About tandem in love

this is about us, our love, our life, happy things, maybe sad things (because they happen), the wonderful people in our lives that help make the world go round. life truly is beautiful and it should be celebrated + shared.

Valentine’s Day ’21

every year, we usually have a very small party with just the fam aaaannd this year was no different! we usually invite my sisters, brother, and mom and dad to come by to celebrate vday in the most festive way possible.

this year it was about breakable chocolate hearts and gifts galore. we always think we’re getting something small for the kids but we end up giving them so much stuff it’s kind of ridiculous. LOL funny but not funny. heh.

the big trend this year for valentine’s day were breakable hearts. the idea was big for christmas in a chocolate bomb version. everyone was making them and no one could get them as they were selling out so fast! so, i connected with a local girl who made them and got four breakable chocolate hearts filled with goodies for each kiddo!

we did our usual dinner of heart pizza but this year, instead of making them, we purchased heart pizzas through our school’s fundraiser. win win! the kids played, the adults chatted and ate as we whipped together an easy dinner for everyone.

once we were done eating, we decided to have the kids break the hearts. it was hilarious! they pounded and pounded on the hearts but no one could break them. LOL the only person making progress was olive! she cracked it and then they realized it was bottomless so all efforts ceased and they flipped their hearts to find their prizes. after they had fun with the hearts, we all gave the kids their presents and it felt like it was christmas day. LOL we really do think we’re keeping it simple when it never is.

as usual, it was a fun valentine’s day for us and the kids!

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a little love decor in olive’s room
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olive’s bookshelves
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ellie’s shelf
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their little kitchen in the play room
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sweet olive
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chocolate breakable hearts
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table setting
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painting their cookies
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they’re so cute
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tic tac toe cookie game
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heart pizza
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the kids in America
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tin of goodies

wake n’ bacon

i’d heard about a cool breakfast restaurant in chicago and had to check it out! who doesn’t like exploring new places and finding new eateries?! it’s what makes this world go round! friends, family, eating and drinking, repeat.

i discovered this restaurant through a friend who posted about it on the gram. it looked super cool and like a fun place to eat at. so, hc and i planned a day to go there and explore. it was obviously very cold but that didn’t stop us! we dressed in our best valentine-ish outfits and enjoyed a brunch out! mind you, this was our first time venturing out since the second covid lock down from the holidazes!

when we walked in, there was a cool mirror that took your photos, that was hooked up to a printer! how cool is that?! we snapped a few pics, printed a few and emailed them to our addresses! the girls really really enjoyed doing that. thank goodness there wasn’t anyone waiting behind us as they kept on wanting to take pictures and print them. LOL

once we were satisfied with our posing and picture quantity, we traipsed over to the counter to order our food. it’s a place where you order your food, then sit down, and they bring it to your table via number.

another cool factor of this restaurant is the ceiling. they installed all these cool flowers to hand down from the ceiling, giving it the best fairytale vibe. one more cool thing, after you print a picture, you can post it up on their wall and and write or draw something fun! that was a definite winner with my artistic little girls.

the food here was yummy and so were the drinks. the girls loved the restaurant and how cool it was. hc wasn’t the biggest fan as he was expecting a full service restaurant…pshhhh, overall it was still fun and good!

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my sweet babes
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the cool ceiling
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ordering at the cool counter
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waiting for our order to arrive
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chicken and waffles
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bagel sandwich
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you can take pictures and write on the wall!!!
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valentine’s day crafts ’21

when it’s the holidays, you’ve got to do a craft, non?! well at least in this household you do! january is such a long month and then, typically, valentine’s day sneaks up on you and then it’s over! so i always try to be proactive and get my ducks in a row to get some crafts ready and lead into the holiday with some fun stuff under our belt! i’d rather be that way then rush or not do anything! who’s with me?!

one of the crafts i concocted was the infamous toilet paper roll craft! endless possibilities and ohh so much fun! the best part about this? i have alllllllll the supplies at home and i don’t need to purchase anything! yeahhhhhhhh! perks of being a craft hoarder. LOL

typically olive is SO into crafting and ellie is not interested but for the first time, ellie wanted to create and not just one but two! she didn’t lose interest within a few minutes and was 100% engaged in creating her little creatures. be still my heart!

in typical fashion, olive created and created and created until all the toilet paper rolls were gone and by golly, she did a marvelous job! they painted, glued, drew, and cut their way to the finish. this sweet girl also asked me if she could give away each craft to a friend as a valentine’s day gift. she’s so sweet and thoughtful!

well, there you have it! one of our fun little crafts to get us in the mood for valentine’s day!

