Dark Corners

Thursday, July 31, 2008

So. Let's talk about REALITY. Seriously. Isn't is so easy to prepare a blog post, tell your stories, add your photos, and in the end, never give the WHOLE picture? The REAL picture? Don't we all do some self-editing before putting our life into cyberspace? I know I do. I mean, I will often get down to real TRUTH and discuss things that are hard or frustrating and such... And I have sometimes posted photos of myself with morning hair and yesterday's makeup... And who can forget this post, where I worked on a photo-checklist of my messes and updated them with clean photos? Or even older, THIS post, that REALLY showed the scary side of my home?

But more often than not, we keep those corners of our life safely hidden, and try to put on the happiest, cleanest face for our viewing public. I definitely omit some of the darker days from my blog posts. Like this week-- I've had at least two emotional breakdowns. One related to breastfeeding and one related to Noah's sleep-deprivation... But I never planned to come here and let it all out. I guess most of the time, I deal with it privately, among a small group of people who can lift me back up, and then leave it at that. No offense, Blog World... some of it is just too much to get into here.
But I do appreciate the glimpse that blogs give into a person's life, which is why I try to keep a lot of it real. No fakey-fake cheerful chirping, "I'm fine! Everything's fine! We're fine! Life is FINE!" if it really isn't. And no pretending I am skinny and beautiful and rich, either. I'm me, and I like me, even with the flaws and blemishes, so I promise you I will keep as much reality here as I can.

Which brings me to Jodie's blog and her recent challenge. She talks about how we all too often only post the good stuff, and one day will not have any evidence of the bad stuff to remind us or our children that life IS hard and houses ARE dirty sometimes. And having evidence of the "UGLY REALITY" is a valuable thing... something we all can benefit from and learn from. So she challenged anyone daring enough to photograph the "not so appealing" parts of life.... Include the "bad" and the "ugly".
She even went so far as to post a photos of her stretch marks. Wow. Since mine are on my upper, inner thighs, we'll probably NOT do that here. Sorry, Jodie. You're still alone on that dare.
So without further ado, and with no excuses (okay, I'm lying. I will TOTALLY be making excuses as I show these), here are my current SCARY corners:

Let's start with me, in the morning. No makeup, frizzed hair pulled back, dressed to work out, old, tired-looking face:

And move on to my BIGGEST yuck. The HALLWAY. This is right outside my apartment, and sadly, the first thing you see as you come to my place to visit. Sad. That doorway in the background is NOT our front door, though. Luckily, our main door DOES have a clear path to it. But still...YUCK. This happened when we rearranged our apartment to make room for Noah. All the extra stuff got "temporarily" put here, and now, one year later, here it still is. I've actually made plans to start chipping away at it tomorrow, with the help of my mom. Wish me luck. Because I HATE this hallway:

The Storage Room-- the catch-all room, slowly growing beyond its borders, so this will also be tackled a bit tomorrow, **fingers crossed**:

The Scrapbook Cabinet-- not because it is a mess. No, this is a Place of Shame because I have invested so much money into collecting the supplies I love and buying the doodads and all... and I haven't touched any of it in a year. What a WASTE. Of money, mostly:

See the message I wrote to all of you here? Yeah. Gotta work on that.

The "Project Room", a.k.a. the other half of Noah's room. This is another result of moving our apartment around. This was going to be an "office" and craft workspace... But silly me, the only time I have to DO projects is when Noah is SLEEPING, and since this is in HIS ROOM.... Needless to say, instead of being a productive corner of the house, it is another catch-all:

My dressertop-- I will get this all sorted and lovely... and two weeks later it is back to THIS:

The "Hidden Side" of our bedroom-- our bedroom is visible from the rest of the apartment because of the open floor plan and the fact that we are using the living room space for our bedroom... so we usually keep the visible part of our bedroom pretty presentable-- made bed and everything. But around the corner, here is what you find:

(the futon gets covered first, then the pile grows out from there....Often this is stuff that needs to be sorted and filed in Noah's' room, but again-- when we have time to DO that, Noah is IN there, ASLEEP. Duh. So this pile grows. It's another goal of mine. Maybe this weekend??)

