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!

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[cookies and milk for santa]

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

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[excited over santa gifts!]

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[no pj olive]

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

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

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[snow globe]

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[christmas day mimosa]

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[cinnamon rolls]

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[santa’s gift]

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[sweet babes]

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[sweet exchange]

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[christmas dinner tablescape]

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

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[uncle steve and jennifer]

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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.

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[a white christmas]

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[twinning]

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[gorgeous centerpiece]

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[besties]

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[my sweet, sweet girls]

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[silly cousins]

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[olive and ba]

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[olive, huy, and tashina]

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[my tribe]

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[crazy cousins]

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[dan, olive, and agata]

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[kim and ellie]

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[bennett, kevin, and reagan]

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[oh ellie…reagan loves you!]

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

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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!

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[very unsure of what is about to happen…]

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[so is hc…haha!]

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

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[she’s like ‘ohmergawd…santa!’]

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

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[her shoes flung off so fast!]

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xoxo

deck the halls!

every year, we get into comfy pj’s, turn on the christmas music, hc pours me a glass of wine, we break out the christmas decorations, and get wild! oh, my favorite time of the year! i love lighting up the house and getting in the mood with all the festive decor.

i must admit…it’s quite the chore. hc and i aren’t the type of people who can decorate over a few days or weeks. we prefer to get it done, like within a few hours. once the boxes come up from the basement, they go down empty. we can’t help it. he’s type A and i am type A+. it’s a harmonious partnership {most of the time…hahaha!}.

olive was sooooo into it this year. she loved everything! she was so amazed by all the ornaments and every little thing that we pulled out. it was so sweet to hear her excited voice and elated expressions. she loved helping us with everything! ellie on the other hand, was like, ‘i don’t give a sh*t’ and ran around trying to break stuff and throw it in random places. haAAAaaa!

maybe one day, we will get a real tree {i looooove the smell of pine!!}  but for now, we have our fake one. although it’s about to go kaput on us. we bought this tree our first year of marriage and it’s going on it’s seventh season and the lights are like, byeeeee, see ya later!

one thing we added this year was extra pine garland. lots of it! i love the look and smell of fresh pine! we always hang it on our door way and our railing outside but this year, we added it to our entryways, our kitchen, and hung it up in olive’s room to add a bit of extra festiveness!

i’m loving the decor and only wish it was more than a month of christmas season! it definitely flies by too quickly! well, here’s to soaking in every moment this christmas season! cheers!

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[could she be any sweeter?]

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[her most favorite ornament]

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[she was our anti-decorating grinch]

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[comfy pj’s and stringing tinsel]

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[daddy helping olive with the star topper]

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[muslin bag advent calendar]

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xoxo

huy + tashina get hitched

the day had arrived!

huy and tashina were getting married! we started the day with breakfast downstairs in the hotel’s restaurant, the terrace. afterwards, we took a little walk to tashina and huy’s suite, to check it out and it was huge! tashina was getting her hair and make up done while huy was getting ready in another room. we hung out for a bit and then let them be because we needed to get back to our room and get the girls to nap.

well nap time was absolutely unsuccessful. nooooooo one napped except for hc. we all got ready and headed downstairs to the car. i was frantically scurrying around trying to tie up loose ends and i was running very behind but when i got downstairs, my parents and their friends weren’t down in the lobby yet! we finally rallied everyone together and headed on over to the venue.

we walked inside the forge and it looked so amazing!! it was such a cute little space. a garage type space with the coolest interior. the reception tables were set up along the alley way and the photo booth huy and tashina created was over by the ‘bar’. the florals and decor were freakin’ stunning! it was all so eclectic, beautiful, bright, and colorful! everything turned out so wonderful!

we took family pics first and then tashina and huy took some on their own. the air was electric! the love, the energy, and excitement was palpable. i was so excited for them and so excited that the venue transformed into the wedding of their dreams! i was giddy with butterflies and could hardly wait for the ceremony to begin!

guests started coming in and the excitement continued to brew. soon, it was almost show time. the family members all filed in back to get ready for their walk down the aisle. set by set, we all strolled our way down the aisle, to our pew seats. then came the bride, looking stunning in her custom gorgeous gown.

the ceremony was fun, sweet, loving, and joyous! their friend, taylor, did an amazing job marrying them! he was thoughtful, sincere, and really connected them together as a couple. i also loved how he drew the guests into their ceremony and got us all involved in their nuptials! that always makes it more intimate and fun for everyone there to see them profess their love for one another and how friends and family support each one of them!

