christmas day

i was looking forward to christmas morning. this year, olive was fully engaged in it. 1-3 years of age, she didn’t care. 4 she sparked interest and age 5, she was full blown into it! she’s been so thoughtful, opinionated, detailed, and just so funny with her ideas, comments, and conversations. i’m sooooo loving this age!

we don’t wrap santa gifts {hello, it’s so much easier and they know those are his gifts versus ours that are wrapped} and olive walked out from her room with the most sheepish, excited look on her face! she was gleeful to see that she received all the gifts she asked santa for!

we waited for ellie to awake before we opened up the gifts from us. we wanted to do that with ellie but having such a late night on christmas eve, ellie was wiped out and slept in late. so, we cooked breakfast and hung out until we heard her stir. we all then went back to the tree and the girls opened up the gifts from us to them! ellie’s most favorite toy was the cash register from santa!!!! she looooved it and still does!

hc and i then got crackin’ on our preparations for christmas dinner. we had his side of the family coming over at 3pm and we needed to decorate and start the food. the good news was, everyone was bringing something. whether it was apps or side dishes, it was fantastic to have bits and pieces of the meal being brought over by someone else, so the burden wasn’t completely on us!

this is our second year hosting christmas. it was passed on to us after the aunts and uncles discussed how they were getting old and tired and needed the kids to carry on the tradition. this year, we had 27 or so people at our house. holy cow! {i hardly took any pics!} let me tell you…our entertaining space is quite small, so that’s a lot of people crammed together.

nonetheless, it was wonderful, merry, and full of love – everyone made do and i think we fret over our small space more than anyone else. our evening was filled with great conversations, joy, and merriment – exactly how christmas should be spent with family!

via tandeminlove.com

[my sweet girl]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[she looooooves bath bombs!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[so in love]

via tandeminlove.com

[rudolph the red nosed reindeer]

via tandeminlove.com

[surprising, ellie was not into presents this year, although it may seem like she was through these pics]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[her most favorite toy from santa – a cash register]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[ellie, it’s a scanner…not a phone. hahaha!]

via tandeminlove.com

[my sweet girl]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[rich’s side of family]

via tandeminlove.com

[christmas dinner tablescape]

via tandeminlove.com

[jane and aunt vicki]

via tandeminlove.com

xoxo

holiday downtown

we did our annual holiday trip to macy’s on state this past weekend! we did our usual routine of eating up on the 7th floor, shopping for ornaments, and just shopping around the store.

we love to buy ornaments from here every year, grab a little candy from the shop downstairs, and just take in the hustle and bustle of the season. dan, agata, kim, terry, the boys, thuy, mom and dad came out this year. we stayed at the department store for several hours and then headed home to our house to decorate gingerbread houses! before we left, we were able to admire one of their animated windows at macy’s. olive was so enamored with all the trumpets and christmas lights and wonderment all around her! her and ellie were so amazed as we walked the streets!

once home, we tidied up a bit and then kim and fam and agata and dan came over. kim brought over wine, cheese, and paté to nibble on. the boys brought food over to the house and the kids ate dinner. we had ordered pizza for everyone else and once all the consuming of food was done, we set up the gingerbread houses for the kiddos!

the kids had a blast! olive looooooved decorating her house. she was so excited and looking forward to it for days! olive did such a great job decorating her house – she didn’t even get frosting on her fingers! a big thank you to dan for being her structural engineer and making sure her roof didn’t fall down. thanks for holding the house together while olive decorated around you!

overall it was a great, fun festive day with the family! i love being able to spend the time with them during the busiest season of the year. that is what matters most during this crazy month! we soaked in the holiday mood and created some good memories together.

via tandeminlove.com

[she’s so funny]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[hey grace! i’m only going to take a pic of you while you’re eating. oops]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[olive is so silly!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[she loooooooved riding the escalators!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[picking out candy]

via tandeminlove.com

[olive’s stash]

via tandeminlove.com

[my sweet girls]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[ready to assemble her house!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[all the goodies to decorate with]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[the cutest cousins]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[olive’s house]

via tandeminlove.com

[reagan’s house]

via tandeminlove.com

[putting on her adornments]

via tandeminlove.com

[reagan’s house looking good!]

