Category: Olivia Iris

With Olive starting preschool in a month (!!!), I have had school supplies on my mind.  I always loved back-to-school shopping as a child, and now I get to be the one with the pocketbook, helping my own daughter fill up a cart with (cute) essentials.  Although the supplies truly necessary for a preschooler are limited, I knew I wanted to invest in a great first backpack.  My goal was to find something well-made, colorful and appropriately-sized.  Ideally, Olive will hold on to this backpack for at least a few years.  Here were my top contenders…

  • Herschel // Settlement Kids backpacks $39.99 — Herschel is synonymous with hip backpacks for kids and adults alike.  They have a kids line as well as a slightly larger youth line, for the bigger kiddos.  Olive was instantly attracted to the variety of quirky patterns offered; her favorite is the “South Beach” design in a bright teal, covered with palm trees and pink flamingos.  Both the Settlement and Heritage lines come in kids’ sizes.
  • STATE Bags // The Kane $55 —
    STATE Bags is like the TOMS of the bag world; they have a wonderful program that matches each bag sold with one given to an American child in need.  I love the playful color blocking on the bag, and the various pockets and compartments.  I think both colorways work for boys and girls.
  • Freshly Picked // Limited Edition Backpacks $30 —
    My favorite moccasin maker now makes limited edition backpacks!  This summer they did a playful banana print and a coral-backed palm leaf pattern.  Right now they’re offering a classic stars and striped backpack.  The price is right, too!
  • Skip Hop // Unicorn Backpack $20 — I love Skip Hop products and their sweet line of backpacks (and coordinating lunch boxes, plates, cups, etc.) is comprised of various animals.  The unicorn is a newer offering and it just puts a smile on my face.  This bag is the smallest of all at only 10.5″w x 12″h x 5″d.
  • Fjallraven // Kånken Mini backpack $65 — I love the squared-off shape of this iconic framed backpack, a Swedish classic.  It comes in a rainbow of colors (including some two-tone options) and is beautifully made.

Let me know if you have a favorite!  In the end, I couldn’t get Olive off of those “mingos” (what she calls flamingos) and we ordered the Herschel Kid’s Settlement backpack.  It shipped at lightning speed and the quality and craftsmanship exceeded my very high expectations.  Olive is already wearing it around the house in excitement for “school time.”

Hope you are all having a great week!

>> 2015 LOVE & SPLENDOR WORKSHOP INFO HERE // REGISTER HERE <<

Thank you to everyone for your sweet comments here & on Instagram regarding our Target commercial!  We are so grateful for the opportunity we had to be featured as a voice for adoption.  Many people have asked how we got the gig, so I thought I’d share a little behind-the-scenes post on how it all happened.

The process started in early March, when my sweet friend Joy (of Oh Joy!) emailed me about the casting.  She knew that Target was working on putting together a series of nursery commercials and they were looking for different families to feature.  She thought we might be a fit (since we were in the adoption process) and asked if we might want to audition.  Of course my interest was piqued, but I didn’t expect Erik to want to drive down to LA for an audition.  Surprisingly, he said we might as well fill out a questionnaire and see what happened.  We were called for an audition shortly thereafter, with less than a day’s notice.  (That is typical for the industry, but atypical for us since we live hours away from LA now…)  I asked the casting director if we could bring our kids (they were just casting parents) and they said we could.  So, two kiddos in tow, we made our way to the audition.

first audition // see noah sleeping by the monitor?

Our initial audition took less than 15 minutes.  We checked in, waited in a large room with dozens of other couples, and were eventually called into an audition room.  It was just us and a sweet cameraman who filmed us answering a handful of questions.  The process was pretty simple and we felt honored to share our adoption story, even if it was just with the cameraman!  The initial auditions were conducted over a few days, and they likely saw countless couples.

