stade’s farm

guys, it’s been a minute. school was starting and that was a big event in itself {of course i blog about it later!}. then i swung into a busy photography season and i was swamped. between working and working and working, living life, being a mom, wife, and a friend…it was craaaaaaaazzzzyyyyyyy.

I had no time to write a blog post to keep up with our digital memories or else I wouldn’t sleep at all. so i chose to sleep the few hours i did every night. LOL

so, i’m finally catching up on life’s happenings and i pray i don’t get so behind like i did this past season! i literally have something crazy like 13 blog posts to publish…so i hope you stay and follow along with us!

august 16, 2020

we wanted to do something fun and visit a sunflower farm. there was a really cool one i wanted to visit called von bergen but their third installment of flowers did not pan through and they didn’t open up the maze for visitors! having already planned for us to go that day, we had to recalculate on what to do.

i found a place called stade farm and we decided to see what this place was all about. it was a cute farm area but their sunflowers were subpar. they were so picked over and the ones left were so ragged looking…but I managed to get some pretty blooms together!

the girls had so much fun picking veggies and flowers. it was a great place for them to explore, experience, and have fun with their cousins. bonus, it was a super warm and nice day…so the weather was on our side!

afterwards we stopped by a total mom and pop ice cream shop on the way home. it was super delicious, cute and quaint. the challenge was, it was sooooooo small, i swear there were 25 people packed into that little space ordering ice cream. even though everyone was wearing a mask…covid or no covid…it was claustrophobic!

anyhoo, it was a perfect ending to a great day!

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[my sweet girls]

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[my silly sister kim]

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[she’s so proud of her big olive’ pepper]]

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[hanging out with the cousins]

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[ice cream after farm life]

xoxo

new buffalo

we needed a getaway. we needed a change of scenery. we wanted the beach.

we wanted to be in a place {state} where we felt their safety measures where in alignment with ours. we wanted a house where there was enough time in-between stays and thoroughly cleaned. we wanted to be near the beach and close to a ‘downtown’ area. hc scored and found a place to fit – d. all of the above!

olive and ellie were so excited to go on a vacation! olive was so disappointed this past march when we cancelled our spring break trip to california. she was excited to fly on a plane, stay in a hotel, and go to the beach. so, we kind of hit 2/3!

what i love about new buffalo michigan is that it’s literally a hop, skip, and a jump away. it’s so close but yet far enough away. we whizzed up there in no time and settled into the house.

once things felt in order at our temp home, we headed out to explore and grab some grub to fill our empty bellies. the girls had the best time exploring the beach, walking through town, and seeing new things. after some beach time, we stopped by the stray dog for some grub. while we were waiting, we stopped at their shop and picked up a few things for myself! a sweatshirt and a baseball cap with their logo. so cute! after dinner, we strolled down to beachside scoops for some ice cream. yum!

we pretty much had glorious beach days. we tried mom and pop type restaurants, ate at cool ones, and celebrated ellie’s actual birthday at oinks dutch treats while we were there. there was a lot of beach time and it was perfect. i loved how slow our days were. i loved sitting in the sand getting dirty and making sandcastles with my girls. i loved standing in the water while the waves crashed around me and I could hear the sweet giggles of my girls splashing in the water with their dad. i loved the warm summer nights and the sound of the thunderstorms rolling in. i loved riding around in hc’s jeep and exploring the town. there was so much fun packed into several days and we didn’t want to leave.

check out all the pics down below. it’ll tell our story! thanks new buffalo michigan. you were just what we needed during this pandemic and it was the perfect little getaway for us all.

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[they’re super happy to be on vacation!]

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[werking it]

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[i love her so much!]

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[puzzle time]

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[the beachiest house i ever did see]

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[finding fun things along the way]

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[ellie is obsessed with birds! just like me as a kid!]

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[sisters]

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[our first night dinner – the stray dog]

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[ready for the beach]

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[they’re so fun]

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[aaaanddd how many photos can i post of them?]

