ISES Designer Showcase | Black Swan

I was invited to be a part of the International Special Events Society - Denver Chapter Designer Showcase! It was this past Tuesday night, and it was such an incredible experience.

WHAT IS THE DESIGNER SHOWCASE?
It is an event where the best in the event industry join together to create a "vignette." The best way I can describe a vignette is an entire event featured in a 20 x 20 foot space. It brings together lighting, decor, furniture, backdrops, catering, desserts, table design, floral, signage, and stationery.

This year, the emphasis was on trendsetting, and the theme was Oscar Award-Winning or Academy Award-Winning movies. Director, Jessica (from Pro Chic Events) and Haley (from Platinum Weddings & Events), who helped co-direct the vignette, chose the movie, BLACK SWAN for our theme!

SAYING YES TO THE UNKNOWN
I wasn’t sure what I was saying yes to when Jessica called to explain this event! I just knew that it sounded really exciting and something that I’d love to be a part of! I met Jess in October, and we've since been working together! In partnership with her incredible wedding planning business, Pro Chic Events, I provide the stationery and signage design for her one-of-a-kind clients! It has been a super creative, fun, exciting, and cohesive journey so far!

Just three weeks ago, Jessica, Brianna (also with Pro Chic Events) met to dream about what this vignette could be! We sipped wine, ate cheese, and stayed up late to concept this incredible vignette. I haven’t seen “Black Swan.” I was depending on the interpretation and vision that Jessica shared. I depended on her ideas, but she also encourages such creativity with my own ideas. This is what I love about our collaboration; the idea that we each truly being something unique to the table. And we did. We came away SO excited to see it all come together!

Edgy. Sexy. Elegant. Mysterious. Simple.

On the Friday before the event, Jess invited me to the walk-through for the final setup of the space. I was able to meet Haley (Platinum Weddings & Events), Scott (Lighting and Design by Scott), and Ashley (CORT Events). It was so fun to be creative together as they worked through the details! It was very cool to be invited into all of this; my first type of experience like this!

STATIONERY & SIGNAGE
I had a BLAST designing the stationery and signage for this. Jessica had the idea of the "floating" paper in the swan-esque bowls. I used black, textured cardstock, designed silver foil quotes and embossed black swans on the other side. I used the edgy textures mixed with the soft, mauve, watercolor to create the signage, as well as a elegant and beautiful calligraphy font. I was very happy with how it all came together, and I was challenged to push myself, and it truly was a great experience.

COLLABORATION IS KEY
I enjoyed seeing the way Jessica brought the team together! She truly has the gift of leadership and collaboration; inviting the creativity of others! Throughout the process, I met incredibly talented people, and found some common connections! I love the way that as a team, it is incredible what we all came together to create!

PEOPLE’S CHOICE
All of the guests of the event and those who watched the livestream could vote for their favorite vignette. And guess what….we WON the People’s Choice Award! Whaaa??? SO COOL!

As I stood there with Matt, my husband, I was so thankful that he could be there. Honestly, so much of this is so new to me and I didn’t know how to explain it all to him. But, as we were there, it was just so cool to experience with him; to share all the work that I had done (and that he had been supportive of).

What a sweet experience! I am super, super thankful!

I’ve included the photos from JK Photography that were taken at the event. I have also included the names and websites of our entire team!

Director | Concept Design | Coordination | Floral Design:
PRO CHIC EVENTS (Jessica Martinez)
www.prochicevents.com

Co-Director: PLATINUM WEDDINGS AND EVENTS (Haley Hyman)
myplatinumeventdenver.com

Lighting | Decor | Graphics: PINK MONKEY SOLUTIONS
www.pinkmonkeysolutions.com

Furniture | Decor: CORT EVENT FURNISHINGS
www.cortevents.com

Lighting | Production: LIGHTING AND DESIGN BY SCOTT
www.lightinganddesignbyscott.com

 Decor | Lighting: HIGHLIGHTS COLORADO
www.highlightscolorado.com

Catering: OCCASIONS CATERING
www.occasionscatering.com

Cake & Desserts: CUPCAKE LIBATIONS
www.cupcakelibations.com

Cake Topper: PLATYPUS PAPERS
www.platypuspapers.com

Stationery & Signage: VERONICA PRESTON DESIGN
www.veronicaprestondesign.com

Rentals: ALLWELL RENTS
www.allwellrents.com

Black Swan: BIANCA MEEHAN
bianca.meehan.cpt@gmail.com

Costume: DISGUISES COSTUMES
www.disguisescostumes.com

Hair & Makeup: LEEDA BEAUTY
www.leedabeauty.com

Jewelry Styling & Props: DORA GRACE BRIDAL
doragrace.com

Vignette Glamour Photography: TONY CONTRERAS PHOTOGRAPHY
tonycontrerasphotography.com

Event Photographer: STUDIO JK PHOTOGRAPHY
studiojk.com

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Table Concept Design and Floral by Pro Chic Events, Tableware by AllWell Rents, Stationery by Veronica Preston Design

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Table Concept Design and Floral by Pro Chic Events, Tableware by AllWell Rents, Stationery by Veronica Preston Design