they exchanged their sweet vows {tears were shed by both parties}, the rings were exchanged {thanks to my cool nephews for giving them each their rings!}, and then they were declared husband and wife!!! yay!! off went the confetti poppers in celebration!

dinner, cake, dancing, socializing, and fun ensued! i had such a wonderful, wonderful time! i was so happy for the beautiful couple. the wedding was amazing, beautiful, and pretty freakin’ awesome!

i can’t find the words to properly describe how i felt, what a great experience it was, what a great feeling it is to see your family together, and seeing your brother so happy! well, i took a gazillion pics, so i hope you can transfer it all through that!

congrats huy and tashina! your wedding ROCKED!

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[she’s so darn sweet and so darn feisty!]

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[she’s so serious about her coloring]

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[walking our way to tashina and huy’s room]

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[cronut? yes please]

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*****

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[o vuong, huy, and tashina]

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[chu thong & chi thu]

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[their beautiful ceremony site]

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[dad, mom, nanae, and kip]

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[tablescape]

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[dad and mom]

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[pretty baby’s breath adorning each pew]

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[dan, agata, and o voung]

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[queen and kings]

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[mes seours]

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[thuy’s chic outfit]

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[the happy bride]

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[olive in tashina’s creation]

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[twirl girl]

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[so handsome and chic]

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[look at her thigh rolls]

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[grandma]

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[toast of the town!]

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[lexi’s toast]

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[first dance]

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[and that’s a wrap!]

*****

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[first look]

[photo by jennemerlingweddings.com]

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[the gorgeous bride designed and sewed her own gown]

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[ma famille]

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[how cute is nutmeg?!]

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[how adorable was this? taylor asked questions and the guests threw ribbon streamers at the couple if the answer was yes!]

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[you may kiss the bride!]

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[they are now husband and wife!]

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xoxo

halloween ’17

this year’s halloween was a blast!!

it started with olive’s halloween school parade. let me start by saying life has been pretty hectic for me lately. one, i am becoming more and more forgetful…or am i just getting old?! i am becoming less detailed, causing me to be reactive versus proactive! anyhoo, when i decided to retire to our bed, olive was stirring a bit and that is when i usually set my alarm for the morning. well, since she was moving around in bed, i decided to wait to set my alarm and surprise! i fell asleep. oh em gee. i abruptly woke up the next morning and realized that one. i didn’t set my alarm, and two. we had a half hour to get ready and out the door. holy crap. i panicked. i needed to {yes i do this every morning} make our bed, the girl’s bed, wake olive up, get her to go to the bathroom, get her breakfast ready, turn on the telly for her to watch a bit of her favorite program, get myself ready, pack anything olive needs for school, stir ellie awake, nurse her, change her, change olive into her costume, grab necessities for the parade {camera, etc.}, get them bundled up and out the door, drop ellie off at my parent’s house…i was a mess. i couldn’t believe i didn’t set my alarm! arghhhhhh! anyhoo, the bonus part was that hc was home because he wanted to see olive in the school’s halloween parade too. he was able to get ellie dressed and out the door to my parent’s!!! yessssssss.

we made it. with time to spare. olive was so excited to see all the other kiddos in their costumes. we dropped her off in her classroom and hc and i walked to the gym, where the parade was to take place. we waited, we talked, we people watched. it was almost 9 o’clock and we saw the kids and teachers coming in! yay! i was so excited! olive’s class was the last class to walk in. she was so perplexed and when she saw us, she smiled but then continued to look perplexed! hahaha!

the kids paraded around the gym and then gathered in by classroom so we could take pictures. it was so cute and fun! after that, the teachers then walked all the kids back to begin their day.

it was so cute!!! we loved watching olive partake in such a fun event. when i picked her up, she had so many goodies to take home! what a fun day at school.

we then went straight to my parent’s house to hang out. we ate, did errands, i ran home to grab the girls some extra clothes, a costume for ellie, candy, and other needed items because we were spending the whole day at my parent’s and wanted to make sure we had all the necessities.

we waited for hc to come home and got the girls ready to go out and trick or treat. olive was so excited, she couldn’t wait! ellie was just awesome, such a trooper! she had no complaints when i painted her face. she laid there so patiently, she didn’t mind the hat, the gloves, or any of the extra layers we put on her and she was quite amazing in the wagon. she never complained and just enjoyed the scenic ride.

