swantastic

happy birthday olive! 11.27.13

my baby girl turned T H R E E!!!!!!! oh my goodness. she’s graced this earth for three years and life has never been better. i can’t explain in words what it’s like being her mama but i will try. she brings me sooooo much joy, love, life, and happiness. the moment she entered into this world, she has challenged me mentally, physically, and emotionally…ALL for the better. my life made complete sense once i had her. don’t get me wrong, my hubby charming is THE best guy out there. he completes me. i LOVE him and can’t imagine life without him…like seriously, he can never leave my side but olive elevated everything. she took my life to a next level i never knew existed. it blows my mind i gave birth to a part of me…an extension of me that is so much better! {because she’s a mix of me and the hubby, so what could be better than that?!}. ok, ok…enough. i feel like i can drone on and on so i won’t and will stop. but man, being a mama is pretty damn awesome.

anyhoo, her birthday party planning started out as a simple thought. i really did have the intent to buy a birthday cake and some balloons. then i thought, why not make it a swan party? oh yeahhhhhhhhh. then it snowballed out of control. because it’s me. and i tend to go overboard, get all type a, and then my creative mind gets.out.of.control. the ideas don’t stop. i think of one thing, to the next, then the next idea, and the ideas don’t stop rolling in! {for example: our wedding was a diy monsoon ideas}

well, as you will see in the pictures – my simple cake idea and balloons festered into a pretty darn cute swan party!

i crafted a lot of what you see and shopped big and small for the rest of the details. two hours before the party, i was literally icing sugar cookies for the party {something i usually would never do. i, typically, am too stressed to do such a thing, because i am always running around tying all the details together}, so scroll down to the pic and read my story behind why i was doing such a thing before the guests arrived!

the party time rolled around and the guests started to roll in. of course, in doan fashion, my family was late and hc’s family was early or on time. soon everyone trickled in and the fun started to happen! we had music blasting and libations flowing. olive immediately warmed up to everyone {she was excited it was her birthday!} and had a lot fun playing with her friends and cousins.

we served food an hour into the party and dessert shortly thereafter, although there was no rush and everything was timed just right. we socialized, mingled, drank, and celebrated miss olive. it’s always so joyous to have friends and family over, under one roof, honoring a festive occasion.

the party lasted all afternoon and early evening. we enjoyed every second of it. olive did so well…no nap and no meltdown but it’s her party and she can cry if she wants to, cry if she wants to…haha!

oh, we had such a great time and i know olive did too. she loved all the presents and cake and balloons and pretty much everything! all in all, it was a total success, if i do say so myself. everything turned out great! so, maybe next year i will stick to my thought of keeping it simple, just getting a cake and balloons for her fourth birthday…or maybe not. eep!

via tandeminlove.com

[dyyyyyyying over her outfit]

via tandeminlove.com

[trying to check out her shoes]

via tandeminlove.com

[she’s the sweetest!]

via tandeminlove.com

[my birthday girl]

via tandeminlove.com

[pretty gold glitter dipped feather garland]

via tandeminlove.com

[mini party hats]

via tandeminlove.com

[enjoying her place setting decor]

via tandeminlove.com

[the biggest balloon everrrrrrrrr]

via tandeminlove.com

[diy swan straws]

via tandeminlove.com

[handmade swan from turkey]

via tandeminlove.com

[chair wing decor]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[laser cut swan place cards, tucked with a feather, and topped with a handmade spray painted gold glitter crown]

via tandeminlove.com

[long story: i had ordered swan cookies through a shop and she cancelled last minute, well she didn’t even contact me! i contacted her and was told that due to an emergency, my order was cancelled…i found out the day before her party! i was so bummed but i really didn’t have time to make cookies myself. well, i am super crazy and decided to do it anyways {two hours before the party!}! i bought ready made dough and shaped it out, baked them, and frosted them holding a crying baby. yes…i frosted these with one shaky arm and a baby in the other arm. ellie didn’t want to be lying down…what a time for her to be fussy! so, tada! my impromptu swan sugar cookies!]

via tandeminlove.com

[just another view of the decor]

via tandeminlove.com

[the swan dessert table]

via tandeminlove.com

[family…lan, my sister thuy, kim, and our mom]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[simple cake…my kind of style]

via tandeminlove.com

[cake topper by hooray everyday]

via tandeminlove.com

[a little overexposed but i still will take it! mom and my brother dan]

via tandeminlove.com

[i used white ceramic swans and filled them with succulents]

via tandeminlove.com

[i had a lot of fun making this balloon garland!]

