holiday downtown

we did our annual holiday trip to macy’s on state this past weekend! we did our usual routine of eating up on the 7th floor, shopping for ornaments, and just shopping around the store.

we love to buy ornaments from here every year, grab a little candy from the shop downstairs, and just take in the hustle and bustle of the season. dan, agata, kim, terry, the boys, thuy, mom and dad came out this year. we stayed at the department store for several hours and then headed home to our house to decorate gingerbread houses! before we left, we were able to admire one of their animated windows at macy’s. olive was so enamored with all the trumpets and christmas lights and wonderment all around her! her and ellie were so amazed as we walked the streets!

once home, we tidied up a bit and then kim and fam and agata and dan came over. kim brought over wine, cheese, and paté to nibble on. the boys brought food over to the house and the kids ate dinner. we had ordered pizza for everyone else and once all the consuming of food was done, we set up the gingerbread houses for the kiddos!

the kids had a blast! olive looooooved decorating her house. she was so excited and looking forward to it for days! olive did such a great job decorating her house – she didn’t even get frosting on her fingers! a big thank you to dan for being her structural engineer and making sure her roof didn’t fall down. thanks for holding the house together while olive decorated around you!

overall it was a great, fun festive day with the family! i love being able to spend the time with them during the busiest season of the year. that is what matters most during this crazy month! we soaked in the holiday mood and created some good memories together.

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[she’s so funny]

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[hey grace! i’m only going to take a pic of you while you’re eating. oops]

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[olive is so silly!]

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[she loooooooved riding the escalators!]

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[picking out candy]

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[olive’s stash]

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[my sweet girls]

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[ready to assemble her house!]

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[all the goodies to decorate with]

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[the cutest cousins]

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[olive’s house]

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[reagan’s house]

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[putting on her adornments]

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[reagan’s house looking good!]

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[olive was sooooo dang careful with her decor and she didn’t even get frosting on her fingers!]

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[reagan and his masterpiece]

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[she did such a great job!!]

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xoxo

kidcon

we were invited to an event called kidcon chicago. honestly, i had never heard of it and was curious. i love taking the girls to fun, different places and i was hoping this event fit that description.

we had a really rough day, because of me. i was a bad mom, literally. i hate to admit it but the pms was strong. sometimes when i am in this moment…it’s so hard to snap out of it and it was a miserable morning and afternoon for everyone. i had to leave the house just to reset. when i came back, i apologized to the girls and eventually to hc. we were hoping to hit up the event earlier but we ended up not going until wayyyyyyy late in the afternoon. much later than anticipated.

no worries, we still had time to enjoy ourselves. it was the longest walk ever to get there…mainly because i was carrying ellie. hahaha! once we arrived, we checked in and i could tell that the girls were excited. we started walking around and there were so many cute booths and i was pleasantly surprised. everyone was so darn friendly and nice.

we were so distracted when we walked in because we didn’t know what to do with our coats. we, honestly, should have left them in the car…we really didn’t need them but right when we walked in, we were trying to get situated and this super nice lady at the booth we were standing next to exclaimed how cute a hat would look on olive because she was wearing this polar bear ear headband. i was so distracted that i was polite with her but i felt bad because i didn’t fully engage with her the way i usually do with people. it’s little things like that, that can bother me! i’m so hyper aware of stuff like that.

anyhoo, the girls were EXCITED. they ran from one booth to the next. the convention had play areas everywhere. a lot of companies had their products set up in play stations around the area too, so that was cool and fun. olive loved playing with the toys, there were craft areas, interactive play areas…it was non stop for the kiddos. i was happy because they were so joyous!

well, we walked away spending way too much money! i had to restraint myself from buying something from every booth! it was great, though, because i also did some additional christmas shopping. i bought stocking stuffers for miss olive and the girls looooooved the super hero costume booth. we were suckered in to almost everything.

after an hour or so…we finally decided to leave but not before we hit up all the booths we loved and bought a thing or two. as we were leaving, i stopped back over to the check in desk and asked for my gift bag. the women gave me the most amazing bag! it was so cute and cool and filled with so many good things! olive was just as excited because she had a feeling there would be toys inside and she was correct!

overall, we had a really fun time at kidcon! i throughly enjoyed all the vendors and the kids had such a great time! thank you so much for having us! it was super FUN!

