Oregon – Day 1

much like a new post on this blog, a holiday for Rach and myself has been long overdue. so a few months back, we decided to change that and booked some tickets to Oregon. we’re here now, and let me say this: it’s as great as they say it is. throughout the trip, i’ll be posting picture blogs, and saving all the words for when we get back.

in this post: a day of travel to PDX, gearing up to hit the road, a lovely church a long the way, Tree to Tree Adventures, Tillamook State Forest, and a sunset on the beach in Lincoln City.











our wedding

from the start, stell and i wanted the same thing: a quiet and relaxing outdoor wedding shared with our closest family and friends. it also had to be personal; store bought decor and hired wedding planners just didn’t seem right to us. so with only a couple months to pull it all together, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work making, gathering, designing, and organizing all the things we felt would make our day perfect. while we knew it would be a ton of work, we knew it’d be worth it (let me pause to give a huge thank you to our family and friends for lending their help along the way). and in the end, it was. our wonderful friend married us under an arbor i build from sticks collected in the surrounding woods. our vows, our own. my necktie? handmade by stell. our invitations? hand typed and painted with help from stell’s matron of honor.  all flowers, including the bouquets and boutonnieres, were purchased from local farmers and arranged by us. bottles, wooden crates, hand sewn napkins, wooden chairs – all collected in the weeks before. stell’s aunt drove over 2,000 miles from california to bake the most delicious wedding cakes, and it all happened in the backyard of the most gracious hosts – my brother and his wife.

i could go on for hours with all the details that made it such a memorable day, but i feel our photographer mae did such a spot on job documenting every last one of them. i’ll let her pictures below and in our slideshow tell the rest of our story.

Sep and Rachel-010-1Sep and Rachel-020stell1Sep and Rachel-051Sep and Rachel-062Sep and Rachel-078Sep and Rachel-084Sep and Rachel-091Sep and Rachel-096Sep and Rachel-124stell2Sep and Rachel-115Sep and Rachel-118Sep and Rachel-128Sep and Rachel-133Sep and Rachel-001Sep and Rachel-005stell3Sep and Rachel-292Sep and Rachel-138Sep and Rachel-146Sep and Rachel-158Sep and Rachel-181Sep and Rachel-210Sep and Rachel-259stell5Sep and Rachel-237stell6Sep and Rachel-232stell7Sep and Rachel-276stell4Sep and Rachel-350stell8Sep and Rachel-445Sep and Rachel-450Sep and Rachel-458Sep and Rachel-460Sep and Rachel-468Sep and Rachel-485stell9Sep and Rachel-543Sep and Rachel-545Sep and Rachel-551Sep and Rachel-555Sep and Rachel-560Sep and Rachel-562Sep and Rachel-572Sep and Rachel-602Sep and Rachel-622Sep and Rachel-727Sep and Rachel-618Sep and Rachel-636Sep and Rachel-654Sep and Rachel-670Sep and Rachel-696Sep and Rachel-697Sep and Rachel-745Sep and Rachel-782Sep and Rachel-785Sep and Rachel-739Sep and Rachel-788Sep and Rachel-790Sep and Rachel-798

a brief honeymoon

saturday i married my favorite person in the whole world, and our wedding was everything i hoped it would be: a relaxing day outside, surrounded by our closest family and friends.  that’s exactly what it turned out to be, and it was perfect.  and Rach. she was so wonderful – calm, happy, simply radiant in her dress. while i’m dying to tell you all about it, i’m saving all the details for a future post when i can share pictures of the day taken by our wonderful photographer Mae.  for now, just know you’re in for a treat.

monday, we packed up the trusty subaru and made our way south to Kohler-Andre State Park.  we didn’t have the time or money for some extravagant honeymoon, but wanted to get out of town for a few days to spend time together.  our plan was to set up our campsite and spend the next day and a half hiking, sunbathing, sitting by the campfire, and reliving our wedding day.  we ended up doing just that and more, and were so pleasantly surprised at how beautiful the park was.  as always, the time passed was too fast, and wednesday afternoon we packed our things and made for home. while these past five days have been some of my favorite yet, i look forward to what the future holds.

i’m excited at the thought of a future shared with someone who means so much, and who brings me so much joy. i hope you enjoy the following pictures and can some day make it to Kohler-Andre for yourself.  and a brief disclaimer before i let you go – everything you see in this post was made with our phones and my trusty Canon point and miss, so take them for what they are.

IMG_1955 IMG_8064 IMG_1961 Untitled1 IMG_3272 IMG_1969 IMG_1972 IMG_2010 IMG_2001 IMG_2025 IMG_3286   IMG_3334 IMG_2038


This past week, Stell and I met up with her friend and soon to be matron of honor Kelsey (and her husband Jason) to make a few engagement pictures. Our goal was to get one or two keepers and have fun spending time with our pals, while also teaching Kelsey a thing or two about off camera lighting. And, since they had never had any formal stuff done since their wedding, we thought we could get a few nice portraits of Kelsey and Jason too. I’d say we did just fine.



