christmas ’20

christmas was in question, just like every holiday this year. for thanksgiving, we all spent it with our nuclear family but for christmas…we thought, let’s do this.

it went back and forth, whether or not we were going to have it at our house or my parent’s house. we weren’t sure if we wanted to have all that commotion over at my parent’s since they were recovering from covid and my dad was still very weak and exhausted. my mom insisted that it would be best to have it there because it would allow my dad to rest in the comfort of his own home versus our house. so, we settled on my parent’s house!

we did our usual. my sister kim cooked most of the meal and we brought ancillary items. LOL i brought desserts and thuy brought…oh my gosh. i don’t remember what she brought…a salad? she was going to make an apple cobbler but there were a lot of desserts, she last minute nixed it.

i chuckle at the fact that we were determined to start early and end early. bahhhahahaha. nope. we all said we would meet at my parent’s around 2pm. that turned into 3pm. then 4pm. we were going to eat around 5 or 6pm and that turned into our usual 8pm. doh! plus, dan and agata typically celebrate with her family first and they don’t usually get over to mom and dad’s until 7pm…so in the end. it was allllll the same. LOL

we nibbled on a charcuterie board, drank wine, the kids played, assembled gingerbread houses and trees, and when we sat down for dinner, my dad said a prayer. like every year, we cleaned up, readied desserts and opened gifts upstairs! the kids were so excited! this was the first year ellie was so into it. last year she just wandered around but this year she was like, where are my gifts. LOL she kept saying, ‘i don’t see my name!’ as she would look for presents addressed to her.

and of course, we took our annual pj photos with everyone! tashina and huy couldn’t be with us {so sad!} but we were able to FaceTime them and include them in the picture like always! so perfect!

more on christmas morning, my parent’s 50th anniversary and christmas day down below!

C H R I S T M A S E V E

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christmas balloons and my parent’s 50th anniversary balloon
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sweet girl watching some a christmas movie
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decorating a gingerbread tree
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pandemic tree 2020
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hc brought his own bar to my parent’s house
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they are so cute!
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surveying the scene
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the cutest cousins
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the best crew
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excitedly opening gifts
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bennett showing off his gift
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i love the way she’s looking at him
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just physically missing huy and tashina!

while celebrating christmas eve, we incorporated my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary! isn’t that amazing?! we got them a cake and balloons to celebrate the special occasion!

5 0 T H A N N I V E R S A R Y

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we were so tired christmas eve, i forgot to get the girls to put out cookies and carrots for santa and his reindeers! i did it myself but bummed they didn’t experience it with me! then we put them to bed and i forgot to remind olive to wake me up before she goes downstairs. another fail!

so – early christmas morning, i wake up to olive not in bed! ugh!! darn it! i missed her surprised face when she saw santa’s gifts!!!! i had to drag ellie out of bed, what a sleepy head, and go find olive. she was so excited over what santa had brought!

they went through their stockings and we opened up all the gifts from us. olive was besides herself at the huge LOL house santa dropped off. once all the presents were opened and cleaned up, we jumped on breakfast. hearty for us and cinnamon rolls and sprinkles for the girls!

it was a special morning. it was slow, calm, heartwarming and sweet. oh how i enjoy these moments with my babes. their sweetness, innocence, appreciation, and love for everything makes my heart melt.

C H R I S T M A S M O R N I N G

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santa came! he ate his cookies and the reindeer ate their carrots
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checking out their stockings
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the sweetest smile
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going through her goodies
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later that day, we usually host christmas day for hc’s side of the family but obviously with covid, that was not happening. instead, we had his sister and mom over. hc cooked ham and bunch of other delicious sides. he always does such a great job creating the menu and working hard to make it wonderful.

we hung out, chillaxed, drank, ate, conversed and reveled in the evening’s calm and brightness of christmas. after dinner, i served desserts {cookies, peppermint bark, cake} and we opened presents.

what i have loved about being in this season of covid is the intimacy, quietness, and slowness of everything. it’s nice to not be rushed and overwhelmed with all the craziness that life was. it’s sweet, calm, and full of depth. a year that no one wanted but we all figured it out.

