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, January 25

29 Weeks.

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I'm due April 11, less than 11 weeks away. 

When pregnant with Noah, it seemed that NO ONE was pregnant at the same time. But this time, it seems that a MILLION people I know are also pregnant and due within DAYS of me. So many, in fact, that I sometimes have a hard time keeping track!! It's eerie, but there are several due ON MY DAY or right next to it, and then another big group due on my friend Melanie's day or right near it... So for my own pregnancy-muddled brain, and for fun, I am going to start a list here, with the due dates I vaguely remember. If you're part of this Spring Baby Gang, and I got it wrong, or don't have you on here yet, leave me a comment and I'll update the list. 

Fun? (Okay, maybe this is only interesting to me... but... let's play.)

Coming Earlier Than Me:
(anyone want on this section? Leave me a comment!)
Valerie W.-- Feb. 25
Jennie I.-- Feb. 28
Angela R. (March)
April S. (March)

April/May Babies:
Ashley P. -- April 9
Erin D.-- April 9
Emily S. (that's me!) -- April 11
Kelly A. -- April 11ish
Amanda F. -- April 11ish
Melanie H. -- April 21
Jessica H. -- April 23ish
Misty H. -- May 1ish
Lisa E. -- May 1ish
Beth M.-- May 1ish
Emily D. -- May 13
Alison A. --May 15

(edited to add:)

Summer Babies:
(anyone want on this section? Leave me a comment!)
Janelle D. -- June 29
Adina B.-- July 1 
Brenda S. -- early July
Amy L. --July 27
Allison G. -- ?
Dawn R. --?

Okay... Who else?? And what's your actual due date? I see Easter-themed baby hats in my future, and springy colors...Love that my little one will mostly know warmth in her early days...

This is getting more real for me. And I'm loving it!

Friday, January 21

Angela's Cute Family {St. Louis Family Photographer}

Session Catchup #2:

This was a fun session commissioned by my logo designer, Angela Robinson. She's a clever girl with great design sense, so I knew we'd have fun when she outlined her ideas for her family session. See, her hubs is THISCLOSE to graduating from medical school, and they'll likely be leaving St. Louis. (Boooooo!!!) So she wanted to make sure they captured some special memories of their time here before they left.

Starting with the school itself, of course! 
Robinson Family

Seriously, so cute, right??
Robinson Family

They have two spunky children, with a baby-on-the-way that had barely begun in these photos.
Robinson Family

Robinson Family

The educated Doctor himself...
Robinson Family

LOVE this next one! (Do you like our "faux" dressed up look for the hubs??)
Robinson Family

And then a stop off downtown to get some Arch pics. Gotta have some Arch pics, right???
Robinson Family


Thank you Angela, for such a fun session! And thank you for my gorgeous logos. And thank you for being my friend. You don't REALLY have to move, right???
:)

Tuesday, January 18

28 Weeks

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I don't know how it happened, but suddenly I'm in my 28th week of pregnancy. I'm starting the third trimester. What?? 

This has flown by for me... I feel like it took longer to pop out, physically, and I haven't had the raging heartburn as early this time... So in a lot of ways, it has felt like I've been WAITING for pregnancy to really kick in, ya know? To be OFFICIAL. I know that sounds weird. But parenting a busy 3-year old, fielding strange unrelated illnesses, and weathering a holiday season all seemed to add to this distracted, "am I even really pregnant?" state of being. And here I am. 28 weeks. I haven't even taken a belly pic til now. So strange! 

Of course, Lucy is kickin' and a bumpin' like mad, so I DO have that sweet, odd, awesome reassurance that all is well in this journey. She seems particularly fond of sugar and singing, and loves to wake up and wiggle when I'm singing bedtime songs to Noah. 

But still.... 28 weeks?? That means there's TWELVE WEEKS LEFT. And suddenly, it all hits at once: 

I'm not READY!!!!! 

