holiday program

olive’s pre-k holiday program was this past week! the last day of school before winter break. i was looking forward to this for weeks. olive practiced her songs with us, at home, several times. although, at first we didn’t realize all the songs she sang were part of her holiday concert! we just thought she was learning fun songs at school.

well the day had come and i dressed olive up in the cutest, most festive holiday outfit i could rummage out of her closet. she looked so darling in her tutu playsuit and reindeer antlers.

 we scurried to her school as early as we could because we wanted to nab a seat as close to the stage as possible. we were close…we scored second row! the kiddos paraded in and olive looked so confused and nervous. the teachers sat the kids down and after an announcement, the concert began.

olive had stage fright! to make matters worse, her nose was runny {we’ve been dealing with a little cold} and she was very bothered that she couldn’t wipe her runny nose and it tooooootally bothered me that i couldn’t get up there to wipe it for her!!! poor olive just stared blankly out at the crowd when they started singing their first song. she stared and stared throughout the first few songs and then finally started to warm up and sing along.

the concert was a success! olive was too cute and subdued during the whole concert but sang along for a majority of the songs. it was so fun to watch all the kiddos. of course there was a run away boy who circled the stage and the girl sitting next to olive was so excited and animated! it was hilarious to see how reserved olive was and how boisterous her classmate was! total opposites!

once the concert was over, we were able to take photos of our babe and then she was able to join us and we were able to leave for the day. although olive was really bummed there was no school after the concert! she wanted to stay for school and was a bit upset…awwww, that was too cute.

i was so happy to see her first holiday school program. it completely warmed my heart to see my baby girl perform! it was a great moment that filled my soul with joy.

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[i forgot that i had left her with her bunny!]

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[she was nervous!]

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[she’s not quite sure what to do yet]

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[finally warming up and joining in!]

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[they’re all done! hurray! it was an awesome holiday concert!]

xoxo

deck the halls!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[could she be any sweeter?]

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[her most favorite ornament]

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[she was our anti-decorating grinch]

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[comfy pj’s and stringing tinsel]

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[daddy helping olive with the star topper]

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[muslin bag advent calendar]

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xoxo

unicorn birthday

one day, a few months ago, i asked olive what kind of birthday party did she want. without hesitation, she said, “a unicorn party!”. ok. i really did think i would get away with not having a unicorn party. why? well, unicorns are the rage right now. the rage! everyone was having a unicorn party! or more so, who didn’t have one for their little?! like for reals! i thought i could get away with not having one. hahaha! not that i am against unicorns. no, i love them! i just don’t like doing something everyone else is doing. that’s all.

anyhoo, my wheels started turning and i wanted to start planning her party. every year, i always say…oh i am not going to do anything big {except their one year birthday’s…that is big, to me!}. i always say, ‘just balloons and cake’. that’s all you need. get a cake, some balloons, and call it a birthday party. yeahhhhhhhh. every year, that doesn’t happen no matter how much i try to talk myself into a simple party.

so the crafting and planning ensued and voila! i was ready to get this party started! let me tell you! going from halloween, to my brother’s wedding, to hosting thanksgiving, and then hosting a birthday party 3 days later left me like whoaaaaaaaaa! but nevertheless, we pulled it off and olive’s party was a success and so darn cuuuuuute!

olive was soooo looking forward to this big day! she was so darn cute about it! we celebrated her birthday the tuesday before, at school, and from there on, she couldn’t stop talking about her party and could not wait for the day to arrive!

at school, i let her wear the cutest party hat in celebration of her big day and she wouldn’t take it off for two days! it was so adorable, the day after we celebrated her day in class, olive awoke and sat up in bed. i saw her struggle to put her party hat on {that she left next to her on the bedside table}, slide off the bed, and walk out into the living room. about a minute later, she came back to bed to tell me that no one was here for her party. my heart pretty much melted! i told her that her party wasn’t for another few days! oh these sweet children of mine! i could eat them up, i love them so!

well her day finally arrived and her wonderful family came over to celebrate her. hc cooked an amazing portillo’s like meal {so delicious}, our family mingled, olive had a blast with her friends and cousins, and overall, it was a total success. the decor was too cute {if i do say so myself} and i love that olive had such a great time! this was the first birthday where she totally enjoyed everyone singing happy birthday to her! all the years prior, she used to freak out, become extremely shy, or get upset! my baby girl, you’re growing up!

well, i hope you enjoy the pics! i always have such a great time documenting everything. i hope, one day, olive and ellie will look back at this thread and know how much they are loved by their family.