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the girls showing off their awesome creations
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the supplies
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the girls LOVED using the paint pens. they were so easy and less messy
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the sweetest smile…love her so much!
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she’s full of focus! i love her determination
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so proud of her butterflies!
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how adorable are olive’s masterpieces?!

snow day ’21

the first BIG snow happened at the end of january.

we had a really quiet and warm winter. and with that, you knew something big was going to happen! then it snowed and the first accumulation was about 9-12 inches. then it kept on snowing and snowing and snowing. it pretty much snowed every day for almost three weeks and the snow banks kept getting higher and higher.

i was super amazed at how much it snowed. it really did feel like it was never going to stop. so many people were annoyed at the snow but i found the beauty in it. and honestly, it doesn’t snow forever, so why not appreciate it while it’s here? also, it’s not winter forever and the changing of the seasons is what makes each chapter so delightful.

so with that, the girls were sooooo excited to play outside! unfortunately the first big snowfall was not snowman worthy but a week later, it was the perfect recipe to build one {see picture below!}!

first things first, we played outside, we pulled sleds, and we threw snowballs! i knew the big snow was coming so a week or two before, i ran out to target and bought sleds. i learned my lesson last year when we were trapped at home and the girls asked me if they could go sledding and here i was empty handed with no sleds. not this year!

we were having a blast but being outside in the snow and cold does reach it’s limits, so we called it quits and came inside. only one person was not having it. ellie. she was super duper upset and gave us all the cutest pout face you ever did see. {see the last picture}

sorry baby ellie! all in all, the first big snow day was a success! the ground was covered in fluffy white snow, it was a winter wonderland, everyone had fun, and now hot cocoa for the girls was next in line!

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snowball fight!
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snow much snow!
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snow angel
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trying to throw snowballs at everyone
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getting bombed by dada!
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the best smiles and giggles
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sweet girl after playing outside
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she was sooooo mad at us for making her come in and wanted to stay outside!
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valentine’s day class cards ’21

every year, i always have the girls create valentine’s day cards for their class. typically i will take a photograph and do something creatively but this year i was like…nope. let’s just put together some bags and call it a day. LOL mama ain’t got time for that shiznit.

i gathered all the supplies and the girls assembled their bags with determination and delight! i’m a do it super early kind of gal, like check check check it off the list and never look back! so we made these in early january. yup, you read that right. i mean, target already had everything on the shelves, so why not? the early bird gets the worm…although that’s a bad analogy cause i love sleeping in and miss the morning life cause i’d rather sleep. but you get me right?! hahaha!

so here we are, making valentine’s day cards in january cause honestly…this holiday creeps up on you much faster than you realize and you have to save any spare time for creative treats, food, and crafts!

each bag contained a valentine’s day card, eraser, bubbles, stickers, tattoo, and candy! so extra but if you know me…it comes with the territory! the girls didn’t do mailboxes this year…boo! that’s a whole other project – which olive is all about, so i was a bit sad we didn’t get to create one! ellie is only in preschool this year, so with school opening up next year, both girls will get to make vday mailboxes and that will be so much fun!

side note: i know this post is so flippin’ delayed! i couldn’t explain to you why i stopped posting regularly but here’s to hoping that slump has gone away and i get back to my regularly scheduled program!

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ready to make some cards for their friends!
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goodies for the treat bags
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how adorable is this?
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working hard on her valentine’s
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she did a great job!
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jojo’s shake bar

we heard so much about jojo’s shake bar, we had to give it a try!

it was a few days after new year’s and we decided to head to the city for some fun! olive received some gifts that wasn’t just right for her american girl doll and we headed downtown to exchange a few pieces and just. get. out.

obviously, thanksgiving and christmas has been really low key and we hadn’t seen much of anyone and just wanted to go somewhere and walk around and act like socializing human beings. LOL

we first hit up american girl place and olive looked around and around and around at allllllll the things and could not make a decision on what she wanted to exchange her gifts for. after perusing the shelves and aisles for a bit, she finally settled on a few things for her doll and we were on our merry way to grab some shakes from jojo’s!

this was a last minute excursion as we did not plan to hit up this place for lunch or anything of that sort…just grabbing their yummy shakes. although, i do want to eventually make reservations to eat there and just experience the madness it has to offer.

we lucked out! when we walked up to the restaurant, there were only three people waiting in line! yes! as we waited to go inside and order…the line grew tremendously long and ij was super happy we walked up when we did. it wasn’t freezing out but not warm and when you have two little kids, you need time on your side! LOL

we ordered, we conquered and we ate! it was so good! i truly enjoyed the shakes! the girls were amazed and so excited to have the most sugariffic shakes in their lives! i highly recommend jojo’s. it was so good and definitely a fun experience for the kiddos!