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[building a crab fortress]

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[seriously…she did such a great job! she even made the palm trees to the right]

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[relaxing]

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[dang olive, why you always look so mad?! LOL]

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[so serene]

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[at redamak’s for burgers!]

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[she’s a snuggler]

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[at oink’s!]

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[whoa!]

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[happy birthday my dear sweet ellie!]

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[they’re ready to go!]

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[searching for the ripe ones]

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[look at ellie]

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[weighing in our picked blueberries!]

xoxo

fourth of july ’20

celebrating the fourth of july in quarantine style!

we were sad there wasn’t a parade this year but no matter, we made the most of our time celebrating ‘merica’s birthday!

we invited just our family and did the usual. grilling, chilling, and fireworks. i did the typical decorating…and as always, i was like, “oh, i don’t have enough decor.” LOL i created a red white and blue charcuterie board to munch on and whipped up some red white and blue drinks to sip on!

my sister thuy wanted to make roast beef sandwiches, so we decided to grill a few hot dogs and burgers for anyone who wanted to eat that. we procured the usual side dishes {potato salad and corn} and just had fun.

hc set up the water tub and the sprinkler for the kids and later on in the day, we filled up water balloons for a toss and fight! one fun activity led into another…the kids played in the water, had their water balloon fun, and guests played badminton during our slow, warm afternoon.

after we ate, we served the delicious desserts {it was so good!] and lit up some fireworks!!!! really, it was a lot of snap it’s and sparklers, the most the kids can handle right now. of course, in fourth of july fashion, olive’s wrist got burned!!! poor babe! she had a sparkler going and her cousins tried lighting their mega sparklers off of her flame. well a fiery spark flew and hit her bitty wrist. ohhhhhh, poor thing burst into tears! it was red and i put an ice pack on it but you know how burns go, it doesn’t seem bad at first until it’s bad. my poor babe’s skin soon bubbled after that. ughhhhhhhh. i felt so bad. like a bad mom who didn’t realize her burn was worse than it was because i kept telling her to calm down but then i realized how bad it really was!!! but no worries friends, she is totally recovered right now! thank God!

after fireworks, that pretty much wrapped up our evening! it was a slow and fun afternoon celebrating the birth of our nation! happy covid 4th america!

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[feeling festive]

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[red white and blue charcuterie board]

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[scavenger hunt]

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[patriotic desserts]

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[cupcakes and macarons by toni patisserie]

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[silly cousins]

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[the most delicious cake]

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[my loves]

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[thuy, ellie and ba]

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[mes seours and babes]

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[love that smile]

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[showing off their muscles]

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[my festive babes]

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[red white and blue drinks]

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[having lunch]

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[the way she looks at thuy]

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[reagan, terry, kim, and bennett]

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[delicious corn]

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[our nutty nephew]

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[he’s so silly]

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[rimma and ellie]

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[water balloon fight]

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[with all her might]

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[here comes the water balloon]

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[catch it!]

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[awww missed!]

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[splat!]

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[here it comes!]

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[almost!]

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[missed!]

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[splat]

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[macaron]

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[yummy cake]

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[they’re ready for their scavenger hunt!]

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[she was slightly afraid and then loved holding the sparkler]

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xoxo

march, april, may oh my!

and the beat goes on!

14 weeks later and we’re still at home! well, kind of…we’ve enjoyed more playdates, dinners out, and general social distance get togethers {more on that later}. it’s now june and we’re in phase 3 of reopening illinois. my emotions are mixed because there’s so much we don’t know in general and such high emotional energy stirring. there are a lot of questions and not enough answers. this moment in time we are experiencing is unprecedented and ever evolving. we’re doing our best to keep up, keep sane, keep educated, and keep positive!

on a great note, we’ve done so much while at home and i love it. i’m sharing a gazillion pictures with you, as it captures some of the things we were able to do but not everything! there were moments i needed to be and not snap away constantly at the situation but i’m happy with what little snippets i was able to take and share! these are all picutres from phase 2, before we hit phase 3 in june.

