Alex & Kelly’s Maple Ridge Farm Wedding

Alex and Kelly were married on June 17th, 2017 in Taylors Falls, Minnesota at the beautiful Maple Ridge Farm.

I have been looking forward to this barn wedding for months. The moment I saw that big swing in the barn online my heart skipped a beat! It was everything I thought it would be.

Alex and Kelly have known each other for years! Their relaxed relationship with one another is going to make for a wonderful marriage. They are that kind of “friend” to one another that you always imagine yourself growing old with. They share a mutual love for things that go vroom; Motorcycles, fast cars, jeeps, and all cool engines. You know when your bride pulls up in a bright yellow mustang looking like Hollywood that it’s going to be a great day.

Kelly had driven her mustang to one of our meetings before the wedding day and, as she was leaving, our daughter Paisley yelled out, “Wow,  that car is awesome!!!” That comment made both of our days!

The day started with Kelly and her girls all getting ready at the hotel. The guys had spent the night at the barn house and were getting ready there! Alex and Kelly had chosen not to do a first look but to see each other for the first time that day when Kelly got down the isle. My favorite moment of the day was when Alex read a letter that Kelly had written to him. His face says it all in the images!

It was such a beautiful day full of joy and happy tears. Alex and Kelly danced the night away with friends and family. They will soon be on their way to Alaska on their honeymoon to travel the state and fish. It sounds delightful.

Thank you so much Alex and Kelly for having me, it was an honor.

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Caterer: Devine Swine 

Florist:  101 Market

Stylist: Flawless Images

DJ: Party Patrol

Bar: Log Cabin Catering

Boots: Ariat

Venue: Maple Ridge Farm

Ryan & Liz’s Stillwater Wedding

 

Ryan and Liz met in Florida of all places, on a work trip. They quickly hit it off and Ryan stepped out and asked for Liz’s number with the help of a friend. I think its such a cool start to their story having both been from Minnesota and then meeting in Florida for a conference! The perfect timing for sure!

The day of the wedding Liz walked into the church glowing. She was one of the calmest and happiest brides! Her joy radiated onto everyone else that day. We started the day at the church and then headed to Spring Lake Park Reserve in Hastings MN. A beautiful park over looking the river. The day was HOT… 98 degrees to be exact, but that didn’t keep us indoors. The heat plus the wind would have scared most people off from doing outdoor photos. But, not Ryan and Liz. We found the perfect little trail for their first look and the rest of the day flowed really well.

Their reception was held at the gorgeous JX Event Venue in Downtown Stillwater. It was the perfect setting! The vibe of this wedding was so full of life. I wanted to stay and dance the night away too. Ryan and Liz make everyone feel so welcome and so do their families. The day was absolutely perfect! Ryan and Liz are a couple that you want to know. It has been a joy getting to know them over the last year.

Flowers: Tommy Carver 

Dessert’s: Bread and Chocolate

Bridal Gown: Amelishan 

Bridesmaid Dresses: The Wedding Shoppe

Suits: Mens Wearhouse 

Brides Boots: Ariats 

DJ: Manny with Instant Request

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Jason & Amelia’s Whitetail Woods Wedding

In the weeks prior to the big day I sat down with Jason, Amelia, and her maid of honor Gwen to go over all the wedding day details. To map out the schedule for the day. When they would get ready, the first look time, right down to when the cake should be cut. The meeting was so much fun. I love this couple and all they bring when they are together. We were chatting about the things they still needed to get done before the day. At this point, the wedding was about two weeks out. I asked Amelia about the dress and she just started laughing.

She said so coolly, ” I haven’t made it yet. But, I know what I want it to look like!”

My heart started racing for her. For most brides-to-be, this would have been a major problem. But not for Amelia.

Their wedding was pretty much all DIY.  All hand-made things, mostly by Jason and Amelia themselves. The flowers were purchased at Trader Joe’s on Tuesday. (I would have never guessed- they looked amazing). The cake was made by Amelia and frosted on site. All the cutlery was bamboo and compostable. It was amazing. This is such a testament to what they will do in their marriage.

The dress and head piece were also made by Amelia. She had recently learned to sew. I think it was incredible. It fit her and their day so well.

