hb dad!

we celebrated my dad’s birthday by going to one of their favorite restaurants, minghin, in naperville. we all met up there early, in fear there would be a long wait but there wasn’t a wait at all! yay!

it was going to be a full house with everyone being able to make it to dinner. we ordered copious amounts of food, chatted our way through dinner, and enjoyed each other’s company. of course, ellie, being the smallest one there, entertained us relentlessly with her silly antics.

we laughed at the use of the lazy susan. every time i tried serving food, someone would simultaneously try to move the damn table, causing me to try to serve the food while keeping up with the spinning table top! hello?! it’s my turn to serve some food! then kim and i had a competition on who could keep our part of the table the cleanest {i swear we are not that messy of eaters!}. kim lost. hahahahahaha!

dan challenged bennett to eat vegetables and earn money, which he did and gained! the brothers continued with their bromance and rich and i shared a story of the hostess’ quirky, typical asian nature and behavior. a short story that would be long to type, so, i can tell anyone of y’all in person if you’d like. ha!

it was another beautiful evening out. the weather had finally, finally caught up and it truly felt like spring. april was the longest, coldest, snowiest month this year. once dinner was over, the crew and i jetted out so fast; we needed to get bennett’s communion cake at the store and i still had to make his cake topper!! yikes!

happy birthday to my dad. the most kind, gentle, loving human being i know. i love you so much, words can’t describe how much you mean to me. you have always been there for me, loved me no matter what trouble i caused, and supported our family through the worst and the best. thank you. you absolutely mean the world to me and i am so thankful to be your daughter.

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[happy birthday dad!]

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[sweet baby girl]

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[me and my thug]

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[ellie and super aunty thuy]

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[cheers to dad!]

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[sweet nephews]

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[he’s so sweet to the girls]

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[oh i love this face]

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[bennett earning some cash]

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xoxo

a lovely day

it was a nice but cool day. the sun was shining, so it felt lovely but in the shade, it was a bit chilly. nonetheless, it was a wonderful day to explore the city.

we did our best to get up early to beat the brunch crowd. 11-11:30 am is prime brunch time, that is when the wait gets cray. it’s the perfect time because you don’t have to wake up early but it’s early enough to not be completely starving. soooo, we arrived at the bongo room at 10:25ish and we waited, maybe, 20 minutes for a table for 5? score!

of course, brunch at bongo is always delicious. i usually get their seasonal pancakes but i was totally feeling eggs and potatoes that day. yuuuummmmm. hc and i each got a drink {mimosa for moi and a frou frou drink for hc}, it’s five o’clock somewhere, isn’t it?!

after brunch, we decided to explore bucktown. we love shopping around the area. we love the eclectic vibe and exploring the fun shops. what i find so interesting is that grace pretty much likes the same stuff i like, to a degree. we have similar tastes in some fashion, make up, and accessories. what is very different is that she is wayyyyyy younger and we interpret our choice in fashion through our age appropriate styles. i really enjoyed exchanging our opinions around items we liked though, that was a lot of fun!

while we were eating, i had text olivia and dana to see what they were doing. dana was busy but olivia and aaron decided to meet up with us {they don’t live far from the area}! while grace, the girls, and i were shopping at benefit, olivia and aaron showed up! it was great seeing them, even if it was for 45 minutes! after buying a few things at benefit, we all walked to reckless records and shortly thereafter, we had to leave to take grace to her driver’s ed class.

it was a beautiful, lovely day. it really was. i thoroughly enjoyed our day at brunch, shopping, spending the day with my family, seeing olivia and aaron, and just being in chicago. i love my tribe and i love chicago.

