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a frozen halloween

For the love of your kids, and only your kids will a parent watch the same movie (frozen in my household) over 100 times in the course of 3 months (slight exaggeration). What’s not an exaggeration is that I can recite every.single.line of that movie and my husband and I bust into song exactly like all of the other youtube videos of parents’ car debutes of “Love is an Open Door”. So there should have been no surprise when it comes to Halloween costumes as well as 2 year old birthday party themes: FROZEN is the only option. For now, I’ll focus on Halloween’s rendition of the Weinstock’s take on Frozen.

{{First off, thank you pinterest.}}

Evelyn will be collecting candy this year as none other than the Queen herself, Elsa. Don’t you worry, her side-kick Nora won’t be far behind in her first Halloween appearance as Olaf. While Target supplied Evelyn’s beautiful ballgown, pinterest and my craft closet inspired my crafting abilities take on Olaf. While my friends may claim me as crafty – this costume took little to no skill. If you look closely at the “stitching” it will be a miracle if one of the felt “buttons” doesn’t dangle off within the first block of trick-or-treating.

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In case Nora falls asleep on her side-kick responsibilities, Evelyn’s candy basket is Olaf’s head so that take’s some of the pressure off Nora for her first year — we know it can be extremely overwhelming collecting extreme amounts of candy fo’ free 🙂I have a feeling Halloween’s from here on out are going to be so much fun!

mary-poppins-and-bertThis year, Sam and I are even dressing up for a friend’s party! It’s been three years since we’ve dressed up as Juno & Bleeker & while Sam still has his knee high socks & all too high gym shorts on reserve, I’m feeling a bit outgrown for that costume so we are attempting to pull off Mary Poppins & Bert  (the chimney sweep guy). Other options we considered/were suggested to us were: Patty & Doug Funny, Guess Who Game Pieces, Princess Laya & Luke Skywalker; Victoria & David Beckham, Bacon & Eggs, Wonder-Woman & Superman; Piglet & Pooh… just to name a few. If you’re still considering what to be – here’s a cute link to couples costumes. The cutest family costume I saw when hosting a Fall Fest at a Community Center was the characters of Scooby do! The family was adorable and the costumes were simple and appropriate.
I’m excited to post photos of the girls out trick-or-treating. Our neighborhood does it big so it will be fun to see how excited Evelyn gets! Halloween is just over two weeks away so if you havn’t thought about your costume yet – Target has had deals on costumes (buy one get one half off), goodwill is a great place to browse for inspiration & for your candy deals, check out this app and get $1 back for your purchase of a bag of candy from anywhere you purchase it from. I’ll probably post more about this app later on because — FREE money? Why miss out?
Happy Halloween-ing everyone! Isn’t fall the best?!

 

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the green wedding

The last weekend in September, Sam and I flew to Minnesota to celebrate my good friend Mikka’s wedding to her love, Adam.  This was the first trip that Sam and I took without Evelyn.   Sam’s mom, who Evelyn will know as Neena, watched her and our pup for the weekend which gave them some much needed bonding time without us hovering over every move Evy makes.  It gave Sam and I some much needed bonding and reconnecting time as well.  It was pure magic, for all involved.

Our first trip away!

Our first trip away!

The weekend consisted of ugly crying (all by me).  It started when we were dropped off at the airport.  Ugly crying all the way to the check in desk… and then to the TSA security guard who told me to suck it up and enjoy time away from the baby because it will be a long time til the next time we get the chance. Great advice – followed by the lady in front of us who was also near ugly crying about leaving her chuahaha for the weekend as well.  That helped me get over it as did the bloody mary’s we enjoyed pre-flight.  This also stepped in as a night cap for the flight.

When we landed in MSP, we had one stop before our five hour drive north to Grand Marais, MN (yes, it was truly right next to Canada).  Our stop was to pick up the wedding cake (!) & the grooms cake (holy pressure batman!)  The baker assured me that the beautiful three tiered wedding cake would be fine as long as we didn’t slam on the breaks and kept the air conditioning on.