via tandeminlove.com

[papa the king]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[me and my mama]

via tandeminlove.com

[swan table centerpieces]

via tandeminlove.com

[having a blast with her cousins and friends]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[our nephew daniel and his girl rachel]via tandeminlove.com

[the best and the coolest nephews!]

via tandeminlove.com

[as smiley as she gets…hahaha!]

via tandeminlove.com

[eyeing her cake]

via tandeminlove.com

[questioning everything]

via tandeminlove.com

[always sooooooooo shy]

via tandeminlove.com

[we got a tiny smile out of her!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[my heart melted into a puddle]

via tandeminlove.com

[uncle dan, olive, ellie, and cousin reagan]

via tandeminlove.com

[yummy dessert is served!]

via tandeminlove.com

[this babe slept for most of the party!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[i looooooooooooove her]

via tandeminlove.com

[auntie missy and ellie]

via tandeminlove.com

[me and my babe]

via tandeminlove.com

[i love these kiddos]

via tandeminlove.com

[so typical olive]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

xoxo

turkey day ’16

it was turkey day! yay! i love thanksgiving! it kicks off the holiday season and i love the holidays!

i took a pretty long break posting on the blog. one, i was soooo busy with thanksgiving coming up, planning olive’s birthday, hosting olive’s birthday party, and just living life. things just got a little hectic but i am finally catching up!

we did our usual routine – hc’s aunt wendy always has turkey ‘dinner’ ready by 1:30pm so we always head over there first to visit with his family. we got there a bit earlier and hung out and visited with everyone. olive was, of course, a bit shy and quiet around everyone but as soon as her sister grace showed up, she was all giggles!

once food was served, we just sat around and chilled. we ate, talked, and caught up with life’s happenings. olive started to warm up with everyone and really took to kait! kait is sooooo darn sweet with the girls and had so much fun playing with olive. olive’s giggles and smiles were proof she adored kait too!

after a few hours at aunt wendy’s house, we had to leave and drop grace off so she could continue on with her festive celebrating with her step dad’s side of the family.

via tandeminlove.com

[how adorable is kait with ellie?!]

via tandeminlove.com

[chef wendy]

via tandeminlove.com

[not yet warmed up to anyone]

via tandeminlove.com

[daddy is hungry and ellie is bored]

via tandeminlove.com

[trying to hide from the world]

via tandeminlove.com

[gramma jane]

via tandeminlove.com

[my baby]

via tandeminlove.com

[sister besties]

via tandeminlove.com

[auntie missy]

via tandeminlove.com

[giving thanks to the chicago cubs]

via tandeminlove.com

[kait and morgan]

***************************************************************

we then headed to my parent’s house to continue our thanksgiving tradition of eating dinner at 7. we do that every year and our holiday always works out so perfectly. once we got there, i dove into helping my sister with the cooking {as much as i can because i am no cook!} and drinking! thanksgiving would not be complete without a good bottle of wine! yum!

we drank, we cooked, we laughed, and the kids played. it was a cozy, fun, warm evening together. my brother dan decided, this year, to fry a turkey! it would be our first time doing it! it was the highlight of the night…putting a turkey in a deep fryer and boy, that sucker cooks that bird super fast!!

olive was quite spent from a few active days with very little naps that she was totally agreeable to a nap at my parent’s house. baby girl slept for several hours but she so needed it as it would be another late night for her!

more family came by and soon it was a full house {close to 20 people}. it was pretty awesome because i don’t think i held ellie once. all the ladies and gents took turns holding the baby…who doesn’t love a cutie baby like ellie? she’s so darn sweet!

dinner was ready by 7 and we all sat down to eat! my dad said a blessing and we got to chow down. the food was super good, as usual – my sister always does an amazing job with the menu and the delicious dishes!

overall, it was a wonderful, wonderful thanksgiving. the holiday feelings were all there. i love how festive it feels and looks, i love seeing family, i love being together on this special holiday, and i love eating and drinking together…hahaha, who doesn’t?!

i am thankful for our health, our family and friends, our blessings in life, and most of all, thankful for our two beautiful, healthy girls.

happy thanksgiving indeed!