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Table Concept Design and Floral by Pro Chic Events, Tableware by AllWell Rents

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Table Concept Design and Floral by Pro Chic Events, Tableware by AllWell Rents

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Table Concept Design and Floral by Pro Chic Events, Stationery by Veronica Preston Design, Tableware by AllWell Rents

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Table Concept Design and Floral by Pro Chic Events, Stationery by Veronica Preston Design, Tableware by AllWell Rents

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Cake by Cupcake Libations, Cake Topper by Platypus Papers

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Cake by Cupcake Libations, Cake Topper by Platypus Papers

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Table Concept Design and Floral by Pro Chic Events, Tableware by AllWell Rents, Cake by Cupcake Libations, Co-Direction by Platinum Weddings and Events-Denver

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Table Concept Design and Floral by Pro Chic Events, Tableware by AllWell Rents, Cake by Cupcake Libations, Co-Direction by Platinum Weddings and Events-Denver

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Furnishings by CORT Events, Floral by Pro Chic Events, Signage by Veronica Preston Design

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Furnishings by CORT Events, Floral by Pro Chic Events, Signage by Veronica Preston Design

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Lighting and Decor by Pink Monkey Solutions, Highlights Colorado, and Lighting and Design by Scott, Furnishings by CORT Events, Vignette Concept and Design and Floral by Pro Chic Events, Signage by Veronica Preston Design, Tableware by AllWell Rents, Co-Direction by Platinum Weddings and Events-Denver

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Lighting and Decor by Pink Monkey Solutions, Highlights Colorado, and Lighting and Design by Scott, Furnishings by CORT Events, Vignette Concept and Design and Floral by Pro Chic Events, Signage by Veronica Preston Design, Tableware by AllWell Rents, Co-Direction by Platinum Weddings and Events-Denver

Photo by Studio JK Photography

Photo by Studio JK Photography

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Lighting and Decor by Pink Monkey Solutions, Highlights Colorado, and Lighting and Design by Scott, Furnishings by CORT Events, Vignette Concept and Design and Floral by Pro Chic Events, Signage by Veronica Preston Design, Tableware by AllWell Rents, Black Swan: Bianca Meehan, Costume by Disguises Costumes, Makeup by Leeda Beauty, Jewelry Styling and Props: Dora Grace Bridal

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Lighting and Decor by Pink Monkey Solutions, Highlights Colorado, and Lighting and Design by Scott, Furnishings by CORT Events, Vignette Concept and Design and Floral by Pro Chic Events, Signage by Veronica Preston Design, Tableware by AllWell Rents, Black Swan: Bianca Meehan, Costume by Disguises Costumes, Makeup by Leeda Beauty, Jewelry Styling and Props: Dora Grace Bridal

Photo by Tony Contreras, Catering by Occassions Catering, Signage by Veronica Preston Design

Photo by Tony Contreras, Catering by Occassions Catering, Signage by Veronica Preston Design

Photo by Tony Contreras, Catering by Occassions Catering, Furnishings by CORT Events, Signage by Veronica Preston Design

Photo by Tony Contreras, Catering by Occassions Catering, Furnishings by CORT Events, Signage by Veronica Preston Design

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Black Swan: Winner of the People's Choice Award, 2016

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Black Swan: Winner of the People's Choice Award, 2016

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Black Swan: Winner of the People's Choice Award, 2016

Photo by Studio JK Photography, Black Swan: Winner of the People's Choice Award, 2016

Ava is ONE!

Our sweet baby Ava is ONE! I can't believe it, but I think that must be what all parents say. Our baby girl is such a sweetheart! She is ALMOST walking, besties with her sister, and LOVES to climb. She has a joy about her that is tangible and a giggle that is contagious!

Our favorite times with her involve cuddling (she is a little lover), giving open-mouthed kisses, watching her play with Emily, and "wrestling" with daddy on our big, king bed. She climbs up the stairs, bounces on the mini-trampoline, and loves to imitate whatever Emily does. On her birthday, she literally took her first steps while walking in between her "mama and papa."

I think about her and I just smile. She just is such a little sweetie. I get emotional when I think about how fast things go with them, but we are just truly trying to cherish each moment (harder than it seems, sometimes).

I wrote this a few months ago:
I want to remember these moments so vividly. In the chair, snuggling your cheeks, breathing in your smell, holding you tight.

I want you to always know how much I love you. Like, truly love you...every inch of you. I love everything about you and would do anything for you.

It's these moments that I cherish. The stillness of the moment that may seem plain or just merely "daily." But no, they are gifts. To sit with you, hold you, nurse you, and provide time for you. Your sweet face nestled against me. Your little movements and mannerisms amaze me. You brush your hand back and forth on my collarbone, you move your legs to cuddle me, you play with my necklace as you eat.

The way we connect in this time is nothing but miraculous. The way I can provide nourishment to you is something I never knew could feel so powerful and fulfilling.

When I snuggle your neck, I love feeling your supple skin, your little body. I kiss your cheeks as you smile and your slobbery lips touch my face. Your sweet voice sighs or starts to giggle. I wrap my arms around you because you feel so tiny. But so fulfilling and beautiful too. I hold you because I know this won't last. You are growing so fast, so perfectly.

