under the sea birthday party

i was looking forward to spending some time with andrea at her kid’s birthday party. one – i don’t see her enough. two – she’s awesome. i mean, she’s hosting, so i knew it wasn’t going to be one on one time kind of chatting but no matter what the circumstance, it’s always good to see a friend.

we arrived there in a flash and it was a beautiful day out! it was hard to believe that it had snowed alllllll day the day before! once inside, andrea greeted us, we settled in and i started snapping away with my camera.

ellie was not happy at first {as usual}. she cried and clung to us. she acted as if we were throwing her to the wolves with this large group of adults. {eye roll} olive on the other hand meshed right in. she was loving it. first thing we walked into, when we arrived, was the dessert spread and that received a thumbs up from miss olive!

we made our way through and said our hello’s to the usual gang – ginger, katheryn, beth, and patrik. it’s always so good to see them and it was great catching up with everyone.

andrea had a slew of entertainment there! i loved it! such great ideas for an indoor kids birthday party that’s not at an activity center! she had a balloon animal artist and a singer called miss jamie’s farm. the kids looooooooooved it! ellie not so much. the balloon guy made ellie a dog and it freaked her out and she threw it on the floor. miss jamie started singing and ellie cowered back in fear. oh em gee…she’s a riot. i finally made some mom moves and coaxed ellie onto the dance floor and slowly but surely, she started loving miss jamie and her singing! it helped 100% that olive was soooo into it and ellie loved that olive loved it too! anything her big sister does, ellie is game.

the kids ate {lots of pizza, pastas, cheese curds, salads, beef sandwiches, and so much more! there was a copious amount of food!}, they played, they were entertained and super happy!

we sang happy birthday to the kiddos and ginger cut the cake while i passed her the plates. we made a good assembly line although, she was quite swift in cutting the cake and i was a bit slow with handing her fresh plates! i received some coaching on my lack of skills and sped up! LOL. i yelled at andrea for some forks and after that, we were on a roll divvying up the cake to the ravenous kids in front of us.

we were some of the last guests to leave…as we were having so much fun! it was such a great party! i had so much fun and i know the girls did too! thanks andrea and jamie for throwing a fabulous birthday party! many blessings to all the years ahead for annabelle and sebastian! happy birthday kiddos! we love you all!

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[andrea – always the consummate host]

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[olive had to have any cupcake with a mermaid tail]

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[always attached one way or another]

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[yum yum macarons]

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[mesmerized by the balloon artist]

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[olive was so excited!]

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[they’re so sweet. oh they melt my heart]

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[unicorn]

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[colin and katheryn]

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[someone really likes to gamble. LOL]

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[oh that face]

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[y’all. we took, hmmm, maybe 10 pics?? in EVERY pic, ellie literally made a different face. she’s my freakin’ emoji face kid]

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[the kids enjoying miss jamie’s farm]

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[the sweet birthday girl]

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[i love her outfit]

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[ellie bullying this poor girl in front of her, who is smaller than her!]

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[sebastian and grandma]

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[jamie]

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[how fun is this cake?!!]

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[the birthday girl, ready to make a wish and blow out her candles!]

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[ginger, the cake cutter extraordinaire]

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xoxo

easter ’19

oh, it was a very busy {leading up to} and very tiring week after easter! you know meeeeee, always piling on too much and loving every second of it. i swear if i didn’t plan months in advance, then i’d be a creative hot mess. LOL.

easter morning started out with the girls waking up and screaming their way to their baskets. well, olive screamed her way! hahaha! ellie, for some reason, was in a mood and pouted her way towards her basket. oh guuuurrlllll.

olive was so excited the easter bunny dropped off her unicorn ponycycle! her face was priceless when she saw it! i absolutely love that they BOTH love it and they sometimes ride it together…it’s so cute! ellie feels comfortable on it too, so the gift was a win win!

they then went through their easter baskets looking at all the goodies. they were very excited over their shoes! yay! olive had to look at everything and make a comment on each item. once they were done perusing their basket of goodies, everyone got ready for easter brunch.

