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... :)

{scroll down to see posts}


Us:

Us:

Friday, July 31

Fear

At the risk of chasing away any potential future visitors to my house, I have a horrifying tale to tell.

It has to do with the Mason Attic.

And no, it is not ninjas.

(though that USED to be my biggest fear living here. It's a long story. Go ask one of my high school students.)

It is 5:17 am, and I have just felt the most prolonged fear I have ever felt in my life. I made a choice to keep the fear in me in order to finish the necessary task, which is the closest thing to courage I have probably ever had.

Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared. ~Edward Vernon Rickenbacker

So, if you read my Twitter at all, you'll recall the story of the bat. That three early mornings ago, a poorly designed, cheaply implemented (thanks, Mr. Mason) transonic rodent box did the opposite of its job and LET A BAT INTO MY APARTMENT. After which I freaked out, slapped Joe awake, and we both proceeded to duck our heads and freak out as it blindly swooped around and around the room until it left to darker reaches of our open floor-plan apartment.

By the time Joe geared up (mentally and literally, in knee-high socks, baseball cap, and full-length bathrobe) for the task of hunting this thing down, Mr. Bat was done flailing and flapping wildly and was nowhere to be found.

After a nerve-wracking search of the apartment (Joe's task, while I cowered in the room), Joe turned up nothing. He hypothesized that the bat had found its way to the attic of our Attic through an unfinished electrical socket where a ceiling fan should have gone. Though it seemed a mighty small hole to find so quickly, we didn't see the bat again after taping the hole off with plastic bags and duct tape. Perhaps the sonar of this creature was so sophisticated that it quickly "felt" the height of the attic above, even through the 3 inch hole.

We managed to sleep that night. I don't know how. But we did. We used the stupid "bat box" turned inward on our apartment, trusting it would disconcert the critter if it WASN'T in the attic.

I was pretty terribly nervous the next morning. But as the day wore on and cupboards got opened and things went on as usual and no winged rodent flew at us, I calmed down. I was even comfortable enough by the end of the day to go clean up our storage room in the evening.

And though it sounds crazy, while moving bags in our hallway that evening, there it was-- dead. Lying against the wall, dead. Less than 24 hours after the ordeal, we had our bat, and while it was a little freaky to get rid of, it was simple. It had already died. HOW it got in the hall, who knows? HOW it died? Who knows. But it was gone.

We put away the stupid bat box transonic thing. Our problems were over.





Until an hour ago.



When I woke (alone this time, since Joe is on his night shift) to the sound of fluttering bat wings gently knocking the metal canopy of our bed. In the dark. At 4:30 am.

SH********T.

Instantly wide awake, I rolled out of bed as low as possible, ducking to grab my phone on the way to the light switch.

The bat was BACK.

I mean, yes, we found a dead bat... but THIS one was in our APARTMENT, after having all windows closed for three days. Logically, THIS had to be OUR bat. No time to ponder where that other bat might have come from (ew ew ew ew ew ew).

My heart in my throat, I watched it swoop, dive, knock walls-- clearly blind and unmalicious, but just as clearly terrifyingly fast and skittery. I hid most of my body behind the doorway. It dipped into the room I was straddling. Then back into the lit bedroom. I reached 3 feet away and flipped the stupid sonic bat box back on. If possible, the bat got MORE active. CRAPCRAPCRAP. I inched further away and got to the kitchen of our shotgun apartment (all rooms in a row, few actual doors). I managed to turn on the rest of the apartment lights and get the front part of our apartment (laundry room and bathroom) sealed off with the only closeable door. On the other end of the apartment, Noah's door was also closed.

Now it was just me, the bat, and three big rooms.

I called Joe from the farthest room. My heart pounding as I kept both eyes riveted to the far room where the bat was spending most of his time, Joe and I talked tersely and quietly about the situation. About how it could have come back. Touching on, but not dwelling on what that OTHER bat was all about. And finally, talking about what had to be done. A broom... and a LOT of courage. Joe apologized with deep frustration that I was alone. I whimpered that I was unhappy about HURTING the thing. But we both knew-- with the critter so jittery, never landing long enough to be caught, with morning coming and a baby to go get out of bed soon.... this had to be done. NOW. Before the bat went into hiding again.

