for my sweetheart on Father’s Day

family, father's day, steve By June 4, 2018 3 Comments

Father’s Day is right around the corner and I’ve been thinking about what an amazing father Steve is to our boys. I think about it a lot, actually. It’s not perfection that makes him amazing, he’s not perfect and he would quickly admit that. What makes him amazing is his desire to stretch and grow and become who he is made to be. He models for our boys every day what it looks like to bravely step into the things that scare you, instead of running away or living in denial.

To bravely step into what scares him means he has to acknowledge hard things. He looks at a problem from all angles and considers different solutions. He values honesty. He is honest with himself even when it hurts. He’s honest with me even when he’s nervous to tell me something I don’t want to hear. He’s honest with our boys about life, faith, money, friendship and so much more.

I see David’s face light up when Steve comes into the room and throw his arms around his dad for a big hug. Watching Matthias grow into a teenager {practically a man!} I watch Steve engage in deep, honest conversations and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. Steve loves our boys in a way I cannot. David and Matthias are loved by their dad and it’s a gift they most likely can’t comprehend.

I know few people who crave learning like Steve does. He took up guitar a few years ago and he’s really good! I love hearing him play and sing. While our boys were little he earned a doctoral degree. When our business started to grow he jumped in as CEO and hungrily read every business book he could get his hands on. He asks others for advice and insights and listens to what they say. He wants to grow, it’s who he is.

He makes me stronger. Being married to someone who is constantly learning and growing means I am constantly learning and growing. Steve pushes me to try new things, loosen up, be brave and live life to the fullest. I am willing to take risks because I know he’ll be by my side no matter what. He loves to travel, try new foods, meet new people and gather new information.

He reads to David, has nerf wars with Matthias, whips up high protein pancakes for our family each morning and snuggles on the couch to watch a movie in the evenings. He’s intense and sensitive, a visionary and a do-er. He’s high energy but loves to snuggle. He works hard for our family and drops everything the moment one of us needs him. He doesn’t think he’s got life figured out and he apologizes when he makes a mistake. And he’s got the cutest smile, too.

It has been fun to stand beside him as he launches his own brand Stephen David Leonard. Every design reflects who he is and what is important to him. His shop is full of products he uses every day. If you haven’t seen his new line, you can check it out here.

Men's Jewelry, Accessories & Leather Goods by Stephen David Leonard
Our life together is beautiful, messy, loud, adventurous and far from perfect but we are better together, bound by laughter and tears, I-love-yous and forgiveness. Steve shows us how to live bravely, being willing to make mistakes, take responsibility and move forward.
Happy Father’s Day, sweetheart. We are better because of you.


You’re The One

father's day, steve By June 13, 2017 31 Comments

A few nights ago, I had a very dark dream. I dreamed there were a group of middle school boys picking on a young boy. They were carrying him by the arms and legs. As we drove by them, one of boys started putting a plastic bag over the head of the young boy. Steve pulled over the car as quickly as he could and ran toward the crowd of boys. I woke up shaking and couldn’t fall back asleep.  I had so many thoughts running through my head–but the most important was this–if we were ever in a situation like the one in my dream, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, Steve would jump in to help the young boy.

It was the middle of the night and I was wide awake, so I wrote down these words…


When you asked me out on our first date, I wasn’t sure. But soon I had no doubt; you are the one.
You are the one I want by my side, for my whole life.

When I wanted to start a little jewelry business, you are the one who said, ‘Yes! Go for it. You can do it.’  You are the one who saw the vision of what it could be. You are the one who spends countless hours dreaming, working, inventing, reimagining and building our business.

When our boys were little, you are the one who could cuddle them for hours on end. You are the one who would take an afternoon nap with them on your chest. You are the one who was first to comfort a scrapped knee or bruised elbow.

When we disagreed with David’s surgeon, you are the one who said, “We’ll get a second opinion. We’ll fight for what is best for David.” You are the one who will go to any length to protect our boys.

When we saw one of our vendors mistreating an employee, you are the one who stepped in. You were the one who said ‘No, I won’t stand for this.’ and ended the relationship.

When we were on vacation and saw a man mercilessly beating up another man, you are the one who immediately intervened. You are the one who began yelling and running to break it up. While everyone else stood around watching, you are the one who didn’t hesitate to fight for the one in need.

When Matthias has thoughts, hurts, dreams, ideas, you are the one who listens and affirms and encourages and builds him up. You are the one he looks to for support and boundaries. You are the one who has helped shape him into a confident thirteen year old ready to take on the world.

