dinner date

ahhhhhh, the kid life. life has changed so much for me. before kids, i loved going out, loved being out in the scene, had alllllll the time in the world to do nothing, and slept allllllllll the time. brunch at 11 was too early for me on some days. hahaha! my how life is so different.

it’s now filled with drool stained clothes, ponytails because your kids will rip your hair out if it’s dangling within reach, tired zombie like state, no sleep, appointments, runny noses, snacks, no sleep, puke, late night feedings, cartoons, toys, no sleep, stepping on and cleaning up toys, crying, pee breaks, no sleep, lots of nursing, make believe interactive play time, and the list goes on and on. sounds so inviting and luxurious doesn’t it?! bahahahaha! my single friends are currently running away and calling me birth control. ha!

anyhoo, usually when my girlfriends ask me to go out, i love doing brunch. brunch works. it’s daytime, it’s early, and it’s easier to get the kids wrangled up and out the door. when they can’t make a brunch date…dinner gets tricky. it gets late, you don’t know how tired your kids will be, how well behaved they will be at a restaurant, and you also debate on whether or not you want to go out without them. i usually like to be with them…yes, i am that mommy. every second i can spend with my girls, i will take it. i feel like life is too short, time is too fast, and i don’t want to lose any moments with my babes. they will get bigger and not want to spend every waking moment with me and i will take advantage of it now! they are only babies for so long and i know i will miss those moments.

sooooooo, i invited my girlfriends over for dinner. bam! kill two birds with one stone…dinner at home {kids are around} but us gals can have a great time together and relax in a comfortable environment!

karen and kt came over and the fun began! i was nursing ellie when kt arrived. i then heard the sweetest thing come out of olive’s mouth…she said to kt, “want to see my room?” she wanted to show kt her bedroom and i just melted. i have never heard olive say that before! it was so sweet she wanted to share her space with kt! they played and had the best time in her room! it was the cutest thing to watch. i joined them minutes later and we had such a great time together.

we imbibed a few libations, karen made the most delicious appetizers! go chef karen! it was sooooooo yummy! we talked non stop and had a blast together! i had a great time hanging out with my girls and olive was sooooooo in love with them. i have to tell ya, karen and kt are so freakin’ good with olive. they love kids and they love interacting with her! hc changed her into pj’s and she told him she wanted to show her friends her funny faces. i love that she called them her friends! so cute!

after several hours of hanging out, it was time for the girls to go. we were a bit sad to say goodbye but that only leaves us looking forward to the next time we can hang out! thanks karen and kt for coming over! it was so much fun and i can’t wait to get some more girl time soon!

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[hi baby on the floor]

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[she was being so adorable…the first thing she wanted to show kt was her room!]

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[i swear olive was having a blast. hahaha!]

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[delicious apps by chef karen]

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xoxo

ahhhhh back to our roots…

i was so excited to have made a date with dana!

we were going to meet at our old stomping ground, southport grocery. we used to do this all the time and then dana went and got a monday thru friday job and it was a bit more difficult to have lazy afternoons in the middle to the week!

anyhoo, we actually arrived on time {what?!} and ran into dana on the street as i was pulling out suitcases of our stuff {hahaha! we only leave with everything but the kitchen sink when we go out!}. we walked inside the restaurant and it was quiet and not busy at all. yay! it gave us more time to chill and chat, space for olive to play, and plenty of room for all of our stuff!

it was so nice to share our stories and current life happenings. even though we try to see each other once a month {give or take}, so much happens in-between our visits. the kids grow up, life throws curve balls, and fun, new things pop up! i thought maybe dana had a ‘secret’ to tell me but that was not the case. darn it!

olive and dana got along quite well! if you show an interest in her toys, if you are sweet to her, or just act silly to her…she will like you immediately. olive can be shy at first but then she will open up and be a total talkative goofball and then becomes your best friend! she’s so sweet like that, i love how stinkin’ sweet and thoughtful she is. oh my little babe, such a doll!

we were at the restaurant for quite awhile, at one point i was holding ellie and olive wanted me to hold her too! so, there i was, holding both girls in my arms…it was so fun, quite the sight, and so freakin’ adorable! dana snapped the cutest pics of the girls wrapped in my arms. they were being so sweet and heart melting, i loved all the pics she took of my silly girls!

after we ate, we shopped southport and hit our typical stores…anthropologie, francesca, and papersource are our staples whenever we are there. we had so much fun at each store but honestly, it was olive who made every store a blast! she is just so much fun! after perusing each store, buying things we don’t need, dana and i said our goodbyes. she was going to get her nails done and the girls and i were going to go home sweet home.

it was such a fun, relaxing, awesome afternoon with my sweet, dear friend dana. i love this girl so much! i look forward to many more chill afternoon brunches with this babe!