So I hung up. I went into the closed laundry room and geared myself up-- big socks, long-sleeved, high-collared jacket, kerchief on my head. I said a breathless prayer out loud. My heart, in my throat, was pounding hard and fast. Courage quotes I had looked up the other day for a project came flooding back--

Courage is fear holding on a minute longer. ~George Smith Patton

Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne

Necessity does the work of courage. ~Nicholas Murray Butler

And I realized that yes-- THIS was brave. To feel this heart-stopping, stomach dropping, hand-shaking fear, and to still grab the broom and open that door.

And oh sweet lord, there are no words to adequately describe the combination of adrenaline, numbness, alertness, and terror I felt as I confronted the situation. The fluttering, swooping rodent. Who, bless his frightened heart, just wanted to get back OUT and go HOME. He even alighted on the original windowsill where he had come in three nights ago, and stayed still for the longest I'd seen him as he explored the window, trying to find an exit. And oh, please-- if he'd stayed put long enough, I would have tried to let him out. I wanted him to be free.

But these things move too fast. And I was too scared.

So the broom attack had to happen.

And every time I swung that broom, my heart stopped and I bit a scream inside me. And I missed. And missed. And missed. Hit a corner of a wing, and he zoomed for the next room.

I cornered him in the kitchen, where he now KNEW he was being hunted. His sonar led him around and around in circles, and he was GOOD. He was REALLY good.

I missed. And missed. And missed. And missed. I cannot tell you how many times I missed.

By this time, very animal noises were coming out of ME, a kind of grunt/cry every time I swung. PURE FEAR. Terrible, horrible, driven FEAR.

I finally got a lucky shot, and he was down. Not out. I had to go in and swing again while he was disoriented. And then I had to swing again and again. By this time, I was crying, and saying over and over, "I'm sorry... I'm sorry..."

Amazing that in the midst of such BIG FEAR, there was also such deep regret at the harm I had to inflict. I was so upset.

I had to be brutal, and that is something I have NEVER done before. NEVER. I pray (oh please, Lord, please) I never have to do that kind of harm again.

But in the end, he was dead.

It hurts just admitting that.

I killed it. I did. My hands and arms and will and strength and fear killed it. No one else's. Mine.

That was over an hour ago. I cried, shaky from the adrenaline. I said "I'm sorry" over and over. I wrapped it in three shopping bags, horrified and upset and uncomfortable.

And I did not go back to sleep.

I have never felt that kind of fear in my life-- the prolonged, necessary, fighting-back TERROR that filled my shaking body from top to bottom. And I know my story is small. That a BAT is not a true enemy like some have had to face in their lives.

And I don't like what I had to do to end the fear.

There is no HAPPY ending, I guess... Except this bat is gone.

After the ordeal, I called Joe back, and while leaving him a message, I looked up at the plastic bag/duct tape cover of the light socket, and saw one side had come loose. I think Joe must've been right about the bat's hideout for the last three days.

But it still doesn't explain that second dead bat.

and I am absolutely certain I do NOT want to explore that question right now. Or ever.

Wednesday, July 29

These Are a Few Of My Favorite Things....

I live a pretty unglamorous life-- we don't have much money, and we don't have a huge life beyond our little Mason Attic... It is usually just Joe, Noah, and me, living, listening to music, laughing, enjoying walks on our shady street, reading... with a few dear friends thrown in, and two incredible families.

So I have found that it is the little things that can bring a little of the outside world back to me-- the trinkets and treasures that I find that make my heart smile. I don't need diamonds or yachts, but being treated (or treating myself) with something little and lovely, something handmade and beautiful, can bring the most wonderful sparkle to my simple life.

Here, in photos, just a few of my favorite things-- things that I love to see and hold and use in my daily wanderings around my little world:

{1. hand-lettered address stamp for the mail i love to send out: By Lettergirl on Etsy}
beware-- if you aren't careful, you'll find yourself buying one for your very own...

{2. "Hot Mama"- a Mother's Day gift from Joe to me: by ModernMama on Etsy}
The loveliest gift a new mom, frumpy and sleep-deprived, could get. I adore vintage fans anyway, so this was a grand slam.
{3. Handmade Lollipops by Hammond's Candies (since 1920)}
oh the colors... oh the FLAVORS... oh the cuteness of a lollipop in a kid's photoshoot! *swoon*
(add in an Anthropologie mug, and it is pretty much the cutest photo of the day.)

