daaaaaana

my darling dana came to visit us!

we were so ready to meet up with her at our favorite stomping ground in chicago but olive had gotten really sick. so there was no going out at.allllll. dana so kindly came to visit us at home and it turned out to be a perfect afternoon.

i ordered food for us to be delivered…i made sure dana had options since she was observing passover and could only eat certain foods. we then giggled, chatted up a storm, and just chillaxed…oh, i so needed that. especially since olive had not been feeling well and it was a bit of a rough week for all of us.

i absolutely love this girl. she’s funny, quirky, real, raw, hilarious, sweet, kind, thoughtful…um, she possesses every quality of a great, true friend. no judgement, no anger, no accusations, no bean counting, just real, awesome friendship. we don’t talk all the time, we don’t see each other all the time, and we don’t worry about it ever. we know that when we do, it’s always the same yet not the same…consistent like a three star michelin restaurant. hahaha!

olive warmed up to dana and ellie just likes everyone so it was a win win situation for everyone! after hours and hours of laying around, dana needed to hit the road and try her best to avoid the terrible traffic back home. she was so brave coming out to us on a friday afternoon and if anyone knows one thing about chicago, no one wants to drive anywhere on a friday afternoon!

i was sad to part ways with her but until next time my darling dana. we will meet again and have the best time together once again!

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[hey girl]

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[pajama day]

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[olive insisted that i took pictures of her gummy bears!]

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[me and my cutie babe]

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[dana and olive]

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[sweetest ladies]

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[passover perfect meal]

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[hi]

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xoxo

easter pre-game

we had quite the eventful day before easter!

one, it was hc’s birthday and two, it’s easter! we love to do fun things like decorate easter eggs and participate in fabulous easter egg hunts!

it was all very last minute because olive had been sick for a few days prior to this and we could not get out of the house with her. poor thing was glued to the toilet, so no easter egg hunt outings or anything of that sort due to her not feeling well.

i scrambled to put together something…we didn’t have any food to host with, nor did i even decorate! ha! i thought i was going to get away with not decorating for easter but then we, last minute, decided to have our family over and how could i not decorate to create a little bit of a festive environment?! sphhh, hello…it’s me. so there i was in the morning, hanging banners, pulling out fun decor, and filling easter eggs. {let alone, i had to make a quick or tried to make a quick trip to the grocery store too!}

my family came over and we sipped lemonade, ate a simple lunch, and hunted for & decorated easter eggs! the weather was a m a z i n g!!! seriously, it was so beautiful out! the kids had a blast searching for the eggs and opening up their goodies to find toys, candies, and money inside!

after all that, we then opened up easter gifts! {of course we saved olive’s basket for the morning because the easter bunny needed to drop that one off} the kids were so excited and spoiled rotten. gosh, we tend to do that with every special occasion. when you have that many family members…it can get cray with the gifts!

overall, it was truly a wonderful day! we celebrated hc, we celebrated easter, and we were all able to spend some great family time together! until next year my bunnies!

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[easter prep]

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[my new favorite glasses]

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[we wished hc a happy birthday!]

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[super aunty thuy created the prettiest french braid for miss o]

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[always the yummiest]

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[hc’s easter birthday cake]

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[tulips are so pretty]

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[easter egg hunt!]

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[the contestants]

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[olive finding the eggs!]

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[this way!]

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[run!]

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[dada helping olive out]

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[ellie famous face with aunty kim]

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[levitating eggs]

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[checking out her goodies]

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[happy birthday hc!]

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[raspberry lemonade refresher]

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[bunnies]

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[ready to dye easter eggs]

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[i love how excited olive is!]

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[she did so well!]

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[she loved her pink decorated egg!]

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[eggcited for easter gifts!]

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[baby ellie opening her gifts from aunty thuy]

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xoxo

happy nine months ellie!

happy nine months ellie!

