young, wild, and three!

ellie’s birthday party planning started out slow and a bit clueless. i wasn’t sure what i wanted to do so i looked at some birthday invites and saw the theme – young, wild, and three and that perfectly described ellie!!!

then came pinterest and the creative juices started flowing. once that starts, i can’t seem to stop and one idea trumps another and another and that’s when it gets dangerous up in my noggin’. i then start searching for decorations and if i can’t find it, i will make it!

hc and i spent the week preparing for the party. he took care of the yard, the tables, chairs, and helped me with setting up some of the decor where i needed more than two hands; he helped with the food, and some other odds and ends. i spent the week stopping at party stores, grocery stores, clothing stores, cleaning the house, crafting all the diy decor, and slowly setting up each area. i did most of my decorating on friday, the day before the party, and completed the finishing touches on saturday morning. i definitely wanted our morning {the day of the fête} to be more low key, low stress, and calm before all the guests arrived mid afternoon.

the last thing i did was decorate the cake! i was excited to have my vision come to life! my oldest sister, kim, did the fabulous floral arrangements. she’s sooooo talented!!!! each vase turned out absolutely amazing and gorgeous! she picked out the most perfect items to create our jungle themed look {i only showed her an inspiration pic and she killed it in interpretation!}! i asked her for leftover flowers for ellie’s cake and it was like she read my mind on what i wanted to do…she brought over the most perfect flowers and leaves for the cake! exactly what i wanted!

i made an onion dip and cheese plate for our guests as appetizers and we ordered food from a local joint. everything was turning out just right. the guests arrived in a timely fashion, the food arrived as expected, and the rest of the afternoon was awesome.

after we ate, we brought ellie outside to show her the birthday present gramma and papa bought her! it was a unicorn water play table! i also got her/them a rainbow sprinkler. the girls then changed into swimsuits and played outside in the water for a bit.

after a stint in the hot outdoors, i gathered everyone back in to sing happy birthday to ellie! i tried getting her back into her themed dress but that was an utter failure {honestly…i just didn’t push it}. LOL so she wore her unicorn swimsuit for her big candle blow out!

i served up cake, ice cream, and macarons and soon afterwards, our guests started to trickle out. it was the most perfect timing, though. once i brought everyone inside for cake, the sky opened and started POURING. so, while everyone finished up with dessert and the rain finally let up, it was a sign to go!

hc and i did our thing. we cleaned up like pro’s while the babes bathed and afterwards, ellie {and olive} opened up all her gifts! oh my goodness. it was such a wonderrrrrrrrrFULL day. like so good. the decor turned out so damn fun, the food was so good, our guests were the best and we couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon to celebrate our baby ellie.

sweet girl, you are amazing. you are funny. you are silly. you are strong. you are sweet. you are loving. you are sassy. you are beautiful. you are everything good and everything you want to be! we love you so much that descriptive words insult the feeling that is so big within our hearts.

happy birthday precious babe. we love you to infinity and beyond.

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[how sweet is she??]

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[hat by little blue olive]

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[oh olive]

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[i said, “smile ellie!”]

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[favors: glassine bag of candies, tattoos, and organic play dough – in a zebra print, of course! – housed in a brown paper bag, stamped, and i calligraphy the kid’s names]

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[all the favor goodies]

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[play dough from ellie and piper co}

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[our sweet family]

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[the bar table! plastic garland banner from glamfete]

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[drink menu]

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[my kind of town…]

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[party straws and stirrers]

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[floral arrangements by the great and talented kim]

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[i hand stamped the zebra onto the napkins]

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[hc’s side]

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[lynne and barbara]

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[animal masks for our guests]

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[hand drawn, hand cut leaves, calligraphy by crazy me place cards. hc spray painted the animals and glued each card to them]

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[table setting for our guests]

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[i couldn’t get over the stunning arrangements by my sister. she does a phenomenal job every time!]

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[the wood looking plates are biodegradable and are made out of palm leaves!]

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[dessert bar]

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[favor bags]

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[it’s never a party without french macarons!]

