fun times

my mind, lately, has been extra mush. i blame kids, myself, life, doing too much, and old age {just to name a few things}. haha!

i was texting my friend matt the other week about something…of course i can’t remember what but at the end of our thread, i said, “oh, we should get together soon!” and he says, “we are…this coming weekend.” durrrrrhhhhhh. the one good thing i still remember to do is to, at least, put things like that into my phone calendar. because if i didn’t, pure chaos would ensue!!

well, matt and johann arrived and the fun began! i looooove these two. they are real, honest, and hilarious! we let the libations flow, the raw conversations come out, and the love between all of us is almost palpable.

olive completely warmed up to guncle matt and johann. they were her new besties! she loved to constantly showed them her toys, showed off, and wanted their attention. it was so sweet. hopefully not in an overbearing way because i don’t like it when a child constantly interrupts the conversation{s}…i believe sporadic or moderate breaks in dialog is the key to cuteness before it oversteps the boundary of annoying. and yes, i did say annoying. not by any fault of the child but we have to control the balance between adult conversions that we yearn to enjoy versus a kid taking over the show. ya know what i mean??

but really, she’s just too darn cute! that sweet little girl voice and that still slightly chubby cheek face just melts my heart. i mean, i could definitely talk, listen, and hear her all day but when we have our friends over, my babes need to understand it’s wine time. hahaha! but who am i kidding?! my mom job is 24/7, even with friends over.

anyhoo, we had a grand ol’ time with them. we laughed, we argued, we drank, we ate {an amazing meal cooked by hc – i’m so lucky he loves to experiment with different recipes!}, and we drank some more. i think between the boys {a little by me}, they polished off a couple bottles of wine and almost a whole bottle of whiskey. uh, yes…matt and hc were going toe to toe! although hc had the edge that he was at home with no where to go!

after many hours of hanging out, at last, johann and matt decided to head home. we had such an amazing time with them…as usual! we love them so much and always look forward to our nights {or brunch} with them!

thanks boys, for making it out to our ‘hood!

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[my sweet girl who’s growing up so fast…]

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[hc, matt, and johann]

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[my boys]

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[demolished apple pie]

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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

dinner date

ahhhhhh, the kid life. life has changed so much for me. before kids, i loved going out, loved being out in the scene, had alllllll the time in the world to do nothing, and slept allllllllll the time. brunch at 11 was too early for me on some days. hahaha! my how life is so different.

it’s now filled with drool stained clothes, ponytails because your kids will rip your hair out if it’s dangling within reach, tired zombie like state, no sleep, appointments, runny noses, snacks, no sleep, puke, late night feedings, cartoons, toys, no sleep, stepping on and cleaning up toys, crying, pee breaks, no sleep, lots of nursing, make believe interactive play time, and the list goes on and on. sounds so inviting and luxurious doesn’t it?! bahahahaha! my single friends are currently running away and calling me birth control. ha!

anyhoo, usually when my girlfriends ask me to go out, i love doing brunch. brunch works. it’s daytime, it’s early, and it’s easier to get the kids wrangled up and out the door. when they can’t make a brunch date…dinner gets tricky. it gets late, you don’t know how tired your kids will be, how well behaved they will be at a restaurant, and you also debate on whether or not you want to go out without them. i usually like to be with them…yes, i am that mommy. every second i can spend with my girls, i will take it. i feel like life is too short, time is too fast, and i don’t want to lose any moments with my babes. they will get bigger and not want to spend every waking moment with me and i will take advantage of it now! they are only babies for so long and i know i will miss those moments.

sooooooo, i invited my girlfriends over for dinner. bam! kill two birds with one stone…dinner at home {kids are around} but us gals can have a great time together and relax in a comfortable environment!

karen and kt came over and the fun began! i was nursing ellie when kt arrived. i then heard the sweetest thing come out of olive’s mouth…she said to kt, “want to see my room?” she wanted to show kt her bedroom and i just melted. i have never heard olive say that before! it was so sweet she wanted to share her space with kt! they played and had the best time in her room! it was the cutest thing to watch. i joined them minutes later and we had such a great time together.

we imbibed a few libations, karen made the most delicious appetizers! go chef karen! it was sooooooo yummy! we talked non stop and had a blast together! i had a great time hanging out with my girls and olive was sooooooo in love with them. i have to tell ya, karen and kt are so freakin’ good with olive. they love kids and they love interacting with her! hc changed her into pj’s and she told him she wanted to show her friends her funny faces. i love that she called them her friends! so cute!

after several hours of hanging out, it was time for the girls to go. we were a bit sad to say goodbye but that only leaves us looking forward to the next time we can hang out! thanks karen and kt for coming over! it was so much fun and i can’t wait to get some more girl time soon!

