true food experience

we were given the opportunity to try out the brand new true food kitchen in oakbrook center! we were excited! who doesn’t want to try out a new restaurant in the area…privately?! everyone within the restaurant was personally invited and we were treated like royalty! it was so fun and a wonderful experience!

the restaurant is fueled by the philosophy of food should make you feel better! they believe that nutrition and delicious dining should go hand in hand! the dishes are creative, beautiful, and flavorful. they use whole foods, organic, and partner with amazing chefs to creative delectable dishes at each location!

we started off with a herb hummus and edamame dumplings…both soooooo savory and delicious!! i also had the prairie mary drink and my husband ordered a libation just as tasty! hc ordered the unbeetable burger and i chose the korean noodles. hc loved the burger and i thoroulgly enjoyed my glassy noodles! olive and ellie highly recommend the grass fed burger and expressed strong opinions on how yummy it was!

we had such a great time chatting it up with everyone, learning so much about the restaurant, the history, and appreciating the passion behind the food. i feel that a lot people hear ‘organic, healthy, or whole’, it’s not going to be tasty or filling but trust me, it’s amazing! every bite, every morsel had my mouth singing!

i’m a fan, my fam are fans and i so positive you will be too!

come check out the new location at oakbrook center and find out for yourself! you will not be disappointed!

happy eating my friends!

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[we have fun together]

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[get yur drink on]

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[this babe is so extra]

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[spicy bloody mary]

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[this was sooooooo freakin’ yummy!]

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[my girl gang]

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[korean noodles with tofu]

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[goofing around]

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[dig in!]

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xoxo

gingerbread house ’19

typically the girls get to make gingerbread houses with their cousins but this year, my sister  kim suggested for us to participate in aster hall’s gingerbread house event but i couldn’t make it work so they went to that and i bought a house for the girls to decorate at home. was that a run on sentence?! LOL

i told olive that we were going to decorate a gingerbread house and the first thing she asked was if reagan and bennett were coming over to decorate. wah wah. i told her no and she was a wee bit disappointed.

nevertheless, olive was super excited and couldn’t wait to get started! i prepped all the details and did most of the frosting but she did the rest and she did a great job!! she was so detailed and particular with all the candy and patiently placed each one with deliberate intent.

ellie had absolutely zero interest. she played along the first few minutes and then she was like, buh bye. see ya suckers. LOL olive continued to work on the house until every last candy was used up. she must have been focused on that house for at least an hour. such determination! i continued to frost the house until even piece of candy was gone and olive was super satisfied with her work. once the house was complete, she worked on the gingerbread man and women, carefully frosting outfits on each cutout. she made sure to tell me that they couldn’t be naked. hahaha! ok baby girl…whatever you want for the gingerbread people.

once she completed them, i frosted their legs and attached them to the side of the house. well then. voila!!! her beautiful gingerbread house was finished and looking quite marvelous! well done miss olive…you are a true creative artist!

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[i can’t with these babes]

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[details]

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[they’re so silly]

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[she’s so diligent and precise]

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xoxo

a visit with santa

our seasonal visit with santa was a bit of an obstacle this year. every year, i will get an email stating when santa was coming to town and to make a reservation. every year, i do but not this year. i pushed it off and by the time i checked the site to make a reservation, the entire month was booked!!! whaaaaa?!

yes, and on the random days i checked in to see if they had any openings, they were booked. ughhhhhh. one day, we showed up, the girls all jazzed out for santa, and stopped by the place to see if there were any openings, nope. they were booked. extra yuck.

i was feeling defeated. i mean, there were plenty of options everywhere to visit with santa. it wasn’t like this was the only choice but i was a stickler for wanting to go there because it’s been the only place we’ve ever gone to for a visit with the guy in red.

sooooo, one day, i stopped by and they had open slots for visits {they apparently said the weekend before christmas would be open to walk in’s}, i put in our name and was super excited! olive had written a letter to santa weeks prior and it was urgent to get it in his hands!

