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... :)

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Me:

Me:

Tuesday, March 30

Mountain Dew-ish

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a little treasure my friend sent me in the mail.

it actually tastes nearly like Mtn. Dew.

and all of that makes me happy.

Blah Blah Blah...


Sitting on the comfy couch featured in the last post I did... Watching the new, gorgeous miniseries "Life" from the Discovery Channel... INCREDIBLE. There are still 9 parts left of the 11 part series if you guys wanna check it out. The art-filming is breathtaking.

I'm on the new laptop, which is NOT as intuitive to type on as the desktop... but Joe had a paper to finish for school, so I got banished to the little computer so he could have the big one... And the laptop has been wonderful for sorting photos in Lightroom. I don't have to have it calibrated to sort, so I can get comfy and settle in with DVR'ed shows or movies and still get work done. A luxury after AGES of being chained to the desktop every night.

It is 12:50 am and I got through the entire set of wedding images. Sorted from 1400 to 430... still gonna go back through and pare down further... probably to 350. Still-- a good night's work, I say.

I have a scattered, not-structured week ahead, so I'm-a-gonna map it out here, to get my calendar straight in my head... Since I have to do it anyway, and my notebook isn't anywhere near me at the moment.. So my dear blog gets to be the "To Do List". Weird.

Tuesday:
Joe has class, but only for an hour.
I should grocery shop.
And do Noah's laundry.
Call J. Dexter?
I should write some work emails.
Bank deposit.
Make sugar cookie dough and/or boil a dozen eggs.
Fabric store? (guilty pleasure... but I have some projects I need stuff for)
Do the Laclede's Landing "Staycation" I mentioned to Joe?
Project night... sew aprons... or Easter crafties.
Get tax paperwork together.

Wednesday:
Accountant meeting at 9:00 am.
Dye eggs with Noah? Or roll and cut out cookies.
Or Botanical Gardens with Joe and Noah.
No class for Joe.
Artist's Date for me: pedicure?
Fold laundry
Clean downstairs bathroom
Parents in town in the evening: do yardwork, make good dinner.
Edit.

Thursday:
Work day/Noah babysat?
If yes: package print orders/post office/bookkeeping/email clients/Blurb covers
If no: Easter crafty with Noah, swap out toys from basement, "chill out day"...
Photo workshop: 4:00-11:00pm (Beckie babysits)

Friday:
Work day/Noah babysat (if not on Thurs.)
Baby session-afternoon
Make good dinner
Easter preparations
Edit.

Saturday:
Do Noah's Easter egg hunt
General Conference
no photo session, i think??
decorate sugar cookies
family time
Edit.


I KNOW I'm forgetting something important... If I have told one of you that we have a date or a meeting, lemme know, will ya?! Ha!

Okay. I think I know what is coming up.... I can go to bed now with more settled thoughts...

Tomorrow comes quickly!!!

'Night.

Thursday, March 25

The Temporary Home... Photos, Finally!

We have been in our little temporary residence for three months now, and I just never have made the time to take the Photo Tour for you. But the other day, a sunny, lovely day, I finally did it. Truly, the gift of being able to stay here has been so overwhelming that it is the least I can do--- honor this beautiful old home and its place in our gypsy life. So... presenting, "Kate's House" (as Noah calls it EVERY SINGLE DAY. It's cute!):

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The house....Front, side, and garage. Love the classic look, and now that spring is coming, we get to spend some good time outside. Love those blue skies!

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The entry and living room... Including Noah's train table from Christmas, the addictive TV and couch, and my sewing corner. 90% of the furniture and supplies in this house are Kate's. We have most of our stuff still packed, so in a sense, it's like staying at a resort condo. It's fun!

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(books, DVDs, paint color... dishes.... All Kate's. She has great taste!)

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(okay, yes, that is our rug and those are our quilts... Small pieces that make it more OUR home for now. Misty, see?? It works still. :) )

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The dining room and my work corner...( ironically, the computer corner has the worst cell service, so it stinks to try to make work calls from my "office". Weird. Ironic. Oh well...)

