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

hello santa!

our annual visit with the big guy in red happened the other day! i didn’t tell the girls until we were about a minute away. olive got sheepish and ellie just didn’t care. i usually make reservations every year but this time around, i was like – let’s just wing it. i usually find that they are pretty good at getting non reserved families in and i was right!

we walked in, signed up and we were the second family to see santa! they snapped a family pic first and then the kiddos. it was cute! i wasn’t expecting to be in any pics but it was super nice to have one together {since we can be so bad at taking a family photo together}. the girl’s picture turned out so sweet too!

after those photos, we waited in line to walk into santa’s airstream trailer. when it was our turn, olive excitedly walked towards it. we walked inside and there was santa! olive was so anxious, excited, and nervous. ellie was like – nope. ‘who’s this big guy in red?! make sure i stay far away from him!’ hahaha!

olive gingerly walked towards him and sat next to him while hc held onto ellie. i encouraged olive to tell santa what she wanted for christmas. she had her hands slightly clasped and she looked right at him. as she started to speak, her voice was not quivering but her hands were slightly trembling, she told him she wanted a mermaid barbie, lol dolls, a cinderella doll, and a blue car with a big engine. it was soooo flipping adorable to see. she really wanted to tell santa what she wanted and practiced it with me before she went in. she did so well! i was so proud of her!

then hc set ellie down for a picture and it all went downhill for her! eep! well, as you can see in the pictures below…it was a very successful visit! after that, we walked away feeling so good {ok, minus ellie} and headed to dinner. after eating, we shopped around a bit in the mall and then headed home.

BUT not without losing bunny. that is a loooooong story. we thought we were donzo. that bunny was gone. we called all the places we were at and no one had bunny. we went home without him and we were devastated. especially olive. hc went back the next day to backtrack everywhere we went. he went back into stores and had no luck. then a christmas miracle happened. he searched the grounds and right in front of eddie bauer, there was bunny!!!! someone had found him and placed him up on the store front’s windowsill. bless their hearts for doing that! hc saved the day!

we had such a great evening! it really was! we had so much fun {minus the missing bunny}. santa’s visit was a success, dinner was so fun and yummy {the girls were sooooo stinking cute and well behaved}, and we had a good time shopping the mall and picking up some extra goodies!

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[our family photo! i loved that they did that for us]

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[they’re so sweet]

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[ellie and olive’s looks! priceless!]

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[olive is so mesmerized by him! ellie, not so much]

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[she was sooooo excited to sit in his lap! what a difference from last year and the years prior!]

xoxo

christmas concert

olive’s holiday concert day had arrived. she had been practicing all season! it was too cute when she would give us a sneak peek into one of her songs. i was so excited to see her perform.

we arrived barely on time for the drop off. the morning started off easy and with plenty of time but, honestly, i don’t know what happened. i thought i had all the time in the world and then before i knew it, we were going to be late! gosh…mama brain! i felt bad…it was totally my fault for losing track of time and i totally snapped at olive. i asked her to put on her shoes and she completely mixed the shoes up and was standing there with the wrong shoes on her feet and didn’t recognize it. i yelled and she cried and i felt bad. i didn’t want her feeling this, so i apologized and she smiled, which was better but darn it. i hate it when i have a failing moment like that. it hurts my heart that i hurt her feelings.

once we dropped olive off at her classroom, i scurried upstairs to grab a seat. oh, it was full. i scanned the room and spotted a couple open spots in front and dove in. i nabbed third row, which wasn’t too bad since i was so late. i blanked out and forgot to ask the teacher which side olive was on {due to my tardiness…i forgot}. i sat there for a second and debated on going over to the other side but gut told me to stay and i was right! olive was on the right side and i had a great view of her!

my favorite moment {after the concert} was during the rudolph song, i noticed olive not doing the antler gesture with her hands every time they said reindeer. i just thought she was blanking out or getting tired. she did all the other moves throughout the song but the antler one. after the concert, she said to me, “kiki, did you see? i didn’t make the antlers because i am already a reindeer!” oh my gosh…this girl melts my heart! i should have known better! she’s so clever! i loved that she knew that she was already a reindeer and it was unnecessary to make the gesture! she’s too cute!

the kiddos did such a great job singing. it was so cute and so fun to watch! olive did so well. she knew all the words, i could hear her voice, and she did all the gestures. it was such a fun time watching her with ellie! what a great job olive! you practiced and your hard work showed through your concert great performance! way to go!