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[pics taken on 4.14]

heyyyyy baby girl! i seriously thought you would be crawling by now! nope. it’s currently not your thing but you have certainly gotten a lot more mobile. you scoot, scoot, scoot around the floor and can get from point A to point B in a unique way but there is definitely noooooo crawling. you tend to scoot forward, then really push backwards, then you will pivot, and move into a different direction by repeating the same moves. you go girl. whatever works for ya!

she’s become a strong consumer of solid foods. she will chow down quite a bit with the container of food{s} we give her and sometimes asks for more. we were soooo great at making food for olive but really dropped the ball with ellie. we buy her organic foods off the shelf and it suits her, and us, just fine. i really wish we had the time to whip together homemade meals for ellie but alas, it all ends up being good. her favorite foods are fruits and she’s finally starting to like the vegetable and protein blends!

she is still nursing. my milk supply has been consistent but the difference i see with my back up supply is drastically low compared to what i stored with olive. when i nursed olive, i constantly pumped. like constantly. i pumped on the hour every two hours, i pumped when she slept at night – at 3am every night the first year. i pumped if her naps were longer than two hours and i stored a ridiculously amount of milk! now we are the verge of running out with ellie! i can’t believe it! i am hoping to nurse ellie for as long as i can and i hope i don’t completely run out of my back up supply! the good new is, she’s almost one and cow’s milk will be introduced but until then, i think i need to step up my pumping game!

she’s become a lot more solid with her nighttime stretches. she will typically go down around 9pm and sleep until 5 or 6am! woo hoooooo! now if i can only learn my lesson and go to bed when she does!!! her naps have become more consistent but she’s not completely regular with the timeframes. she will typically, or at least we try to put her down around 10am and then again around 2 or 3 pm. she will usually nap for an hour in the morning and a bit longer in the afternoon. there are some times she will fight it and nap for short periods of time and then she gets super duper crabby around 5pm…really girl, just nap!

she’s so happy and so funny! she will make the craziest noises and tries to mimic us! she loves to scream and make silly faces. this past month, she has clapped her hands and waved to us. i love watching her grow and seeing her hit these fun milestones! those are the best moments. i also love that her bald spot has grown in, i totally knew that it would once she started sitting!

she’s still so tiny and i love it. i am savoring her tiny moments. i cherish her soft skin, her sweet breath, her fresh smell, her chubby thighs, her fat cheeks, her big belly, her teeny toes and fingers…oh the list goes on and on. i don’t want to forget her state, her baby stage, her sweet innocent being. oh ellie. i love you so much and i am such a lucky lady to have you as a daughter.

happy day sweet lady, you are so loved.

xoxo

train station lunch

it was a lazy sunday morning and we wanted to do something fun with olive {and ellie of course, but ellie is just a baaaaaby!}.

we decided to hit downtown glen ellyn and go to the train restaurant. we scored a parking spot right next to the restaurant and there was a tiny bit of a wait but no worries, olive spotted the mechanical horse and became fixated! she was so excited to get on the horse and i was so excited to see her do so! i love it when i see the joy exude from her face. i took so many pics because it made my heart full to see her many expressions, showing the different emotions she was feeling. i chose these two pics that best showcase her joy!

she also loved putting a quarter in the ‘gum’ball machine to receive a toy! i loved all this newness that she was experiencing, it was melting my heart!

we were finally seated and she was loving the train! she was so good, she was sitting right next to the tracks but she never once tried to touch the train or did she ever get in the way of the train when it rolled by. she barely sat down and was so mesmerized by all the quirkiness the restaurant had to give.

after we devoured our mediocre lunch, i ordered ice cream for olive. now, she’s not really into ice cream…yes, i knoooooow! how could that be?! but yes, she doesn’t care for it too much but i couldn’t pass up vanilla ice cream with sprinkles on top! besides that, it also came with a pink train!!! now that was something olive loved! as soon as the ice cream cup was served, her hand snatched up the pink train immediately!

shortly after, we left the restaurant to walk around the downtown area. the downside? pretty much all the shops were closed on sundays…what a bummer! so, we decided to walk around the neighborhood and just enjoy the great weather.

it was a perfect afternoon and we had such a great time hanging out together and exploring the quaint little area. i know olive had a great time at the restaurant and i can’t wait to take her back to enjoy it again!