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[hi baby on the floor]

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[she was being so adorable…the first thing she wanted to show kt was her room!]

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[i swear olive was having a blast. hahaha!]

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[delicious apps by chef karen]

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xoxo

simple saturday night

we were excited to have olivia and aaron over for a simple saturday night dinner. we try to take turns to come into the city and they try to come out to the ‘burbs…since we are now suburbanites. {insert monkey emoji covering his eyes} so they wanted to come out to us this time!

we kept it very low key. we didn’t have olive this weekend because hc’s parents wanted her for a sleep over. so, we decided to throw some items onto the grill and buy some deli items to compliment it. voila! a simple, easy meal.

as usual, olivia and i secluded ourselves and just chitchatted the night away while aaron and hc hung out. as i have said in the past, olivia and i can talk, talk, talk the hours away. we always have endless amounts of topics to talk about. it’s seriously never ending! i love the comfort of our friendship and love that about us.

it was also the first time i really wanted to have a glass of wine. yup. hc poured us each a glass and i happily sipped on it. it was delicious! although, i only had maybe eight sips in total, it was perfect and yummy! for dinner, we decided to sit outside. it was a fantastic evening. not too cold or warm and very tranquil. we talked, ate, and then realized as we sat there, that the mosquitos were in full force! ugh! we gathered our dishes and headed inside.

we all hung out a bit longer and then olivia and aaron realized it was almost 10. omg. it’s like we are so old! we get tired so easily. what?!! yes, it’s true. so, they headed on out, back to the city and we retired onto the couch for the rest of the night! hahaha! such party animals!

it was a fantastic evening and we are so happy they were able to come out to visit with us! we always have such a great time with these two beautiful people!

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[my look now a days. very simple and plain. eek!]

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[you just can’t go wrong]

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[these two…]

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[my favorite…olivia knows me well]

xoxo

dinner with friends

we were so excited to host a simple dinner for our friends matt and johann!

it had been awhile since we had seen them and we were so excited that they could come on over to our abode for a casual dinner. it was quite the lovely day and a perfect day to grill something and eat al fresco.

we hit the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner and did a little prep work before they came over. we wanted it to be yummy but simple. we had a really busy spring cleaning kind of weekend and wanted the prep and clean up to be easy!

matt and johann arrived and the fun began! we love hanging out with these crazy twosome. they seriously crack me up all the time. little olive was asleep so she didn’t get to greet them right away but i forewarned them that she’s not the most social and not always in at the best mood when she wakes from a nap!

we had prepared a small appetizer plate to start with and took ourselves outside to enjoy the beautiful weather. after noshing a bit on apps and talking up a storm, hc fired up the grill and started the burgers. i went inside and prepped the rest of the meal so it was ready to serve.

we enjoyed our meal…burgers, kale salad, pasta salad, chips, and fruit. everything was delicious and perfectly light for the warm spring night. the only thing missing for me was the beer. hahaha!

olive was stirring, so i went inside to rouse her a bit more. hc and our guests relocated themselves inside and i brought olive out. she has become so difficult in saying hello! i can’t get her to just say hi…it’s like pulling teeth with this babe! she’s become so utterly shy lately!

anyhoo, i set olive up on the couch and went back into the kitchen to join in on the crazy conversations. we continued to nosh and imbibe tasty beverages {well at least the boys did!}. we had a plethora of beer and hard liquor libations to choose from. johann and i concocted old fashioned’s for him and hc. their signature drinks together!

after a bit, we served desserts and continued our conversations into the night. time seriously flew by. we had sooooo much fun with them! hours passed by and before we knew it, it was quite late for a sunday night! johann and matt gathered their belongings and said their goodbyes. olive did her best by hiding under the couch when i told her to say goodbye to her guests. oy vey!

we gave our hugs and said our goodbyes and waved our dear friends away. it was fabulous to see them and as they say, time flies when you’re having fun!

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[love these two!]

