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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Monday, May 31

Toddler Routines #5: A Couple of Last Ones

8.7.09
Two last participants in my routines contest. These two cute gals emailed me more free-writing thoughts than structured lists… But both are chock full of ideas, so I wanted to share them with you guys as the last segment of my Toddler Routines offerings.
Lauren is Joe’s cousin, an INCREDIBLE mama of four babies—the oldest is 7-8ish?? (So sorry Lauren!) and the youngest is a teensy little baby about 3 months old. Her last little one was a beautiful, powerful HOME BIRTH, and she rocked it!! She inspires me with her poise and her strength. And she still manages to have a great sense of HUMOR!
Routine Ideas From Lauren:
Hey Emily! You are so fun and creative! I just love you! This is going to be just more of a list of ideas than a routine, 'cause that's just how I roll! :)

When Julia started 1st grade, Liliana wasn't even in preschool yet, but definitely ready for it! So, I made up what we called "mommy school." We still affectionately call it that. We would pick our "letter of the week" (as they do in preschool) and plan some activities around it (coloring sheets printed from the Internet, practicing writing it), "scavenger hunts" (well, just looking around for them, anyway) for things that start with the letter (can do this at home, or outside...say, on the way to a park or something).
Also, I like to find things in the community to go to. (Such as, story time at the library.)
Another favorite for us is making our own play dough. The fun of this is trying several different recipes. We have a couple of favorite ones.
Also, cooking together is fun (a children's cookbook can be fun to look through and pick ones you want to try).
I think it's fun to mix in some of these activities with "school-like" ones.

I hope this helps!
Lauren
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My other submission is from a dear friend named Chelsey, mama to a 4 year old (or 5?) and a 2 year old, as well as a bun in the oven. She is one of the most tender, spiritual mamas I’ve met. I love her heart and her spirit, and love her verve for life.
Routine Ideas From Chelsey:
I am interested in the replies so please let us know some of the ideas. I think I missed the contest itself but I'll just say some things that have helped us.
We've been waking up earlier and it feels great-ironically:) I get up around 6:30, exercise, get home, hubs leaves for work, we have breakfast, kids have quiet play while mom gets a few things done around the house, then we all get ready and get out so much earlier and with less frustration due to early start. this has been great because i have always NOT LOVED this part of the day b/c i end up screaming for everyone to HURRY! or even if we have nowhere to be I'm stressed b/c it's 11:30 b4 anything gets accomplished and I'm frustrated. no fun.
My peter is just like me and needs to get out and burn some energy or he's just ornery. so we head to a park, the beach, the library, our backyard, some bigger adventure like the zoo, wish it was still close and free:), we also have Jill's school to incorporate so we sometimes run errands while she's there or we just go to the park or mall or library if it's raining so he can run around. He loves playing in the dirt and is just content with his little pail and shovel for a long time and Mom gets to visit with friends, read a book, relax in the great outdoors, etc.
Then we pick up Jill if it's a school day and head home for lunch and naps. this is the time where i can hurry and get a few of my own things done while Pete sleeps. i also try to do some learning time with Jill if she's feeling up to it. as Noah's naps fade out you could do a quiet time for him while you get things done. i haven't attempted this with my boy yet but it worked with Jill:) I just explained mom needed some rest and she was going to rest or play quietly too. she'd read or play dolls, whatever.
With the joy school curriculum we've been doing they have an awesome idea for mellowing kids down. just lay on the floor with them with soothing music playing and imagine something with them, ask them what they're thinking about, imagine you're fish or blades of grass and move accordingly, it's really fun and has helped me calm them and me when we're all hyped up and mom's about to start screaming:)
Then when Pete wakes up we go outside and ride bikes or do chalk because we need the outside:) but you could do your art or music time here with Noah. then the witching hour, before dinner and dad gets home and you want to kill someone:) Kevin is way better than me at letting the kids help cook but this seems to help them mellow out and not whine so much while they are waiting. i tend to use this time as their TV time for a half hour, or so:), while i finish a few last minute things and then make dinner. then clean up, bubble bath, books and bed.
Then Kev and I have our time together. This is what has been working for us LATELY. it seems forever shifting but i am learning the wisdom in early to bed early to rise. i have always been such a night owl, staying up til one and two and then feeling exhausted! in the morning. now my "early" bedtime tends more toward 11 or 12 and it feels great. some of my me time i still haven't figured out where to squeeze in, except when Kevin works nights and then i still stay up super late, but i feel like such a happier Momma otherwise b/c i have so much more patience with my babes!
Oh, also i don't know if the Y there has some little music classes or gymnastics, whatever, that Noah might enjoy. that breaks up the day, gives a little outlet, helps you meet neat people in the community, etc. you could even think about teaching one yourself since you're so musically talented! in your spare time:)
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SUCH fun thoughts, both of you! Thank you for contributing to my contest and for both inspiring me to be a better mom in areas I feel weak. I love you both!
As for me… I am ALMOST home from my May wanderings… I get home tomorrow and probably will just COLLAPSE for a few days, trying to find my center again. And then I will get to work editing all the Oregon sessions. And then shooting all my June sessions. It will be a full month yet again, but at least in June, I will be at home.
Just kidding. I actually fly to Rhode Island/Connecticut/New Hampshire/Massachusetts in the middle of the moth for another set of sessions. So… Well. basically, it never ends.
But honestly? All this ADVENTURING? It reminds me I AM NOT DEAD YET. Life is mean to to be full and rich, and if that brings with it some craziness and frenzy, well… so BE it. I am NOT dead yet. Bring it on.
See ya soon, STL. I am SO ready for my own bed.

