kim’s 29th birthday!

we celebrated kim’s birthday this past weekend at pacific standard time, a restaurant of her choice.

so, funny story…i had text hc about our reservation time and confusion ensued. here’s our conversation {modified for your enjoyment}.

me: dinner is at 5 at pacific standard time

hc: 5? downtown? well, if you really think about it, 5pm is really 7pm cst but it’s still cutting it close to get to the restaurant.

me: hun, pacific standard time is the name of the restaurant. thuy wasn’t confused when she said the dinner reservations were at 5 at pacific standard time.

bahahahahahaha!

we all, almost, arrived on time {thuy was a bit behind}. our time was well spent drinking tasty libations and lively conversations between us before we placed our order. our server was detailed and encouraging during our time there. i loved how passionate she was about the menu, the food, and her astounding memory! she absorbed our appetizer {and we ordered a lot} and entree order with no glitches. everything came as specified and i was impressed!

we ohhh’d and ahhhh’d over our meals, we shared plates, and became giddy as our tastebuds were delighted! everyone throughly enjoyed kim’s cod…yes, that was written out comically, but we really loved her fish! it was my, and most, favorite dish!

the food kept on coming and we merrily passed along each plate to consume everything in sight. as our belly’s filled up, our evening out together dwindled. our server then brought out a surprise dessert for kim’s birthday – we awkwardly sang happy birthday and kim angrily blew out her candle {you would have to have seen my instagram story to understand}, and we cheered!

after dinner, we took a few pics outside and enjoyed the gorgeous warm temps. warm summer nights are an absolute favorite of mine! it was a wonderful time out celebrating my sister kim! happy birthday kimberdo!

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[pacific standard time]

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[ma seours]

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[lan. agata, and dan]

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[kim’s amazing cod, like, seriously…it was sooooooo good]

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[the half eaten delicious pappardelle]

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[this dessert was decadent and delicious]

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[happy birthday kim!]

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xoxo

happy second birthday my ellie belle!

we just celebrated ellie’s second birthday with a fun party!!

ok, ok…i say it e v e r y time. i’m only going to get balloons and a cake. eep!!!! what starts out small and innocent blows way out of control. first, it starts with…’oh, i’ll do a sprinkle theme’, then i think – this idea is fun. this idea is cute. oh, i can make this. wouldn’t this kind of cake be perfect? oh, sprinkle balloons would be a nice touch. what about sprinkle favors as name cards? and on, and on, and on my brain goes into overdrive and my crafting hands get to work and can’t stop. that pretty much sums it up and then boom! a simple party is born. hahahahaha!

hc and i had a very, very, very busy week. we had birthday parties to attend to, traveling to do, laundry to fold, friends to visit, grocery stores to go to, activities for the girls, cleaning to do, baking treats, crafting to finish, a brunch date, errands to run, keeping little humans alive, ya know…typical, every day parent shit.

then saturday came at us and we were ready. we had the food catered, the decor was ready to go, i did some easy baking, dressed the girls, and we were ready for our guests! there was a lot of prep work done the weeks prior, so the day of the party was easy. although through all my hustling that day, i literally ran out of time to dress myself. i said screw it. i’m wearing what i am wearing, everything and everybody else can look nice!

it was another hot day outside, so most of our guests stayed inside. we served apps {vege tray and a cheese plate!], plenty of drinks {alcoholic and non…}, mingled with family and friends {plus i ran around like freakin’ paparazzi!}.

right when the party started was ellie’s nap time. so i put her down 20 min. before the party began. she only slept an hour or so {there was so much commotion going on in the house!} but to my surprise, agata had retrieved her from her crib!!!! whaaaaaa? i was shocked ellie didn’t cry and let agata pick her up!? she allowed others to be in her personal space until she saw me, of course. but overall, she was so calm and well behaved for waking up to a full house of people!

after dinner, we served desserts but not without singing happy birthday to my beautiful girl! she was a bit upset i put her down in the chair but i quickly lit the candles and picked up her cake to bring to her. her face was like, ‘what’s going on here??’ we started to sing happy birthday and she was making the funniest faces!!! she was quite amused {watch the video below to see it in action!} but the best part was when we laughed at her cuteness and she busted out laughing herself; she was not sure on why people were laughing but joined in just because!

her birthday celebration was a total success! i had so much fun putting it together and i think all our guests, especially our guest of honor, had a great time!

happy birthday my beautiful ellie. you are spunky, sweet, silly, tenacious, so loving, thoughtful, amusing, and full of life. we are beyond thankful you have graced us with your presence. always remember how beautiful, strong, and intelligent you are! we love you so much baby girl!!!

