snow day in april ’19

well, here it is again. it always snows in april, everrrrryyyyy year. i only know this for a fact because for the last ten years, i’ve celebrated hc’s birthday in this month and it always snows around his birthday.

well, i knew it was going to snow {hearsay from hc} but i had no idea it was going to snow almost 5 inches {canceling our birthday plans for hc with his family}! whaaaaaaa? we woke up to a snowy white landscape and it felt like christmas. LOL. hc told me it was going to snow allllll day, well ok! we had a cozy day in, we chilled, hc cooked breakfast, we played, and took pictures. hc went outside to check what type of snow it was and said it was prime snowman building fluff. sooooooo, when i put ellie down for a nap, hc and olive went outside to build a snowman.

they rolled it, stacked it, and built it as i mostly watched them from our bay window. they had gathered all the trimmings…coal, a wannabe carrot nose, hat, scarf, and stick arms. i periodically ran outside to capture some good moments while they were in process.

olive was humming/singing christmas songs as she built the snowman…it was the cutest thing to hear. ohhhhh, she’s the sweetest! she did such a great job building it with hc. she was all about finding the right items for the snowman and helping hc with all the accessories.

they put the finishing touches on the snowman and he looked marvelous! hc and olive were so proud! i must say, he was a good-looking one! we snapped some good pics and walked inside happy and satisfied with our lovey snowman. the only bad news for him is that it’s only getting warmer! by the evening, he was the leaning tower of pisa. i told hc he will topple over by morning! c’est la view monsieur!

even though it snowed and almost everyone in chicagoland almost crapped in their pants with anger, we really enjoyed it and loved every moment of it! it was f u n!

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[bundled up and ready to roll]

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[strolling in stride]

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[they’re so proud of their snowman]

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[yeahhhh, he’s drinking a beer]

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[she’s so proud!]

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xoxo

spring break staycation

olive loves hotels. she loves staying at a hotel. she loves sleeping in them. she loves watching tv in the room. it cracks me up how much she loves being there. from one vacation to the next, olive will always hint to me how much she loves flying on a plane and staying at a hotel.

well, for spring break, we decided to do a staycation in our favorite city! there would be no airplane but definitely a hotel stay! on our way there, olive kept exclaiming how excited she was for our ‘family vacation!!!!!’. so adorable!

we stayed at the millennium knickerbocker hotel and my sister {last minute} ended up staying at the park hyatt hotel, a few blocks away! they were suppose to fly to california but some health issues put a stop to that, so they wanted to get ‘away’ and booked a room at a hotel off the ave too!

so it was extra fun having family with us! the kids jumped on beds, swam, ate, stayed up way too late, ate some more junk food, shopped, perused toy stores, explored, and then some!

the weather wasn’t so great {hello chicago!} so we didn’t venture outside as much as we liked but if you’re staying in chicago, i highly recommend visiting millenium park, lincoln park zoo, the shedd aquarium, the science and industry museum, peggy notebaert nature museum to name a few!

we loved eating at food life in watertower place, ghirardelli’s, aster hall at 900, benihana’s in the hancock building, eataly are some great places to take your kiddos!

we had such a fun time with the kiddos! they loved staying at the hotel, exploring new places, and breaking all the rules!

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[immediately chillaxin’]

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[the sweetest sisters]

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*****

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[watertower chicago lego store!]

*****

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[walking hand in hand]

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[my world]

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[she’s so cool]

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[really olive?!]

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[swim time at the park hyatt hotel!]

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[having fun with dada]

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[she’s so happy]

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[sweet kisses]

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[laughing at the boys]

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[best of friends]

*****

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[ellie was enamored with the park hyatt’s dog, parker]

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[she was too cute with her!]

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*****

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[this awesome new eatery is at 900 north]

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[ordering our food]

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[these three…ellie is not quite there yet]

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[this was so so so so good!]

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[she loves to talk. about. everything.]

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[the sweet lady behind the counter gave olive her little chocolate heart for free!]

*****

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[this picture just kills me. i love her so much, it hurts]

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[silly sisters]

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[ellie is always running off somewhere]

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[she loved this ponycycle!]

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[they’re so cute]

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[wonderoll rolled ice cream]

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[she loved american girl doll…what little girl doesn’t?]

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[silly babes]

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[she was so excited!]

*****

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[oh my]

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[ellie insisted on wearing these glasses at night]

*****

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[she loved seeing al the fish and animals – ellie screamed, terrified]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[it literally sparkled]

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[olive loved how big this fish was!]

