apple orchard ’19

another fall, another apple picking.

has anyone seen the snl skit that mocks folks going apple picking?! LOL #truth, right?! but who cares?! we love it anyways. overpriced apples and all.

we won worst parents of the year award though. i had all intentions to grab their cardi’s on the way out the door but we totallyyyyyyy forgot them. ughhhh. i knew it would be a bit cold but when we arrived at the orchard, it was much colder than it was by our house! i was cold and i was so upset that the girls were wearing a dress and socks with no extra layers. i felt like a bad mom. i must say, though…at first they seemed chilly but after running around and running around and running around non-stop, they were definitely not cold anymore. thank goodness for their cousins keeping them active!

we all decided to pay for the ‘other apples’ picking and the barnyard fun all access, apparently honeycrips were extra extra moolah! we gathered together in line and waited for the tractor to come by and pick us up. the girls were so excited and olive couldn’t wait to pick some apples.

i was excited that the weather was somewhat cooperating. it had rained heavily the night before, so it was muddy but it wasn’t so hot like it was last year! last year, it was 90 degrees and this year, it was the upper 60’s…so it was dramatically different but i definitely prefer for it to be cooler. when it is sooo hot, no one is truly enjoying themselves and the kids are miserable, making it a no win situation. it was so cute though, while we were in the car en route, olive said, “i remember when we went last year and it was sooooooo HOT! ellie was so upset” hahaha! that’s right girly.

we enjoyed walking around, searching for perfect apples, and dodging muddy lakes in the ground. hc brought a little pocket knife to cut apple slices for the girls and they were smitten. hc couldn’t cut slices fast enough for the hungry little monsters.

we filled our bags full of apples as we weaved in and out of the apple rows, occasionally running into our family as everyone individually hunted down the apples their tastebuds wanted. we ran into the asian pear trees and they were severely picked over. there were some good apples sitting high in the tree, so i climbed onto hc’s shoulders and reached for the stars! i was able to pick 4 solid good pears to share with the family!

after we picked our apples, we all headed to the country kitchen to grab some chow. afterwards, we walked over to the barnyard fun area and it was soooooo dang muddy! ughhhh, the girls were like no thank you. there were fun wooden displays the kids could climb up on but it was smeared with mud from top to bottom.

we just missed the pig race. we caught the tail end of it. olive was still able to catch a glimpse of the pigs running. we found the ‘petting’ zoo and olive loved it! she had so much fun checking out all the animals. while olive was exploring the zoo, i was trying to track down hc and ellie, as they had gone ahead of us while everyone was finishing up their meals.

hc discovered the jumpy area and we were dunzo. the girls were in heaven and spent the rest of our time screaming, shrieking, and laughing down all the slides. we finally coaxed the girls away from the jumpy houses and navigated our way to the store. there i bought dish towels, fake pumpkins, and we grabbed a couple dozen apple cider donuts!! yummmmmm!

we were ready to head out when my sister kim text us that they were eating desert. okayyyyyyy, twist my arm to get the girls desserts. i bought olive a big ass apple cookie and ellie an caramel sundae. the girls devoured it. then we were done!

we moseyed on our way back to the car after saying goodbye to everyone. all of us satisfied with our time there, happy with our goodies coming home, and feeling the love as a family.

cheers to overpriced apple picking my friends!

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[ellie is so silly]

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[goofing around always]

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[i love olive’s attack face and ellie’s wtf face]

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[keeping up with the big kids]

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[on our way to the orchard trees!]

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[my tribe]

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[enjoying all the apple slices dada is cutting for them]

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[coming in hot…watch apple!]

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[putting her goodies away]

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[my little punk]

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[they make my world go round]

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[agata and dan]

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[the sweetest]

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[my silly girl]

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[the girls with their super aunty]

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[silly aunt thuy]

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[the coolest crew]

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[get it olive]

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[gourmet meal]

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[kim and lan]

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[candid pic by my sis]

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[picking some asian pears]

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[hc found the bouncy house area and that was it. we were dunzo. nothing else mattered. LOL]

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xoxo

ellie’s first ballet class

the day had come for ellie to be in ballet. now, if she likes it, that remains the question. she seems more of the soccer type of gal {or karate type} but that still remains to be determined.