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[grilled burgers, kale salad, fruit, mac salad, and chips]

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[i love him]

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[i couldn’t choose what to serve, so i bought a variety! mmmmm]

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[omg, it was like taking pics of kids…i couldn’t get them to look at the camera or stay still so i am posting this pic ’cause matt looks good. hahaha! cheering with their old fashioned’s]

xoxo

friday night

so months ago, during dana and scott’s engagement party…we made plans to get together with irina, patrick, dana, and scott. fast forward a couple months, we finally make it happen!

our plan was to get to au cheval early and hopefully nab a table {we were crossing our fingers…}, they don’t take reservations! dana, hc, and i have eaten there before but the rest have not and we all wanted to eat there together, it’s soooooo yummy!

per usual, hc and i were running so late! ugh…like very late. traffic on a friday night is horrific, so we were a bit anxious to get going. we hit the road and of course it was baaaad. well, we finally saw why it was so bad, there was an accident on the ike. yuck! we surpassed it and started cruising. the good news was {well, not really good news}, dana and irina were running behind as well! phew! so, we weren’t far behind! yay!

irina’s husband, patrick, arrived at au cheval early, before six o’clock, to put our name down for a table. um, they told him it would be a four hour wait. wtf?! a four hour wait?????? are you kidding me?! no thank you! that was such a bummer. oh, we so wanted to eat there but there was no way we waiting for a midnight supper.

so, patrick moseyed across the street to the haymarket pub and nabbed us a table. i was super annoyed at it all. i, first, didn’t want to spend my friday night in the city at the haymarket pub but hey, whatcha gonna do? there was no way we were eating at au cheval. well, no matter, what was most important was spending my time with everyone. i was super excited to catch up and have some fun!

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[my girls]

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[cheers to being out!]

the conversation flowed non-stop. we have a bunch of talkers in this group! we shared, switched, and started multiple conversations between us all. it was so much fun. i love this group of peeps. patrick cracks me up, irina and her sarcasm, dana is a little bit of both, and hc and scott are just good sweet guys.

we ordered plenty of libations and delicious bites to fill our bellies. after a few hours {we did feel a bit old…or is it because we have kids?} we decided to call it quits. no, we weren’t going to party all night and yes it was still early but it was friday night, where everyone worked and of course, everyone is a bit tired from the week.

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[love these two!]

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[these two are the best!]

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[having a blast]

we wrapped up our bill, nibbled on the last bits of food, and took the last swigs of our drinks before we hit the road. we had such a great time with everyone and we can’t wait to do this again! drinks, food, and friends are the best combo!

xoxo

huy + tashina

so yay for my brother huy and his fiancĂ© tashina visiting us here in the chi. they had come into town {from l.a.} the days prior and attended a friend’s wedding, so this night, we had them over for dinner and fun!

please don’t mind the kitchen under construction. that’s a whole ‘nother chapter. anyhoo, everyone came over and we hemmed and hawed over what food to order. in the mean time, i had my two little nephews running around, my brothers, tashina, and my mother in law hanging out in the kitchen, deciding on food, and then olive just waking up {crying} in her crib. all of a sudden i was in the middle of trying to place an order for food, consoling miss olive, and appeasing everyone else. it started to get a wee bit crazy for me! olive was grumpy but everyone wanted her attention {huy wanted to play, reagan wanted to play} and this only caused her to cry even more! i couldn’t place the food order because i was trying to console olive, then hc calls me on the phone trying to talk to me, and the boys kept asking me if they could eat ramen noodles with sriracha because they didn’t want to eat chinese food! hahahah!

ohmygawd. it was only until after the food arrived did the craziness seem to settle down! the boys didn’t mind eating hot dogs and chips {my speciality}, so it saved me from making an easy meal to making an easier meal! woo! we all actually sat down to eat, relax, and converse. it was great. we had such a wonderful time talking, eating, and enjoying each other’s company. it was so nice. in-between us ordering food and eating, tashina helped us out by sewing olive’s halloween costume. i was so ready to do it myself but with her coming into town, i thought, why not ask? she made olive’s baptism gown, so why not another white gown for miss olive?! yay!

family sew night

[setting up the sewing machine]

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[watching the action going down]

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[being curious]

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[bestie cousins eating together]

family night

[chillin’ and having a really good time]

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[someone is wiped out and someone isn’t. haha]

we had a wonderful time together as a family. slowly, everyone trickled out. dan left, jane went to bed, and then huy and tashina said their good nights. i had the boys until my sister came home from her event that evening. it was too cute. R + B fell asleep while olive stayed w i d e awake! she is such a nigh owl!

