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, July 1

The Many Ways in Which I Am a Mess

1. I only think to floss when I have an impending dentist appointment.

2. I've developed a serious phobia of the dentist in recent years, so I never have an impending dentist appointment.

3. I start projects. But lots of times, I'm notsogood at FINISHING projects.

4. I hate making dinner. HATE it. I hate trying to remember to begin prepping it so that it's ready by 6:00pm or so. I hate that wave of "oh crap, I have to think about dinner now". I hate shopping for dinner groceries. I hate menu-planning. I am terrible at all of the above, mostly from a motivation perspective. I confess I let Joe take the reins far too often, simply because I've already given up on the thought of it for the day and he is trying to keep us from going to get some junk fast food again... so even after a full day of work for him, he is often in the kitchen pulling together the "easy stuff" I keep around, because I've shut down in the Dinner Department already for the day.

5. It takes me days, if not weeks, to check my voicemails. I just don't make the time to stop and listen... more often than not because I'm either going to have a symphony of loud kid noises in my other ear anyway, or I'm not in a position to be able to jot down info or call someone right back... So I kind of pretend the voice mails aren't there, for far too long.

6. I am the WORST at timely response, especially via email and FB messenger, but also sometimes even texts. I suffer from the issue of wanting to be able to give a well-written, thoughtful response, but not usually being in a position to drop things and sit at a real computer and type a genuine careful, thoughtful reply.... so then I put it off. And the list of "needs to be replied to" gets bigger, and then when there IS time to sit and write, there are so many things needing replies by then, that I get paralyzed and ignore it all some more. It's bad. It's one of my flawiest flaws, and has only gotten worse over the last three years or so. I get really mad at myself about it, but I've yet to begin to nip it in the bud. I am so so sorry if/when you've been affected by this particularity awful trait of mine.

7. I am addicted to sugar, and am so unapologetic about it. I'm not ready (may not ever be) to even consider cutting out refined sugar from my life. Preposterous. Even when there is evidence aplenty (if I un-squint my eyes and let myself read the articles) as to why I should never touch the stuff again.... I just love it too much to say goodbye. Sorry not sorry.

8. Also, I probably take too many naps. I mean, at least in this category, studies back me up... so I let myself read those articles, haha! But still. Think of all the things I could accomplish if I cut out the three or four naps a week I take. But I'm wired to nap... even before having kids I was a napper... even letting myself lose the guilt (for the most part) early in my 20's with SARK's book "Change Your Life Without Getting Out of Bed".
So yeah. I nap. I love it. And I lose productivity time because of it.

9. I'm almost always late registering my car and paying my quarterly sales tax for my business. Those kinds of tasks that are out of my usual routine and involve paying out money usually not budgeted for.... Man, when those things come up, I just do NOT make mental room for them in a timely way.

10. After over a month of sporting some hideous poison ivy forearms (it's still there, but fading, finally), I think I'm getting a cold sore today.

11. My swim suit is 5 years old and has started leaving sticky black gunk on my neckline.  

12. My go-to Capri-length jeans have a now-unavoidably large hole in the inner-thigh zone, but I keep wearing them. Also, I suspect capris are no longer fashionable, but I keep wearing them. 

13. Getting myself to the post office to mail critical things for my businesses is , like, SO HARD. I am so bad at mailing things. 

14. I love order and organization, but I'm terribly inconsistent. I tend to make "neat little piles" in between organization bouts, and "neat little piles" still feel cluttery to me. But I cant seem to figure out a different way. 

15. I get crabby when I'm really hot or really hungry. Snappish and unpleasant. Steer clear. 


I could go on and on..... So many ways I'm just a mess. But I promise I'm not throwing a pity party. Its just that perhaps it's not clear to folks around me that I'm struggling with my own set of failings and weaknesses... That all of us are. Even the ones who blog and manage to take photos and make crafties. In fact, I suspect we right-brained types are more of a mess than most. But no.... Actually, I bet the left-brained folks are their own kind of mess, just in different ways. We're all trying to be more than we currently are. We all want to be better, kinder, healthier, more SOMETHING.  We all see shortcomings in ourselves; deal daily with things we are SO BAD at. And I don't know about you--- but it makes me feel better, gives me more hope, when I realize I'm not alone in this. We are ALL a mess, somehow or another. And it is what makes us human, and perhaps even more lovable. That we all struggle, we all fight with our own selves daily. For me, at least, the more I realize I cannot do it all, the more I discover deep wells of empathy and love for my fellowwomen who are also muddling through and just trying to be authentic--- the good, the bad, and the total mess. 