olive loved running house to house, knocking on the door and ringing the door bell if she could reach it. she would say, “they’re not home!” or look in the drive way when a homeowner didn’t answer their door and say, “their car’s home? why don’t they answer the door?!” hahaha! she was so great at saying, ‘trick or treat’ or ‘thank you!’…it was absolutely adorable!

it was utterly cold, sooooo cold. it was in the upper 30’s so we didn’t want to be out long. we hit up about a dozen houses and called it a night. olive didn’t mind. she actually had a decent bag of treats! we came back home to warm up and hand out candy to the trick or treaters that came by to my parent’s house. my sister, thuy, and my brother, dan, came over and we all hung out. olive reveled in her goodies…i caved in and let her eat way too much candy!! hey, it’s halloween night! it’s like mandatory, right?!

after the curfew for trick or treating ended, we scadaddled on home. the girls got baths, we snuggled in, the pumpkins were glowing, and hocus pocus was on repeat.

it was a perfect, awesome halloween night. i couldn’t have asked for a better day and evening.

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[walking in the parade…and doesn’t see us yet!]

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[she spotted us!]

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[she’s not quite sure what is going on…haha!]

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[class picture time]

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[ready to go back to class]

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*****

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[that stance]

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[these babes…they look so excited!]

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[ready to go!!]

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[chillin’]

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via tandeminlove.com[oh those cheeks]

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[she thought it was so scary!]

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[that face!]

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[my happy girl]

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[so excited over her goodies!]

xoxo

pumpkin patch

our original plans were scrapped. it was a monsoon of rain the night before, so all the pumpkin farms were either closed or opened with limited access. we were super bummed. we love going to some sort of pumpkin farm every year because the kids enjoy it so much! well, this season, we had a chance to go to a little patch on that rained out day and it was the only time we could go, so be it!

ok…here’s the story. i dressed olive for the outing but i did not get her out the door. that is usually’s hc’s job. during that time, once everyone is ready…it’s then my turn to get dressed, freshen up, and grab a few things before walking out the door. that, usually, is a good 10 minutes given. well, i ran to the car, jumped in and we cruised to the pumpkin patch in no time. i get out of the car and open up the back door, look at olive, and my jaw drops. she’s wearing ballet slippers, no socks, and NO jacket. no scarf. no cardigan. no outerwear. i almost lost it. it was probably 50 degrees, windy, wet, and muddy. i could not believe she was not bundle up to be standing outside for at least 45 minutes or however long we were going to be there. plus, i couldn’t believe she wasn’t wearing boots with us walking around in the grass, gravel, and dirt {or really mud}.

anyhoo, so i forfeited my jacket to miss olive. there was no way i was going to let her wear less than what i had on! poor thing was so chilly!! her nose turned pink and her hands were so cold. albeit the rough start, we really had a great time! we all picked out giant pumpkins, little pumpkins, and olive helped me pick out mini pumpkins and gourds. olive was having a blast and that’s all i could ask for. when i see her super happy, it just makes everything good.

we perused the small place a little bit more just to check out all the goods, just to make sure we weren’t missing anything! grace grabbed some fresh cider doughnuts and we then paid for our bundle of festive fruits and moseyed on home. although it was a quick trip, it was a fun one {despite the crazy shenanigans in the beginning!} we came home with the pumpkins i wanted, pretty mums, and yummy doughnuts…it was quite the successful trip!

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[hi olive]

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[i love this girl so much!]

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[she’s too sweet]

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[she picked out little pumpkins gourds for us]

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[the best moments everrrrrr…when she gets so excited to see me. i absolutely love this so much!]

xoxo

brunchin’

brunch time!

it was a last minute but really awesome get together. hc wanted to work on the house, so i had a day with the girls. the day prior, i text olivia to see if she could meet up and she could! score! then sunday morning, i text dana {on a whim} if she was available and she was, so bam! i was going to meet them for brunch. yeahhhhhh! i was so excited…the stars were aligned for us to meet.

 it was a gorgeous day, albeit on the hot side {not warm, hot} and i was excited to sit outside and enjoy the last bits of summer {or really fall because it officially became fall a few days prior}. we have had a streak of really warm days – like some days in the 90’s {and humid} but no real complaints here!

