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

michelin star brewery

we had previous plans with matt and johann a few months ago but unfortunately, that date fell through. sooooo, we made plans for another day and it was a beautiful {albeit chilly but sunny} morning to have brunch!!

they picked this restaurant, band of bohemia, and it was delicious! hc loved the cool decor and we loved the fact that it is the only brewery ever to be awarded a michelin star! does anyone else follow michelin star restaurants? also, has anyone ever seen the movie burnt? not the best movie ever made but i really enjoyed the idea behind michelin star driven chefs and the discipline {amongst other things} it takes to achieve the prestigious honor.

anyhoo, we arrived early and just soaked in the surroundings while we waited for matt and johann. once they arrived, the libations and tasty morsels flowed. it was a very adult menu although it was a very kid friendly place. don’t expect kids cups, drink options, or entrees that will be favored by the majority of most little one’s palette. olive isn’t as adventurous, although ellie is but the food sufficed in feeding the babes.

it’s funny to me how it can be potatoes but not potatoes in the typical format my girls are used to, so therefore, they reject it. i’m like, “seeeeerioulsy?! it’s just potatoes?!” and olive will says, “no it isn’t.” okuuuuuuurt.

the drinks were extra {as in extra fancy}. cheers to that! and cheers again as the boys continued to toast drink after drink! ya know that saying – ‘it’s 5 o’clock somewhere’! we were having a great time catching up with the boys, as it had been awhile since we have seen them!

ellie was in rare form…she was super fussy and antsy and olive was in love with their waiting room area. i was ok with olive playing over there by herself but i couldn’t leave ellie there with her…she’s too much of a trouble maker! regardless, ellie wasn’t happy anywhere at the moment. she wanted to be in my arms, she wanted to be in hc’s arm, she wanted to be by olive, she wanted to be on the ground exploring. we couldn’t keep up with her!

i must give the babes credit for, overall, being so well behaved because we were there for quite awhile. i think we were there for two or more hours! i think ellie was just bored, hence her short attention span for things. hahaha!

we knew our limits and didn’t want to push it any further with miss ellie, so we said our goodbyes. it was a fantastic morning with our fellow friends. you can’t beat good food, drinks, and amazing friends!

cheers to that!

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[band of bohemia]

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[sweet babe]

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[grace and rich]

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[she’s such a sensitive doll]

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[my girls]

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[giggles]

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[it’s 5 o’clock somewhere]

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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

easter bunny

my sister kim, last minute, asked us to come with her to go see the easter bunny at 900 n. olive paid a visit to the easter bunny once {at a local easter egg hunt}, when she was two years old but we didn’t see one last year. we hosted an egg hunt at our house versus going to one and seeing an easter bunny at a local mall or so.

the next morning, we did our usual routine and got ready to head out. i remembered back in the days, something like this stressed me out with two kids {hahaha…and yes, i only have two. not three. not four. referencing, it’s all relative, right?}. getting them ready & dressed, getting myself ready, getting them fed, packing up enough toys, diapers, snacks, etc., not forgetting anything for myself, getting them layered up for the cold weather, getting them strapped into the car seats {’cause, hell, that’s a process in itself!}, do i have the stroller? all sorts of things to remember and plus, i was always late. yes, it used to stress me out but now it’s like second nature.

we were ahead of schedule and hit the road to head to 900 n michigan ave. we parked, i fed ellie, i assembled the stroller, we rolled in, walked around, i had to go to the bathroom, we went to the wrong floor, and then we finally found the easter bunny area and signed up for a visit. it was an hour and forty five minute wait! oy! there were 40 families ahead of us!

everyone finally rolled in and we all gathered around the 6th floor {for coffee at oak tree}, to wait our turn for the easter bunny while the kids played in galt toys. olive obsessed over a unicorn bouncy. she was smitten. the entire time we were there, she bounced on it all around the store. she was sooooo happy! she showed it off to anyone who would listen. it was so cute. when we were leaving, she asked me if she could ‘borrow’ it. her word for, can we ‘buy’ it. i said, “maybe you can tell the easter bunny to bring it to you?”. her eyes totally lit up!

it was finally our turn to see the easter bunny! it went by much faster than estimated {one hour versus the hour forty five}, thank goodness! as expected, ellie was a hot mess when i left her with the easter bunny but overall we received pretty awesome pics!! olive was so good! i was so surprised and my heart was so full that she was excited to see him and not scared! the set up was so gorgeous! the balloon arch was beautiful and the flowers and lights were so springy and fun! i was so happy with the results!

after the easter bunny pics, we headed on over to the blue door kitchen and garden down on elm. it was so cute and cozy inside! the dinnerware was pretty, the libations were tasty, and the food was so delicious! i absolutely enjoyed our service; everyone was so attentive and polite! i definitely hope i can get back there with hc to eat again!

after our excursion at the restaurant, we shopped a little bit more and then headed on our way home. later that evening, the family came over to our house to eat dinner and dye eggs! our day was filled with so much fun!

it was such a lovely day. it really was. we had such a great time with everyone. seeing the easter bunny was so much fun, the restaurant was so good, and the company was even better. it was a really fun day with the family! time spent like that is priceless. oh, and the easter bunny did get olive her unicorn bouncy! yay!

happy easter lovelies!