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Noah's Work Corner, also in the dining room... Including some random enrichment things we have hung there right now:

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And if I'm being truthful, here are a few corners of mess I need to work through-- top of the table, laundry in the entry, and my work space set up on the buffet...Yuck!

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The kitchen... big, open, with plants and light.

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Heading upstairs:

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The bathroom, the hallway (I've used this hallway for photos. It gets INCREDIBLE light!)

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Our room.... the sweet little guest room (We chose to keep the master bedroom as a sanctuary for our hostess, should she take a trip back to STL while we're here... It seemed the kind, honorable thing to do. It IS her stuff, after all...)

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Noah's room (this stuff is all ours... The only room with our furniture all in it...):

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And Misc.: The master bedroom/the daffodils/the sunroom I've been using for my photo stuff and some sessions:

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And that is that--- Our home. The place that has been our peace and our island in the middle of the Mason crap and the ongoing uncertainty about our next stop on our journey. We have loved being here. We have been blessed. And we are going to have a hard time leaving come this summer.

But that's not something to worry about just yet... All we have is today. And tomorrow will take care of itself.

Hope you have wonderful weekends ahead!

Wednesday, March 24

Five Lives: Winner, and My Answers....

I know I am a bit late today.... I had a full day, lots of MOM time with Noah, some personal time for my own artistic health... and then some editing tonight (Debbie R., your little lady is on my screen tonight and tomorrow!! I hope to have her session done by midnight tomorrow!!)...

Anyway, it all led to me being a bit tardy on this post:

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But we do have a winner!

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Cherron, I am happy to announce you are my winnnnner!!! Let me know in the comments whether you'd like a GC to Target or to Homegoods!

For the record, six of you tied with three correct answers (and I was pretty picky about how specific you were in your guesses!)... so I had to write names on paper and draw a winner.

Still, there were some fun guesses, for SURE. I loved reading the things you might imagine me wanting to be... And lots of your ideas were far loftier than I would envision for myself. I was humbled!

(and Janelle, you cracked me UP! I'd happily be a light fairy. Or a shadow.)

Anyway.... Here are my five imaginary lives:

1. (upper left corner) I'd be a bluegrass musician. Banjo, for sure, since that is the instrument I can kinda play... But even more important to me would be the singing. I YEARN to sing harmony in a tight, small group of dedicated musicians. Jazz, madrigal, whatever... but bluegrass would be the most heart-filling, I think.... Small, folky, tight harmonies, simple instrumentation, a circle of musicians synergizing... Maybe some touring... HEAVEN.

2. (upper right corner) I'd be a life coach. I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE to be in a position to help empower people to be their best selves. To be part therapist, part artistic healer, part friend, part coach--- I'd adore this. To help people realize their best selves, to help them cultivate new paradigms, new attitudes, new practices as they sought their most authentic selves and made their lives harmonize with these truths. Many of you guessed spiritual leader or motivational speaker, and while those hit close to the mark, what I'd love is a smaller thing than that-- not coaching GROUPS, but individuals... One at a time.

3. (lower left corner) Diva Crafty Maven, yum!!... Specifically one who was able to sustain an Etsy shop (some of you got this specific-- NICE!) and a crowd-pleasing crafty blog or magazine column. Alas--- not only do I not have enough original ideas, I simply do not have the time to have this little life. So I'll make cute things I see on other blogs and do it for myself... happily.

4. (lower right corner) I'd be a designer of kids' rooms. Specifically KIDS' ROOMS. I would ADORE this... Thinking up wild and whimsical touches to make their dream room come true-- with no budget limitations so I could install a real fire engine front with siren in a room... or a real fairy garden... And so on. Awesome!

5. (center) And if I had more gumption and less to lose, I'd be a Human Trafficking Activist. Honestly, if I had more courage and no kids/hubby, I'd love to be able to charge over to Pakistan or Lithuania or Saudi Arabia or Egypt or Thailand or anywhere young girls and boys are being sold/stolen/kidnapped/conned into being part of the human sex trade. If I could travel somewhere and physically drag ONE person to freedom, it would be worth all the danger in the world. I ACHE to be able to make a difference in this specific atrocity. I ACHE to have the opportunity to PHYSICALLY make a difference... not just talk about it/pay money to groups to help it. I would be IN the trenches... if I was a braver, different soul. I hate that I am so complacent and comfortable, so I shy away from thinking too hard about it sometimes, and I hate that about me.

