Amanda Kay Cates ~ In Memory

Amanda Kay Cates was born August 19, 1980. Although she was several months younger than me, I always felt that she was older and wiser. We went to school together. Both of us survivors of Northwest High School, class of 1998. We were in choir together. Treble and A’cap. My fondest memories were the trips. She was always quick with the sarcastic comments, a trait that I can appreciate. We went our separate ways after school, meeting up at functions here and there over the years. With her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and her Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Lindenwood, she went on to become a police officer. A school resource officer for the Normandy Middle School. Not the best neighborhood, but she loved those kids.

Amanda was a four and one-half year veteran of the Normandy Police Department when her life was tragically cut short. Officer Cates passed away in the early morning hours of August 29th, 2006. I’m not going to tell you how it happened, as there is a pending court case. Instead, I’ll provide you with facts that everyone should know.

From the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background. Violence against women is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime.

Battering is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person with whom an intimate relationship is or has been shared through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Battering happens when one person believes that they are entitled to control another. 

One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. 

Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew. 

85% of domestic violence victims are women. 

Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police. 

Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner. 

In 70-80% of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically abused the woman before the murder.

So there you have it. Chances are you know, or have known, a victim of domestic violence. Domestic Violence is a sickness in this country. It can happen anywhere and to anyone. Education, understanding, and programs like the ones at NCADV are the cure.

Amanda was passionate about her position helping students with school issues and more importantly, after school issues.  With the amount of diversity in the Normandy School District, many complex issues interrupt the young, fragile lives of these students.  Amanda dealt with student issues ranging from poverty stricken families who could not afford school uniforms to student pregnancies.  Amanda was unselfish when it came to these children, spending her own money to buy school uniforms and diapers and formula. She believed in the power of education. That is the reason for the Amanda K. Cates Memorial Scholarship  Foundation. The Amanda Kay Cates Memorial Scholarship Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 2007 to honor Amanda, to increase educational opportunities for children in the Normandy/St. Louis area, and to help prevent domestic violence.

July 29th was the 5th Annual Amanda Cates Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournament and I was lucky to be able to attend again. It was pretty hot, but the attendance was awesome and I know that Amanda’s family was pleased.  Here are some of the photos I got from that day.

The Tournament was at Bear Creek and it was just beautiful!

I know nothing about golf, but I was told it is a wonderful layout!

Mister N never got to meet his amazing Aunt Amanda

This family will make sure that she is always in our hearts.

Never Forgotten

October 14th is Amanda Kay Cates Day in the state of Missouri.

Golfers getting ready to roll out! Check out all those carts!

Let's kick this thing off! Wait, that's for football.. Hmm...

Watch out!

And I just have to include this photo of Amanda’s brother Brad. It never fails that EVERY SINGLE TIME I get to see him, I manage to get a photo of him doing something like this. EVERY TIME. I can’t wait to hang out with his awesome family again.

Thank you.

Crown Valley Winery ~ St. Genevieve, Missouri

I was asked by the events coordinator of Crown Valley Winery to come out and get some photos for them. I’m not sure who the bride and groom are, but I wish them every happiness. It was a lovely drive out to St. Genevieve. I always find winding country roads to be relaxing and I found the winery without any problems. It was just beautiful! I can’t wait for the rush of September to end so that I can return and enjoy the winery as a guest, with the fall colors as a beautiful backdrop!

Here are a few of my favorite images. I’ll admit that it was difficult to pick out only a few!

The Hamman Family

It’s been a crazy week here at RCI! Too many projects and not enough hours in the day! Wednesday I did a photoshoot for a dear old friend from high school. He has three beautiful daughters, one of them is taller than me! I had a ton of fun at this shoot. Here are a few of the photos and his music video! Enjoy!

Back to School means back to work!

The kids went back to school today! Pretty soon most of the St. Louis area will be able to say the same thing!

This last week has been schedules, open houses, and paperwork. TONS of paperwork.

I already got the order form for school photos. I always shake my head and throw it in the trash. My kids are lucky to have a photographer for a mom. I hear the school photo horror stories from my friends. The hair isn’t combed, the kid is making a funny face. $50-$75 dollars down the drain just because Grandma HAD to have a back to school photo of her little angel.

I get it, I do. My mother insists on photos of her angels too. The photos I send her just happen to look better than others.

I’ve had a few friends ask me this week if I will take just a few photos for back-to-school. Not full sessions, they want to wait on those for this fall and holiday photos shoots. Just a few photos/poses and the pics in a small pkg.

So I said yes. And it got me wondering who else has the same problems every year.

So I’ve been contemplating my calendar, trying to figure out a weekend when I can block off the entire day to schedule some mini sessions.

If anyone is interested, please shoot me an email at

I’m thinking $75 and it will include a minimum of 5 different photos, fully edited, in both color and black and white, 2 sets of wallets, 2 5×7 prints, and 1 8×10 print. You may choose all poses, the photos don’t have to be of one pose only. Digital files are extra. Photos will be hosted, as always, on a password protected ordering site.

I’ll schedule 2 days, one in St. Charles along main street, and one at Faust Park in St. Louis County.

If you have any interest, please email or call. I expect times to fill up quickly!