auld lang syne

happy new year!

we hosted a small get together for our friends and family on new year’s eve!

our family debated on whether or not we wanted to go out to dinner {something we’ve done many, many times on new year’s], so we decided to have a party at our place instead! just the sisters and the bro and a few friends. people who we typically celebrate with every year.

we were in debate on what we were going to cook {not me! ha!], we just had beef tenderloin for christmas eve, we had a spiral ham and prime rib for christmas, so we went with a pork tenderloin for new year’s eve! every one pitched in with the menu and when that happens, it makes the night so much more fun and easy!

i ran around decorating like a crazy person. rummaging through my decor box and creating something fun for new year’s! i had no clue what i wanted to do for the tables, the photo booth, the dessert table…but thank goodness everything turned out sparkly and festive!

we ate, and cooked, and ate, and cooked, and ate some more and then ate more food. then ate dessert and then ate more leftover food. bahahahaha! we were s t u f f e d. the food was all sooooo delicious and perfectly made.

once dinner was over {we ate late on purpose}, we cleaned up a bit, and chilled; waiting for the new york countdown, since we have kids and we are ‘old’ and we didn’t want to be up all night…ohmergawd. we’re duds. haaaaaaahaha!

anyhoo, once we counted down, everyone pretty much ran out to go home! no problem…we were tired! i really think it’s because it’s the last of the holidaze and by then, we are just spent!

overall it was a wonderful, relaxing evening! i hope this year brings everyone love, joy, health, prosperity, and many great adventures!

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[nye photo booth]

école valentines jour artisanat

[she wouldn’t put on a more festive outfit, insisted on wearing this crown, and lately, this has been her cheese face…]

école valentines jour artisanat

[the boys]

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[she looooooved sitting on the chair!]

école valentines jour artisanat

[i was stumped…i wasn’t sure what i wanted to do for the centerpieces!]

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[me and hc]

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[chalkboard calligraphy]

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[kids table]

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[party favors]

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[cheese plate]

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[everything is good with macarons]

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[kim and terry]

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[sip sip hooray!]

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[party cake]

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[the girls]

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[party table]

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[i love our fireplace…so cozy!]

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[dance party!]

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[rich and agata]

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[pete and dan]

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[triplets]

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[interpretive dance]

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[plaid in the usa]

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[hey olive, smile! hahaha]

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[lan, avery, and pete]

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[agata, olive, and dan]

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[isn’t she so sweet??]

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[oh these kids…it’s so hard to wrangle them in for a good pic!]

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[ready to ring in the new york new year!]

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[counting down!]

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xoxo

reunite

we were looking forward to our visit from carol, ted, and family! it’s been awhile since we have seen them and we are in dire need to plan a trip out to them! whether it’s to seattle, whistler, or their new abode in breckinridge…we need to travel out to the pnw!

carol and i have been friends for ages. we used to live down the street from each other, 4 houses apart to be exact. we’ve been through thick and thin, our ups and downs, and continue to survive life’s craziness and remain friends. we were inseparable for years…years! we saw each other almost every day. her parent’s practically adopted me as the other daughter. i went to her house every day after school. ate dinner there almost every night. helped her dad with his campaigns. did bad things together. did good things together. we drove around like punks in her sh*tmobile. got drunk together. went shopping together. i was there for her when her uncle aaron passed. when her dogs passed. and one of the saddest moments in my life, i was there with her when her dad passed. literally. we sat in the hospital together, by mr. kagann’s side, when her dear dad took his last breath. he was like a second father to me.

with over 30 years of friendship, i could go on and on and on about the many crazy things we have done, been through, and stuff we should probably never talk about. hahaha! well, we grew up, got married, and had kids. we both have fabulous husbands and beautiful children. carol is blessed with three and me, with two wonderful girls.

her hubby ted is a gem. he is hilarious, {sickly} humorous, and kind. these two crack me up! i love hanging out with them. so, the stars aligned to where we could get a day with them while they were in town. let me tell you…when carol and ted come into town, they are booked every day.

the kids played together…well kenzie and olive played together while shelby moseyed off on her own and travis was deep into some sort of game on his iPad. us adults, drank, laughed, and ate ourselves silly until it was time for them to go home.

we were sad to see them go but we were so happy to have spent a wonderful evening with the whole gang! thanks for stopping carol and fam! we hope to see y’all soon!