“hey dad – don’t ask why, but i need you to call me back and leave a voicemail. say something like ‘hey you two. if you don’t have plans for this saturday morning, mom and i have a little surprise planned. around 9:00? see you then.’ or something like that. sound good? thanks! i’ll fill you in later.”

and a few minutes later, he called, left the perfect message, and set in motion a plan that would result in me asking the most lovely girl to spend her life with me. this was a week ago tuesday.

i’ll preface this post by saying this: she figures out EVERYTHING. i’m pretty sure i could think about what i’m going to buy her for her 50th birthday and she’d already know what it’s going to be. she’s that good. so i had to think of a way to get her up to my parent’s house without her getting suspicious, and a voicemail from dad seemed like the perfect way – he calls quite a bit, i share his quirky messages with her regularly, and we visit my parents often. nothing about it was really out of the ordinary. for the rest of the week, we chatted about what the surprise could be, and nearing the end of the week, i could see she had taken the bait. ‘perfect’ i remember thinking as i went to bed friday night. little did she know the following day we’d be driving up to something i’d been planning with both my and her parents for weeks.

i think i knew i wanted to spend my life with stell about a month after we started dating. i’ve racked my brain for a way to express why i felt this way, but i just can’t seem to find the words. i just knew it. so for months i looked for the perfect ring, yet site after site, store after store, i came up with nothing. sure there were some pretty rings, but they just didn’t seem right. they didn’t mean anything to me. they had no soul. it wasn’t until i met up with my mom for a dinner a few weeks back and told her i was going to ask stell to marry me that she offered me my great grandmother’s ring. immediately, i knew my search was over; even though i only had a vague recollection of what it looked like, i knew the ring would be perfect. to be able to give her something that has been in my family for nearly 90 years meant everything to me, and i could see it meant a ton to stoob as well. and a few nights later when i was saw it, i fell in love. it was perfect.

fast forward to the day after the voicemail from my dad, i stopped and chatted with randy at evolutions to order some flowers: six small bouquets and one large one.

“make them look like i just picked them from a field,” i said. “that’s her favorite.”
“you got it”, he replied, and i left knowing he’d make them perfect. he always does.

i hopped in the car, drove up to my parent’s place, and for the next few hours walked the fields behind their house planning out the perfect spot to ask stell the most important question i’d ever ask anyone. it was raining, dad and naughty dog joined me, i was walking around my favorite place on earth, and mom had lunch cooking back in the house. over lunch, i painted a picture of how i hoped the morning would go. i told them i was going to drive her up saturday morning and when we arrived, ask her to join me on a stroll in the fields. the path we walked would be marked by the small bouquets and by each, a small picture frame holding a picture from our time together thus far. i wanted to tell her what each picture meant, what it represented in our relationship. things like trust, togetherness, family, sharing our time together, understanding and patience, date nights. and at the end of the path, a large bouquet with our favorite photo. there i’d tell her what she meant and that i wanted to spend my life with her. afterwards, we’d walk back to the house to a second surprise – my and her parents waiting to celebrate with us. our parents mean the world to us and we both adore each others, so it was only fitting they should both be there. mom said she’d make a wonderful breakfast for us all to enjoy afterwards, and after telephone calls to stell’s parents to make sure they could make it, the plan was set.

i couldn’t eat or sleep the rest of the week. i tried so hard to hide my enthusiasm. i must have called my parents a dozen times, and i texted her best friend endlessly. yet none of it was out of nervousness or uncertainty. i’ve never doubted i wanted to be with her. not once. not for a second. like i said earlier – i’ve just always known she was my person, that one you always hear about. friday, mom and dad picked up the flowers, and the following morning, i found myself smiling at the thought of our four parents tromping through the wet fields in their knee high barn boots, likely laughing, taking photos, and feeling such joy as they laid out the flowers, pictures, and rocks along the path. and while they were doing their part, i was doing mine by hiding our boots in the car, putting on a shirt and tie, doing my hair, and playing it super cool as we drove north (sweating like crazy having hid my outfit under a large winter jacket mind you). while on the outside i may have played it perfect, on the inside my heart was racing. i kept thinking about starting my life with her, sharing all that we’d be able to share if she’d have me, giving all my love to someone who has changed everything in my life for the better.

i pulled in the drive, parked the car, distracted stell, and as i walked around the back of the car, ditched my jacket, pulled on my boots, half-ass straightened my hair, and rounded her side of the car.

“wow. you look nice babe”, she said.
“care to join me on a walk in the fields?”, i asked.
“sure! what about your parents?”
“they’ll be okay”, i reassured her.

and then we walked. and i told her all the things that made me love her. and with each bouquet, she smiled a bit bigger and her eyes welled a little more. near the back of the land, we reached the seventh bouquet. it was there i asked her to share her life with me and there hasn’t been a second since i regret speaking those words. we cried. we hugged. we laughed. we took it all in. and then we cried some more.

fearing she was likely frozen with the wind and cool temps, i asked if she wanted to head back to the house. reluctantly, she said sure, and as we walked back hand in hand, i again found my heart racing knowing that in a few minutes, our parents would join us with hugs, happiness, and more tears. moments later, just as our feet found the backyard, we were greeted with laughter, applause, and cheers. it couldn’t have been more wonderful.

breakfast was served, and for the next few hours we shared old stories, we laughed, we made amazing memories. and since then, i’ve replayed the day over and over in my mind. it always brings a smile to my face, and i have no doubts it will for years to come. i think about how amazing it is that one person has changed how i feel about so many things; how i feel about love, what it means to be happy, and how special it feels to share your life with someone.

and to stell: i can’t wait for you to be my wife. discovering new things, waking up to you each morning, hearing your laughter, sharing everything we are going to share – it all can’t come soon enough. i love you, and i’m so grateful you chose me.