{4. Homegrown zinnias from the Soulard Farmer's Market}
my absolute favorite flower of summertime... one day I'll have a yard of my own and endless bouquets of these sweet blooms.
{5. Handmade, Hand-Stamped Vintage Typewriter Key Necklace: by Pam Kehoe-Peterson}
I treated myself to this powerful necklace-- incredible craftsmanship, and the message to myself-- ONWARD... No matter what. Keep moving upward and onward... LOVE LOVE this one.

{6. Morning Art: by Noah and Mama}
the growing stack of lovely little random art that Noah and I make every morning...I need to tell you about it one day. It is pretty wonderful.
{7. "Because Nice Matters": by MommatoBoys on Etsy}
A perfect little square of truth.... My dear friend Jennie makes lots of these with the sweetest, most positive messages...This greets me in my kitchen each day.
{8. The Robot: from Hip and Humble, a darling Salt Lake City boutique}
a birthday treat this year... I had to get it because Noah adores robots and will even make the noise-- boop boop beep!
{9. Handmade Ceramic Letter Magnets: found at Poppy, the coolest boutique in Columbia, MO}
my bessie Genny gifted me with these beautiful things. See all our names? LOVE. Noah loves these, too...
{10. Japanese Masking Tape: featured on Oh Happy Day, the design blog, and sold at Ginko Papers}
beware both these websites... I'm just warning you now. Better yet, don't avoid them-- go get me something! And c'mon. This is MASKING TAPE. Too cute!!
...ahh.... Little treasures. Individually none very valuable.... but collectively, they define a bit of me, they bring me joy, and they inspire me.

*


Your turn: what is one of YOUR current favorite things?

Tuesday, July 28

So Small, So Sweet: More Baby L. | St. Louis Newborn Photographer |

Remember Baby L.? His Dr. Seussian hat and his tiny little newborn frame?

I tried to narrow down a few more to show.... But as you can see by the following long series of images, I didn't do a very good job of limiting my favorites. Ha! He was just so perfect-- so small, so sleepy, and so sweet. See for yourself!




This next one: Color? Or B&W? I haven't decided for myself yet...




(This little guy was SO cozy in the basket... Seriously, we could have moved him anywhere-- peek for yourself-- LOVE this outtake of Mama helping me switch settings!)(LOVE my newest Craig's List treasure... Rickety, rusty... PERFECT.)
And one more....
Amelia, thank you for such a wonderful afternoon, letting me shush and cuddle and swaddle your wee one-- then put him in all sorts of baskets, wraps and doo-dads for his session. He was a dream! These images make my heart melt... I hope they do the same for you!

*

In other news, my sister Beckie is HOME! Remember this post? Over a year ago, my kid sister left for a year-long civilian contractor job in Iraq... and it is ABOUT TIME she got her tush back here. It has been so fun... Lots of family time at my folks' house this weekend, an adventure in family photos, lots of food, laughter... And watching my siblings interact with Noah is so good for my soul.

Welcome home, sis.

The rest of this week promises to be whirlwind. My goals:
1. get storage room back in ship shape
2. edit/sort/upload sessions
3. clean the house top to bottom
4. wash cars
5. Morning Art with Noah
6. drink LOTS of water every day
7. let GO of stress when my gaggle of girls arrive Friday for the Midwest Crafty Weekend... (More on that soon...)

That should be enough to keep me busy. So on that note... Time for bed. I've got a LOT to do in the next few days!

'Night!

Friday, July 24

MindDump...

Now that I am back on track with my workload (MAN that took forever to dig out of... May overbooking piling on top of April overbooking, putting June sessions farther behind... Add to that the two-week trip away from my computer and I just was in a HUGE HOLE.)..... Where was I? Oh yeah-- Now that I am reaching "normal", I have time to think. A lot. Lots of things. Like--

What can I do to ensure a more sane life in the future? How am I measuring up as a mama? How can I spend more one-on-one time with my sweet, long-suffering husband? Will I ever feel good enough? How can I feed my spirit? What really matters? What are some ways to "fill the well"?

And... Will I ever feel on top of my personal plans, ideas, records, photographs? (likely not. Ha!)

And... why does that Master To-Do List cause so much angst that I try to push it to the back of my mind as much as I can? (What's on your Master To-Do List? Mine has things like: photo albums from 2006-2008, Making a hard copy of Noah's baby book, Finishing Noah's One-Year Coffee Table Book, scanning old photos from Joe's past, WAIT-- these all have to do with photos. Hm. I thought for SURE there were other things on there. But the stuff that gives me knots is MY OWN PHOTOS. What am I going to DO about that??)

