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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

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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 Moment

You know when you’re in a moment and you feel very “in” that moment? Everything about that moment is intensified – your emotions and senses heightened. The colors are brighter and the smells stronger and the feelings bigger. For some reason the details are clearer and you’re just very “in the moment”. Well, I just had one of those moments.

I had just gotten Lilah out of the bath, wrapped her up in her pink bunny towel, and taken her upstairs to get her jammies on. Jacob had laid everything out perfectly for me – a diaper and her lotion on the left, a paci and a onesie on the right, and her swaddle and jammies in the middle. Bunny jammies! What a coincidence! Bunny towel and bunny jammies on the same night! I digress.

So I put on her diaper, lavender lotioned her little chunky legs, and laid her on top of her jammies. I grabbed each of her teeny feet in each of my hands, planning to sneak a kiss before I put them in their bunny feet. I leaned over  and brought my mouth to her tiny toes and she smiled. The moment I smooched she giggled. I buried my face in her feet, covering my eyes- thus beginning a very strange, pretty adorable version of peekaboo. She giggled and smiled and looked at me like there was nowhere she’d rather be in the world than on this bed, half-naked, playing foot-peekaboo with her momma by the very last light of the day. And I didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world either. It was so sweet and special that I wanted it to last forever. I was tempted to grab my iPhone to capture it, so that this moment – this joy – wouldn’t disappear with the sun. But, I knew that I should give my iPhone a rest and just savor those sweet smiles and sniff those lavender-scented toes… this moment was just for my heart. I felt so joyful and so happy but somehow a little bit sad at the same time.

Has that happened to you before? You’re experiencing something so amazing and beautiful but you’re sad when you realize how fleeting it is.

How can you feel such joy in that moment with simultaneous sadness?

Perhaps that’s what makes those moments so special – the fact that we know they will end and that we need to savor them while they last.


Erica & Chase

From the bride, Erica:

Love Story: Love at second sight ;) This might be more than a sentence or two ;) Chase and I met back in 2007 at a mutual friend’s wedding. We were both 22 at the time and living on different coasts. I was actually in town visiting from San Diego and he had just moved back to CA from NYC. We chatted, shared a few dances and even exchanged phone numbers at the end of the night. The next day I flew back to San Diego and went on to finish college. We didn’t end up keeping in touch, I think mostly because we just were living two totally separate lives in two totally different places. Fast forward 5 years later. We were still living in completely opposite places, this time a little closer than East coast versus West coast. Chase was living and working in San Francisco and I was living and working in Monterey. We randomly ended up at a BBQ together on Fourth of July 2012. Crazy right!? We immediately recognized each other and spent the majority of the afternoon chatting. At the end of the day, we exchanged phone numbers and immediately connected. We went on our first date two weeks later and it was just as if we had known each other for years. We fell in love very quickly, and we both knew early on that we were soulmates. After about a year and 3 months of dating, Chase asked me to marry him. It was truly a storybook romance. I still pinch myself that I am so lucky to have found such an incredible and amazing husband who is also my best friend.

Our inspiration for our wedding day came from our venue and the time of year in which we got married. Union Hill Inn was so beautiful on its own that it made it really easy for us to take that natural beauty and transform it into our vision. We drew inspiration from the rustic barn and the insanely beautiful natural light that it casts. The beautiful twinkly white lights, the old barn wood pews. I knew that I wanted a neutral color palette and wanted everything to feel cozy, wintery and romantic. That was the word of the day for the entirety of our planning, “romantic” ;) I wanted a flood of candles and light airy floral.

One of my favorite DIY projects were the gold deer we used to hold our escort cards. My mom and I found them on Etsy and spray painted all 120 of them gold. We called them the “herd” it was so funny seeing all 120 of them standing out to dry! The bridesmaid’s furs were also so special; it was my gift to them for being in the wedding. I wanted them to have something warm and cozy to throw around their shoulders because it was FREEZING. It was so much fun handing them out at the rehearsal dinner the night before. Another special detail was a gold ring I wore that belonged to my great, great, great grandmother. My mom wore it on her wedding day too; it was so special to me to wear such a treasured piece of family history. My grandmother actually had me hand it right back after the ceremony was over for safe keeping, it’s that special! My “something borrowed” was actually a mink fur that my grandfather had purchased for my grandmother in France in the early 1950’s, it has her name embroidered into it, that was really special for me as my grandfather has since passed and it was so nice to have something that meant so much to the both of them on our special day.

My absolute favorite moment was our first look, when we saw each other for the first time before the ceremony. It was so emotional for both of us and so exciting! We both had such butterflies, it was so amazing. It was so special to have that alone time with just the two of us. You don’t realize how little time you actually get that day with just the two of you. The ceremony was also a favorite, we were so ecstatic to be married…it was truly a moment in time we will always cherish. As soon as we walked out of the chapel, we both looked at each other and said, “That was fun!” and it really was!

My advice is to listen to your heart and stick with your vision, no matter who tries to persuade you in other directions. Find vendors who are excited and enthusiastic about working with you and helping you make your vision come to life! It was so great for us to be able to work with vendors that were willing to work with our ideas and and make them that much more amazing! Take deep breaths and remember why you are doing all of this planning and hard work. Enjoy it, because it goes by so fast! I heard that time and time again in the early stages of planning and it really is true. Also, remember to do non-wedding related things with your fiancé. Plan a weekend trip, or a fun date night. You need to have something else that keeps you excited and entertained after wedding planning. In the end, it’s not about how the napkin is folded just so, it’s about marrying the love of your life and that is something that is worth an epic celebration.

Our processional was by Drew Barefoot, Song: Mud in our eyes (Instrumental), Recessional was by A Boy and His Kite, Song: Till the end of time. First dance song, Kip Moore, Song: Hey pretty girl

My favorite photo of the day is one that was taken just as the pastor said you may now kiss the bride. My husband has his hands on my cheeks as we were kissing for the first time as husband and wife. It was such a true and tender moment. It truly captured our love for one another and just how excited we were to finally be married :)

Venue: Union Hill Inn in Sonora, California | Coordinator: Terri Neher of Events Extraordinaire | Floral: Willow Floral Design | Catering: Mustard Seed Catering
Cake: Corner Space Cakes | Entertainment: Sounds in Motion | Make-up: Blush Makeup and Beauty Lounge (Christa) | Gown Designer: Claire Pettibone
Men’s Formalwear: Men’s Warehouse | Brides Jewelry: Haute Bride Design | Brides Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Calligraphy: Dear Darling Calligraphy
Escort Cards: Minted.com | Hair: Jessica Lewis from Jewelz and Co.