December Days

It’s been a very action packed and beautiful December full of family fun and lots of memories made. We started out by going to Knotts Berry Farm with our family on the first weekend. We loved watching the kids do the rides and they were even brave enough to do some on their own! Everly had a blast with her cousin Brian, especially on the mini train ride. We visited Santa together, took some pictures, and ate cookies and candy canes. We ended the night on a real train ride with the whole family, watched the Christmas tree light up and the snow fall while we ate candy. It was the perfect way to kick off our Christmas season. The day after we traveled back home, we went out and picked out our tree together. It was so special realizing that it was our first year picking out our tree together as a complete family! We loved watching the kids have fun decorating, enjoying the lights, music, and all the magical moments we shared together. They’re at such a fun age! On the 8th, Everly turned 2 and a half! These are the days of princess dress wearing, singing and dancing to Frozen “Let it Go” on repeat daily, Blippi watching, and adventure loving. She is spunky, full of life, and is 100% a daddy’s girl. She’s brilliant and beautiful and I’m so in love with our special girl. Daniel had a photoshoot at a senior care residence the next day and we took the kids with us. They hosted a Christmas dinner and had their Christmas tree lighting. The whole property was covered in a beautiful Christmas light display and we loved that the kids got to experience it. On the second weekend, Daniel and I took a road trip out to watch our niece Kaylyn perform in her very first Nutracker performance. She was one of the angels and we loved getting to see her sweet face. She was so proud and we were so glad we got to be there for her. The next day, Daniel and I photographed our last wedding of the year in Solvang. The kids got to have some quality time with their Nana and Papa while we were away. The following day we visited Santa together at a local park. We got some adorable pictures of little Oliver on his lap. They had a cute little station set up where kids could write a letter to Santa and put it in a mail box. And they also provided food and drinks for everyone. It was a fun afternoon! On the 18th, Ollie turned 7 months old. He’s still the happiest baby ever and blowing our minds with how fast he’s learning and growing. He’s still crawling everywhere, pulling himself to stand up all the time, and charming us with his dimples. On the following day, Daniel led worship for our candlelight service at church, and then later that day we hosted a holiday Rollerskating party for our Rollerskating club, Coast Skate Club. Everly got to pull out her roller skates again and her Daddy pulled out his rollerblades. I loved watching her skate around with her Nana and Dada with the biggest grin on her face. More fun continued, and my dad took our Holiday family portraits the next day. There was a break in all the rainy weather and we were able to go out and get our first family photos as a whole family. My dad captured some really great treasures that we get to keep forever. Thank you Michael Kinney Photography! A couple days later we hosted a December Birthday and Christmas celebration at our house with my whole family. My grandpa, mom, dad, and sisters, along with their families all came over. We started out with making gingerbread houses together. I loved seeing Everly have so much fun with all her cousins. She has such a special relationship with each one of them. After the kids finished making their houses, we sang to my dad and sister, and they opened up some gifts. Then all the kids opened up their Christmas gifts to each other, and from their Nana and Papa. It was such a joy to watch. Daniel made our homemade spaghetti for everyone while we played “A Muppets Christmas Carol” movie. Then we all got cozy in our pj’s, my grandpa said a Christmas prayer for everyone, and my dad read “The Night Before Christmas,” with everyone piled up on the couch. We closed out the night with a gift exchange for the adults while the kids had a little dance party in the other room. So many fun memories made! On Christmas Eve, it was raining again so we stayed cozy inside and made sugar cookies together. I loved getting to make them and decorate them with Everly. We used my grandmas “Aunt E Sugar Cookie” recipe. She loved it and definitely ate her fair share of frosting and M&M’s during the process. On Christmas morning, we took our time and watched Everly and Oliver open their gifts from us. Everly got her Elsa castle from Santa, along with many other fun and exciting gifts. Oliver loved watching his sister, opened up his gifts, and was very content with the teethers he opened first. I just loved the sight of them sitting in front of the Christmas tree. I dreamed of having a family for so long and to finally experience all these amazing memories make my heart so full of gratitude. In the afternoon, we met up with my extended family, and in the evening, after the kids went to sleep, Daniel and I exchanged gifts to each other. We’ve been enjoying these last few days of the year inside while it’s been stormy outside. Our tree is still up and we’re still surrounded by the Christmas mess and I love it. I’m excited for this New Year and can’t wait to see what it holds. Being a mom of 2 now has had its challenges at times, but overall I’m so happy with all the memories we’ve shared together and know that I am living in my best days. Thank you Jesus for this year! Nothing is more precious than family.

