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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Friday, December 30

Holiday Moments, 2011

A few of my favorite moments with Noah this season:

 * He truly believes in Santa Claus this year--- and "got it", ya know? the whole concept. And it was magical. When Santa sent him a message via the Portable North Pole, he tried to talk back like it was Skype---- which actually twisted my heart a little, because I YEARNED for it to be a REAL Skype session for him. He was so earnest.

* He was so eager to go open an Advent envelope each morning, then run to the computer to click on the snow globe advent next (Jacquie Lawson's delightful advents, here).

* Noah began learning Christmas carols this year... Getting quite good at Jingle Bells and Up on the Housetop, among others.

* We watched the heck outta the Netflix streaming holiday cartoons. We kinda went on an Avengers hiatus to enjoy seasonal shows instead.

* Noah was a perfect helper when we made sugar cookie dough and rolled out sugar cookies to cut. I loved seeing him get covered in flour with one of my pretty aprons on... It was one of those, "This is what being a mama is all about!" moments.

*  He inextricably linked Christmas with SNOW, and every time we'd say that Christmas was "x" days away, he'd say, "and then it'll SNOW??" It was tough to try to convince him that snow has its own timeline.

* When we opened the Advent envelope that said we got to go to the Mills to ride the train and the carousel, his reaction was one for the ages: He clenched his little fists, doubled over in tense joy, and chanted feverishly, "USA! USA!USA!USA!" like there was simply NO OTHER thing to say at that moment. It. Was. Priceless.

* We told him the Christmas Story this year using a cheap little Nativity I got from Walgreens last year. It was SO COOL to see him absorb the story and all the details while moving these "action figures" around. I could tell he was GETTING IT. He was really listening to the story. I am so excited that this first layer is in place. I know that as the years come and go, and he matures, he'll just keep adding more layers of meaning to this incredible story--- the reason for it all.

* I'm sure there are a million other moments that are escaping me right now... I love this kid so very much, and have been completely enchanted by Christmas through his eyes. What a neat thing, to be his mama right now. Well, always, really.


Lucy-isms this Holiday:

* Really, she didn't even notice anything different was going on this month... Haha!

* Except, well--- every morning when I'd go to open the blinds next to our Nativity collection, while holding her, she'd eagerly grab for the olive wood ones, hoping THIS would be the day she managed to swipe one for her very own. She never won.

* Other than that, her job this season was to just look cute, smile when Noah was excited, and practice eating Puffs. A LOT of Puffs.

* So this year, in terms of Christmas, there's not much to report on Lucy. But I guarantee that'll change by next year, when she is a mobile holy terror of a 1.5 year old. Ha! We might even have to skip a tree next year if she proves to be too crazy.


But goodness--- that FACE. She was my perfect doll this year, even if she had no idea what was going on. 



New Years Eve is here. What are your plans? I am going to seduce my hubby over some homemade fondue and board games for two.... after the kiddos go to bed. We might even manage to stay awake until midnight! 

Spicy,  I know. 

Happy New Years to All! 

Tuesday, December 27

Hope You're Having a Marvelous Holiday!

For us, it's still going--- Joe gets this whole week off of work, so it feels like an extended holiday. We're still in our jammies, the house is still a mess, I'm still eating WAY too many treats, and it's just a whole lotta Christmas 'round here, still.

And because I was frantically sewing Lucy's gift all day Christmas Eve and into the night, and then we traveled on the 25th and 26th, I never got to post these shots I took Saturday with the intention of sharing for Christmas Day. So since it's still Christmas in my head, I'll still post them. Whee!!

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 (So she's not a fan of tummy time... so what? It makes a GREAT photo, right?!)

And my other one, just as cute and hammy:
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And I had to grab a couple of shots of Lucy's cute Christmas Eve outfit, complete with her Halloween costume gnome boots, which transferred nicely into Elf Boots!

Gosh, I love these kids! :) 

I have their "official" holiday portraits ready to post. I have been compiling a list of favorite holiday moments in my head this year, and want to get them written down before I forget them, so I'll blog those tomorrow with their photos... So you're stuck with All Southerlands All the Time right now... But hey-- they're MY universe, so they might as well populate my entire blog, right?! 

Merry Ongoing Holidays to all. Now go sneak a nap. I plan to!


Wednesday, December 21

Deck the Halls...

Mostly images, not many words.... Here are our humble Christmas decorations this year:

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{Who needs mantle stockings when you can just use the fireplace gate??} Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket 
{Advent idea comes from a combination of these two ideas: All Things Simple: Activities Advent, and The Little Red House Advent}

My printables, up for grabs (some are more specific to our family, so you'd have to change them): 

{Below, another little advent, the Book Advent, one I've wanted to do for years now, and finally have enough books for. HERE is the first time I saw this idea done, back in '07.}
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{Banner made with love by my friend Smiley Beth} 

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Tuesday, December 20

Lucy: Eight Months Old


{If it seems like she's growing up faster than ever, it's not true--- I just posted her SEVEN month photos only 19 days ago. So it seems speedier than usual to already be at month 8.}

Lucy, at 8 Months:
* She has TWO TEETH! They are tiny and not really photographable just yet, but they are there. They gave us a week or two of sleep upsets, both with shortened naps for a week and then some extra wakings at night, but we're out of those woods for now and back to the usual routine.

* She is FINALLY rolling from tummy to back, frequently and consistently. No more "stuck on my tummy, come get me mama" crying from her crib.

* She is a champ with easy, soft finger foods. So far, she's only been given puffs, Rice Krispies, pieces of bread, and pieces of broccoli, and she's really good at getting the pieces in her pincer grip and getting it to her mouth. She LOVES this control!

