imagination

i love encouraging olive’s creativity. it means so much to me that she explores art, colors, pictures, draws, and builds her imagination. i believe this is something that we should nurture and encourage as early on as we can. she loves to read, she loves to paint, she loves to build, and she loves to draw. i find she can spend hours on any of those things.

a few new items i have discovered recently, that will encourage her creativity and imagination, are the jaq jaq bird chalk book, hape toys sand art, and the kid o magna tab. three great toys that olive will love. what i love most is that they are available on a site i have just found! the cubby baby…literally the best of everything baby! this shop has everything you need for mommy and babes! from strollers, wraps, baby needs, toys, and trend alerts, this site offers something for us mommy’s on the go!

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i love the chalk book because it’s reusable, portable, and promotes her creativity! the chalk is dust free and it’s so easy to clean. it’s a perfect item to bring along with us to restaurants or when we are out and about and olive can keep herself preoccupied. olive is so well behaved {regardless} when we go out and she’s very good when we are sitting down at a restaurant but bringing along toys as a back up is a smart thing to do for any parent!

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the hape toys sand art is soooooo cool! i love that it’s colorful and olive can create works of art using the pretty sand and patterns that they offer. she is so good at recognizing animal shapes and telling me what colors are what! it’s so cute when she asks me, “can i count the colors?”…i always have to correct her! what she really means is, can she identify the colors but that will come in time! haha!

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the kid o magna tab is pretty awesome. it’s magnetic and it pops the little white ball into the hole and supports olive’s learning with letters, shapes, and pictures. to ‘erase’ the pic, all you have to do is swipe your finger or the back of the stylus over the dots and presto! the pictures is erased! how easy and fun is that?!

i’m excited to discover more fun items for both ellie and olive on the cubby baby! their growth, development, and learning path is so important to me and finding new interactive items to engage them with is always something i’m seeking. make sure you check out their website and see all the wonderful things they offer for you and your babe!

xoxo

twin baby boy shower

a friend i met recently, christina, became pregnant with twin baby boys! her and her husband, michael are beyond ecstatic and we couldn’t be happier for them!

i was invited to her baby shower and, of course, i rsvp’d yes! i love parties, baby showers, wedding, bridal showers, brunch…you name it! i will always do my best to go if my schedule allows!

it was held in the evening, due to her guest’s schedules, and not too far from where we live. i was sad to leave my babies behind {i almost wanted to bring ellie} but excited to get out for a few hours by myself.

the decor for the party was so stinkin’ cute! her friend roberta did such a great job assembling everything together! she made a diaper cake, decorated balloons, made food, and helped out with so many details to make her shower super special!

i mingled, ate food, drank lemonade, and got to know her other guests a little bit better. the apps were delicious and the food served was savory and perfect. i really enjoyed sitting down with a few guests and talking over a few fun subjects, like vegas, babies, weddings, and palm springs…such fun topics!!

after dinner, we guessed the inches around her baby bump and then she opened up her gifts! baby stuff is soooooooo cute, boy or girl styles! we ooohhhh’d and ahhhhh’d over the cute items and then dessert was served. i didn’t stick around much longer {being a nursing mom…i was on a schedule} and headed out and home to feed miss ellie. the party spot was only 20 minutes away at most so it was easy for me to jet out and get back to my babes.

christina’s shower was beautiful, fun, and soooooo darn cute! i am so happy for her and can’t wait to meet her two baby boys! congrats christina and michael! y’all are so blessed!

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[the delicious salad made by roberta]

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[the cute diaper cake made by roberta…this decor never gets old]

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[me and the mommy to be]

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[the gorgeous balloons by roberta]

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[christina calls her babes, baby A and baby B]

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[roberta and kathy]

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[balloon decor]

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[strawberry lemonade]

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[guess the how big the mama’s bump is…i WON!!!!]

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[presents galore!]

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[christina opening up her cute gifts]

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[gorgeous, happy mama]

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[how pretty is this cake?!]

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xoxo

happy eight months ellie!

happy eight months ellie!

