Friday Favorites - Our Proposal Story and Setting Goals

4 years ago I got in my car full of groceries and drove up to spend the weekend with Jake (we were dating at this time) at his work, where he also lived.  I made the 400 miles roundtrip commute almost every weekend to see him.  It was a long distance relationship, but it made the time that we did have together extra special.   So on this particular trip, it was Labor Day weekend,  I took off the Friday from work and made the drive up.  When I got there Jake said we are taking a little trip and having a picnic.  It was a little out of the norm, but whatever, I was just happy to see him. On the way to our picnic, Jake kept smiling and looking over at me.  I was frazzled since I took the Friday off work and was answering all emails from my phone.  I had no idea where we were going since I had barely looked up on the drive there.  Jake said he didn't mind since he wanted it to be a surprise where we are going.  I thought that was a little odd since Jake is not the best at surprises, and for a split second I thought that Jake was proposing to me. But I looked at his pockets and there was no box-like shape in them...so I moved on...

We got to our destination after a little hike up there.  It was a gorgeous 100 year old castle ruins.  Stone arch ways looking out into the Santa Ynez Valley, it was breathtaking.  We sat on a 12 foot stone wall and started eating our lunch.  Jake opened up the Bible and said he wanted to read out of the book Song of Songs.  It is a love story really.  So we read while eating our salads, we read.  Jake then got to the following verse,

You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume more than any spice!

I knew something was happening here.  It was not just a picnic.  Jake put down the Bible and jumped from the 12 foot wall, got down on one knee and said "I don't have a ring, but I have this castle for you...will you marry me?"  With a big smile and kind of freaking out, since I was afraid of heights, I said yes...duh!

That was 4 years ago... It is so neat to think how so much has changed in just 4 short years... We got married, bought a house, started a few businesses, had our little Charlie, and just had a great time spending everyday together.  It just makes me excited to think about what could happen in the next 4 years.

Here are our 4 goals we hope to accomplish in 4 years: - Move into our dream home, forever home with a backyard Charlie can ride his bike in! - Book at least 25-35 weddings a year - Be able to work more from home so I can be with my little Charlie - Grow even deeper and deeper in love, keeping God as our foundation

Writing out goals has always been a fun thing for Jake and I.  We mark events on our calendar for a year later hoping our goal is accomplished by then.  Or we make real life Pinterest boards with printed out photos of what we look forward to most.  It is much easier to will those things into your life when it is something tangible.  Try it...it makes you feel good knowing you are doing something proactive about getting closer to those dreams! :)

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Friday Favorites - DIY Lavender Wreath

I love lavender.  The smell...the look...love it.  It is all over in our yard, front and back.  It was even the "flower" for our wedding. For months I had been eyeing this lavender wreath at Target, however I just couldn't justify spending almost $50 for something that is just going to hang on my front door.  Instead, after a very long time of debating whether to get it or not, I decided I'll just make it.

So last weekend while Jake was away Charlie and I went to Michael's and bought all the supplies!  We did it all for $8.50 plus 20% off with my awesome Michael's app!

8 inch grapevine wreath - $4.99 Head Pins - $1.99 Floral Wire - $1.49

STEP ONE: I went out to our front yard to pick some lavender.  Unfortunately, right now, there was not a lot of lavender but the lavender leaves were massive...so I thought it would go well on the wreath also!

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STEP TWO: I grabbed a small handful of lavender and leaves.

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STEP THREE: I put that bunch onto the wreath and bound it tightly with floral wire.lavender-wreath_0010 lavender-wreath_0013

STEP FOUR: Keep repeating by adding more and more bunches on top of the last.  Just be sure each time you cover up your floral wire!

