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, October 31

My Favorite Kids in Costume

I know I already posted today... but I have these costume photos that are so cute that I can barely stand it. And it IS Halloween... Almost the nighttime, in fact. If my kiddos weren't still napping, I'd be ditching the blog in favor of getting them suited up and ready for the festivities tonight. But since all is still quiet in my house this afternoon, I'll share my favorite shots of Noah and Lucy, in costume: 

Presenting Iron Man-- 

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Nearly all handmade with duct tape and cardboard (gloves and arc reactor are store bought), and all made by Joe. Yes, Joe. 

My unexpected favorite shot: 

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And.... The Garden Gnome--

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Everything but the jacket and onesie made/upcycled/altered by me... Shoes using my friend Jaime's boot pattern, here. She is almost too cute to bear: 
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Happy trick-or-treating.... Boo!

Hey, Pun'kin!

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Yes, she really is that cute.

In fact, dare I say it?

She's grown into FULLY AMAZING. No sign of that little angry baby from the first 4 months... Not even a whiff of it.

She is so marvelous now that I am wishing I could bottle her up, just like this, and keep her 6 months old forever. She is perfect.

My lil' pumpkin...

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(Even with her not being totally sure about this crazy orange thing I shoved her in, she was SUCH a trooper. I daresay, she is even easier than Noah ever was. I swear HE would've been squalling from the first moment of this ordeal. But she just gave me a few puzzled looks and several great expressions. She's awesome!)

And a couple of pullbacks, just for fun:
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Notes:
Photos taken in my makeshift studio/sunroom...
The pumpkin is real.
She is nekkid (only 'cause her diaper was kinda full *oops* so it took up a bit too much room).
There is a thin swaddle blanket lining the pumpkin's inside and the part of the back where her skin touched. 
I carved the pumpkin out two nights before and let it dry out a little-- so it is NOT fresh and slimy.
The hat is a knockoff from a Target pumpkin accessory I saw and was NOT gonna pay $8 for. I knew I could make it myself, and better...And I LOVE how mine turned out! 
(Hm... Maybe I'll do a tutorial. It is SO easy!)
The space heater helped keep her happy.
And the best news-- this isn't even her official costume. I have EVEN CUTER PHOTOS of her, coming up! Whee!
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But for now, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Here's to a SPOOOOOKY fun day for all!

Way Back When, In August, My Baby Sister Got Married

So..... Hi, Blogland. It's been nearly two weeks since I last posted. Oopsie! I truly do love to blog, and often have posts written in my head throughout the days... but somehow, this season has been kicking my trash! I simply do not have enough hours in the day to do all that I need/want to do, and blogging is suffering. Makes me sad. There's a lot spinning in my head of late, the kind of stuff I'd love to blather on about here to sort it out... but until Halloween costumes are finished, and client orders are packaged and ready to mail, and laundry is folded (seriously, it's been like 3 weeks since we last folded laundry. It's bad right now)... I fear that the meandering blog journaling will have to wait. Of course, after Halloween, there's Noah's birthday party to get busy with, then Christmas gifts to make, holidays and such.,... and on and on...

I'll never catch up.

Is anyone out there ever caught up?

Anyway... in the spirit of being behind in my life, what better thing to blog about than my baby sister's wedding, back at the start of August?

It was...... in a word..... EPIC.

Mostly completely unrelated to my actual sister and her actual wedding...

It's just that... I was embarking on a full-blown cross-country trip as a SINGLE PARENT, two kids... one VERY colicky... and also playing the role of wedding photographer. I was sleep deprived to begin with, rusty at photo skillz, and barely able to keep a clear train of thought from just managing my small 2-kid-universe all day every day.

As I look through the photos, I am honestly shocked at the things I missed at the time, the details I didn't remember, the photographs I didn't take... All because I was truly just trying to survive the trip. But I guess I can also celebrate the fact that I remembered to dress my kiddos cutely, I managed all of the most important wedding photos a couple needs on their day, and I got to hug all my beloved relatives who came that day... even if I didn't get photos of all of them or have nearly the length of conversation with them that I wanted to.

