Last week was such a wonderful week, filled to the brim with outings and meetings and celebrations!  I have lots of posts to share but for now, I thought I’d sum up the activities of last week in one teaser post.  ;-)

1) We took Olive to Disneyland (her very first time) with our friend Jackie and her sweet baby X.  It was an amazing day and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  Her Mickey encounter was picture-perfect!

2) I had a first meeting with a sweet new bride and we had so much fun chatting and planning that we had to schedule a second meeting later that week because we ran out of time!  I am truly grateful that I get the privilege of working with such smart, creative, kind-hearted clients.

3) I had a long overdue girls’ night out with two of my favorites: Mara and Eden.  We had the most scrumptious vegan + organic fare at Gracias Madre (highly recommended!) and more importantly, lots of laughs and great conversation.  Isn’t it the best when you can sit down with friends and feel like no time has passed since your last meeting?  Can’t wait for our next outing!

4) In 2010 I had the exhilarating and joyful experience of helping very special clients (now dear friends) plan their weddings here in LA and Taipei, Taiwan.  Last week I met up with them for a day full of meetings as we plan their extra-special vow renewal!  (They were technically married in 2009 — this year is 5 years!)  I am doing the planning and am collaborating with my fab friend Tori on the design which means double the outrageous detail and style!  We have a seeeeerious dream team in the works that includes Siren Floral Co. (I totally fell in love with Rachael after meeting her last week!), Braedon Photography, Heirloom LA, Elysium Productions, and many more to come.  Hold onto your hats for this one; it is going to be BEYOND.

just a few of the yummies we tasted at Heirloom LA

brian, tina, me, and Nicolette of Heirloom!

5) I turned 30 years old (woohoo!) and spent most of the day just hanging around with my family, doing some shopping and relaxing.  We had a delicious family dinner (my sister and brother-in-law surprised me and drove through rush hour traffic to join us!) and I felt so loved by all the texts, calls and messages I received that day.  Thank you to everyone for making my day so memorable!

shopping and Umami Burger at The Grove

my sis, Olive, me

6) And on Saturday… my sweet husband threw me a surprise birthday party!  I will admit that I knew something was up… He isn’t the best at keeping secrets (that’s a good thing!) and he was just acting odd.  I am not the easiest to surprise, either.  I could not have imagined what he had prepared with the help of my sister and brother-in-law (who opened up their beautiful home to be the hosts!) and my BFF Kristin (who prepared amazing flowers and decorations).  It was SO much fun!  I was shocked by all the sweet pals who made the trek to join in on the festivities.  I sure am blessed by my friends and family!!!  I can say that my 30th birthday was my very best yet, and if that’s any indication of the year ahead, I can’t wait for it all to unfold.

Today was a family work day in the garden as we visited 2 nurseries to pick up plants for our two large planting beds.  I love all the beautiful flowers and shrubs we picked out and I can’t wait to do the planting tomorrow.  Our vegetable garden is looking lovely; everything has sprouted and it is so neat to see some of the crops already looking like their mature forms (like the adorable bean sprouts and multicolored mesclun lettuces).

I’m going to grab a cup of coffee, finish clearing out my inbox and hop into bed early-ish.  We have another packed week ahead and if you can believe it, a very special little girl turns TWO in just a couple days.  I know, I know… I don’t want to admit it either!  :)

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!

This is going to be kind of embarrassing but let me first say that no, we did not go to Sydney recently.  You may recall that our family went to New Zealand and Australia in the middle of 2013.  I slowly but surely blogged our New Zealand north island highlights in three parts: Part 1 // Part 2 // Part 3.  Now, nearly 8 months after we returned, I am getting around to posting about Sydney.  Yikes!!  But, I do believe that in blogging, late is MUCH better than never.  Let’s jump into it!

I had been dying to visit Australia since I was a child.  I had all these dreams and visions of kangaroos and boomerangs and the Opera House.  I wanted to put shrimp on the barbie and what not.  ;-)  Well once we knew we were going to New Zealand last year, we knew we had to take advantage of flying halfway around the world and make a stop in Australia!  We could only stay for 5 days after our extended time in NZ (we were also in the middle of escrow at this time; we literally had the notary greet us with paperwork when we got home from the airport!!!) so we decided to stay in Sydney the entire time.  I’m hoping that we can take future visits to Melbourne, Perth and beyond!