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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

serena and lily

we were invited to an event at a chicago shop called serena and lily {i am obsessed with everything they sell!}! it was to meet the author of the children’s book, a raven’s nest by raven roxanne.

we arrived a bit past ten, at the store, and we were warmly welcomed by the staff, greeting everyone at the entrance. they kindly took our coats and invited us upstairs, where the event was happening. once we hit the landing, we were enveloped by the gorgeous decor, a beautiful brunch spread, and the author made her way over to us to say hello!

i was in photo heaven! the lighting in the space was amazingly perfect and the aesthetics was beachy, coastal cool. the author, roxanne, was just about to sit down and read to the children. i ushered olive and ellie into the room and they nabbed a space close by. after the book reading, the children were encouraged to create their own nests…inspired by the book’s storyline.

the girls nibbled on some treats and sipped on sweet beverages, while i waited patiently for the author to sign her book! once we were done at the event, we traipsed our way over to a yummy restaurant called the blue door {the last time i was there, it was at the old location on armitage and now it’s on halsted}! ohhhhhh, it’s such a good place. again, the decor was inviting and cool and the food and drinks are even better! there was a teeny tiny wait, but the girls entertained themselves. or more so, ellie was rebellious and olive was trying to calm her down. sigh…pretty much how it goes everyday!

after brunch, we walked along armitage and peeked into a few shops! while we were at papersource, ellie completely fell in love with a dog there! the great pyrenees belonged to a couple, who was shopping there too. as soon as ellie saw the dog, she could not let go! like at alllllll! she was in love! it was soooooo darn cute to see her so enamored with this beautiful white dog! i told hc, we found the dog we will get! hahaha!

it was such a perfect morning! we had the best time in the city and the girls were sooooo darn good! let’s admit it, when no one is screaming, crying, fussy, loony, and upset, it always makes for a better time! they had a wonderful time at the event and we all enjoyed our fun, smooth, no bumps in the road outing.

{check out all the fun pics below!!!!}

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[the delicious spread]

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[the girls or girl intently listening. olive was so into it but ellie was side eyeing all the other kids]

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[doesn’t she look so sweet and innocent?]

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[raven roxanne reading her book to the kiddos]

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[she spotted me and wanted up…when she wants me to pick her up, she says, “hugs”. melt!]

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[oh she’s soooooo saucy and sweet. just look at that mug!]

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[drawing their own nests]

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[color choices]

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[raven checking on everyone’s drawing]

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[ellie’s nest]

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[olive’s nest]

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[dream bedrooms set and beautiful girl]

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[can i please have this swing in our house?!]

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[olive wanted to show off her picture!]

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[with the artist and author, roxanne]

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[my sweet girls]

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[the beautiful little book]

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[so dreamy]

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[after the book signing, we ate brunch at the blue door!]

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[this cuuuuute face right here was being very naughty at this moment but oh, that sweet face melts me!]

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[i scolded her and she ran over to the stairs to hide]

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[squishing her face into the railing]

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[pouting]

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[she loves her big sister]

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[more coloring!]

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[the hubs…don’t mind his beard]

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[kale and brussel salad]

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[we’re at papersource lincoln park]

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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

valentine’s day ’19

i was quite excited for valentine’s day! we had a fun filled day planned out and although it was the only day that was warm that week {50 degrees amongst the 20 degree other days}, we were pretty much spending the day indoors. our morning started with olive’s parent teacher conference {the teacher had such great things to say about olive!} and we cruised back home to cook a late breakfast and surprise the gals with valentine’s day gifts!

after a delicious heart shaped pancake, bacon, and hash brown meal, we just went about our day finishing up cleaning, the girls played with their new trinkets, and getting random errands done.

as the day wore on, thuy stopped by to spend the afternoon and evening with us, i started to set up the girl’s dessert table for some festive treats. we then decided it was time to start dinner, so while hc prepped the pizza dough, sauce, and cheese, olive cut out the heart shaped pepperonis! she also helped place all the pieces onto the pie before it went into the oven.

dinner was savory {the pizza was sooooooo good hc and olive!] and desserts were even sweeter! soon our day was coming to an end. it started out so great with wonderful feedback for olive at school, hc whipped up a decadent heart themed breakfast, we had fun shooting cute pics for the kiddie dessert table for two, and creating heart shaped pizzas for dinner! it was such a relaxing, slow, peaceful all day celebration. i couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend valentine’s day! it was perfection!

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[i gave these pink pails filled with goodies to the girls for valentine’s day]

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[they were loving their surprises]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[she loved her gift!]

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[she loved the magic marker]

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[yummy heart pancakes, and bacon and hash browns, for breakfast]

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[i had so much fun setting this up for the kids!]

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[sweet vanilla cupcakes for the girls]

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[my favorite]

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[pink milk]

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[that face of should i touch the frosting or not?!]

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[mmmm, got it!]

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[delicious raspberry bars…my favorite!]