So there ya go. My five imaginary lives.

My job, having brought them to light, is to find a way to let pieces of each of them become part of THIS life... even if it is just singing to Noah/blogging my life epiphanies/making pretty things for fun/decorating Noah's room/pledging time and money to a worthwhile organization... All of that is do-able. And is true to me. Every version of me.

Your turn. I'd love to hear about your lives.... Email me or link me in your comments. I'd LOVE to know more!

Tuesday, March 23

Five Other Lives: Who Would You Be?



In The Artists' Way, by Julia Cameron, she gives us an exercise to complete that I have ALWAYS loved doing... It's called Five Imaginary Lives:

Five Imaginary Lives If you had five other lives to lead, what would you do in each of them? I would be a pilot, cowhand, a physicist, a writer, a psychic, a monk. You might be a scuba diver, a cop, a writer of children’s books, a football player, a belly dancer, a painter, a performance artist, a history teacher, a healer, a coach, a scientist, a doctor, a Peace Corps worker, a psychologist, a fisherman, a minister, an auto mechanic, a carpenter, a sculptor, a lawyer, a painter, a computer hacker, a soap-opera star, a country singer, a rock-and-roll drummer. Whatever occurs to you, jot it down. Do not overthink this. The point of these lives is to have fun in them – more fun than you might be having in this one.

Quick... If you get a wild hair-- go jot yours down. On a post-it note by your desk if you have to. Follow her advice and DON'T overthink it. Just jot it down. Who would you be if you could have another imaginary life? If money/new training/having kids already weren't obstacles... Who would you love to be in your other life?

There's no need to stress about it, or wonder if your five lives are telling you that THIS life sucks. That's not the point. The point is to allow for some daydreaming, some fun imaginings, and maybe.... just maybe.... to then find ONE LITTLE WAY you can implement a piece of one of those dreams back into your NOW life.

My five imaginary lives? The collage I put together above gives you some hints...

In fact, maybe I'll let you all guess a little while... Offer a prize to someone who gets the most right...Hm. My mind is a-stewing! Okay. If ya wanna guess, I'll let you comment in the next 24 hours from now. If more than one person gets the same amount of correct guesses,I'll draw the winner randomly from that group. Leave a comment... And the prize will be a $20 gift card to your choice of Target or HomeGoods. Yay! A spontaneous contest!

In the meantime, go stew on YOUR five lives. List them. Then if you get adventurous, Google-image search them and make a collage or list of images of your lives. And then,..... ponder them a bit. Flesh them out. Blog them.

And if this REALLY gets you yearning or excited, find ONE way to make that imaginary life REAL, for a moment. If one of your lives is to be a writer in Paris, then go indulge yourself in a croissant at a local bakery and bring your journal along. See? Magic!

Back tomorrow to tell you mine.... And name a winner.

Whee!!!

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Some credits for the images:
Banjo photo. Music poster.The button crafty HERE. Pink bedroom. Treehouse.
Other images: Clip art/stock photo stuff...

