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

brunch in the city

it’s been a while since i’ve blogged anything. a few things contributed to this…one, my computer went kaput on me {part my fault and more on that later}, it’s still kind of ‘broken’ but i’m just getting by. i really need to get it looked at but {cue the little violins} i feel like i don’t have enough time everrrrrrrr. the idea of dealing with apple help makes me want to crawl under a rock. two…i have been feeling uninspired and overwhelmed {was it the winter blues??}, maybe that was causing me to not want to crack open my computer and type.

the whole situation with my phone and computer crashing and all the time we spent trying to fix everything was exhausting. i just needed a break. plus, i took a break from going out! nothing new, since after valentine’s day…there isn’t much in-between and relaxing was in order!

we did head out the weekend prior with my girlfriend olivia and her guy aaron but i really wanted to just enjoy my time with them. i didn’t want to snap a million pics and plus, it was at night and i didn’t feel like being intrusive with a camera and a flash!

i’m so glad i did because it was wonderful to catch up with them and just relax, enjoy our time together, and soak in the city. we went to sushi in bucktown and then had a night cap at a new hotel lounge across the street and it was just perfect!

well, the following weekend, i had a date with my girlfriend dana. ohhhhhh, my darling dana. she is 6+ months pregnant and looking fabulous! the holidays and winter always puts a damper on catching up with my friends. it’s not always as easy, so this date was long overdue!

we met up at our stomping ground {southport grocery and cafe} and had the best time. i absolutely loved catching up with her. we talked babies, we talked about giving birth, we talked about nursing, life, friends, hubby’s, and everything else in-between. i really think the tables next to us were appalled or shocked at our topics of conversation. i exclaimed that i loved child birth. yes. it’s true. as painful and crazy as it was to deliver both my girls, it was the BEST moment in my life {besides getting married to the love of my life}.

words really can’t describe childbirth and the miracle that it is. i absolutely loved being pregnant and i absolutely loved giving birth to my two beautiful girls. i view it as the most powerful thing i have ever done in my life. i could do that over and over. no joke. so, that is why the tables next to us gave us the side eyes. hahahaha!

anyhoo, we shopped a bit afterwards and then called it quits. this soon to be mama needed her nap; and i am allllllll about that because there’s really no sleeping after the baby comes. hahaha!

ohhhhhh, i am glad to be writing again and i am so glad to be on the move with my sweet friends!

happy week lovelies!

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[the mama to be]

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[coffee and juice]

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[goofy smiling]

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[we always have our go to favorites]

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[i can never pass up an omelette, biscuits, jam, and potatoes]

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[i love the good stuff they sell]

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[i love their displays! they’re always so pretty]

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[iphone selfie…gosh, the the camera phone make us look so well rested!!! ha!]

xoxo

brunchin’

brunch time!

it was a last minute but really awesome get together. hc wanted to work on the house, so i had a day with the girls. the day prior, i text olivia to see if she could meet up and she could! score! then sunday morning, i text dana {on a whim} if she was available and she was, so bam! i was going to meet them for brunch. yeahhhhhh! i was so excited…the stars were aligned for us to meet.

 it was a gorgeous day, albeit on the hot side {not warm, hot} and i was excited to sit outside and enjoy the last bits of summer {or really fall because it officially became fall a few days prior}. we have had a streak of really warm days – like some days in the 90’s {and humid} but no real complaints here!

the girls and i cruised to the city and found parking right next to the restaurant {we decided to eat at bang bang pie}. yassss. olivia and dana were already there, so i just pushed our way into the outdoor eating area and found them at the first table!

before we started into our gab fest, we decided to peruse the menu and order right away or else we would sit there talking and talking and then one hour later, finally order {ok, we’re not that extreme but it’s a close description}! ha! olivia brought us menus and they both stepped into a long line to order. at one point, while we were sitting there, i saw the line stretch out onto the sidewalk in front of the restaurant!

i sat outside with the girls while olivia and dana ordered our food. olive really took to the gravel on the ground. she really, really liked it! i just cringed. i’m such a neat freak but held back because she was completely enjoying it! let kids be kids {with black fingernails and all}. ellie loved it too, but i had to make sure ellie didn’t eat the small rocks! hahaha!

after they ordered, we just sat back and enjoyed our afternoon under the shaded umbrella. we talked about life, we enjoyed the sunshine, the food, and each other. ellie was pretty fussy at first…unfamiliar environments get under her skin but then she eventually lets up and calms down. so, the first hour or so, i was so preoccupied with her that i couldn’t completely join in on the conversations {it’s sometimes hard when your baby is crying and clingy to get absorbed into the dialog right in front of you but c’est la vie!} but once she stopped crying and being so needy, i was finally able to relax a bit and focus on my two friends!

after more than a couple of hours of hanging out, we decided to leave. more so on my part because i had a pedicure appointment mid afternoon i couldn’t and wouldn’t change! ha! it was a great time with all my girls! my only regret was that i left without pie in my hurried state of leaving to get to my appointment! bah! oh well…next time bang bang, hopefully i won’t forget my pie!

cheers to friendships, brunch, and cute baby girls!

