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

car night

all summer long, we didn’t go to one car show {not one!} and we typically hit up a few throughout the season {sometimes in neighboring towns}. well, the other month, we fiiiiiinally went to our local downtown downers car show…quite the popular show around these parts!

it was a beeeeeeautiful evening. the weather was puuuuurfect! we jumped into hc’s jeep and took a scenic ride to the show. we drove around a bit, looking for parking {hc doesn’t mind driving around the town – showing off his jeep}, and finally found a spot and walked our way towards the cars.

we started with the police cars. there were all sorts of cool vehicles where you could sit inside, get into the driver’s seat, and pretty much examine the cars inside and out. i thought it was awesome but olive was unimpressed. hahaha! she didn’t care for any of the cars and was excited for two seconds when a firefighter gave her a sticker.

right about then, we ran into our neighbors {and olive’s sitter!}, chuck and mary! we ended up exploring the car show with them, well, actually it was really chuck and hc that did all the looking. i just chatted with mary and took care of the babes.

olive spied a toy store and really wanted to go inside. i told her that once we looked at a few cars that dada wanted to see, we could go back. on our way around, olive saw the water fountain and had a blast watching it. she danced and giggled and was so darn cute. we finally made our way around and i took olive to the toy store {thank goodness it was still open!}. she was so excited! once inside, she immediately found a unicorn in a fringed bag. oh how she wanted it. i let her look at all the other toys but her mind was fixated on the unicorn, so i let dada make that decision. aaaaaand of course, he bought it for her.

after that, we headed on home. we got our car show in for the summer, it was a fun, beautiful evening out, and olive was a happy camper with her new unicorn in a bag toy. happy end of summer!

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[poor babe was bit by a mosquito all over her eyelids and forehead. ugh!]

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[hc was digging this jeep!]

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[that’s a big ass truck]

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[she’s a junior firefighter!]

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[she wasn’t too keen on going inside]

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[i love this babe who’s growing up so fast]

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[she loooooooves fountains]

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[dancing to the music]

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[she wanted this horse so bad!]

xoxo

happy birthday b + b!

my girlfriend, kim, tends to have her babes in mid/late july or august. so, naturally, after having her third baby in july, she decided to have a joint birthday party for her first two kids, brady + brooklyn in july.

well, here’s the story. kim and i were exchanging text messages about the party. she initially said it was starting at 3:30pm and then a week before the party, we exchanged a few more text messages and she wanted to confirm that we were going because she wanted to finalize the count for food, dinner at 4:30pm. i was, for sure! we were going to be there and we were super excited to attend the party.

the day of the party, i told my husband that the party was going to start at 4:30, so we had some time during the day to do whatever. i did say to him that i thought it was odd that the party was so late, especially for a kids party! well, we did random things and around 3 o’clock, i headed out to the store to pick up some birthday gifts for the babes and a little gift for mason. we were lollygagging and so late already…on our defense, ellie was sleeping and we didn’t want to wake her up.

anyhoo, kim texts me and says, “are you still coming?”. um, what? it was only 4:45 and we were about to leave and that wasn’t going to make us terribly late to a party that just started. i text her back and said, “yes! didn’t the party start at 4:30?”. she text me back saying the party started at 3!!!! ohmergawd!!!! what?!!! i freaked out! we were sooooooooo late!

we then ran around grabbing stuff left and right. gahhhhh. i couldn’t believe i messed up the party time! we hit the road and slowly drove there…hc recently learned a hard lesson with speeding so it was painful to drive the speed limit. yes, keeping it real. i am a lead foot and absolutely terrible at driving the speed limit.

we arrived and told everyone we only came to eat and leave. hahaha! just kidding! it actually turned out perfect…it was intimate and it was super fun just hanging out with kim and her family! that was the best. i loved having uninterrupted time with everyone and it was very relaxing. we ate, sang happy birthday, and then the kiddos opened up their gifts. olive was too cute…she was having a blast with everyone and it’s been such a joy to see her blossom socially. she loves making new friends and plays so well with anyone she meets. it just melts my heart to see her grow.

after a few hours, it was time to leave and i was a bit sad. i always have such a great time at kim’s house, whether it’s a party or it’s just a play date – it’s always wonderful to hang out with her!

well, i can’t wait to celebrate all three kiddo’s birthdays next year {since they were all born just weeks apart!}!! happy birthday brooklyn & brady {& mason}! y’all are so loved!

