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.

easter sunday

the easter bunny came!

i have hemmed and hawed over the idea of the easter bunny, tooth fairy, and santa. i wasn’t sure if i wanted to push a made up character to persuade olive to be a good kid. ’cause honestly, she’s a good kid without persuasion. there are some big debates between parents around this subject. these fictional figures have been molded and it’s american made, it’s financially driven, it’s lying, it’s bribing, and so forth.

easter and christmas are christian religious holidays celebrating jesus. i want olive to know and understand that those holidays are stemmed from the life of jesus. that is why we celebrate on those days.

i also loved the idea that these characters added to the magic of the season and are really fun to believe in. i did believe in them when i was a kid and it didn’t harm or taint me. my parents didn’t enforce the idea of santa, the easter bunny, or the tooth fairy on me, it was all about church, the bible, and our faith but i loved the magic behind it. i was never upset they weren’t real. honestly, i always knew they weren’t but loved believing in something magical. i definitely don’t look back on my childhood and think i was scarred or lied to. all i remember is magic, love, excitement, and damn good memories with my family and friends.

my heart is so full to see her so excited over things like the easter bunny. she loved her basket from the bunny, she loved finding the eggs the easter bunny left behind. she giggled with excitement at the idea of presents. i’m ok with that.

what i try to do every day is parent with love, respect, and discipline. do i fail, alllll the time but i try, try again. i want to raise my girls to become strong, smart, independent, kind, and to be filled with gratitude {to name a few attributes}…the list goes on and on.

so whether they believe in the easter bunny or not, or whether i push it on them or not. i think they will grow up just fine and hopefully pass the traditions and love to their children to create magical moments together too.

{we celebrated easter together in the morning and then met my family for brunch in chicago, at swift and sons, later in the day!}

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[ellie making her way to the easter baskets]

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[olive eyeing the baskets and excited!]

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[ohmergawd her hair!! talk about bedhead!!!]

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[digging through her goodies]

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[she sooooo wanted this bunny!]

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[she was so excited over everything!]

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[ohmergawd, this sweet babe]

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[look ma, an egg]

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[i’ll pretend to eat it]

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[hahaha! just kidding!]

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[i’m so funny, i crack myself up!]

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[easter egg hunt time!]

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[checking out her goodies]

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[so excited for her shopkin surprise!]

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[easter egg hunt aftermath]

*****

BRUNCH AT SWIFT AND SONS!

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[sweet cousins]

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[opening up her easter basket from r + b]

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[always doting on her]

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[thuy getting festive]

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[flummoxed]

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[my love]

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[i loooooooove bloody mary’s!]

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[cheers!]

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[dan and agata]

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[preptastic]

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[we fail ,every holiday, at taking a family picture together]

xoxo

easter bunny

my sister kim, last minute, asked us to come with her to go see the easter bunny at 900 n. olive paid a visit to the easter bunny once {at a local easter egg hunt}, when she was two years old but we didn’t see one last year. we hosted an egg hunt at our house versus going to one and seeing an easter bunny at a local mall or so.

the next morning, we did our usual routine and got ready to head out. i remembered back in the days, something like this stressed me out with two kids {hahaha…and yes, i only have two. not three. not four. referencing, it’s all relative, right?}. getting them ready & dressed, getting myself ready, getting them fed, packing up enough toys, diapers, snacks, etc., not forgetting anything for myself, getting them layered up for the cold weather, getting them strapped into the car seats {’cause, hell, that’s a process in itself!}, do i have the stroller? all sorts of things to remember and plus, i was always late. yes, it used to stress me out but now it’s like second nature.

we were ahead of schedule and hit the road to head to 900 n michigan ave. we parked, i fed ellie, i assembled the stroller, we rolled in, walked around, i had to go to the bathroom, we went to the wrong floor, and then we finally found the easter bunny area and signed up for a visit. it was an hour and forty five minute wait! oy! there were 40 families ahead of us!

everyone finally rolled in and we all gathered around the 6th floor {for coffee at oak tree}, to wait our turn for the easter bunny while the kids played in galt toys. olive obsessed over a unicorn bouncy. she was smitten. the entire time we were there, she bounced on it all around the store. she was sooooo happy! she showed it off to anyone who would listen. it was so cute. when we were leaving, she asked me if she could ‘borrow’ it. her word for, can we ‘buy’ it. i said, “maybe you can tell the easter bunny to bring it to you?”. her eyes totally lit up!