The view from Devil Track Resort

The view from Devil Track Resort

The drive was beautiful.  The radio was choppy so Sam and I sang/rapped to each other (will smith was the fave), chatted about anything and everything and snapped lots of blurry side of the road scenery photos trying to catch the fall colors.  When we finally arrived to the resort around 9:30 p.m. – Mikka was there to tackle me with a huge bear hug & happy tears.  She went to the back to take out the cake and IT HAD TOPPLED OVER!  We never slammed on the breaks & we froze our tushes off the entire way FOR THAT CAKE!  Mikka’s response? ‘No biggie – Adam didn’t even know we were having a wedding cake’ – BEST BRIDE EVER!  The groom’s cake was in perfect condition which was her real concern.  The cake came back to our cabin with us (ya know, to hide it from the groom).

Friday, Sam and I headed into town to have breakfast, see the town and enjoy each other.  It all sounds so cheesy but it was so necessary.  We noted that it felt weird not to have Evelyn with us, but it was easy to go back to how it was when it was just us.  {{We’ve still got it.}}  We were even able to get a bit of a hike in before the rehearsal.  Picture perfect day on the beautiful north shore.  Friday night concluded with memorable quotes from Sam including when I tried to tell him there’d be no more wine, he chanted “WINE NOT? WINE NOT?” & “BABY FREE WEEKEND! WINE NOT!?”  He’s adorable.

Superior Hiking Trail

Superior Hiking Trail

superior hiking trail

Saturday was the wedding day & the grey clouds inched their way closer and closer from 9 a.m. – 12.  An outdoor wedding was the goal for the bride & groom and I have to give them credit, the clouds did not falter their determination in any way.  Another goal was to not see one another before the wedding, so when decorations outside began to blow over and the rain turned into what we so enduringly named, Hurricane Green, communications on the game plan were tunneled through a chain of messengers running back and forth with the same message, “whatever Adam wants….” Or “ whatever Mikka wants..”   Adorable.

Hurricane Green

Hurricane Green

The beautiful bride

The beautiful bride

A compromise was made for having the wedding in the reception tent.  I mean it when I say, THIS WEDDING WAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WEDDING I’VE EVER WITNESSED.  The love in this tent.  While there were tables blowing over and rolling towards the tent, Mikka & Adam recited their vows to one another in perfect fashion.  Mikka referenced Adam’s love of cars and Adam promised to stand by her no matter what.  Here is where I began to ugly cry:  Mikka’s niece, Louise, had vows to exchange as well.  Mikka & Adam have taken on parental responsibilities of this little angel who adores them.  Mikka vowed, Adam vowed and then Louise recited hers which were filled with requests such as, “all I ask is that you continually encourage me and that we do awesome things together…”  ALL THE UGLY CRYING HAPPENED OVER HERE.  One hand holding the wall of the tent and the other hand wishing I had thought to grab tissue as I blotted my eyes with my shawl.  BEAUTIFUL.

The bride with Jes & I

The bride with Jes & I

Everything from start to finish was so well thought out:

  • Welcome baskets in each cabin filled with snacks, games, activity books, scavenger hunt, sports drinks
  • Pre-wedding appetizers of pickled herring, cheese, crackers & spiked hot cocoa
  • After wedding green drinks (thin mint)
  • The bridesmaids each had a different color which just so happened to be each of our favorite color (mine was teal) – black dresses that we could style multiple ways, paired with shawls, jewelry, ankle ties, make up and nail polish of our color
  • A caricature artist
  • Bloody Mary bar
  • Late night snacks of nachos & wings
  • Candy bar with a chocolate fondue fountain
bridesmaid cup

bridesmaid cup

It was just all so perfect.  Mikka & I need to go into the wedding planning business (right, mikka?) Sam and I had a great weekend and were so happy we could be there to witness such a magical marriage take place.  AND MY PARENTS EVEN DROVE 2 HOURS TO GIVE US A HUG ON SUNDAY (because we needed it). Oh, & Evelyn had a great weekend with her Neena as well (big thanks to Neena – maybe we’ll do this more often?). Such sweet family & friends.

mr. & mrs. green

mr. & mrs. green

Cheers to the newlyweds on the beginning of something truly beautiful.