In those 5 days, I felt like we were able to soak up quite a bit of the major attractions in Sydney.  First and foremost, I have to tell you that our trip was truly anchored by the incredible hotel we stayed at: the one and only Park Hyatt Sydney.  It is a world renowned 5 star property that sits right on the Sydney Harbour in the Rocks and is pretty much the opposite of the type of place Erik and I would typically stay.  Thanks to the incredible generosity of my parents and their coveted Hyatt Diamond status, we were able to experience the phenomenal luxury and hospitality of this hotel.  I told Erik over and over that I couldn’t believe we were staying there!  Our room was modern yet warm and had a private balcony perched right over the harbour.  We were fortunate enough to be staying during Vivid Sydney (a light festival) so we had the most spectacular views each evening.  We began each day with breakfast on-site in the Dining Room.  Imagine beautiful glass-doored fridges stocked with fruit platters and bowls, yogurts, cheese and meats, and stations with artisan breads, freshly baked pastries, nuts, cereals, juices, etc. We sampled different hot entrées everyday as well.  The service was impeccable and we were treated like royalty by everyone on property.  I have to give a special thanks to Jonathan, the debonair hotel concierge, who always had the best dining recommendations and truly made our stay in Sydney complete.

I could write for ages about our trip but for the sake of simplicity, I’m going to dump a bunch of photos here and comment along the way…

the magical view from our room on the first night in Sydney // we were in awe.

Olive enjoyed the view as well ;-)

the rooftop pool was gorgeous but never dipped a toe in it — it was winter in Australia!

view of the Opera House from the walking path on the Harbour Bridge

we did lots of strolling // Sydney has so much gorgeous architecture!

We took in some culture at the Art Gallery of NSW

We meandered through the lovely Royal Botanic Gardens.  My favorite was the fernery!

We tried not to laugh (or offend anyone) while visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art

A view of the Harbour Bridge from the Opera House

We took a guided tour of the Opera House and were so enchanted by it, we couldn’t resist getting tickets to a show that evening!

One of my fave photos from the entire trip!

The concert that evening featured Saint Saëns symphony No. 3, so their organ (the largest in the world) was played that evening.  I’ll never forget the experience.

The sails of the Opera House (and the façades of most buildings downtown) featured funky changing light projections each evening.

We visited the Sydney Aquarium and Olive’s mind was blown.  We had never seen her so excited about anything before!  To this day, she still loves and is fascinated by marine life.

There’s one more Australia post coming soon.  ;-)  It was fun to relive some of these moments now, so many months later.  Olive looks like such a baby!  I am so grateful we were able to take this special trip as a family and make treasured memories together.

Do you guys remember this pretty little cardigan I was knitting for Olive?  Well I finally finished it (nearly a month ago!) and I’m excited to share it here.  ;-)  Knitting is still one of my favorite ways to unwind and knitting for my little girl is always my favorite.  I have yet to construct a full garment for myself (an adult-sized sweater seems so daunting and time-consuming!) but projects for my mini are so much fun.  I love watching the piece take shape after every session.

After knitting this sweet little dress for Olive, I was drawn to more patterns designed by Taiga Hilliard.  She has the most darling patterns for little girls!  This short-sleeved open-front cardi is no exception.  I love the yoke and faux sleeves, the buttons closure and the charming butterfly-inspired lacework on the body.  The pattern was easy to read and follow and worked up pretty quickly (despite the sometimes wearying rows of purling back, since the sweater isn’t knit in the round).  I used the yummiest madelinetosh tosh dk yarn (in “warm maize”) for this project and it is the perfect spring and summer hue.  The subtle variegation in this hand-dyed yarn make it multi-dimensional and truly special.

Once I had finished the sweater and blocked it, I began the hunt for the perfect buttons.  I mean, when you put this much time and love into knitting something, you can’t just stick any old buttons on it.  The notions had to be worthy of the sweater.  ;-)  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found these darling duckie buttons at my local craft store.  Olive is tickled by them and lovingly dubbed the cardigan her “rubber duckie sweater.”  In fact, I could barely remove this sweater from her after taking these photos (I didn’t want her to wear it to the park).