I don't take these moments for granted..even though they are happening so quickly. I pause and cherish. Cherish you. Cherish the gift that you are to my delicate, mothering soul. You fill me up in ways that no one or thing ever will. Because you're my baby. My baby girl.

AVA'S BIRTHDAY PARTY
For her party, I wanted to create a laid-back but beautiful celebration that allowed family and friends to enjoy her and spend time together. We had some appetizers, an amazing-tasting punch, and my mom made the most beautiful cake! Mint, gold, and white decorations to compliment her sweet and delicate personality. I am so incredibly thankful for the friends and family that came over to help celebrate our baby!

Emily helping Ava blow out her candle!

Emily helping Ava blow out her candle!

Ava sweetly tasting and enjoying her cake!

Ava sweetly tasting and enjoying her cake!

Daddy getting some great GoPro video!

Daddy getting some great GoPro video!

mint cake gold party planning decor
My mom creates the most delicious and BEAUTIFUL cakes!! Thank you, Grandma Debbie!

My mom creates the most delicious and BEAUTIFUL cakes!! Thank you, Grandma Debbie!

mint gold cakepops
This punch stole the show! Thanks to my friend, Sam who whipped it together 'cause I was running behind! Here is the recipe!

This punch stole the show! Thanks to my friend, Sam who whipped it together 'cause I was running behind! Here is the recipe!

I loved the idea of having everyone sign the back of these little square photos I had printed on Social Print!

I loved the idea of having everyone sign the back of these little square photos I had printed on Social Print!

Ava fell sleep on Heather half-way through her own party!

Ava fell sleep on Heather half-way through her own party!


NEW Custom Invitation Suites

I wanted to share some BRAND-NEW designs I have created in my partnership with Pro Chic Events!

Jessica is an incredible wedding planner and invited me to be a part of the Bridal Festivals Expo! I designed the stationery suites to complement her and her team's incredible tablescape designs!

I had an absolutely blast...confirming that I am just super thankful for this opportunity. It is a fun, creative, and exciting pairing, and I LOVE the collaboration!

Check out more of my custom wedding invitation designs here.

custom wedding invitation stationery woodland greenery hand-painted
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Pumpkin-Carving Party | Our Family of Four

Finding the Perfect Pumpkin
We didn't carve pumpkins last year so we were excited to tackle the tradition this year with Emily and Ava! Emily is old enough to begin to enjoy things like this.

I loved watching Matt and Em walk up and down the field looking for the perfect pumpkins! We decided to go to a small, family-owned farm near our house, and it was a short and sweet trip. The weather was beautiful and it was a popular place to be! At one point, (in the beginning) and after we were well into the fields, Emily decided she didn't want to walk any further. Wait, whaaat? So Matt and I took turns pulling the handy-dandy trailer while carrying Em! Then the other parent would push our double stroller through the mud, haha!

The Carving Part
We thought we'd save on some of the mess by doing our carving outside. We set up a table, rolled out the high chair, and had a little pumpkin party! Daddy got out his drill and dremmel tool, and I traced the faces with a marker and carved mine traditionally. Emily really loved scooping the seeds from the inside of the pumpkins. At first, she was trying to stay clean with just a spoon but then once she saw mommy and daddy using our hands, she embraced it.

This was the first year that I didn't over-analyze, search way too long for the perfect image to carve, and then stress about how to carve it perfectly. It was one of those realizations that if we can clean out, carve, and quickly clean up, the overall experience will most like be a little better. The girls did great (sweet Ava fell asleep, so it might have been a little boring for her.) Matt and I really enjoyed the perfect fall weather, the time as a family, and of course, our jack-o-lanterns!

It was a success and I look forward to doing it just like this for years to come! Happy Halloween, everyone! Enjoy this classic Colorado weather AND let's be thankful it didn't snow!!

Emily is TWO!

Our precious baby girl is TWO! I truly can't believe it. It's amazing to see her personality blossom! She is funny, daring, assertive, and sweet. We just adore her!

Emily's 2nd Birthday Party
For her party, we went to Anderson Farms: a super-fun pumpkin patch! It's a true favorite in this area, and the amount of people proved that! Wow! We took part in the activities with her cousins and some sweet friends!

Back to reality with a fresh two-year-old: Em actually had a full-on breakdown because we were only able to get her an hour nap beforehand. She didn't want to do anything and she only wanted Grandma to hold her. She had moments of enjoyment, but we ended up having to go for a "walk" so she would calm down. It is in these moments that we have to remember that things don't always go as planned. We expect their best at the times that make sense to us. (I mean, I kept thinking, "Em, this is your party!") But it just doesn't happen that way. We ended up taking off her new Carhartts overalls (it was hot) and she walked around in a onesie (whaattt?) because it kept her happier and cooler. Oh, the times when you smile and appreciate the things that really matter.

After that, we came back to our house to have a pink-pumpkin inspired party! Em was able to take a little nap on the way home and she as a different girl for the second part of her par-tay! We ate pumpkin cupcakes, drank punch, and she opened gifts! It was such a great time with family. We ushered everyone outside for Em to "open" her little Minnie 4-wheeler (which she absolutely loved), and as we played outside until dusk, it turned into a pizza party and bonfire. It was a PERFECT day and party! I am so thankful for everyone who helped us celebrate! Papa K even drove out from Sioux City!! Wow! We are so, so grateful!

