thuy’s fabulous birthday

we went to dawson for thuy’s birthday celebration. it was an unseasonably warmer night and we all packed into our car for a quick ride to the restaurant. we valet’d and mosey’d on in. the restaurant was dark, warm, and old world, i liked the decor and ambience of the place.

our wait for our table was short and when we all gathered around to sit, it was like freakin’ musical chairs. no joke. i think everyone but one person got up from where they were sitting to get the feng shui right. we moved ourselves around until we felt the right flow and vibe. man, it was quite the sight.

well, once we settled in, we ordered libations, small bites, and had a great time. i really enjoyed the drinks and food…it was all so delicious but i mostly enjoyed the company. we had such a fun time celebrating thuy! we knocked down apps, entrees, and decadent desserts throughout our evening.

terry, my brother in law, know the two owners of this place and they happened to be there that night. he conversed with them for a bit and they kept insisting on buying us drinks, natch. one, this group of ours is not the biggest of drinkers, and two, we were dunzo but we graciously accepted their offer. they sent over shots of something and all i can tell you was that it was not for the fainthearted! geeeezzzzzzz, it was so strong you could probably light a match five feet away and it would have caught on fire! hahaha! we could hardly even smell it, it burnt off our nose hairs! bahahahaha!

anyways, after we hung out for a bit longer we said our goodbyes and headed back home to the babes. it was a wonderful, lovely, cheerful evening in lieu of thuy’s birthday. we love celebrating her! cheers sweet sister, i wish you nothing but the best – may you have happiness, love, and luck always by your side! we love you!

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[grace, thuy, and lan]

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[terry and kim]

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[nice dan]

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[happy birthday thuy!]

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[the man in the back is the co-owner of the restaurant]

xoxo

old people time

we were meeting our dear friends aaron and olivia out for dinner at cafe babareeba in lincoln park. our original plan was to meet up at longman and eagle and meet there early because they don’t take reservations and we really didn’t want to wait a long time. well, little did we know, longman and eagle was closed for cleaning?! that screwed up our plans! so olivia decided to eat at cafe babareeba but we still kept our old people time for dinner.

hc and i scored front row parking and we met up with them inside the restaurant, they were already seated. it was so awesome to see them! i love hanging out with olivia…we can gab on and on forever. we really love talking and we can become so engrossed in our conversations and before we know it, it can be hours later. like many, many hours later. sometimes our goodbyes can last an hour…hahaha!

well, we had a delicious dinner and even better conversations. we were getting a little bit deep, spiritual, and emotional with our topics. we shed a few tears and talked about how much we love life and appreciate the blessings that we have. life has it’s challenges and we discussed how we realize life can be too short and how things can open your eyes to appreciate the people around you and what you already have.

despite the heavy subjects, i really had an amazing time out at dinner! we debated on going out to another bar but decided to head back to aaron and olivia’s place to have drinks. we chilled, relaxed, and had a great time hanging out! after a few hours, we decided to call it quits. it was soooooo early! like 10:30ish? one, we had dinner so freakin’ early and then, two, we called it a night when most people probably start going out. haha!

we said our goodbyes and headed on home. the babes were asleep and i was a bit sad but that’s life! hc and i chilled on the couch and fell asleep! we had such a great time out with them…we always do! i can’t wait to meet up with these two lovelies soon!

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[this sweetheart got me a birthday gift!]

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[mmmmm sangria. so yummy!]

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[seriously aaron?! hahaha! nice pose]

xoxo

happy birthday andrea

andrea’s birthday was actually in the beginning of the month but in typical fashion, i am late.

i was excited that we were able to get together and celebrate her! we were all meeting at bottlefork on clark street. i had a really tough day…dealing with a viral infection, coughing until i puked, going to urgent care, and just feeling off kilter…but ya know me, nothing really stops me from going out {except pregnancy…the only time(s) that exhaustion stopped me in my tracks}.

i headed down there in no time {a wee bit of traffic} but it was the ‘i will try to find parking’ attitude that dug a hug hole for me! i drove around and around determined to find parking and i was absolutely unsuccessful. then gps took me on a route to turn me around and that damn machine took me on to wacker and spit me out onto the ike! are you freakin’ kidding me?!! i had to drive onto the highway, back onto the kennedy, and get off the ramp, back to my destination. holy cow. i was sooooooo late and i was suppose to be on time.

