under the sea birthday party

i was looking forward to spending some time with andrea at her kid’s birthday party. one – i don’t see her enough. two – she’s awesome. i mean, she’s hosting, so i knew it wasn’t going to be one on one time kind of chatting but no matter what the circumstance, it’s always good to see a friend.

we arrived there in a flash and it was a beautiful day out! it was hard to believe that it had snowed alllllll day the day before! once inside, andrea greeted us, we settled in and i started snapping away with my camera.

ellie was not happy at first {as usual}. she cried and clung to us. she acted as if we were throwing her to the wolves with this large group of adults. {eye roll} olive on the other hand meshed right in. she was loving it. first thing we walked into, when we arrived, was the dessert spread and that received a thumbs up from miss olive!

we made our way through and said our hello’s to the usual gang – ginger, katheryn, beth, and patrik. it’s always so good to see them and it was great catching up with everyone.

andrea had a slew of entertainment there! i loved it! such great ideas for an indoor kids birthday party that’s not at an activity center! she had a balloon animal artist and a singer called miss jamie’s farm. the kids looooooooooved it! ellie not so much. the balloon guy made ellie a dog and it freaked her out and she threw it on the floor. miss jamie started singing and ellie cowered back in fear. oh em gee…she’s a riot. i finally made some mom moves and coaxed ellie onto the dance floor and slowly but surely, she started loving miss jamie and her singing! it helped 100% that olive was soooo into it and ellie loved that olive loved it too! anything her big sister does, ellie is game.

the kids ate {lots of pizza, pastas, cheese curds, salads, beef sandwiches, and so much more! there was a copious amount of food!}, they played, they were entertained and super happy!

we sang happy birthday to the kiddos and ginger cut the cake while i passed her the plates. we made a good assembly line although, she was quite swift in cutting the cake and i was a bit slow with handing her fresh plates! i received some coaching on my lack of skills and sped up! LOL. i yelled at andrea for some forks and after that, we were on a roll divvying up the cake to the ravenous kids in front of us.

we were some of the last guests to leave…as we were having so much fun! it was such a great party! i had so much fun and i know the girls did too! thanks andrea and jamie for throwing a fabulous birthday party! many blessings to all the years ahead for annabelle and sebastian! happy birthday kiddos! we love you all!

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[andrea – always the consummate host]

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[olive had to have any cupcake with a mermaid tail]

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[always attached one way or another]

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[yum yum macarons]

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[mesmerized by the balloon artist]

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[olive was so excited!]

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[they’re so sweet. oh they melt my heart]

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[unicorn]

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[colin and katheryn]

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[someone really likes to gamble. LOL]

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[oh that face]

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[y’all. we took, hmmm, maybe 10 pics?? in EVERY pic, ellie literally made a different face. she’s my freakin’ emoji face kid]

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[the kids enjoying miss jamie’s farm]

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[the sweet birthday girl]

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[i love her outfit]

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[ellie bullying this poor girl in front of her, who is smaller than her!]

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[sebastian and grandma]

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[jamie]

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[how fun is this cake?!!]

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[the birthday girl, ready to make a wish and blow out her candles!]

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[ginger, the cake cutter extraordinaire]

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xoxo

brunch with o + e’s guncles!

we’re partial to hanging out in the city than the ‘burbs but we have the rare moments where we just don’t want to go far. we’re fortunate to have friends {the ones who live in the city} that are willing to alternate our meeting destinations. well, this past weekend, we were feeling it and matt and johann gladly came out our way.

we met at our current favorite place, pierce tavern. we love the vibe, the food, drinks, the staff. there was a bit of a wait, so we all walked to starbucks for coffee. our table became ready at the perfect time and we all made the short walk back to the restaurant, ready to eat!

they seated us at the first bar table by the door. imo, the worst table ever. one, when people are waiting by the host stand for their table, they literally sit on top of you. two. the chairs are so high, ellie would most likely plummet off of it and probably hurt herself, and three…it was right by their two way entrance – which meant high traffic and people constantly brushing past you. yuck.

