pumpkin farm ’20

the year of the corona. it didn’t stop us from going to the pumpkin farm.

everywhere you go…something has changed. so, we bought our pumpkin farm tickets in advance as they were only allowing a certain number of people to attend. i was excited we were able to get tickets for everyone and couldn’t wait to go.

it was supposed to be a beautiful day and it was. the sun was shining and the temps were supposed to be warm enough to not wear a jacket. soooooo i thought! ughhhhh! it was warm when we left the house and when we arrived, it was freezing! the temperature completely dropped and we were not prepared! so not prepared. even my hubby was cold…and that’s saying something! we only had cardi’s for the girls but they were running fools and didn’t need anything else to stay warm. where i was just standing around all cute and flipping cold. LOL

this is basically how it goes. our kids run around like crazy people exploring everything and us adults just stand around and talk and follow the kids wherever they go. hahaha! it works out perfectly!

once they explored all the rides, games, and animals…we decided to grab some grub and go inside to their open tent. the only place where it felt somewhat warmer. eep! hot cider, doughnuts, cookies, and all the fried greasy food you could eat! hc ordered a bunch of food for the girls and of course all ellie wanted was a cookie. she loves, loves sugar. especially chocolate but she won’t deny anything sugary.

once the kids were done eating, we were like peace out! we were cold and did not want to do anything else, after a couple hours of already exploring the entire place we were dunzo. i was hoping to grab a pumpkin or something festive to take home, high hopes before we got there but the cold just wanted me to run to the car. haha!

the girls had a blast with their cousins and we were happy! we got into our warm car and headed home to rest. our favorite thing to do!

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https://primitiveskate.com/collections/naruto2/products/nuevo-kurama-washed-tee?variant=32307302039614

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[pete, rich, and terry]

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[watch out everyone! ellie’s driving!]

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[cheese!]

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[corn maze!]

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[peace out kim]

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[she’s so fun]

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[reagan is always so sweet with her!]

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[trapped! they’re in jail!]

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[pig race]

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[yummy cider]

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[the sweetest duo]

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xoxo

first tooth

olive’s friends have lost so many teeth. she wasn’t pushing it but recently noted that her friends were losing their teeth and she couldn’t wait! well her wait was over. it finally happened. a couple months ago, she mentioned to us that her tooth felt loose and sure enough, it was! weeks went by and it became looser and looser.

hc’s cousin ryan was coming into town for his birthday and his wife invited a bunch of people to a house they were renting in michigan. we were game to see ryan and celebrate his birthday. we drove up there to stay the night and leave the next day. the party was in full swing when we got there and we just shimmied our way into the festivities.

it was definitely a fun and crazy night. i felt like i was at a frat party with kids. now everyone there had kids but not with them like us. LOL the girls were super good and gramma and auntie missy were there for the early part of the evening and spent it with the girls. they left early and i then put them to bed. they brushed their teeth, put on their jammies and really wanted to watch t.v. for a bit and of course i let them. they definitely went to bed way too late! but hey, it was a party!

the next morning, while i am getting ready, hc comes downstairs with olive, ready and excited to show me something. oh my goodness!!!! baby girl lost her first tooth!!!! hc literally yanked it out of her mouth and olive didn’t flinch. i was so excited for her. she was soooooo excited herself! she couldn’t wait to show the entire world that she lost her first tooth! oh to be a sweet little kid!

she couldn’t wait to go back to school and show her friends that she lost a tooth! i also forewarned her that since most of her friends have already lost a lot of teeth, it might not be that exciting to them. ha! also, that she had to wear a mask all day at school and it might be difficult for her to actually show her friends her mouth. LOL

well, that didn’t matter…she was excited to show anyone who she saw and let them know she lost her first tooth. i love her for that! that night, we put her tooth in the tooth fairy pillow that she’s had and the tooth fairy brought her big bucks for her first lost tooth. way to score some dough olive!

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[the day she lost her first tooth!]

