ravenswood brunch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[mean mugging before heading into the restaurant]

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[she’s so wild and fun]

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[working diligently on her artwork]

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[selfie]

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[andrea and sebastian]

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[sweet annabelle and olive]

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[chunker]

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xoxo

dg brunch

we’re big fans {or at least i am} of having brunch in the city. the ‘burbs just don’t do much for me. there are several places out here in la grange, hinsdale, etc. that are aestetically pleasing and offer great entrées but the overall vibe leaves much to be desired. or is it all in my head?! haha!

most of my friends pretty much all live in the city. yes, my immediate family is in the ‘burbs and i have a few friends out here as well {in different towns} but the friends i hang out on a regular basis status live in good old chi-town.

so, we usually take turns and rotate our meeting destination. whether they come to our house or we go to their area, we usually end up going to the city because we prefer it. i feel pretty fortunate that my friends do offer the rotation split…it’s always thoughtful!

well this time around, we were going to host our friends olivia and aaron at our house. when it came down to it, hc didn’t feel like cooking because he was preparing something for the Super Bowl that evening and he didn’t want to be cooking all day. so, we decided to meet our friends in our local downtown area.

we really enjoy this place, called pierce tavern. it’s ‘new’, it opened late last year and we love the vibe, cocktails, and food! we decided it was our place to meet and overall, had a great time hanging out with these two beautiful people. the girls were so well behaved and we were all able to catch up with very little chaos that usually surrounds young children. LOL.

cheers to good local places to hang and to even better friends to hang out with!

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[me and olivia]

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[the best things for little kids – crayons and paper]

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[i’ll miss those chubby cheeks when they’re gone]

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[ellie’s incredible 2 moves on dada]

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[my go to drink on sunday’s]

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[my loves]

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[apparently aaron is the star focus of this pic. hahaha!]

xoxo

happy brunch

gosh. life. i think we…ok, i think i seriously have fomo. or fonde {fear of not doing enough} or fonda {fear of not doing anything} or for {fear of relaxing}. whatever it is…i cram wayyyyyyy too much into my calendar and i’m alllllllllllways busy. don’t get me wrong. i looooooooove to do nothing at times. it is so needed. i love to sit on the couch and not have to clean. do laundry. get something for the girls. make food. take a shower {where are my moms who understand me?!}. yes. there are moments where i just like to sit and do nothing but that is very rare.

but i always have something going on.

let me clarify something else. i might complain a bit that i am so busy but i love it more. i love being with my family. i love being with my friends. i love just being me. and part of that is to be social.

so a brunch date was in order with our friends dana and scott. it had been months since we have seen them. i’ve seen dana but we haven’t been able to get all of us together but today was the day!

we settled on a date. we lassoed everyone in and voila! we had everyone going to brunch! we met at the rookery and it was an awkward beginning. the server seemed disappointed there weren’t 7 adults but 4 adults and three kids. she wasn’t friendly at first and seemed rather annoyed with us and our kids {we made a reservation, in which we were asked several times by a few employees if we did. yesssss, we did! and besides that…the restaurant was empty}.

as time went by, she started to warm up to us but we honestly didn’t care or more so notice. we were thoroughly enjoying our time together with our friends. abe was soooooo darn cute, chunky, and so freakin’ laid back. oh, he was so squishy and adorable.

we caught up with each other, consumed delicious libations, adored each other’s kids, and ate yummy food. we just chilled. the restaurant wasn’t busy or packed and it was the perfect environment for us to just relax. the kids were in good spirits and the drinks were in full supply – encouraging us to stay and chat. we were there for a solid two hours before dana and scott had to run out. if dana didn’t have to get on a call, we probably would have sat there for, at least, another half hour!

it was so good to see them! goodness i love them! they are such a good couple and such a beautiful family! cheers to fabulous friends in your life!

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[is he not just the cuuuuuuuutest?!!! he’s such a sweet babe!]

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[he’s so sweet]

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[i completely didn’t take a pic of olive. at all. wahhhhh]

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[holding tight to baby jack jack]

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[kicking it]

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[the boys]

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xoxo

brunch with matt and johann

we love these guys! hanging out with them is always so fun.

we had planned for a dinner at our house but everything that day was so topsy turvy. i forgot about plans to have the fam over for pumpkin carving that evening, so i asked matt if they could do brunch instead and they so graciously agreed to change the plans for us. plus, the weather was so unfavorable for our christmas mini photo sesh that morning, that those were cancelled. it was one erroneous surprise after another.

well, all eventually spanned out quite well. we made it to brunch early and had a wonderful time with matt and johann. we ate at oyster bah, a place we’ve never been to, and enjoyed our experience. as usual, we gabbed and gabbed and gabbed with one another while the girls were too cute and sweet.