anyhow, no matter. we made the most of it and we were most definitely not going to wait again for a lower table further in the restaurant. we squished the girls in-between the adults and first things first…drinks! we started ordering drinks, apps, drinks, food, drinks, and more drinks. these dudes are like fishes, then there’s me who nursed her spicy bloody mary the entire time because miss ellie could.not.be.apart.from.me. she let hc hold her for 7 minutes {so i had enough time to eat my food} and then it was back to kiki’s arms again and pretty much for the rest of the duration of our restaurant stint {and we weren’t there for a short period of time either!}.

as always, we had a great experience at pierce! once we finished up, we invited matt and johann back to our place to hang out some more. what started at noon, ended at 7? mannnnnn, we can totally hang with them! the girls were super good and low key…i loved that we were able to spend time with matt an johann allllllll day and the girls just flowed with it!

we had such a good time with them {always} and hc worked hard on trying to convince matt to move close to our area. johann is sold on that idea but not matt. he was steadfast in his opinions and even the libations weren’t swaying him! we also tried to convince them to sleep over but that was a no go either. LOL.

we reluctantly agreed to end the evening, we seriously have so much fun with them! thanks guys, for coming our way! it was so much fun and we love you two oh so much!!!

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[olive, moi, and matt]

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[extra spicy bloody mary]

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[the best thing a restaurant can do for your kids!]

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[three amigos]

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[delicious pork ramen]

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[this crusty mouth, booger nosed cutie is the best. the best at being high maintenance. LOL]

xoxo

pump it up

birthday parties, birthday parties!

we were invited to our neighbor’s grandson’s birthday party. it was at a place called pump it up. i had never heard of it and i truly had no idea what kind of place it was for kids. LOL. once we arrived and walked into the first room, i was like, “ohhhhhhhhhh” a lot of bouncy houses. alright.

we chatted with our neighbor mary and her kids. hc and i found a game where you throw the football into the hole {football bags. hahaha!} and i smoked him. yeahhhhhhh, i got more hole in ones than him. booyah!!

we did our best to get ellie to want to go on one of the bouncy’s but we were failing miserably. fiiiinally though, we sparked an interest in one of the bouncy’s and ellie was enjoying herself although she wouldn’t go further than the ‘stairs’.

olive was gone. she was soooo into the bouncy houses and we hardly ever saw her! hahaha! she’s so good with acclimating into new environments. well, then there was ellie – she cried and screamed and was unhappy in every room we went into. once she liked one bouncy house, it was time to move to another room. we started all over again to get her comfortable with a new bouncy house. then it was time to move onto another room and that girl threw a fit. she screamed and cried every time!

well, the final room was the party room, they were serving juice drinks and cake. they had picnic style benches and olive and ellie were trying to figure out where to sit. i directed them to an area and olive climbed up and ellie followed suit. as she settled her tush onto the bench, she lost her balance and fell straight back onto her back flat on the floor. oh my goodness. that just added onto how irritable she was that afternoon. she started shrieking. like SHRIEKING. i picked her up and ran out into the hallway to calm her down. oh, poor babe was having the worst {yet best time} ever!

once she calmed down, she sipped her juice drink and ate her cake. she was a happy camper. we mingled a bit more with the family as the guests trickled out. after the group had dwindled, hc and i decided to leave and the girls said their goodbyes. it was a great place to throw a party – quick, convenient, and easy clean up! she had such a great time with everyone!

we’re so fortunate to have become such great friends with our neighbors and their kids. we’re so lucky to be surrounded by such good people! thanks kristin and chris for inviting us to brett’s party! we had such a wonderful time!

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[always skeptical]

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[doing some incredibles 2 moves]

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[she was having so much fun]

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[on the first bouncy, she wouldn’t go up any further than this point]

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[she was constantly bothered and upset…LOL]

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[she was having a blast]

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[she cried and vied for this pink mobile and when she finally got a chance to ride it, she was on it for 5 seconds. wtf]

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[trying to appease the babe]

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[finally, finally realizing that these bouncy houses are fun!]

