ugly sweater christmas party

so, quite surprisingly, i have never been to an ugly sweater christmas party! yes…it’s been around for awhile but none of my friends nor did i ever host one.

my friend irina invited us over to her place for a party and i needed to grab a sweater for the occasion! i picked out some candy cane striped leggings, added a lot of bows to the ‘do, and voila! my ugly christmas sweater outfit!

we walked into their place to a beautifully lit christmas tree, a delicious looking table spread, and yummy appetizers all around! i was hungry and excited to eat! patrick offered us tasty libations [rose please!] and we nibbled non stop on the delicious bites.

we had a great time chatting with all her friends. it was relaxing, easy going, and fun! then an old friend walked in, theresa! i was so happy to see her! it was great catching up on life and sharing notes.

irina and i met through work a long time ago. i’m so lucky to still be in touch with this lovely lady and her sweet husband. we’ve supported each other throughout the years and i love that we are able to get out {by ourselves or as couples} and hang every few months! whether it’s a birthday party, a baby shower, a wedding, a house warming party, a holiday party, or just because, we try our best to make those dates happen!

after a few hours of hanging out, we had to jet. ya know…we have kids! ha! it’s different if someone was watching the girls at our house. that makes it easy for us to come home later because they will be put to bed with no worries. when my parents watch them at their house, that means we have to pick them up at a decent hour to get them home and ready for bed! well, it was the latter situation that night, so hc and i left the party much earlier than what we wanted to. c’est la vie, non?

anyhoo, it was a fabulous, fun party! i loved my first ugly sweater christmas party! thank you irina and patrick for being such gracious hosts! we love you both!

happy holidays!

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[me and irina]

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[the yummy buffet table]

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[sweet emma eating her pizzaaaaa]

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[but seriously…so ugly. i think we won the ugliest sweaters at the party]

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[the sweet couple]

xoxo

deck the halls!

every year, we get into comfy pj’s, turn on the christmas music, hc pours me a glass of wine, we break out the christmas decorations, and get wild! oh, my favorite time of the year! i love lighting up the house and getting in the mood with all the festive decor.

i must admit…it’s quite the chore. hc and i aren’t the type of people who can decorate over a few days or weeks. we prefer to get it done, like within a few hours. once the boxes come up from the basement, they go down empty. we can’t help it. he’s type A and i am type A+. it’s a harmonious partnership {most of the time…hahaha!}.

olive was sooooo into it this year. she loved everything! she was so amazed by all the ornaments and every little thing that we pulled out. it was so sweet to hear her excited voice and elated expressions. she loved helping us with everything! ellie on the other hand, was like, ‘i don’t give a sh*t’ and ran around trying to break stuff and throw it in random places. haAAAaaa!

maybe one day, we will get a real tree {i looooove the smell of pine!!}  but for now, we have our fake one. although it’s about to go kaput on us. we bought this tree our first year of marriage and it’s going on it’s seventh season and the lights are like, byeeeee, see ya later!

one thing we added this year was extra pine garland. lots of it! i love the look and smell of fresh pine! we always hang it on our door way and our railing outside but this year, we added it to our entryways, our kitchen, and hung it up in olive’s room to add a bit of extra festiveness!

i’m loving the decor and only wish it was more than a month of christmas season! it definitely flies by too quickly! well, here’s to soaking in every moment this christmas season! cheers!

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[could she be any sweeter?]

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[her most favorite ornament]

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[she was our anti-decorating grinch]

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[comfy pj’s and stringing tinsel]

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[daddy helping olive with the star topper]

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[muslin bag advent calendar]

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xoxo

fun times

my mind, lately, has been extra mush. i blame kids, myself, life, doing too much, and old age {just to name a few things}. haha!

i was texting my friend matt the other week about something…of course i can’t remember what but at the end of our thread, i said, “oh, we should get together soon!” and he says, “we are…this coming weekend.” durrrrrhhhhhh. the one good thing i still remember to do is to, at least, put things like that into my phone calendar. because if i didn’t, pure chaos would ensue!!

well, matt and johann arrived and the fun began! i looooove these two. they are real, honest, and hilarious! we let the libations flow, the raw conversations come out, and the love between all of us is almost palpable.

olive completely warmed up to guncle matt and johann. they were her new besties! she loved to constantly showed them her toys, showed off, and wanted their attention. it was so sweet. hopefully not in an overbearing way because i don’t like it when a child constantly interrupts the conversation{s}…i believe sporadic or moderate breaks in dialog is the key to cuteness before it oversteps the boundary of annoying. and yes, i did say annoying. not by any fault of the child but we have to control the balance between adult conversions that we yearn to enjoy versus a kid taking over the show. ya know what i mean??