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[pout pout]

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[flowers by my sister kim]

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[sprinkle wafers]

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[sisters]

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[chocolate dipped goodies covered with sprinkles]

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[thanks for the picture reagan!]

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[hc made the donut board and i glazed and sprinkled the doughnuts!]

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[not impressed by my decor]

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[two sweet]

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[family]

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[sprinkle cake]

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[dessert bar]

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[sprinkle cups and calligraphy names so people won’t lose their cups!]

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[these babes with ba…oh my heart]

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[i filled each balloon. oy]

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[barbara and lynne]

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[emoji favor bags]

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[thuy and lan]

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[she’s a doll]

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[sprinkle vases]

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[ready for her cake!]

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[singing happy birthday to ellie]

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[we all started laughing at her funny faces, so she laughed along with us!]

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[trying to get her to blow out her candles!]

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[she’s soooooo sweet! i could eat her up!]

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[my girls]

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[that face!!!!]

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[present time!]

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[i wear my sunglasses at night]

xoxo

hb mason!

i can’t believe little mason is one!

my girlfriend, kim, celebrated her third baby’s first birthday party this past week. i can’t believe it’s been a year since mason was born. that totally flew by!

hc and us gals had a relaxing morning. the party wasn’t until 3, so we chilled and did random stuff until it was time to leave for the fête. i told kim i would arrive a bit early to help her with some of the decorations.

once there, i scurried around, finishing up some last minute decor touches, snapped some pics, and then sat back with a beer. well, kind of. ellie was in rare form that day {and honestly, of late…she’s become soooooo attached!}. she clung, CLUNG to me or hc. she didn’t want to venture off on her own, she didn’t want to play with the other kids. she didn’t want to play with her sister. she didn’t want to be left alone by either one of us {especially me!}! plus, she didn’t get the nap that she needed.

so, there we were, trying to pass her back and forth, socialize with others, and drink and eat – one handed, or no handed. hahaha! overall, it was great to catch up with kim, her friends, and family! the party decor that kim dreamt up looked fabulous and i was so happy to have helped!

olive and brady had a blast playing together as usual! the food was delicious and the company even better!

happy birthday sweet mason!

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[father daughter]

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[brady and olive…so sweet!]

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[isn’t she darling?]

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[oh, these kids]

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[the one second we didn’t have ellie in our arms. what you don’t see is her tugging at our legs, crying]

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[oh sweet girl]

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[i created a chalkboard sign for kim!]

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[me and the party planner]

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[the FIVE minutes she actually sat by herself and not in our arms]

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[donut grow up theme]

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[she’s clingy but oh so sweet]

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[kim, amy, and phil]

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[sweetest pasta sauce smile]

xoxo

hb dad!

we celebrated my dad’s birthday by going to one of their favorite restaurants, minghin, in naperville. we all met up there early, in fear there would be a long wait but there wasn’t a wait at all! yay!

it was going to be a full house with everyone being able to make it to dinner. we ordered copious amounts of food, chatted our way through dinner, and enjoyed each other’s company. of course, ellie, being the smallest one there, entertained us relentlessly with her silly antics.

we laughed at the use of the lazy susan. every time i tried serving food, someone would simultaneously try to move the damn table, causing me to try to serve the food while keeping up with the spinning table top! hello?! it’s my turn to serve some food! then kim and i had a competition on who could keep our part of the table the cleanest {i swear we are not that messy of eaters!}. kim lost. hahahahahaha!

dan challenged bennett to eat vegetables and earn money, which he did and gained! the brothers continued with their bromance and rich and i shared a story of the hostess’ quirky, typical asian nature and behavior. a short story that would be long to type, so, i can tell anyone of y’all in person if you’d like. ha!

it was another beautiful evening out. the weather had finally, finally caught up and it truly felt like spring. april was the longest, coldest, snowiest month this year. once dinner was over, the crew and i jetted out so fast; we needed to get bennett’s communion cake at the store and i still had to make his cake topper!! yikes!

happy birthday to my dad. the most kind, gentle, loving human being i know. i love you so much, words can’t describe how much you mean to me. you have always been there for me, loved me no matter what trouble i caused, and supported our family through the worst and the best. thank you. you absolutely mean the world to me and i am so thankful to be your daughter.