but before we left, we did an easter egg hunt outside! the weather was Ahhhhhhhmazing. the best kind of day to celebrate Christ! the girls had so much fun hunting down their eggs! i made paper plate markers for the eggs and to help guide the girls through the hunt! hc did the set up {y’all know kiki doesn’t get up early if she doesn’t have to!} and did a great job with hiding all the eggs! we had filled them the night before with candies and moj moj animals. olive loooooved them all and loved that they also glowed in the dark! bonus!

i was quite proud of miss ellie getting a good amount of eggs too! she did good! once the hunt was over and the girls went through their egg surprises, we then headed downtown for brunch with the famille!

our place of choice was baptiste and bottle at the conrad hotel. we were very curious on this restaurant. i told my family that it better be amazing as it took two weeks and a whole lotta phone tag to finally nail a reservation at this establishment! we walked in and the interior looked lovely, modern, and moody. i was totally eyeing the scrumptious dessert table that greeted us!

they walked us over to our table{s} and didn’t even push them together to seat our party of 13! i had to ask them to do so. i mean, if you are out with a whole group, would you want to sit at separate tables?? that made no sense! then our server came by and he was energetic and very nice! then, 45 minutes later, our drink orders were still not fulfilled, our food still hadn’t come, and i was completely irritated. it was prix fixe menu!! the kitchen obviously knew how many people they were serving that day AND the menu was set…so waiting almost one hour for our first course to come out was ridiculous!!!!

i went to the hostess stand and asked to speak to a manager. he was very nice and polite and i was cordial and calm. he immediately reacted, apologized, and came over to our table to help our server out. for goodness sake, my sister ordered coffee and asked for cream and sugar and 15 minutes later….she still didn’t get. i had to do something!

once the ball started rolling, our server continued to mess up {he’d take away our plates and then would forget to bring in fresh plates so we could continue to eat} but we were in deep and there was no going back. the poor guy did his best to accommodate us but i really think serving was not his forte! the good new was, the food was delicious!! we really did enjoy our brunch despite the subpar service. we were with the right people and that was all that mattered.

thuy brought the kids their easter bakets and olive went nuts over what she bought her. she literally had to wear everything thuy bought her! ohmergawd, olive is so extra. the girls are so loved and so spoiled by their family. we are so so lucky to be close to them, in all aspects.

after our long and yummy brunch, we all traipsed our way over to the new shop – dylan’s candy bar store! it was bright, fun, and smelled way too sweet for me! it was a candy land dream! every type of candy, the largest cotton candy cone i have ever seen, and everything was way overpriced! LOL. of course, olive suckered me into buying her a lollipop! no pun spared.

our easter was perfect. the weather was perfect. the day was perfect. remember it’s your mindset. live positively. count your blessings. cherish the moments with your people and be thankful for what God has given you. then your filter will always view things as perfect because it is.

*****
EASTER MORNING

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[here they come!]

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[look at that excited face!]

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[she loves her ponycycle!]

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[she was totally pouting for no reason]

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[there she goes!]

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[easter baskets]

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[bunny sunglasses]

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[gong through their goodies]

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[scattered goods]

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[oh that face]

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[gummi’s on a stick]

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[LOL doll in a chocolate egg]

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*****

EASTER EGG HUNT

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[isn’t she sooooooo sweet?]

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[finding easter eggs]

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[egg hunt markers that i made the night before]

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[eggs in plain sight]

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[bunny egg markers]

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[looking for eggs]

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[a whole lotta goodies]

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[ellie’s goodies]

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[she’s loving her moj moj’s]

*****

EASTER BRUNCH

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[she loves her cousins]

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[ellie alllllllways attached]

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[bagel and lox]

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[the cutest cousins]

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[avo toast]

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[baskets from auntie thuy]

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[she’s so excited over her basket]

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[dessert table]

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[agata and dan]

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[reagan, kim, and bennett]

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[check out all her moves!]