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[it was so hot out!]

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[she LOVED the gravel but man was it dirty, dusty, and dirty…did i mention dirty?! haha!]

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[i love the umbrellas]

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[me and my sweet babes]

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[sausage biscuit with an egg and maple candied bacon….yum! check out that little hand]

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[my two girls with my sweet, darling babe]

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[she’s so sweet…it cracked me up that she was so calm and collected sitting next to olivia and dana. typically she would freak out but she was kind of loving it]

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[could my girls be any more serious? so much so, that dana and olivia were dying]

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[she was LOVING the cup of water…olivia loved giving it to her!]

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[ellie is like, “hey lady, give me that water!!”]

xoxo

dim sum sunday

my sister, thuy, suggested the idea of dim sum on a sunday morning. hmmmm, ok. maybe. hc and i were super tired. i won’t openly admit that having two kids makes me tired. or taking on too much makes me tired. or always saying yes makes me tired. or being a type a makes me tired. or that my brain runs at 100 mph makes me tired. ’cause it doesn’t…hahaha! anyhoo, we weren’t sure if we were up for it – going out. well, we talked ourselves out of our rut and decided to go out for dim sum and, boy, we were glad we did!

we said to one another, what else would we do? why shouldn’t we take advantage of this beautiful day? we need to get out more often and voila! our trip out turned into a wonderful day.

we met my family at chinatown and walked our way to the restaurant. the wait was looooong but it honestly flew by or the wait time was shorter than expected. what i loved the most was that we had our own room! it was quiet, private, and it had a t.v. in there! olive was smitten! to her, it was the best room ever!

we ordered copious amounts of delicious food and i was super excited olive wanted to try a few different things. i am totally at fault for not being more adventurous with her palate. i succumb to her wants versus encouraging her to try different food items. i have to say, though, that recently, i have asked her to try it once. i say to her, that if she tries it once…and doesn’t like it, i won’t make her eat it. most, but not all, of the time…she does like it! definite baby steps!

during dim sum, ellie was being more finicky than usual {i think she was very tired but couldn’t fall asleep aaaaand we forgot her paci} so, i didn’t get a chance to sit down and enjoy my meal. i walked around with her, fed her food, held her, nursed her and she was not having it. after hc finished eating, he ran out to the walgreen’s {right next door} and bought a paci! woooo hooooo! it helped calm her down but she didn’t fall asleep. at least she wasn’t fussy anymore!

after eating, we walked around to explore the shops on this gorgeous, sunny day. we waited in the long line for tapioca smoothies and perused all the kitschy shops. olive was having a blast discovering all the store’s fun toys and stuffed animals. she’s so sweet! she would say, “ohhhhhh, how cute!” in her soft, sweet voice. i could eat her up!

oh, what a day! we were so glad we got off our lazy arses and went out. i know those moments when you aren’t feeling it, you just want to be in pj’s and chillax, you just want to be lazy, maybe take a nap, but i always find that living up life, regardless of the exhaustion, sometimes has better benefits. i always say, life is too short, enjoy today because there might not be a tomorrow. at the end of the day, it was fun, relaxing, beautiful, and time with family is always time well spent! cheers to life’s lovely moments!

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[entering into the realm of china]

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[dad waiting for my mom…she just randomly stopped at a store while we were all walking towards the restaurant]

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[sweet, sweet babe]

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[me and my babe]

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[olive and grandma]

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[checking out the flowers]

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[these sweet babes! they had a tv in the private dining area…genius! it kept the kiddos preoccupied, not that they needed it, they are so good anyways!

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[ma seour]

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[yum, yum, extra yum]

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[i love tchotchke things like this!]