Imagine our excitement when we found out we made callbacks (aka round two of auditions), which meant another trip to LA.  I saw nearly 50 families listed on the callback sheet!  On this occasion, we were called in to meet the director and a team of creatives working on the film.  Noah slept through the audition (of course!) but Olive enjoyed hamming it up for everyone, making friends with the production team and crawling up on the casting couch with them.  It was hilarious!  Once again we enjoyed the experience of sharing about ourselves, why we chose adoption, and how we had already been so blessed in the process.  We also chatted about how our fast-paced adoption made it difficult to prepare for Noah in the way most expectant couples might prepare for their little ones.

Post callback, we learned we had been selected for the commercial.  The casting director then let me know that Target loved Olive and wanted her to be in the commercial as well.  We were delighted!  We had some paperwork to handle (since Olive is a minor, she required a work permit as well as a special bank account for children in the entertainment industry) before things were made official.  As a sidenote — at the time we filmed the commercial, we were not allowed to show Noah’s face on camera.  This is one reason why he is not featured in the commercial.

in the studio

From there we scheduled recording sessions (since the commercial is a voice-over, Erik and I spent time in a recording studio), fittings, and call times.  The recording session took a couple of hours in Santa Monica, where we sat in a sound booth with the director.  He asked us tons of questions about our relationship, our family, our homelife, our fertility struggles and the adoption process.  A lot of the questions were likely warm ups to get us comfortable speaking into microphones (with a handful of people sitting in the adjacent room, listening and taking notes on sound bites they might want to put into the final commercial).  I really loved that the process was conversational, since it meant our own words were used in the commercial, not a script.  It also helped us get very comfortable with the director (the brilliant creative, Mac Premo) before shoot day.  We had a great time telling our story to him in full detail, even though only a few snippets made it into the 1 minute commercial.  A little note: I was a little sick on the day of our studio session, so my voice sounds deeper than usual in the commercial.  Of course no one could really notice but it still makes me chuckle when I hear it played back.

olive with director mac premo

The day we shot the commercial was an exciting and packed day.  We arrived early to grab coffee and breakfast (catering + craft services = one of the best parts of the entertainment business! haha) and then were rushed into hair/makeup and wardrobe.  I love that they observed what we wore to the audition (our own clothes) and just tried to mimic that.  So, while the clothes we wore were selected by stylists (the hilarious Keith Wager), they were almost identical to what we had worn to the audition.  Keith joked that it was actually hard to find quirky clothes for me.  😉  Everything we wore was head-to-toe Target, of course.  Olive was put into overalls which looked darling on her, but there was a tiny bit of drama since she prefers to wear dresses everyday of the week.  We all convinced her she looked perfect and distracted her long enough for her to forget what she was wearing.  I then had the pleasure of having my makeup done by the talented Terri Apanasewicz.  She is an industry star who styles some of the most famous faces in Hollywood (including Cindy Crawford and Gisele, nbd), yet she treated me with the utmost kindness and care.  I told her I hope our paths cross again so she can really doll me up, instead of just giving me the everyday look we were going for with this commercial.  😉  We didn’t do anything to my hair (or Olive’s!) to keep it natural.  From makeup I was literally whisked to set, and right into the first shots.  Everyone on set was super friendly and accommodating, from the producers to the cameramen to the editors.

Also fun — they hired a teacher/handler for Olive, since she is a minor.  She was so lovely and also had worked with some of the biggest child stars in Hollywood, including Abigail Breslin.  I was really blown away by the talented crew that Target had brought on for the project!

Overall I was  taken aback by the amount of people who were on-set to oversee the project.  There was someone there from Target HQ, along with the creative team who had been at the audition, sitting in a “video village” to observe the playback.  They would occasionally radio up minor comments and notes to help capture exactly what they envisioned for the project.  There was a props team, a seamstress, and countless others.  The energy in the air was palpable, and the pace frenetic yet upbeat.