the girls were dressed in their christmas outfits and looking so darn darling. so many strangers loved their looks and commented on how cute they were. well of course!

our hangs with matt and johann is always a good chunk of time. we love spending it talking and catching up. sometimes our brunch get togethers can be a couple hours. i am thankful i have two girls that can hang. olive is always so good and ellie can lose interest after an hour or so. once that happens, i usually attempt to entertain her until we leave {by walking around, typically}. she’s our short tempered, stubborn, tenacious babe. she loves to love and loves to hate. when this girl wants something, she won’t wait and will definitely let you know!

after ordering our entrees. manger, and drink after drink, we were ready to go. it’s always so lovely to hang with these two. i absolutely love their dynamics, humor, and friendship. until next time matt and johann! we love you guys!

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[hc, matt, and johann]

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[coloring away]

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[cheers!]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[i love this babe!]

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[playtime by the stairs]

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xoxo

brunch with friends

we don’t get to see these two guys very often…but when we do, it’s always so fun and feels like we did just see each other!

we’ve eaten at band of bohemia before and we liked it so much that we needed to go there again! matt made reservations for us and shockingly, hc and famille actually arrived early! it’s a hit or miss for us…usually it’s a miss but once in a blue moon, we will actually have our act together and get out the door on time!

we arrived early and snapped some fun pics and sashayed our way inside. they seated us right away but within minutes, johann and matt showed up! we ordered copious amounts of libations, perused the menu, and settled on our choices. we chitchatted and took care of ellie, cause she’s high maintenance. she’s such a wiggle worm. she doesn’t like unfamiliar enviromments and will only want us to hold her but she can’t sit still so it’s like a flippin’ wrestling match with this little chunker.

after we ate, olive asked us if she could play over by the waiting area. it has a record player, music blasting, games, comfy couches and chairs, and it’s a perfect play area for these babes. i was a bit hesitant because i didn’t want her to go by herself {we could still see her if she went} but i didn’t want to sit over there with her because we were still visiting with matt and johann. we asked her to wait a bit longer and she complied. after 10 minutes {it probably feels like an eternity to a kid} she asked again and i let her go.

our brunch turned into a 2.5 hour long event, as usual. is it me? is it us? is it hc’s doing {ha probably not!}? it seems like whenever i meet up with my friends, we can gaaaaaaaab for hours and hours. hmmmm, i think it’s me. hahahaha!

anyhoozle, it was definitely a fab time together. the drinks were tasty, the bites were good but the company was even better. until next time my dear friends!

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[ellie always giving the side eye]

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[cheers!]

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[ellie always needing to be in one of our arms]

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[the prettiest, cutest bagel and lox i ever did see]

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[johann, hc, and ellie]

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[she’s the silliest girl]

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xoxo

west lake market

i’ll try to make a long story short.

one day, while i was in the kids section at barnes and noble, i ran into a lady with her two boys. we started chatting and definitely clicked. we went on and on about random stuff, exchanged instagram handles {@tandeminlove}, and went on our merry way. we continued to connect on the ‘gram {@chicagomomgoesuburban} and we’ve been avid positive supporters of one another.

michelle is a writer for chicago parent magazine, a photographer, a blogger, and a mom to three boys! she’s multitalented, fun, and most importantly – super sweet. our paths were meant to cross! recently, she invited me to a fashion event at west lake market. it’s kick off was this past sunday. this event happens every second tuesday of the month for the summer and i was excited to go!

i invited olivia to join me; i can always use some girl time. she met me at my car {i scored a parking spot} and we walked in together. at first we had no idea where the entrance was but a kind gentleman showed us the way.

as we were walking inside, we ran right into michelle! i forgot how tiny she is! we chatted a bit and she showed us the way upstairs to the vip event that just ended {we needed to nab our goody bags and pour ourselves some champagne}. we explored the the area. it was so cool! a perfect place for a bridal shower, a baby shower, or any sort of event!

we headed back downstairs to the market and perused the shops. there were so many cute things! it was also kid friendly, they had face painting and mr. dave – a fun guitarist who sang kiddie songs! i was eyeing a resale shop full of chanels and louis, there was a fun handmade, local candle shop, beautiful ceramics, and clothing boutiques! i purchased the cutest romper {long story but i have to say – thanks michelle for forfeiting the piece} from a shop call sanem, and a candle. plus, our goody bag was full of {ahem} good stuff!

once we were done shopping, olivia and i contemplated a few restaurants for brunch but we decided to stay and eat at eden. michelle had let us know that she was going to eden for a small bite and coffee. once inside, we said hello to her again and we met her sister in law kristen!

we nabbed a table and enjoyed a delicious brunch and lots of coffee. it was a wonderful time with my girl olivia. i love our chats…the conversations and connection i have with her makes my heart full. i love my friends. there’s never any judgement, there isn’t a tally list of who does what. it’s about enriching our lives with each other when we can.

cheers to good friends.