I don't have a DANG thing, except that cute "it's a girl" outfit I bought the other month (size 6 mo.), a gorgeous dress from her Aunt Beckie (size 6 mo.) and some cute flower hair clips from Sarah McK. Cute, and adored, ALL of it.... But does any of that prepare me for having an actual baby in 12 weeks?? 

I have no onesies. No diapers. No sleepers. Noah is still in the crib she'll be sleeping in. I don't have a bassinet. I don't have washcloths. Binkies. All my baby stuff like the swing and bouncer are in my parents' garage. 

I am NOT ready!! And haven't even begun making moves to GET ready. Isn't it funny how different this is from the first kiddo?

So. Time to begin, at least... Begin the thinking and planning. And I DO have more crafty skillz than last time, so for my own mental health, I'm going to list a checklist of the things I can MAKE/work on here as we get closer to the big event.

Baby Craftiness To Complete
burp cloths (6 or so?)
swaddle flannels (4)
knit pants (3-4 pairs)(upcycle these)
bibs (4)
baby carrier cover
nursing cover
8 onesies (nb)(applique cute stuff on them!)
crib quilt
crib sheets (2)
bedskirt?

And so. Time to begin all of this. And keep up with belly pics. My goal is to take one a week from here on out, a la Emily Weaver Brown's project, here. And after I can afford the supplies, make a REAL baby quilt (I'm going to do THIS pattern!), just for my baby girl. And slowly gather the little things like sleepers and gowns and such. 

What fun! I'm finally OFFICIALLY pregnant! (Ha!)

Monday, January 17

Now Booking 2011!

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After settling into the New Year, I'm ready to get down to work again and have decided to offer a limited time special for 2011 bookings. This is a rare offer, so listen up!

If you are one of the first TEN clients to contact me and book your 2011 session with me, AND you get your session retainer paid to my by FEBRUARY 1st, I will give you your choice of:

A. $50 off of your session AND a mounted 11x14 print of your choice (value: $55)

~OR~

B. $100 off of your session

You can do this a couple of ways: To book any session with me, you need to put down a $200 non-refundable retainer with me. This retainer goes towards your collection of choice. You can use your SPECIAL OFFER DISCOUNT at the time of retainer payment, or you can use it at the time we actually shoot your session, when you pay the balance of your session collection. 

To see my current pricing and explore the four collections I offer, go HERE.

To take advantage of this special, you are not required to SCHEDULE your session to happen in the next two weeks--- you are merely putting your retainer down to hold a session SOMETIME in the year 2011. I can offer two spots per month every month this year EXCEPT April and May, when I am on maternity leave. 

At the time of booking and paying your retainer, you can specify which month you want to be put on my calendar. If I have a free spot, I'll put you down for that month and we'll narrow down your session date and details as we get closer to your month. 

This special begins RIGHT NOW, so if you want to get in on this deal, contact me as soon as you can to make sure you're one of my TEN clients who get this deal. When the ten spots have been filled AND PAID FOR, I'll come announce that the special has ended. 

I can't wait to begin filling my pages with 2011 fun. Are you going to be one of my clients this year? :)

Saturday, January 15

Sweet Baby Joseph | St. Louis Newborn Baby Photographer

Oh goodness, how long has it been since I posted photography sessions?? I am terribly remiss here, though I've been working consistently through the end of 2010!! I truly intend to remedy this, and every client who didn't see their session blogged at the end of last year--- I WILL be blogging you. ASAP. That's a promise!!

Let's start with a newborn... Because babies are irresistible. Because being 28 weeks pregnant myself, I've got babies on the brain. Because this baby share's my son's first name. Because... I mean... he's CUTE!

This is Joseph. I don't even want to tell you when he was born. I am THAT far behind. Let's just say I was able to shoot with the front door WIDE open for more light. :)

Sansom

Sansom

Sansom

I love them all... But I REALLY love this one! Something about all the green... His sweet sleepfulness...
Sansom

Okay, and I also love this plate series. His big brother Max was photographed on this platter, too, so we had to keep the tradition alive!
Sansom

Sansom

Sansom

Sansom

Sansom

Ooh, wait-- THIS is my favorite. Look at the color-matched books!! (Mom was RIGHT there, "spotting" for this shot. I promise!!)
Sansom

Sansom

Sansom

Sansom

Oh my goodness... There is nothing like a fresh new baby, right?? 