so far so good with her…she’s had three classes and so far, she likes it. although i hear a lot of “ellie, listen” or “ellie, toes out” or “ellie, hands up” from the hallway, over and over. according to her teacher, though, – ‘she’s doing great!’. LOL

well, just to be clear…she started ballet class in september…yes, weeks ago and i am finally posting something about it. ughhhhh…life, right?!

ellie is my crazy emotional, tenacious, stubborn, fiery child. she’ll hit her sister and then hit olive again after i say, ‘don’t do that!!!!’, and then throw something at me. no joooooooke. she’s a riot…literally.

so, i am hoping ballet is something she likes and finds the beauty, calmness, and peace it instills within it’s creative form. praying. haha!

both girls did a great job with their first classes and they said they loved it! mama couldn’t be more proud! ya gotta admit, they are so adorable in their tutus and shoes!

this is olive’s third year in ballet and ellie’s first. i am not sure how long they will be in dance but i am hoping for a bit. honestly, as long as they love it. i think it’s important they are exposed to different activities but as of right now…olive really loves gymnastics, ballet, and swim! i ask her from time to time if she would like to do something else but she always says no. i think, more so, it’s because she doesn’t know any better and i will probably sign her up for different things {soccer? taekwondo?} to truly gauge what she, or ellie, gravitates towards. but until then, ballet it is for them!

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[ready for the first class of the season!]

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[ellie always spying on her big sister]

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[walking hand in hand to ballet class]

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[they’re so sweet]

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[my sweet girl ready for her class]

xoxo

fit for a princess

so the birthday parties begin…what makes me so excited about this is because i love our school. both the girls started a new school this past year and we couldn’t be happier with the school we chose. the staff is amazing, kind, caring and the parents i have met have been so beyond wonderful!

i was a little bit nervous about that because my experience with olive at her community school was not good. parent after parent i encountered were not friendly, social, or it was overall awkward. there were a handful of moms i met that were wonderful but maybe, it was because we all knew that most of us would go our separate ways and no one made an effort??

i don’t really know, but i do know that we are in this journey together at our new school and the parents have been nothing but great. i am excited for this whole experience for the next 9-10 years and beyond!

so, we went to one of olive’s classmate’s birthday party {her second one so far} and it was a princess theme! the invite stated that the girls could wear their favorite princess dress to the party! oh, how exciting and cute!

olive was so excited to be dress up as belle. she was very specific with her hair…she wanted a half bun updo with cascading curls. yes, girl! i was also excited because the mom, manar, had also told me to bring miss ellie…how fantastic was that?! i knew ellie would have the best time as well! and of course, ellie wanted to be elsa. LOL

we arrived at the house and there was the cutest purple and pink number 5 balloon set up in the front yard. adorbs. we ran into a dad, mike, of another classmate arriving and olive went running to meet up with his daughter. once inside, i spotted the cutest mini tables with colorful mini chairs, covered in sparking tablecloths, princess wands at each seat, and gold crown print pink organza sheers draped down the large window.

outside i spied the largest castle bouncy house, a trampoline, and a cute playset for kids. we all were a bit bummed because it was currently raining but that ended up clearing up midway through the party.

manar had her friends, outside of the school, there who were all so friendly and i was happy to have met a few other school parents as well! i connected with patrick, kiersten, andrew, valerie, elisa, annie, paula, and manar’s hubby elias. it was optional to drop off or stay…i really wanted to get to know manar, at least, so i decided to stay and i am glad i did, as i had the chance to get to know all the other parents there as well!

the girls had a blast. a blast!!! it was soooooo much fun for them! manar outdid herself. she left no stone unturned. from the sparkly table set up, to the castle bouncy house, she had a princess piñata, princess cake, princess utensil holder, fairytale book favors, and last but not least, live princesses! rupunzel and princess sofia were there to entertain the kids! oh em gee. this party was phenomenal…my girls were in awe.

these princesses sang, entertained the girls from beginning to end! there was face painting, balloon animals, candy treats being passed out…the works! olive and ellie were in heaven! they loved this party so much i could not get them to leave!

honestly, though…i was having such a great time with the parents that no one was leaving! hahaha! our day, that day was already packed. the girls had their first ballet lessons, then we cruised on over to the party, and i had also committed to going to a neighbor’s house party that evening too {gahhhh!}! the girls and i ended up staying at the kid’s party until 8-8:30pm?? it had started at 3:30pm too! time just flew by and when it was time to go, i literally had to fight and wrestle my children out of the house. they were clinging to the house for dear life…as if i was the meanest mom ending their hours of fairytale fun. haha!

it was such a great time and i am feeling so blessed to know so many great parents already but feeling very, very grateful that olive has segue into this new chapter in her life and has made so many good friends already! she absolutely loves all the girls in her class and is getting to know the ones in the other k class as well!