it was finally our turn to see the easter bunny! it went by much faster than estimated {one hour versus the hour forty five}, thank goodness! as expected, ellie was a hot mess when i left her with the easter bunny but overall we received pretty awesome pics!! olive was so good! i was so surprised and my heart was so full that she was excited to see him and not scared! the set up was so gorgeous! the balloon arch was beautiful and the flowers and lights were so springy and fun! i was so happy with the results!

after the easter bunny pics, we headed on over to the blue door kitchen and garden down on elm. it was so cute and cozy inside! the dinnerware was pretty, the libations were tasty, and the food was so delicious! i absolutely enjoyed our service; everyone was so attentive and polite! i definitely hope i can get back there with hc to eat again!

after our excursion at the restaurant, we shopped a little bit more and then headed on our way home. later that evening, the family came over to our house to eat dinner and dye eggs! our day was filled with so much fun!

it was such a lovely day. it really was. we had such a great time with everyone. seeing the easter bunny was so much fun, the restaurant was so good, and the company was even better. it was a really fun day with the family! time spent like that is priceless. oh, and the easter bunny did get olive her unicorn bouncy! yay!

happy easter lovelies!

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[i’m typically walton]

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[how gorgeous is this balloon display?]

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[i could stare at this all day…it’s so whimsical and pretty!]

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[i think i was more excited than olive when the easter bunny came out!]

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[she spotted the bouncy]

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[she’s going for it!]

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[no pictures of this next event but the poor babe fell on her face. eep!]

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[she faired better on this riding toy]

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[sweet babes running through the center]

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via tandeminlove.com[my sweet babe]

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[sweetest cousins]

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[cookie monster]

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[super auntie thuy and ellie]

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[what really happened…oh poor babe was so scared!]

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[blue door kitchen and garden]

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[terry and kim]

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[cutest kiddos]

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[the most delicious tea drink everrrrrr]

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[i love her so much]

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[yummy, yummy hummus]

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[my sweet olive]

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[this kale and brussel salad was ahhhhhhhmazing]

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[lan and avery]

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[these babes are too sweet]

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[i love her bob]

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[eating pizza before dyeing eggs]

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[reagan’s creative egg dyeing]

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[sweet babe ready for bed]

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[olive’s eggs]

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[pj time!]

xoxo

easter treats

i always love making fun, quick, super easy desserts. it’s great for olive to get involved and so easy for her to help – the most important part! but what i love most is that it’s e a s y. i can juggle this fun activity for olive and not have a huge mess to clean up or be too involved in the process to a point where it takes me away from ellie.

i did the prepping and dipping, olive did the sprinkling! i think she had the best job of the two of us.

this cookie dessert is so simple, it doesn’t need any instructions. all you need is one bag of white chocolate chips, a bag of oreos, and sprinkles. i always melt the chocolate in a pot separated from another pot of boiling water {a makeshift double boiler}. i half dipped each oreo and placed them on wax paper and olive sprinkled them all. that’s it! at first, she tried tipping the sprinkle jar onto the chocolate and that was a compete disaster! hahahaha! so, i poured the sprinkles into a bowl and it was much easier for her to control it and cover the cookies!

she did such a great job and we really had fun! gosh…with each passing year, this babe is such a joy! i love how helpful she is. i love how understanding she is. i love that she has an opinion {although there are plenty of times i wish the opposite! ha!}. i love that she can articulate her feelings to me. i love that she is so sweet. i love that she is a great big sister. i love that she loves me and always wants to be by my side {until she turns 14…wahhhhh}.  i love that she forgives me when i am letting her down. my heart is so full watching her grow.

well, these cookies did not stay in the house! we divvied them out to others to enjoy! it’s such a fun, springy treat to gift others…holidays and sweet morsels always go hand in hand!

happy easter lovelies!

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[getting ready to make chocolate dipped cookies!]

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[big mistake…i let her shake it out of the container and she pretty much dump the bottle on the cookie! ha!]

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[yuuuuuuummmmmm]

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[this babe chose her outfit…the dress, the bow, all her!]

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[i dipped the oreos and she covered each one with sprinkles]

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[i looooooove her!]

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[finishing touches]

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[so pretty!]

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[she was cracking me up biting into this cookie!]

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[ohmergawd…she was BOTHERED that the chocolate had dripped on her mouth and chin. i had to beg her to stay still for a photo but i am sooooo glad i got a pic because it makes me laugh so hard every time i look at it. mainly because i was there to witness it and that she was so upset and laughing at the same time!]

