my big birthday weekend

i was so excited for my birthday weekend!

hc had planned a fun agenda and i couldn’t wait to relax and celebrate. i still can’t believe i have hit the big 4-0. whaaaaaaaa? seriously, wtf? what happened? i still feel eternally 28 but those wrinkles and gray hairs are finally catching up with me. eek!!!!!

i really can’t tell you what i imagined what it would be like turning 40. i never really fretted about it or thought i would have a big hurrah for it. one, we ended up having a baby and two, i am one of those ‘moms’ that really loves to spend time with her family. don’t get me wrong…i love having date nights with hc and spending quality time with him but i have become a moooooooooommy. it doesn’t feel right when the kids are away, especially if we are out locally. i miss them dearly. now, give me a warm, tropical get away with hc…i can be convinced to leave the kids behind. hahaha!

anyhoo, we started out our morning quite chill – coffee, chaos, and cuddling. we packed everything but the kitchen sink to take downtown with us. oh my goodness. we seriously pack everything when we head out the door with the kids. first on our agenda was to meet the fam at macy’s on state for a fun holiday outing! we love looking at all the decor, hearing the christmas music, listening to the jingle of all the bells around us, and just enjoying the crazy chaos of the store. we met up on the 7th floor for lunch, bought toys, headed down to the walnut room to view the tree, and then we were off to the ornament area to pick out our ornaments of the season!

after spending a few hours at macy’s, we headed on over to block 37 to do some more shopping. after eating, shopping, a trip to starbucks, more eating and shopping, we finally retired to our hotel room. hc had booked a lovely room at the james hotel. it was so cute and cool! i loved the decor inside! our room was super cozy and i really enjoyed the warmth and friendliness of the staff.

as soon as we were inside, olive was out. she passed out in the car and actually stayed sleeping while i carried her into the hotel and up the elevator and into the room! olive slept, ellie laid around, and hc and i got ready for dinner! olive woke up a bit later and relaxed in front of the t.v. with ellie. it was too adorable to see them chillin’ together!

we got all jazzed up and went to david burke’s restaurant for dinner. it was sooooo awesome. we loved our server, we loved the food, and we loved how kind everyone was! everything was delicious and we had such a great time with my brother dan, who joined us for dinner. what made the night even prettier was that it had started snowing and it looked so serene and lovely.

after dinner, we retired to our hotel room. olive and ellie got cozy on the bed again and hc had ordered dessert and wine to be sent up for this birthday mama! it was a perfect end to a perfect day! i had such a wonderful time!

 the next morning, we headed to southport grocery for brunch! while we waited, we picked out gift baskets for our neighbors {something we do every year}. i love shopping there and gathering fun goodies for the christmas baskets. they have the most yummy, delectable treats to make any recipient happy! we enjoyed a fabulous brunch and spent the next hour shopping along the street. oh how i love chicago during the holidays.

it was a fabulous birthday weekend and i have to thank hc for conjuring up a fun filled agenda! i wouldn’t have celebrated it any other way. i was sooooooo happy to have my hubby and children by my side to bring in the big 4-0! as olive would say, “this is sooo ahhhhhmazing!”. i couldn’t agree more baby girl! cheers to a new decade!

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[crazy cousins]

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[loving her necklace]

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[macy’s on state]

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[chestnut room tree]

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[we put her down on the couch and her hair became electric!]

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[poor thing…i made her stand in front of every christmas tree. hahaha!]

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[i love christmastime]

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[she was like NO MORE PICTURES! eep]

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[so festive and fun]

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[so gangsta]

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[hotel living]

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[chillin’ and relaxin’ in our hotel room]

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[fancy kids meal]

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[back to the hotel room and ready for bed!]

