Friday, February 5, 2016


When we moved into our house, I was ecstatic. There were little things I knew I would miss about being at home with my family, but more than anything I was excited and happy to finally be in a place of my own, in a new town, with the man I love. However, after only a few days in our new home, I realized the biggest thing that it was missing - a dog.

My family's dog, Toby, stayed behind at my parents house when I moved. I knew when I left that I'd miss coming home to him and his excited doggie kisses, but I had no idea how much. It didn't take long before I was searching high and low for a pup that Weston and I could call our own. I closely followed several local shelters, checking their websites daily to see if there were any dogs that may be a good fit for us (hypoallergenic due to Weston's asthma and allergies)  when finally, a nearby rescue center posted that they would have a littler of 8-week-old Schnoodle (schnauzer + poodle) puppies up for adoption the next morning!

Weston and I were second in line that Saturday, arriving two hours before the shelter opened. Once they finally let us inside, we got to observe the puppies playing together as the family in front of us made their choice. One little guy stood out to us right away. He was the fluffiest one - all different shades of brown, white, and black fur. One of the volunteers at the rescue handed him to me and he nuzzled his nose into my shirt and got comfortable in my arms.

And that was it.

As you can probably tell from the photos, I had tears of happiness streaming down my face throughout most of this experience haha. The family who had been fostering the puppies was really happy to see how much we wanted him. They even asked to take our picture so they could remember us! When they asked what we would be naming him, I told them we like the name Oliver and the mom teared up and said Oliver Twist is her favorite movie and that's why she's adopted several children of her own and why they foster dogs!

Ollie became part of the family instantly, but only two days into puppyhood at our house, he got incredibly sick. We frantically took him to the vet who was concerned it was Parvo, which is often deadly for puppies! I was inconsolable throughout the appointment. They ran some tests as we waited in the vet's cold office for thirty minutes. I held little three-pound Oliver in my arms as he whimpered and I finally got to understand a fraction of what my mom must have felt all these years, watching me go through health issues and feeling so helpless! Finally, the doctor returned and thankfully told us that it was NOT Parvo, but instead a parasite called Giardia.

Having a new puppy is challenging, but having a sick puppy is something else entirely. We went two days without sleeping because no exaggeration, every twenty minutes Oliver would get sick and we'd have to take him outside, clean up his messes, and hold his skinny little body while he whined. It was heartbreaking. After several really exhausting days of medications, he finally started feeling much better and showing more of his fun little personality. Now that a week has passed, he is super hyper and running all over the place like a whole new pup! It was quite a scary and stressful way to start off our time with him but we definitely bonded over it and Oliver is very aware of who cares for him now!

For a few more weeks we are stuck inside of the house, waiting until he gets the rest of his shots so we can start adventuring out in the world together! For now, we are keeping him busy learning his first few commands and mastering going up and down the stairs, which is pretty darn cute.

He is on a hilariously self-regimented sleep schedule too - falling asleep right around 9:45 each night and waking up at 7:00 on the dot each morning. He still loves to nuzzle his nose into my arms which is probably one of my favorite feelings in the world and on the rare nights that he whines a bit in his crate, if Weston and I talk to each other he becomes calm and quiet, listening to our voices. :) He certainly is a worthwhile handful. We just love this little guy.

Be prepared to see a lot more of Oliver in the future.
Welcome to the family, ya little cutie.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Our Backyard Reception.

When my mom's parents moved to California 50 years ago, they bought a house in Fullerton. It's where my grandma raised seven children as a single mom. It's where my dad pulled up on his moped to pick up my mom for Sadie Hawkins. It's where my uncles put ketchup on their faces in the bathroom to scare their sisters during a game of "Bloody Mary". 

In more recent years, it was pretty much run by the grandkids - all thirteen of us. Marching through the family room and kitchen in a parade, practicing piano in the den, going out in the garden to pick fruits and make juice with grandma, or sitting in Papa's chair when he wasn't looking - stealing tootsie rolls and sips of his iced tea when he returned.

This house and all of it's memories are sacred to me. 

When my Papa passed away, my grandma moved into the house next door and my uncle moved in to her house, and we were all happy to be keeping it in our family. One day, many years ago, I mentioned to my aunt that I'd love to have a wedding reception in that backyard. When Weston and I got engaged her first words to me were, "The backyard is yours!"

So, a week after our wedding ceremony, after returning from our honeymoon, we had our reception. 

^ When I asked my mom to make our wedding cake she initially said no way, but I'm so glad she gave in. Gorgeous and delicious!

My dad is the jack of all trades and helped us SO much with his DIY contributions. He made those giant wooden initials, our table numbers, and the entire bar out of old pallets! It was seriously insane watching all of his work come together!