but really, she’s just too darn cute! that sweet little girl voice and that still slightly chubby cheek face just melts my heart. i mean, i could definitely talk, listen, and hear her all day but when we have our friends over, my babes need to understand it’s wine time. hahaha! but who am i kidding?! my mom job is 24/7, even with friends over.

anyhoo, we had a grand ol’ time with them. we laughed, we argued, we drank, we ate {an amazing meal cooked by hc – i’m so lucky he loves to experiment with different recipes!}, and we drank some more. i think between the boys {a little by me}, they polished off a couple bottles of wine and almost a whole bottle of whiskey. uh, yes…matt and hc were going toe to toe! although hc had the edge that he was at home with no where to go!

after many hours of hanging out, at last, johann and matt decided to head home. we had such an amazing time with them…as usual! we love them so much and always look forward to our nights {or brunch} with them!

thanks boys, for making it out to our ‘hood!

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[my sweet girl who’s growing up so fast…]

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[hc, matt, and johann]

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[my boys]

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[demolished apple pie]

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xoxo

oh cubbies!

i was soooo excited to go to my first NLCS game!

honestly, the cubbies have hit it up the last three years but before that…ummmmm, wasn’t it 2003 when they were last in it?! anyhoo, i was stoked when hc called me and asked if i wanted to go to a game! hells yessssss!

it was a beautiful, cool evening. we left mid afternoon, found a sweet parking spot, and strolled around the city towards the field. we arrived there so early! it wasn’t that crowded down below {yesss, we could walk around without bumping into everyone} and we were first in line at our favorite hot dog stand! score! we walked up to our seats and chowed down on our dogs, drank beer, and people watched. the stadium was very empty but as the hour passed, it became super packed!

i was so nervous. the cubbies were going into this 3-1 and each game was so gut wrenching! as we waited for the game to start, hc spotted our friend linh {there with her guy jim}. he tapped her arm to get her attention and i screamed! it was awesome to see her, if only for a few seconds!

the first inning was awful! the dodgers scored right away and inning after inning, they were shutting out the cubbies and getting ahead run, after run! ugh!!! it was soooooo disappointing. i was so bummed and so was every cubs fan there. hc and i weren’t going to let it get us down. we enjoyed our drinks, ate more food {hello cheesy fries and super loaded nachos}, sang our hearts out in the 7th inning stretch, and stayed to the very last inning {where the dodgers knocked us out 1 2 3 at the bottom of the 9th}.

right before the game ended, our friend scott and his sister joined us! that definitely added to our fun! we were able to hang out and chat with them for a bit. overall, it was a great evening, despite them losing. we had a great time with each other {date night!}, it was a beautiful evening, we saw a few of our friends, ate yummy bad food, and truly enjoyed our time out sans kids!

well, cheers to a great past season and to next year’s world series win!

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[best dogs everrrrr. so darn good]

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[i love wrigley field]

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[we got to meet up with scott and his sister!]

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[some cool wall in wrigleyville]

xoxo

anniversary in mexico

i have said this story quite a few times over the past year but after this post, i might be done. our original plan last year, for our five year anniversary, was to go to nyc. i love nyc. there’s something so old world and classic about this electric city but we ended up getting pregnant and gave birth to ellie right before our anniversary. so, taking a trip was out of the question with ellie only being over a month old, near our anniversary.

we love celebrating those roundabout numbers but we felt it was fit for us to still book a trip away for our sixth anniversary! hc decided to schedule a trip to mexico. i was game. i am all about tropical destinations!

i was sooooo looking forward to our time away. we try to get away, without kids, at least once a year. it’s so important for us and our marriage. every couple should try to do this. of course you miss your kids terribly but it’s sooooo nice to have time with just us two…do things at our pace and just take care of each other.

our travels to cancun was smooth. no craziness, no bumps, and once we landed, it was so HOT out! hc contracted a private ride for us to the resort, he said he knew better than to cram us into a shuttle with a bunch of other folks. haha! he knows me so well!

we arrived at our hotel and it was lovely. unfortunately, the room reserved for us was not available due to a malfunctioning air-conditioner. so, we bunked in a room that was soooooo tiny! gah, it was so small but they promised us a room that we had originally booked by tomorrow.

so the next day, we got coffee, went to breakfast, hit the pool, and then checked to see if our room was finally ready {they delayed it a bit later than what we were expecting} and they said we were good to go! they updated our bracelet info and we walked over to the third tower, to our room.

we walked in to the best surprise! the room was beautiful! it had the MOST gorgeous view of the sea, it was sooooo much bigger and better, and they had decorated the room in celebration of our anniversary!!! how sweet and amazing was that?! they scattered rose petals all over the floor with candles, created a heart out of the petals on the bed, and left us with chilled champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. i was so delighted!