i then thought, eff it…i am going to valet. what i should have done in the first place!! i probably spent enough gas money driving around for what it would have cost me to pay a valet to park my car.

i was finally there. i made it! so darn late…i know everyone else was late but i can’t believe i was driving around for as long as i was! anyhoo, i sat down, relaxed, and really enjoyed my time out. we ordered bites and libations all around and became very engrossed in our conversations. i don’t get to see andrea very often and it was fantastic to have a chance to catch up with her! what stymies our girl time of late is, one, she’s always traveling somewhere, and two, we both have kids and that doesn’t always create the freedom to meet up sporadically and conveniently as we did before.

the food was yummy, the atmosphere was fun, and it was a great time seeing all the girls! since i had such a rough day and was sick, the rest of the group decided to grab more drinks at rpm and i chose to go home. it’s no secret i always miss my babies but i was tired and ready to retire to a horizontal state on the couch.

it was a fabulous time out! i cherish my friendship with this lovely lady…she’s sweet, stylish, considerate, smart, and loyal. happy birthday to a dear friend of mine! cheers to many more wonderful years together!

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[bottlefork chicago]

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[i know i shouldn’t say this…but i look so old! whaaaaaa!]

chicago

[ginger and beth]

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[make a wish]

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[i could of eaten this cup o ice cream all by myself. hahaha!]

xoxo

a lazy day…we can never have enough

maybe it’s because it was the holidaze but life has been cray cray and hectic around here lately {what seemed like months}. it seems like i never have enough time for anything or we are always doing something. we never really get a day where we just sit around, let time slide by, and be lazy. i am sooooooo excited for january. i am looking forward to slower days, days where there isn’t much to do, no parties and events but just time to relaxxxxxxx!

we had a day planned where we it would be just us and we were going to have fun and have a relaxing agenda. our morning started off very late. the girls slept in but we quickly got ready and headed to bucktown for some grub and shopping. i wanted to try my favorite spot, the bongo room but the wait was ridiculous. we couldn’t wait more than an hour for brunch with two little kids, so we decided to walk and find another place. we rounded the corner and decided to hit up feast. the wait was only 15 minutes and we were ready to eat.

after brunch, we hit up the shops along the street. we just wandered and went into any shops that appealed to us. it was a brisk day but not freezing cold. we were comfortable walking along the neighborhood and had great time perusing shops and finding unique places. grace was hoping to record shop {our true purpose of hitting this area} and our last stop happen to be reckless records – a gold mine of old finds. we spent a good amount of time inside the store and grace found quite a few gems.

we truly had a wonderful, relaxing day together. we did what we wanted and had a great time doing so. boy, do i miss our old ‘hood. it was great to visit the area and hit up some old favorites. i am hoping we have another relaxing, lazy, fun day like this again soon!

via tandeminlove.com[feast in chicago]

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[this girl]

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[brunch cocktails]

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[prosciutto breakfast croissant]

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[taking pics in shinola]

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[poor babe dealt with an ear and eye infection]

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[loving this window display at mojo spa]

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[olive staring out the window at US #1 vintage shop…you can’t see jane the sweet dog, behind her]

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[strolling our old ‘hood]

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[hanging out at reckless records]

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[look kiki, the train!]

xoxo

happy six months ellie!

happy six months ellie!

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what?! what?! you’re six months?! whaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! i can’t believe it. it’s painfully happy. i love this stage, you are amazing and i am utterly sad that it is flying by, my last sweet baby.

yes, ellie is our last kid and i am soaking in every little detail, every little moment, and cherishing every second with this sweet, sweet babe.

she has rolled over! yaayyyyyy! i have to admit, i am not as aggressive with giving her tummy time, etc. obviously as per second child – i am a bit more laid back with having her ‘meet’ standards and milestones. so, i put her on her tummy time the other day and baby girl rolled right over! i am so proud of her!

she babbles like a drunken babe. she talks nonsense, drones on forever, and doesn’t care who listens. it’s too cute! i want to know what she is really saying but i really don’t care because it’s so adorable!