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[first thing we see…the mechanical horse! olive had to ride it!]

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[she was sooooooo excited!]

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[me and my babe]

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[she’s always so happy!]

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[first time getting something out a ‘gum’ball machine]

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[excited for her surprise]

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[she got a mini dinosaur! she loved it!]

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[here comes the train serving the food!]

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literally loving the bells and whistle]

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[there goes the train!]

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[mmmm, pink lemonade]

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[my precious babe]

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[olive couldn’t wait to pluck off her pink train!]

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[she tried to scoop the ice cream but it was a little bit hard]

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[so dada helped out!]

xoxo

happy eight months ellie!

happy eight months ellie!

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[photos taken on 3.15]

i was sitting with ellie the other day and thought…no way! no way she’s eight months old! nooooooooo. oh my gosh, i love her so much and it kills me that she is growing up. i desperately hold onto her baby stage that i do forget how many months she is or i am in complete denial? don’t get me wrong…i look forward to beautiful, great things she will do, accomplish, and be but this babe stage is too short and fleeting.

she’s on the verge of crawling. she wants to. i can see it. she bounces on her behind, leans forward, and has become quite strong with her arms. i think this month is her month! i can’t even fathom her crawling…being mobile. i love seeing her sit still and look so darn cute with those saggy cheeks and big brown eyes, usually watching her sister in amazement.

she’s an eater! she doesn’t loooooove her food but she will definitely eat it all. she loves fruits best but what kid doesn’t?! she loves bananas, pears, purees blended with oatmeal, and will usually gobble those meals up. she eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner with breast milk in-between. i still feed her but every three hours now since she’s been eating solids. she’s a pretty good eater but according to growth charts, she’s a peanut. no matter, she’s as tiny, healthy, and cute as can be!

she broke ground on her first tooth!!! woooo hooooo! her central incisor has made it’s debut. it was around march 1st when i noticed a white line coming out of her gum! i rubbed the area and felt her tooth breaking through! i was soooooo excited but that leads into her interrupted sleep patterns…

december and january were rough months filled with sickness and sleepless nights. ellie hasn’t gotten on a solid nap time schedule but we try for 10am and 2-3pm naps. it’s hard too, when others watch her and don’t keep to a consitent schedule to build a routine. she was waking up relentlessly over the past several months causing this mama to sleepwalk! she got better in the beginning of february and relapsed for a few days due to catching another cold. wahhhhhh. well, i must say, though, february 6th or 7th was the beginning of her sleeping through the night!! hallelujah! she would hit the sack around 9 or 10pm {yesssssss my babes stay up late like their mama} and wake up at 5. y’all have no idea how amazing it was, or is, to sleep for more than 4 hours straight!!! well now she’s fussy at night due her teething…whatevs. i’m dealing!

she’s a screamer! she loves to hear her own voice and boy, is she loud! she shrieks, screams, cries, yells, and giggles and ohmergawd is it sooooooo stinkin’ cute!! she mimics us, she smacks her lips, clicks her tongue, and makes the cutest sounds alllllll the time!

she’s gotten better with sitting but she is still a little rocky. there are times when she throws us for a loop. she looks so strong and sturdy and we are all just sitting around playing on the rug and then all of a sudden, bam! she throws herself back and i have a freakin’ panic attack, so afraid she might crack her head! gahhhhhhh, it scares me when she does that and of course, it startles her and she then busts out crying. oh poor baby!

oh baby ellie. she’s so happy, content, and ohhhhhhhh so sweet. i couldn’t ask for a better babe. she’s so pleasant and beyond chill. it blows my mind at how calm she is. we love watching you grow, giggle, smile, scream, and learn. it’s amazing how much love we have for you. thank you for being such an awesome babe and we are so blessed to be your parents.