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[my sweet extra girl]

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[a rare family photo]

*****

DYLAN’S CANDY BAR

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[rainbow rice krispie treat]

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[the biggest rainbow cotton candy stick i’ve ever seen!]

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[grandma and her grandkids – minus ellie]

xoxo

bunny good time!

it was a mix of many things this past weekend. it was the weekend before easter and hc’s birthday. we were able to do a lot of fun easter driven things and unfortunately, most of the birthday inspired activities fell through. there was the snow storm on sunday which cancelled plans for a lunch up at hc’s parent’s house. i had planned a spa afternoon and dinner at a yummy restaurant for his actual birthday but that fell through as hc had to stay late at work {his boss was flying in mid afternoon and he had to be there}.

nevertheless, it was still a good, fun, relaxing time!

we had a date with the easter bunny on saturday morning. as usual, our morning started off slow and always winds up in a frenzied rush to get out of the house. i didn’t want to be too late, as in, i wasn’t sure if the line for the bunny would be too long. last year, it was at least an hour and half long wait and we arrived there early!

we were third in line, which was great! the person manning the virtual wait list told us to not go far, as we would be up soon once the bunny arrived. hey, no problem. we grabbed a seat right by the check in and waited until we received a text from the virtual queue. i received the text that we were up next, so i walked up and the host told us to step in the 8 person deep line. um, what? what is the point of a virtual line if your place in line is not honored?? i was annoyed. hc made a great point, it was worthless for us to arrive a half hour early to secure our place in the virtual line and if we had arrived 40 minutes later, we would have not waited and had the same place in line as our virtual queue, because it didn’t matter. we could have just walked up and it would have saved us time in the morning and all the rushing we did just to secure a place that was not recognized. i was peeved.

the good new was that the line moved quickly. the bad news was, ellie was starting to freak out. she was sooooooooooo scared of the bunny. i mean she was freaking the f8ck out! as our turn with the bunny drew near, she started to melt down. i was holding her and she literally screamed for my sister, thuy, to save her {who was standing outside the ropes}, she said, “i want thuyyyyyyy!” and cried. when it was our turn, girlfriend literally belted out in the loudest voice, “noooooooooooooooooo! no! nooooo! no!!” everyone was like “awwwwww” as in they felt her pain.

we got a few pics in and we went on our merry way. poor ellie…i didn’t want to traumatize her! i felt so bad she was freaking out hard core. although olive was a pro! she was so excited to see the bunny and couldn’t wait to tell him what she wanted for easter! i get it though…olive was not keen on santa, bunnies, or anything of that sort until she was about 4 years old, so we have time with ellie {only being 2 1/2!}.

we all walked to a favorite restaurant called the blue door kitchen and garden {off of elm and rush}. we were seated upstairs {it’s so quaint and cute}, where it was a little more spacious and less crowded. the girls were so well behaved but it helped having their cousin with them, reagan, who is so good with them!

we ordered food for the girls right away and libations. we hemmed and hawed just a wee bit on the entrees but finally concluded to a few delicious choices. i really enjoyed everything about the restaurant: the ambience, the decor, how relaxing it was and the great service. i also adore how the girls love to explore and how comfortable the environment was for them to do so. that always makes for a relaxing, stress free dining experience!

after brunch, we traipsed our way back to bloomingdale’s, where we hung out a bit more {we are a bit obsessed with aster hall}. kim and reagan had to head back for his baseball game and thuy had plans with a friend in the evening.

once we arrived home and settled in, we dyed easter eggs! it was such a fun time. olive truly loved it and had a great time creating different colors, drawing on the eggs, and making unique designs. we used shaving cream with food coloring to create swirl dyed eggs, we had mod podge, glitter, confetti, markers, stickers, party hats and metallic paper to promote creativity! ellie, on the other hand, preferred to watch us, yawn, and roll her eyes at us. LOL. she’s such a character.

we crammed a lot into our saturday but i wouldn’t have it any other way. i love being busy and keeping busy and diving deep into anything holiday related! happy easter week my friends!

