Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

He is passionate about trains. It only made sense to dress him as a train engineer for Halloween! (Thanks, Erin, for the overalls and hat!!)

Check out my sweet nearly-3-year old!






It's been a whirlwind week, and a whirlwind holiday weekend! Trying to get my editing done on time to keep clients cheerful, trying to stay awake even with pregnancy exhaustion, trying to make fun memories happen for Noah as we near Halloween, and in the middle of it all, having some health issues that are really knocking me off my feet and out of the game.... It's been a bit rough, and suffice it to say, I am not running at 100% right now. 

But I'm blessed with the most AMAZING husband--- he has performed at a whole new level of "supportive/compassionate/selfless" and I am in awe of him. How he can still stand me after a week of complaining and not cleaning the house and needing extra favors.... How he can still make my favorite treat tonight, even after bearing the brunt of the parenting responsibilities for the last 24 hours--- I am so so blessed. He is my hero. 

And Noah--- how can anyone be down for long with that sweet kid in their life? His energy, excitement, fast little mind... new ideas... He makes me laugh daily, and is so loving to me. 

So... We find new ways to get through and still manage to enjoy life. It helps to have my little family around. 

And helps to have Beckie in town for a minute. 

And helps to have dear friends I can unload upon via phone.

And my mama.

And helps to have the most kind, understanding clients. 

And helps that there's a LOT of candy and desserts in this house. 


So.... Here's to getting back to 100%. And here is me, deeply, unfalteringly grateful for the circle of love I have around me in this life. 


A Letter to My Apple:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


My Sweet Apple:

It’s funny to be writing you like this… In many ways, at many moments of the day, the reality of you escapes me, and I forget that you are, indeed, blooming and growing and becoming the baby I will hold in six short months. It’s different this time—with your big brother occupying most of my daytime thoughts and efforts, and the sheer exhaustion of creating you occupying the rest of the hours of the day--- I have less time to sit and dream of you like I did with him, and sometimes I have to remind myself of the magic that is happening within me at every moment of my life right now.

But still, when I take the time to pause, I can feel you there… A wee little apple deep within me, working at least as hard as I am to CREATE yourself. 16 weeks. Amazing how in a mere 16 weeks, you have grown from something so small the eye can’t detect it, to this incredible, miraculous little one I might be able to hold in the palm of my hand. The weekly updates from the baby websites designate a fruit or vegetable for your current size, and that charms me. One week you might be a bean, the next week a cherry tomato… And eventually you’ll be a coconut, then a pineapple,, then a cantaloupe… And in the blink of an eye, you’ll be REAL. In my arms.

I have longed for you for the longest time. Since before I knew your father… since the time I felt my purpose must be to bring children into this world and raise them as dearly as my own parents raised me. If it be my destiny to have children, I was ready. But it’s funny how that yearning grows so much more intense once you’ve had one already.. then are made to wait and wait and wait for the next one. Watching your brother, Noah, grow, amazing us with every new day, it seemed we’d never get to share a sibling with him. And the joy he brings us—such a powerful joy. It can only get better with the addition of you.

My sweet apple--- I am so excited for you. Excited to feel the first movements of your kicks and bumps within me, excited to see your profile on the ultrasound in a few short weeks. Excited to begin making a quilt for you, to begin collecting treasures for you. I am excited to see your brother learn to include you in his world. I am excited to see who you are, and who you’ll become.

You are a gift. I cherish you and I cannot wait to be your mama. I won’t be perfect… I will lose my patience and feed you easy, less-healthy food sometimes.. I will disappoint you sometimes, probably… But I promise you--- I LIVE to be your mama. I LIVE to make our home a haven of peace and knowledge and music and beauty and creativity. I am honored to be given the stewardship of your young life, to help you become someone this world needs.

Welcome to our family, sweet one. This is just the beginning. Things will get even more incredible come April. I can’t wait.

I love you.



So yes... It's time to officially tell the world-- we are pregnant, and having a sweet little one due April 11. Sixteen weeks, and everything has been really, really good.  It really IS harder to grasp onto this reality this time--- life keeps taking over and I keep thinking I should have the energy and strength of my old self... Until this whole thing knocks me off my feet every evening and I barely stay upright through my worktime and late bedtime.

I'm trying to be in the PRESENT, and love every day... Yet this crazy fall photo season threatens to take that from me all the time. It's been a bit nutty. But things should slow down very very soon, and I cannot wait to begin to settle in for a winter of comfort, family, and incubating this little one to full term.