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[dessert and wine delivered to the hotel room]

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[she was being so silly…she wanted me to take a picture of her with every.single.one. of her figurines]

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xoxo

cubs game!

woo hoo! i was super excited to get out, hang out with my girl dana, and go to a cubs game!

it all started with these being hc and his aunt wendy’s tickets. it’s quite a long story with some complications, emotions, and tough decisions that ended up being a win for me! i was going to have a day without the kids and i was going to a cubs game! woot woot!

hc left early with the girls which let me sleep in. oh mer gawd! it was like i was single with no kids again. i slept like a log and woke up feeling so rested and refreshed! it was amazing! i leisurely got up and got ready with no kids screaming at me or needing something! wowza! i was on slow mo. i was texting dana and we were both very chill with idea of just doing things at a slow pace.

i finally made it out of the house and on my way to meet dana. we weren’t worried about making it to the game on time {as you can already tell if you read the above paragraphs!}. i parked by her condo on lsd and we walked towards wrigley. it was a beautiful day out…the sun was shining and dana and i were having a blast just walking and talking.

once we arrived at wrigley, we grabbed some beers and found our seats. holy cow! they were great seats…right by third base and the first two seats of the row! woo hoo! we were having a grand ol’ time. we couldn’t stop chit chatting, so much so, we weren’t really watching the game. that was a bit different for me because i am a game watcher. anytime i go to a cubs game, i love watching them play but not this time. eep! they were not playing very well anyways. ugh!

after the 7th inning stretch, we decided to make a run for the bathroom! as we were walking towards the restrooms, we were elated there wasn’t a line! oh em gee…the 30 seconds it took us to walk up to the line, it formed so expeditiously from no line to at least 20 people in front of us! after the restroom, we needed to find the first aid room so i could pump. we walked out of the bathroom and the line to the women’s restroom stretched back so far, it hit the next women’s restroom line! yikes!

we found the first aid area and the women behind the desk walked us to a clean room where another mom was pumping, then another mom came in to pump, and then another mom came in to nurse. it was a milk pumping party in there! thank goodness they have this area because the women’s restroom and the family restrooms were disgusting! there was no room, it was dirty, and no shelf to be able to put your bag/pump anywhere!

after the restroom and pumping, we met up with dana’s friends mara and amanda. before we knew it, it was the end of the game. whaaaaaa?! we left during the 7th inning and by the time we were done, it was the bottom of the 9th…how did that happen?

we decided to go to vines on clark for some more drinks. it was so darn nice out! perfect temperature and weather! it was packed, as expected, but we found a bench spot in the sun, yay! we just drank and talked and had a lot of fun being silly. i had so much fun with these three! amanda and i realized we were picture soul mates! haha! we both love taking pictures no matter what the situation or environment! after an hour or so, we decided to part ways. yes, i missed my family and i was ready to go home. after hours of having fun, i was ready to see my babies!

we all walked back towards dana’s place and we said our goodbyes and gave our hugs. i got into my car to hit very, very heavy traffic and finally made it home to my hubby and girls! it was a fantastic day out! i had the best time and i am so happy to have had a little me time! it was an absolutely awesome day spent with my dear, sweet friend dana!

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[hanging with my bae]

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[3rd base seats]

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[hanging out at vines on clark]

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[amanda, dana, moi, and mara]

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[completing a photo shoot while at vines on clark]

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[we dab everywhere]

xoxo

renegade craft fair

for our 5th anniversary, i wanted to go to new york city. that was our plan. then we got pregnant and had a baby so nyc was out of the question, for now.

we planned a very simple evening out. hc’s parents so kindly offered to watch the kids for our anniversary night. we got ready and headed out the door…so excited for our alone time! i really wanted to hit up the renegade craft fair in wicker park. it was in our old hood and i love how it has sooooo many amazing vendors. plus, i told krissy, from earth cadets, that i would pay her a visit! {check out her shop, it’s local and full of awesomeness}

it was an absolute perfect day, just like our wedding day {our special day had temps in the mid seventies and it was a clear, sunny day}. we found a sweet parking spot, walked our way into the fair, nabbed a drink or three, and started to walk the fair. it was fabulous. we had such a great time drinking and perusing all the handmade goodies.