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[i’m typically walton]

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[how gorgeous is this balloon display?]

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[i could stare at this all day…it’s so whimsical and pretty!]

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[i think i was more excited than olive when the easter bunny came out!]

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[she spotted the bouncy]

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[she’s going for it!]

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[no pictures of this next event but the poor babe fell on her face. eep!]

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[she faired better on this riding toy]

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[sweet babes running through the center]

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via tandeminlove.com[my sweet babe]

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[sweetest cousins]

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[cookie monster]

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[super auntie thuy and ellie]

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[what really happened…oh poor babe was so scared!]

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[blue door kitchen and garden]

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[terry and kim]

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[cutest kiddos]

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[the most delicious tea drink everrrrrr]

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[i love her so much]

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[yummy, yummy hummus]

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[my sweet olive]

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[this kale and brussel salad was ahhhhhhhmazing]

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[lan and avery]

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[these babes are too sweet]

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[i love her bob]

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[eating pizza before dyeing eggs]

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[reagan’s creative egg dyeing]

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[sweet babe ready for bed]

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[olive’s eggs]

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[pj time!]

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

State Street

for the past many, many years…we have traveled downtown to field’s on state street, now macy’s. it was always such an event to see their window displays. they would always have a theme, like the nutcracker, and the set up within each window would be so well crafted, gorgeous, and magical. unfortunately, since macy has bought out field’s…the windows aren’t that magical anymore. nevertheless, we love going there to experience the craziness, go to their holiday lane, see the walnut room tree, and get coffee and candy on the lower level and shop!

i love the bustling crowds {yes, i am the minority….maybe that is why i love the city so much! large crowds and loud noises! ha!}, the holiday music in the background, the decorations, and the over the top retail displays!

we were running so behind because we had to make a pit stop at one of our favorite places in wrigleyville, southport grocery, to pick up gift baskets we had pre-ordered. traveling through the inner city can be taxing! the traffic is insane! it’s not about getting to the city, it’s the traffic inside the city! anyhoo, we finally made it to block 37, where we usually park and the garage was closed due to capacity! whaaaa? our whole plane was to not wear coats because we could walk through tunnels to get to macy’s but that was scratched! we parked in the theatre lot instead and walked a couple blocks, carrying our babes because we decided to not bring the stroller {again, because we were going to park in block 37…hahaha! our plans were ruined!}.

once we met up with everyone, we went to holiday lane {floor 7} and picked out ornaments, as we do every year, to add to the tree. after perusing the all the christmas goodies, we headed on up to see the walnut room tree in their furniture section {floor 8}. as usual, we love taking too many serious and goofy pictures in front of the tree. after the visiting the tree, we headed all the way down to pick out candies, shop their foodie section, and most of the time we grab something from starbucks!

this time around, instead of eating lunch at seven on state, we decided to have dinner at gt fish and oyster. stellar idea from my sister kim! it was a perfect nightcap. delicious food, tasty beverages, and a comfortable chic ambience for us and the kiddos!

we wrapped up our evening with full bellies, good spirits, and a fun filled holiday afternoon to continue the joy of the season! happy christmas everyone!

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[checking out the nutcrackers]

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[trying to take a picture of these two babes]

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[sweet baby ellie]

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[brought this little baby home]

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[grace, hc, and ellie]

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[these girls…ellie always runs away and has become so attached to the paci]

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[i tried getting a pic of the whole horse, but it was so hard to do so! they need to put this clydesdale horse in a corner! people were constantly walking by!]

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[owning the runway]

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[olive posing with a toe point leg pop and ellie gnawing on her paci]

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[reagan riding the unicorn and olive laughing!]

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[bennett loves his teddy bears]

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via tandeminlove.com[writing letters to santa]

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[sending her wish list!]

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[when posing by yourself…you’re just awkward. hahaha!]

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[selecting her candies]

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[oh dem cheeks]

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[rad in plaid]

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xoxo

CNO

let me start by saying it took us months for us to plan a get together for the ‘three’ of us. one weekend after another, we were busy, busy, busy! fiiiiiiinally, we were able to tie down a date and voila! we met up on the rainiest of rainy night there was!

we all met at dana and scott’s pad in ravenswood {we arrived exactly when irina and patrick arrived! we totally ran into them at the front of the building! talk about timing!}. we decided to start off with drinks there and then scoot on over to a restaurant in their ‘hood. scott and patrick drove over to the eatery {don’t ask} and hc, dana, irina, and i walked. we were so lucky to get a pocket of no rain during our trek because the rain that day was no joke!

we finally made it to our destination and grabbed a booth. it was a wee bit cozy with the six of us but no matter…i hate not hearing others around me in a conversation and we didn’t have to scream at each other. i’m definitely not a fan of environments like that.