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[the looooong line for joyyee tapioca smoothies]

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[her trend…walking away with some sort of stuffed animal]

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[mom waiting for us while we get smoothies]

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[oh this sweet face]

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[climbing the stairs]

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xoxo

brunch time with my gals

mhenry, here we come!

i love going to this restaurant. it’s one of my top three favorite brunch places in chicago. what made this trip even more exciting?! meeting my gals, dana and olivia!! yeahhhhhh. i love these babes and i, seriously, have the best time with them every.time.

my trip in was interesting. i took my usual route but forgot about lollapalooza…whaaaaaa? so, i had to detour down michigan ave. yuck. i avoid the avenue like the plague but on this day, it was inevitable. i needed to get on lsd, so i drove down to oak and finally got on! my cruise through the avenue was not bad, thank goodness, due to it being so early in the morning!

i decided to not go straight on hollywood {the line of cars made me avoid it} but turn left onto sheridan but the blocks are so long on this road that i ended up driving past my destination! as i turned down thorndale, a car pulled out in front of me and it was driving soooooooooooooo slow. no joke. s o  s l o o o o o o w. as we inched towards a light that was doing it’s countdown {9, 8, 7, 6…}, this car was probably moving at 20 mph or less and we got the red. arghhhhhhhh. i pulled up beside the car {old folks} and reminded myself, this could be someone’s grandma…be nice, be nice. well, the light turned green and i smoked this car. as i drove down the street, i looked in my review mirror and this car was just passing the intersection as i was two blocks away. gahhhh! i drove a few more blocks, parallel parked my car, grabbed my stuff, and starting walking towards the restaurant. as i did that, the old lady finally passed me. hahaha!

we all arrived within minutes of each other. we were seated right away and started our gab sessions. we talked and talked and talked. it was so great catching up with these ladies! they gave us our check and we continued to talk. a server came by to grab our check and we still hadn’t given our cards. we gabbed some more. then he came by again to grab the check. still empty…no cards. we shared some more stories. then he came by one more time and i said, “gosh, we need to pay the check!”. so, we finally put our cards into the sleeve and immediately another person grabbed our check and came back with the receipts. we were so oblivious.

we finally dragged our arses off our chairs and walked outside. omg. there were, at least, 25  people waiting for a table. hahaha! that is probably why they came to our table for the check so many times!!! there was such a big wait! eep. regardless, we had such a great time there and never felt pressured by the staff to leave or at least, we were not concerned, worried, or picked up on any bad vibes.

it was so good to see my gals! after brunch, dana needed to get to a jnf meeting and olivia invited me over to check out her new abode. it was great to hang out with miss olivia a bit longer and check out her new dig!

it was a gorgeous day and i had such a great time out without the kiddos! girl time is crucial as a mom! typically, i slightly don’t want to {gosh, i love my baby girls!} but i know it’s good for the soul to get out there and do something for me!

cheers to sunday brunch! it’s my favorite!

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[my favorite girls]

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[staples]

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[blissberry pancakes – my go to every time]

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[checking out her new house!]

xoxo

brunch avec mes seours

brunch – my favorite time of day.

my sister, kim, suggested that we try a new place for brunch. i was game. i am always up for new places and new scenery. after many exchanges of text messages, we finally decided on a time and confirmed that the new brunch restaurant, aforementioned, was the eatery du jour. to make commuting easier, my sister, thuy, stopped by our house and we drove together!

for it being only a few towns away, it seemed like it took forever to get there! we decided to circle around and pull up next to the restaurant to drop off my sister and ellie {who fell asleep}. well as i neared our destination, a parking spot was opened r i g h t next to the place! ahhhhh, luck would have it! i parked {ellie woke up!} and we all walked a few steps and arrived at owl and lark.

it was so super cute inside! it had a clean, cozy, eclectic feel to it. the decor was a bit farmhouse modern and fun! it’s the type of place where you order your food and then wait for it to be called. we nabbed the big center wood table and settled in. we were still waiting for kim to arrive and when she did, we all gasped! she matched the girls!!! it was the gingham girls club!! soooooo stinkin’ cute!!

we ordered our food, i fed the girls, and we waited for our meals. as it arrived, they were the prettiest brunch dishes i ever did see! so artfully done, almost too pretty to eat! well, if looks could kill, this sure slayed by taste buds!! my avobagel was beyond delicious!!! i was in love! it was savory, tasty, flavorful…it hit all the senses in all the right places!  i loved the chewiness of the bagel, the smoothness of the avocado, the bite the beet had, and the bitterness of the arugula. my words do not give this avobagel justice! yum, yum, extra yum!

we all slowly enjoyed our entrees, relaxing in the comfy environment, playing with the girls, and truly having a fun time! after we ate, we decided to walk down the block to a water fountain. it was so beautiful out. a perfect sunny day. the temp was just right and i thoroughly enjoyed sitting outside, with the slight wind cooling my skin and watching olive be so joyful by the fountain.

we actually hung out there for quite a bit. olive loves making new friends. it’s one thing about her that i am so excited about. i love how easy it is for her to get along with others. how she’s so bold with getting out there and saying hello. i don’t ever remember being like that as a child and my husband was definitely not that way either. so, it warms my heart to see her so social!

well, it was time. i needed to get the girls home for a nap and try to get other house chores accomplished. play for the day but at some point, i have to be the adult again and get sh*t done. argh.

it was a beautiful, beautiful morning/afternoon. i loved eating at owl and lark, i loved hanging out with my seesters, and i loved living in the moment. happy day lovelies!