the girls got dressed up and we had plans to hit up dinner at roka akor afterwards. we arrived at the santa station and it was a bit crowded. we checked in and there was a lot of commotion going on inside. people were irritated and annoyed with their wait times and reservations. right after i checked in, a girl came up to me and asked, “how did you make a reservation?”, i was like, uhhhhhh…i stopped in earlier in the day. there was a particular women there who was mouthy, rude, and obnoxious. she constantly got into the host’s face and had such attitude and was so angry at her because they had been waiting a bit to see santa. what a prime example of patience and kindness she was showing her kids! LOL there was such a negative vibe going on, it was almost unbearable!

i must admit, the wait time was way too long and i assume they overbooked people, causing all of us to wait longer than expected. our reservation was at 6 and we didn’t see santa until 50 minutes later!!!! there was no turning back…we needed to see the big guy but our restaurant reservations were at 6:45!

well, of course we didn’t rush our visit with santa. we walked inside the airstream and santa was just chilling. ellie freaked out and olive was so excited! immediately olive went over to sit with him. she spent a few minutes with him while ellie hid behind hc. when it was time for some pics, i literally had to peel ellie off of hc like she had the claws of life on him. it was funny. for us, apparently not for her. she resisted but i reassured her he was super nice. santa read to them and was super kind and patient. ellie was doing just fine, although still quite skeptical.

overall, i was so proud of both babes for being so good! i always say 3 is the magic number. olive was open but not keen on santa at that age and then the following year, she was a super fan! i am expecting the same with ellie…next year will be even better!

we literally ran to the restaurant after the santa visit! i had called to let them know we were going to be late and they were so gracious with letting us get there 25 minutes later than expected! the restaurant was so good and we had a wonderful experience.

our visit with santa ended being fantastic despite the horrible wait time and environment and our dinner as a family was just as fun and delicious! i would have to say it was a win win evening!

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[ellie not impressed but olive enjoying reading time with santa]

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[classic looks from my girls]

xoxo

christmas programs ’19

olive and ellie had their christmas programs right before christmas break!

ellie’s program was during her class time, in the morning. i am the only person who goes. i feel a little bit bad that it’s just me because most of the kid’s parents both attend along with both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, or anyone who will go. then there’s just me. ellie is the only child who only has one parent show up. well, hell, at least she has someone, right?!!

well, after her stage fright stint with her ballet recital, she kicked that into high gear for her christmas singalong. she froze up and sang not one song, not one word. nope. wasn’t doing it. she would not sing. i sat front row and encouraged her to sing and she angrily shook her head no at me the entire time. ugh.

girlfren was alllllll smiles before the program started then she shut down. oh well. at least she looked cute!!

E L L I E’ S  C H R I S T M A S  P R O G R A M

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[she looked super excited but the performance didn’t show it]

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[ellie’s skeptical face the whole program]

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****

O L I V E’ S  C H R I S T M A S  P R O G R A M

olive’s program was at night. it was the k-5 classes and they were set to perform first. i was so excited! i was also stoked that i was photographing the performance and as a yearbook photographer for the school, i was reserved front row seating! yahooooooo!

i dropped olive off at the main school and walked into the church and found my partners in crime on the yearbook staff. i finally met carolina {after many text messages exchanged} in person and then found morgan and gabbed with her on what our game plan was for the program.

the kindergarten class walked out and the show commenced! they all looked so cute and festive! they sang their songs and did such a great job! i was snapping pics and before i knew it, their performance was over! whaaaaaaa?! that flew by so fast! i hardly snapped enough pictures! then each class performed and they all did such a wonderful job!!! each class sang unique songs and each class did fun narrative choreograph to some songs. that always makes it even more fun when you see the kids get so into it!

the very last performance, all the grades came out and sang silent night together. the best part about that? the whole audience joined in and it was so darn moving. goosebumps. oh my…i love our school!!!

the whole program was so well done. the kids did such an amazing job and kudos to the music teacher, mr. barker, for working so hard with the kids and pulling off such a wonderful program! it was such a magical night.

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[she was sooooooo darn good throughout the whole program]

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[on their way to the church]

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[they did such a great job!]