Thanks for letting me begin the massive task of catching up. One session down, only about, oh..... 12 to go?? 

*

Here's to a three-day-weekend for most of us... To pancake Saturdays and cartoons on the TV and visits from grandparents and antique-store browsing. Here's to a possible chocolate-covered strawberry in my future (Anyone ever been to Mound City Shelled Nut Co.? They're just blocks from my house, and their sign always talks about chocolate covered strawberries. I can't take it anymore. I must go investigate! So I'm bringing my parents to go explore!)

Here's to feeling better, not just in body, but in heart and spirit. Here's to being privileged to know incredible people who sacrifice monumental things for the best reasons. Here's to Noah learning about the Holy Ghost and being sweet about trying to understand. Here's to service and sharing and taking care of each other. 

All the best to you this day!

Tuesday, January 11

Snow Day....

Today the schools all get a snow day. It's that one time I viscerally miss teaching--- that incredibly liberating, pure-joy feeling of hearing it's a snow day. As a stay-at-home-mama, you just don't get that "Free Day" like that. Ah well... in some ways, that means that every day is a "snow day", right? Permission to stay in jammies, make blanket forts, eat more junk food than usual, etc.? Ha, right.

But today IS still a fully cold, snow-covered day, and with it comes very specific cravings and urges. Today I had oatmeal for breakfast. The "cinnamon roll" kind. Yum! I maybe crave oatmeal once a month, if that. But when the urge hits, nothing else will do.

Today, I feel like baking. Cupcakes, maybe? Some cowboy cookies? Pumpkin or banana bread? I think baking will have to happen here today.

today I feel like wearing thick socks and spending more time than usual with the quilt on our couch.

Today I am playing my "winter" playlist on iTunes...

Yes, today has a unique feel to it, even if it's not officially a "snow day" for Noah and I. (And part of me keeps hoping UMSL will just decide to send Joe home, so we can really party... :) A girl can dream, right?)

*
Yesterday, Noah had his buddy Callum over for some hard core play time.... Thought I'd just share a few from the day:

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Yummy lunch, eh? The star-shaped PBJs were a hit.Noah ate all his broccoli. Callum did not. I forgive him. Broccoli is weird for kiddos.

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Noah requested some custom art. I, of course, complied:

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And the boys, together:
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I think we ALL needed this playdate... Noah and Callum needed some "boy time" to get their energy out, I needed Noah to not be at my elbow all morning, and Callum's mama needed some "her time". It was WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN situation!

*

Okay, Snow Day. It's 8:56am. Oatmeal is eaten. Blog is done. We're on song #10 of the winter playlist. What's next?

Probably cookies. Or maybe sewing. Or PlayDoh. Off to go find out...

Friday, January 7

Monsters. (And Musings. As Usual.)

Joyful turns of events of late:

1. I am feeling nearly 100% improved from the craziness and pain of the autumn. Betty is healed, according to the docs (she's still a bit lumpy,and might need a lumpectomy eventually, but no more infection.) And the reactive arthritis that turned out to be FAR worse that the actual Betty Issue is GONE. It was over a month of constant, debilitating, daily-life-affecting pain--- the inability to walk in any normal fashion, constant Tylenol, tears, hours of couch time--- and forget about being able to get out and do things with Noah or make dinner for my family. It was awful. So to be able to declare that it is gone, that my body is finally settling into NORMAL pregnancy quirkiness (i.e. fat ankles, itchy belly, etc.) is one of the happiest statements I can make. I'm BETTER!!!

2. Joyful turn of events #2: Joe is sewing.

Oh yes, you read me right. JOE (my sweet mime-y, French-reading, Lego-collecting, sweet-toothed, amazing husband), is SEWING.

