good friends from seattle

it was becky’s birthday and i text her to wish her a happy one when she text me back to say that she was coming into town in a couple weeks! yayyyyyyyy!

honestly, we see each other once a year because i rely heavily on her coming home for christmas. the last two years, though, she’s either gone to cali or nyc for christmas and we were super duper sad about it.

well, they were coming into town {the whole an clan was meeting up!} and we had to see them! it was all last minute and i was hoping i could coordinate a whole get together with my sisters too but that idea wasn’t in the cards. we threw dates around and it was slim pickings. the only day open for the both of us was monday and by george it was going to happen no matter what!

we decided to order food in and relax, catch up and just be. they arrived promptly and the festivities began! oh, it was soooooo damn joyous to see them! they are such good people and we love them so much! ruby and wren joined right in with the girls and disappeared immediately.

we laughed, we drank, we ate, we giggled, we shared story after story. the boys hung out. the girls hung out. we hung out all together. the kids put on several plays for us adults and played dress up to their heart’s content.

the night rolled on and time flew by way too fast. we were having too much fun! we were super bummed we had to wrap things up as this was a regular evening for us with a regular next day. unfortunately, we were not on vacation mode like the carlsons. LOL we wish!

we hesitantly said our goodbyes, gave big hugs, and wished them a fabulous rest of their time here. our evening was perfect. we had so much fun catching up and being together. i love it when longtime friends can get together after years and it feels the same but not the same. ya know what i mean?!

we love you becky, james, ruby, and wren! we hope our time together next is not too long in-between.

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[me and b]

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[james and hc]

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[sweet babes playing dress up]

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[such a sweet yummy cake]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[they were all so darling together]

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[sundae time]

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xoxo

sweet harper

i was talking to kt about visiting harper, again, in the hospital. we planned for a wednesday and committed to that but then kt got news that harper was going to go home that sunday!!!! oh my gosh!!! i was sooooo excited.

so that meant we would get to visit them at home!!!! such amazing news and i was so proud of harper for making such great progress! she was 1 lb 15 oz {26 weeks} when she was born and within 2.5 months, shot up to 5 lbs 8 oz! wowza! everything fell into place…so much needs to be checked off before a preemie can go home and harper knocked it all out of the ballpark. well done cutie! well done!

ellie was sick, so i had to drop her off at my dad’s house. i was bummed i couldn’t bring her to meet harper but olive was so stinkin’ excited! she looooooves babies and could not wait to see her! she said the cutest thing to me that day. she asked if the baby was still inside and i said no, she’s outside! you can hold her and olive started screaming, “yay! yay! i’m so excited to see the baby!”. how sweet is she??

our morning was a bit nuts with us trying to get ready and out of the house. since ellie was sick…it was so hard doing anything in a timely manner. the moment we woke up, ellie needed care almost every minute. poor babe! her nose was running NONstop and she was coughing, tired, sneezing, and just miserable. i did our usual morning routine and while ellie was on the couch watching t.v. and drinking her milk, i was getting olive up, i heard her coughing and coughing. then i heard her crying and screaming. i ran out to the living room to see what was the matter and she had thrown up on the couch! ughhhhhhhh!

that just snowballed into us getting ready at 10 am to us not walking out of the house until 1 pm. yes…it took us 3 hours to get out of the house. i think that was a record. i had to strip the couch, do laundry, clean up ellie, get olive up, pack a lunch for olive, pack a lunch for ellie, get both girls ready, wipe ellie’s nose 1 million times, feed them breakfast, pack their bags, grab the laundry, put it away, reset the couch, get myself ready on top of attending to ellie every minute. i would be in the bathroom getting ready, run out, wipe her nose, and repeat that 100 times. i can usually get ready in 20 minutes or less but that day, it took me 45 minutes. yikes! i packed the girls stuff up, got them in the car, drove to my dad’s house, dropped off ellie, and of course i had to grab a coffee, THEN olive and i were finally on our way. oh em geeeeeeeee. what a debacle of a morning.

we finally made it to kt and bobby’s place. kt’s mom and sister colleen were already there, and a couple hours later, bobby came home from work. baby harper was soooooo darn tiny and oh so cute! olive was so happy to see her! a few minutes after we arrived, francie and olive snuck away and sat together on the couch. francie got olive to hold the baby and it was precious to see those two together!