hc and i did a lot of relaxing. a lot of sleeping. a lot of lying around, pretty much doing nothing and we loved it! we tried a japanese restaurant called hakka…it was surprisingly delicious. we ate at their 24 hour cafe – they served breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night dining. we sat at the pool a lot and drank a lot of coconut margaritas. those drinks were super tasty and went down way too easy! ha!

we stayed local and it was perfect. i really enjoyed the people. i was pleasantly surprised at how sweet, kind, polite, and how hard working everyone was. it really hit home to my heart. i really appreciated illiana, roman, alberto, and everyone else who serviced our needs. they made our stay amazing and we really enjoyed seeing them throughout our stay there.

i was overwhelmed by the caribbean sea. it was stunning. the water was so clear. the sand was so soft and white. the color of the sea was so vivid. it changed from bright blue, light blue, and emerald green. i was mesmerized. i loved the sound of the ocean, the crashing of the waves, the awesomeness of it.

on our second to last day there, the waves became much more powerful and they closed the beach late morning due to the water breaking very high onto the shoreline. i blamed hurricane irma. although it was over 2500 miles away, the size of the hurricane was 400 miles wide! that’s huge! it was a gorgeous day but the waves were so angry…it was telling us something.

so, let me tell you about the crazy nature occurrences that were all happening at once. over a week ago, there was hurricane harvey that battered the coast of texas and destroyed so many towns, homes, and flooded a huge part of the area. around the same time, there were the monsoons at bangladesh that flooded the area causing so much destruction. at the same time, there were the wildfires burning a majority of the west coast!  while we were in cancun, there were three, yes three hurricanes swirling all around us. irma {atlantic/ cat 5}, jose {atlantic/ cat 4}, and katia {gulf of mexico/cat 1}. then, on thursday night…the day we flew in, we were lying in bed and i noticed the bed shaking. i nudge hc and asked him if he was shaking the bed. he looked at me like i was crazy and said no. i repeatedly asked him, “do you feel the bed shaking?!”. he said yes and we laid there for a bit feeling the tremors. hc then stood up and looked out the window to see if if was windy outside or maybe something was going on to cause the building to shake and tremble. nothing made sense so hc got back into bed and the bed continued to shake and tremble. i was a bit freaked out. wtf. what was going on?? after a few long minutes, the trembling finally halted. we truly had no idea what the heck that was until the morning when hc saw that an earthquake had rocked the west side of mexico! the biggest earthquake to hit the country in 100 years. how bananas was that?! to sum it all up, within a week, we’ve had monsoons, flooding, multiple hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, and an earthquake hitting us hard. i think mother nature was readjusting itself after the eclipse we just experienced.

anyhoo, on our last full day in cancun, it was our anniversary! yay! we spent the day at the pool and retired back into our hotel room to relax before dinner. hc had made reservations at a restaurant called navios. it was awesome! i loved it! it was absolutely perfect. the restaurant was out on a pier and there were huts, pretty lights, and calm waters that surrounded us. it was a beautiful scene that elevated our dining experience. hc had made our reservations just in time for us to watch the sunset. once we were seated and within 20 minutes or so, the sun started to set and it was so pretty to watch. the food was so good {the best we had while in cancun} and the service was on point. i thoroughly enjoyed our anniversary dinner at navies, it was a perfect last celebratory evening on our vacation!

thank you hc for planning this fabulous trip for our anniversary! it was absolutely perfect. it was exactly what we needed and definitely a lovely trip to remember. thank you hc for being an amazing partner, friend, and husband. we are so blessed and i am so lucky to have you. i love you to infinity and beyond!

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[our view]

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[the water was so clear and blue!]

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[ahhhhh, sand between my toes]

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[fresh ceviche]

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[so gorgeous]

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[cheers!]

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[honestly, i think my bikini top was upside down. hahaha! backwards cleavage. eep! and that belly pudge…i am proud to say that this body gave birth to two beautiful girls]

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[enjoying fresh ceviche]

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[so gorgeous]

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[i’m in awe]

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[scavengers]

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[so freakin’ amazing]

* * * * *

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[ready for dinner…i literally brought noooooo clothes. ha! while i was packing, my monkeys were hanging all over me and i lost track of what i was actually bringing. i pretty much wore the same thing the entire time we were there!]

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[yummy japanese restaurant in mexico]

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[gorgeous moon over the water, right outside the restaurant]

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[someone trying to figure out my camera. haha!]

via tandeminlove.com[so gorgeous]

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[city lights]

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[cloudy moon]

* * * * *

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[sunrise]

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[breakfast]

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[a morning staple]

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[it was soooo sweet, to celebrate our anniversary, the hotel workers decorated our hotel room and left us champagne & chocolate covered strawberries!]