He's still on the hand-sewing level, but the actual words, "I think maybe I need to learn how to use the machine" came out of his mouth a few nights ago. Can you even contain yourselves? 'Cause I cannot. I am totally, completely endeared by this turn of events. TOTALLY.

And what, pray tell, would pique his interest enough to get him to sew?

Meet the Monsters:

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I'm not sure they have names, but they CERTAINLY have personality! Like this one--- he's pigeon-toed and grumpy, but a softy at heart.
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And this one-- he might be little, but he makes up for it in his brash, outgoing personality. You can't miss him in those stripes!
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And this clever little one--- still has his baby teeth, but he's a tough guy who loves to give hugs with his stripe-y arms.
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I mean,does it get any cooler than this?? And these are just his first three. Joe is showing no signs of stopping, and it warms my crafty little heart. I dabbled in sock critters a couple of years ago--- LOVED making monkeys and monsters--- so my stash of socks-to-be-used was still plentiful, and I had lots of spare buttons and batting... So when Joe got interested, it was no work at all to sit him down with supplies and some basic instructions and let him soar.

It's pretty darn awesome. Be prepared-- I think this might be a hobby he keeps for a while. 

*

And musings: Well.... okay, actually, I don't think I have the steam for deep musings, like I intended. I wanted to talk a bit about the pregnancy at this stage, talk about some of my 2011 goals... Talk about winter blahs.... But....I dunno: I have some pretty music playing in iTunes, Noah is stinkin' CUTE in his fuzzy pj's as he plays with Play-Doh, and I talked myself into a pretty good state of well-being by braggin' up my hubby just now. I probably don't have much else to ponder or whine about for now. Maybe when the grey chill seeps back in, I'll come back and purge a bit of the mind clutter... Perhaps. 

Til then, hey-- it's FRIDAY!!!

Oh, and guess what I feel off of the wagon with aall through my illness? Sharing sessions. Yeah. Yep. And I still have several from 2010 that should be aired. So... I want to do that this month. But I know that for some of you, that is the LAST reason you read, so I'll try to keep posting MY stuff, too.... and for those of you who ONLY come for the photos, I promise to get back on that. 

But back to FRIDAY--- woo hoo, right? We have missed Joe all week as he went back to work, so that's why we love Fridays over here. Why do YOU love Friday today?

Monday, January 3

Reviewing 2010... Counting Our Blessings

January: We began the year in a new home, healing from the abrupt departure from our beloved Mason Attic....

We started finding our niche in "Kate's House", the combination of cold winter and new surroundings keeping it easy for us to hunker down and hibernate a bit as we healed and prepared for a new year. A blog post from January I still cherish:  Everyday Magic.

In February, we enjoyed some snow:

We indulged in more quilt/couch time... We made morning art when we felt like it... And we celebrated Valentine's Day with the sweetest Cupid around.
I also embarked on the 12-week Artists' Way course, which led to a Wordless Week during February. A post at the end of that time that reflected on our relationship to the online world: "Invoking Amber Ludlow"...

By March, things started thawing out, and I posted about Five Other Lives... another Artists' Way exercise.


What Are My Five Lives? It was fun to explore what other futures I might have had, in another life....

By April, the need to hunker down and go inward was ending, and the itch to get out and be ALIVE in the world was coming back... The light outside was changing, the weather was improving, and we were thawing out.
I got a new lens and had a blast playing. The above photos are from this post: "These Boys." And I got around to sharing one of my favorite projects I've ever done, the Lamby ABC Book. (I still adore this idea, and think everyone should do one!!) April was the month I got to drive to Wisconsin to meet and photograph Stef's new little guy, and it was also the month Joe, Noah and I drove to Nashville to meet a bunch of Peas and bond over photography. A busy, delightful month!