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[take two!]

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xoxo

brunch in the city

it’s been a while since i’ve blogged anything. a few things contributed to this…one, my computer went kaput on me {part my fault and more on that later}, it’s still kind of ‘broken’ but i’m just getting by. i really need to get it looked at but {cue the little violins} i feel like i don’t have enough time everrrrrrrr. the idea of dealing with apple help makes me want to crawl under a rock. two…i have been feeling uninspired and overwhelmed {was it the winter blues??}, maybe that was causing me to not want to crack open my computer and type.

the whole situation with my phone and computer crashing and all the time we spent trying to fix everything was exhausting. i just needed a break. plus, i took a break from going out! nothing new, since after valentine’s day…there isn’t much in-between and relaxing was in order!

we did head out the weekend prior with my girlfriend olivia and her guy aaron but i really wanted to just enjoy my time with them. i didn’t want to snap a million pics and plus, it was at night and i didn’t feel like being intrusive with a camera and a flash!

i’m so glad i did because it was wonderful to catch up with them and just relax, enjoy our time together, and soak in the city. we went to sushi in bucktown and then had a night cap at a new hotel lounge across the street and it was just perfect!

well, the following weekend, i had a date with my girlfriend dana. ohhhhhh, my darling dana. she is 6+ months pregnant and looking fabulous! the holidays and winter always puts a damper on catching up with my friends. it’s not always as easy, so this date was long overdue!

we met up at our stomping ground {southport grocery and cafe} and had the best time. i absolutely loved catching up with her. we talked babies, we talked about giving birth, we talked about nursing, life, friends, hubby’s, and everything else in-between. i really think the tables next to us were appalled or shocked at our topics of conversation. i exclaimed that i loved child birth. yes. it’s true. as painful and crazy as it was to deliver both my girls, it was the BEST moment in my life {besides getting married to the love of my life}.

words really can’t describe childbirth and the miracle that it is. i absolutely loved being pregnant and i absolutely loved giving birth to my two beautiful girls. i view it as the most powerful thing i have ever done in my life. i could do that over and over. no joke. so, that is why the tables next to us gave us the side eyes. hahahaha!

anyhoo, we shopped a bit afterwards and then called it quits. this soon to be mama needed her nap; and i am allllllll about that because there’s really no sleeping after the baby comes. hahaha!

ohhhhhh, i am glad to be writing again and i am so glad to be on the move with my sweet friends!

happy week lovelies!

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[the mama to be]

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[coffee and juice]

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[goofy smiling]

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[we always have our go to favorites]

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[i can never pass up an omelette, biscuits, jam, and potatoes]

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[i love the good stuff they sell]

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[i love their displays! they’re always so pretty]

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[iphone selfie…gosh, the the camera phone make us look so well rested!!! ha!]

xoxo

easter baskets

i try to be creatively proactive with the holidays because if i don’t make a conscious effort, it seriously slaps me in the face unexpectedly. hahaha! then, honestly, i get disappointed i didn’t fair better. innately, i have always loved holidays.

growing up catholic vietnamese, my parents were very religious. so, holidays were all about church, jesus, mary, and celebrating the life of. absolutely nothing wrong with that because i am all about being catholic, respecting my religion, my faith, and the idea of just doing/being a better person and preaching the word of the Lord. easter is all about jesus being resurrected and that is it in a nutshell.

buuuuuuuttttt, i have always looooooved the frilly aspect of it. the commercial, american way of celebrating religious holidays. i love it for the fun, whimsical notions. i like easter baskets, the easter bunny {i adored the easter bunny as a kid!}, and the cute, fun decorations that come with it!

so, with that being said…i had the best time creating easter baskets for the girls. it’s definitely hard to shop for them when they are with me! i had to hide stuff or tell them that they don’t get what they did see until easter. olive was like, “okaaayyyyy”. i am so blessed olive is so compliant and sooo freakin’ well behaved. she just plain listens to me!

i created their baskets the other day and was so pleased with how they turned out! i wanted to limit the candy {although they still get a few treats!}…because i tend to go overboard every year with that and focused more on fun things they would use or like.

voila! useful, fun, pretty, reusable easter baskets! i’m in love. i can’t wait to give these baskets to the girls!

happy creating my friends!