Em's Pink-Pumpkin Party!

Emily is growing up so fast...
She is learning so much. She rides her bike (and her new 4-wheeler). She climbs almost everything she can and likes to sit at her table in the kitchen, and push her stroller around with her baby while taking her out to feed her. She LOVES to jump off of things, do somersaults, run a lot, and will be outside anytime she can. She is a sweetheart who loves giving kisses and hugs. Lately too, she has been a little more challenging at moments. She knows what she wants and it is challenging to distract her sometimes. She is obsessed with electronics (and we've really tried to keep them away from her) but she loves taking "pictchooos" and then wants to see them right away. She is an incredible joy to us. We love her more than words can describe. We are also in a season of parenting where we have been challenged the most as well. It's a wonderfully sharpening time for Matt and I, ha!

Emily as a big sis...
She is an incredible big sister. She loves Ava so fully. She plays with her, makes her laugh, tries to feed her, gives her toys when she gets fussy, and in the sweetest moments, decides that Ava needs a hug and a kiss. In the mornings, she wants Ava to wake up if the hasn't yet. She calls her "Av" (prounouced Ahhhv).

We love you, Emily Grace!! Happy Birthday to our baby girl!!

Logo Design: Heart to Chart

It was such an honor to work with DeAnza on her logo for her business called Heart to Chart! I have to say...this was one of my most favorite projects to date. Working with her (and the heart behind everything she does) was a blast! I am so thankful and so proud of what she is doing! Check out her website: hearttochart.com.

I wanted to share a little of the behind-the-scenes for the logo design process.

Ava's Birth Story

Ava Claire Preston

I have been so looking forward to sharing my birth story with sweet baby Ava. I am amazed that she is here, and even more amazed that we have TWO girls!! It has been a pretty busy month since her birth as we navigate our days, but both of the girls are napping (miracle), and so I thought I would steal this time to write the story.

My due date had come and passed. I knew what this was like because Emily was five days late. I didn't think I would be late with my second baby, but...little Ava wasn't quite ready to come until 4 days after her due date. It worked out great because I had just decided the Friday before that I was going to start my maternity leave on Monday. And early Monday morning is when I woke up...

I woke up at 2:00am with my first "contraction." With both of my labors, I "knew" when the first contraction happened that it was the real thing. I waited until 3:00am to wake Matt up, and I told him that I was in sure I was in labor and that the contractions were coming about 7 minutes apart.

About an hour or so later, I felt like we should text my family and wake up my mother-in-law to let her know. It was interesting because I wasn't sure what to do but I was pretty sure we needed to probably head to the hospital soon. I felt crazy for wanting to head there so quickly, but I was getting to the point where I was unable to really know what to do next, other than go. I kept thinking about laying back down or getting in the bath, but the contractions were coming much quicker and they were getting really intense. It was also this sense that it was time. Matt started packing the car and he would come and check on me in between trips outside.

Matt was wanting to know how to help but I wasn't able to talk much. We laugh about it now, but I think he was getting a little frustrated with me. I just had to breathe through each contraction...as they were coming surprisingly quickly. Matt packed the car as quickly as possible and he helped me get dressed. It took awhile to get out the door because I had to stop for a contraction every couple minutes. I was having a hard time finding the "in-between" each of the contractions. I kept thinking to myself, "I am just not handling this very well..." We would soon know why...

We got in the car, and I knew I couldn't sit in the front seat the whole way so I jumped to the back to have more room. I was literally on my hands and knees in the back seat with my head buried in the car seat, ha! Our 20-minute drive actually went relatively quickly. Matt kept saying from the front, "Just keep letting me know you're still OK!" I just stared at the red button of the carseat buckle...and focused on breathing.

My mom met us at the hospital and she swung the back door open to see the funny sight of me in the back! They got a wheelchair and it took awhile for me to muster up the strength to get in the chair, but finally I forced myself to sit down. They wheeled me into the waiting room of the birth center and I felt another strong contractions coming on so I hopped out of the wheelchair and into a waiting room chair...on all fours. Haha! The nurse came out to get me and was surprised how quickly my contractions were coming.

In triage, they ask lots of questions, have you change into a gown, and get a monitor on the baby. This was all so challenging for me because my contractions were right on top of each other. Matt was so great as he just encouraged me through each one, helped me get dressed and answered all the nurse's questions. Within minutes, the nurse checked me and I was dilated to a 10! What!!? I couldn't believe it! I was ready to have our baby!! I was amazed that I had labored to this point completely naturally! Wow. Here we go!

They quickly got me into the delivery room and I really still wanted an epidural. I really just wanted some relief for the pushing stage. They were going to see what they could do, but couldn't promise anything because I was already fully dilated. Our doctor came into the room at this point...in his cycling clothes! He had rode his bike to the hospital and made it in time! The nurses told him he had very little time to change, and told me that the anesthesiologist would be in soon. Within a short time, I was getting a dose of medicine in my back. It wasn't an epidural, just a single dose for some relief.