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xoxo

winter ballet recital ’19

it was olive and ellie’s ballet recital! ellie’s first!

they had practiced all season long and i am always excited for every program they have been in. now, olive is now the seasoned pro but this was going to be ellie’s first recital! we all could not wait to see her perform!

it was the day of the recital and i was getting both girls ready. tights. check. tutu’s. check. shoes. check. hair buns. check. within 10 minutes of us needing to leave, ellie started to melt down. she was crying and not making sense. in my gut, i had a feeling that she didn’t want to perform but i brushed it off. we loaded the girls into the car and when we arrived at the center and i led the girls into the green room, ellie freaked out. she kept saying, ‘i don wan tooooo. i don wannn toooooo!’ right then my feeling solidified and i knew she was getting stage fright. i coaxed her, i asked her, i reassured her but she was not having it.

her teacher was so sweet and kind and even took ellie upstairs, 10 minutes before the show was to begin and tried to calm her nerves by playing music to distract her but it didn’t work. i was so bummed!! i wanted to see ellie perform. during her practice, she was soooooo good! she was one of the better performers amongst her group, so i was sad that she wasn’t going up on stage! i carried her to the auditorium and sat down with our family. i told them she was having stage fright and it wasn’t going to happen. womp womp.

olive was the first to perform and she did amazing!! she’s so poised, so confident, and has such great presence on stage! what a ham! i was so proud of her! after her class performance, all of the dancers in the show were fabulous and the little ones were the cutest!

once the program was over, we all congratulated olive and we had a celebratory lunch down the street from the center, where she performed. i am so proud of both my girls for working hard all season long! crossing my fingers this coming spring season will be the recital ellie will perform at!

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[she’s so sweet!!! she’s so fearless!]

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[she’s a natural]

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[LOL…you can’t even see olive!]

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[olive is so extra]

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[she loves copying her sister!]

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[my darling babe]

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[i love ellie and all her faces]

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[olive and gramma…oops, didn’t adjust my aperture]

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[with auntie thuy]

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[my fiery girl]

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[i love their little buns]

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[these two…]

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xoxo

fire station field trip!

ellie’s first field trip!

ellie’s very first school field trip was to the fire station! i was excited for her but i always feel like ellie likes nothing new and different. LOL

we arrived right on time and parked in the lot and were ushered inside by her teachers. we lined up inside waiting for instructions and someone to lead the group. finally, a fireman starting talking to us and within a couple minutes of him starting the tour, they were called to duty!!! they all jumped into the fire truck and sped away on a call. that had us laughing as were like, okuuuurrrrrrrr, now what do we do?!!

well, ellie’s teacher has done this field trip so many times and was super familiar with the entire layout and what they do there, she started walking us through the station. it was a very, very quick call as they returned after 10 minutes?

the official tour began and all the kids were in awe. ellie was skeptical of everything and everyone…oh gurl. calm down! they even handed out firemen hats and ellie would not wear it. i put it on my head and when she saw me wearing it and saw the other kids wearing it, she finally wanted to wear it. ha!

once the tour was over, all the kids took turns to sit in the fire truck. only ellie didn’t want to. she saw the other kids being lifted into the truck by a fireman and she was not having it. i asked her over and over if she would sit in the truck and she kept saying no. then i told her i would lift her and the fireman wouldn’t and she agreed. well there was nooooooo way i could lift her into the firetruck! nope! so when it was her turn, i quietly asked the fireman to help me. i was going to lift ellie up {to have her think i was going to put her into the seat} and he would take her from me, from behind, and she would have no clue i wasn’t the one putting her up there. hahahaha!

her first field trip was a success! we had so much fun together and came home happy campers!

via tandeminlove.com[the kids loooooved the fire truck!]

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[she never wants to go outside the usual until she sees someone else doing it…she refused to wear the hat until she saw me and the other kids toting ’em. oh em gee girlfren]

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[i had to double post cause i love this face and that smile]

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[getting the tour and the breakdown of the truck]

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[she was so hesitant about sitting in the fire truck…again..until she saw everyone else doing it. LOL]

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[all the kiddos on the field trip]

xoxo

rockin’ around the christmas tree

it’s that time of year when the world falls in love

every song you hear seems to say “merry christmas, may your new year dreams come true”!!!!!!

we are the decorate after thanksgiving kind of folks. always have been, most likely will always be. olive’s birthday is so close to thanksgiving and we love celebrating thanksgiving as well, it just makes sense to us to blow up the house in christmas decor come end of november.

we do our usual…break out the adult drinks, blast christmas music, and drag alllllll our boxes down to sort through. this year, i completely edited my stuff and realized that i have outgrown some decor and desired some new pieces.