C H R I S T M A S D A Y

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christmas cookies from toni’s patisserie

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bûche de noël
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last minute dinner tablscape
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christmas shenanigans

christmastime is always full of fun.

we end up doing all sorts of fun activities and it just adds so much joy to the season!

some people might feel overwhelmed at the prospect of keeping up with all the joy, sparkle, and fun of the season but i find that being busy and on the go such a part of the season. don’t get me wrong…i love having slow days and catch up days and days where you don’t have a million places to be but i also try to be smart, efficient, and effective with my time and learn to say no when it’s too much.

with that said, here are a few snippets of some of the fun we had this past december!

G I N G E R B R E A D H O U S E

every year we create a gingerbread house. olive loves to decorate it and ellie likes to eat all the candies. LOL next year, i am going to try to create my own from scratch. well not from scratch scratch but i saw, this past season, a house made from graham crackers and all the fun trimmings and i think i might try that next year! i’ve gotten the same house for olive a couple years in a row and i am hoping to find a different one for her to make next year!

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gingerbread trimmings
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this pretty much sums up all our projects. olive working hard and ellie watching and eating candy. LOL
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olive very cautiously putting on the candies
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my sweeties
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S A N T A

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in awe over mr. and mrs. claus
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I always say 4 is the magic number when it comes to santa!
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the sweetest letter that olive wrote to santa. i asked her what she wanted from santa and she said this. be still my heart.

D R I V E I N T H E A T R E

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Z O O L I G H T S

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a fun rainbow globe of lights
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having fun in the rainbow globe of lights
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having a blast with val
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C O O K I E D E C O R A T I N G

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excited to decorate!
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R A N D O M S H E N A N I G A N S

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painting animlas
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she cracks me up. showing off to me how focused she is.
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ellie working hard on her gorilla
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home baked cookies for the neighbors
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home from school, ugly sweater day, and ready for winter break!
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xoxo

decorating the tree

once thanksgiving is over, we go all out for christmas! i know this year has been hard for a lot of people and many people decorated earlier than usual but hc and i still chose to wait until after thanksgiving. that poor holiday…no one really gives it a chance!

we always kick off our decorating weekend by pulling everything out and getting the tree done! the girls get so excited over it! they love going through all the ornaments. we blast holiday music, grab some drinks and get as much as we can done! sometimes we overwhelm ourselves. we have concluded that we have accumulate a lot more decor over the years, we can’t just nail it in one day {years prior…we used to get it done in one day}. we literally have to decorate over the weekend. oh em gee. so much work! but honestly, it’s worth it…it turns out so pretty!

with it now taking so much longer to decorate, i might change my tune and start decorating before thanksgiving! LOL it’s too stressful to do it all of black friday weekend! there’s just too much going then. oh, we shall see.

it just gets more magical as the girls get a little bit older. they are just more aware and more in awe and so so excited over christmas. ohhhhhh, i don’t know how i will handle it when they lose their innocence and it’s not as fun and exciting as it is now! i hope not…i hope they never lose their sense of wonder! i know it’ll be a slow progression but my heart aches at that thought right now.

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decorating the tree
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they were so excited for the ornaments!
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such a doll. she was excited to find this ornament
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trimming the tree
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attempting to put the star on the tree
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she found the santa hat and loved it!
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advent calendar
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i can’t with their sweet faces
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eating her delicious chocolate from the advent calendar
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xoxo

halloween ’20

last year it snowed. this year it was near 70 degrees!!!! it was gorgeous out and the kids were so excited to not wear coats!

there are a few parts to this post.

pumpkin carving night. party decor. trick or treating.

we switch pumpkin carving between my parent’s house and our house. depending on the mood. this year, we decided to do it at my parent’s house. one…because of covid, we haven’t been over there a lot and two, it just felt right.

while the big kids carved, the little kids painted. the girls got dressed up because why not? it’s halloween season and they never get many chances to wear their costumes.

*****

PUMPKIN CARVING

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[painting pumpkins]

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[family time]

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[silly sister, silly auntie]

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[ellie’s pumpkin]

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*****

i decided to decorate our place for a halloween party for no reason at all. i had a collaboration with a balloon shop for the big garland that you see and i thought, why not decorate? it’ll be fun – three hours later. LOL

i did have fun creating this festive space! the girls went nuts over the floating witch’s hats! that was a big pain in the butt as i had some trial and errors on figuring out how to keep them afloat without them falling down but i succeeded!