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[photos taken on 3.15]

i was sitting with ellie the other day and thought…no way! no way she’s eight months old! nooooooooo. oh my gosh, i love her so much and it kills me that she is growing up. i desperately hold onto her baby stage that i do forget how many months she is or i am in complete denial? don’t get me wrong…i look forward to beautiful, great things she will do, accomplish, and be but this babe stage is too short and fleeting.

she’s on the verge of crawling. she wants to. i can see it. she bounces on her behind, leans forward, and has become quite strong with her arms. i think this month is her month! i can’t even fathom her crawling…being mobile. i love seeing her sit still and look so darn cute with those saggy cheeks and big brown eyes, usually watching her sister in amazement.

she’s an eater! she doesn’t loooooove her food but she will definitely eat it all. she loves fruits best but what kid doesn’t?! she loves bananas, pears, purees blended with oatmeal, and will usually gobble those meals up. she eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner with breast milk in-between. i still feed her but every three hours now since she’s been eating solids. she’s a pretty good eater but according to growth charts, she’s a peanut. no matter, she’s as tiny, healthy, and cute as can be!

she broke ground on her first tooth!!! woooo hooooo! her central incisor has made it’s debut. it was around march 1st when i noticed a white line coming out of her gum! i rubbed the area and felt her tooth breaking through! i was soooooo excited but that leads into her interrupted sleep patterns…

december and january were rough months filled with sickness and sleepless nights. ellie hasn’t gotten on a solid nap time schedule but we try for 10am and 2-3pm naps. it’s hard too, when others watch her and don’t keep to a consitent schedule to build a routine. she was waking up relentlessly over the past several months causing this mama to sleepwalk! she got better in the beginning of february and relapsed for a few days due to catching another cold. wahhhhhh. well, i must say, though, february 6th or 7th was the beginning of her sleeping through the night!! hallelujah! she would hit the sack around 9 or 10pm {yesssssss my babes stay up late like their mama} and wake up at 5. y’all have no idea how amazing it was, or is, to sleep for more than 4 hours straight!!! well now she’s fussy at night due her teething…whatevs. i’m dealing!

she’s a screamer! she loves to hear her own voice and boy, is she loud! she shrieks, screams, cries, yells, and giggles and ohmergawd is it sooooooo stinkin’ cute!! she mimics us, she smacks her lips, clicks her tongue, and makes the cutest sounds alllllll the time!

she’s gotten better with sitting but she is still a little rocky. there are times when she throws us for a loop. she looks so strong and sturdy and we are all just sitting around playing on the rug and then all of a sudden, bam! she throws herself back and i have a freakin’ panic attack, so afraid she might crack her head! gahhhhhhh, it scares me when she does that and of course, it startles her and she then busts out crying. oh poor baby!

oh baby ellie. she’s so happy, content, and ohhhhhhhh so sweet. i couldn’t ask for a better babe. she’s so pleasant and beyond chill. it blows my mind at how calm she is. we love watching you grow, giggle, smile, scream, and learn. it’s amazing how much love we have for you. thank you for being such an awesome babe and we are so blessed to be your parents.

xoxo

children’s museum

a sunday crept up on us and can you believe that we didn’t have anything really planned?! it was a sunny, nice day out and we definitely wanted to get out and do something fun! our initial plan was to go to the zoo but it was just a little bit too chilly to stand outside for hours so we found a local children’s museum.

it was close by and we have never visited it before! we did our usual morning routine – wake, nurse, feed olive, coffee, chill, and repeat. we squeezed in a nap for ellie…well, we tried. she was a bit fussy and didn’t get a good shut eye in, so we decided to leave for the museum.

we arrived in no time and it wasn’t that crowded. we started to explore and honestly, it was a very odd feeling being there. let me explain…i just felt that parents weren’t friendly. i immediately felt a strange vibe from everyone. i would make eye contact and smile and other moms would not smile and look away. hmmmmm. unfriendly!

another annoying factor were the parents that didn’t watch their kids or care that they acted inappropriately…such as not wait their turn, not share, hog an activity, or the one that irks me the most – big kids who overtake the little ones. that gets under my skin. i become super irritated! also, the whole area was sooooo dirty. as expected but i could feel the germs and viruses bouncing off my skin. blech!

i must say, hc and i didn’t have the best experience there. of course olive loved it but we were so turned off. we were blown away at how rude some of the older kids were with the little kiddos around, how removed the parents were. don’t get me wrong, olive did her best to fend for herself and i believe to let her do her own thing and not be a helicopter mom but the big kids were bugging me although not as much as their unaware parents!

ok…venting done. we did stay for a few hours and then called it quits. olive had a ton of fun and really enjoyed herself, honestly – that is all that matters. we were happy we took her there but i don’t know if we will go there any time soon again! eep!