...I'm watching "Assassination of Jesse James By Blah Blah Blah" on my Netflix DVD behind my blog screen. I'm not into it. Clearly. I mean, you can't type and listen to wordy dialogue at the same time and get it. Oh well... It is a PRETTY movie. Loving the color of it.

I'm less than a week away from my new camera and lens. And my new Photoshop. Have I mentioned lately that I am working with some DINOSAUR equipment? Three years old or older. Scandalous. But I am pretty dang pleased with how far I've gotten in my journey with the tools I currently have. I think it is a testament to learning your craft inside and out instead of just relying on fancy gadgets and expensive actions to do the work for you.

And I'm not saying I know my craft inside and out.... I CERTAINLY am not saying that. In fact, last weekend, I took a deep breath and sent some recent images out into the universe to be critiqued by others in the business... and got my pride HANDED to me. There's nothing like TOUGH criticisms and honest artistic opinion to knock an artist off their center and make them reevaluate their strengths and weaknesses. I mean, WOW. It was breath-taking. As in, "knock the wind out of you". But good for me. I think, in all honesty, I was deemed WORTHY of the tough love, because it got dished out to me MUCH harder than the average less-skilled photographer-beginner who posted for criticism. I think I was seen as far enough along to take it and grow.

And so I am working past the bruises and working on the growing. I mean, I guess it was either QUIT, or GROW, right? (I still wonder about the quitting.)

Oh MAN. What a time in my life-- just.... filled with my baby and my work.... Noah and photos. Trying to find authenticity in the gaps... trying to MAKE a few gaps, actually-- gaps in my busy life. Gaps where I can thrive and read and listen and heal and learn and grow. Trying to remember how to be a wife in addition to a mama. Trying to be a friend back to my incredible circle of women. Trying to listen to my soul...

It's easy to get in the "hamster wheel" mode... just go go go go go... No stopping for meaning. No adding relevance to it all. And I know that at least for ME, that doesn't work. I need more.

And getting some time back into my life is putting me back into a place where I can start to make changes needed to get there. To that place where I feel I am living my life in an inspired way.

I... guess this rambler has gone on long enough. I should probably just save it to a Word document as a journal post and save the space on the blog... But what the hey. It's me. It's my little internal world right now.

And I needed this. Needed to just blah blah for a while.

Hm.

Guess I should get back to my editing. This overthinking is making my head and my heart hurt.

*
P.S. Lots of photos from lots of sessions coming your way... soon. Soon. Lots lots lots. Just be prepared.

{and didja like that photo at the top? Just a nod to all the photos in my life I have yet to go through and sort and edit and save... That one is Christmas Morning 2008... Isn't Noah's hair a riot?}

"Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys..."

...when there are so many even COOLER options!

Excuse me, Universe? What can I be doing today to ensure my son (and subsequent kiddos) grows into THIS?

These brothers, filled with vast, limitless imagination, energy, and passion for JUST BEING KIDS....

I want this in my home.

(My dear friend Melody, beautiful mama to these two boys, assures me that there's more to this than just incredible playtimes... With great energy comes great challenges as well...But we'll cross that bridge when we get there. Can't I just romanticize this marvelous image of brothers conquering their imaginary world head-on, full of courage and wonder?)

Thanks, Mel-- for sharing this delightful image with me and letting me edit it for you. It makes me so excited for the years to come with a houseful of kiddos.

I can only hope mine have as much spit and spunk as yours.

(Though I suspect Noah is well on his way... Heh heh!)

Tuesday, July 21

Oh How I Loved This Wee Little Man | St. Louis Newborn Photographer |


{Baby L. | 6 days old, 5 lbs. 12 oz., and perfect}
Just one... for now.

I have too many others to choose from!

Saturday, July 18

The Satisfying Slow Span of Summer

What I Am Loving Right Now:

* Popsicles. slushies. Slurpees. Cherry Limeades. Anything cool and fresh!

* Mozzarella Caprese... Katie's fave. Luscious tomatoes, soft mozzarella, fresh basil, balsamic vinaigrette. Mmmmmm!

* Skirts... long, swishy, flowy... with flip flops

* Gelato: two flavors, please... a hazelnut and a fruit.

* Late sunshine lasting past baby's bedtime...

* New music to blare in the car with the windows down.

