Category: Olivia Iris

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.  🙂

No April Fool’s jokes here… I am honestly just excited to see this month arrive.  Once April unfolds, I feel like the entire spring and summer come tumbling behind at super speed.  I glance at my spring/summer wedding calendar and know that all of these dates will be here before I know it.  I can’t wait!

tulips and muscari in our mailbox planter

Today I have been cleaning house (literally), having been recently inspired by Clean My Space.  I found Melissa on YouTube this weekend and was instantly hooked on her fun cleaning videos (I know it seems crazy, but stay with me).  Am I the only one who gets major clean-spiration from watching and reading things like this??  You give me a cleaning checklist or show me a new trick for organizing and I’m totally energized to tidy and mop and scrub.  Anyone??  Well today I tackled four loads of laundry, overhauled Olive’s closet and vacuumed two rooms… and dinner is already in the works.  I’m feeling unstoppable!  😉  My toughest task is purging.  I’m not a hoarder by any means, but I’m certainly nostalgic and I find it difficult to let go of mementos.  Thankfully I am getting better at it but I still wonder if one day someone will rife through my stuff and find it odd that I kept all my high school drama production playbills.

In other news around the house, Erik spent most of the weekend leveling and filling in our side yard with float rock (a light colored landscaping rock).  I love the look of it and can’t wait to add some outdoor furniture, a grill, and maybe a hammock??  He also built another raised bed planter to add there.  We picked out four heirloom tomato varieties for planting and we’re nearing harvest time for some of our leafy veggies.  It’s amazing to see how beautifully everything has come up, when all we did was plant and water.  Next up, he’ll be putting up a new wooden fence and gate for that area.  I’m hoping that by the end of the month, we will finally get to refinishing the hardwood floors inside the house and tackling the kitchen cabinets.

from two recent site visits // dallidet adobe & saddlerock ranch

Our busiest time of year for weddings is just ahead so I’m handling lots of walkthroughs, timelines, stationery design, floor plans and design presentations right now.  Seeing things fall into place for each event makes me so excited.  I’m also working on my presentation for the Enjoy Events Co. workshop next weekend in Santa Barbara.  I am honored to be a guest speaker and hope to share lots of useful information with the attendees.  I think a couple seats may still be available if you want to check it out!

And perhaps most exciting of all: my completely new website and blog will launch very soon!!!  I cannot wait to share them with you so stay tuned.  😉

meal plan + shopping list from a few weeks ago // LOVE this meal planning pad from my friend rachel of heart of light

For now, I’m off to pour myself a glass of home-grown lemonade (yum!) and finish my weekly meal plan before we go to the grocery store this afternoon.  How was your day??

requisite photo of Olive 🙂

See you again soon!

Just a couple weeks ago, Olive had the time of her life visiting Disneyland for the very first time.  As longtime Disney-philes (Erik and I have been to Disney World in Florida 2x, Tokyo Disney, and are previous Disneyland annual pass holders), we had been eagerly awaiting this milestone with her.  But, I am glad we ultimately waited until she was nearly 2 to make this special trip.  I think she was at the perfect age to really soak in everything around her, interact with some characters and remember (in the short-term, anyway!) things about the day.  If we ask her about Disneyland, she can recount to us the rides she went on, the characters she saw, and on and on.  😉  It was a perfect first Disney experience.

Our visit was facilitated by our dear friend Jackie whose husband, Brendan, (Erik’s longtime friend — he was in our wedding and Erik officiated Brendan and Jackie’s wedding!) works for Disney.  That means she can sign us in (woohoo!) when we are in town.  😉  A biggggg thank you goes out to Jackie (and baby X!) for making our day so special; we can’t wait to revisit with Brendan joining us!

her Mickey from home had to join us!  She didn’t love her 1st visit button so this is the only pic of her wearing it.