The wedding was all held at Whitetail Woods Regional park in Farmington. This state park has the most incredible brand new cabins that the wedding party all got ready in and stayed in that night. They are tucked back in a beautiful forest of large tress. It was magic for photographing in. The day was perfect weather for the 1st of June.

My favorite moment of the entire day was the foot washing at the ceremony. A true picture of serving your spouse over yourself.

Congratulations Jason and Amelia! Thank you so much for inviting me in on your wedding day!

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Momma, me and the Chickens!

When Nick, Cassie’s husband reached out to me and asked if I would do a session for her mothers day gift I was so excited!!! Cassie and I went over a few ideas of where to do the session and then when I suggested doing it in their backyard with her chickens both of our eyes lit up! Cassie has had chickens in their back yard for a few years and she just loves them and so does Larina their daughter. So doing the session in the back yard was the perfect location.

Larina loves to help her momma with the girls and is getting better and better at holding them all by herself!! She was so cute as she helped collect the eggs and run around after the chicks! I knew I would fall head over heels for these photos while we were taking them. Capturing the simplest of things with our little ones can be the best to look back on. I almost missed my chickens while at this session… almost.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Guided Nets.

The Lord tends to work in themes of my life.

All the books I have been reading and the studies I have been doing all seem to point to the same things, yet…

I find myself still trying to do it all on my own.

The Lord also tends to use others in my life to speak to me. I am often found in a conversation giving advice about what the TRUTH says, when I need to hear it as well. And then as I walk away I feel myself saying, “Oh! I see what you did there God… Good one.”

The saying, “God never gives you more than you can handle,” has been around for as long as I can remember. Before I really started trying to understand the gospel and the jealous God that I serve, I too believed this saying.

But, it’s a lie. Sorry if I just crushed everything you have ever believed.

God wants us to rely on Him for our needs, not ourselves. If he only gave us the things we could handle, we would NEVER truly go to Him. We wouldn’t really NEED His help. And oh goodness how I need Him!

When we feel overwhelmed, over worked, over tired, sick, weary, sad, depressed, busy…. this world will tell us to fix it ourselves. Take the pills, drink the drinks, watch more Netflix, sleep with the guy, sleep with the girl, eat that dessert, buy the dress, the purse, the shoes, the Starbucks. Cover it all up for a short time, but guess what. It’s all still there in the morning, staring us in the face, and then we get up feeling all the feels all over again.

What we are forgetting is to fall on our knees. To come back to the truth. Without God, we will continue to try (and fail) to do this life on our own.

But this world will tell you that you’re being week and needy.

“Chin up, you can do it, you’re fine, it’s all going to be alright.” Sound familiar?

I claim to be a pretty independent woman. Unfortunately, that has gotten me into trouble. I find myself falling back into the routine of handling it all. Making all the calls and shots and getting my ducks in a row on my own. It pretty much fails every time. I find my anxiety high and my temper short. I am the complete opposite of the woman that I want to be. The woman who I know God has made me. And I feel anything but confident.

I want to start a different movement. A movement that needs our mighty King. He is called the Savior for a reason! A world that needs one another and asks for help.

After Jesus died and rose again, his disciples where left to go about their lives without him being physically present with them.

One afternoon they decided to go fishing together. They were doing what they always had done- these men where top notch fishermen. This is what they did for a living! But that night they caught nothing. (John 21:3)

Jesus/Rabbi/Teacher then appears to them on the shore and tells the disciples to cast their nets to the right side of the boat. The net is then so full that they can not haul in all of the fish!

If he had to remind the disciples to depend on Him, I need so many more reminders. And I’m sure that is what he is doing to me daily. It’s just that I am often too caught up in trying over and over to do it alone that I miss his still, small, teaching voice in all of the other noise.

He will provide for us all that we need. He will come alongside us in our hard times and guide our nets. We just need to remember how much bigger He is. How much we need Him. He has not changed. God never will. But our selfish and unbelieving hearts so often try to go it alone. So I will fall today on my knees and remember that all I have is from the father. And none of it is mine!

This heavy plate Lord I give to you. Guide my net daily and keep my eyes fixed on how much I need you. I don’t want to live a life that doesn’t require you.