HALLOWEEN

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[i decorated just for the hell of it]

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[creepy cake]

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[pretty blooms]

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[cauldron of candy]

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*****

halloween arrived and olive WAS SO EXCITED!!!!! she could not wait to go trick or treating! the best part about this day was the WEATHER. it was near 70 degrees and amazing!! it made for the best kind of trick or treating. when you are in the midwest, the weather on halloween is most likely cold, snowy, raining, or something not pleasant or conducive to being outside and asking for candy.

add in covid…everything was up in the air. no one was quite sure if trick or treating was allowed leading up to halloween but the most amazing part was how everyone came together and made it happen. so many houses made it so fun and special for the kids!

the creativeness behind candy chutes, tables, packaging, and community was off the charts. it seriously was the best halloween ever. people were awesome, welcoming, and festive. it added to our experience and the girls were having so much fun running from house to house. what was also great was the fact that you could identify which house was participating and which house wasn’t and that created the most efficient trick or treating time ever!

it’s obvious the girls are getting bigger as their stint of trick or treating lasted the longest it’s ever lasted. they literally succeeded in making it around the entire long circle block in my parent’s neighborhood. by the time we reached the house before my parent’s house, olive was done. just in time to head back home. their bags were filled to the brim with candy and they were super happy!

it was seriously the best halloween to date…thanks covid for inspiring the creativity in everyone and neighbors banning together to make it special for the kids!

TRICK OR TREAT

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[such a gorgeous day for trick or treating!]

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[super auntie thuy started them out on their route]

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[back at home with her loot]

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[eating her loot]

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[watching room on the broom]

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xoxo

pre-school birthday party

ellie was invited to her first preschool birthday party for her friend Sienna {back in september}!

sienna and ellie started in prek3 together and will continue on as classmates for the next many, many years to come!

her mom, kelli, hosted the fete at a local princess party place in town. it was a beautiful day out and ellie was super excited to attend her friend’s party. olive had attended a party there for her friend betty, several months prior – right before the shutdown, but i didn’t take her, hc did. so, i had never been to this establishment.

we arrived to a lot of pink and princess everything. the girls could dress up as fairies, by picking out fun tutus, wings, and crowns. ellie was obsessed! she loved the rainbow wings and tutu. she originally picked a pink iridescent skirt but then soon found a matching rainbow one that went perfectly with her colorful wings.

once dressed up, they could walk the runway to show off their pretty gear. couple by couple, the girls working the venue eventually got all the little ones into their make up chairs and painted their faces and bedazzled their hair with a ton of glitter each. LOL i was like, dada is going to be so mad. he hates glitter!

after they had their hair and make up done, the girls then got manis! once everyone was decked out, they all walked the runway again before the pizza and cake was served!

overall, ellie had the best time with her friends! it was nice to be able to go to a party with just ellie’s friends! she’s always hanging out with olive’s friends – which is great! but it’s nice to have her hang out with girls her age, specifically the girls she goes to school with.

thanks kelli and sienna for having us at your party! it was so much fun!

[nice photos by morgan clare photography…bad photos by my iPhone LOL]

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[isn’t she adorable? she was happy!]

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[getting her make up done]

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[getting her nails done]

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[they are the cutest and the silliest!]

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[werk it finn!]

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[she loved dressing up and walking the runway!]

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[the birthday girl!]

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xoxo

playroom

our house. it’s been a long story. we’ve been wanting to finish our house since we moved in years ago. LOL much like anyone else who buys an older house not suited to their style.

anyhoo, if you know us…it’s been a long process because my hubby, who’s talented, loves to do it himself {not even his day job…just a side job} and it’s taken foreverrrrrrrr to finish. well that day had come. over the summer, the downstairs basement was finally finished. hallelujah! total game changer friends. game changer. we now have so much more usable space and we love it!

i’ve been dying for the girls to have their own play area. a place where we can house most of their toys. a place where they can freely play without interfering with anything or anyone. i envisioned them having the cutest play area!

once the dry wall was finished, rich and i couldn’t wait to put it all together. we are currently still putting together the finishing touches to the other areas of the basement but the playroom needed to be done asap! i knew i wanted a rainbow painted in there. i knew i wanted a wardrobe space, a table, chalkboard, etc. i shopped feverishly to find the right items and quickly, it all came together!

voila! the cutest play space for my girls! i love it down there just as much as they do! every corner is too cute and feels so fresh!

thanks to my hubby and my mother in law for their help in getting this space done and ready for the girls! we all love it so much!