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[sooooo delicious!]

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[oleo resort]

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[the view from our room, on the sixth floor…it’s no higher than eight levels]

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[the view from the hotel]

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[it was so dang hot there day and night]

* * * * *

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[loving these fun huts you can dine in]

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[studying that menu hard]

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[i was literally so hot, sweaty, and bloated…ugh]

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[the food was so yummy!]

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xoxo

car night

all summer long, we didn’t go to one car show {not one!} and we typically hit up a few throughout the season {sometimes in neighboring towns}. well, the other month, we fiiiiiinally went to our local downtown downers car show…quite the popular show around these parts!

it was a beeeeeeautiful evening. the weather was puuuuurfect! we jumped into hc’s jeep and took a scenic ride to the show. we drove around a bit, looking for parking {hc doesn’t mind driving around the town – showing off his jeep}, and finally found a spot and walked our way towards the cars.

we started with the police cars. there were all sorts of cool vehicles where you could sit inside, get into the driver’s seat, and pretty much examine the cars inside and out. i thought it was awesome but olive was unimpressed. hahaha! she didn’t care for any of the cars and was excited for two seconds when a firefighter gave her a sticker.

right about then, we ran into our neighbors {and olive’s sitter!}, chuck and mary! we ended up exploring the car show with them, well, actually it was really chuck and hc that did all the looking. i just chatted with mary and took care of the babes.

olive spied a toy store and really wanted to go inside. i told her that once we looked at a few cars that dada wanted to see, we could go back. on our way around, olive saw the water fountain and had a blast watching it. she danced and giggled and was so darn cute. we finally made our way around and i took olive to the toy store {thank goodness it was still open!}. she was so excited! once inside, she immediately found a unicorn in a fringed bag. oh how she wanted it. i let her look at all the other toys but her mind was fixated on the unicorn, so i let dada make that decision. aaaaaand of course, he bought it for her.

after that, we headed on home. we got our car show in for the summer, it was a fun, beautiful evening out, and olive was a happy camper with her new unicorn in a bag toy. happy end of summer!

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[poor babe was bit by a mosquito all over her eyelids and forehead. ugh!]

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[hc was digging this jeep!]

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[that’s a big ass truck]

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[she’s a junior firefighter!]

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[she wasn’t too keen on going inside]

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[i love this babe who’s growing up so fast]

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[she loooooooves fountains]

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[dancing to the music]

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[she wanted this horse so bad!]

xoxo

go cubs go!

hc sprung on me the idea of a cubs day date! hell yeahhhhhhh! i was so excited to 1. go on a date and 2. go to a cubs game {thanks aunt wendy!}! it was such a beautiful day – sunny skies and perfectly warm temps.

we dropped the kiddos off at my parents and headed into the city for brunch at southport grocery {my top three brunch spot}. we sat outside, i ordered my usual, and we absolutely enjoyed a conversation uninterrupted! the sun was beating down on my skin and it felt fantastic. after brunch, we walked down towards the field.

the front side of the ball park was finished and hc and i strolled around, taking in the new sights. we headed into ‘the park’ and grabbed some tasty beverages. we just hung out on the green, people watched, downed our drinks, and then headed into the cubs store to peruse the racks.

we finally traipsed inside the ball park {i pumped}, grabbed more drinks, and found our seats. right away, hc started gabbing with the people around us. it’s so funny to me that i am usually the gregarious one and hc is typically the quiet one but the tables were turned in this situation. i just prefer to mind my own business and hc wants to be everyone’s best friend. hahaha! well, it works!

as usual, i seat danced to every cheesy song they played…i think it’s my second most favorite part of being at a cubs game…seat dancing. it’s like the best thing everrrrrrrr, besides the cubs winning! we drank beer, ate hot dogs {with grilled onions, of course}, and cheered on the cubbies!

they kicked the white sox derrières and i was ecstatic! go cubs gooooooo! go cubs goooooo! hey, chicago, what do ya say? the cubs are gonna win today! peeps started waving the W and i jumped on my feet to boogie down to the cubs song!!! yeahhhhhh! i was so happy! woo hoooo!

hc and i trekked out the park and cruised straight to the car. i secretly wanted to stay in the city and continue our day date into a evening date and have dinner but we needed to get home to the kids…we were gone since mid morning and with the crazy traffic ahead of us, the kids were pushing the limits of their stay with my dad {he’s just so frail these days}.

it was a perfect date. we definitely don’t have too many of these of late and shame on us…we should! although, being away from the kids gives me heart palpitations. i can’t help  it! i am obsessed with their cute little faces. i throughly enjoyed our time out, i love my hubby so, and was so satisfied that the cubs WON and that they won against the white sox! ha!