You can read my project notes on Ravelry HERE and purchase the pattern HERE.

Now… what to knit next??  I hope you’re having a great start to your week!  xoxo

Hey everyone!  I hope you’re having a lovely week!  If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that I spent a few days this week on a little retreat with some industry gal pals.  It had been a trip loooong in the making (it all started with an email chain last year!), but finding three open days for a group of wedding planners proved nearly impossible.  I’m glad we finally nailed down some dates because this little escape was SO needed.  Over the course of our trip I got to connect with some of my dear friends (and one new one!) and we simply had a blast.  I am inspired by each of these innovative, hard-working, creative and talented women.

We spent 3 days and 2 nights at the beautiful Bacara Resort and Spa in Goleta, California, just a stone’s throw from Santa Barbara.  Bacara happens to be a favorite venue of mine and was also the site of my mom’s wedding in 2008!  I also have a couple of weddings here this year and I can’t wait to share what we are planning!  Bacara has the perfect balance of luxury and accessibility.  You feel pampered without the pretentiousness.  The property is set up with multiple villas (3 stories each) amongst lush lawns, fountains and tiled stairways.  Every room has a private balcony or patio to enjoy the fresh air and breathtaking views.  It’s definitely a Spanish-inspired resort with its red tiled roofs, wrought iron work and white stucco buildings.  And of course, the stunning California coastline is so close that you can see, hear and smell the sea everywhere.

Upon arrival on Sunday, we met in the new Foley Wine Tasting Room on-site for a welcome reception.  We chatted with our favorite on-site ladies (Hi Tiffany and Shannon!) and caught up with one another.  From there, we headed to the oceanview Bistro for a 3.5 hour dinner filled with uncontrollable laughter and tears.  I wish I had taken some photos of the beautiful and scrumptious food but clearly I was too busy enjoying my company!  I can tell you that the crab trofie pasta was outstanding!

The next day we had breakfast at the Bistro (an emerging pattern) and after a few hours, we realized some of us were getting hungry again.  Our breakfast literally morphed into lunch and in the end, we sat at that table for 5.5 hours (!!!).  We took a brief hour-long jaunt to the pool (while some of the ladies indulged in the decadent spa services on-site) and then migrated to the Ocean Terrace for blanket-clad convos around the fire pit.  We had plans to head into Santa Barbara for dinner but in the end we decided to stay right on property and have dinner at… The Bistro.  We chose a secluded table inside (as to not disturb other patrons!) and had another drawn out meal with great friends.

On our final morning, we gathered for one more breakfast at The Bistro (where else??) where we all wished for just one.more.day together.  I LOVE this group of women.  We already can’t wait to gather for another special trip!

Some photos of our getaway (sporadic and few, because we were just having too much fun together!)…

This was the marvelous view from my room!  I highly recommend villa 17, 3rd floor, for outstanding views and a great location near the pools and Bistro.

Enjoy Cupcakes were a MUST for a central coast getaway!

me and our littlest lady — Lucy Roux (daughter of Kelly from Bash, Please) <3

can’t pick a fave pic of these two!!  I can safely say that having Roux with us gave everyone a bit of baby fever.

Em getting down on some serious smoked salmon

the crew // we’re missing Cortnie here!

THANK YOU to the wonderful Bacara Resort staff for making us feel incredibly welcomed and pampered.  We love you and we will be seeing you soon!  (A special hello to our favorite waiters, Ethan and Melissa, who probably are missing us right about now!  ;-))

Thank you to my amazing gals for your encouragement, transparency, hilarious tales and inspiration.  My wheels are still turning!  There is strength in numbers and I am honored to be amongst this group.  Sweet Sunna said it best: it’s possible to sit at the same table all weekend (literally, we spent all of our time together talking) when your company is amazing women.

Finally, thank you to my sweet Erik for letting me getaway for a few days (it was SO refreshing!) and thank you to my mama for watching Olive so I could be fully engaged with the ladies!

Ladies on this trip: Love & Splendor // Bash, Please // Jesi Haack Design // Sitting in a Tree Design // Enjoy Events Co. // Alison Events // The Venue Report

I hope you’re all having a fabulous day; see you soon!