the biggest moment we’ve experienced during quarantine was olive learning how to ride a bike!!! she mastered it last month after three tries! she practiced on a balance bike for a few weeks and then boom! she was riding on her own. i introduced the big girl bike and she was nervous practicing on it. i then worked with her another day and she was still scared {the bike is a hand me down from her big sis…so it was an inch or so too high. which didn’t help her fear factor}. i saw her balancing but the multitasking overwhelmed her. a few times she was riding on her own but still afraid. then she asked me to try, for a third time, on another day. this was it!!! she did it! i was so proud of her!!! she was ecstatic and couldn’t believe she was riding a bike! total proud mom moment right there.

i hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoyed living the moments!

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[playing lots of games! this was a spin off of the princess and the pea. we supported our local shop called fair game!]

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[supporting their aunt and uncle in their mask making business: miss tashina.com]

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[the new way to celebrate – birthday parades. sass not included]

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[i was taking a pic, so she decided to do some tricks. LOL]

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[getting fancy and ready to decorate cookies]

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[yummy yummy cookies!]

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[she’s so darn sweet]

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[the goodies]

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[always so detailed and careful]

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[she’s always so proud of her creations]

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[she’s really good at eating what she decorates. LOL]

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[the final products]

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[her riding outfit of choice]

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[she loves her balance bike]

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[i’m singing in the rain…just singing in the rain. what a glorious feeling, i’m happy again!]

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[flower shopping on mother’s day]

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[ellie is definitely olive’s shadow]

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[give a squeeze…she loves her big sister]

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[wash yer hands!]

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[fort building every day…she loved her bed one and her toes sticking out couldn’t be cuter!]

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[how cute are they and their shirts?! they tie dyed it themselves!]

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[i love them so much]

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[ughhhh, please don’t mind the artificial light ruining the color of the picture but notice how darn cute these two bakers are!]

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[testing out the cookie dough]

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[loving the cookie dough]

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[proud of their results]

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[olive was like, “i don’t like chocolate chip cookies” uhhhh what? she loved it]

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[cookie monster]

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[i can’t with these shirts]

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xoxo

quarantine easter ’20

first easter in my life where i did not spend it with my extended family! as you saw in the previous post about our situation with covid-19…it’s been several weeks of unknown, unfamiliar territory.

let’s be clear…i am not scared. i am not upset. i’m not living in fear but i understand that what we are doing is for the greater good of our world. i’ve loved our time home and if that’s what we need to do to flatten the curve, then so be it. i’m quite content.

celebrating the rise of Christ was so good. we started the morning off with easter baskets and gifts. the girls loved their presents! they spent some time opening up their treasures and then we ran outside for the easter egg hunt!

it had rained the day before, so we figured it would be safe to have the hunt outside and it was suppose to be 55 degrees, which was a great temp for us to hold this outdoors.

after the egg hunt, we came inside to open up all the colorful eggs to see what toys or candy it held inside! after playing around a bit with their egg hunt favors, we all got dressed up for the day and watched sunday easter mass via online.

we had our easter brunch catered through foxtail in downtown downers grove and all we had to do was heat it up! while we were preparing our meal, we were also waiting for the easter bunny to arrive!

a month back, our favorite shop, waterlemon offered easter bunny visits through their site! when i saw that, i thought hell yes! how awesome would that be with us not being able to visit the bunny this year but to have the bunny come to us?! i was on it.

as we were waiting for our food to warm up, the bunny arrived! we started screaming for the girls to come upstairs! olive rushed up and ellie was perplexed. we said, ‘the eater bunny is here!” and ellie was like no thank you. she said, “i scared! i scared!” well, we didn’t care. LOL we all rushed out and left ellie behind and she had no choice but to follow us outside.