*****

900 NORTH SHOPS CHICAGO

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[anxiously waiting for the easter bunny!]

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[being skeptical about everything]

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[she styled her outfit and hair!]

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[we really had to talk to ellie and tried to convince her that bunny was a good dude]

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[miss ellie couldn’t stand still for anything]

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[playing around and waiting for the bunny]

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[look at ellie crying!]

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[i totally didn’t want to be in the pic but here we are!]

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*****

BLUE DOOR KITCHEN AND GARDEN

via tandeminlove.com[she was entertained by her little figurines]

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[pretty plates]

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[enjoying our time with family]

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[pretty corners everywhere]

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[high tea]

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[mes seours]

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[classic ellie]

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[hc ordered a drink called the boss and it just baffled olive why they kept serving the boss to dada. LOL]

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[the prettiest restaurant]

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[my sweet tenacious babe]

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[chicken and waffles]

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[i am obsessed with kale and cabbage salads!]

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[the prettiest light…auntie kim with the prettiest ladies]

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[hustling through the streets of chicago]

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[the clan gang]

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[my old stomping ground]

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*****

EASTER EGGS

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[easter egg dying]

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[working diligently]

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[eggcited over the colors!]

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[how ellie dyes easter eggs]

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[glitter, confetti, party hats, markers, food dye…oh my!]

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[shaving cream food dye colored eggs]

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[her easter egg bunny creation]

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xoxo

snow day in april ’19

well, here it is again. it always snows in april, everrrrryyyyy year. i only know this for a fact because for the last ten years, i’ve celebrated hc’s birthday in this month and it always snows around his birthday.

well, i knew it was going to snow {hearsay from hc} but i had no idea it was going to snow almost 5 inches {canceling our birthday plans for hc with his family}! whaaaaaaa? we woke up to a snowy white landscape and it felt like christmas. LOL. hc told me it was going to snow allllll day, well ok! we had a cozy day in, we chilled, hc cooked breakfast, we played, and took pictures. hc went outside to check what type of snow it was and said it was prime snowman building fluff. sooooooo, when i put ellie down for a nap, hc and olive went outside to build a snowman.

they rolled it, stacked it, and built it as i mostly watched them from our bay window. they had gathered all the trimmings…coal, a wannabe carrot nose, hat, scarf, and stick arms. i periodically ran outside to capture some good moments while they were in process.

olive was humming/singing christmas songs as she built the snowman…it was the cutest thing to hear. ohhhhh, she’s the sweetest! she did such a great job building it with hc. she was all about finding the right items for the snowman and helping hc with all the accessories.

they put the finishing touches on the snowman and he looked marvelous! hc and olive were so proud! i must say, he was a good-looking one! we snapped some good pics and walked inside happy and satisfied with our lovey snowman. the only bad news for him is that it’s only getting warmer! by the evening, he was the leaning tower of pisa. i told hc he will topple over by morning! c’est la view monsieur!

even though it snowed and almost everyone in chicagoland almost crapped in their pants with anger, we really enjoyed it and loved every moment of it! it was f u n!

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[bundled up and ready to roll]

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[strolling in stride]

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[they’re so proud of their snowman]

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[yeahhhh, he’s drinking a beer]

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[she’s so proud!]

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xoxo

spring break staycation

olive loves hotels. she loves staying at a hotel. she loves sleeping in them. she loves watching tv in the room. it cracks me up how much she loves being there. from one vacation to the next, olive will always hint to me how much she loves flying on a plane and staying at a hotel.

well, for spring break, we decided to do a staycation in our favorite city! there would be no airplane but definitely a hotel stay! on our way there, olive kept exclaiming how excited she was for our ‘family vacation!!!!!’. so adorable!

we stayed at the millennium knickerbocker hotel and my sister {last minute} ended up staying at the park hyatt hotel, a few blocks away! they were suppose to fly to california but some health issues put a stop to that, so they wanted to get ‘away’ and booked a room at a hotel off the ave too!