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[i can’t with this girl olive…]

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[how adorable is everyone?!]

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[the birthday girl!]

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[how sweet are they?]

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[the adorable family!]

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[oh, even though she’s pouting…i can’t even with that face. so darn cute!]

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[iridescent pink tablecloths and princess wands for all the kids]

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[olive with princess sofia and rapunzel]

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[happy birthday girl!]

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[yayyyyy!]

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[the princesses putting a necklace on the birthday girl]

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[my happy princess belle]

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[party girls]

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[my semi grumpy elsa]

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[i love her excited face! too cute!]

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[princess castle bouncy house]

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[so happy]

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[full swing at that piñata]

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[whomp…get it girl! bring it down!]

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[giggling because she missed it. LOL]

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[so excited for candy!]

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xoxo

flower farm workshop

my friend dana emailed me a link to a flower farm workshop and, uhhhhh, before i even read it…i said, YES please!

that was a no brainer. i didn’t know where it was located. i didn’t know what time the event was. i didn’t even know how much it cost. YES please.

so, dana and i agreed to go and i asked dana if i could invite olivia. obvs, they are friends through me but i didn’t know if it was just a dana and me time she had in mind, specifically, or if she didn’t mind me inviting olivia…so that was another yes!

dana so graciously offered to drive and coordinated the logistics for us {thanks babe!}. they promptly arrived at 8:30am at our house and off we went! the drive there was, strangely, very long. well, it was a long trip distance wise but usually when you are heading somewhere, it tends to fly by because you are excited for your destination, etc. nope. the drive there was loooooong.

we finally arrived and our event began! it started with coffee and pastries…a chocolate croissant to be exact. yum! we were the second or third group to arrive and right when we did, a strew of cars were right behind us. the temperature was just right…a little cool and on it’s way to warming up a bit. we enjoyed the crisp air while eating our croissants and sipping our coffee, provided by the hosts. once everyone arrived, the tour began!

jeanie, the owner of brightflower farm, led us through the several acres of flowers she grows. she was so informative, diligent, and so darn good at what she does! truly a strong, smart, brilliant women who has a passion for flowers. she was full of knowledge and so well versed in every detail surrounding alllllll types of flowers. natch. she talked about bugs, watering, weather, seasons of growth, flower genus, when to do this and that to your plants, building greenhouses, land sustainability, suitability, and so much more! i was so amazed by her! i loved her passion, laid back ways, and how powerful she is!

once we walked through her magical fields of gold, we rounded back together and were directed by steven {ceo and co-owner of flowers for dreams} to come back out to the beds and cut our own, specific types, of flowers for our arrangements.

that was FUN! everyone scattered about the farm and circled back to the white tent with their prizes in hand and our assembly line of flower arranging began. we were able to pick from buckets of gorgeous flowers already precut for us! once we all had our vibrant blooms, steven walked us through on what to start with first in our arrangement, how to cut stems, what each plant was, how to take care of our flowers, and guided us on how to create depth and character with the placement of our flowers.

i loved watching everyone creating their own unique style of arrangements. everyone’s creativity and personality showed through each of the vases. as i was coming near the end of my picked floral pieces, i decided i needed more stems to fill it up and out, so i headed back up to the flower station and nabbed a few more flowers to create a fuller spread within my vase. then – ta da! i felt pleased and satisfied with my work of art!

once everyone was finished, they walked us through our homestyle lunch spread. they had hired a chef and jeanie’s husband {who was a culinary chef} took to the grill to put some finishing touches on a few delicious food items for our menu. we were served pulled pork, michael’s personalized homemade bbq sauce, rolls, grilled portobello, pickled beets, chickpea salad, coleslaw, and several homemade desserts. it was all soooooo good!