we laughed, we talked, we ordered drinks, and ate lots of yummy food. i love these peeps. such a good, good group of human beings. everyone is so funny, witty, engaging, sweet, and thoughtful. there’s no place for a dull conversation around these folks!

during dinner, the rain ensued. the downpour from the sky was no joke. we watched in amazement as the water right next to the restaurant slowly raised up on the street and by the gutter. we wickedly laughed as people walked through it, completely taken off guard at how hight the ‘puddle’ was! it was so dark, rainy, and most pedestrians couldn’t see how deep and high the water was! one person after another would run/step through it, shocked that it was almost up to their knees! eep!

after dinner, irina and patrick said their goodbyes {they had parked right by the restaurant} and scott, dana, hc, and i walked back towards their place {and thankfully during a dry spell from the sky!}. we were being sooo silly! of course scott and rich stayed back and talked while dana and i walked ahead and gabbed. since dana and i were wearing rain boots, we were being super silly and decided to run through puddles! ha! we saw a big puddle ahead on the street we were crossing, we giddily held hands and ran across the street, laughing hysterically as we splashed through multiple puddles! oh em gee. we were having a blast!

we finally reached our car and said our goodbyes. it was a fun, fun evening spent with two fantastic couples! evenings like this always have a place in my heart!

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[me and my lady friends]

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xoxo

oh cubbies!

i was soooo excited to go to my first NLCS game!

honestly, the cubbies have hit it up the last three years but before that…ummmmm, wasn’t it 2003 when they were last in it?! anyhoo, i was stoked when hc called me and asked if i wanted to go to a game! hells yessssss!

it was a beautiful, cool evening. we left mid afternoon, found a sweet parking spot, and strolled around the city towards the field. we arrived there so early! it wasn’t that crowded down below {yesss, we could walk around without bumping into everyone} and we were first in line at our favorite hot dog stand! score! we walked up to our seats and chowed down on our dogs, drank beer, and people watched. the stadium was very empty but as the hour passed, it became super packed!

i was so nervous. the cubbies were going into this 3-1 and each game was so gut wrenching! as we waited for the game to start, hc spotted our friend linh {there with her guy jim}. he tapped her arm to get her attention and i screamed! it was awesome to see her, if only for a few seconds!

the first inning was awful! the dodgers scored right away and inning after inning, they were shutting out the cubbies and getting ahead run, after run! ugh!!! it was soooooo disappointing. i was so bummed and so was every cubs fan there. hc and i weren’t going to let it get us down. we enjoyed our drinks, ate more food {hello cheesy fries and super loaded nachos}, sang our hearts out in the 7th inning stretch, and stayed to the very last inning {where the dodgers knocked us out 1 2 3 at the bottom of the 9th}.

right before the game ended, our friend scott and his sister joined us! that definitely added to our fun! we were able to hang out and chat with them for a bit. overall, it was a great evening, despite them losing. we had a great time with each other {date night!}, it was a beautiful evening, we saw a few of our friends, ate yummy bad food, and truly enjoyed our time out sans kids!

well, cheers to a great past season and to next year’s world series win!

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[best dogs everrrrr. so darn good]

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[i love wrigley field]

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[we got to meet up with scott and his sister!]

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[some cool wall in wrigleyville]

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

housewarming

dana and scott just bought a new place together {they were married last year!}. a sweet home for the sweet couple!

they invited us to their housewarming party and we couldn’t wait to see their new place! it was a hooooot day. the commute was long but the good news was, we found a parking space right by their place!

dana was so surprised to see us! the day prior, i was sick. soooooo sick. i wasn’t sure if i was going to be able to come to her party. i was a mess – chills, fever, aches, pains, it was awful but one day later, what a difference it can make. i felt soooo much better. i was still sick but when you can get over a horrible hump like that, you feel like a new person even though you are still recovering.

we were so excited to be there! dana took me on a tour of their new home and i love her beautiful place. i am so happy for them! right after we arrived, that was when everyone started to trickle in. her parents showed up and i love her parents! jeff and marcia are so stinkin’ cute!

it became crowded in their condo and hot! there were so many bodies within their place, the temperature inside soared! i knew hc was uncomfortable. he becomes miserable when he’s too hot. ugh. time flew by and before we knew it, we had been at their house for several hours! it didn’t even feel like it, i was having a great time! ellie was uncomfortable though. she was being so darn clingy and didn’t like the fact that everyone was ohhh’ing and ahhhh’ing over her. it kind of freaked her out.

we decided it was time to leave, although that is when olive got real comfortable, befriending everyone there! she was being so cute, running around and being silly to anyone who would pay attention to her. she’s such a fun gal!

we were so happy we were able to make their fun party and see their beautiful new home. they are such a cute couple and i love them! many blessings to you both – may your home always be filled with laughter, love, and comfort.

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[unfamiliar environments equates to a fussy ellie]

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[sweet sisters]

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[my sweet babes]

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xoxo