i love clean, simple things. so naturally i try not to overkill decking the halls but i love to make an impact within each room. i always end up trying to add more but naturally subtract to streamline each area.

this year i am feeling quite content with our set up and of course, the girls loooooooove it. i love their sweet little voices when they sort through all the ornaments. i love their bright eyes when they see something they like or find fun. i love hearing their giggles when they experience joy in decorating.

there’s so much more i wasn’t able to capture but enjoy the pics! christmas is almost here and we couldn’t be more excited although, i only wish it could be hot cocoa, snow, fireplace, snuggling, twinkling lights, parties always…basically christmas season forever!

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[my sweet girl]

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[these two melt my heart]

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[christmas jammies]

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[ohhhhhh and ahhhhh’ing over the ornaments!]

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[hanging the ornaments]

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[this girl…i love her so much!]

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[every year, we take a photo like this…i’m not sure how much longer dada can lift her. LOL]

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[every year and it doesn’t get old]

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[who doesn’t love bottle brush trees?]

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[anthropologie and rifle paper co are my best friends]

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[our new shelves in the kitchen are getting their fair share of changes]

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[i bought these ceramic houses on super sale at target two years ago and i am finally breaking them out]

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[ellie’s room]

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[obsessed with rifle paper co and antro collaboration. i actually ended up moving this pillow to her arm chair in the room and kept what you see below, on her bed]

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[peppermint hot cocoa]

xoxo

ellie’s first thanksgiving singalong

ellie had her first thanksgiving performance!

i came early to her class to snap some pics and a group pic, so i nabbed front row seating! i’m alllllll about the front row. ever since the girls started performing, i get crazy about getting a great seat. so much so that i tend to stress out about it too much. like so unnecessary. LOL

as i’ve gotten older…i feel i should be more chill. uh, nope. like who give a fcuk but it’s gotten worse! i’ll blame having kids…man, the responsibility, the pressure, the worrying…it’s on high all the time!

anyhoo, watching them practice their songs was so stinkin’ cute! watching little kids do their own thing or bumble around is so fun to see! their teacher encouraged them to sing   l o u d !! she did a great job letting them lead the songs while she did the choreograph and led them along that way.

soon the doors opened up and all the parents, grandparents, and family members filed in. for a nano second, i felt bad i didn’t encourage anyone on our side to come watch ellie perform! some people had 5 or 6 family members come by to watch their little ones perform! ellie just had me…but dang it, i’m more than enough! hahaha!

the kiddos performed quite a few songs…maybe 6 or 7 songs?? they all did such a great job and entertained everyone! my favorite ones are the kids that belt it out and are so animated! those are the ones that crack me up, they totally lead the show!

i was so proud of her! ellie did such a great job singing along and she nailed all the choreograph that went along with each song! way to go girl!

i’m so proud of you! you’ve come a long way since you started school and i love watching you shine!

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[practicing for their show]

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[my little cutie…she refused to wear anything on her head. LOL]

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[love this babe so much]

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[look at that sweet smile!]

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[she did so well!]

xoxo

halloween bash at waterlemon

i follow waterlemon on instagram…and you should too!

when they posted they were having a halloween bash earlier in october…i was game! it sounded like so much fun! they have the most beautiful play area and it was going to be filled with crafty fun, cupcake decorating, and more! what a great event for the kiddos!

this was the night ellie told me NO to her monarch butterfly costume. i was so bummed! i had purchased two matching costumes for the girls and they both agreed that they wanted to be monarch butterflies specifically but ellie threw a wrench in that idea! no matter…they both ended up looking so cute in their gear.

the weather was terrible…the sky opened up and it would not stop raining. no. actually it would not stop pouring buckets of water from the sky. hc pulled up to the shop and i quickly dragged both girls out of the car, one by one, to the safety of the awning by the door. we walked inside and we were immediately greeted by nina!

she is just a ball of energy! i love her enthusiasm, kindness, and love for what she does. we hugged as it was the first time we were meeting in person after all the emails and text exchanges we have had!

olive and ellie got right into it. we first took photos and then the girls were super excited to get crafty. they both looooooove to paint, so painting the {what olive calls it} ‘haunted’ house was so much fun for them! once they finished up the house, they were super excited to hit up the play area. olive was a bit bummed that the slides and upper play house area was closed off but nevertheless, my positive girl said it didn’t matter and that she had so much fun anyways!

