Archive: March, 2013

And The Winner Is…

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Are y’all wearing green, drinking green beer, and enjoying the last few college b-ball games before they announce the tournament brackets? (Yay for March Madness!)

I had intended to announce the winner of our Target Gift Card Friday evening, so I apologize for missing my self-imposed deadline by, well, a lot. (The last couple of days were just  was just one of those days, you know?) So without further ado, congratulations to our winner:

Doreen Lucadamo!

(Doreen, drop me a note at with your address, and I’ll get your gift card mailed to you right away!)

A big thank you to everyone who participated in our inaugural blog giveaway. I had so much fun reading all your comments, and we can’t wait to visit all the great places in St. Louis y’all suggested. In fact, this was so much fun, I think we’ll make blog giveaways a monthly “thing” around here, so stay tuned for the next giveaway announcement!

Also, if you haven’t done so yet, it’s not too late to sign up for our “On the Farm” Mini-Sessions on April 6th. I have a few session openings remaining (both am and pm), and I’d love to see your smiling face. What’s a mini-session? Here are the details, and feel free to check out my recent post on WHY mini-sessions are PERFECT for families!

Mini Sessions - April 6, 2013 - Lincoln Log Cabin, Charleston, IL

Wedding Trivia: Why Do Brides Do That?

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

I am not a believer that there’s any one “right” way to do a wedding, but let’s face it. There are certain age-old traditions and customs that when you put them all together, you have yourself a wedding. White dress…check! Bouquet…check! Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue…check! I’m a lover of random trivia and factoids, but the WHY’s behind most wedding customs and traditions are knowledge that had escaped me…until now. My curiosity recently got the best of me, and I hit up Google in search of answers. I’ll be sharing those answers with you in installments, the first of which is today! So fellow trivia lovers, may the information contained herein provide you with the ability to one-up the other team(s) at your next quiz night!

Custom:  Traditionally, the bride and groom choose not to see each other on the wedding day prior to the ceremony.

The Why:  Back in the days of feudalism, way before people got to marry for LOVE like we do today, marriage was considered a business transaction. Lord So-and-So wanted to earn the king’s favor, so he’d make an agreement with Lord Such-and-Such that his daughter would marry Lord Such-and-Such’s son. In exchange, Lord So-and-So would get perhaps a parcel of land, or additional men-at-arms, or maybe Lord Such-and-Such would get a new title. Many times, these marriages were arranged without the bride and groom ever having met. (I know, so romantic, right?) In spite of the fact that marriage was simply a business deal, that didn’t stop Lord Such-and-Such’s son from preferring a fair maiden, as opposed to one of Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters. So to ensure that everything went the way it was supposed to on the wedding day, the bride and groom were often not allowed to meet beforehand. After all, if the bride wasn’t comely, it certainly wouldn’t be advantageous to give the groom a reason to back out of the wedding before all the I’s were dotted and T’s crossed. In fact, some marriage ceremonies took place without the groom seeing the bride until afterwards, when he was finally able to lift her veil! The tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other prior to the wedding eventually just became one of those things you do when you get married, as did the bride wearing a veil. Interesting, huh?

For our own wedding, Kirk and I stuck to tradition for the most part. But this is one tradition we did buck. We opted to have a “First Look” and see each other before the wedding ceremony so we could exchange gifts, admire one another in our wedding finery and steal a couple of kisses before the big show began. Untraditional? Yes. Do I regret it? Not for a minute!!! In fact, that’s the part of our wedding day that I remember best — after the ceremony began, the day seemed to just fly by and although I know it was one of the most wonderful days of my life (matched only by the births of our children), it’s mostly a blur!

Our "first look." (Photo by Richelle Brown Weddings)

Our “first look.” (Photo by Richelle Brown Weddings)

How about you? Will you (or did you) stay traditional or will you (did you) choose to spend a few moments together before your wedding ceremony? And what other wedding traditions would you like to hear about? Leave us a comment below!