Erik and I weren’t sure what to expect with Olive’s first visit.  Would she be terrified of the characters?  Would she be overwhelmed by all the sights, sounds and activities?  Would she be too scared (or too small) to go on any rides?  When would she nap and where?  Would we push her in the stroller or let her walk?  Would we have any fun?  Well, here’s a recap of our adventure and a few suggestions I’d offer to anyone planning their own child’s first Disney trip!

We got to Disneyland about an hour after opening and it was just right.  We didn’t have to stand around waiting for the park to open and we didn’t have crazy parking drama from arriving too late.  We parked quickly, grabbed a stroller and got straight to it!  We decided to do both parks that day (Disney CA Adventure + Disneyland) so we started at DCA.  Olive’s first ride was Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.  The Little Mermaid was my favorite Disney movie growing up so I thought it was only appropriate.  😉  Olive was fascinated overall but did find some parts (with Ursula) “too scawy.”  Other rides we hit in DCA were:  The Golden Zephyr (maybe a little too fast for her.. she got nervous toward the end but luckily the ride was already winding down at that point), Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train and Francis’ Ladybug Boogie (a teeny version of the teacups).  Our lunch stop was the Lucky Fortune Cookery at DCA.  Their rice bowls are pretty yummy and filling.  (My other quick DCA fav is clam chowder in a Boudin bread bowl!)

After lunch, we headed over to Disneyland.  As we were walking through the gates, we spotted Mickey Mouse in front of the Main Street Cinema.  It was perfect timing as we only waited about 5 minutes to meet the mouse.  Olive’s initial Mickey meeting was better than I could have dreamed.  She walked up to him slowly, then held both of his hands and asked gently, “Mickey??”  They hugged, she kissed him on his nose, and they cuddled some more until I realized we probably should let the other families in line have a turn.  🙂  As soon as we had finished, we bumped into both Donald and Pluto so we had to meet them, too!  Since we were able to get photos with 3 characters in one place, we decided not to spend any additional time that day standing in line to meet other characters.  We’ll save Minnie and co. for next time.  😉

Rides we went on in Disneyland: Dumbo (2x), the carousel, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (I love the nostalgia of it but it is a pretty disturbing ride!  Olive deemed it “too scawwy” as well.), Storybook Land Canal Boats, Casey Jr. Circus Train (a must for my Dumbo-loving girl), Pirates of the Caribbean (Olive was half asleep for most of it, haha) and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.  We also made a requisite stop for Dole Whip (which resulted in a near meltdown when Olive got a taste and wanted to desperately shovel the rest into her mouth.  Erik took her for a walk while I finished it off!).  What did we expect?  Everyone knows Dole Whip is irresistible.  😉  We chose the ubiquitous Mickey ears for her first souvenir and she still can’t get enough of them.  Even with the personalization, they were quite a bargain and well worth the price.

Olive usually runs on a very normal schedule.  She naps like clockwork everyday for 2-3 hours.  So how did she do with all the stimulation at Disneyland?  Well, she fell asleep in line for Casey Jr. (at her typical nap time) but we chose to wake her up when we finally got on the ride because we knew she’d love it.  And of course, she was completely enthralled when she heard the song cue up and we began moving.  Unfortunately she never truly fell asleep again, aside from another quick catnap in the evening.  Erik and I decided to take a chance and go on Pirates with her on my lap and it paid off.  I’m glad we got to enjoy one of our favorite rides together.  I think Olive did really well sans nap (aside from the Dole Whip incident, no other meltdowns occurred) but I know this will vary from kiddo to kiddo.  If we were visiting the resort over a few days, I’d probably return to the hotel in the afternoon for her nap to keep her happiest.