oh what a treat! the bunny was waiting with balloons and gifts and asked if olive and ellie were around! olive was SOOOO excited! she was jumping up and down, so ecstatic to see the easter rabbit and so excited the bunny knew their names. the bunny was so sweet and loving towards the girls. they exchanged a few words and ellie busted out, “where are your carrots?!” hahaha! the bunny so wisely responded with, “i ate them for breakfast!” the visit was short, sweet, and socially distance. what i loved most was that ellie has always been afraid of life sized character costumes and she totally warmed up to the bunny…we are breaking through!

wow…it was such a fun 10 minutes of our day! the neighbors all came out to catch a glimpse and the bunny visit put a smile on everyone’s face!

afterwards, we all went inside to a delicious easter brunch and relaxed on the couch, in our jammies, for the rest of the day!

check out all the pics from our easter week!

*****

B U N N Y  C R A F T

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[ready to paint!]

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[blue…her FAVORITE color]

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[my sweet girl getting so big!]

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[full focus]

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[this girl is full of funny faces…she knew i was snapping a pic and wanted to display how hard she was concentrating and working on her artwork]

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[finished product]

*****
E A S T E R  W E E K  F U N

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[ellie’s easter shelfie]

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[easter bunny lunch]

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[easter basket goodies]

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[i love creating their baskets]

*****

B U N N Y  C I N N A M O N  R O L L S

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[yummy cinnamon bunny rolls]

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[olive’s creation]

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[ellie’s creation]

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[she’s like – what you looking at?! LOL]

*****

E A S T E R  E G G  D Y I N G

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[she’s been on either a cat kick or purple hair kick]

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[i was very surprised at how well ellie did with dying her eggs!]

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[she’s wild and sweet]

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[first batch]

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[painting]

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[working hard with the glue, glitter, and confetti]

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[olive’s batch]

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[watercolor]

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*****

S A T U R D A Y  M O R N I N G  F U N

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[i had this donut decorating kit delivered to our house!]

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[they ate more than they used on the donuts]

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[working so diligently on her creations]

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[the girl’s works of art]

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[thumbs up yummy!]

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[we packed up donuts for our neighbors!]

*****

E A S T E R  S U N D A Y

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[easeter goodies]

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[excitement]

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[she loves her walk a lot unicorn]

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[she was excited to get this minnie mouse phone]

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[olive’s glitter chalk easter eggs]

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[gummi’s]

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[easter dress]

*****

E A S T E R  E G G  H U N T

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[ready to hunt eggs! i told hc to make it easy but i didn’t expect him to just dump the eggs in the middle of the yard. LOL]

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[going through her goodies]

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*****

E A S T E R  B U N N Y

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[my sweet babes]

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[here comes the easter bunny!]

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[waving from afar]

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*****

E A S T E R  B R U N C H

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[bunny cookie from foxtail]

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[bb’s baby donuts! so good!]

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[grapefruit mimosas]

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xoxo

covid-19 hibernation

well, this isn’t necessarily a fun post to write about but definitely worth documenting, as this unprecedented moment in our lives will permanently change how we will forever interact.

we had our first public cases in the u.s, in january, a few here and there. then it really started to gain traction in february…we all had heard about the virus ravaging china and of course, with us being so far away, you don’t think it will effect you. typical, right? it started in wuhan, china and soon it was spreading across the world, within a month, hitting countries like italy, iran, spain, and germany hard.

come march and it was getting serious. the cases were popping everywhere and the virus was spreading fast across the united states. washington state’s cases were multiplying and soon you could see that densely populated and urban travel areas were becoming hot zones.

governor pritzker officially closed all illinois schools starting march 17th but olive and ellie’s school closed that friday before on the 13th. we were told to socially distance ourselves. stay home if possible, don’t gather in large groups. keep 6 ft apart, person to person. then after that, with st. patrick’s day weekend upon us, pritzker was upset that too many people were out and about celebrating in large groups, bar crawls, full restaurants, etc. he then closed down all the bars and restaurants! he mandated a shelter in place starting march 21st. we were to stay home, unless you worked for an essential business. you could go to the grocery store, get gas, help care for an elderly person, or take a walk outside but he stressed how we should limit our exposure to others and remain inside our homes if possible.

