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Anne & Michael

From Anne, the bride:

Michael and I met when we were kids and used to vacation together with our families. We never dated and then lost contact for a few years, but when we saw each other again for the first time, it was obvious to me that he was special. We have been together ever since.

Michael and I really wanted to create a day that represented our personalities and was a balance between casual and elegant. Most of all, we wanted our guests to relax and have fun. I relied on blogs and pinterest for most of my inspiration, which was great because I was able to pick and choose different elements from a wide variety of weddings.

I really loved the personalized ceramic charms each bridesmaid carried in her bouquet; I loved having my new married monogram and our wedding date on mine, I use it as a Christmas ornament now. One of my favorite things was the food and drinks served at cocktail hour. We wanted to incorporate some of our favorite foods, like sushi and grilled cheese, and add a little twist with the mini cheeseburgers that were paired with the pint-sized beer mugs, and the grilled shrimp with the tiny margaritas. We searched, for what seemed like forever, for the perfect margarita jars with a cork and ended up finding them from a wholesale distributor. I ordered the black straws and Michael drilled each hole by hand (at an angle, I might add) and just like that, we had the perfect little margaritas.

Aside from the typical favorites like getting ready, getting dressed, walking down the aisle, getting down the aisle (this was probably the best feeling ever) and then walking back down the aisle… I would have to say my favorite moment was when Michael surprised me with the USC Marching Band at the reception (even though they interrupted our first dance). All of our guests were just as surprised as I was and it really set the mood for a great night.

Advice: Try not to over think things and go with your gut. When it came to picking the venues and our vendors, we ended up hiring the first vendor we met almost every time, and in some cases we did not “shop around” afterwards. I learned that if something felt right, then it was probably right … and if it felt wrong and you ignored it, well then you were definitely going to end up reordering or redoing something. We were extremely blessed to have such amazing people on our team and our wedding would not have been the same without each and every one of them.

Processional: Trumpet Voluntary – Bach
Recessional: The Wedding March
Grand Entrance: Locked Out of Heaven – Bruno Mars
First Dance: Look After You – The Fray/ The USC Fight Song

Coordinator: Jennifer Hronek with Joie de Vivre & Co. | Ceremony Venue: Holy Family Catholic Church in Pasadena | Reception Venue: Annandale Golf Club | Florist: Domini Carrington | Cake: Beverly’s Best Bakery | Linens: GBS Linens | Entertainment: Tijuana Dogs | Lighting: Town and Country Rentals | Hair/Make-up: Blo Out Lounge in Pasadena | Gown Designer: Watters | Ice Cream Truck: Paradise Cookies and Ice Cream | Stationery: Carmody & Co.

The Momma

Two years ago I wrote a Little Love Story about my Momma for Mother’s Day. I had secretly stolen her wedding dress and had Jacob photograph me in it as a gift for her. The older I got, the more I realized how much I relied on her and my thankfulness for her grew daily.  I thought I had reached the peak of my thankfulness for her, my love for her, when I posted this story. I thought, “I ‘get it’ now. My mom is amazing and I couldn’t do life without her.” I had no idea then how becoming a mommy myself would deepen my thankfulness and love for her – or how it would give me a small taste of her love and sacrifice for me.

A few months ago I wrote her this letter to try to put into words how much more thankful I was for her now that I understood more about her deep love for me.


I was thinking today about how much you’ve been there for me in the last few months… And then I realized that you’ve always been there, more than I even understand. 

We always focus on the fact that Daddy carried me in the hospital after I was born, but weren’t you the one that carried me for 9 months before that? You were the one that had labored all night to bring me into the world. In that hospital room on that October 6th morning you were there

In the middle of the night when I cried out for milk or maybe just snuggles, you were there. You held me and fed me and kissed my cheeks and said, “I love you so much”. 

When I had my first dance recital at Christmastime in 4th grade you were there. You put curlers in my hair and drove me to downtown Fresno and I felt special because it was just the two of us. I remember that so well. 

You were there the night I walked through the front door of our house with tears in my eyes because I had just ended a relationship. You hugged me in the dining room while I cried and you didn’t say anything… But you were there. 

On a Saturday in October you showed up at my door ready to “walk to Timbuktu” so that we could meet my sweet little Baby Bear soon. Over the next 5 days we talked and walked and got our nails done and drank coffee. It was so special to have you there for those last few days of my pregnancy. 

And then on October 22nd, as we drove to the hospital because I hadn’t felt baby move, you prayed while I cried. You asked God to give me peace and also that baby would give me a little kick of reassurance. Sure enough, I almost instantly felt a little jump in my tummy. I don’t know what I would have done that night if you hadn’t been there. 

The night I became a mommy you watched as I labored and pushed and finally welcomed my sweet baby into the world. You witnessed the moment that the nurse flipped baby over and I announced, “It’s a GIRL!” You saw, through tears, the moment I met my little Lilah Rae for the first time – the moment my life changed forever. 