Saturday, March 20

Tutorial: Easy Covered Bulletin Board


Wowza, this tutorial has been in my to-do list for far too long…. And while it takes very little time to actually make the thing and take the photos, there’s all this work with getting the pics ready for the blog, and then the actual explaining, etc…. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I’m a SLACKER, but I’m finally repenting today.
Tutorial time! :)
I wanted to make a covered bulletin board for my friend for Christmas… I’d heard of them, seen them… but when it came time to actually MAKE one, I looked for some help online and didn’t find EXACTLY what I was looking for… So I made it up as I went along. And I kept the process SUPER simple. Here ya go:
EASY COVERED BULLETIN BOARD
Materials:
cork tiles
(from your craft store. I chose medium thickness. You could go with the thickest ones, but don’t do the paper-thin ones)
Heavyweight fabric
Staple gun/Staples
heavyweight paper, 12x12”
FOR COVERED THUMBTACKS:
“Buttons to Cover”- Wedding Gown Size (size 20, 1/2")
Standard metal thumbtacks
midweight fabric scraps
glue
STEPS:
1. Begin with your cork tiles. I used two, and didn’t do anything to stick them together, since the fabric, etc., will hold them together eventually. You could be more thorough and glue them together, I suppose.
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2. Cut a square of fabric about 2-3 inches bigger on all sides. (Noah wanted to demonstrate this step for you.)
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3. Get your staple gun ready…
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4. Start stapling two opposite sites. For the first side, staple it three or four time carefully and evenly. Then take the opposite side and pull the middle taut—as taut as you can without causing the cork to bend. Staple one staple in the center to hold this. Then tug the fabric a couple of inches on the side of the center staple and when it is taut and even, staple it. Do this again on the other side of the center staple. Then finish that side the same way. The goal is to have the fabric super taut and held down on both sides.
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5. After securing two opposite sides, you’ll begin securing one of the remaining sides. I wrapped the side like a gift, trying to keep it tidy and even, and then stapled it, starting with corners first, and always pulling it taut. It kinda gets tricky and would be great if I had an extra hand at this point, but it worked okay. In fact, it occurs to me you could use some straight pins to help you a bit—though they wouldn’t hold it as tautly as your hand would. It could help.
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6. A step-by-step photo detail of how I did the corners:
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7. Fabric all in place, stapled. Raw back.
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8. Take a sheet of heavy scrapbooking paper—cardstock or a fun pattern…
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9. Trim it down so it covers all the cork, but isn’t all the way to the edges, and staple it neatly down. This is the back, and it is almost done. Not shown is the toothed picture hanger I used small nails to hammer into the back. You can devise any hanging method you want--- double stick tape, small nails with wire, etc. etc. I have no advice. Be creative.
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10. And the finished product: Ta da!! :)
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And those fabric-covered thumbtacks? Made those too… SUPER cute, SUPER easy. I got the idea from the “How About Orange” Blog a long time ago, and kept procrastinating doing them, thinking they would take some time to figure out.
Guess what?
No time at ALL to figure it out. EASY. Insanely easy. Check out their tutorial, I BEG you. You NEED to make these!:
Last but not least, Noah, who was stitched to my side nearly the entire time I did this project, wanted to mug for the camera real quick:
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So… Go forth and make a bulletin board! :) SO easy, and with all the fabric in the world, your possibilities are endless. You could make four of them in different fabrics and hang them together on a kids’ room wall. You could hang a set of them in a row above your desk to brighten up your work space. You could make a bulletin board and matching apron for the kitchen. CUTE CUTE CUTE. Do it!! :) Then come back and tell me in the comments and link to a photo so I can see yours…
Anyhoo… It took all day to get this thing written, between all the other things I did today, but ta-da! Tutorial done!
Happy Sunday tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 17

Baby Lia {St. Louis Newborn Photographer}

No more words tonight... Just images of this sweet, full-blonde-headed squishy baby. Enjoy!























(okay-- one more sentence: Anyone see the secret guest in that second-to-last photo? See her? Cracks me up EVERY TIME. Their puppy was SO attentive and concerned and present for our session. Sweet dog. :))

Change. Reflection. Mystery. Faith.

{self-portrait session: January 2010}


March already. Really?

That means our brief sojourn in this small, cozy, wonderful white house is half done already... And I have never posted images showing you around. I will do that tomorrow. I'll make it an assignment.

Tomorrow is a Work Day for me. I am not sure I've actually mentioned this system on here--- this Work Day. Back last August, I was at the end of my rope with being busy busy busy as a full-time mama and more-than-part-time photographer. I could NOT get it all done. And a wise, loving, SMART cookie of a friend made me understand that getting some REAL HELP, one day a week, was NOT compromising my commitment and passion for being a full-time mom.

It was an epiphany. If I took ONE day out of my week to get some babysitting for Noah, I was still with him all the time the other six days of the week. That still counts as FULL-TIME, truly.

(and I am not at all in any way, disparaging mamas who DO work outside the home or who have childcare for their little ones several days a week. I am just trying so hard to align my life to what *I* need, and what works for *ME* and my little family. )

So. I raised the white flag. Hollered Uncle. And found a dear friend to watch my kiddo one day a week. From 8:30-4:30. All day.