Anyhoodle... I definitely have other "dark corners", but they are the ones you can't photograph... My Mom Anxieties, my self-image, my ever-growing-Type-A-ness, my jealous and competitive alter-ego...
but for now, let's work on what we can see. Maybe the rest will follow once a bit of outward order is achieved.

And I should call that a post and hit "publish". But I have two more things. First, I blogged about my amazing baby on his blog today, and I'm mentioning it here because 1.) It is pretty much an account of my life this very minute, so it could, in fact fit nicely on THIS blog, and 2.) I have makeup on and look cute, and I really can't leave you with that first, saggy makeup-less photo seared in your brain. It's that ego thing. So click HERE.


And lastly... I just wanted to say that I have a circle of love and support in my life that is my LIFELINE to sanity. Jodie-- thank you for the six-hour girltalk and caffeine binge the other night. It was as good for MY soul as it was for yours. Stefanie-- thanks for being RIGHT THERE to talk me back into hope. Melanie-- same... thanks for texting back right away, and letting me be sad and dejected. You both helped (and continue to help) me so much. Genny-- you are irreplaceable and I am so lucky to have you. Joe-- thank you for the LOOONG hugs, the text-message check ins, and just being my BEST FRIEND always. Beth and Heather-- your emails both talked me down from some DEADLY emotions in such wise, loving words. I cherish you both. Sarah and Kate, you are always so reassuring and calming.
And everyone else... BBC mamas, my Utah Girls, my family....
I am so grateful to have all of you.

Thank you.

A List I Love + Cell Phone Photos= A Simple, Yet Pleasing Post:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

**My online friend Mandalynn wrote this on her blog the other day, and it made my heart sing. I asked her if I could share it with all of you, and she gave me her blessing. I hope it makes you smile as much as it did me.**

Parenthood is a great excuse to...

eat sugary cereals.
go to the park.
watch Saturday morning cartoons.
chase down the ice cream truck.
lay in the grass and watch the clouds roll by.
go to the library for storytime.
catch fireflies.
buy sidewalk chalk.
bake cookies.
cut sandwiches into fun shapes.
sit in a kiddie pool on a hot summer day. visit the children's museum.
watch all of those Disney movies you love.
have a picnic.
make something out of popsicle sticks.
laugh out loud for no reason at all.
take a walk.
run through sprinklers.
visit the zoo.
get down on all fours and act like a cow.
play dress-up.
build a giant block tower.

~ Mandalynn, mom to two lovely girls

(Thanks, M... for reminding me of the things that truly bring joy. You inspire me.)

Getting Back To Myself a Bit...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Throughout this whirlwind spring and half of summer, I've felt very spread thin... working full-time throughout March, April and May, talking a huge trip in June then coming straight back to teach summer school. The house has gotten quite messy and disordered, my "chi" has all but disappeared, no creative mojo to speak of, and I was burdened by an overall sense of grinding, alleviated stress.

And I'd begun missing ME.

The month of July has seen a slow but steady progression back. Back to who I feel I am, back to a place where I can really work on who I want to be, just BACK to ME.

And I cannot tell you how healing this is.

Just this weekend, I did the following:

* Last night I began cutting out fabric for a cute apron I'd bought the pattern for a few months ago. I am bound and DETERMINED to figure out how to sew this non-pillow project. No more simple straight lines, folks. I'm attempting CLOTHING(ish).

* This morning I decorated the cupcakes I baked last night for our church potluck. Coconut white cake with cream cheese frosting. Yum!

* And this afternoon, I took Noah outside for a little fresh (scalding, hot, humid, sticky, oppressive, horrible) air and remembered to bring the camera along to capture a few posed shots.

{dang, he's CUTE. And the overall thing? Not planned. Seriously. I just knew how hot it would be outside, so I took his onsie off to keep him cool. And only THEN did it occur to me that this might make a cute photo. Which it did. }

...and a few candids. (Here, we're sitting on the front steps of our neighbor church, watching cars go by. Noah is sucking his mesh teether with ice cubes in it. Nice way to stay cool in the horrible 99-degree heat...)

{random observation--I think Noah has my eyebrows. I'm the highlighted one in the old photo. Can you see it? Or is it just me?}

{another random observation-- here, I think Noah looks like a grumpy old man, angry at you for getting on his lawn. See him shaking his fist??}

Anyway, I suppose to many of you, this all just seems like "a day in the life of emily".... But honestly-- for the last four months or so, this was all so far away. Emotionally, mentally... creatively... I just didn't have anything left to be able to fulfill this side of me.