It was a very full day of filming but I have to say I enjoyed every minute.  I loved just getting a glimpse of the fascinating world of film/TV.  SO much work went into putting together this spot; it made me pause to consider how much more time goes into shooting every scene of a TV show or movie.  I certainly came away with a greater respect for the art and thought and effort that goes into creating the commercials we see everyday.

I hope one day Noah can watch this film and see how excited we were to welcome him into our family.  He has truly been loved and anticipated from the very beginning.  I can’t believe he has now been with us for five months!

Enjoy your day and see you again soon!  Thank you for stopping by!

>> 2015 LOVE & SPLENDOR WORKSHOP INFO HERE // REGISTER HERE

I can’t believe it but my little family is featured in a Target commercial about adoption!  I’ve already watched it a handful of times and Olive is positively obsessed.  (Oh brother!)  Don’t worry — we aren’t quitting our day jobs.  But, we had a blast working on this project and are excited to have it as a little keepsake for our family.

Today I wanted to share the commercial (currently on their YouTube channel, but keep your eyes open: our contract allows to national TV spots as well!) but later this week I’ll share about the audition & casting process, as well as what goes into shooting a commercial like this.  It was a really unique and wonderful experience.

We’re not quitting our day jobs but hey, Olive is Coogan-account ready in case anyone out there wants to snap her up for their next ad campaign.  😉

I hope you all have a wonderful day; see you soon!

I LOVE the stage Olive is in right now.  I am constantly telling people how much fun it is to have a three-year old, and just when I think it can’t get any better, it does!  I’ve felt this way about every stage, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised any longer…  It really does continue to get better.  :)  Today I wanted to share some snippets & favorite memories from winter 2014 & spring 2015…

wearing little minis

Does everyone think their kid is the funniest kid on the planet (both on purpose and unintentionally)??  Because seriously, Erik and I cannot stop laughing at Olive all.day.long.  This girl has the craziest imagination and says the most adorable things.  Recently she found some false eyelashes in my drawer and asked what they were.  I told her they were special eyelashes for when I get all dressed up.  She instantly started pulling at her eyelashes and said, “Mama!  I want to take mine off and put these on!!”  When I finished laughing I told her that they’re only for grown ups.  She reminds me everytime we pass that drawer: “When I’m a big girl I’m gonna wear those eyelashes and your special sandals (some Marc Jacobs platforms that she also has her eye on; ha!).”  Oh brother!

Olive loves to dance and sing, often spontaneously.  We can be in a store or even the market and if the music (or muzak) moves her, she says, “Mama I need to practice my dancing!”  From ballet to interpretive dancing to all out crazy shakes, she definitely gives it her all.  :)  I love listening to her making up songs throughout the day (she is great with independent play) about the most random topics.  She’ll sing to her toys, sing while reading a book, sing to Noah while he’s crying.  She definitely loves music.  She also loves pretending to be in school (reading books, practicing her numbers and letters) and art projects of all kinds (painting, “sculpting” with Play-doh, drawing, coloring).

Highlights…

  • Being an adorable flowergirl in Erik’s sister’s wedding (I was a bridesmaid and Erik was a groomsman) in November 2014
  • Lots of playdates with favorite pals including church gals (Jetta, Eden, Chloe), local friends (Zakary, Luke, Piper, Ellis, Leo, Alicia) and LA/OC friends, too!
  • Helped pick out our Christmas tree, put up lights + decorations, and enjoyed a traditional night of festivities in downtown Cambria
  • Continued to attend and love our local storytime one day a week!
  • Disneyland trip in December 2015 with halmunee (my mom) and our good friend Jackie + baby X
  • Multiple trips to the SB Zoo (where Michael the giraffe remains her favorite)
  • Christmas season dinner at the iconic Madonna Inn
  • Our first Christmas morning in our own house (just the three of us), before heading to LA for family celebrations
  • She welcomed a baby brother (through God’s grace of adoption) in January 2015 and has proven to be an amazing big sister — she loves Noah SO much and seeing them together makes my heart burst!
  • Attended a Valentine’s Day party with her friends (and loved every second of it)
  • She loves picking flowers everywhere we go (but always asks permission, first).  If I tell her no, she says, “Just let it grow, right?”  <3
  • She turned THREE and celebrated with donuts (of course) and a pirate-themed birthday (her pick!).
  • Held a bunny and rode a tractor at Ellis’ birthday party (not sure which was her favorite!)
  • Cried over a puppy for the first time (named “Tank,” affectionately called “Tanky” — a beagle/doxie mix at the local rescue)
  • Moved into a “big girl room” with a twin-sized bed!  She chose her own bedding at Target: Paris/ballerina themed
  • She helped Erik plant the spring garden
  • We toured a preschool (!) she will start at in the fall
  • She attended the Giant Playdate with me and had a blast
  • She had her first real job :) // more coming soon!!!