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thoughtful celebrations

This year, for all (or most) gift-giving holidays, Sam and I will need to get creative with showing love in ways other than through monetary gifts. For his birthday, I enlisted the help of most of his closest friends & family members to write him a little note. To assist in the flow, I wrote a few prompt sentences such as:

• I’ve never laughed so hard as when….
• The first time I met Sammy, I thought…
• Something I’d like to do with Sam in the future would be…
• Remember when…

Some stuck to those prompts while others chose song lyrics, personal messages, or single phrases with the “he’ll know what this means” tag to it.

I gave everyone a deadline which most met – way to go, team!- and then accumulated all of the little notes, printed them, pasted them to colorful paper and inserted them into fun little envelopes that were mis-shaped, patterned and obviously hand-made.

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Before leaving for work on his birthday, I tapped the envelopes to our dining room wall in the shape of his birthday year – 28. (thank you, oh happy day for this great idea!)  There was no prompt for him other than the birthday banner hanging around the display. He was free to open them all at once or periodically throughout the day (being that there were close to 60 notes!) Of course, he decided to open them all at once like a little kid tearing open his Christmas presents in a mad dash. He absolutely loved this. He said he wish he could feel this special and this loved every day – looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me!

I also loved reading all of the little notes as I put this little gift together. It’s pretty incredible to be married to someone who is so highly regarded by so many people. Everyone had multiple stories to share or things they’d love to do with Sammy in the future. The overall theme of the future plans focused on traveling and sports so looks like we’ll have to get something in the works – renting a beach house with as many of our friends we can fit & reserving a section (we’d need it) at a red sox or O’s game are both in the near future.

The beauty of this gift is it only took thought, love and time, yet Sam appreciated this gift way more than he would’ve gotten out of anything material. Sure, a speaker set would’ve been exciting for the first couple of months, maybe – but then the next newer set would come out and these would be old news. This gift made him feel special & loved, and celebrated him. I know that whenever he thinks back to walking down the stairs and feeling excitement in seeing the ‘28’ envelope tribute, to feeling special to the numerous notes from his closest friends & family to feeling loved from the content of those notes – he’ll never forget those feelings.

I’m on the search for ideas to replicate moments like these for future gift-giving moments. How do you celebrate your loved ones?

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mr. wyatt turns 2

wyatt progressionOur sweet, mischievous, LOUD puppy (or turning out to be not-so-puppy-anymore) turned two this June. It’s only fair to pay him his birthday tribute he undoubtedly deserves. We rescued Wyatt from Oregon Human Society (OHS) in August of 2011 during one of their puppy adoption days. Every time new puppies would arrive, they would be adopted before you could see them online and drive there – so when this event publicized that over 100 puppies would be available on the same day – we were SO excited. They posted all of the puppies at 10p.m. the night before the event and Sam & I chose two that we would ask to look at first. Gus & Armando.

The event started at 11 and we got there around 9:45 to which we found a line forming already. The couple ahead of us were talking to each other and were going to request Gus. (shoot). We thought for sure we would end up second in line for each of the two puppies and would miss out on our puppy. Surprisingly, when the doors opened and we rushed to the counter, we were the first to see Armando (meaning we could adopt him if we wanted!) We went into the visiting room and they brought him to meet us. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. Armando (I bet you’re wondering why we didn’t leave Wyatt as Armando) was the cutest puppy alive. We had visited OHS before and had placed application for adoption for one other dog. They told us the process if we were to be accepted, the puppy would have come home with us three days later, so when we decided to take Armando home, we thought we’d have the three day time period. OHS had prepared for these puppies to go fast so they took care of all of the typical things that they do over that three day time period and they handed him right over to us to take home THAT SAME DAY! Our small apartment in downtown Portland was definitely not puppy proof, we had no puppy supplies, and we were absolutely clueless but HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE WITH THIS PUPPY.

me and wywy

We got in the car, Armando in my lap and we just looked at each other like WHAT DID WE JUST DO?… they just give away puppies?…. how do they know if we’re prepared for this?…. WHERE’S THE CLOSEST PUPPY STORE!?…. In that moment, we first became parents. We had played around with a couple of possible names prior to going to OHS and Wyatt had never entered our minds. Within 2 blocks from the humane society, I mentioned Wyatt and it was a done deal. (Sam and I are pretty decisive when it comes to names :: Evelyn was named when I was only 6 weeks pregnant).