xoxo

children’s museum

a sunday crept up on us and can you believe that we didn’t have anything really planned?! it was a sunny, nice day out and we definitely wanted to get out and do something fun! our initial plan was to go to the zoo but it was just a little bit too chilly to stand outside for hours so we found a local children’s museum.

it was close by and we have never visited it before! we did our usual morning routine – wake, nurse, feed olive, coffee, chill, and repeat. we squeezed in a nap for ellie…well, we tried. she was a bit fussy and didn’t get a good shut eye in, so we decided to leave for the museum.

we arrived in no time and it wasn’t that crowded. we started to explore and honestly, it was a very odd feeling being there. let me explain…i just felt that parents weren’t friendly. i immediately felt a strange vibe from everyone. i would make eye contact and smile and other moms would not smile and look away. hmmmmm. unfriendly!

another annoying factor were the parents that didn’t watch their kids or care that they acted inappropriately…such as not wait their turn, not share, hog an activity, or the one that irks me the most – big kids who overtake the little ones. that gets under my skin. i become super irritated! also, the whole area was sooooo dirty. as expected but i could feel the germs and viruses bouncing off my skin. blech!

i must say, hc and i didn’t have the best experience there. of course olive loved it but we were so turned off. we were blown away at how rude some of the older kids were with the little kiddos around, how removed the parents were. don’t get me wrong, olive did her best to fend for herself and i believe to let her do her own thing and not be a helicopter mom but the big kids were bugging me although not as much as their unaware parents!

ok…venting done. we did stay for a few hours and then called it quits. olive had a ton of fun and really enjoyed herself, honestly – that is all that matters. we were happy we took her there but i don’t know if we will go there any time soon again! eep!

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[checking out the fishes]

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[having fun with light and colors]

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[daddy helping her hour]

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[if there’s a hole, she’ll crawl through it]

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[she was having a blast with bar and mirror]

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[the wind machine]

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[stuffing the wind machine with kerchiefs]

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[watching the scarves fly into the air]

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xoxo

dinner party

our dear friend andrea invited us to a dinner party in celebration of her husband, jaime’s birthday. we love getting together with them; they are fun, funny, smart, and sweet as can be.

we come to find out that andrea had hired a chef for the evening to serve us dinner! how cool is that?! oh, it was going to be a fun, decadent evening! plus, it was a kid friendly party! woo hoo! double bonus!

we arrived on time and were greeted by jamie. olive was a bit overwhelmed and became super clingy and upset so i knew what would calm her down…toys! andrea and jamie have a ‘play area’ downstairs and i knew olive would get lost down there with all the fun items all around her! so, downstairs she went and we never saw her again! hahahaha!

we were immediately served champagne and hor d’oeuvres were plentiful ~ yum! don’t mind if i do! we mingled and visited with everyone while hc and i switched between holding ellie. we love their friends and have such a great time catching up with everyone. the chef was hard at work and i guzzled champagne and ate a lot of cheese ~ my weakness! we periodically checked on olive and continued to enjoy ourselves. did i mention that jamie and andrea have the most gorgeous home in chicago?! let me just say it’s so fabulous!

we were called to sit down for dinner and i was so excited to eat! the chef gave us details of each dish that was served. i loved that we were informed on ingredients of each delicious plate that we were about to consume. each portion served was a combination of wonderful flavors and eat bite made my mouth and mind happy! we had the best time at our table and the conversation was delightful, funny, and entertaining. gosh, i love moments like these!! great food, drinks, and friends, you just can’t go wrong!

oh my! we were having a great time! we made it through the end of the meal with two happy kids but it was almost nine thirty and we were ready to go. the kids were holding up great and were so good but we know our limits. it was almost ten o’clock by the time we left and it was perfect. we had a fabulous night, the kids were in great spirits, and we left just in time!

we had such a wonderful evening! thank you to jamie and andrea for inviting us over for jamie’s birthday dinner! it was fun, fabulous, delicious, and perfect!

cheers to amazing friendships!