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[cake decorated by yours truly with left over flowers my sister left me!]

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[i couldn’t pick just one pic to post of us!]

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[cheese plate i hastily threw together last minute!!!]

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[mom and dad or also known as rimma and ba]

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[hand written menu. i tore apart a paper bag and hand wrote/calligraphy the food we were serving]

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[dan and agata]

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[me and thuy]

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[silly cousins]

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[sista sista]

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]so excited over gramma and papa’s birthday present to ellie!]

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[what a big girl]

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[very hesitant to go under the rainbow sprinkler…she eventually put her hand in it. that was it! LOL]

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[bennett braving the cold water!]

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[olive acting cool…like, guy…it’s not cold…]

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[my sweet little baby]

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[birthday cake!]

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[look at her face!]

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[make a wish]

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[having her cake and eating it too]

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[silly kids]

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[grandma and her grandkids]

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[silly girls]

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xoxo

a fun afternoon

it was a very long, long awaited playdate with kim and famille. like way too long! let’s be clear…it was one year since i had seen them last! whaaaaaaaa? kim and i planned 5 different times to see each other but each time, unfortunately, something always came up for kim and we had to cancel every time.

well, the waiting was over and we secured a date and boom! it happened! olive was so excited to see brady! when she woke up in the morning, she said to me she needed to hurry up and brush her teeth cause she wanted to go see brady! hahaha! too damn cute!

we could have left on time but i am at fault for wanting to do one million more things before we walked out the door, then once we did…we literally turned back around cause i forget to get the girls to the bathroom and we had a long car ride ahead of us! arghhhhh. we finally hit the road one hour after we were suppose to leave. like wtf. i am usually not this late but this was probably a record tardy start for me!

we arrived in no time, quite surprisingly and the girls couldn’t not wait to get inside! once they stepped foot inside…i didn’t see them for an hour. just kidding but they literally ran away from me and were outta sight. LOL i hugged kim and we started chatting. as i have said in the past…the girlfriends i have {kim is no different}, we have this tendency to talk and talk and talk and talk and talk. no joke…time literally flies by when i am with kim. we can gab about anything and everything!

it was super nice cause the kids are at an age where they are very low maintenance and they all play so well together. so, mikey {kim’s hubby} kept the kids entertained as they ate their lunch and kim and i ate our lunch in another room. that was awesome.

before i knew it, three hours flew by and we needed to go! olive had gymnastics and i knew traffic back home was going to be a nightmare. we quickly said our goodbyes {sadly…no one wanted to leave, including me!} and headed back home.

it was such a fun afternoon and a much needed catch up time with kim! i told her, we cannot have another year go by where we don’t see each other! i don’t think that has ever happened in the 10 years that we’ve known each other! crossing our fingers we can squeeze in a zoo date before school starts.

cheers to good friends!

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[olive ellie, brooklyn, brady, and mason]

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[so darn cute]

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[kim and me]

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[such a sweet family]

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[brady’s selfie]

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[how sweet are they?!! melting]

xoxo

the morton arboretum

a couple years ago, hc and i bought a year membership to the arboretum and we probably went a couple times but then it expired and we never renewed.

this year, we fully went in and purchased a two year membership because we totally feel like the girls are at an age where they play well together and they are so active! so it made sense and we know we will go more than twice a year!

the day we went was beautiful. sunny, warm, but not too hot. after we signed up for our membership and grabbed drinks at the cafe, we headed out to the children’s area and the girls were so excited! they immediately became involved with everything that catered to their curious minds. it was great. hc and i just sat back, conversed, drank and the girls kept themselves super busy with their surroundings.

we slowly made our way around the area, stopping at each section so the girls could throughly explore. we made our way through the pond/water area and the girls became excited at the idea of taking off their shoes and wading through the creek, in which they did. i had to help ellie walk through it back and forth while olive independently jumped around.

in one section of the creek, olive became a bit too zealous and slipped and fell on her behind! oh, poor olive! she soaked her entire bottom! no matter, i reassured her it was ok and i knew, with the warm temps, she would dry up quickly.

once that was over, we slowly made our way back to the entrance. i assumed the girls were hungry and i was right, so we stopped for some yummy snacks. as we headed out, the girls also spotted some very large lego creations along the way. they were so cool!

it was a great day. the temps were perfect, the sun was shining, and the girls had a wonderful time exploring the playgrounds! we can’t wait to go back, it’s such a huge area and there’s so much to see and experience there!