* She's eating meat-baby food now. I make about 50% of the food she is eating, so her first meat was a ground beef and mixed veggie with pasta, pureed to a really good consistency, which I expected to be hard.

* She is destined to be musical, like Noah. She will "sing" along with me (or Grandma!) when we sing to her--- a sustained squawk note of co-singing. SO cute!

* She is finally moving into 6-9 month clothes and size 3 diapers. She's been smallish all along, but is getting into a regular size now.

* Lucy's hair grows more abundant every week. Now, it officially grows in a mohawk-style, soft as goose down and fluffy and so blonde. I love it!

* She is nowhere near crawling, either army-style or regular. She loves just sitting up to play or laying on her back to play... Happy as a clam.

* She has just started getting REALLY good at putting herself to sleep--- she no longer needs or wants me to rock and pat her to near oblivion... She wants to work it out herself. Hooray, Lucy, but *sniff* Mama....

* She gets so excited to practice drinking from our glasses. We hold the glass to her mouth and she tries to get it all in... She is actually pretty good!

* She still LOVES the car and the stroller... But it has been months since she's fallen asleep in either. She is a crib baby, all the way.

And that's our LuLu... My sweet baby girl, TOTALLY worth the colic season to have this little one in our home now!


(to see the original idea for these monthly photos, click here.

Monday, December 19

Going to See Santa

The giant tree: 
Waiting in line: 
The cheesy pic: 

The Wish List:

Noah asked for roller skates, a kitten, and a teddy bear.

Noah said that Lucy wanted another baby. (Hm...)


Santa was photogenic, but not very interactive with the kids. 
It makes me sad that the "Santa Visit" is just another business venture these days, with photo sales being the goal. Why can't the guy take a minute to "ho ho ho" and tell Noah to be a good big brother and all that?

Oh well.

The only reason we bought photos this time was because it was Lucy's first visit. 

And we DID have fun, and Noah never knew the difference. I just wish Santa had been better t being SANTA. Maybe we'll try a different spot next year.

 I'm not going to let it cramp my spirits. We're in full-on Christmas mode over here, and I LOVE it! Treats, crafts, Advent, Nativities, songs... You name it, we've got it happening in the Southerland household. 
Have a merry last week before the big day!

Ho Ho Ho! Be nice to your kid sisters!

Friday, December 16

A SuperHero Party

This party has been hatching in my brain for longer than I should admit...

But the thing is, my poor kiddo had to skip a party last year when I ended up suffering that insane, unexpected arthritis and breast infection. So I figured I owed him TWICE the birthday party this year. Besides-- I've gotten so caught up in his new world of super heroes, it's like a party for me as well.

This ended up being SO VERY MUCH FUN to put together. From the food to the capes I made for the kiddos, to the photo set to just seeing all the kiddos run around and BE SUPER, it was everything I hoped for this kiddo of mine on his 4th birthday.

So.... The photos. (Only a month after the fact, ha!)

Super Snacks:
Super Cake: Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Super POPCORN (With fruit loops added-- a last minute stroke of genius!)
Super streamers (and an extra clean dining room- wow!) Photobucket 
My super kiddo: Photobucket

The superhero supplies-- each kiddo's favorite color and initial): Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

The super photo set-up, with the birthday boy: 

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His super guests--- plus one of Super Lucy (of course she gets her own cape!): Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket 
(I kept the kid count to 8 including Noah, so that we could send the parents away and still be able to keep the crowd control. It was PERFECT!)

We served lunch--- simple fare that kids would eat: One plate of PB&J and one place of cheese sandwiches. Each kid got a bottled water and a popcorn cone, and could grab snacks from the buffet.

And for seating? Well, the FLOOR, of course! (It was actually good that we sent parents away-- less people to feed and less chairs needed. Ha!) Photobucket

A little Lucy and Joe. (I am in love with the camera bib! She's hip, ya know...) Photobucket

And some Lucy and Mom... (Gotta get in FRONT of the camera once in a while...) Photobucket Photobucket

Gifty time... Everything he got was so perfect and thoughtful for him--- Lucky kiddo, to have such sweet friends! Photobucket

Cake time: Photobucket

Freeplay time in the back yard. Thank HEAVEN for perfect days in November. We were able to run around outside a LOT! Their favorite activity? Knocking down the tower of "skyscrapers". Super strength and all that!Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

And an "after" pic of the cake I made--- Super layers and all!

This is just one white cake mix halved and dyed red and blue, then one yellow cake mix with a little extra yellow food coloring added, halved into two layers. Then my mom's buttercream frosting recipe in between layers and on top, and freebie printables on skewers as the decorations on top. Really an inexpensive little project that visually packed a punch!Photobucket 
 This party was exactly what I hoped it would be--- incredibly fun for Noah, a chance for him to be in "pretend" mode 100% with other kids... A celebration of everything he is... a chance for my friends, the other parents, to get some time sans kids... A chance to make these cute kids something they will hopefully wear again and again for their own playtimes... An excuse to make pretty cake... Twice the party to make up for last year....

It was perfect. And I'll likely do FAR less next year and save up new ideas and new energy for a good, big effort like this every other year or so. But I'll probably always find an excuse to concoct a big, tall, gooey, yummy cake, even on the "off years".



A few credits:
1. Comic book bunting: free Marvel comics covers available to print from Marvel.com
2. "Hero Juice" free printable label from "Oh Happy Day", Jordan Ferney
(I used these for Joe's Father's Day gift last year, here)
3. Cake topper printables from Onecharmingparty.com
4. Popcorn cone idea from Pinterest
6. Cake idea from Pinterest
7. Snack label idea from Pinterest
8. Cape pattern and design - all my own