ballet

first day of ballet

i must admit, ever since i had olive, i always envisioned her in ballet! i always wanted to try ballet as a kid but that never happened, so i am living vicariously through my babe. don’t get me wrong…of course i want to put olive into classes and programs that would peak her interests but i definitely don’t want her to not enjoy what she is doing. that’s very important too.

olive LOVES ballet. she absolutely loves it. i am so happy that she does! she was looking forward to her first class and it did not disappoint. she loves the dancing, the techniques, and mostly, her friends. she had such a great time with the other girls in the class. when you look at the pics, you can see how happy she is and how much fun she is having with the other girls! when hc asked olive about dance, she said she had friends…how sweet is that?

now, with this being olive’s first class {most of the girls in the class have already been through a season of ballet}, she was a little lost. she didn’t listen to the teacher very well and had a hard time following directions. i wasn’t too worried though. i know the next few classes, she will become accustomed to the techniques and do a better job at listening to the teacher.

what i loved the most was that she was sooooo happy! she had a huge smile on her face most of the time and it brought me such joy to see how much fun she was having. that is what mattered most, regardless of her noncompliance. it was her first class and i am so glad she loved it!

i’m looking forward to every class and i truly believe olive will too. i can’t wait to see how she progresses in the next few months but don’t ever forget, baby girl, to always have fun no matter what you are doing! muwah!

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[she’s so silly]

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[she loves her ballet friends!]

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xoxo

hanging out

one day, before olive started school, i needed to get some back to school shopping done, so we decided to head out to the mall and grab a few things for her. i had already purchased all her school supplies at good ol’ target but she needed some clothes and shoes, so i decided to hit up a few fun stores to check things off my list.

it was a gorgeous day, perfect weather to walk around in. just what this mama needed to get her errands done. as usual, olive saw the water fountain and of course we had to stop. we stayed for one ‘show’ and moved on our merry way. we hit up zara first. i love that store for kids. they have the cuuuuutest clothes! i picked up a few leggings, tops, and most importantly, a fall jacket for her. i have found, the first two years, i have been caught off guard with the temps changing so fast and me not having a fall coat for this girl to wear when she needed it most! not this year! i am ready!

we then moseyed on over to gap kids to check out a few items. we found a couple cute sweatshirts for her, of course they were sparkly and fun…not yo’ average simple sweatshirt, and glitter shoes. her current glitter shoes are dunzo. like beat up and diiiiiirty. so, naturally we needed a new pair and gap had the perfect ones!

we then headed on over to nordstroms and picked up more shoes for this gal. we replaced her red hunter boots she’s outgrown and bought the cutest pink pair of adidas shoes for her to wear to school. her teacher asks that she wears gym shoes every day due to the fact that they will go to the gym on most days and it’s just sturdier for them to wear such shoes. it makes them less susceptible to tripping and what not if they wear shoes appropriate for running, walking, and playing.

after we finished all our stops, we headed on over to the food court to treat ourselves to some smoothies and doughnuts! yassssssss!

it was such a perfect afternoon with my girls! we had a great time shopping, we walked away with great purchases, and filled our bellies with yummy treats! yay!

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[such a ham]

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[i love this silly girl]

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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

first day of school

it was olive’s first day at school. wow…i was sooooo excited but my heart was crying a bit because my first baby is getting so big. she’s growing up and i am so proud of her, so full of love for her, and absolutely blessed to be her mom. this girl is like a ray of sunshine in my life and i am beyond thankful for her presence.

she’s becomes such a strong, silly, fun person. she’s so respectful and listens so well. she has a heart of gold and is the best big sister to ellie. a few things about her: she loves to make friends. when she sees another tot, she is immediately drawn to them. she’s not shy about that. she will slide on up next to the kid {boy or girl] and make eye contact, smile, and tries to seamlessly join in on their play. it’s the cutest thing to watch.