loving my solly baby wrap

photo by Callaway Gable

wearing Paush

This has been a big season of transition for our family, with the wonderful blessing of Noah’s arrival.  Olive has been so great with all of the huge changes and even more than that, I feel like she has grown into an even lovelier, kinder child since her brother was born.  I stand in awe at the way she has embraced him, loved on him, attached to him.  On one of our drives to LA, we made a brief stop at Target to go to the restroom.  I took Olive into the store and Erik stayed in the car with Noah.  As soon as we walked into the sliding glass doors, Olive started to panic and cry (real tears!).  “Mama! Mama you forgot baby Noah! We need my baby Noah!!”  It’s always “my baby Noah” and “my baby brutha” — never just Noah.  I love the way God has made her so tender, sensitive, and affectionate.

I can’t wait to see what the next season holds!!  And, coming very soon, I’ll be able to share some beautiful photos of both of my kiddos together!  Thanks for stopping by; have a fantastic week!

I had such a busy summer that I have fallen (extremely) behind on my Olive updates here on the blog.  In fact, the last one was only up through June 12, 2014!  In an effort to catch up, I’m going to share a longer Olive post here today.  Hope you don’t mind.  😉  Here’s the latest up through October 31, 2014.

Olive is growing into such a kind-hearted, curious and silly little girl.  She truly delights me everyday and I doubt I’ll ever “get over” the magic of her.  Olive wakes up each morning in the very best mood.  We hear her call out to us from her crib in a sing-song voice saying, “Maaaamaaaa!  Daddyyyyyy!”  When we crack the door open we see her standing up with a beaming smile on her face.  “Good moh-ning!  I missed you!!” she’ll say as we scoop her up.  She is enthusiastic about the little things, like going to the park (again) or running an errand with me.  She is talkative and opinionated, but tender and obedient.  We were at the grocery store this week when we passed by a display stuffed animals.  “Loooook, Mama!  There’s a pony!  Oh Mama I love the pony!”  I reminded her that we had plenty of toys (including ponies) at home, and we weren’t going to be taking a new one home today.  She placed the pony back on the shelf and skipped over to me.  We do our best to raise Olive with a loving, patient heart but I have to say… this girl has something special.  (Ugh, I’m such a mom, right??)  I thank God everyday for this precious girl He entrusted to our care.