Hello everyone!  I’m sorry it has been quiet around here lately; I set a goal of finishing my taxes this past week and hooray — I made it through!  They are off to the CPA this week and it feels so good to have them off my shoulders.  ;-)

Did you all have a great Valentine’s Day?  I know some people aren’t crazy about V-Day, but I’m a fan.  I get that most holidays are driven by consumerism.  I get that love should be celebrated everyday.  Still, I will gladly take an excuse to remind those in my life that they are precious to me.  I took the time to write handwritten Valentines to some gal pals this year and the process made me feel so blessed to be surrounded by so much love myself.  Most importantly, I reflected on the love of my Savior — my first love.  I love because He first loved me (1 John 4:19).

This Valentine’s Day was so much fun for our family.  Olive and I started the day at the cutest party with some friends.  Thank you to the hostess with the mostest, Alexandra, for putting together such a thoughtful and creative party.  You could see she put so much heart (pun unintended but I’ll take it!) into all of the details.  We all (moms and kiddos alike) had a great time!  In the evening, Erik took his girls to dinner and dessert.  Olive was well-behaved and had so much fun with us that I don’t regret having her crash our date.  I am deeply grateful to be married to a man who is such an amazing father as well as husband.  It was our 11th Valentine’s Day together and I truly love him more today than ever before.  <3

Here’s a glimpse of our day…

Olive’s Valentines for her friends

sweet treats from the other mommies, including Alexandra’s yummy strawberry butter!

homemade strawberry coconut milk — SO good!

matching heart sunnies?  check.  People who know me know that I’ve been wearing heart sunnies for well over 5 years–they’re sorta my thing.

the babes!

lauren & me & alexandra (hostess!) // I’m cracking up here because Olive wouldn’t let go — she wasn’t happy I was taking a photo without her.

Alexandra had us make these adorable crafts for the Dads — it features Olive’s hand and footprints.  Erik loved it and it’s going straight to his office.

We went out to dinner as a family and then stopped at the beach for frozen yogurt.  It was a sweet and simple evening together and it couldn’t have been better.

Thank you all for reading; I love YOU for the support and encouragement you send my way.  See you soon!

It has been a packed week full of meetings with sweet clients and I am going into the weekend SO excited for all the fun ahead this season.  Just this week, my clients and I did a walkthrough at Bacara, visited Classic Party Rentals and picked out linens at La Tavola, tasted cake at Decadence, met with the talented Tenley Erin Young, visited Presqu’ile Winery and had two trials with TEAM Hair and Makeup.  There was also lots of brainstorming and checklist checking-off and laughs… lots of laughs.  ;-)

lunch at State + Fig // this arugula, date, apple and pistachio salad was incredible!

picture perfect Bacara

couldn’t stop laughing with these two silly sisters!

I love Presqu’ile!

me and sweet Lauren <3

Although it has been a full & busy week, I feel so grateful to work with such wonderful people.  From my hard-working and creative colleagues to my sweet (and hilarious) clients, I am surrounded by a lot of love all the time.  It is a blessing to be a part of so many special celebrations and I cherish each and every opportunity I have!

I can’t wait to see these weddings come to fruition this summer.  For now, I’m off to put the final touches on a design packet for a very special couple (hi P&S!) and prep the house for some company arriving tonight!  Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

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!

It is such a special treat to see a friend get married.  It’s another special treat to plan the very first wedding at a brand new (absolutely beautiful) venue — in this case, The Loft on Pine in Long Beach.  Put the two together and you’ve got the recipe for a truly SPECIAL day.  Words are failing me here in trying to express how blessed I felt to be a part of this sweet celebration.