i offered to bring lunch but kt said they were good! this bad ass mama cooked up some mac n cheese for the kiddos and then proceeded to make us shrimp tacos and rice! whaaaaaa?? so good!

we all just sat and chatted and had a great relaxing time while we all took turns to hold miss harper. i also gave kt and bobby the baby shower gift early. i’m going to the shower this week but since harper came home early…i knew they would need some of this stuff! i was so excited to give them our ergo 360, the boon lawn drying rack, drying branch, humidifier, crib sheet, bath towels, wash cloths, whale rinser, thermometer, nose frida, and burp cloths. she started using most of it right away! yay!

time literally flew by! before i knew it, it was 3 hours later and we needed to go! i had to get ellie from my dad’s and head home. olive and i had such a wonderful time visiting kt, bobby, and miss harper!

we are so happy you are home baby girl, where you belong. you are a tower of strength and so very, very loved. may your journey ahead be filled with joy, health, love, and growth. we love you so much!

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[olive and sweet harper]

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[grammy francie, olive, and harper]

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[sisters! kt and colleen]

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[i looooooove this picture! look how adoring everyone is to miss harper]

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[harper’s faces crack me up! she’s so darn noisy too! all so cute!]

xoxo

goldfish swim school

so last year, we decided to get the girls into swim lessons. yes, maybe to some, a bit late in the game but i think it’s never too late! you just gotta do what is right for you and the kiddos. {olive was 4 and ellie was 2} well, last year, ellie and swim lessons were like oil and water and we totally caved in and didn’t make her do it because she didn’t like it. olive didn’t love it but she did it. we did private lessons at our private pool and it was alright. i felt that it was hard to schedule lessons that worked for both parties and sometimes the weather wasn’t on our side, so that stymied her progress.

well this year, we enrolled the girls into goldfish swim school and we recently had their first lesson there. hc and i were both nervous over ellie because of the run for our money she gave us last year. i touch based with the general manager about ellie and even talked to the deck supervisor about her having a possible meltdown during her lesson.

they were both so reassuring and understanding. they told me to not worry and to keep ellie at it. they said they deal with crying children all the time. obviously, not their first rodeo but it was so nice to hear those supportive words, it’s exactly what anxious parents need to hear!

so, ellie’s first lesson went something like this. screaming, crying, shrieking, clawing, desperation, terror…just a few descriptive words of her thirty minute session. total props to her swim instructor for being so patient and sweet with her. we waved to ellie from behind the glass wall, feeling a little helpless and knowing that she needed to go through the ‘lesson’ and get comfortable with this. i didn’t take one photo of her during the this, as i tried to stay as far away as possible to not interfere or cause her to become more upset.

olive, on the other hand, did soooo well! she loved it! she was so excited and loved every second of her lesson. she’s become so comfortable in the water and i love that she is learning so much!

that was their first week! scroll down to see the second week of lessons!!!

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[she’s ready for swim lessons!]

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[ellie – not so ready]

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[just keep swimming, just keep swimming]

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[my sweet girl]

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[floating like a starfish ~ her favorite part of the lesson]

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[way to go girl!]

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[ellie after her lesson]

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[that face!]

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*****

{week 2}

well, we had no worries with olive and her lesson but we were both anxious over miss ellie. what was it going to be like? was she going to scream for thirty minutes again? what if she really, really doesn’t like it? it’s so torturous to watch her be so upset for so long!

well, well, well…her second lesson turned out AMAZING!!!!! she was game and ready. she listened to the instructor, didn’t scream for dada, and she was all smiles!!! she even let the swim teacher dunk her head underwater twice!!!! wow…i am so proud of you miss ellie! we {kinda} knew you would get there! ok, we had doubts but we WANTED you to and you did!

she loved wearing her goggles, did such a great job with her classmates and her teacher. she was even waving to hc while she was in the water! what a champ! oh ellie, you are full of surprises and we love you for all your might, stalwart ways.

thank you, thank you to goldfish swim school! you guys are so wonderful. you have made this ‘first’ time experience so fabulous. from the first instructor who was so sweet to ellie, although she screamed the entire time and to the entire staff who have been so friendly and encouraging through this process. thank you so much!

i highly recommend anyone going to a goldfish school near them! you won’t be disappointed!