i know i say it all the time but i loooooooooove chicago. i love the city. i love the culture. i popped into krissy’s shop, found cute matching shirts for the girls and said hello to her! it was great seeing her and chitchatting for a bit before we finished up the fair.

we headed out to the restaurant {coast…where we had our third date} and scored another fab parking spot! we were seated right away {hc had made reservations}, ordered apps, and clinked our wine glasses in celebration of our marriage! as usual the food was amaze. i love coast because it’s exactly how sushi should be done! yummmmm.

we took our time, relaxed, and reveled in our time together with no kids! the funny but awful part of our evening out was that we were spent. oh my goodness. olive and ellie were sick and olive had a horrible night of sleeping, as in she hardly slept and either did we {ironic that it wasn’t our newborn who kept us up but our two year old!}! so when we finished our dinner…we were soooo ready to come home. hahaha! we were going to fall asleep!

nevertheless, it was quite an amazing day. hc made it so special and i am very thankful for his romantic notions. we completely enjoyed the craft fair, our dinner out, and had the most wonderful anniversary date night!

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[yesssssss, chicago cubs wine! hc bought this for our byob anniversary dinner]

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[our super, duper casual night out]

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[our old hood]

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[soooooo many awesome vendors]

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[two beers for hc and vodka lemonade for moi!]

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xoxo

a quick lunch

i was super excited to have made lunch plans with ande. i last saw her at her cancer free party in february so it was awesome we could coordinate our schedules to meet up before this baby makes it debut!

i was super stoked that matt could join us! just knowing how busy he is unil the end of summer, i was surprised he was able to make it but it happen to be a window of time that worked out for everyone! unfortunately, last minute, our hvac broke and my dad {who was going to watch olive} had to come to our house to be around for the repair man and watch olive. so, naturally i was a bit stressed about it all and couldn’t stay out to lunch for very long but it just so happened to be the case for everyone else! ande needed to get back to work for a conference call and matt needed to go home to let his little peanut dog out for a bathroom break.

we decided to go to a bagel joint a block or two down from ande’s work. one, it was difficult for me to walk for…i get out of breath soooooo easily and two, ande was just worried overall because i was so pregnant! ha!

it was great, though. we were all able to connect, catch up, talk about life’s current happenings, and ande really wanted to hear all the baby news going on with me. i love this group of peeps. ande is such a doll! she is seriously one sweet lady! well, i just love my friends. they are all such great people for fabulous reasons. i am one lucky gal to have the best friends and family around me.

our get together was short and sweet. of course i could spend hours upon hours with these people but it’s always a good thing even if it’s a short meeting, nevertheless. well, i can’t wait to see them again soon! we agreed it would be a visit to me when the new babe arrives!!! yay! i can’t wait for them to meet our newest addition!

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[chicago bagel authority lincoln park]

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[love these peeps!]

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xoxo

casual day

i had an eye appointment in the city. yes, i still travel to the city for all sorts of things, like getting my eyes checked. i have been going to the same place for 11 years so i can’t give it up…at least not yet.

custom eyes just remodeled and it look amazing inside. i was so super bummed i left my phone in the car because olive looked so stinkin’ cute sitting in their windowsill reading a book. wah.

anyhoo, after my appointment, olive and i had the day free to do whatever and since we were in wrigleyville, i decided to just do a bit of walking and shopping around. we strolled down the street to the local starbucks and grabbed our usual. olive was being so stinkin’ cute. oh how i love her! it was super windy outside {of course, making it chillier than it really is!} but it didn’t bother olive one bit.

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[our stomping ground…starbucks!]

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[starbucks goodness]

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[my old ‘hood]

after our starbucks stint, i decided to hit a favorite shop of mine, anthropologie! i love this store, especially during the holidays. it stocks the most beautiful decorations, wrapping, and ornaments. i am always so giddy shopping around in there ’tis the season. plus, they sell my most favorite candle of allllllll time, the volcano scent. best. ever.