she still feeds at night. ohhhhhhhhhh how i am tired. she gets up 4-5 hours after she goes down for the night. so, that is usually around 3-4 in the morning and most likely she will wake at 6am for another feeding and tries falling back asleep until 8 if i don’t have to be somewhere. she still eats every 2 hours except for her naps and speaking of naps, she is not very consistent. she’s very sporadic in her sleep patterns and, again, i blame it on me not being so regimented. olive always napped at 10am and then again around 3pm. ellie typically falls asleep around 10-11am for an hour and then will take a long nap in the afternoon around 1 or 2 pm. sometimes she will skip her morning nap and take a long afternoon one. she’s become more constant with naps but not consistent with the timeframes.

she hasn’t fully sat up by herself. we’re waiting! she can sit for a minute or so and then she gets very tired. it’s so stinkin’ cute watching her sit. she will be sitting and then she starts to get tired and then she starts to lean forward and her head will almost plop down on her feet. it’s the cutest and funniest thing to see!  she is also ready for food! we are on the cusp of feeding her, so next month, you will get to read about her first time eating solid foods! yay! i am so excited for this!

olive loves ellie and ellie loves olive. watching these two sisters together is like being in heaven. they are so kind, doting, and happy when they are right next to each other. i am going to relish in these sweet moments because i know in a few years, they will be fighting and pulling each other’s hair! hahaha! well, not really but…

ellie is so fun, sweet, smiley, and loving! she wakes up with a smiley face and is so darn happy it’s almost unbelievable. she chills with me all day and doesn’t complain. she gives the sweetest smiles and hugs and loves to be held. i love her sooooooo much i feel insane.

happy six months sweet baby girl. we are so excited to see what next month holds for you!

xoxo

play time!

i love getting together with kim!

it’s always fun to get the kids together and visit with kim. this time around, she and the kids came out to our place. we were so excited to have them over. brady and brooklyn were so cute with ellie…they were loving the baby!

they were running behind, so i decided to dress up olive and snap some fun pics but while we were finishing up – they arrived! i knew i should have gotten ready before i took pics of olive. i kept thinking to myself, get dressed and freshen up before i started the whole pic thing with olive but instead i just went for it, thinking i had time to change. nope…in comes kim and the kids and there i was feeling sloppy. hahaha! c’est la vie!

the kids played, had fun, doted on ellie while kim and i caught up with life. they were having a blast and it was soooooo cute to watch brady and olive together. i was so surprised how receptive olive was to brady. the past few playdates, olive was overwhelmed by brady’s affection and energy. she didn’t know what to do with him, so she would just stare at him from afar. but this time around, she was super excited to see him! while i was dressing olive, i told her brady was here and she excitedly went out to say hi to him and they immediately started playing together. oh so sweet.

we then had lunch and served desserts. the kids had a blast eating their cookies and what not. i can’t tell you how cute it is to watch them! they were all being so darn adorable and sweet! after a few hours of playtime, it was time for them to go. we had such a great time together…kim and i are such mamas! we love spending time with our kids and we love spending time together with our kids! we do agree we need a night out with just us gals – wine and uninterrupted conversations!

i am sure the next time we get together, it will be with the kids but one day we will squeeze in that girl time, one day soon!

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[beautiful brooklyn]

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[the chaos surrounding ellie]

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[sisters…she loves her so]

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[they all wanted to entertain ellie]

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[beautiful ladies]

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[lunch time]

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[dessert time!]

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[studying her dessert]

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[hugs and kisses goodbye]

xoxo

nye

nye 2016

oh what a night!

it was a fun, fabulous, over indulgent evening indeed! we got all jazzed up and went out for the evening. we were excited for our reservations at maple and ash. kim and terry have eaten there before but we have not but heard such excellent reviews on this restaurant. we arrived there in no time. we valet’d the car and walked inside, it was so pretty! i loved the decor and the ambience of the restaurant already. we walked our way in, coat checked, and took the elevator up. once the doors opened, we were greeted with sooooo many balloons! how fun and festive! i loved the vibe it gave the space…it screamed new year’s eve!

we were seated and immediately, small bites and drinks arrived at our table before we could even pick our seats! that was amaze. mini martini’s and appetizers were already flowing. we mingled and connected with a few people who worked at the restaurant. kim and terry were already bff’s with with the maitre d’, mason. the sommelier, frankie, and the wine director, belinda.

