winter ballet recital ’18

even though this is her third recital {second winter one}, i still get so excited, although less nervous. the anticipation of seeing her perform gets me all giddy, happy, and feeling so proud of her!

we typically split the driving duties…i take olive early to drop her off before the show and hc will take ellie and make it in time for the performance. this time around, thuy, dad, jane, dick, grace, dan, agata, hc and ellie were in attendance to watch olive perform to ‘santa claus is coming to town’.

she did such a great job! she had high jumps and perfect poise. oh, it’s so cute to watch her dance! it makes my heart melt seeing her confident and growing in her execution. don’t get me wrong…these girls were so goofy, all over the place with their moves, and so fun to watch! that’s the best part! seeing each kid do their own thing and not really following a routine is always so funny and endearing.

anyhoo, after the recital ended, i grabbed olive from the pick up room and brought her back to her fan base. everyone then showered her with kisses, hugs, and flowers. after quite a few pictures, we all headed to a restaurant down the street called pierce tavern, a new joint in the downtown area.

it was a bit of a wait, so we walked across the street to the toy shop and the kids had fun while we waited for our table to be ready. a perfect shop to go to when the wait is long and you have kids! our experience at the restaurant was great! hc and i really loved the food, ambiance, and decor. it’s a cool cozy place with a diverse menu. i really think we found our go to place and that’s saying a lot because we don’t have one after all these years out here!!

moving from chicago to the ‘burbs leave little to be desired in the restaurant department. that’s the one thing we truly miss about not living in chicago anymore. we had easy, quick access to so many wonderful restaurants and bars and being out here – well, we haven’t found a place close to home that we love and we’re hoping that this is it!

it turned out to be such a lovely, loving afternoon. we all had a great time watching olive perform and our lunch together, afterwards, was just perfect. excellent job on your ballet recital miss olive. we are so proud of you and love that you love what you are doing.

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[she’s so sweet]

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[walking into the waiting room…excited to see all the other ballerinas!]

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[the girl with a million silly faces]

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[getting on stage]

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[they started off sleeping and waking up like little blooming flowers]

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[‘sleepy heads’ getting up to stretch]

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[plié]

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[done! walking off the stage]

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[this…oh my heart. it’s melting into a puddle]

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[she was like, ‘kiki…i can’t hold all these flowers!’ haha!]

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[double whammy…papa deux bisou]

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[oh, proud mama here!]

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[olive and her super aunty]

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[dan and agata]

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[a yummy bloody mary – extra spicy please]

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[silly cats]

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[a perfect sign for hc]

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[celebrating my birthday, at home, too!]

xoxo

holiday downtown

we did our annual holiday trip to macy’s on state this past weekend! we did our usual routine of eating up on the 7th floor, shopping for ornaments, and just shopping around the store.

we love to buy ornaments from here every year, grab a little candy from the shop downstairs, and just take in the hustle and bustle of the season. dan, agata, kim, terry, the boys, thuy, mom and dad came out this year. we stayed at the department store for several hours and then headed home to our house to decorate gingerbread houses! before we left, we were able to admire one of their animated windows at macy’s. olive was so enamored with all the trumpets and christmas lights and wonderment all around her! her and ellie were so amazed as we walked the streets!

once home, we tidied up a bit and then kim and fam and agata and dan came over. kim brought over wine, cheese, and paté to nibble on. the boys brought food over to the house and the kids ate dinner. we had ordered pizza for everyone else and once all the consuming of food was done, we set up the gingerbread houses for the kiddos!

the kids had a blast! olive looooooved decorating her house. she was so excited and looking forward to it for days! olive did such a great job decorating her house – she didn’t even get frosting on her fingers! a big thank you to dan for being her structural engineer and making sure her roof didn’t fall down. thanks for holding the house together while olive decorated around you!

overall it was a great, fun festive day with the family! i love being able to spend the time with them during the busiest season of the year. that is what matters most during this crazy month! we soaked in the holiday mood and created some good memories together.

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[she’s so funny]

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[hey grace! i’m only going to take a pic of you while you’re eating. oops]

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[olive is so silly!]

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[she loooooooved riding the escalators!]

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[picking out candy]

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[olive’s stash]

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[my sweet girls]

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[ready to assemble her house!]