Saturday, May 29

BFF#2-- Emily W. {St. Louis Senior Photographer}

And this is Emily. Best friends with Michelle, just as independent and free-thinking... yet COMPLETELY different as well.

It was so cool to see the "real" Emily come out through the course of out day together. She is a pure introvert, and it is fun to work with introverts because it becomes a whole day of learning to trust each other and on my end, I get to watch the REAL person bloom continually throughout the session.

On the other hand, even with her quiet self, she was SO funky, so spunky, and such an individual. So She was up for anything and everything I threw at her. It was a creatively THRILLING session for me because of this!

Emily W Senior

The one-of-a-kind Emily W. REVERES her "nerd glasses". I LOVE how she channels her individuality through them.
Emily W Senior

Emily W Senior

Emily W Senior

Emily W Senior

Emily W Senior

Emily W Senior

Emily W Senior

What the minivan seat? LOVED it!

Oh, and SCARY--- this next location was a total fluke. And kinda scary, but thrilling. I totally expected us to get murdered by either ghosts or gang members.

Emily W Senior

Emily W Senior

But we survived to tell the tale.

*note: it wasn't REALLY dangerous. Just felt like it on the inside 'cause of the lighting. :)

Emily W Senior

Oh, my FAVORITES are next... The shopping cart one & black and white hat one:
Emily W Senior

Emily W Senior

Emily W Senior

Emily W Senior

Oh, love the clover too...
Emily W Senior

Emily W Senior

SO fun! All of it! Totally a different session than Michelle's, but both completely exciting and fulfilling for me as a photographer. Both girls had something totally memorable and cool about them... I can see how they clicked with each other. And how fun to get to snap them both. :)

BFF#1- Michelle {St. Louis Senior Photographer}

Michelle is one half of a duo of best friends I shot in a 7-day span. They both go to school together and while they have a LOT in common, they were also so completely different that it was totally fun to get to know each one as an individual and see how they shone.

Michelle was first. She came on her own and we really got into the whole "adventure/fun" aspect of my senior session style. She was so fun to drag around town, and we had a LOT of laughs and inspiring moments. Check her out--

Michelle Senior

Michelle Senior

Michelle Senior

Love this one. Might be my favorite. Maybe?
Michelle Senior

Michelle works at Baskin Robbins... We HAD to pay tribute.
Michelle Senior

Michelle Senior

Michelle Senior

Michelle Senior

Ooh wait. Maybe THIS one is my favorite??
Michelle Senior

Michelle Senior

Michelle Senior

Michelle Senior

Michelle Senior

Photobucket

Michelle Senior

Can you stand it? Her natural beauty, the faint freckles... her complete direct poise as she looks into the camera? This girl has an old soul. You can just tell.

I loved her.

And I loved her BFF, the one-of-a-kind Emily W.... and she is up next, in just a few minutes. :)

Friday, May 28

Tornado Girl {St. Louis Senior Photographer}

What a title, right?!

Ariel and I decided to brave the rainy weather one Saturday to get her scheduled session at least HALF done. We had umbrellas, some covered locations, and were prepared for the rain. We even caught a pocket of non-rain for JUST enough time to go to the carnival and play a bit in a family heirloom vintage 1950's party frock!

Ariel Senior

Ariel Senior

Ariel Senior

Ariel Senior

(FAVORITE. My goodness, have I ever told you how much carnivals make my heart sing? And a pretty girl in a party dress? PERFECT.)
Ariel Senior

Ariel Senior

Ariel Senior

And then... right after that cotton candy sign photo..... The tornado siren went off.

Yeah. I had kept my senior out in this weather for "one more shot"... all the way til a tornado came along.

We joked that the BEST photo would be of her getting spun around and around in a cute funnel right in the middle of the carnival.