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[checking out the fishes]

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[having fun with light and colors]

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[daddy helping her hour]

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[if there’s a hole, she’ll crawl through it]

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[she was having a blast with bar and mirror]

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[the wind machine]

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[stuffing the wind machine with kerchiefs]

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[watching the scarves fly into the air]

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xoxo

dinner party

our dear friend andrea invited us to a dinner party in celebration of her husband, jaime’s birthday. we love getting together with them; they are fun, funny, smart, and sweet as can be.

we come to find out that andrea had hired a chef for the evening to serve us dinner! how cool is that?! oh, it was going to be a fun, decadent evening! plus, it was a kid friendly party! woo hoo! double bonus!

we arrived on time and were greeted by jamie. olive was a bit overwhelmed and became super clingy and upset so i knew what would calm her down…toys! andrea and jamie have a ‘play area’ downstairs and i knew olive would get lost down there with all the fun items all around her! so, downstairs she went and we never saw her again! hahahaha!

we were immediately served champagne and hor d’oeuvres were plentiful ~ yum! don’t mind if i do! we mingled and visited with everyone while hc and i switched between holding ellie. we love their friends and have such a great time catching up with everyone. the chef was hard at work and i guzzled champagne and ate a lot of cheese ~ my weakness! we periodically checked on olive and continued to enjoy ourselves. did i mention that jamie and andrea have the most gorgeous home in chicago?! let me just say it’s so fabulous!

we were called to sit down for dinner and i was so excited to eat! the chef gave us details of each dish that was served. i loved that we were informed on ingredients of each delicious plate that we were about to consume. each portion served was a combination of wonderful flavors and eat bite made my mouth and mind happy! we had the best time at our table and the conversation was delightful, funny, and entertaining. gosh, i love moments like these!! great food, drinks, and friends, you just can’t go wrong!

oh my! we were having a great time! we made it through the end of the meal with two happy kids but it was almost nine thirty and we were ready to go. the kids were holding up great and were so good but we know our limits. it was almost ten o’clock by the time we left and it was perfect. we had a fabulous night, the kids were in great spirits, and we left just in time!

we had such a wonderful evening! thank you to jamie and andrea for inviting us over for jamie’s birthday dinner! it was fun, fabulous, delicious, and perfect!

cheers to amazing friendships!

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[the pretty table setting]

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[the menu for the evening]

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[daddy and daughter]

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[aren’t these ladies by my side so pretty?!]

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[appetizers and plenty of booze…mmmmmm]

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[party time]

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[the chef for the evening]

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[bottomless glass…keep it coming!]

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[feeding ellie before we feast]

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[kathryn and ginger]

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[these babes were being so cute together]

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[hmmmm, i am so cute!]

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[the chef explaining each entree]

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[the delicious pomegranate salad]

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[ellie entertaining herself during dinner]

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[hostess with the mostess]

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[baby, baby, baby!]

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[main course]

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[andrea with baby colin]

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[creme brûlée]

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[the man of the hour!]