So I'm not fishing for reassurances here. Instead, I'm offering you the hand of friendship, in unified solidarity for all the things we aren't so great at. I kind of love that I've got a long way to go. It means, maybe, I don't have to stagnate in this life. It means I can always get BETTER. It means this is not the end.... That this current day is always a sort of BEGINNING. 

So fellowwomen--- let's clasp hands, share our failings, and laugh. Just laugh that we all have them, and we're all still okay. We really are all still okay.

(One of my friends posted this on Instagram yesterday. It put a lump in my throat. Beautiful.)

Friday, June 26

Five For Friday: Lazy Lingering Days

"Aaah, summer - that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It's a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends."
~ Darell Hammond

Friday, June 19

Five For Friday: My Beardy Man

Five photos of my bearded fella, the day he decided to finally shave back to his clean-faced normal. He'd started bearding out at the beginning of March, because he wanted to see if he finally could (he'd always had trouble getting the sides to meet when he was younger)... And he decided he would keep it until the4 onset of summer heat/humidity.

My five final opinions of this venture:
1. His beard was FOXYHOTTT the first month.
2. I didn't love it as much once it got longer and fluffier. 
3. But I loved taking these photos. Fluffy beards make for interesting character in photographs. 
4. And I love my man's face in portraits, bearded or not.
5. And my man gets more handsome with age and experience. he shows more wisdom in his eyes, I think. 

Thanks, Joe, for letting me take photos of you now and then. I love you!


Saturday, June 13

Five For Friday: Summertime Is Upon Us

Okay, six photos.... You get one freebie. 

So we've officially been in summer vacation mode for three weeks now. The first week was a lot of fun, but not a lot of routine, since we were hosting Joe's parents and doing little projects, field trips, etc. 

But these past two weeks, we've settled into a new normal, and it's been really, shockingly nice. I think some of the reasons it's been pretty easy/fun to get used to having all three of my yahoos, all of the time, are as follows:

1. They've done a pretty good job of figuring out how to sleep past 7:30 am. Hooray for me! 

2. We've maintained the sacred Quiet Time even with Noah home. Lucy naps 75% of the time, Quinn naps hard every day, and Noah gets one hour of quiet reading time alone... all synchronized so that for one hour a day, guaranteed, I can just sit and not answer any questions, fulfill any demands, listen to any bickering, etc. 

3. Noah has had a one-hour summer school class for the past two weeks... Not long enough to really go DO anything, but long enough that we don't want to just sit around the parking lot to wait. So we happened upon a pretty little green space in a nearby neighborhood, and dubbed it "the meadow", and quite by accident, this 45-minute daily picnic blanket, shade-tree, birds-chirping play time with Lucy and Quinn has been AMAZING for my soul. Theirs, too, I suspect. In fact, I plan to go back there a few more times this summer with all three of my kiddos, even though the "need" is now over. 

4. Joe is going into work earlier so he can come home earlier, so I get almost one full extra hour with him home, being my co-parent and co-referee... right about the time I really am running out of "parent juice". Perfect!! 

So for today's set of Friday photos, some VERY ordinary (but simple and lovely) moments from our summer so far. (no meadow photos yet... That will probably need a whole post of its' own!)

1. Lucy has been sleeping later than the boys. So I share my breakfast with these two. See Quinn in a booster? Big changes here: he's out of the high chair for good, and loving it. 

2. Lucy, sleeping late.... Cute Sleeping Beauty.

3. Stack of stuff to pack for swim lessons. We are signed up for T/Th mornings, all of June. Yes, even Quinn, with me in the water with him. It was the only way to make it work to get the other two in lessons. The boys are LOVING lessons. Lucy: utterly traumatized. Sobbing and wailing at least 75% of each lesson so far. ACK. Its hard for her and for me. 

4a. and 4b. Backyard sprinkler fun. Does it get any more classic than this?

5. This very morning, Quinn wanders over to me causally, smelling of peanut butter. AND HOLDING A JAR OF IT, OPEN, WITH PEANUT-BUTTERY FINGERS. Whaaa??!  He'd managed to yoink it from the counter without even dragging his usual chair. Managed to unscrew the lid. And was happily dipping his paws into it and eating fingerfuls of peanut butter. When he knew he was in trouble, he started crying--- so pitiful. This is him on the counter, waiting for me to wipe him down, getting a few more teary licks in. This kid. Exasperating, darling, cute little devil. Also, note his new haircut. He was dripping sweat from his longer locks almost daily, so though it was hard for me, I cut it all off to see if he'd be more comfy for summer. Cutie. I miss his hair, but he's still so handsome. 