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[besties]

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[showing off her favorite toys]

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[me and my babes]

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[sweet babe]

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[ohmergawd i love them!]

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[cutest babes]

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[peek a boo]

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[heyyyyyy girl]

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[she’s soooooo funny!]

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xoxo

thuy’s fabulous birthday

we went to dawson for thuy’s birthday celebration. it was an unseasonably warmer night and we all packed into our car for a quick ride to the restaurant. we valet’d and mosey’d on in. the restaurant was dark, warm, and old world, i liked the decor and ambience of the place.

our wait for our table was short and when we all gathered around to sit, it was like freakin’ musical chairs. no joke. i think everyone but one person got up from where they were sitting to get the feng shui right. we moved ourselves around until we felt the right flow and vibe. man, it was quite the sight.

well, once we settled in, we ordered libations, small bites, and had a great time. i really enjoyed the drinks and food…it was all so delicious but i mostly enjoyed the company. we had such a fun time celebrating thuy! we knocked down apps, entrees, and decadent desserts throughout our evening.

terry, my brother in law, know the two owners of this place and they happened to be there that night. he conversed with them for a bit and they kept insisting on buying us drinks, natch. one, this group of ours is not the biggest of drinkers, and two, we were dunzo but we graciously accepted their offer. they sent over shots of something and all i can tell you was that it was not for the fainthearted! geeeezzzzzzz, it was so strong you could probably light a match five feet away and it would have caught on fire! hahaha! we could hardly even smell it, it burnt off our nose hairs! bahahahaha!

anyways, after we hung out for a bit longer we said our goodbyes and headed back home to the babes. it was a wonderful, lovely, cheerful evening in lieu of thuy’s birthday. we love celebrating her! cheers sweet sister, i wish you nothing but the best – may you have happiness, love, and luck always by your side! we love you!

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[grace, thuy, and lan]

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[terry and kim]

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[nice dan]

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[happy birthday thuy!]

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[the man in the back is the co-owner of the restaurant]

xoxo

old people time

we were meeting our dear friends aaron and olivia out for dinner at cafe babareeba in lincoln park. our original plan was to meet up at longman and eagle and meet there early because they don’t take reservations and we really didn’t want to wait a long time. well, little did we know, longman and eagle was closed for cleaning?! that screwed up our plans! so olivia decided to eat at cafe babareeba but we still kept our old people time for dinner.

hc and i scored front row parking and we met up with them inside the restaurant, they were already seated. it was so awesome to see them! i love hanging out with olivia…we can gab on and on forever. we really love talking and we can become so engrossed in our conversations and before we know it, it can be hours later. like many, many hours later. sometimes our goodbyes can last an hour…hahaha!

well, we had a delicious dinner and even better conversations. we were getting a little bit deep, spiritual, and emotional with our topics. we shed a few tears and talked about how much we love life and appreciate the blessings that we have. life has it’s challenges and we discussed how we realize life can be too short and how things can open your eyes to appreciate the people around you and what you already have.

despite the heavy subjects, i really had an amazing time out at dinner! we debated on going out to another bar but decided to head back to aaron and olivia’s place to have drinks. we chilled, relaxed, and had a great time hanging out! after a few hours, we decided to call it quits. it was soooooo early! like 10:30ish? one, we had dinner so freakin’ early and then, two, we called it a night when most people probably start going out. haha!

we said our goodbyes and headed on home. the babes were asleep and i was a bit sad but that’s life! hc and i chilled on the couch and fell asleep! we had such a great time out with them…we always do! i can’t wait to meet up with these two lovelies soon!

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[this sweetheart got me a birthday gift!]

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[mmmmm sangria. so yummy!]

