new buffalo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[werking it]

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[i love her so much!]

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[puzzle time]

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[the beachiest house i ever did see]

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[finding fun things along the way]

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

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[sisters]

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[our first night dinner – the stray dog]

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[ready for the beach]

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[they’re so fun]

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

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[building a crab fortress]

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

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[relaxing]

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

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[so serene]

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[at redamak’s for burgers!]

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[she’s a snuggler]

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[at oink’s!]

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[whoa!]

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[happy birthday my dear sweet ellie!]

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[they’re ready to go!]

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[searching for the ripe ones]

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[look at ellie]

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[weighing in our picked blueberries!]

xoxo

ellie’s 4th birthday ice cream party

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[the birthday girl]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[bar area]

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[the sweetest sisters]

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[dessert table]

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[gorgeous ice cream cake by strictly sugar]

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[sugar cookies by claire’s cookies]

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[favor bags]

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[ice cream tablescape]

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

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[gorgeous blooms by my sister kim]

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[party hats]

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[ice cream and macaron chalks]

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[party decor]

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[floral arrangements by my sister kim]

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[hand painted party favor bags]

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[i can never have too many angles of this]

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[the always silly dan and agata]

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[the girls with auntie missy]

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[chalk mouse]

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[love them]

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[kisses]

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[gorgeous balloons by paris312]

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[such a beautiful garland]

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[with gramma]

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[avery and lan]

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[my silly girls]

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[barbara and lynne]

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[drink tub]

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[ice cream truck party]

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

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[little finn and her sweet ice cream dress]

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[elly and dekker]

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[waiting patiently for the piñata to get hung]

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[first strike]

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[spencer did the first break!]

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[the sweetest friends]

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[ready for cake!]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[happy birthday to you!]

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[she gets the melting ice cream cone!]

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

xoxo

fourth of july ’20

celebrating the fourth of july in quarantine style!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[feeling festive]

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[red white and blue charcuterie board]

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[scavenger hunt]

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[patriotic desserts]

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[cupcakes and macarons by toni patisserie]

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[silly cousins]

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[the most delicious cake]

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[my loves]

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[thuy, ellie and ba]

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[mes seours and babes]

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[love that smile]

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[showing off their muscles]

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[my festive babes]

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[red white and blue drinks]

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[having lunch]

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[the way she looks at thuy]

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[reagan, terry, kim, and bennett]

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[delicious corn]

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[our nutty nephew]

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[he’s so silly]

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[rimma and ellie]

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[water balloon fight]

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[with all her might]

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[here comes the water balloon]

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[catch it!]

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[awww missed!]

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[splat!]

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[here it comes!]

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[almost!]

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[missed!]

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[splat]

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[macaron]

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[yummy cake]

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[they’re ready for their scavenger hunt!]

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

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xoxo

father’s day 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[a new laptop!]

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[daddy daughter duo]

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[eager for dada to open up his gift!]

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[chicago cubs masks]

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

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[ladybug by grace]

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[catering by mission bbq]

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xoxo

every day’s a sundae

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

indeed it was a beautiful evening.

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[she’s so silly!]

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[enjoying some ice cream with dada]

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xoxo

pool party

summa time. the livin’ easy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[splash!]

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[olive and her friends]

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

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[lunch time!]

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[olive]

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[luisa and emi]

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[sweet ava]

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[aren’t they the cutest?!]

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[popsicle time]

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[we love our school community!]

xoxo

morton arboretum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[we spotted a troll!]

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

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[kicking around the soccer ball]

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

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[olive deemed this perfect picnic food]

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xoxo

post SIP playdate

the girls did very well staying occupied and entertained during our shelter in place. there were no complaints but only a few questions about what was happening outside our house. i was super grateful they were happy as clams playing together and never truly fighting. there was the occasional bickering but overall…they love  playing together!

once phase 3 came about, we slowly inched our way towards socialization outside of our family. it was joyous, satisfying, and exciting to socialize with friends and to see our kids finally play with other kids!

by the time we had this play date shown, we had already had three playdates within the past week!!! crazy. we were on a roll and loving it! the funniest part about this get together was when my girls got out of the car and my friend erica says, ‘annie has the same shirt!’…right when she said that, her daughter came running out wearing the SAME tee shirt! hahahahahaha! i was dyyyyying! it was perfect! the girls were all dressed alike and i couldn’t have been happier or more content!

let me tell ya. if you think you are happy now, having kids creates more joy than you ever thought possible. yes…speaking strictly from my experience. i love my girls so much and seeing them with our friend’s kids fills my heart with joy!

anyhoo, random rant.

erica is someone i met through the girl’s school. she’s a wonderful, sweet, and caring person! we met at the beginning of the school year and we instantly clicked! the best kind of start to a friendship!

erica and i relaxed, drank coffee, the girls played and we had a wonderful time conversing in the sunshine. it was simple, fun and good to be together. we are so blessed to have the community that we have and we’re so thankful the girls go to the school that they do!