But no. Notsosmart. So we took cover, then headed to our respective homes, giving up for the day... To finish a few days later, on a MUCH kinder day:

Ariel Senior

Ariel Senior

Ariel Senior

Ariel Senior

Ariel Senior

And that is Ariel. Forever remembered in my heart as Tornado Girl. Pretty, brave, dynamic... and worthy of shooting in a tornado.

Good times!

Thursday, May 27

Little Miss Caroline And Another Toddler Routine {St. Louis Baby Photographer}

A little break from the seniors, with Miss Caroline, celebrating her 1st birthday with some photos:

Baby Caroline

Baby Caroline

Baby Caroline

Baby Caroline

How cute is she with her big brother? He was SO sweet with her!

Baby Caroline

Baby Caroline

Baby Caroline

Baby Caroline

And in honor of toddler photos, let me share another great toddler routine, submitted by Terra, mama to another Noah (Noahs RULE!!) aged 2 and a sweet baby girl under the age of 1.

Terra emails:
Okay Im not a pro at this, so Ill give you my ideal if I were home with the kiddos all day. (Im going by my time line, alter hours based on YOUR wake up).
Wake up:
6:00 (Ideally, this would be 7:00, but try telling an 8.5 month old this).
Get up and snuggle, wonder/play a little bit
7:00 Breakfast
Make it FUN! If its waffles, see what Noah wants to add to them. Offer choices of fruit and flavors (Vanilla, almond, cinnamon, etc). Then offer choices of color Then toppings (Syrup, whipped cream, powdered sugar (Colored perhaps?) sprinkles?
8:00 clean up and play!!
Maybe make the morning more of free play rather than structured to let him wake up. Puzzles, reading, coloring, trains, etc.
10:00 snack? (My Noah carries snacks all over if they are dry, but gets in his seat to eat yogurt, etc).
10:30/11:00 Errands or destination!
Maybe pick one-three days a week where you typically run errands and choose a destination. Park? Grocery store? Exploratory centers? Meet ups with friends? Perhaps a park with a PICNIC lunch in the summer? Or hit the grocery store and get lunch to bring to your activity? Maybe choose your Theme for the week or month and go based on that. Nature? Water? Green places or blue places (forest, water, etc).
1:00 Home for nap. (MOM TIME)
(I find a consistant nap time means that his body is ready and he doesnt fight it so hard)
3:00 (ideally) wake up
Snack
3:30: structures activities or roaming (free play)
Ideas for projects:
Bubbles. Colored bubbles? Water in a spray bottle to paint the side walk or side of the house (If the sun is out). Paint, finger paints (made of vanilla pudding), baking, playing with frosting (in frosting bags with tips), play-doh, felt board? Paper and glue?
4:30/5:00Quiet time/movie while mom gets dinner ready
6:00 Dinner
7:00/7:30 bath and reading (mine starts between 6:45 and 7:15 for Maddie B, get her down and tackle Noah)
8:00/8:30 bed
Ideally, when Im a SAHM mom, I want structure, but I want FUN. I know you have editing and work to do while youre home as well. While I’m not a huge tv fan, I dont see the problem with letting them watch a movie while you get something done. Its not like you plop him in front of the tv all day and go about your own day. You interact, you play, you teach. We dont have housekeepers/chefs to do all of our work for us so that we can soak up our kiddos during all their waking hours. Youre a wonderful Mom, Em. And you have Noah to show for it!
And a second email with a few more ideas:

Okay, can you add this to my
Outing idea.
Along with the themes, you could choose libraries for story time, certain places such as music lessons that you can peak in on and watch. ;)
Maybe choose once or twice a week for your morning play to teach letters/colors/numbers. Choose a letter a week or every few weeks to work on. (Our preschool does three-four letters per month, and one color per month). Maybe with your themes for the month you could choose to learn about those things as well. Teach about certain music, listen to it, watch it, etc.
Okay I could go on for days. Im done. ;)
Thank you, Terra!!! I LOVE the cute breakfast ideas! I really need to branch out with my food choices for Noah sometimes... Being cute with colors, fresh produce, etc. is SUCH a good, easy way to do that. THANKS!

I also love your project ideas... "painting" with water or pudding... letting Noah pay with frosting in decorator tubes with tips... Such a cute idea!

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Hooray for Caroline and for Terra and her sweet kiddos! Hooray for this time in our little ones' lives!! I just heard somewhere that the time we get these little ones home, prior to their schooling, is like a TENTH of our total life. A TENTH. That's it. This is the time to MAXIMIZE our interactions and our play with them... to remember these days not for the frustrations they give us, but for the magic and the tenderness.

I love that. I am so on board! Let's get down and dirty with some fingerpaints and cherish every bit of it.