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[the pretty table setting]

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[the menu for the evening]

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[daddy and daughter]

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[aren’t these ladies by my side so pretty?!]

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[appetizers and plenty of booze…mmmmmm]

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[party time]

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[the chef for the evening]

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[bottomless glass…keep it coming!]

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[feeding ellie before we feast]

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[kathryn and ginger]

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[these babes were being so cute together]

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[hmmmm, i am so cute!]

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[the chef explaining each entree]

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[the delicious pomegranate salad]

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[ellie entertaining herself during dinner]

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[hostess with the mostess]

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[baby, baby, baby!]

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[main course]

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[andrea with baby colin]

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[creme brûlée]

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[the man of the hour!]

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xoxo

i looooooove sunday brunch

i don’t know what it is about sunday brunch that i love so much. sundays have always been a day of relaxing, a day of ease, a day to do much of nothing. or if it is something you do…it involves food. brunch or slow cooking is usually where it’s at and we gather. we gather with friends. we gather with family. no pressure, just a go with the flow attitude. it’s almost like a mental preparation for the upcoming week.

we were looking forward to hanging out with these two fabulous guys. it’s so great to have friends like matt and johann. they are kind, smart, supportive, and so much fun to be around!

we met up with them right outside their place. the weather was amaaaaazing. sunny, warm, and perfect. we walked over to a brunch spot matt recommended but for some strange reason, they were closed?! it even said ‘brunch on sundays’ boldly across their windows…hahaha! really? ya fooled me!

well, that pushed us to go to o’donovan’s down the street and that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. they have a large outdoor space and the weather was fantastic…it was meant to be! the best part? there was noooooo wait. whaaaaaa?! on a day like today ~ sunday and it’s brunch time and there’s no wait? sweet.

we got cozy in a perfect little spot and ordered drinks ~ extra spicy bloody mary please! the restaurant had a breakfast buffet and we were set. drinks were flowing and copious amounts of food were on our plates, we were having a great time, just how sunday brunch should be!

then a man came by our table, a magician! we said no to tricks but yes to balloon animals! the gentleman made a mouse for ellie and a butterfly for olive. the balloon animals were a hit! olive was soooooo happy! she is such a good girl to begin with and she will always sit around and chill with us without causing any trouble but the balloon animals entertained her the entire time! score!

after brunch, we headed back to matt and johann’s place. on our walk back, we bought some girl scout cookies {yum!} from a couple of girls and sponsors selling them on a street corner. i mean, c’mon…who would ever pass up girl scout cookies?! once we were back at their place, we enjoyed nespresso and cookies while olive pranced around entertaining herself.

after an hour or so, we gathered our belongings to head home. it was time for both girls to nap and a car ride would be the lullaby that they needed. we said our goodbyes and headed home. we had such a great morning and afternoon with our two dear friends. brunch time with buddies is the best. i love sundays like this, i crave sundays like this, and i am such a happy camper when we can pull in beautiful days like this.

cheers to sunday brunch! clink! clink!

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[o’donovan’s chicago]

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[waiting 5 seconds for a table…there really was no wait on this gorgeous day!]

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[it was so beautiful out and we had a fabulous time sitting alfresco]

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[bloody mary extra spicy please!]

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[best thing ever at the restaurant…a magician who makes balloon animals!!! win win!]

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[guncle matt with ellie]

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[guncle johann with ellie]

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[precious babe with her daddy]

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[inside matt and johann’s lovely place]

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[ellie matching the decor]

xoxo

ellie’s six month photos

ellie finally had her six months photos taken at 6.3 months! we waited for her to get comfortable with sitting, which took a bit longer than it did with olive. well, we finally felt that she was strong enough to sit on her own, so we finally scheduled her photos with tricia!

i am always filled with anticipation leading up to any photo shoot. i can’t wait to see the outcome, i am curious at how my babe will be, and i just get so darn excited! i was so ready for ellie’s photos, we brought along one outfit for her to wear and the rest was up to tricia, her studio is filled with so many goodies!