You are the one who took up cycling again after twenty years and excelled. You are the one who joined Gymnazo and soon became one of the strongest and fastest. You are the one who took up guitar lessons and acting lessons. You are the one who bravely steps into new things.

You are the one who pursued a doctorate–connecting deeply with your professors and cohort in a way that changed not only your own faith, but helped mold mine as well.

You are the one who went to Onsite and counseling, then The Meadows to heal your hurts and love yourself. You are the one who bravely engages to live fully and love with your whole heart.

You are the one who speaks honestly.
You are the one who tries new things.
You are the one who loves deeply.
You are the one who believes in big dreams.

You are the one who’s showing our boys what it looks like to be, not only a good man, but the best of men.

You are the one who will do whatever you want to do.
You are the one I want by my side forever and for always.
You are the one for me.

Happy Father’s Day, sweetheart. I am so glad you’re my partner in parenting, in business, in creativity, in dreaming big, in LIFE! I love you!!


being a dad

family, father's day By June 16, 2016 20 Comments

When Steve and I fell in love and got married {back when we had it all figured out} we knew we wanted to be parents–but we had no idea what parenting involved. We also had no idea our first son would be born with a disability. Life is crazy and parenting is hard. Really hard. I’m thankful I married a man who is an excellent father.

He takes time to listen to our boys.

He respects their individuality.

He holds them and kisses them. I love that he is so affectionate.

He pushes them to try new things, explore and grow.

He gives good advice.

He shows them what it looks like to work hard.

He tucks them in each night and prays for them.

He lets them be imperfect.

He admits when he’s wrong.

He believes in them.

He loves them just as they are.

It’s beautiful to watch. We are so imperfect. We have our ups and downs, our normal and our crazy.


This pic above was just normal moment–ordering sushi and the boys melting into their dad. I’m so glad I caught it with my iPhone.

Father’s Day is just a few days away. We’ll be celebrating with a few small gifts and a special meal. Steve, you are an amazing father. We love you!


the man I married

family, father's day By May 17, 2016 9 Comments

In high school I made a list of qualities I wanted in a husband. I wish I still had it! I wanted him to be a surfer and to be handsome and strong. My high school self had a lot to learn about life, love and marriage {heck, I still have a lot to learn!}

I knew even way back then I wanted to marry a kind man, but I didn’t give a lot of thought to marrying a man who would be a good father. Thankfully, even in my youthful ignorance, I married a man who is an amazing dad. I’m thankful every day for the way he loves our boys.

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Here’s a current day list of {just a few of} Steve’s amazing qualities…

champion cuddler

lover of learning

musician who fills our home with music

humble enough to admit when he’s wrong

dedicated to lightsaber duels and nerf gun wars

patient while holding hands

expert pancake flipper

intentional to help the boys grow

laughs loudly and easily

bedtime storyteller {with all the different voices}

holds hands tightly

always ready to kiss and hug and listen

world traveler ready for the next adventure

handsome and strong

And hey, he even surfs {rarely, but still!}

Steve, you are the best daddy to our boys. I love you.


honoring dad

father's day, features By June 4, 2013 5 Comments

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 16 and we have some perfect gifts designed just for him! Have you found the perfect gift yet?

Your heart is big, your silliness is infectious, your leadership is respected, your courage is heroic! I love the daddy is my hero keychain for Dad from the kiddos.

The Leather Cuff is the perfect everyday piece for Dad. Customize it with a special phrase or the names of his loved ones.

Kick up your legs & dive into a good book. You deserve it. Thank you for all you do, Dad! The Hold that page Bookmark can be personalized with a name, date or meaningful word.

Dad, thank you for your love that always draws me in. Thank you for your kind words and your big hugs. Thank you for putting on that shirt & tie and for putting your heart into all that you do. The shirt & tie magnets are sweet gift that also includes two of our classic customizable round magnets!

From rough and tumble to cuddles on the couch, Dads make our lives fuller and better. Show him how much you care with the we love dad keychain!

The rectangle keychain is the perfect way to remind Dad daily of your love & appreciation for him. Choose a fun phrase and make him smile!

Make sure to get your order in by noon PST, June 10th! I love these sweet keepsakes for Dad. How are you celebrating?



what rocks about being a dad {part 5}

father's day By June 14, 2012 3 Comments

This is the last in the series, what rocks about being a dad! If you are just joining us here you can look back at Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4!