Ben & Nikki’s Maple Grove Reception Celebration

Ben and Nikki got married last month in Cabo, Mexico. When I asked Nikki how it was she said “Perfect”

I love that answer, isn’t that how every wedding day should be.

Since Ben and Nikki did a destination wedding not everyone was able to attend. So when they got back to Minnesota they planned a big party to celebrate with all their family and friends.

I dont know about you but I think being able to wear your wedding dress more then once sounds pretty awesome.

They held their reception at the beautiful Elm Creek Park Reserve Chalet and the weather was magnificent! You couldn’t have asked for a better Minnesota day.

Congratulations Ben and Nikki!

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Venue: Elm Creek Park Chalet

Caterer: Classic Catering

Dj: Scott Tuff

The Photo Booth Group

 

IKEA Band-Aids

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It was a few weeks after Bowdy was born and I was feeling shut in. Back to real life with three young kids now and being alone most days, trying to navigate our new norm. Paisley had just turned 5 in January and Georgia had just turned 3 in February. Not being able to go to the gym yet, or really knowing how to go about doing anything with three kids at this point, we were spending a lot of time at home. The days were long… and the never ending demands were wearing on a tired momma.

On this specific day I got a text from a friend around 9am asking if I wanted to join her and another friend at IKEA at 10am for some shopping and lunch! I did a little happy dance at the thought of someone asking me to get out of the house for the day and then said, “I would love to come, but I don’t want to bring all the kids to IKEA.” She then replied back, “They have a free play place for the kids. So we can shop while they play.” I then carried on with my happy dance and decided, “Heck YES, we will go!”

Then I looked at the clock… it was already 9am, to get to IKEA by 10am I would have to leave in 15 minutes.

None of us were dressed for the day and the diaper bag was not packed. So I got down real close to my girls’ faces and said in a very sweet and loving voice, “Some friends are all going to a play place to play- do you guys want to go?” Of course they said yes. Then I said, “Great!! Go get dressed and ready to go while I get Bowdy and myself ready.”

To be fair I just told my 5 & 3 year old to go get completely ready on their own in the next 15 minutes. You would think that this would be enough time, right? SO WRONG. By the time I got dressed, threw on a hat and some mascara (the only real makeup a new mom needs- can I get an amen?!), packed the diaper bag, and went to get the girls from their room where they not only had not gotten dressed yet, but had now managed to make a mess of toys because they forgot what they were supposed to be doing the minute they saw the My Little Ponies.

I asked them kindly, one more time, “Please stop playing and get dressed so we can go play with friends. I’m going to go get Bowdy in the car and when I come back, I want you ready to go. OK?????”

They both looked at me and said “OK.”

However… the task was still not complete when I returned. So then I turned into the kind and patient mother that I am and started yelling… which led to crying and whining and a temper tantrum from the 5 year old.  And an argument about what jacket the 3 year old could wear on the cold day in April! I might have even yelled something like, “Why are you crying, we are going to see your friends… hurry up!!!!!!!”

Nice Krista, like that will work!

On the way to IKEA, before we hit the freeway, Bowdy was in an all out screaming fit. Newborn crying is the worst, especially in the car. It’s then that I realized he was hungry. I tried to ignore it in hopes that he would fall asleep and I could feed him when we got there, but he didn’t let up. And now it was upsetting the girls. So I pulled over and hopped in the back seat on a country road to feed the hungry boy while the girls played in the back seat. 20 more minutes, a few burps later, the Disney station on Pandora, and we were back on our way to IKEA to meet our friends…

So we could play.

So we could get out of the house.

Because I was invited.

Because I wanted to.

Because I was bored.

So the kids could have fun.

Because I feel bad saying “no.”

We reached IKEA only 10 minutes late!

I was excited and relieved to meet our friends inside! It was so good to see a few adult faces that I recognized right away! We all said our hello’s and made our way to the magical IKEA play zone that would watch our kids for free for an hour while we shopped. Only to find out that the kid zone was full. According to the staff member, they can only take a certain number of kids and they were full! They then handed us a beeper, like at a restaurant that would tell us when they could take our kids. My face at this point must have said it all… total shock!!!!

