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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Me:

Me:

Tuesday, December 16

Sweet Late-Night Whispers




I came home pretty late from a party tonight-- about 10:30pm. I went into our room to say goodnight to Joe, who always heads to bed way earlier than I do... And then I tiptoed to Noah and Lucy's room to check on them and adjust their covers. Lo and behold, someone was awake, and sat up when I walked in. 

This girl-- sweet Lucy. Sometimes when she naps hard in the afternoon, she doesn't really go to sleep at night for a good long time. But she's a mellow one once she's in her bed. Whether it's naptime or bedtime, even if she's not tired, she'll play in her bed quietly, look at books, talk to herself  and make up games... She is perfectly content. It's the sweetest thing. And sometimes, every once in a while, if I go peek in on her late at night, around the 9:00 or 10:00pm hours, she is just mellow enough to be almost sleepy, and she's in a rare mood of buoyant smiliness and joy, and I ADORE it. She smiles with a shy, bubbly quiet giggle, over and over, like she knows she's getting away with something and like she knows it's pretty neat to get this dim, peaceful, special time one-on-one with me. I kneel next to her tiny toddler bed, and she sits up, and we whisper to each other. I ask her questions like, "Are you tired? Are you happy? Is Bunny Bunny feeling snuggly?" etc., and she answers in whispers, and those giggles punctuate her answers. We talk, I read her a book or two, we play a few little games.... pinch each other's noses and laugh at the sounds, play peek a boo with the blankets, etc. etc., and it feels like a gift--- an unexpected, special, dimly glowy gift to be there, whispering with my baby girl. 

I can tell she feels it too-- that magic. She is pliant, peaceful, almost reverent.... But also immensely happy. Her smiles during these times are almost too much to take in. It feels like the best of her, and it brings out the best in me, and we both cherish it. 

The thing is, it's not something I can plan for, sneak up on, or predict. These times just..... happen. It's maybe happened four times total, ever. And each time it feels fleeting and rare, and I'm not sure I'll get it ever again. 

But then again, maybe it'll happen in different ways as she grows. Maybe one day it'll be us, snuggled on her teenage bed, late one night after a date or a heartbreak, and we'll whisper of harder things, of more grown-up things, and she'll be pliant and willing to open to me in her 16-year-old-ness.... Rare, special.... 

I deeply hope so. I cherish her so very much. And I adore feeling cherished back during these late-night whispers. 

{These pink photos are from back in March, when she gave me some lovely moments in front of the camera.... She's grown since then, but these particular photos still look just like her, to me.}

Wednesday, December 10

Quinn Baby Toddler...

I mean, this face.

Only a little over a month away from being TWO. Two. What?

I love him like crazy. His little voice, trying new words every day. Finishing lines of songs when he sits in my lap. Calling for "Woah" or "EEcy", or hollering for "DAAAAA!" or "MAAAAAM!".... Running. Jumping. Dancing. Dragging his high chair to me when I'm making meals. In love with "cucks" and "tains" and "ahpanes".... 

Just full of life, light, and in spite of the scowl above, also full of smiles. A little chipped front tooth every time he grins at me. 

Anyway... Editing photos tonight, and felt the urge to wax effusive about this little one. Carry on. 

Monday, December 8

All Shall Be Well......

One week since the start of December. One week since we've been back from our whirlwind trip to Washington D.C. Multiple weeks since our household has been well.  Sickness upon sickness, mostly of the garden-variety where it's not dire or emergent, but definitely disruptive to the daily routine. Weeks of to-dos piling up-- from work, from holidays, from celebrations, from everyday expectations. Piling up, but growing too fast for this sick girl to chip away at the pile with any kind of result. It's draining. It's discouraging. I'm tired. I'm so off-center it's not even funny. I want to cry. doesn't help that I had an extra-long bout of PMS this time. Just the Daylight Savings shift and then the harried, hustled, mad mad mad pace of November-into-December and the gloomy, early dark, and the too-much-to-do, never-enough-money, never-enough-time....

It's been a rough start to December, to say the least. With all that other stuff starting it off, it has just been COMPOUNDED by this relentless lack of health in the house. It's hard to feel jolly when someone is coughing and someone else is crying and everyone's nerves are fraying. 

It's classic burnout, folks, and everyone in this house is feeling some form of it-- even the littlest guy, who is fussier than usual... probably from his too-frequent wakings from coughs, and his constantly running nose and light feverishness. 

We need a break, ya'll. 

I need SOMETHING. 
So. 

I've been sleeping in the guest room. This is a novelty. I am doing it to distance myself from Joe's snarfly snuffling. I am doing it to protect him from my back-sleep snoring and my tossing. I am doing it to be close to the kids as they wake, multiple times a night, since my couch-back-sleeping kept me too far to help them and help Joe. 

And since starting to sleep there, there's been this really interesting shift in myself. See, last year, my Christmas gift from Joe was 24 hours in a nice hotel here in town, all alone. Just me. My only Christmas wish. It was HEAVEN. I napped. I watched HGTV. I napped again. I grabbed some greasy food and brought it back to eat in bed. I went to bed when I was sleepy and woke when I was refreshed. I dashed out to catch a movie. I felt..... PEACE. 

And this would be my only Christmas wish this year, too-- a reprise--- except I just don't think we can spare the money. It's pretty silly, when you think of it, to spend $100+ on a bed in the same town as your regular bed... just to be alone. So maybe next year. Maybe I'll save up, and ask Joe to take a day off for me again.

