Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's past midnight, so I think that makes this officially HALLOWEEN.... Ooooohhhhoooohhhhh! (ghost noise, ya know?)

And in honor of our Pre-Halloween festivities, a video of my favorite singing mate and I, singing 2 (and 1/3rd) of the seasonal songs I've been teaching him. This kid LOVES singing, and when I give him a new song, he'll say, "Again? Again? Again?" at the end, over and over until I've sung it a dozen times and he has gotten to know a bit of it. It is ridiculously cute.... :)

And a few images of our leaf collecting on Monday, when Aunt Juli was in town. We got out in the soggy morning and found good leaves for leaf rubbings. It was a perfectly Autumnal way to pass the time, and we all three loved it! (LOVE this street we've lived on for the past five years... will miss it. *sniff*)

{Aunt Juli shows Noah the good ones...}

And a shot from today.... I was testing my MiniShoot setup and Noah (and Mai) were willing helpers for a minute. Love this random one I caught before he was over it and running away....
Oh how I love this season... Love the holidays, love the music, love the colors, love the chill in the air...

It's been good, even with the stress and the bittersweet added in. And tomorrow (today) is Halloween... so we get to look forward to Noah's robot costume and his first of many "trick-or-treat" experiences to come in his life. I love it. It is good, this little world of mine.

But now, my poor little self is screaming for bed... It's been a busy day, and I am fighting a big ugly cold... so I am out of here to try to rest so that tomorrow (today) is what Noah deserves.


Family Session Opening: Last-Minute!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Random announcement, but I had a client cancel for Friday, November 6, so I now have an opening for a family session, around 4:30-5:00pm.

Email me at southerlandgirl at yahoo dot com if you are interested, or pass this along to someone you think might be interested!

"Pancake"! {St. Louis Senior Photographer}

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Meet another one of my sassy 2010 Seniors! This is Stephanie, who is affectionately nicknamed "Pancake". Yes, you read right. PANCAKE. She even has it on her Facebook name, so it MUST be official!

"Pancake" was a bundle of energy and sass, and having her best friend along to help was a HUGE bonus. They were a kick! Enjoy some of my (many many many) favorites from Steph's session, and look for my favorite of all favorites at the end. Hint-- it will be VERY personalized for this gal!:

Emily Southerland Photography

Emily Southerland Photography

Emily Southerland Photography

Emily Southerland Photography

Emily Southerland Photography

Emily Southerland Photography

Emily Southerland Photography

Emily Southerland Photography

Emily Southerland Photography

{A note about this next one: Taylor was a fellow classmate who was diagnosed with brain cancer their junior year. The whole school rallied around her, even getting these turquoise "Stay Strong Taylor!" pins made. Taylor lost her battle with cancer last year, but the class of '10 continues to celebrate her strength. So when Steph's BFF spotted this street sign for Taylor Ave. she shrieked and made us turn around. I am so glad, because I loved the images we got in honor of their friend.}
Emily Southerland Photography

{And last but not least, my FAVORITE part of the session??}
Emily Southerland Photography

Oh YEAH!! MMMMmmmmmm, Pancakes!!

A nickname, immortalized.

Love it!

(Thanks, Miss Stephanie! You were a great sport!)

What I've Been Up To...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Been constantly busy... pulled in a multiplicity of directions. Photo sessions/weddings/editing/work... Kid play/crafts/everyday necessities... Holiday preparations-- costumes, food, etc. etc... Family visits... A little me-time with the sewing machine, naps, books...

It has been unbelievably WHIRLWIND. Wow. And today, I am SLOWING DOWN for just a moment while Noah naps so I can check in (with the world and with mySELF). Joe is in Wisconsin, of all places... Checking out the school that is his first choice for grad school next year. It's funny, because he is often gone at school or sleeping off his night shifts at this time of day, but having him OUT OF THE STATE feels lonelier, somehow. Still, I am so excited for him as this new future draws closer. So proud of the hard work he has put into his degree. But having him gone, having Noah napping, having a moment to stop and breathe a bit--- all combines to make me reflect... and puts me in the pensive mood to snap a few photos of the current things in my life so I can share a bit on the blog...

So what have I been up to recently?

How about Halloween stuff:
{candy eating, costume attempts, pumpkin patch visit, pumpkin crafts, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin chili, mini-shoot planning, party invitations, and on and on and on...}

How about EMBRACING OCTOBER with Noah?

{Leaf walks, leaf rubbings, fall songs, acorn collecting, walks in the park, leaf piles, fall stories, and on and on...}

How about crafting up a storm?
{sweaters for felting, muslin for linings, fabric prewashed, fabric cut, doodads bought and used, stacks of future ideas, tubs of pre-cut treasures}

How about a Family Outing to Eckerts?
{Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Beckie, Noah and myself with the pumpkins, apples, goats, kangaroo (?weird?), gourds, wagons, chilly air, bonfire smells}

How about PACKING to MOVE?
{Wait??? **** record scraaaaatch*****}
Did I not tell you we were moving? In less than 90 days? No?