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[bff’s for over 30 years]

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[the cutie couple]

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[sweet shelby]

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[playing together]

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[travis in his little world]

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[yummy dessert]

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[the sweet kiddos]

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{expand the screen for optimal viewing}

video by: hc

strobe lights by: kenzie

singing by: olive

xoxo

noel ’17

this was the first christmas day hc and i had hosted! as our aunts and uncles and parents get older, it was time to pass the torch to the next generation and continue the traditions! hc’s aunt vicki and uncle steve have hosted christmas day for a long time and it was time for us to take on that holiday and celebration!

we were excited to do so! hc told me last year that he would have the basement done by then and ta da! it wasn’t. wah wah. we wanted the extra space but c’est la vie. christmas day was just fine the way it was {space wise}.

christmas morning was exciting! olive couldn’t wait to see if santa ate his cookies and if rudolph nibbled on his carrot. the girls were excited to open up their gifts and of course, play all day long with their toys! we made cinnamon rolls for breakfast and drank mimosas….what a perfect christmas morning.

hc created a menu, based upon what everyone was going to bring, and we finalized all the pretty decor touches before everyone arrived! we were excited to do this! family is most important and we couldn’t wait to celebrate this day with hc’s side.

hc made a spiral ham, prime rib and green beans, while aunt vicki brought her infamous shells, aunt wendy provided the alcohol, jane brought mashed potatoes and apps, sister missy brought dessert, and cousin jennifer brought brussel sprouts. everyone participated and the spread was delicious and amazing!

it was a beautiful evening, being able to visit, relax, and just be with family. that is definitely what life is about!

we were so happy to have hosted our first christmas day and we were so excited that everyone had such a wonderful time! cheers to new traditions and to family!

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[cookies and milk for santa]

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[olive was so excited to see if santa and rudolph ate their snacks!]

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[excited over santa gifts!]

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[no pj olive]

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[she asked santa for a doll, fairy, horse, and unicorn]

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[she loves this little doll from mary, her sitter]

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[snow globe]

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[christmas day mimosa]

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[cinnamon rolls]

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[santa’s gift]

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[sweet babes]

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[sweet exchange]

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[christmas dinner tablescape]

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[aunt vicki, missy, aunt wendy, jane, and jennifer]

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[uncle steve and jennifer]

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xoxo

christmas eve ’17

christmas eve was teetering on the brink of us possibly hosting it or having it at my parent’s house {for the past several decades}…it depended upon whether or not my parent’s foundation crack was fixed and the carpet was installed.

hallelujah, everything fell into place and my parent’s house was back in order! it was going to feel like christmas eve!

well, i awoke to it snowing outside and became a little kid, squealing with excitement! i was soooooo stoked it was going to be a white christmas!! it had been so warm all season and the southern region of the states had gotten more snow than us! there’s something just so magical about snow on christmas!

we prepped all day to get ready for christmas day {we were hosting for the first time!}, ellie took a nap, we scrambled to get the girls bathed, and over to my parent’s house at a decent time but failed miserably! i wanted to get over to help my sister cook but we ended up not getting over there until 6!!!

all was good, we helped with dinner, we partook in joyous, silly things, and enjoyed each other’s company. christmas time is so darn special. i love the merriment, the compassion, and the warmth of home. there is nothing like spending time with family and loving one another.

we were so happy to have the newlyweds, huy + tashina, here for christmas {after joining them for their fabulous wedding}. they always add to the fun craziness of our family time!

life is good.

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[a white christmas]

via tandeminlove.com[olive is so gangsta]

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[twinning]

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[gorgeous centerpiece]

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[besties]

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[my sweet, sweet girls]

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[silly cousins]

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[olive and ba]

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[olive, huy, and tashina]

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[my tribe]

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[crazy cousins]

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[dan, olive, and agata]

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[kim and ellie]

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[bennett, kevin, and reagan]

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[oh ellie…reagan loves you!]

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[she’s like take the friggin’ picture already! hahaha]

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xoxo

christmas popcorn

ever since we’ve moved into our neighborhood, i’ve made christmas popcorn for our surrounding friends every christmas!

it’s the easiest thing to make and oh so yummy! this year is the first year olive has really helped me with it and this year is the first year she is dressed so crazy! baby girl picked her outfit out or should i say lack thereof an oufit?! we’re going on week two or three of no clothes at home and she absolutely loves it! well, it definitely makes laundry a little lighter! haha!

i prepped our ingredients {popped the corn, opened the toppings, and readied the tools!} and boom! we were ready to go! i dumped a small bit of popcorn, at a time, into a bowl so we don’t have huge batches to cover. it’s best to do a small amount each time because you really want to coat the popcorn with the chocolate! olive sprinkled on the pretzels, m&ms, and we dusted each batch with perils!

olive so patiently helped me with each round and at the very end of it, i let her eat a piece and she was smitten! she loved it and gave me a thumbs up! i filled a santa cup up for her and she was a happy camper!

i then divvied up the popcorn into each jar and voila! they were ready to go out to each of our neighbor friends!

we had just enough left over for us and guess who ate it all? yup…miss olive!

get it girl!