So to look back on my weekend with peace and satisfaction is a big deal to me. I feel like everything's going to be okay again. I feel like some kind of "life balance" is within my reach. And I am deeply grateful.

Happy new week to you all!

My First Day

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

On my first official day as a stay-at-home-mom, I did the following:

1. Woke with Noah at 7:30 am
2. Fed him and myself (breastmilk for him, Lucky Charms for me)
3. Took a 45 minute walk around my lovely, shady neighborhood with Noah in the mei-tai sling

4. Came home and changed him into his clothes for the day, then played a bit in his room (books and stacking rings)

5. Sang him a few songs and put him down for his morning nap at 9:30am
6. Jumped in the shower
7. When I got finished, I heard Noah crying... obviously his nap wasn't "sticking" at the moment so I got him out of his crib and let him play in the kitchen floor with measuring cups and funnels while I blended baked peaches into baby food puree and froze it into cubes.

8. The food processor scared Noah, so I consoled him by letting him try the peaches for the first time. He LOVED them.
9. 10:10 am- I finished my food stuff and re-did the naptime routine with Noah. This time, it stuck and he napped.
10. During his nap I: put on makeup, did the dishes, surfed the internet, made some phone calls, did two loads of laundry, and played on the internet a bit more.
11. When he woke at 11:30, I packed him and myself up and we headed out to a play date with my friend Liesl and her son Ian. We stopped at the store first to pick up some fruit and dessert for our outing.
12. From 12:30-1:45, we hung out at Liesl's house, had lunch, talked shop, and kept the boys from poking each other's eyes out in curiosity.
13. Noah and I left when he started getting cranky, and we headed home to put him down for his afternoon nap.
14. From 2:30-4:10, Noah napped. I did too. (so did Joe, who had been sleeping since he got home from work this morning at 7:30 am. It was a quiet, sleeping house this afternoon. I LOVED it.)
15. 4:10- Noah woke and Joe took over for a bit. I switched the laundry again, started dinner, and played a bit with my boys.
16. We did the evening routine together-- (Noah's dinner of veggies and cereal, his bathtime, and his bedtime) then had a quick kiss goodbye as Joe headed back to work.
17. For the evening, then, I have been working on editing photos, with little breaks here and there.
18. Noah has already woken once, which is unusual for him, and he wouldn't settle himself back down... I really think his teeth are bothering him. Poor guy. So I nursed him, though he most definitely didn't NEED food, because it comforted him enough to help him get back to sleep when I laid him back down.
19. And here I am... procrastinating bedtime, feeling satisfied, enjoying this little bit of "me time", and looking forward to doing it again tomorrow.
20. And I have to end with three of the cutest photos I've taken in a while. Because he is the best thing in my life right now, and I am loving being his mama:

And that concludes my report.

New Photo Session Posted:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

{Janae and Aaron's engagement photos: Forest Park, St. Louis}

Click HERE to see more on my photography site...


**a more personal post is coming tomorrow... Promise!! I'm not just about shameless self-promotion!...Okay, okay... I kinda am. Blah!**

Google Tag:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Okay... Steven, Tamara and Genny have done this... My turn.
If it looks remotely fun for you, do it on your blog and let me know in a comment so I can go check it out!
The rules: for each question, look up the answer in a Google Image search. Then choose your favorite from the first page of results only. You get some fun and often CRYPTIC answers.

Here are mine:

My Age:

A Place I'd Like To Travel To:

My Favorite Place:

My Favorite Object:
My Favorite Food:

My Favorite Animal:
My Favorite Color:
The Town Where I Was Born:

The Town Where I Live:

A Past Pet:

A Past Love:

My Best Friend's Nickname:

My Screen Name:

My First Name:

My Middle Name:

My Last Name:

One Of My Bad Habits:
(that's SUGAR, y'all. Okay??)

My First Job:

My Grandmother's Name:

My College Degree:

What I Am Doing Right Now:

okay.... your turn. It's a colossal time-waster, but whatever... I'm in summer school babysitting not-quite-sophomores.
{and feel free to ask me about any of these... I have no secrets.}
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