this girl has a pretty amazing memory. for example, we will see a toy store at the mall and i will tell her we are not going in there now and say to her, “we can go in there after we finish our errands.” she will politely and obligingly say, “ok”. after a couple of hours of shopping and letting this mama finish up what i need to get done, olive will then say, “ok, now we go to the store!” as in the store with the toys. hahaha! i think to myself…how do you remember?! she does this all.the.time. she doesn’t forget!

she’s become a bit opinionated about her clothes but not so much where she takes the reigns. i am still the dictator in the is department but i think it’s adorable when she wants in on what she wears. she usually listens to my opinion but i love that she adds in her fashion twists.

she’s become a bit more open with eating different things. i love that she will take my advice on trying things once. i told her that she needs to try something once and if she doesn’t like it, i won’t make her eat it but it means a lot to me if she tries it. i will totally admit that i am a sucker and i give in to her wants…i can’t help it!! she’s so darn cute! you want peanut butter and jelly? okaaaaaayyyyy. lollipop? suuuuure. whatever you want sweet girl.

anyhoo, on her first day of school. we rustled her awake and fed her a breakfast of fruit {grapes and strawberries} and cinnamon waffles. i got her dressed, hc dropped ellie off at my parents, and we took off to school. the week prior and leading up to that morning, olive seemed excited at the idea of school. we parked the car and her little face dropped. she looked concerned and somber. as we were walking from the car, she asked if i could hold her hand. of course baby girl. i am here for you! i held her hand and i could tell that she was taking in everything, observing it all. she was so calm and serious. we waited outside the classroom amongst all the parents and kids, waiting for mrs. finley to open up the doors. once she did, we walked inside and olive’s face lit up when she saw all the toys!!!

yes, toys make this girl happy. we greeted mrs. finley, walked around – checking out the classroom, dropped off our supplies, and watched olive play. after a bit, mrs. finley called the kids to sit down and the parents to gather around. she went over their every day schedule and a few rules and expectations. i really, really like her. she is sweet and seems so concerned with their well being.

olive already had homework! she needed to color an apple and bring it back for their tree. we took home some more paperwork and after 40 minutes or so, we left the class. we checked out the bathroom {it was so cute with all the mini toilets and sink}, we stressed to olive that if she needed to use the washroom, she needed to remember that she needs to pull her pants down and up on her own, and pretty much be independent. i think that’s the only thing i worry about right now. no one wants their kid to have an accident!

after we walked around the school for a bit of exploring, we then took little miss olive out for breakfast. our first and her second one of the morning! there this girl mowed down her mickey mouse pancakes and a plate of bacon. she cracks me up! gosh, i love her spirit.

well, olive’s first day of school was a success i must say! she was a bit nervous but everything for her, and us, turned out great! i was so looking forward to this day and it was absolutely perfect. i am so proud of my munchkin and i am looking forward to a fabulous school year!

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[first day of school]

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[a slight look of concern]

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[she looks so much like me here]

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[she got real serious here]

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[putting her bag up]

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[excited over the toys]

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[dada helping her raise her hand]

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[with mrs. finley]

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[grabbing her backpack]

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[such a big girl]

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[treating my girl to breakfast]

xoxo

happy birthday b + b!

my girlfriend, kim, tends to have her babes in mid/late july or august. so, naturally, after having her third baby in july, she decided to have a joint birthday party for her first two kids, brady + brooklyn in july.

well, here’s the story. kim and i were exchanging text messages about the party. she initially said it was starting at 3:30pm and then a week before the party, we exchanged a few more text messages and she wanted to confirm that we were going because she wanted to finalize the count for food, dinner at 4:30pm. i was, for sure! we were going to be there and we were super excited to attend the party.