Here are some highlights from late summer through October…

  • She spent lots of beach days with “Mimi Donna” from church.  She loves digging in the sand, chasing the waves and climbing all over the beach playground.
  • We continued to attend storytime at our local library, where Olive enjoys singing, reciting nursery rhymes, making crafts and of course, listening to stories.
  • Our treasured friends Ryan & Cary visited us from Texas and we had a blast with them!  Olive loves them so much and I love watching their special bond grow.
  • Since Ryan was here, he graciously took photos of our family.  We are in love with every single one of them; it is a blessing to be in front of his camera!
  • We celebrated the 4th of July with a good ol’ fashioned church BBQ, followed by a failed attempt to view fireworks (living by the ocean = intense fog obscuring the beautiful display).  We still had a great time!
  • 3-4 days a week, we visit a local park to just run wild and free.  Olive wants to climb every structure, ladder, and wall.  She’s fearless but also quite agile.
  • On our trips to Los Angeles, Olive and I make sure to grab lunch at Chick-Fil-A and visit the Santa Barbara Zoo.  It’s a sweet little ritual that we’ve both come to love.
  • We visited the California Mid-State Fair as a family.  Olive loves visiting the livestock and watching the dazzling lights on the various carnival rides and booths.  I love the smell of fair food in the air.  😉  Ahhh, nostalgia!
  • Our organic garden produced a bounty of delicious vegetables including snap peas, green beans, cucumbers, kale, lettuces, and six types of heirloom tomatoes.  Erik gets all the credit for the preparation and tending of the garden.  With our over-producing cucumbers, we decided to make a bunch of pickles.  Can’t wait to crack open the first jar in a week or so.
  • For our 9-year wedding anniversary, we took a little roadtrip through California.  We had stops in San Francisco, Berkeley, Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Lakes, and Yosemite.  My sister and brother-in-law (Anna and Sean) were able to join us for the last leg of the trip and we had a wonderful time together.  I love introducing Olive to some of our favorite places.
  • We had an impromptu visit from my best friend Kristin, and her daughter, Siena.  It was so great having her here for a night, and watching our girls play together.
  • Per usual, we took apple season by storm and made it out to our favorite local orchard, Gopher Glen, on a near-weekly basis.  As the apple crop winds down, we are still out there frequently, picking up late-season varieties and plenty of their incredible cider.
  • Olive spent some quality time with both sets of grandparents during various trips to LA.  It’s a blessing to have all of our family just a short drive away!
  • We took Olive trick-or-treating and she had a blast!  It started pouring rain when we were wrapping up, so we had to sprint to the car.  We still got soaking wet.  :)  It was a hilarious memory I know we won’t soon forget.

Our late-June through October 2014 photomosaic:

Our little Olive — I can’t believe how thoughtful, sensitive and witty you are; it takes me aback on a regular basis.  You can read me like a book already, and when I’m low on energy or excitement you say, “Show me your smile face!!”  It never fails to make me grin.  You are fearless on the playground but you still hate getting dirty.  Your favorite foods include all Asian cuisines (that’s my girl!), cheese, olives, peas, eggs and chocolate… of course.  You are crazy about pirates (thanks to Jake and the Neverland Pirates) and use words like “Ahoy!” in your everyday speech.  You love wearing skirts and dresses that let you twirl.  You sing all.day.long (and actually can carry a tune quite well!).  You’re into imaginative play and like to create scenes and interactions with your stuffed animals.  Each has a personality, a voice, and certain mannerisms.  It’s fascinating to watch!  You are a puzzle-master and an avid builder of towers with your blocks.  About once a day, you pretend to be a puppy for 5-10 minutes, barking instead of talking and panting excitedly.  It’s hilarious and I kinda hope you don’t grow out of it anytime soon.  Your puppy name is “Woofy.”  :)  Your favorite activity these days is simply being in the kitchen with me, standing on a stool and helping mix and stir and put ingredients together for dinner or biscuits or a pot of coffee.  I can’t wait for many more memories made in the kitchen, cooking side-by-side.  You are the cutest sous-chef!  We love you and all your brilliance, your quirks, your creativity, your affection and sweetness.  You are a marvelous creature of our great God and it is pure joy being your Mama and Daddy.  xoxo 

Hope you’re all having a great start to your week!  See you again soon.  :)

Congratulations to the winners (I couldn’t resist and picked two!) Erika and Gicel from my Rosy Rings giveaway!  I already emailed both of you ladies and can’t wait to get your candles in the mail.  Everyone else: thank you for entering!  I hope you get to check out these wonderful candles for yourselves.