We ended up staying until closing (at 8p) but skipped World of Color (the spectacular nighttime show in DCA) this time.  It was a fantastic day filled with so much laughter and joy and wonder.

getting sleepy on the Storybook boats

Dole Whip, pre-incident

Here are my tips for anyone planning first trips with their little ones:

  • Start early — I’m glad we began our day early when Olive is generally the most energetic and happy.  It also meant we got to ride a lot of rides without much of a wait, avoiding the burgeoning afternoon and evening crowds.  And although we skipped World of Color, we did get Fast Passes for the show (which run out very quickly in the day) because we arrived early.
  • Pack snacks — Disneyland is great about letting you bring in your own bottled water and snacks.  We brought a bunch of goodies including Plum Organics pouches, almond crackers and fresh fruit.  It helped us keep Olive content and well-fed throughout the day, especially when she suddenly needed a snack and we were smack in the middle of a line.
  • Rent a stroller — we went back and forth about bringing our own nice stroller but ultimately didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of leaving it at the entrances of rides.  Instead of buying an umbrella stroller (which would never use again), we rented a Disneyland stroller.  It was roomy, comfortable, had a better height than most umbrella strollers (Erik is 6’4″ so pushing short umbrella strollers is awkward for him!) and had room for storage under the seat.  The canopy is also really big which was great for sun protection and some extra storage (we put Erik’s backpack on top of it).  We still carried our valuables onto each ride but it was great to not worry about our stroller in the park.
  • Let your kiddo set the pace — We knew that taking Olive meant going for her.  We are both huge kids at heart and we love rides so it was different going to the park and not hitting any of our favorite attractions.  But, we ended up riding things we had never gone on before (!) and enjoying the experience in an entirely different way.  With adjusted expectations, we were able to enjoy our visit so much more.  That said, I still can’t wait until Olive is tall enough to go on the “big rides” with us!
  • Be flexible — We didn’t have a real plan or list of things to do or see.  We went with the flow and never pushed the pace.  I felt like we were never rushed but we were still able to do and see a lot!

last pic of the night!

I hope you all are having a great week!  It has been such a busy few days that I am in disbelief that it’s Thursday.  Wasn’t it *just* the weekend??  I’m off to run errands with Olive; see you again soon!

Our little sweetheart turns TWO today.  Unbelievable!  I started writing Olive’s birth story to share here (which I’ve never done!) but I’ve got cupcakes in the oven and lots of chores and emails to handle so it will have to be posted anther day!

Today, I wanted to share another love note to my little girl.  Hope you don’t mind.  😉



My dearest Olive,

Happy birthday baby!!  I simply can’t believe you’re two years old.  Well sometimes I can.  I honestly cannot imagine life without you so in some ways, I feel like you’ve always been with me.  But most of the time I’m in a state of shock as time whizzes by and you keep getting bigger and lovelier by the moment.

Since you won’t remember much of anything of yourself at this age, let me tell you all about you at two.  You are a complete and utter joy to me and your Daddy.  You are so full of life and energy and laughter.  You love to dance and run and jump and play. You could go down the slide at the park all day long (and sometimes you do).  The swings still aren’t your favorite, though.  No matter how often you ask to be put in them, it’s only three or four swings before you abruptly tell me that you’re finished with them.  You love the beach and the sand and you aren’t afraid to get dirty.  You’ve helped me loosen up about this, too.  😉  You love shoes and you are constantly pointing your shoes out to strangers when you meet them in the store.  “Shoes! Shoes!” you excitedly exclaim as you point down at your sparkly Toms or shiny boots or Saltwater sandals.  When we get dressed in the morning, you love picking out the perfect pair for the day (although I admit I often steer you away from the patent leather dress shoes and toward the sturdier options).  You are an incredible talker and chat with us all day long.  You have an extensive vocabulary and surprise us with how well you can repeat things back to us after hearing them only one or two times.  You are sensitive and empathetic.  When you see me wince or even cry (as you did recently), you come over with furrowed brows and say, “No cry, Mommy.  It’s okay!”  You hug me tightly and rub my back and kiss me until I show you my smile.  I thank God for giving you such a sweet nature and kind spirit and I know you will share so much love with others as you grow older.

You are daring when you’re with Daddy — you can jump off of anything if he’s within arm’s reach and love to rough house with him.  But you find a few things frightening, like Ursula on the Little Mermaid ride at Disney’s California Adventure.  You declared that “too scary” and buried your head in my chest until the ride was over.  You are a great eater and have never been picky.  Even if you refuse something (to test us?), you will try it when sternly asked and almost always ask for more.  I love watching you devour a bowl of Japanese-style pork curry or my homemade Thai coconut-lemongrass soup (tom kha gai).  Despite our initial efforts, we caved and have let you watch a little bit of media here and there (on Netflix or on the iPad in a desperate situation).  Your favorites are Peppa Pig and the Leap Frog learning videos, so we lucked out there.  You also adore Dumbo and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  You love music and always want me to sing to you, or with you.  You can sing “Let it Go” and “Do You Wanna Build a Swowman” from Frozen and Daddy and I die laughing when I say “Go away Anna!” and you hang your head and say “Okay bye….” like in the song.  It cracks us up that you can already “act” and get the meaning behind the words we’re singing.  You also love singing “Baby Mine” from Dumbo and “Jesus Loves Me.”

You love your extended family and have a great group of local and hometown friends.  I am thankful that you are growing up alongside so many wonderful kiddos.  We are blessed by our community!  Your closest friend is probably Jetta from church, and you get uncontrollably excited whenever you see her.  I love seeing the two of you girls together!  Although you have always been pretty social, you’ve been a bit more clingy with me lately.  I know it’s just a phase so in the meanwhile, I’m enjoying the extra snuggles and cuddles.  I hope that even when you’re older, I can be a source of comfort for you, turning your eyes and heart to the great Comforter, our God.

Olive, you have turned our lives upside down in the very best way and we thank God for you every single day.  We pray as a family at bedtime each night and I still get choked up thinking about how long we prayed for you.  The fact that you are here now, for us to hold and laugh and learn with… it is such an amazing blessing and joy.  As you grow older, I pray you will come to know our Lord and I pray that your Daddy and I will be strong examples and encouragers to you.  As you graduate from babyhood, I think it’s only natural that I have been wondering if God has a sibling in store for you.  I catch myself being fearful or anxious about how life will/would be if you were an only child.  I know these worries are fruitless.  Although we are praying daily for another little one to add to our family, I hope you always know that you are so special and precious to us.  I know that whatever the Lord decides for our family, it will be the best.  For now, I will continue to strive to pour out my heart and energy and love into your life.  I know I will make lots of stumbles and mistakes along the way but know that I will always do my best.  Whenever you read this, I hope you can get just a glimpse of how loved and treasured you are.  You are such a gift, sweet Olive.  I love you with all my heart and everything I am.

xoxo, Mommy


I hope you’re all having a wonderful day; I’m off to frost some cupcakes!  See you again soon!

I’ve come to accept the fact that Olive is nearly two.  It’s just undeniable at this point given that there are less than 2 weeks until her birthday.  I’ve started telling people that she’s two (instead of 23 months) when they ask how old she is.  Olive will proudly put up two fingers and pronounce “TWO” when asked that question herself.  Growing older is inevitable.  While I’m not bummed about getting older myself (I’ve never been spooked by it), I have to admit that it’s tough sometimes watching Olive grow from baby to toddler.  Don’t get me wrong; I know it is a blessing to grow old(er) and I am thankful for each and every day with my sweet girl.  I just catch myself wondering if future-Olive will be as cuddly and close to me.  I keep hearing it only gets better so I’ll look forward to what’s to come.  It’s a good reminder to hold her with an open hand, knowing she is a gift from God and ultimately belongs to Him, not me.  <3

So.  Here it is.  The last monthly update before Olive is TWO!