By this time, Val had made it to the hospital. My mother-in-law was dropping Emily off at our sitters and wasn't going to be able to make it in time! It was all happening so fast!

Within a few minutes after the medicine started working a little, I pushed around three to four times, and our baby Ava was here!! We saw her (and her amazing head of dark brown hair) and loved her more than we could imagine! I couldn't believe we had another daughter, and it was such a sweet gift for her to be here; healthy and beautiful!

We were snapping pictures, they were weighing her, and measuring her...and I was just trying to take it all in. I was just so shocked it went so fast! From start to finish, it was five hours! Amazing! Praise our Father for His provision and blessing of my delivery. We are so, so thankful!

Ava Claire Preston  |  Born on February 9, 2015  |  6:59am  |  8lbs 1oz  |  20 inches long

Later on that day, we brought Emily to meet her sister Ava. She did great, but was definitely a little unsure. All she knew was that there was a new baby and mommy and daddy were holding her. It's been so special watching her learn more about Ava and love on her!

We are so happy and thankful. The first few weeks have gone great (except a flu-bug that entered our house). Matt was able to stay home with us for a week, and my mother-in-law stayed with us for awhile as well. We've had so much help from friends and family, and we are just so grateful.

A special thank you to my amazing husband, Matt (who is such a solid rock for me and our girls), my mom (who is always, always there) and sister, Val (who has so much knowledge) for being in the delivery room and encouraging me along the way...and of course, the rest of our family as well for their help in the past few weeks!

Emily is ONE!


Our sweet "Embug" is one! It's hard to believe. And I think every parent must feel this way on this huge milestone. It just seems like time flies, and it does! Especially when we look at the photos of her birth...I am just sure it happened yesterday!

When I think about the year we've had with Emily, it has contained some of the most joyful moments in my life! It has also had some of the most growth-giving as well. Parenthood is such an amazing gift, and SHE is the greatest gift we could ever imagine.

I love being her mommy, and I can tell you that her personality is seriously so stinkin' sweet! She has been a fabulous baby, and one thing we truly, truly know about her is she is tough! She falls and we definitely think, "Ooh, she's gonna cry..." and she doesn't. She just gets up and goes about her way.

She is walking!! And sometimes running! She is so mobile, loves to climb, and is also a cuddle-bug. Our morning times with her are some of our most cherished. Cuddling in our bed as we all take time to wake up. She is so, so sweet and precious!

She is "talking" more and more! It's more like "dada" and "mama" and the most adorable gibberish. She can also say "please" and "more" in sign language! She gives kisses (usually opened-mouth), and we play a game where she will give me a kiss, and then it's daddy's turn. This will go on for quite awhile...going back and forth! Emily loves other kids! When she is around them, she hugs them and generally just likes being around them; getting their attention, sharing, and interacting.

She understands the word "no." When she has something she knows she isn't supposed to, and we say, "No, no, Emily..." and she will just give whatever she has to you. She loves to explore, and she is very smart. She figured out how to open a child-proofed gate at Barb's, and she took an outlet cover right out of the outlet. So, we definitely have an inquisitive problem-solver, haha!

Overall, we just love her to pieces. She is our sweetie-pie, and we are so thankful for her precious life. Our hearts have grown so much, and I've heard before that you love them so much it hurts. You guys, this is so true with your children. We just love and adore her!

We had a birthday party, and we had a great time! It was a beautiful fall, October day, and we celebrated with park-playing, cake-eating, gifts, and being around those we love. A special thanks to my mom and Ellie who made the cake and cupcakes, and all of the family and friends who came out to celebrate. We are so thankful for each of you!!

We've had a whirlwind of a couple of weeks! Matt and I celebrated our anniversary on the 15th, Em's birthday on the 20th, and we leave early tomorrow morning for Chicago for her aunt Katie's wedding on the 25th! It will Em's first flight, and Matt and I's first time traveling with a baby (in and out of the womb). I am 25 weeks along, and so we will take it slow and have a great, great time! It will be a very fun adventure! I can't wait to celebrate with Matt's family, and spend some good quality time with them!


Below are some photos of her party! 







 









October 15

Today is

October 15th. 

To many, this is an ordinary day. This year, it falls on a Wednesday. For Matt and I, this day means so much to us.

So much.

This is the day, three years ago, that we joined together in marriage on a gorgeous Saturday on a ranch in Masonville, Colorado! It began an amazing journey that we are so grateful for...one that God has grown, changed, encouraged, and worked through. Our love grows each and every day as we learn the real meaning of marriage and what Biblical love is.

Today, we celebrate our third wedding anniversary!

On this day as well, and something that we haven't shared publicly (although some may know), we also experienced loss on this day...

Two years ago, Matt and I experienced a heart-breaking miscarriage. It was not only one sweet baby, but we believe it to have been twin babies. I can't begin to explain the pain of this soul-shaking and unexpected experience. It is a grief that still affects us today, and a loss that we will never, ever forget. I think about them still and often...and it's almost like it happened yesterday.

