christmas programs ’19

olive and ellie had their christmas programs right before christmas break!

ellie’s program was during her class time, in the morning. i am the only person who goes. i feel a little bit bad that it’s just me because most of the kid’s parents both attend along with both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, or anyone who will go. then there’s just me. ellie is the only child who only has one parent show up. well, hell, at least she has someone, right?!!

well, after her stage fright stint with her ballet recital, she kicked that into high gear for her christmas singalong. she froze up and sang not one song, not one word. nope. wasn’t doing it. she would not sing. i sat front row and encouraged her to sing and she angrily shook her head no at me the entire time. ugh.

girlfren was alllllll smiles before the program started then she shut down. oh well. at least she looked cute!!

E L L I E’ S  C H R I S T M A S  P R O G R A M

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[she looked super excited but the performance didn’t show it]

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[ellie’s skeptical face the whole program]

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****

O L I V E’ S  C H R I S T M A S  P R O G R A M

olive’s program was at night. it was the k-5 classes and they were set to perform first. i was so excited! i was also stoked that i was photographing the performance and as a yearbook photographer for the school, i was reserved front row seating! yahooooooo!

i dropped olive off at the main school and walked into the church and found my partners in crime on the yearbook staff. i finally met carolina {after many text messages exchanged} in person and then found morgan and gabbed with her on what our game plan was for the program.

the kindergarten class walked out and the show commenced! they all looked so cute and festive! they sang their songs and did such a great job! i was snapping pics and before i knew it, their performance was over! whaaaaaaa?! that flew by so fast! i hardly snapped enough pictures! then each class performed and they all did such a wonderful job!!! each class sang unique songs and each class did fun narrative choreograph to some songs. that always makes it even more fun when you see the kids get so into it!

the very last performance, all the grades came out and sang silent night together. the best part about that? the whole audience joined in and it was so darn moving. goosebumps. oh my…i love our school!!!

the whole program was so well done. the kids did such an amazing job and kudos to the music teacher, mr. barker, for working so hard with the kids and pulling off such a wonderful program! it was such a magical night.

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[she was sooooooo darn good throughout the whole program]

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[on their way to the church]

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[they did such a great job!]

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xoxo

winter ballet recital ’19

it was olive and ellie’s ballet recital! ellie’s first!

they had practiced all season long and i am always excited for every program they have been in. now, olive is now the seasoned pro but this was going to be ellie’s first recital! we all could not wait to see her perform!

it was the day of the recital and i was getting both girls ready. tights. check. tutu’s. check. shoes. check. hair buns. check. within 10 minutes of us needing to leave, ellie started to melt down. she was crying and not making sense. in my gut, i had a feeling that she didn’t want to perform but i brushed it off. we loaded the girls into the car and when we arrived at the center and i led the girls into the green room, ellie freaked out. she kept saying, ‘i don wan tooooo. i don wannn toooooo!’ right then my feeling solidified and i knew she was getting stage fright. i coaxed her, i asked her, i reassured her but she was not having it.

her teacher was so sweet and kind and even took ellie upstairs, 10 minutes before the show was to begin and tried to calm her nerves by playing music to distract her but it didn’t work. i was so bummed!! i wanted to see ellie perform. during her practice, she was soooooo good! she was one of the better performers amongst her group, so i was sad that she wasn’t going up on stage! i carried her to the auditorium and sat down with our family. i told them she was having stage fright and it wasn’t going to happen. womp womp.

olive was the first to perform and she did amazing!! she’s so poised, so confident, and has such great presence on stage! what a ham! i was so proud of her! after her class performance, all of the dancers in the show were fabulous and the little ones were the cutest!

once the program was over, we all congratulated olive and we had a celebratory lunch down the street from the center, where she performed. i am so proud of both my girls for working hard all season long! crossing my fingers this coming spring season will be the recital ellie will perform at!

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[she’s so sweet!!! she’s so fearless!]

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[she’s a natural]

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[LOL…you can’t even see olive!]

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[olive is so extra]

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[she loves copying her sister!]