via tandeminlove.com

[super auntie thuy]

via tandeminlove.com

[yummy turkey stuffing]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[working hard in the kitchen]

via tandeminlove.com

[kitchen cooking shenanigans]

via tandeminlove.com

[family time]

via tandeminlove.com

[face time with huy]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[dad loving the face time with huy]

via tandeminlove.com

[olive being grumpy from her nap]

via tandeminlove.com

[i love this babe…i know, i say it all the time but she’s amazing]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[these two…so sweet]

via tandeminlove.com[she always has this wide eyed look…]

via tandeminlove.com

[our first time frying a turkey…well, dan fried it and it turned out awesome!]

via tandeminlove.com

[mama]

via tandeminlove.com

[thuy brought home sake from japan]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[yummy chocolate silk pie]

via tandeminlove.com

[he’s sooooooooo sweet with her]

via tandeminlove.com

[i love these two]

xoxo

potty training 101

oohhhhhhhh, potty training. i was soooooo dreading it!

soooo many people have told me to train olive when she showed signs that she was ready. um, that never happened. we would read books together, pretend play that her dolls would pee in the toilet. she sat on the potty a few times and sometimes asked to sit on it, with more of a self interest behind it {she wanted to watch cartoons on the iPad and sit on the toilet}. ha! after months of me thinking about potty training her, i thought…forget it! signs or no signs, i was going to do it! i tried to potty train olive a few months ago…around the end of july, early august and that was a disaster!!!

she.was.not.ready. and let me tell ya…training a toddler with a newborn was a killer combination to cause me to go to the mental house. olive pee’d and poop’d all over the place. she did the typical toddler action of hiding behind the couch or hid in a corner and would just do it. yes, she would pee on the floor, poop in her underwear; i would walk away for 30 seconds and that gave her enough time to constantly go in her pants. i almost went insane! i would then have to clean her up, clean up the mess, do another load of laundry, take care of a crying newborn, etc. after a couple days of that, i said nooooo way! i was going to lose my mind so i stopped and little olive was soooo relieved!

well, fast forward to october, i thought – this is it. i am doing this. nothing is going to stop me now! i was determined. olive between then and now showed a bit of interest in it. not much but just a wee bit. by no means did she do a 180 and showed me signs of wanting to potty train…she still did not. we read the same books, played the same way with her dolls, and she rarely asked to sit on the toilet but i knew, in my gut, that it was time. i mentally prepared myself for a week and then bit the bullet.

i cleared out my calendar for 5 days. that was my magic number. 5 days of just sitting around the house and potty training my girl. i also mentally prepared olive and told her for days that we were giving up diapers. i had also gathered a few things that were critical to training her.

1.underwear: i bought a whole bunch. you never know how many you will go through so it’s good that you have quite a few on hand unless you want to do laundry alllllll the time. i probably bought an excessive amount {are 21 underpants too many?!} but i would rather be safe than sorry!

2.a few waterproof pads. i used these on the couch, on her chairs, anywhere she sat to protect whatever furniture you wanted to keep dry and safe.

3.the ipad. it’s a lifesaver when your child is sitting on the toilet f o r e v e rrrrrrrr.

4.the baby bjorn seat cover. ergonomically perfect for my daughter’s bum. it is simple, clean, and portable.

5.i included this potty book because it’s an easy read and really pushes the message through on potty training.

and no, i never rewarded her with candy for actually going pee or poo. she always got a ‘great job’ or high five but never a treat. i never liked the idea of giving your child a treat, like a dog, for doing something she should be doing.

day 1: i would not let olive wear any bottoms. no underwear, no pants. yes, she was naked from the waist down. i turned up the heat a bit so she would be comfortable. i didn’t want her to have the feeling of anything on her bum to remind her of a diaper. we sat around all day. mostly in the kitchen because it was a safe area…no rugs, no couch, just wood chairs and a hardwood floor = easy clean up! we had a few accidents…and that was ok. let me tell you peeps, you have to watch your child like a hawk. no joke. i had to sit next to olive the entire day. i rarely left her side, because if i did, she most likely would  pee if i wasn’t around. i also found that 30-45 minutes was the perfect interval time for us. some folks might find that every 20 minutes is good or longer but for us, 30-45 minutes was a perfect cycle for me to put olive on the toilet to ‘pee’. so all day long, every 30-45 minutes, i would put olive on the toilet whether she had to pee or not. i didn’t ask her, i demanded it, “olive, let’s go to the bathroom” and she would follow me to the bathroom. also, i am not a fan of the potty training toilets that they sell in the stores. if a kid is going to use the toilet, let her use the real toilet. not a plastic toilet that you can move anywhere in the house.