I drop him off, then come home and sit at my computer and work frantically for 7 hours straight, not even breaking for lunch most times. This work day is for all the business stuff that never gets done when I am editing nonstop. It is the day for working on marketing. For placing orders. For packaging and mailing orders. For emailing clients back. For working on the books. Getting finances back in line. And though it is never enough time, it is working. I am not as crazy as I used to be. Mostly.

And I am in this place in my life where I am trying, DAILY, to find a better balance. And trying to hold to the commitments I have made and the ideals I have set forth for my life. And some things have made all the difference, like this Work Day. Other things are a CONSTANT struggle for me... like daily spiritual growth. And through it all, I am ever reflecting, shifting little things, and trying to talk myself into keeping going, even when it gets so BIG and so MAD that all I want to do is sleep.

And I have pretty much just wanted to sleep a LOT recently. It's this transition from the slower winter... the permission we gave ourselves to settle into this little home and HEAL from the jarring, wild, unpleasant autumn of change and moving... The lazy days of coldness where there wasn't anything else to do BUT sleep and watch cartoons and build blanket nests...

And now, as it gets GORGEOUS outside and my sessions come slamming into full-force for the spring, I am COMPLETELY out of practice with the motivation thing. I am REALLY having a hard time getting my engine revved.

I took another 2-hour nap today, in fact.

And lest you tap your noses and say, "I bet she'd pregnant", let me reassure you--- No. No I'm not. Thought I was for a minute last month, and it was WONDERFUL to have an excuse for all the sleeping... But no. Nope. Not yet. Who knows? Not ever?

So now... I am stuck with the onslaught of a mad mad mad spring schedule, and I am NOT transitioning into it well. I keep letting the laundry/dishes/home cooked meals slide for just a little more "down time"...

And EEK. Who am I to even CLAIM to WANT more kids, if I can't run my household with just one underfoot??! I am such a child. A napping, sugar-eating child.

Haha. Grr.

And change. the word "change" is in the title here... Maybe I should mention some of it here. The only thing we can truly rely on in our life at the moment is that it will definitely, absolutely, completely change in just a few short months. We will leave this temporary house by July. We will need a new home, SOMEWHERE, by July.

Where?

Who knows.

Joe is awaiting his fate in the form of grad school acceptance/rejection letters. Schools that are mostly NOT in St. Louis. Will he get accepted? Will we leave Missouri? Will we be turned down? What will we do then? And other BIG questions: Will we get to have more babies? Will we be able to afford them? If we move, will there be clients in a new town? Will my photography be able to thrive elsewhere? Will Joe find a future he can feel joy and peace in?

Change. And IMMENSE MYSTERY. We have utterly NO CLUE about the future. At all. All we know, is that NOTHING will be the same. Home, job, money--- all will change.

And with that change, I am in the process of completely re-vamping my business... Changing my mission statement. Changing my system. Changing my goals. Change is absolutely on the horizon for Emily Southerland Photography. Lots of it. And I can't even really make more moves on that until I know where this business will be based out of. But rest assured, whether we stay in St. Louis or not, come July/August, there will be some major changes to the biz.

And through all of this, there is this compelling, agonizing, healing internal journey I have been trudging through, in the form of "The Artists" Way" book I've been working through. The course takes you through a LOT of self-analysis, a LOT of purging of old ideas, old hang-ups, and tries to get you to find more authenticity as a person. And while the day-to-day tasks are often easy to dismiss as not doing anything significant, now that I am seven weeks into the 12-week program, I have been astounded to see, from some distance, how much is shifting in me and in my life.

I thought I embarked on the program of "creative recovery" to understand myself and define myself better as an artist/photographer. But instead, the journey moved me somewhere else, and is trying so hard to train me how to be an artist/parent. I'm finding that the pull isn't to be a more outward, public, brilliant ARTIST, but to be a more introspective, introverted creative parent. Wife. Friend. Surprisingly, even as the book calls to its reader to allow SUCCESS to happen, I find myself willingly turning away from "success", as defined by the world, and turning more and more to myself for acceptance and strength. Turning more and more to my family for validation and joy. I keep finding myself being surprisingly OKAY with slowing down more and more and placing less and less importance on the world and what the world wants/think/expects.

