Meeting City Danika for the First Time

We’re going to skip the long paragraph where I talk about how bad I’ve been at consistently blogging in the midst of all the changes with our move, jobs, baby…and the list could go on.

Instead, I wanted to share these sweet moments that I had the privilege of capturing recently!

After our niece, City Danika, was born and her parents had a few quiet nights to themselves, my husband and I took all three of her siblings back home to meet her!

Their Dad brought each of them upstairs — one by one, oldest to youngest — to introduce them to the family’s newest addition. Rock, the oldest, prayed for City and then took his other two sisters by the hand, with their eyes closed and lead them to the edge of the bed where they’d find a new baby!



Key, the second oldest, was so funny when Rock brought her into the room. She nervously backed away, step by step, eyes locked on her little sister but afraid to get too close.
Then came Story, the one who used  to be the baby of the family! I was thinking her reaction might be more like Key’s but she walked in all excited and with the highest voice of compassion that you’ve ever heard, looked at her baby sister and said “Oh! She’s so cute Abba!” MELT. MY. HEART.






Seeing how these little ones love City makes me so excited for not just our own baby but for many more after him! And seeing how my husband just lights up around his brother’s kids was one of the “deal-makers” for me when we were dating. There’s something so attractive about guys with “baby fever”! Well…to me, anyways.

It’s easy to imagine how MUCH he’ll love our little guy when I see him with a baby in his arms!

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them”



City Danika Tibayan: April 1, 2013








City Danika Tibayan
April 1, 2013 at 12:54pm
7 lbs 13 oz — 21 in

I had the privilege of photographing the birth of my newest niece at the beginning of April! It was such an incredible experience to be a part of her first few moments in her parents arms.

Now we’re in the hospital waiting for City’s best friend, Jordyn, to make her own entrance into this world!


What an exciting time for our family! Praise God for all of these blessings and new additions!

The Cutest Things: Little League & Little People

By now I’ve figured out that living in California has it’s perks. One of those perks are that we get to go to LA to watch our nephew’s basketball games. We spent Saturday hanging out with the family and cheering him on. Seriously, little league sports are one of the cutest things! Rock was the second tallest out on the court and very agressive – I’m hoping he’ll grow up and go pro, otherwise we’ll have to adopt a future-NBA player.

I decided to take my camera along to play with the kids. The girls love having their pictures taken and they’re so adorable when the camera is out – striking up poses and asking to see themselves. They know they’re cute!

The lighting was this awful old-gym halogen glare. It makes everything under it a funky color and difficult to photograph (so be a little forgiving here!) but it was fun to experiment and kept the girls occupied.


Story is sassy! She’s the baby in the family (for the next two weeks or less) with the highest-pitched voice you’ve ever heard. She’s bubbling over with so much personality and cocks her head to the side with her whole body when she poses for photos.


Rock is so sensitive and the level of compassion and leadership he already carries in dealing with his younger sisters is incredible. He’s been raised to value and protect the girls in his role as a (little) man in the family. I tear up when I think about Frances, his mom, giving a speech on our wedding weekend about how she got to watch my husband, Eric, fall in love with this little boy. The connection they share is so precious.


Key is the sweetest. She’s the oldest girl in a family with four kids (so far). She is so girly and is coming up with some of the most amazing fashion combinations lately! The other day she wore a polka dot skirt with floral tights and a LA Dodgers hat over her braids – perfect!


I’m so thankful that we get to live here and see these little kids (and all of the ones on the way!) grow up into beautiful people.

Thanksgiving 2012

It’s that time of year where snow is on the ground, I don’t see the sun and my house is filled with winter white light for half of the day. Only a few hours from now and everything will be dark, dimly glowing by a string of lights in the living room.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Usually for Thanksgiving we drive out to Door County, WI and spend the long weekend at my Dad’s best friend’s house. It’s the perfect place for Thanksgiving. It’s a newly built house with refurbished details. A soap stone countertop, wooden floors from an old convent in Chicago, just to name a few. It’s completely beautiful.

I love waking up in the little twin bed on Thanksgiving morning right next to the white light pouring through the window. I miss the way my feet feel on the cold hardwood floor and the silence of the house before everyone wakes up. There’s nothing like curling up with a Tozer book in front of a warm fireplace with a cup of freshly brewed french press coffee while I wait for the day’s cooking to start.

Our evening would usually end with lots of pie and a loud and fierce game of Catchphrase. We have “family inside jokes” from years of this tradition.

Last year, I was preparing myself that it might be my last (for a while, at least) in Door County for Thanksgiving. Rightfully so. With my first Thanksgiving and, more importantly, Black Friday at my new store I wasn’t able to leave for days on end this year.

Instead, this year, we decided to host Thanksgiving for all of our “out of town” friends that didn’t go home for the holiday. There were no Minnesota natives there that day. We represented Texas, Florida, the Dominican Republic, Maryland, Ohio, California, Michigan and Tennessee.

I spent all week researching Thanksgiving recipes and preparing for my first turkey.

I had so much fun hosting Thanksgiving dinner, trying out new recipes and creating a home for our “out of town” friends.

The day started early, cooking, prepping, cleaning and playing the Christmas music. I found a great “Indie Holiday” channel on Pandora that I loved.

I used some great recipes from the Kitchen Daily which is my new favorite website. I decided on an Apple Scallion Turkey, a Pear, Prosciutto and toasted Hazelnut stuffing, Apple Cider Gravy, a homemade cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes recipe from Martha Stewart’s Mom.

Our sweet friends, thankfully, brought ham & lots of sides and at the last minute I used our organic carrots (from our Vitamix weekend) to make a quick side dish.

It was such a special day and even now, I’m wishing I could make the stuffing all over again. I was missing the weekend at Door County but this meal was delicious and so fun to prepare.

The recipes to follow.



I have so many things that I could say about our wedding day. There are so many sweet pictures filled with thousands of memories. I contemplated taking the time to post every bit, containing every detail, but we’re still settling into the house, finding our new routine, and I have a giant to-do-list because of it.

The best way to capture just a glimpse of our day is this beautiful video done by Eric’s best friend Louie. The first video I ever watched of his was what caused my heart to change from my stubborn resolve to elope and trust the Lord to provide for every inch of a wedding’s details.

When I think back to our wedding day, what sticks out the most to me is the faithfulness of God – how he gives exceedingly, abundantly, more than anything I could ever ask, hope or think of. I saw the love of God being lived out through the selfless JOY of serving by our family and friends. I caught, just a glimpse, of what the body of Christ looks like when it joins together with a common goal to live out love. To them it may have seemed “normal” but to so many others, their willingness to serve, to love, to band together and bless us, no matter the cost, was a testimony to the transforming, redemptive work of Jesus in their lives.

It’s a work that I am so thankful for.

Words will never be able to convey how incredibly thankful I am to the people who loved me as their own because I was loved by Yek. I have been “adopted” into a family of believers who love without merit and it has blessed my life more than they’ll ever know.


And with that, here is our wedding film: