Baby Shower Invitations with Paperless Post

At first, I was so consumed by this pregnancy that that I didn't think there would be a moment in all 40 weeks where I could possibly forget I was housing a small human. Maybe I've settled into my largeness, because I find myself momentarily forgetting. And then I'm reminded as soon as I stand still and the baby moves (like a little sea creature turning flips), or my hand gravitates towards my belly, or I bump into something, or I catch sight of my reflection in a pane of glass. It is nice to have a bit more head space, and I feel extremely lucky that my second trimester has been so smooth.

I'm 26.5 weeks, officially 6 months along, and with less than 100 days until my due date, the reality is sinking in that this baby is going to be on the outside really freaking soon. And once it is, our entire world is going to change. There are a lot of people who are looking forward to this little one's arrival, and now that the shower invitations have been sent out, the excitement is pouring in and it's contagious. 

My mom is throwing me a baby shower in August and we decided months ago that we would send out digital invitations via email. So when Paperless Post reached out to collaborate, I was very excited to see the designs they offer. 

Paperless Post carries designs by dozens of reputable designers, including some of my favorites: Rifle Paper Co, merimekko, Liberty fabrics, and Kate Spade. They have so many pretty invites, I had trouble choosing a favorite! In the end I wanted to be practical. I have a tendency to lean towards girlier, floral designs, but the gender of our baby is a surprise, and because we're having the party in our garden at the peak of the season, we decided to go with the vegetable theme (bottom right), which is by Happy Menocal.

The Paperless Post website is really easy to navigate. I was able to completely customize my invites, add a link to our registry, and ask guests for their mailing address so that I won't have any trouble getting thank-you-notes in the mail (before baby comes—no guarantees I'll get anything accomplished after). There is also a comment wall where guests can ask questions or share photos and the website keeps track of RSVPs and allows the host to easily contact the guests. Overall, it's extremely user-friendly. The designs can also be easily ordered in paper form to mail to grandparents (or anyone who doesn't use email) or to save as a keepsake—we ordered 10 for this very purpose. If you are interested in creating beautiful invites for any event, be sure to check out their designs. 

With a party to look forward to, I know the next couple months are going to fly by. And I hope they do, because I really want to meet this tiny person. 

This post was published in partnership with Paperless Post. ❤

on growing a baby

Last year I wrote this post, about being childless on Mother's Day. And this year, I'm 20 weeks pregnant. Halfway there. Typing those words brings tears to my eyes, because it's something I've wanted for as long as I can remember, and I am so grateful to be growing this child inside of me. It's the hardest thing I've ever done, and I keep thinking about all of the women all over the world who do this alone, or who do this even though they don't have enough food to eat, or who do this because they don't have the choice not to, and my heart breaks for them. I feel connected to every mother who has come before me and every one who will come after. 

My entire life I have wondered what it would feel like to grow a baby. At first it was crippling nausea and exhaustion, and no motivation. Now it's much better. Some days I don't even feel pregnant, I just feel bloated. But it definitely doesn't feel like an alien has invaded my body, which is what I imagined as a child. It's still my body, and the human growing inside (now the length of a banana) is an extension of me. It is part of my body, and I think I will always feel that way. 

I have felt the baby move a few times, always like a little butterfly fluttering its wings. I look forward to the kicks becoming more regular. Sometimes I sit and try to will it to move, and it doesn't. It's just another lesson on this path to motherhood, that I have no more control over this than anyone else. 

This pregnancy has had a calming effect on me. I have never felt this relaxed or at peace in my life and I am really happy. The gratitude overpowers any negative thoughts that creep in. It's shocking how much my body has changed in such a short amount of time, and when I look in the mirror I try to replace any critical thoughts with gratitude for what my body is capable of. I am in awe.

Hawaii's Big Island // December 2016

Hawaii's Big Island // December 2016

Some images from our trip home in December. Highlights include: a couple nights away on the Kona side and an incredible hike to Makalawena beach, memorable meals at Village Burger in Waimea and Lotus Cafe in Kona, quality time with my family (and time with my mom in her quilting studio), a Christmas feast and cooperative family portrait (thank you tri-pod!), and photographing and listing my parent's new airbnb studio. It's definitely a challenge living so far away from my parents, but I'd like to think we make the most out of our visits and never take any of it for granted. Until next time, Big Island!

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henna, aki, mateo + helena // Chicago Family Photographer

henna, aki, mateo + helena // Chicago Family Photographer

Last spring, I flew to Chicago to photograph Naomi and David's engagement and to finally meet (in person) my friend and soul sister, Henna. We met online a few years ago, back when Teo was a toddler. She is one of the most inspiring people I know. You know the kind of people you just get, and they get you? And you stay up way too late talking because you have so much to tell one another? Those friendships are rare and valuable and worth nurturing.

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Anna + Michael // Sneak Peek

Anna + Michael // Sneak Peek

It rained on Anna and Mike's wedding day. And not just a little bit of rain, more than I have ever seen on the Mendocino Coast. Sheets of water fell from the sky, pooled on the roads and made it scary to drive. Most of their guests came from out of town or flew across the county to be there, and Anna's main concern was that everyone make it in one piece. They had planned to get married in a field, and luckily, the Caspar Community Center could accommodate a last-minute indoor ceremony. So much love surrounded this couple, the rain stopped just before the sun went down, and these two got their moment in a field. 

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