I met Justine many years ago when she was a student in Erik’s college group (my husband used to be a college/young adult pastor).  I had her as a student in my small group Bible study as well and she was like a dear younger sister to me.  We shared many laughs and memories together and I have always known Justine to be such a sincere, kind and loving girl.  When I heard she was getting married, I was thrilled for her!  It was truly my pleasure planning with her.  What a treasure she is, and what a great man she has found (and married!).  Justine and Goodwin — I adore you two and am so honored to have been a part of the day bringing you together in marriage.  Praying for you both and God’s continued blessing on your relationship and ministry!  xo

J+G happen to have a circle of friends populated with some very talented people, so it was neat to see how everyone pulled together to make things happen.  Their community of family and friends is really strong and I can see that they have so much love and support around them.  The goal was a simple and lovely celebration that was centered on Christ, and they definitely achieved that.  The first step to achieving a streamlined day is to hire a full service caterer.  Jay’s Catering did a great job with both the food + beverage, as well as basic rentals like tables, chairs, linens, china, etc.  We had the ever-talented Jaclyne from Heavenly Blooms create the personal flowers, cocktail arrangements, and ceremony florals, and then my team did the centerpiece florals (definitely not a typical thing for us, but we still enjoyed making an exception here for Justine!).  We couldn’t have done this without the advice and guidance of Jaclyne (who helped us with the order) — thank you dear!!  Koko and I actually had such a fantastic time working with the stunning blooms like Juliet garden roses, peach amaryllis (one of my favorites), ranunculus and astilbe.  Many memories were made sitting on the floor of her place, snipping and arranging and chatting away.  ;-)  My favorite {found} rentals provided the perfect ceremony arch (which also framed their sweetheart table during the reception) and various trophy cups for special floral arrangements.  Sweet friends provided all the audio and sound (+ DJ) as well as the stationery and printed goods (Cassie of Red Arrow Lettering).  It was also neat to find out we had mutual friends in Daveed and Courtney Toney – they sang the first dance song as a duet and ended up sitting with us for dinner, so it was a treat to catch up with them!

As a little décor touch, I suggested we create hanging mobile installations using birch branches, my trusty CB2 glass bubbles and delicate paper flowers.  The creative bride got right on board and worked tirelessly on creating each petal of every beautiful flower.  We hung these up lining the ceremony and reception area, filling the glass bubbles with flickering LEDs, and I think they added just enough extra oomph in the space.

Being the first wedding at a venue means you learn as you go, you adapt to the construction schedule, you keep things flexible.  We got down to the wire with construction timing but on the day of, J+G were just thrilled to be getting married and the site looked stunning.  I know The Loft is going to blow up and I feel honored to have been the one to break it in.  ;-)  Thank you, sweet Mary (site coordinator) for all of your care and assistance along the way!!

Without further ado, here are some snippets of the day via Hom Photography, a brother & sister duo!  Bryant was actually one of the groomsmen so props to his sister Lauren for all her hard work that day.

dapper gents

these guys had some serious sock + shoe game

sweetest girls!  5 out of the 8 girls were in my small group and I love them so!

cutest flower girls!

first look!

seeded eucalyptus for days <3

the groom led worship during the ceremony (here singing “Amazing Grace (my chains are gone)” by Chris Tomlin) and it gave me goosebumps!

married!!

we “flipped” the ceremony area for dinner during cocktail hour.  Love this space!

And just for fun… I have to add in this photo of Olive giving the groom a smooch before the wedding (I’m sure Justine will understand, haha!).  Erik and Olive were guests at the wedding so it was fun having them, even if it means Olive was at my heels the entire night.  ;-)

Photography: Hom Photography | Planning & Design: Love and Splendor | Venue: The Loft on Pine | Caterering: Jay’s Catering | Hair and Makeup: Shauna Funk for makeup // Alexa Brodsky for hair | Groom and Groomsmen Outfitted by: General Quarters | Floral: Heavenly Blooms Designs + Love and Splendor | Vintage Rentals: Found Vintage Rentals

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week!  I’m having such a great one, filled with inspiring work, meeting new friends, sweet time with old friends and lots of time in the marvelous sunshine.  My heart breaks for anyone in tough weather across the country, but I won’t lie… we went to the beach yesterday.  :)

Thanks for stopping by; see you again soon!