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[me and olivia]

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[champagne and berries]

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[isn’t this a cool place?! it can be rented for special events!]

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[after the event, we had brunch at eden]

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[isn’t she beautiful?]

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[avocado eggs benedict and salmon]

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xoxo

a good day

i was excited for some me time!

my girlfriend dana is pregnant and due at the end of june. i’m trying to squeeze in time with her before she has this bebe. so, when we do make plans {of late}, we typically make them exclusively between us. now, we love hanging all together with the hubs but lately, we or i need the girl time, only.

the two-three hours away is so refreshing for me! i love being able to go with the flow, relax, not have a kid interrupt our conversations every two minutes, actually finish a thought…and think. i love being fully present and engaged with that person in front of me. honestly, with my kiddos, it’s hard.

so, being able to get away for a few hours to resets my mind, my sanity, and reenergizes my soul. i’m so thankful that i am able to do that every so often!

dana and i decided to have brunch at mhenry’s. oh, how i love that place!!! i can’t tell you how many years i’ve dined there but i know it’s been a long time! the weather was so unbelievably crappy that day. it was coooold and rainy, like 40 something degrees cold, it felt like winter again. there were folks in puffer jackets and winter knit hats at the local nursery buying flowers to plant {where are you spring?}!!! hahaha!

the most amazing part of the morning? there was no wait for a party of two!!!!! what?! i guess not too many couples go out for brunch, just large groups. ha! it was soooo crowded in there but as soon as i walked in, they seated us!

lately, i’ve been on an egg and potato kick. i have always, always ordered the blueberry bliss cakes every time i have gone to mhenry’s but the last two times, i haven’t done so. times are changing!

dana and i chatted and left just in time to meet her parents back at her condo {her hubby scott was out golfing}. i told her that i wanted to say hi to her parents but needed to jet out afterwards to get home to the babes. i told the hubs that i would nurse ellie and put her down for her afternoon nap!

well, her parents arrived and scott came home not too long after them and of course i didn’t leave right away! how could i?! i love hanging out with these peeps, i had a hard time tearing myself away! fiiiiiinally i forced myself out the door. oh, i love her parents! her and scott, of course, but her parents are so much fun!

i finally hit the road for the long commute, happy and content on a beautiful day out with some good friends.

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[beautiful blooms]

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[sweet dana]

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[always a yummy menu]

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[fried egg sandwich]

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[pretty plants in dana and scott’s condo]

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[dana and scott]

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[can i just say that this pic is the first pic, in a loooooooooong time, where i feel like i don’t look like i look an old hag. for reals]

xoxo

brunch with mutts

i met mutters or mutts {also known as danielle}, hmmmmm, maybe 8 or nine years ago??? it might be longer but i honestly can’t remember. she could clarify but that’s not the point. i have known her for quite some time and have seen her grow as person.

she was a single lady {all the single ladies!!}, dating a douche on and off and finally reconnected with an old flame that led into a serious relationship, then into an engagement, then into marriage, then into pregnancy. the circle of life, non? for some, not for all, but definitely a circle that goes round and round for most.

anyhoo, mutts and i were really close all the years we worked together and when i went my separate way, we stayed in touch. she’s a sweet, silly, and sassy lady who cracks me up. i love seeing her, hanging out with her, and now she’s expanding her family and it’s so awesome to see.

we met up for brunch the other week and holy cow! she’s was due in eight days! wowza. i was like, don’t have the baby while we’re eating. haha! just keeding. having a baby is nothing like what is depicted in the movies.

we had a great time. we talked about babies, birth, life, work, kids, and all sorts of stuff. my girls were being great and i was really surprised how calm ellie was being. sometimes, when i/we are at a restaurant for too long, she becomes restless but that day, she was happy as a clam sitting in a high chair.

maybe i was was talking too much but i felt that i barely ate my food! after a hour and a half, we decided to go. mutts was going to go get her nails done and us gals were going to go shopping.

it was a gorgeous day out and we were excited to get out there and shop for new shoes, dresses, and fun stuff…whatever we needed. we said our goodbyes to mutts and wished her luck on her upcoming labor!

well i am happy to say that she delivered her sweet baby girl, skylar, on may 12 at 4:05 am weighing in at 8lbs 4 oz. congrats anthony and mutts!!! we are over the moon at your sweet blessing!!!