May was even more of a whirlwind. I asked readers to tell me about their toddler routines, and I managed to find time to post a few photodsof Noah just being himself... like this:

Joe wrapped up his final semester as an undergraduate, a huge accomplishment and reason for celebration!!
After Joe's graduation, we packed up for a surprise, wonderful, amazing trip to Hawaii with his parents.The week was AMAZING-- a true break from the realities of life. Noah was a dream kiddo, and Joe's parents made it a picture-perfect vacation for all of us.

But  May wasn't done with me yet--- I got off the plane from Hawaii, only to hop back on another plane less than 24 hours later to head to Portland, Oregon for photo sessions. Another week away from home, more incredible memories... And by the end, a SERIOUS yearning to just be HOME for awhile!

I got that break for two weeks in the beginning of June... And relished my time with Noah.

Only to turn around and hop a plane yet again and head to New England for one last photography trip. Covering 5 states in 4 days, I had AMAZING families to photograph and had amazing food and fun. It was a perfect way to wrap up my busy season with photography.

After all the traveling, I took most of July/August off of work. I missed the slower rhythm of being mostly a mama, so Noah and worked on getting that back.
A favorite post from July:
 And another one--- this one a photo essay: "Summer Outing: The St. Louis Boathouse." 
July was also the month Beckie treated me to an INCREDIBLE weekend in Chicago to see "Billy Elliot". She also let me talk her brains out about some major dissatisfaction I was having with my life of late...And that weekend with her was the beginning of a massive personal philosophy shift in the form of a "Boot Camp" I set up for myself-- 28 days of hard core dietary, physical, and spiritual goals. I did this from the middle of July to the middle of August.

In August, still off work and still working hard on my Boot Camp, life was mostly good. We had a rhythm to our days...
 (From the post, "My Little World Right Now"). But it wasn't all good at the end of the summer---- Joe and I were stressing out about our future, since he hadn't gotten into grad schools and the potential job he thought he had with the University had been on indefinite hold. We had a bit of a scary month of unemployment, and the strain was not easy. At the time, it seemed unending.

Luckily, by September 1st, we heard back from the University of Missouri: STL, and Joe was officially offered a job as an academic advisor. I honored his accomplishments with my favorite photo shoot of the year:

(The Mime Session blogged HERE.)

More September goodness:
1. "Slowly, Slowly, Stop and Take it a Bit More Slowly"- a blog post about my month of rediscovering my center...

2. Noah playing, everyday moments:


3. Photos of Noah WITH me. (I need to try to step in front of the camera more often!)

October: We made a MAJOR announcement, in the form of a letter to our little, growing baby.

The month flew by in a flurry of photography work and fall fun. Noah's Halloween:

And time at the pumpkin patch:

But by the end of October, some unforeseen complications to my health became the unwanted focus of my energy. After avoiding the gravity of it for a bit, I finally blogged about Betty and the breast abscess: "Betty, You Weren't In the Plans."

And then in November, I blogged after the surgery.


Luckily, there were lots of bright spots amid the health frustrations
November disappeared in a blur-- mostly caught up in the recovery from the surgery and the subsequent reactive arthritis that debilitated me the rest of the month... But we managed to have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I somehow managed to wrap up my business year. 

 And we made sure to get our tree by the start of December, so that the entire month could be a celebration of the holidays:

We were graced with a lovely long visit from Joe's parents in the last part of December, and Mother Nature gave us a white Christmas. 
I wrapped up the year by taking a minute to remember the things I could be grateful for:
And we let the year go... Ready for a new start. Some new adventures. More chances for growth. 

And here you are, 2011. 

And all I have is all I need. I want to hold to that thought for the year... even when things get tough again (as they always do)... Even when familiarity completely disappears (as it will when  Lucy arrives in April)... Even when I end up on month 4 of total sleep deprivation (as I anticipate in the summertime)... Even if jobs change, health changes, relationships alter (all things we were surprised with in 2010)... 

All I have is all I need. And I will be grateful.

G'night.... I'm headed back to REAL LIFE tomorrow. Most of you guys are, too. Good luck!