day 2: we did the same routine. she woke up in the morning and i took off her diaper and she ran around naked. we sat mostly in the kitchen again. she had a few accidents but it was much less than the day before, which was an awesome sign!

day 3: we did the same but this day, she wanted to sit on the couch which was risky business. i let her and we had an accident. she became too comfortable, she kept refusing to use the toilet, and i gave in and didn’t make her {with much regret and i learned my lesson to not have her dictate it and stick within my time interval of putting her on the toilet}. i used the waterproof pad and had placed it underneath her but the pee ran down the pad and onto our rug. ugh. well at least the couch was untouched! other than that, it was a pretty successful day! i truly believe that if i had made olive go sit on the toilet within the time interval, she wouldn’t have peed on the couch!

day 4: we did the same routine and we had no accidents! she was totally getting it and i was super excited and proud of her! btw, olive still needs naps but i didn’t give her any naps during this time. i was too afraid to put a diaper on her during the day {i was nervous it would confuse her}, so instead we did earlier bedtimes to make up for it. after her potty training success, we resumed with the naps.

day 5: my sisters wanted us to meet them out at the mall and go shopping. i was very hesitant. olive wasn’t a pro yet but i also wanted to try an outing with her. i wasn’t prepared, so i made hc go to the store and pick up some pull up’s {which i am not a fan of either…it’s too much like a diaper but it was better than nothing!} and my sister picked up toilet seat covers for us. i made olive go the bathroom before we left and when we got there, we all wanted to eat lunch. olive decided to slam a huge lemonade and i thought oh dang, this girl is going to pee in her pants! after lunch, i insisted that she go to the bathroom and she refused. she absolutely hates public toilets but who really loves them?! she freaked out and would not go to the bathroom…um, that made me nervous! i tried 2 more times and each time, she almost had a meltdown. after being at the mall for a bit, i told my sisters that i was going to go home. they understood and off we went, me praying that olive wouldn’t pee in the car! we safely arrived home and this girl didn’t wet her pants once! we were out for 2.5 hours!!! i was sooooo proud of her! we ran inside and she peed on the toilet in the comfort of her own home.

after the 5 straight days of potty training at home, we had total success! olive was a pro after that. she had some nervous accidents after the fact but she has pretty much been on point with peeing and pooping in the toilet!

my next battle to tackle was going to be night training…i was so dreading that. from what i had read, it was pretty much the idea of having a newborn again. it was suggested that you get up a couple times a night and wake your child to use the toilet. whaaaaa?! are you kidding me? ugh. no thank you. well, the most fabulous news i can share is that olive pretty much self-taught herself how to not pee in the bed at night. how awesome was that?! seriously! i put olive in a diaper at night, every night, right before bed. like the minute she was about to lay down, a diaper went on. after about {less than} two weeks of her being potty trained, she pretty much stopped wetting her diaper at night! i couldn’t believe it. morning after morning, she would wake up with a dry diaper. not flick of wetness and would pee in the toilet once she woke up. then soon, she didn’t want to wear a diaper at night and only her underwear! no accidents! i was amazed and so proud!

so, there ya go my friends. my potty training adventure with my sweet girl! i was so proud of her and was so happy that she kicked it this time around. i honestly thought we would never get to this point! it seemed like i wasn’t going to get it and either would olive but we did it! it took a lot of patience, tenacity, and determination but resulted in success! she is now diaper free and we couldn’t be more excited or more proud of her!

via tandeminlove.com

[essentials: a waterproof pad, ipad, the potty book, bjorn potty seat, and fun undies]

xoxo

happy halloween

oh, i was sooooo excited for halloween!

i couldn’t wait to match the girls! i was so stumped for quite awhile on what i was going to dress them as. i hemmed and hawed over so many ideas but alas, i chose fairies. olive loves tinker bell, so i thought it was fitting for her to be a fairy princess and ellie as well!

i ended up curating their costume pieces. i shopped only small {meaning small businesses that were handmade} and quickly put together their sweet, whimsical costumes. i loved every single piece i purchased. the best part? olive can and still wears all the pieces after halloween! it ended up being her most favorite outfit to date!

we dressed up both girls and went outside to take pictures {the weather was amazing!! not cold or rainy! it typically is every year!}. that was a complete debacle. olive couldn’t hold ellie upright {her costume was too slippery} and by the time i decided to lay both girls down on the blanket on top of the grass, they were both in sour moods and wouldn’t stop crying. seriously?! fml trying to take a decent picture! ha!