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[we love the rainbow wall!]

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[a remodel of the playroom and a remodel of this play kitchen]

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[let’s play dress up]

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[cute little rolling tray that i decorated with brush lettering]

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xoxo

school pictures ’20

oh sweet girls. we love school picture day!

i was on a hunt for cute outfits, like any mom out there knowing that picture day for the kids was coming up!

one of my favorite places to shop for the girls is zara. now mind you, i don’t shop there for myself, i cannot stand their lack of customer service, unfortunately not many people are friendly who work there, and their return policy is obnoxious, but yes…i like their kids clothes. LOL

i ran over there to check out what they had and found the cutest outfit for Ellie. i struggled to find something for olive. they had darling items for her but not quite what i wanted for school pictures.

so ellie was set. bow. check. socks. check. shoes. check. now i needed something cute for olive! a day later or so…i thought i’d check out h&m because they also have cute items for the girls! plus, they are so inexpensive. yassssss. and there it was…what to my wondering eyes should appear, a mustard colored romper and a matching cute shirt! voila! olive had her school picture outfit and it happen to match ellie’s!

obviously i did not plan that but it happened to work out perfectly! they both looked so darling for their pics! something else that i love is that ellie’s broken arm is documented in this school picture as well! her big ol’ cast and sling front and center. hahaha!

we actually did family pics the night before in a field and allllllll the mosquitos attacked us! of course ellie got bit right on her forehead. if you look closely, you’ll see a big pink spot on the right side of her forehead!

they’re so cute! i can’t believe they are in preschool 4 and first grade! they are growing up so fast. these pictures just prove it…i’ll be sad when ellie loses those baby cheeks. welp!

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[oh ellie belle…the faces you make]

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xoxo

broken arm

when ellie was born…i predicted she’d be trouble. i made this conclusion due to how crazy her pregnancy was and how different it was from olive’s. not only is she my ‘sick’ baby….always getting more sick than the rest of us but she definitely is more rambunctious than olive.

she’s energetic, a risk taker, more careless, and just overall more reckless compared to olive. now if you know olive…you know she’s super straight laced. she’s so responsible, kind, thoughtful, neat, organized, a planner, and highly sensitive. both girls are so wonderful and good but very distinct on how they handle and react to different scenarios.

so, here’s the story.

it was a beautiful day. sunny, warm and perfect for olive and ellie’s soccer games. we did our usual routine and headed to ellie’s game first, headed home and then onto to olive’s game. it was so nice out and when we arrived, we started chatting with everyone and doing our usual routine of visiting. while i was standing under the picnic cover, i hear a child screaming. rich comes walking over to me holding ellie. i see her arm and rich says she fell and dislocated it. ellie is screaming and crying! he passes her off to me and i try to calm her down. i literally started saying “oh shit, oh shit…oh shit” in my head. something was not right. at. all.

i tried walking ellie away from everyone but i was so engrossed in calming her down i didn’t venture far from the crowd. all i could remember was saying “you’ll be ok, you’ll be ok, you’ll be ok…oh my God! sweet girl, you’ll be ok” over and over, trying to convince myself that mantra as well. she was screaming and crying and it shattered my heart i couldn’t do anything to take away the pain or help her any more than i could at that moment.

as ellie was screaming and crying, she pleaded with me to get her a bandaid. my heart just dropped. i replied, “i’ll get you a bandaid! i’ll get you a bandaid!” as i knew in her mind, a bandaid made her boo boo’s feel better. i could not take it. i wanted to trade places with her to stop the pain.

our friends kim and dave were there as well, watching their daughter play, and thank goodness they were both there cause they saved us. they saved me and they helped ellie in ways i couldn’t. dave is a firefighter and kim is a nurse and their support, guidance, and calmness did wonders to a mama desperate to help her little baby.

dave miraculously had a small soft cover children’s book and bandage tape with him. i was holding ellie’s arm to support her and to stop her from moving it to cause anymore pain. kim so thoughtfully started to move us further away from everyone and dave came running over to splint her arm.

at that point, rich was already on the phone with 911 and explaining the situation when someone on the phone told him to NOT splint her arm. as he’s being told this, dave started to splint her arm and he freaked out not knowing dave knew what he was doing {rich had no idea dave is a firefighter/paramedic}.