so it was extra fun having family with us! the kids jumped on beds, swam, ate, stayed up way too late, ate some more junk food, shopped, perused toy stores, explored, and then some!

the weather wasn’t so great {hello chicago!} so we didn’t venture outside as much as we liked but if you’re staying in chicago, i highly recommend visiting millenium park, lincoln park zoo, the shedd aquarium, the science and industry museum, peggy notebaert nature museum to name a few!

we loved eating at food life in watertower place, ghirardelli’s, aster hall at 900, benihana’s in the hancock building, eataly are some great places to take your kiddos!

we had such a fun time with the kiddos! they loved staying at the hotel, exploring new places, and breaking all the rules!

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[immediately chillaxin’]

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[the sweetest sisters]

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*****

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[watertower chicago lego store!]

*****

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[walking hand in hand]

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[my world]

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[she’s so cool]

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[really olive?!]

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[swim time at the park hyatt hotel!]

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[having fun with dada]

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[she’s so happy]

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[sweet kisses]

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[laughing at the boys]

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[best of friends]

*****

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[ellie was enamored with the park hyatt’s dog, parker]

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[she was too cute with her!]

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*****

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[this awesome new eatery is at 900 north]

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[ordering our food]

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[these three…ellie is not quite there yet]

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[this was so so so so good!]

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[she loves to talk. about. everything.]

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[the sweet lady behind the counter gave olive her little chocolate heart for free!]

*****

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[this picture just kills me. i love her so much, it hurts]

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[silly sisters]

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[ellie is always running off somewhere]

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[she loved this ponycycle!]

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[they’re so cute]

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[wonderoll rolled ice cream]

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[she loved american girl doll…what little girl doesn’t?]

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[silly babes]

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[she was so excited!]

*****

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[oh my]

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[ellie insisted on wearing these glasses at night]

*****

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[she loved seeing al the fish and animals – ellie screamed, terrified]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[it literally sparkled]

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[olive loved how big this fish was!]

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xoxo

brunch with o + e’s guncles!

we’re partial to hanging out in the city than the ‘burbs but we have the rare moments where we just don’t want to go far. we’re fortunate to have friends {the ones who live in the city} that are willing to alternate our meeting destinations. well, this past weekend, we were feeling it and matt and johann gladly came out our way.

we met at our current favorite place, pierce tavern. we love the vibe, the food, drinks, the staff. there was a bit of a wait, so we all walked to starbucks for coffee. our table became ready at the perfect time and we all made the short walk back to the restaurant, ready to eat!

they seated us at the first bar table by the door. imo, the worst table ever. one, when people are waiting by the host stand for their table, they literally sit on top of you. two. the chairs are so high, ellie would most likely plummet off of it and probably hurt herself, and three…it was right by their two way entrance – which meant high traffic and people constantly brushing past you. yuck.

anyhow, no matter. we made the most of it and we were most definitely not going to wait again for a lower table further in the restaurant. we squished the girls in-between the adults and first things first…drinks! we started ordering drinks, apps, drinks, food, drinks, and more drinks. these dudes are like fishes, then there’s me who nursed her spicy bloody mary the entire time because miss ellie could.not.be.apart.from.me. she let hc hold her for 7 minutes {so i had enough time to eat my food} and then it was back to kiki’s arms again and pretty much for the rest of the duration of our restaurant stint {and we weren’t there for a short period of time either!}.

as always, we had a great experience at pierce! once we finished up, we invited matt and johann back to our place to hang out some more. what started at noon, ended at 7? mannnnnn, we can totally hang with them! the girls were super good and low key…i loved that we were able to spend time with matt an johann allllllll day and the girls just flowed with it!

we had such a good time with them {always} and hc worked hard on trying to convince matt to move close to our area. johann is sold on that idea but not matt. he was steadfast in his opinions and even the libations weren’t swaying him! we also tried to convince them to sleep over but that was a no go either. LOL.

we reluctantly agreed to end the evening, we seriously have so much fun with them! thanks guys, for coming our way! it was so much fun and we love you two oh so much!!!