well, we’ve been home now for several weeks and literally at home. i ventured out to the grocery stores, maybe twice but haven’t set foot in one in weeks. hc works for an essential business so he’s been at work everyday and he’s picked up groceries if we needed to get a supply of milk or eggs.

i started homeschooling olive the first week she was out and i was a mess. just trying to find our routine, what was right, and what worked for us. i questioned how i was going to be effective, was i suppose to keep the same routine? there was a lot of grey and no answers and with the weight of the world coming down; there were definitely some sad, hard moments. i know a lot of mamas out there were thrown for a loop with school being out. we became teachers overnight, there were those of us who were working from home and trying to homeschool. we are moms {and that’s a full time job!} who all of a sudden had to juggle a lot more with kids being home 24/7!

come the second week of us hibernating, we found our niche. we started a great ‘schedule’ and it’s completely worked for us. we or should i say i am not an early riser. never was, never will be. when i finally get up…sometimes the girls are just doing their own thing {hc will usually get them ready in the morning with breakfast} and i will get ready, start a cup of coffee {yes, i gave up starbucks…S H O C K I N G} and then i get the girls to do some e-learning {usually by 10 am}. they usually do this for an hour {sometimes they are so excited that it goes on for longer…they really love the program we use!} and then we take a snack break. after snack time, we move onto worksheets provided by the teacher. i have ellie write out her name while olive completes her worksheets. we do everything the teacher asks…so if there is a story to be read, video to be watched, game to be played, we do what’s on the teacher’s agenda. i also had and purchased some additional learning activity books for olive, so we do that too!

as a group, one of our mom friends suggested that the kids zoom together once a day to help break up our day, for the kiddos to see each other, and just feel like we are in this together! so every day, for a couple weeks. we log on at 1pm. while olive is on the call, i prepare lunch and then after the half hour call, the girls take a lunch break and ‘recess’. we then move onto more worksheets or activity books that we didn’t finish. depending on the day or we will do her ‘special’ classes, such as p.e., art {which is pretty much every day}, music, spanish, and technology!

while olive is working on her schoolwork, ellie is typically learning how to write her name, learning the alphabet, colors, or words. while olive works on her own, i will do flashcards with ellie and help her practice her writing. ellie is usually engaged 2 hours a day…which is more than what she experiences with her regular school schedule. i feel great that she is involved and will keep her interested as long as i can!

once that is all complete, we then do the hail mary or the our father together {mainly to teach ellie…olive has it down pat}, the sign of the cross, read a chapter in the bible, pray together and then call it a day!

i’m pretty happy with our routine and every day is different. i have found i’m not very montessori and prefer a more structured day/routine but, overall, it feels great to see the girls love for learning and inspiration to work.

there are days were it feels surreal and moments were it hits me like a ton of bricks that this is our new reality. at this point, imo, staying home is the only true defense we have to stop the spreading of the virus as there isn’t a vaccine, yet. i miss my parents, mom, sisters, brothers, friends, school, pretty much everything we did on the daily. but i love, love, love this time with my girls…this family time is amazing. the girls are so sweet and special and melt my heart. i am so fortunate to be blessed with this tribe i call my family.

here’s a little questionnaire i asked olive to answer!

what’s your name? olive

 how old are you? {and 4 months}

how old is your mom? 99

what’s your favorite color? rose gold

what’s your favorite food? toaster strudel

who’s your best friend? madison and leyah

what’s your favorite song? elsa in frozen II, into the unknown and show yourself

what do you like to watch on t.v.? ryan’s world

what’s your favorite animal? cheetah

what makes you happy? hugs and kisses

where is your favorite place? all aboard diner

what do you want to be when you grow up? an artist

who loves you the most? family…dada, kiki, ellie, ba, rimma, gramma….people i love

what does your mom do all day? clean, work on the computer, on her phone, drinks wine

where does money come from? dada! kiki only has a credit card!

where do you live? illinois

where did you come from? from inside kiki but God made me

what’s your favorite number? 9

what’s your favorite toy? bunny

where do babies come from? mommy’s tummy and God

if you could have one thing in the entire world, what would it be? my family…God’s family

what kind of car do you want? blue

why are you so cute? cause of my parents and God loves me

what does daddy do all day? lay down, never move, text, and play games

what is your favorite thing you got for christmas? ryan’s world treasure chest

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[zoom fun with her classmates!]