after pics {i needed a shower because these girls stress me out sometimes!}, we started our trick or treat journey. it was the cuuuuuuutest thing to watch olive! i did a few a examples for her but after that, she got it! i loved watching her be so independent and sweet! she would quietly knock on people’s doors and not move so it was difficult for them to open the door. ha! she would quietly say, ‘twick o tweet’ and ‘dank you!’ to every person who gave her candy. man did she get brownie points for her cuteness…so many folks gave in and would dump candy into her basket or give extra because they say ellie. olive made out like a bandit for only hitting a few houses!

as we walked along the block, we chit chatted with neighbors and got to know quite a few people on my parent’s street. olive did such a great job and really enjoyed the whole process! after a eight houses {which probably took more than a half hour}, we asked if she wasted to go home and she said, “yes! go home!” and go home we did!

once we arrived home, olive loved checking out all the trick or treaters at the door. she’s finally starting to break out of her shy shell. granted, she still doesn’t really talk around others but she was quite brave with the strangers while trick or treating and loved peeking at all the kids coming to the door and would actually walk downstairs to say hi!

we waited for the trick or treating curfew to end and then packed up our stuff to go home. we tried to get olive’s costume off and that turned out to be the biggest debacle of all time. i mean major meltdown…she flipped out. how dare we tell her to take off her wings and skirt?! we were the devil in her eyes. she screamed and cried and went completely bonker hysterical on us. that was a loooooooooong process that we soooo regretted. ugh.

anyhoo, once we got the little bugger into the car…we finally made it home. phew! that was a knock down dragged out fight but we kind of won. hc stuffed her into the car seat with the compromise of her holding her wings instead of sitting with them on. oy.

overall, it was an awesome halloween. the weather was so fantastic, soooo many people complimented her on the costume, and she had the best time! i love halloween, i always have but now i love it more with our kids in it! it’s so fun and delightful to see such joy in her eyes!

via tandeminlove.com

[such a beautiful fairy princess]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[i looooooooved their costumes]

via tandeminlove.com

[walking house to house, trick or treating!]

via tandeminlove.com

[her trick or treat bag…collecting goodies]

via tandeminlove.com

[me and my girl]

via tandeminlove.com

[walking towards the cool halloween house]

via tandeminlove.com

[soooooo pretty]

via tandeminlove.com

[hitting up a house for candy…knocking on the door. oh how i loved watching her do this!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[her loot]

xoxo

hb fiona!

we were so excited to attend fiona’s birthday party at olivia’s parent’s house.

her sister, claire, flew into town to host the party but she’s currently living in san diego. so, it was definitely a special occasion with them coming into town to celebrate! olivia’s parents live about an hour and 15 minutes away from us, so it was quite a trip to head up north for the party. my kids are pretty fortunate to not travel so much or so long in the car but they both did well. olive stayed awake the whole time and ellie took a little nap.

we were so late. like an hour late but when we arrived, there were only a few cars by the house and it looked like they were the homeowner’s cars. i said to hc…i don’t think anyone is here! hahaha! and we were right! olivia came out to greet us and told us that only one person was here and it was aaron’s mom! oh my goodness!

well, i didn’t feel so bad being so darn late! we walked inside and we were greeted by olivia’s parents, pam and jim, her sister claire, aaron, her brother henry, and aaron’s mom. soon more people came, friends, cousins, etc. and we slowly caught up with everyone throughout the party.

olivia’s dad jim made a killer chili and there were a lot of appetizers and snacks to munch on. it was very relaxed and low key. fiona was napping and when she woke, it took her a bit to ‘wake’ up. trust me…olive is the same way, so i totally understand how grumpy threenagers can be! once she adjusted, we introduced olive and fiona and they instantly became besties!!! it was the cutes thing to watch! fiona led the way and olive followed. it was soooooo fun to see them interact with one another. fiona’s imagination is wild! she created so many stories, she was so animated, and olive loved every second of it. they walked all around the yard, hid behind bushes and played, sat underneath trees and whispered stories to one another. it was so sweet to watch!

after a few hours of hanging out, we decided to head out. we really had a great time. i love hanging out with olivia and her family! they are such sweet, eclectic people and they are so easy and fun to talk to!

we said our goodbyes…i was a bit sad to leave because i really enjoyed everyone’s company but i mostly enjoyed watching olive and fiona play together! it was a happy day indeed!

via tandeminlove.com

[love these babes]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[grandma and ben]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[rich, ellie, and arron]

via tandeminlove.com

[these two got along so well! it was sooooo stinkin’ cute!]