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[the dino luau party theme!]

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[a unicorn and her buddy brady]

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[leis]

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[with the hostess with the mostess]

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[sweet baby mason being fed by grandma!]

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[the cutest, most festive cakes!]

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[detaaaaaails]

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[my stern unicorn babe]

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[the sweetest babes]

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[blow out the candle and make a wish!]

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[i’m so in love with her]

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[my loves]

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[yummy, festive lemonade]

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[kim and mason]

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[this pic killlllllls me. it’s so dang cute!!!]

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[brady is so cute with olive]

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[this babe. this pic. this pose.]

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[i mean, their outfits!!!]

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[sweet boy]

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[she’s ready to open her gifts!]

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[she’s so excited!]

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[the cutest baby bum]

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[the cutest dino gummy favors]

xoxo

ellie’s first birthday family photos

i was so excited for ellie’s first birthday professional pics! i always have anxiety leading up to their photo sessions because kids are unpredictable and me, being type a, always wants everything perfect! olive has had the reputation of being fussy and she’s always been so difficult with every photo session we’ve ever had with her.

ellie was awesome during her newborn sesh but sooooooooo dang fussy with her six months photos. plus, she’s been increasing clingy of late, so i knew her one year sesh was going to be hard to capture.

on top of that, our date with tricia had been cancelled twice and rescheduled three times! once due to personal conflict, another time due to inclement weather, and then we finally settle on a third date! well, the day had come and we were ready!

tricia had suggested that we take family photos instead to the usual birthday photos of just ellie and i was game. we were going to do individual pics of her but i absolutely loved the idea of family pics because that is what we are about! make is special for ellie but document us all on this very special milestone!

the evening was warm and muggy. like suuuuuuuper muggy!!! wet. moist. sticky. yes…all those descriptive words. at first, olive {had fallen asleep in the car equating to a grumpy wake up and girl}, she was rather somber and glum at first. typical! i gave her a little pep talk and asked if she wanted a flower and that perked her up instantly! next thing i knew…she was happier than a clam!! she smiled, giggle, and made the cutest faces for tricia! i was blown away! she was sooooooo stinkin’ cute! she is usually like this when we take pics but it was so heart melting to see her like this with tricia!

ellie cooperated quite well until we placed her in a bed of flowers {i warned tricia that she didn’t like being out of my arms and definitely didn’t like the grass!!!}. that was a compete mess but nonetheless, it was a very successful photo shoot! we truly had a wonderful time!!!

i am always so pleased with tricia’s work. she takes the most amazing pics of our family and i have loved having her as our family photographer for years now.

happy birthday miss ellie. you have blessed our lives in so many wonderful ways. we love you so much and the first year with you in our lives has blessed and fulfilled us in so many amazing ways!

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[my sweet birthday girl]

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[sweet, giggly girl]

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[the smiliest she’s ever been for professional pics…i’m in love]

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[meeeeeelting…oh how i adore this picture]

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[i can’t]

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[my girls. my sweet, lovely girls.]

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[my faaaaaavorite of these two]

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[yup…this is what we get for sticking her in a bed of flowers. she’s like, nope.]