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[he’s like, “what are you doing? um, doing what i do best. hahaha]

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[a favorite place…southport grocery]

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[yasssssss!]

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[we had to check out the cubs store!]

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[i’m so ready for the cubs to WIN!]

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[enjoying our time together sans kiddos!]

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[enjoying the park]

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[i love this field]

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[the place to get grilled onions on your dogs! mmmmmm]

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[i’m in love]

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[7th inning stretch! take me out to the ball game…]

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xoxo

mom’s day

what a beautiful day.

the weather was just perfect! the sun was shining and it wasn’t too warm. i was super excited to host mother’s day brunch at our house. it was a last minute affair! my family wasn’t sure what we were doing for mother’s day. we usually head to the city and have brunch somewhere downtown but this year, we let our planning slip by and before we knew it, mother’s day was upon us and we had no plans! so, i suggested to have it at our house! we love hosting others at our home!

well, that gave us barely a week to plan a menu, conjure up decor ideas, and then actually going out to get all the food and supplies! oy! life has already been so busy and lately, i totally feel like i am strapped for time but we did it!

hc cooked up a storm! i chose the menu items and he brought it all to life! he’s so darn good and sweet! he insisted on cooking {i always opt for catering} and really pulled through with the delicious food. hc made 4 different kinds of quiches – red pepper, mushroom, bacon, and onion quiches. they were all so darn delectable! he made savory, seasoned breakfast potatoes, crispy thick cut bacon, and yummy buttermilk waffles served with sweet butter and maple syrup! wow! we were all so impressed.

we set up tables outside. how could you not?! the weather was simply amazing!

i had a calligrapher draw up menus, place cards, and station notes for our party! i love little details like that, it always adds a lovely touch to any party. i decorated our tree {aka the photo booth}, put flowers everywhere {thanks to kim!}, and created a dessert and mimosa table. i also bought little potted flowers for all the moms to take home! everything was so last minute but it all turned out so darn pretty {if i do say so myself!}.

everyone trickled in around noon and soon the party was in full swing. we all enjoyed hc’s divine brunch buffet, created our own mimosas, and soaked in the warm sun outside. after brunch, we all just relaxed here and there. i think that was the best part of the party, we all just chilled and enjoyed each other’s company. the kids played in the yard, hc took, almost, everyone for a ride in his newly assemble jeep, and we celebrated all the moms.

being a mom is the best gift, best journey, and best thing that has ever happened to me. i am thankful and so blessed to have my two little girls in my life. nothing prepared me for this miraculous role called motherhood and i can’t thank God enough for this amazing privilege to be their mom. cheers to all the mothers out there who love, give, and sacrifice so much for their kids.

hooray for moms!

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[celebrate mom]

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[table spread]

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[a pretty pot of flowers for our lovely mom’s to take home]

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[mimosa bar]

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[make your own mimosa!]

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[family]

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[the sweetest nephews]

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[sweetest souls]

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[we sure do love our moms]

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[dessert table]

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[the colors are like a unicorn cake!]

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[i love a pretty dessert table]

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[siblings]

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[with ba]

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[after a few hours, i finally poured myself a mimosa…soooooooo yummy!!!]

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[with our wonderful mom]

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[i kept saying, “olive, get in the picture…olive get in the picture!” and this is what i got. bahahahaha!]

xoxo

hotlanta

my oh my! i have been waiting to write this story!

our trip to atlanta was amazing and cray at the same time! the amazing part was being in atlanta with our friends and enjoying the beautiful scenery all around us. the cray part was our traveling debacle and sick kids.

it starts with our uber ride to the airport. i was sitting next to olive and halfway to the airport, i noticed that she formed a red welt on her left cheek. i pointed it out to hc and he said it was probably a bug bite. i was perplexed. a bug bite?! there wasn’t a bug flying around in the cab nor did i really take my eyes off of her on the way there to see a bug biting her. well, it then disappeared. humph, ok.

we were in line at the security check in when olive did the potty dance. she had just come off a very bad bout with diarrhea and when baby girl needs to go to the bathroom, you take her immediately! never in my life did i ever have a reason to get out of the security line and, honestly, didn’t know what the protocol was. so, being in an urgent state to take my daughter to the restroom immediately, i jumped out of line and starting dodging underneath the stanchions. oh myyyyyyy goodness! three security men and a dog almost jumped me and olive! everyone was yelling at us – ‘whoa, whoa!’ and yelling other things at us, i didn’t hear or understand. i turned to the tsa lady manning the line and said, “my daughter needs to use the washroom!”, she then let us through. holy cow! i had no idea you couldn’t do that?!