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[olive, moi, and matt]

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[extra spicy bloody mary]

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[the best thing a restaurant can do for your kids!]

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[three amigos]

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[delicious pork ramen]

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[this crusty mouth, booger nosed cutie is the best. the best at being high maintenance. LOL]

xoxo

st. patty’s day ’19

oh st. patrick’s day. i neither love nor hate it. i just never really celebrated it but since having kids, it gives me a great excuse to get festive!

we started our morning with green lucky charm pancakes, whipped cream, bacon, and green milk {hc cooked us mexican inspired breakfast}. the girls loved it! they ate more whipped cream and marshmallows than anything else! we’re so lucky hc loves to cook and do special things like this for the girls and us!

before breakfast commenced, hc prepped all the ingredients for our corned beef and cabbage meal. he threw it all into the slow cooker and we waited! i love this meal…or really i loooooooove cabbage! yes, it’s so good! it could eat cabbage allll the time!

after breakfast, cleaning up, and getting the girl all jazzed up, we dropped them off at my sister’s place and hc and i took off for a day date! he had scheduled a couple’s massage for us at a place in naperville. i’m always anxious about trying new places in the ‘burbs cause it’s honestly hit or miss and i find it’s mostly miss. eep!

well, this place was nice! i really enjoyed it. it was new, clean, and everyone was friendly and kind. that’s always a plus cause nowadays i feel like you walk into a business and no one cares. wtf?? anyhoo, the receptionist was so friendly, my masseuse bernice was very helpful, nice, and really spent her time listening to me and suggested ways to help me improve my posture so my back doesn’t get so tight and cramped up! the experience was so good! as it should be! oh i felt like butter afterwards!

in honor of st. patty’s day, olive and i also made rainbow cupcakes! i have to tell you, she did such a great job!! she really did! she put the ingredients into the bowl, used the mixer to smooth out the batter, separated the cupcake liners into the pan, mixed the food coloring into the separated batter, spooned each color into the liners, and decorated each frosted cupcake with gold flakes, green sprinkles, gold coins, lucky charms, and rainbows!! she did good!

i was so proud of her! she has become such an amazing helper around the house. she loves to clean, put away her toys, help cook/bake, and change ellie’s diaper to name a few things she’s been keen on.

later that evening, hc put together the most delicious dinner of corned beef and cabbage. it was sooooooo good! the carrots, potatoes, cabbage, and beef were perfect! plus, i must have it on record that this was the first time the girls ate EVERYTHING. yes, everything. up until a month ago, getting olive to eat anything green was almost impossible. but on this night, she ate her carrots, cabbage, potatoes, and beef! i was so impressed! ellie on the other hand is much more open to eating different things but it based on her mood. one day she will eat it and the next she will not {most of the time she screams “no!!” when we try to feed her but when i tell her to eat it, sternly, she opens up her mouth and realizes she likes it!} but at least she eats her greens from time to time!

well, that was our st. patrick’s day in a nutshell. so much going on but it was truly a wonderful day! we reflected and felt so content about our day of celebration! life is good!

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[lucky charm green pancakes and green milk]

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[chowing down on her festive breakfast]

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[whipped cream face]

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[my sweet girl eating all the sugar]

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* * * * * * *

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[we mixed the colors…ready to pour the batter into the cupcake liners!]

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[separating the cupcake liners into the pan]

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[separating the cupcake liners into the pan]

[voila! olive did such a great job!]

[separating the cupcake liners into the pan]

[separating the cupcake liners into the pan]

[separating the cupcake liners into the pan]

[separating the cupcake liners into the pan]

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[ta da! rainbow inside!]

