snow day in april ’19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[bundled up and ready to roll]

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[strolling in stride]

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[they’re so proud of their snowman]

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[yeahhhh, he’s drinking a beer]

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[she’s so proud!]

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xoxo

spring break staycation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[immediately chillaxin’]

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[the sweetest sisters]

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*****

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[watertower chicago lego store!]

*****

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[walking hand in hand]

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[my world]

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[she’s so cool]

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[really olive?!]

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[swim time at the park hyatt hotel!]

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[having fun with dada]

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[she’s so happy]

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[sweet kisses]

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[laughing at the boys]

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[best of friends]

*****

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

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[she was too cute with her!]

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*****

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[this awesome new eatery is at 900 north]

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[ordering our food]

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[these three…ellie is not quite there yet]

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[this was so so so so good!]

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[she loves to talk. about. everything.]

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

*****

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

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[silly sisters]

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[ellie is always running off somewhere]

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[she loved this ponycycle!]

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[they’re so cute]

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[wonderoll rolled ice cream]

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

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[silly babes]

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[she was so excited!]

*****

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[oh my]

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[ellie insisted on wearing these glasses at night]

*****

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

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[she’s so sweet]

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[it literally sparkled]

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[olive loved how big this fish was!]

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xoxo

brunch with o + e’s guncles!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[olive, moi, and matt]

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[extra spicy bloody mary]

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

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[three amigos]

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[delicious pork ramen]

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

xoxo

st. patty’s day ’19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[lucky charm green pancakes and green milk]

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[chowing down on her festive breakfast]

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[whipped cream face]

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[my sweet girl eating all the sugar]

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* * * * * * *

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

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[separating the cupcake liners into the pan]

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[separating the cupcake liners into the pan]

[voila! olive did such a great job!]

[separating the cupcake liners into the pan]

[separating the cupcake liners into the pan]

[separating the cupcake liners into the pan]

[separating the cupcake liners into the pan]

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[ta da! rainbow inside!]

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xoxo

pump it up

birthday parties, birthday parties!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[always skeptical]

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[doing some incredibles 2 moves]

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[she was having so much fun]

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

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[she was constantly bothered and upset…LOL]

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[she was having a blast]

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

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[trying to appease the babe]

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

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

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[there she goes!]

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[there goes olive!]

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[they were having sooooo much together!]

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

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[the birthday boy and his sister]

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[incredibles baby jack jack]

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xoxo

down the rabbit hole

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[tea party coming right up!]

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[presents galore]

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[croissant sandwiches]

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[how cute is this cake?]

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[she was like, no crown please]

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[there is goes!]

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[pam, leighton, and ryan]

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[my sweet girl!

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[pam surrounded by kids so excited to open presents]

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[me and pampers]

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xoxo

serena and lily

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[the delicious spread]

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

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

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[raven roxanne reading her book to the kiddos]

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

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

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[drawing their own nests]

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[color choices]

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[raven checking on everyone’s drawing]

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[ellie’s nest]

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[olive’s nest]

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[dream bedrooms set and beautiful girl]

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

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[olive wanted to show off her picture!]

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[with the artist and author, roxanne]

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[my sweet girls]

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[the beautiful little book]

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[so dreamy]

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

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

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

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[squishing her face into the railing]

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[pouting]

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[she loves her big sister]

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[more coloring!]

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[the hubs…don’t mind his beard]

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[kale and brussel salad]

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[we’re at papersource lincoln park]

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xoxo

papa’s birthday ’19

we traveled up north to meet rich’s dad and famille to celebrate his birthday!

he picked a place called beelow’s. this would be the second time i’ve eaten there and the second year in a row we’ve gone there to celebrate dick’s birthday there. i, unfortunately, have had two subpar experiences with their food! now, everyone else loves this restaurant and has had a great experience with their food! the service is typically fantastic, which makes all the difference but i think i’m cursed to have not so great encounters with my main dishes!

when we went last year, i ordered the scallops. i looooooove scallops! when my entree arrived, it tasted like it was doused in salt! oh it was tooo salty! i ate one scallop and didn’t finish the rest. i could not eat it or the greens it was sitting on. my whole entree was lost. i was so disappointed! then this year, i decided against sea food and went for a tasty burger. i ordered the fried onion and blue cheese burger with truffle fries! i was excited to eat! i dug into my burger and it was very good! i loved the fries as well. as i was eating my burger, i noticed a piece of black hair on it. i was like, what? how did my hair get in there?? i was wearing a ponytail and i thought it was odd, since my hair really doesn’t fall out in that style. i went to grab the hair off my burger and it was ENTWINED in the meat. ohmergawd. barf. i just about died.

i immediately stopped eating my food. i couldn’t believe it!!!!! i was disappointed and i was once again, hungry! hc looooved his meal, which was great ’cause he didn’t have the best experience last year either. so, at least this time around, one of us had a good meal!

our evening was super chill and as usual, always wonderful when you get to spend it with family! despite my meal{s], it was so good to hang out with the fam. the girls always love seeing their sister, grace, and they absolutely love seeing their papa and gramma! auntie missy is always killing it with the selfie game…she’s queen of selfies and olive and ellie love taking them with her!

it doesn’t matter where or what we do to celebrate papa’s birthday, we just love being with him and gramma! happy birthday sweet papa!