And the apple theme? Well, when I began this letter last week, this little babe was "about the size of an apple"... But now, at week 16, they're telling me "avocado", and that's just not as cute. So you get an apple.

And the boys were cool with being a part of this fun, too, so we'll end with them:




Has It Been a Week?

Monday, October 18, 2010


October is proving to test ALL my newfound "slow" theories to the limit--- sessions coming on top of each other, a gazillion fun things calling out to us to fill our calendars with... It's getting a bit overwhelming, and I am desperately craving a SLOW DOWN right NOW. 


Before that can happen, I have to:

finish this session I'm editing tonight

try to get a full nights' sleep

pack up the car tomorrow morning

go to an appointment in the AM with Noah in tow

leave appt. directly to drive to Columbia, MO
put Noah down for nap at Grandma's house

drive to Sedalia, MO for a session

spend the night in Columbia at my folks' house

... And then, before the week is out, I have two more sessions and three house guests coming over the weekend.


No break in sight. 


Meanwhile, I try to grab a few hours when I can, try to stay home when I don't need to be anywhere... Try to keep a good pace for Noah, even when my internal to do list is in turmoil...


Forgive the lack of photos today. I mean to post a few, but:
A. I haven't prepared my latest sessions for blogging yet and
B. I can't spare a minute tonight to edit the personal photos I took today of a few cute fall-y things

When I get back from CoMo, I'll get some pics on here. 

That's a promise. 

Back to editing!

"I Want"--- A Journaling Exercise For Any Day... Here's Mine For Today:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I blogged my philosophy of "I Want" Lists back in April, 2009, here:

But since it's easier for you guys to read it here, instead of going on a wild goose chase, here's what I wrote last year about this fun little exercise:

"A long time ago, in the era of my life where I was journeying within to figure myself out, I read several books by SARK, a gypsy free-spirit artist who writes books that affirm and empower women. To this day, I credit her writing for much of my foundational creative philosophy.

One of the journaling exercises she spoke of that captured my imagination and became a recurring event in MY journal was the game called "I Want". She says, "I write the things 'I want' and then let wild imaginings make things up." In her sample list, the third thing she listed was "red rubber rain boots". And the moment I read those words, I wanted them too. Years later, I STILL yearn for a pair of red rubber rain boots. And over the years, as I write my "I Want" Lists, this item usually makes it on there, somewhere.

As I have created these lists over the years, I have found interesting things out-- first, if the list is long enough, by the end you are really writing some authentic things. And often, by the end of the list, you realize you don't just want material things. It is an eye-opening exercise.
Th other interesting thing I've come to realize is that these lists don't create an emptiness as I focus on all the things I don't have but want--- but rather, it feels good to be honest, to tell myself the truth about my desires... and in the end, I usually find at least one thing on that list I can go out and GET or achieve, and suddenly, the rest of the wants are okay for a bit longer.

Anyway.... My friend Gen recently wrote an "I Want" list of her own, and it made me smile and I knew it was time for a new list of my own here. I have not thought about this in advance... I'm just gonna free-style it, which is they way you SHOULD do it. If this exercise inspires you, I would love to read any lists you guys create and blog about. Just let me know in the comments where to find you!


So... because I am ALWAYS down for an "I Want" List, here's one for today, October 12, 2010:

Wings from Wingers in Utah. I miss Wingers more than is healthy.
A weekend away with just Joe, in a new city, with some spending money
A project room--- for sewing, scrapbooking, crafting, painting...... Mmm... dream!
To go to lunch with Katie B., then back to her house to each claim a couch to curl up on and nap.
A cottage-style garden 
A turkey/cranberry/stuffing sandwich from Capriatti's in Las Vegas
To be in Venice.
Or maybe Rome.
A pumpkin-spice candle.
That book on aprons I saw at Hobby Lobby last night.
To not feel so danged lonely these past couple of days!
The frosting to already be made.
To find a friend or two to come to the orchard and aquarium restaurant with me next week sometime.
To be confident about my upcoming session(s).
To not have this wrinkle developing between my eyebrows. 
My blog redesigned by that girl who never got back to me.
A Toblerone bar.
A magnificent playhouse or treehouse in my future back yard for my kiddos. And me.
Red-striped canvas fabric. Ten yards.
To be able to visit my past once in a blue moon... just for nostalgia purposes.
To sing bluegrass harmonies with a trio of fab girls...
To have a piano in my home. 
To have a home of my own to decorate.
To go horseback riding.
Sushi from Wasabi. 
REAL hot chocolate and a french pastry.
To speak Italian well. 
A new hairstyle. 
No worries. 