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[the maze]

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[caution first]

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[taking the lead]

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[kids playing, parents drinking]

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[hair clips by little blue olive]

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[olive owning the play area]

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[she’s so spunky and sweet]

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[sprinkler]

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[ellie braved the jungle gyms!]

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xoxo

fantastic bug encounter

we were invited to preview the newest exhibit at the field museum! and it did not disappoint!

i was super excited to have the girls experience something different and fun. the whole collaboration was well thought out and the field museum did such an excellent job welcoming us!

traveling to the museum took a pinch and we were given complimentary parking – sweet! we quickly parked and walked right into the very close entrance. we were greeted by a few  staff members, asked to sign in, and given visitor passes to wear. then a kind lady led us through the building up to where the exhibit was.

we were then greeted again by staff members at the entrance and given additional information on event and were told to enjoy and have fun!

the entrance was so cool! video screens lined the walk way and it felt like we were walking through an enchanted forrest with butterflies fluttering all around us!

once inside, the rooms were outstanding! everything was informative, interactive, and so beautifully designed! the girls immediately gravitated towards everything in there! olive was obsessed with the immersive chambers and they both were so delighted and intrigued by all the different displays of bugs!

i was pleasantly surprised by ellie! i was nervous she wouldn’t have great time because she is terrified of bugs! i was reassured by a field affiliate that she would indeed have a good time and not be scared and she was right! the whole space is so colorful, bright, and fun…ellie was not bothered by the bugs and didn’t seem to care. what i loved most was i knew she felt safe, so therefor she wasn’t scared! she was so brave the entire time and i can’t believe she came so close to the live bugs at the bug zoo! she was closer to the live bugs than olive cared to get!

we explored the whole exhibit and loved all the rooms. olive loved the praying mantis chamber, all the games, and i think her favorite bug was the swimming/diving beetles! i loved how wonderfully designed it all was. the details, the thought process behind each area, and how creative the space was for the children.

i have to add that the gift bag was bugtastic! they were so thoughtful and generous in giving us such a wonderful treat when we left the exhibit! it was filled with sooooooo many goodies for the girls {lots of toys} and mama {pampering products}!

we even ran into a few other blogger friends at the event! the afternoon turned out so fun for us! after our visit at the fantastic bug encounter, we headed down to south michigan ave to find a place to eat. it was so sunny and warm but once we parked the car, it became dark and the sky opened up! the rain poured down as we waited outside the building under an awning by the el. the girls had a blast standing outside while it rained all around us. watching them giggle, be silly, and laugh endlessly filled my heart with so much joy.

after dinner, we stopped by another eatery and purchased ice cream shakes for the girls. they sipped their sweet treats while we walked back to the car. while on route, as were about to cross the street, i think i knocked ellie’s shake out of her hand trying to guide her and it fell to the ground! ughhhhh! i quickly picked it up and salvaged it! LOL the straw never touched the ground and the shake was still in tact although half of it spilt out. yes, i was that mom who pulled the 5 second rule, even on the dirty streets of chicago. hahahahaha!

our afternoon was beautiful. i thoroughly enjoyed our day together as a family. it’s been awhile where we have spent it in the city on our terms…not just running from one event to the next, driving in traffic just to get somewhere but it was more so a slow moving day, where we enjoyed our time and we weren’t strapped to a timeline or an outside agenda!

thank you field museum for being such a consummate host. the whole experience was top notch and we had the most lovely day!

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[ready to explore!]

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[these girls have my whole heart]

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[i post multiple pics because ellie’s faces are too cute!]