via tandeminlove.com

[the cuuuuuuuutest girls[

via tandeminlove.com

[they were both into the horse]

via tandeminlove.com

[toddler besties]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[family]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[they loved hiding behind the trees and bushes]

via tandeminlove.com

[she loved fiona’s horse]

via tandeminlove.com

[olivia and aaron]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[their secret hiding spot]

via tandeminlove.com

xoxo

matt + panda

we finally had guncle johann and matt come visit ellie + famille!

we had a date set up over a month ago but those plans fell through and we were finally able to meet up! it was going to be a real relaxed casual night. the cubs game was on and we were too busy to put the effort in to cooking a gourmet meal.

hc and i {leading up to johann and matt arriving} were running around like crazy to get last minute things done. it’s always such a challenge when you have multiple young kids! one person has to watch the baby {especially if she’s fussy} and it’s like playing hot potato! pass the baby, pass the baby, you got the baby? can you take the baby? can you hold her for just five minutes while i quickly do something? hahaha!!!!

once matt and johann arrived, we just relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company. matt is always hilarious and johann always cracks me up with his take on things…i love hanging out with these two fun dudes. they walked through our door with so many presents. it was like christmas for the babes! there were presents from matt’s mom & the guncles. olive was being so shy {ellie was sleeping} and didn’t want to open her presents so i decided to do it for her!

after presents, libations were flowing, and dinner was on the grill. i love our conversations. they are always lively, animated, and full of laughter. time really flies when were hanging out with these two! after we ate dinner, we settled into the living room to watch the game. johann is strongly a sox fan, matt is neutral, and hc and i are the biggest cubs fan! it was quite the intense game but the cubs did it! they made it into the world series! we were sooooooo elated! what a fantastic night! great company and the cubs did it!

after hours of eating, drinking, and lounging – matt and johann decided to call it quits and head home. it was so fabulous to have had them over and finally meet miss ellie baby! oh, she’s just the best! johann is such a natural with babies…oh he’ll be a great dad someday! well, we said our goodbyes to matt and johann and wished them safe travels and then did a dance of joy that the cubs won the pennant and were headed to the world series!

via tandeminlove.com

[ellie, johann, and matt]

via tandeminlove.com

[it was like christmas]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[the cutest little card and box of panda socks!]

via tandeminlove.com

[oh these two…johann is so good with kids!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[glazed pumpkin cake]

via tandeminlove.com

[the boys watching the game]

via tandeminlove.com

[ellie saying, “go cubs go!!!!”]

via tandeminlove.com

[yasssssssssss!]

xoxo

fabulous zoo date

kim and i met up for a zoo date take two. the first time we went to the zoo with them, it was such a personal disaster. i was so unprepared and a lot of meltdowns happened, including me. hahaha!

well, this time around…we were ready! we had the right attachment to the stroller, we had snacks, we had lunch, we had drinks, and it wasn’t steaming hot {that is always a recipe for a disaster!}.

we both arrived at the zoo at the same time and we parked right next to each other! we strolled on in…it was so darn perfect out! we did our usual walk and there were a lot of animals out. olive warmed up to brady a lot quicker than what she usually does! it was so cute to watch them, olive at times would call brady’s name and ask him to, ‘come here!’ to see certain animals and brady always wanted to hold olive’s hand! awwwww!

kim’s mom joined us as well and it was awesome to see her! she’s such a sweet, sweet lady! we leisurely strolled the zoo, saw the animals, went into certain houses, and eventually stopped for lunch. the temperature started to drop but it still felt great overall. it was so nice, this time around, to be able to see almost all the animals, walk at a slow pace, and the zoo was kind of empty – which makes it great for us! {less congestion and more animal face time!}

once we got near the end, we brought the kids over to the carousel for a ride. it was olive’s first time on a carousel! i was sooooo excited for her! the only bump in the road that we ran into was that we were a minute too late for the next ride! they cut off the line right before us and poor brady and olive thought we weren’t going to take them on the ride and they both yelled and cried the entire time the ride ran and honestly, it felt like an eternity! haha! finallyyyyyyy, it was our turn and tears turned into sweet smiles! it was sooooo heartwarming to see her so happy! she told me she wanted to sit on the giraffe and the giraffe she got! kim’s sweet mom took on the challenge of snapping a pic of us and she did a fabulous job!

i love spending my time kim and her kids {and mom!}. i feel so lucky that we have become so close! i love this sweet mama! we get along so well, have a lot in common, and it seems like even when we spend hours and hours together, we never have enough time to talk about all the things we want to talk about. well, that’s having kids around for ya, right?!