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[my tribe]

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[my sweet girl]

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[she absolutely adores grace]

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[nice whipped cream]

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[pretty fruit plate]

xoxo

hc’s birthday weekend

it’s friday night and i just got paid…

on friday morning, the girls and i were running around everywhere to get stuff for hc’s birthday, get errands checked off, and having fun while we were doing it all!

i planned on decorating for hc’s birthday on saturday night. i thought it would be fun for him to wake up on his birthday and be surprised with all the decor but olive had other plans. she obviously knew we stopped by the party store to order balloons, so when we came home, she asked me when we were going to decorate for dada’s birthday. i said not until tomorrow night and boy, was she bummed.

she said,”but the balloons are in the car…you have to get the balloons and we have to decorate.” be still my heart. i told her the balloons were still at the store and she begged me to get them so we could decorate. oh, her sweet little face and voice melts me, so i had to fulfill my end of the bargain!

we decorated the house and waited for hc to come home. although olive ended up spoiling it! hc called us on his way home from work and olive blurts out, “dada, we got balloons for you!!!”. hahahaha! there goes our surprise!!!

it was a weekend long celebration of hc’s birthday! friday night was family sushi night! we relaxed, ate sushi, and just enjoyed our time together with just the girls. on saturday night, we celebrated hc’s birthday with his family. we went to maggiano’s and had a great time eating and drinking too much. the girls, of course, entertained everyone! ha!

on sunday, hc and i had a cubs game lined up but the weather was aaawwwwwwful. it was thirty something degrees and snooooowing. wahhhhhhh! we were going to go, regardless, and hang out at the ball park, the area, and the bars but they ended up cancelling the game. womp womp. i suggested for us to go to wrigleyville regardless but hc wasn’t feeling it because the weather was so bad, so he wanted to stay in. hey, it’s his birthday and he can do what he wants to, do what he wants to!

overall, it was a pretty good weekend. i am sure hc had a great time!!! i wish our sunday turned out differently but what we ended doing was absolutely perfect!!!

happy birthday my dear love. you are an amazing husband, partner, best friend, and father to our beloved girls. you are always thoughtful, kind, sweet, considerate, forgiving, and loving. thank you for being you. we are so blessed to have you.

DECOR

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[birthday chalkboard – olive chose a rainbow theme for her dad’s birthday!]

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[she’s so excited!]

*****

DINNER

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[kisses from papa]

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[hc and grace]

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[she’s so silly]

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[jane, missy, and hc]

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[sibling love or rivalry?]

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[a mug from the late aunt gloria]

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[polka dot twinning]

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[happy birthday hc!!]

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[hc’s birthday cake]

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[she loved the cake!]

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[we’re ready to sing happy birthday!]

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[stealing a look]

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[i love the way she’s looking at him]

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[follow ellie’s eyes]

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xoxo

easter sunday

the easter bunny came!

i have hemmed and hawed over the idea of the easter bunny, tooth fairy, and santa. i wasn’t sure if i wanted to push a made up character to persuade olive to be a good kid. ’cause honestly, she’s a good kid without persuasion. there are some big debates between parents around this subject. these fictional figures have been molded and it’s american made, it’s financially driven, it’s lying, it’s bribing, and so forth.

easter and christmas are christian religious holidays celebrating jesus. i want olive to know and understand that those holidays are stemmed from the life of jesus. that is why we celebrate on those days.

i also loved the idea that these characters added to the magic of the season and are really fun to believe in. i did believe in them when i was a kid and it didn’t harm or taint me. my parents didn’t enforce the idea of santa, the easter bunny, or the tooth fairy on me, it was all about church, the bible, and our faith but i loved the magic behind it. i was never upset they weren’t real. honestly, i always knew they weren’t but loved believing in something magical. i definitely don’t look back on my childhood and think i was scarred or lied to. all i remember is magic, love, excitement, and damn good memories with my family and friends.

my heart is so full to see her so excited over things like the easter bunny. she loved her basket from the bunny, she loved finding the eggs the easter bunny left behind. she giggled with excitement at the idea of presents. i’m ok with that.

what i try to do every day is parent with love, respect, and discipline. do i fail, alllll the time but i try, try again. i want to raise my girls to become strong, smart, independent, kind, and to be filled with gratitude {to name a few attributes}…the list goes on and on.

so whether they believe in the easter bunny or not, or whether i push it on them or not. i think they will grow up just fine and hopefully pass the traditions and love to their children to create magical moments together too.