Our dad today is Cameron Ingalls.  We interviewed his lovely wife Anna before Mother’s Day! Cameron is dad to adorable Asher, he is an extraordinary photographer, and he is one of the most generous and kind friends we have.

Cameron, what is your favorite thing about being a dad?

Having my heart size enlarged with love for my boy.

What is one of your proudest moments as a dad? 

My son is only 2 and a half so I can still remember the new days following his birth. I actually pulled him out with my own hands and laid him on his mama’s chest. It was so moving to watch my wife Anna breakdown in tears and say ‘little bear, I’ve waited soooo long to see you.’ The nurses all commented about how alert Asher was. They said he made eye contact they could tell he was so happy.
Once we were home, I took him outside for the first time on a walk around the yard. I began to tell him all that he was seeing. I said, “Look Asher… that’s the sky! Wow; look how great and big it is! Look Asher… thats a tree; a TREE!” I became overwhelmed at the majesty of these complex creations that I daily took for granted. My eyes filled with tears and my heart filled with gratitude. I was overwhelmed with joy at the task of introducing life to my new son.
I guess there isn’t just one moment… It’s all those beautiful moments one by one that unfold each new day since he was born

 What have you learned from your Dad that you want to teach your own kids? 

Work ethic.
Always finish what you start.
Always be prepared. (Boyscout code)
Don’t litter. ha… I remember walking home from the bus stop and throwing a candy wrapper over a fence. Little did I know my dad was driving up behind me to pick me up. Well, he made me go to the neighbor’s house and knock on the door to go get my trash. To this day I just can’t throw or leave trash anywhere!

What is one of your funniest dad moments?

I don’t have one funniest moment… But I’m always amazed at my son’s sense of humor. I love being surprised and laughing out loud when he puts silly putty on his glasses or give me a zurbert on my belly. Asher’s name means “happy”. And since the day he was born people mostly comment about how happy he is. There are so many funny moments that come when we have childlike spirits and are lighthearted. He is helping me to be childlike again with his laughter and joy.

What have you learned from Asher?

To slow down and enjoy this fleeting life. I tend to take things too seriously and Asher (and my wife Anna) have really helped me lighten up. I realize that when my boy is a man he won’t remember all that I accomplished during his childhood, the name I made for myself, all the money I made, all the money I spent, but he will remember the quality time I spent with him. That will shape his heart more than anything else and I don’t want to miss it!

Thank you for sharing with us Cameron! You are such a great Daddy to Asher!
Cameron & Asher were celebrating the everyday with our celebrate cake topper!

With Father’s day approaching tell me – How are you going to celebrate the dads in your life?


what rocks about being a dad {part 4}

father's day By June 6, 2012 14 Comments

 Meet Jon! He is our fourth dad in “what rocks about being a dad” series.
If you missed them you can go back and read about the great dads from Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3!

Jon is a brand new dad! He and his beautiful wife, Valery, just adopted their adorable son from Ethiopia! Jon loves sports, he is a marketing genius, and when spending time with him you can see just how much he loves his son. I’m so excited that he is sharing with us what his journey as a dad has been like so far!

What is your favorite thing about being a dad?  

When Bronson just sits there, with his sweet glassy-eyed grin and I just know he’s taking me in and loving me.  It’s overwhelming to feel such love from a child and at the same time, feel the same way toward him.  Or, when I come home from work and he starts kicking and laughing, smiling and yelling Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!  I can’t get enough!

What have you learned from your Dad that you want to teach your own kids?  

The importance of putting family first and how he always made me feel valued, loved and important because he spent so much time with me.  One of my favorite memories of growing up was when we had absolutely no money, but Dad and I had this tradition where we would go to Wendy’s and split a small, chocolate Frosty.  I loved it so much and always looked forward to it.  Only later in life did I realize that the reason we split a small was because of our financial situation.  But, he still figured out how to make a small thing feel so big and special.  If I can instill one thing from my Dad to my kids, it’s that spending quality time with the ones you love always come before money and career.

What is one of your funniest dad moments?  

We’re still pretty new at this whole thing (only 3 months into it), but one of my funniest dad moments was in Ethiopia, and in the living room of the house that we were renting was this cool coffee table.  I would crouch down on one side and hide from him (who was on the other side) and then slowly crawl around and then jump out and yell ‘Bronson!’.  He would squeal and giggle and laugh so hard and go running to the couch that mommy was on and bury his head into the cushion… laughing the whole time.  We’d repeat this time after time until he got tired, but daddy just couldn’t get enough.  It was shortly after we had taken him from the care center, so to see him opening up like that and starting to show his personality was a priceless gift!