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[showing off her tooth]

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[she’s excited for the tooth fairy to come!]

xoxo

school pictures ’20

oh sweet girls. we love school picture day!

i was on a hunt for cute outfits, like any mom out there knowing that picture day for the kids was coming up!

one of my favorite places to shop for the girls is zara. now mind you, i don’t shop there for myself, i cannot stand their lack of customer service, unfortunately not many people are friendly who work there, and their return policy is obnoxious, but yes…i like their kids clothes. LOL

i ran over there to check out what they had and found the cutest outfit for Ellie. i struggled to find something for olive. they had darling items for her but not quite what i wanted for school pictures.

so ellie was set. bow. check. socks. check. shoes. check. now i needed something cute for olive! a day later or so…i thought i’d check out h&m because they also have cute items for the girls! plus, they are so inexpensive. yassssss. and there it was…what to my wondering eyes should appear, a mustard colored romper and a matching cute shirt! voila! olive had her school picture outfit and it happen to match ellie’s!

obviously i did not plan that but it happened to work out perfectly! they both looked so darling for their pics! something else that i love is that ellie’s broken arm is documented in this school picture as well! her big ol’ cast and sling front and center. hahaha!

we actually did family pics the night before in a field and allllllll the mosquitos attacked us! of course ellie got bit right on her forehead. if you look closely, you’ll see a big pink spot on the right side of her forehead!

they’re so cute! i can’t believe they are in preschool 4 and first grade! they are growing up so fast. these pictures just prove it…i’ll be sad when ellie loses those baby cheeks. welp!

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[oh ellie belle…the faces you make]

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xoxo

apple pickin’ ’20

we love going on our annual apple picking trip every fall!

although i struggled to find a good orchard that we haven’t been to {bad weather and a pandemic to blame}. we’ve frequented a few good ones several times in the past but we wanted to try something different. not that the orchards we’ve been to were bad, i just like to change it up. sometimes it’s a good thing to discover a fun new place or it backfires, but you have to take that risk, non?!

we decided to go to jonamac orchard. it was b u s y. it was hard to physical distance yourself from others {we did go on the weekend…hence how busy it was} and because it was so packed, it stymied our fun. or maybe we were just apple orchard burnt out?! LOL

plus, the apples were sooooo picked over and so many lanes were not ripe. we were given 6 lanes to pick from and that is not a lot when there were that many people there with you. feeling a bit defeated as that was our purpose – to find delicious apples and have fun picking from the trees. instead the trees were bare and we were dodging people left and right down the lanes.

we scored quite a few goodies in their shop though! kettle corn, fudge, drinks, doughnuts, and a bunch of other things we didn’t need. hahaha! that was a highlight for sure! we were all hungry so our family {my mom, sisters, nephews, brother in law} decided to head to a restaurant nearby for some grub as the kitchen at the orchard was packed and there wasn’t a lot of seating and the flies and bees were viciously attacking everyone. gah! we didn’t want to eat and constantly keep swatting away the bugs. that would not be fun!

oh my goodness. yes, i sounded a bit like debbie downer with all the issues that we had but it was fun to go, we did get some yummy apples and spent quality time with our family! ending our trip at the restaurant was a perfect way to cap off our afternoon of fun! relaxing, eating, air conditioning, and drinking!

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[the fam…it was so insanely bright…by pictures were blown out!]

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[grace and jane]

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[about two seconds before she screamed bloody murder there was a lady bug on her arm. LOL]

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[so proud of her collection]

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[my sweet peanut]

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[she’s such a funny gal]

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[the girls love to apple pick]

xoxo

broken arm

when ellie was born…i predicted she’d be trouble. i made this conclusion due to how crazy her pregnancy was and how different it was from olive’s. not only is she my ‘sick’ baby….always getting more sick than the rest of us but she definitely is more rambunctious than olive.

she’s energetic, a risk taker, more careless, and just overall more reckless compared to olive. now if you know olive…you know she’s super straight laced. she’s so responsible, kind, thoughtful, neat, organized, a planner, and highly sensitive. both girls are so wonderful and good but very distinct on how they handle and react to different scenarios.

so, here’s the story.

it was a beautiful day. sunny, warm and perfect for olive and ellie’s soccer games. we did our usual routine and headed to ellie’s game first, headed home and then onto to olive’s game. it was so nice out and when we arrived, we started chatting with everyone and doing our usual routine of visiting. while i was standing under the picnic cover, i hear a child screaming. rich comes walking over to me holding ellie. i see her arm and rich says she fell and dislocated it. ellie is screaming and crying! he passes her off to me and i try to calm her down. i literally started saying “oh shit, oh shit…oh shit” in my head. something was not right. at. all.

i tried walking ellie away from everyone but i was so engrossed in calming her down i didn’t venture far from the crowd. all i could remember was saying “you’ll be ok, you’ll be ok, you’ll be ok…oh my God! sweet girl, you’ll be ok” over and over, trying to convince myself that mantra as well. she was screaming and crying and it shattered my heart i couldn’t do anything to take away the pain or help her any more than i could at that moment.