the girls and i cruised to the city and found parking right next to the restaurant {we decided to eat at bang bang pie}. yassss. olivia and dana were already there, so i just pushed our way into the outdoor eating area and found them at the first table!

before we started into our gab fest, we decided to peruse the menu and order right away or else we would sit there talking and talking and then one hour later, finally order {ok, we’re not that extreme but it’s a close description}! ha! olivia brought us menus and they both stepped into a long line to order. at one point, while we were sitting there, i saw the line stretch out onto the sidewalk in front of the restaurant!

i sat outside with the girls while olivia and dana ordered our food. olive really took to the gravel on the ground. she really, really liked it! i just cringed. i’m such a neat freak but held back because she was completely enjoying it! let kids be kids {with black fingernails and all}. ellie loved it too, but i had to make sure ellie didn’t eat the small rocks! hahaha!

after they ordered, we just sat back and enjoyed our afternoon under the shaded umbrella. we talked about life, we enjoyed the sunshine, the food, and each other. ellie was pretty fussy at first…unfamiliar environments get under her skin but then she eventually lets up and calms down. so, the first hour or so, i was so preoccupied with her that i couldn’t completely join in on the conversations {it’s sometimes hard when your baby is crying and clingy to get absorbed into the dialog right in front of you but c’est la vie!} but once she stopped crying and being so needy, i was finally able to relax a bit and focus on my two friends!

after more than a couple of hours of hanging out, we decided to leave. more so on my part because i had a pedicure appointment mid afternoon i couldn’t and wouldn’t change! ha! it was a great time with all my girls! my only regret was that i left without pie in my hurried state of leaving to get to my appointment! bah! oh well…next time bang bang, hopefully i won’t forget my pie!

cheers to friendships, brunch, and cute baby girls!

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[it was so hot out!]

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[she LOVED the gravel but man was it dirty, dusty, and dirty…did i mention dirty?! haha!]

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[i love the umbrellas]

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[me and my sweet babes]

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[sausage biscuit with an egg and maple candied bacon….yum! check out that little hand]

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[my two girls with my sweet, darling babe]

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[she’s so sweet…it cracked me up that she was so calm and collected sitting next to olivia and dana. typically she would freak out but she was kind of loving it]

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[could my girls be any more serious? so much so, that dana and olivia were dying]

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[she was LOVING the cup of water…olivia loved giving it to her!]

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[ellie is like, “hey lady, give me that water!!”]

xoxo

housewarming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[unfamiliar environments equates to a fussy ellie]

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[sweet sisters]

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[my sweet babes]

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xoxo

hanging out

one day, before olive started school, i needed to get some back to school shopping done, so we decided to head out to the mall and grab a few things for her. i had already purchased all her school supplies at good ol’ target but she needed some clothes and shoes, so i decided to hit up a few fun stores to check things off my list.

it was a gorgeous day, perfect weather to walk around in. just what this mama needed to get her errands done. as usual, olive saw the water fountain and of course we had to stop. we stayed for one ‘show’ and moved on our merry way. we hit up zara first. i love that store for kids. they have the cuuuuutest clothes! i picked up a few leggings, tops, and most importantly, a fall jacket for her. i have found, the first two years, i have been caught off guard with the temps changing so fast and me not having a fall coat for this girl to wear when she needed it most! not this year! i am ready!

we then moseyed on over to gap kids to check out a few items. we found a couple cute sweatshirts for her, of course they were sparkly and fun…not yo’ average simple sweatshirt, and glitter shoes. her current glitter shoes are dunzo. like beat up and diiiiiirty. so, naturally we needed a new pair and gap had the perfect ones!

we then headed on over to nordstroms and picked up more shoes for this gal. we replaced her red hunter boots she’s outgrown and bought the cutest pink pair of adidas shoes for her to wear to school. her teacher asks that she wears gym shoes every day due to the fact that they will go to the gym on most days and it’s just sturdier for them to wear such shoes. it makes them less susceptible to tripping and what not if they wear shoes appropriate for running, walking, and playing.

after we finished all our stops, we headed on over to the food court to treat ourselves to some smoothies and doughnuts! yassssssss!

it was such a perfect afternoon with my girls! we had a great time shopping, we walked away with great purchases, and filled our bellies with yummy treats! yay!

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[such a ham]

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[i love this silly girl]

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xoxo