What words of advice would you give to parents considering adoption?  

To go for it!  Don’t let the concerns that creep in steer you away.  Worrying about whether you’ll love them like your biological children, or whether they will have health or developmental issues, or thinking that they might not bond to you all fade away when you make the transition from being stranger to being father, in the truest and deepest sense.  I simply can’t imagine loving another child more than I love Bronson.  Just like with all multiple child families… the love for each child is not more or less, it’s just different.  Adoption is no exception.

The journey is different than the biological journey, but each have their own unique story, both of which are equally amazing.  I look at Bronson as he goes about his day and I feel like he’s always been mine and I’ve always been his.  My world has become his world, and the bond we have is something that I will never be able to duplicate because it is ours.  Adoption is a challenge, sure, but it’s such a blessing.  So many children are out there with no family and no hope of a future.  Adoption is truly the greatest thing that you can do for another person… and I believe the greatest thing that another person can do for you.

And for those who are planning their family who may possibly not be considering adoption, I challenge them to at least consider it.  Do some research.  Talk to other adoptive parents and see if it’s right for you. If not, that’s totally fair… just at least give it some serious thought because the need is real and the blessings you receive as a result are abundant!

What have you learned from Bronson?  

Patience… well, I am trying to learn it, but some times are more difficult than others.  But, when you see this little person, who is so full of life and joy and needs to be taught and guided into the man you want him to be, you learn that it won’t come immediately, but over time, he’ll learn how to live through you… it just takes time.  Through Bronson, I’ve learned to let things slide, to relax and let a situation play out.  Times when he’s most challenging are often the same times when something amazing is going to happen, if I learn to just breathe, relax and wait for the amazing moment to come.  I think a lot of life is that way, and I see the parallels daily.

Thanks Jon! Your family is so so sweet!
Jon is wearing the leather cuff and Valerie is wearing the chosen {adoption} necklace in these photos!

Have you or a friend adopted? Adoption is such a beautiful thing!


what rocks about being a dad {part 3}

father's day By May 31, 2012 13 Comments

Meet Brett, our third dad in our “what rocks about being a dad” series.
You can see the awesome dads from Part 1 and Part 2.

Brett is husband to beautiful Kristen, dad to 3 sweet girls, and owns one of my favorite local coffee shops – the Nautical Bean!

What is your favorite thing about being a dad?

I love being there for these little girls and showing them life. I like taking them on individual “dates” to show them how a lady should be treated.

What is one of your funniest dad moments?

We have a lot of fun. Ok here’s one. I was at a chamber mixer in mission park. Scarlett wasn’t born and I had Zoe and Rozy. We’re hanging by by the fountain and I’m talking to someone and Rozy falls into the water. It was funny and she still talks about falling in that fountain.

What have you learned from your Dad that you want to teach your own kids?

My dad taught me that nothing is free in life. I like that my girls never ask for money, they ask how they can earn money.

What is one of your proudest moments as a dad?

I’ve got a couple of proud moments. I’ll do one per kid.

With Zoe its when she came to work with me when I was between bakers and she baked with me. We didn’t just make a few cookies, we bake over a hundred muffins, sheets of brownies, cooked veggies, cinnamon rolls and more. This was an eight hour shift and she worked hard the whole time.

With Rozy it was when she charged her first hill on a skateboard. I was right there by her and she was so focused on what to do. The funny thing is that she was in Uggs and a skirt. Love that kid.

With Scarlett it’s her heart. Her best friend got cancer and Scarlett was right there with her. She’d go with Autumn to the hospital and love on her friend

What have you things have you learned from having 3 girls?

From having girls I learned how to be more sensitive. Girls need a strong dad that can hold them when they cry.

 Thanks Brett! Your family is absolutely beautiful!
His girls were playing with our whimsical bubble wands!

Share with us: what is one of the funniest dad moments you have witnessed?


what rocks about being a dad {part 2}

family, father's day By May 23, 2012 10 Comments

As Father’s day approaches we are doing a “what rocks about being a dad” series. You can read Part 1 here! I’m super excited about today’s interview – you’ll see why!!

Our dad today is my husband and the father of my boys – Steve! He is a wonderful husband, an amazing dad, he loves people, cycles for fun, and he runs Lisa Leonard Designs!

