Category: Olivia Iris

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!

Thank you SO much for the incredible outpouring of love and support following my last post.  I was overwhelmed, frankly, by the number of texts, emails, messages and comments I received from friends and strangers alike.  A lot of the messages came from my current and past clients going back 8+ years and that really blew me away.  I want to thank each of you for taking the time to reach out in love and support.  It means so much to me and I truly appreciate it.  I have made it over the hump, so to speak, and my heart and body are healing everyday.  I continue to remain hopeful for the future.

Mother’s Day was a little bittersweet this year — celebrating my blessing on earth but mourning those in heaven — but I still had a wonderful day with my family.  We went to church, had In-N-Out for lunch (just like every Sunday!), and put Olive down for a nap.  Our plan was to leave right after her nap for Cambria — our “traditional” destination for Mother’s Day.  As we began driving that afternoon, however, I realized that we would get there after all of my favorite antique shops had closed.  So, we made a detour and simply enjoyed the beach, a park, and some takeout for dinner.  We have plans to get to Cambria this week so I’ll share about those forthcoming adventures soon.  :)

Love this pic of us.  I’m wearing my new fav dress from LuLaRoe — so comfy and feminine; I’m obsessed!

Our simple little afternoon and evening together reminded me to be thankful for the little moments that we often take for granted.  I loved having Erik with us at the park since he is usually working when I take Olive to play.  He got to hear her say, “Whee!!” two dozen times as she rode down the slide.  He helped her hang from the monkey bars and chased her around in the sand.  We laughed with each other as we admired her quirks, her energy, her silly and playful nature.  We had strangers take our picture so we could get a group shot.  Unfortunately hey turned out horrible but I’m glad we have them.  :)

Erik wrote me the most beautiful card and of course, it made me cry.  I am so thankful for him in times of joy and sorrow; he is always a source of wisdom, strength and unconditional love.  It is so crazy to think we met when I was 19 and look at us now, being adults and raising a daughter and what not.  ;-)  Love you, babe.

oh Olive!

And Olive.  I gave her a pass this year but expect a card or something next year.  ;-)  She is amazing and I thank God everyday for her.  After years of praying and crying and pleading for a child, she was the one who arrived in our arms.  I She surprises me everyday with her thoughtfulness, her natural affection, her tender heart.  If the Lord only gives us one child, I am grateful it is her.  I cherish every moment with her knowing that this life is fleeting.

Olive — I am so blessed to be your mama.  You are my favorite gift and the perfect addition to our family.  You have changed my life in every way for the better; I can barely remember what it was like before you arrived.  Every Mother’s Day I will be reminded of how my prayers were answered in you.  And everyday that I am on this earth, I will be loving you with all my heart.  xoxo, Mama

On a final note, I want to send lots of love to the two moms in my life…

  • my mother-in-law, Delores, who raised an amazing son and is someone I could sit and chat with for hours (and I often do!).  She’s a friend to everyone she meets and is so devoted to her family.
  • my umma, Grace.  She epitomizes sacrificial love and she would do anything for her children (and now grandchild).  When she was a single mom raising two daughters, she slept on the floor and I slept on a bed.  She worked three jobs to send me to the programs and events I wanted to attend and always found a way to be generous with us when we had so little.  If I tell her I like something she’s wearing, it frequently goes home with me (haha I promise I don’t take advantage of this!).  After Olive was born, we stayed with her for a week so I could rest and recover.  When I stay with her now, she still makes me a gourmet breakfast and packs me a snack for the car.  :)  Staying with her is better than staying at a 5-star hotel.  She also sent me a big box of han yak today (Chinese/Korean herbs) to take post-miscarriage.  If you know you know — it’s a big deal, even if it’s the nastiest stuff on the planet.  We are opposites in many ways but one thing that is clear is that she loves her children passionately.  I will always be indebted to my Umma and am so grateful for all that she has done, and continues to do, for me.

Hope you all are having a great start to your week!

A simple Friday was just what I needed.  Today I woke up, took a refreshing shower, gave Olive a bath (her absolute favorite thing lately — she’d stay in for an hour if we let her) and made us breakfast.  She sat in my lap patiently while I braided her hair into two fishtail plaits.  I let her watch an episode of Super Why and I annoyed her the entire time by staring at her beautiful profile and snapping dozens of photos of her.  Because, well, she is ridiculously beautiful.  I could totally see her as a teen rolling her eyes and saying, “Ugh Mooooooom — no more pictures!”  ;-)

first fishtail braids

cozy feet on the couch

We played on the floor of the sunroom and sang silly songs.  We went to the children’s museum and played for over an hour in the marvelous air-conditioned facility.  It was the perfect way to escape the heat.  Olive made friends with everyone she met, excitedly delivered the mail to all the mailboxes in the pretend city, prepared a dozen imaginary meals for me in the diner, and became obsessed with the shadow wall (she finally “got it” this time and started posing and kicking her legs to create funny silhouettes).  No photos to show for it, though.