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[all the goodies to decorate with]

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[the cutest cousins]

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[olive’s house]

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[reagan’s house]

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[putting on her adornments]

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[reagan’s house looking good!]

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[olive was sooooo dang careful with her decor and she didn’t even get frosting on her fingers!]

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[reagan and his masterpiece]

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[she did such a great job!!]

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xoxo

hello santa!

our annual visit with the big guy in red happened the other day! i didn’t tell the girls until we were about a minute away. olive got sheepish and ellie just didn’t care. i usually make reservations every year but this time around, i was like – let’s just wing it. i usually find that they are pretty good at getting non reserved families in and i was right!

we walked in, signed up and we were the second family to see santa! they snapped a family pic first and then the kiddos. it was cute! i wasn’t expecting to be in any pics but it was super nice to have one together {since we can be so bad at taking a family photo together}. the girl’s picture turned out so sweet too!

after those photos, we waited in line to walk into santa’s airstream trailer. when it was our turn, olive excitedly walked towards it. we walked inside and there was santa! olive was so anxious, excited, and nervous. ellie was like – nope. ‘who’s this big guy in red?! make sure i stay far away from him!’ hahaha!

olive gingerly walked towards him and sat next to him while hc held onto ellie. i encouraged olive to tell santa what she wanted for christmas. she had her hands slightly clasped and she looked right at him. as she started to speak, her voice was not quivering but her hands were slightly trembling, she told him she wanted a mermaid barbie, lol dolls, a cinderella doll, and a blue car with a big engine. it was soooo flipping adorable to see. she really wanted to tell santa what she wanted and practiced it with me before she went in. she did so well! i was so proud of her!

then hc set ellie down for a picture and it all went downhill for her! eep! well, as you can see in the pictures below…it was a very successful visit! after that, we walked away feeling so good {ok, minus ellie} and headed to dinner. after eating, we shopped around a bit in the mall and then headed home.

BUT not without losing bunny. that is a loooooong story. we thought we were donzo. that bunny was gone. we called all the places we were at and no one had bunny. we went home without him and we were devastated. especially olive. hc went back the next day to backtrack everywhere we went. he went back into stores and had no luck. then a christmas miracle happened. he searched the grounds and right in front of eddie bauer, there was bunny!!!! someone had found him and placed him up on the store front’s windowsill. bless their hearts for doing that! hc saved the day!

we had such a great evening! it really was! we had so much fun {minus the missing bunny}. santa’s visit was a success, dinner was so fun and yummy {the girls were sooooo stinking cute and well behaved}, and we had a good time shopping the mall and picking up some extra goodies!

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[our family photo! i loved that they did that for us]

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[they’re so sweet]

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[ellie and olive’s looks! priceless!]

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[olive is so mesmerized by him! ellie, not so much]

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[she was sooooo excited to sit in his lap! what a difference from last year and the years prior!]

xoxo

christmas concert

olive’s holiday concert day had arrived. she had been practicing all season! it was too cute when she would give us a sneak peek into one of her songs. i was so excited to see her perform.

we arrived barely on time for the drop off. the morning started off easy and with plenty of time but, honestly, i don’t know what happened. i thought i had all the time in the world and then before i knew it, we were going to be late! gosh…mama brain! i felt bad…it was totally my fault for losing track of time and i totally snapped at olive. i asked her to put on her shoes and she completely mixed the shoes up and was standing there with the wrong shoes on her feet and didn’t recognize it. i yelled and she cried and i felt bad. i didn’t want her feeling this, so i apologized and she smiled, which was better but darn it. i hate it when i have a failing moment like that. it hurts my heart that i hurt her feelings.

once we dropped olive off at her classroom, i scurried upstairs to grab a seat. oh, it was full. i scanned the room and spotted a couple open spots in front and dove in. i nabbed third row, which wasn’t too bad since i was so late. i blanked out and forgot to ask the teacher which side olive was on {due to my tardiness…i forgot}. i sat there for a second and debated on going over to the other side but gut told me to stay and i was right! olive was on the right side and i had a great view of her!

my favorite moment {after the concert} was during the rudolph song, i noticed olive not doing the antler gesture with her hands every time they said reindeer. i just thought she was blanking out or getting tired. she did all the other moves throughout the song but the antler one. after the concert, she said to me, “kiki, did you see? i didn’t make the antlers because i am already a reindeer!” oh my gosh…this girl melts my heart! i should have known better! she’s so clever! i loved that she knew that she was already a reindeer and it was unnecessary to make the gesture! she’s too cute!

the kiddos did such a great job singing. it was so cute and so fun to watch! olive did so well. she knew all the words, i could hear her voice, and she did all the gestures. it was such a fun time watching her with ellie! what a great job olive! you practiced and your hard work showed through your concert great performance! way to go!