All together my two girl friends and I have 9 kids. 9 KIDS under 6…

Trying to stay positive I turned to my friends and said, “OK, well, um, let’s just shop. What did you guys want to come here to look at?”

I was expecting an answer like… a new table, rugs, lamps, a couch for the office, a fun new plate set that was a must have. However, none of these were the answer. The answer was simply “BAND-AIDS”

WHAT? That’s right, I said it- WHAT??? If you know me well enough you can see my face. The slight tilt of my head, my eyes getting a little bigger and my voice changing a bit. I can’t easily hide my emotions so I’m sure I looked ridiculous. We drove to IKEA for BAND-AIDS!!!

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(side note though- they are really nice band-aids)

We gathered up our troops + 3 strollers and headed upstairs to the kids area to find the band-aids and let our crew play while we waited for the buzzer to sound letting us know we could shop kid-free.

That’s when one of the kids got her fingers caught in the elevator! She was quite the trooper but us moms were a little panicked. We got her calmed and on our way! Found the band-aids and let the kids play for awhile, then it happened. THE BUZZER!!!!!

FREEDOM!!!!! We rushed back down to the kids zone to drop the older kids off (they only take the potty trained ones) and we were off. We had an hour to just wander, catch up, and push the youngest 3 in the strollers. We took full advantage! And then calmly and happily went back to get our kids when the hour was up.

I picked up Georgia and put her on my hip as we made our way to the lunch area and that’s when I noticed my side starting to feel funny. A little warm, a little cold… Oh my goodness, I’m all wet… wait… she’s all wet… is this pee?

Yep, it’s pee. Georgia had peed her pants while in the play zone because she was too shy to ask where the bathroom was. She was also wearing very dark leggings so you couldn’t tell at all unless you touched them. GREAT! So I took her to the bathroom and got her changed (I always carry an extra pair of pants for G; this girl is notorious for waiting too long). However, this didn’t solve my problem of now having a pee soaked shirt on. So, in 3rd-time-mom fashion I put my jacket back on and walked out of the bathroom and to the cafeteria to get our lunch. It’s a real shame that IKEA doesn’t sell clothes, they would have made an easy sale that day.

During lunch all of the older 6 kids sat at a table while us moms and the babies sat next to them at our own table, trying desperately to enjoy our meal. The older ones honestly did pretty well, you know, the usual. Talking too loud, running around and not actually eating their food. But, we didn’t have to yell so I call that a win. At one point all of us moms where nursing at the same time at our table. When Bowdy was finished eating I went to burp him and quickly realized that he had pooped all the way up his back and now it was on my hands. Back to the bathroom I went. At this point I was almost in tears.

As I’m writing this I keep laughing at myslef. How was this my day that day?! It’s that comical.

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We soon left IKEA and my girls fought all the way home, to the point that I yelled so hard my throat hurt. The baby cried all the way home, and when we finally got home G wouldn’t nap because now she was over-tired and over-stimulated.

I sat down that night and made a promise to myself that I would never do this to my kids again. And the hard part was that it wasn’t a bad thing.

But, I would never again make plans the morning-of in fear of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). I would stick to routines and schedules that work for our family and I would say, “no, thank you,” to things, making more room for other “yes’s.”

I did the chaos that day. I created it. I made myself flustered, angry, and frustrated, and in turn did the same to my kids. Who then felt pushed aside, stressed, and G was embarrassed over peeing her pants. So now, as much as I want to still say “Yes” to the last minute invites to the park (or even the week-out invites to the zoo), I sometimes say “no,” and that’s OK. I want to be secure enough in who I am to say NO. To not be afraid of FOMO. That’s something God and I have really worked on over the past year.

He has worked so many wonders in my heart on this subject. He has given me this  specific word and His, in knowing that I am already secure in who He has made me. The word that I heard from Him was Confidence. Confidence first in who He is, in how I should trust Him, and who He has made me to be.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the time I got to spend with my girl friends that day- it’s the price I paid to do it. And my kids are worth more than that price. They deserve better from me. And I can do better. I’m sure you have all been in a similar situation. I am telling you right now, it’s OK to say “not today.” Our crazy lives are chaotic enough without us adding to it. Slow down today, and tomorrow, and the next, and make space for the beautiful in the mundane to happen. I promise you’re not missing out.

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