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[happy birthday dad!]

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[sweet baby girl]

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[me and my thug]

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[ellie and super aunty thuy]

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[cheers to dad!]

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[sweet nephews]

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[he’s so sweet to the girls]

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[oh i love this face]

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[bennett earning some cash]

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xoxo

hc’s birthday weekend

it’s friday night and i just got paid…

on friday morning, the girls and i were running around everywhere to get stuff for hc’s birthday, get errands checked off, and having fun while we were doing it all!

i planned on decorating for hc’s birthday on saturday night. i thought it would be fun for him to wake up on his birthday and be surprised with all the decor but olive had other plans. she obviously knew we stopped by the party store to order balloons, so when we came home, she asked me when we were going to decorate for dada’s birthday. i said not until tomorrow night and boy, was she bummed.

she said,”but the balloons are in the car…you have to get the balloons and we have to decorate.” be still my heart. i told her the balloons were still at the store and she begged me to get them so we could decorate. oh, her sweet little face and voice melts me, so i had to fulfill my end of the bargain!

we decorated the house and waited for hc to come home. although olive ended up spoiling it! hc called us on his way home from work and olive blurts out, “dada, we got balloons for you!!!”. hahahaha! there goes our surprise!!!

it was a weekend long celebration of hc’s birthday! friday night was family sushi night! we relaxed, ate sushi, and just enjoyed our time together with just the girls. on saturday night, we celebrated hc’s birthday with his family. we went to maggiano’s and had a great time eating and drinking too much. the girls, of course, entertained everyone! ha!

on sunday, hc and i had a cubs game lined up but the weather was aaawwwwwwful. it was thirty something degrees and snooooowing. wahhhhhhh! we were going to go, regardless, and hang out at the ball park, the area, and the bars but they ended up cancelling the game. womp womp. i suggested for us to go to wrigleyville regardless but hc wasn’t feeling it because the weather was so bad, so he wanted to stay in. hey, it’s his birthday and he can do what he wants to, do what he wants to!

overall, it was a pretty good weekend. i am sure hc had a great time!!! i wish our sunday turned out differently but what we ended doing was absolutely perfect!!!

happy birthday my dear love. you are an amazing husband, partner, best friend, and father to our beloved girls. you are always thoughtful, kind, sweet, considerate, forgiving, and loving. thank you for being you. we are so blessed to have you.

DECOR

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[birthday chalkboard – olive chose a rainbow theme for her dad’s birthday!]

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[she’s so excited!]

*****

DINNER

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[kisses from papa]

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[hc and grace]

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[she’s so silly]

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[jane, missy, and hc]

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[sibling love or rivalry?]

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[a mug from the late aunt gloria]

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[polka dot twinning]

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[happy birthday hc!!]

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[hc’s birthday cake]

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[she loved the cake!]

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[we’re ready to sing happy birthday!]

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[stealing a look]

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[i love the way she’s looking at him]

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[follow ellie’s eyes]

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xoxo

hb ma soeur thuy!

happy birthday to my lovely sister, thuy!

on saturday, we treated thuy to a spa morning and then, at night, we had a wonderful birthday dinner for her. it was quite the lovely day!

our day started out with pedicures and relaxation. we chilled, got pampered, and then went out to lunch. funny story…so kim and i brought our own flip flops to the spa and thuy did not. hmmmmm. it’s winter here, it’s cold, and sock and boots don’t mix well with freshly painted toes. so, yes, we wear our flip flops out. i told thuy to not put her boots on because she was going to ruin her painted nails. well, she decided to wear the paper thin, cheap flip flops they give you, out and about the mall. a quarter of the way to our destination, the flip flops b r e a k!! ugh! she was limping around, holding the flip flop in place between her toes!!!

after we ate, she decided to not wear the flip flops anymore and just put on her socks to walk around the mall!!!! whaaaaa? ohmergawd. kim and i were like, nooooooo! kim wanted to run to a store and buy her a pair of flip flops….but thuy insisted that we don’t spend the money on shoes. we were like, helloooooo! we don’t want to walk around with you wearing a canada goose jacket and no shoes?!!!!

so, it had been long enough, where her nails should have been somewhat dry and kim remembered that she had her shoes in her purse. thank goodness! thuy put them on and we walked on our merry way in peace and non embarrassment. hahaha!