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xoxo

i looooooove sunday brunch

i don’t know what it is about sunday brunch that i love so much. sundays have always been a day of relaxing, a day of ease, a day to do much of nothing. or if it is something you do…it involves food. brunch or slow cooking is usually where it’s at and we gather. we gather with friends. we gather with family. no pressure, just a go with the flow attitude. it’s almost like a mental preparation for the upcoming week.

we were looking forward to hanging out with these two fabulous guys. it’s so great to have friends like matt and johann. they are kind, smart, supportive, and so much fun to be around!

we met up with them right outside their place. the weather was amaaaaazing. sunny, warm, and perfect. we walked over to a brunch spot matt recommended but for some strange reason, they were closed?! it even said ‘brunch on sundays’ boldly across their windows…hahaha! really? ya fooled me!

well, that pushed us to go to o’donovan’s down the street and that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. they have a large outdoor space and the weather was fantastic…it was meant to be! the best part? there was noooooo wait. whaaaaaa?! on a day like today ~ sunday and it’s brunch time and there’s no wait? sweet.

we got cozy in a perfect little spot and ordered drinks ~ extra spicy bloody mary please! the restaurant had a breakfast buffet and we were set. drinks were flowing and copious amounts of food were on our plates, we were having a great time, just how sunday brunch should be!

then a man came by our table, a magician! we said no to tricks but yes to balloon animals! the gentleman made a mouse for ellie and a butterfly for olive. the balloon animals were a hit! olive was soooooo happy! she is such a good girl to begin with and she will always sit around and chill with us without causing any trouble but the balloon animals entertained her the entire time! score!

after brunch, we headed back to matt and johann’s place. on our walk back, we bought some girl scout cookies {yum!} from a couple of girls and sponsors selling them on a street corner. i mean, c’mon…who would ever pass up girl scout cookies?! once we were back at their place, we enjoyed nespresso and cookies while olive pranced around entertaining herself.

after an hour or so, we gathered our belongings to head home. it was time for both girls to nap and a car ride would be the lullaby that they needed. we said our goodbyes and headed home. we had such a great morning and afternoon with our two dear friends. brunch time with buddies is the best. i love sundays like this, i crave sundays like this, and i am such a happy camper when we can pull in beautiful days like this.

cheers to sunday brunch! clink! clink!

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[o’donovan’s chicago]

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[waiting 5 seconds for a table…there really was no wait on this gorgeous day!]

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[it was so beautiful out and we had a fabulous time sitting alfresco]

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[bloody mary extra spicy please!]

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[best thing ever at the restaurant…a magician who makes balloon animals!!! win win!]

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[guncle matt with ellie]

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[guncle johann with ellie]

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[precious babe with her daddy]

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[inside matt and johann’s lovely place]

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[ellie matching the decor]

xoxo

ellie’s six month photos

ellie finally had her six months photos taken at 6.3 months! we waited for her to get comfortable with sitting, which took a bit longer than it did with olive. well, we finally felt that she was strong enough to sit on her own, so we finally scheduled her photos with tricia!

i am always filled with anticipation leading up to any photo shoot. i can’t wait to see the outcome, i am curious at how my babe will be, and i just get so darn excited! i was so ready for ellie’s photos, we brought along one outfit for her to wear and the rest was up to tricia, her studio is filled with so many goodies!

i wasn’t too worried about ellie cooperating for the photos. she is such a good baby, i knew she’d be calm and smiley for the camera! i remembered olive being so fussy…she was fussy for her newborn pics, her six month photos, and for her one year ones. yup…all three. ellie was soooooo good for her newborn photos and with her being such a good babe, i wasn’t worried.

we tried putting ellie down for a nap but she was fighting it. she eventually fell asleep but it was a quick one and then we were off to tricia’s place. add in the car ride, the ‘getting’ ready, and the unfamiliar environment…ellie was not happy with it being too close to her next nap time schedule. she was grrrrrumpy. oh, the poor babe. i couldn’t get her to not cry!!!! every single time i put her down, she burst into tears!!! i was so surprised! my poor babe…i didn’t expect her to be so moody, i honestly expected her to be all smiles and chill! nope!

i did everything i could to make her smile, i danced, i made funny noises, and i made silly faces but she wasn’t buying it! i then started to worry that we weren’t getting any good pics because i felt that she was crying non stop! i had to talk myself down and remind myself that tricia works miracles and always turns out fabulous pic {ahem…remember grumpy olive for all three major seshs but it all turned out more than perfect?!}.

so, all that worrying for nothing because i loooooooooooved every photo tricia took of my beautiful ellie!! i was so happy and grateful! all the pics are so special, beautiful, and perfect! thank you tricia for always working your magic!

happy six months miss ellie! we love you soooooooo much!