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[olive’s birthday invite & flowers by my talented sister, kim]

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[clouds and paper tassels]

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[how cute is this doll?!]

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[my diy unicorn balloon…they filled it up with so much helium, it became oblong instead of round!]

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[i love this gorgeous doll by monami designs]

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[what party is complete without a unicorn balloon?!]

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[unicorn photo booth]

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[flower crowns for the photo booth]

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[favor bags]

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[dessert backdrop]

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[we loooooove this book!]

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[my sweet, sweet girl…she’s so precious]

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[macarons and unicorn cookies! yasssssss]

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[i can’t get over this amazing cake!]

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[flowers by my sister kim]

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[ellie, kim, and lan]

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[aunt wendy and terry]

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[grace and missy]

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[jane and missy]

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[having fun with agata]

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[i loooooove her so much!]

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[gosh, she looks just like hc!]

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[agata, dan, and olive]

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[i can’t tell you how much i love this capture!!!! olive was being a bit moody/difficult/shy and i was like, whaaaaaaa? i felt like this was a total mom moment where i was like, c’mon girl. get a grip! hahaha!]

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[hair we goooooo!]

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[make a wish!!]

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[she’s so excited to open up her presents!]

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[lan, thuy, and kim]

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[lan and avery]

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[my tribe]

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[pin the horn on the unicorn]

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[get it bennett!]

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[reagan being silly]

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[the kids trying to help reagan]

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[avery pinning the horn on the unicorn]

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[happy girl]

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[i can’t! i just can’t!]

happy birthday my sweet, loving girl. this day was so wonderful and we love you so much!

xoxo

star of the day

at olive’s preschool, for her birthday week, she was star of the day!

when class started, she was able to sit in the chair next to the teacher, lead the count with the star wand, and set up the day/weather board!

i was invited to join in on their fun and spend the first part of the class with them and participate in on story time! i was sooooo excited! i made little birthday treats for her classmates {funfetti bags filled with stickers and candy!} and brought in the book uni the unicorn {in celebration of her unicorn party we were having}!

i think i was more excited about this than olive was! it was so fun to watch her be so involved but, yet, she was being a bit shy. when the teacher asked her who her special guests were, she barely whispered, “kiki”. i had to explain to the teacher that she calls me kiki…not mom, mommy, ma, or anything close to that. haha!

once they went through their morning activities, i was able to sit down next to olive and read the class the book we picked out! it was so darn cute! the girls were so into the book but the boys looked lost or just not into it but overall, everyone seemed to really enjoy the book! it was not too long, not too short, a cute little story, and the illustrations were so colorful and pretty!

once i was done with reading the book, olive walked me out. i was sooooo happy and i hoped olive had a great time with me being there for her! i love moments like this and totally cherish the sweet milestones that we go through!

it was definitely a special day for olive, celebrating her birthday and making it for a fun school day!

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[she wore this party hat to school and continued to wear it for days…so darn cute!]

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[the teacher telling the class who is star of the day!]

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[is it cold or is it hot?]

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[reading uni the unicorn to the class]

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[she was not happy with the hat…hahaha!]