* Doo-dads in my hair (Dawn, can I have a few more yarn flowers?!)

* Baja Blast Mountain Dew

* Forest Park so close to me-- playgrounds, zoo, science center, wildflowers, nature trails... Come visit, people!!

* The Midwest Crafty Weekend in TWO WEEKS!! Girls, I CANNOT WAIT. Sure you don't want to stay an extra week!?!

* New fabrics... projects-in-embryo just waiting for me to finally get time

* Letting go... Learning, growing, moving on.

What are YOU loving right now?

P.S. Contest winner from yesterday: Jami!! I'll get your treat in the mail next week!

Friday, July 17

DC Session #1: Jackie and Jefferson






One of my six DC sessions took place at the Jefferson Memorial. What a kick!
It was a drizzly day, and my Old Navy flip flops were NOT the footwear to be wearing on slick marble.... But I managed NOT to fall down all the stairs before my session even began.

I got to meet Jackie-- a spunky, energetic 18-month old, and chase her all over the portico. Her parents were sweet and flexible and trusting as I snapped furiously, reassuring them we were getting some good shots in between Jackie's bursts of energy and independence.

I loved every minute!

We made time later in my whirlwind weekend for the "garage session", where I got to snap Jackie and three other cuties in solo shots. My absolute favorite photos from this cute family is the last one of Jackie--- her blue blue eyes and her floating blonde curls... She makes my heart happy!

Thanks, DC sessions! More to come...

*

P.S. CONTEST!
How many columns does the Jefferson Memorial have? In honor of the cherry trees lining the path to the memorial, I'll send a Bath and Body Works Cherry Blossom lotion or dish soap to a random commenter who gets the answer correct! You get until midnight July 17th.

Tuesday, July 14

Tonight's Workflow...

|settings: ss 1/200 f-stop 6.3 iso 400 focal length 75 mm|

I'm back from my big trip and catching up like a madman on editing sessions and making keepsake books... and while I should probably actually BE editing right now, (ha, oops!) I thought I'd pop on and share my current workflow for anyone who might be curious....

First of all, it is a fun/scary exercise for a pro photog to share straight-out-of-camera (SOOC) shots... Because it is like baring your soul. Showing what you come up with on-site, then showing how you feel it can be improved through personalized hand-editing. Above, is a good example of what I am striving for-- good exposure and focus and strong color right out of the gate... But if you look between the two, the two things I almost always want to improve are the skin tones and the clarity.

And while I am working a specific workflow groove tonight, there are many other tricks in my bag that I use when needed, and my workflow is an organic, changing thing. What works for me today might feel outdated or too much or too little on another day, so I change it up a bit.

My ultimate goal, either way, is to produce a clean, classic edit with real color and a timeless finish. There are many paths I can take to get to that point, but the end goal is the same. I want to give my clients something they will love always.

Once I am done with the "clean edits", I then go back and play. Choose a few favorites from the session and add some texture, convert to black and white, go crazy with color effects... Show the clients some fun possibilities.

And usually, I ADORE these "fun edits" even more than the original copies. I am more funky than traditional in my own life and my own style... I love the grunge and the color tints and the antique finishes...

But it always comes back to the clean edits. After all the fun ones, I just feel right about giving my clients the classic, simple look... First and foremost.

So... To get that "clean edit", here is tonight's workflow:

1. Open file.

2. Crop to 240 DPI at the largest possible size while maintaining file size (for my camera, it is about a 10"x15" at 240 DPI)

3. Do a "Levels" adjustment layer. I often pull the two end arrows in towards center just to where the histogram begins its rise.

4. Run Miabella's "Let There Be Light" action and adjust some light and shadow if necessary.

5. Run Coffeeshop Rita's "PowderRoom" action and do a bit of skin smoothing if necessary (always at at low opacity... Less is more!!).

5. Tweak the color a bit. In this case, I ran Pioneer Woman's (do you read her yet? If not, you need to. She is SO COOL.) warming action then lowered the opacity to about 30%.

6. Sharpen. (USM at 250% 0.5 0)

7. Defog if necessary. (USM at 20% 60 0)

8. Add a bit of burn to the edges if the photo lends itself to it.

The end.

That's it....

Each photo takes a few minutes, but if I have done my job in-camera, it is really painless and kinda fun!

