Happy Halloween


Just stopping in to say Happy Halloween to all our friends in the USA today.  Have fun tonight and eat lots of candy corn.  In Australia, October 31st is wrapping up, and we had a great time with friends tonight at at a costume party, where we ate a lot of treats and even played a couple tricks (wink wink).  And just in case you were wondering, Dane dressed up as Albert Einstein (won the costume contest) and I was Sacagawea.  Many pictures coming your way soon.  Overall this week has been pretty nonstop, but we've had a lot of fun and can't wait to share more with you all!

Tomorrow starts November, and Dane and I have so much to look forward to including movember, which dane is participating in, a Coldplay concert, and a trip back to the USA, where the Dr. Pepper is ever flowing.    Can't wait for the adventures to begin.

The Kids Down Under

Birthday Shout Outs


Today is a very special day, because here in Australia it is now my sister-in-law Nicole's birthday and back in Kansas it is my dad's birthday.  So in a way, they are celebrating on the same day, so I figured a birthday shout out was in order!

First off, to my dad!  I just love my dad.  Get him talking, especially on the phone or skype, and he could go on all day.  I think this is why he is so good at the job he does.  I love how he genuinely cares for people and would do all that he could to help someone in need out.  I also love his sense of humor, which I am sure you can see from the pictures above.  Of course, one of my favourite memories from this past year, was my dad walking me down the aisle at our wedding. I will always treasure this moment.

And to Nicole.  You are such a wonderful woman.  How you keep up with work (where you save lives every single day), school, home, taking care of my brother AND Dixie.  It just amazes me.  You are so much fun to be around and always find a way to turn a frown upside down.   Plus you are the best cupcake and cookie decorator I know.  I still believe pretty Christmas cookies are better than ugly ones (even if the pretty ones are eaten last). Thank you for being a part of my wedding last year.  One of my favorite memories of us was how you helped me get pretty and on my wedding day. (I wanted to put those pictures up of you helping me crawl into my dress but they were a little PG-13 if you know what I mean).  You are a wonderful sister!

So dad, Nicole, happy birthday.  We love you so much and it is an honor to have you as part of our lives!

Love Always,
The Kids Down Under

A Wedding Story: The Details


Anyone who knows me, knows that I love details and our wedding was full of them!  I wanted each little nook and cranny to feel special.  I think I could write a novel on the details of our wedding, but I'll try to limit it to a few special favorites.

One of our goals was to bring the inside outside.  We wanted to create little cozy areas that made our guests feel like their living room had been invaded by a cozy autumn setting.  Some of my favorite touches were the couches, quilts, windows hanging from the trees with curtains blowing in the wind, and pictures of our parents and grandparents weddings hanging on the tree trunk.  We also brought in more trees to surround the property.

The only color I 100% knew I wanted in my wedding was the color of golden craspedia, also known as  billy ball flowers.  We ordered them in bulk online, and they arrived my parents house the day before the wedding.  My wonderful friend Brady created the most lovely wedding bouquet out of flowers he handpicked from a florist in Manhattan, and then arrived in Clay to put together the flowers.  I still can't get over how beautiful they were!  My mom and I worked on the boutonni√®res for everyone.  Once again, a few craspedia and some leftover greenery from the bouquet making.  

The table flowers were simply gatherings from fields and a few billy balls here and there.  I just loved the earthiness of everything.  A theme we wanted brought into our wedding.  The stump theme from our cake table was carried over into each table setting as well.  All of the tables had mix matched table cloths with stumps in the center, an eclectic mix of vases with flowers, candles, and a vintage object of some sort.  The tables were even better than I envisioned them!

Throughout the wedding, there was a lot of signage.  Each sign was done with hand cut letters.  Some being fabric others out of old wallpaper. 

When our guests first arrived, they signed in, by writing their name on a tag that hung on our three dimensional tree of love created by my lovely cousin Kelli.  Kelli was also the artist behind our invitation and save the date art.  She is quite a talented lady.  Our card box was created out of an amazing thrift store find and old stencil letters, and our programs were mini art journals for each of the guests, to help them remember the special day.  Art journaling had become a huge hobby of mine while Dane and I dated, and he even made an art journal as part of his wedding proposal to me.  Inside the art journal there was a picture of Dane and I, a card to write a note to the bride and groom, a place to glue your own photo from our smile booth (more coming on that soon), the order of ceremony, a note from the bride and groom, and a small bag of confetti to throw at the end of the night. 

Pretty much everything was handcrafted at this wedding, including the amazing pinwheels that hung throughout the yard.  We couldn't find any paper that we really liked, so we created our own polka dot paper in the colors we loved.  I can clearly remember February being filled with hours of this and hours of Hoarders episodes :)  Several of the girls also made many of these adorable owls to hang from the trees and place on the tables.  Each one is unique and so special!  

And finally the lighting.  Lighting is what makes spaces feel magical, warm, cozy, and like home.  My dad is the electrician genius who figured out how to hang thousands of lights across the property to create the perfect sundown glow.  The lights are actually the old Christmas lights that used to line the Clay Center streets.  I have always been in love with them!  There were also hundreds of candles!  Really, I have never seen a yard look so perfect.  