Although we were not mentally, physically or monetarily prepared to parent a new puppy (8 weeks old), Wyatt was the greatest thing that came into our relationship. Seeing Wyatt prance around our apartment, pounce on butterflies in the park, cuddle to the morning news, and even nurturing him while he was sick (more about that, later), Wyatt stole our hearts. Over the past two years, we have loved taking Wyatt to the beach to chase Seagulls, to the dog park to socialize with other pups, on (pdx) family vacations to annoy all of our friends with his barking and needy-ness, on endless walks where he tries to carry oversized sticks, to the river to go swimming, to ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE we go! He is the sweetest, most loving, most gentle puppy. He demonstrates this with little miss e daily. She loves to tug on his fur and even his ear (which in most cases, always has some sort of ear infection -poor pup), and he never snaps at her. He will turn around to see her, and though he’s obviously annoyed, he gives her kisses. There’s no doubt that Evy and Wyatt will be best friends. Wyatt was our first baby and we treat him like any other member of our family. We are so lucky to have Wyatt in our family & can’t wait to celebrate many more birthdays (maybe he’ll start to slow down… in another year or five). Until then, we celebrate his energy, his slobbery kisses, his clumsiness and his always-wagging tail.

wyatt

Happy birthday wy-wy. We love you.

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a perfect weekend for a perfect dad

Our first father’s day weekend was a complete success. We literally had the best time. Our best friend, Eme came into town and we jam packed it with day trips, live music, great food and quality family time. It was much needed and the perfect way to honor the fantastic father Sam is to our sweet Evelyn.

daddy and evy I got to work super early on Friday morning so that I could take off early and pick Em up from the airport. While waiting for her to get her bags, we decided a spontaneous jaunt to Annapolis was needed. It was a beautiful day so grabbing some lunch, waterfront sounded perfect. I won’t mention where we ate at because honestly, the view and the company were the only two things worth mentioning. We walked around a bit and then headed back to Baltimore to freshen up for our evening plans.

A local market near our new home sets up a mini-festival with live music every Friday night during the summer. This was our first time checking it out and the genre was jazz. It was a blast. This market closed off its parking lot and opened it up to a sea of lawn chairs (which you could rent for free with your id), food vendors, dancing kids and long lines for the booze. We had a great time.
Saturday was spent picnicking in Chesapeake City where there was a little bluegrass festival going on. Sam got up early to take the dog for some exercise and to get some fresh veggies for lunch. He grilled veggies, made an orzo salad and packed up the fixin’s for an awesome lunch. We enjoyed veggie, feta sandwiches, orzo salad and ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookies on our picnic lunch. It was great. Something about the sun, live music and a relaxing summer drive wore us out and we spent the night in watching Sam’s all-time favorite movie, Swingers.
Sunday, father’s day, was my turn to wake up early and prepare food. I made pancakes with either chocolate chips or family picsprinkles, and egg sandwiches with avocado and bacon. I cut up fresh strawberries and kept a stream of coffee brewing. We had a fairly relaxing morning before making plans with family to check out the zoo. We were there with 5 adults and 4 kids and surprising, EVERYONE behaved. We were at the zoo for about 3.5 hours and enjoyed every minute of it. We would have even stayed longer had the zoo not closed. The Maryland Zoo isn’t the fanciest of zoos but it has a nice layout, beautiful landscape and the animals, of course, are adorable and so much fun to chat with. As our nieces kept calling out, “HEY ELEPHANTS!”… or when they recognized characters from their favorite Madagascar movies, “HEY MELVIN!” It was adorable. I can’t wait for Evy to get to that stage (although we’re thoroughly enjoying where she’s at currently).
about to crawlSpeaking of little miss e, we’re about to have our hands full. She is just on the verge of crawling. It’s so fun to see her slowly put the movement and the coordination together. She’s not there yet, but it’s going to be any day now. We’ve also started her on a few solid foods and it’s going great. She’s eaten avocado, sweet potatoes, and green beans. So much fun and I have to admit, I like to do the airplane when feeding her and I’m fairly certain it makes me more excited than her. She gives me this look that says, “come on mom, just feed me already.” Moments like these are priceless and I can tell they are escaping far too fast.
Sam, along with other stay at home parents, have their work cut out for them – no doubt about that – but they also get to experience all of those moments without missing a beat. I envy their time together but more so, I am so thankful that Evy has such a solid, loving, involved dad who never takes those moments for granted. She will know the love and unconditional support in her father which is all I could have ever hoped for when dreaming of building a family. Sam is unquestionably, the greatest father I have ever witnessed and I am so thankful my child gets to experience that love. So to father’s, happy belated father’s day & I hope you enjoyed family, friends & a fresh breath of rejuvenation (whatever that means to you).
We sure did. We’re a pretty lucky bunch of happy Weinstocks.