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[my darling babe]

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[i love ellie and all her faces]

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[olive and gramma…oops, didn’t adjust my aperture]

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[with auntie thuy]

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[my fiery girl]

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[i love their little buns]

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[these two…]

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xoxo

fire station field trip!

ellie’s first field trip!

ellie’s very first school field trip was to the fire station! i was excited for her but i always feel like ellie likes nothing new and different. LOL

we arrived right on time and parked in the lot and were ushered inside by her teachers. we lined up inside waiting for instructions and someone to lead the group. finally, a fireman starting talking to us and within a couple minutes of him starting the tour, they were called to duty!!! they all jumped into the fire truck and sped away on a call. that had us laughing as were like, okuuuurrrrrrrr, now what do we do?!!

well, ellie’s teacher has done this field trip so many times and was super familiar with the entire layout and what they do there, she started walking us through the station. it was a very, very quick call as they returned after 10 minutes?

the official tour began and all the kids were in awe. ellie was skeptical of everything and everyone…oh gurl. calm down! they even handed out firemen hats and ellie would not wear it. i put it on my head and when she saw me wearing it and saw the other kids wearing it, she finally wanted to wear it. ha!

once the tour was over, all the kids took turns to sit in the fire truck. only ellie didn’t want to. she saw the other kids being lifted into the truck by a fireman and she was not having it. i asked her over and over if she would sit in the truck and she kept saying no. then i told her i would lift her and the fireman wouldn’t and she agreed. well there was nooooooo way i could lift her into the firetruck! nope! so when it was her turn, i quietly asked the fireman to help me. i was going to lift ellie up {to have her think i was going to put her into the seat} and he would take her from me, from behind, and she would have no clue i wasn’t the one putting her up there. hahahaha!

her first field trip was a success! we had so much fun together and came home happy campers!

via tandeminlove.com[the kids loooooved the fire truck!]

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[she never wants to go outside the usual until she sees someone else doing it…she refused to wear the hat until she saw me and the other kids toting ’em. oh em gee girlfren]

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[i had to double post cause i love this face and that smile]

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[getting the tour and the breakdown of the truck]

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[she was so hesitant about sitting in the fire truck…again..until she saw everyone else doing it. LOL]

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[all the kiddos on the field trip]

xoxo

girl scouts

i was a bit hesitant about enrolling olive into girl scouts for a number of reasons. she was already in ballet, gymnastics, and swim, so the idea of putting another activity onto our plate was overwhelming in thought.

we went to a birthday party {wayyyyyy back in september, when school started} and i met a few moms there who convinced me to enroll olive. they persuaded me by saying it wasn’t a huge commitment, she would only attend a meeting a month and do the fall and spring sales. i was like, ok…we can do that. plus, almost all of olive’s girl classmates were joining and what a great way for her to spend some extra curricular time with them!

well it turned out to be the best decision everrrrrrrr! not only are her troop leaders flippin’ amazing, the subjects they teach and go through are life enhancing. olive has so much fun at the meetings and learns so much.

can you believe i never knew girl scouts had fall sales?! i was clueless, i thought, ‘what the heck do they sell for fall?!’ LOL well, it’s nuts, candies, chocolates, and magazines…amongst other things. you’re always learning something new in life, right?! whether its a big chunk of info or not!

one thing everyone has been waiting for is the cookies sales!! if anyone hears that olive is in girl scouts, they’re like…when are the cookie sales?! LOl soon, soon my fiends!

this new chapter in our lives has been so wonderful. i couldn’t have asked for a better group of people, a better group of kids, and community with our church. i am feeling very grateful, blessed, and loved being surrounded by good souls.

i know, kind of heavy for a girl scouts post but 2019 started out with some trips and falls, filled with anxiety but has rounded out to be such a giving and wisely reflective year.

happy new year my friends!

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[playing a game]

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[it was a game that focus around honesty]

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[in deep thought]

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[getting their badges]

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[writing her thank you cards for fall orders]

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xoxo

feed my starving children

when one of the moms at olive’s school asked us if we would like to volunteer to help those less fortunate…we jumped at the chance! when we lived in chicago and belonged to st. clement church, i volunteered constantly. it brings me peace and joy, i loved helping out others and the community around us.

we baked bread for sunday mass, we made lunches for the homeless, we volunteered at events, i led groups to support community projects…the list was endless and i felt it was the least i could do.

now that we are at a new church and school, i am finding my place again. we were in limbo when we moved from st. clement but we have finally found a place and home with our new church.

so, we were looking forward to giving back on this day. we arrived at the facility on a dreary day and when we walked inside, they had us sign in and put on hairnets. wtf?! i don’t think i have ever worn one. LOL it was a freakin’ i love lucy episode!