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[had to blur out the other kids…so don’t mind the odd pics]

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[she saw us and waved! they were getting ready to perform!]

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[after the concert and the sly poses she was giving me]

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[this one is my favorite…she was going for the vogue, pouty, drama look. hahaha!]

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[other parents were probably like, “what up with the poses?!” ha!]

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[walking down the stage to and getting a reindeer candy cane]

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[so cute!]

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[my sweeties]

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xoxo

kidcon

we were invited to an event called kidcon chicago. honestly, i had never heard of it and was curious. i love taking the girls to fun, different places and i was hoping this event fit that description.

we had a really rough day, because of me. i was a bad mom, literally. i hate to admit it but the pms was strong. sometimes when i am in this moment…it’s so hard to snap out of it and it was a miserable morning and afternoon for everyone. i had to leave the house just to reset. when i came back, i apologized to the girls and eventually to hc. we were hoping to hit up the event earlier but we ended up not going until wayyyyyyy late in the afternoon. much later than anticipated.

no worries, we still had time to enjoy ourselves. it was the longest walk ever to get there…mainly because i was carrying ellie. hahaha! once we arrived, we checked in and i could tell that the girls were excited. we started walking around and there were so many cute booths and i was pleasantly surprised. everyone was so darn friendly and nice.

we were so distracted when we walked in because we didn’t know what to do with our coats. we, honestly, should have left them in the car…we really didn’t need them but right when we walked in, we were trying to get situated and this super nice lady at the booth we were standing next to exclaimed how cute a hat would look on olive because she was wearing this polar bear ear headband. i was so distracted that i was polite with her but i felt bad because i didn’t fully engage with her the way i usually do with people. it’s little things like that, that can bother me! i’m so hyper aware of stuff like that.

anyhoo, the girls were EXCITED. they ran from one booth to the next. the convention had play areas everywhere. a lot of companies had their products set up in play stations around the area too, so that was cool and fun. olive loved playing with the toys, there were craft areas, interactive play areas…it was non stop for the kiddos. i was happy because they were so joyous!

well, we walked away spending way too much money! i had to restraint myself from buying something from every booth! it was great, though, because i also did some additional christmas shopping. i bought stocking stuffers for miss olive and the girls looooooved the super hero costume booth. we were suckered in to almost everything.

after an hour or so…we finally decided to leave but not before we hit up all the booths we loved and bought a thing or two. as we were leaving, i stopped back over to the check in desk and asked for my gift bag. the women gave me the most amazing bag! it was so cute and cool and filled with so many good things! olive was just as excited because she had a feeling there would be toys inside and she was correct!

overall, we had a really fun time at kidcon! i throughly enjoyed all the vendors and the kids had such a great time! thank you so much for having us! it was super FUN!

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[in one of the play areas]

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[her favorite toy in the entire area]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[i was thinking, ‘please don’t put this cup to your lips elllllieeeeee!’ hahaha!]

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[oh these girls. olive’s signature pose]

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[olive loved the unicorn headbands!]

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[this girl melts me heart]

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[she was given a free lip balm stick and that was it…it was application after application. hahaha!]

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[there were so many interactive areas for the kiddos…balloons, crafts, play…it was pretty awesome]

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[back at the play area and looking for all the flowers]

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[i got suckered into these costumes…they are so cute though!!!!]