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[anthro on southport]

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[chillin’ on the couch]

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[‘scuse me!]

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[love this one of us!]

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after we hit anthro and a few other shops, i decided to call it a day there on southport ave. olive needed her nap soon and i don’t like her missing out on it! we had a lovely afternoon together. we giggled, shopped, hugged, kissed, and just loved one another. oh how i love this little girl so much. she’s my bestie and seriously the cutest little thing i ever did see. i cherish our beautiful days we spend together!

xoxo

christmas brunch

hc, olive, and i had a wonderful, casual afternoon hanging out in the city. it was my birthday and we hit the city to enjoy an afternoon of festive fun. brunch was at my favorite place, southport grocery! yummmm!

it was bustling inside but not too crazy packed like it usually is…it’s probably because we were a bit past lunchtime, so it was perfectly busy. we sat in a corner and throughly enjoyed our time together. i ordered my usual, the southern and as usual it was deeeeeelicious. i stuffed myself silly, rich enjoyed his spiked beverage and meal, and olive had a blast drawing. she loves to create fabulous works of art!

after we noshed on our yummy meals, i perused the shelves of the grocery store to see what items i wanted to buy to put in our gift baskets for our neighbors. did we want to create a dinner theme? a breakfast theme? a dessert theme? we went with the breakfast theme. breakfast is my most favorite meal of the day! i could eat breakfast all day! so, we picked out a yummy pancake mix, maple syrup, a peach spread, christmas sprinkles, and holiday cookies to top it off! it was all so cute! they do such a great job packaging it all up.

all while i was getting the gift baskets together, hc was chasing olive down and feeding her. she was so into her drawings earlier, she wouldn’t eat any of her food but once she was done, hc got her to eat most of her meal while she ran around the store. eep! she’s a funny one.

after brunch and basket making, we traipsed around southport and shopped a bit for gifts and christmas goodies. it was such a wonderful, beautiful afternoon. we had a great time together…it was a very joyous, eventful day. we were elated from an appointment we had earlier in the day and we were on cloud nine, thankful for all the blessings we have in our lives. thank God for the wondrous gifts that he brings.

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[olive checking out the kids menu]

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[selfie]

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[such a silly babe]

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[she’s very good at ‘cheers!’]

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[soooooo yummy]

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[perusing]

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[she’s soooooo silly]

xoxo

so much love

i am ridiculously behind with my posts, so bear with me! i will probably have christmas posts in january at the rate i am going at! uh oh!

life has been so hectic, this holiday season has been so busy, exhausting, overwhelming, and tiring. honestly, i am beat. the last week or so has really kicked my butt. i can usually champion any task given to me, complete any ideas that pop into my head, and come out winning with extra energy. oy. not this season. christmas: 1 thu: 0 – tko!

anyhoo, over a month ago, i had made plans to meet up with my friend ande. ande and i go waaaayyyyy back to, hmmmmm, maybe 9-10 years ago. i was working on michigan avenue and ande was the store manager at the c.o. bigelow store in the watertower building.

my friend, matt, and i worked together at the time and we would constantly go shopping at ande’s store. we befriended ande and instantly hit it off. soon, we were visiting her on a weekly basis and eventually we would all go out to lunch, dinner, or attend any events that each other had going on. whether it would be a party, a birthday party, a comedy skit, or just a simple brunch get together, we would try our best to meet up every few months.

ande and i would always engage in conversations around kids…or lack thereof {at the time}. we always related to one another, hit it off on any quirky subject, or just reveled in life’s happenings. i love her weirdness and i say that with the highest compliment. she’s so kind, sweet, loving, smart, and just amazing. i always say this: surround yourself with wonderful positive people who enrich your life and ande definitely qualifies in all categories!

so, we met up one evening for dinner. matt and johann were able to join as well! i made reservations at summer house santa monica in lincoln park. it was a cool winter evening; johann was the first to arrive, then me, then ande, and then matt. i couldn’t wait to see her! the last time i saw ande was around august, i came in to visit her at her store in lincoln park.

unfortunately between august and now, ande was diagnosed with cancer. i was shocked and in complete disbelief. questions flew through my head. why? how? how could this happen to her? why do crazy things happen to good people? i was sad, upset, and shocked. i reached out to ande to give her my support and prayers. we texted back and forth for a bit and then we set up a time to meet up to catch up. i am so glad we were able to meet up when we did, right before ande started to feel even worse from her chemo treatments.

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[me with this gorgeous lady]

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[best bunch of peeps ever]

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[summer house santa monica]

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[celebrating my birthday early!]

we had such a great time. natch. we always do. our dinner was filled with lots of laughter, some tears, and sooooo many fabulous moments. ande filled us in on how she discovered her cancer and what treatments she was on and her cancer free party scheduled for april 30th!

i am so blessed to know this lady. she is a wonderful friend, a supportive person, and an incredible human being. i pray every day for her health and have faith this positive lady will be cancer free! love and laughter is the best medicine and ande gets a full dose of this every day from her friends and family.

xoxo

a quiet afternoon

i apparently forgot i had this post sitting in my files…oops! better late than never! sooo….

 i had plans to go to the renegade craft fair in wicker park. we had lived right in the area for years and it was on division every year, so there was no question i needed to go. i love checking out all the small shops, listening to their stories, and seeing all their love go into the products that they make!

on the agenda was a quick visit to andrea’s place. she had a really tight schedule that day, so i decided to traipse on over to her place before i spent some time at the craft fair. she lives just right off division, a few footsteps away from the fair. i love walking. i do. i love walking e v e r y w h e r e. it’s the best thing. i love walking along the street, admiring all the shops, soaking in the rays, and people watching along the way. living in the city, it was my favorite thing to do. just walk. i didn’t need a purpose or a destination. i just needed to get out and soak in the craziness of the city.

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[i love walking]

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[loving the beautiful annabelle]

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[precious babe]

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[haha! annabelle’s expression is like “whaaaaaa?!”]

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[i love this goofy pic of us because it looks like annabelle and i have the same surprised un-ready face going on. haha!]

after spending an hour or so at andrea’s and getting cheeky with her little babe annabelle, i headed back down the street to the fair! my number purpose was to find earth cadets and purchase some pillows. it was a bit overwhelming, because there were sooooooooo many vendors {hundreds!} and i was worried i would be looking for hours just to find her shop. lo and behold, it was literally the fifth shop i ran into! sweet! i looked around but i couldn’t find the pillows i wanted to buy. i asked a random women standing there and krissy {the shop owner} was actually ringing up a customer when she said, “did you contact me on instatgram?” why, yes, yes i did! we chitchatted a bit and talked about the product, what she did, where, how, etc. it was great getting to know her for a bit. she didn’t have the pillows on hand but she offered me a great deal and i was sold. i can’t wait to get the pillows onto our new chairs! yayyyyyyyy!

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[random snap. i obviously had my camera on and i accidentally snapped this pic of me walking. i kind of like it.]

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[earth cadet onesies]

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[i could not take a pic of this adorable doggie! sooooo cute!]

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[seriously the best craft fair around. the best.]

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[i love our city]

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[my old stomping ground and our favorite gelato place]

after i purchased the pillows, i walked around and soaked in all the greatness. so many cute shops from all over the country. i loved all the goodness, met so many great people, and found so many wonderful products. i looooooove renegade! it was such a great afternoon.

xoxo

crosstown showdown

months ago when hc asked me if i wanted to go to the cubs/sox game, my response was “hells yes!”. i love the cubs, i love wrigleyfield, and i love me a baseball game in the middle of july! swell!