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[it was so cute. i couldn’t see her go down the slide but within a few seconds, her head popped up at the bottom! hahaha!]

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[there she goes!]

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[there goes olive!]

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[they were having sooooo much together!]

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[oh ellie. she was having a meltdown before this picture and olive was trying to console her]

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[the birthday boy and his sister]

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[incredibles baby jack jack]

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xoxo

down the rabbit hole

an old friend pam, who i met through my friend carol, when we were – maybe 8-9 years old, hosted a first birthday party for her sweet babe leighton! the theme was alice in wonderland and it was so darn cute and cuuuuuute!

pam went all out. there were fun, festive themed decorations everywhere! an easel greeted us on the walkway. there were decorations on the front door, in the hallway, she made a photo booth, a tea party table…i felt like pam was my long lost sister in the party throwing/hosting department! i loved all the details! it was all so cute and perfect!

olive disappeared as soon as we walked inside. she spied the playroom and was gone forever. i chatted with pam’s bestie becky for a bit and made my rounds saying hello to people i knew. i was able to chat with pam’s mom, carol, for awhile, which was really nice because i don’t get to see her very much! i nibbled on some food, checked up on olive, and mingled a bit with some guests.

i convinced olive to sit down for some fruit and pbj, in which she obliged. she was having so much fun with the other kids! i love that she can mold into the new environments and feel comfortable befriending new people. she tends to play a lot by herself {which is ok} but i love that she can entertain herself and be fine or blend into a group.

after we sang happy birthday to leighton, we snapped some pics in the photo booth, and then later, pam opened up the presents given to leighton. olive was sooooo excited to help! i had to tell her a few times to back down and not prematurely open up gifts that were not hers! hahaha!

olive was very sad to leave. she was having so much fun! it fills my heart with joy that my girl was having a good time! i was a bit sad to pull her away but we needed to get home to the hubs and ellie.

thanks pam and ryan for throwing a wonderful, beautiful birthday party for leighton! it was perfectly done and you two are the best hosts!

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[tea party coming right up!]

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[presents galore]

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[croissant sandwiches]

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[how cute is this cake?]

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[she was like, no crown please]

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[there is goes!]

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[pam, leighton, and ryan]

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[my sweet girl!

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[pam surrounded by kids so excited to open presents]

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[me and pampers]

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xoxo

brunchin’ in the ‘burbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[i love this brute so much!!]

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[i love french macarons]

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[picture courtesy of my 5 year old!]

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[helping kt open her gift from us]

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[cheers!]

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[raspberry gelato…mmmmmm]

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[yuuuummmmyyyy, gelato]

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[she’s too cute eating her gelato]

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[my sweet girls!]

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[peril cake pops]

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[she’s so darn fun]

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[i love my girls so much!]

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

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[hugs!]

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[my sweet girls…i love them so much!]

xoxo

ravenswood brunch

it had been awhile since i had seen andrea and her family! we finally made concrete plans on the calendar and stuck to it! the fam and i drove to ravenswood to meet up with them for brunch at local irish pub near their abode.

we arrived early {yay! it’s always a win when we do cause usually we are late. #familylife} and waited in a quiet corner of the restaurant while the girls colored away with the paper and crayons that were given to them. jamie and andrea arrived a bit later with their two nuggets in tow.

it’s always so good to see them! i was delighted when they arrived. i’m sure a lot of you understand that energy and vibe you get seeing good friends after a long gap. andrea and i have been friends for quite awhile but we don’t get together very often now that i don’t live close by. add in kids, work, life, etc…it’s too far too much time in-between visits but it always feels just as good and routine when we do meet up.

the girls played together – annabelle brought her entourage of MLP and both my girls were excited to play with them too! ellie, per usual, was attached to me and insisted on sitting on my lap almost the entire time. i can only get her to bug her dada if i trick her into it but it’s usually rare that she chooses to be in his arms over mine! hahaha!