via tandeminlove.com

[olive was sooooo dang careful with her decor and she didn’t even get frosting on her fingers!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[reagan and his masterpiece]

via tandeminlove.com

[she did such a great job!!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

xoxo

hello santa!

our annual visit with the big guy in red happened the other day! i didn’t tell the girls until we were about a minute away. olive got sheepish and ellie just didn’t care. i usually make reservations every year but this time around, i was like – let’s just wing it. i usually find that they are pretty good at getting non reserved families in and i was right!

we walked in, signed up and we were the second family to see santa! they snapped a family pic first and then the kiddos. it was cute! i wasn’t expecting to be in any pics but it was super nice to have one together {since we can be so bad at taking a family photo together}. the girl’s picture turned out so sweet too!

after those photos, we waited in line to walk into santa’s airstream trailer. when it was our turn, olive excitedly walked towards it. we walked inside and there was santa! olive was so anxious, excited, and nervous. ellie was like – nope. ‘who’s this big guy in red?! make sure i stay far away from him!’ hahaha!

olive gingerly walked towards him and sat next to him while hc held onto ellie. i encouraged olive to tell santa what she wanted for christmas. she had her hands slightly clasped and she looked right at him. as she started to speak, her voice was not quivering but her hands were slightly trembling, she told him she wanted a mermaid barbie, lol dolls, a cinderella doll, and a blue car with a big engine. it was soooo flipping adorable to see. she really wanted to tell santa what she wanted and practiced it with me before she went in. she did so well! i was so proud of her!

then hc set ellie down for a picture and it all went downhill for her! eep! well, as you can see in the pictures below…it was a very successful visit! after that, we walked away feeling so good {ok, minus ellie} and headed to dinner. after eating, we shopped around a bit in the mall and then headed home.

BUT not without losing bunny. that is a loooooong story. we thought we were donzo. that bunny was gone. we called all the places we were at and no one had bunny. we went home without him and we were devastated. especially olive. hc went back the next day to backtrack everywhere we went. he went back into stores and had no luck. then a christmas miracle happened. he searched the grounds and right in front of eddie bauer, there was bunny!!!! someone had found him and placed him up on the store front’s windowsill. bless their hearts for doing that! hc saved the day!

we had such a great evening! it really was! we had so much fun {minus the missing bunny}. santa’s visit was a success, dinner was so fun and yummy {the girls were sooooo stinking cute and well behaved}, and we had a good time shopping the mall and picking up some extra goodies!

via tandeminlove.com 

[our family photo! i loved that they did that for us]

via tandeminlove.com

[they’re so sweet]

via tandeminlove.com

[ellie and olive’s looks! priceless!]

via tandeminlove.com

[olive is so mesmerized by him! ellie, not so much]

via tandeminlove.com

[she was sooooo excited to sit in his lap! what a difference from last year and the years prior!]

xoxo

deck the halls ’18

we are fans of decorating for christmas after thanksgiving and we attempt to do it after we celebrate olive’s birthday.

olive cracks me up…she wanted to pick out an outfit to decorate in {while i am and all of us are in pj’s…ok, ellie wanted to wear a dress too}. she chose her springtime ballet recital outfit – so fancy!

hc lugged all the boxes of decorations up and put our tree together. we then we pulled out the ornament box and proceeded to decorate the tree. the girls ohhh’d and ahhh’d over all the ornaments. ellie proceeded to break two glass ornaments! not good. we were so worried that we might have left shards of glass behind!! the second ornament she broke right by her feet!!! good thing grace was fast acting – she snatched ellie off the floor in .5 seconds! thank you grace!!

after we decorated the tree…hc and olive attempted to put up the star but with us having a new big and tall tree this year…it was a bit difficult, but they tried!

once the tree was done, the girls took a break and hc and i continued to decorate the rest of the house. man, it’s exhausting to decorate! i don’t know if i will even attempt this when i get older…i will be too tired! haha!

well, after much time and trips to home depot for lots of fresh pine garland and nubs, we dressed our home in love and festiveness!

via tandeminlove.com

[olive called my pajama’s bacon pj’s! hahaha!]

via tandeminlove.com

[she loves the candy canes, gifts from matt’s mom]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[her outfit of choice to wear while decorating the tree]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[my little fire ball]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[she broke this glass ornament and one other…oy, it was such a disaster! no one wants shards of glass on your floor!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[true disheveled pj time]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[attempting a star topper but the tree was too tall!]