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[in one of the play areas]

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[her favorite toy in the entire area]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[i was thinking, ‘please don’t put this cup to your lips elllllieeeeee!’ hahaha!]

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[oh these girls. olive’s signature pose]

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[olive loved the unicorn headbands!]

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[this girl melts me heart]

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[she was given a free lip balm stick and that was it…it was application after application. hahaha!]

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[there were so many interactive areas for the kiddos…balloons, crafts, play…it was pretty awesome]

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[back at the play area and looking for all the flowers]

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[i got suckered into these costumes…they are so cute though!!!!]

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[they were obsessed]

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[my superhero]

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xoxo

olive’s birthday

olive’s birthday fell on tuesday of this year.

we started the morning with a happy birthday song with a big gold 5 balloon in her room. she woke up smiling – goal! hc made her a birthday breakfast and afterwards, she chose her outfit of the day. a gold sequined dress {courtesy of miss tashina}, lavender tights, gold converse, and a gold flecked caplet. the most perfect outfit ever for a birthday.

i took her to school and excitedly dropped her off for the day. there, she was star of the day, natch. she led the class. she got to wear a birthday crown and mama made stupid treats for the class. as in, i brushed lettered her name onto the brown paper bags, put stickers on them, olive filled each bag with coloring books, activity book, chocolates, candy canes, and more stickers! i really hoped the kids enjoyed them!

hc chose to stay home for her big 5 birthday! we were excited to have him home. about 20 minutes before her class ended, hc, ellie, and i hopped into the car to go pick olive up and take her out to brunch! to my dismay…in which i understand, hc wanted to go pick her up. i know i am always picking her up but this was her birthday! so, i reluctantly let hc do the honors and be the person she saw when she got out of class. we then drove to a local brunch restaurant and enjoyed our time together, celebrating miss olive!

later that day, we just snuggled, relaxed, and then later on, after dinner, we sang happy birthday to miss olive with a vanilla bean cake!

happy birthday beautiful girl. we wish you all the love, happiness, and fortune in life!

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[she chose this fancy little outfit for her birthday at school and yeah, that pose? trouble]

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[dada took the day off to celebrate olive’s birthday]

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[my budding artist]

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[she’s oh so sweet and sassy!]

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[olive was upset we made her wear her caplet outside because it was cold. look at the pouty face. [mama: *eyeroll] ellie is happy though!]

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[she loves to color and draw every day]

xoxo

thanksgiving ’18

preparations for thanksgiving this year was feeling good.

olive’s birthday party was done and done. we were gearing up for turkey day and black friday weekend. food was purchased, plans were finalized, desserts were bought {sheesh…who has time to bake?? not i said the cat}.

we did our usual, in the morning we go to aunt wendy’s house for an early turkey treat and then we head on over to my parent’s house for another gobble gobble dinner.

i am quite thankful my sister kim basically does all the prep and cooking. like seriously…without her, i’m not sure who would do it. we have hc’s family obligations during the day and i always feel bad i can’t be there to help out more. once we arrive, though, i jump right in to help with whatever i can. she’s such a good cook anyways, no one would want me in the kitchen full time. hahaha!

well, both sides of the family get togethers were wonderful, fulfilling, yummy, and so good. life is great when you’re with family. another beautiful thanksgiving on the books. we are so incredibly thankful.

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[three out of four looking at the camera is good enough]

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[ellie loving aunt wendy’s couch]

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[jump, jump, jump]

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[aunt vicki and jane]

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[sisters eating together]

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[plate o food]

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[uncle eddie and jane]

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[i’ll be sad when i can’t put her hair up like this anymore]

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[olive and hannah]

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[uncle steve and danielle]

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[some sorta shot]

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[hc and grace]

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[she’s so fun!]