We cremated them, and we named them Laine and Grace. We felt that Laine is representative of the path these two sweet babies paved for our future children. Grace was representative of God's grace in situations like these. We also knew that we needed to honor their sweet little lives by doing this; so incredibly challenging yet healing. We don't know the reasons my pregnancy couldn't continue, but God does, and His grace is what gently walked us through each and every mourning moment. We planted a tree and sprinkled their ashes in the mountains to honor them as well. One day, we will meet our precious babies in Heaven and we live with that hope and expectation...

October 15th is also

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day!

To all the mothers and fathers who have experienced loss like this...know you are not alone, and that it doesn't have to be a private struggle. So many parents have walked through this, and it's important to know that your baby or babies will never be forgotten. We can and will always remember them.

Our due date for our sweet baby Emily Grace was October 15, too!

When we went to the doctor and found out her due date was October 15 (one year after our miscarriage), I cried! I cried because in that very moment I knew that God's redemption was the reason. It is God's sweet plan of redemption that this date was her due date. During my entire pregnancy with her, we knew of the story God wants to tell of His love and character. He desires to redeem everything...every part of our heart and every part of our pain.

Emily didn't come on her "due date" but we didn't necessarily expect her to (babies normally don't). This day will always represent a story of our Father's plan. She is a precious, precious gift and she brings so, so much joy to us everyday!

And her little sister will join us in February! 

He started a good work three years ago as we joined together in marriage and He continues the work through His redemption, no matter the circumstances...through immense pain and amazing joy!

October 15

...a day in our lives that reveals a loving God who desires to redeem everything. His love is unfathomable. His intentionality is beyond comprehension. His healing is unmistakeable.

Thank you, Lord...for this day. For your story, your plan, and your sweet redemption. We will never forget the meaning of this day.

Our Sweetness


In all reality, I have desperately been wanting to write on this blog for quite some time now. I was SO good about posting Emily's monthly photos on here for...three months. And then I unintentionally stopped. This must be due to life happening...as it does in sweet, sweet ways.

I did want to post a recent photo of our Embug, and just share that she is such a joy. Her temperament is the sweetest, and her contentment (most of the time) elates us. She has learned to wave when we say "buh bye," stand up on the side of anything, and so many things that we notice daily.

Each month we say, this is our favorite...no...THIS stage is our favorite. I can guarantee this will continue just as it has.

Happy Mother's Day

On my first mother’s day with our sweet Emily, the most overwhelming feeling is one of thankfulness for the true gift our baby girl is. I am so amazed at what it has been like to be her mommy. I also want to acknowledge the courageous women who are yet to be mothers, and long to be with their whole hearts. And the courageous women who carried their babies in their womb, but who weren’t able to know them on earth. The mothers who have lost their daughter, and daughters who have lost their mothers. Each form of loss is painful, and I pray that in each situation, Jesus would meet you right where you are in the journey to and through motherhood.

I am amazed at motherhood, and the way it has shaped the very woman that I am.

For me, motherhood is…

…the way of giving life through and with our bodies. It’s worth every change our bodies encounter as we grow a life inside. It’s a humbling process, but one that you forget about when you look at the life God created in you. The pre-pregnancy body might take awhile. It’s OK. Really…it’s OK.

…the way you love your baby like you never imagined. It’s true when people say “I just didn’t know I could love so instantly.” And it’s true. When you grow life, give life, and see your baby…it’s a deep love that you feel with every cell of your being.

…the way you get out of bed in the middle of the night, and at first you’re tired…but the minute you see them, it’s all worth it. They are completely worth the sleepless nights. They need to be provided for, and it’s an honor to be there for them…no matter the hour. In a weird way, the sleepiness is oddly sweet.

...the way that in each new situation, you learn what it takes to be a mommy. The only true way is to learn by doing. But things like coffee dates, eating out, getting groceries, and cleaning the house...they all seem like true accomplishments when you have a baby. Balancing, timing, and planning is an art form.

…the ache you feel when you are away from your baby. Because they depend on you in so many ways, you’ve grown to love their dependency. You’ve grown to love the connection, and when you leave them…part of your heart stays as you go. It sounds crazy, but it’s such a real feeling.

…the joy your baby brings. Her eyes, her skin, her mouth, her ears, her voice….everything about her is precious. And when I think about how God created her with my husband and I, it is a true miracle.

…the way your entire life changes. At first, it may seem challenging to sacrifice certain things, but it is truly our God-given response to care for them at the cost of something else. Everything is now filtered through this new gift and responsibility. It’s incredible how it happens.

…the way we must learn to honor our spouses in new ways, even though our new baby demands a lot of time and energy. Our marriage is the most important relationship under our relationship with Jesus, and we must work to keep it alive and strong.

….the days we feel like it’s too much. It’s amazing and incredible, but there are still days of tears and struggles that can make us feel like we can’t keep up. Trust me, it’s real. I’ve learned to communicate what I need and ask for help on these days or weeks.

….it’s amazing to think of the love God has for each of His children. We love our baby girl more than we can ever describe or explain. He loves us more. He loves Emily more. The mere thought of it brings tears to my eyes. God’s love is unconditional, unending, and vast. How amazing…

Happy Mother’s Day!