we sat down for an intro to feed my starving children…what it was about and what we were going to do. there were strict rules, like don’t touch your face or you will have to wash your hands, don’t touch your phone or you had to wash your hands, don’t chew gum, absolutely no jewelry, no cuts without a bandage, and if you don’t hit all those notes, you have to wear gloves.

we washed up and we were ready to go! our school group had a station and everyone took a role to aid the assembly line to package all the bags. olive and i took on the food portion and scooped the proper amounts into the funnel, into the bag. the kids then took turns, switching their roles but eventually, they all wanted to bag and count. that was probably the most exciting part! with each box we finished, our group cheered loudly and that created a lot of energy and excitement to move faster!

we had so much fun with the other parents and kids. it was great for them to learn and gain some understanding on what they were doing for others. plus, they had so much fun with one another!

after we packed for awhile, we were asked to clean up, and then we were called into the storage area to bless the packages that we had created. they then directed us to go sit back down in the gathering area and gave us the stats of our hard work. we completely exceeded the expected goal and we couldn’t have been more excited!

we left feeling good and hopeful that we helped make a tiny difference in someone else’s life!

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[the group of kiddos helping out at feed my starving children!]

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[luisa and olive]

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[my and my beautiful girl]

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[our hard work paying off!]

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[we’re so blessed to be a part of this amazing community]

xoxo

rockin’ around the christmas tree

it’s that time of year when the world falls in love

every song you hear seems to say “merry christmas, may your new year dreams come true”!!!!!!

we are the decorate after thanksgiving kind of folks. always have been, most likely will always be. olive’s birthday is so close to thanksgiving and we love celebrating thanksgiving as well, it just makes sense to us to blow up the house in christmas decor come end of november.

we do our usual…break out the adult drinks, blast christmas music, and drag alllllll our boxes down to sort through. this year, i completely edited my stuff and realized that i have outgrown some decor and desired some new pieces.

i love clean, simple things. so naturally i try not to overkill decking the halls but i love to make an impact within each room. i always end up trying to add more but naturally subtract to streamline each area.

this year i am feeling quite content with our set up and of course, the girls loooooooove it. i love their sweet little voices when they sort through all the ornaments. i love their bright eyes when they see something they like or find fun. i love hearing their giggles when they experience joy in decorating.

there’s so much more i wasn’t able to capture but enjoy the pics! christmas is almost here and we couldn’t be more excited although, i only wish it could be hot cocoa, snow, fireplace, snuggling, twinkling lights, parties always…basically christmas season forever!

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[my sweet girl]

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[these two melt my heart]

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[christmas jammies]

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[ohhhhhh and ahhhhh’ing over the ornaments!]

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[hanging the ornaments]

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[this girl…i love her so much!]

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[every year, we take a photo like this…i’m not sure how much longer dada can lift her. LOL]

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[every year and it doesn’t get old]

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[who doesn’t love bottle brush trees?]

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[anthropologie and rifle paper co are my best friends]

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[our new shelves in the kitchen are getting their fair share of changes]

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[i bought these ceramic houses on super sale at target two years ago and i am finally breaking them out]

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[ellie’s room]

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[obsessed with rifle paper co and antro collaboration. i actually ended up moving this pillow to her arm chair in the room and kept what you see below, on her bed]

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[peppermint hot cocoa]

xoxo

ellie’s first thanksgiving singalong

ellie had her first thanksgiving performance!

i came early to her class to snap some pics and a group pic, so i nabbed front row seating! i’m alllllll about the front row. ever since the girls started performing, i get crazy about getting a great seat. so much so that i tend to stress out about it too much. like so unnecessary. LOL

as i’ve gotten older…i feel i should be more chill. uh, nope. like who give a fcuk but it’s gotten worse! i’ll blame having kids…man, the responsibility, the pressure, the worrying…it’s on high all the time!

anyhoo, watching them practice their songs was so stinkin’ cute! watching little kids do their own thing or bumble around is so fun to see! their teacher encouraged them to sing   l o u d !! she did a great job letting them lead the songs while she did the choreograph and led them along that way.

soon the doors opened up and all the parents, grandparents, and family members filed in. for a nano second, i felt bad i didn’t encourage anyone on our side to come watch ellie perform! some people had 5 or 6 family members come by to watch their little ones perform! ellie just had me…but dang it, i’m more than enough! hahaha!

the kiddos performed quite a few songs…maybe 6 or 7 songs?? they all did such a great job and entertained everyone! my favorite ones are the kids that belt it out and are so animated! those are the ones that crack me up, they totally lead the show!

i was so proud of her! ellie did such a great job singing along and she nailed all the choreograph that went along with each song! way to go girl!

i’m so proud of you! you’ve come a long way since you started school and i love watching you shine!