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PART DEUX

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[the cutest cousins]

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[hc, ba, and terry]

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[sisters]

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[the family that buffalo checks together, stays together]

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[mom in her element]

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[we’re getting more photo time as a family of 5]

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[beautiful arrangement by kim]

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[agata and dan]

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[i kept screaming, ‘cheek to cheek!!!’…this was as close as they got to ellie]

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[so delicious]

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[cookie decorating]

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[i said, ‘olive, show me your cookie’. she picked it up aaaaand…]

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[her face…too cute when her decorations started falling off! she was like, ‘ohhhhhh no’]

xoxo

happy 5th birthday my dear olive!

wow…i can’t believe it’s been five years since this beautiful girl has joined us. it’s surreal. my life changed when she was born. of course it did. but what i mean is…life had meaning. life had purpose. life was fulfilling with her in my world.

in your younger years, you wander. you wonder. you live life self centered. as a mother…you realize that this {having children} is what life is about. my heart is so full and the love that i experience every day is like no other. i feel so incredibly blessed to have her as my child and so fortunate to be able to do this. to raise kind humans and do my damndest to raise someone who can make a difference in this sometimes dark world.

sooooooo, olive’s birthday party turned into a surprise party because i went off of something she said a few months ago. she had watched something on her iPad and said to me, “i want a surprise party!”. i said, “how am i suppose to throw you a surprise party while you’re in the house?” she says, “i’ll just go in my room and when i come out, everyone can say ‘surprise!'” bahahahahahaha! ohmergawd…i LOVE her!!!

so, last minute, i told her guests that it was going to be a surprise party! it worked out perfectly! hc dropped the girls off at my sister, thuy’s place, in the morning. hc and i hustled and decorated the house for the party, readied the apps, and the guests started to flow in. about 15 minutes after the party started, my sister shows up with olive and ellie.

i was so excited. i couldn’t wait to see her reaction! i heard her say to thuy why were there all these cars at our house. ha! she walked in and everyone yelled ‘surprise!’. her facial expression was priceless! i was in heaven seeing her so elated! afterwards, she greeted all her guests and made her way around.

olive chose her brown horse theme. she talked about it for months. months!!! it was the first time she chose her theme, so i was in a bit of a pickle because i have always been the one concocting her themes. now that she is independent and opinionated, she expressed exactly what she wanted for her 5th birthday party and i had to go with it. i was a bit stumped but in the end, i figured it out and we had the most wonderful horse themed party!

side note: i went to party city to get some horse themed balloons. uhhhhhh, i didn’t know they carried NOTHING horse related. whaaaaaaaa?! so, as the young male teenager was ringing me up, i asked him if that was a poop emoji balloon on the wall. he said yes. so i said to him, “i will get that balloon. i can’t believe you guys don’t have anything horse themed for my daughter’s birthday party. i’ll get the poop emoji balloon because i think it’s horse’s shit that you don’t have anything else i can get.” yup. i said that to him. he found it funny too.

well, i hope you enjoy the pics! we had such wonderful time celebrating our baby girl turning 5! happy birthday olive. we are so utterly blessed to have you in our lives. thank you for being you. we love you to infinity and beyond!

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[the balloon that stood out. she loves hello kitty!]

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[my story about the poop emoji balloon above. tassels by glamfete]

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[flowers by my sister kim]

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[daniel and auntie missy]

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[stop horsing around!]

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[terry, dan, and agata]

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[calligraphy place cards]

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[bandana’s for our guests]

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[banded flatware inclusive of the party theme]

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[easy cups for kids or adults!]

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[horse favor bags]

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[a party staple]

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[i love our fireplace]

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[i heard her asking about all the cars in the driveway…]

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[i love her facial expression when she saw everyone and mine!]

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[i love this]

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[she’s oh so sweet]

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[y’all…i love her so much!]

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[greeting her guests]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[cousins]

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[with ba]

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[grace, annabelle, and edwin]

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[gramma and olive]

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[backdrop by glamfete. she’s such a princess!]

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[oh how i love her so]

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[i can’t post enough pics of her]

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[this is sooooooo ellie and olive]

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[olive showing off her beautiful unicorn painting]

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[here comes the cake]

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[happy birthday day to you!]

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[make a wish!]