the atmosphere was lively, the decor was fun, and the mood was just right. we were having a blast taking pics, being silly, and enjoying our night out. we had to get serious and order our food but we really couldn’t decide. after perusing the menu for a few minutes and everyone discussing what they wanted or might order, we all agreed that we were going in for the ‘i don’t give a f*ck’ on the menu. yup. we just didn’t care to choose what we wanted to eat, so we just let the chef do his thing and boy, it was AWEsome. the food didn’t stop coming to the table. there.was.so.much.food. it was ahhhhhhmazing. we ate and we ate and we ate. i couldn’t stop eating…it was all soooooo good.

one entree after another was being put on the table and it was all so very delicious. i had to try a bit of food off of every plate, everything was so savory and tasty i couldn’t resist! i was besides myself – my slim pants were slim no more with my bourgeoning waistline. then the dessert came…holy cow! a sundae bar! yum, yum, yum. are you freakin’ kidding me right now? it was sooooo fun to create your own sundae with all the fun accruements they offered. that was it. i was dunzo. roll me outta of the restaurant please.

the service was superb, the food was beyond decadent, and the atmosphere was killer. it was an awesome place to be for new year’s eve! we had such a fabulous time!

but wait! that’s not all! scroll down for more entertainment…

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[delicious apps at maple and ash]

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[sisters forever]

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[the doan family]

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[sorry pete, i didn’t realize your eyes were half closed until i posted this. you still look handsome!]

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[french 75]

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[so chic]

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[sea food platter]

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[delicious wedge salad]

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[sisters]

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[soooooooo much food]

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[cheers!]

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[sundae bar]

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[sundae toppings]

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[the crew]

our second part/y of the night was back at our place. we gathered together to ring in the new year with the kids but things went awry. my parents were spent from watching the kids and decided to go home, my sister kim didn’t feel so well and only stay for a bit before heading out with terry, reagan, and bennett. my dear, old friend bex, her husband james, and their two sweet girl ruby and wren stayed along with thuy and we all rang in the new year together!

it ended being an awesome night albeit the deficit of family. the sweetest part of the evening? watching the girls play together. they were sooooooo sweet and so darn cute!!! they made the night magical. they actually stayed up until midnight and we rang in the new year in style…pj’s, noise makers, and streamer poppers!

it was an amazing new year’s eve. i am so thankful for what 2016 gave us – ellie. it was an amazing year full of fabulous memories, olive gaining a sister, sweet moments with friends and family, life was super good. we are blessed.

i hope, want, wish for this year to be full of health, prosperity, and lots of kindness. i pray for my parent’s health, our family’s health, and my siblings health. i am curious on what wonderful moments await us and hope darkness passes us by. the new year is always exciting, refreshing, and exhilarating; and i hope that everyone has a happy, wonderful, captivating new year!!!

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[ready to ring in the sweet new year]

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[kid goodie bag]

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[b visiting from seattle]

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[new year’s eve trinkets]

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[cousins]

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[i loooooove the swan wrapping paper]

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[oh these sweet babes]

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[cheers!]

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[ringing in the new year!]

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[i will have my cake and eat it too]

xoxo

christmas day ’16

every year, it always works out perfect where christmas eve is spent at my parent’s house and christmas day is spent with hc’s side of the family.

we first head to missy’s house {hc’s sister} to exchange gifts with hc’s family. after that, we then go to aunt vicki’s house for christmas dinner. over there is mostly jane’s side of the family and i always love seeing jay and lori and the boys…i am closet to hc’s cousin’s wife. but of course i love visiting with everyone! it’s always nice to catch up and hear what everyone is up to and how life is treating them.

it was so nice because everyone wanted to hold ellie and she loves to be held! she is such a good baby, always so calm and sweet. kait was a huge fan {always has been since olive}! she’s so sweeeeeeet with olive and ellie. she’s so nice, kind, attentive, and playful! olive loves to hang out with her! it melts my heart to see how good she is with them and how they reciprocate the love. as a mama, you absolutely love your kids but it is sooooo heartwarming to see someone else enjoy them almost as much!

food was ready not too long after we arrived and {per holiday demand} i ate wayyyyyyy too much. the food was definitely a heart attack on the plate and when it’s that bad, it’s so darn good and you go in for seconds. eep!

