Thank You.

Friday, February 29, 2008

For all your kind words of encouragement... For your prayers... For being my friends.

I've survived the first week. The first day was awful, but honestly, the subsequent days were nearly manageable. I feel rushed and overwhelmed most of the time, and I am DEAD tired by the last class of the day, but things are starting to flow and the day is starting to get a bit of a rhythm to it.

The good thing about being so busy and overwhelmed is that I really DON'T have time to miss my baby that much. That emotion only comes on strongly once I'm home with him and I begin to realize just how much I'm missing. No, during the actual workday, the hardest part is just figuring out how to mesh my two very different full-time jobs and retain some shred of sanity. Pumping at work, grading at home, living on 2.5 hour chunks of sleep-- it's preposterous, really. How will I emerge from this intact? How do people do it for years on end? I only have to worry about three more months. I couldn't FATHOM doing this for years, and adding more kids to the mix? No way. Three months, baby. I can make this work for three months.

So... Here I am. The weekend. There's my report. And my "Thank You" picture.

And here is an outtake.

(I'm all, "This isn't going to look good. Wait for the timer... Wait for it...C'mon, dang it. Let's get this shot over with so I can reposition myself better for the next one. Nice cheeze, Joe.")


This Is What I Live For.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

These two guys right here:

And all that sleep deprivation, pumping nonsense, overload of papers to grade, hot classroom, long commute, sore back, tired feet, weary mind, emotional angst, separation anxiety, new-mom guilt, terrible adjustment STUFF I'm going through?

Well, coming home to these two makes it so easy to forget all the rest of it. They bring me so much joy and help me find peace again.

They are what I'm holding on to as I get through this working-mom adjustment. They are my happiest thought.

{and isn't this fuzzy-headed Noah hairdo ridiculously cute?? I've started combing it this way 'cause it makes me smile.}

Hello, From Me:

Friday, February 22, 2008

We're keepin' it real today... I haven't gotten dressed, done my hair, put on makeup, or done a single chore around here. My school district called a snow day, and while I am not really BACK there yet, I am claiming this for a snow day for myself. While I cna't TOTALLY waste away and vegetate (there's a baby who needs me pretty constantly), I CAN declare a chill-out day as far as any other responsibilities go.
And just to REALLY frighten ya, I thought I'd document it with a photo or two.

WARNING: This is pretty unglamorous.

Hello. Nice to see y'all.

I'm not afraid to give you some truth now and again!And the truth is, (beyond really honest pics), that I have to go back to work next week and I am truly DREADING it. (Sorry Danielle, Jewlia... I like ya, but...)
I don't know how to be a mom and a full-time teacher, and I am so sick with worry about the whole thing. I know I will be exhausted most of the time, and barely keeping my head above water with grading, commuting, bonding whenever I can with my son, and keeping the house from at least smelling bad...(yikes!)
And I'm afraid that my pretty darn regular posting here and on Noah's blog will likely slow down quite a bit while I try to survive the rest of the school year. So, since that is quickly approaching, I thought I'd post those photos of me, as a way to say,"Hello, It's been so fun to have this near-daily contact with you all... I love ya... But I'm about to fade into survival mode. :("

I think the grey, makeup-less photos convey that message quite well.

But now, now now... Let's not get too gloomy! I have a happy finish to this post!
For Valentine's Day, I made these amazing cupcakes from a book my friend Melody gave me-- these raspberry coconut cupcakes with coconut cream cheese frosting. The recipe is delightfully easy, and the sense of satisfaction at making these cakes from scratch, then decorating them all fancy-like, is IMMENSE. Immense satisfaction, y'all. And since it was so good for me, I want it to be good for you, too. So after ogling these delectable photographs, I've ended with the recipe so you can give it a try and feel the satisfaction for yourselves! See? Happy endings, all around!

{my cheerful kitchen table, complete with the cupcake book I got this recipe from!}

Raspberry Coconut Cake
1 stick of butter, softened
1 c. sugar
3 eggs
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. self-rising flour
1/2 c. shredded coconut
1/3 c. sour cream
5 oz. frozen raspberries

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
5 Tbsp. butter, softened
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. coconut extract
3 c. powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake tins. (12 regular or 6 Texas-sized). Beat butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Stir in flours, coconut, sour cream and raspberries. Divide evenly into paper cups. Bake large cakes about 50 mins., small cakes about 40 mins. Make cream cheese frosting. Remove papers from cooled cakes and frost with frosting. Decorate with toasted coconut and fresh raspberries.