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[she’s so silly! her cousin bennett gathered all the horses around olive]

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xoxo

pumpkin carving

every year my family and i carve pumpkins together! it’s a fun tradition that makes the holiday a little more special. we love ordering pizza or putting together a quick dinner and then carving pumpkins in hc’s heated garage.

the fam came over with apps and we noshed on food until the pizza arrived. we ate and drank and ate and talked and ate and hung out. after our early dinner, the kids were begging for desserts. i said no dessert until i was done in the kitchen {cleaning up, washing dishes, etc.}. i’m sure they were rolling their eyes in annoyance…hahaha! i have a process for everything.

fiiiiiinally we served dessert – festive cookies, ice cream sandwiches, chocolate ice cream, salted caramel cupcakes…it was all so yummy! olive thoroughly enjoyed her chocolate ice cream. i have to say, it’s the cuuuuuutest thing to see her admire reagan so much. she loves copying him and doing anything he’s doing. olive wanted a cookie but when she saw reagan eating chocolate ice cream, she had to have it too. i think she thinks he’s the coolest {literally}.

the kids and adults then went outside and carved their pumpkins. ellie colored hers {she was a pro!} and olive asked for a scaredy cat cut out {which hc obliged}. the boys wanted intricate designs and ended up just bringing their pumpkins home to finish. it was a school night and they had to go.

overall it was a fun afternoon! it always is with family. i love spending the holidays with them and they honestly make our world go round. life is good when it involves them.

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[like wtf? hahaha!]

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[just enjoying her ice cream]

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[cousins are the best!]

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[intense coloring]

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[she was sooooo into it!]

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[olive’s pumpkin coloring]

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[the gang hard at work]

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[i drew the outline and hc cut it out]

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xoxo

pumpkin patchin’

our annual visit to the pumpkin patch commenced this past weekend!

we decided to go to goebberts…it’s been a past favorite. it has everything there! gorgeous pumpkins, fun foods for the kiddos, and sooooooo many fun activities for the kids! it’s ‘gram worthy! ha!

hc dropped us off…the parking area was as bit redic, so we waited in the front for him but as we were waiting, kim, reagan, and bennett walked right by us! so we scadaddled into the farm with them.

we met up with lan and avery {who had been there for a bit} and soon we were all together. we were on a search for dan and agata…they had arrived earlier as well. as we text each other and tried to find them, we realized that they were at another pumpkin patch called goebberts 20 minutes away!!! we can’t believe that happened! we were so sad…we told them to stay there because we didn’t want them to drive all the way cross town, deal with parking, and then look for us inside this huge establishment. plus, alll these years, we had no idea there was another farm called goebberts!!!!

well, as you can tell through our pictures, we came, we conquered, and we left happy! it was a chilly day but not overbearing and the kids had a blast playing on all the activities! we’re so lucky to experience such fun fall activities and be together!

before i end my post…i have to type that ellie, for the first time, completely wandered off on her own. we were amazed and intrigued. we were standing by a pumpkin board game activity and watched as ellie started to wander. she walked 10 ft away, then further away, then she turned and started walking towards a play set with a slide. we watched her walk around the area and disappear behind the play set. completely unaware that we weren’t nearby and honestly, it looked like she didn’t care. hc ran over to ‘find’ her but didn’t reveal himself. he then finally walked up to her and she told him she wanted to go on the slide. she was not fazed. we were a bit shocked and amused that she completely wandered off on her own. it made me think if we were distracted or not paying attention, how far would she have gotten away from us? or worse, get snatched up by a terrible person!

oh ellie…so different from her beautiful big sis and so uniquely and fiercely her own person.

well, that concludes our annual pumpkin patch visit! i absolutely love going every year and the weather conditions were just perfect! a chilly, overcast autumn day! happy fall y’all!

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[hey pumpkin heads]

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[isn’t she so cute?]

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[i think this paci thing has gone on too long…]

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[the cutest cousins]

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[silly babes]

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[love these kiddos]

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[ellie: yeahhh, i’m outta here. no pics for me]

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[just chillin’]

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[corn maze]

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[lost and trying to find our way out!]

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[chillin with my babe]

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[well, at least we’re looking at the camera]

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[this is her rebellious i won’t do what you say kiki look]

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[caught her just in time]

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[they were fearless and climbed to the top]

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[we climbed almost to the top]

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[lan and avery]

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[she loved her hog dog meal with a prize!]