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Oh yes, and this is what Charlie was doing while I was making my wreath.  The kitchen was a mess, but he was happy!lavender-wreath_0011 lavender-wreath_0017

If I had a hard time keeping the lavender bunch together while I was tying it, I would use these pins to keep it in place.  lavender-wreath_0015

I didn't use too much because these guys stood out and were hard to cover up!lavender-wreath_0014

STEP FIVE: Nearing the end of the wreath was a little harder. I just needed to nicely tuck the ends of the stem UNDER the existing flowers on the wreath. lavender-wreath_0016

And there you have it.  In 20 mins I had my very own wreath!  I thought I was going to put it outside on the front door, but I think I will enjoy it inside for a bit!  Plus, I needed something to put on these hooks of my nice new furniture piece my parents got me for my birthday!lavender-wreath_0018

It was probably the easiest craft I have done.  And I did it with a teething toddler too!  Once all my lavender grows back I would LOVE to make a bigger one and maybe that one I will put on my front door!

 

Friday Favorites - Vacation Time / Our Canadian Adventure

Last Thursday at 5 in the morning Jake and I took off to Canada for a family wedding.  It was our first trip away from Charlie for more than one night.  It was so hard leaving him behind but he just had a BLAST with his grandparents.

It was Jake's side of the family we went to go visit.  We stayed at one of his aunt and uncles home on 40 acres of beautiful land full of raspberries, rhubarb, and saskatoons (like a blueberry).  I feel 100 pounds heavier from the one too many slices of homemade pie and sweet teas I had on the front porch!  There is nothing like staying with family.  With the sunsetting around 10pm, we were chipping golfballs around in the front yard, sitting by the firepit watching the sunset,  hanging with cousins till late at night, and going on walks where you talk so much you lose track of time.   You just can't do those things in a hotel.

I cannot wait to go back but the next time Charlie will have to come with us.

This was the view from the front porch! Canada-Trip_0031 Picking berries for our pie!  Canada-Trip_0009 Canada-Trip_0008 Canada-Trip_0015 Canada-Trip_0010 Canada-Trip_0018 Canada-Trip_0017

Apparently I talk with my hands way too much!Canada-Trip_0014 Canada-Trip_0011 Canada-Trip_0012 Canada-Trip_0013 Canada-Trip_0016

The beginnings of our pie!Canada-Trip_0019 Canada-Trip_0020 Canada-Trip_0021 Canada-Trip_0026 Canada-Trip_0022

Yes, I was working too...Canada-Trip_0045 There was a lot happening in the kitchen...pies...work...and Jake making Jam out of our leftover berries!Canada-Trip_0023 Canada-Trip_0024 Canada-Trip_0025

And a few hours later...This is what our pie looked like!Canada-Trip_0042 Canada-Trip_0027 Canada-Trip_0028 Canada-Trip_0029 Canada-Trip_0030 Canada-Trip_0043 Canada-Trip_0032 Canada-Trip_0033 Canada-Trip_0035 Canada-Trip_0034 Canada-Trip_0036 Canada-Trip_0046 Canada-Trip_0037 Canada-Trip_0041 Canada-Trip_0044 Canada-Trip_0039 Canada-Trip_0038

Thank you so much Uncle Mike, Aunt Glenda and Leam for having us over.  It was an amazing week!Canada-Trip_0040

Friday Favorites - A New Room

When Jake and I were looking for our first home together, we looked for months and found nothing that felt like home.  Then, the second we stepped into our current home, we knew that this was the house.  Sweet two bedroom, one bathroom home with a quant rose garden out front.  Completely redone bathroom and kitchen.  Wood floors were freshly stained.  Everything was perfect and move in ready.  It was spacious with just Jake and I, but now there are 3 of us, and things are much different. Our one and only bathroom is right next to Charlie's room, and Charlie is the lightest sleeper ever.  We have to tip toe to the bathroom or around the house whenever he is sleeping.  Heck, it's our bed time when he goes down for the night.  Our house just creates noise that wakes Charlie up.