later that evening, we all met at neat kitchen in westmont. it was local, good, and they could seat a party of 16 people with no problem. kim, terry, hc, and i met earlier to ‘pre-game’, as the boys called it. around 7, we were shown our table and slowly, everyone trickled in to celebrate thuy!

we ordered apps, libations flowed, great energy, conversations, and laughter filled the air. the night flew by! we were having so much fun! it’s always a great time when you are celebrating an occasion and the company is so good! the food was {as usual} delicious and copious. before we knew it, the hours flew by! the server brought out a decadent dessert to thuy in honor of her birthday and we all broke out in song.

the night ended on a high note and we all walked away feeling the love that we had for thuy. happy birthday my sweet sister! cheers to many more wonderful birthdays together!

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[sisters are the best]

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[pete and lan]

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[dan and agata]

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[sheryl, thuy, and lan]

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[kisses for you!]

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[these two…bromance]

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[happy birthday!]

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[a few of the girls]

xoxo

my ballet birthday

holy birthday weekend!

in previous years, we’ve gone out for my birthday. we’ve done something fun, with just us {me and hc}. every year we have been together, hc has made it a point to make my birthday special. my birthday is eight days before christmas and it’s so easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

this time around, olive’s first ballet recital fell on my birthday! i was so excited. all season long, she practiced very hard in class and at home and i couldn’t wait to see her performance.

hc and i talked over our plan for that day, to make sure we got olive to the show on time and get everyone else there early enough to nab a front row seat. score! we did both! i drove separately so i could get olive to the dance group before the show and hc drove his mom, dad, and ellie to the school to get in line for a seat. we nabbed a front row section and the location we scored was absolutely perfect!

olive entered the room on our side, so we were able to say hello to her as she waited to get up on stage and the teacher was on our side during the dance, so olive faced us the entire performance! woooo hoooo!

i was a bit nervous for her…only because during her holiday program {from several days ago}, she seemed a bit overwhelmed by the large audience. i couldn’t tell if the runny nose  she had really bothered her or if the dozens of people scared her. anyhoo, she froze a bit with her performance, so i was worried that she would freeze up during her ballet show!

well i was sooooo wrong. she nailed it! she did soooo well! i was so proud of her! she was the cutest ballet dancer i ever did see! i couldn’t wait to hug her, congratulate her, and give her a big kiss for doing so well!

after each segment, the kiddos waited in a room across the way. once the entire show was over…one parent was able to retrieve your kiddo and i ran over to get her. i couldn’t wait to bring her back to the family so they could tell her how well she did! everyone congratulated her and gave her flowers! how fun and sweet! seeing her perform was the best birthday present ever!

after the recital, hc’s parents came over to our house to hang out and we had cake to celebrate my birthday. after hc’s parents left, we then headed on over to my parent’s house to have dinner. it was the best birthday yet! hc did such a great job making it wonderful and olive’s ballet recital was the cherry on top of a perfect sundae! no pun intended! haha!

best birthday ever!

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[how sweet is she??]

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[she spots us!]

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[hands on hip and smile!]

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[dada giving her flowers for her performance]

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[how terrible is this…while i was pulling olive through the crowd, someone knocked her in her head so hard with either a corner of a purse or elbow. poor, poor girl! i didn’t even notice it until a minute later! i felt terrible…just terrible that she was trying to tell me her head hurt but i couldn’t hear her over the noise and i was so excited to get her to our family that it totally flew over my head that she was in pain. i really felt like a bad mom and a bit angry at myself that she was hurt and i didn’t realize it in the moment to comfort her. total mom guilt moment that still really bothers me!!! do you see the shiner on her forehead?! oh, i get so upset looking at it!!!]

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[my sweet ballet girl]

*****

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[celebrating with my sweet girl]

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xoxo

star of the day

at olive’s preschool, for her birthday week, she was star of the day!

when class started, she was able to sit in the chair next to the teacher, lead the count with the star wand, and set up the day/weather board!

i was invited to join in on their fun and spend the first part of the class with them and participate in on story time! i was sooooo excited! i made little birthday treats for her classmates {funfetti bags filled with stickers and candy!} and brought in the book uni the unicorn {in celebration of her unicorn party we were having}!

