Hey! I'm Emily... homebody, amateur philosopher, professional photographer, mama and wife. This is my little world-- a place for me to preserve the little snippets of my life that bring me joy, make me think, or show my creative leanings. I'm so happy you're here. If you get a minute, please introduce yourself in the comments. If you like what you see, you are invited to follow my blog through your RSS Reader. Just click the link at the bottom of the page to add me.
Thank you for being part of my little world... :)

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Wednesday, November 19

Wave of Blah

Sometimes it just hits hard-- that huge, oppressive wave of BLAH. Things will be humming along--- a day well-spent, time for work, time for play, time for rest, kids relatively happy, content....home relatively tidy, ordered..... Things under control, sunshine shining, feeling rested and optimistic and even, dare I say it, balanced? when WHAM---one thing (or another) tips that balance. Without warning, a bill in the mail, or an email, or some news, or an unexpected mess or injury, or a disruption to the routine HAPPENS and the wave of BLAH crashes into me. Is this just me? 

When it hits, even if the "thing" that caused it is really quite small, suddenly EVERYTHING is thrown off-kilter and all the problems and messes and undone things and issues and self-doubts and even self-loathings rise to the surface and suddenly all that good stuff fades to almost invisible. All I can do it feel rotten, and less-than, and anxious, and BLAH. Perhaps it's a bit of bad financial news. Doesn't matter that it's about money, suddenly even my laundry pile is in cahoots with the money problem and both team up to take me down. What was, before the "thing", the sound of kids playing and goofing off happily suddenly becomes the most grating and awful noise in the world, like nails on a chalkboard, and I no longer have any tolerance for those little loud voices. The to-do list that was humming along suddenly gets at least fifty things added to it, things that have lurked just beneath memory, things that should have never gotten forgotten in the first place- a signed slip or a thank you card or a client request or a promise to a friend. 

That wave of blah is ugly. UGLY ugly ugly. Because it inevitably starts up that inner self-critical voice. And that inner critic is not very nice. "You should've...." "Why can't you...." "You never....." "You always...." "You're such a....." 


(insert that face Charles Schultz perfected in his Peanuts comic strip where those simple dot eyes suddenly convey total inner angst with just the addition of some parentheses marks.)

Yeah. That's the one. That's me when that wave of BLAH hits. 

Tonight, it hit for the DUMBEST REASON. Like, so junior high. I was skimming along, reading Facebook like everyone does.... Reading this snippet and that, when I saw a comment on a random friend's post. The commenter was another friend of mine, a newer one. And I realized we weren't "Facebook friends". And that, dear readers, was it. The "thing". SO DUMB. SO JUNIOR HIGH. But that inner critic dove in with the "Why wouldn't she be your FB friend? Maybe she doesn't like you like you thought she did. Maybe lots of people don't like you like you assume they will. WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?" *nag nag pinch pinch*


This is depressing for two reasons:
1. Because man, that junior high feeling of wondering if you're not liked by people DOES feel gross. 

2. But also, man.... how lame that it is a FACEBOOK FRIENDING ISSUE derailing me tonight?! I'm almost MORE derailed by the lameness of this junior highness than the original issue. 

Ha. Blah. Boo. Sniff. 


Point is. I've been derailed, which then makes me feel like:
1. why am I so lame? 2. Why can't I be fully content with the bounty of friends I DO have? RIGHT?!?! 3. Maybe I'll blog-vent. 4. Why have I not blogged since November 7th?! 5. Why can't I get my crap together in that regard? I love blogging! How hard is it to be more consistent? 6. Oh yeah, because I feel that dumb need to have PHOTOS for any and all blog posts and 7. I am 100 years behind on sorting, editing, hell, TAKING personal photos so 8. of course they're not ready to blog so 9. That's why I am doing so badly on the blogging front. 10. which reminds me, I am ALSO behind on 11. dresses for Jess's kiddos 12. prepping prints for x,y and z clients to deliver/mail 13. emailing x, y, and z clients back 14. and oh CRAP I *did* manage to complete my bookkeeping to determine sales tax for MO owed, but I STILL HAVEN'T PAID THAT TAX! 15. and wait, I might be out of money if they need more than I think I owe 16. I need to email a, b, and c potential clients to follow up to see if they want to book, because if they do, I could use that money for the taxes and 17. wait, I also have that one idea for that one friend I really have meant to do for, like, TWO years now, and suddenly its almost Christmas again and I have STILL not done it and 18. why don't I sew for Lucy as much as I used to? one day she'll be way too cool for mom-homemade, so I'm WASTING this window of opportunity and 19. oh gosh, her evaluation today. Is she going to always be shy like this? How will that affect her LIFE? Her self-WORTH? 20. Will she throw up tonight, since Quinn threw up last night? 21. I hope if she's gonna get sick, it's tonight, so we are not worrying about germs when Noah has his birthday party on Saturday 22. I have about 25 things I need to do for that party. Dang it. 23. Why am I still blogging? 24. I have a client minisession I have GOT to crank out tonight before I can even THINK of stepping away from the computer to work on party things and 25. I suck at everything. 