I have to write this post today, before I forget the details of the precious, beautiful, fleeting moment I experienced last night with Olive.  So yes, I’m kicking off the week with a very personal diary-style post and I hope you don’t mind.  ;-)

Yesterday Olive woke up with a sniffle and a runny nose.  She still greeted me cheerfully as I walked into her room to get her.  I got us ready for church and off we went.  At that point we weren’t sure if she had allergies or a cold, since she didn’t have a fever and it was just a clear runny nose.  Just a couple hours later, however, we could tell she wasn’t feeling well.  Her eyes were watery, her nose was still constantly dripping, and she had begun to both sneeze and cough.  Her afternoon nap was normal, but she continued to cough after she woke up.  It broke my heart every time I heard that rumbly chesty cough come out of her, or watched her try to wipe her nose in frustration before I swooped in with the Nose Frida (mamas know what I’m talking about!).  No one wants to see their baby sick!  We had a lazy afternoon and unremarkable evening.  I just focused on keeping her hydrated and snuggled up.  And then it was bedtime.

Typically we change Olive into her PJs, brush her teeth, and walk her through a simple bedtime routine that includes turning on her Sleep Sheep and Ladybug Constellation night light and then praying together as a family.  We place her into her crib tired but awake, and she snuggles in without a peep.  We call out that we love her and close the door.  And that’s it until morning.  It is pretty incredible that she has always fallen asleep easily and without much of a fuss.  I am grateful for it, of course, but I would tell my mama friends that I often wished she would fall asleep in my arms or let me rock her.  There are some nights that she literally wriggles and leaps out of my arms into her crib after we say, “Amen.”  She is *that* eager to get to bed and *that* comfortable doing it on her own.

So last night, it was different.  Last night I could see that Olive was having trouble breathing with her nose because she was so stuffed up.  Erik prepped her cool mist humidifier and I gave her a soothing nighttime bath.  She was getting drowsy.  I got her into her PJs and wrapped her up in a blanket and then went back into the bathroom.  I turned on the hot shower water and sat down on the closed toilet lid, my two year old “baby” bundled up in my arms.  She didn’t struggle.  She didn’t wriggle or ask for “night night.”  She just stared up at me, straight into my eyes.  And as steam filled the room, I started to rock her.  I started softly singing “Twinkle Twinkle” to her.  But she looked up and quietly said, “Jesus Loves Me.”  I couldn’t believe it.  I’ve only been singing the song with her for a few days and out of nowhere, she was requesting it.  The words also seemed like a simple statement from her lips and the power behind it just blew me away.  I started to sing the song, still rocking her, room full of steam.  She started to drift to sleep, her eyelids fluttering, but when she tried to keep her eyes open they were fixed on me.  The last thing she said before she fell asleep was, “Jesus.”  I lost it, guys.  I totally began to cry, voice creaking, warm tears landing on her little shirt (gratefully she was wearing an undershirt so I don’t think she felt my raindrops, haha).  It could have been the cloud of steam or the veil of tears, but for a moment I honestly saw her as a baby.  I literally saw her closed eyes and peaceful sleeping face as it was when she was a tiny baby.  And in that moment I felt so unbelievably grateful.  And I’d be lying if I didn’t say I also felt a twinge of sadness.  I thank God everyday for my beautiful daughter and yet I also feel that pull in my heart, that desire to hold too tightly, that secret wish for her to stay little forever.  I pray I never cling too tightly; I pray that I always see her for what she is — a child of God, a tender soul to shepherd and guide and love and instruct.  A gift entrusted to me.

I told a friend today that motherhood has changed me in every single way, and for the better.  I have learned so much about myself since becoming a mother and I know I will continue to be stretched over the years ahead.  At the moment of Olive’s birth, something in me switched… something put in motion from the moment I knew I was pregnant with her.  I have learned so much about God since having Olive, too.  I can glimpse a tiny bit of the love of the Father for us in the way I love her.  It is incredible to ponder.

After gently putting Olive into her crib last night, fast asleep and heavy in my arms, I went to bed early with teary eyes, just relishing and reliving the precious moment I had just experienced.  It’s funny that one of the first things I thought was, “I need to write this down before I forget!”  I so desperately don’t want to forget these simple little moments that mean so much to me.  I am truly so thankful for the reminder I was given last night — a moment to slow down, savor her “littleness” one more time (as it rapidly slips away), a moment to thank God for the long-awaited answer to prayer that is my baby Olive.

me and my olive // 7 weeks old

Thank you for letting me share a bit of my heart here today.  <3