the day of the party, i told my husband that the party was going to start at 4:30, so we had some time during the day to do whatever. i did say to him that i thought it was odd that the party was so late, especially for a kids party! well, we did random things and around 3 o’clock, i headed out to the store to pick up some birthday gifts for the babes and a little gift for mason. we were lollygagging and so late already…on our defense, ellie was sleeping and we didn’t want to wake her up.

anyhoo, kim texts me and says, “are you still coming?”. um, what? it was only 4:45 and we were about to leave and that wasn’t going to make us terribly late to a party that just started. i text her back and said, “yes! didn’t the party start at 4:30?”. she text me back saying the party started at 3!!!! ohmergawd!!!! what?!!! i freaked out! we were sooooooooo late!

we then ran around grabbing stuff left and right. gahhhhh. i couldn’t believe i messed up the party time! we hit the road and slowly drove there…hc recently learned a hard lesson with speeding so it was painful to drive the speed limit. yes, keeping it real. i am a lead foot and absolutely terrible at driving the speed limit.

we arrived and told everyone we only came to eat and leave. hahaha! just kidding! it actually turned out perfect…it was intimate and it was super fun just hanging out with kim and her family! that was the best. i loved having uninterrupted time with everyone and it was very relaxing. we ate, sang happy birthday, and then the kiddos opened up their gifts. olive was too cute…she was having a blast with everyone and it’s been such a joy to see her blossom socially. she loves making new friends and plays so well with anyone she meets. it just melts my heart to see her grow.

after a few hours, it was time to leave and i was a bit sad. i always have such a great time at kim’s house, whether it’s a party or it’s just a play date – it’s always wonderful to hang out with her!

well, i can’t wait to celebrate all three kiddo’s birthdays next year {since they were all born just weeks apart!}!! happy birthday brooklyn & brady {& mason}! y’all are so loved!

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[the dino luau party theme!]

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[a unicorn and her buddy brady]

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[leis]

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[with the hostess with the mostess]

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[sweet baby mason being fed by grandma!]

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[the cutest, most festive cakes!]

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[detaaaaaails]

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[my stern unicorn babe]

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[the sweetest babes]

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[blow out the candle and make a wish!]

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[i’m so in love with her]

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[my loves]

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[yummy, festive lemonade]

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[kim and mason]

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[this pic killlllllls me. it’s so dang cute!!!]

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[brady is so cute with olive]

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[this babe. this pic. this pose.]

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[i mean, their outfits!!!]

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[sweet boy]

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[she’s ready to open her gifts!]

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[she’s so excited!]

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[the cutest baby bum]

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[the cutest dino gummy favors]

xoxo

ellie’s first birthday family photos

i was so excited for ellie’s first birthday professional pics! i always have anxiety leading up to their photo sessions because kids are unpredictable and me, being type a, always wants everything perfect! olive has had the reputation of being fussy and she’s always been so difficult with every photo session we’ve ever had with her.

ellie was awesome during her newborn sesh but sooooooooo dang fussy with her six months photos. plus, she’s been increasing clingy of late, so i knew her one year sesh was going to be hard to capture.

on top of that, our date with tricia had been cancelled twice and rescheduled three times! once due to personal conflict, another time due to inclement weather, and then we finally settle on a third date! well, the day had come and we were ready!

tricia had suggested that we take family photos instead to the usual birthday photos of just ellie and i was game. we were going to do individual pics of her but i absolutely loved the idea of family pics because that is what we are about! make is special for ellie but document us all on this very special milestone!

the evening was warm and muggy. like suuuuuuuper muggy!!! wet. moist. sticky. yes…all those descriptive words. at first, olive {had fallen asleep in the car equating to a grumpy wake up and girl}, she was rather somber and glum at first. typical! i gave her a little pep talk and asked if she wanted a flower and that perked her up instantly! next thing i knew…she was happier than a clam!! she smiled, giggle, and made the cutest faces for tricia! i was blown away! she was sooooooo stinkin’ cute! she is usually like this when we take pics but it was so heart melting to see her like this with tricia!

ellie cooperated quite well until we placed her in a bed of flowers {i warned tricia that she didn’t like being out of my arms and definitely didn’t like the grass!!!}. that was a compete mess but nonetheless, it was a very successful photo shoot! we truly had a wonderful time!!!

i am always so pleased with tricia’s work. she takes the most amazing pics of our family and i have loved having her as our family photographer for years now.

happy birthday miss ellie. you have blessed our lives in so many wonderful ways. we love you so much and the first year with you in our lives has blessed and fulfilled us in so many amazing ways!