That is when we decided that we needed to change something.  The huge selling point for me on this house was how BIG our backyard is!  There is so much yard.  So we thought why not put that great yard to use and make ourselves a nice mater suite add-on.  Fully equipped with a walk in closet, master bath with two sinks,  and a bedroom with ample light and french doors.

It is going to be a long road ahead, but cannot wait to enjoy being at home with 500 extra square feet and a little more sanity! ;)

 

Friday Favorites - A Much Needed Remodel

When Jake and I were looking for our first home together, we looked for months and found nothing that felt like home.  Then, the second we stepped into our current home, we knew that this was the house.  Sweet two bedroom, one bathroom home with a quant rose garden out front.  Completely redone bathroom and kitchen.  Wood floors were freshly stained.  Everything was perfect and move in ready.  It was spacious with just Jake and I, but now there are 3 of us, and things are much different. Our one and only bathroom is right next to Charlie's room, and Charlie is the lightest sleeper ever.  We have to tip toe to the bathroom or around the house whenever he is sleeping.  Heck, it's our bed time when he goes down for the night.  Our house just creates noise that wakes Charlie up.

That is when we decided that we needed to change something.  The huge selling point for me on this house was how BIG our backyard is!  There is so much yard.  So we thought why not put that great yard to use and make ourselves a nice mater suite add-on.  Fully equipped with a walk in closet, master bath with two sinks,  and a bedroom with ample light and french doors.

It is going to be a long road ahead, but cannot wait to enjoy being at home with 500 extra square feet and a little more sanity! ;)

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Friday Favorites - Homemade Sweet Tea

"Trenta, black iced tea sweetened right?" says the Starbucks lady as she writes Rebecca on my cup.  All I needed to do is walk in and say hi!  I am an iced tea connoisseur, as Jake calls it.  Let's just say I really enjoy  a perfectly sweetened iced tea.  So when my mom shared her amazing sweet tea recipe with me, I was on board.  Especially since I don't have to go all the way to Starbucks to get it!

Here's how it goes!

Michaels sells these large 8 cup mason jars that a perfect tea makers.  Michaels was having a sale so this one was $3!  I use TAZO iced tea.  You can use any other tea, but I like this one since it is one big tea bag instead of the normal sized ones.

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1. I start by filling up the mason jar with 2 cups of HOT water.how-to-make-your-own-sweet-tea-1

2.  Then I put the tea bag in the hot water, and let it sit for 10-20 mins.  It just depends on how strong you want it.  I like my tea on the weaker side so I only steeped for 10 mins. homemade-sweet-tea

3. After it is done steeping, I take out the tea bag and put in 1/2 cup of sugar. how-to-make-your-own-sweet-tea-2

4.  Then, I fill up 6 more cups of COLD filtered water.  It is important to filtered water to yield clear tea.  Cloudy tea tastes the same, but it just doesn't look as yummy...

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5.  Shake it up a bit to dissolve the sugar, then stick it in the fridge till it is cold.how-to-make-youyr-own-sweet-tea-4

6.  DONE! Once cold, time to enjoy! 

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I love these mason jars for my spa water too! ;)

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While I was doing this the boys were watching the World Cup with their popsicles!world-cup

Now all I need is a Starbucks cup to drink my sweet tea in and I am set!

Friday Favorites - Making My Own Children's Book

Charlie LOVES to read books.  He also loves to look at pictures that he is in.  I think he just likes to relive the fun times in his life.  So instead of bringing out our phones all the time to show him photos, I thought I would make a "baby book" of Charlie's favorite things.   This 20 page baby-friendly book has thick bendable pages that make it impossible for Charlie to rip it up, a new feature of Shutterfly!  Charlie LOVES going through each page!  Here is a preview of a few of the pages!