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[ready for her swim lesson!]

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[this boy loved holding ellie’s hand]

[divas on the surf board]

xoxo

a sunny day out

on ellie’s actual birthday, my sister kim took the back half of the day off of work to meet us for a lunch outing to celebrate miss ellie.

we met them at table at crate, a new restaurant inside crate and barrel. actually, the only restaurant  inside any crate and barrel. it had opened seven days prior, so we were super excited to try it.

i was excited there was no wait as we waited for kim and the boys to arrive. we were seated inside, as they do not have seating for more than a party of four alfresco. our server was super sweet and nice, the kids were well behaved, and the food was delicious. we absolutely enjoyed all the dishes we ordered!

my most favorite dishes were actually the waffle fries with aioli and the shishito peppers. the peppers were made with a soy balsamic and dusted in chili flakes. not too spicy or hot and perfectly balanced in flavors for lovely savory bites. the waffles fries came with a couple of dipping sauces and all of them were tasty and delicious. i mean, who doesn’t like to dip?!

they don’t have a washroom in the restaurant…they only have the ones they have always had, upstairs in the furniture section. so, ellie needing to go to the bathroom several times during our sit down meal was quite the trek! we were back and forth, back and forth, back and forth – up the escalator and down {most of them were false alarms} but i am so proud of her for doing such a great job at remembering to go when she needs to! my potty trained champ!

after our meal, we decided to walk the mall {it was so beautiful out} and go wherever the kids wanted to go. we stopped at a few stores, bought a few trinkets, and called it a day. i also happen to run into my friend kim and her friend amy! that was a lovely surprise! they were there shopping at the mall and we were able to chat a bit before i left to go home with the girls!

once home, we settled in, relaxed and waited for hc to get home. we had a very chill evening, lit a candle on a cake and sang happy birthday to our dear ellie. the smitten, joyous, slightly embarrassed expression on her face while we were singing is priceless. the whole day was very relaxing…just what i wanted for us all.

my dear ellie…you are the best. celebrating you and your uniqueness makes our hearts so full. thank you for being you. we love you so much my dear girl.

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[her birthday morning]

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[my silly girls waiting for their cousin]

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[goofing around]

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[this girl..growing up so fast]

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[every restaurant should have crayangles]

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[these shishito peppers were deliciousssssss]

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[popcorn chicken bites]

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[cavatelli ~ double smoked bacon, tomato sauce, basil]

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[hey, hi, hello]

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[my girls]

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[my feisty babe]

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[love these kiddos]

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[he’s so darn sweet to her]

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xoxo

young, wild, and three!

ellie’s birthday party planning started out slow and a bit clueless. i wasn’t sure what i wanted to do so i looked at some birthday invites and saw the theme – young, wild, and three and that perfectly described ellie!!!

then came pinterest and the creative juices started flowing. once that starts, i can’t seem to stop and one idea trumps another and another and that’s when it gets dangerous up in my noggin’. i then start searching for decorations and if i can’t find it, i will make it!

hc and i spent the week preparing for the party. he took care of the yard, the tables, chairs, and helped me with setting up some of the decor where i needed more than two hands; he helped with the food, and some other odds and ends. i spent the week stopping at party stores, grocery stores, clothing stores, cleaning the house, crafting all the diy decor, and slowly setting up each area. i did most of my decorating on friday, the day before the party, and completed the finishing touches on saturday morning. i definitely wanted our morning {the day of the fête} to be more low key, low stress, and calm before all the guests arrived mid afternoon.

the last thing i did was decorate the cake! i was excited to have my vision come to life! my oldest sister, kim, did the fabulous floral arrangements. she’s sooooo talented!!!! each vase turned out absolutely amazing and gorgeous! she picked out the most perfect items to create our jungle themed look {i only showed her an inspiration pic and she killed it in interpretation!}! i asked her for leftover flowers for ellie’s cake and it was like she read my mind on what i wanted to do…she brought over the most perfect flowers and leaves for the cake! exactly what i wanted!

i made an onion dip and cheese plate for our guests as appetizers and we ordered food from a local joint. everything was turning out just right. the guests arrived in a timely fashion, the food arrived as expected, and the rest of the afternoon was awesome.