[I actually wrote this post yesterday but it seems to have vanished into cyberspace.  If anyone got it via subscription, sorry for the redundancy!]

Although we had discussed otherwise, Erik and I decided at the very last minute yesterday that we’d dress Olive up after all.  On Thursday night, I had drawn a nose and whiskers on Olive’s face with black eyeliner just for fun and we couldn’t believe how excited she was about her ‘transformation.’  I love that at this age, everything is magical.  In between weekday errands Friday morning, I made a pit stop at a pretty desolate costume store, expecting to just grab some black cat ears and go with the proven (and cheap) winner from the night before.  But, I spotted a solid contender (close to Olive’s size!) on the picked-over racks: Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  The sales associate gave me 25% off and it was a done deal.  When I brought the costume home to Olive, she lit up with pure delight!  “Mama, I’m Pinkie Pie!  I’m not a baby, I’m a pony!  Neigh!  Neigh!”

We took our little pony out for a bit of trick or treating around 5p and I’m glad we went early.  We beat most of the crowds, snapped some cute pics in the fleeting light, and had gathered enough candy so that by the time the rain starting coming POURING  down on us, we were ready to go without regret!  Our sprint back to the car in the deluge was one I’ll never forget.  We all got soaked to the bone, even with two large umbrellas in tow.  It was hilarious!!  With the land so thirsty for rain, I don’t think anyone could complain about the 1.5″ inches we received last night.

We got home and quickly changed into our PJs before feasting on take out and watching Wall-E together.  :)  It ended up being a really laid back and cozy evening as a family.  I’m glad we made the game time decision to dress Olive up; these photos make me smile so big and capture a key part of her personality these days.  Pinkie Pie’s effervescent spirit sure reminds me of my Olive !

In other news… I’m not sure if any of you have noticed, but my website and blog have been down and/or really buggy for the past week.  Long story short, I needed to switch hosting companies after a big server migration debacle.  We’re still ironing out little kinks but should be back to 100% early this week.  If you sent an email in the past 48 hours and it bounced back, please re-send.  Thank you for your patience; you know I love hearing from all of you: clients, readers, family, friends!

Enjoy your Sunday (Fall back? Don’t mind if I do!) and I’ll see you soon!

PS // Grateful November Day 1: I’m grateful for the rain we received this weekend.  We need it so desperately and I have to admit, I think I could almost hear the state’s collective sigh of relief as the floodgates opened last night.  It was refreshing, it was beautiful, and it left the skies so wonderfully clear today.  I even spotted a rainbow in the hills this morning.  :)  Grateful for a God who reminds us of His provision in spectacular ways like a band of colors stretched across the sky.

Since switching over to Olive updates every other month, it feels like soooo long between check-ins about my favorite little girl.  Olive is changing and growing and doing new things daily and I can hardly keep up.  She keeps me on my toes for sure!  I looked up the last update post right now and I couldn’t believe how young she looks.  I better get to posting this update before she changes again!  😉  Here’s everything new up to June 12th!

in our dot dot smile and lularoe dresses!