via tandeminlove.com

xoxo

noel ’17

this was the first christmas day hc and i had hosted! as our aunts and uncles and parents get older, it was time to pass the torch to the next generation and continue the traditions! hc’s aunt vicki and uncle steve have hosted christmas day for a long time and it was time for us to take on that holiday and celebration!

we were excited to do so! hc told me last year that he would have the basement done by then and ta da! it wasn’t. wah wah. we wanted the extra space but c’est la vie. christmas day was just fine the way it was {space wise}.

christmas morning was exciting! olive couldn’t wait to see if santa ate his cookies and if rudolph nibbled on his carrot. the girls were excited to open up their gifts and of course, play all day long with their toys! we made cinnamon rolls for breakfast and drank mimosas….what a perfect christmas morning.

hc created a menu, based upon what everyone was going to bring, and we finalized all the pretty decor touches before everyone arrived! we were excited to do this! family is most important and we couldn’t wait to celebrate this day with hc’s side.

hc made a spiral ham, prime rib and green beans, while aunt vicki brought her infamous shells, aunt wendy provided the alcohol, jane brought mashed potatoes and apps, sister missy brought dessert, and cousin jennifer brought brussel sprouts. everyone participated and the spread was delicious and amazing!

it was a beautiful evening, being able to visit, relax, and just be with family. that is definitely what life is about!

we were so happy to have hosted our first christmas day and we were so excited that everyone had such a wonderful time! cheers to new traditions and to family!

via tandeminlove.com

[cookies and milk for santa]

via tandeminlove.com

[olive was so excited to see if santa and rudolph ate their snacks!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[excited over santa gifts!]

via tandeminlove.com

[no pj olive]

via tandeminlove.com

[she asked santa for a doll, fairy, horse, and unicorn]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[she loves this little doll from mary, her sitter]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[snow globe]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[christmas day mimosa]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[cinnamon rolls]

via tandeminlove.com

[santa’s gift]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[sweet babes]

via tandeminlove.com

[sweet exchange]

via tandeminlove.com

[christmas dinner tablescape]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[aunt vicki, missy, aunt wendy, jane, and jennifer]

via tandeminlove.com

[uncle steve and jennifer]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.comvia tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

xoxo

christmas eve ’17

christmas eve was teetering on the brink of us possibly hosting it or having it at my parent’s house {for the past several decades}…it depended upon whether or not my parent’s foundation crack was fixed and the carpet was installed.

hallelujah, everything fell into place and my parent’s house was back in order! it was going to feel like christmas eve!

well, i awoke to it snowing outside and became a little kid, squealing with excitement! i was soooooo stoked it was going to be a white christmas!! it had been so warm all season and the southern region of the states had gotten more snow than us! there’s something just so magical about snow on christmas!

we prepped all day to get ready for christmas day {we were hosting for the first time!}, ellie took a nap, we scrambled to get the girls bathed, and over to my parent’s house at a decent time but failed miserably! i wanted to get over to help my sister cook but we ended up not getting over there until 6!!!

all was good, we helped with dinner, we partook in joyous, silly things, and enjoyed each other’s company. christmas time is so darn special. i love the merriment, the compassion, and the warmth of home. there is nothing like spending time with family and loving one another.

we were so happy to have the newlyweds, huy + tashina, here for christmas {after joining them for their fabulous wedding}. they always add to the fun craziness of our family time!

life is good.

via tandeminlove.com

[a white christmas]

via tandeminlove.com[olive is so gangsta]

via tandeminlove.com

[twinning]

via tandeminlove.com

[gorgeous centerpiece]

via tandeminlove.com

[besties]

via tandeminlove.com

[my sweet, sweet girls]

via tandeminlove.com

[silly cousins]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[olive and ba]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[olive, huy, and tashina]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[my tribe]

via tandeminlove.com

[crazy cousins]

via tandeminlove.com

[dan, olive, and agata]

via tandeminlove.com

[kim and ellie]

via tandeminlove.com

[bennett, kevin, and reagan]

via tandeminlove.com

[oh ellie…reagan loves you!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[she’s like take the friggin’ picture already! hahaha]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com
via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

xoxo

christmas popcorn

ever since we’ve moved into our neighborhood, i’ve made christmas popcorn for our surrounding friends every christmas!