this was the part that still haunts me…as it was hot outside and i was holding ellie’s arm…in our frantic nature, dave tried to get me to remove my hand from her arm as he cupped her arm with the book, underneath, as i tried to pull me hand away, it was stuck, sweaty, to her arm and we were literally yanking her arm back and forth trying to splint it. she s h r i e k e d in pain as we jostled her arm back and forth. the fact that i couldn’t pull my hand away from her arm more smoothly, causing her so much more intense pain literally killed me inside. i know we were helping her in the moment to make it feel better but that minute of me causing her more pain hurt me mentally and emotionally so bad. i was suppose to be helping her but instead i caused her more horrible pain.

after dave splint her arm, it calmed her down a bit more. within a minute or so {now mind you, i’m totally gauging the time from memory as i really had no idea how long anything was in my state}, the firetruck, the paramedics, ambulance, and police arrived. it was a circus. at that point, kim had walked me to the front of the park. the paramedics met with me and asked me questions and they said to me, “mom, can you hold her and walk all the way to the ambulance?” i shook my head yes and started bawling…at that point, i knew we were on our way to help her and i just started crying.

so there we were, me holding ellie and two paramedics holding ellie’s arm so gingerly, doing their best to not disturb, move, or bounce her arm to cause any pain. one step at a time, we slowly inched our way to the stretcher. all the men reached for ellie and safely placed her on the cot and strapped her in. i desperately asked them if i could ride with her in the ambulance and they said yes. i was so relieved! they gave me a mask and i climbed into the back. at that point, possibly from the adrenaline, as the truck took off, she passed out on the stretcher.

once we arrived, they pulled her into the emergency room where nurses went to work. they also gave her a stuffed animal to distract her and that was so sweet. the emergency doctor spoke with us and everyone explained everything. they needed to X-ray her arm and that was the worst part of us being there. they had to cut off the makeshift splint dave made and move her arm to get the right picture of her break. she cried but it was quick and then they re-splint it, which caused her pain again and then it was somewhat smooth sailing after that in the pain department.

once the doctor assessed her break, she told us she couldn’t treat ellie and that she needed to go to a hospital that had a specialist and a pediatric center. so they contacted lutheran and christ to see who could take her. they determined lutheran had someone who could operate on ellie. so, once we got the ok to go, they then moved her from her emergency room stretcher to another stretcher and strapped her in and literally padded her. the only thing showing was her face underneath all the white cloth. it was so oddly cute to see.

they rolled her out and into another ambulance. we rode 40 minutes to the hospital and things moved quickly there. ellie was rolled into another room where the same questions were asked over and over. it was a better environment for her, being in a pediatric center, as they had fun things for kids, like an iPad on wheels where they rolled it over to her, adjusted the screen and she got to choose a cartoon to watch. i think she chose garfield…?

the 2nd surgeon came in the let me know what was going to happen to ellie. he explained the surgery and what it entailed. he told me that overall, once they took her down to the actual surgery and for her to hit the recovery room, would be an hour total. i was like, okay, cool. no problem.

he also was super surprised at how stoic ellie was. he asked me if she was always this calm and quiet when experiencing intense pain. i was like, uhhhhh, i don’t know…she’s never been in this kind of pain, but i guess we now know? yes, for being a 4 year old, who had just broken her arm and it had been hours since it happened, she was quite calm and chill even though her arm looked like a lumpy potato.

the only thing that sucked was, when they transported us to lutheran, rich went home to grab stuff for everyone, not knowing what was going to happen and if we were going to stay at the hospital, etc. by the time he went home and was on his way back, like I said before, things were moving quickly with ellie and they were rolling her out to surgery before he could get back to see her. we were there for maybe a half hour before they decided they were ready to operate. thank goodness cause at that point, she was laying around with a broken arm for at least 4.5 hours.

they started rolling her out and i followed along. as we go closer to the surgery area, it became cold. like super cold. they took a heated blanket and covered ellie. i was so cold, i almost asked for one! LOL the head surgeon came out to say hello and chat a bit. they made me sign papers for her anesthesia and that was it. i looked over at my baby and she was so super calm but i saw tears rolling down the side of her face as she knew we were parting ways. i told ellie that she was going to be ok. they were here to fix her arm and when it was over, she would feel soooooo much better and her arm wouldn’t hurt anymore.