It's a weekend I am glad I participated in... but also one that if I got a "do over", I would take in a heartbeat--- mostly because I wish I could have been more sharp, more focused, more energetic, and more ZEN... And had way more time with friends and family.

Anyway... on to the good stuff... the photos.

Post-ceremony temple time--- Noah bonded fast with his cousin Kason, Lucy managed to sleep in the stroller the whole ceremony (hallelujah!), and after a bit of screaming, settled down for photos...  and the rest of us enjoyed each other's company while we waited for the happy couple to emerge.
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Presenting Kirsten and Ryan:
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The requisite family shot... (We were just missing my sister Beckie, my hubby Joe, and Steve's wife Tamara for these... Pretty good for a wedding across the country!)  Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

And two photos of this frazzled mama and her little ones. (My mom made the dress. Amazing, right? I made the flowers in my hair, Lucy's headband, and Kirsti's cage veil). Noah liked his suit. It made him feel like Tony Stark, the alter ego of Iron Man. I LOVED that he made that connection: Photobucket
And a few more of the couple, including this lovely one of my baby sis: Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket 

The reception---Even amid all the frenzy and madness of this day, and managing two kiddos,  I managed to get a photo of my one remaining grandparent, who has taken a turn for the worse in the last year. It was the most important shot for me during this gathering.
I have several other shots of the party--- the cake, the couple, some sibling photos... etc.... But this set gets to the heart of the party for me--- brief moments with family I love, my babies mixed in... etc.   PhotobucketMemories, in list form:

1. Lucy blew out her diaper in grand form, moments after the above photo was snapped. It was beyond description. It was NOT a great addition to my day. (she did it again the next day when I was hanging out with Mel.)
2. Noah and Kason were INSTA-BFFs. My sweet cousin Karlie, age 11(?) took over watching them and they had a grand time going up and down the elevator in the WILK.
3. My amazing Aunt Darla and Uncle Jeff and their kiddos--- I love them like a second family. I got NO photos worth mentioning. But Ii loved being with them as much as I could.
4. Julina and Steven did an amazing job wrangling my two kids from American Fork to BYU campus for the reception because I was doing Photographer Duties. I could not have survived the day without my siblings.
5. Kirsten and Ryan had a crepe bar for the food. Um, YUM??! And I live for wedding cake at any reception.
6. At the very end of the night, when we finally went to our cars, Noah and Kason were devastated to say good bye in the elevator. Best friends forever. Until they got to the crosswalk button. Then an all-out sleep-deprived war ensued over who got to push the button. BFFs no more. We all died laughing, silently, from the ridiculousness of it all.

And then.... It was done. Suddenly, the party was over, the couple gone, and we all got home late for me to put exhausted, crying kids to bed. Noah had driven out to Utah with my parents, and was driving back with them early the next morning... So It was just me and Lucy the day after the wedding.

She and I had flown out by ourselves the day before the wedding, and were able to spend one too-short, MARVELOUS day with my best friend Katie Benson.  It was so good to spend time with her... and of course, I took NO photos. Not a one. (Another regret). Noah came over to play with her Beck, and Lucy tried to nap in my sling. We ate Wingers (yum!) and talked and talked.... And all too soon, we said goodbye until another year...

And then, because I made sure of it, I got one more day AFTER the wedding, this day to be spent with my other dear amazing friend, Melanie. Mel has a son born the same month as Noah--- they've been buddies (forced by us) since nearly their birth. *six months old*/*18 months old*. And then... if that wasn't enough... Mel and I had our second babies within a week of each other. Again. Destined to be best friends, like us.