two funny things happened and they happened with the two same boys who were dressed up as doctors to each of my girls. so, olive saw the grocery store area and lit up. she took a few minutes and rearranged allllllll the products on the shelves {hellooooo, just like mama}, and became excited at the prospect of selling food items to anyone in need. olive stood at the counter and in a slightly loud voice, says, “who needs to buy?”. naturally i decided to play along and said, “i’ll take a banana and…” while she handed me a shopping basket and i was picking out my items, olive went to grab the register scanner. before her little fingers could reach the scanner, the two boys ran over and snatched it out of her reach. oh em gee. LOL what i love so much about my girl is that she is so sweet! her eyes bugged out and she looked at me with the biggest smile and said, “uh oh!”. i started laughing and we both laughed that she no longer had a scanner. oh my girl…she spent so many minutes organizing the store and then ended up not being able to play along without the scanner. no matter. she moved onto something else and continued to have fun!

while i was watching olive, ellie caught the corner of my eye. she was surrounded by the two boys who were examining her. ahhhhhahaha! it was so funny to watch. there was ellie, standing there just staring at the two boys dressed as doctors. they decided to check on ellie to make sure she was ok. they check her heart with the stethoscope and used the grocery store scanner to make sure her arms and head were ok. all the while, ellie just stood there a bit amused and confused on what these two boys were doing to her. oh kids! they are so funny! always fun and entertaining.

after they were in the play area for a bit, we decided to call it quits and head out to dinner as their bedtime is the main reason we do everything so early now! hahaha! we gathered them together and in the process, we were lucky enough to snatch yummy cupcakes to go. i gave nina a hug goodbye and thanked her for hosting an amazing halloween party for the kids! it was so much fun – so unique and festive and perfect.

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[these babes…so adorable]

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[the most amazing halloween decor everrrrrr]

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[learning to work together and painting a ‘haunted’ house]

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[accoutrements]

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[pretty pastels]

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[isn’t nina just a doll?! i love her energy!]

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[the spookiest doughnut board ever]

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[these babes have my heart]

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[the grocery store olive loved so much!]

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xoxo

pumpkin farm ’19

oh hello! we thought it was a great idea to go to the pumpkin farm the other weekend….uhhhh, that was a crazy decision. only one million people decided to go too and it was a hot mess.

first, it took us 25 minutes to travel one mile to get to the entrance of this farm. once we parked, it was another half mile walk just to get back to the entrance! oh em geeeeeee. thank goodness the girls were in great spirits and it was super nice and sunny out! the weather was perfect and it was in the mid 60’s!

we trekked our way through the dirt and dust…man, that stuff kicked our shoe’s behinds. our shoes were so filthy! once we arrived, it was a madhouse to enter but hc found the shortest line and we were inside in a jiffy.

we walked in and it was craaaaazzyyyyyy. so. many. people. we hit up the fun house first…which was super creepy but the girls enjoyed it. we settled on the idea of food {we were so hungry!} and oh my goodness…that was an event in itself. hc stood in the longest line ever to order, then once he ordered, he had to stand in another line to pick up the food. wtf. the most ridiculous process ever.

we ate our mediocre food and promised the girls we would do whatever they wanted and boy, we did. it was like great america {although i haven’t been there since i was 9, so i’ve been told what the experience is like}. we waited and waited and waited in line for all sorts of rides. the girls didn’t mind and we didn’t either. hc and i knew what we were getting into the moment it took us forever to initially get into this place.

after being there for several hours and doing all of five things, the temps were dropping and we were ready to go. the girls were satisfied with all the rides they were on and so were we.

would we go again next year? probably…maybe to a different farm but regardless of the crowds, wait, and nuttiness of the place, we had a wonderful time with our girls and their smiles and laughter was so worth every cringe-y moment endured. LOL

happy october my friends!

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[she loved the dancing chickens!]

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[always putting things in her mouth…]

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[they were so serious about this. LOL]

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[oh my goodness]

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[ellie was so excited]

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[they were having so much fun!]

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[i love their smiles!]

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[they’re so silly]

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xoxo