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.

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…]

via tandeminlove.com[excited for her ice cream bar]

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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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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

sweet harper

i was talking to kt about visiting harper, again, in the hospital. we planned for a wednesday and committed to that but then kt got news that harper was going to go home that sunday!!!! oh my gosh!!! i was sooooo excited.

so that meant we would get to visit them at home!!!! such amazing news and i was so proud of harper for making such great progress! she was 1 lb 15 oz {26 weeks} when she was born and within 2.5 months, shot up to 5 lbs 8 oz! wowza! everything fell into place…so much needs to be checked off before a preemie can go home and harper knocked it all out of the ballpark. well done cutie! well done!

ellie was sick, so i had to drop her off at my dad’s house. i was bummed i couldn’t bring her to meet harper but olive was so stinkin’ excited! she looooooves babies and could not wait to see her! she said the cutest thing to me that day. she asked if the baby was still inside and i said no, she’s outside! you can hold her and olive started screaming, “yay! yay! i’m so excited to see the baby!”. how sweet is she??

our morning was a bit nuts with us trying to get ready and out of the house. since ellie was sick…it was so hard doing anything in a timely manner. the moment we woke up, ellie needed care almost every minute. poor babe! her nose was running NONstop and she was coughing, tired, sneezing, and just miserable. i did our usual morning routine and while ellie was on the couch watching t.v. and drinking her milk, i was getting olive up, i heard her coughing and coughing. then i heard her crying and screaming. i ran out to the living room to see what was the matter and she had thrown up on the couch! ughhhhhhhh!

that just snowballed into us getting ready at 10 am to us not walking out of the house until 1 pm. yes…it took us 3 hours to get out of the house. i think that was a record. i had to strip the couch, do laundry, clean up ellie, get olive up, pack a lunch for olive, pack a lunch for ellie, get both girls ready, wipe ellie’s nose 1 million times, feed them breakfast, pack their bags, grab the laundry, put it away, reset the couch, get myself ready on top of attending to ellie every minute. i would be in the bathroom getting ready, run out, wipe her nose, and repeat that 100 times. i can usually get ready in 20 minutes or less but that day, it took me 45 minutes. yikes! i packed the girls stuff up, got them in the car, drove to my dad’s house, dropped off ellie, and of course i had to grab a coffee, THEN olive and i were finally on our way. oh em geeeeeeeee. what a debacle of a morning.

we finally made it to kt and bobby’s place. kt’s mom and sister colleen were already there, and a couple hours later, bobby came home from work. baby harper was soooooo darn tiny and oh so cute! olive was so happy to see her! a few minutes after we arrived, francie and olive snuck away and sat together on the couch. francie got olive to hold the baby and it was precious to see those two together!

i offered to bring lunch but kt said they were good! this bad ass mama cooked up some mac n cheese for the kiddos and then proceeded to make us shrimp tacos and rice! whaaaaaa?? so good!

we all just sat and chatted and had a great relaxing time while we all took turns to hold miss harper. i also gave kt and bobby the baby shower gift early. i’m going to the shower this week but since harper came home early…i knew they would need some of this stuff! i was so excited to give them our ergo 360, the boon lawn drying rack, drying branch, humidifier, crib sheet, bath towels, wash cloths, whale rinser, thermometer, nose frida, and burp cloths. she started using most of it right away! yay!

time literally flew by! before i knew it, it was 3 hours later and we needed to go! i had to get ellie from my dad’s and head home. olive and i had such a wonderful time visiting kt, bobby, and miss harper!

we are so happy you are home baby girl, where you belong. you are a tower of strength and so very, very loved. may your journey ahead be filled with joy, health, love, and growth. we love you so much!

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[olive and sweet harper]

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[grammy francie, olive, and harper]

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[sisters! kt and colleen]

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[i looooooove this picture! look how adoring everyone is to miss harper]

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[harper’s faces crack me up! she’s so darn noisy too! all so cute!]

xoxo

goldfish swim school

so last year, we decided to get the girls into swim lessons. yes, maybe to some, a bit late in the game but i think it’s never too late! you just gotta do what is right for you and the kiddos. {olive was 4 and ellie was 2} well, last year, ellie and swim lessons were like oil and water and we totally caved in and didn’t make her do it because she didn’t like it. olive didn’t love it but she did it. we did private lessons at our private pool and it was alright. i felt that it was hard to schedule lessons that worked for both parties and sometimes the weather wasn’t on our side, so that stymied her progress.

well this year, we enrolled the girls into goldfish swim school and we recently had their first lesson there. hc and i were both nervous over ellie because of the run for our money she gave us last year. i touch based with the general manager about ellie and even talked to the deck supervisor about her having a possible meltdown during her lesson.