once we were inside the bathroom stall, i pulled down olive’s pants and noticed her red skin and white raised welts running up and down her leg! i freaked out, i didn’t know what it was, so we walked out to hc and i showed him. he was worried. he went over to the AA counter and asked someone to come over to help us. they said they could call the paramedics and we said yes. we didn’t want to board an airplane if olive wasn’t well. we wanted to make sure she was ok before we went anywhere!

the AA folks were so accommodating. they said to not worry about our tickets and we were free to rebook, they even gave us a cab fare pass just in case we came back to the airport, and the ladies who helped us were so kind. while we were waiting for the paramedics, olive’s ‘rash’ was spreading everywhere. it was on her arm, then her other arm, then her other leg. her fingers and toes started swelling and turning purple. oh it wasn’t good. olive started crying because she didn’t like all the attention on her.

the paramedics came and we agreed to go with them to the emergency room. olive was so upset. they strapped her into the car seat inside the ambulance and she was crying. they were poking at her and trying to get her blood pressure, etc. and she was scared because i couldn’t be by her side. they made me sit across the truck, seat belted in. it was tough to not be able to console her. nothing is worse then seeing your baby upset and you can’t make it better! once they stopped treating her and the sirens were going, she was finally amused and started smiling!

we arrived at the hospital and she was put into a room. the doctors checked her out and basically said that she reacted to something in the environment and asked us repeatedly if we changed anything in her routine. no, no, no. the only thing different about that morning was the uber ride. we then concluded it was the dirtiest car we have ever been in! yuck!!!

we stayed in the hospital for an hour, the doctors wanted to monitor her and make sure her welts and rash settled down. they gave her some medicine and gave us the green light to fly. we checked out and called for a cab, which took almost a half hour to get to the hospital!

when we arrived, we went straight to the counter and gave them our story. they were looking at flights and the next flight out they could get us on was at 5:45! ugh! our initial flight was at 8:30am and we had been up since 5am! then the attendant told us that our original flight was still here! what?! are you kidding me?! they said it was delayed…holy delay! they contacted the plane and said that we were here and on our way. they pushed us to the front of the security line but that was when things got hairy.

one: we have kids, that means we are slower. it’s not like we were two adults rushing through easily. two: we have kids. hahaha. we had a stroller and a gazillion bags. three: they decided to check olive’s suitcase. arghhhhhhh. i forgot that she had full sized liquid items in there and when i packed it, i assumed we were going to check it – we didn’t. four: the gate was alllllllll the wayyyyyyy at the end of the airport. you try running that far with a stroller, two kids, and so many bags! we were running like turtles! once we got to our gate, the plane took off! are you keeeeeeding me?! hc was fuming!

he called AA and was trying to figure things out. we were rebooked onto the 5:45pm flight but they said we could try stand by at a 11:15am flight. bad news? it was allllllll the wayyyyyyy on the other side of the airport. holy cow. so we hauled ass to the other side, i think i walked miles that morning. once we arrived at the gate, we sat down and chilled for a second. i needed to pee but before we knew it, the attendant walked up to us and said we were on! ohmergawd. we then had to break down the stroller and get ourselves together because, honestly, i wasn’t expecting to be on this plane ride! they were giving hc a tough time with something, i really can’t remember what, but hc told us {me and ellie} to go ahead and board the plane.

i walked on with ellie and realized that we all had separated seats. olive was in the back, hc up front, and me in the middle of the plane. nope. that wasn’t going to work with olive. my daughter was not going to sit by herself. the attendants so kindly put hc and olive together and i sat next to this sweet man from romania who lived in london. what was also wonderful was the fact that a few people volunteered to switch their seats so we could be together!

let me tell you, i was so thankful the plane ride was so short. i didn’t get to go to the bathroom before we boarded and seriously had to pee soooooooo bad! ellie was fantastic throughout the first part of the plane ride until she became tired. {i always keep a paci in the diaper bag and didn’t think twice to check if it was still in there, so when we arrived at the airport, i rummaged through to find it and someone had taken it out of the bag!!!!!} i had no paci when ellie got tired, so there i was on the plane with a cranky, tired baby and no paci to soothe her. she screamed, cried, yelled, shrieked and i all i could do was shush her, calm her with my voice, and rock her. i couldn’t calm her down. she didn’t want to nurse. she was so upset! i finally started to forcefully rock her back and forth, back and forth {mind you, this plane we were on was sooooooo small} and it started to work. she started calming down and within minutes, she fell asleep! thank goodness!

we finally arrived in atlanta and that was when the fun began! it was warm, we were finally there, and we couldn’t wait to see everyone! we just wanted our traveling time to be over with! ellie was still cranky and hc and i were just spent. we got our rental car and once we were on the road…we could finally breathe and relax.