In that hospital room on that October 23rd evening you were there

You were there for the weeks that followed, when I cried because time was going to fast, to tell me it was okay to hold my little Lilah as much as I wanted, to give me reassurance as I walked this new, mysterious path of being a mommy. You were there when I cried on the bed because I loved her too much. You laughed with me when I worried about her going to college. You showed me how to wrap her up and make her cozy. You were there to sing happy birthday to her and eat bundt cake on her 1 week birthday. 

You were there for her first thanksgiving and Christmas – her first smiles and her first bath. You were there the first time I had to leave her… I couldn’t have left her with anyone but you. You were there for almost her entire first 2 months of life. By being there for her, you were there for me

You have been there for me in all of these moments and so many more. It’s easy to be sad when you’re not here, but like you reminded me in a note you wrote to me – we’ve been immeasurably blessed to have so much time together… “How could I be ungrateful?” 

So, thank you. Thank you for being there from the moment I was born to today. Thank you for caring for me and praying for me over the last 27 years. (You were pregnant with me at this time 27 years ago.) Thank you for loving me by loving my girl. Thank you for teaching me that being the best mommy means lots of snuggling and even more praying. More than anything, thank you for showing me the depth of our Father’s love by loving me so deeply. Your love for me is beautiful but your love for Him is even more so.

I love you, Momma. Thank you for being there. 


After writing down these words I realized that I had never truly thanked her. I had never shared those sweet memories with her. And as I started writing, I couldn’t stop. There were too many stories about her selfless love. It felt overwhelming to try to put it all down on paper, but I am so glad I did.

If you’re momma is still in your life, tell her you love her. But more than that, tell her you’re thankful for her and give specific examples of times that were special to you. Write it down, seal it with a kiss, and get that letter to her. It will mean so much.

Happy Mother’s Day, friends.

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***For more of our Little Love Stories, click here.***

Annette Hatfield Rowe -

your mom is one of the most important women from my younger life..happy mothers day to you both!

Ca Sh -

☺️too much sweetness love & gratitude. All because of Jesus..such an undeserved tribute His amazing Grace! And love that He has given. Humbly momma

Maxine Taylor Geil -

Too precious! xoxo

The Half Birthday

I’ve been writing little letters to Lilah Rae since the day we found out we were pregnant. Of course, throughout the pregnancy we didn’t know that she was a she or that her name would be Lilah, so I’d write to “Baby Bear” or “Little Lovebug”. Now that she’s here I’ve been trying to continue to write to her. There are so many things about her that I want to remember and when I go back and read what I wrote to her when she was born or at 3 months old, there are already things I had forgotten. Yesterday she turned 6 months old.

6 months ago this morning I woke up in a hospital, holding a 7 pound, 3 ounce Lilah Rae. Jacob and I cried all morning because we couldn’t have imagined the joy we would feel meeting our daughter. I vividly remember looking over at Jacob as he laid on the hospital couch with Lilah on his bare chest. I asked him, “How do you feel?”, expecting to get an answer about how he slept. His eyes welled up with tears as he said, “My heart is very bursting.”

I will never forget those words and I will never forget the feelings that were so perfectly expressed by them.

Here’s the little letter for Lilah that I wrote yesterday:

Sweet Lilah Rae,

Today is your 6 Month Birthday. You are the sweetest, smiliest 6 month old I have ever met. There are so many things I want to remember about you at this age. Here are a few of them…

You wake up with the sweetest, happiest smile on your face. You are my little joy girl. I always find myself singing to you, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart… And I’m so happy, so very happy. I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heeeeaaart.”

You are so silly at 6 months old. You tell jokes and you think they’re funny. I think they’re funny too. You don’t laugh much, but when you do, it’s so funny. You have the best giggle.

You are also the wiggliest little worm. You don’t sit still for more than 20 seconds. If I’m holding you, you want to fly in the air. If you’re on the ground, you want to roll around or sit up. You’re so active and so strong. I’m proud of how big you’re getting and how hard you work to learn new things.

I want to remember our special evenings together. Every night, after bath, I lay you on the bed and give you your paci and you smile and smile and smile. I kiss your squishy cheeks and you giggle. Every night I want to kiss them over and over again but I have to get your jammies on. So, I lotion your little legs and arms, get your jammies on, and sneak one more little neck kiss before bedtime.

I love the way you smell. Your skin smells so sweet – like that lavender lotion we use. I never want to forget that sweet, sweet, lavender baby smell.

I want to remember the way you look up at me when you wake up in the Ergo. Your eyes are so big and your cheeks are so rosy. You’ll lay there on my chest for a few minutes while you wake up. Once you wake up a little you give me the biggest smile. I love these quiet moments with you.

When I think of you, my little Lilah Bug, at 6 months old, I will think of that huge smile, your two little teeth, and that high-pitched squeal you love to do – you’re our little pterodactyl baby. I’ll think of your sweet spirit, silly expressions, and the joy your little heart is filled with. I’ll remember all-night snuggle sessions, cozy bath times, and lots of bouncing with you in the Ergo. I’ll imagine your round, bald head, squishable cheeks, and 2-tooth grin, so happy and so sweet.

I love you, little Loo Loo Bear. I’m so thankful that God gave you to us and that He allowed us to meet you 6 months ago today. Happy Happy Half-Birthday, Little Love.


For more of our Little Love Stories, click here

Ca Sh -