as ellie was screaming and crying, she pleaded with me to get her a bandaid. my heart just dropped. i replied, “i’ll get you a bandaid! i’ll get you a bandaid!” as i knew in her mind, a bandaid made her boo boo’s feel better. i could not take it. i wanted to trade places with her to stop the pain.

our friends kim and dave were there as well, watching their daughter play, and thank goodness they were both there cause they saved us. they saved me and they helped ellie in ways i couldn’t. dave is a firefighter and kim is a nurse and their support, guidance, and calmness did wonders to a mama desperate to help her little baby.

dave miraculously had a small soft cover children’s book and bandage tape with him. i was holding ellie’s arm to support her and to stop her from moving it to cause anymore pain. kim so thoughtfully started to move us further away from everyone and dave came running over to splint her arm.

at that point, rich was already on the phone with 911 and explaining the situation when someone on the phone told him to NOT splint her arm. as he’s being told this, dave started to splint her arm and he freaked out not knowing dave knew what he was doing {rich had no idea dave is a firefighter/paramedic}.

this was the part that still haunts me…as it was hot outside and i was holding ellie’s arm…in our frantic nature, dave tried to get me to remove my hand from her arm as he cupped her arm with the book, underneath, as i tried to pull me hand away, it was stuck, sweaty, to her arm and we were literally yanking her arm back and forth trying to splint it. she s h r i e k e d in pain as we jostled her arm back and forth. the fact that i couldn’t pull my hand away from her arm more smoothly, causing her so much more intense pain literally killed me inside. i know we were helping her in the moment to make it feel better but that minute of me causing her more pain hurt me mentally and emotionally so bad. i was suppose to be helping her but instead i caused her more horrible pain.

after dave splint her arm, it calmed her down a bit more. within a minute or so {now mind you, i’m totally gauging the time from memory as i really had no idea how long anything was in my state}, the firetruck, the paramedics, ambulance, and police arrived. it was a circus. at that point, kim had walked me to the front of the park. the paramedics met with me and asked me questions and they said to me, “mom, can you hold her and walk all the way to the ambulance?” i shook my head yes and started bawling…at that point, i knew we were on our way to help her and i just started crying.

so there we were, me holding ellie and two paramedics holding ellie’s arm so gingerly, doing their best to not disturb, move, or bounce her arm to cause any pain. one step at a time, we slowly inched our way to the stretcher. all the men reached for ellie and safely placed her on the cot and strapped her in. i desperately asked them if i could ride with her in the ambulance and they said yes. i was so relieved! they gave me a mask and i climbed into the back. at that point, possibly from the adrenaline, as the truck took off, she passed out on the stretcher.

once we arrived, they pulled her into the emergency room where nurses went to work. they also gave her a stuffed animal to distract her and that was so sweet. the emergency doctor spoke with us and everyone explained everything. they needed to X-ray her arm and that was the worst part of us being there. they had to cut off the makeshift splint dave made and move her arm to get the right picture of her break. she cried but it was quick and then they re-splint it, which caused her pain again and then it was somewhat smooth sailing after that in the pain department.

once the doctor assessed her break, she told us she couldn’t treat ellie and that she needed to go to a hospital that had a specialist and a pediatric center. so they contacted lutheran and christ to see who could take her. they determined lutheran had someone who could operate on ellie. so, once we got the ok to go, they then moved her from her emergency room stretcher to another stretcher and strapped her in and literally padded her. the only thing showing was her face underneath all the white cloth. it was so oddly cute to see.

they rolled her out and into another ambulance. we rode 40 minutes to the hospital and things moved quickly there. ellie was rolled into another room where the same questions were asked over and over. it was a better environment for her, being in a pediatric center, as they had fun things for kids, like an iPad on wheels where they rolled it over to her, adjusted the screen and she got to choose a cartoon to watch. i think she chose garfield…?

the 2nd surgeon came in the let me know what was going to happen to ellie. he explained the surgery and what it entailed. he told me that overall, once they took her down to the actual surgery and for her to hit the recovery room, would be an hour total. i was like, okay, cool. no problem.