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happy happy

Birthdays have always been a momentous occasion in my life. Growing up, a few of my cousins and my step brother all held birthdays in the month of April so my earliest memories were joint birthday parties filled with rooms of wrapping paper balls, shiny birthday balloons, battery operated toys running aimlessly into one another and the best part – a cake for each of us. My favorite birthday cake was when I was 4 years old. The cake was in the shape of a 4, had chocolate frosting and was covered in M&M’s. It was perfect.

I can tell you what I did for every one of my birthdays – that’s how special the people in my life have made them for me. From joint skating parties at “Skate Town” to a friend taking me rollerblading at sunrise with hot cocoa and muffins, to a group of friends surprising me with a trip to go see Maroon Five, to more current birthdays of mimosa’s, baseball and crabs. At 26, I can tell you that my expectation for birthdays has decreased but the key figures in my life keep topping the charts.

This year, was no exception. Here are some highlights from my birthday WEEKEND! I am truly surrounded by the finest people who share nothing but generosity, love and selflessness. I love them.

My mother and I are very close so the distance is always hard – especially around special occasions. She always knows what to do to make it feel like she’s right there though. She sent me a large floral bouquet, a happy birthday balloon and a BOX OF CHOCOLATES! – yum. Because I am so fond of birthdays and will use it as an excuse to celebrate with everyone I can, I had also brought Starbucks cakepops to work with me on Friday so needless to say, everyone was on a sugar high all day.

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Saturday was spent by Sam first allowing me to sleep in until 11- WHOA! I haven’t had that much sleep since pre-pregnancy days. It was divine. After my luxury snooze, we went to a French bakery to get lunch, to the mall to get me a new dress and then met friends at Boordy’s Vineyard for an afternoon of wine, a delicious spread (thanks to Jen) and great company. The sun was out and it was a great day. The evening was spent cuddled on the sofa watching Audrey Hepburn flicks and tacos.

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Sunday was my birthday which started with an actual date! Evy was sleeping so we took advantage and left her with Neena (Sam’s mom) and we got out by ourselves. What a weird feeling but it was fantastic. We had breakfast at a little French bistro where we were seated in a cozy corner booth. Our table was overtaken by our endless drinks (water+coffee+mimosas x2). After breakfast we went to walk around a tulip garden. It was a beautiful day. Sam also spoiled me with a watch that I’ve had my eye on for some time. The night ended with a large newspaper covered table filled with crabs and surrounded by some lovely company. There’s nothing like crabs covered in old bay, washed down with a beer and then followed by my favorite, carrot cake. I went to bed stuffed and completely satisfied by all of the birthday lovin’.

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image (11)My best friend, Em sent me a little present that got commandeered by my little miss – such a cute little gift. Needless to say, it was a great weekend and I felt the love. This will also be one of the most memorable birthdays as we are inching closer to owning a HOME!