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[my life]

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[pure love]

xoxo

ellie’s first birthday!

all the anticipation, all the anxiety, all the planning, all the crafting, all the energy, and all the time that went into planning ellie’s first birthday was finally here!

oh my goodness. i really don’t know why i do this to myself. i love party planning and yet absolutely hate it at the same time. hahaha! planning and executing it causes me so much strife yet the creative part, the vision, the beauty of it all brings me so much joy!

it all stemmed from my monthly photos of ellie. well, if we really want to rewind it, it truly originated from her room decor! her room started out with the idea of monochrome black and white with pops of pink and green. i had felt flower garlands handmade for her room to give it a feminine edge and soften the color of the space. from there, her monthly pics incorporated the felt flowers and voila! her party theme was born! i decided upon the influences of rifle paper co. because 1. i have alllllllllways been a fan of this company’s signature look  and 2. their brand fit perfectly in with ellie’s flower themed birthday party!

so, i created, made, bought, gathered, prepared, and finalized all the details of her party {mind you…i started physically planning at least 3-4 months out but i probably mentally planned for it all 8 months out…haha!}.

her party invites were rifle paper co {see them here on instagram} and i was able to incorporate quite a few items such as the wrapping paper, cards, card stock, place cards, etc. to really tie it all together. i was also super excited to have had signs {one welcome sign and one sign in sign for her birthday book} made for her party from erin german, a local calligrapher with who i had taken a class with to learn calligraphy myself!

so, with that said…i had a pretty welcome sign for all our guests {over 70 folks} and a sign in table for her birthday book. i had a book personalized for her birthday {from pottery barn kids}, added in rifle paper in the front so all our guests could write a birthday wish for her to eventually read when she gets older!

hc and i made a photo booth for our guests to have a little fun! we did this for olive’s party and i wanted to do it again for ellie’s. we had a wonderful bar table, complete with towels, bottle openers, ice, chilled garnishes, liquor, soda water, beer, pop, juice boxes, pellegrino, wine, champagne…you name it! everything you needed to create yourself a tasty cocktail.

i also set up the food table with all the essentials, cute little signs to identify the food & ingredient, enough plates, napkins, extra plasticware, and food nets to keep pesky bugs off the goodies!

each table had linens and centerpieces made up of flowers, rifle framed paper and cards, pails had calligraphy to identify the plasticware, and salt and pepper. i wanted each table to have it’s own purpose and function to make it easy for our guests when they sat down to eat.

we also had a piñata filled and ready to go. i even made favor bags for each kiddo for when the piñata broke, they would have something to hold all their gathered treats! unfortunately, we totally forgot about it! eep! we were so busy running around! it was the thought that counts, right?!

we even had a water slide bouncy house for all the kiddos! best thing ever if you are having a kids party!

last but not least…the dessert bar! my favorite, favorite part of the party! who doesn’t love desserts?! i think it was the prettiest part of the soiree! this area truly incorporated the flower theme in and out!

i have to thank my sister, kim, for gifting us with her talents and the flowers. she arranged all the vases and supplied all the gorgeous blossoms. without the flowers…my party theme would not have been complete. i am so grateful for her support! the decor looked absolutely stunning with all her amazing arrangements.

when the guests arrived, they signed ellie’s book, grabbed their drinks, maybe took a photo, and mingled. ellie was sooooo good with everyone. the sweet little babe was passed around all afternoon and she didn’t mind one bit! an hour or so after the party began, the food was finally served and of course, after that, we did the ubiquitous smash cake! as with olive’s smash cake moment, ellie was like, “hmmmmm, i’m not sure” but then she got into it. she was a sight to see, digging into that cake! it literally was too sweet! ha!

once all the markers were hit, i finally grabbed a drink and began to unwind. gosh, hosting a party with that many people is pretty darn stressful! i now could relax and truly mingle without having to ‘do’ something for the party and it was glorious!

slowly the guests departed {not without a candy favor!} and the party started to dwindle as the evening rolled in. overall, it was a fantastic afternoon. everything was perfect, fun, pretty, and most importantly…we celebrated ellie, the star of the party.

oh ellie, although this mama went a bit nuts throwing this party for you, but hopefully you will look back only to know and realize how much we love you and how much you mean to us. you are such a precious gift and we are so blessed to call you ours.

happy one year my beautiful child. we love you to infinity and beyond.

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[welcome to ellie’s first birthday party!]