After spotting a young mom on her phone in the museum, completely ignoring her adorable 2 year-old son, I just had that pang of guilt.  How many times have I been glued to my phone while Olive pulls on my leg or asks for something, even if it was in the privacy of my own home?  In this case, the boy kept trying to show his mama something, asking for her attention, hoping to interact with her.  He noticed me chatting excitedly with Olive and came over to play with us.    We made a 7 tier plastic cake and dined on imaginary pizza and swept the play kitchen and his mom didn’t even raise her eyes to glance at us.  I tried to speak to her myself, asking about her son, and she barely looked at me while returning one word answers.  Before we left, the little boy hugged my leg and said, “I like you” and kissed my knee.  I told her how sweet he was and she said, “Yeah, he does that a lot lately.”  Now let me say this: I have no judgment for this mama; I have no idea what she was going through, what kind of day or week or month she is having, or who she is.  I only witnessed a brief snippet of their lives today.  But, what I saw was enough to impact me and make me reflect on my own presence in Olive’s life.  I want to always be engaged with Olive when I am with her; I don’t want to be too busy to play and sing and dance and be silly.  I don’t need to take a photo of everything we do; the experience and memory is enough.  Maybe it’s even better, without the pressure and need to capture it.  So the phone stayed in my purse all afternoon, and the only photos I have from this perfect day are from this morning.

love this photo… even the thrashed floors the previous owners left for us. (to be refinished this summer) But in this photo, all I see is my magical Olive.

Olive hugged and kissed me more than 5x during lunch (out of nowhere) just saying, “Mama, I love you.”  It’s as if she knows exactly what I need and when I need it.  It blows me away, how God has blessed me with this little one.  Oh Olive, I love you too.  More than you know.

A simple Friday was just what I needed today and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.

Have a great weekend, loves!

Hello everyone!  I hope your week is off to a lovely start.  I am taking a break from invitation assembly (Hi J&C!!) to catch you all up on my favorite two year old (gasp!!), Olive.  I wrote her a 2nd birthday letter but never posted an official 24 month update here.  I decided that since so many of you enjoy the updates, I would continue sharing them here but perhaps slightly less often.  ;-)  So, here is the latest in the world of Olive from February 12-April 12, 2014:

  • We celebrated Valentine’s Day as a family — first with a toddler/mama party and then with a dinner out in San Luis Obispo
  • Olive spent a few days with her Halmunee (my mom) while I went on a wedding planner escape!  They visited the Santa Barbara Zoo, took walks on the beach, and just enjoyed one another.  I am so grateful for their sweet relationship!
  • We enjoyed many great park days.  Olive still can’t get enough of the “baby slide.”  She also loves climbing the nets and the curved monkey bars.  She is brave and persistent and I love watching her try new things at the playground.
  • Olive encountered the magic of Disneyland and hasn’t been the same since.  She still talks about her meeting with the Mouse.
  • We celebrated my 30th birthday with some dear friends and Olive spent most of her time sharing snacks with the puppy, Ruby!
  • Olive turned TWO and we celebrated with a simple home party with family and friends.
  • We had a joint March birthday celebration with two of our friends: Blake and J5 (and mommies Melody and Christina).  It was  a great time of getting all our favorite families together for açai bowls and a bounce house.
  • We have been enjoying our backyard and sideyard and all the new vegetables and fruits we’ve planted.  (Garden update coming soon!)  Olive is always eager to go outside with Daddy and help pick arugula and kale for a salad, or check on the “wiggly worms” in the raised beds.  I still can’t stomach the sight of a caterpillar so we’ll leave that task to the two of them.  Ugh!
  • The Kaisers came to stay for a weekend and we had a blast.  Olive loved playing with Grace and Jasper — she is always so quick to make new friends.
  • We visited the San Luis Obispo Firehouse and Olive went NUTS for the “fiyah en-jun.”  She was so eager to put on her little fire helmet and buckle herself into the truck.  It was hard tearing her away from the station!!
  • Funny phrases: “That’s right, Mama!  Very good!” (when I answer one of her questions correctly) // “No no no!” while waving a finger at us // “It’s baby turn!  That’s baby shoes.  It’s baby Mickey!” (her form of possessive) // “Mama come back!  I miss you Mama.” (when I get her in the morning or after a nap) // “Washin’ da booty” (sung while I put her into the bath… oh brother.)

