eagle rock maternity session

these two. they mean the world to our tiny family. and they're becoming three.

we met art + reika one unassuming sunday evening at our tiny church plant in columbus, ohio five years ago. they walked into the old chapel and i thought "whoa, too cool. probably never gonna be friends with those cats." boy am i glad i was so wrong. A+R are two of the most genuine souls this earth has ever known. i had the pleasure of celebrating and photographing their fantastic backyard picnic wedding a few years back. fast forward to reika being one of three gal pals that dropped everything to drive across the country with me when we moved to l.a. Fast forward another six months and we get a phone call that art's job with jeni's ice cream was moving him to los angeles (i don't think i need to tell you the happy tears that flowed all over my lonely face after that call). fast forward another two years and here we are, each expecting a baby boy within months of each other.

leaving our community in ohio was so hard not only because the quality of those friendships was unlike any we'd experienced before, but because those people knew us. they grew with us. during transition, trial, ups and downs. we did life together on a daily basis. they helped us welcome ruth into the world and loved on us in a myriad of selfless, wonderful ways. to be able to continue that kind of friendship here in los angeles has been life-giving. 

we cannot wait to meet you, baby boy. any day now. and we cannot wait to love you, head to toe. you are one lucky little man to have the love of your mama and daddy. we have been the recipients of it for years and know the kindness of christ and the beauty of friendship because of them. you will be so very loved. 

02 Better Together | Sam + Pete

I proudly introduce you to Sam+Pete, our close neighbors and dear friends, for our second Better Together feature. The start of our friendship was somewhat of a sneaky one but felt completely natural. None of us can exactly pinpoint where it began but we're sure glad it did. These two can love on others like you wouldn't believe -- giving of time, self, energy, listening ears and good hugs, they bring comfort and good laughs wherever they go. Sam + Pete were huge cheerleaders of our recent move to Los Angeles and always there to encourage us when it seemed like a terrible idea… And they love each other well, too. Their marriage has been a meaningful example for Ben and I and I'm so glad you get to know them a bit better today. They've journeyed from California to Washington to England to Ohio -- we're crossing our fingers that their next move takes them back West. 

better together | lily glass

Anniversary : September 9th, 2006
Where did you meet? We met in Junior High, circa 1994. 
Favorite meal to eat together : Thai Food

Better Together | lily glass
better together | lily glass

What is your favorite thing about being married to Sam? It's the feeling I get from her that I am known completely and am fully loved. I know that she will always love me in a way that helps me grow into a better man and husband. It's an amazing feeling to have someone like her, and I've honestly felt that since we first started dating. I knew that she belonged in my life from the start. 

What is one of Pete's best qualities? His dedication. He has been pursuing his career for what seems like ages! It's been lovely to be with him through this process, through the highs & lows (of which there have been many) and not falter, but persevere in the pursuit of his dream. I've been so blessed to see this same dedication to our marriage. He lovingly pursues me with a willingness to work hard at providing and maintaining a safe, fun, and loving place for my heart to rest. The man can also cut a serious rug, late night dance parties are essential.

What's been the biggest surprise about marriage? Just how much deeper and how much more real a relationship can truly get. It's hard work, it's rich life, it's constant vulnerability, and it grows more complex and beautiful with each year. There's a perspective on the other side of being married that you just can't quite fully grasp when you're still dating. You can imagine what marriage might be like, but only when you step into it do you see how full, how vulnerable, and how beautiful shared life actually is.

When did you know that life really would be better together?  Pete: For me it was from the beginning, even when we were just good friends. I might not have thought of it in terms of a married life together back then, but I think I recognized early on that my life was better with Sam in it. I knew I couldn't let her go from my life. Sam: *Can't answer because she's fainted from the cuteness...

Better Together | lily glass
Better Together | lily glass
better together | lily glass
better together | lily glass

You have two weeks and money is no issue - where do you go and what do you do? Gotta say, Italy. Rent a car, cruise through Tuscany and Cinque Terre, eat good food, drink strong coffee, try (and fail) to speak Italian. Ciao Bella! Mozzarella!

Sweetest memory of the first year of marriage? We love reminiscing about our first apartment in Tacoma, WA. It was old & charming, had a huge bathroom, a tiny kitchen, hardwood floors, a view of the Puget Sound, and it was super cheap! It stood for so many things emotionally, and it was such a killer first place for a couple. It was the first place that was 'ours'. It was the start of our life together.

Juggling jobs and wrapping up a PhD is hard work -- what do you do to ensure you have Sam+Pete time?  We always sit and have dinner together each night. It's very rare for us to be separate at that time of the day. A good meal at the end of the day, usually cooked at home, has been a great way for us to check in with each other and have intentional time together. Pete has mad cooking skills, so that helps!

Any resources you've found helpful for building a strong marriage? Wisdom from couples who have a few years under their belt!

better together | lily glass
better together | lily glass
better together | lily glass
    better together | lily glass

The first year of marriage can be especially tricky. What advice do you have for newly-wedded couples? Seek out couples who invest in marriage, and don't be afraid to ask their advice. Having a community of people who value marriage has been immensely beneficial to us. It's hugely helpful to learn from the experience of those who have put a lot of work into their marriage because, despite what we're told, marriage really is hard work! Its the best kind of hard work you could ever invest in. Also, approach your first year with the understanding that your old 'single' self will have to undergo a lot of changes and be ready to make choices that first aim to benefit the other person.