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[auntie thuy and ellie]

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[i love yarn weaves]

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[aren’t these babes so cute?!]

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[perusing the menu]

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[banana bread and somebody can’t wait!]

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[the cutest toes]

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[enjoying her bread]

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[delicious avo toast!]

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[me and a beautiful girl]

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[check out those sneaky little hands]

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[isn’t she the cuuuuuuutest?!]

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[my sister kim, having fun with ellie]

via tandeminlove.com[my sister kim walked up to the restaurant and we all freaked out that she matched the girls!! how cuuuuute!]

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[loving the fountain]

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[enjoying the beautiful day]

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xoxo

the hottest alfresco lunch everrrrrrr

one sunday morning, we decided to head out for a late lunch. ellie’s morning nap was running into the early afternoon and we thought that it would be a great idea to get out of the house on this hot, hot day but not do anything too strenuous because it was so darn warm outside.

we headed into downtown dg for a lunch alfresco. it was ellie’s first jeep ride and olive’s second time but the first time she really understood what she was doing! she looooooooves riding in the jeep! oh, she kept screaming and giggling and waving her arms. it was the cutest thing to watch! it’s so joyous to watch your kids be happy!

well, it was sooooooo hot outside that even under a shady umbrella, we pretty much melted. omg it was so hot! near the end of our meal, ellie was getting a bit fussy, so i decided to walk her around the restaurant to cool off and calm her down. the first time we walked up to the window where hc was sitting outside, she said, “dada. dada.” and she looked out the window at hc. i was like, ‘hmmmmm. does she really know it’s hc?’. well, i decided to walk around the restaurant again and see if she would say it again. yup. she did. we walked back up to the window and she said, “dada. dada.” as she looked right at hc. i did it a third time!!! i finally caved in and admitted that was her first word. i wouldn’t have agreed if she really didn’t know what it meant but i have to say, she did and does. wahhhhhhhhhh.

after lunch, we decided to walk around town. gah! what a failure. it was sooooo hot. so hot. we only did one short lap and called it quits. i couldn’t wait to get back into the jeep to have the wind blowing through my hair. all in all, it was still a great afternoon. i am so glad we got outside even tho it was like an inferno. hahaha!

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[ellie’s first jeep ride!]

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[coolest girl in the world]

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[before i melt]

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[some drink i don’t remember what it’s called but it was delicious]

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[this precious face]

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[melting from the heat]

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xoxo

oysters for brunch

original plans fell through but the new plan still included the originals. haha!

we hemmed and hawed over where we were going to eat. matt and johann suggested that we meet somewhere in the ‘burbs but the burbs {when it comes to restaurant choices} boooooooore me. it’s basically chain, there are a few unique, good restaurants to choose from and they are so sporadic.

i preferred finding a restaurant in the city, it’s just more fun! the sun was out and temp was just right outside. we decided upon gt fish and oyster. i love the ambience, decor, and delicious brunch menu. we met up around 11am and we were seated immediately {with reservations, of course!}. we had a spacious corner spot and we had a great wait staff. they were so attentive to the kids…which is always a bonus in my book!

olive had a blast with the crayons and coloring paper and ellie enjoyed eating the crayons and drawing all over her onesie. we really had a wonderful time. the kids were so well behaved {natch}, the food was yummy, and we always enjoy our time with matt and johann.

it’s times like these that make me smile. number one…i love brunch. brunch makes me happy. i don’t know what it is about brunch. is it the fabulous breakfast foods? is it the coffee? is it the alcohol? is it because it’s the first meal of the day? or perhaps, it’s the city scenery that i love? anyhoo, brunch on sundays fill my heart with happiness and warmth and twirl it around with our kids, hc, friends or family – i’m set!

we took our sweet time eating, drinking, and just reveling in life, because we are truly blessed and fortunate. that is how sunday brunches should be!

cheers!

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[spicy!]

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[sweet cheeks]

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[aren’t they cute]

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[yummy mimosa]

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[cheers!]

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[so delicious]

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[i love this smiley babe]

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[yummy!!!]