What is your favorite thing about being a dad?

I love watching my boys learn and grow. David constantly amazes me with the new ways he interacts with his world. Matthias is this driven little artist who’s always creating new super heroes and challenging the way we look at the world.

What have you learned from your Dad that you want to teach your own kids?

I’ve learned a lot from my dad about the enduring value of wisdom for your family and those around you. I talk with the boys about real wisdom pretty regularly. We’ve even spent some time memorizing Psalm 1:1-4 out of the Bible together.

What is one of your funniest dad moments?

When David was a baby, I was watching him one night while Lisa was out. He was crying and crying and I couldn’t figure out what to do. I patted his back (still a usually effective thing to do!). I gave him gas drops. I vented his G-tube (gone now for years!). I tried playing with him. I rocked him. Finally, I gave him a little medicine, just sure that was going to be the answer. It wasn’t. I was at my wits end. Then Lisa called and I unloaded my exasperation on her. She simply asked, “Have you fed him yet?” “What?? Feed him? You think he’s hungry?” Funny thing—apparently babies need to eat more than every 6 hours. Oooops. (Note: no Davids were harmed in the re-telling of this act of parental stupidity.)

What is one of your proudest moments as a dad?

I heard about Matthias at school the other day…There was a hurt kid on the play ground and the yard teacher sent another kid to get ice while she stayed wit the child. The office wouldn’t let a student have the ice. Matthias was incensed! He couldn’t believe the injustice and lack of respect paid to one of his 8 year old colleagues! He wanted to know, “Does the school mascot say something about the quality of students at the school or not?!” What can I say—that’s my kid!

What things have you learned from your kids?

From David I’ve learned compassion—Lisa’s much more naturally compassion than I am. He’s also taught me the value of a deep belly laugh when we play together. It’s one of my favorite things in the world! Matthias is an example of diligence and hard work. He takes on projects, like making a super hero book for Lisa for Mother’s Day (yes Super Heroes, A-Z with 26 chapters of 2-4 original super heroes per chapter!), and he comes home from school and works on it every day until it’s done. He has a petty amazing work ethic for an 8 year old!


Thanks for sharing Steve! I’m so glad our boys have you as their dad!

Steve really takes the time to listen, play, & build relationships with our boys. I am so thankful for that!
Tell me – what do you think is one important quality for a dad to have?


what rocks about being a dad {part 1}

father's day By May 17, 2012 10 Comments

With Father’s Day coming up I’m interviewing some awesome dads to find out what they love about being a father!

First up is Christan! He has a beautiful wife and two little boys, he loves to create things and take photos, and he is one of our managers at Lisa Leonard Designs. Christan always has a smile on his face–as you read on, you’ll see what a devoted father and husband he is!

What is one of your proudest moments as a dad?

Some men are born knowing exactly what they want to be, and exactly what they want to do & I guess I am no different. The one thing I have always been confident in is knowing that I was made to be a dad. So, while I had no idea who my son was the day he was born, I was proudest the day he made me his dad. He hasn’t stopped making me proud since….most days!

What have you learned from your Dad that you want to pass down to your kids?

Integrity.  There isn’t a particular time when my dad had a conversation with me about being a man of your word, he just acted it out;  I want my boys to see me the same way. I want them to see me as a man of honor and integrity and more importantly, I want them to want that for themselves.

What things have you learned from your kids?

Recently it’s how many children songs there are!  Each week it seems like I hear Ashton singing a song about planets, animals or this weeks song: “the continent song”.   For those of you who are not familiar, here is how it goes: “North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, Don’t forget Antarctica, Or way down under in Australia.  Tell me the continents, tell me the continents if you can!”

What is one of your funniest dad moments?

Hearing my son translate the world he hears into his own concepts! One of the times I have laughed the hardest is when we were wrestling (as Dad’s do). He apparently wasn’t too fond after a while and screeched, “Be careful daddy! I’m not a toy!”

Being a father is easy, being a dad is hard. I hope my boys know the love I have for them, the adoration I have for being their dad, and the intention at which my wife & I parent them. One of the greatest lessons I have learned from Rick Warren is that we are responsible to our children not for our children. As God as done for me, I will show my boys the way and then I hope they choose to embrace the love that is around them for themselves.

Thank you Christan! You are a wonderful daddy!
Pictured above were the baby’s first spoon and custom magnets!

Your turn, what is one thing you learned from your Dad that you want to pass on to your kiddos or live out in your own life?