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[sweet kisses for ellie]

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[she’s so kind and sweet. i can’t say it enough how she’s so much better than anyone i know]via tandeminlove.com

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[praying mantis]

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[the very cool immersive chambers were outstanding!]

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[everything was so interactive! so hands on]

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[checking out the bug zoo…the girls did not hold the bugs but they were much closer to them than what i expected!]

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[millipede]

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[she was so mesmerized by the associate who was feeding the ‘swimming beetles’]

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[origami a bird and watch it fly!]

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[oh my sweet babes! they had such a great time at the museum]

xoxo

father’s day 2019

we celebrated father’s day at hc’s parent’s house.

on mother’s day…we do what i prefer and on father’s day, we do what hc prefers and it all is fair and square. we got up and got ready at a very slow pace {ahem…if it’s a day off for me…i can never get out of bed quick}.

i had the girls give hc his gift in the morning…flowers, a bag of man treats, and a six pack of unique beers. they were so cute trying to carry it all to him!

once we were at his parent’s house, we all just sat around chatting. his sister missy, his aunt wendy, grace, his parents, his cousin kevin and kevin’s kids, mila and nolan were all there. it was so good to catch up and just relax.

it’s been awhile since we have seen kevin and the kids and it was super nice to have him there! it reminded us that it had been too long since we’ve hung out and we need to see them more often!

after an hour or so of being there, lunch was ready! jane had made chicken, burgers, and salad. we all gathered around and had a really good time conversing while we ate.

father’s day was very low key but filled with a lot of love. sometimes all you need is to be with the ones you love and that’s it.

happy father’s day hc. you are an amazing dad to the girls and they absolutely adore you. thank you for always doing your best and going above and beyond every day to provide us the best life possible. we love you to infinity and beyond!

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[our gang]

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[handmade gifts]

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[my favorite girls]

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[my sweet babe]

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[dada and his girl]

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[oh that face…she melts our hearts]

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[mama and son]

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[hc, jane, and kevin]

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[his favorite uncle]

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[so sweet]

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[desserts are always welcomed]

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[father and daughter]

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[grilling kind of cake]

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[daddy and daughter]

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[olive was so excited to give dada her gift]

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[as close as ellie would get to aunt wendy]

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[homemade frames for dad]

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[ellie was upset and screamed for grace to console her! it was so darn cute!]

xoxo

ellie’s big little girl bed

cue allllllllllll the tears. like sheets of rain jumping outta my eyes.

{apologies now as i get passionate talking about this stuff…so i then start to ramble.}

at the beginning of may, we took away the paci from ellie. oh my goodness…it pained me a bit to do so but ellie made it so easy. one day, i said no paci and she was like ok and i hid it. i was very, very surprised that she gave it up so easily because months prior…it was a fight to always have it {and i always gave in}. so, that was the first part of my heart breaking a bit.

olive never took to the paci, so i never had to break her from it but with ellie being our last baby, the fact that we weaned her from the paci was another moment of me realizing that she is growing up. it is just so damn bittersweet.

so that was the first milestone.

we had purchased ellie’s toddler bed awhile back in readiness for her transition. we wanted to have it just in case she showed signs that she was ready to sleep in a big girl bed. i decided on a toddler bed because one: she’s so damn tiny and i know she will sleep in it for several more years and two: it was so darn cheap!!!! also, three: her room is small in square footage, so a little bed was a perfect fit for her space. we bought the bed for $70 and the bedding for less than $100! score!

at bed time, one week, i put ellie in olive’s bed and she was grinning ear to ear. i asked her if she wanted to sleep in a big girl bed and she nodded her head yes. i told hc what had happened and he took it literally. so on 5.28, he surprised us both {while i was at gymnastics with ellie} and built ellie’s bed!

uhhhhhh, who cares if ellie was ready cause i was NOT! i came home and i was like whaaaaaaaa?! i kept thinking, where’s her crib? i’m not ready! what? my baby has a big girl bed?! i was crying inside a little bit but i knew it was time. kind of. sniff. sniff.