we then exchanged gifts with aj and jake. lori got the girls some awesome gifts…olive was so happy to get mlp and shopkins! score! i was soooo happy to see how excited aj was to receive his bulls jersey! he was beyond ecstatic! he told me how much he wanted that for christmas and was a bit bummed to not have gotten it christmas morning…oh that meant so much to me to hear him say that! so darn sweet! jake loved his gifts too! overall, it was a successful gift giving season!

hc and i really, really enjoyed ourselves this year. i am not sure what elevated the experience this time around but we had a great time hanging out with everyone and the time just flew by! before we knew it, it was getting late and we had to go. we said our goodbyes and headed on home. it was a fabulous two days of celebrating and we were feeling very grateful and full of love. oh how i enjoy the holidays!

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[aunt wendy and ellie]

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[sisters]

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[family]

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[kait and ellie]

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[jennifer and her beautiful daughters]

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[hubby charming]

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[morgan and darci]

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[morgan and ellie]

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[presents!]

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[yay! presents]

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[brother and sister]

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[reindeer ears from aunt gloria]

xoxo

christmas eve

2016

every year, christmas eve is spent at my mom and dad’s house.

my sister kim cooks dinner, while we help, and all is merry and bright! my dad blasts the christmas music, the wine is freely flowing, yummy aromas fill the house, and there is much excitement and anticipation amongst the kids.

as we walked into my parent’s house, i heard my brother huy’s voice. i thought, ‘oh, he’s on face time already!’. we had received bad news earlier on in the week that huy and tashina weren’t going to make it out here for christmas. we were so sad! well, as we were taking off our shoes, huy comes running up the stairs!!! wtf! we couldn’t believe it! i was soooo surprised and happy! he made it into town! yaaaayyyyyyyyy! he was only going to be in chicago for less than 24 hours but we didn’t care! it was a total christmas gift to have him spend it with us, albeit the short time frame.

olive was not afraid, this time around, of uncle huy! all the other times he’s visited she has been utterly scared of him. almost terrified! she was so receptive and actually gave him hugs, kisses, and wanted to be near him. a complete 180 to her behavior from a few months ago! i was loving it…it made me so happy to see her loving huy.

well, we fried the turkey, we made all the delicious food, and after hours of waiting, we finally sat down to eat! yum.yum.yum. my dad said a blessing and we all dug into the delicious meal! it was sooooo good as always. after dinner, we did the usual of cleaning up before we opened presents. the kids always wait soooooo patiently for that.

at last, it was time! but not without a hundred photos first! hahaha! this christmas is the first christmas where olive was fully aware of what was going on. she knew she had presents and it was the most darling thing to watch. she was so excited, grateful, thankful, and oh so darn cute opening up each one of her gifts. her excitement and joy filled my heart with love! it was awesome to watch her light up from all the excitement and gifts. we are so blessed and thankful for all that we’re given!

after the tornado whirlwind of tearing apart gifts, everyone settled in and enjoyed their presents. dessert was served and relaxation began. we were spent…so exhausted from being sick and tired from all the sleep we weren’t getting. an hour after the craziness, i was ready to go.

we packed up our zillion things, said our merry christmases and thank you’s and went on our merry way. it was a fabulous christmas eve, especially with huy surprising us! we enjoyed our family, the food, the libations, and the absolute joy these kiddos exude. life is good, christmas time is great, and family is the best. it was a merry christmas indeed.

God bless us all.

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[uncle dan with miss ellie]

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[crazy cousins]

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[festive, cutest table decor]

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[uncle huy with baby ellie]

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[family pic…minus ellie]

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[i love how happy my dad looks]

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[dem cheeks]

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[mama and her daughters]

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[cutest cousins]

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[so festive]

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[christmas table centerpiece]

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[photo by huy doan]

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[they make each other smile]

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[photo by huy doan]

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[photo by huy doan]

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[love these two!]

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[photo by huy doan]

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[ellie in her fur stole]

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[photo by huy doan]

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[a rare moment for ellie…usually that’s olive. hahaha!]

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[ready to open christmas presents!]