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[prepping the jars]

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[yeahhhhhh, her baking outfit. she’s a nut! i love it! she only wears her undies and the most random stuff. it cracks me up!]

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[if you don’t know by  now, i liiiiiive in pj’s!]

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[i love this girl! her outfit choices crack me up!]

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[we’re ready to pour on the chocolate!]

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[yummmmm!]

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[i get a thumbs up!]

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xoxo

my ballet birthday

holy birthday weekend!

in previous years, we’ve gone out for my birthday. we’ve done something fun, with just us {me and hc}. every year we have been together, hc has made it a point to make my birthday special. my birthday is eight days before christmas and it’s so easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

this time around, olive’s first ballet recital fell on my birthday! i was so excited. all season long, she practiced very hard in class and at home and i couldn’t wait to see her performance.

hc and i talked over our plan for that day, to make sure we got olive to the show on time and get everyone else there early enough to nab a front row seat. score! we did both! i drove separately so i could get olive to the dance group before the show and hc drove his mom, dad, and ellie to the school to get in line for a seat. we nabbed a front row section and the location we scored was absolutely perfect!

olive entered the room on our side, so we were able to say hello to her as she waited to get up on stage and the teacher was on our side during the dance, so olive faced us the entire performance! woooo hoooo!

i was a bit nervous for her…only because during her holiday program {from several days ago}, she seemed a bit overwhelmed by the large audience. i couldn’t tell if the runny nose  she had really bothered her or if the dozens of people scared her. anyhoo, she froze a bit with her performance, so i was worried that she would freeze up during her ballet show!

well i was sooooo wrong. she nailed it! she did soooo well! i was so proud of her! she was the cutest ballet dancer i ever did see! i couldn’t wait to hug her, congratulate her, and give her a big kiss for doing so well!

after each segment, the kiddos waited in a room across the way. once the entire show was over…one parent was able to retrieve your kiddo and i ran over to get her. i couldn’t wait to bring her back to the family so they could tell her how well she did! everyone congratulated her and gave her flowers! how fun and sweet! seeing her perform was the best birthday present ever!

after the recital, hc’s parents came over to our house to hang out and we had cake to celebrate my birthday. after hc’s parents left, we then headed on over to my parent’s house to have dinner. it was the best birthday yet! hc did such a great job making it wonderful and olive’s ballet recital was the cherry on top of a perfect sundae! no pun intended! haha!

best birthday ever!

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[how sweet is she??]

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[she spots us!]

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[hands on hip and smile!]

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[dada giving her flowers for her performance]

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[how terrible is this…while i was pulling olive through the crowd, someone knocked her in her head so hard with either a corner of a purse or elbow. poor, poor girl! i didn’t even notice it until a minute later! i felt terrible…just terrible that she was trying to tell me her head hurt but i couldn’t hear her over the noise and i was so excited to get her to our family that it totally flew over my head that she was in pain. i really felt like a bad mom and a bit angry at myself that she was hurt and i didn’t realize it in the moment to comfort her. total mom guilt moment that still really bothers me!!! do you see the shiner on her forehead?! oh, i get so upset looking at it!!!]

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[my sweet ballet girl]

*****

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[celebrating with my sweet girl]

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xoxo

ugly sweater christmas party

so, quite surprisingly, i have never been to an ugly sweater christmas party! yes…it’s been around for awhile but none of my friends nor did i ever host one.

my friend irina invited us over to her place for a party and i needed to grab a sweater for the occasion! i picked out some candy cane striped leggings, added a lot of bows to the ‘do, and voila! my ugly christmas sweater outfit!

we walked into their place to a beautifully lit christmas tree, a delicious looking table spread, and yummy appetizers all around! i was hungry and excited to eat! patrick offered us tasty libations [rose please!] and we nibbled non stop on the delicious bites.

we had a great time chatting with all her friends. it was relaxing, easy going, and fun! then an old friend walked in, theresa! i was so happy to see her! it was great catching up on life and sharing notes.