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[sign in table…i created a personalized birthday book and filled the front pages with rifle paper for guests to write their birthday wishes for ellie!]

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[table centerpieces ~ rifle paper and cards framed, flowers, salt and pepper for our guests, and bundled flatware wrapped with rifle paper]

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[working on my calligraphy…i wrapped plasticware in a napkin and tied it with rifle paper]

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[sisters]

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[olivia and hc]

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[gorgeous flowers by my sister kim]

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[matt, kt, karen, johann, and tony]

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[piñata favor bags…calligraphy by me]

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[part of our bar table…we had cocktail garnishes, pop, pellegrino, juice boxes, wine, and pretty much any drink you needed!]

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[my party staple…paper straws]

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[jay, hc, dave, carrie, and lori]

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[getting the food table ready]

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[practicing my calligraphy! i created food signs for each dish we were serving]

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[irina and her sweet family]

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[e for ellie]

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[bethany, darren, and their cute, cute kids]

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[mike, kaitlin, julie, chuck, mary, dianna, and todd]

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[jeri and john are about to have their third baby!]

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[john and laura]

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[dessert bar]

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[i love these paper flowers!]

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[ellie’s smash cake]

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[french macarons]

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[grace and edwin]

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[rifle paper co diy 12 month banner for miss ellie]

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[twelve months of ellie]

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[flower donut tower]

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[ellie with her auntie missy]

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[smash cake time!]

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[not so sure of the cake…and i totally didn’t realize her crown was tangled. wahhhh]

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[you can’t tell from this pic but this balloon is ginormous]

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[scott and dana]

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[gorgeous arrangements by my sister kim]

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[love these girls!]

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[water slide bouncy house]

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[the silly nephews]

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[salt water taffy]

xoxo

happy twelve months ellie!

ahhhhhhhh! happy one year my sweet baby girl!

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height: 28″

weight: 17lbs 12 oz

i am soooo happy and in disbelief that you are now twelve months old. this time has absolutely flown by. she has become the cutest, most cuddly, smiley babe. her light just shines so bright when you are around her. she is so sweet, fun, and easy going. i love that she doesn’t mind others holding her. i say that because olive didn’t like anyone holding her, so it’s so refreshing to not be the only person holding your baby! babies are meant to be held and passed around to different people! the chubby cuteness makes anyone happy!

well, ellie’s top two incisors have now come in! she now has her four front teeth. they’re so cute! her teething period for these weren’t so bad. there were some days/nights where she was a little fussy but it wasn’t intolerable for her or for me.

she can now feed herself! we tried and tried and she finally got the hang of it! now she is a pro and professionally puts e v e r y t h i n g in her mouth. from branch bits that are dragged in through the door by hc’s shoes, to grass, to dead bugs, and pieces of lint that might possibly lie around on the ground. yes. i am quite the neat, clean person but now i have to be EXTRA neat, tidy, and clean. i am constantly vacuuming because she will pick up the tiniest piece of whatever and put it in her mouth!

she had gotten better at learning sign language {so far she knows more, eat, milk, all done}, clapping, and waving. it’s the cutest thing to see her respond to our voices and make the sweetest faces! i love watching her scrunch her face, pout her lips, and pretty much any facial expression she makes! it’s a sign of her growing and showing us her emotions and i love it!

she can copy specific sounds like uh oh, dada, pitches we make with our voices, and such. it makes me so excited that she can ‘talk’.

she can stand on her own. she’s attempted it many, many times and has had success! she raises herself from the sitting position and stands up for maybe 5 seconds or so. she’s very good at walking along all the furniture and will take little steps if you hold her hand. i don’t foresee her walking within the month {she’s a very fast crawler!} but very soon!

baby girl can sip from a straw! she refused to do so last month, then a couple weeks ago she was like, yeah…i can do this! it’s so darling to see her drink from a straw, she’ll drool but can get a good amount into her mouth. she’s very good at climbing stairs too! as usual, she can get up the stairs but has yet to learn how to get down the stairs! haha!