after we ate, we brought ellie outside to show her the birthday present gramma and papa bought her! it was a unicorn water play table! i also got her/them a rainbow sprinkler. the girls then changed into swimsuits and played outside in the water for a bit.

after a stint in the hot outdoors, i gathered everyone back in to sing happy birthday to ellie! i tried getting her back into her themed dress but that was an utter failure {honestly…i just didn’t push it}. LOL so she wore her unicorn swimsuit for her big candle blow out!

i served up cake, ice cream, and macarons and soon afterwards, our guests started to trickle out. it was the most perfect timing, though. once i brought everyone inside for cake, the sky opened and started POURING. so, while everyone finished up with dessert and the rain finally let up, it was a sign to go!

hc and i did our thing. we cleaned up like pro’s while the babes bathed and afterwards, ellie {and olive} opened up all her gifts! oh my goodness. it was such a wonderrrrrrrrrFULL day. like so good. the decor turned out so damn fun, the food was so good, our guests were the best and we couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon to celebrate our baby ellie.

sweet girl, you are amazing. you are funny. you are silly. you are strong. you are sweet. you are loving. you are sassy. you are beautiful. you are everything good and everything you want to be! we love you so much that descriptive words insult the feeling that is so big within our hearts.

happy birthday precious babe. we love you to infinity and beyond.

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[how sweet is she??]

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[hat by little blue olive]

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[oh olive]

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[i said, “smile ellie!”]

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[favors: glassine bag of candies, tattoos, and organic play dough – in a zebra print, of course! – housed in a brown paper bag, stamped, and i calligraphy the kid’s names]

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[all the favor goodies]

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[play dough from ellie and piper co}

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[our sweet family]

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[the bar table! plastic garland banner from glamfete]

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[drink menu]

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[my kind of town…]

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[party straws and stirrers]

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[floral arrangements by the great and talented kim]

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[i hand stamped the zebra onto the napkins]

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[hc’s side]

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[lynne and barbara]

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[animal masks for our guests]

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[hand drawn, hand cut leaves, calligraphy by crazy me place cards. hc spray painted the animals and glued each card to them]

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[table setting for our guests]

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[i couldn’t get over the stunning arrangements by my sister. she does a phenomenal job every time!]

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[the wood looking plates are biodegradable and are made out of palm leaves!]

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[dessert bar]

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[favor bags]

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[it’s never a party without french macarons!]

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[cake decorated by yours truly with left over flowers my sister left me!]

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[i couldn’t pick just one pic to post of us!]

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[cheese plate i hastily threw together last minute!!!]

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[mom and dad or also known as rimma and ba]

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[hand written menu. i tore apart a paper bag and hand wrote/calligraphy the food we were serving]

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[dan and agata]

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[me and thuy]

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[silly cousins]

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[sista sista]

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]so excited over gramma and papa’s birthday present to ellie!]

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[what a big girl]

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[very hesitant to go under the rainbow sprinkler…she eventually put her hand in it. that was it! LOL]

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[bennett braving the cold water!]

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[olive acting cool…like, guy…it’s not cold…]

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[my sweet little baby]

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[birthday cake!]

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[look at her face!]

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[make a wish]

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[having her cake and eating it too]

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[silly kids]

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[grandma and her grandkids]

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[silly girls]

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xoxo

a fun afternoon

it was a very long, long awaited playdate with kim and famille. like way too long! let’s be clear…it was one year since i had seen them last! whaaaaaaaa? kim and i planned 5 different times to see each other but each time, unfortunately, something always came up for kim and we had to cancel every time.

well, the waiting was over and we secured a date and boom! it happened! olive was so excited to see brady! when she woke up in the morning, she said to me she needed to hurry up and brush her teeth cause she wanted to go see brady! hahaha! too damn cute!

we could have left on time but i am at fault for wanting to do one million more things before we walked out the door, then once we did…we literally turned back around cause i forget to get the girls to the bathroom and we had a long car ride ahead of us! arghhhhh. we finally hit the road one hour after we were suppose to leave. like wtf. i am usually not this late but this was probably a record tardy start for me!