New Mommy Things

Our sweet Emily is 16 days old and I have absolutely LOVED being her mommy!! There are sleepless nights, dirty diapers, and all the things that come with it...but it's all worth it. I truly find it a joy to be a mother. It's a dream come true!

I have many friends that are expecting little bundles right now! I think at one time, I knew 15 gals who had due dates between October and January! Wow!!

I've been writing stuff down that I've wanted to share for new mommies. You know, just little things I've learned or experienced that might help others.

Remember to eat.
It sounds odd, but there have been numerous days where I start to feel icky, shaky, and fatigued and realize, "dang, I haven't eaten!" With all the new responsibilities and the schedule that has you up at super odd hours, it's probably likely this happens to most new moms. The thing is, it is obviously super important to nourish our bodies well because our baby is "eating" what we're eating (and drinking). I remember being SO thirsty the first few days because all of my hydration was going to my milk! Duh...but it took me a minute to realize. So eat! And drink!

Throw the schedule out the window.
At least for the first couple weeks. I've done LOTS of reading about newborns and feeding schedules. We've heard great things about Baby Wise as well. BUT up until now, we stick with feed-on-demand. Each time I try to predict how the day might go, she switches it up! So, flexibility is key. Whenever I make plans now, I ask if it can be flexible. I admire parents who are punctual in all new ways!

Looking hip is so overrated but showering isn't.
It was sweet and acceptable to have a pregnant belly WHEN you're pregnant, but after the baby is born we have this expectation (even though people try to tell you different) that our stretched tummies will somehow go back to normal within a day. It's not likely. Post-pregnancy body is comical and trying to look cute is even more comical. However, a shower feels great and a little fresh makeup also helped me to feel human.

I seriously don't know what to wear.
I'm still figuring that one out. Pregnancy clothes were appropriate being a little snug because they showed off the belly with a baby in it, but I don't want to be showing off this belly so some closet-hunting is in order. When I want to try to enter the world again (at least a trip to Starbucks), I'm going to need to wear something besides pajama pants...

I do love the nursing tanks I got from Target.
These are great! They're comfortable, pretty cute, and super functional. The brand is Gilligan and O'Malley (19.99). I usually throw a soft cardigan over the top if people are coming over. Again, this post-pregnancy body is comical...

Dry Shampoo is so cool.
Dove brand is super effective and smells delicious. For when washing and drying your hair is just a little too much effort, it's been great for me. I put it in a bun for my shower and just unwrap it, spray the powdery goodness on it and put it back in a low bun. For me, this is working wonders.

Motherlove Nipple Cream is crucial.
Totally crucial. This stuff is a must-have for a new mommy. Breastfeeding is incredible. I remember on day three when I had a really emotional night (I partially blame hormones, of course) because I couldn't adequately feed my jaundiced baby (my milk wasn't in). I cried to Matt, "Emily and I need each other. She needs to eat and as her mommy, I NEED to feed her." It's an honor to be able to provide for her, and the motherly instinct for me has been SO strong and truly amazing!

Once we got over the hump of jaundice and breast milk, we've began to figure out this whole breastfeeding thing. And I have to say after using three types of lanolin and nipple cream options, Mother Love is definitely my absolute fave. If you're about to have a baby, stock up! My sweet mother-in-law went and bought the rest of what Clothes Pony had. I've been so grateful! I put one in my bedroom, one in her nursery, and one in our living room.

I love the Baby Care app!
This app is super great for keeping track of feeding and diapers! I cannot ever remember when, for how long, what side, etc. It's been a great way to keep the exact details we need.

Our Birth Story

Emily Grace Preston

Our sweet Emily was due on October 15th, and we awaited that day with much anticipation. I knew in my mind that a "due date" isn't necessarily the exact day she would come, but was pretty surprised when she came FIVE DAYS LATER! It may not seem like that long (and we were so thankful for a healthy, full-term pregnancy), but the last week really did seem like a month! I am so grateful for the time for my heart to truly prepare. I was on maternity leave by this point, and it was so special to spend the time doing even more preparation for our baby.

At 1:00am on the 20th, I began to have what I thought felt like contractions. It's hard for a first-time mom to really know what they are supposed to feel like. But when they kept coming, I knew that something was definitely different. I went through about 6-7 of them before I woke Matt up. I thought they were about 10 minutes apart, just by estimating. We started timing them and at this point, they were coming about 7 minutes apart lasting a full minute. Within the hour, they started coming every 5 minutes, lasting a minute-and-a-half.

Matt went to load the car at about 2:00am! He was so excited to be able to finally do this! So whenever we were ready, our stuff was packed. I love how he took care of me during this time. He would get water, make toast, start a bath, rub my back, and just encourage me the whole time. I don't know how many times I said, "Hey babe..." He would kindly respond and get whatever I felt I needed. I will forever be grateful for this time.

We called the doctor to see what our plan should be. We knew we were in early labor, but wasn't expecting them to be that frequent this early. She encouraged us to labor at home for much longer.

Over the next eight hours, I labored at home. I tried to sleep in between contractions but they were consistently coming between 4-9 minutes apart. They would fluctuate but were definitely getting more and more intense. At 9:00am, we decided it was probably time to head to the hospital. As I began getting ready, the contractions started coming every 4 minutes. I had 4 contractions as were just trying to get into the car!