a nurse led me out of the surgery area and walked me to the waiting area where rich met me. we relaxed as much as we could as the clock ticked by. they rolled ellie down to the surgery area around 4:30 pm and then 5:30 pm hit. then 6:30 pm hit and i was like…what is going on?! are they resuscitating her?!! it’s been two hours since they took her.

finally at 6:45 pm, the two surgeons came into the waiting room. phew! dr. marjetko was so relaxed and personable. he treated us like we were his very first set of parents with a kid who just broke her arm. he was kind, warm and understanding. he told us that he was hoping to put together ellie’s arm without opening her up but the break was so bad, he couldn’t. so he had to make an incision and put her bones, muscles, and ligaments into place, sew her back up and put 4 pins into her arm. oh my sweet baby!

he had his 2nd surgeon call down to the recovery room to see if we could see ellie and they gave us the ok. they walked us down and we saw our precious little girl still sleeping. i was elated to know that the surgery went well and that she was no longer in severe pain. we chatted with the very nice nurses and they were explaining a few things to us about her recovery. ellie kept waking up and then falling back asleep. she probably did this 3 or 4 times and then finally she really woke up. one of the nurses ran to get a frozen pop for her and ellie immediately snatched it out of her hand and started eating it.

even there, the nurses were amazed by her stoic nature. they also commented how most children her age come out of surgery most likely screaming and crying, usually disoriented and scared. ellie woke up and was like, “what’s up mom and dad? give me another popsicle.” LOL

once they checked a few things, she got the ok to go to her room. since they did open her arm up, they made her stay overnight to make sure everything was ok. rich volunteered to stay and i went home to get olive, who was so kindly taken in by our wonderful friends jon and val.

ohhhhhh, what a day. my baby girl was better and on her way to recovery. that meant everything to me. she would have the splint/cast on for at least 4 weeks and then therapy afterwards, if needed.

so, that my friends, was the first real emergency i ever experienced and i truly hope i never go through that again. God bless ellie and everyone who sent their thoughts, prayers, and support to us and our little girl. she is so loved.

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[my poor baby at good sam]

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[now at Lutheran in park ridge]

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[post surgery]

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[finally home]

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[a drawing by olive’s friend elizabeth]

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[gifts from kt]

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[a cookie basket from dana and fam]

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[flowers from olive’s friends]

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xoxo

soccer

we signed both the girls up for soccer this fall and they loved it! ok, olive loved it more than ellie. LOL she was more like, wtf are you making me do?

their other classmates have participated in soccer the years prior and were seasoned so this was all so new for all of us!

this year like everything, was very different. they started the season late due to covid restrictions and then the park district decided that teams would not compete and only scrimmage within their own roster. which was fine, cause they were able to play in some form!

it was so cute to see them practice and play. especially the 3/4 year olds. they kind of listen and kind of don’t listen and run all over the place. hahaha! ellie didn’t give two craps about chasing the ball. she constantly complained she was tired. oh girl! the good news is by the third game…she was finally getting the hang of it and scored TWO goals!! i got one goal on vid! i was super proud!

in ellie’s group, there was a girl who was so skilled! she basically scored almost every goal and had the ball at every single game! she had to be told by her parents to pass the ball and yet it was still difficult for her because she would pass the ball to another player and that girl wouldn’t know what to do with it or would kick the ball alllll the way off the field, or score into the wrong goal, etc. it was fun to watch because they were so cute and innocent!

rich and i were obviously new to the routine as well and we definitely showed up as newbies! for their first practice, we dressed both girls up in their game day uniform and forgot their practice balls. LOL hello. we stood out like sore thumbs! then came their first game day. we nailed it and dressed the girls up in the uniform, brought their balls {which they didn’t need. ugh} and didn’t bring any chairs to sit down in while we watched the game. doh!

overall, the soccer season was awesome! it’s always great to be able to have the girls with their friends and mom and dad can hang out with their cool parents too! olive’s soccer season was so fun. we loved every practice and every game we attended. the weather was super amazing and we had the warmest sunniest days and nights to hang out in. now ellie’s season was cut short – she only made it to game three…more on that in the next post! stay tuned!

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[olive after her first soccer game]

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[that’s olive to the far right!]

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[there she is in the white jersey furthest back!]

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[my sweet ellie at practice…little did we know to not put her in her game outfit. LOL…newbies!]

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[pretty much ellie watching as girls played]

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[number 67]

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[ellie with her school buddies!]

