i finally went into the pool and she latched onto me. i was playing around with her and i slowly let her go and she drifted into the pool and discovered that she could ‘swim’!!!!!! she was beyond the moon!!! her excitement was palpable! it was so sweet to see her have that aha moment!

the girls swam, ate, swam some more, continued to snack, swam and finally…hours later {4 hours to be exact}, the girls were exhausted! we said our goodbyes and shimmied on home. they were so tired, they fell asleep in the 10 minute car ride home.

it was a wonderful afternoon spent with the sweetest mamas around!

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[splash!]

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[olive and her friends]

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[she gained her freedom and discovered she could swim in the water with floaties]

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[lunch time!]

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[olive]

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[luisa and emi]

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[sweet ava]

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[aren’t they the cutest?!]

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[popsicle time]

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[we love our school community!]

xoxo

morton arboretum

we love the morton arboretum! it’s endless possibilities of fun!

a couple of months ago, olive expressed to us that she wanted to go on a picnic. why yes baby girl. let’s do it!

we were all excited to picnic at the park as we’ve never done it together! long story short, i bought a picnic basket for hc for some occasion when we first started dating…i honestly can’t remember when. we had thoughts of going back to ravinia to picnic during a concert or something. we then got married, had kids, and forgot we had it. LOL

well hc dusted it off and we were ready to go at it! we choose a sunny sunday afternoon and packed all the essentials olive deemed necessary. sandwiches, fruit, drinks, and chips. hc brought a mini bose for some music, a soccer ball, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. it was gorgeous out! not too hot, not too cold – just right! the temp where you lay on a picnic blanket with a cloudless sunny sky and could fall asleep.

the adults drank wine, the kids had juice boxes, and we ate our food with the most beautiful scenery. the girls and i explored the area and stumbled upon a creek…which they were not interested in. hahaha! we played kickball and relaxed. it was seriously the most perfect afternoon.

we have membership to the arboretum and it’s worth every penny. honestly…if you go to the arboretum twice in a year, it literally pays for itself! there’s so much to explore there and the kids love it!

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[we spotted a troll!]

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[they weren’t as interested as i thought they would be. LOL]

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[kicking around the soccer ball]

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[we’re ready to set up our picnic blanket]

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[olive deemed this perfect picnic food]

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xoxo