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[practicing for their show]

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[my little cutie…she refused to wear anything on her head. LOL]

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[love this babe so much]

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[look at that sweet smile!]

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[she did so well!]

xoxo

you had me at starbucks

we try our best to see our friends matt and johann every other month…90% of the time, we are successful! we love these two and it always brings us joy seeing them!

they are always so gracious and always offer to come out by us but we love chicago and will take any chance we can get to hang out there.

we decided to meet downtown, have lunch at blue door and attempt, i repeat, attempt to get in the new starbucks reserve roastery.

lunch was fabulous. i love the blue door and the space is so quaint, vintage, and modern. the food is always on point and delicious and so is the service. when we arrived, ellie was not warming up to anything. she insisted on sitting by me and was not friendly with matt and johann…it had nothing to do with them, just her always being fickle.

she slowly warmed up to them and we all were enjoying ourselves with libations flowing and good food before us. as we were catching up with life, matt and johann asked us a very serious question. they asked us to be the godparents to the their future adoptive child. cue the tears. like tears jumped out of my eyeballs. i was so touched, so honored, so full of love that they felt that, out of all the people in their lives…they chose us to step into that role. i immediately replied yes. YES…i felt compelled and it felt right to say yes to such a request. of course hc said yes as well! okuuuuuurrrr, that made the day fantastic!

after lunch, we walked over to the new starbucks, secretly hoping that it would not be busy. LOL the weather and temps were amazing. a beautiful sunny day with temps in the 40’s…hello! as we turned down erie street, we were like no. oh helllllll no. the line stretched almost a city block. with the place being open only a couple days paired with warmer sunny temps, on a weekend, that was a combo for disaster.

we immediately said no and walked our way to the peninsula hotel and settled our tushies into a cozy booth at the z bar. yes…we went from drinking and eating to drinking and eating. hahahaha!

our day was fabulous. just perfect. we loved seeing matt and johann and thoroughly enjoyed our time together. when you fill your time with amazing friends and family…you win at life.

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[the boys]

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[my favorite brunch drink…mmmmmm]

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[love this babe so much]

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[i love christmas time and all the decor]

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[my loves]

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[biscuits and gravy]

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*****

P E N I N S U L A  H O T E L

Z BAR

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[she loves nina]

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[johann…so darn good with the girls]

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[she loves her guncle johann]

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[oh you know…it’s only 38 degrees outside]

xoxo

olive’s birthday

olive’s birthday fell on the day before thanksgiving this year. every year, it rotates around the holiday. when she was born, it was actually the day before thanksgiving. she was born way, way early on wednesday morning and we spent thanksgiving at prentice hospital. the one thing i can say about that was, the food was actually pretty darn good!

we were still reeling from her fabulous birthday party the saturday prior and i wanted to make sure her actual birthday was special!

i decorated the kitchen and made her a mer-fabulous breakfast! i was super bummed because i knew we had a can of whipped cream in our fridge but little did i know that it was e m p t y. suuuuuper bummed! it was was my ‘glue’ for the sprinkles i was going to put on her waffles! no matter, i got creative as usual.

olive looooooved her breakfast! she kept saying it was the best breakfast she ever had. well, thanks baby girl…you’re the sweetest!

after breakfast, we went to target so she could pick out her birthday present! she was so excited and we had so much fun running around our favorite store. after an hour or so, we headed back home so she could open up her treasures. all afternoon, we just hung out and she played with her sister while i did stuff around the house.

once hc arrived home, we had dinner, and celebrated her birthday with cake and candles! her day was low key but oh so fun. we loved lounging around and i was having the best time with my S I X year old. whhhhhhaaaa? or wahhhhhhhh!

happy birthday my sweet olive. we love you to infinity and beyond!

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[waffles, sprinkles, seashells, and mermaid tail!]