Ah.... tis fun to ponder.... to let the mind wander... And besides lunch (which OBVIOUSLY I am hungry, no??) there's nothing that haunts me from this list, so I'm in pretty good shape. I'm going to get myself some food, go finish a little giftie I'm working on for  my friend,  and then maybe contemplate a nap... Or more crafties. All is well. 

Your turn! I'm fascinated by these and would LOVE to read yours!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Perhaps it's just the coming-down from a really fun weekend away....

Perhaps it's the changing seasons, which, though my favorite, still instill some meloncholy sometimes....

Perhaps it's the fact that I have more sessions than usual this week, unpacking to do, a massive pile of unfolded laundry that grows every time the sweet, well-meaning hubs does laundry (which seems to be every other day these days. I know, I know, I shouldn't look that gift horse in the mouth... But WOW the pile is big. And it's not folding itself.)

Perhaps it's hormones... mood swings...

Perhaps not enough sleep last night?

Perhaps low blood sugar?

Whatever it is, I feel GLUM today.... Stuck in my pajamas, unshowered, unable to bring myself to do much beyond sigh and think listlessly of the many many things I SHOULD be doing. It's lame. Noah is being super sweet and having a blast with two pieces of string and a piece of ribbon.... The little string is the "baby snake", the long string is the "mama snake", and the ribbon is the "daddy snake", and they seem to be having some grand adventures...
We're listening to Noah's Fall playlist--- lots of lovely folk-style songs... mellow, and definitely NOT changing the mood from melancholy/slow to upbeat/go-get-em.... But they're such pretty songs... And I'm not feeling like changing them.
We had Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast... I tackled some emails.... I might cut some fabric.... 


That's the rhythm of the day, so far.... pretty much what you've just read... Noncommittal and borderline whiny. Ick.

Oh well.

I'm sure that within the next hour or two, I WILL manage to get showered, at least, and I think of all the things I keep thinking I should be doing, the laundry feels the most do-able. So.... that'll probably get done. 


I guess it's okay for us all to have days like this. I read a great essay once about how to deal with the "blues"... I think I even blogged it the other year--- Sarah B. Breathnach gives two versions of how to deal. The first version is to snap out of it and put on red lipstick, get out of the house, change gears, force energy to happen... And the second solution is to give into it, curl into it, put on your softest pj pants, get a trashy book, some comfort food, and go to bed early.... 

And I really think I'm leaning toward Coping Method #2 today.

And that's okay. Noah is content. The TV is off. Good music is playing. And the rest of the week promises to be pretty hectic, so maybe this "down day" will be a good start to all of the rest.... 

Now, if I could only be CHEERFUL in this decision, instead of the continual sighing.... I'm getting tired of hearing myself!

Til later--- Here's to your Monday, whichever way you choose to tackle it.


Edited to Add:
Found that ol' blog post with Sarah B. B.'s essay. GOOD stuff, again and again:

Thursday Randoms: Why Not?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

 Current Randoms:

Tomorrow afternoon, Joe is coming home from work early and we are loading up and hopping on an Amtrak train. See, Noah is PASSIONATE about trains... Not a surprise, seeing as trains rank as one of the top toddler obsessions out there. Noah certainly has the bug. He plays with his trains all day long, loves to watch the Metrolink go by, gets insanely excited every time we see a railroad crossing sign and go over tracks. He is telling everyone he is going to be a conductor for Halloween, and he can sit and watch his dad draw track and little trains for him for hours. This is a kid obsessed. So we decided to forgo the usual road trip to my folks' house on our next visit, and take the train instead. The Amtrak will take us as far as Jefferson City, and my folks will pick us up and drive us the last 30 minutes to Columbia. We'll play all weekend, then head back home via train on Sunday. I am SO excited! And if you think *I'm* excited, you should see NOAH. 

Little pieces of fall 'round here: bought our first stash of hot cocoa mixes to have around the house.... There's 4 cute mini-pumpkins sitting on our countertop... Bought a cute tin "Boo" sign at Target the other day-- couldn't resist. I have a baggie of candy corn and fall-colored M&Ms waiting for me to nibble on from the wedding I photographed the other week. Our small crabapple tree on the side of the house gets redder every day, and I love to open the morning blinds to it to see its progress.... Cardigans are making a comeback during my evening editing sessions...My good friend Stef's Christmas gift last year of homemade apple butter just got opened for the first time, and I am DROWNING in its fall-y, spice-y apple-y wonderfulness. The Halloween and fall songs I sing to Noah are back in vogue and Noah has already re-memorized the words...