Whew!  I tried to be as concise as possible in summing up two busy months.  Here is a little photomosaic of our fun:

Olive — Everyday with you is an adventure.  You are so hilarious, playful, tender-hearted, sympathetic, affectionate, and kind.  You also have a passionate and stubborn streak when it comes to things you want really badly (Dole Whip at Disneyland, haha) or things you absolutely don’t want (like a bite of grilled trout last night).  You are chatty all day long, asking questions and pointing things out or just telling us what you like, love, need, and want.  We are grateful everyday for the joy you bring to our lives.  A part of me wishes you could stay this age forever but as each day gets better and better, I know the best is yet to come.  Love you to the moon and back.  xoxo, Mama

Have a great afternoon and see you again soon!

Happy Friday, everyone!  At this time one week ago, I was fluffing pillows and chopping veggies and preparing for a sweet little weekend with our dear friends, the Kaisers.  I met Nate and Jaclyn (photographers behind The Image is Found) in 2006 when we were all young and fresh-faced in the industry, as we worked with some amazing clients on a posh Hollywood Hills estate wedding.  We had an instant click that night and over the course of the last 8 years (!) we have made some awesome memories together.  They have photographed us multiple times, most notably for this bride & groom session we shot in a dried out lake bed in the rain in early 2007.  ;-)  My friendship with Nate and Jac has always been so natural and easy.  We just get each other.  We can go months without seeing each other and then boom — we get together and laugh until we cry like we never were apart.  Jac has also been such a loving and supportive friend to me through hard times.  When I had my first miscarriage in 2011, she was the first to send me a little love package, an encouraging book, and a heartfelt note.  To know the Kaisers is to love the Kaisers and I am so grateful they are in my life.

circa 2010??

When we used to live in LA and they lived in SD/Oceanside, we would meet in Orange County for catch up lunches.  Now that they live in the mountains and we live further up the coast, our visits have been fewer and farther between.  So, I was thrilled to have them stay with us for a few days while they shot a wedding in Paso Robles last weekend.  They arrived on Friday and we shared a scrumptious homemade vegetarian meal (butternut squash ravioli and sundried tomato soup!) together before staying up late giggling and catching up.  On Saturday, we had a delicious brunch at The Natural Cafe in SLO before Nate and Jac headed off to shoot their wedding.  Erik and I took the three kiddos (Grace, Jasper, and Olive) to Avila Valley Barn where we visited adorable animals (including alpacas and goats), enjoyed saltwater taffy and local honey, and took a requisite hayride.  Back at home, Erik took Jasper and Olive in the backyard to hunt for four-leafed clovers (we found 7 in under 15 minutes!  Isn’t that amazing?!  I don’t think I ever found one as a kid.) while Grace and I made a batch of homemade caramel ice cream.  You guys — it turned out to be the most decadent and luscious ice cream ever.  Recipe coming soon!!

While Olive napped, Erik and I played Monopoly with the Kaiser kiddos.  We had heard Jasper was a fierce competitor (and he was!), but Erik took no prisoners and destroyed us all (typical).  Around sunset, we headed to one of my favorite local parks (overlooking the vast Pacific) to run off some energy and explore the shores as the tide came in.  Then we picked up some delicious local pizza and ate it on a blanket spread out in the living room, picnic-style, while watching Frozen.  It was such a sweet and simple day.  The kids got along SO well.  I think I pinched Erik a few times throughout the day and whispered how much I’d love to have three kids one day.  ;-)

Nate and Jac got home after the kids were tucked in, and we sat up late (again), devouring caramel ice cream and cracking up over hilarious stories about our awkward teen years.  Oh geez!

They set off for Solvang on Sunday so I had Grace snap this quick photo on our steps before church.  I love hosting guests in our home but even more than that, I love nourishing enduring relationships with wonderful friends.  Thank you, Kaisers, for such a wonderful time!  We love you and can’t wait to come see you in the mountains!

I hope you all have a great weekend!  I’m speaking at the sold-out Enjoy Events Co. workshop on Sunday and will be up tonight putting the final touches on my presentation.  Yay!  If you haven’t entered our blog/site launch giveaway, make sure to do so before Sunday night!  Thanks for stopping by — see you again soon.  :)