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[deconstructing the masterpiece]

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[enjoying her breakfast]

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[my sweet six year old]

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xoxo

mermaid fete

per usual, i asked olive what theme she desired for her birthday fete and she declared she wanted a mermaid party! alrighty girlfran!

well, with olive now being in kindergarten…i knew i was going to throw her first friends party and the question was where?? i had stumbled upon the cuuuuuuutest play space called waterlemon several months back and fell in love. the space, aesthetically, is a dream.

nina, the owner, connected with me and we just hit it off! she is bubbly, sweet, smart, and passionate with everything that she does! i knew waterlemon was the place to host olive’s party!!!! it is a beautiful space, the shop is the cutest, and the play area is perfection!

a few weeks leading up to the event, nina and i exchanged one million emails and she was so freakin’ amazing with allllllllll my questions and concerns. she was prompt, patient, and oh so helpful! i was so thankful for her support…it was the first time i was throwing a party outside of our home and the controlling, type A me, who fretted over all the details, was feeling so confident with nina’s guidance.

i diy’d, i detailed, i went a bit overboard with all the decor {naturally} but as i have said in the past…i love it and hate it at the same time but in the end…i love it just a wee bit more.

the day had arrived and we were ready. we hauled all our supplies the day prior and then brought over all the perishables and any supplies we had forgotten the day of. i walked in and was warmly greeted by nina and went to work. let me tell you…paul and nina hustle! they cleaned, they organized, they set up, and they helped me with anything i needed help with. i was so grateful!

one detail i never overlook are flowers. i love flowers. flowers complete any party i throw and i was beyond excited that nina purchases and arranges flowers herself! we collaborated on what i envisioned and she came through! the flowers turned out gorgeous!!!

everyone buzzed around like busy bees. paul, nina, my hubby, and my sister were so wonderful. i was so thankful for my sister, thuy, who assisted me throughout the event. if i didn’t have her help…i would have been a mess and bless her heart for dealing with my high strung, anxiety ridden nature pre-party!

well, we did it…we set the party up just in time and the guests started to arrive. immediately, the girls all meshed and started playing while some parents dropped off and some parents stayed.

the party was a beautiful success! the girls loved the play area and kept themselves entertained the entire time. for a moment, before the party took place, i thought about having the girls do a craft or something fun outside of the play area but nina reassured me that the time flew by and the kids love playing in the space and that was all that was needed. she was right!

they played, and after 45 minutes, they ate, then they played again, then we sang happy birthday and had cake, and then the party was about to end. whaaaaaaaaa?!

we had a great time with the parents that stayed {thanks mike, elias, valerie, kiersten, elisa, and kristin for sticking around!}. 4 o’clock rolled around so fast and i was a bit sad that the party was ending!

hosting a party at waterlemon is easy because paul and nina make it so!!! you party, you leave, and they clean up! not only are they so sweet and thoughtful…their goal is to make it as seamless as possible for those who want to entertain there!

olive and her friends had a GREAT time together {check out the pics!} and i was so happy we chose waterlemon as our party space.

happy birthday my sweet girl…our love for you is immeasurable. the day you were born, my life changed dramatically and i thank God everyday that my journey is this ~ to be a mom…to be your mom {and ellie’s}. thank you for being such an amazing daughter and i wish you endless years of joy, laughter, and love.

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[her mermaid party invitation suite]

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[olive’s bespoke mermaid dress by annie casale…it just came out of the box, so pardon the wrinkled appearance!]

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[the sea inspired tablescape]

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[i love fine-tuning the details! shell dessert plates with iridescent plates]

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[dessert table]

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[i had so much fun decorating the cake!]

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[my whole heart]

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[mer cookies, scale 6 sign, and gorgeous flowers by nina]

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[lucy, olive, me and ellie]

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[coral]

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[such a gorgeous dress]

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[me and valerie]

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[food table]

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[crabby croissant]

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[sweet luisa]

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[sea water]

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[bubbly and wine for the adults]

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[the crew!]

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[the crabby croissant hanging out in the sand and seaweed]

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[madison and isabel being silly!]

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[ready for cake!]

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[happy birthday to you!]

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[make a wish!]

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[the sweetest sisters]

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[party favors included two bath bombs, rock candy stick, mermaid cookies, mermaid tail bookmark, tattoos, and a mermaid tail soap]

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xoxo