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[seriously aaron?! hahaha! nice pose]

xoxo

happy birthday andrea

andrea’s birthday was actually in the beginning of the month but in typical fashion, i am late.

i was excited that we were able to get together and celebrate her! we were all meeting at bottlefork on clark street. i had a really tough day…dealing with a viral infection, coughing until i puked, going to urgent care, and just feeling off kilter…but ya know me, nothing really stops me from going out {except pregnancy…the only time(s) that exhaustion stopped me in my tracks}.

i headed down there in no time {a wee bit of traffic} but it was the ‘i will try to find parking’ attitude that dug a hug hole for me! i drove around and around determined to find parking and i was absolutely unsuccessful. then gps took me on a route to turn me around and that damn machine took me on to wacker and spit me out onto the ike! are you freakin’ kidding me?!! i had to drive onto the highway, back onto the kennedy, and get off the ramp, back to my destination. holy cow. i was sooooooo late and i was suppose to be on time.

i then thought, eff it…i am going to valet. what i should have done in the first place!! i probably spent enough gas money driving around for what it would have cost me to pay a valet to park my car.

i was finally there. i made it! so darn late…i know everyone else was late but i can’t believe i was driving around for as long as i was! anyhoo, i sat down, relaxed, and really enjoyed my time out. we ordered bites and libations all around and became very engrossed in our conversations. i don’t get to see andrea very often and it was fantastic to have a chance to catch up with her! what stymies our girl time of late is, one, she’s always traveling somewhere, and two, we both have kids and that doesn’t always create the freedom to meet up sporadically and conveniently as we did before.

the food was yummy, the atmosphere was fun, and it was a great time seeing all the girls! since i had such a rough day and was sick, the rest of the group decided to grab more drinks at rpm and i chose to go home. it’s no secret i always miss my babies but i was tired and ready to retire to a horizontal state on the couch.

it was a fabulous time out! i cherish my friendship with this lovely lady…she’s sweet, stylish, considerate, smart, and loyal. happy birthday to a dear friend of mine! cheers to many more wonderful years together!

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[bottlefork chicago]

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[i know i shouldn’t say this…but i look so old! whaaaaaa!]

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[ginger and beth]

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[make a wish]

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[i could of eaten this cup o ice cream all by myself. hahaha!]

xoxo

play time!

i love getting together with kim!

it’s always fun to get the kids together and visit with kim. this time around, she and the kids came out to our place. we were so excited to have them over. brady and brooklyn were so cute with ellie…they were loving the baby!

they were running behind, so i decided to dress up olive and snap some fun pics but while we were finishing up – they arrived! i knew i should have gotten ready before i took pics of olive. i kept thinking to myself, get dressed and freshen up before i started the whole pic thing with olive but instead i just went for it, thinking i had time to change. nope…in comes kim and the kids and there i was feeling sloppy. hahaha! c’est la vie!

the kids played, had fun, doted on ellie while kim and i caught up with life. they were having a blast and it was soooooo cute to watch brady and olive together. i was so surprised how receptive olive was to brady. the past few playdates, olive was overwhelmed by brady’s affection and energy. she didn’t know what to do with him, so she would just stare at him from afar. but this time around, she was super excited to see him! while i was dressing olive, i told her brady was here and she excitedly went out to say hi to him and they immediately started playing together. oh so sweet.

we then had lunch and served desserts. the kids had a blast eating their cookies and what not. i can’t tell you how cute it is to watch them! they were all being so darn adorable and sweet! after a few hours of playtime, it was time for them to go. we had such a great time together…kim and i are such mamas! we love spending time with our kids and we love spending time together with our kids! we do agree we need a night out with just us gals – wine and uninterrupted conversations!

i am sure the next time we get together, it will be with the kids but one day we will squeeze in that girl time, one day soon!

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[beautiful brooklyn]

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[the chaos surrounding ellie]

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[sisters…she loves her so]

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[they all wanted to entertain ellie]

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[beautiful ladies]

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[lunch time]

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[dessert time!]