the day couldn’t come fast enough but before i knew it, it was game day! i was super excited and couldn’t wait to get there! we drove by aunt wendy’s house to pick up grace and some parking passes for the area. we headed on in to the city, traffic was meh but no matter, we were right on track with our time. we circled around only once before we scored a fabulous parking spot…only two blocks away from wrigley!

we had a few snags on our way in {our tickets wouldn’t scan at the gate} but we were finally inside and it was bustling! we wanted to find our seats first before we bought food…who really wants to walk around looking for their seats with their hands full of food? not moi. well, big mistake. ugh. we were smack dab in the middle of what seemed like the longest row of seats in wrigley! hahaha. we felt bad getting up {and making EVERYONE stand up in their seats} to go get food and drinks. so, we waited until someone next to us stood up to leave and we followed suit. woot!

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[how cooooool is this?! our seats happen to be the same numbers as our anniversary!]

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[almost there!]

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[excited for the game…cubbie sandwich]

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[it was a beautiful day!]

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[love this mobile band]

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[grabbing some grub // we were twinsies!]

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[your typical baseball fare]

we settled back into our seats and didn’t leave them again. we were content. the game was pretty amazing. every second of it! the cubs were ahead and we were coasting to the end. one of my most favorite moment of any baseball game? the seventh inning stretch! i looooooove singing along to that song. it’s summer, it’s american, and it’s soooo baseball, america’s favorite pastime!

fast forward to the ninth inning and cubs win! cubs win! woooooo hooooooo! at the very end of the game, they will play the song go cubs go and i love screaming to it. i do apologize to those who were around me. sorry if you get the wrath of my off key singing voice. baahahaha.

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[7th inning stretch…take me out to the ballgame!]

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[cubs win! cubs win!]

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after the game, all my friends there were texting me to hang out {um, half the people i know were at the game that day!}! booooo! we couldn’t because we had grace and that meant no bars for us {hey, grace, do you mind sitting at the front stoop of the bar while your dad and i hang out inside…not}! although, i was a little sad we couldn’t stay afterwards to celebrate the win!

nevertheless, it was a great game {just a smidge over two hours…shortest game ever for me!}! it was a gorgeous, perfect day to watch and cheer on our beloved cubbies!

xoxo

lazy day with matt

we set up a lovely brunch date with our dear friend matt. he’s been on a roll lately with suggestions on where we go. typically it’s me coming up with different places to go to but we’ve been exploring the area close to where he lives lately. which is totally fine with me!

this time around, we went to a place called over easy. a simple, small brunch place near lincoln square. it was a beautiful day out and we were actually ‘on time’. which means a leeway of 10 minutes. haha! we met matt outside and we were seated right away {they told matt a few minutes but by the time i walked up, the table was ready}.

matt was catching me up on some major life changes for him! life’s twists and turns sometimes throw you sharp curves and loops along the way but no matter what, we persevere and march on. i do love that about my friends. no matter what challenges they face, they charge on with positivity and solutions. even when it does seem like it’s not the most positive moment, we can see the bigger picture.

olive was being quite shy when we first got there…the usual. after a half hour or so, she started to warm up. she’s been a bit rebellious about the highchair of late. she’s not a fan of sitting in one, she prefers to sit in a big girl chair like her mom; only when i can peel her off my lap to sit in her own chair!

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[just terrible lighting, terrible…or just let me think that please]

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[eggs over easy! hahaha!]

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[stuffing her face, as usual]

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[warming up to matt]

after brunch, we headed on over to our favorite stomping ground: starbucks! there, we ordered drinks and just chilled. i loved this part. olive roamed around and matt and i continued to chit chat. it’s nice when olive can entertain herself or feel good that she won’t wander away from me. ’cause all you mamas know that being out and trying to focus on something else besides your kids can be a great task!

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[starbucks always]

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after several hours of hanging out together, we needed to go. i know olive needed a nap and it was just about the right time for her to knock out. it was a fabulous time with matt, as usual. we greatly enjoyed our brunch date and can’t wait until we meet up again…hopefully next time with our husbands!

xoxo