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[they were obsessed]

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[my superhero]

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xoxo

olive’s birthday

olive’s birthday fell on tuesday of this year.

we started the morning with a happy birthday song with a big gold 5 balloon in her room. she woke up smiling – goal! hc made her a birthday breakfast and afterwards, she chose her outfit of the day. a gold sequined dress {courtesy of miss tashina}, lavender tights, gold converse, and a gold flecked caplet. the most perfect outfit ever for a birthday.

i took her to school and excitedly dropped her off for the day. there, she was star of the day, natch. she led the class. she got to wear a birthday crown and mama made stupid treats for the class. as in, i brushed lettered her name onto the brown paper bags, put stickers on them, olive filled each bag with coloring books, activity book, chocolates, candy canes, and more stickers! i really hoped the kids enjoyed them!

hc chose to stay home for her big 5 birthday! we were excited to have him home. about 20 minutes before her class ended, hc, ellie, and i hopped into the car to go pick olive up and take her out to brunch! to my dismay…in which i understand, hc wanted to go pick her up. i know i am always picking her up but this was her birthday! so, i reluctantly let hc do the honors and be the person she saw when she got out of class. we then drove to a local brunch restaurant and enjoyed our time together, celebrating miss olive!

later that day, we just snuggled, relaxed, and then later on, after dinner, we sang happy birthday to miss olive with a vanilla bean cake!

happy birthday beautiful girl. we wish you all the love, happiness, and fortune in life!

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[she chose this fancy little outfit for her birthday at school and yeah, that pose? trouble]

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[dada took the day off to celebrate olive’s birthday]

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[my budding artist]

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[she’s oh so sweet and sassy!]

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[olive was upset we made her wear her caplet outside because it was cold. look at the pouty face. [mama: *eyeroll] ellie is happy though!]

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[she loves to color and draw every day]

xoxo

olive’s first haircut!

it was time.

all these years, i’ve always asked olive if she wanted her hair cut. she always said no. if i felt that i needed to get her hair cut, i would have done it but i didn’t care. so i just waited. i waited for miss olive to feel that she was ready and that time had come.

her long, long hair was getting quite tangly and it bothered her. one day while i was brushing her hair, after a bath, i asked her if she wanted to get her hair cut. she said yes and i was like done! after several more comb throughs and more yes’s, i scheduled an appointment at kids snips in oakbrook. my nephews have been going to the same stylist for yearrrrrrrrrs, so naturally, we had to go there too and get olive’s first haircut by keisha.

it was a very snowy day when we woke up. we hustled, headed out, and just made it to our appointment with a few minutes to spare. as we were pulling into the parking garage, olive immediately remembered coming here with my sister and her cousins to get their hair cut. she screamed, “we’re going where bennett and reagan get their haircut!” i was amazed that she would remember something like that just from pulling into a parking garage {especially since my sisters don’t usually park where i park in the mall}.

i’ve never been inside this ‘salon’, so it was all brand new to me. it’s so small and crowded!!! for every child there were two parents, so with it being so tiny, you can imagine how packed it gets inside, with no room to sit. olive was so excited to get her haircut and loved this place. keisha took olive right away. she was wonderful, very sweet to olive, and so kind to us.

olive ended up getting 9-10 inches in total chopped off! the initial cut was over 7 inches and then keisha trimmed it some more. after her haircut, keisha styled her hair and olive absolutely loved it!!

her first haircut was a success!!! olive was so wonderful and so was her stylist keisha. the total process took 15-20 minutes! it was so fast! thuy met up with us after olive’s haircut and we all then went shopping, natch!

from the moment olive was born…i was waiting for her first haircut and it did not disappoint. i was so happy she was happy and excited for her haircut, i couldn’t have asked for a better combo. her hair is now so easy to comb through and doesn’t get crazy tangly!

happy first haircut my beautiful girl!