irina and i met through work a long time ago. i’m so lucky to still be in touch with this lovely lady and her sweet husband. we’ve supported each other throughout the years and i love that we are able to get out {by ourselves or as couples} and hang every few months! whether it’s a birthday party, a baby shower, a wedding, a house warming party, a holiday party, or just because, we try our best to make those dates happen!

after a few hours of hanging out, we had to jet. ya know…we have kids! ha! it’s different if someone was watching the girls at our house. that makes it easy for us to come home later because they will be put to bed with no worries. when my parents watch them at their house, that means we have to pick them up at a decent hour to get them home and ready for bed! well, it was the latter situation that night, so hc and i left the party much earlier than what we wanted to. c’est la vie, non?

anyhoo, it was a fabulous, fun party! i loved my first ugly sweater christmas party! thank you irina and patrick for being such gracious hosts! we love you both!

happy holidays!

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[me and irina]

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[the yummy buffet table]

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[sweet emma eating her pizzaaaaa]

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[but seriously…so ugly. i think we won the ugliest sweaters at the party]

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[the sweet couple]

xoxo

o + e santa visit

every year, since olive had been born, she has despised her visits with santa claus. one picture after another, year after year…she is absolutely frightened and as a parent, i find it disgustingly hilarious!!!!

well this year was absolutely no different. a couple weeks before our visit to the big man, i asked olive is she wanted to visit santa and ask him for presents. she said no. i said, “don’t you want to ask him for gifts?!” and she said, “i don’t want to sit in his lap.” and i said, “you have to if you want to ask him for presents this year” {honestly…doesn’t anyone else find it so odd that you make your kids sit on a strange old man’s lap and ask for gifts?? hahaha!}. she then says to me, “reagan and bennett don’t sit on his lap!” oh yeahhhhh? i grabbed my phone and showed her a picture of her cousins sitting on santa’s lap from the other week. her jaw practically dropped. she stared in silence and disbelief at the picture for a good solid 30 seconds. then says to me, “i don’t want to sit on santa’s lap” and that was it.

so came the night we were going to visit santa. hc came home from work and asked if i told olive what we were doing tonight. i said no. he said, “aren’t you going to tell her?!”, so reluctantly i did. i called her over and said, “olive, we are going to see santa tonight and ask for christmas presents” and surprisingly she said, “ok” and walked to her room to change her clothes. whaaaa? i was dying. she is so funny and cute!

we arrived and olive was soooo somber. she whimpered a bit and mumbled something about not wanting to see santa but i could tell that she knew she was going to see santa whether she liked it or not. especially with her steadfast, crazy mama standing in front of her {obviously this whole thing is more for me than her! eep!}. olive knew there was no saying no.

first, the kids sit down and take pics of just them in front of a sleigh. olive spied santa around the corner and she couldn’t stop staring at him!!! i am so amused that the photographer caught her nervous glance on camera! olive and ellie did so well with their sit down pictures together in front of the sleigh. then came the santa pics…olive nervously sat on the edge of the chair. santa was super sweet with her…he asked her what she wanted and they exchanged words back and forth about dolls, fairies, unicorns, horses, teddy bears, etc. i was soooo proud of her! she actually did a great job talking to santa. she was very quiet and reserved but totally didn’t have a meltdown!

then came the moment we were going to place ellie in his arms. watch out!! hc placed her down in his arms and she flipped out. FLIPPED out! her boots flung off her feet faster than a tesla roadster. ohmergawd. it was hilarious. olive actually smiled but she was totally fake smiling and her hands were clasped so tight out of nervousness! oh my poor girls!!! they were so scared!!! but gosh…it makes for the funniest pics!! so sadistic of me, non??

anyhoo, and that was that. i must say it was a pretty successful visit! the pics turned out great, i absolutely love the one of just olive and ellie in front of the sleigh…my favorite! well, ’tis the season to make your kids do crazy things! ha! happy holidays y’all!

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[very unsure of what is about to happen…]

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[so is hc…haha!]

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[could this be any more perfect? olive spied santa from a distance and was soooooo nervous!]

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[she’s like ‘ohmergawd…santa!’]

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[check out that fake smile olive has and ellie…well that speaks for itself!]

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[her shoes flung off so fast!]