A huge thank you to all of our friends and family who helped make the details possible.  For the many thrift store visits, estate sales, basement, barn, closet and attic hunting.  The gems that came together could not have made a more lovely scene. We had so much fun doing it too!   Our day was full of details, but they are details that we will hold near and dear in our hearts forever!  We love you!

The Kids Down Under

The pictures above were taken by the lovely and wonderful Stephanie from Brown Bag Photography.  Check out more of her work here.

Curl Curl Snapshots


I used to daydream about living close enough to a beach that I could visit whenever I wanted.  I never thought this would be much more than a dream, but here I am, living in Australia, where some of the world's most beautiful beaches are at my fingertips.

We spent some time at Curl Curl beach last weekend.  It was such a good little get away for us.  The water is still quite cold, but that didn't keep Dane from braving the frigid temperatures and sharks (just kidding mamas....sort of).

Speaking of beaches and oceans, Dane and I find ourselves watching the Little Mermaid tonight.  Dane is working hard on a song write assessment that involves writing a new song for the Little Mermaid.  Maybe, if you are lucky, he will share that one with you all!

Well we're off, to a land where the seaweed is greener, and such wonderful things surround you!

Love Always,
The Kids Down Under

A Wedding Story: The Ceremony


Many people don't remember much about their wedding ceremony, but I did everything I could to take it all in.  Some of my favorite parts:

* There was a 100% chance of rain at 5:30pm on October 8, 2011 in Clay Center, KS.  God held the storm clouds off, and we walked down the aisle, dry.

* The bridal party walked in to the song "Lovers In Japan, Reign of Love," by Coldplay.  I remember driving home at sunset one night and this song came on my ipod, I just knew it was the song I wanted to walk down the aisle to.  If you want to give it a listen while you read the rest of the post, just click play below!

Lovers in Japan/reign of Love by Coldplay on Grooveshark

* My dad gave me away.  At our rehearsal, each time we practiced the "handoff" James would say, who gives this woman to this man, and he would always respond, "The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit, and her mother and I."  I just loved it, loved it, loved it!  But sadly, the day of, he only said "her mother and I," but I know what he truly meant in his heart.

*  Our guests sat in a round.  Our platform, beautifully created by my Dad, Uncle Mark, neighbor Mike, and others was in the center of the yard, with tables surrounding us.  We truly felt surrounded by love!

* Our good friend, and pastor, James, married us.  It was fun to have someone who truly knows Dane and I standing right there with us.  I'm pretty sure James even gave Dane some dating advice, back in the day when I refused to date Dane.  Thanks for always have my back James.  James message for us was that we should strive to be a "habitual couple."  A goal I feel we are trying to bring into our marriage relationship.

* At one point, during the ceremony, Dane freaked out and thought he had lost the rings.  During a prayer he whispered to me "where's the rings?" and I assured him they were with his brother Drew, and then we started giggling.

* Many of our neighbors sat in their backyards and watched our wedding.  We told them they were welcome to come, but they said they wanted to enjoy it from their backyard.  At one point I looked over at my neighbor Leon, and saw him sitting in his lawn chair in his backyard, just smiling.  Then I saw our friend Phil, climbing up Leon's deck with his camera, in order to get the perfect angle for a picture.  He kept climbing higher and higher, and I was really really hoping he would eventually find himself on Leon's roof to get the perfect shot.  Sadly it never happened, but I love the pics you took Phil, thank you so much for doing that!

* Dane and I have never been into the whole unity candle thing.  The symbolism is beautiful, there is usually a really beautiful song played during that time, but it often feels like the bride and groom just stare at their guests awkwardly for about 5 minutes.  Instead, we had a time of prayer.  Couples who have been significant in Dane and my relationship, as well as our parents, prayed over Dane and I, and the rest of our guests had times of prayer at their tables.  Our brothers, Drew and Brock, performed the most beautiful duet, a version of Sufjan Stevens Holy, Holy, Holy.  Right as the song ended and the people surrounding us said Amen, very soft, gentle sprinkles fell from the sky for about 5 seconds.  I believe God was raining down blessings on us.

Holy, Holy, Holy by Sufjan Stevens on Grooveshark

* At one moment, James had us pause and look around our wedding, to take it in, and realize all of the people there who support us, and love us.  It was so much fun to see the smiles of everyone and our friend Adam on the side, giving me the biggest thumbs up and cheese ball smile I have ever seen.

* Mr. & Mrs. Dane Wutke were announced, we kissed, and then, as if it was perfectly timed, the 6pm town whistle went off!

* We walked out to the song, Higher, performed by Dane's brother, Drew. I love this song!   Just makes you feel like dancing!

Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher by Audio Adrenaline on Grooveshark

* Our wedding ceremony brought us so much joy!  It is fun to relive it, and I am thankful I can remember so many precious moments from the day.

The Kids Down Under

The pictures above were taken by the lovely and wonderful Stephanie from Brown Bag Photography.  Check out more of her work here.