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[she was throughly enjoying the frosting]

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* *** *** *** *

H E A R T  S H A P E D  P I Z Z A

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[olive cutting heart shaped pepperoni’s]

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[she’s like POW, heart shaped pepperoni…booyahhh! hahaha!]

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[now for the toppings! we made cheese, pepperoni, bacon, and mushrooms]

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[hc hard at work! always the consummate cook]

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[it’s done!]

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[ellie checking out my sister’s phone. you’ll love the next pic!]

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[a picture with the pizza and ellie showing us a picture of the pizza! LOL]

xoxo

classmate cards

i recycled the idea we had last year, for olive’s valentine’s day cards again for this year. i absolutely loved making her cards last year {she loved it too!} but i am fond of the idea of capturing her personality and growth each year with the same type of card. i think it’d be fun to make one each year until she outgrows it!

i gathered all the components that we wanted to assemble the valentine’s bags for her classmates. a maze sheet, slime, valentine’s day card, holiday stickers, festive bandages, and ring pops; we purchased it all at target {our favorite place!}. olive placed all the goodies inside each bag, sealed it with a sticker and adorned it with a crafty heart.

she specifically wanted to cover the clear heart on the bag with the paper heart so her classmates didn’t peek into the bag of goodies and spoil the surprise! i love her thinking! she graciously made 18 bags so patiently and loved it to the very end. although, near the end, we tag teamed the sealing of the bags to be faster!

this whole over the top valentine’s day gifting is sooooo me. i am super happy olive enjoys it too but i loved this kind of stuff as a child and didn’t have the means to really create such things and i love that i can do it now. i am hoping olive grows up to love it too! maybe she will, maybe she won’t but i know that she definitely doesn’t have to do it because i am crazy about it!

happy valentine’s day week!

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[treat bags]

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[she’s such a sweetheart]

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[all the goodies]

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[assembling her bags for her friends]

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[band aids…cause every kid loves bandages!]

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[olive loves puzzles and mazes]

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[creating her valentine’s day card]

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[yummy earth pops and olive]

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[she cracks me up!]

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[olive’s hard work looks so good!]

xoxo

valentine’s day cards ’19

olive and i made her annual friends and family valentine’s day cards the other week!

we started this when she was three? gosh, i can’t remember {i guess i should reference my blog to find out…hahaha!}. prior years, olive used to paint paper hearts and adorn them with stickers but this year, i decided to buy pre-made cards and have olive decorate them and sign her name {which she loves to do!}.

ellie joined in on the fun by coloring on her own as olive went to work fancying up her valentine’s day cards. olive is such a trooper. seriously. i am amazed by her discipline and tenacious ways. she listens, she works hard at her projects, and doesn’t complain. we had 18 cards to complete and she did each one with joy and ease. only near the end did she says, “kiki, my body is getting tired!” oh, she’s too cute! i told her she only had three more cards and she was done! she happily finished them and was so proud of her results! i love that she’s so honest, real, and dedicated to what she is doing. whether she does it for herself or for me, i am amazed that she does it with selflessness and love.

we wrapped up our project and the girls happily ran off to play. we added an extra valentine’s day sticker card inside {attached with festive washi tape of course!} and i finished her crafty cards with a bit of calligraphy, a pretty stamp, and more envelope flair.

we sent them out through snail mail and can’t wait for our friends and family to receive a little bit of extra love in their day!

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[she’s oh so sweet]

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[the supplies]

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[she’s so creative! i love the way she signs her name]

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[creating together]

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[i mean, seriously, how cute is this?!]

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[my doll baby]

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[hard at work]

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[decorating]

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[sister love]

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[peek a booooo!]

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[she always poses like this and it melts my heart]

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[oh kiki, i’m so bored. hahahaha!]

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[really olive?]

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[the final product!]

xoxo

nutcracker

last year, i really wanted to take olive to the nutcracker. tickets, or at least the tickets i wanted to buy, were quite expensive and after i discussed it with hc, we decided that olive being another year older was the best time to take her.

well, this was the year and i reconnected with hc about it and he gave us the green light. i researched tickets and read reviews that balcony front center were the best seats. so, i purchased front row and i was so excited to surprise olive!

i told her we were going to the ballet but i don’t think she fully understood what i meant. on the way to chicago, i played the story of the nutcracker on the radio for her to hear the storyline and have an idea what it was about, on our way there. we were in heavy traffic and olive fell asleep after listening to the story a few times. i parked and rustled her up…she woke up so sweetly.

i wanted to take her out to dinner {i really wanted to take her to the gage, but we were running out of time}, so we ate at corner bakery instead. one, olive wanted to walk and she was walking so cute and slow. two…the gage was another 1.5 blocks away and that was valuable time and since we were short on time, i decided to eat at the latter.