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[in between ellie’s game and olive’s game, we would head out to breakfast!]

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[my sweetie pie at egg harbor]

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[fresh veggies at the farmer’s market right by the restaurant]

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xoxo

first day of school ’20

the girls had their first day of school in september and the anticipation was off the charts!

uhhhhh, yes it’s november and i am finally posting about their first day of school. LOL if you read my previous post, i’ve been a little busy and my blog fell to the wayside. but don’t worry…you’re in for a treat! i have a gazillion posts coming right up!

it started back in march when the pandemic was in full swing and the girl’s school went to home learning. obvi…with all that was and is going on, the idea of in person learning was teetering all over the place.

month after month…the argument, controversy, and passion around this topic peaked as we got closer to august. no one knew what was going to happen and the uncertainty and anxiety was through the roof for me and fellow moms i knew. it became overwhelming.

i am sure for teachers, administration, and everyone who was involved in this process felt something to this extent. it was insane.

i was told by so many people who did not have children, they were glad to not be in my shoes! i told them i was glad for them too cause it wasn’t fun at all.

at first, we were under the impression that school was going to be in-person during the summer. then as we inched closer to the school year starting, it started to look different. the first day of school was scheduled for the third week in august and a couple weeks before that date, the school sent out a survey asking us for our opinions. like whhhaaaaa?

they asked about how we felt with in person learning, remote, hybrid, etc. would we keep our kids in school if it was strictly remote and so forth. with us being in private school, there was no question we wanted our kids back. for many many positive reasons. yes, we were in the middle of a pandemic but to not get into anything specific, we saw the benefits of in person learning.

we are a fortunate school to have high enrollment…the best this year compared to recent years. we currently have 600+ kids in our elementary to 8th grade class. any other year, we would celebrate this but during a pandemic…we were like uhhhhhh, how are going to physically distance all these kids and keep in person learning?!

there were so many sides to the argument but this was one side i felt strongly about. we can go down the rabbit hole concerning this but i’d rather not right now.

after much back and forth from the school and a whole lotta talk from the parents, the school settled on all three options. you could choose remote, hybrid, and in person all day {with a different agenda}.

they were able to please most. let me tell ya…the strong opinions of everyone had my head spinning and what made me angry and sad was the finger pointing at the administration. there was and is no handbook on this. they are doing their best to accommodate everyone and of course there are so many people who aren’t pleased. if you don’t have positive intent towards them and don’t understand they have our best interest in mind…well, you are not kind hearted and compassionate and honestly…very self involved.

yes, there were times i was angry at decisions being made. naturally. i do have my opinions but never once did i attack our administration. i know them and know that in their hearts, they were doing their best.

so, fast forward to the first day of school in september {it was delayed a couple weeks}. it was bonkers, it was madness, the traffic jam, rules, regulations, guidelines, and everything in between that was so different than any first day we’ve ever experienced.

the line of cars to drop off was so long and overwhelming. olive and ellie were already late to their class. we finally pull up to where we need to drop olive off. she had her mask on, her backpack on, and her two very large bags of supplies ready to go. as she struggled to get out of the car and shut the door {we weren’t allowed to get out of our cars to help} and juggle all her stuff…i started crying.

so emotions flooded in. i couldn’t believe it was her first day of first grade. i couldn’t believe that she was finally at school. i couldn’t believe that she had to wear a mask all day. i couldn’t believe that after months of tense feelings, we were finally, finally here. i couldn’t believe i couldn’t walk her to the door like i did every day last year. i was sad to see her go, i hoped she had a great day. i was so excited that she was going to be with her friends. so many feels happening at once, i bawled.

as i picked her up from school, she LOVED, loved her first day! that was worth the months of unknown! she loved seeing all her friends and was so excited to be back in class! fast forward to november, our in person learning is still going strong and olive absolutely loves seeing, interacting, and having fun with all her classmates.

thank you to the teachers who do their best every day and thank you to our entire school staff for making this happen with a smile! we very much appreciate all of you!

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[i love back to school!]

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[my wonky made cake]

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[aren’t they so cute]

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[my sweet girls ready for their first day!]

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[ohmygosh i love her so much]

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[she’s so fun]

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[olive trying to show me her loose tooth!]

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[first day of school!]

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[ellie and finn]

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[carrying all her supplies and mask’d up]

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[coming out of class!]

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[after school on the first day!]

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xoxo