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[isn’t she so sweet?!]

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[oh, i am dying over her pics]

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[my heart has melted into a puddle…how sweet is this pic?!]

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[she was so grumpy…poor thing. we shot too close to her next nap and her first one wasn’t a solid one, so she was a bit fussy]

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[that hand clasp]

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[gahhhhhhhhhh]

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[i wish we had more photos in this outfit…this is where she started to breakdown]

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[sweet baby toes]

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xoxo

happy love day!

our valentine’s day dinner was low key for us but snazzy fun for the girls!

sometimes hc and i will get out the weekend prior to valentine’s day for a fancy dinner with just the two of us but this year we weren’t feeling it. we were too busy and didn’t really put any thought into it. i know, i know…we should probably be more focused on us and do more fun stuff like that and we will. i desperately cling onto the innocence of my girls and love spending all my time with them and hc.

so, we decided to keep it simple with us and do something fun for the babes {ok…i did something fun for the babes!}. i concocted, in my head, a valentine’s day themed dinner for them. i shopped a week prior for cute little items for a festive table spread {target is my friend} and dug through my vday box of decor goodies in the basement {i am a hoarder of anything holiday}.

i grabbed fresh balloons on valentine’s day and came home to assemble the fun table for the girls. i put presents and cards inside their valentine’s envelope, i filled pink glass jars with bubble wands, candy, and toys. they had heart shaped plates, with heart design cups, with heart shaped strawberries, and heart shaped sandwiches. i sprinkled the center of the table with more toys and decor. overall, i loved how it looked! so festive, fun, and cute {if i do say so myself!}!

olive loved it all! she was so entertained by all the goodies, ate her fun food, and had a blast playing with everything. she especially loved going into her envelope and finding her card and presents!

as for our dinner, hc made the most delicious heart shaped burgers everrrrrrrr. the entire dinner was yummy and perfect! we had the best valentine’s day dinner all together. it was fun for the girls, relaxing for us {key word…relax}, and super fun spending it together!

i loved how we spent our holiday evening. it was perfect and cute! it was low key, full of love, and we celebrated as a family…how it should be! happy valentine’s day indeed…not just on the 14th but every day!!

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[festive, festive, festive!]

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[candy hearts, games, toys, treats!]

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[at first, they kept staring at everything! ha!]

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[checking out their goodies!]

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[hearts galore]

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[love these fun babes]

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[gorgeous flowers from the hc]

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[cute little heart burger hc made for dinner!]

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[she was so excited to open up her envelope and see her gifts!]

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[she looooooooves trolls]

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[gathering her goodies]

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xoxo

happy seven months ellie!

happy seven months ellie!

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[pics taken on 2.17]

height: 25.75″

weight: 15 lbs 7 oz.

ahhhhhhhh!!!!!! i say this every single month but wahhhhhhhh…time is flying by baby girl. i am going  to cry. why am i sooooooo sappy, sentimental, and just plain sad sometimes?! bittersweet is the perfect word. i am sad, happy, in disbelief, elated, satisfied, cheated by time…the emotions go on and on. it’s all sooooo satisfying and painful to watch you grow.

words can’t describe my deep love for my girls. i am utterly head over heels in love with them. i would give my life for them, die a painful death to protect them, you name it…i will do anything to make sure they survive. i loooooooooove being a mom.

anyhoo, let’s talk about ellie. let’s talk about how much she’s changed! she’s so vocal and cute about it! she babbles so much and the funniest thing about her right now? how she acts when she poops!!! she grunts, her face turns red, she screams, and cries! it’s kind of hilarious! i can’t even deal. she’s such a calm baby that when she starts to cry out…i know she’s going number two!