{we celebrated easter together in the morning and then met my family for brunch in chicago, at swift and sons, later in the day!}

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[ellie making her way to the easter baskets]

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[olive eyeing the baskets and excited!]

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[ohmergawd her hair!! talk about bedhead!!!]

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[digging through her goodies]

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[she sooooo wanted this bunny!]

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[she was so excited over everything!]

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[ohmergawd, this sweet babe]

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[look ma, an egg]

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[i’ll pretend to eat it]

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[hahaha! just kidding!]

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[i’m so funny, i crack myself up!]

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[easter egg hunt time!]

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[checking out her goodies]

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[so excited for her shopkin surprise!]

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[easter egg hunt aftermath]

*****

BRUNCH AT SWIFT AND SONS!

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[sweet cousins]

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[opening up her easter basket from r + b]

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[always doting on her]

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[thuy getting festive]

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[flummoxed]

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[my love]

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[i loooooooove bloody mary’s!]

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[cheers!]

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[dan and agata]

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[preptastic]

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[we fail ,every holiday, at taking a family picture together]

xoxo

easter bunny

my sister kim, last minute, asked us to come with her to go see the easter bunny at 900 n. olive paid a visit to the easter bunny once {at a local easter egg hunt}, when she was two years old but we didn’t see one last year. we hosted an egg hunt at our house versus going to one and seeing an easter bunny at a local mall or so.

the next morning, we did our usual routine and got ready to head out. i remembered back in the days, something like this stressed me out with two kids {hahaha…and yes, i only have two. not three. not four. referencing, it’s all relative, right?}. getting them ready & dressed, getting myself ready, getting them fed, packing up enough toys, diapers, snacks, etc., not forgetting anything for myself, getting them layered up for the cold weather, getting them strapped into the car seats {’cause, hell, that’s a process in itself!}, do i have the stroller? all sorts of things to remember and plus, i was always late. yes, it used to stress me out but now it’s like second nature.

we were ahead of schedule and hit the road to head to 900 n michigan ave. we parked, i fed ellie, i assembled the stroller, we rolled in, walked around, i had to go to the bathroom, we went to the wrong floor, and then we finally found the easter bunny area and signed up for a visit. it was an hour and forty five minute wait! oy! there were 40 families ahead of us!

everyone finally rolled in and we all gathered around the 6th floor {for coffee at oak tree}, to wait our turn for the easter bunny while the kids played in galt toys. olive obsessed over a unicorn bouncy. she was smitten. the entire time we were there, she bounced on it all around the store. she was sooooo happy! she showed it off to anyone who would listen. it was so cute. when we were leaving, she asked me if she could ‘borrow’ it. her word for, can we ‘buy’ it. i said, “maybe you can tell the easter bunny to bring it to you?”. her eyes totally lit up!

it was finally our turn to see the easter bunny! it went by much faster than estimated {one hour versus the hour forty five}, thank goodness! as expected, ellie was a hot mess when i left her with the easter bunny but overall we received pretty awesome pics!! olive was so good! i was so surprised and my heart was so full that she was excited to see him and not scared! the set up was so gorgeous! the balloon arch was beautiful and the flowers and lights were so springy and fun! i was so happy with the results!

after the easter bunny pics, we headed on over to the blue door kitchen and garden down on elm. it was so cute and cozy inside! the dinnerware was pretty, the libations were tasty, and the food was so delicious! i absolutely enjoyed our service; everyone was so attentive and polite! i definitely hope i can get back there with hc to eat again!

after our excursion at the restaurant, we shopped a little bit more and then headed on our way home. later that evening, the family came over to our house to eat dinner and dye eggs! our day was filled with so much fun!

it was such a lovely day. it really was. we had such a great time with everyone. seeing the easter bunny was so much fun, the restaurant was so good, and the company was even better. it was a really fun day with the family! time spent like that is priceless. oh, and the easter bunny did get olive her unicorn bouncy! yay!

happy easter lovelies!