This headspace is ...................well, it's exhausting, if not downright toxic. 

So anyway. 

Dear Facebook girl that never added me as a friend: 
I hope you like me. But if you don't, I don't have any more space in this head for thinking about it, and it's not worth the energy anyway. It makes me feel like a doofus for worrying about it. And I am exhausted from the wave of BLAH that ensued. So I am putting it down here on "paper" and then setting it free and then I am going to get to work on that minisession and listen to some Alison Krauss and I am going to tell the inner critic to shut her face, maybe list 5 things I like about myself, then move along. 

Dear Wave of Blah: 

I got some skillz and I can push back. You can't have me tonight. 


Em. Who might be a loon. And is definitely a doofus. But can never be accused of not being real, yo.

Friday, November 7

Some October Moments in IPhotos

October in Instagrams/iPhotos
(Left to right, starting with top row) 

1, 2, 3: Noah's first grade field trip to Purina Farms. Quinn and I tagged along, and Noah got to milk a cow. (Fun fact: I sprained my neck and it has only just now begun to feel better. Five weeks later.) 4: Quinn needed a haircut. I kind of liked his ponytail days. haha. 

5. Lucy at her 3-year-old screening. I'm a little worried about her expressive language, so we're moving forward with more evaluations. 6. Jamberry Regional Conference- long, fun, inspiring day! 7, 8, 9: OLW Hootenanny in Indiana with 15 other mama friends.Soul-filling.

10, 11: Lucy's preschool field trip to the pumpkin patch. Gorgeous day, in spite of the mud. 12: Leaves are falling in abundance in our yard, and the kids have loved some good leaf pile playtime. 

13: Noah's leaf heart. 14: We bought 2015 Season Passes to Six Flags in Sept, and they were good to use the rest of 2014's season. Noah got to go three times! Once with all of us, once with just Dad, and this time with just me. Halloween decorations were in full swing. So fun! 15: Noah's pumpkin drawing for the Trunk-or-Treat. They drew his name and he won a 1-lb Snickers bar as a prize! 16: Lucy at the trunk-or-treat. She was like the almost the whole first half. *sigh* Three-year-old-ness at it's finest. 

Not shown-- my sister Beckie's awesome visit here from HI. My repeat visits to dr., chiropractor, massage therapist for my poor neck. Various photo sessions and other work. Lazy days. Bad hair days. Joe, though he is so important to us! (Note to self: take more iPhotos of Joe.) Etc. But these are a good smattering of October moments for now.... :) 

Happy Friday!


Friday, October 31

Halloween 2014: The Enderman, The Owl and The Engineer

As most boys his age are these days, Noah is obsessed with Minecraft. So he asked his dad to create an Enderman costume for him for his Halloween this year. It's not the easiest costume to walk around in, but Noah is THRILLED. Cute kid.


Meanwhile, Lucy love owls. LOVES them. So for the first year ever, she had a say in her costume, and we put together an owl ensemble based on this gorgeous one from Your Sparkle Box Tutu Designs.  Lucy is utterly delighted and "flaps" her arms every time we put this costume on her. ♥

And Mr. Quinn, train lover: why not just go with the easy, obvious one, even though Noah rocked this look years ago? Train Engineer it is, and Quinn is comfortable, happy, and just cute in his overalls. 

Happy Haunting tonight, friends. It's going to be a chilly one here, but we're revved and ready! Candy!!!!!!