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[ellie being entertained by paper]

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[mutts]

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[my sweet olive]

xoxo

a lovely day

it was a nice but cool day. the sun was shining, so it felt lovely but in the shade, it was a bit chilly. nonetheless, it was a wonderful day to explore the city.

we did our best to get up early to beat the brunch crowd. 11-11:30 am is prime brunch time, that is when the wait gets cray. it’s the perfect time because you don’t have to wake up early but it’s early enough to not be completely starving. soooo, we arrived at the bongo room at 10:25ish and we waited, maybe, 20 minutes for a table for 5? score!

of course, brunch at bongo is always delicious. i usually get their seasonal pancakes but i was totally feeling eggs and potatoes that day. yuuuummmmm. hc and i each got a drink {mimosa for moi and a frou frou drink for hc}, it’s five o’clock somewhere, isn’t it?!

after brunch, we decided to explore bucktown. we love shopping around the area. we love the eclectic vibe and exploring the fun shops. what i find so interesting is that grace pretty much likes the same stuff i like, to a degree. we have similar tastes in some fashion, make up, and accessories. what is very different is that she is wayyyyyy younger and we interpret our choice in fashion through our age appropriate styles. i really enjoyed exchanging our opinions around items we liked though, that was a lot of fun!

while we were eating, i had text olivia and dana to see what they were doing. dana was busy but olivia and aaron decided to meet up with us {they don’t live far from the area}! while grace, the girls, and i were shopping at benefit, olivia and aaron showed up! it was great seeing them, even if it was for 45 minutes! after buying a few things at benefit, we all walked to reckless records and shortly thereafter, we had to leave to take grace to her driver’s ed class.

it was a beautiful, lovely day. it really was. i thoroughly enjoyed our day at brunch, shopping, spending the day with my family, seeing olivia and aaron, and just being in chicago. i love my tribe and i love chicago.

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[my tribe]

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[my sweet girl]

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[she absolutely adores grace]

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[nice whipped cream]

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[pretty fruit plate]

xoxo

easter sunday

the easter bunny came!

i have hemmed and hawed over the idea of the easter bunny, tooth fairy, and santa. i wasn’t sure if i wanted to push a made up character to persuade olive to be a good kid. ’cause honestly, she’s a good kid without persuasion. there are some big debates between parents around this subject. these fictional figures have been molded and it’s american made, it’s financially driven, it’s lying, it’s bribing, and so forth.

easter and christmas are christian religious holidays celebrating jesus. i want olive to know and understand that those holidays are stemmed from the life of jesus. that is why we celebrate on those days.

i also loved the idea that these characters added to the magic of the season and are really fun to believe in. i did believe in them when i was a kid and it didn’t harm or taint me. my parents didn’t enforce the idea of santa, the easter bunny, or the tooth fairy on me, it was all about church, the bible, and our faith but i loved the magic behind it. i was never upset they weren’t real. honestly, i always knew they weren’t but loved believing in something magical. i definitely don’t look back on my childhood and think i was scarred or lied to. all i remember is magic, love, excitement, and damn good memories with my family and friends.

my heart is so full to see her so excited over things like the easter bunny. she loved her basket from the bunny, she loved finding the eggs the easter bunny left behind. she giggled with excitement at the idea of presents. i’m ok with that.

what i try to do every day is parent with love, respect, and discipline. do i fail, alllll the time but i try, try again. i want to raise my girls to become strong, smart, independent, kind, and to be filled with gratitude {to name a few attributes}…the list goes on and on.

so whether they believe in the easter bunny or not, or whether i push it on them or not. i think they will grow up just fine and hopefully pass the traditions and love to their children to create magical moments together too.

{we celebrated easter together in the morning and then met my family for brunch in chicago, at swift and sons, later in the day!}

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[ellie making her way to the easter baskets]

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[olive eyeing the baskets and excited!]

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[ohmergawd her hair!! talk about bedhead!!!]

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[digging through her goodies]

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[she sooooo wanted this bunny!]

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[she was so excited over everything!]

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[ohmergawd, this sweet babe]

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[look ma, an egg]

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[i’ll pretend to eat it]

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[hahaha! just kidding!]

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[i’m so funny, i crack myself up!]

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[easter egg hunt time!]

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[checking out her goodies]

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[so excited for her shopkin surprise!]

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[easter egg hunt aftermath]

*****

BRUNCH AT SWIFT AND SONS!

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[sweet cousins]

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[opening up her easter basket from r + b]

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[always doting on her]

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[thuy getting festive]

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[flummoxed]

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[my love]

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[i loooooooove bloody mary’s!]

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[cheers!]

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[dan and agata]

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[preptastic]

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[we fail ,every holiday, at taking a family picture together]

xoxo