Let's revisit those earlier photos I just showed you, but in the context of our CRAZY CURRENT LIFE OF PACKING:


(boxes of books and art supplies)

Leaf Rubbings and Fall Fun:
(there's the scrapbooking cabinet, emptied and in tubs)

Crafting and Felted Sweaters:
(remember THIS photo wall? Gone.)

Eckerts Apples:
(this wall held the BIG photos, and the couch... not anymore.)

And so yeah.... Somehow we are managing to maximize our life and have good fun, even as we frantically rush to get this place emptied that we had become ROOTED in over five wonderful years. But in and among and around the everyday rituals of storytime, dinnertime, worktime, and so on, there is the ever-present weight of this deadline to be out. Out of here. Out of the dear little Mason Attic.

And why?

I'm still trying to understand myself. Something about power and ownership and believing that even though formal agreements and promises were made back in the spring, the ones with the power get to make the rules. Somehow, the little family living in the top floor, the family who relied on the promise of having the 2009-10 school year here in this attic, wasn't significant enough of a worry to change the Powerful Ones' ideas about liability and construction, etc. etc.

Cryptic? a little. Let me elaborate a tiny bit: Remember the bat? Seems rather than pay the full price for a simple, clean extermination, the Powerful Ones would rather eliminate the liability of having us here and do it the cheap way. In addition, they have lofty plans for other construction projects, and we suddenly became a nuisance. And okay, I understand rabies is not a matter to be fooled with. But to be given 30 days' notice, abruptly, coldly, and unbendingly... I won't lie. It HURT. It was SCARY. How can anyone, much less a small, poor family of three in the middle of a critical semester secure quality housing AND pack AND move and figure it all out in THIRTY DAYS? Don't we, as five-year veteran caretakers of this establishment, deserve more courtesy than that?

But.... Well. It is what it is.

And after forcing the Powerful Ones to see that their move was not exactly LEGAL in terms of Tenants' Rights, we managed to get a little more time out of them. We get until January 5, now.


We are packing.

All. The. Time.

And ya know what?

It is going to be okay. At no time during this crisis have I felt I was being punished by God... Never felt abandoned by the good spirits of the universe. In fact, I have witnessed incredible sacrifice FOR us in the midst of all of this.. and I have felt closer to the Lord as I have had to call on Him more.

And we are okay. Blessed, in fact. We have a new home to go to because of an incredible friend's gesture of help. We have many many many hands helping pack, wrap, lift, carry, and move things. We have prayers being sent our way from all over the world. And in the grand scheme of things, this is but a small burden. We will come out of this insanity with more than we started with.


There ya have it. What I have been up to. What the rest of my holiday season will look like: Boxes. Bags. Goodwill. Trash. And a small but meaningful season of joy and love and holiday spirit.

Life is good. It really is.

(Sending my love to all who worried... thanks for checking in with me as I have alluded to this over the past month.)

Trash The Dress - Celebrating Single Life {St. Louis Portrait Photographer}

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Trashing a dress... LOVE this concept! The idea is to let go of the formality of a formal dress (wedding gown, prom dress, or just a lovely gown like this one)... And let loose. Many TTD sessions are urban. But my GORGEOUS sis Mary approached me about doing a TTD in the Grand Tetons when we were there together this summer. Instead of grungy alleys and dumpsters, we trudged through dirt, pine needles, and pebbly lake bottoms.

Mary looked like a goddess the entire time.

Her reason for this session? To celebrate her life EXACTLY as it is, this moment. One day, she'll love having a wedding TTD session, but ya know what? Life is marvelous even without the groom. And Mary is gorgeous RIGHT NOW. Why waste it? Time to flaunt it:

(prepare yourselves. I LOVE these images. Probably my absolute favorite from the whole year...)











See? A goddess.

And two last shots of this girl I love... Not in her gown, just in her everyday wear... But I love them nonetheless-- they show a woman with strength, poise, and a bit of wisdom gained. (Miss you, girl. Can't wait 'til you're home.)



(random note-- the reason it took me so long to post these is the same reason I hoard gift cards.. it's just this strange thing where I feel like prolonging the delight... And this session was so special that I didn't want to just THROW it onto the blog carelessly... I wanted to savor it, wait for it... Then celebrate it when it felt like a good time. And with Mary finishing up her time in Iraq as a civilian contractor, I am getting so antsy to see her again that celebrating her photos NOW finally felt right. Like a preparation for her homecoming. I dunno. I'm weird. I admit it. I shouldn't hoard sessions. Ha!)