In some ways, I wonder if my slower blogging is an accidental manifestation of this little surprise twist in my journey. I am writing three pages every day in my notebook... And so I have myself to talk to, and I am beginning to trust myself more. To not need to tell it all outside.

Anyway... this is all very rambling... But this is ME, these days. A strange combination of pensive, lazy, inspired, joyful, fearful, excited, tired... Hurt and fulfilled. Childlike and childish. Growing.... and changing. And it's weird to not have the old assumptions to fall back on, and I wonder if all this weird strange growth and change is partly to blame for being so tired all the time. They say a baby will sleep extra long when they've just learned a new skill--- lots for their brain to absorb and create synapses for. Maybe that's me right now--- the sleep is solidifying these paradigm shifts. And the changes are trying terribly hard to STICK.

Which brings me to faith.

All of this--- the waiting and uncertainty for our future, the changing of my business philosophy, the embracing a smaller, simpler, more family-centric life.... The changes in my attitude and my goals... All of it is taking IMMENSE faith.

And I am not nearly good enough at it. I do not call on my Lord NEARLY enough to ask Him to carry me. I pray.... sure... But most of the time, I try to only be grateful in my prayers, and I don't ask for help. I try to fake like I can manage all of this on my own. I got it. I can handle it. I'm cool.

But I'm not cool. I CAN'T handle all this. This is all HARD. And most of the time I feel like I am failing miserably. And so I need to learn how to have MORE faith-- and ask for more strength. And maybe most of all, I need to work on being better at forgiving myself for these failings. And asking for His forgiveness. And then trying to be ever more humble, pliable, and TRUSTING of what the future is bringing to us.

So...

Ha.

Hmph.

Lots of boring text in this here bloggy, eh?

And deep, and dense, and not even very relevant to anyone but me...

But it all was straining to get out, so I typed it. And I applaud anyone who got through it all. 'Cause there's not even an incredible moral or climax or resolution at then end to help you all go to bed happy tonight. It was just...... a mind dump. Something I'm kinda good at.

So.

That's me.

What about you?

*

I'm feeling sheepish, now, and I am going to go post a photo session post now to balance out all this word-stuff.

'Night.

12:30 am.... I'm All Off....

12:30 am.... NOT TIRED. Last night I didn't get to bed until 3:00 am because I was pretending to be young at a loud rock concert... So then this morning when Noah woke me at 7:30am, I was bleary-eyed beyond belief, so I was grateful when my mom offered to play with Noah so I could go back to sleep for a couple of hours. I slept from 8:30-10:30am, and woke feeling good enough to drive back to STL with Noah.

We got home at 2:00 and I put Noah down for his nap by 2:30pm... And overcome again by exhaustion from the lack of sleep from the night before, I gave in to my own nap at 4:00... expecting that Noah would wake me in 30 minutes or so. Almost one and a half hours later, we both woke up--- Noah from a nearly 3 hour nap. Crazy.

Needless to say, it's been a strangely-paced day. And now, at 12:30am, I am not at all tired.

I am kinda feeling icky because of it--- and if I'm not careful, this might cycle into a few days of weird sleep... which is NOT awesome.

Anyhoo....

I am trying to get there-- to sleepiness. Writing out some of the random stuff in my brain always seems to help, hence this RANDOM bloggy...

Trying not to let my to-do list give me knots in my stomach, making it even harder to settle to sleep....

Hoping this poor body o' mine will let me force my eyes closed soon.

Meh.

Sorry for the boring post.

Saturday, March 13

Max's First Birthday {St. Louis Children's Photographer}

Another quick session share before I go to bed "early" (11:30 pm is early for me and since we jump ahead tomorrow, I need to be kinda responsible about getting enough sleep, I guess.)

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This little guy came over on his first birthday and we played... first some cute argyle shots, then some family moments...and lastly, some CUPCAKES!



















(My favorite of the session:)






And a yummy cake smash mess just wouldn't be complete without some "after" shots of the cleanup:







Happy birthday, little guy!!

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