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[i’m typically walton]

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[how gorgeous is this balloon display?]

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[i could stare at this all day…it’s so whimsical and pretty!]

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[i think i was more excited than olive when the easter bunny came out!]

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[she spotted the bouncy]

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[she’s going for it!]

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[no pictures of this next event but the poor babe fell on her face. eep!]

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[she faired better on this riding toy]

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[sweet babes running through the center]

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via tandeminlove.com[my sweet babe]

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[sweetest cousins]

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[cookie monster]

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[super auntie thuy and ellie]

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[what really happened…oh poor babe was so scared!]

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[blue door kitchen and garden]

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[terry and kim]

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[cutest kiddos]

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[the most delicious tea drink everrrrrr]

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[i love her so much]

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[yummy, yummy hummus]

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[my sweet olive]

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[this kale and brussel salad was ahhhhhhhmazing]

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[lan and avery]

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[these babes are too sweet]

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[i love her bob]

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[eating pizza before dyeing eggs]

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[reagan’s creative egg dyeing]

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[sweet babe ready for bed]

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[olive’s eggs]

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[pj time!]

xoxo

valentine’s day ’18

one day, maybe a month or so before valentine’s day, olive asked me if we could have a valentine’s day party. well, ok! i thought it was so cute that she asked! i then inquired who she would like to come to this party, and she, without hesitation, said, “reagan, bennett, and terry!”. alrighty then. i thought it was hilarious! so i text my sisters and let them know what olive had asked and who she wanted to come to the party. my sister kim said, “well, i didn’t want to come anyways!” hahaha!

so, we had our family over for a fun little party! of course we kept it simple. wink. wink. in all seriousness, it really was a simple and easy party to get ready for! olive and i did some food prep before everyone came over. we cut up some ingredients for the apps and olive helped me cut out heart shaped pepperoni for the heart shaped pizzas hc was going to make!

i decorated the kitchen area and we waited for hc to come home from work. he started pizzas while i started apps. we had mozzarella sticks, jalapeños filled with cream cheese, and guac dip. the heart shaped pizzas turned out so cute and delicious and after dinner, we served a yummy cake!

after dessert, we gave the kids their valentine’s day gifts and the kids played and had a ton of fun. olive is always excited to hang with her cousins! our evening was short for it was a school night. so after a couple hours of visiting, we wrapped up our evening and said our farewells.

the party turned out so cute {if i do say so myself} and a good time was had by all! it was definitely a day of love indeed!

via tandeminlove.com[roses from hubby charming]

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[kid’s table]

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[she’s such a ham!]

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[heart pepperoni]

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[hc and terry]

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[my girls]

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[cousins]

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[hc and kim twinning]

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[look at that pout face]

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[present time!]

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xoxo

snow day

i am not one to watch the weather reports. i typically glance at the daily temperature so i have guidance on how to dress the girls. so, it was totally by word of mouth when i heard that we were getting a huge snowstorm! whaaaaaa?!

the days leading up to the actual event, i felt like i heard so many tall tales! such things as, we were going to get 6-12″, we were going to get 15″+, it was going to be crazy, things were going to shut down, water bottles were selling out, there was a mad dash to the grocery stores, the snowfall prediction grew by inches as the days rolled towards the actual day of the storm.

my attitude was: humph…it’s chicago. we’ve had worse. and so it began. the snow started to fall, and fall, and fall, and fall. i absolutely love fresh snow! it’s so clean, calm, and beautiful. it kept falling and falling, on and off for almost three days. we ended up with 15″+ and it was a total winter wonderland!

hc wanted to take miss olive out in the snow. one – to put on the gear he had bought for her and two – how could you not?? there was sooooo much snow, you had to have some fun it!

olive was apprehensive at first. she was uncertain about the mounds of powdery white snow. slowly but surely, though, she started to become keen about it. and soon enough, she was giggling and wanted to play in it!

well, we survived the massive snowstorm of 2018! the roads were cleared over night {after the heaviest snowfall} and all was well. it was back to business the next day, although it continued to snow but like i said – it’s chicago. it’s not our first rodeo! yahooooo!