We didn't have much time this time, but we tore up the time we had. Literally:
Photobucket (recreating their torn paper photo from 2009)

We binged on cupcakes (my idea of HEAVEN.):


And we managed to get the girls together for their first (and definitely not last) photo shoot together. Lucy was........ less than thrilled. Holland was tolerant, if a bit confused.  Photobucket Another regret: Noah wasn't with me for this part of the visit, so we didn't do Noah/Nolan shots this time. They DID get a playdate earlier in the week, before I arrived in UT, but not nearly enough time. Mel and I agree- they'd be SUCH good friends if we lived closer.

Ah.... My tiny trip to Utah.... It was so good to get there--- to be with Katie on Thursday, to celebrate my sister's wedding and see my amazing extended family on Friday, and to play with Melanie and Co. on Saturday.... 

Despite the exhaustion and stress, it is a trip I am so glad I got to take. And I just have to remind myself-- there will be other years I can get back there... Time to see more of my beloved people, time to get more of the photos I missed. There will be more. This time, what I DID manage to get was enough. 

It was good. 

Tuesday, October 18

Lucy, Six Months.

Our baby girl is SIX months old! How? When? Why??

Amazing, how fast it seems to have gone. (Once we dug out of the colic, that is!)
(a little orange and black, since it's October...)
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Lucy Notes @ Six Months:

* No height/weight stats yet, since her appointment isn't til Halloweeeeeen.
* But she is comfortably fitting into 3-6 month clothing finally, with a few 0-3 month pieces still fitting fine. She's a wee one. 

* Because she's nowhere near 6-9 month clothing, it's thrown off my Lucy Wardrobe. All the things that fit are items I expected to use in August/September, so they're not really WARM or cozy. And all the warm, cozy things I have for Lucy are too big. Therefore, I've gotten addicted to "upcycling" playclothes for Lucy to bridge the gap... making pants out of sweaters, making playdresses out of t-shirts and onesies... Cute stuff!

* Lucy is definitely teething. No little teeth poking through, or even really visible, but she is chewing on everything and drooling like a crazy. And Noah got his first teeth at 7 months, so I am just expecting it. 

* She loves to poke her tongue out at everything (see her official six-month shot above for The Look she's been giving). She always has, actually, but it's gotten more prevalent since this teething. I wonder if she is feeling things rumbling under those gums?

* She is really quite consistent with her schedule... It feels good to be able to mostly predict what she needs and when. She naps for 1.5-2 hours in the morning, around 9 or 9:30, and then takes an afternoon nap, again either 1.5 or 2 hours usually, around 1 or 2pm. She goes to bed around 6:30-7:00pm, and wakes around midnight and 4am to eat. She then wakes for the day around 7:30am. This, I can live with. All of it. 

* Having said that, she actually has gone til 3 or 4 for her first waking a few times in the last two weeks. Might she be close to dropping one of her night feeds? *fingers crossed*

* She has had her first solid foods-- avocado for the first three days, and sweet potatoes for the next 5 days. I introduced banana to her sweet potatoes yesterday. And she has been enjoying apple slices in her mesh teether. She is taking to foods like a champ!

* The nicknames that have emerged out of my crazy head for Lucy over the first 6 months, quite unintentionally: 
LuLu
LuLu Bell
LuLiLooler (that one cracks me up, and I have NO idea how it came to be)

* Her bedfellows: Her Bunny Bunny, her taggie from Mel, her Zaky hand... and I had tucked a vintage chenille bear and quilted heart pillow into the corner of her crib just for looks, and she has discovered them. Every once in a while, if she's had a restless nap or night, I'll go in to find the bear in all kinds of crazy places, drug around by her. And the heart pillow--- that's a CRAZY thing: I SWEAR she knows what she is doing with it because I've gone in SEVERAL times to find it laying over her sound machine. Like she's INTENTIONALLY trying to block out the little green light or the extra noise or something. It's CRAZY. And consistent. 