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ready to try an amazing shake!
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we ventured to the american girl doll place to trade in a few christmas items before our jojo’s excursion
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the menu
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our shakes being delivered!
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nye ’20

covid. covid. covid.

everything revolved around how to celebrate with covid literally in the air. LOL

we decided to keep our guests to the people we hung out with at christmas – family. unfortunately my parents didn’t come over because it was too cold and too much for them but that’s ok!

for new year’s we like to make heavy apps and have yummy drinks! i created a photo booth, like i do every year and try to make it festive inside. i also love making little favor boxes for the kids! i usually fill them with candy, chocolates, glow sticks, poppers, noise makers, and hats. sometimes they get crackers too!

my sister kim made a delicious shrimp and dip and chicken buffalo dip. thuy made two yummy quiches. i made brie and cranberry tarts, a charcuterie board, and jalapeño poppers. i didn’t think we would have enough food and we had more than enough! we were stuffed and it was alllllll soooooo delicious!

we usually have everyone over late, since ringing in the new year feels like an eternity away and we try not to fall asleep by midnight! LOL the strange part about this year was how we made it to midnight. every year, we can barely make it to new york’s ball drop. it’s hard. but this year, we were more energized than usual and the kids stayed up wayyyyy past midnight. we all rang in the real {time} new year’s together and that was awesome!

there were less people this year and it was very relaxing…plus after the year we had…we were so ready to say hello to 2021!

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new year’s eve cocktails
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i wrote recipes for drinks on our bar paper
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new year’s eve bar
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table centerpiece
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new year’s eve bar
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cake by strictly sugar
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thuy and reagan
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brie and cranberry tarts
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thuy and kim
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my quick charcuterie board
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photo booth spot
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playing downstairs in the playroom
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he’s so sweet to her!
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our best family photo!
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ma seours
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opening their favor boxes
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new year’s eve crackers
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wearing the crown from her cracker
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happy new year! they made it to midnight!
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new year’s day!
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christmas ’20

christmas was in question, just like every holiday this year. for thanksgiving, we all spent it with our nuclear family but for christmas…we thought, let’s do this.

it went back and forth, whether or not we were going to have it at our house or my parent’s house. we weren’t sure if we wanted to have all that commotion over at my parent’s since they were recovering from covid and my dad was still very weak and exhausted. my mom insisted that it would be best to have it there because it would allow my dad to rest in the comfort of his own home versus our house. so, we settled on my parent’s house!

we did our usual. my sister kim cooked most of the meal and we brought ancillary items. LOL i brought desserts and thuy brought…oh my gosh. i don’t remember what she brought…a salad? she was going to make an apple cobbler but there were a lot of desserts, she last minute nixed it.

i chuckle at the fact that we were determined to start early and end early. bahhhahahaha. nope. we all said we would meet at my parent’s around 2pm. that turned into 3pm. then 4pm. we were going to eat around 5 or 6pm and that turned into our usual 8pm. doh! plus, dan and agata typically celebrate with her family first and they don’t usually get over to mom and dad’s until 7pm…so in the end. it was allllll the same. LOL

we nibbled on a charcuterie board, drank wine, the kids played, assembled gingerbread houses and trees, and when we sat down for dinner, my dad said a prayer. like every year, we cleaned up, readied desserts and opened gifts upstairs! the kids were so excited! this was the first year ellie was so into it. last year she just wandered around but this year she was like, where are my gifts. LOL she kept saying, ‘i don’t see my name!’ as she would look for presents addressed to her.

and of course, we took our annual pj photos with everyone! tashina and huy couldn’t be with us {so sad!} but we were able to FaceTime them and include them in the picture like always! so perfect!

more on christmas morning, my parent’s 50th anniversary and christmas day down below!

C H R I S T M A S E V E

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christmas balloons and my parent’s 50th anniversary balloon
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sweet girl watching some a christmas movie
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decorating a gingerbread tree
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pandemic tree 2020
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hc brought his own bar to my parent’s house
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they are so cute!
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surveying the scene
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the cutest cousins
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the best crew
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excitedly opening gifts
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bennett showing off his gift
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i love the way she’s looking at him
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just physically missing huy and tashina!

while celebrating christmas eve, we incorporated my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary! isn’t that amazing?! we got them a cake and balloons to celebrate the special occasion!