ellie saw the bed and freaked out. she didn’t want it. those were her words. ‘i don’t want it’. it’s so cute when she says that! i think she was freaking out a bit because i told her that if she wanted to sleep in a big girl bed, she would have to stop nursing. {yes, i still nursed ellie…those who judge have NO IDEA, so don’t roll your eyes and crinkle your face in disgust. shame on you for judging the most beautiful bond a mother and child can have but more on that later}.

ellie laid down in the her new bed cautiously and hesitantly. i knew this was going to be a big change for her. that night when we were getting her ready for bed…she seemed stiff and worried. i put her down in her bed, grabbed a book to read to her, and she had the most somber look. once i finished the book and said goodnight…she started bawling. oh it broke my heart. i walked out, slightly closed the door and she cried soooooo loud. i came back in because my heart couldn’t take it and saw the most devastated look on her face. i looked at rich and he said ‘just nurse her. let’s not shock her all at once.’ so i did. i nursed her for three more days and then it happened.

on 5.31…ellie gave up nursing.

yes it happened. it finally happened. i had played around with the idea of us giving it up several times prior to this but each time, ellie put a kibosh on it. she firmly held her ground and would NOT stop nursing. i didn’t mind. i loved it…probably just as much as ellie.

so, let me talk about nursing and why i loved it so much. while i was pregnant with olive, i was not fond of the idea of nursing. #truth. i didn’t want to. i didn’t like the idea. i didn’t want to be bothered. #truth then around 7-8 months pregnant, i thought: why knock something you haven’t tried? so i committed to the idea and said to myself – i am going to give it a try…and see where it takes us – boom. olive was born and 20 months later…she chose to give up nursing herself and i cried. it was so easy for her to say bye bye to the boob.

when i started nursing olive, i told myself the goal was six months. then six months led to one year. then one year led to 20 months and then she became a big girl and said, ‘see ya later booby…i don’t need you anymore’ and i was utterly sad. that day is so clearly etched into my memory.

olive’s journey was tough. so much more tough than ellie. nursing olive hurt and it didn’t just hurt in the beginning…we struggled, i had anxiety, i bled and not through a bite {although she only bit me once and learned her lesson and never did it again}, and it was at times very, very painful but i persevered and we made it to 20 months. i loved everything about nursing…it’s difficult to put into words how amazing the experience can be. giving birth was so freakin’ empowering and feeding my child was like the cherry on top. i feel that being a mother, overall, i was meant to nurse. the emotional return was priceless.

ellie’s journey was so much more relaxing, easy, and pain-free. i was seasoned, i didn’t care where i nursed, and ellie loved it. our journey hit six months, one year, two years, and it almost hit three years. 2 years and 10.5 months to be more exact.

our whole experience was absolutely wonderful. i loved nursing for the closeness, the quiet moments together, the bond, and the nurturing aspect of it. there’s something so wonderful about feeding your child, having those special one on one moments with her just filled my heart with joy. i couldn’t imagine doing a better act as a mother.

now, let’s talk about other people’s perception and how many people judge you, had opinions, and literally rolled their eyes at me for still nursing ellie.

i am a firm believer that you do what is right for you and your babe. people will judge. people will comment. people will think it’s wrong she’s so ‘old’ but who really gives a shit? everyone has an opinion and i chose to not be bothered by it. if anyone ever showed signs of judgment…i am confrontational and i just made it awkward for them. their opinions didn’t stop us or persuaded me. sometimes i felt when people judged me…they wanted to shame me into agreeing with them but it caused the opposite effect.

there are worse things a mom could be doing than nursing her almost three year old daughter. give me a break. people looked at me like i had two heads. uh, there are moms out there who neglect their kids, who abuse their kids, who don’t feed their kids, who don’t care for them in a proper way, and people are going to verbally judge me because i am providing my child with love, care, and nutrients?! you don’t think it’s right i should nurse my child who can walk and talk?! smh. create a better argument and maybe i’ll listen.