we arrived in no time, quite surprisingly and the girls couldn’t not wait to get inside! once they stepped foot inside…i didn’t see them for an hour. just kidding but they literally ran away from me and were outta sight. LOL i hugged kim and we started chatting. as i have said in the past…the girlfriends i have {kim is no different}, we have this tendency to talk and talk and talk and talk and talk. no joke…time literally flies by when i am with kim. we can gab about anything and everything!

it was super nice cause the kids are at an age where they are very low maintenance and they all play so well together. so, mikey {kim’s hubby} kept the kids entertained as they ate their lunch and kim and i ate our lunch in another room. that was awesome.

before i knew it, three hours flew by and we needed to go! olive had gymnastics and i knew traffic back home was going to be a nightmare. we quickly said our goodbyes {sadly…no one wanted to leave, including me!} and headed back home.

it was such a fun afternoon and a much needed catch up time with kim! i told her, we cannot have another year go by where we don’t see each other! i don’t think that has ever happened in the 10 years that we’ve known each other! crossing our fingers we can squeeze in a zoo date before school starts.

cheers to good friends!

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[olive ellie, brooklyn, brady, and mason]

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[so darn cute]

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[kim and me]

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[such a sweet family]

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[brady’s selfie]

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[how sweet are they?!! melting]

xoxo

the morton arboretum

a couple years ago, hc and i bought a year membership to the arboretum and we probably went a couple times but then it expired and we never renewed.

this year, we fully went in and purchased a two year membership because we totally feel like the girls are at an age where they play well together and they are so active! so it made sense and we know we will go more than twice a year!

the day we went was beautiful. sunny, warm, but not too hot. after we signed up for our membership and grabbed drinks at the cafe, we headed out to the children’s area and the girls were so excited! they immediately became involved with everything that catered to their curious minds. it was great. hc and i just sat back, conversed, drank and the girls kept themselves super busy with their surroundings.

we slowly made our way around the area, stopping at each section so the girls could throughly explore. we made our way through the pond/water area and the girls became excited at the idea of taking off their shoes and wading through the creek, in which they did. i had to help ellie walk through it back and forth while olive independently jumped around.

in one section of the creek, olive became a bit too zealous and slipped and fell on her behind! oh, poor olive! she soaked her entire bottom! no matter, i reassured her it was ok and i knew, with the warm temps, she would dry up quickly.

once that was over, we slowly made our way back to the entrance. i assumed the girls were hungry and i was right, so we stopped for some yummy snacks. as we headed out, the girls also spotted some very large lego creations along the way. they were so cool!

it was a great day. the temps were perfect, the sun was shining, and the girls had a wonderful time exploring the playgrounds! we can’t wait to go back, it’s such a huge area and there’s so much to see and experience there!

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[the maze]

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[caution first]

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[taking the lead]

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[kids playing, parents drinking]

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[hair clips by little blue olive]

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[olive owning the play area]

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[she’s so spunky and sweet]

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[sprinkler]

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[ellie braved the jungle gyms!]

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xoxo

waterlemon

so i discovered a place in downtown lagrange that i absolutely loooooove! it’s a place called waterlemon and it is such an amazing concept, it makes you think…why didn’t i do that cause i, 100%, have thought about it but have never green lighted it. so here we are, at a place where dreams do come true!

we trekked there on a rainy day…a perfect place to go to with the kiddos when it’s not nice out but quite surprisingly, we were basically the only ones there that afternoon!

i was in picture heaven. the decor, the design, the colors felt like a dream come true. aesthetically right up my alley and i was loving every detail. once we walked inside, the girls were so delighted! it was, actually, very nice that we had the space to ourselves. the girls were having a grand ol’ time, and thuy and i chillaxed in the dining area.

i had called the store before we went to make sure the play area was available. i briefly read the website but didn’t read it throughly. i, honestly, didn’t think i needed to. when i called the store, the girl on the phone didn’t mention the need for socks, etc. we have never been there before, so i was unaware of their rules/policies for the play space. once we arrived, we were told the rules of the play area and i was taken aback that we needed socks {the no shoe policy i totally understand…and that’s easy. just take off your shoes} but we had to buy socks and honestly, i would have rather brought our own socks. now, they didn’t charge much for the socks but the fact that i called ahead to get all my ducks in a row and the employee didn’t mention the socks irked me a bit.