they were both so reassuring and understanding. they told me to not worry and to keep ellie at it. they said they deal with crying children all the time. obviously, not their first rodeo but it was so nice to hear those supportive words, it’s exactly what anxious parents need to hear!

so, ellie’s first lesson went something like this. screaming, crying, shrieking, clawing, desperation, terror…just a few descriptive words of her thirty minute session. total props to her swim instructor for being so patient and sweet with her. we waved to ellie from behind the glass wall, feeling a little helpless and knowing that she needed to go through the ‘lesson’ and get comfortable with this. i didn’t take one photo of her during the this, as i tried to stay as far away as possible to not interfere or cause her to become more upset.

olive, on the other hand, did soooo well! she loved it! she was so excited and loved every second of her lesson. she’s become so comfortable in the water and i love that she is learning so much!

that was their first week! scroll down to see the second week of lessons!!!

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[she’s ready for swim lessons!]

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[ellie – not so ready]

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[just keep swimming, just keep swimming]

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[my sweet girl]

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[floating like a starfish ~ her favorite part of the lesson]

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[way to go girl!]

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[ellie after her lesson]

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[that face!]

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*****

{week 2}

well, we had no worries with olive and her lesson but we were both anxious over miss ellie. what was it going to be like? was she going to scream for thirty minutes again? what if she really, really doesn’t like it? it’s so torturous to watch her be so upset for so long!

well, well, well…her second lesson turned out AMAZING!!!!! she was game and ready. she listened to the instructor, didn’t scream for dada, and she was all smiles!!! she even let the swim teacher dunk her head underwater twice!!!! wow…i am so proud of you miss ellie! we {kinda} knew you would get there! ok, we had doubts but we WANTED you to and you did!

she loved wearing her goggles, did such a great job with her classmates and her teacher. she was even waving to hc while she was in the water! what a champ! oh ellie, you are full of surprises and we love you for all your might, stalwart ways.

thank you, thank you to goldfish swim school! you guys are so wonderful. you have made this ‘first’ time experience so fabulous. from the first instructor who was so sweet to ellie, although she screamed the entire time and to the entire staff who have been so friendly and encouraging through this process. thank you so much!

i highly recommend anyone going to a goldfish school near them! you won’t be disappointed!

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[ready for her swim lesson!]

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[this boy loved holding ellie’s hand]

[divas on the surf board]

xoxo

a sunny day out

on ellie’s actual birthday, my sister kim took the back half of the day off of work to meet us for a lunch outing to celebrate miss ellie.

we met them at table at crate, a new restaurant inside crate and barrel. actually, the only restaurant  inside any crate and barrel. it had opened seven days prior, so we were super excited to try it.

i was excited there was no wait as we waited for kim and the boys to arrive. we were seated inside, as they do not have seating for more than a party of four alfresco. our server was super sweet and nice, the kids were well behaved, and the food was delicious. we absolutely enjoyed all the dishes we ordered!

my most favorite dishes were actually the waffle fries with aioli and the shishito peppers. the peppers were made with a soy balsamic and dusted in chili flakes. not too spicy or hot and perfectly balanced in flavors for lovely savory bites. the waffles fries came with a couple of dipping sauces and all of them were tasty and delicious. i mean, who doesn’t like to dip?!

they don’t have a washroom in the restaurant…they only have the ones they have always had, upstairs in the furniture section. so, ellie needing to go to the bathroom several times during our sit down meal was quite the trek! we were back and forth, back and forth, back and forth – up the escalator and down {most of them were false alarms} but i am so proud of her for doing such a great job at remembering to go when she needs to! my potty trained champ!

after our meal, we decided to walk the mall {it was so beautiful out} and go wherever the kids wanted to go. we stopped at a few stores, bought a few trinkets, and called it a day. i also happen to run into my friend kim and her friend amy! that was a lovely surprise! they were there shopping at the mall and we were able to chat a bit before i left to go home with the girls!

once home, we settled in, relaxed and waited for hc to get home. we had a very chill evening, lit a candle on a cake and sang happy birthday to our dear ellie. the smitten, joyous, slightly embarrassed expression on her face while we were singing is priceless. the whole day was very relaxing…just what i wanted for us all.

my dear ellie…you are the best. celebrating you and your uniqueness makes our hearts so full. thank you for being you. we love you so much my dear girl.

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[her birthday morning]

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[my silly girls waiting for their cousin]

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[goofing around]

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[this girl..growing up so fast]

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[every restaurant should have crayangles]

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[these shishito peppers were deliciousssssss]

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[popcorn chicken bites]

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[cavatelli ~ double smoked bacon, tomato sauce, basil]

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[hey, hi, hello]

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[my girls]

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[my feisty babe]

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[love these kiddos]

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[he’s so darn sweet to her]

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xoxo