well, with that said, it’s obvious that we’ve been feeding her a ton. ellie went through a rough period from december to now. she was sick on and off and that really disrupted her sleep pattern for the worse.she was waking up non-stop at night. like 2-3x a night and waking up at 6-7am and staying up. so that meant NOOOOOOO sleep for this mama. i never learned my lesson and would go to bed too late every night {like 12 midnight or 1 am} and ellie would wake up at 2-3am, 4am, 6am, and 7am…i thought i was going die. i was a zombie and when we took ellie in to the pediatrician, she suggested that we feed ellie more food during the day to help her sleep at night. hallelujah…we would do anything to get her to sleep throughout the night. we literally shoved food down her throat through a pipe. hahaha! not really but we fed her 3x a day, as much as she wanted and a couple days later, it worked. she started sleeping through the night. i was elated!!! we’ve only hit a little over a week of solid night sleeping, so i am crossing my fingers!!

ok, that leads into the subject of her eating. so, obviously she’s rocking in rolling in that department. we started a bit late with ellie versus olive and we, obviously, weren’t feeding her enough but we got right back on track asap. she was not a fan of new foods we fed her but then she became a pro. she’s loving everything we feed her like any baby does. with each feeding, she got better and better at opening her mouth and swallowing the tasty morsels. she graduated from first foods to second foods and had become a champion eater!

she’s now sitting on her own!! we struggled a bit around six months with sitting. she wasn’t a fan and cried when we tried to sit her up but now she’s become so good at it! she is still a bit rocky at times {we like to keep the boppy around her or a pillow behind her} but she really had become strong at sitting upright!

she does dislike tummy time and i don’t foresee her crawling anytime soon. she still isn’t a super fan of sitting, let alone crawling! we’ll see…

she loves to sleep on her side. it’s really cute to see. usually after she feeds, she will pull away and roll to her side. i love it when she does this. i think it’s the cutest thing! she can roll with the best of them and loves to smile.

she’s such a sweet, calm baby. she just chills unless she’s tired and extremely hungry but the latter part rarely happens. so, when she cries, we know she needs a nap. she’s soooo easy! she can entertain herself for awhile if you put toys in front of her!

that is ellie in a nutshell. she’s so freakin’ amazing. like for reals. i love her so much and love watching her reach different milestones every month. it’s so amazing to see and i look forward to every new thing she does. it makes my heart so full to see her grow and learn!! happy seven months ellie…you are soooooooooooooo very loved.

xoxo

makey valentine’s day cards

yayyyyyyy! it was our yearly ~ let’s makey valentine’s day cards for everyone!

i love doing this every year with olive and love that she has fun decorating all the cards. i can’t wait until ellie is old enough to do this with olive, it’ll be cuteness overload when that happens!

i rummaged out all the fun decor i had stored away and created a fun little space of heart explosions, lots of red, and crafty stuff galore. olive was so excited to dig into all the valentine’s day goodness. she started out with painting the heart cards but became restless and went crazy with the stickers. she totally loved putting all the festive stickers all over the cards and loved the little, what she called alien, poms! those were her most favorite items, although they were just for fun and wouldn’t mail very well in a flat envelope! ha!

ellie joined in on the fun for a bit but soon olive finished up all her valentine’s day cards in style. this mama then addressed and mailed them out to all her sweet little friends! we hope all her buddies enjoyed their sweet little surprise in the mail! olive wants to know if you will be her valentine?! muwah!

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[long story: i bought one heart envelope on sale {super cheap, yearssss ago} and ordered it to get embroidered with olive’s name. it arrived not embroidered! i was super upset but apparently i must have ‘deleted’ the personalization part of my order and that was why it arrived blank. i called the company and figured out what had happened and i wanted to order another one because i wanted olive’s name on it! the customer service person was soooooo nice and helpful and told me to not bother to send the other envelope back because it was so inexpensive and it wouldn’t be cost efficient to send it back. well, thought, what will i do with an extra envelope? i almost gave it away but ended up keeping and found it in my valentine’s day box of decor this year! how perfect?! i then got the second envelope personalized with ellie’s name! it was meant to be!]

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[copious options]

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[she loved her ‘aliens’]

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[painting away]

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[she did such a great job!]

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[i love her]

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[she’s so fun]

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[gahhhhhhh, i love these girls!]

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[i couldn’t help but post every pic of her making the cards…she was so into it!]

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[her favorite items from the day!!]

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xoxo