we arrived at johnny and janice’s gorgeous house and settled in. they were the most gracious hosts. janice had made little gift bags for both girls {how cute and sweet was that?!} and prepared the room and bathroom for us with fresh linens and towels. after we dropped off our luggage in the room, we sat back with drinks in our hands by their pool. wooooo hoooooo! we were so ready to relax and have fun!

unfortunately, a day later…ellie wasn’t feeling well either. the poor girl was screaming bloody murder when she had a bowel movement. we thought maybe she might have had what olive had prior to our trip, a virus that was causing olive to have severe diarrhea. after another day, we realized it wasn’t the same case and that ellie was suffering from either hemorrhoids or something of that sort. oh my, my poor poor baby girl. she was miserable. we had to take her to the urgent care to give her relief and to hopefully get her on the road to recovery. both olive and ellie were trading nights on who would be most miserable at night. it was a tough vacation. i think i slept less on our trip than i did at home!

well, we made it through. we, honestly, had a terrific time in atlanta! we fell in love with the area they live in and really enjoyed all the shops, restaurants, and quaint corners the city had to offer. it was absolutely gorgeous down there! johnny and janice have a sweet situation going on!

of course they were so wonderful and treated us like family! they were excellent hosts and showed us all the great little spots around town and made fun suggestions for us on the days we explored on our own. i loooooooved it down there, i truly did!

then came the day to leave, i was ready to get these babies on the road to recovery. i was super sad to leave but excited to go home because, truly, there is no place like home! i am sure everyone would agree with me! we headed on over to the airport and found our way around. we were trying to check our bags and check ourselves in but we were having difficulties. hc was trying to check olive in but something was malfunctioning…then a ticket printed out and i grabbed it, thinking it was her confirmation & boarding pass. we walked back and forth trying to get through security when a nice old man said, with our stroller, we could go through the special needs line. ok. soooooo we walked all the way back the way we came. oy!

the special needs line was amazing. everyone was sooooo stinkin’ nice and we basically cut in front of everyone! we arrived at our gate and settled in. we bought food, went to the bathroom, and we were ready! as they called our group, we got into line and when they asked for our tickets, i rummaged through my purse and pulled out what i had. it turns out that a receipt had printed out instead of a boarding pass for olive! we managed to get olive through security without a ticket! whaaaaaaa?! ugh. so hc told me to go ahead and get seated while he checked olive in. gahhhhhhh. he finally sat down with olive and as we were buckling in our seat belts, hc asked me if i put away olive’s suitcase. um, no. suitcase? what suitcase? sh*t. hc ran to the front of the plane and scanned the gate area to see if we left olive’s suitcase behind. nope.

seriously. we can’t do airports without a glitch! we were so perplexed! what the hell did we do with olive’s suitcase?! we back tracked our steps and realized that we left her suitcase on the conveyor belt at security. yup. we just walked away from it and never looked back. omergawd! i can’t believe we did that! so days after we were home, we finally tracked down her luggage and had it sent back to our house!

so, in the end…our traveling experience was freakin’ nuts but our actual vacation in atlanta was da bomb {as you will see in all the pictures}! we loved visiting them, loved hanging out with everyone, loved exploring the city, and love the A family. thank you to johnny and janice for being so generous, kind, awesome, and opening their home up to us! much love to y’all!

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[olive ready to go and having fun at the airport she has a flummoxed look here because i was calling her name from afar and she had no idea where i was. hahaha!]

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[checking out her goody bag]

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*****

W E ‘ V E  L A N D E D

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[ellie already throwing down beers, literally]

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[johnny and janice’s beautiful backyard]

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[their amazing pool]

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[fitz the cute dog]

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[their gorgeous outdoor dining area]

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[dining area]

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[the beautiful gazebo with a fireplace]

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[delicious made to order pizza]

*****

S H O P P I N G  T I M E

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[she woke up and found the toys]

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[baby bed head hair]

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[opening up their welcome gifts!]

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[olive loved watching fitz]

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[her hair was getting wild from the the heat and humidity!]

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[we loved ponce city market!]

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[how sweet were these girls holding hands?!]

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[apparently this is where you go up in an elevator and there’s an arcade and such upstairs]

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[you can never have too many macarons]

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[delicious little french bakery]

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[i loved these pink chairs]

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[she really wanted the red/pink lollipop]

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[i told her she could have her lollipop after a bathroom break and she immediately gave me this look! hahaha!]

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[she was so stinkin’ cute licking it! she licked it almost straight through the middle]

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[some very cool bikes at a very cool store we were shopping at]

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[this babe. she did this all on her own! what a model!]

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[oh these babes! they were all so cute!]

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[oh how we love this beautiful family!]