So summer is here for you, too, yes? What has changed in your routines? Good changes? Bad ones? And have you yet indulged in some classic summerness, like sprinklers, pools, or popcicles? 

I think we're going to wade in the river next week, maybe visit the zoo... go back to the library to refresh our stacks of books.... And keep having Quiet Time. For ALL of our sanity's sakes! 

Monday, June 8

"Paradichotodoxomy": I Made That Word Up

1. Par·a·dox
noun: paradox; plural noun: paradoxes

a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory.


2. Di·chot·o·my
noun: dichotomy; plural noun: dichotomies
a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different.


Put them together for a double dose of incongruity. (Incongruous:  contrary, contradictory.) (I was an English major, English teacher... I reserve the right to have poetic license for life, and I stand by the words I make up. So there.)


Today's paradichotodoxomy: I am equal parts a total homebody and a relentless wanderer/adventurer. I either want/need to be home, comfy, embracing simple pleasures and taking great joy in the routine, the mundane, and the ordinary..... Or I want to be out in the world, seeing something new, tasting something marvelous, showing my kids something they've never seen before, reveling in sights, sounds, smells, and emotions in places that aren't routine, are not ordinary, and are not  familiar.  





Which one are you? Homebody? Wanderer? Neither? Equal parts of both? A touch of one but mostly the other?  I think I'm completely 50/50. A paradichotodoxomy. 



Friday, June 5

Five For Friday: The Kline Family | St. Louis Family Photographer

A quick Five For Friday featuring a sweet family that came to visit me during Spring Break all the way from Iowa to get portraits done.  Three sisters, each so individual and unique, and their parents, letting me tease smiles out of them, letting me capture family memories and connections for them to always look back on. 

I love family photography. 

I love these girls. 


Can you even stand it? That last one, she's a firecracker, but so irresistibly cute. You might recognize her from my website galleries, which by the way, have been completely revamped-----!! (Click over to www.emilysoutherland.com if you've not visited my photography website in a while! St. Louis Family Newborn Children's Senior Photographer, yo. Fresh website look. Mobile-friendly!)

Meanwhile, this makes TWO blog posts in ONE week. Can you even stand it? I barely can. 

Happy weekend to all! We're off to enjoy the Ballwin Days carnival tonight, and maybe tomorrow too.... I can never pass up a good carnival. Ever.They are one of my Happy Places. I told my kids they are so lucky to have a mom who loves carnivals. They'll never have to beg me to please please let us go to one, ever. I'll be the one begging them to go with ME. Ha!


Tuesday, June 2

IPhoneography Roundup


  • After sorting and culling down, I typically end up keeping an average of 200 "big camera" photos a month
  • After sorting and culling down, I typically have an average of 250 iPhone photos I keep per month
  • Doing the math, that means I end up with an average of FIVE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED total personal photos a year. 
  • *THUD*
 You could say I'm a memory hoarder. 
You could even say it's an addiction.

But don't bother with trying an intervention. I don't see myself quitting anytime soon.  You hear me whine here and there about never being caught up on personal photo editing, book-making, like it's my lifelong burden. But make no mistake: I created this burden for myself, and I own that. And I wouldn't change anything except maybe having one more hour in a day to work on this endless life-work of personal photo memory-keeping I've taken upon myself. 

Heaven might be a full bookshelf of completed, up-to-date beautiful photo books, and a whole roomful of progeny sitting on comfy couches and plump cushions, looking through said photos books and asking each other to share their stories as they are all snuggled under vintage quilts, with some Alison Krauss Pandora playing in the background.

But I'm not there yet.... Haven't made it to that heaven. So for now, I keep chipping away at the life-work of these 5,400+ photos a year, and then, sometimes, I even share a portion of them here.

Today, I'm going to share a blitz of iPhone photo collages from last fall til now, made up of mostly unshared pix not seen by anyone but me til now, just so I can close that door and say I am caught up on the sharing part. And because I LOVE looking at collages of iPhone pix on other blogs. So maybe you guys will have fun scrolling this post today. 

* Brief notes about the photos are under each collage, numbered 1-9. Meant to be viewed left to right, top to bottom. *

End of 2014, #1:
1. Lucy letters, Quinn hand. 2. Spontaneous "why not" sink playtime 3. Joe coached Noah's fall soccer team. HE LOVED IT. 4. "Mom! Take a picture of this!!" x 10. 5. Happy pots of geraniums on our front step. 6. always trains. Always. 7. Sometimes we get out on dates. Usually to the movies. Which I adore. 8. "It's a snowman!" 9. Quinn and a goat.