during lunch, we hung out, relaxed, reveled in our floral arrangement beauty, satisfied with our hard work. while we were eating and chatting, michael offered us to take home his farm grown red peppers and tomatoes right off the vines. how awesome was that?! so many people jumped on that one. once everyone’s bellies were full, the crowd started to thin, as the event was coming to an end.

as our trip home began, we were so happy to have experienced such a wonderful event {thanks dana for initiating it} and we were buzzing over the day’s memories. our ride home was quick! like i said above, our trip in was slow but our journey home was fun and exciting! before we knew it, dana was pulling up to our house and i was super sad to be parting ways with my girls! i had such a great time at the flower farm and i absolutely loved hanging out with my bestie babes all day long!

it was a much needed day of girl talk, relaxation, beautiful scenery, and delicious food. the best part of my day was the company! thanks dana and olivia for being so awesome…love you gals so much!

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[the cutest welcome sign]

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[ready to cut some flowers]

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[jeanie…the farm owner, walking us through a tour of her flower farm]

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via tandeminlove.com[my girls]

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[quite the amazing women! so educated, smart, tenacious, and cool]

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[loving our tour!]

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[everything was gorgeous]

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[chop chop]

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[i picked this one]

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[ready to arrange our flowers!]

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[a little inspiration on assembling my own vase of flowers]

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[a beautiful mess]

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[ta da! my flower arrangement!]

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[having fun and having the best girl time!]

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[our final products!]

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[i can’t get enough of my flowers. LOL]

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[i love these babes!]

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*****

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[my arrangement in our abode!]

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[looking beautiful on our dining room table!]

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xoxo

first day of school 2019

it was a double whammy! first day of school for both my girls!

it was in three parts…first – it was the meet the teachers and drop off supply day! there was also an ice cream social afterwards!

second was olive’s first day of kindergarten!

third was ellie’s first day of preschool 3!

and here we goooooooooo!

the whole week leading up to the first day of school was crazy. the girls were starting a new school, the communication from the school was so much more than olive’s previous school {who almost sent nothing in terms of that}. we literally were receiving multiple emails a day…so it was a lot to keep up with. they wanted you to enroll into their communication system…so that was an hour up set up and another hour of navigation to get acclimated. so, that was something i wasn’t used to! they needed school supplies, new clothes, new shoes, new backpacks, lunch box, thermos, food for lunches, complete school forms, sign up for hot lunch, sign up for milk, buy school uniforms {i have never returned and exchanged so much in my life to find the right fit for olive}, buy spirit wear, we needed to sign up for a class to volunteer at school, meet the teachers and drop off supplies, ice cream social, mass, coffee chat, and on and on and on. phew!

so, the first major event was meeting the teachers, checking out the classrooms, and dropping off supplies. i was hoping hc could come with me that day but he couldn’t. he had an important work event and could not make it. i spent the morning running around, getting errands done, and then we gathered up all our stuff to head out. i had to haul two huge bags of supplies with me, paperwork i needed to drop off, my camera {i never leave the house without it!} and of course, my two baby girls!

we arrived later than what i wanted but no matter. the girls helped me with bringing in the supplies. i could not fit two paper towel rolls into my bags and it was perfect because it was really all they could carry! so that worked out! we walked inside and met ellie’s teacher first. she was super sweet and we navigated around a little bit but i wanted to drop off olive’s supplies just to relieve my shoulders from the weight of it.

so, we moseyed on over to olive’s classroom {next door} and met her teacher. we explored the room, found her desk, put away her supplies, and chatted with her teacher for a bit. we then found her cubby and the girls played around the classroom before we headed back over to ellie’s classroom to spend some more time with her teacher and have her get familiar with her surroundings.

after 30 minutes or so, we decided to walk over to the school office to drop off more paperwork. i chatted with the school’s secretary and the marketing director for awhile before we skipped on over to the ice cream social over by the church. thank goodness it had stopped raining because they pulled the ice cream truck back up and mr. goodhumor was handing out ice cream bars again outside! so novel!

the girls were super excited and immediately honed in on the sponge bob ice cream bar! of course! they were so delighted and thoroughly enjoyed eating it. oh boy, it was easy for them but so hard for me! ellie kept screaming because since it was humid and warm out, her ice cream bar kept melting and dripping on her hand and she freeeeeeaked out each time! oh em gee. i had to wrap a paper towel around the stick but that still didn’t stop it. she was melting down as quickly as the ice cream bar was melting down. LOL

the ice cream social wasn’t so social for me and i tended to my needy kids and didn’t get to socialize with anyone! negate the purpose. ha! once they were done with their ice cream, i was like see ya! i wanted to gooooo! ellie had ice cream all over her shorts, shirt, and shoes. i had ice cream all over my hands and on my pants, and their lips and hands were stained. oh what fun! off to our abode we went to clean up!

scroll down for more of our eventful days to come!