  • We went camping over Mother’s Day weekend at Lopez Lake.  I guess we cheated a little because we stayed in a lovely rental RV via Get Away RV Rentals.  It’s pretty great arriving to your campsite with the RV already set-up with running water, flushing toilets, a comfy bed and stocked kitchen!  We had some friends also camping that weekend so we enjoyed boat rides, sand between our toes, fishing and scrumptious BBQs together.  I hope that Olive grows to love camping and the outdoors as much as we do.  This is our 2nd Mother’s Day camping at Lopez Lake; how many times qualify as tradition?
  • Grandpa (my Dad) visited for a quick 24-hour trip and Olive had a blast with him.  We did our usual activities with him: southern-style breakfast, shopping at Target, and steak dinner.  We took Dad to Jocko’s (his first time) and he loved it as much as we knew he would.  You really can’t beat their steaks (or ribs, oh my gooooodness those ribs).
  • Lots of park days together.  The past two months were tough with the miscarriage and tons of doctor’s appointments, so I constantly wanted to get outside with Olive.  We had a lot of sweet afternoons trying out local parks together.  She still is crazy about the slide and enjoys putting her little Mickey Mouse down the slide, too.  She puts her hands up most of the time, and screams “Wheeee!” every.single.time.  It is inspiring how much joy this girl has in the simple things.  Olive also loves climbing and is really brave with every kind of ladder and structure.
  • We also got fully immersed in story time at our local library.  One morning a week, we join some pals for a 30 minute story time that includes songs and nursery rhymes.  Olive looks forward to it every week and we began checking out three new books every visit.  I love this part of our routine.  :)
  • She went through a puzzle phase where she wanted to work on simple puzzles every morning for a while.  She’s really good at them!
  • We went to Disneyland (2nd time!) with her two cousins (A&A), Erik’s sister and bro-in-law, and our dear friend Jackie (and her baby boy).  Sooo much fun!  It really is Olive’s happy place.  She had another tear-jerking encounter with Mickey; she just loves the mouse.
  • I started letting her push her own mini cart at Trader Joe’s.  It’s equal parts adorable (she loves it) and terrifying (I’m sooo scared she’s going to run into some sweet granny’s ankles!).
  • We fell in love with the SB Zoo and had to get zoo passes.
  • Chick-Fil-A is our standard stop on many late-night drives.  Olive loves their nuggets and let’s be real: so do I.
  • Her hair color is incredible.  It is changing all the time but it has so much variation in it.
  • Olive loves to sing and talk all day long; she is a total chatterbox.  I love watching her personality bloom.  She’s definitely playful, energetic, silly, sympathetic and a bit stubborn, too.  😉
  • She’s fully potty trained!!  I actually went cold turkey off of the diapers one afternoon.  Erik and I took her to the store, let her pick out her undies (Hello Kitty and Minnie Mouse, of course) and went for it.  She had been familiarized with the potties for months (we have both a little one on the ground and a seat that goes on top of the regular toilet) but we just went to full implementation.  I have heard that this method has backfired on some people but so far, it has been great for Olive.  I think it just boils down to her being ready.  We still put her in a diaper overnight but she wakes up dry almost daily.  I’m so grateful to have reached this milestone!

Here is another photomosaic — an update staple:

Olive — it just gets better and better with you.  We love every moment with you, sweet girl.  Thank you for always cracking us up with your antics, never turning down an opportunity to dance, and saying “I love you SOOOO much” at just the right moments.  In difficult times, you have been a reminder of the greatness of our blessings.  You are such a treasure and anyone who meets you tells us the same.  It is such a joy being your parents.  -All my love, Mama

I hope you’re all having a great week so far.  It’s another wedding week (hooray!) so I’m counting down until the celebrations unfold beginning on Friday.  I couldn’t have a sweeter couple this weekend; love you guys L&B!!!  See you all soon!

Our family has fallen in love with the Santa Barbara Zoo.  Olive has been twice in the last two weeks and we just got a membership to ensure we can enjoy it year-round!  The SB Zoo is a smaller zoo but is the perfect size for little ones.  The grounds are lush and park-like, and absolutely beautiful.  You can tell the property is well-maintained and in fact, it is a pretty popular venue for weddings!

They have a great variety of animals on display including giraffes, lions, gorillas, elephants and Olive’s favorite: penguins!  I love the cheery pink flamingos and the otters.  :)  They also have a charming little train (which, granted, is pretty expensive for a ride around the property) that is worth checking out.

Here are some photos from our two recent trips (the first with me, and the second with Erik and his parents — Olive’s grandparents).  The photos are mixed together, hence the two different outfits.

Serene and lovely grounds

Matilija poppies are some of my favorite native Californian flowers.  They look like big sunny-side-up eggs!