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[isn’t she so sweet?]

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[she’s so silly and sassy]

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[selfie! no filter, no editing, sometimes i look young and other pics i look old AF]

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[the birthday papa and his granddaughter]

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[rich and jane]

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[missy, brian, rich, and jane]

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[daniel, grace, and aunt wendy]

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[gramma and olive]

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xoxo

brunchin’ in the ‘burbs

i was super excited for our date with kt. like suuuuuuper excited. remember when you had all the time in the world to meet your girlfriends for brunch/lunch/dinner {before kids}?? it was always so easy to get together on a whim, meet up, chat for hours, and do it again in no time flash.

well, long gone are those days! oh life! i, maybe, see kt a few times a year. like, whaaaaaaa? #truth. so, us finally getting a date on the calendar was a miracle and i couldn’t wait to catch up!

i picked olive up from school and we headed over to our meeting spot {we arrived sooooo early…i wasn’t sure how long it would take us to get there, so we were extra on time!}. we found a table right by the window, over in the bakery area, and made ourselves comfortable. kt wasn’t too far behind but the girls were just fine, entertaining themselves and admiring all the delicious and pretty looking desserts in the cases.

the one thing that completely fascinated me was that ellie was utterly enamored with kt! ellie is usually afraid of everyone. like seriously…everyone. sometimes her own grandparents, that she sees every day, bother her. hahaha! when kt walked through that door, ellie wanted to be her bff! i was floored. this cray girl doesn’t like anyone she doesn’t know and she grinned ear to ear when kt sat down at the table and immediately started chatting with her! wtf.

we majorly caught up on life. we so needed this time together! we gabbed about kids, work, all the crazy things in life, love, and everything in-between. we ended up staying there for 3 hours!!! the girls were soooooo good! so well behaved and they just entertained themselves the old fashioned way. no iPads, no phones, and we didn’t even break out the toys until 45 minutes or so before we left!

kt’s husband stopped by to join us the last hour! i was hoping to see him because it had been awhile since i last saw him as well! the time we spent there just flew by! this is so cliché but time flies when you’re having fun!

we definitely needed to go because i had to put ellie down for her nap. we said our goodbyes and gave big hugs. it was so good seeing both bobby and kt! the girls loved hanging out with them and we all had such a great time!

until next time my dear and hopefully not too long in-between our next visit! love you guys!

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[i love this brute so much!!]

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[i love french macarons]

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[picture courtesy of my 5 year old!]

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[helping kt open her gift from us]

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[cheers!]

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[raspberry gelato…mmmmmm]

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[yuuuummmmyyyy, gelato]

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[she’s too cute eating her gelato]

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[my sweet girls!]

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[peril cake pops]

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[she’s so darn fun]

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[i love my girls so much!]

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[i’ll never stop saying that i set these two cuties up!]

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[hugs!]

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[my sweet girls…i love them so much!]

xoxo

ravenswood brunch

it had been awhile since i had seen andrea and her family! we finally made concrete plans on the calendar and stuck to it! the fam and i drove to ravenswood to meet up with them for brunch at local irish pub near their abode.

we arrived early {yay! it’s always a win when we do cause usually we are late. #familylife} and waited in a quiet corner of the restaurant while the girls colored away with the paper and crayons that were given to them. jamie and andrea arrived a bit later with their two nuggets in tow.

it’s always so good to see them! i was delighted when they arrived. i’m sure a lot of you understand that energy and vibe you get seeing good friends after a long gap. andrea and i have been friends for quite awhile but we don’t get together very often now that i don’t live close by. add in kids, work, life, etc…it’s too far too much time in-between visits but it always feels just as good and routine when we do meet up.

the girls played together – annabelle brought her entourage of MLP and both my girls were excited to play with them too! ellie, per usual, was attached to me and insisted on sitting on my lap almost the entire time. i can only get her to bug her dada if i trick her into it but it’s usually rare that she chooses to be in his arms over mine! hahaha!

we ate, we drank mimosas and bloody mary’s {i have no idea what beverages the men consumed but i’m sure they were tasty!}, and chatted away about life. after an hour or so, andrea and jamie needed to head out – annabelle had a birthday party to attend. we said our goodbyes and gave our warm hugs before heading out in the major snow!! oh, it was so pretty when we walked outside! the fluffy snow was falling all around and covered the ground!

i must be the only person living in chicago that absolutely loves the snow. it’s been hitting us hard core this winter and i don’t mind one bit. it’s such a joy, so pretty, and i don’t mind driving in it. i prefer to not drive in it but i don’t mind.

well, i hope it’s not too long in-between our next visit with this wonderful family! it was so good seeing you, andrea, and your beautiful family!

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[mean mugging before heading into the restaurant]

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[she’s so wild and fun]

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[working diligently on her artwork]

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[selfie]

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[andrea and sebastian]

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[sweet annabelle and olive]

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[chunker]

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xoxo