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[a little back to school fun]

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[my sweet girls testing out their backpacks]

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* I C E  C R E A M  S O C I A L ~ S C H O O L  S U P P L Y  D R O P  O F F *

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[checking out her new classroom]

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[such a ham]

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[my silly girls. olive’s cubby]

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[her desk]

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[ellie checking out her new classroom]

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[her cubby]

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[she loooooooves phones]

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[she’s so sweet and sassy]

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[the girls were so excited over their sponge bob ice cream!]

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[i was like pose…and they do this…]

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[oh, eating this was a struggle!]

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* O L I V E’ S F I R S T  D A Y  O F  K I N D E R G A R T E N *

oh the anticipation of olive’s first day!

i was so excited! we woke up super early and got the girls ready to go. hc dropped ellie off at my dads as ellie’s first day wasn’t until the next day. olive had breakfast and then i got her ready in her oh so cute uniform! i know it’s novel right now but olive really loves wearing a uniform! thank goodness!

after hc dropped ellie off, he drove from my dad’s to the school as he had to go to work right afterwards. i was scrambling. i was still grabbing everything for olive’s first day and i still needed to snap a few pictures of her! oh i was running out of time! we finally jumped in the car and we hit so much traffic! i have taken that route so many times before at the exact same time and i have never had such a traffic jam! i called hc and he was struggling with it as well {he took a different route than me but it was bumper to bumper on some roads for him too and it’s all local!}.

i finally got there with plenty of time to spare. olive and i walked to the classroom as hc thought he wasn’t going to make it at all {before the bell}, which bummed me out! you could tell how full of excitement this day was. if was full of energy, pride, love, smiles, and tenuous emotions. olive does school like a boss. from preschool to kindergarten, she’s never had any trepidation. there was so excitement in the air when we arrived, it was almost tangible. there were kids sporting their new backpacks, proud parents escorting their children, and lots of knowing glances and smiles were exchanged as we passed by one another. we walked in {it was bustling!} and i navigated her to her cubby to put away her backpack, lunch box, and thermos.

afterwards, we made our way to her desk and met her new friend madison. while i was chatting with madison’s mom, hc came swooping in! he made it!!! we were so excited to see him! soon they rang the bell and the parents scrambled to wish their kids a great first day at school and gave last minute hugs. i hugged olive soooo hard and then it hit me. i wasn’t expecting to be emotional because olive and i have never cried over school the past two years but it hit me hard. i burst into tears. a new school, new friends, a full day of learning…it was all so overwhelming for ME! i did my best to buck up and walk out there like champ, albeit crying. i couldn’t believe my baby is in kindergarten and growing up! so many big girl things happening, my heart couldn’t take it!

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[back to school breakfast]

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[school lunches]

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[picking up olive from her first day of school]

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[they’re like maaaaaa, stop with the pictures]

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[walking hand in hand with her sister, like a boss and so happy]

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* E L L I E’ S  F I R S T  D A Y  O F  P R E S C H O O L *

it was really nice olive had her first day of school and then the next day, ellie had her first day of preschool. for me, since it was a new school, it was great we could have both girls experience their first days separately. i felt that they were huge milestones and it was nice to do it that way.

we got the babes up and ready and i made sure i gave myself enough time to snap some pics of miss ellie, as i scrambled with olive. we hit the road and excitedly walked our way to school. we dropped olive off first {she was like, ‘bye, see ya’ and ran off} and we then walked ellie over to her preschool class. we waited outside with all the happy parents and anxious kiddos, then the door then opened up and we all filed inside. we found ellie’s cubby, put her backpack away and then found her laminated name on the table and put it inside the basket to account for her attendance.