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[my goofs finding some fun with dada’s glasses]

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[lots and lots of snuggle time!]

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[spreading some love and hope while we stay in]

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[at home shenanigans]

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[their new thing is reenacting everything they watch]

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[jumping off chairs and couches]

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[t.v. time]

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[she totally looks up to her sister]

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[working hard on writing her name!]

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[completing her school worksheets]

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[yay to learning]

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[a lot of time like this…]

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[heading out to a doctor’s appointment]

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[southport avenue…desolate and quiet on a sunny, warm day]

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[olive said she was making an angry bear face…LOL]

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[bubbles alllllll day]

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[christmas pj’s, messy hair don’t care]

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[finding random treasures in the yard]

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[crafting galore…we’re always trying something different and fun with what we have on hand!]

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[ellie saw a kids ghoul movie and became obsessed with the main character’s purple hair…there you go.]

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[a lot of chalk time!]

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[e learning with vids from her teacher!]

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xoxo

NYE ‘19

well, gosh…at the rate i posted this nye post, it might as well be 2021! i legit forgot that i had this waiting in queue. LOL!!!!!!

per usual, we always do too much. between christmas eve and new year’s day, we hosted 4 events. yes, f o u r. as gwen said, ‘b a n a n a s’.

this new year’s eve was a bit more quiet as the 5 usual suspects that typically celebrate with us, did not celebrate with us this time around but we had two new comers!!! huy and tashina stayed in town and they were able to ring in the new year with us!! such a gift to have and we were so excited to celebrate with them!

we decided to do heavy apps and drinks…i am 100% ok with that, as i love grazing. my parents came over and they were legit like, “what?…there’s no real food?” LOL so we ordered chinese food for them to eat, in which everyone else ended up eating it too! hahaha!

kim made a burrata and buffalo chicken dip, we had flaky apps, onion dip, shrimp cocktail,  charcuterie board, and a few other dishes i can’t remember! we ate to our belly’s content, imbibed delicious beverages, and fire placed our way to midnight. or more so, 11 o’clock as we always ring in the new year on new york city time! but this year, we celebrated at 11 pm and everyone ended up staying until midnight {helloooo, we have kids!} and we truly rung in the new year in accurate fashion!

there were streamers and confetti everywhere…as a good new year’s party should have! now, everyone did trickle out and hc and i started to clean up. yes, we are too type a…we love to wake up to a clean house and just chillllllllll.

the next day, hc let me sleep in as i was beat down from the holiday season {i ended up having walking pneumonia, bronchitis, and a sinus infection that was formulating the whole week after christmas and did a smack down on me on new year’s day…ugh!} he did an amazing job prepping everything for us…honestly, he doesn’t get enough credit. this man works so hard to make us happy and it fills my heart with joy. he did a little extra cleaning, he started a fire in the fireplace, he got both girls ready, fed, and set for the morning and letting me sleep in was the best gift of all!

he then prepped breakfast and we enjoyed the entire day in front of the fireplace while the girls occupied themselves with toys and make believe.

it was a perfect evening and day to start 2020 with. i am so blessed and i could not have asked for a better way or people to ring in the new year. may God bless us all!

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[table centerpiece]

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[a little sugar sprinkles for the champagne]

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[disco balls, fresh garland, and noise makers]

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[ellie and uncle huy]

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[favors for the kids, popper, crackers, candy, glow sticks, and streamer!]