Monday, October 20

Dear Lucy at 3.5 Years Old:

Oh, My Girl, 

You are so incredibly dear to me, do you realize that? You are lovely, with your blue eyes and unexpected blonde hair, and your fine features and your sweet smile. You've always been lovely--- just this little pocket of sunshine that takes my breath away. And you have this sweet little presence. It's hard to explain. But you've never been BIG in your gestures or your explorations. You've never been the one I worried would run into the street or climb a table. You're not the loudest one in nursery. Your gestures are small and sweet, and you stick close to your comfort zone. You take a while to warm up enough (whether it be here at home after you've woken up, or out in the world in a new place) to be talkative and cheerful. I can't remember when this started. I feel like after that hard, hard "colic phase", you bloomed into this little baby who would wake with a smile and be so engaged right away. It was only as toddlerhood commenced that you began to have the side of you that was more cautious, more moody. 

And Lucy, my love--- you are MOODY. For as sweet as that little face is, you have a contrary side that I am really having a hard time understanding. Your first answer to anything is "no"--- not even a loud, aggressive "NO!"--- just a simple, stubborn, "No." My first response to this is, "Well, all right." But in the case of my question being, "Do you want a drink?", for example, your "no" doesn't really mean "no"--- and you get extremely frustrated and mad when I walk away, and you cry out, "I want a DRIIIINK!" or whatever it is you just refused moments before. Or I might ask you, "How are you today?" And you'll state, "No." I have to say-- it does make communication with you rather difficult. I wonder sometimes if you just don't understand the questions, or if you're simply stubborn. 

And though your gestures and explorations are small, there is one area you go big-- and it's an area I desperately wish you wouldn't. You have an extreme sense of territory-- a massive "bubble" around you that you are highly sensitive to, and when your little brother comes anywhere near your space, (a space that gets bigger if you have some toys you are hoarding) you lash out with harsh words and your arms, sometimes a leg. You shriek, "NO QUINN!!!!" You shove him away, sometimes kicking, too. You are so certain he is threatening your very existence by coming near to you. It's almost animalistic how territorial you get. And you display this tendency with Noah on a smaller scale--- using only words, typically, but still keeping him away from whatever toy or treasure you've decided to play with at that time. Lu, this is EXHAUSTING for me to watch. And for me to police. Because in all honesty, I have no idea how to police it. You are so reactionary, there is no "stop and think". And it makes our playtime more contentious than I've been prepared to handle. 

In fact, I think that's really the thing here-- *I'M* not prepared for this. I am not sure I understand your little, special, amazing, different soul. I think Noah is a lot more like me, so it's been a natural progression to parent him. But with you, I am thrown for a loop a LOT, and it's strange for me to begin to realize I don't innately understand you and your motivations and thought processes. It makes for a strange combination--- to be so completely devoted to you-- so in love with you, but also so confused by you. And my love, you're only THREE. I cannot fathom how this will play out as you grow into yourself and your own mind and soul even more. 

So it's my job to learn more about you. To slow down and get to know you, just as you are. It's my job to help you navigate your own journey, even if you are taking turns I never would have. And its my job to trust you, and trust that your heart is a good, strong, beautiful one--- even when you're showing a more defensive face. And I suspect you're an introvert (another mystery to my innately extroverted soul), and I need to nurture that in you--- to help you find joy and love for yourself through activities that you thrive in. I want to help you feel so special. So amazing. And I want you to feel like I am ALWAYS on your team, your biggest cheerleader, even when we don't quite "get" each other. We don't have to be the same to be devoted to each other. 

I love you from the top of your head to the tips of your little toes. I love how you sing little nonsense songs to yourself, even when you don't let me tell you that I love it. I love how you've developed a passion for puzzles--- and I love seeing your whole body puff out with pride when you complete one. I love your little playacting voice you do with your toys, and I love your penchant for little quirky accessories to your day to day outfits. I love that you can thumb through books for hours, and that you still love your Bunny Bunnies. 

And I love your little laugh. Your slow-growing smile. Your growing words and expressiveness. Your hugs. 

We're going to have quite a ride, you and I, I suspect. But I am so grateful to get this chance. To get to be your mama. I am bowed down with gratitude for this chance. I'm going to try my hardest to rise to the challenge and help you fly. 