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[sweet friends]

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[ellie serving them food]

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xoxo

kt and harper

it’s always exciting and always good when your friends come over to visit!

it had been a long time since i had seen kt and harper. we saw each other months pre-covid but then add on another 4 months, it was well over a half year since we last saw each other!

well it was time! kt and harper came over after noon and it was glorious! it was so good to see kt, catch up and have the girls dote on miss harper. she’s so cute! she was such a good baby and my girls could not stop paying attention to her! they sat next to her. played with her. loved her. it was darling to see and i know miss harper loved all the attention!

harper has gotten so big! she’s grown up so much and was sitting up, rolling, and throwing things, i could not get over those baby rolls. so many chunky rolls! so squishy and squeezable!

my time with kt was wonderful. we talked non stop and had so much to discuss! we kept jumping from one subject to the next, get distracted, start another conversation and then try to circle back to the convo that we sidetracked off of. LOL

i ordered lunch for us and everyone ate together. we then hung out some more and chatted our afternoon away. hours and hours passed and before i knew it, hc came home and in a bit, it would be dinnertime! where did the time go?! i asked kt if she wanted to stick around for dinner and she was game! sweet!

i whipped up a quick pasta carbonara and we continued our, what seemed like, endless chats. we ate dinner together and conversed some more! hahahaha! 8 hours later…kt relented and decided to go home. honestly, she could have stayed all night but miss harper needed her bed!

it was an amazing day with a very good friend and her beautiful baby. i love days like that. i love friendships like that. this is where you count your blessing and know life is good.

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[sweet baby harper]

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[olive loves taking care of harper]

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[aren’t they the cutest?!]

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[harper is a doll]

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[the cutest crew]

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[they melt my heart]

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xoxo

march, april, may oh my!

and the beat goes on!

14 weeks later and we’re still at home! well, kind of…we’ve enjoyed more playdates, dinners out, and general social distance get togethers {more on that later}. it’s now june and we’re in phase 3 of reopening illinois. my emotions are mixed because there’s so much we don’t know in general and such high emotional energy stirring. there are a lot of questions and not enough answers. this moment in time we are experiencing is unprecedented and ever evolving. we’re doing our best to keep up, keep sane, keep educated, and keep positive!

on a great note, we’ve done so much while at home and i love it. i’m sharing a gazillion pictures with you, as it captures some of the things we were able to do but not everything! there were moments i needed to be and not snap away constantly at the situation but i’m happy with what little snippets i was able to take and share! these are all picutres from phase 2, before we hit phase 3 in june.

the biggest moment we’ve experienced during quarantine was olive learning how to ride a bike!!! she mastered it last month after three tries! she practiced on a balance bike for a few weeks and then boom! she was riding on her own. i introduced the big girl bike and she was nervous practicing on it. i then worked with her another day and she was still scared {the bike is a hand me down from her big sis…so it was an inch or so too high. which didn’t help her fear factor}. i saw her balancing but the multitasking overwhelmed her. a few times she was riding on her own but still afraid. then she asked me to try, for a third time, on another day. this was it!!! she did it! i was so proud of her!!! she was ecstatic and couldn’t believe she was riding a bike! total proud mom moment right there.

i hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoyed living the moments!

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[playing lots of games! this was a spin off of the princess and the pea. we supported our local shop called fair game!]

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[supporting their aunt and uncle in their mask making business: miss tashina.com]

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[the new way to celebrate – birthday parades. sass not included]

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[i was taking a pic, so she decided to do some tricks. LOL]

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[getting fancy and ready to decorate cookies]

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[yummy yummy cookies!]

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[she’s so darn sweet]

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[the goodies]

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[always so detailed and careful]

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[she’s always so proud of her creations]

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[she’s really good at eating what she decorates. LOL]

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[the final products]

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[her riding outfit of choice]

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[she loves her balance bike]

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[i’m singing in the rain…just singing in the rain. what a glorious feeling, i’m happy again!]

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[flower shopping on mother’s day]

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[ellie is definitely olive’s shadow]

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[give a squeeze…she loves her big sister]

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[wash yer hands!]

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[fort building every day…she loved her bed one and her toes sticking out couldn’t be cuter!]

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[how cute are they and their shirts?! they tie dyed it themselves!]

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[i love them so much]

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[ughhhh, please don’t mind the artificial light ruining the color of the picture but notice how darn cute these two bakers are!]

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[testing out the cookie dough]

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[loving the cookie dough]

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[proud of their results]

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[olive was like, “i don’t like chocolate chip cookies” uhhhh what? she loved it]

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[cookie monster]

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[i can’t with these shirts]

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xoxo