on 6.14, we had a slight relapse. totally not her fault. my bad for positioning ourselves the way we used to nurse! we woke up one morning and hc was home as well. olive and hc were laying in our bed when i got up to wake ellie. i pulled her into our bed and we laid down. now, during our nursing days, we used to nurse in our bed, laying down and this brought back strong memories for her and she tugged at my shirt to nurse. i said, “no, ellie…no more night night.” {what we called it} and within a nano second she burst into tears. oh my heart shattered into a million pieces. she cried and was so distraught, tugging at my shirt. i softly told her no again and she was so upset…oh my poor baby!

i felt so bad but after 5-10 minutes, she got over it and we moved on. i won’t be doing that again for awhile {laying her down in our bed in the morning} but we are totally in the clear. she is boob free, i am free, and we are both loving life!

so, short story long…we finally put together ellie’s big girl bed and all the big girl things fell into place. now if we can master the potty training, we’ll be good as gold!

sooooo, check out her ‘big’ girl room below {her room pretty much stayed the same, we really just updated a few things}. i am loving all the details. sigh…oh my sweet ellie. you always keep us on our toes.

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[flamingo, gold sequins, and pink roses]

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[felt flowers and wooden name sign]

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[grey polka dot sheets]

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[new whitewashed bookshelves]

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[star filled wall and black tassel curtains]

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[night night!]

xoxo

a day at the zoo

memorial day weekend weather looked dismal. it was supposed to rain every.single.day and who wants that??? it’s the weekend to kick off summer {and to honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom} and rain didn’t fit into outdoor plans.

well, mother nature fooled us. it was beautiful and sunny on both saturday and sunday, which turned out great because we had plans no matter what! on saturday, we took olive to the salon for a haircut, lunch, and came back to our abode to work on things at home. then we headed back out to buy flowers at wannemaker’s, then eat and shop at ikea. it was a busy day and night but we checked things off that needed to be done!

the next day, we hosted our family over for some grub and drinks. it was a good afternoon eating and hanging out with the best people. we cooked seasoned chicken, burgers, corn, vegetable skewers and had many other delicious dishes. it was a fun time and the weather was beautiful for us to be outside!

we decided, last minute, to head to the zoo on monday. now this time, the weather looked ominous but we were confident the rain would hold off until later in the afternoon and we were right! we had the most joyous time at the zoo! the temp was just right, the kids were having so much fun, and the adults were living their best life with beers and just having fun with the kiddos. unfortunately, we didn’t get to explore as much as we wanted of the zoo…our time was cut short by the big storm rolling in.

terry was on weather app radar and informed us of the time we had every hour. LOL. then the temperature dropped and we knew the storm was about to hit. we said our goodbyes and started walking towards our cars. i foolishly asked hc to stop so olive could get her face painted but straightened out my head and said, let’s go…and convinced olive that we would do it next time. well, those five minutes cost us! we were a few minutes from the car when the sky opened up and pouuuuuuuuuured on us. like buckets of rain! darn it!

we left the zoo and headed on our way to a restaurant to meet the fam, again, for a late lunch. it was a monsoon out! just sheets of rain coming down and blowing to the side. i was amazed at how many people were actually coming into the zoo as we were leaving. the rain didn’t pass quickly…it rained heavily for awhile!

of course, after we ate, we then went shopping, like fools. the rain didn’t let up and we all were soaked one way or another but truthfully, we really had the best day with everyone. it was good, fun, relaxing, and full of content.

this past memorial day weekend was one for the books.

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[olive just had her did]

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[chowing down]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[stan’s doughnuts]

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[she’s so sweet]

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*****

BROOKFIELD ZOO

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[azn auntie life]

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[kangaroo]

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[he’s so sweet to the girls]

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[thanks hc for taking the photo!]