she was soooooo excited over her outfit. it was too adorable to watch her so delighted with it. when we arrived at the theatre, everyone – everyone ohhhhh’d and ahhhhh’d over her ensemble! i asked her to pose in front of the poster easel and without batting an eyelash, she walked up to the sign and struck a pose! she literally stopped traffic! she was too cute, there were times when people told her that she was so cute, she would curtsy or pose and say thank you! hahaha! what a ham!

olive was so mesmerized with the dancing. her favorite dancers were the sugar plum fairies. during the performance, she got up from her seat and did her best to emulate the dancers. it was soooooooo heart melting to see her so enthralled with the beauty of it. i let her dance around a bit but ended up pulling her back to her seat in fear that she’d fall over the edge!

speaking of that, since we were front row center balcony, we were literally on the edge. the only thing that separated us to the floor below was a wall that was barely knee high. that FREAKED me out. i am so afraid of heights and i was having a hard time with it…hiding my fear as much as i could from olive. she found it funny but i was so nervous!!! so with her dancing so close the edge, i could only bear a few minutes of it without pulling her back!

during intermission, i took olive to the washroom and a women inside asked if olive was a part of the show {the women was dead serious}!!! haha! no but that was so cute. i got olive a pop and myself a prosecco and we moseyed back to our seats and finished out the show.

it was such a magical, amazing time. i had the best time taking olive to the nutcracker and i knows she had a memorable time! i must admit…i did cry a few times because it was so emotional for me. cheers to wonderful memories together!

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[i hastily got ready…i wished i wore something different but i was running out of time. despite the facial expression…she was really excited!]

[i hastily got ready...i wished i wore something different but i was running out of time]

[such a ham!]

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[this. she is soooooo sweet. just waiting patiently for her food and looking at the christmas decor]

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[i love her sooooooo much it hurts]

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[i was so happy her costume from last year still fit!]

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[she absolutely loved her outfit that night]

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[i was dyyyyyyying. i asked her if she could pose in front of this sign…without blinking, she walked right up and posed. i loooooooooooove her!! she literally stopped traffic!]

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[selfies!]

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xoxo

winter ballet recital ’18

even though this is her third recital {second winter one}, i still get so excited, although less nervous. the anticipation of seeing her perform gets me all giddy, happy, and feeling so proud of her!

we typically split the driving duties…i take olive early to drop her off before the show and hc will take ellie and make it in time for the performance. this time around, thuy, dad, jane, dick, grace, dan, agata, hc and ellie were in attendance to watch olive perform to ‘santa claus is coming to town’.

she did such a great job! she had high jumps and perfect poise. oh, it’s so cute to watch her dance! it makes my heart melt seeing her confident and growing in her execution. don’t get me wrong…these girls were so goofy, all over the place with their moves, and so fun to watch! that’s the best part! seeing each kid do their own thing and not really following a routine is always so funny and endearing.

anyhoo, after the recital ended, i grabbed olive from the pick up room and brought her back to her fan base. everyone then showered her with kisses, hugs, and flowers. after quite a few pictures, we all headed to a restaurant down the street called pierce tavern, a new joint in the downtown area.

it was a bit of a wait, so we walked across the street to the toy shop and the kids had fun while we waited for our table to be ready. a perfect shop to go to when the wait is long and you have kids! our experience at the restaurant was great! hc and i really loved the food, ambiance, and decor. it’s a cool cozy place with a diverse menu. i really think we found our go to place and that’s saying a lot because we don’t have one after all these years out here!!

moving from chicago to the ‘burbs leave little to be desired in the restaurant department. that’s the one thing we truly miss about not living in chicago anymore. we had easy, quick access to so many wonderful restaurants and bars and being out here – well, we haven’t found a place close to home that we love and we’re hoping that this is it!

it turned out to be such a lovely, loving afternoon. we all had a great time watching olive perform and our lunch together, afterwards, was just perfect. excellent job on your ballet recital miss olive. we are so proud of you and love that you love what you are doing.

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[she’s so sweet]

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[walking into the waiting room…excited to see all the other ballerinas!]

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[the girl with a million silly faces]

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[getting on stage]

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[they started off sleeping and waking up like little blooming flowers]

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[‘sleepy heads’ getting up to stretch]

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[plié]

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[done! walking off the stage]

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[this…oh my heart. it’s melting into a puddle]

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[she was like, ‘kiki…i can’t hold all these flowers!’ haha!]

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[double whammy…papa deux bisou]

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[oh, proud mama here!]

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[olive and her super aunty]

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[dan and agata]

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[a yummy bloody mary – extra spicy please]

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[silly cats]

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[a perfect sign for hc]

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[celebrating my birthday, at home, too!]

xoxo