* She's just started showing some "stranger anxiety" in the past week-- If she's in my arms, she'll smile huge and wide for anyone who comes to flirt with her. But as soon as I hand her over, BIG ol' tears will sprout and her whole face will crumble as she starts to cry. SO pathetic. And sad for the innocent bystanders who just wanted a little baby snuggle.

* She loves: kicking her kick toy, watching her playroom mobile while kicking the stair banister, stacking boxes (easy to grab!), her crackle taggie, sitting in the sling like Jodie taught me long ago with Noah, watching Noah do everything, having books read to her (if she can nibble the edges), seeing her daddy at the end of the day

*

That's all I can think of for the moment.... My LuLu... six months. From here on out, the time wheel will just keep going faster and faster---- teeth, then sitting up, then crawling, then walking, talking, practicing independence.... a toddler... a kiddo... a teen.... ack!

I'm working so hard at being MINDFUL and in the present... and succeeding MAYBE 25% of the time. MAYBE. It's so hard not to spend my "rocking Lucy" moments planning the immediate future, or going over the immediate past... hard not to spend the stay-at-home mama time thinking about the next window of "freedom" I will get to sew or run a solo errand or watch some junk TV... So hard not to tune out the kid-chatter and so hard not to get exasperated when Lucy goes "off-book" to what I expect from her...

But I'm trying. My counselor taught me the simplest "deep breath" technique that has REALLY been a good one for me. Instead of just taking a deep breath and counting, then breathing out while counting, you think the words, "Beeeeeeeeeeeeee/ Calllllllllm".... Be calm. Be calm. 
Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. 

Be in THIS moment. Be at peace. Be mindful. 

And say thank you. 

(that last part is my own addition. Once I find the "present", I give thanks. There is ALWAYS something to give thanks for. ALWAYS.)

Maybe if I can master mindfulness a little more each day/week/month, I'll feel like I was IN my baby's fast-flying early days. Instead of wishing them away for something else like we all accidentally do. (Someday, she'll sleep through the night... someday she'll feed herself... SomedaySomedaySomeday.)

But when she sleeps through the night, that is two less warm, dark cuddle sessions a day I'll get. And when she feeds herself, that is 20-45 minutes less a day of "face time", exploring her every move and expression while spooning goop into her cute mouth...

Yep. I want to be in the moment. As much as I possibly can. Seven months is just around the corner. And then eight... then nine...

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(to see the original idea for these monthly photos, click here.
And Month 5. Month 4. Month 3. Month 2.)

Oh, and fun idea: If your baby is one of Lucy's birth peers (i.e. born in April sometime), if you wanna, I'd love to do a blog post with a photo collage of all of them at 6 months old. Well, and one of them as newborns, too... If you want, email me a pic of your April baby from their first two weeks, and one from the last two weeks, and their name/birthday, and I'll make a collage. I'll add links back to your blog if you want me to--- just mention it in the email. Fun? I think so!! 

email:
{southerlandgirl  at  yahoo  dot  com}

Friday, October 14

A Little Lucy Fun.

This isn't her 6-month stuff... in fact, it's nearly 2 months old (August 2011). But I finally got them edited and LOVE them, so why not some ridiculously cute Lucy to carry us into the weekend?


Just a cheerful baby in an egg basket.... wearing a sweet knit cap I got when NOAH was a baby... a hat that never worked for him, but is INSANE-CUTE for my LuLu. She's like a Lollipop Guild munchkin. Hee!

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(Next one's my favorite. I need it in a BIG print.)
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And then, of course, it just wouldn't be a LuLu session if I didn't shoot til she cried. Bad mama. Photobucket 
Ah well... It was awesome while she let me shoot. 

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Happy Friday, everyone! We have Noah's preschool Fall Festival tomorrow, and I am SO excited. SO SO excited. They have pony rides and a bounce house... face painting... SO much fun stuff. And I made a cake for the bake sale... And it promises to be a GORGEOUS day. Happy happy! 