Big Changes Ahead…and a Giveaway!

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Dear Bloggy-Blog,

I have something to confess. I’ve been keeping a secret. It’s a secret so exciting that I’ve been bursting to share it with you, but the time just hasn’t been right…until now.

When we moved back to central Illinois two and a half years ago, it sure was nice to be home. In fact, Dorothy said it best — “There’s no place like home!” After a couple rough years away and so many major life changes (two kids in diapers at the same time is not for the feint of heart, people), we were ready to be loved on. And that’s just what we found here in Charleston. The warmth and generosity of our amazing family. The friends — old and new — who have reassured us that we are indeed perfectly normal, because after all — crazy IS normal. The daycare staff who love our kiddos like they’re their own. And the incredible, wonderful, splendiferous Cheryl McKee, Kindergarten teacher extraordinaire, who has guided us through the wondrous (and at times mind-boggling) world of having a “school-age” child. Oh yes, Charleston — we’ve certainly felt the love, and this is where I’m proud to say we’ve built our first real home as a family.

But Kirk and I have always said that our stay here in Charleston wasn’t permanent. We needed some love, and we needed some time — some time to figure out how to be the best spouse/parent/sibling/daughter/son/friend/photographer/small business owner/etc. each of us could possibly be. I’ll admit, we still haven’t quite figured that all out yet, but I think it’s safe to say we’re well on our way. And today…TOGETHER…we’re better than ever. So it’s time. Time to acknowledge that stirring in our souls to get back to a more metropolitan area; time to move on and write our next chapter.

We’ve had countless conversations about the merits of Denver vs. San Diego…mountains vs. the ocean…St. Louis vs. Chicago…city dwelling vs. life in suburbia. But when we came down to it, the answer was really quite simple when you consider our top two priorities: 1) putting down roots near our family, so our kiddos can know their grandparents and cousins, and 2) access to a major airport, since Kirk is still doing lots of traveling for work and we both have a crazy case of wanderlust. So I’m happy to announce our next chapter finally has a setting, and that setting is… (drumroll, please)

 (ding, ding, ding…you guessed it!)

 St. Louis!!!

 (cue pyrotechnics)

My parents recently relocated to the ‘Lou thanks to a new job opportunity for my dad, and we’ve spent quite a bit of time down that way lately. We’re excited to get to know the city and make it our home — the place where we’ll set down roots and raise our family. We’ve hit most of the major attractions and fallen in love with the City Museum. We’ve had a blast taking the kiddos to the zoo and the Science Center. And the kids have had infinite amounts of fun hanging out at the Magic House with Grandma and Papa. It’s going to be wonderful to have easy access to these attractions and be able to say to the girls on a beautiful Spring day, “Let’s head over to the zoo and see what the giraffes are up to today!” And we’re also excited to find those neighborhood restaurants and coffee shops, boutiques, and music venues that make a big city feel like home. It’s going to be amazing, and I can’t help but do a little happy dance in my mind every time I imagine what life will be like for us a year from now, five years from now, or even ten years down the road.

(This is one of my all-time favorite images of our oldest daughter, taken at the St. Louis City Museum.)

But I think one of the things I’m most thrilled about is to get back to a world where there’s a Target…not an hour away from us, but just down the road. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Target…and I have very little love for the world of Wally, even though that’s all we have here in Charleston-Mattoon. So to celebrate our big news and upcoming move, let’s do a giveaway!

We’ll be giving away a $10 Target Gift Card to one lucky reader chosen at random. All you have to do is leave us a comment. If you’re in St. Louis, share your favorite local restaurant or shop; if you’re not in St. Louis, tell us where your wanderlust will be taking you next (be it a real vacation, dream vacation, or cross-country move)!

Target Gift Card Giveaway

We’ll choose a winner on Friday, March 15th, so enter now (and tell your friends, too). Can’t wait to hear from you!




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