  • We made new friends (Hi Zakary, Boden, and Ellis!) and played with old ones (Jetta and Piper!) at the park, beach, and beyond.  I am grateful for Olive’s little pals and the time we can spend together.
  • We went mini-golfing for Erik’s birthday and Olive LOVED it.  Mini golf has always been a favorite date activity for us and it was so sweet watching Olive get into it.  We look forward to many more memories on the mini links (ha!) together.
  • Erik introduced Olive to the joy of splashing in the rain and she got soaked, loving every second of it.
  • We visited the local nursery for more flowers and found a frog — Olive was so fascinated!
  • A few late night drives to Los Angeles were made, and Olive was grateful for time with both sets of grandparents.
  • I *finally* let Olive help out in the kitchen (stirring, mostly) and she has been SO eager to help since.  I love seeing her excitement for everyday tasks.
  • We planted some primroses in the front of the house and Olive supervised.
  • Speech continues to explode, and we are blown away by the things she says!  She is speaking in many full sentences, with some up 5-7 words long.  This area is certainly her strongest and we are amused by her funny comments throughout the day.  Recent new phrases and sentences: Mommy/Daddy, where aaaaare you?  Come back!  What are you doing??  (She asks this about 10x in a row.)  I go find Daddy.  There he is!!  Where did Dumbo go?  There it is!  I go play on baby slide.  Mama we go color Dumbo?  We go color Mickey Mouse?  She can sing a few songs in their entirety (Jesus Loves Me, Twinkle, Twinkle, and now… a good portion of “Let it Go” from Frozen.  You guys — there are few things more hilarious than a nearly-two year old singing “I can’t hold it back anymore!”  haha  A preview of some teen girl angst, perhaps??)

It was another sweet month with my favorite little girl.  As her birthday and birthday party approaches, I am filled with gratitude for how the Lord blessed us with this doll.  Last night we snuggled with Olive for 30 minutes or so before putting her into the crib.  Those memories, those giggles, that scent of her hair (I wish I could bottle it!) and her sweet kisses… those moments are priceless.  Sweet Olive — we love you with all our hearts and we are in awe of you each and everyday!

I will save the totally sappy post for next month.  😉  I’m off to tidy up around here and not cook dinner.  Yep, I usually make dinner 5x a week but of course today we find out that there is a major problem with our stove leaking dangerous levels of CO2.  They turned off the valve and put a scary red “DANGER” tag on it and everything.  Looking on the bright side, there might be a pretty new range in my future?  And of course, dinner out.  😉  Have a great weekend and see you soon!

Happy Monday everyone!  I knew I wanted to write a catch-up post today and I realized that I already did a “life lately” in January… only a couple months ago.  It didn’t feel right putting February in the title, since most of these photos are from last month so… there ya go.  😉  Here is a glimpse of what we’ve been up to around here…

Daddy made a new mailbox (refinished this Saddlerock wine barrel for the base!) and Olive had to inspect it

Girl dates at Sally Loo’s!  This one with some sweet college girls and another one with the lovely & talented Jennifer Young.  Great conversations accompanied by yummy açai bowls = my favorite.

roasting lots of veggies

planning and prepping for 2014 clients!

waking up with the sun to workout (who am I??)

dipping our toes in the sea

chartreuse ladybug sighting (we match in our dots!)

beach time with some pals and their mamas (Olive was not in a picture-taking mood, even with the treats in her mouth) // loved catching up with Ally and April and their girls

Olive loved hanging at the park with Boden — aren’t they precious together??

This pic is my fav, though — she is literally falling off the back here.  haha  (Don’t worry, she was fine.)

Me and Boden’s mama, the multi-talented Jess Wilcox

coloring with my girl // can you tell which side is mine?

our hellebores are starting to bloom!

wallpaper weekend!  Erik put up my dream wallpaper, Cole & Son ‘Woods,’ in our bedroom.  I can’t wait to share the final result with you all!

a quick snap during breakfast yesterday; I wanted to capture the length of Olive’s hair when it’s all down.  I love this sweet pic of her profile, too.

splashing in the rain yesterday, as encouraged by Daddy.  She got soaked and loved every second of it!

Things have been great around here; busy with all good things!

Hope you all have a wonderful week!  I have a sweet client coming to town for some meetings so I can’t wait to finally meet her in person (yay!) and get down to business planning for her oceanview wedding.  See you soon!