he also was super surprised at how stoic ellie was. he asked me if she was always this calm and quiet when experiencing intense pain. i was like, uhhhhh, i don’t know…she’s never been in this kind of pain, but i guess we now know? yes, for being a 4 year old, who had just broken her arm and it had been hours since it happened, she was quite calm and chill even though her arm looked like a lumpy potato.

the only thing that sucked was, when they transported us to lutheran, rich went home to grab stuff for everyone, not knowing what was going to happen and if we were going to stay at the hospital, etc. by the time he went home and was on his way back, like I said before, things were moving quickly with ellie and they were rolling her out to surgery before he could get back to see her. we were there for maybe a half hour before they decided they were ready to operate. thank goodness cause at that point, she was laying around with a broken arm for at least 4.5 hours.

they started rolling her out and i followed along. as we go closer to the surgery area, it became cold. like super cold. they took a heated blanket and covered ellie. i was so cold, i almost asked for one! LOL the head surgeon came out to say hello and chat a bit. they made me sign papers for her anesthesia and that was it. i looked over at my baby and she was so super calm but i saw tears rolling down the side of her face as she knew we were parting ways. i told ellie that she was going to be ok. they were here to fix her arm and when it was over, she would feel soooooo much better and her arm wouldn’t hurt anymore.

a nurse led me out of the surgery area and walked me to the waiting area where rich met me. we relaxed as much as we could as the clock ticked by. they rolled ellie down to the surgery area around 4:30 pm and then 5:30 pm hit. then 6:30 pm hit and i was like…what is going on?! are they resuscitating her?!! it’s been two hours since they took her.

finally at 6:45 pm, the two surgeons came into the waiting room. phew! dr. marjetko was so relaxed and personable. he treated us like we were his very first set of parents with a kid who just broke her arm. he was kind, warm and understanding. he told us that he was hoping to put together ellie’s arm without opening her up but the break was so bad, he couldn’t. so he had to make an incision and put her bones, muscles, and ligaments into place, sew her back up and put 4 pins into her arm. oh my sweet baby!

he had his 2nd surgeon call down to the recovery room to see if we could see ellie and they gave us the ok. they walked us down and we saw our precious little girl still sleeping. i was elated to know that the surgery went well and that she was no longer in severe pain. we chatted with the very nice nurses and they were explaining a few things to us about her recovery. ellie kept waking up and then falling back asleep. she probably did this 3 or 4 times and then finally she really woke up. one of the nurses ran to get a frozen pop for her and ellie immediately snatched it out of her hand and started eating it.

even there, the nurses were amazed by her stoic nature. they also commented how most children her age come out of surgery most likely screaming and crying, usually disoriented and scared. ellie woke up and was like, “what’s up mom and dad? give me another popsicle.” LOL

once they checked a few things, she got the ok to go to her room. since they did open her arm up, they made her stay overnight to make sure everything was ok. rich volunteered to stay and i went home to get olive, who was so kindly taken in by our wonderful friends jon and val.

ohhhhhh, what a day. my baby girl was better and on her way to recovery. that meant everything to me. she would have the splint/cast on for at least 4 weeks and then therapy afterwards, if needed.

so, that my friends, was the first real emergency i ever experienced and i truly hope i never go through that again. God bless ellie and everyone who sent their thoughts, prayers, and support to us and our little girl. she is so loved.

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[my poor baby at good sam]

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[now at Lutheran in park ridge]

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[post surgery]

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[finally home]

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[a drawing by olive’s friend elizabeth]

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[gifts from kt]

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[a cookie basket from dana and fam]

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[flowers from olive’s friends]

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xoxo

soccer

we signed both the girls up for soccer this fall and they loved it! ok, olive loved it more than ellie. LOL she was more like, wtf are you making me do?

their other classmates have participated in soccer the years prior and were seasoned so this was all so new for all of us!

this year like everything, was very different. they started the season late due to covid restrictions and then the park district decided that teams would not compete and only scrimmage within their own roster. which was fine, cause they were able to play in some form!

it was so cute to see them practice and play. especially the 3/4 year olds. they kind of listen and kind of don’t listen and run all over the place. hahaha! ellie didn’t give two craps about chasing the ball. she constantly complained she was tired. oh girl! the good news is by the third game…she was finally getting the hang of it and scored TWO goals!! i got one goal on vid! i was super proud!

in ellie’s group, there was a girl who was so skilled! she basically scored almost every goal and had the ball at every single game! she had to be told by her parents to pass the ball and yet it was still difficult for her because she would pass the ball to another player and that girl wouldn’t know what to do with it or would kick the ball alllll the way off the field, or score into the wrong goal, etc. it was fun to watch because they were so cute and innocent!