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xoxo

apple picking ’18

our annual apple picking adventure has come and gone. and boy oh boy, it was a hottttt one! we had planned it with my mom, my brother dan, his girl agata, our family, my sister’s family, and my sister. it’s hard to coordinate a day with that many people, so we had settled on a sunday {the weekend before fall officially arrived}, where honey crisp apples were ripe for picking!

the temperature was not in our favor. i was hoping, everyday leading up to the day, that it would change but it did not. it was going to be 90 degrees and humid. ugh. i don’t mind it being hot but when you have two little kids and one who is high maintenance, it’s literally a sticky situation.

as soon as we got there, ellie was having a fit. her cheeks became extra rosy and she was sweating profusely. oh goodness, she was so grumpy and uncomfortable!

we met up with everyone in front of the restaurant area and once we were all there, we headed to the line. it wasn’t as long as when we first got there {everyone rushed into line when the orchard opened} but it was still long and you definitely don’t wait in the shade! ellie screamed and cried and wanted to be held but it wasn’t comforting for her at all. oh boy.

we finally paid for our bags and got into line for the tractor wagon {and the workers there warned us of the mosquitoes in the orchard, they said it was realllllllll bad and to top it off, honey crisp apples were not available to pick. whaaaaaa?!}. they dropped us off in the field and we walked down a row of trees and boom! the mosquitoes attacked!!!!! bzzzzz zzzzzz zzzzz bzzzzzz. no joke. they landed on us left and right. buzzing in our ear. biting us. bleeding on us. bouncing off my face. biting us through our clothes. i swatted mosquitoes off the girl’s faces non stop. five mosquitoes landed directly in the middle of ellie’s forehead! holy crap! it almost looked like child abuse, i was hitting the girls so much just to get the little blood suckers off their bodies! my sister and family came running at us {they were a bit further down the orchard row} and said they were leaving and ran away! ohmergawd! it was so bad!

we all left, although, we actually did a decent job picking apples despite the circumstances {my mom, agata, thuy, and dan decided to hit the other side of the orchard to pick}! the rest of us walked back to the main area and debated on leaving or staying. we weren’t sure what we wanted to do but i definitely didn’t want it to be a wasted trip. ellie was a mess. so, hc took her to the car to cool down. my family and i decided to get food. we walked into the restaurant, ordered food and sat in an enclosed area…it wasn’t air conditioned but it was covered, there was no sun shining directly on us and no bugs!!!

we cooled down, relaxed, and really enjoyed ourselves. after filling our bellies and imbibing some cool libations, we were feeling good. we all decided to head on over to the shop and peruse a bit. {i text hc to bring ellie and meet us} we nabbed mini apple cider doughnuts, bought too much candy, toys, and random knick knacks. after hanging out in the shop with my family for a half hour or so, we decided it was time to leave. we had apples, we had pictures, we had doughnuts, we had fun! we really did!

here’s to hoping that next year’s date is a lot cooler and less buggy! happy fall y’all!

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[apples on the market]

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[ellie started to burn up right away! she was so uncomfortable!]

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[here comes the tractor and wagon]

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[mom and thuy]

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[my sweet family]

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[collecting apples!]

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[she’s sweet as pie]

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via tandeminlove.com[my current favorite picture of her…she’s so tumultuously sweet]

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[the only moment where she wasn’t crying…]

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[me and my babe…i can’t express in words how wonderful she is]

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[hey girls…let’s take a picture together. girls: let’s look the other way!]

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[yup…ellie cried, they were melting from the heat, and olive asked me if she could stop itching from the mosquitoes bites]

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[cooling off and eating bug free. she had pink spots all over her face and neck from the mosquitoes]

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[my handsome nephew!]

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[oh look, another handsome nephew!]

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[olive can you wink? wink. wink.]