But meanwhile, there's this guest room that has been in our house the whole time. When I was setting it up, my ultimate goal was to create a peaceful space. I went with all white bedding. Kept the all-white walls. Kept the tchotchkes to a minimum. Made it feel clean and serene. And not ONCE did I think about sleeping myself in that room. But here we are, just this past week. And I am finding that when  I retire to that room, for a nap while the kids nap, or at night when the whole house is asleep, I can pretend it's a hotel room. White, fresh bedding. Extra pillows. Unfamiliar (for the most part) room. Quiet. Different. Peaceful. And I love it. 

I mean, I'm not going to sleep there forever. I miss Joe. And someday soon, fingers crossed, he won't be a snuffly sleeper, and I won't need to be on my back (my neck flared up again, and back sleeping is the only thing that helps it immediately). And we can be cozy in our own bed together again.

But for now, I'm finding an unexpected solace in my "hotel room" in my own house, and I'm slowly coming out of the malaise and ennui of the last few weeks. Managing small moves towards the December I planned on having. I feel, for the first time in days, optimistic about these coming weeks. It helps that I finally took myself (and Lucy) to the doctor and got some validation and medication. That feels hopeful,  too. 

So. In light of this small bit of peace I'm clutching onto, I took a minute to read some of my favorite inspirational essays, from Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, because I remembered she writes about being under the weather, and about burnout... And I read those ones, too, but this one, copied below, was the one I needed today, to round out my corner-turning. 

I hope if any of you are feeling any kind of despondence, hopelessness, unsettlement, worry, or just discomfort, that these words can help you a little like they do for me. If nothing else, to remind you you're not alone. And all shall be well. It WILL.

*
 
"Rx For Harried Hearts and Frazzled Minds"
by Sarah Ban Breathnach,. Simple Abundance, November 26

      "Some nights waves of weariness beat against out brains, crash against our hearts, wash over our bodies, threatening to erode our best defenses like sand dunes upon the shore. The water is cold, dark, and deep....Nothing seems to hold back the tide. We need someone to throw us a line, to rescue us from drowning in disappointment. 

      When these nights come and I find I'm stranded alone on the beach of faltering belief, I have found refuge in a very centering and comforting prayer by Dame Julian of Norwich, a thirteenth-century English mystic: 

All shall be well, 
And all shall be well, 
And all manner of things shall be well. 

      This simple affirmation of faith is especially comforting because it seems to console the dark submerged sadnesses of the inexplicable, the unexpressed, the unresolved, the unfair and the undeniable that stalk my soul after I close my eyes. I'll say the prayer over and over again softly, under my breath like a mantra, not trying to understand the meaning of the words because I can't. Some mysteries are beyond our comprehension. Some mysteries we will never solve. Never know. 

      So instead of trying to make sense of it all, I'll simply let the Spirit of the words soothe my frazzled mind and harried heart until sleep comes. Sometimes we can't make sense of it. Sometimes none of it makes sense. Sometimes it just is. But if we can hold on long enough for this night to give way to another day, all shall be well, even if it's different from what we had expected. Even if it's different from what we had hoped for and believed with all out hearts would happen. 

All shall be well, 
And all shall be well, 
And all manner of things shall be well."

 *
 (Photo of our tree from last night. Somehow, even in the middle of a hard hard week, we managed this. And I am very proud of that fact. The tree is another reason for my newfound hope.)

Friday, December 5

Friday Morning, After Noah Had Gone To School...

First Quinn woke... 



Later, Lucy woke...




And when I decided to just put these random but utterly recent photos into a blog post today during naptime, I decided Noah needed to be represented somehow. So this is some art he made this fall when he got a book about sea turtles from his aunt. He copied a photo from the book, but in his own style. And I love it. I love this kid's art.


Tally ho, Weekend. I'm ready for you.

Thursday, December 4

Continuation:

Continuation from my last post:

You know what I REALLY want? Just more time. More time and less outside stuff pulling pulling pulling me away from the core things I cherish and value.To be able to say, "NO. Not now. This isn't fulfilling my core needs and beliefs, so no. Not now."

I want things to be more simple. More linear. Less multi-tasked. Less worldly. 

I just want....more time and less "stuff".

That's all.

Sunday, November 30

November! You Only Got Two Blog Posts!

We can't have that!!! 

Quick, a 10-minute "I Want" Freewrite.

I Want:

  • To feel healthy. No more coughing, no more neck pain. 
  • To have a healthy husband. No more listening to HIM cough. 
  • To get this house tidy after a whirlwind last two weeks, with Noah's birthday party and a trip out of town for Thanksgiving. What a mess! 
  • To feel like I can slow down in many ways after a crazy November and let things drift to the sidelines so I can enjoy Christmas season joy with my family. 
  • To be more present, more joyful, and more peaceful. 
  • My sewing setup to be in the TV room again. I never sew nowadays because its set up way far away in my bedroom, and Joe goes to bed two hours before me. 
  • A really REALLY long hug. 
  • A really good massage. 
  • A better haircut. 
  • New boots. 
  • A fresh-air cleansing walk. 
  • Ten things OFF of my to-do list without me having to do them. 
  • The basement not to be stinky. 
  • To go to a movie. 
  • A cathartic cry, weirdly. 
  • A really long footrub. 
  • To be a kid again for just a little while. 
  • To be in Hawaii with my sis for awhile. 
  • To curl into my bed with a book for a full day. 
  • Some cider. 
  • To laugh until my sides hurt. 
  • To paint something. 
  • Someone to wrap this year's gifts for me. 
  • New bedding. 
  • Really long wooden dowels. Two of them. 
  • One afternoon each, to go back in time hold my babies when they were newborns.
  • Clarity. 
  • To be able to laugh things off better. 
  • To be caught up. 


Okay, November--- I'll miss you, busy as you were. You were good. Full. Bustling. Crazy. But I'm ready for the green and red of December now. Goodnight.


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....." 

*sigh*

(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*

*sigh*


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. 

Anyway.

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. 

See?

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. 

Love, 

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