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counter clockwise: garland: hooray everyday // book: little owl’s colors // bunny: target // unicorn horn chalk {not online but in stores}: nordstroms // mini melissa’s unicorn shoes {they’re not available online but similar ones here}: nordstrom // macaron bath bombs: nordstrom

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https://www.target.com

xoxo

valentine’s day ’18

one day, maybe a month or so before valentine’s day, olive asked me if we could have a valentine’s day party. well, ok! i thought it was so cute that she asked! i then inquired who she would like to come to this party, and she, without hesitation, said, “reagan, bennett, and terry!”. alrighty then. i thought it was hilarious! so i text my sisters and let them know what olive had asked and who she wanted to come to the party. my sister kim said, “well, i didn’t want to come anyways!” hahaha!

so, we had our family over for a fun little party! of course we kept it simple. wink. wink. in all seriousness, it really was a simple and easy party to get ready for! olive and i did some food prep before everyone came over. we cut up some ingredients for the apps and olive helped me cut out heart shaped pepperoni for the heart shaped pizzas hc was going to make!

i decorated the kitchen area and we waited for hc to come home from work. he started pizzas while i started apps. we had mozzarella sticks, jalapeños filled with cream cheese, and guac dip. the heart shaped pizzas turned out so cute and delicious and after dinner, we served a yummy cake!

after dessert, we gave the kids their valentine’s day gifts and the kids played and had a ton of fun. olive is always excited to hang with her cousins! our evening was short for it was a school night. so after a couple hours of visiting, we wrapped up our evening and said our farewells.

the party turned out so cute {if i do say so myself} and a good time was had by all! it was definitely a day of love indeed!

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[kid’s table]

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[she’s such a ham!]

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[heart pepperoni]

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[hc and terry]

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[my girls]

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[cousins]

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[hc and kim twinning]

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[look at that pout face]

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[present time!]

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xoxo

snow day

i am not one to watch the weather reports. i typically glance at the daily temperature so i have guidance on how to dress the girls. so, it was totally by word of mouth when i heard that we were getting a huge snowstorm! whaaaaaa?!

the days leading up to the actual event, i felt like i heard so many tall tales! such things as, we were going to get 6-12″, we were going to get 15″+, it was going to be crazy, things were going to shut down, water bottles were selling out, there was a mad dash to the grocery stores, the snowfall prediction grew by inches as the days rolled towards the actual day of the storm.

my attitude was: humph…it’s chicago. we’ve had worse. and so it began. the snow started to fall, and fall, and fall, and fall. i absolutely love fresh snow! it’s so clean, calm, and beautiful. it kept falling and falling, on and off for almost three days. we ended up with 15″+ and it was a total winter wonderland!

hc wanted to take miss olive out in the snow. one – to put on the gear he had bought for her and two – how could you not?? there was sooooo much snow, you had to have some fun it!

olive was apprehensive at first. she was uncertain about the mounds of powdery white snow. slowly but surely, though, she started to become keen about it. and soon enough, she was giggling and wanted to play in it!

well, we survived the massive snowstorm of 2018! the roads were cleared over night {after the heaviest snowfall} and all was well. it was back to business the next day, although it continued to snow but like i said – it’s chicago. it’s not our first rodeo! yahooooo!

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[ready for the snow]

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[she’s not quite sure what to do]

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[holy snow!]

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[she was not happy]

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[oh her sweet unhappy face]

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[throwing snow at dada!]

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[hc jumping in the snow, entertaining olive]

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[she thinks dada is soooooo silly]

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[she’s so sweet!]

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xoxo

from the heart

for the past few years, olive has made valentine’s day cards for her friends and family. we love this crafty moment; it’s a fun time for olive to learn about valentine’s day, create something pretty, and know that she’s sending out a little love in the mail.

i purchased the typical heart cards from papersource. i have bought them every year there for this purpose. i can’t tell you how much i love that store. when i lived in chicago, i used to go to the one in lincoln park, on armitage, allllllll the time. then they opened up the one on southport and i then had choices!!! i always feel like i could spend hours there looking at everything, wild with crafty ideas!

i pulled out my valentine’s day craft box and gathered all the crafty bits and pieces together to help olive create fun little valentines for her friends. she was loving it! she loves to paint and put stickers on everything! it’s one of her favorite things to do! she was waiting all week to do this!

she painted, then decorated, then signed some, and then got bored. hahaha! i must say, she completed a slew of cards…she does every year. i am always amazed by her tenacity and focus! like daughter like mama! i finished out her cards with a wish and assembled them all in light or hot pink envelopes. i addressed them {practicing my brush lettering}, literally stamped and stamped them, and we placed them in our mailbox to go! we love snail mail. it’s so old fashioned and fun.

happy valentine’s day my friends!