that was the only thing that bothered me but overall, it was a wonderful experience. it was clean, organized, and everyone who worked there was super friendly and nice. it’s a play area for kids 5 and under. i’ll be super bummed once olive passes that age because olive and ellie play so well together and i can’t imagine taking ellie there without olive, when she turns six later on this year.

thuy and i became hungry and i knew the girls needed to eat something, so i ran over to a local eatery called owl and lark and ordered meals to go. i loved that they allow you to bring food from the outside…so awesome because we really wanted food.

after hours of play {we were there for, maybe, three hours}, in-between eating and snacking, we finally rounded them up but not without a final treat. the girl behind the counter offered the mini cupcakes complimentary and the girls gobbled them up! of course we cleaned up after ourselves, wiped the table down {cause we’re like that}, threw away our garbage, and the girls played so neatly that the toys were not out of place {LOL…that’s the way they are at home!}.

i purchased the cutest rainbow wall hang and olive declared this shop the best place ever! she said, “they have toys, a play area, snacks and drinks! it has EVERYTHING a kid needs!” hahaha! legit…she totally said that.

well, our time at waterlemon was super successful! i highly recommend this retail/play area to our chicago and suburb mamas out there! your kids will love it and moms {and dads}, you will love the concept, the coffee, and the merchandise! just don’t forget to bring your own skid free socks! ha!

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[the cutest window display]

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[i love balloons. arches. anything]

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[everything was so darn pretty]

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[i wanted to steal it all. LOL]

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[such a beautiful play area]

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[it’s just sunshine and rainbows inside…my kind of world]

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[hi ellie]

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[the cutest little play area for the young babes! it’s enclosed so they can’t escape. LOL]

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[oh ya know…just camping]

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[everywhere i turned…it was instatastic]

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[my kind of message]

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[just chilling in a cool corner]

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[cute corners everywhere!]

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[the cutest selection of clothes]

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[my heaven for party planning!]

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[super auntie thuy hanging out]

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[they – usually – play so sweet together]

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[hello?]

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[how are you?]

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[oh, that’s good to hear. LOL]

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[coffee corner]

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[food is ready]

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[so much fun!]

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[hungry like a wolf. haha]

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[food and coffee from owl and lark]

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[avo bagel]

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[complimentary mini cupcakes]

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[olive loved the treat!]

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[cutest wooden flatware]

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[we bought the rainbow wall hang! perfect for olive’s room!]

xoxo

butterflies in the zoo

it was going to be a beautiful day {as in not HOT}, so we decided to do a zoo day. those 70ish degree days are absolutely perfect for a day of walking around outside {and not sweating, feeling sticky, and exhausted}.

the kids kicked off our adventure with a ride on the carousel, while olive insisted on getting her face painted. oh my goodness…face painting takes forever! LOL hc came over and asked us if we wanted to experience the butterfly garden and i said yes.

once olive was finished {she was so happy with her choice…a unicorn swirly concoction of white, pink, glitter, and purple}, we walked over to the butterfly exhibit {which was two seconds away from where her face was painted}. first, you had to wait for someone to open the door and let you in. once inside, the girl gave clear, strict instructions on how to behave once inside. she then turned on a fan, blowing air straight down in front of the door and we walked inside.

ohhhhhh, it was so beautiful and awesome! the plants and flowers were gorgeous and the butterflies fluttering everywhere was like a dream come true! it was so magical and the girls were amazed! olive and ellie loved it! it was so cute when olive said to me…”kiki, did you know that the fairies paint the butterfly wings?!” oh my goodness…i love her so much!

we spent a lot of time inside the garden. the girls were having such a wonderful time being so close to the butterflies and loved seeing all the different types. i felt that we could have been in there for another 10-15 minutes but our other half of the party was waiting for us, so we reluctantly left the magical garden.

we traipsed our way to the dolphins, then the sea otters, then to get food, then to the playground. we have gone to the zoo with the intent to see the lego set up but every time we go…one thing leads to another and time gets aways from us and yet again, we haven’t seen the lego displays yet.

well, after the playground, we walked around a bit more but kim, terry, and the boys had to go to lacrosse practice. wah wah. ellie was so upset they had to leave and cried about it for a bit, she kept saying, “bennett. bennett…”. it was so cute…she really missed them! after they left, we decided to explore a little more of the zoo, so we headed over to tropic world to see the monkeys. once we were out, we explored a bit more of the zoo with the intention of heading on our way out. ellie was getting tired and a little cranky from not taking a nap.

it was another awesome day at the zoo in the books with the family! we had so much fun exploring and the butterfly garden was our most favorite part of the experience. i love how it’s a fun, different adventure every time we go to brookfield!