it’s the easiest thing to make and oh so yummy! this year is the first year olive has really helped me with it and this year is the first year she is dressed so crazy! baby girl picked her outfit out or should i say lack thereof an oufit?! we’re going on week two or three of no clothes at home and she absolutely loves it! well, it definitely makes laundry a little lighter! haha!

i prepped our ingredients {popped the corn, opened the toppings, and readied the tools!} and boom! we were ready to go! i dumped a small bit of popcorn, at a time, into a bowl so we don’t have huge batches to cover. it’s best to do a small amount each time because you really want to coat the popcorn with the chocolate! olive sprinkled on the pretzels, m&ms, and we dusted each batch with perils!

olive so patiently helped me with each round and at the very end of it, i let her eat a piece and she was smitten! she loved it and gave me a thumbs up! i filled a santa cup up for her and she was a happy camper!

i then divvied up the popcorn into each jar and voila! they were ready to go out to each of our neighbor friends!

we had just enough left over for us and guess who ate it all? yup…miss olive!

get it girl!

via tandeminlove.com

[prepping the jars]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[yeahhhhhh, her baking outfit. she’s a nut! i love it! she only wears her undies and the most random stuff. it cracks me up!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[if you don’t know by  now, i liiiiiive in pj’s!]

via tandeminlove.com

[i love this girl! her outfit choices crack me up!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[we’re ready to pour on the chocolate!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[yummmmm!]

via tandeminlove.com

[i get a thumbs up!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

xoxo

ugly sweater christmas party

so, quite surprisingly, i have never been to an ugly sweater christmas party! yes…it’s been around for awhile but none of my friends nor did i ever host one.

my friend irina invited us over to her place for a party and i needed to grab a sweater for the occasion! i picked out some candy cane striped leggings, added a lot of bows to the ‘do, and voila! my ugly christmas sweater outfit!

we walked into their place to a beautifully lit christmas tree, a delicious looking table spread, and yummy appetizers all around! i was hungry and excited to eat! patrick offered us tasty libations [rose please!] and we nibbled non stop on the delicious bites.

we had a great time chatting with all her friends. it was relaxing, easy going, and fun! then an old friend walked in, theresa! i was so happy to see her! it was great catching up on life and sharing notes.

irina and i met through work a long time ago. i’m so lucky to still be in touch with this lovely lady and her sweet husband. we’ve supported each other throughout the years and i love that we are able to get out {by ourselves or as couples} and hang every few months! whether it’s a birthday party, a baby shower, a wedding, a house warming party, a holiday party, or just because, we try our best to make those dates happen!

after a few hours of hanging out, we had to jet. ya know…we have kids! ha! it’s different if someone was watching the girls at our house. that makes it easy for us to come home later because they will be put to bed with no worries. when my parents watch them at their house, that means we have to pick them up at a decent hour to get them home and ready for bed! well, it was the latter situation that night, so hc and i left the party much earlier than what we wanted to. c’est la vie, non?

anyhoo, it was a fabulous, fun party! i loved my first ugly sweater christmas party! thank you irina and patrick for being such gracious hosts! we love you both!

happy holidays!

via tandeminlove.com

[me and irina]

via tandeminlove.com

[the yummy buffet table]

via tandeminlove.com

[sweet emma eating her pizzaaaaa]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[but seriously…so ugly. i think we won the ugliest sweaters at the party]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com
via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[the sweet couple]

xoxo

o + e santa visit

every year, since olive had been born, she has despised her visits with santa claus. one picture after another, year after year…she is absolutely frightened and as a parent, i find it disgustingly hilarious!!!!

well this year was absolutely no different. a couple weeks before our visit to the big man, i asked olive is she wanted to visit santa and ask him for presents. she said no. i said, “don’t you want to ask him for gifts?!” and she said, “i don’t want to sit in his lap.” and i said, “you have to if you want to ask him for presents this year” {honestly…doesn’t anyone else find it so odd that you make your kids sit on a strange old man’s lap and ask for gifts?? hahaha!}. she then says to me, “reagan and bennett don’t sit on his lap!” oh yeahhhhh? i grabbed my phone and showed her a picture of her cousins sitting on santa’s lap from the other week. her jaw practically dropped. she stared in silence and disbelief at the picture for a good solid 30 seconds. then says to me, “i don’t want to sit on santa’s lap” and that was it.