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[she’s ready to go!]

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[i love her little ankle cross]

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[painting her heart cards]

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[i love that smile]

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[kisses!]

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[oh that smile!]

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[her painted masterpieces]

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[putting her final touches on the cards]

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[full focus]

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[ta da! the almost finished product!]

xoxo

classmate vday cards!

now that olive is in school, it’s been fun creating birthday treats, teacher christmas gifts, and now we get to be creative for our valentine’s day cards!

since good ol’ pinterest has been around, creative ideas are in overdrive or overload or overwhelming. it’s like a pot o’ gold of ideas. well, of course i pinterest’d a valentine’s day card concept from there! i loved the one where you take a photo of your kid and stick a lollipop in their hand! i’m sure y’all have seen this one!

olive’s valentine’s outfit du jour for the pic? a heart headband and my little pony pj’s. that’s my girl! we love hanging out in pj’s all day every day!

everything cost just a few dollars apiece and it was quite inexpensive to make! everything was on ‘sale’ {i only quoted this because, lately, sale is usually the regular price}. the most time spent was looking for the supplies, only because i do love to shop and find the right pieces! my problem is that i love to look at everything, every shop, every possible option…not to find the best deal but to find the best stuff to execute the ideas that float around in my head.

hc printed out the pics for us, i bought the supplies, and olive helped assemble all the lollipops onto the cards! i stuffed each heart covered plastic baggies with a card, a few pieces of candies, a bubble wand, and stickers! voila! cute, fun packages to hand out to her classmates on valentine’s day!

olive was quite happy with the final results and i can’t wait for her to hand out her sweet valentines to her friends at school!

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[she looks thrilled doesn’t she?! hahaha!]

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[what do i do with this lollipop besides eat it?]

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[she did it!]

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[focus!]

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[i love that smile]

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[ta da! her valentine’s day card]

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[a valentine’s day card, bubbles, stickers, and candy!]

xoxo

hb ma soeur thuy!

happy birthday to my lovely sister, thuy!

on saturday, we treated thuy to a spa morning and then, at night, we had a wonderful birthday dinner for her. it was quite the lovely day!

our day started out with pedicures and relaxation. we chilled, got pampered, and then went out to lunch. funny story…so kim and i brought our own flip flops to the spa and thuy did not. hmmmmm. it’s winter here, it’s cold, and sock and boots don’t mix well with freshly painted toes. so, yes, we wear our flip flops out. i told thuy to not put her boots on because she was going to ruin her painted nails. well, she decided to wear the paper thin, cheap flip flops they give you, out and about the mall. a quarter of the way to our destination, the flip flops b r e a k!! ugh! she was limping around, holding the flip flop in place between her toes!!!

after we ate, she decided to not wear the flip flops anymore and just put on her socks to walk around the mall!!!! whaaaaa? ohmergawd. kim and i were like, nooooooo! kim wanted to run to a store and buy her a pair of flip flops….but thuy insisted that we don’t spend the money on shoes. we were like, helloooooo! we don’t want to walk around with you wearing a canada goose jacket and no shoes?!!!!

so, it had been long enough, where her nails should have been somewhat dry and kim remembered that she had her shoes in her purse. thank goodness! thuy put them on and we walked on our merry way in peace and non embarrassment. hahaha!

later that evening, we all met at neat kitchen in westmont. it was local, good, and they could seat a party of 16 people with no problem. kim, terry, hc, and i met earlier to ‘pre-game’, as the boys called it. around 7, we were shown our table and slowly, everyone trickled in to celebrate thuy!

we ordered apps, libations flowed, great energy, conversations, and laughter filled the air. the night flew by! we were having so much fun! it’s always a great time when you are celebrating an occasion and the company is so good! the food was {as usual} delicious and copious. before we knew it, the hours flew by! the server brought out a decadent dessert to thuy in honor of her birthday and we all broke out in song.

the night ended on a high note and we all walked away feeling the love that we had for thuy. happy birthday my sweet sister! cheers to many more wonderful birthdays together!

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[sisters are the best]

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[pete and lan]

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[dan and agata]

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[sheryl, thuy, and lan]

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[kisses for you!]

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[these two…bromance]

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[happy birthday!]

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[a few of the girls]

xoxo