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xoxo

pump it up

birthday parties, birthday parties!

we were invited to our neighbor’s grandson’s birthday party. it was at a place called pump it up. i had never heard of it and i truly had no idea what kind of place it was for kids. LOL. once we arrived and walked into the first room, i was like, “ohhhhhhhhhh” a lot of bouncy houses. alright.

we chatted with our neighbor mary and her kids. hc and i found a game where you throw the football into the hole {football bags. hahaha!} and i smoked him. yeahhhhhhh, i got more hole in ones than him. booyah!!

we did our best to get ellie to want to go on one of the bouncy’s but we were failing miserably. fiiiinally though, we sparked an interest in one of the bouncy’s and ellie was enjoying herself although she wouldn’t go further than the ‘stairs’.

olive was gone. she was soooo into the bouncy houses and we hardly ever saw her! hahaha! she’s so good with acclimating into new environments. well, then there was ellie – she cried and screamed and was unhappy in every room we went into. once she liked one bouncy house, it was time to move to another room. we started all over again to get her comfortable with a new bouncy house. then it was time to move onto another room and that girl threw a fit. she screamed and cried every time!

well, the final room was the party room, they were serving juice drinks and cake. they had picnic style benches and olive and ellie were trying to figure out where to sit. i directed them to an area and olive climbed up and ellie followed suit. as she settled her tush onto the bench, she lost her balance and fell straight back onto her back flat on the floor. oh my goodness. that just added onto how irritable she was that afternoon. she started shrieking. like SHRIEKING. i picked her up and ran out into the hallway to calm her down. oh, poor babe was having the worst {yet best time} ever!

once she calmed down, she sipped her juice drink and ate her cake. she was a happy camper. we mingled a bit more with the family as the guests trickled out. after the group had dwindled, hc and i decided to leave and the girls said their goodbyes. it was a great place to throw a party – quick, convenient, and easy clean up! she had such a great time with everyone!

we’re so fortunate to have become such great friends with our neighbors and their kids. we’re so lucky to be surrounded by such good people! thanks kristin and chris for inviting us to brett’s party! we had such a wonderful time!

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[always skeptical]

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[doing some incredibles 2 moves]

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[she was having so much fun]

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[on the first bouncy, she wouldn’t go up any further than this point]

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[she was constantly bothered and upset…LOL]

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[she was having a blast]

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[she cried and vied for this pink mobile and when she finally got a chance to ride it, she was on it for 5 seconds. wtf]

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[trying to appease the babe]

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[finally, finally realizing that these bouncy houses are fun!]

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[it was so cute. i couldn’t see her go down the slide but within a few seconds, her head popped up at the bottom! hahaha!]

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[there she goes!]

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[there goes olive!]

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[they were having sooooo much together!]

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[oh ellie. she was having a meltdown before this picture and olive was trying to console her]

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[the birthday boy and his sister]

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[incredibles baby jack jack]

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xoxo

down the rabbit hole

an old friend pam, who i met through my friend carol, when we were – maybe 8-9 years old, hosted a first birthday party for her sweet babe leighton! the theme was alice in wonderland and it was so darn cute and cuuuuuute!

pam went all out. there were fun, festive themed decorations everywhere! an easel greeted us on the walkway. there were decorations on the front door, in the hallway, she made a photo booth, a tea party table…i felt like pam was my long lost sister in the party throwing/hosting department! i loved all the details! it was all so cute and perfect!

olive disappeared as soon as we walked inside. she spied the playroom and was gone forever. i chatted with pam’s bestie becky for a bit and made my rounds saying hello to people i knew. i was able to chat with pam’s mom, carol, for awhile, which was really nice because i don’t get to see her very much! i nibbled on some food, checked up on olive, and mingled a bit with some guests.

i convinced olive to sit down for some fruit and pbj, in which she obliged. she was having so much fun with the other kids! i love that she can mold into the new environments and feel comfortable befriending new people. she tends to play a lot by herself {which is ok} but i love that she can entertain herself and be fine or blend into a group.

after we sang happy birthday to leighton, we snapped some pics in the photo booth, and then later, pam opened up the presents given to leighton. olive was sooooo excited to help! i had to tell her a few times to back down and not prematurely open up gifts that were not hers! hahaha!

olive was very sad to leave. she was having so much fun! it fills my heart with joy that my girl was having a good time! i was a bit sad to pull her away but we needed to get home to the hubs and ellie.

thanks pam and ryan for throwing a wonderful, beautiful birthday party for leighton! it was perfectly done and you two are the best hosts!