so came the night we were going to visit santa. hc came home from work and asked if i told olive what we were doing tonight. i said no. he said, “aren’t you going to tell her?!”, so reluctantly i did. i called her over and said, “olive, we are going to see santa tonight and ask for christmas presents” and surprisingly she said, “ok” and walked to her room to change her clothes. whaaaa? i was dying. she is so funny and cute!

we arrived and olive was soooo somber. she whimpered a bit and mumbled something about not wanting to see santa but i could tell that she knew she was going to see santa whether she liked it or not. especially with her steadfast, crazy mama standing in front of her {obviously this whole thing is more for me than her! eep!}. olive knew there was no saying no.

first, the kids sit down and take pics of just them in front of a sleigh. olive spied santa around the corner and she couldn’t stop staring at him!!! i am so amused that the photographer caught her nervous glance on camera! olive and ellie did so well with their sit down pictures together in front of the sleigh. then came the santa pics…olive nervously sat on the edge of the chair. santa was super sweet with her…he asked her what she wanted and they exchanged words back and forth about dolls, fairies, unicorns, horses, teddy bears, etc. i was soooo proud of her! she actually did a great job talking to santa. she was very quiet and reserved but totally didn’t have a meltdown!

then came the moment we were going to place ellie in his arms. watch out!! hc placed her down in his arms and she flipped out. FLIPPED out! her boots flung off her feet faster than a tesla roadster. ohmergawd. it was hilarious. olive actually smiled but she was totally fake smiling and her hands were clasped so tight out of nervousness! oh my poor girls!!! they were so scared!!! but gosh…it makes for the funniest pics!! so sadistic of me, non??

anyhoo, and that was that. i must say it was a pretty successful visit! the pics turned out great, i absolutely love the one of just olive and ellie in front of the sleigh…my favorite! well, ’tis the season to make your kids do crazy things! ha! happy holidays y’all!

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[very unsure of what is about to happen…]

via tandeminlove.com

[so is hc…haha!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[could this be any more perfect? olive spied santa from a distance and was soooooo nervous!]

via tandeminlove.com

[she’s like ‘ohmergawd…santa!’]

via tandeminlove.com

[check out that fake smile olive has and ellie…well that speaks for itself!]

via tandeminlove.com

[her shoes flung off so fast!]

via tandeminlove.com

xoxo

holiday program

olive’s pre-k holiday program was this past week! the last day of school before winter break. i was looking forward to this for weeks. olive practiced her songs with us, at home, several times. although, at first we didn’t realize all the songs she sang were part of her holiday concert! we just thought she was learning fun songs at school.

well the day had come and i dressed olive up in the cutest, most festive holiday outfit i could rummage out of her closet. she looked so darling in her tutu playsuit and reindeer antlers.

 we scurried to her school as early as we could because we wanted to nab a seat as close to the stage as possible. we were close…we scored second row! the kiddos paraded in and olive looked so confused and nervous. the teachers sat the kids down and after an announcement, the concert began.

olive had stage fright! to make matters worse, her nose was runny {we’ve been dealing with a little cold} and she was very bothered that she couldn’t wipe her runny nose and it tooooootally bothered me that i couldn’t get up there to wipe it for her!!! poor olive just stared blankly out at the crowd when they started singing their first song. she stared and stared throughout the first few songs and then finally started to warm up and sing along.

the concert was a success! olive was too cute and subdued during the whole concert but sang along for a majority of the songs. it was so fun to watch all the kiddos. of course there was a run away boy who circled the stage and the girl sitting next to olive was so excited and animated! it was hilarious to see how reserved olive was and how boisterous her classmate was! total opposites!

once the concert was over, we were able to take photos of our babe and then she was able to join us and we were able to leave for the day. although olive was really bummed there was no school after the concert! she wanted to stay for school and was a bit upset…awwww, that was too cute.

i was so happy to see her first holiday school program. it completely warmed my heart to see my baby girl perform! it was a great moment that filled my soul with joy.

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[i forgot that i had left her with her bunny!]

via tandeminlove.com

[she was nervous!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[she’s not quite sure what to do yet]

via tandeminlove.com

[finally warming up and joining in!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[they’re all done! hurray! it was an awesome holiday concert!]

xoxo