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[ready for the snow]

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[she’s not quite sure what to do]

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[holy snow!]

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[she was not happy]

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[oh her sweet unhappy face]

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[throwing snow at dada!]

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[hc jumping in the snow, entertaining olive]

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[she thinks dada is soooooo silly]

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[she’s so sweet!]

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xoxo

hb ma soeur thuy!

happy birthday to my lovely sister, thuy!

on saturday, we treated thuy to a spa morning and then, at night, we had a wonderful birthday dinner for her. it was quite the lovely day!

our day started out with pedicures and relaxation. we chilled, got pampered, and then went out to lunch. funny story…so kim and i brought our own flip flops to the spa and thuy did not. hmmmmm. it’s winter here, it’s cold, and sock and boots don’t mix well with freshly painted toes. so, yes, we wear our flip flops out. i told thuy to not put her boots on because she was going to ruin her painted nails. well, she decided to wear the paper thin, cheap flip flops they give you, out and about the mall. a quarter of the way to our destination, the flip flops b r e a k!! ugh! she was limping around, holding the flip flop in place between her toes!!!

after we ate, she decided to not wear the flip flops anymore and just put on her socks to walk around the mall!!!! whaaaaa? ohmergawd. kim and i were like, nooooooo! kim wanted to run to a store and buy her a pair of flip flops….but thuy insisted that we don’t spend the money on shoes. we were like, helloooooo! we don’t want to walk around with you wearing a canada goose jacket and no shoes?!!!!

so, it had been long enough, where her nails should have been somewhat dry and kim remembered that she had her shoes in her purse. thank goodness! thuy put them on and we walked on our merry way in peace and non embarrassment. hahaha!

later that evening, we all met at neat kitchen in westmont. it was local, good, and they could seat a party of 16 people with no problem. kim, terry, hc, and i met earlier to ‘pre-game’, as the boys called it. around 7, we were shown our table and slowly, everyone trickled in to celebrate thuy!

we ordered apps, libations flowed, great energy, conversations, and laughter filled the air. the night flew by! we were having so much fun! it’s always a great time when you are celebrating an occasion and the company is so good! the food was {as usual} delicious and copious. before we knew it, the hours flew by! the server brought out a decadent dessert to thuy in honor of her birthday and we all broke out in song.

the night ended on a high note and we all walked away feeling the love that we had for thuy. happy birthday my sweet sister! cheers to many more wonderful birthdays together!

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[sisters are the best]

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[pete and lan]

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[dan and agata]

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[sheryl, thuy, and lan]

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[kisses for you!]

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[these two…bromance]

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[happy birthday!]

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[a few of the girls]

xoxo

auld lang syne

happy new year!

we hosted a small get together for our friends and family on new year’s eve!

our family debated on whether or not we wanted to go out to dinner {something we’ve done many, many times on new year’s], so we decided to have a party at our place instead! just the sisters and the bro and a few friends. people who we typically celebrate with every year.

we were in debate on what we were going to cook {not me! ha!], we just had beef tenderloin for christmas eve, we had a spiral ham and prime rib for christmas, so we went with a pork tenderloin for new year’s eve! every one pitched in with the menu and when that happens, it makes the night so much more fun and easy!

i ran around decorating like a crazy person. rummaging through my decor box and creating something fun for new year’s! i had no clue what i wanted to do for the tables, the photo booth, the dessert table…but thank goodness everything turned out sparkly and festive!