anyhoo, it was a fabulous second zoo date and i can’t wait until we meet up again! cheers to great friendships!

via tandeminlove.com

[the cutest kiddos]

via tandeminlove.com

[she’s so cool]

via tandeminlove.com

[snow leopards]

via tandeminlove.com

[twinning at it’s best]

via tandeminlove.com

[it’s such a challenge to get all the kids to look at the camera]

via tandeminlove.com

[isn’t brady so sweet?]

via tandeminlove.com

[me and my girls]

via tandeminlove.com

[not one child looking at the camera…hahaha!!! olive’s shirt by @cocoaandheart]

via tandeminlove.com

[mesmerized by the polar bear]

via tandeminlove.com

[her first carousel ride! she had so much fun!]

via tandeminlove.com

[sweet hugs goodbye]

xoxo

morton arboretum

it was a perfect day to go to the morton arboretum. there was a slight chill in the air but the sun was shining and there was no rain! it had rained all week and it’s always such a bummer when the temperature isn’t so hot but you can’t get outside to enjoy it! we weren’t sure what we wanted to do at first but i knew i wanted to do something! i never want to waste a good day of lovely weather! so, we packed up the kids and went our merry way to the arboretum!

it was early and we found a great parking spot. we decided to eat breakfast there first. i was super bummed because we got there 10 minutes too late for them to serve us breakfast! whaaaaaa? it, literally, was sitting in front of us and a bunch of the kitchen workers came over and pulled it to the back. huhhhhhh? for reals? i thought, you seriously can’t serve me this food?! what a waste! so instead, i ordered a bacon and sausage quiche. at least i got a brunch item! we sat in their restaurant area and enjoyed our food. their dining area has such a beautiful, scenic view!

once we finished, we immediately walked towards the children’s play area. i love that olive is at an age where she is confident playing on her own and isn’t so afraid to be near other kids. i also love that every play area is pretty much enclosed and you can’t lose your kid! we hit play area after play area and olive was having a blast! it was so adorable to see her so excited, curious, and having so much fun! we explored most of the children’s area and finally made our way out after a few hours.

as we walked towards the exit, they had a fall festival going on where they were selling food, beer, kettle corn, cotton candy, and other goodies! we purchased a bag of kettle corn and sat down at one of the outdoor tables and enjoyed our treat. olive loves, loves popcorn! i was super cautious about her eating it when she was younger. i would either break off the kernels or buy “popcorn” that wasn’t really kernel popped but now she’s a pro! we had so much fun just simply eating our popcorn and being silly. just for the record…ellie slept the entire time!

oh, we had such a marvelous time! it was awesome to have such fun family time and pretty cool to see my baby girl have so much fun! we didn’t get to explore everything there this time so we can’t wait to go back again, hopefully in a few weeks before it gets too cold!

happy fall y’all!

via tandeminlove.com

[she thought it was funny that she had water on her finger and it was extra funny she put that said finger into her mouth]

via tandeminlove.com

[ellie bear all snuggled up in her stroller]

via tandeminlove.com

[she was actually standing in front of glass…you can see the reflection]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[going into the children’s garden]

via tandeminlove.com

[she loves tunnels]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[nothing can stop this child from being near any water!]

via tandeminlove.com

[peek a boo!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[she loved every play area]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

xoxo

apple pickin’

we had a wonderful day planned! we were getting up early to go apple picking at a fun orchard up north. well, who knew it would be sooooooo dang warm? that was a recipe for disaster!

we had been to royal oak farm a couple years ago and really enjoyed our time there. this time was such a sweet disaster! haha! one, we weren’t dressed right for the oh so hot temperatures. two, olive had multiple meltdowns. three, hc refused to wear the ergo, so he was carrying ellie {not having your hands free when you have two kids is not a smart thing, especially if you are able to avoid it}.

we ate lunch first but the food they offered was very fried, sugary, and limited. the flies and bees were ridiculous. i mean RI-diculous! they were all over us and the food. my mom didn’t want to eat, thuy didn’t want to eat and was a bit grumpy, and we were ready to just go pick apples. although, olive was hilarious about the bugs. she kept giggling, screaming, and saying, “shoo, shoo bug! shoo!”. it was very, very cute!