rich and i were obviously new to the routine as well and we definitely showed up as newbies! for their first practice, we dressed both girls up in their game day uniform and forgot their practice balls. LOL hello. we stood out like sore thumbs! then came their first game day. we nailed it and dressed the girls up in the uniform, brought their balls {which they didn’t need. ugh} and didn’t bring any chairs to sit down in while we watched the game. doh!

overall, the soccer season was awesome! it’s always great to be able to have the girls with their friends and mom and dad can hang out with their cool parents too! olive’s soccer season was so fun. we loved every practice and every game we attended. the weather was super amazing and we had the warmest sunniest days and nights to hang out in. now ellie’s season was cut short – she only made it to game three…more on that in the next post! stay tuned!

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[olive after her first soccer game]

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[that’s olive to the far right!]

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[there she is in the white jersey furthest back!]

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[my sweet ellie at practice…little did we know to not put her in her game outfit. LOL…newbies!]

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[pretty much ellie watching as girls played]

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[number 67]

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[ellie with her school buddies!]

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[in between ellie’s game and olive’s game, we would head out to breakfast!]

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[my sweetie pie at egg harbor]

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[fresh veggies at the farmer’s market right by the restaurant]

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xoxo

first day of school ’20

the girls had their first day of school in september and the anticipation was off the charts!

uhhhhh, yes it’s november and i am finally posting about their first day of school. LOL if you read my previous post, i’ve been a little busy and my blog fell to the wayside. but don’t worry…you’re in for a treat! i have a gazillion posts coming right up!

it started back in march when the pandemic was in full swing and the girl’s school went to home learning. obvi…with all that was and is going on, the idea of in person learning was teetering all over the place.

month after month…the argument, controversy, and passion around this topic peaked as we got closer to august. no one knew what was going to happen and the uncertainty and anxiety was through the roof for me and fellow moms i knew. it became overwhelming.

i am sure for teachers, administration, and everyone who was involved in this process felt something to this extent. it was insane.

i was told by so many people who did not have children, they were glad to not be in my shoes! i told them i was glad for them too cause it wasn’t fun at all.

at first, we were under the impression that school was going to be in-person during the summer. then as we inched closer to the school year starting, it started to look different. the first day of school was scheduled for the third week in august and a couple weeks before that date, the school sent out a survey asking us for our opinions. like whhhaaaaa?

they asked about how we felt with in person learning, remote, hybrid, etc. would we keep our kids in school if it was strictly remote and so forth. with us being in private school, there was no question we wanted our kids back. for many many positive reasons. yes, we were in the middle of a pandemic but to not get into anything specific, we saw the benefits of in person learning.

we are a fortunate school to have high enrollment…the best this year compared to recent years. we currently have 600+ kids in our elementary to 8th grade class. any other year, we would celebrate this but during a pandemic…we were like uhhhhhh, how are going to physically distance all these kids and keep in person learning?!

there were so many sides to the argument but this was one side i felt strongly about. we can go down the rabbit hole concerning this but i’d rather not right now.

after much back and forth from the school and a whole lotta talk from the parents, the school settled on all three options. you could choose remote, hybrid, and in person all day {with a different agenda}.

they were able to please most. let me tell ya…the strong opinions of everyone had my head spinning and what made me angry and sad was the finger pointing at the administration. there was and is no handbook on this. they are doing their best to accommodate everyone and of course there are so many people who aren’t pleased. if you don’t have positive intent towards them and don’t understand they have our best interest in mind…well, you are not kind hearted and compassionate and honestly…very self involved.

yes, there were times i was angry at decisions being made. naturally. i do have my opinions but never once did i attack our administration. i know them and know that in their hearts, they were doing their best.

so, fast forward to the first day of school in september {it was delayed a couple weeks}. it was bonkers, it was madness, the traffic jam, rules, regulations, guidelines, and everything in between that was so different than any first day we’ve ever experienced.

the line of cars to drop off was so long and overwhelming. olive and ellie were already late to their class. we finally pull up to where we need to drop olive off. she had her mask on, her backpack on, and her two very large bags of supplies ready to go. as she struggled to get out of the car and shut the door {we weren’t allowed to get out of our cars to help} and juggle all her stuff…i started crying.