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[tearing into her presents]

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[pretty much what ellie did all night…lay around]

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[i think this might be my favorite pic]

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[super auntie thuy and olive]

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[she had a B L A S T opening up her gifts]

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[photo by huy doan]

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[sweet baby ellie]

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[olive’s stash]

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[facetime with tashina]

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[thuy’s secret santa gift…macarons]

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[mmmmm macarons]

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[b loving his gifts!]

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[a very sweet moment between uncle dan and olive playing together]

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[photo by huy doan]

xoxo

my big birthday weekend

i was so excited for my birthday weekend!

hc had planned a fun agenda and i couldn’t wait to relax and celebrate. i still can’t believe i have hit the big 4-0. whaaaaaaaa? seriously, wtf? what happened? i still feel eternally 28 but those wrinkles and gray hairs are finally catching up with me. eek!!!!!

i really can’t tell you what i imagined what it would be like turning 40. i never really fretted about it or thought i would have a big hurrah for it. one, we ended up having a baby and two, i am one of those ‘moms’ that really loves to spend time with her family. don’t get me wrong…i love having date nights with hc and spending quality time with him but i have become a moooooooooommy. it doesn’t feel right when the kids are away, especially if we are out locally. i miss them dearly. now, give me a warm, tropical get away with hc…i can be convinced to leave the kids behind. hahaha!

anyhoo, we started out our morning quite chill – coffee, chaos, and cuddling. we packed everything but the kitchen sink to take downtown with us. oh my goodness. we seriously pack everything when we head out the door with the kids. first on our agenda was to meet the fam at macy’s on state for a fun holiday outing! we love looking at all the decor, hearing the christmas music, listening to the jingle of all the bells around us, and just enjoying the crazy chaos of the store. we met up on the 7th floor for lunch, bought toys, headed down to the walnut room to view the tree, and then we were off to the ornament area to pick out our ornaments of the season!

after spending a few hours at macy’s, we headed on over to block 37 to do some more shopping. after eating, shopping, a trip to starbucks, more eating and shopping, we finally retired to our hotel room. hc had booked a lovely room at the james hotel. it was so cute and cool! i loved the decor inside! our room was super cozy and i really enjoyed the warmth and friendliness of the staff.

as soon as we were inside, olive was out. she passed out in the car and actually stayed sleeping while i carried her into the hotel and up the elevator and into the room! olive slept, ellie laid around, and hc and i got ready for dinner! olive woke up a bit later and relaxed in front of the t.v. with ellie. it was too adorable to see them chillin’ together!

we got all jazzed up and went to david burke’s restaurant for dinner. it was sooooo awesome. we loved our server, we loved the food, and we loved how kind everyone was! everything was delicious and we had such a great time with my brother dan, who joined us for dinner. what made the night even prettier was that it had started snowing and it looked so serene and lovely.

after dinner, we retired to our hotel room. olive and ellie got cozy on the bed again and hc had ordered dessert and wine to be sent up for this birthday mama! it was a perfect end to a perfect day! i had such a wonderful time!

 the next morning, we headed to southport grocery for brunch! while we waited, we picked out gift baskets for our neighbors {something we do every year}. i love shopping there and gathering fun goodies for the christmas baskets. they have the most yummy, delectable treats to make any recipient happy! we enjoyed a fabulous brunch and spent the next hour shopping along the street. oh how i love chicago during the holidays.

it was a fabulous birthday weekend and i have to thank hc for conjuring up a fun filled agenda! i wouldn’t have celebrated it any other way. i was sooooooo happy to have my hubby and children by my side to bring in the big 4-0! as olive would say, “this is sooo ahhhhhmazing!”. i couldn’t agree more baby girl! cheers to a new decade!

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[crazy cousins]

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[loving her necklace]

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[macy’s on state]

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[chestnut room tree]

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[we put her down on the couch and her hair became electric!]

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[poor thing…i made her stand in front of every christmas tree. hahaha!]

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[i love christmastime]

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[she was like NO MORE PICTURES! eep]

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[so festive and fun]

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[so gangsta]

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[hotel living]

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[chillin’ and relaxin’ in our hotel room]

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[fancy kids meal]

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[back to the hotel room and ready for bed!]

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[dessert and wine delivered to the hotel room]

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[she was being so silly…she wanted me to take a picture of her with every.single.one. of her figurines]

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xoxo