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[can you spot reagan and bennett?]

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[where’s ellie?]

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[ready to get her face painted]

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[she chose a unicorn design]

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[she was so good at keeping her eyes closed…even when she didn’t have to! LOL]

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[her finished look!]

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[the beautiful butterfly garden at the zoo!]

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[can you spot the black swallowtail?]

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[can you see the zebra longwing?]

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[hanging with my peeps]

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[beautiful monarch]

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[a plethora of julia’s]

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[peeking]

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[black swallowtail]

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[a great southern white landed on reagan’s hat!]

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[admiring the beautiful butterflies!]

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[i think this is the gulf fritillary]

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[sisters – can you spot olive?]

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[reagan was our photographer!]

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[besties]

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[we took a similar picture like this on this exact statue when we i was a few years old!

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[the boys]

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[monkeys grooming each other]

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xoxo

a day in the city

we had an impromptu trip to the city!

lately, any new adventures into the city…hc is always a part of it but this time around…he had to work and i trekked downtown, with the girls, by myself! its not that i don’t ever go to the city by myself {i do allllll the time but to my usual stomping grounds. helloooo, i used to live in the city} but if it’s a place i’m not used to driving to…hc is usually there.

we traveled to millennium park first to meet kim, terry and the boys. it was hot and humid. i needed to get to the lakeside garage {i spot hero’d my parking} and my map was telling me to take wacker. helllllll no. hc can drive wacker but not me! i freak out just being in the car when hc takes that route. so i diverted to the above ground routes and took the long, a little bit more congested roads to get to the garage. well that was no picnic either. i still had to go underground for a nano second but when you do, gps goes out. poof! like, once you go underground…it’s like bye bye bye {cue n’sync}.

so, i used the old fashioned way of getting around and used my brain. my gps was kaput and i needed to get to the garage. i pulled over. surveyed my surroundings and navigated a u turn, a left turn, then a right turn and voila!! i took myself straight to the garage! wahooooo! i was so relieved!

we found the famille inside the park and we all walked over to maggie daley play area. the girls were so excited to see their cousins! they absolutely love hanging out with them. the kids giddily ran towards the playground and disappeared. kim, terry, and i just wandered around while the kids explored.

while we were out, it started raining and we took cover under the trees. we watched people still going down the slides while it was raining and that was incredibly entertaining as the water made the slides super slick and people were flying off the surfaces! ohmergawd…it was the sound of shrieking and laughter, then thud, thud, thud. folks skidding across the ground as they shot down the slides. so crazy!

after some time at the park, we jumped back into our cars and headed over to wrigleyville to shop around, spend some time at gallagher way, and we also had dinner reservations at dutch and doc’s.

we had such a great time all around in the city and we decided to head back to the ‘burbs for some ice cream at our favorite local shop, where hc & thuy met up with us! ellie fell asleep on the way home and it was so darn cute! she got sleepy and took the baseball cap on her head and pulled it forward over her face. so adorable.

we arrived at the ice cream shop before anyone else and decided to wait for them on a bench. there wasn’t a line but 5 minutes later, i turned around and the line was out the door and down the sidewalk! yikes! i jumped up and got in line to save a spot for everyone!

all the kids got ice cream, and some adults, and we decided to walk around downtown, since the car show was going on {just ending…as we were out so late}. after a lovely stroll in the warm summer evening, we all dispersed and headed home.

it was such a wonderful day and evening spent with the family. life is good.

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[exploring wrigleyville]

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[little buggers…ellie was a nut in the store]

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[new hats]

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[oh ellie…always following in her big sister’s footsteps…it’s so sweet to see]

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[snacking at gallagher way]

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[coloring and drinking at dutch and doc’s]

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[oh how we love the cubbies]

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[so exhausted on the ride home, she pulled her cap forward and fell asleep! we were still heading out for ice cream!]

xoxo