so emotions flooded in. i couldn’t believe it was her first day of first grade. i couldn’t believe that she was finally at school. i couldn’t believe that she had to wear a mask all day. i couldn’t believe that after months of tense feelings, we were finally, finally here. i couldn’t believe i couldn’t walk her to the door like i did every day last year. i was sad to see her go, i hoped she had a great day. i was so excited that she was going to be with her friends. so many feels happening at once, i bawled.

as i picked her up from school, she LOVED, loved her first day! that was worth the months of unknown! she loved seeing all her friends and was so excited to be back in class! fast forward to november, our in person learning is still going strong and olive absolutely loves seeing, interacting, and having fun with all her classmates.

thank you to the teachers who do their best every day and thank you to our entire school staff for making this happen with a smile! we very much appreciate all of you!

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[i love back to school!]

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[my wonky made cake]

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[aren’t they so cute]

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[my sweet girls ready for their first day!]

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[ohmygosh i love her so much]

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[she’s so fun]

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[olive trying to show me her loose tooth!]

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[first day of school!]

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[ellie and finn]

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[carrying all her supplies and mask’d up]

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[coming out of class!]

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[after school on the first day!]

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xoxo

stade’s farm

guys, it’s been a minute. school was starting and that was a big event in itself {of course i blog about it later!}. then i swung into a busy photography season and i was swamped. between working and working and working, living life, being a mom, wife, and a friend…it was craaaaaaaazzzzyyyyyyy.

I had no time to write a blog post to keep up with our digital memories or else I wouldn’t sleep at all. so i chose to sleep the few hours i did every night. LOL

so, i’m finally catching up on life’s happenings and i pray i don’t get so behind like i did this past season! i literally have something crazy like 13 blog posts to publish…so i hope you stay and follow along with us!

august 16, 2020

we wanted to do something fun and visit a sunflower farm. there was a really cool one i wanted to visit called von bergen but their third installment of flowers did not pan through and they didn’t open up the maze for visitors! having already planned for us to go that day, we had to recalculate on what to do.

i found a place called stade farm and we decided to see what this place was all about. it was a cute farm area but their sunflowers were subpar. they were so picked over and the ones left were so ragged looking…but I managed to get some pretty blooms together!

the girls had so much fun picking veggies and flowers. it was a great place for them to explore, experience, and have fun with their cousins. bonus, it was a super warm and nice day…so the weather was on our side!

afterwards we stopped by a total mom and pop ice cream shop on the way home. it was super delicious, cute and quaint. the challenge was, it was sooooooo small, i swear there were 25 people packed into that little space ordering ice cream. even though everyone was wearing a mask…covid or no covid…it was claustrophobic!

anyhoo, it was a perfect ending to a great day!

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[my sweet girls]

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[my silly sister kim]

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[she’s so proud of her big olive’ pepper]]

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[hanging out with the cousins]

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[ice cream after farm life]

xoxo

new buffalo

we needed a getaway. we needed a change of scenery. we wanted the beach.

we wanted to be in a place {state} where we felt their safety measures where in alignment with ours. we wanted a house where there was enough time in-between stays and thoroughly cleaned. we wanted to be near the beach and close to a ‘downtown’ area. hc scored and found a place to fit – d. all of the above!

olive and ellie were so excited to go on a vacation! olive was so disappointed this past march when we cancelled our spring break trip to california. she was excited to fly on a plane, stay in a hotel, and go to the beach. so, we kind of hit 2/3!

what i love about new buffalo michigan is that it’s literally a hop, skip, and a jump away. it’s so close but yet far enough away. we whizzed up there in no time and settled into the house.

once things felt in order at our temp home, we headed out to explore and grab some grub to fill our empty bellies. the girls had the best time exploring the beach, walking through town, and seeing new things. after some beach time, we stopped by the stray dog for some grub. while we were waiting, we stopped at their shop and picked up a few things for myself! a sweatshirt and a baseball cap with their logo. so cute! after dinner, we strolled down to beachside scoops for some ice cream. yum!

we pretty much had glorious beach days. we tried mom and pop type restaurants, ate at cool ones, and celebrated ellie’s actual birthday at oinks dutch treats while we were there. there was a lot of beach time and it was perfect. i loved how slow our days were. i loved sitting in the sand getting dirty and making sandcastles with my girls. i loved standing in the water while the waves crashed around me and I could hear the sweet giggles of my girls splashing in the water with their dad. i loved the warm summer nights and the sound of the thunderstorms rolling in. i loved riding around in hc’s jeep and exploring the town. there was so much fun packed into several days and we didn’t want to leave.

check out all the pics down below. it’ll tell our story! thanks new buffalo michigan. you were just what we needed during this pandemic and it was the perfect little getaway for us all.