So... Enough time wasting, you guys. I can't keep hanging out on here! I need to get the rest of the above cute family's photos DONE DONE DONE... :)

But if anyone has any questions, or suggestions for other informative posts, leave a comment! anything to procrastinate a bit more here and there.

(Just kidding, all you waiting clients. You are sweet and patient and I love you.)

:)

Ta!

Sunday, July 12

Finished A Book...

Abraham's Well by Sharon Ewell Foster
I never get books read recently... So this is an accomplishment. This is a simple, moving book, easy to read, easy to get involved with... and it tells a piece of American history we don't know much about. It isn't going on my top book list of all time, but it was well worth the read!

When I read a book, if passages speak to me, I fold the lower corner just a little so I can go back and copy them down in my journal at the end... And seeing as I have been TERRIBLE at journaling recently, I might as well write it here... Since the book is a library book, borrowed from my mother-in-law all the way from Korea. I need to return it to her tonight!

Here are the two corners I folded down in this book:

On changing ourselves--
"No man wants to look and see that he is broken, that he is diseased or disfigured. But if he will be brave, if he will judge himself, then, like Jacob, he can change...
It is a hard thing to see yourself-- to recognize that you are broken, to see that you are wrong. It is painful to see that you are diseased...
Stepping into the water to be baptized is easy-- but honest confession of what is wrong with you hurts right down to the depths of the soul... I know. I'm telling you what I know. It hurts so deep, like a wound to the mortal body...
and it is even more painful -- after you know it must be done-- to rip out that thing about you that is evil. And, my brothers and sisters, don't let anyone fool you. It is not easy! That diseased part of your soul, it hurts like disease in your arm. You can feel it...
Most people run from it. They are not brave like Jacob. They don't want to feel the soul's disease, the soul's pain. They try to pretend, like Jacob did for so long, that the sickness is not there. So they try to cover it by acquiring more things...
It would be wrong of me to deceive you, to tell you that changing is easy. Cutting that disease from your soul is painful. It means you have to cut away a piece of who you are.
[But] We can choose to be courageous people. We can choose to stand, to fight against what is wrong inside ourselves. We can choose to be made whole."
-Brother Jesse's Sermon, pages 215-216

Miss Susie's Wisdom--
"You can't get to joy being mad. Take it from somebody who knows. Being mad will kill everything around you. The madder you are-- the more mad you plant-- the more mad you'll get. It's just like adding salt to the pot. The more you add, the more you'll get in the end. Too much salt won't never make a cake turn sweet."
-page 257

Saturday, July 11

Home Again...


Home again. Breathing in harmony with the gentle sounds of the blow dryer CD in my baby's room as he takes his first nap in his own crib in over two weeks. Not looking at the luggage or mail or dust in the other room. Waiting for Joe to come home with some good food to eat. Taking time to only open and look at ONE photo of the thousand I took during our time away, and even that one only so I can give my little blog an image to hint at the time we spent so far away.

Today:
Going to nap.
Going to begin digging through all the work piles from my absence (checks to deposit, prints to order, session inquiries to respond to, confirmations to make, equipment to purchase... LOTs to do here!).
Going to let Joe get some time on his beloved computer game. (He's been such a good sport to not play for over three weeks... He deserves some "junk-out0-in-front-of-the-computer" time!).
Going to maybe watch a Netflix movie while he does that while I work on books.

What I Loved About my Trip (just a few to start... I could go on and on...):

Good food
Dear friends
the magnificent, glorious Tetons (doesn't that photo above just take your breath away?!?! I got to see that kind of view EVERY DAY for a WEEK.)
Laughing
Shopping
Hugs from loved ones
Noah's milestones and adaptabilities
My husband, a marvelous travel partner

What I Missed During My Absence:
Blogging.
My mouse. (How do you laptop folk DO IT??! I HATED sliding my stupid finger all over the pad to get to where I needed. UGH. NOT in that habit.)
My bed.
My online universe.
Noah sleeping through the night.
My lovely neighborhood and my awesome city.
Variety of outfits to wear (I only brought 5, so I was so OVER those choices by the end!).
The Bachelorette. (I am SO lame, I know!)
Our stroller.
My iTunes.


So.... For now.... I am just gonna check in, say hi... and promise more to come. I had two sessions while I was gone, both were SO FUN!! I have back sessions from before my trip to share with you. I have so many tales and thoughts and LIFE to throw on here.... to journal about.... and I am feeling newfound energy and passion for a LOT of things, so get ready.... I am BACK!