Sunday, October 19

Pumpkin Patching

On the first sunny day of last week, I took Quinn and Lucy and we headed to Rombach's Pumpkin Farm in Chesterfield, MO to meet Lucy's preschool class for some fun. Despite some leftover mud (a LOT of leftover mud!!) and a reluctant Lulu in the presence of her classmates, we managed to have a pretty good time! And I managed to grab some photos of my littles before we got too busy. October is my favorite, and so are those elusive "pumpkin patch photos"... so the following set of images just make my heart happy. The only thing missing is my Noah, tucked in his first-grade classroom that day. So I included a couple of cute photos of him from later in the day, when he got home, just so he can be a part of this blog post, too. ♥ And we have an Eckert's trip planned in about a week where Noah can come too, so I am making sure he gets this little slice of Octoberness, too.

{Don't look away for a second, or you will miss those rare moments these two crazies can be next to each other without fireworks!! I'm particularly endeared by that hand-holding, because it is a TOTAL LIE. She is either too mean-- pushing and kicking him away-- or she is too handsy in a "Quinn, do this!" kind of way. Le sigh.}

{Oh, that big boy of mine, with his gappy teeth and a book in hand. I love him like crazy.}


Wednesday, October 15

I Should Probably.....

I should probably be using this kid naptime to do one or two of the following:
  •  email some clients
  •  order some client photos
  •  fold the kid laundry
  •  tackle some frighteningly overdue MO state sales tax bookkeeping
  •  prep some dinner
  •  check the four voicemails on my phone from last Friday til now
  •  put away my clean clothes
  •  clear the Hootenanny photos off of my camera cards
  •  begin culling/editing the Hootenanny photos
  •  write a "hello" note to a couple of dear people and mail them
  •  edit some personal photos from either 2010 or 2013 (always behind)
  •  rotate out the living room toy baskets to give the kids some fresh fun
  •  mow a lawn
  •  mail some Jamberry stuff
  •  practice the banjo
  •  put the stroller back in the minivan
  •  put on a touch of makeup
  •  sort the mail pile

I should probably NOT:
  •  begin a new book, since I spent most of today reading the one I just finished
  •  putz around online
  •  think so hard about the things I am not accomplishing

Happy Wednesday, yo. Grey outside, and the grey threatens to seep inside when I think about all of the above. Not sure if avoidance tactics are the best move, or if I should really face down some of my attackers and try to win a battle or two.  The book-reading all day was so completely lovely, as was the pajama-wearing and kid-cuddling (when they stayed still enough to let me).... But at some point, I should probably make an attempt to push away from the inertia. I guess. 

How's your Wednesday going? Any of the above sound/feel familiar to you? Or is it just me?

{Both iPhone selfies are from the other week. Kinda perfect for how I feel today, tho.}

Tuesday, October 14

Meet Me In St. Louieeeeeee....

 If you've seen the old Judy Garland movie Meet Me In St. Louis, you surely remember their glorious house. How could you not??

When Joe and I moved to the Mason Lodge as newlyweds, smack in the middle of the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis, we used to drive around and try to find the perfect street that could stand in for the street in Meet Me in St. Louis. Our own street, Westminster Place, was close--- it had such grand old houses, many built right around the 1904 World's Fair era the movie was set in. But the yards were shorter, the houses more closely set together... it wasn't quite right. And for all the other similar neighborhoods we'd explore in the five years we lived there, we never found quite the right looking street... Never THE house. 

Just tonight, a friend linked a fun photo article from Harper's Bazaar that shows several of the most memorable houses in cinema history, and the bit about the Meet Me in St. Louis house actually gave the street address of the original turn-of-the-century home that the movie was based on. So for fun, I Google-mapped it. 

Seriously--- check this out:

Top left is Kensington Ave., where the REAL Meet Me in St. Louis house used to be. Bottom middle is our old Mason Lodge. All those years, we were living less than a half mile from that street we always looked for, and we never knew it. 

I love this. 

Now, we would've never seen THE HOUSE--- it was demolished in 1996 or so. And the REAL house really isn't as incredibly grand as the movie house. The movie house was part of a set in Hollywood that stuck around and was used in other movies later--- and it was definitely more fancy than this actual one:

But still--- it feels like one of the little fun mysteries in my life has come full circle and I love that the answer was right under our noses all along. 

For more fun information about the Meet Me In St. Louis house, both real and cinematic, this blog has a really good post with a lot of detail. Warning--- it might make you need to re-watch the movie again, ASAP. Which isn't really a bad thing.