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[she asked me to take off the hat when she walked me out…it was so big and she was bugging about it]

xoxo

huy + tashina get hitched

the day had arrived!

huy and tashina were getting married! we started the day with breakfast downstairs in the hotel’s restaurant, the terrace. afterwards, we took a little walk to tashina and huy’s suite, to check it out and it was huge! tashina was getting her hair and make up done while huy was getting ready in another room. we hung out for a bit and then let them be because we needed to get back to our room and get the girls to nap.

well nap time was absolutely unsuccessful. nooooooo one napped except for hc. we all got ready and headed downstairs to the car. i was frantically scurrying around trying to tie up loose ends and i was running very behind but when i got downstairs, my parents and their friends weren’t down in the lobby yet! we finally rallied everyone together and headed on over to the venue.

we walked inside the forge and it looked so amazing!! it was such a cute little space. a garage type space with the coolest interior. the reception tables were set up along the alley way and the photo booth huy and tashina created was over by the ‘bar’. the florals and decor were freakin’ stunning! it was all so eclectic, beautiful, bright, and colorful! everything turned out so wonderful!

we took family pics first and then tashina and huy took some on their own. the air was electric! the love, the energy, and excitement was palpable. i was so excited for them and so excited that the venue transformed into the wedding of their dreams! i was giddy with butterflies and could hardly wait for the ceremony to begin!

guests started coming in and the excitement continued to brew. soon, it was almost show time. the family members all filed in back to get ready for their walk down the aisle. set by set, we all strolled our way down the aisle, to our pew seats. then came the bride, looking stunning in her custom gorgeous gown.

the ceremony was fun, sweet, loving, and joyous! their friend, taylor, did an amazing job marrying them! he was thoughtful, sincere, and really connected them together as a couple. i also loved how he drew the guests into their ceremony and got us all involved in their nuptials! that always makes it more intimate and fun for everyone there to see them profess their love for one another and how friends and family support each one of them!

they exchanged their sweet vows {tears were shed by both parties}, the rings were exchanged {thanks to my cool nephews for giving them each their rings!}, and then they were declared husband and wife!!! yay!! off went the confetti poppers in celebration!

dinner, cake, dancing, socializing, and fun ensued! i had such a wonderful, wonderful time! i was so happy for the beautiful couple. the wedding was amazing, beautiful, and pretty freakin’ awesome!

i can’t find the words to properly describe how i felt, what a great experience it was, what a great feeling it is to see your family together, and seeing your brother so happy! well, i took a gazillion pics, so i hope you can transfer it all through that!

congrats huy and tashina! your wedding ROCKED!

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[she’s so darn sweet and so darn feisty!]

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[she’s so serious about her coloring]

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[walking our way to tashina and huy’s room]

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[cronut? yes please]

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*****

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[o vuong, huy, and tashina]

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[chu thong & chi thu]

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[their beautiful ceremony site]

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[dad, mom, nanae, and kip]

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[tablescape]

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[dad and mom]

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[pretty baby’s breath adorning each pew]

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[dan, agata, and o voung]

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[queen and kings]

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[mes seours]

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[thuy’s chic outfit]

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[the happy bride]

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[olive in tashina’s creation]

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[twirl girl]

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[so handsome and chic]

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[look at her thigh rolls]

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[grandma]

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[toast of the town!]

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[lexi’s toast]

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[first dance]

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[and that’s a wrap!]

*****

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[first look]

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[the gorgeous bride designed and sewed her own gown]

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[ma famille]

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[how cute is nutmeg?!]

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[how adorable was this? taylor asked questions and the guests threw ribbon streamers at the couple if the answer was yes!]

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[you may kiss the bride!]

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[they are now husband and wife!]

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[photo by jennemerlingweddings.com]

xoxo

halloween ’17

this year’s halloween was a blast!!

it started with olive’s halloween school parade. let me start by saying life has been pretty hectic for me lately. one, i am becoming more and more forgetful…or am i just getting old?! i am becoming less detailed, causing me to be reactive versus proactive! anyhoo, when i decided to retire to our bed, olive was stirring a bit and that is when i usually set my alarm for the morning. well, since she was moving around in bed, i decided to wait to set my alarm and surprise! i fell asleep. oh em gee. i abruptly woke up the next morning and realized that one. i didn’t set my alarm, and two. we had a half hour to get ready and out the door. holy crap. i panicked. i needed to {yes i do this every morning} make our bed, the girl’s bed, wake olive up, get her to go to the bathroom, get her breakfast ready, turn on the telly for her to watch a bit of her favorite program, get myself ready, pack anything olive needs for school, stir ellie awake, nurse her, change her, change olive into her costume, grab necessities for the parade {camera, etc.}, get them bundled up and out the door, drop ellie off at my parent’s house…i was a mess. i couldn’t believe i didn’t set my alarm! arghhhhhh! anyhoo, the bonus part was that hc was home because he wanted to see olive in the school’s halloween parade too. he was able to get ellie dressed and out the door to my parent’s!!! yessssssss.