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[my sweet birthday girl]

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[sweet, giggly girl]

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[the smiliest she’s ever been for professional pics…i’m in love]

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[meeeeeelting…oh how i adore this picture]

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[i can’t]

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[my girls. my sweet, lovely girls.]

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[my faaaaaavorite of these two]

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[yup…this is what we get for sticking her in a bed of flowers. she’s like, nope.]

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[my life]

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[pure love]

xoxo

ice cream man

a favorite childhood memory of mine was the ice cream truck man. i remember living in a neighborhood of town homes, growing up, and there were so many kids that lived within the neighborhood. the ice cream truck frequented our ‘hood and it was always something i looked forward to. the sound of the jingle playing so loud, echoing throughout the streets got me running! all the kids would gather around the truck and pick out their favorite flavors and those moments were some of the most perfect summer nights as a kid!

one day while i was pulling olive and ellie in the wagon, i heard the familiar music! i got so excited! i laugh at this because i was definitely so much more excited than olive, she actually had no clue what was going on. she was probably thinking, “mom, don’t talk to strangers. let alone, you’re buying something edible from a man you don’t know”. hahaha!

she was so scared of the man, that she wouldn’t get out of the wagon to pick out an ice cream cone! so, this mama pointed at pictures and she went in for the kill {the first familiar character she saw}…sponge bob. ok, sponge bob it is! she was still a bit groggy from her nap, so i will blame her lethargic behaviors on that! ha!

anyhoo, we sat outside on the front porch while olive cautiously licked her sponge bob ice cream as it feverishly melted in the heat. olive was super pleased with her choice of dessert and i was super happy that the stars were aligned with us being able to catch the ice cream man on our block on this lovely afternoon.

oh, summer…you give us great memories.

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[isn’t this ice cream truck just the cutest?!]

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[bye bye ice cream truck!]

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[she was so excited!]

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[yummmmm]

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[i love this girl!]

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xoxo

festival

summer time.

i love warm weather, being able to just hang outside and be comfortable is something we look forward to every year. cold chicago winters gives you a different appreciation for the summer season and along with warm temps, brings festival season around here!

i thoroughly enjoy jubilees, festivals, carnivals…you name it, i love going to any of the named events. summer isn’t complete unless you attend at least one!

with olive being three years old, she has this new awareness and enjoyment that has arose and i find so much satisfaction and joy in seeing her content and happy!

we hit up a fest close to home. it was a festival that i actually attended while growing up around here and it was pretty cool to be able to bring olive. of course, they have rides, games, really bad food for you, and plenty of libations!

parking can be a b*tch around there but we were lucky enough to find a close spot {riding into town in hc’s jeep!}. we walked into the fest and grabbed some drinks first {priority people!}. we decided stroll around and check out the offerings. we did a once over and decided to grab some grub. if you’re on a diet, you’re screwed. no festival foods for you! we ate really unhealthy food and continued to check out what this festival had to offer.

one big mistake was taking olive near the rides. she isn’t big enough, so there was no way she could go on any of them and fact: hc and i will not, i will repeat, will not go on any of these carnival type rides. we don’t like them. we don’t trust them. we don’t care for them. she was so upset. she didn’t have a tantrum or anything of that extreme but she did cry. i felt so bad for her but that was a solid no – no rides whatsoever!

anyhoo, we walked around a bit more, explored, play some games, and then called it quits. everything currently revolves around ellie’s nap times right now, and we needed to skadaddle to get her to bed for the night.

i’m all about olive’s first time experiences and i was super happy she was able to enjoy our time at the summer fest! it was a fun family evening together! happy summer y’all!