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[i love this crew!]

xoxo

mom’s day

what a beautiful day.

the weather was just perfect! the sun was shining and it wasn’t too warm. i was super excited to host mother’s day brunch at our house. it was a last minute affair! my family wasn’t sure what we were doing for mother’s day. we usually head to the city and have brunch somewhere downtown but this year, we let our planning slip by and before we knew it, mother’s day was upon us and we had no plans! so, i suggested to have it at our house! we love hosting others at our home!

well, that gave us barely a week to plan a menu, conjure up decor ideas, and then actually going out to get all the food and supplies! oy! life has already been so busy and lately, i totally feel like i am strapped for time but we did it!

hc cooked up a storm! i chose the menu items and he brought it all to life! he’s so darn good and sweet! he insisted on cooking {i always opt for catering} and really pulled through with the delicious food. hc made 4 different kinds of quiches – red pepper, mushroom, bacon, and onion quiches. they were all so darn delectable! he made savory, seasoned breakfast potatoes, crispy thick cut bacon, and yummy buttermilk waffles served with sweet butter and maple syrup! wow! we were all so impressed.

we set up tables outside. how could you not?! the weather was simply amazing!

i had a calligrapher draw up menus, place cards, and station notes for our party! i love little details like that, it always adds a lovely touch to any party. i decorated our tree {aka the photo booth}, put flowers everywhere {thanks to kim!}, and created a dessert and mimosa table. i also bought little potted flowers for all the moms to take home! everything was so last minute but it all turned out so darn pretty {if i do say so myself!}.

everyone trickled in around noon and soon the party was in full swing. we all enjoyed hc’s divine brunch buffet, created our own mimosas, and soaked in the warm sun outside. after brunch, we all just relaxed here and there. i think that was the best part of the party, we all just chilled and enjoyed each other’s company. the kids played in the yard, hc took, almost, everyone for a ride in his newly assemble jeep, and we celebrated all the moms.

being a mom is the best gift, best journey, and best thing that has ever happened to me. i am thankful and so blessed to have my two little girls in my life. nothing prepared me for this miraculous role called motherhood and i can’t thank God enough for this amazing privilege to be their mom. cheers to all the mothers out there who love, give, and sacrifice so much for their kids.

hooray for moms!

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[celebrate mom]

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[table spread]

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[a pretty pot of flowers for our lovely mom’s to take home]

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[mimosa bar]

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[make your own mimosa!]

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[family]

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[the sweetest nephews]

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[sweetest souls]

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[we sure do love our moms]

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[dessert table]

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[the colors are like a unicorn cake!]

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[i love a pretty dessert table]

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[siblings]

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[with ba]

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[after a few hours, i finally poured myself a mimosa…soooooooo yummy!!!]

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[with our wonderful mom]

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[i kept saying, “olive, get in the picture…olive get in the picture!” and this is what i got. bahahahaha!]

xoxo

easter sunday

ohmergoodness. i am finally posting about easter. it’s been a whirlwind in life of late. i don’t know why it’s been so busy and hectic for me. i feel like life hasn’t changed much but yet, i am constantly chasing time!? smh.

anyhoo, my sister kim had planned an easter brunch at maple and ash…a yummy little restaurant in chicago. i was excited to go because we had celebrated new years there and it was epic. so, of course, i was stoked to eat brunch there!

we arrived pretty early, well early for us, and casually walked in & got seated right away. my family wasn’t far behind us. once everyone arrived, we ordered beverages and waited for our server to explain any necessary information guiding us in our soon to be brunch consumption.

we then took off and starting gathering copious amounts of savory sorts onto our plates. it was yummy! i loaded my plate full of bacon, fruit, sausage, and pancakes and i am sure i am forgetting what else. ok, ok, i put a lot of food on my plate because i was going to feed olive! hahaha but i did eat most of it, darn that breastfeeding! i am always hangry!

i love maple and ash. it’s so pretty, fun, and always a great time. we love the service and food there and we always have fun interacting with the staff and exploring new palates.

it was a great time out with the family and it was an absolutely gorgeous day out! what a fabulous easter it was. ellie’s first easter was awesome and olive’s 4th was just as amazing. i love celebrating holidays with the family and it brings me such joy to see my girls enjoy it too!

xoxo

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[brunch menu at maple and ash]

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[she’s so sweet & highly emotional]

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[sisters]

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[bromance]

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[the seafood starter was amazing]

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[aren’t they sooooooo cute?!]

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[i captured the sweetest moments between these two loves of mine]

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[my love]

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[the delicious bunny cookie]

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[uncle dan and reagan]

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[cheeky little monkey]

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[happy easter!]

xoxo