we made it. with time to spare. olive was so excited to see all the other kiddos in their costumes. we dropped her off in her classroom and hc and i walked to the gym, where the parade was to take place. we waited, we talked, we people watched. it was almost 9 o’clock and we saw the kids and teachers coming in! yay! i was so excited! olive’s class was the last class to walk in. she was so perplexed and when she saw us, she smiled but then continued to look perplexed! hahaha!

the kids paraded around the gym and then gathered in by classroom so we could take pictures. it was so cute and fun! after that, the teachers then walked all the kids back to begin their day.

it was so cute!!! we loved watching olive partake in such a fun event. when i picked her up, she had so many goodies to take home! what a fun day at school.

we then went straight to my parent’s house to hang out. we ate, did errands, i ran home to grab the girls some extra clothes, a costume for ellie, candy, and other needed items because we were spending the whole day at my parent’s and wanted to make sure we had all the necessities.

we waited for hc to come home and got the girls ready to go out and trick or treat. olive was so excited, she couldn’t wait! ellie was just awesome, such a trooper! she had no complaints when i painted her face. she laid there so patiently, she didn’t mind the hat, the gloves, or any of the extra layers we put on her and she was quite amazing in the wagon. she never complained and just enjoyed the scenic ride.

olive loved running house to house, knocking on the door and ringing the door bell if she could reach it. she would say, “they’re not home!” or look in the drive way when a homeowner didn’t answer their door and say, “their car’s home? why don’t they answer the door?!” hahaha! she was so great at saying, ‘trick or treat’ or ‘thank you!’…it was absolutely adorable!

it was utterly cold, sooooo cold. it was in the upper 30’s so we didn’t want to be out long. we hit up about a dozen houses and called it a night. olive didn’t mind. she actually had a decent bag of treats! we came back home to warm up and hand out candy to the trick or treaters that came by to my parent’s house. my sister, thuy, and my brother, dan, came over and we all hung out. olive reveled in her goodies…i caved in and let her eat way too much candy!! hey, it’s halloween night! it’s like mandatory, right?!

after the curfew for trick or treating ended, we scadaddled on home. the girls got baths, we snuggled in, the pumpkins were glowing, and hocus pocus was on repeat.

it was a perfect, awesome halloween night. i couldn’t have asked for a better day and evening.

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[walking in the parade…and doesn’t see us yet!]

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[she spotted us!]

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[she’s not quite sure what is going on…haha!]

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[class picture time]

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[ready to go back to class]

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*****

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[that stance]

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[these babes…they look so excited!]

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[ready to go!!]

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[chillin’]

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[she thought it was so scary!]

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[that face!]

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[my happy girl]

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[so excited over her goodies!]

xoxo

pumpkin patch

our original plans were scrapped. it was a monsoon of rain the night before, so all the pumpkin farms were either closed or opened with limited access. we were super bummed. we love going to some sort of pumpkin farm every year because the kids enjoy it so much! well, this season, we had a chance to go to a little patch on that rained out day and it was the only time we could go, so be it!

ok…here’s the story. i dressed olive for the outing but i did not get her out the door. that is usually’s hc’s job. during that time, once everyone is ready…it’s then my turn to get dressed, freshen up, and grab a few things before walking out the door. that, usually, is a good 10 minutes given. well, i ran to the car, jumped in and we cruised to the pumpkin patch in no time. i get out of the car and open up the back door, look at olive, and my jaw drops. she’s wearing ballet slippers, no socks, and NO jacket. no scarf. no cardigan. no outerwear. i almost lost it. it was probably 50 degrees, windy, wet, and muddy. i could not believe she was not bundle up to be standing outside for at least 45 minutes or however long we were going to be there. plus, i couldn’t believe she wasn’t wearing boots with us walking around in the grass, gravel, and dirt {or really mud}.