the teacher asked us to play table games with the kids and then after 10 minutes of that, we were asked to leave. here we go! i turned around and hc is already out the door, leaving me with ellie. i told her i was leaving and she started saying, “no, no. no kiki. hug meeee! hug meeee!”, so i picked her up. i walked her over to the rug area where her teacher had started playing music and was dancing to distract the kids. i coaxed ellie into dancing but that wasn’t working. she started to cry and there were 4 or 5 other kids crying as well. just then, the principle came in to visit the class. miss debbie, the teacher, yelled out to the principle to lock or watch the door. as i put ellie down and started running towards the door, a kid was literally running next to me trying to escape. the principle caught him and then grabbed another kid headed for the exit while i snuck out the door, leaving the teacher to dance and rally the kids, many kids screaming and crying and the principle trying to catch kids from running out the door. it was hilarious! a total circus.

it took ellie 3 days of school to finally not cry when i left her. now she is a champ and looooooves it!

well that sums up their first days of school. i would say success! i can’t believe my girls are getting so big and experiencing these big milestones. gah! i am so proud and excited for their growth and learning this year!

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[first day of pre-school]

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[she’s a doll]

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[she’s like f you ma. making me take all these pics]

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[table games]

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[here she comes! after her first day!]

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[such a sweet face]

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[showing off her sticker!]

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xoxo

retro on roscoe

it was a beautiful day out, we had nothing planned but i’m always about taking advantage of a lovely day!

i am always the one game for plans in the city. the hubs…not so much. he does love the city but he doesn’t love it as much as i do. when we got married, i insisted that we lived in chicago first {as i knew we would eventually make the transition to the ‘burbs}, when we were looking to buy, i was steadfast about staying in the city {but caved because life wasn’t about me anymore…it was about our family}, and so the only thing i can hold onto, anymore, is whenever we have a chance to do something on our own terms, i love being in the city!

yes, a majority of my friends are still in the city {so we tend to go there when we commit to plans} but how can you not take advantage of such a great city so close by?? hc did a great job looking up some fun, kid friendly events to go to and we stumbled upon retro on roscoe and it peaked our interest. it was super kid friendly event. they had a large section of the fest filled with kiddie games and a whole area filled with bouncy houses! a kid’s dream come true!

we parked super close {score!} and once inside the festival…we grabbed a beer and started exploring. once we neared the kiddie section, we were done for. the girls. did. not. want. to. leave. hc and i were famished and needed to grab something to eat but olive and ellie almost had a meltdown that we were leaving the bouncy area! oh em gee. like mama needed to eat or she was going to pass out!

i promised olive and ellie that we would return once we finished eating something but that was so unconvincing to her. the entire time we were trying to enjoy our super greasy festival food, olive kept on nagging us on when we were going to go back. i almost lost it and told her we wouldn’t go back if she asked us one. more. time. and i mean it!

on top of that, ellie woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning {funny…she can only get out one side, as the other side is the wall. LOL}. baby girl was so mooooooody and slightly mean and very stubborn. gahhhh! she pretty much cried and whined from the moment we arrived and almost the whole time we were there. the only time she didn’t was when we were in the bouncy house area. plus, she insisted that we carry her the whole way around the festival. uh, scuse me baby girl…i see two capable chubby legs of yours that can walk. we don’t need to hold you for the two hours we were there. yeahhhhh, she didn’t like that answer and proceeded to whine and cry if we didn’t pick her up. ughhhhhh!

despite the kids whining, crying, pouting, and lack of joy in parts of our adventure, it really was a good afternoon. hahahha! i know you don’t believe me but truly, hc and i had fun hanging out together, we really enjoyed our time there, together as a family, and we were happy we experienced the festival and we did something fun and different!

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[this one was in a MOOD that afternoon and not a good one. eep!]

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[cutest necklace by little blue olive + hooray everyday]

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[loving her hair style]

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[jumpy houses]

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[there were so many jumpy houses, the girls had to try them alllllll]

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[just us parents standing around while our kids explored]

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[right after her meltdown…sweet face ]

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[ellie refused to take a picture….thennnnn….]