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[summer essentials]

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[summer festival in downers grove]

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[hello hc! she looks just like him!]

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[my sweet babe]

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[typical festival food]

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[enjoying junky food]

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[her first time playing a festival game]

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[she won!]

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xoxo

dad’s 80th surprise photo session

my sisters and i decided to surprise my dad {parents} with a photo shoot for my dad’s 80th birthday {and my mom’s, since their birthdays are so close together!}!

we booked a local photographer and kept it a secret until the day before! everyone drove to a nearby park and the craziness ensued. it had rained the days leading up to this and the ground was sooooo wet! it was squishy and muddy but we made it through without it being too much of a disaster.

as usual, olive was fuuuuuuussy. she was uncooperative and it was too close to ellie’s nap time, so she was a bit crabby. from the outside, you freak out that there isn’t a good pic but you always know that your photographer can work some magic. that’s why they’re the professionals!

of course, since my gals were the ones being difficult, there i was  jumping and screaming and making funny noises just to get their attention and stop them from either crying or not listening. oy. what a show! we did some group pics, grandkids with the grandparent pics, just kid pics, and pretty much all sorts of mixed pics.

i couldn’t wait to see them! my sisters and i decided to create a book for my parents and then print out pics and frame them for their house. we surprised them with the book first and still have yet to give them the framed pictures. they were so excited and pleased with the book and all the pictures. my parents loved all the pictures taken!

so, yay! the thought {thanks to my sister kim} and results turned out perfect! our photographer did such a great job and we all love the pictures. great memories captured and beautiful pictures to cherish forever.

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[our hearts]

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[my beautiful, tenacious girl]

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[grandma and ba with their grandgirls]

via tandeminlove.com[the cutest nephews everrrrrr]

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[kisses]

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[precious…so precious. this picture just melts my heart]

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[the sweetest boys]

xoxo

the hottest alfresco lunch everrrrrrr

one sunday morning, we decided to head out for a late lunch. ellie’s morning nap was running into the early afternoon and we thought that it would be a great idea to get out of the house on this hot, hot day but not do anything too strenuous because it was so darn warm outside.

we headed into downtown dg for a lunch alfresco. it was ellie’s first jeep ride and olive’s second time but the first time she really understood what she was doing! she looooooooves riding in the jeep! oh, she kept screaming and giggling and waving her arms. it was the cutest thing to watch! it’s so joyous to watch your kids be happy!

well, it was sooooooo hot outside that even under a shady umbrella, we pretty much melted. omg it was so hot! near the end of our meal, ellie was getting a bit fussy, so i decided to walk her around the restaurant to cool off and calm her down. the first time we walked up to the window where hc was sitting outside, she said, “dada. dada.” and she looked out the window at hc. i was like, ‘hmmmmm. does she really know it’s hc?’. well, i decided to walk around the restaurant again and see if she would say it again. yup. she did. we walked back up to the window and she said, “dada. dada.” as she looked right at hc. i did it a third time!!! i finally caved in and admitted that was her first word. i wouldn’t have agreed if she really didn’t know what it meant but i have to say, she did and does. wahhhhhhhhhh.

after lunch, we decided to walk around town. gah! what a failure. it was sooooo hot. so hot. we only did one short lap and called it quits. i couldn’t wait to get back into the jeep to have the wind blowing through my hair. all in all, it was still a great afternoon. i am so glad we got outside even tho it was like an inferno. hahaha!

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[ellie’s first jeep ride!]

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[coolest girl in the world]

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[before i melt]

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[some drink i don’t remember what it’s called but it was delicious]

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[this precious face]

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[melting from the heat]

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xoxo