anyhoo, so i forfeited my jacket to miss olive. there was no way i was going to let her wear less than what i had on! poor thing was so chilly!! her nose turned pink and her hands were so cold. albeit the rough start, we really had a great time! we all picked out giant pumpkins, little pumpkins, and olive helped me pick out mini pumpkins and gourds. olive was having a blast and that’s all i could ask for. when i see her super happy, it just makes everything good.

we perused the small place a little bit more just to check out all the goods, just to make sure we weren’t missing anything! grace grabbed some fresh cider doughnuts and we then paid for our bundle of festive fruits and moseyed on home. although it was a quick trip, it was a fun one {despite the crazy shenanigans in the beginning!} we came home with the pumpkins i wanted, pretty mums, and yummy doughnuts…it was quite the successful trip!

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[hi olive]

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[i love this girl so much!]

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[she’s too sweet]

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[she picked out little pumpkins gourds for us]

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[the best moments everrrrrr…when she gets so excited to see me. i absolutely love this so much!]

xoxo

baking together

as olive has gotten older, it’s so fun to do something with her in the the kitchen.

i was excited to try out a brand called our flipside life. she offers easy, pre-measured bar mixes! you provide a few of the ingredients from within your cabinets and fridge and voila…you’re ready to make the yummy bars. she also sent us a mini spatula to frost the cake with and a mini apron for miss olive!

we made the frosting first…it was super runny and i freaked out a bit that i had messed up the easiest recipe! ha! but the chocolate needed to cool and after we made the bars…the chocolate had stiffen and was ready to be used to frost the cake!

olive helped me mix the batter. you first mix the dry ingredients together and then mix the wet components together. after that, you then combine all the ingredients and mix it all together. olive had a great time. she was cracking me up!! she made the funniest faces while hc took our pics. i was dyyyyying of laughter watching her make her silly faces. she’s become so animated and fun!

we then put the dish into the oven and olive was so intrigued by it. i warned her that the oven was hot and she kept saying, “oh, it’s hot! don’t touch it!”. yes, baby girl! that’s right!

once the cake was done baking, i set it out to cool. after olive’s bath, she then had the best time decorating it! that was the most fun part for her! she loved all the colorful sprinkles and really took charge in the decorating department.

i then sliced the cake into bars and served the delicious dessert. i loved the slight taste of coconut in every bite and loved how moist the cake was! overall, it was so fun and awesome to do this miss olive and we ended up with a healthy, sweet treat for everyone!

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[easy bake ingredients…it’s so convenient! i love the mini apron and spatula it comes with]

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[starting out with some simple mixing]

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[gahhhhhh, she’s so sweet]

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[her faces c r a c k me up!]

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[dyyyyyyying…she is hilarious]

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[i always have to squeeze her!]

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[almost ready for the oven!]

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[ready to decorate!]

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[she threw sprinkles just in this area, i had to remind her to spread it around. hahaha!]

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[she’s so proud of her decorative work!]

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xoxo

brunchin’

brunch time!

it was a last minute but really awesome get together. hc wanted to work on the house, so i had a day with the girls. the day prior, i text olivia to see if she could meet up and she could! score! then sunday morning, i text dana {on a whim} if she was available and she was, so bam! i was going to meet them for brunch. yeahhhhhh! i was so excited…the stars were aligned for us to meet.

 it was a gorgeous day, albeit on the hot side {not warm, hot} and i was excited to sit outside and enjoy the last bits of summer {or really fall because it officially became fall a few days prior}. we have had a streak of really warm days – like some days in the 90’s {and humid} but no real complaints here!