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xoxo

holiday program

olive’s pre-k holiday program was this past week! the last day of school before winter break. i was looking forward to this for weeks. olive practiced her songs with us, at home, several times. although, at first we didn’t realize all the songs she sang were part of her holiday concert! we just thought she was learning fun songs at school.

well the day had come and i dressed olive up in the cutest, most festive holiday outfit i could rummage out of her closet. she looked so darling in her tutu playsuit and reindeer antlers.

 we scurried to her school as early as we could because we wanted to nab a seat as close to the stage as possible. we were close…we scored second row! the kiddos paraded in and olive looked so confused and nervous. the teachers sat the kids down and after an announcement, the concert began.

olive had stage fright! to make matters worse, her nose was runny {we’ve been dealing with a little cold} and she was very bothered that she couldn’t wipe her runny nose and it tooooootally bothered me that i couldn’t get up there to wipe it for her!!! poor olive just stared blankly out at the crowd when they started singing their first song. she stared and stared throughout the first few songs and then finally started to warm up and sing along.

the concert was a success! olive was too cute and subdued during the whole concert but sang along for a majority of the songs. it was so fun to watch all the kiddos. of course there was a run away boy who circled the stage and the girl sitting next to olive was so excited and animated! it was hilarious to see how reserved olive was and how boisterous her classmate was! total opposites!

once the concert was over, we were able to take photos of our babe and then she was able to join us and we were able to leave for the day. although olive was really bummed there was no school after the concert! she wanted to stay for school and was a bit upset…awwww, that was too cute.

i was so happy to see her first holiday school program. it completely warmed my heart to see my baby girl perform! it was a great moment that filled my soul with joy.

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[i forgot that i had left her with her bunny!]

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[she was nervous!]

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[she’s not quite sure what to do yet]

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[finally warming up and joining in!]

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[they’re all done! hurray! it was an awesome holiday concert!]

xoxo

State Street

for the past many, many years…we have traveled downtown to field’s on state street, now macy’s. it was always such an event to see their window displays. they would always have a theme, like the nutcracker, and the set up within each window would be so well crafted, gorgeous, and magical. unfortunately, since macy has bought out field’s…the windows aren’t that magical anymore. nevertheless, we love going there to experience the craziness, go to their holiday lane, see the walnut room tree, and get coffee and candy on the lower level and shop!

i love the bustling crowds {yes, i am the minority….maybe that is why i love the city so much! large crowds and loud noises! ha!}, the holiday music in the background, the decorations, and the over the top retail displays!

we were running so behind because we had to make a pit stop at one of our favorite places in wrigleyville, southport grocery, to pick up gift baskets we had pre-ordered. traveling through the inner city can be taxing! the traffic is insane! it’s not about getting to the city, it’s the traffic inside the city! anyhoo, we finally made it to block 37, where we usually park and the garage was closed due to capacity! whaaaa? our whole plane was to not wear coats because we could walk through tunnels to get to macy’s but that was scratched! we parked in the theatre lot instead and walked a couple blocks, carrying our babes because we decided to not bring the stroller {again, because we were going to park in block 37…hahaha! our plans were ruined!}.

once we met up with everyone, we went to holiday lane {floor 7} and picked out ornaments, as we do every year, to add to the tree. after perusing the all the christmas goodies, we headed on up to see the walnut room tree in their furniture section {floor 8}. as usual, we love taking too many serious and goofy pictures in front of the tree. after the visiting the tree, we headed all the way down to pick out candies, shop their foodie section, and most of the time we grab something from starbucks!

this time around, instead of eating lunch at seven on state, we decided to have dinner at gt fish and oyster. stellar idea from my sister kim! it was a perfect nightcap. delicious food, tasty beverages, and a comfortable chic ambience for us and the kiddos!

we wrapped up our evening with full bellies, good spirits, and a fun filled holiday afternoon to continue the joy of the season! happy christmas everyone!

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[checking out the nutcrackers]

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[trying to take a picture of these two babes]

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[sweet baby ellie]

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[brought this little baby home]

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[grace, hc, and ellie]

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[these girls…ellie always runs away and has become so attached to the paci]

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[i tried getting a pic of the whole horse, but it was so hard to do so! they need to put this clydesdale horse in a corner! people were constantly walking by!]

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[owning the runway]

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[olive posing with a toe point leg pop and ellie gnawing on her paci]

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[reagan riding the unicorn and olive laughing!]

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[bennett loves his teddy bears]

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[sending her wish list!]

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[when posing by yourself…you’re just awkward. hahaha!]

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[selecting her candies]

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[oh dem cheeks]

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[rad in plaid]

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xoxo