We were finally on our way! We had a 30-minute drive to the hospital, and so I had about six contractions just while getting there! We arrived and my mom, mother-in-law, sisters, and cousin were there waiting for us. I went back to be checked (and hopefully admitted) and I was only dilated a 2!! What!? After almost nine hours!? I was sad and a little discouraged. They made me take the next hour to walk. They wanted to see more progress. So we walked...and walked. For a solid hour, we would walk the halls, the stairs, and more halls. Every three minutes, I would stop to breathe through a contraction. I had very bad back labor, so I would bend over and lean on whatever I could find and rock back and forth and Matt would rub my back. In between the contractions, Matt, my mom, Val, and Wendy would walk and talk.

After the hour, I had dilated to a 3!! Progress! They admitted me and I began the process of laboring in the delivery room. I sat in the tub and walked around my room. I was getting really, really tired. Labor had been really intense for about 12 hours now, as it was 1:00 in the afternoon. I could tell my body was struggling for energy. I laid in the bed at this point, to see if I could rest a little. It was hard to open my eyes and engage in any kind of conversation. I remember Matt asking me questions, and I couldn't answer them. Contractions were still every three minutes, and my body was so tired.

At 2:00pm, I was dilated to a 5. We received news that my pelvis looked great and that it was big enough! This was SUCH an answered prayer! We have prayed for this from the very beginning. We were concerned about my size and baby's size. This was very, very exciting!

We started talking about the rest of my labor.  The nurse brought up the option of an epidural. I went into labor not wanting an epidural. I wanted to labor without medicine and it really was my goal. The more we talked, the more I realized how exhausted my body was. I still had the hardest part of my labor left, plus the pushing stage. She also said that sometimes the epidural can relax my body enough to continue the dilation process.

I decided to get the epidural. Going into this process, I didn't think I would. But once I was in the situation, I decided it was best for me. I had labored thirteen hours by this point, and I was ready for intervention. Matt and I talked about it, and he was so supportive and encouraged whatever I wanted, no matter what my original plan was. From this point forward, I haven't regretted my decision for one second. I remember in our birthing classes, we talked about "owning your experience," no matter what it was. I truly felt I could own this decision and haven't looked back since.

After the epidural, I felt like a different person. I could relax and I was able to get in a position where we could get Emily to turn (she was posterior). Over the next five hours, I fully dilated! They turned off my epidural to prepare for the pushing stage.

I was in the pushing stage for an hour and a half. The doctor on call (not our own) was incredible. He was so patient and instructed me in ways that would allow Emily to come into this world naturally and without any extra help (episiotomy, vacuum, etc). It was painful and intense, but I am so glad I could feel what was going on and that our doctor was so careful and strategic. The pushing stage is truly incredible. I will spare you the details, but the way a baby is created to come through a birth canal is nothing short of a miracle. Truly a miracle of God!

Emily was born at 7:58pm, weighing 7 lbs. 1 oz., and measuring 19 inches in length! It is truly amazing the love you feel the moment you see your baby! I cried as they brought her to my chest. I cried because she was ours, and she was so beautiful! I looked at Matt and was so incredibly amazed that we had created a baby together.

God had given us this gift, this baby girl. As I held her, it was so surreal. She is our baby. I am a mommy. Matt is a daddy. In that moment, I had no doubt of God's love for us. It really is amazing. He LOVES His children. I LOVE my little child. I get to be a mommy to Emily, and it is a dream come true!! I am so honored to be a mother. I love Emily so much!

PS. I cannot thank Matt enough for his incredible support. He is so patient, loving, caring, and devoted. A long 20 hours, and countless hours of support beforehand. His love for us is something I am forever grateful for. I could not have done this without him, and I am so honored to call him my husband and father to Emily. I love you so much, Matt!!

PSS. I have to say a thank you to my mom, mother-in-law, sisters, and cousin Wendy for being such great encouragers and supporters as well. Having them there meant a ton and I am thankful for each of them! Journeying together through this has made such special memories!

The Transformation

Pregnancy is an AMAZING miracle! Just amazing. God created such an incredible process that we get to be apart of...growing a baby!!

I am honored and blown away by the miracle that pregnancy is. I am honored to be a mommy and can't explain in words the way God created our bodies to knit a life inside.

Here is a glimpse into my journey from 16 to 36 weeks.


Baby Emily's Nursery

I am SO excited to share photos of baby Emily's nursery! Matt and I have absolutely LOVED the process of creating this space for her. We have spent special, quality time as we've worked on it.

I'll be honest, it was usually Matt doing a lot of the work and me sitting on the floor or the chair while we make decisions together. But, painting, thrifting, hanging things, and arranging everything has created a room that we are so happy with! 

We are so excited for her to come, and we are really, really ready!

Photos on photo wall were taken by Tori from ShutterChic Photography

I designed a collage for our sweet girl. I designed it in Photoshop with layers of things we love and had it printed. Our girl is so loved already!

Crib: Buy Buy Baby
Chair: Babies 'R Us
Cabinet: The French Corner (refinished by Matt)
Baby Changing Table: Thrifted (refinished by Matt)
Rug: Home Depot