We got to be outside, greeting our guests as everyone arrived which we loved. My friend, Jodi, was tending the bar and she came up with this insanely good "lovers punch" that was to die for. When I asked what was in it she said, "a little bit of whiskey… and a whole lot of love." Down. ;)

For dinner, we had mediterranean food from a tiny little restaurant that Weston's family frequented when he was growing up. I'm salivating just thinking about it!

As everyone finished their meals, Weston and I said a quick thank you to our guests and I actually got really emotional, looking out seeing all of the people we love, realizing this is probably the only time in our lives that every important person to us will be in the same place at the same time. It's a really incredible thing.

Then, we showed a little video of clips from the last seven years of me and Weston dating, before we got to share our wedding video. Lots of teary eyes in the audience. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Day We Got Married.

I woke up without an alarm. The sunshine peeking through the blinds just after 8:00. And even in those groggy morning moments, it was already just the way I hoped our wedding day would feel - happy, natural, and relaxed.

Later that morning, we went for a brisk walk around our new neighborhood. Arm in arm. Trying to stay warm. Came home and sat on the couch in our sweats, eating breakfast and watching Friends.

A little while later, Weston left with his suit in his hands and I kissed him goodbye before submerging myself in a hot bath. I got ready in my bedroom with my mom, Weston's sister Taryn, and the two talented ladies who did my hair and makeup - my friends Bianca and Diana. I helped my mom apply her makeup, laughed with Taryn over her constant teary eyes that day, and then we got in the car and headed to Malibu.

The boys all arrived a little early to set up our arbor, lanterns, and the little DIY backdrop of paper cones.

Initially, my dream was to elope in Big Sur. When we decided to have our parents and siblings in attendance at our ceremony, the cost of a destination wedding quickly added up and we decided to look for a place that would have a similar feel without the additional travel costs.

When we met with the family who owns this property in Malibu we were blown away by their kindness, graciousness, and care-free attitude. And as for the canopy of trees in their forest? We just loved it. It encompassed everything we were hoping for in a location. There was a small, enclosed gazebo near the main property that the owners let us use, so when we arrived, my mom, Taryn, and I headed inside for a few finishing touches and to slip into my dress.

I will never forget how excited my mom was before the ceremony. Love her!

After I was dressed, I finally started to feel a little bit anxious. The whole day I'd been so calm but when I knew we were only a few moments away, I just wanted to stop waiting and see Weston! We met up with my dad and then he, my mom and I stood just outside of the woods, waiting not-so-patiently for our cue to start walking….

When I heard my uncle whistle, a million butterflies took flight in my stomach. My dad squeezed my arm and the three of us started walking around the bend. As soon as I heard my friend Tristen's faint guitar picking in the distance (he played this song by Bibio) I felt myself start to cry. And as we got closer to Weston and I could see his face more clearly - and he was crying and smiling… Well, that's something I'll never forget.

From the start, we wanted to have someone that really knows us officiate our ceremony. After considering a couple people, we both thought of my Uncle Pete. He is the lead singer of my dad's band and not at all lacking in personality, he's the fire chief in his town so he is known for his charisma and steadfastness in nerve wracking situations, he loves God and has a successful marriage of his own that we admire, and of course he knows us better than most. We couldn't think of anyone better suited for the job.

So a few months before our ceremony, I called him and with a shaky, nervous voice, asked if he would consider getting licensed and saying our wedding for us. Thankfully, he graciously accepted the job. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect and memorable officiant. One of my favorite parts of the ceremony was when he shared words that our families had given to him to describe us as a couple. It was sweet, encouraging, and a wonderful surprise when he started reading them one by one.

Weston and I wrote our vows the day before the wedding - haha. I feel like… until the day before, it just didn't feel like there was any rush and then suddenly it was like "oh, we should probably figure out what we are going to say tomorrow." I was working on mine upstairs, he was writing his downstairs when he called up to me, "Are we allowed to make jokes in the vows?!" 

Weston is quiet and definitely not the type of person who goes around baring his soul in public and after he asked me that question, I assumed the vows would be brief and lighthearted, which is just like Weston. But when it came time to share them, Weston almost couldn't get the words out. And once he did, I was blown away by the eloquent, heartfelt, and beautiful sentiments that he shared in front of our families. Favorite part of the day. (and who am I kidding - favorite part of my life!)

After the emotional vows, Pete asked us to hold hands and prepare to exchange our rings. Weston's face went white and his eyes widened. He started mouthing something to me while Pete began to talk about the rings and suddenly I realized what he was saying… "Your ring is in the car!"