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Charlie's motorcycles had to get a two page spread! Making-a-childrens-book Childrens-Book-Becca-Clicks Make-your-own-Childrens-Book

Friday Favorites - A Clean Inbox

There is nothing that makes me more frazzled than a dirty house.  I am always cleaning.  In fact, I clean before the cleaning lady comes.  Jake calls me crazy, I call it efficient.  ;)  That way the mess picked up, and the things that need to be done can get done with ease without all the junk there. That is how I feel with my inbox as well.  In running a photography business, along with phone calls and such, ALL of my bookings and contracts and appointment scheduling are done through email.  I love it.  There is always a record of when something was sent and what was said.  However, like my house, if my inbox mess I feel a mess as well.  You can't have a disorganized business. I love Gmail because I everything is laid out so clean and simple.  All my emails are forwarded there... personal and business, and within Gmail I can send email using whatever email I choose.  All my emails are in one place.  Simple.

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Now, my goal always is to have zero emails in my inbox.  But sometimes that is just not possible.  If there are photo shoots that I am currently editing or their shoot is coming up, I always leave their email in my inbox.  My inbox acts like my to-do list.   It doesn't get done if it is not on my list...I'll forget!  Once photos are done and sent they get put into the appropriate Photo Shoot label.  All my labels are listed on the left hand side of the photo below.  This goes with any email.  All pending items always stay in the inbox.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 6.04.27 PMWhen my inbox is clean and organized my business can run smoothly and nothing falls through the cracks! Even if you don't run a business, everything is done so much by email these days.  It would not hurt to make sure your inbox is all in order.  

If you have any awesome email organizing techniques I would love to hear! IMG_9829

Friday Favorites - Appreciation for Current Times

How Can I Appreciate Technology When So Many Don't? by Jake.

Because I got to see Becca, my girlfriend at the time who lived 160 miles away, I get to watch and re-watch videos of my favorite little boy, and when it comes to being safe we've never been so well taken care of. So many people I talk to are very discontent with what technology has done with society (Becca included). I on the other hand couldn't agree less. Technology has done wonders for bringing people closer together than ever.

Skype, Email, and Texting

Long distance relationships

When Becca and I first started dating plus one full year of engagement living 160 miles apart, Skype was our best friend. We would talk every night and were fortunate enough to get to "see" each other every night.

And apparently the racoons Skyped with me...Video Snapshot of ibelongincanada-2

Camera Phones

Every night Becca and I look at pictures on our phones of, you guessed it, our son Charlie. Even though we never take enough new pictures to keep it updated, we will still watch the same videos over and over again and make us laugh in the process just as hard as the last time. This was barely possible 10 years ago and not at all possible 20 years ago. In the days of developing photos yes, you could re-create this idea but the simplicity of turning on your phone and clicking the photos icon makes it much more available.

The only way you can capture awesome moments like your son playing the organ and raising his hand for all to join in is only with the phone in your hand...No time to grab a camera for moments like this. IMG_0970

Health and Safety

We now have cars avoid collisions, park themselves, and phones that we can talk to. But let's also take into consideration how technology keeps us healthy when our body isn't. I broke my leg 2 months ago. With a swipe of my ID card I was checked into the hospital. The internal computer system used by the nurses and receptionist was all uniform so when it was my turn to be called in everyone was on the same page and the urgent care filled with 30 sick and injured flowed smoothly. My blood pressure was taken by a machine that operated by isself. My records were displayed on a screen including such details as, "Oh, I see you hurt your knee back in 2008."

Friday Favorites - Baby Bow Ties and My Little Nephew

These baby headshots were extra special to me which is why they are on my Friday Favorite series. They are of my one and only favorite nephew, Jackson! He comes to work with mommy everyday so I get to see this little guy grow up from a little shrimp and into a big boy. He is always making me laugh.  I will be working away and then look over and he is just smiling and sticking his tongue out at me...for like 10 mins.  Oh Jackson.  His baby bow tie was extra precious since it made him look like an old man, comb over and all... too much cuteness, it just makes me chuckle every time I see these pictures.  Love his sweet face!

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Had to get some of mommy too ;) mommy-and-me-shoot mommy-and-me-photography