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[had to blur out the other kids…so don’t mind the odd pics]

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[she saw us and waved! they were getting ready to perform!]

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[after the concert and the sly poses she was giving me]

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[this one is my favorite…she was going for the vogue, pouty, drama look. hahaha!]

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[other parents were probably like, “what up with the poses?!” ha!]

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[walking down the stage to and getting a reindeer candy cane]

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[so cute!]

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[my sweeties]

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xoxo

kidcon

we were invited to an event called kidcon chicago. honestly, i had never heard of it and was curious. i love taking the girls to fun, different places and i was hoping this event fit that description.

we had a really rough day, because of me. i was a bad mom, literally. i hate to admit it but the pms was strong. sometimes when i am in this moment…it’s so hard to snap out of it and it was a miserable morning and afternoon for everyone. i had to leave the house just to reset. when i came back, i apologized to the girls and eventually to hc. we were hoping to hit up the event earlier but we ended up not going until wayyyyyyy late in the afternoon. much later than anticipated.

no worries, we still had time to enjoy ourselves. it was the longest walk ever to get there…mainly because i was carrying ellie. hahaha! once we arrived, we checked in and i could tell that the girls were excited. we started walking around and there were so many cute booths and i was pleasantly surprised. everyone was so darn friendly and nice.

we were so distracted when we walked in because we didn’t know what to do with our coats. we, honestly, should have left them in the car…we really didn’t need them but right when we walked in, we were trying to get situated and this super nice lady at the booth we were standing next to exclaimed how cute a hat would look on olive because she was wearing this polar bear ear headband. i was so distracted that i was polite with her but i felt bad because i didn’t fully engage with her the way i usually do with people. it’s little things like that, that can bother me! i’m so hyper aware of stuff like that.

anyhoo, the girls were EXCITED. they ran from one booth to the next. the convention had play areas everywhere. a lot of companies had their products set up in play stations around the area too, so that was cool and fun. olive loved playing with the toys, there were craft areas, interactive play areas…it was non stop for the kiddos. i was happy because they were so joyous!

well, we walked away spending way too much money! i had to restraint myself from buying something from every booth! it was great, though, because i also did some additional christmas shopping. i bought stocking stuffers for miss olive and the girls looooooved the super hero costume booth. we were suckered in to almost everything.

after an hour or so…we finally decided to leave but not before we hit up all the booths we loved and bought a thing or two. as we were leaving, i stopped back over to the check in desk and asked for my gift bag. the women gave me the most amazing bag! it was so cute and cool and filled with so many good things! olive was just as excited because she had a feeling there would be toys inside and she was correct!

overall, we had a really fun time at kidcon! i throughly enjoyed all the vendors and the kids had such a great time! thank you so much for having us! it was super FUN!

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[in one of the play areas]

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[her favorite toy in the entire area]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[i was thinking, ‘please don’t put this cup to your lips elllllieeeeee!’ hahaha!]

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[oh these girls. olive’s signature pose]

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[olive loved the unicorn headbands!]

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[this girl melts me heart]

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[she was given a free lip balm stick and that was it…it was application after application. hahaha!]

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[there were so many interactive areas for the kiddos…balloons, crafts, play…it was pretty awesome]

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[back at the play area and looking for all the flowers]

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[i got suckered into these costumes…they are so cute though!!!!]