i think i was more excited about this than olive was! it was so fun to watch her be so involved but, yet, she was being a bit shy. when the teacher asked her who her special guests were, she barely whispered, “kiki”. i had to explain to the teacher that she calls me kiki…not mom, mommy, ma, or anything close to that. haha!

once they went through their morning activities, i was able to sit down next to olive and read the class the book we picked out! it was so darn cute! the girls were so into the book but the boys looked lost or just not into it but overall, everyone seemed to really enjoy the book! it was not too long, not too short, a cute little story, and the illustrations were so colorful and pretty!

once i was done with reading the book, olive walked me out. i was sooooo happy and i hoped olive had a great time with me being there for her! i love moments like this and totally cherish the sweet milestones that we go through!

it was definitely a special day for olive, celebrating her birthday and making it for a fun school day!

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[she wore this party hat to school and continued to wear it for days…so darn cute!]

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[the teacher telling the class who is star of the day!]

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[is it cold or is it hot?]

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[reading uni the unicorn to the class]

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[she was not happy with the hat…hahaha!]

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[she asked me to take off the hat when she walked me out…it was so big and she was bugging about it]

xoxo

dad’s 80th surprise photo session

my sisters and i decided to surprise my dad {parents} with a photo shoot for my dad’s 80th birthday {and my mom’s, since their birthdays are so close together!}!

we booked a local photographer and kept it a secret until the day before! everyone drove to a nearby park and the craziness ensued. it had rained the days leading up to this and the ground was sooooo wet! it was squishy and muddy but we made it through without it being too much of a disaster.

as usual, olive was fuuuuuuussy. she was uncooperative and it was too close to ellie’s nap time, so she was a bit crabby. from the outside, you freak out that there isn’t a good pic but you always know that your photographer can work some magic. that’s why they’re the professionals!

of course, since my gals were the ones being difficult, there i was  jumping and screaming and making funny noises just to get their attention and stop them from either crying or not listening. oy. what a show! we did some group pics, grandkids with the grandparent pics, just kid pics, and pretty much all sorts of mixed pics.

i couldn’t wait to see them! my sisters and i decided to create a book for my parents and then print out pics and frame them for their house. we surprised them with the book first and still have yet to give them the framed pictures. they were so excited and pleased with the book and all the pictures. my parents loved all the pictures taken!

so, yay! the thought {thanks to my sister kim} and results turned out perfect! our photographer did such a great job and we all love the pictures. great memories captured and beautiful pictures to cherish forever.

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[our hearts]

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[my beautiful, tenacious girl]

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[grandma and ba with their grandgirls]

via tandeminlove.com[the cutest nephews everrrrrr]

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[kisses]

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[precious…so precious. this picture just melts my heart]

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[the sweetest boys]

xoxo

thuy’s fabulous birthday

we went to dawson for thuy’s birthday celebration. it was an unseasonably warmer night and we all packed into our car for a quick ride to the restaurant. we valet’d and mosey’d on in. the restaurant was dark, warm, and old world, i liked the decor and ambience of the place.

our wait for our table was short and when we all gathered around to sit, it was like freakin’ musical chairs. no joke. i think everyone but one person got up from where they were sitting to get the feng shui right. we moved ourselves around until we felt the right flow and vibe. man, it was quite the sight.

well, once we settled in, we ordered libations, small bites, and had a great time. i really enjoyed the drinks and food…it was all so delicious but i mostly enjoyed the company. we had such a fun time celebrating thuy! we knocked down apps, entrees, and decadent desserts throughout our evening.

terry, my brother in law, know the two owners of this place and they happened to be there that night. he conversed with them for a bit and they kept insisting on buying us drinks, natch. one, this group of ours is not the biggest of drinkers, and two, we were dunzo but we graciously accepted their offer. they sent over shots of something and all i can tell you was that it was not for the fainthearted! geeeezzzzzzz, it was so strong you could probably light a match five feet away and it would have caught on fire! hahaha! we could hardly even smell it, it burnt off our nose hairs! bahahahaha!

anyways, after we hung out for a bit longer we said our goodbyes and headed back home to the babes. it was a wonderful, lovely, cheerful evening in lieu of thuy’s birthday. we love celebrating her! cheers sweet sister, i wish you nothing but the best – may you have happiness, love, and luck always by your side! we love you!

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[grace, thuy, and lan]

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[terry and kim]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.comvia tandeminlove.com

[nice dan]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[happy birthday thuy!]

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[the man in the back is the co-owner of the restaurant]

xoxo