Lamby Love

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This is Lamby. And the boy who loves him, circa November 2008.

Lamby is Noah's true love... His security blanket, his best friend, his "Mai".

(Note: We call his lovey "Lamby". He calls it "Mai"... short for "Mai-lam-a-lam-lam-lam", what he USED to call it.)

He has been deeply devoted to this critter for a very long time-- well over half of his short life. And as Noah grows and develops and becomes more and more cognizant and independant, it has been an adventure watching how his relationship with "Mai" grows, too.

Allow me to share one of our recent days.

It was Monday, and we had a slow start to the day. Noah woke, called for Mommy, then Daddy, then Mommy again--- trying every combo to see if he could get results. When I finally went in to get him, he burst into smiles and immediately turned his Lamby's face to me-- "helping" Mai to see that Mommy was indeed on her way.

We did our usual morning routine, lazing about the living room well past when we should have. Finally, after a bit of pajama time for both of us while we did breakfast, dishes, bed-making and so on, the time came to get dressed for the day. Noah patiently let me get him in his pants, and then his shirt. And then, in keeping with his new hobby of involving "Mai" in every aspect of his life (we're talking EVERY aspect-- potty time, Sesame Street watching, Ring-around-the-Rosie... Lamby is totally involved. Noah insists...) Noah asked for a shirt for "Mai".

So I grabbed one of Noah's shirts and tucked it around this silly sheep-headed blanket square that Noah loves so dearly. And you should've seen his face. It was like the earth had burst open to reveal gold and diamonds and cupcakes and bubbles and marshmallows to eternity. MAI is wearing a SHIRT. Like ME!! Holy CRAP!

It was priceless.

But then "Mai" didn't keep his shirt on very well. And Noah, true to his soon-to-be-2-year-old-ness, had a meltdown-- devastated at the FAIL of this 2T shirt on his beloved lamby.

But I was not daunted. I quickly grabbed a little dishtowel from a stack of new ones, 2 safety pins, scissors, and a stretch of ribbon. Leading Noah to my side to let him watch, I reassured him that we could fix this problem right up. A few snips, a pin or two, a well-placed knot, and.... Ta-da!

Introducing Moses Mai. (Heh heh... Not an intentional resemblance!)

And if Noah's original reaction to a shirt on Mai was priceless, it as NOTHING compared to his utter, heart-stopping JOY when he saw Mai's new duds. He literally quivered with amazement and excitement. I, of course, died a little joyful death of my own, seeing his pure wonder.

The miracle continued-- He was so giddy over his Mai's "makeover" that when I dared grab my camera, he actually LET ME TAKE PHOTOS. He was so PROUD of his Mai that he WANTED me to take pictures. (Please know that this is a FIRST. Ever. He has never willingly let me take photos. Not like this.)

(Even now, that little look of pride on his face above makes my little heart stop a little.)

It was incredible. I took a few shots, then said, "All done?" and you know what he said? "More? more? more? "

My son. just asked. for MORE photos. What the whaaa?

So before he could change his mind, I grabbed my quilt and took him to better light and set him up for some more photos. It was so funny. He looked right at the camera, held his Mai with pride, and POSED. And when he got restless and I said, "All done?" He STILL said, "More? More?"

So I let Mai take a turn. And Noah was utterly delighted to watch Lamby pose for the camera. I instructed Lamby to "Sit still! Good! Now look at the camera! Good Mai! Good! Now smile!" And Lamby did a FABULOUS job! Noah was so proud that he even let me take a few more with him in them.

It was a golden hour in this all-to-swiftly passing baby-to-childhood of my sweet son. It was everything I could have ever wanted for true happiness... Just my barefoot toddler, his raggedy Lamby, a snipped dishtowel, and me.

This Lamby Love delights Joe and I daily. The things Lamby gets involved in... The way Noah needs and loves and cherishes him... The stage kisses to Lamby's face, "Mwa! Mwa! Mwa!"... The glee on Noah's face when I put a hat on Lamby, or show Lamby how to stir something, or let Lamby clap along to songs... Noah's wonderment that his true love can almost be animate like him... It is a bit of magic in his little life.

And Noah? Well, he is the bit of magic in MY little life. He is my joy. My love.

Lance- 3-Month Photographs {St. Louis Baby Photographer}

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just a few from Lance's minisession... This little chunker has grown so much from THIS session... :)

I promise a REAL blog post tomorrow... (today? Hm. It's past midnight. Gotta get to bed!)

Emily Southerland Photography

Emily Southerland Photography

Emily Southerland Photography

Emily Southerland Photography

Emily Southerland Photography
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