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[ellie was, again, like no…i don’t want to take a picture]

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xoxo

never enough zoo time

when you buy membership to somewhere…you use it when you can!

we love having a family membership to the brookfield zoo! there are year round activities to do and the kids just plain love it. my favorite time to go is when it’s about 70 ish degrees. i do not like walking around when it’s so darn hot outside and that temperature is the perfect zoo day kind of weather.

it was an impromptu move to go. we didn’t have anything planned and my sister was off of work that day, so we thought…why not go to the zoo? it was a beautiful day out and, of course, the girls would love it.

it was a pinch to get there and parking was easy. we started exploring and decided to go to tropic world first {of course, not without seeing all the animals along the way!}. the monkeys were front and center and very active and fun to watch. we stayed there for awhile, as we had front row views of the cute creatures doing their thing…like nursing, scratching, and hanging around. LOL

when you go anywhere with little kids, it typically takes foooooooooreverrrrrrr to get to one place to the next. we love going to the zoo but we can never ever make it very far! every time we’ve gone, we’ve had intentions of seeing their lego exhibit and that’s been a failure each time. hahaha!

so, we were there for a couple hours and only made it though a corner of the zoo! gah! we spend a gazillion minutes at tropic world, a gazillion minutes at the play area, a gazillion minutes getting their face painted, then it was time to go home. bahahhaha!

speaking of face painting, the girls wanted to get their face done {ohmergawd…it costs a fortune at the zoo. like seriously…so much moolah and it washes off the face in two seconds}. this was ellie’s first time ever getting her face painted! what a moment! she has always resisted in fear before this. so, i was so excited she was game on! of course she chose the most colorful and detailed design. LOL she was so stinking cute while she was getting her face painted! proof in pictures below!

we had so much fun at the zoo. our on the fly decision of going was a great one! it was a perfect day, we spent the right amount of time there, and had so much fun the rest of the day {we did dinner at shake shack, shopped at the mall, and hit up target on our way home! yay!}.

cheers to having fun sisters who make amazing aunties! built in besties and PIC!

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[look at miss extra olive]

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[i love her]

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[children and water…always a fascination]

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[literally monkey see, monkey do with these two!

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[she wanted this monkey sooooooo bad]

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[getting her face painted for the first time ever! she was so cute scrunching her eyes shut]

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[she’s sooooo darn cute]

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[so darn cute]

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xoxo

sunny fun day

it was a sunny day and we couldn’t wait to get out! we headed to oakbrook center with my sister to grab some lunch and look around. we beelined for table at crate, as thuy hadn’t eaten there and i really enjoyed my prior experience.

it was such a beautiful day! we sat outside, facing the fountain and enjoyed our meals. as we were finishing up the girls wanted to play by the fountain and i let them, as they were in eyesight from our table.

we basically lounged around, relaxed, walked the mall and the girls had fun wherever we went! i thought jeni’s ice cream was open but i was wrong! it wasn’t open yet and we were  a bit bummed because we were looking forward to getting some yummy treats there! instead, we hopped on over to lolli and pops for some sweet treats and decided to walk towards nordstrom on our way out to the car.

uhhhhh, that was a big mistake! we walked by top shop and i couldn’t stop shopping! i found so many good things and we ended up being up there for 45 minutes or so. then, i brilliantly decided to go to the kid’s shoe department and buy the girls some new shoes. the problem here was that i needed to meet hc and grace for dinner!!! we were still shopping for the girl’s shoes when i should have been at the meeting place! LOL terrible! we rushed though our purchase and the worst part about us being late??? we still had to drive thuy home to our house so she could get her car!!! arghhhhhh!

well, the good news and not so good news was the wait for the restaurant that we wanted to eat at had a very long wait, so that was our saving grace! we sped home, dropped thuy off, the girls took a bathroom break, we freshened up, and zoomed back to downtown dg to meet hc and grace for dinner! phew!

all in all, it was a fabulous day and evening! we had such a great afternoon with my sister and topped it off with a lovely dinner with our family. cheers to sunny days off!