we ate, we drank mimosas and bloody mary’s {i have no idea what beverages the men consumed but i’m sure they were tasty!}, and chatted away about life. after an hour or so, andrea and jamie needed to head out – annabelle had a birthday party to attend. we said our goodbyes and gave our warm hugs before heading out in the major snow!! oh, it was so pretty when we walked outside! the fluffy snow was falling all around and covered the ground!

i must be the only person living in chicago that absolutely loves the snow. it’s been hitting us hard core this winter and i don’t mind one bit. it’s such a joy, so pretty, and i don’t mind driving in it. i prefer to not drive in it but i don’t mind.

well, i hope it’s not too long in-between our next visit with this wonderful family! it was so good seeing you, andrea, and your beautiful family!

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[mean mugging before heading into the restaurant]

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[she’s so wild and fun]

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[working diligently on her artwork]

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[selfie]

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[andrea and sebastian]

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[sweet annabelle and olive]

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[chunker]

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xoxo

dg brunch

we’re big fans {or at least i am} of having brunch in the city. the ‘burbs just don’t do much for me. there are several places out here in la grange, hinsdale, etc. that are aestetically pleasing and offer great entrées but the overall vibe leaves much to be desired. or is it all in my head?! haha!

most of my friends pretty much all live in the city. yes, my immediate family is in the ‘burbs and i have a few friends out here as well {in different towns} but the friends i hang out on a regular basis status live in good old chi-town.

so, we usually take turns and rotate our meeting destination. whether they come to our house or we go to their area, we usually end up going to the city because we prefer it. i feel pretty fortunate that my friends do offer the rotation split…it’s always thoughtful!

well this time around, we were going to host our friends olivia and aaron at our house. when it came down to it, hc didn’t feel like cooking because he was preparing something for the Super Bowl that evening and he didn’t want to be cooking all day. so, we decided to meet our friends in our local downtown area.

we really enjoy this place, called pierce tavern. it’s ‘new’, it opened late last year and we love the vibe, cocktails, and food! we decided it was our place to meet and overall, had a great time hanging out with these two beautiful people. the girls were so well behaved and we were all able to catch up with very little chaos that usually surrounds young children. LOL.

cheers to good local places to hang and to even better friends to hang out with!

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[me and olivia]

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[the best things for little kids – crayons and paper]

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[i’ll miss those chubby cheeks when they’re gone]

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[ellie’s incredible 2 moves on dada]

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[my go to drink on sunday’s]

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[my loves]

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[apparently aaron is the star focus of this pic. hahaha!]

xoxo

first birthday party

so it begins.

olive was invited to a classmate’s birthday party. her very first birthday party ever! i was so excited over this and so was olive! it’s funny how special it is for me in a mommy sort of way and fun for her because she’ll be with her friends from school!

it was a very cold afternoon and the party was being held at olive’s gymnastics building, how easy and convenient! i had NO idea they hosted parties there! once inside, i signed a waiver and we ran downstairs to be greeted by gwen and george, sam’s parents. all the kids were already on one side of the building, playing with the parachute! i walked olive in, sam saw her and called her over to her. olive happily ran over to sam and joined in on the festivities.

hosting a party there is great! the instructors take care of everything. they are like the pied pipers. they lead the kids all around the gym, engaging them in fun activities, they serve the food, they divvy up the treats, direct the kids, and complete the clean up! how sweet is that? you bring the food, decor, and whatever else and they lead the event for you!

olive had such a great time! she loves playing with her friend sam…she told me that she is the one she plays with most at school. how sweet!

i didn’t take a bunch of pics as the kids were constantly in a different room from the parents plus, i always veer away from that when it involves other people’s kids.

olive’s first friend birthday party was a success! she loved all the activities, the food {she tried carrots for the ‘first’ time and like it!}, she loved the pink frosted cupcake treat, and was so excited over the purple {her favorite color} treat bag she received!

happy birthday sam and cheers to many more birthday parties to come!

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[olive eating carrots for the ‘first’ time and she didn’t choke! she actually liked it. duh!]