Til then, I am watching the painfully real 127 Hours (wow, this movie is tough but GOOD) and working away on two newborn sessions from last week. Back to it, I guess. Thanks for the fun Love/Don't Love comments yesterday.... They were awesome! Anyone have more to add?

Thursday, October 13

Love/Don't Love

Today, I don't love:

*  That Lucy ended up having to cry it out for her first nap, and then didn't even end up sleeping
*  That Lucy still won't flip from tummy to back and gets REALLY mad about it.
*  That I didn't manage to get a shower.
*  The few stubborn ants that haven't succumbed to my latest ant trap attack. Gross.
*  My hair. Too short to be put up, too long to look good down without work.
*  My current feet. I'm wishin' for a pedicure I don't have to do myself.
*  How Noah repeats something a gabillion times until I stare him in the face to acknowledge that I HEARD YOU.
*  Feeling behind on work.
*  Seam-ripping something I appliqued on with the tiniest/super close stitches. A MESS o' threads to cut and cut and cut.
*  Letting Noah watch too much TV... even if it WAS WALL-E, the cutest cartoon ever.


But today, I love:

Coffee cake in a mug for breakfast.
*  Finishing a sewn humpback whale from this Finnish blog and not doing too shabby of a job.
*  How Pinterest inspires me daily and I actually manage to DO things from my boards on many days of the week.
*  Lucy's now 2.5-hour nap marathon since missing her morning nap.
*  Batteries in my baby monitor so I can carry it outside while Noah and I play in the sunshine.
*  A flowy skirt that feels comfy and pretty, even when I haven't showered.
*  Little dangly earrings from Katie.
*  Mozzarella caprese for lunch, using farmer's market Purple Heirloom tomatoes and my own basil. YUM.
*  That today is a day Joe comes home on time. Its always better with him here.
*  Lucy's growing patch of blonde hair on her head, filling in her widow's peak hairline. So fuzzy and soft!
*  Noah's incredibly developed imagination and the way he views the world. 
*  Moon dough and exersaucers, both occupying each kid for just a little while when I needed space today. 
*  The sun coming out after a grey morning. 
*  The weekend is almost here.

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What about you? 

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Some from today's playtime....
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I love this next one... Just an unguarded moment as he checks things out...
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And one of Miss Lucy from last week, since she was napping today when I took out my camera. See her growing head of hair? And that tongue-- she LOVES to poke that thing out and sample the world around her... :)  Photobucket
(Aside: Gosh, I have so many other photos of my kiddos I've taken in the last two months that I love.... But haven't gotten time to edit them. A casualty of the pro sessions coming back into my life. I hate it. I need to remedy it. Soon.)

Wednesday, October 12

Miss Alli {St. Louis Newborn Baby Photographer}

{Another Early 2011 Session Share}

And another sweet newborn--- this time a cute baby girl named Alli. Born in January, she was the perfect amount of plump and completely sweet.

Alli - Newborn

Alli - Newborn

Alli - Newborn

Alli - Newborn

Alli - Newborn

Alli - Newborn 

Thanks, Rachael and Co., for trusting me with your darling new baby. I can't believe it's been nearly a year and that she is completely changed by now! 

Time flies, you guys.... It really really does. my Lucy is SIX months old today. I just took her 6-month shots and am in complete disbelief that we've had her in our arms for a half a year already. 

Crazy. 

Go hug your babies. They're growing before your very eyes.

Abby and Her Baby Bump {St. Louis Maternity Newborn Photographer}

Just a quick little maternity session share--- another great client from early 2011.

This is Abby... and she is carrying Nolan in her belly. (I just like that detail, since one of my dearest friends has a Nolan...)

Abby - Maternity

Abby - Maternity

Abby - Maternity

Abby - Maternity

Abby - Maternity

Abby - Maternity

Like I said... a quick share. Not much extra story to tell--- just another fabulous client with a darling baby bump and a whole wide future ahead of her. 

I love my job!