If you didn’t already know, here is a little bit about us and our love tale.
Looking back on my younger years, I often wonder how my parents, Pam and Jeff, ever found time for themselves. Whether it was scouts, baseball, soccer, or even golf, my brother and I had some sort of extra-curricular activity every night. Despite the never-ending financial and time commitments required, both my parents were always eager to participate as spectators or even coaches. Additionally, my father was notorious for bringing his catcher’s mitt to my baseball games and snagging foul balls before they made it to the woods. It saved my teammates and I a lot of time, but I think he just enjoyed flashing the leather for the fellow parents.
While most families were running off to the beach on their summer vacations, mine was following the Cardinals around the country, visiting as many MLB stadiums as possible. Although I enjoyed all of the stadiums we visited, two of my favorites were Fenway Park in Boston and the old Yankee Stadium in New York. With an extensive collection of memorabilia from our summer travels, my parents’ basement is something that would make any baseball fan extremely envious.
As for my education, I first attended Queen of Peace grade school, followed by Althoff Catholic High school, where my mom happened to be a teacher. Luckily, I was the model student and never got in trouble, even with her as my teacher for two semesters. After high school, I received my accounting degree from SIUE and then continued on to Lindenwood University where I earned my MBA.
Apparently every job I hold must be involved in the food industry in some way. First, I joined the Shrine Restaurant as an impressionable 16 year old, running buffets and scrubbing pots. After honing my kitchen skills learning some very interesting life lessons, I became a cook, a job I enjoyed for almost 9 years. Once I received my degrees, I was hired on at the Panera Bread headquarters in Sunset Hills where I am currently a senior accountant. My family and friends were very happy when I got hired on at Panera, especially when they learned about the 50% off food coupons I can purchase each month.
Although I am not sure what the future holds for Jen and myself, I am anxious to start the journey with all our friends and family on October 1st.
My parents both nurtured my adventurous spirit growing up. I was always encouraged to try anything once and that has never stopped. Whether it was gymnastics, tap dancing, theatre, that year I attempted to learn the piano, that year I attempted to learn the flute, the half a dozen times I attempted to learn the guitar, that week I was really into painting, those 20 some years of cheerleading, studying half-way around the world, going for and completing not one but two Masters degrees, buying a house, buying a miniature pony (aka my sweet newfie) or anything else I wanted to attempt; they always supported me. I learned early on that life is all about adventures, family and friends.
High school came and went. Those four years are where I made so many life long friends and learned some of life’s hardest lessons. From the time my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer to the time she passed away, it was those friends and my family who were there for me every step of the way. I’ll never forget the outpouring of love and support you all showed me and I will always be forever grateful to you.
I started college at SEMO, transferred to SIUE, and studied abroad at the University of Limerick in Ireland. I studied speech communications and emphasized in public relations and journalism. I met some fantastic people, had some crazy adventures along the way, and started dating Kyle the Fall before my senior year (more details on our story below). After graduation in 2011, it was difficult to find jobs. I decided to go on for a Master of Arts in Education degree at Lindenwood University- Belleville were I also worked as a graduate assistant until I was hired on as the Director of Student Life and Leadership. In my time at LU, I also taught several communications courses and fell in love with teaching college students. I graduated with my first masters and after about a year’s break, decided that I should go for another Master of Arts degree, but this time in Communications. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to work for such a great institution that promotes the continued education of its employees by allowing them to receive free education. While at LU, I really began to hone my hobby of graphic design and decided to open a little side business called Prairie Moon Paper Co. where I specialize in stationary designs like wedding invitations, save the dates, etc. I’ve also dabbled in web design for several years (and actually built this site). After leaving LU, I worked at a digital marketing agency for a while before I landed in my career in digital marketing at Siteman Cancer Center. This is more than just a job to me. My mom received her treatments here and this center did so much for her and my family. There are brilliant minds here who are constantly advancing cancer research and making amazing breakthroughs.
My life is so full right now! As I prepare for my life’s next great adventure, marrying my best friend, I am so grateful for the example of a great marriage that I saw from my parents. My mom and dad were the greatest role models of what it means to love hard, work hard and play harder.
Our Love Tale
What many may not know is that Kyle and I knew each other when we were very little and have known each other for a very long time. Our brothers played sports together and we apparently spent a lot of time together hanging out on the sidelines of the soccer field.