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[the coolest stairs]

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[posin’]

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[leave it to my girls to organize the chess board]

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[coloring]

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[love our view while eating]

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[salmon]

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[at nordstrom]

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xoxo

kt’s baby shower

i was excited to attend kt’s baby shower! her sisters hosted the event at aurelio’s pizza place in naperville.

the original date was back in june but since the girls {peyton and harper} were born early {26 weeks}, they postponed the shower. now that baby harper was getting bigger, stronger, and healthier, kt’s sisters, bridget and colleen, rescheduled the shower to august and i couldn’t wait to go!

once we arrived, we were greeted by kt. she looked so fabulous in her hot pink jumpsuit! the girls hung around with me for a bit, while i chatted with kt, until someone suggested that they could decorate a onesie for baby harper. their ears perked up and off they went. i grabbed a few onesies for the girls and they got to work! they had so much fun decorating them. i was so impressed by all the girls there who were drawing, they were all so talented! every single onesie was a true work of art!

colleen and bridget did such a great job with the shower. the little details were super cute and francie had brought the festive cake for the party! the shower was perfect and so much fun!

i had a great time mingling with the guests…i love bobby’s mom terri. she’s a sweetheart and we get along so well! of course, i love kt’s mom francie..she’s so darn sweet and loving. i also caught up with kt’s sisters, who are the best {love them!} and overall, it was so fun for the girls and me! drinks were constantly flowing, the girls ate pizza and fries and couldn’t wait to devour the cupcakes!

after food and desserts, we visited some more with the other guests. ellie was having so much fun with colleen and kt! they were being silly to each other and it was too cute to watch!

after a few hours, i was beat. yes…tired! kt invited us over, after the shower but i regretfully declined. my lack of sleep all week was kicking me down! we said our goodbyes and i love you’s to all the beautiful people and went on our merry way home.

kt – you are a tower of strength…your baby girl harper takes right after you! you are so sweet, a true gem, a great friend, and an absolutely genuine person. harper is so lucky to have you as her mama, we are so lucky to have harper in our lives, and so blessed to have had peyton with us earthside for five weeks.

God bless you and your family and your little guardian angel peyton, who will forever be by your side.

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[tiny and mighty]

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[olive decorating onesies for baby harper]

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[ellie so proud of her decorated onesie]

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[my sweet babe]

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[loving this gal here in the pink]

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[lily’s sweet creation..she loves pigs!]

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[proud, sweet girl]

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[susie with caoimhe]

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[when i take pictures, she loves to jump in front of the camera]

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[the sweet cake from francie]

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[kt’s sister colleen and friend]

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[olive’s creation]

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[she’s so sweet. i love her]

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[ellie popping in front of the camera – again]

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[bridget and susie and caoimhe]

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[olive was so excited to show everyone her shirt…especially to grammy francie]

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[ellie being super silly]

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[thinking she’s so funny!]

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[kt, terri, and amy]

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[coll, kt, and bridget]

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xoxo

good friends from seattle

it was becky’s birthday and i text her to wish her a happy one when she text me back to say that she was coming into town in a couple weeks! yayyyyyyyy!

honestly, we see each other once a year because i rely heavily on her coming home for christmas. the last two years, though, she’s either gone to cali or nyc for christmas and we were super duper sad about it.

well, they were coming into town {the whole an clan was meeting up!} and we had to see them! it was all last minute and i was hoping i could coordinate a whole get together with my sisters too but that idea wasn’t in the cards. we threw dates around and it was slim pickings. the only day open for the both of us was monday and by george it was going to happen no matter what!

we decided to order food in and relax, catch up and just be. they arrived promptly and the festivities began! oh, it was soooooo damn joyous to see them! they are such good people and we love them so much! ruby and wren joined right in with the girls and disappeared immediately.

we laughed, we drank, we ate, we giggled, we shared story after story. the boys hung out. the girls hung out. we hung out all together. the kids put on several plays for us adults and played dress up to their heart’s content.

the night rolled on and time flew by way too fast. we were having too much fun! we were super bummed we had to wrap things up as this was a regular evening for us with a regular next day. unfortunately, we were not on vacation mode like the carlsons. LOL we wish!

we hesitantly said our goodbyes, gave big hugs, and wished them a fabulous rest of their time here. our evening was perfect. we had so much fun catching up and being together. i love it when longtime friends can get together after years and it feels the same but not the same. ya know what i mean?!

we love you becky, james, ruby, and wren! we hope our time together next is not too long in-between.

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[me and b]

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[james and hc]

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[sweet babes playing dress up]

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[such a sweet yummy cake]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[they were all so darling together]

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[sundae time]

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xoxo