5 0 T H A N N I V E R S A R Y

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we were so tired christmas eve, i forgot to get the girls to put out cookies and carrots for santa and his reindeers! i did it myself but bummed they didn’t experience it with me! then we put them to bed and i forgot to remind olive to wake me up before she goes downstairs. another fail!

so – early christmas morning, i wake up to olive not in bed! ugh!! darn it! i missed her surprised face when she saw santa’s gifts!!!! i had to drag ellie out of bed, what a sleepy head, and go find olive. she was so excited over what santa had brought!

they went through their stockings and we opened up all the gifts from us. olive was besides herself at the huge LOL house santa dropped off. once all the presents were opened and cleaned up, we jumped on breakfast. hearty for us and cinnamon rolls and sprinkles for the girls!

it was a special morning. it was slow, calm, heartwarming and sweet. oh how i enjoy these moments with my babes. their sweetness, innocence, appreciation, and love for everything makes my heart melt.

C H R I S T M A S M O R N I N G

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santa came! he ate his cookies and the reindeer ate their carrots
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checking out their stockings
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the sweetest smile
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going through her goodies
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later that day, we usually host christmas day for hc’s side of the family but obviously with covid, that was not happening. instead, we had his sister and mom over. hc cooked ham and bunch of other delicious sides. he always does such a great job creating the menu and working hard to make it wonderful.

we hung out, chillaxed, drank, ate, conversed and reveled in the evening’s calm and brightness of christmas. after dinner, i served desserts {cookies, peppermint bark, cake} and we opened presents.

what i have loved about being in this season of covid is the intimacy, quietness, and slowness of everything. it’s nice to not be rushed and overwhelmed with all the craziness that life was. it’s sweet, calm, and full of depth. a year that no one wanted but we all figured it out.

C H R I S T M A S D A Y

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christmas cookies from toni’s patisserie

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bûche de noël
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last minute dinner tablscape
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christmas shenanigans

christmastime is always full of fun.

we end up doing all sorts of fun activities and it just adds so much joy to the season!

some people might feel overwhelmed at the prospect of keeping up with all the joy, sparkle, and fun of the season but i find that being busy and on the go such a part of the season. don’t get me wrong…i love having slow days and catch up days and days where you don’t have a million places to be but i also try to be smart, efficient, and effective with my time and learn to say no when it’s too much.

with that said, here are a few snippets of some of the fun we had this past december!

G I N G E R B R E A D H O U S E

every year we create a gingerbread house. olive loves to decorate it and ellie likes to eat all the candies. LOL next year, i am going to try to create my own from scratch. well not from scratch scratch but i saw, this past season, a house made from graham crackers and all the fun trimmings and i think i might try that next year! i’ve gotten the same house for olive a couple years in a row and i am hoping to find a different one for her to make next year!

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gingerbread trimmings
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this pretty much sums up all our projects. olive working hard and ellie watching and eating candy. LOL
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olive very cautiously putting on the candies
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my sweeties
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S A N T A

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in awe over mr. and mrs. claus
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I always say 4 is the magic number when it comes to santa!
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the sweetest letter that olive wrote to santa. i asked her what she wanted from santa and she said this. be still my heart.

D R I V E I N T H E A T R E

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Z O O L I G H T S

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a fun rainbow globe of lights
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having fun in the rainbow globe of lights
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having a blast with val
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C O O K I E D E C O R A T I N G

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excited to decorate!
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R A N D O M S H E N A N I G A N S

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painting animlas
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she cracks me up. showing off to me how focused she is.
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ellie working hard on her gorilla
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home baked cookies for the neighbors
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home from school, ugly sweater day, and ready for winter break!
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xoxo

decorating the tree

once thanksgiving is over, we go all out for christmas! i know this year has been hard for a lot of people and many people decorated earlier than usual but hc and i still chose to wait until after thanksgiving. that poor holiday…no one really gives it a chance!

we always kick off our decorating weekend by pulling everything out and getting the tree done! the girls get so excited over it! they love going through all the ornaments. we blast holiday music, grab some drinks and get as much as we can done! sometimes we overwhelm ourselves. we have concluded that we have accumulate a lot more decor over the years, we can’t just nail it in one day {years prior…we used to get it done in one day}. we literally have to decorate over the weekend. oh em gee. so much work! but honestly, it’s worth it…it turns out so pretty!

with it now taking so much longer to decorate, i might change my tune and start decorating before thanksgiving! LOL it’s too stressful to do it all of black friday weekend! there’s just too much going then. oh, we shall see.

it just gets more magical as the girls get a little bit older. they are just more aware and more in awe and so so excited over christmas. ohhhhhh, i don’t know how i will handle it when they lose their innocence and it’s not as fun and exciting as it is now! i hope not…i hope they never lose their sense of wonder! i know it’ll be a slow progression but my heart aches at that thought right now.

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decorating the tree
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they were so excited for the ornaments!
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such a doll. she was excited to find this ornament
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trimming the tree
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attempting to put the star on the tree
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she found the santa hat and loved it!
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advent calendar
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i can’t with their sweet faces
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eating her delicious chocolate from the advent calendar
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xoxo