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[ready for her haircut. she was much more excited than she appears! lol]

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[keisha undoing her hair]

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[really ellie…such a funny girl in the background]

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[she’s so grown up…wahhhhhhhh]

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[measuring how much we’re going to cut]

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[snip, snip…]

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[there it goes!]

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[excitement]

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[she’s so happy…i can’t tell you how happy this picture of her makes me]

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[she LOVED her style by keisha]

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xoxo

happy 5th birthday my dear olive!

wow…i can’t believe it’s been five years since this beautiful girl has joined us. it’s surreal. my life changed when she was born. of course it did. but what i mean is…life had meaning. life had purpose. life was fulfilling with her in my world.

in your younger years, you wander. you wonder. you live life self centered. as a mother…you realize that this {having children} is what life is about. my heart is so full and the love that i experience every day is like no other. i feel so incredibly blessed to have her as my child and so fortunate to be able to do this. to raise kind humans and do my damndest to raise someone who can make a difference in this sometimes dark world.

sooooooo, olive’s birthday party turned into a surprise party because i went off of something she said a few months ago. she had watched something on her iPad and said to me, “i want a surprise party!”. i said, “how am i suppose to throw you a surprise party while you’re in the house?” she says, “i’ll just go in my room and when i come out, everyone can say ‘surprise!'” bahahahahahaha! ohmergawd…i LOVE her!!!

so, last minute, i told her guests that it was going to be a surprise party! it worked out perfectly! hc dropped the girls off at my sister, thuy’s place, in the morning. hc and i hustled and decorated the house for the party, readied the apps, and the guests started to flow in. about 15 minutes after the party started, my sister shows up with olive and ellie.

i was so excited. i couldn’t wait to see her reaction! i heard her say to thuy why were there all these cars at our house. ha! she walked in and everyone yelled ‘surprise!’. her facial expression was priceless! i was in heaven seeing her so elated! afterwards, she greeted all her guests and made her way around.

olive chose her brown horse theme. she talked about it for months. months!!! it was the first time she chose her theme, so i was in a bit of a pickle because i have always been the one concocting her themes. now that she is independent and opinionated, she expressed exactly what she wanted for her 5th birthday party and i had to go with it. i was a bit stumped but in the end, i figured it out and we had the most wonderful horse themed party!

side note: i went to party city to get some horse themed balloons. uhhhhhh, i didn’t know they carried NOTHING horse related. whaaaaaaaa?! so, as the young male teenager was ringing me up, i asked him if that was a poop emoji balloon on the wall. he said yes. so i said to him, “i will get that balloon. i can’t believe you guys don’t have anything horse themed for my daughter’s birthday party. i’ll get the poop emoji balloon because i think it’s horse’s shit that you don’t have anything else i can get.” yup. i said that to him. he found it funny too.

well, i hope you enjoy the pics! we had such wonderful time celebrating our baby girl turning 5! happy birthday olive. we are so utterly blessed to have you in our lives. thank you for being you. we love you to infinity and beyond!

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[the balloon that stood out. she loves hello kitty!]

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[my story about the poop emoji balloon above. tassels by glamfete]

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[flowers by my sister kim]

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[daniel and auntie missy]

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[stop horsing around!]

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[terry, dan, and agata]

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[calligraphy place cards]

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[bandana’s for our guests]

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[banded flatware inclusive of the party theme]

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[easy cups for kids or adults!]

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[horse favor bags]

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[a party staple]

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[i love our fireplace]

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[i heard her asking about all the cars in the driveway…]

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[i love her facial expression when she saw everyone and mine!]

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[i love this]

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[she’s oh so sweet]

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[y’all…i love her so much!]

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[greeting her guests]

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[she’s so sweet]

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[cousins]

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[with ba]

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[grace, annabelle, and edwin]

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[gramma and olive]

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[backdrop by glamfete. she’s such a princess!]

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[oh how i love her so]

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[i can’t post enough pics of her]

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[this is sooooooo ellie and olive]

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[olive showing off her beautiful unicorn painting]

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[here comes the cake]

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[happy birthday day to you!]