wow, i can’t believe this is my last monthly post. i can’t believe she is one. i am in disbelief. i am going to cry. i love her so much, it’s insane. i am so blessed and always want to cherish each moment with her and not take for granted how lucky i am to be her mama.

the world spins around because of your soul here on earth. we are so fortunate to be blessed with such a beautiful girl and my love for you is immeasurable. i’m trying so hard to grasp this concept of motherhood…it’s the most complicated, rewarding, daunting, joyous journey i have ever faced and been on in life. i am beyond thankful you are mine and i am yours.

ellie ~ from the day you were born to one year later, we are so in love with you! i love your smiles, giggles, hugs, clingy ways, patience, curiosity, clumsy ways, and sweet nature. i am in awe over you and can’t wait to see the great things you will accomplish in life! we love you so much!

xoxo

dad’s 80th surprise photo session

my sisters and i decided to surprise my dad {parents} with a photo shoot for my dad’s 80th birthday {and my mom’s, since their birthdays are so close together!}!

we booked a local photographer and kept it a secret until the day before! everyone drove to a nearby park and the craziness ensued. it had rained the days leading up to this and the ground was sooooo wet! it was squishy and muddy but we made it through without it being too much of a disaster.

as usual, olive was fuuuuuuussy. she was uncooperative and it was too close to ellie’s nap time, so she was a bit crabby. from the outside, you freak out that there isn’t a good pic but you always know that your photographer can work some magic. that’s why they’re the professionals!

of course, since my gals were the ones being difficult, there i was  jumping and screaming and making funny noises just to get their attention and stop them from either crying or not listening. oy. what a show! we did some group pics, grandkids with the grandparent pics, just kid pics, and pretty much all sorts of mixed pics.

i couldn’t wait to see them! my sisters and i decided to create a book for my parents and then print out pics and frame them for their house. we surprised them with the book first and still have yet to give them the framed pictures. they were so excited and pleased with the book and all the pictures. my parents loved all the pictures taken!

so, yay! the thought {thanks to my sister kim} and results turned out perfect! our photographer did such a great job and we all love the pictures. great memories captured and beautiful pictures to cherish forever.

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[our hearts]

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[my beautiful, tenacious girl]

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[grandma and ba with their grandgirls]

via tandeminlove.com[the cutest nephews everrrrrr]

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[kisses]

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[precious…so precious. this picture just melts my heart]

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[the sweetest boys]

xoxo

the hottest alfresco lunch everrrrrrr

one sunday morning, we decided to head out for a late lunch. ellie’s morning nap was running into the early afternoon and we thought that it would be a great idea to get out of the house on this hot, hot day but not do anything too strenuous because it was so darn warm outside.

we headed into downtown dg for a lunch alfresco. it was ellie’s first jeep ride and olive’s second time but the first time she really understood what she was doing! she looooooooves riding in the jeep! oh, she kept screaming and giggling and waving her arms. it was the cutest thing to watch! it’s so joyous to watch your kids be happy!

well, it was sooooooo hot outside that even under a shady umbrella, we pretty much melted. omg it was so hot! near the end of our meal, ellie was getting a bit fussy, so i decided to walk her around the restaurant to cool off and calm her down. the first time we walked up to the window where hc was sitting outside, she said, “dada. dada.” and she looked out the window at hc. i was like, ‘hmmmmm. does she really know it’s hc?’. well, i decided to walk around the restaurant again and see if she would say it again. yup. she did. we walked back up to the window and she said, “dada. dada.” as she looked right at hc. i did it a third time!!! i finally caved in and admitted that was her first word. i wouldn’t have agreed if she really didn’t know what it meant but i have to say, she did and does. wahhhhhhhhhh.

after lunch, we decided to walk around town. gah! what a failure. it was sooooo hot. so hot. we only did one short lap and called it quits. i couldn’t wait to get back into the jeep to have the wind blowing through my hair. all in all, it was still a great afternoon. i am so glad we got outside even tho it was like an inferno. hahaha!