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[twinning at its finest]

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xoxo

first day of school

i truly had intent to post this well over a week ago but liiiiiiiiife. we were so busy leading up to our trip {i could name the 100 millions things we had to do and had going on but i’ll spare you} and i even brought my computer, with intent – again, to finish this post and publish while i was on vacation but that didn’t happen either {i’m a weirdo when it comes to unsecured wifi streams and won’t log into anything, so therefor, i didn’t log into my web account to finish this post! i should have known…}.

anyhoo, long intro to olive’s very short first day of school. i executed all the necessary preparations. i had pre-picked out her outfit, packed her backpack with the required essentials, filled out all her forms needed, and gathered all her school supplies the night before, amongst other things! olive was very excited for her first day of class this year! she loves going to school, she loves meeting new friends, and she loves to learn.

we got ready and we were all extra early. hc took ellie over to my parent’s house and no one was up and ready to go there! whaaaaaaa? we wanted to get to school early because one: the parking lot gets sooooo full and two: it’s her first day! we didn’t want to rush around and wanted it to be more relaxing and fun. my dad finally came out and hc ran out of the house like flash to come back and pick us up! we screeched the wheels on our way to school, of course the parking lot was fullllllll, and we were late – running our way into the building! ugh! what a start!

to top it off, i couldn’t remember what the classroom number was!! so there we were, walking back and forth, trying to figure it out. i ran upstairs to the office and they told me which room number it was and we slowly snuck into the room! we got called out and the teacher told me to come sit up front with the other parents, with olive and i obliged.

after the introductions and details of the how their day would look, the kids were given the green light to explore and of course, olive beelined for the doll house and barbies! after some time of playing, we circled back together for some final details and then everyone was dismissed!

we then took olive out to breakfast to celebrate her first official day of class. it’s the little things like this, that make me happy and i hope it makes olive happy too! i love making certain occasions and moments in life special. i really hope that actions like this will positively resonates with olive.

it was a great start to the school year and a wonderful start to our morning! we loved having hc there to make events like these whole. although, i had a #momfail moment later on in the day when i completely forgot to take them to their gymnastics class! heyyyy, you win some, you lose some. hahahaha!!

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[my girl]

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[she was being so silly…she kept dancing all over the place!]

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[mean mugging]

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[i love her]

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[always so somber and cautious]

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[going for the doll house and dollies]

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[she loves this doll!]

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[drawing at breakfast, getting ready to eat her rainbow pancakes!]

xoxo

kim’s 29th birthday!

we celebrated kim’s birthday this past weekend at pacific standard time, a restaurant of her choice.

so, funny story…i had text hc about our reservation time and confusion ensued. here’s our conversation {modified for your enjoyment}.

me: dinner is at 5 at pacific standard time

hc: 5? downtown? well, if you really think about it, 5pm is really 7pm cst but it’s still cutting it close to get to the restaurant.

me: hun, pacific standard time is the name of the restaurant. thuy wasn’t confused when she said the dinner reservations were at 5 at pacific standard time.

bahahahahahaha!

we all, almost, arrived on time {thuy was a bit behind}. our time was well spent drinking tasty libations and lively conversations between us before we placed our order. our server was detailed and encouraging during our time there. i loved how passionate she was about the menu, the food, and her astounding memory! she absorbed our appetizer {and we ordered a lot} and entree order with no glitches. everything came as specified and i was impressed!

we ohhh’d and ahhhh’d over our meals, we shared plates, and became giddy as our tastebuds were delighted! everyone throughly enjoyed kim’s cod…yes, that was written out comically, but we really loved her fish! it was my, and most, favorite dish!

the food kept on coming and we merrily passed along each plate to consume everything in sight. as our belly’s filled up, our evening out together dwindled. our server then brought out a surprise dessert for kim’s birthday – we awkwardly sang happy birthday and kim angrily blew out her candle {you would have to have seen my instagram story to understand}, and we cheered!

after dinner, we took a few pics outside and enjoyed the gorgeous warm temps. warm summer nights are an absolute favorite of mine! it was a wonderful time out celebrating my sister kim! happy birthday kimberdo!

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[pacific standard time]

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[ma seours]

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[lan. agata, and dan]

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[kim’s amazing cod, like, seriously…it was sooooooo good]

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[the half eaten delicious pappardelle]

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[this dessert was decadent and delicious]

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[happy birthday kim!]

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xoxo