15 Years

We drove away from our wedding day promising to re-gather our friends and family for the milestones of our 5th, 15th, 25th and 50th anniversary years. Last weekend we gathered with our family and friends to celebrate our 15th anniversary! Our actual wedding anniversary was on March 11th but we decided to postpone our celebration because of covid restrictions. So since we celebrated on September 11th, it’s been 15 1/2 years exactly. It worked out perfect because not only did we get to have our celebration at our favorite wedding venue, Tiber Canyon Ranch, but we got to have Oliver join us too! I was 7 months pregnant back in March so getting to have him with us made it that much more special. We began our magical evening by walking out as a family to all of our guests. As we walked down the stairs hand in hand and approached all of the faces of the ones we love so dearly, my eyes began to well up with tears. I was overtaken by such an overwhelming feeling of gratitude as I held Oliver and looked over at Dan holding Everly. God has been so faithful and I’m in awe of how he has blessed us. We started with a vow renewal hosted by our dear friend and mentor, Rich Wilson. He also hosted our 5 year party 10 years ago. Having him there was so special to us. He and his wife Karen are so dear to our hearts. I loved getting to renew my vows and share my heart for Daniel. He truly is the man of my dreams and I love that my kids get to have him as their father. Hearing the words he wrote for me was so humbling. Men like Daniel are rare in this world and I’m just honored to live my life with him. At our 5th anniversary party we had a time capsule there for our family and friends to write us a note or leave us a treasure to open at our 15 year party. The time capsule was sealed back then by both our fathers and my grandfather with 3 different locks. And all three of them unlocked it with their individual keys on this night. It was amazing getting to open it 10 years later and see all the notes written, even from some who have since passed away; My grandma, my aunt, and Daniel’s grandparents. At home after the party, Dan and I enjoyed taking our time reading all of the words written to us years ago. The time capsule was filled up again on this night with notes from everyone that attended and we look forward to reading them in the next 10 years! The ceremony was followed by some special dances. Daniel and I shared a dance to a song that he wrote and recorded for me on the anniversary before our sweet Everly came into this world. She ran up and joined us during our dance and it was so precious. One of the lines in the song says, “planted that tree in the back of the yard and wait for those dreams while we watch it grow tall.” Daniel and I planted a plum tree in our backyard believing with all our hearts that we would have children one day, and when we had Everly our tree was in full bloom. Recently, we took both Everly and Oliver outside and harvested the plums together. We took all the plums inside and I got to make some plum jam to give to all of our guests on this night. Another special dance that took place was Daniel’s dance with Everly. Right after our dance ended the DJ said “Everly this one’s for you.” As soon as their song started playing Everly looked up at her Daddy, and with her eyes wide open, gasped, then reached out to him and he scooped her up in his arms. I’ve seen them dance together so many times at home but there was something so magical watching them dance under the beautifully lit oak trees to their special song. Daniel said at one point Everly looked around and softly said “woooww!” I’ll never forget the precious sight of them together that night. I’m so glad we have such beautiful photos and videos to look back on forever. After the dances we enjoyed a dinner together, then we got to surprise our parents with a special song. Both of our parents actually share the same wedding song by Paul Stookey called “There Is Love” (The Wedding Song). Daniel played it at my parents 40th anniversary vow renewal back in June this year. My dad has been asking Dan to record his own version of it for awhile now. So we were so excited to be able to surprise them with our own rendition of the song while they both shared a dance together. My parents have been such an inspiration to me. The love they share is so special and their marriage is such a beautiful example to us. At the end of the night, we sang happy birthday to a dear friend, enjoyed some cupcakes, and danced to close the night out. Daniel and I loved being surrounded by all our dear friends and family. This night truly felt like a little slice of heaven. Our hearts are so full of gratitude for the precious people God has placed in our lives. We’re looking forward to reading everyone’s notes to us in our time capsule at our 25th anniversary party! Special thanks to all of our vendors for making this night a dream come true for us:
Venue: Tiber Canyon Ranch, Officiant: Rich Wilson, DJ: Bob Stock, Portraits & Candids: Michael Kinney Photography, Photojournalism: Somewhere Studios Photography, Caterer: Tamara’s Catering