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[studying her dessert]

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[hugs and kisses goodbye]

xoxo

hb fiona!

we were so excited to attend fiona’s birthday party at olivia’s parent’s house.

her sister, claire, flew into town to host the party but she’s currently living in san diego. so, it was definitely a special occasion with them coming into town to celebrate! olivia’s parents live about an hour and 15 minutes away from us, so it was quite a trip to head up north for the party. my kids are pretty fortunate to not travel so much or so long in the car but they both did well. olive stayed awake the whole time and ellie took a little nap.

we were so late. like an hour late but when we arrived, there were only a few cars by the house and it looked like they were the homeowner’s cars. i said to hc…i don’t think anyone is here! hahaha! and we were right! olivia came out to greet us and told us that only one person was here and it was aaron’s mom! oh my goodness!

well, i didn’t feel so bad being so darn late! we walked inside and we were greeted by olivia’s parents, pam and jim, her sister claire, aaron, her brother henry, and aaron’s mom. soon more people came, friends, cousins, etc. and we slowly caught up with everyone throughout the party.

olivia’s dad jim made a killer chili and there were a lot of appetizers and snacks to munch on. it was very relaxed and low key. fiona was napping and when she woke, it took her a bit to ‘wake’ up. trust me…olive is the same way, so i totally understand how grumpy threenagers can be! once she adjusted, we introduced olive and fiona and they instantly became besties!!! it was the cutes thing to watch! fiona led the way and olive followed. it was soooooo fun to see them interact with one another. fiona’s imagination is wild! she created so many stories, she was so animated, and olive loved every second of it. they walked all around the yard, hid behind bushes and played, sat underneath trees and whispered stories to one another. it was so sweet to watch!

after a few hours of hanging out, we decided to head out. we really had a great time. i love hanging out with olivia and her family! they are such sweet, eclectic people and they are so easy and fun to talk to!

we said our goodbyes…i was a bit sad to leave because i really enjoyed everyone’s company but i mostly enjoyed watching olive and fiona play together! it was a happy day indeed!

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[love these babes]

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[grandma and ben]

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[rich, ellie, and arron]

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[these two got along so well! it was sooooo stinkin’ cute!]

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[the cuuuuuuuutest girls[

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[they were both into the horse]

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[toddler besties]

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[family]

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[they loved hiding behind the trees and bushes]

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[she loved fiona’s horse]

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[olivia and aaron]

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[their secret hiding spot]

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xoxo

matt + panda

we finally had guncle johann and matt come visit ellie + famille!

we had a date set up over a month ago but those plans fell through and we were finally able to meet up! it was going to be a real relaxed casual night. the cubs game was on and we were too busy to put the effort in to cooking a gourmet meal.

hc and i {leading up to johann and matt arriving} were running around like crazy to get last minute things done. it’s always such a challenge when you have multiple young kids! one person has to watch the baby {especially if she’s fussy} and it’s like playing hot potato! pass the baby, pass the baby, you got the baby? can you take the baby? can you hold her for just five minutes while i quickly do something? hahaha!!!!

once matt and johann arrived, we just relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company. matt is always hilarious and johann always cracks me up with his take on things…i love hanging out with these two fun dudes. they walked through our door with so many presents. it was like christmas for the babes! there were presents from matt’s mom & the guncles. olive was being so shy {ellie was sleeping} and didn’t want to open her presents so i decided to do it for her!

after presents, libations were flowing, and dinner was on the grill. i love our conversations. they are always lively, animated, and full of laughter. time really flies when were hanging out with these two! after we ate dinner, we settled into the living room to watch the game. johann is strongly a sox fan, matt is neutral, and hc and i are the biggest cubs fan! it was quite the intense game but the cubs did it! they made it into the world series! we were sooooooo elated! what a fantastic night! great company and the cubs did it!

after hours of eating, drinking, and lounging – matt and johann decided to call it quits and head home. it was so fabulous to have had them over and finally meet miss ellie baby! oh, she’s just the best! johann is such a natural with babies…oh he’ll be a great dad someday! well, we said our goodbyes to matt and johann and wished them safe travels and then did a dance of joy that the cubs won the pennant and were headed to the world series!

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[ellie, johann, and matt]

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[it was like christmas]

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[the cutest little card and box of panda socks!]

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[oh these two…johann is so good with kids!]

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[glazed pumpkin cake]

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[the boys watching the game]

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[ellie saying, “go cubs go!!!!”]