End of 2014, #2:
1. Paper bag dress by me. Lulu style by Lulu. 2. Park playtime 3. Noah bedtime with loveys. 4. What Noah's after-school screen time usually looks like. 5. Another paper-bag dress pic. Because I freaking love her. 6. When Noah has a day off school, he still has to do Quiet Time. 7. Laumeier Sculpture Park. Right before they came and told us not to climb this eminently climbable sculpture. Oops. 8. Christmas holiday firepit fun at my parents' house. 9. Same.

January 2015, #1:
1. Preschool Science Center field trip, staring at cars through the floor triangle. 2. Dad snuggles. 3., 4., 5. Mild winter day so to the park to play. 6. Elephant overload. 7. Books! vintage fun books as a gift! Let's step on them! 8. Though Quinn's birthday was long past, they still wanted to sing "Happy Birthday" and blow out candles as often as I'd let them. So this is Play-Doh with candles stuck in. We sang and blew about 6 times. 9. Castlewood State Park exploring.

January 2015, #2:
1. He loves his new book rack. 2. Elsa+butterfly wings + pipe cleaner antennae 3. Snuggling a pile of sale stuffies at a store.  4. National Geographic at Quiet Time 5. Birthday Digger. 6. Bumper cars at Chuck E Cheese's, both Lucy and Noah. 7. Forced pose at Magic House. 8. Happy little trumpeter. 9. trains everywhere. Always. Guess who is the one to clean them up? Always?

February 2015, #1:
1. Crying whilst in a Time-Out. Hey, at least he has learned to stay put! 2. Spiderman and Noah running errands with me. 3. Stitching addict as of January this year. LOVE. 4. Valentine's treats from my parents. 5. Fedora selfies. 6. Lucy wanted to dress Quinn in a super costume too. He was more than willing to let her. 7. Before. 8. After. 9. Snowplay!! Quinn's first sledding, which he loved.

February 2015, #2:
1. Science night at Westridge: snake fun. 2. Science night part 2: marble runs. 3. Lego time with Dad. 4. Luluface 5. Microblox snowman by Noah. 6. Noah and Lucy's room, clean. 7. Lucy's treasures. 8. Imposter likes his sister's bed. a LOT. 9. Ready for the morning bus.

March 2015, #1:
1. Castlewood hiking with just my boys. ICY + muddy-- random combo. 2. Castlewood chillin'. 3. Guess who is the Primary Packer for this family? Almost ready for our drive to D.C. for Spring Break. 4. Indiana stop and Julina + Co. visit as we drive to D.C. 5. MamaSelfie with three book-reading kids behind me 6. D. C. cupcakes. 7. Random parking garage mirror pic at their grandparents' apt. complex 8. Cute hubby napping at his folks' apt. 9. Nov07 friends at the Baltimore Aquarium

March 2015, #2:
1. Home from Spring Break, Lucy sits among the pile of needs-to-be-unpacked. Guess who is in charge of that job, too? 2. Bus stop snuggles the one random morning Noah's bus driver forgot to stop at our house and we had to trek to the far corner of the street to catch her. 3. Thunderstorms at bedtime mean mom-snuggles in her bed instead. 4. Faust Park playground. 5. Happy daffodils: some to keep, some to share. 6. Noah hijacks the sensory tub and creates a Pokemon game for himself. 7. City Garden exploring. 8. Sacrament meeting construction site. 9. Dad-time on the trampoline.

April 2015, #1:
1. Lulu birthday gifts include this deer mask I made. 2. A walk to Target with my trio to get dollar spot trinkets. 3. I'm still a goofy girl, after all these years. 4. POTTY TRAINING. Warm water for her feet to "nudge" the pee along. 5. Columbia, MO for Easter weekend; errands with Grandma. 6. CONSTANT chair-pulling/pushing to get things he wants. 7. Happy happy rainbow fabric for Lucy's birthday bird wings. 8. Cute Quinn+Mama 9. Six Flags train!

April 2015, #2:
1. Six Flags season passes will be AWESOME all spring/summer! 2. Except when Lucy has to use the public potty for the first time. Haha! (I'm so mean!) 3. Lulu birthday balloons in the morning 4. On her party day, decked out in costume gifts from Aunt Mary 5. Typical Noah-ness 6. Still in her rainbow butterfly costume, on my rainbow bed. 7. Ready for school 8. Playing on the church stage 8. Noah and his best friend Carter, talking about deep things.