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[make a wish!]

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[she’s so silly! her cousin bennett gathered all the horses around olive]

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xoxo

trick or treat ’18!

halloween 2018

halloween always brings back vivid memories for me. i remember my halloweens so distinctly; like the years where it was freezing cold, which halloweens were so warm you didn’t need a coat, houses that gave out the big candy bars and what costumes i wore. i loved the spooky shows, cartoons, and sitcoms that would create story lines around halloween. it was all so wonderfully, hauntingly good.

halloween has always been a faaaaaaavorite holiday of mine. i thoroughly enjoy the lighthearted goodness of it…not so much the scary, creepy, gory part of it but the spooky, fun, childish, change of season piece of it. the changing of the leaves, the chill in the air, and the tradition of trick or treating excites me!

ellie napped during the afternoon and i was hoping to get over to my dad’s house by 3pm but that did not happen! hc came home early and we fiiiiinally headed over to my parent’s house by 4:30 pm…so late! the temp was amazing…it was near 60 degrees and that’s like summer in october! i am sure we missed a bunch of trick or treaters going over so late but chest la vie. we waited for my sister, thuy, to come by and once she arrived, we snapped pics and went on our merry way with the girls to have some fun trick or treating.

i walked along with the gang for a bit and decided to return to help my dad out. one, i looooooooove to hand out candy but two, i wanted to make sure i did that part because my dad’s knees are the best and i didn’t want him to walk up and down the stairs to answer the door.

once hc and the gang returned, we poured over their treats and turned on the telly to watch some fun halloween cartoons! we answered the door a few more times and then the trick or treaters tapered off and then we gather together for dinner.

oh, we had so much fun! at the girls loved knocking on all the doors. little elle belle tried sooooo hard to keep up with her big sis. it was so heartwarming to watch them hit up each house in their own unique way. olive running ahead and ellie trying to catch up to olive. oh how i love them!

i’ll declare this halloween a complete success!

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[ellie’s current favorite pose]

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[my beautiful girl in her pegicorn costume]

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[this is definitely a treat]

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[can you guess hc’s costume? if you can, in the comments, i’ll give you a starbucks card!]

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[olive was on fire! running house to house!]

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[the girls with their super aunty]

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[ellie was constantly trying to catch up]

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[she was always two steps ahead, or maybe ten steps ahead!]

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[hc consoling ellie after she fell down a step…poor babe!]

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xoxo

school costume parade prek5

i love cute little things like a costume parade at school! it’s just wayyyyy too adorable to watch! these young school days have my heart, i love how sweet and innocent it is. i look forward to moments like this!

hc and i split our duties. hc dropped ellie off at my parent’s house {plus, he was going to take off to work after the parade} while i took olive to school to get her ready for her parade! i also hauled her class treats in the biggest bag ever and i couldn’t wait to give them to the teacher to pass out to the students. i was so excited…maybe just as or more excited than olive! hahaha!

once we arrived at school, i fixed her up, attached her wings, gave her a hug and ran outside to where everyone was gathering for the parade. i adjusted my camera settings and waited for hc to join me. the parade started on time and i couldn’t wait to get olive’s attention. as i waved to her and yelled her name, she gave me a happy, shy look. she usually does that in situations like this. it’s so hard to read her reaction!

the kids circled around the park outside and then grouped together for class pictures. it was so fun to see all the kids costumes. i must admit, the polar express conductor was a fav! the little boy was so cute with his mustache, so flippin’ cute!

after the parade, hc left for work and i went home to grab ellie belle and couldn’t wait to come back to school to pick up olive and hear about her halloween fun filled day at school!

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[olive seeing us and waving]

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[my pegicorn]

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[a little creepy, but the only way i could post her class pic…pardon the blurry faces!]

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[staring adoringly at her!]

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[dada and his girl]

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xoxo