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[the cute favor bags her friend, sam, decorated]

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[the kids gathered around the instructor for favors and it’s so funny how close they got to her!]

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[with her good friend and birthday girl, sam. it was too cute, sam ran over to olive and gave her a big hug goodbye!]

xoxo

happy brunch

gosh. life. i think we…ok, i think i seriously have fomo. or fonde {fear of not doing enough} or fonda {fear of not doing anything} or for {fear of relaxing}. whatever it is…i cram wayyyyyyy too much into my calendar and i’m alllllllllllways busy. don’t get me wrong. i looooooooove to do nothing at times. it is so needed. i love to sit on the couch and not have to clean. do laundry. get something for the girls. make food. take a shower {where are my moms who understand me?!}. yes. there are moments where i just like to sit and do nothing but that is very rare.

but i always have something going on.

let me clarify something else. i might complain a bit that i am so busy but i love it more. i love being with my family. i love being with my friends. i love just being me. and part of that is to be social.

so a brunch date was in order with our friends dana and scott. it had been months since we have seen them. i’ve seen dana but we haven’t been able to get all of us together but today was the day!

we settled on a date. we lassoed everyone in and voila! we had everyone going to brunch! we met at the rookery and it was an awkward beginning. the server seemed disappointed there weren’t 7 adults but 4 adults and three kids. she wasn’t friendly at first and seemed rather annoyed with us and our kids {we made a reservation, in which we were asked several times by a few employees if we did. yesssss, we did! and besides that…the restaurant was empty}.

as time went by, she started to warm up to us but we honestly didn’t care or more so notice. we were thoroughly enjoying our time together with our friends. abe was soooooo darn cute, chunky, and so freakin’ laid back. oh, he was so squishy and adorable.

we caught up with each other, consumed delicious libations, adored each other’s kids, and ate yummy food. we just chilled. the restaurant wasn’t busy or packed and it was the perfect environment for us to just relax. the kids were in good spirits and the drinks were in full supply – encouraging us to stay and chat. we were there for a solid two hours before dana and scott had to run out. if dana didn’t have to get on a call, we probably would have sat there for, at least, another half hour!

it was so good to see them! goodness i love them! they are such a good couple and such a beautiful family! cheers to fabulous friends in your life!

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[is he not just the cuuuuuuuutest?!!! he’s such a sweet babe!]

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[he’s so sweet]

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[i completely didn’t take a pic of olive. at all. wahhhhh]

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[holding tight to baby jack jack]

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[kicking it]

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[the boys]

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xoxo

friends

my girlfriend from seattle came into town for the holidays with her family. we don’t get to see them often since they moved away, so it’s a wonderful event when they come here and we get to visit with them! we hosted them and two other close friends at our abode.

the evening was casual…it was the day before new year’s eve {we were hosting a party for our friends and family the next night}, so we wanted to keep it simple and fun. costco catered and we relaxed…ha!

everyone trickled in around 4pm and all we did was talk and the kids had fun. although, jaime’s babe, liam, was odd man out, being {almost} the only boy there!!! pam didn’t bring her two boys and travis is much older, so poor liam was on his own! plus, with us having two girls…we only had ‘girly’ toys and he was not interested!

ted and rich continued their bromance while us gals caught up on life. we served apps and threw dinner in the oven. hc was the responsible one for picking up the entrees at costco and we ended up having pasta, pasta, and more pasta!!! hahaha! no matter…they were all delicious choices and i am always game for some major carbs!

slowly throughout the evening, the ladies trickled out and carol and ted stuck around. before we knew it…i think it was almost 11pm!!!!!! oh, the past two weeks have been such laaaaaate nights for the girls. they have been going to bed sooooo late!

it’s always so good to see them, everyone! carol and i have been friends for 34 years!!!! cray, non?! this holiday season has been so special and moments like this make is just a little bit more extra.

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[pam, carol, and leighton]

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[pampers, carol, me, jaime, and leighton]

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[ohmergawd…i’m dyyyying. this is so cute!]

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[the peeps]

xoxo