we ate, and cooked, and ate, and cooked, and ate some more and then ate more food. then ate dessert and then ate more leftover food. bahahahaha! we were s t u f f e d. the food was all sooooo delicious and perfectly made.

once dinner was over {we ate late on purpose}, we cleaned up a bit, and chilled; waiting for the new york countdown, since we have kids and we are ‘old’ and we didn’t want to be up all night…ohmergawd. we’re duds. haaaaaaahaha!

anyhoo, once we counted down, everyone pretty much ran out to go home! no problem…we were tired! i really think it’s because it’s the last of the holidaze and by then, we are just spent!

overall it was a wonderful, relaxing evening! i hope this year brings everyone love, joy, health, prosperity, and many great adventures!

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[nye photo booth]

école valentines jour artisanat

[she wouldn’t put on a more festive outfit, insisted on wearing this crown, and lately, this has been her cheese face…]

école valentines jour artisanat

[the boys]

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école valentines jour artisanat

[she looooooved sitting on the chair!]

école valentines jour artisanat

[i was stumped…i wasn’t sure what i wanted to do for the centerpieces!]

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[me and hc]

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[chalkboard calligraphy]

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[kids table]

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[party favors]

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[cheese plate]

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[everything is good with macarons]

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[kim and terry]

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[sip sip hooray!]

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[party cake]

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[the girls]

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[party table]

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[i love our fireplace…so cozy!]

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[dance party!]

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[rich and agata]

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[pete and dan]

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[triplets]

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[interpretive dance]

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[plaid in the usa]

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[hey olive, smile! hahaha]

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[lan, avery, and pete]

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[agata, olive, and dan]

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[isn’t she so sweet??]

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[oh these kids…it’s so hard to wrangle them in for a good pic!]

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[ready to ring in the new york new year!]

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[counting down!]

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xoxo

noel ’17

this was the first christmas day hc and i had hosted! as our aunts and uncles and parents get older, it was time to pass the torch to the next generation and continue the traditions! hc’s aunt vicki and uncle steve have hosted christmas day for a long time and it was time for us to take on that holiday and celebration!

we were excited to do so! hc told me last year that he would have the basement done by then and ta da! it wasn’t. wah wah. we wanted the extra space but c’est la vie. christmas day was just fine the way it was {space wise}.

christmas morning was exciting! olive couldn’t wait to see if santa ate his cookies and if rudolph nibbled on his carrot. the girls were excited to open up their gifts and of course, play all day long with their toys! we made cinnamon rolls for breakfast and drank mimosas….what a perfect christmas morning.

hc created a menu, based upon what everyone was going to bring, and we finalized all the pretty decor touches before everyone arrived! we were excited to do this! family is most important and we couldn’t wait to celebrate this day with hc’s side.

hc made a spiral ham, prime rib and green beans, while aunt vicki brought her infamous shells, aunt wendy provided the alcohol, jane brought mashed potatoes and apps, sister missy brought dessert, and cousin jennifer brought brussel sprouts. everyone participated and the spread was delicious and amazing!

it was a beautiful evening, being able to visit, relax, and just be with family. that is definitely what life is about!

we were so happy to have hosted our first christmas day and we were so excited that everyone had such a wonderful time! cheers to new traditions and to family!

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[cookies and milk for santa]

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[olive was so excited to see if santa and rudolph ate their snacks!]

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[excited over santa gifts!]

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[no pj olive]

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[she asked santa for a doll, fairy, horse, and unicorn]

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[she loves this little doll from mary, her sitter]

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[snow globe]

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[christmas day mimosa]

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[cinnamon rolls]

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[santa’s gift]

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[sweet babes]

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[sweet exchange]

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[christmas dinner tablescape]

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[aunt vicki, missy, aunt wendy, jane, and jennifer]

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[uncle steve and jennifer]

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xoxo