Kyle and I are both lucky to have gone to such a great grade school, Queen of Peace (aka the Factory : )…Can I get a let’s go Raiders!), and high school, Althoff Catholic High School (Althoff, What?!? YOU KNOW!). Say what you want about the Catholic school system, but I can tell you that because of where we went to school, we will both be spending our wedding surrounded with many friends whom we’ve known either since kindergarten or high school! Although we were three years apart in school, we knew of each other and many of the same people. However, we didn’t start dating until many years later.
Speaking of high school, if you would have told me 10 years ago that I would one day be marrying Kyle Miller, my high school math and geometry teacher’s son, I would have probably never believed you! But now I wouldn’t have it any other way and I cannot wait to become part of their family! Math still isn’t exactly my strong suit, SORRY PAM! You were a great teacher, but we all know that I’m the creative one and Kyle’s much better at math… it’s called balance, right? : ).
Ok back to the story, and this is when fate starts to play her part. In the Fall of 2009 I took a class at SIUE with one of Kyle’s best friends Kate (Whitney Warren), who is now Kate Wiley and the wife of another one of his best friends (Chris). Kate and I immediately bonded. During one of the many conversations we had during class, she mentioned to me that she was dating a guy from Belleville, Chris Wiley. When I told her I went to QP and Althoff with Chris, she listed off all of his friends, which included Kyle, and asked if I knew them too, which I did. At that time I just thought that it was a small world. Fast forward to the night before I leave to go study abroad in Ireland and I am of course up at Demo’s and who walks in? Whitney Warren, her boyfriend and all of his friends. I was excited to see her and said hi to all of the guys (who vaguely remembered me from grade school and high school). I ended up talking to Kyle about how I was leaving for Ireland the next morning, and all of the adventures I was going to go on and blah blah blah.
That semester flew by, neither of us thought much of the conversation or attempted to connect with the other until fate popped into our lives once more and we bumped into one another on a float trip, the weekend of my 21st birthday, right before I started my senior year. Most of you know my cousin Katie, who is also my Maid of Honor. Katie worked at the Shrine Restaurant through high school and here and there when she was home during college. She had known and worked with Kyle for years. The organizer of this float trip was a mutual friend of mine and Katie’s families and also worked with Kyle and Katie at the Shrine. We were all there together for the weekend, floating, camping, celebrating my 21st birthday and hanging around the bonfire. Although this seems like the time where Kyle and I finally connect and begin dating… it’s not. In fact, this is the beginning of another epic love story. This is where Katie McDaniel, my cousin and best friend, meets Josh Harper, another one of Kyle’s best friends. These two love birds are due to get married on August 27 of this year and Kyle and I are honored to be their Best Man and Maid-of-Honor!
Alright, Alright, I’ll get back to the story… Katie and Josh had been dating for about a month so. In that time I hung out with them and Josh’s friends where Kate Wiley and Kate were constantly trying to set Kyle and I up. He was cute and made me laugh so of course I said I’d be open to going on a date. He never asked and I didn’t think much of it, but our friends didn’t give up on trying to set the two of us up. One night in early September of 2010, Katie and Josh tricked Kyle and I. I thought I was meeting family up at Fischer’s in Belleville for their Jimmy Buffet Parrot Head Night, Katie and Josh were coming to meet up with me when they decided to pick Kyle up on the way. They got there, we talked, and hung out and all decided to go back to Kyle’s house. That night, Kyle and I had a riveting, intelligent and hysterical conversation that included the following topics: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Boone’s Farm flavors, the Rocky movies (more specifically Brigitte Nielsen), our favorite video games when we were little (one of mine was Nintendo’s Little Nemo), among other topics. Somewhere, right in the middle of this silly, yet oddly intriguing conversation, Kyle kissed me for the first time. Our lives changed for the better that night.
Through the past roughly six years of dating we’ve had ups and downs and more laughs to count. We got our first “grown up” jobs, bought our first home and welcomed what was at one time just a little fur ball named Finnegan in to our home and hearts and watched him grown into the sweet and playful 180 lb lap dog that he is today. We recently added a new member to the family with our new rescue cat named LuLu. We’ve made it through tough times, happy times and home renovations together. We make one hell of a team and cannot wait to see what adventures lie ahead for us after we meet at the altar on 10.01.16.