i wasn’t too worried about ellie cooperating for the photos. she is such a good baby, i knew she’d be calm and smiley for the camera! i remembered olive being so fussy…she was fussy for her newborn pics, her six month photos, and for her one year ones. yup…all three. ellie was soooooo good for her newborn photos and with her being such a good babe, i wasn’t worried.

we tried putting ellie down for a nap but she was fighting it. she eventually fell asleep but it was a quick one and then we were off to tricia’s place. add in the car ride, the ‘getting’ ready, and the unfamiliar environment…ellie was not happy with it being too close to her next nap time schedule. she was grrrrrumpy. oh, the poor babe. i couldn’t get her to not cry!!!! every single time i put her down, she burst into tears!!! i was so surprised! my poor babe…i didn’t expect her to be so moody, i honestly expected her to be all smiles and chill! nope!

i did everything i could to make her smile, i danced, i made funny noises, and i made silly faces but she wasn’t buying it! i then started to worry that we weren’t getting any good pics because i felt that she was crying non stop! i had to talk myself down and remind myself that tricia works miracles and always turns out fabulous pic {ahem…remember grumpy olive for all three major seshs but it all turned out more than perfect?!}.

so, all that worrying for nothing because i loooooooooooved every photo tricia took of my beautiful ellie!! i was so happy and grateful! all the pics are so special, beautiful, and perfect! thank you tricia for always working your magic!

happy six months miss ellie! we love you soooooooo much!

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[isn’t she so sweet?!]

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[oh, i am dying over her pics]

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[my heart has melted into a puddle…how sweet is this pic?!]

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[she was so grumpy…poor thing. we shot too close to her next nap and her first one wasn’t a solid one, so she was a bit fussy]

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[that hand clasp]

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[gahhhhhhhhhh]

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[i wish we had more photos in this outfit…this is where she started to breakdown]

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[sweet baby toes]

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xoxo

happy love day!

our valentine’s day dinner was low key for us but snazzy fun for the girls!

sometimes hc and i will get out the weekend prior to valentine’s day for a fancy dinner with just the two of us but this year we weren’t feeling it. we were too busy and didn’t really put any thought into it. i know, i know…we should probably be more focused on us and do more fun stuff like that and we will. i desperately cling onto the innocence of my girls and love spending all my time with them and hc.

so, we decided to keep it simple with us and do something fun for the babes {ok…i did something fun for the babes!}. i concocted, in my head, a valentine’s day themed dinner for them. i shopped a week prior for cute little items for a festive table spread {target is my friend} and dug through my vday box of decor goodies in the basement {i am a hoarder of anything holiday}.

i grabbed fresh balloons on valentine’s day and came home to assemble the fun table for the girls. i put presents and cards inside their valentine’s envelope, i filled pink glass jars with bubble wands, candy, and toys. they had heart shaped plates, with heart design cups, with heart shaped strawberries, and heart shaped sandwiches. i sprinkled the center of the table with more toys and decor. overall, i loved how it looked! so festive, fun, and cute {if i do say so myself!}!

olive loved it all! she was so entertained by all the goodies, ate her fun food, and had a blast playing with everything. she especially loved going into her envelope and finding her card and presents!

as for our dinner, hc made the most delicious heart shaped burgers everrrrrrrr. the entire dinner was yummy and perfect! we had the best valentine’s day dinner all together. it was fun for the girls, relaxing for us {key word…relax}, and super fun spending it together!

i loved how we spent our holiday evening. it was perfect and cute! it was low key, full of love, and we celebrated as a family…how it should be! happy valentine’s day indeed…not just on the 14th but every day!!

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[festive, festive, festive!]

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[candy hearts, games, toys, treats!]

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[at first, they kept staring at everything! ha!]

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[checking out their goodies!]

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[hearts galore]

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[love these fun babes]

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[gorgeous flowers from the hc]

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[cute little heart burger hc made for dinner!]

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[she was so excited to open up her envelope and see her gifts!]

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[she looooooooves trolls]

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[gathering her goodies]

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xoxo