This photo cracks me up, considering we are creationists.  Just couldn’t resist her expression here!

In line to feed the giraffe, Michael!

Love this pic of Olive with her Grandma Del (Erik’s mom!).  Picture perfect!

Mesmerized.

Fancy flamingos

Next to the train that Olive kept calling Thomas :)

Leading the way!

Tip: A sweet friend let me in on the fabulous reciprocal zoo membership program.  There are lots of zoos nationwide that offer reciprocal entry to their facilities when you hold membership with one of them.  The SB Zoo has a family membership of $90/annually (great price) but I found that the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero has an equivalent membership of $60/annually, and it has the SB Zoo on its list of reciprocal facilities!  Yay for saving $30!  I actually haven’t been to the Charles Paddock Zoo yet, but I look forward to checking it out.  For my southern Californians, the Santa Ana Zoo is on the list (free) and the LA Zoo is 50% off.

Hope you all are having a great Monday!  I’m recharging after a fabulous wedding weekend (congrats J&C!!!) and am preparing for the next beautiful event around the corner.  Today I was in Paso Robles for a site visit and the gorgeous drive through wine country really rejuvenated me.  I am so blessed to live here and do what I do.  Grateful.  :)

Before putting Olive to sleep (for her nap in the afternoon or in the evening), we always pray together as a family.  We each take a turn, starting with Olive, then me, and ending with Erik.  When Olive was younger, only Erik prayed but she has since desired to pipe up and share her own sweet words.  Her prayers used to be a pretty predictable formula.  She’d say, in her tiny voice: Dear Jesus, Thank you for Mama.  Thank you for Dada. Baby brother. Amen.  The prayer for a baby brother (her only request) has been around since the last time I told her I was pregnant and she still hasn’t stopped.  I’ll take all the prayers we can get.  😉

Love this candid snap from today: her left foot turned out, her funky expression.
I think she’s about to say, “Mooooom.  I don’t like to take a picture please.”

These days, Olive has been coming up with some pretty hilarious (and adorable) prayer requests so I thought I’d start sharing a running list here.  In the past week, Olive has thanked God for:

  • Aunt Anna
  • Uncle Sean
  • “Ruby Puppy” (Anna and Sean’s miniature long-haired dachshund)
  • Her grandparents
  • Herself (she refers to herself as “baby” —  Thank you for baby.)
  • Fries (oh brother)
  • Perry (the platypus from Phineas and Ferb)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar, from the beloved Eric Carle book
  • Food (in general)
  • Her crib
  • Erik (actually referring to him as Erik rather than Dada! haha!)
  • Mickey and Minnie
  • Her blankets (in her crib), especially her “owl blankie”

I can’t wait to hear what’s next.  😉  Hope you’re having a great start to the week!

Oh, what a lovely weekend can do for the soul!  I woke up today refreshed and just beaming about the three sweet days I spent.  Now I didn’t go on vacation or spend time on the beach or by a pool and I didn’t even stay away from work…  It was just three very balanced days of fun and fulfilling work, laughs and moments with my family and sweet time with friends.

Here are snapshots from our time together…

Pretty moments at a ladies’ tea I hosted for some women from my church

my first cold brew, using my Toddy.  I’m totally addicted; yum!

Olive’s first pony ride = slightly traumatic :(

Beautiful dance performance (love these colorful Jalisco-style dresses) at a local Heritage Day celebration

Checking out the iconic Wells Fargo stagecoach

Loved this sweet guy.

goofy moments with my favorite girl

A gorgeous meal at Ember Restaurant // a full review is coming in a future post!

On another note, I want to express my belated but heartfelt gratitude for all those men and women who gave their lives while serving our country.  I am so thankful to live here in the beautiful United States of America!

I hope you’re having a great week!  I’m back to inbox duty, preparing for June and July weddings just around the corner!