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[my heart]

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[cheers]

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[beggin’]

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[crazy cousins]

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xoxo

spring break staycation

olive loves hotels. she loves staying at a hotel. she loves sleeping in them. she loves watching tv in the room. it cracks me up how much she loves being there. from one vacation to the next, olive will always hint to me how much she loves flying on a plane and staying at a hotel.

well, for spring break, we decided to do a staycation in our favorite city! there would be no airplane but definitely a hotel stay! on our way there, olive kept exclaiming how excited she was for our ‘family vacation!!!!!’. so adorable!

we stayed at the millennium knickerbocker hotel and my sister {last minute} ended up staying at the park hyatt hotel, a few blocks away! they were suppose to fly to california but some health issues put a stop to that, so they wanted to get ‘away’ and booked a room at a hotel off the ave too!

so it was extra fun having family with us! the kids jumped on beds, swam, ate, stayed up way too late, ate some more junk food, shopped, perused toy stores, explored, and then some!

the weather wasn’t so great {hello chicago!} so we didn’t venture outside as much as we liked but if you’re staying in chicago, i highly recommend visiting millenium park, lincoln park zoo, the shedd aquarium, the science and industry museum, peggy notebaert nature museum to name a few!

we loved eating at food life in watertower place, ghirardelli’s, aster hall at 900, benihana’s in the hancock building, eataly are some great places to take your kiddos!

we had such a fun time with the kiddos! they loved staying at the hotel, exploring new places, and breaking all the rules!

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[immediately chillaxin’]

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[the sweetest sisters]

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*****

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[watertower chicago lego store!]

*****

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[walking hand in hand]

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[my world]

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[she’s so cool]

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[really olive?!]

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[swim time at the park hyatt hotel!]

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[having fun with dada]

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[she’s so happy]

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[sweet kisses]

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[laughing at the boys]

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[best of friends]

*****

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[ellie was enamored with the park hyatt’s dog, parker]

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[she was too cute with her!]

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*****

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[this awesome new eatery is at 900 north]

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[ordering our food]

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[these three…ellie is not quite there yet]

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[this was so so so so good!]

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[she loves to talk. about. everything.]

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[the sweet lady behind the counter gave olive her little chocolate heart for free!]

*****

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[this picture just kills me. i love her so much, it hurts]

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[silly sisters]

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[ellie is always running off somewhere]

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[she loved this ponycycle!]

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[they’re so cute]

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[wonderoll rolled ice cream]

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[she loved american girl doll…what little girl doesn’t?]

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[silly babes]

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[she was so excited!]

*****

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[oh my]

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[ellie insisted on wearing these glasses at night]

*****

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[she loved seeing al the fish and animals – ellie screamed, terrified]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[it literally sparkled]

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[olive loved how big this fish was!]

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xoxo

serena and lily

we were invited to an event at a chicago shop called serena and lily {i am obsessed with everything they sell!}! it was to meet the author of the children’s book, a raven’s nest by raven roxanne.

we arrived a bit past ten, at the store, and we were warmly welcomed by the staff, greeting everyone at the entrance. they kindly took our coats and invited us upstairs, where the event was happening. once we hit the landing, we were enveloped by the gorgeous decor, a beautiful brunch spread, and the author made her way over to us to say hello!

i was in photo heaven! the lighting in the space was amazingly perfect and the aesthetics was beachy, coastal cool. the author, roxanne, was just about to sit down and read to the children. i ushered olive and ellie into the room and they nabbed a space close by. after the book reading, the children were encouraged to create their own nests…inspired by the book’s storyline.

the girls nibbled on some treats and sipped on sweet beverages, while i waited patiently for the author to sign her book! once we were done at the event, we traipsed our way over to a yummy restaurant called the blue door {the last time i was there, it was at the old location on armitage and now it’s on halsted}! ohhhhhh, it’s such a good place. again, the decor was inviting and cool and the food and drinks are even better! there was a teeny tiny wait, but the girls entertained themselves. or more so, ellie was rebellious and olive was trying to calm her down. sigh…pretty much how it goes everyday!

after brunch, we walked along armitage and peeked into a few shops! while we were at papersource, ellie completely fell in love with a dog there! the great pyrenees belonged to a couple, who was shopping there too. as soon as ellie saw the dog, she could not let go! like at alllllll! she was in love! it was soooooo darn cute to see her so enamored with this beautiful white dog! i told hc, we found the dog we will get! hahaha!

it was such a perfect morning! we had the best time in the city and the girls were sooooo darn good! let’s admit it, when no one is screaming, crying, fussy, loony, and upset, it always makes for a better time! they had a wonderful time at the event and we all enjoyed our fun, smooth, no bumps in the road outing.