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[ellie’s first jeep ride!]

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[coolest girl in the world]

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[before i melt]

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[some drink i don’t remember what it’s called but it was delicious]

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[this precious face]

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[melting from the heat]

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xoxo

catch up

it was time for another reunion with the s family! we love getting together with kim, brady, brooklyn, and soon to be new addition baby s!

i grabbed a coffee and hit the road. we cruised there, i mean cruised there!!! the kennedy renovations were completed and whoa! what a difference does it make! the roads were open, there wasn’t a construction zone speed limit, and no congestion to fight through.

i arrived in the area so early {for a change!}, i decided to stop for gas and take my sweet time because i always find myself driving like a maniac, hoping i’m not too late {to any engagement}! hahaha!

as i pulled up onto to her driveway, sweet brooklyn was peering out the window! that was so cute and a wonderful first reception. typically, it’s brady looking out the window but on this day, we were graced with brooklyn’s pretty mug.

olive excitedly walked up to the door and we busted through her front entry way! hugs were exchanged and the fun began! brooklyn was obsessed with ellie and olive immediately ran to all the toys. brady was being shy, and kim and i started o catch up with all sorts of life adventures.

let me tell you, kim is so preggo and so darn cute with that baby belly, that it makes me miss mine. well, i still have a bit of leftover pudge from being pregnant but that’s not the same. haha!

i may say this a thousand times but i love hanging out with this mama. she’s a sweetheart, we have so much in common {from similar timelines of life or to our disposition on many subjects} and we truly enjoy each other’s company. brady and olive play together so  well and brooklyn is currently obsessed with ellie…it was too darn cute to watch her ‘dote’ on her as ellie cried about brooklyn’s overly affectionate ways. plus, i found out a cute fact: ever since brady had met ellie when she was a newborn {maybe a week old?}, he’s called every baby he’s seen since, ellie. how freakin’ cute is that?!

after many hours of us chatting, the time had come for us to leave. ellie needed a nap and we didn’t want to be in the thick of rush hour traffic. so, we said our goodbyes – my favorite part because it’s so darn cute to watch brady and olive kiss and hug their farewells!

hopefully we can meet up with kim before she has another bundle of joy {due in july!}! cheers to great friends!

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[the cutest friends!]

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[brooklyn is obsessed with babies]

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[cutest sequence of pics]

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[my sweet friend]

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[hugs and kisses goodbye]

xoxo

a simple outing

we had a quick, casual outing on a beautiful sunny day that turned out to be freezing cold and soooo windy in the early afternoon and then a warm day late afternoon! my, what a difference a few hours can make!

i met my dad and sister, thuy, for lunch out at the mall. we ate at a yummy restaurant and then decided to get donuts and coffee after our main meal. my dad could live off of doughnuts and coffee. ha! we were in a new part of the mall that is now a bunch of restaurants and it was pretty quiet and serene. we did a mini photo shoot with olive {natch}, ate doughnuts, sipped coffee, and enjoyed our peaceful moments together.

since my dad’s leg{s} have been bothering him, we decided to not venture out too far. thuy and i wanted to hit up anthropologie but it was too far for my dad to walk so we decided to call it quits. besides, they had more errands to run and i didn’t mind heading home with the kiddos. it was nice just to get out for a bit but honestly, with two kiddos and one being so young, you’re bound to time frames! well, i choose to be committed because i prefer for my kids to have a routine.

i love that ellie can nap at 10am and 2-3pm and olive will occassionly nap in the afternoon {depending on her wake up time & morning activities}. it limits our outings at times but hey…they are only this little for so long!

anyhoo, it was a great blip in our day. we loved seeing my dad and my sister for a bit and enjoyed the sunshine and fresh air!

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[my sweet  babe]

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[ellie enjoying being flipped around by auntie thuy]

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[thuy thought it was a good idea for ellie to try her glasses, ellie – not so much. hahaha!]

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[she loved her glasses so much!]

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[stan’s donuts]

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xoxo