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[they were obsessed]

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[my superhero]

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xoxo

deck the halls ’18

we are fans of decorating for christmas after thanksgiving and we attempt to do it after we celebrate olive’s birthday.

olive cracks me up…she wanted to pick out an outfit to decorate in {while i am and all of us are in pj’s…ok, ellie wanted to wear a dress too}. she chose her springtime ballet recital outfit – so fancy!

hc lugged all the boxes of decorations up and put our tree together. we then we pulled out the ornament box and proceeded to decorate the tree. the girls ohhh’d and ahhh’d over all the ornaments. ellie proceeded to break two glass ornaments! not good. we were so worried that we might have left shards of glass behind!! the second ornament she broke right by her feet!!! good thing grace was fast acting – she snatched ellie off the floor in .5 seconds! thank you grace!!

after we decorated the tree…hc and olive attempted to put up the star but with us having a new big and tall tree this year…it was a bit difficult, but they tried!

once the tree was done, the girls took a break and hc and i continued to decorate the rest of the house. man, it’s exhausting to decorate! i don’t know if i will even attempt this when i get older…i will be too tired! haha!

well, after much time and trips to home depot for lots of fresh pine garland and nubs, we dressed our home in love and festiveness!

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[olive called my pajama’s bacon pj’s! hahaha!]

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[she loves the candy canes, gifts from matt’s mom]

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[her outfit of choice to wear while decorating the tree]

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[my little fire ball]

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[she broke this glass ornament and one other…oy, it was such a disaster! no one wants shards of glass on your floor!]

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[true disheveled pj time]

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[attempting a star topper but the tree was too tall!]

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xoxo

thanksgiving ’18

preparations for thanksgiving this year was feeling good.

olive’s birthday party was done and done. we were gearing up for turkey day and black friday weekend. food was purchased, plans were finalized, desserts were bought {sheesh…who has time to bake?? not i said the cat}.

we did our usual, in the morning we go to aunt wendy’s house for an early turkey treat and then we head on over to my parent’s house for another gobble gobble dinner.

i am quite thankful my sister kim basically does all the prep and cooking. like seriously…without her, i’m not sure who would do it. we have hc’s family obligations during the day and i always feel bad i can’t be there to help out more. once we arrive, though, i jump right in to help with whatever i can. she’s such a good cook anyways, no one would want me in the kitchen full time. hahaha!

well, both sides of the family get togethers were wonderful, fulfilling, yummy, and so good. life is great when you’re with family. another beautiful thanksgiving on the books. we are so incredibly thankful.

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[three out of four looking at the camera is good enough]

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[ellie loving aunt wendy’s couch]

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[jump, jump, jump]

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[aunt vicki and jane]

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[sisters eating together]

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[plate o food]

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[uncle eddie and jane]

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[i’ll be sad when i can’t put her hair up like this anymore]

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[olive and hannah]

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[uncle steve and danielle]

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[some sorta shot]

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[hc and grace]

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[she’s so fun!]

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PART DEUX

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[the cutest cousins]

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[hc, ba, and terry]

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[sisters]

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[the family that buffalo checks together, stays together]

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[mom in her element]

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[we’re getting more photo time as a family of 5]

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[beautiful arrangement by kim]

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[agata and dan]

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[i kept screaming, ‘cheek to cheek!!!’…this was as close as they got to ellie]

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[so delicious]

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[cookie decorating]

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[i said, ‘olive, show me your cookie’. she picked it up aaaaand…]

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[her face…too cute when her decorations started falling off! she was like, ‘ohhhhhh no’]

xoxo

brunch with matt and johann

we love these guys! hanging out with them is always so fun.

we had planned for a dinner at our house but everything that day was so topsy turvy. i forgot about plans to have the fam over for pumpkin carving that evening, so i asked matt if they could do brunch instead and they so graciously agreed to change the plans for us. plus, the weather was so unfavorable for our christmas mini photo sesh that morning, that those were cancelled. it was one erroneous surprise after another.

well, all eventually spanned out quite well. we made it to brunch early and had a wonderful time with matt and johann. we ate at oyster bah, a place we’ve never been to, and enjoyed our experience. as usual, we gabbed and gabbed and gabbed with one another while the girls were too cute and sweet.

the girls were dressed in their christmas outfits and looking so darn darling. so many strangers loved their looks and commented on how cute they were. well of course!

our hangs with matt and johann is always a good chunk of time. we love spending it talking and catching up. sometimes our brunch get togethers can be a couple hours. i am thankful i have two girls that can hang. olive is always so good and ellie can lose interest after an hour or so. once that happens, i usually attempt to entertain her until we leave {by walking around, typically}. she’s our short tempered, stubborn, tenacious babe. she loves to love and loves to hate. when this girl wants something, she won’t wait and will definitely let you know!

after ordering our entrees. manger, and drink after drink, we were ready to go. it’s always so lovely to hang with these two. i absolutely love their dynamics, humor, and friendship. until next time matt and johann! we love you guys!