{check out all the fun pics below!!!!}

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[the delicious spread]

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[the girls or girl intently listening. olive was so into it but ellie was side eyeing all the other kids]

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[doesn’t she look so sweet and innocent?]

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[raven roxanne reading her book to the kiddos]

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[she spotted me and wanted up…when she wants me to pick her up, she says, “hugs”. melt!]

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[oh she’s soooooo saucy and sweet. just look at that mug!]

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[drawing their own nests]

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[color choices]

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[raven checking on everyone’s drawing]

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[ellie’s nest]

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[olive’s nest]

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[dream bedrooms set and beautiful girl]

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[can i please have this swing in our house?!]

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[olive wanted to show off her picture!]

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[with the artist and author, roxanne]

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[my sweet girls]

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[the beautiful little book]

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[so dreamy]

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[after the book signing, we ate brunch at the blue door!]

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[this cuuuuute face right here was being very naughty at this moment but oh, that sweet face melts me!]

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[i scolded her and she ran over to the stairs to hide]

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[squishing her face into the railing]

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[pouting]

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[she loves her big sister]

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[more coloring!]

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[the hubs…don’t mind his beard]

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[kale and brussel salad]

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[we’re at papersource lincoln park]

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xoxo

brunchin’ in the ‘burbs

i was super excited for our date with kt. like suuuuuuper excited. remember when you had all the time in the world to meet your girlfriends for brunch/lunch/dinner {before kids}?? it was always so easy to get together on a whim, meet up, chat for hours, and do it again in no time flash.

well, long gone are those days! oh life! i, maybe, see kt a few times a year. like, whaaaaaaa? #truth. so, us finally getting a date on the calendar was a miracle and i couldn’t wait to catch up!

i picked olive up from school and we headed over to our meeting spot {we arrived sooooo early…i wasn’t sure how long it would take us to get there, so we were extra on time!}. we found a table right by the window, over in the bakery area, and made ourselves comfortable. kt wasn’t too far behind but the girls were just fine, entertaining themselves and admiring all the delicious and pretty looking desserts in the cases.

the one thing that completely fascinated me was that ellie was utterly enamored with kt! ellie is usually afraid of everyone. like seriously…everyone. sometimes her own grandparents, that she sees every day, bother her. hahaha! when kt walked through that door, ellie wanted to be her bff! i was floored. this cray girl doesn’t like anyone she doesn’t know and she grinned ear to ear when kt sat down at the table and immediately started chatting with her! wtf.

we majorly caught up on life. we so needed this time together! we gabbed about kids, work, all the crazy things in life, love, and everything in-between. we ended up staying there for 3 hours!!! the girls were soooooo good! so well behaved and they just entertained themselves the old fashioned way. no iPads, no phones, and we didn’t even break out the toys until 45 minutes or so before we left!

kt’s husband stopped by to join us the last hour! i was hoping to see him because it had been awhile since i last saw him as well! the time we spent there just flew by! this is so cliché but time flies when you’re having fun!

we definitely needed to go because i had to put ellie down for her nap. we said our goodbyes and gave big hugs. it was so good seeing both bobby and kt! the girls loved hanging out with them and we all had such a great time!

until next time my dear and hopefully not too long in-between our next visit! love you guys!

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[i love this brute so much!!]

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[i love french macarons]

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[picture courtesy of my 5 year old!]

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[helping kt open her gift from us]

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[cheers!]

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[raspberry gelato…mmmmmm]

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[yuuuummmmyyyy, gelato]

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[she’s too cute eating her gelato]

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[my sweet girls!]

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[peril cake pops]

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[she’s so darn fun]

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[i love my girls so much!]

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[i’ll never stop saying that i set these two cuties up!]

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[hugs!]

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[my sweet girls…i love them so much!]

xoxo