the girls and i cruised to the city and found parking right next to the restaurant {we decided to eat at bang bang pie}. yassss. olivia and dana were already there, so i just pushed our way into the outdoor eating area and found them at the first table!

before we started into our gab fest, we decided to peruse the menu and order right away or else we would sit there talking and talking and then one hour later, finally order {ok, we’re not that extreme but it’s a close description}! ha! olivia brought us menus and they both stepped into a long line to order. at one point, while we were sitting there, i saw the line stretch out onto the sidewalk in front of the restaurant!

i sat outside with the girls while olivia and dana ordered our food. olive really took to the gravel on the ground. she really, really liked it! i just cringed. i’m such a neat freak but held back because she was completely enjoying it! let kids be kids {with black fingernails and all}. ellie loved it too, but i had to make sure ellie didn’t eat the small rocks! hahaha!

after they ordered, we just sat back and enjoyed our afternoon under the shaded umbrella. we talked about life, we enjoyed the sunshine, the food, and each other. ellie was pretty fussy at first…unfamiliar environments get under her skin but then she eventually lets up and calms down. so, the first hour or so, i was so preoccupied with her that i couldn’t completely join in on the conversations {it’s sometimes hard when your baby is crying and clingy to get absorbed into the dialog right in front of you but c’est la vie!} but once she stopped crying and being so needy, i was finally able to relax a bit and focus on my two friends!

after more than a couple of hours of hanging out, we decided to leave. more so on my part because i had a pedicure appointment mid afternoon i couldn’t and wouldn’t change! ha! it was a great time with all my girls! my only regret was that i left without pie in my hurried state of leaving to get to my appointment! bah! oh well…next time bang bang, hopefully i won’t forget my pie!

cheers to friendships, brunch, and cute baby girls!

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[it was so hot out!]

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[she LOVED the gravel but man was it dirty, dusty, and dirty…did i mention dirty?! haha!]

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[i love the umbrellas]

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[me and my sweet babes]

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[sausage biscuit with an egg and maple candied bacon….yum! check out that little hand]

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[my two girls with my sweet, darling babe]

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[she’s so sweet…it cracked me up that she was so calm and collected sitting next to olivia and dana. typically she would freak out but she was kind of loving it]

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[could my girls be any more serious? so much so, that dana and olivia were dying]

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[she was LOVING the cup of water…olivia loved giving it to her!]

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[ellie is like, “hey lady, give me that water!!”]

xoxo

housewarming

dana and scott just bought a new place together {they were married last year!}. a sweet home for the sweet couple!

they invited us to their housewarming party and we couldn’t wait to see their new place! it was a hooooot day. the commute was long but the good news was, we found a parking space right by their place!

dana was so surprised to see us! the day prior, i was sick. soooooo sick. i wasn’t sure if i was going to be able to come to her party. i was a mess – chills, fever, aches, pains, it was awful but one day later, what a difference it can make. i felt soooo much better. i was still sick but when you can get over a horrible hump like that, you feel like a new person even though you are still recovering.

we were so excited to be there! dana took me on a tour of their new home and i love her beautiful place. i am so happy for them! right after we arrived, that was when everyone started to trickle in. her parents showed up and i love her parents! jeff and marcia are so stinkin’ cute!

it became crowded in their condo and hot! there were so many bodies within their place, the temperature inside soared! i knew hc was uncomfortable. he becomes miserable when he’s too hot. ugh. time flew by and before we knew it, we had been at their house for several hours! it didn’t even feel like it, i was having a great time! ellie was uncomfortable though. she was being so darn clingy and didn’t like the fact that everyone was ohhh’ing and ahhhh’ing over her. it kind of freaked her out.

we decided it was time to leave, although that is when olive got real comfortable, befriending everyone there! she was being so cute, running around and being silly to anyone who would pay attention to her. she’s such a fun gal!

we were so happy we were able to make their fun party and see their beautiful new home. they are such a cute couple and i love them! many blessings to you both – may your home always be filled with laughter, love, and comfort.

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[unfamiliar environments equates to a fussy ellie]

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[sweet sisters]

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[my sweet babes]

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xoxo