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*****

P O O L  D A Y

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[flexing her muscles]

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[poolside babe]

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[nice sunglasses]

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[the most delicious nachos, tasty beverage, and must have shades]

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[she’s sooooooo darn sweet]

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*****

D I N N E R

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[my sweet girls]

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*****

G E O R G I A  A Q U A R I U M

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[good morning!]

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[she was so excited]

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[this fish was HUGE]

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[this whale shark was freakin’ amazing!]

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[hc had to try the gin and tonic in a can!]

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[my smiley babe]

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[waiting in line to get her face painted]

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[she was talking to the lady but also a bit anxious]

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[she was such a good girl]

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[the lady said close your eyes…she complied, hahaha!]

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[beautiful seahorse!]

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*****

E X P L O R E

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[breakfast at sweet melissa’s]

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[she thought it was funny to put everything on her head]

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[little shop of stories]

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[the cutest cards]

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xoxo

my big birthday weekend

i was so excited for my birthday weekend!

hc had planned a fun agenda and i couldn’t wait to relax and celebrate. i still can’t believe i have hit the big 4-0. whaaaaaaaa? seriously, wtf? what happened? i still feel eternally 28 but those wrinkles and gray hairs are finally catching up with me. eek!!!!!

i really can’t tell you what i imagined what it would be like turning 40. i never really fretted about it or thought i would have a big hurrah for it. one, we ended up having a baby and two, i am one of those ‘moms’ that really loves to spend time with her family. don’t get me wrong…i love having date nights with hc and spending quality time with him but i have become a moooooooooommy. it doesn’t feel right when the kids are away, especially if we are out locally. i miss them dearly. now, give me a warm, tropical get away with hc…i can be convinced to leave the kids behind. hahaha!

anyhoo, we started out our morning quite chill – coffee, chaos, and cuddling. we packed everything but the kitchen sink to take downtown with us. oh my goodness. we seriously pack everything when we head out the door with the kids. first on our agenda was to meet the fam at macy’s on state for a fun holiday outing! we love looking at all the decor, hearing the christmas music, listening to the jingle of all the bells around us, and just enjoying the crazy chaos of the store. we met up on the 7th floor for lunch, bought toys, headed down to the walnut room to view the tree, and then we were off to the ornament area to pick out our ornaments of the season!

after spending a few hours at macy’s, we headed on over to block 37 to do some more shopping. after eating, shopping, a trip to starbucks, more eating and shopping, we finally retired to our hotel room. hc had booked a lovely room at the james hotel. it was so cute and cool! i loved the decor inside! our room was super cozy and i really enjoyed the warmth and friendliness of the staff.

as soon as we were inside, olive was out. she passed out in the car and actually stayed sleeping while i carried her into the hotel and up the elevator and into the room! olive slept, ellie laid around, and hc and i got ready for dinner! olive woke up a bit later and relaxed in front of the t.v. with ellie. it was too adorable to see them chillin’ together!

we got all jazzed up and went to david burke’s restaurant for dinner. it was sooooo awesome. we loved our server, we loved the food, and we loved how kind everyone was! everything was delicious and we had such a great time with my brother dan, who joined us for dinner. what made the night even prettier was that it had started snowing and it looked so serene and lovely.

after dinner, we retired to our hotel room. olive and ellie got cozy on the bed again and hc had ordered dessert and wine to be sent up for this birthday mama! it was a perfect end to a perfect day! i had such a wonderful time!

 the next morning, we headed to southport grocery for brunch! while we waited, we picked out gift baskets for our neighbors {something we do every year}. i love shopping there and gathering fun goodies for the christmas baskets. they have the most yummy, delectable treats to make any recipient happy! we enjoyed a fabulous brunch and spent the next hour shopping along the street. oh how i love chicago during the holidays.

it was a fabulous birthday weekend and i have to thank hc for conjuring up a fun filled agenda! i wouldn’t have celebrated it any other way. i was sooooooo happy to have my hubby and children by my side to bring in the big 4-0! as olive would say, “this is sooo ahhhhhmazing!”. i couldn’t agree more baby girl! cheers to a new decade!

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[crazy cousins]

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[loving her necklace]

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[macy’s on state]

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[chestnut room tree]

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[we put her down on the couch and her hair became electric!]

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[poor thing…i made her stand in front of every christmas tree. hahaha!]

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[i love christmastime]

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[she was like NO MORE PICTURES! eep]

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[so festive and fun]

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[so gangsta]

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[hotel living]

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[chillin’ and relaxin’ in our hotel room]

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[fancy kids meal]

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[back to the hotel room and ready for bed!]

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[dessert and wine delivered to the hotel room]

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[she was being so silly…she wanted me to take a picture of her with every.single.one. of her figurines]

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xoxo