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[tea party coming right up!]

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[presents galore]

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[croissant sandwiches]

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[how cute is this cake?]

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[she was like, no crown please]

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[there is goes!]

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[pam, leighton, and ryan]

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[my sweet girl!

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[pam surrounded by kids so excited to open presents]

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[me and pampers]

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xoxo

serena and lily

we were invited to an event at a chicago shop called serena and lily {i am obsessed with everything they sell!}! it was to meet the author of the children’s book, a raven’s nest by raven roxanne.

we arrived a bit past ten, at the store, and we were warmly welcomed by the staff, greeting everyone at the entrance. they kindly took our coats and invited us upstairs, where the event was happening. once we hit the landing, we were enveloped by the gorgeous decor, a beautiful brunch spread, and the author made her way over to us to say hello!

i was in photo heaven! the lighting in the space was amazingly perfect and the aesthetics was beachy, coastal cool. the author, roxanne, was just about to sit down and read to the children. i ushered olive and ellie into the room and they nabbed a space close by. after the book reading, the children were encouraged to create their own nests…inspired by the book’s storyline.

the girls nibbled on some treats and sipped on sweet beverages, while i waited patiently for the author to sign her book! once we were done at the event, we traipsed our way over to a yummy restaurant called the blue door {the last time i was there, it was at the old location on armitage and now it’s on halsted}! ohhhhhh, it’s such a good place. again, the decor was inviting and cool and the food and drinks are even better! there was a teeny tiny wait, but the girls entertained themselves. or more so, ellie was rebellious and olive was trying to calm her down. sigh…pretty much how it goes everyday!

after brunch, we walked along armitage and peeked into a few shops! while we were at papersource, ellie completely fell in love with a dog there! the great pyrenees belonged to a couple, who was shopping there too. as soon as ellie saw the dog, she could not let go! like at alllllll! she was in love! it was soooooo darn cute to see her so enamored with this beautiful white dog! i told hc, we found the dog we will get! hahaha!

it was such a perfect morning! we had the best time in the city and the girls were sooooo darn good! let’s admit it, when no one is screaming, crying, fussy, loony, and upset, it always makes for a better time! they had a wonderful time at the event and we all enjoyed our fun, smooth, no bumps in the road outing.

{check out all the fun pics below!!!!}

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[the delicious spread]

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[the girls or girl intently listening. olive was so into it but ellie was side eyeing all the other kids]

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[doesn’t she look so sweet and innocent?]

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[raven roxanne reading her book to the kiddos]

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[she spotted me and wanted up…when she wants me to pick her up, she says, “hugs”. melt!]

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[oh she’s soooooo saucy and sweet. just look at that mug!]

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[drawing their own nests]

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[color choices]

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[raven checking on everyone’s drawing]

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[ellie’s nest]

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[olive’s nest]

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[dream bedrooms set and beautiful girl]

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[can i please have this swing in our house?!]

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[olive wanted to show off her picture!]

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[with the artist and author, roxanne]

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[my sweet girls]

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[the beautiful little book]

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[so dreamy]

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[after the book signing, we ate brunch at the blue door!]

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[this cuuuuute face right here was being very naughty at this moment but oh, that sweet face melts me!]

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[i scolded her and she ran over to the stairs to hide]

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[squishing her face into the railing]

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[pouting]

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[she loves her big sister]

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[more coloring!]

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[the hubs…don’t mind his beard]

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[kale and brussel salad]

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[we’re at papersource lincoln park]

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xoxo