I’ve been hush-hush about the house situation but I have updates that I’ll be sharing later this week.

Now.. to start planning Sammy’s birthday which is just about a month away. I’ve got some big shoes to fill this year.

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Oh, Happy Day!

Our wedding was just that, the perfect depiction of Sam and I as a couple.  From the planning to the re-planning to the long distance to little last minute decisions, our wedding fit us to a T.  Sam and I have felt married from the very beginning. We moved into our relationship full force with traveling over-sea’s together at only 4 months into our relationship.  We opened a joint checking account at 7 months as well as moved to Portland, OR together at 8 months.  We waste no time.  So when we started talking about a wedding in August of 2013 – we thought, why wait?  This conversation happened in the end of November, 2012.  We were married beginning of March, 2013 – no time wasted (oh, and remember to throw in all of our other life events during those three short months as well but that’s neither here no there).

Luckily, we have amazing family and friends to help us pull our dream wedding together. Here’s how it all happened….

Invitations – our lovely friend, Yosh designed our wedding invitations in literally 3 days.  They were beautiful! We printed 200 invitations with formal invite, reception information and reply cards at Office Max and had them within 2 days.  I hand addressed them and they were out within a week of asking Yosh to design them!

Our venue- My mother found the venue and was so fearful that we wouldn’t like it.  Sam and I wanted a vintage feel but the pictures on their website were not all that inviting.  It was kind of a risk because we didn’t actually see the venue until the day before the wedding – thank god we LOVED it.  The Grand Hotel Ballroom was in the perfect location and sat right on top of The Pearl Ice cream parlor.  It was adorable.  The exposed brick walls and the archways in between the rooms provided the perfect amount of character.

Flowers & Table Settings – My lovely new mother in law took care of all of our table settings with the candles, flowers, etc. provided by The Cottage Garden –

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Every table was different with varying sizes of vases, flowers, height and layouts. We added little photos of Sam and I at each table as well as to name each table with places that Sam and I shared memories in.  My very talented and generous from Megan, graciously wrote out all of our table names.  Not only that but she hand wrote all of our guest place settings as well.  At my bachelorette party, the rest of my bridesmaids helped out by cutting slits in wine corks to finish off the look of the place settings.  I loved the look and I also really appreciated the personal feel that was provided by my closest friends.  I love them and they helped to make our day absolutely perfect.

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Other sweet touches included a handmade wooden display for our cupcakes which will also make an appearance at one of 07770811my bridesmaids, Mikka’s wedding come September so I’m happy for it to get more use.  It was rustic and beautiful.  The cupcakes were a last minute order as my mother knows me best.  I wanted to make the cupcakes before the wedding and she insisted we order them.  After some resistance, I caved and I’m so happy I did – they turned out wonderfully.  Our flavors were vanilla, chocolate, carrot and red velvet, providing something for everyone.  They were delicious and made up my breakfast the next morning.

Our thank you gift to our guests were cd’s of some of Sam and my favorite songs.  Yosh also designed the cd label which turned out great!  If you missed getting yours, our playlist included (to name a few): Marry Song -Band of Horses, A Little Tenderness – Otis Redding, Do You Remember- Jack Johnson, Say Goodbye – DMB, Home – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – Among other faves!  We hand stamped the envelopes with a custom Etsy order and they turned out just as we had hoped.

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For our guest book, we wanted something we could showcase so thanks again to Etsy for this great thumb printed tree!  We plan to display it in the entry way of our new home!

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There are so many other things that went into making our wedding ideal for the two of us and I will continue to share photos in future blog posts.  For any direct links to any of our custom wedding decorations, feel free to message me and I’ll get them to you.  Huge thanks to family and friends for helping to pull all of this together and to my husband who spent his days with a baby strapped to him while he chose my hair piece, to grooms gifts to finalizing hotel rooms while I was busy working.  I wouldn’t change anything about our day.

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All photos in this post were taken by Tiffany Brubaker Photography.  We highly recommend her for your wedding taking place in the La Crosse, WI area.  Visit her online at: www.tiffanybrubaker.com