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[tashina and me]

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[photo booth]

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[new years day breakfast]

xoxo

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

christmas ’19

we did our usual…christmas eve at my parent’s house with my side of the family and christmas day at our house with hc’s side of the family.

for christmas eve, my sister kim, usually plans the main entree and we bring additional dishes. we all partake in the food and decor. we have always had christmas eve at my parent’s house our whole lives, so although we all don’t live at home, it’s only natural for us to host it there every year!

this year started very late for us as mass at st. mary’s was pushed back another hour, causing us to be a bit behind. our day flew by as we were trying to prepare for christmas day, eve, get ourselves ready, do odds and ends around the house prepping for our guests for christmas day.

i was hoping we could prep the salad i wanted to bring over before we headed to mass but we completely ran out of time. we hustled our way to church, attended a very beautiful christmas eve mass and came home to to put together the not so quick salad. ughhhhhhhh. we finally arrived at my parent’s house after 7! i believe that is the latest we have ever come over on christmas eve!!!

reagardless, the holiday spirit was in full swing. the house smelled yummy, the candles were lit, christmas music was blasting, glasses of wine were plentiful as we laughed, talked, cooked, and the kids played.

everyone was joyous and the mood was bright. as we sat down for dinner, olive helped my dad say the dinner’s prayer, and we all then tried pulling our christmas cracker with our neighbor. the trick was to make a wish and the person holding the longest end, their wish would come true!!! we all held crackers with each other and pulled and pulled. we were laughing so hard as some of us could not get our cracker to pop! LOL we were practically crying and then some of us didn’t even get the long end of the stick and we couldn’t stop laughing!

dinner was delicious and the kids could not wait to open up their gifts! per usual, we cleaned up, set up desserts and the kids started to open up their gifts. one by one, group by group, we opened up all our gifts. it was getting so darn late and ellie was becoming deliriously tired. she was not in a bad mood, grouchy, or anything of that sort but she was out of it!

i held her in my arms, like she was a little baby, and literally rocked her to sleep. her eyes rolled back and forth and i swung her and within a few minutes she was o u t. oh she was so tired. it was so cute and darling that i rocked her to sleep…i don’t think i have done that since she was a newborn!

there were so many gifts and the girls had so much fun. christmas eve was definitely a wonderful, enchanted success!

*****

C H R I S T M A S  E V E

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*****

christmas day started out slow and, per usual, before i knew it…the deadline was approaching and i was not ready! i still needed to finish the table settings, i didn’t get everyone’s names out on place cards, i hadn’t set the flatware, i didn’t start the charcuterie board…shoot! shoot! shoot! i always wonder, where did the time go?!! LOL there was still soooooooo much to do!!!

but in the end..it all falls into place. the guests arrived early, per hc’ s whole side of the family and the festivities began with a bang. aunt wendy put together the drinks, his cousins and aunts brought sides and different entrees and hc was putting the finishing touches on the prime rib and ham.

everyone was in good spirits and the food prep was humming along perfectly. after an hour or so of warming everything up, it was time to eat. hc had everyone gathered around before food was served and proceeded to give a little speech. this was our first christmas without his dad and it was a tough one. hc tried to continue on with his speech but i picked up, in tears, thanking everyone for coming and that it was our first christmas without papa and we felt blessed that everyone was here to celebrate together.

that was pretty much all i could spit out. there were tears shed and lots of hugs given. what a heavy but heartfelt day. we miss him so, so much and it’s not the same at all. such a big void in the day that will never be the same but we continue to share all the wonderful memories of him and that warms our hearts and keeps us going.

overall, it was a very beautiful and wonderful christmas day with our family. the food was delicious, the decor was festive, and the energy was palpable.

we deeply miss you papa.

C H R I S T M A S  D A Y

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[sisters]

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[charcuterie]

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[danielle, daniel, and mark]

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[hc and jennifer]

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[with auntie missy]

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[me and hannah]

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[opening up presents from auntie missy]

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[family]

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[dinner by candlelight]

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