A Clever Little Project:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

For this past Christmas, I knew I wanted to make something for my family that would give them some pictures of their new grandson/nephew Noah. So I piggybacked off of an idea a friend told me about several years ago, and finally tried something like it for myself:

* The Altered Altoid Tin*

The idea was that they could have a portable little brag book they could carry with them. I included moments from his day of birth as well as several other special or significant moments from his first month. I also tried to include a photo of Noah with the person receiving the tin, to make it more personal.
It looks a bit complicated, but it was actually not too tricky. The biggest challenge? Making 14 of them!!! (Yikes!)
And to keep this from simply being a braggin' post, I'm going to provide a few links that might inspire you to try one of your own one day. I'm happy to share any tips/techniques, etc!!


* Buy tins for CHEAP here (Explore the site--they don't have to just be altoid tins!!):

* Use Modge Podge to glue paper onto the metal: or go to Michaels Crafts, etc.

* And if you don't feel like doing the basic work, I found this artist on Etsy, who will sell you the basic foundation... Just add pictures, text, embellishments, ribbon, whatever you want to make it personal:
Waisze Designs @ Etsy
(Explore her site for other fun things like handmade cards, tags, etc.)

And as I have been exploring the web, it turns out that Altoid tins are pretty inspiring to lots of folks. Check it out!

* Other Ideas to Inspire You*
Sculpey-Covered Tins
Altoids Tin Wallet
Candy Addict>>Things to Do With an Altoid Tin
Altered Altoid Tins

A Realization:

Friday, February 15, 2008

There are moments in my life where I am beginning to see, in myself, elements of my Mom. And that's not a bad thing.

{see her camera? that, in and of itself, is a clue!}

Oh, sure-- no one wants to become their mother... Of course not! But the older I get, and the more experience I gain in areas she's an expert in, I begin to really see my mom...maybe to understand her a bit more. And I am grateful for the pieces of her that are appearing in me.

Being home with a small baby, unable to really go out and live the old footloose, fancy-free life of yesterday, I suddenly see the appeal in carving out a little time to make something for myself-- to reclaim a bit of "me" amidst all the giving I am compelled to do. Perhaps this is why my mom was always making something? Dresses for us, cookies for after-school snacks, paintings, homemade play-doh, doll clothes... Maybe by creating something, she was keeping a piece of herself intact.

Not that having little ones to care for is awful-- quite the contrary. Since I've been home with my new son and my new role as a mom, I've felt more alive, more vibrant, more purposeful than I have in a long time. I feel very comfortable and at peace slipping into this role. I look forward to being able to utelize the knowledge and skills my mother gave me throughout my life to make the lives of my children better.

I rather like the idea that I might become my mom, in many ways. She herself has had to come to peace with the ways she became her mom--

While she is very much still her own person, my mom has inherited some very meaningful talents from her mother, my Grandma Florin Young. Grandma passed on her skill with a sewing machine, and my mom spent much of our childhood making us dresses and outfits and duffel bags and blankets...And she is now doing the same for my son.

For my wedding gift, then, Mom was thrilled that I asked for a sewing machine of my own. And while I'll never be as skilled either her or Grandma, I love being able to create little treasures with my machine; I love the feeling of carrying on generations of skill and tradition with every stitch.

Another critical skill my mom learned from her mom was the art of baking. For as long as I've been alive, my mom has been a cake decorating artist-- wedding cakes, birthday cakes, Barbie cakes where the dress IS the cake (remember those??), cupcakes, and cookies upon cookies upon cookies. It was a delight, then, at my grandma's funeral, to hear from lifelong friends of grandma that she was famous for cookies and breads and pies as well. Turns out that the sweet tooth runs in the family.