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[yasssssssssss!]

xoxo

neidre was in town!

i was super excited to have received a text from neidre that she was coming into town!

we coordinated a date and the hubs and i were looking forward to seeing her! she is just the sweetest. i love her spunk, her attitude, her outlook on life; i pretty much love everything. you know when you have a person in your life and you only see them once in a blue moon but you have a huge place in your heart for them? that’s neidre. she lives in florida and sometimes we get out there and sometimes she gets out here to chicago but each time, we will make sure we see each other!

we decided upon a sushi restaurant that was a middle point logistically to our locations. we both arrived on time and honestly, i couldn’t wait to see her! hc and i walked in and i saw her hair first…hahaha! big hugs and squealing ensued! we sat down and ordered drinks, apps, and eventually food. i was sooooo hungry and everything was delicious. we have eaten at this restaurant before and i have had a great experience every single time we’ve eaten there.

neidre was staying at her friend kim’s house while in town and kim was a riot! i loved hanging out with these two ladies…they were funny, sweet, and exciting! very gregarious and engaging, so our entire conversation was absolutely compelling throughout dinner.

we shared new stories, old stories, and my husbands crazy teenage angst stories {wow, i never knew he was such a punk}. it was awesome to recount tales down memory lane. after many libations, filling our bellies full of yummy eats, and hours of talking, we needed to get home to our babes to put them down.

it was sooooooo much fun seeing neidre and kim. there is never a dull moment with these gals! we had the best time with them and my heart was so full seeing neidre. she’s so amazing. we said our goodbyes and gave big hugs and parted ways.

i really hope we can meet up with this lady soon! i will have to convince hc on a vacation trip to florida! thanks neidre for being you, we love you and hope to visit you in the sunshine state sometime soon!

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[yummy pear martini]

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[neidre and kim]

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[a delicious surprise inside!]

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[love these two]

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xoxo

goebbert’s pumpkin farm

it was a perfect day to go to a pumpkin patch!

we decided to meet up at goebbert’s pumpkin farm. it was definitely a pumpkin circus! this farm had everything under the stars for kids, halloween, october, and autumn! there were a gazillion pumpkins to choose from, a haunted house, haunted hayride, games, petting zoo, play areas, entertainment, you name it, they had it!

once we arrived, we waited for everyone else to get there and then met everyone in the food area to grab some lunch. we had a great time noshing and chatting it up with everyone. the kids were having fun and the weather/temperature was perfect! once we ate {our hotdogs, nachos, pretzels, chips, and many other healthy choices of food}, we packed up and headed on our adventure to explore the area. my sisters and lan have been here before but i {and the fam} have not. so it was all so novel and unique to us!

olive was a bit overwhelmed at all the big kid playing and didn’t like the corn maze. it didn’t make sense to her so she got scared and started crying. we took her to the kiddie’s web play area and she felt right at home. she loved it! she just kept walking around and around and around. we let her play there until we were summoned for a hayride. i wanted to do that, so we got olive out of the web and walked over to the hayride area.

once that was done, we bought tickets to get into the another fun area of the farm where they had the petting zoo, pig races, and other fun activities. the kids were having a blast. it was awesome to see olive like certain things for the first time. like for example, earlier this year, around easter, she didn’t care for a petting zoo and this time around she was alllllll about it! she was sooo excited to see all the animals and loved trying to pet them! it just melts my heart to see her so happy!

after we visited all the fun rides, activities, and cool play areas, we hit the shop to buy pumpkins and sweet treats to take home. we had to buy apple cider doughnuts…it’s not fall without a dozen or two! we eyed the pies, candies, and popcorn but went with the yummy doughnuts.

after being there for almost four hours {yessss, it was a long time but it did go by fast!}, we headed on our way home. it was so much fun and always an autumn must do! we love fall…it’s my favorite time of year! happy cool nights, warm layers, and hot apple cider!

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[so many pumpkins and gourds to choose from!]

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[it was soooooooo bright all day!]

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[pretty mums]

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[how cute is this?!]

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[ellie pretty much slept through the whole pumpkin farm excursion]

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[scooby dooby doo!]

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[reagan the giraffe]

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[their version of a kid’s meal]

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[how tall are you this fall?]

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[heading into the play yard]

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[she loved the spider web play area!]

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[she reluctantly posed for a picture for me…diiiiiiiiiiva]

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[getting ready for a hayride!]

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[our scenic route on the hayride]

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[the kids boogie-ing down to the music at the empty theatre]

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[best pic i could get]

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[checking out the play area]

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[silly kids]

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[first time she was interested in petting the animals!]

via tandeminlove.com[she was sooooo happy!]

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[she’s so cute]

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[how cute is this giraffe? i felt so bad for the caged animals…]

via tandeminlove.com[enjoying her end of day treat]

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xoxo