we got into line to purchase our bags and we all herded onto the hayride towards the orchard. olive thought it was fun and really enjoyed being in the wagon being pulled by the john deere tractor! we arrived at our destination and began apple picking. oh my goodness, it was so hot! it was 90 degrees and the sun was beating down on us! my mom and sister wanted green apples but they weren’t ripe yet, so we kept walking around trying to find green apples. hc didn’t want to hold ellie anymore so he left to go get the stroller. while hc was gone, olive had a few meltdowns and wanted me to do this, that, hold her, she cried, mumbled, and did a bunch of things i couldn’t really help her with because i was holding ellie…sweating in the sun!

he finally made it back to help but olive was on a roll. every time the hayride came by, she wanted to get on it and we told her no and she cried and cried and cried. she didn’t want to pick apples, although i did, we were super hot and sticky, and it was just a bit crazy.

well, in the end, we got our apples, we took some marvelous pictures, and we were ready to go home! i know, what you just read probably sounded like a disaster of an outing but it was a great day despite the hot temps and the tantrums displayed by olive and her mama! ha! yes, if it was cooler, it wouldn’t have been so intense but i still loved that we did it and spent some crazy time together. we were soooooooo ready to go home and shower though!

well, next year we will make sure the temps are low so we don’t melt in the sun when we go apple picking! i am super excited to use the apples to make apple pie and candied apples this coming month! more fun activities to look forward to!

via tandeminlove.com

[sweet girl who’s ready to have a few meltdowns. eep]

via tandeminlove.com

[having lunch with grandma]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[apples available to pick!]

via tandeminlove.com

[wagon riding to the apple orchard]

via tandeminlove.com

[ellie’s first wagon ride]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[thuy and mom on the wagon ride]

via tandeminlove.com

[thanks auntie thuy for the cute family pic]

via tandeminlove.com

[it was sooooo stinkin’ hot]

via tandeminlove.com

[ba with ellie]

via tandeminlove.com

[olive apple picking]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[auntie thuy chillin’ while we pick apples]

via tandeminlove.com

[mom and dad]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

xoxo

bouncy birthday party

we were invited to mila and nolan’s birthday party!

it was a beautiful, perfect day ~ weather wise. as we were walking towards their house, kevin happen to be outside to greet us and olive immediately laid eyes on a paw patrol bouncy house!!! whoa! she looooooves paw patrol!

the party was in full swing when we arrived. hc’s family was already there and we joined in of the fun. olive immediately ran towards the swing set…she had to get comfortable with the idea of getting into that bouncy house first. she really took to a little blonde girl there and it was so sweet to see her interested and wanting to play with her.

it was great visiting with everyone…i said hello to kevin and ryan’s mom, hc’s parents, sister missy, nephew daniel, girlfriend rachel, grace, and a few other folks. we just hung out, had drinks, and i took a gazillion pics of olive.

after an hour or so, olive asked to go inside the bouncy. no wayyyyyyy! i was excited that she wanted to. she can be a bit afraid of other kids and especially, boys. boys tend to be too loud, crazy, and rough for olive’s taste and she’d prefer not to interact…she’s too demure! i asked her again and she said she wanted to go inside! jane decided to take her; she took off her shoes, and helped her inside the bouncy house and boom! olive took off! she giggled, screamed, and had the time of her life! i was in love! my heart was so full watching her have so much fun! she was a pro…she bounced, fell, bounced, giggled, fell, and repeated every step. we couldn’t get her out! it was such a joy to see her so happy!

after a few hours, we ate, they served cake, and we continued to mingle. honestly, we thought we would be there for an hour or so but we ended up being there for over four hours! we had such a great time. we loved catching up with everyone, especially ryan…hc’s cousin who recently moved out of town. olive had a blast and by the end of the party, we were all tuckered out!

we said our goodbyes and headed out. both girls were zonked out in the back seat and we were all happy campers heading to our home sweet home.

via tandeminlove.com

[i love this girl]

via tandeminlove.com

[silly girl]

via tandeminlove.com

[shining star grace]

via tandeminlove.com

[nice hair ellie]

via tandeminlove.com

[gramma and papa]

via tandeminlove.com

[yup, she’s like, “whaaaaaa? more pictures mom?!”]

via tandeminlove.com

[cousins]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[she was so independent and excited to be in the bouncy house…first time! she was smiling at gramma!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[birthday boy]

via tandeminlove.com

[birthday girl]

via tandeminlove.com

[what a beautiful group of kids]

via tandeminlove.com

[yay! ice cream]

via tandeminlove.com

[toy story cake]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[ready for cake]

via tandeminlove.com

xoxo