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[they’re super happy to be on vacation!]

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[werking it]

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[i love her so much!]

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[puzzle time]

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[the beachiest house i ever did see]

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[finding fun things along the way]

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[ellie is obsessed with birds! just like me as a kid!]

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[sisters]

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[our first night dinner – the stray dog]

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[ready for the beach]

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[they’re so fun]

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[aaaanddd how many photos can i post of them?]

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[building a crab fortress]

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[seriously…she did such a great job! she even made the palm trees to the right]

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[relaxing]

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[dang olive, why you always look so mad?! LOL]

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[so serene]

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[at redamak’s for burgers!]

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[she’s a snuggler]

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[at oink’s!]

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[whoa!]

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[happy birthday my dear sweet ellie!]

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[they’re ready to go!]

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[searching for the ripe ones]

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[look at ellie]

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[weighing in our picked blueberries!]

xoxo

ellie’s 4th birthday ice cream party

months of scheming with it finally leading up to her fourth birthday party!

i am always stressed before a birthday party because i just take on too much! LOL it’s all me! i had gathered so much decor during our shelter in place and it got out of control! hahaha!

every day i did some sort of project or errand, leading up to her party on saturday. but can you believe i literally spent all day saturday s t i l l putting her party decor together??! cray. down to the very last minute. gah!

i loved her ice cream theme and had so much fun with it! i created the balloon garlands, chalk board sign, bought chalk ice cream cones, and a ton of supplies to decorate the tables with. of course, my talented sister did the florals for me. she does for every party i throw and i am utterly grateful that she is always willing! i always say, it’s not complete without flowers!!! as you will see in all the pictures below, i tried my best to capture all the details!

we had a family party first. for two hours, we had our immediate family inside, celebrating ellie. we did apps and served delicious food from cedar grill {a local restaurant}. while everyone was still eating, the good humor dave ice cream truck came by!

we weren’t sure if it was going to rain later in the day, so hc set up a tent – just in case. he also filled our baby bath tub with ice and drinks for our other guests coming by. we had invited olive and ellie’s school friends and our neighbors to swing by and grab an ice cream bar!

so that turned out a little crazy! our family partied inside and our friends partied outside and we were running back and forth to make sure everything was ok. LOL we wanted to keep our family separate and inside, while our friends socialized outside to keep contact to a minimum. it was hard to manage it all but truly, it was ok. although i felt that i was running around like crazy, it all turned out to be super fun. especially for the kids! they had a blast running around and playing!

once our friends left, we sang happy birthday to miss ellie and served the delicious fun cake! ellie was smitten and so cute in her reaction when we sang to her! so adorable!

thanks to everyone {family, friends, neighbors} who came by to say happy birthday to miss ellie. it turned out to be a beautiful day! ellie was super happy over everything and having all the people she loves here to celebrate her, made it all that much more special.

[the birthday girl]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[bar area]

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[the sweetest sisters]

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[dessert table]

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[gorgeous ice cream cake by strictly sugar]

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[sugar cookies by claire’s cookies]

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[favor bags]

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[ice cream tablescape]

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[i can’t get enough pictures of this cake]

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[gorgeous blooms by my sister kim]

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[party hats]

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[ice cream and macaron chalks]

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[party decor]

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[floral arrangements by my sister kim]

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[hand painted party favor bags]

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[i can never have too many angles of this]

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[the always silly dan and agata]

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[the girls with auntie missy]

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[chalk mouse]

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[love them]

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[kisses]

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[gorgeous balloons by paris312]

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[such a beautiful garland]

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[with gramma]

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[avery and lan]

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[my silly girls]

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[barbara and lynne]

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[drink tub]

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[ice cream truck party]

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[ellie and alex – he gave her a bouquet of flowers! how sweet!]

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[little finn and her sweet ice cream dress]

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[elly and dekker]

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[waiting patiently for the piñata to get hung]

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[first strike]

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[spencer did the first break!]

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[the sweetest friends]

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[ready for cake!]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[happy birthday to you!]

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[she gets the melting ice cream cone!]

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[DIY cookie kits for the girls! they had so much fun decorating the cookies on their own!]

xoxo