it was a great evening with family, those are always the best moments in life.

xoxo

a really good night

we were excited to have matt and johann over for dinner!

lately, it’s just been me, olive, and matt {brunching}. no husbands included. so, we finally agreed on a time where we all could get together and have some fun.

matt and johann traveled through the thick of traffic one evening and our little party began once they arrived. johann came in with two large jugs of beer and matt was double fisting wine bottles. hahaha! we were practicing for vegas {in a few weeks}. woot woot!

we had prepped apps and the meal for the evening, so we popped open the beer and toasted to our evening. we nibbled on snacks and yapped non-stop. we are quite the talkers when we are together, yes, even hc! mr. shy guy!

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[holy jug o beer]

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[hawaiian flower print was the print du jour for dinner]

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[remnants of appetizers]

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[love these two]

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we love matt and johann. they are just the best. such great friends and travel buddies. we love hanging out with these two. they are perfect for each other…just like me and hc. seriously. matt is crazy, temperamental, loud {just like me} and johann is calm, sensible, and patient {like hc}, so together, we totally balance each other out! when we hang out, it’s a riot and we love it.

after we imbibed a few libations, hc fired up the grill to start cooking the food and we went outside to hang out for a bit {the evening had cooled off…it was quite warm outside!}. olive, obvs, wanted to swing on the play set and johann joined in on the activities and hit up the slide! hilarious!

once the food was ready, we headed back indoors to eat. it was yummy, fun, and comical. seriously love these two {did i mention that?}. we laughed, gasped, chuckled, discussed, argued, and had the best time. we ate, drank, and reveled in the wonderful evening together. ya know that feeling. when hanging out is just comfy and cool, as it should be.

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[olive swinging and johann sliding]

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[i love her…and her funny faces]

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[chicken kabobs and seasoned rice]

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once dinner was consumed and dishes were cleaned up, i served coconut cake and more wine! several hours {and laugh wrinkles} later, it was time to say goodnight {the husbands were tired}. we said our goodbyes and wished them both safe travels home. we were a bit excited with our goodbyes because we knew the next time we would see them would be in vegas! woo hoooooo!

xoxo

first warm evening

it was an awesome day. the weather was amazing and the temperature was just perfect.

my bother and his roommate, carl, had been over all day fixing his car in our garage. since it was getting close to dinner time, we invited them to stay and have dinner with us. so, hc fired up the grill and i prepared all the fixings. i had purchased pre-made burger patties from whole foods {gorgonzola, swiss & portobello, and chipotle flavors} and a bunch of sides {kale salad, broccoli salad, and pasta} to accent our meal. it was an almost no cook night. we wanted it to be an easy, relaxing, and quick dinner prep & clean up.

we were super stoked because it was the first warm evening {on a weekend} and we were excited to have our first meal alfresco! well, it was the first warm evening that we had patio furniture where we could eat outside! ha!

we love our new set, although, like the rest of the house…i can’t wait until we have a new patio to go with it! big dreams, big dreams…

anyhoo, we prepared all the food, dan and carl cleaned up from fixing the car all day and we all sat down for a lovely, delicious dinner under the stars. it was fantastic. i loved eating outside {especially with miss olive who loves to throw her food everywhere!}, i enjoyed our conversations and i just loved the fabulous weather that surrounded us. {before the crazy bugs populate!}

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[we love our new patio furniture! we just now need a new patio…]

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[burger trimmings]

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[chillaxin outside]

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[i’m slightly obsessed with funny olive eating pics]

after devouring our savory burgers, sides, and imbibing our beverages, i cleaned up while the boys and a girl sat outside. i brewed some coffee and served sweet treats i had picked up from whole foods {which they graciously left two tasty morsels behind for moi!}. as the boys hung out, i cleaned up the kitchen and the dishes, grabbed olive for a quick bath and continued to clean up the house.

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[the remnants of desserts {and coffee}]

it had been a long day for them so while i was dressing miss olive in her p.j.’s, dan and carl swung inside to say their goodbyes. it was such a perfect, wonderful evening together. i had a great time enjoying the beautiful weather with my family and friends! seriously, my life revolves around my friends, family, eating, love, shopping, imbibing, and fun. not necessarily in that order and not everyday…but almost.

xoxo