Big Changes Ahead…and a Giveaway!

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!



15 Responses to “Big Changes Ahead…and a Giveaway!”

  1. Amanda England says:

    Congrats! We’ve considered the St.L area ourselves, since we always seem to find our way down there, whether it be the zoo, a CARDS game or a fun trip to the Magic House. Yep. Probably going to be there Spring Break lol!

    • cdonald says:

      Hopefully the weather will cooperate! And who knows, maybe we’ll run into you guys at the zoo again! 🙂

  2. Laura Meador says:

    So excited for you, Christa! St. Louis is great! Our two favorite places: Bridge Tap House for date night and Perennial Artisanal Ales for wonderful, local beer!

    Have so much joy and fun setting up your new home and life!

    • cdonald says:

      Thanks, Laura! We’ve been to Bridge and enjoyed it a lot. And a couple of months back, I tried one of Perennial’s beers (don’t remember which), but was quite impressed. We’ll definitely have to get there to check it out soon!

  3. Doreen Lucadamo says:

    So happy for you and your family Christa. Sending you love – lots of it – as you prepare and execute your next adventure. Miss you!

  4. Patti Lalley says:

    Fantastic news Christa!! What a great new adventure for your family! —–Patti

    PS/ My Dream vacation is northern Ireland to see the Giant’s Causeway. Saving my pennies to get there in a couple of years. 🙂

  5. Kristi Usterbowski says:

    Congrats on your next big adventure, Kirk family! Can’t wait to hear (or read) all about it. Love you guys! —Kristi

    p.s. We are planning a trip to South Dakota…just got the vacation guide in the mail today actually. 😉 Maybe we’ll have to take a trip to St. Louis soon!!

    • cdonald says:

      South Dakota is going to be amazing! I’ll have to share my Mt. Rushmore umbrella story with you sometime! Hugs! 🙂

  6. Shanks says:

    That’s exciting. I know how talks like that go. Jeff and I have starting doing them as well.

    Two words – Camp Wartburg – you got to see the beauty of the site. Give the camp a try when your girls are old enough. You will not regret it! I hope your move goes well.

  7. Adrien says:

    Congrats *with a bit of jealousy*. New adventures are exciting. I agree on the City Museum…love that place and I have no doubt there are many great things yet to be uncovered in St. Louis.

    I am so over Illinois and it’s cold and oh yea the fact that we were only supposed to be here one year and it’s been 5….I would go anywhere. Preferably somewhere I haven’t lived before is all. Beach life misses me! 🙂

    • cdonald says:

      Thanks, Adrien! Once we get settled, we’ll have to take the kiddos on a City Museum adventure together!

  8. Jenni says:

    As sad as I am to see y’all leave, I’m excited for your new adventure!
    I grew up in the St. Louis area and miss it a lot!

    For kids we love the Children’s Garden at the Botanical Gardens, Turtle Park, obviously the zoo, science center, museums, etc., We like Fitz’s, City Garden, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Rep’s Theatre for Young Audiences, Cards Games (Olivia loves the ballpark!)

    We also like to drive outside the city to Kimswick and short day trips!!!

    Good luck!!!!


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