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[hc, matt, and johann]

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[coloring away]

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[cheers!]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[i love this babe!]

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[playtime by the stairs]

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xoxo

fall mini sesh

once we passed some major milestones for these girls {first birthdays…pregnancy…where we pretty much took photos together every year}…i am now signing up for fall photos every year!  it’s a perfect way to document your growing family and to look back at the beautiful pictures and remember the sweet moments.

we had a full day…i had an eye appointment to blog about, so that took some time in the morning, then we had a neighbor’s kid’s first birthday party south of us, then from the birthday party, we had to jet to our family photos up north. it was a whirlwind that we mastered. our timing had to be just right because the photos were timed with the photographer and if you were late, you lost out on your time.

i definitely didn’t want to lose out on any time whatsoever. so, we left the party early and got to our location with 10-15 minutes to spare – the great part?! we were the first subjects, so we gained that time with our photographer, tricia! we were so lucky to have almost 25 minutes with her {it was a 15 minute session}.

the girls were great {minus a few ellie moments} and we were able to get in a lot of different shots. olive has become such a ham {ahem…i wonder how???} and really entertained us.

tricia at patricia anderson photography has been our photographer since before olive was born {5+ years!}. she is local and i highly recommend her! we love her patience, artistic view, and quick turn around when it comes to the pics.

i am so excited to share! happy fall y’all!

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[grace]

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[our tribe]

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[this one melts my heart]

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[our glamour shot]

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[this is everything!]

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[my girls]

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[my heart melts!!!]

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[daddy daughter]

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[they’re so sweet!]

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[she’s such a ham!]

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[ellie being calm for a second by herself in the tall grassy field]

xoxo

trick or treat ’18!

halloween 2018

halloween always brings back vivid memories for me. i remember my halloweens so distinctly; like the years where it was freezing cold, which halloweens were so warm you didn’t need a coat, houses that gave out the big candy bars and what costumes i wore. i loved the spooky shows, cartoons, and sitcoms that would create story lines around halloween. it was all so wonderfully, hauntingly good.

halloween has always been a faaaaaaavorite holiday of mine. i thoroughly enjoy the lighthearted goodness of it…not so much the scary, creepy, gory part of it but the spooky, fun, childish, change of season piece of it. the changing of the leaves, the chill in the air, and the tradition of trick or treating excites me!

ellie napped during the afternoon and i was hoping to get over to my dad’s house by 3pm but that did not happen! hc came home early and we fiiiiinally headed over to my parent’s house by 4:30 pm…so late! the temp was amazing…it was near 60 degrees and that’s like summer in october! i am sure we missed a bunch of trick or treaters going over so late but chest la vie. we waited for my sister, thuy, to come by and once she arrived, we snapped pics and went on our merry way with the girls to have some fun trick or treating.

i walked along with the gang for a bit and decided to return to help my dad out. one, i looooooooove to hand out candy but two, i wanted to make sure i did that part because my dad’s knees are the best and i didn’t want him to walk up and down the stairs to answer the door.

once hc and the gang returned, we poured over their treats and turned on the telly to watch some fun halloween cartoons! we answered the door a few more times and then the trick or treaters tapered off and then we gather together for dinner.

oh, we had so much fun! at the girls loved knocking on all the doors. little elle belle tried sooooo hard to keep up with her big sis. it was so heartwarming to watch them hit up each house in their own unique way. olive running ahead and ellie trying to catch up to olive. oh how i love them!

i’ll declare this halloween a complete success!

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[ellie’s current favorite pose]

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[my beautiful girl in her pegicorn costume]

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[this is definitely a treat]

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[can you guess hc’s costume? if you can, in the comments, i’ll give you a starbucks card!]

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[olive was on fire! running house to house!]

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[the girls with their super aunty]

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[ellie was constantly trying to catch up]

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[she was always two steps ahead, or maybe ten steps ahead!]

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[hc consoling ellie after she fell down a step…poor babe!]

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xoxo