So it made me smile today when, out of nowhere, I NEEDED to make chocolate chip cookies. Something about being at home all day, cold outside, sunny windows, sleeping baby...a touch of restless reluctance to get to the real chores, maybe??
And so, in the grand tradition of my mother and her mother before her, I baked cookies.
{the apron I'm wearing was made by my mom for my birthday last year...she used vintage linens and trim from my grandmother's era!}

And then the afternoon faded into evening and I was presented with another pocket of time. I think the earlier mom-channeling was still in my blood, because (and this surprises even me), I got it into my head that I could do a little sewing project. Ha! So i made a shoulder bag for my mei tai sling. The pattern was in this clever little sewing book by Lotta Jansdotter, and i was empowered by the simple illustrations and instructions in the book... And though ACTUAL sewing projects usually intimidate me, this was easy and really took no time at all.

{see the little cell phone pocket? That's my ghetto old cell phone that doesn't charge up-- the reason I never call you guys any more.} Though I have so much more in me to say about all of this, (and I REALLY wish my sleep-deprived brain concocted clever sentences like it used to) I've run out of steam... But the bottom line is, I felt like my mom today, and it felt really good. I like that I can still grow and change, and that there is still a whole world out there for me to discover. And I like the direction I'm headed.Thanks, Mom.
(Thanks, Grandma.)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Joe, Noah, and I


(I love that I caught him with a bit o' drool-- that is SO "him" these days!)

When It's Gloomy and Gray...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

When it's gloomy and gray... February tends to be...

...and everything feels tired and sad and cold...

Imagine the smile that this box brings:

...and Joe and I can make it one more day.

**outside photos by Joe**

A Little Project For Fun:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ali Edwards, artist/scrapbooker/design celebrity, has this weekly feature on her blog called "Weekend Creative", where every weekend she posts a simple little project with how-to's, inspiring her readers to go out and create one of their own. This was the second lil' project I've done (photos of the first one will be displayed AFTER Valentine's Day, so Joe doesn't see it too early), and it is really satisfying to pump out a project in a short amount of time and say to myself, "Ah-- I can be Artist Emily and Mom Emily at the same time!"

The idea for this one was to use a decorative punch tool and make a collage using repetition and different papers. Since the only other decorative punch I own is a circle (bo-ring), the snowflake became my starting point, and it all came together from there. Normally, I am a colorful gal, but snow isn't too colorful, so it became my challenge/goal to get some really nice neutrals going so I could end up with a clean, peaceful, soft snowflake collage in the end. I'm pleased with the results!
And the project is simple enough that in theory, I could replace this collage with another seasonal one with very little fuss. (in theory. In reality, I'm not that much of a go-getter. *sigh* It's my bane.)

Last note on this: You should totally begin doing these lil' projects too, because they are easy, can be personalized to fit your style, and they are satisfying little assignments. Many of them would make great gifties for people you love. There is even a Flickr group set up for Show n' Tell, so you can see what other people are doing with their projects. Go look!

So join me. We'll see what Ali E. has in mind for this coming weekend!

This Is Why:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

This little stinker is why I've been fantasizing of beds and pillows and down comforters and naps and sleeping in and 14-hour slumbers and on and on...

Poor little guy has a bit of a fever, and it's been a LOOOOONG, not-so-sleepful weekend.

Still, I wouldn't trade him for anything.
My little jellybean.


(But I WILL take anyone up on an offer of a hotel room for me and a 14-hour babysitting gig for Noah...)

Anyone Notice the Theme Here?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Just for fun... Take a journey with me. This will span a handful of years, and a multiplicity of people and places...But there is a common thread. Can anyone guess? And then guess WHY I'm posting this?

La Paz Bed & Breakfast 9.04

Brown Hotel 9.04

Mason Attic 10.04

Joe, Mason Attic 10.04

Bro Dave, Christmas '04

The new bed, Mason Attic 12.04

Joe, Christmas @ Lambson's, 12.04

Joe, Thanksgiving '05

Mason Attic 3.06

Beckie's room 5.06

Joe, Rome 6.06

Joe, Train to Switzerland 6.06

Venice 6.06

Paris 6.06

Emily, Mason Attic 7.06

Joe, Mason Attic 7.06

Emily, Mason Attic 8.06

Mom, Labor Day '06

Dad, Labor Day '06

Joe, Mason Attic 11.06

Joe, Christmas '06

Mary, Christmas '06

Lambson Siblings, Christmas '06

Joe, Christmas '06

Emily, Chicago 12.06

Joe, Mason Attic 2.07

Joe, Mason Attic 3.07

Lambson Siblings & Joe, St. Louis 7.07

Noah & Joe, Mason Attic 12.07

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