Totally random: I've become THAT driver--- the one who doesn't use her blinkers. 
Let me reassure you-- this isn't by CHOICE. I am NOT trying to be a jerkhole... But our poor lil' Civic has lost the function of the blinkers, and we've learned the hard way that it ISN'T the fuses, ISN'T the bulbs... So must be something electrical in the steering column/dashboard that we can't fix on our own. And we've been so POOR the last three months that we haven't been able to afford the cost of taking it in and getting it fixed. THUS--- I have become really good at driving more carefully, and anticipating the times I might need to turn/change lanes/etc. It stinks... But it's kind of a good skill, I guess. And it goes hand-in-hand, accidentally, with SLOWING DOWN in my life as a philosophy--- you simply cannot be a defensive, obnoxious, pushy driver when you have no signals to warn people you are barging in. So I have had to slow down. I kinda like it. 

That said, I DO want my blinkers fixed, eventually.

Shout out to Kari Wright, of Kari Wright Photography: She was crazy enough to undertake my family photos this year, and put up with my sweet (awful) son who is in the throes of PCS: Photographer's Child Syndrome. He was a stinker nearly the whole time, but she worked some magic, and blogged some of her favorites for us HERE.
I am so so so excited to show you more from our session. I want to make the time to really share some with you guys soon. do you hate me for making you wait a little longer?

Listening to two pieces from the soundtrack to the movie The Young Victoria. Specifically, the tracks named "The Proposal" and "the Honeymoon", and they are both making my heart SOAR. Gosh, I am a sucker for orchestral soundtrack music. Anyone else? Am I just a dork?
(Incidentally, the movie itself is easily one of my new favorites-- SO romantic by the end!!)

I met up with a client last evening for a pre-session consultation (did you know I offer those?? LOVE meeting clients beforehand!) and we chose Starbucks for the easy meeting spot. I ordered their seasonal Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. HOLY CRAP. It was like.... like..... it was..... WOW. I'm-a-gonna have to keep myself away from that drink a bit this season, methinks! Also, my client got her coffee in a MUG instead of the paper cup, and DUH. Why have I NEVER thought to ask for my cocoa that way before when I know I'll be staying in the shop?? SO perfect. I think the cocoa even tasted batter that way. My new friend put it perfectly-- "It's just more charming that way!"

Going to a pumpkin patch with my mama friends next week. Cannot wait! I am a huge sucker for pumpkin patches, apple orchards, farmer's markets, etc. Then, going to the orchard with Noah sometime next week, too. Anyone wanna come? 
Ooh, and going to the corn maze outside of CoMo tomorrow night. Going to take Noah, thought it'll be dark. I am SO excited! AND a pumpkin festival on Saturday! (Can you tell this is my ABSOLUTE favorite time of year???) I am so so so grateful for a less-burdensome photography schedule this year that is enabling me to make my favorite memories happen. LOVE!

Current favorite lazy pastime: While Noah plays trains, I curl up under Katie's Quilt (my fave quilt) and unapologetically
(What have I been reading, you ask? Nothing that would get a Pulitzer, but it's been fun: Three Mercedes Lackey fairy tale-style novels, and most recently, The Lady Elizabeth by Allison Weir. Going to maybe dip back into some Harry Potter next. Or The Hunger Games.)

I'm trying to be a good lil' wife and cook more: crock pot stuff has been my friend. On the crock pot menu-- a pot roast (my first), ham and potatoes (SO good!), cranberry chicken, Brunswick stew, and french dip meat for sandwiches. Cross your fingers they all turn out!
(Confession: I DO still give in and get take out far more than I should. I am just NOT in the habit of preparing seven dinners a week. Sigh.)

I think that's all the randoms I have in me today.... Just wanted to wish everyone a gorgeous weekend, and thanks for putting up with my sporadic blogging of late! Hope the new photos make ya smile! These are from a couple of days ago, when I felt cute enough to be photographed, and Noah was sweet enough to cooperate. :) :)
Oh, PSA: that means if *I* can get in a photo or two, your assignment this weekend is to get in front of the camera for a shot or two with YOUR kids/sweetie/pet/new pumpkin you bought at the store. Deal? Deal.
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