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 31

Two Years Ago...

I've been sorting and working on personal photos from, oh, way back in 2009. Which, until I look at photos, doesn't FEEL all that long ago. But my GOSH, seeing the changes in my sweet Noah is what reminds me that time is indeed passing.

It's been really neat to revisit 2009. I have jokingly declared 2009 and 2010 to be "The Lost Years" with regards to my personal photos.... I was simply too busy with professional sessions and other miscellaneous LIFE to keep up on culling and editing them, especially after I switched to RAW at the end of 2009. In fact, because of that switch, many many many of my 2010 photos are truly a mystery to me, still in their RAW form, no thumbnail to even hint at what might be tucked in those carefully labeled folders on my hard drive. A Lost Year for sure. So I am desperately trying to reclaim those years, and it's been a revelation--- the memories, locked inside photos barely glanced at in the last two years, come flooding back... It turns out, I have been LIVING, man. REALLY LIVING this life. Even when I'm so busy catching up that I forget to notice.

And crazy to think about (has it really been TWO YEARS?): 2009 was when we moved into "Kate's House". We've lived here, in this "temporary home", for TWO YEARS. Funny how life twists and turns in ways you can never imagine. Here we are, two years later, and Noah no longer calls it "Kate's House". We've really started to claim it for our own, finally.

Anyway.... I've not got much else deeper to say for the moment, but in honor of the time that's passed, even though I cannot believe 2009 was so long ago, I threw together some photos of Noah when we first moved in here and then some of his most recent shots.... Just to demonstrate what a difference two years can make. (In more ways than just physically...! But that's a philosophical discussion for another day... when I don't have to finish my preparations for Grandma Vicki's return to stay with us for the week. I can't wait to have her back, so it's been fun to tidy up and prepare the house again...)

So, this is Noah, freshly turned 2, January 2010:

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And this is Noah, 4 years old, right now:

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And side by side:

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Huh. Amazing. 

Just a reminder that time really IS passing, and that sweet face we think we know so very well is totally changing, right before our eyes. Take a minute and really LOOK today, and capture today's moment. It's gonna be gone before we know it. Replaced, of course, by even more marvelous moments and versions of the same face... but still. Hold tight to the moments when you can remember to.

Back to work.... Poppyseed Chicken Casserole and Puffed Butternut Squash for dinner tonight.... What about you?

Wednesday, January 25

Special Moments With My Son...

Way back at the start of this school year, Fall 2011, Noah began preschool for the first time. He was on the cusp of 4 years old, and was MORE than ready to get out of the house and be around a lot of neat kids his own age. And as much as I loved having him with me, I knew school would be a marvelous thing for him, and so I enrolled him. Three days a week, for 2.75 hours at a time.

The first day of school came, and I took a quick few photos... Then the second day of school rolled around and I took a few more, this time of him in his classroom... And then Fall began kicking my tail with photography business, and those photos drifted to the bottom of the editing pile and never emerged. I felt a bit wistful at that, but vowed I'd still get some "formal" fall school photos of him and POST THEM.

Well, I managed that first part--- in October, with only a little bit of light left, I dragged Noah, Joe, Lucy and an old desk out to my favorite spot in my favorite park, and we found time to get a series of photos that instantly became so DEAR to me. I mean, this kid of mine, SO marvelous, is such a stinker in front of the camera.... But for this magical 30 minutes, he was EVERYTHING I needed him to be, and more. And the light was magical, the setting was incredibly lovely... it was just utterly perfect-- exactly what I'd hoped for.

And yet... as precious as these images ARE, somehow I kept putting off getting them done and blogged... Almost like my harebrained tendency to hoard gift cards for months, like a secret treasure, that's how it felt when I thought about these photos. They were so special to me, I wanted to hoard them just a little longer. (I have a set of photos my amazing friend Katie took in August I'm doing the SAME THING with. What is my PROBLEM??)

Anyway. Now that it is the dead of dreary winter, the golden tones of these photos have finally called out to me and I have gotten them done. And you know what? Like a fine wine, they have only gotten more dear to me over the months. So. Here is Noah. In these photos, he is nearly 4. Already, in the 3 months since taking these, he has changed a bit. How quickly they change.... But. I want to post these simply as an homage to HIM. At 4. My little son, not a toddler anymore at all, and well on his way to being a full-fledged kid. So I will intersperse the photos with little snippets of my Noah, right this minute, and even though the photos are a bit behind, it will all mesh together and be well.

My sweet son:

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He is a natural clown, and plays to the laughs as much as he possibly can.

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Noah is confident, outgoing, and kind. He has never clung to me or fretted when I drop him off at school. He LOVES that place. When he plays with other kids, be they ANY age, 2 or 12, he immediately thinks he's a "peer" and starts socializing. He loves kids, period. And loves when kids love him back.

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He is still completely attached to Old Mai, his lovey. But in addition, he favors various pals that join his merry band. These have included: Llama Llama, Bumblebee the Transformer (up until yesterday, he played with the classic plastic one, but now that Dad has found his plush one, that's his NEW friend), Iron Man, Spider Man, Alfred the kitty, among other critters. He is NOT as attached to "Ducky", the blanket. But that's okay. I love it, and love how he used to love it, so I still brought it for his session.

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Noah loves books, verbal storytelling, and music. His most recent favorites have been:
Books- Dad's Calvin and Hobbes books, his new Pop-Up Book about anatomy and physiology, and the Poingo books he got as a Christmas gift from our neighbor Opal.
Storytelling- We just made up a cute one yesterday about how a rainbow was formed. We were both enjoying it so much that I forgot to park the car a mile from school for our walk like I normally do, and had to scramble to park somewhere else to get SOME of the walk in, still.
Music- Most recently, he's been begging for me to play the "giddy yup song", i.e. William Tell Overture, i.e. the Lone Ranger song. He loves it! He also loves the Peer Gynt "In the Hall of the Mountain King" song, as well as several Regina Spektor songs, "Dinah" by _____ (Sarah, fill in the blank!), and "Yoshimi Defeats the Evil Robots" by the Flaming Lips.

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 Noah is deeply into "games", i.e. pretending. He has these scripts in his head, and INSISTS Joe or I play the other part. More often than not, he is the robot of the story... Even when the story doesn't typically include a robot. For example, his most recent "game" has been for me to play Nala from the Lion King, and he is Bumblebee the Transformer. We are in the Savannah, but other than that, he's not shaped the story much... except that we go to explore the Elephant Graveyard, a concept from the Lion King story that has captured his imagination.
Other "games" include me driving to the pet shop (as just me) and buying a kitty cat, him, and naming him "Sprinkles"/"Picky Picky"/"Alfred"/"Fluffy". He  is usually a blue and turquoise cat for this game. Other games include playing Iron Man, Iron Giant, Wall-E, and so on.

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My sweet Noah is the BEST brother. He loves his Lucy and wants to be the first in her room when she awakes. He wants me to lift him in the crib with her so they can play. And he takes GREAT pride in the fact that he can get her to laugh more than anyone else. He wants to take his bath with her, he loves to see her in the car when he gets in after preschool, and is honestly never rough with her or mean about her. It is heaven to me.

And he's been the best kid in general. I cannot honestly remember the last time we had to follow through with a "time out" situation... he listens to our warnings and adjusts his behaviors. I am amazed and grateful for that.

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He is a happy kiddo. He is a sweet kiddo. I marvel at him and wonder how we've already come this far from the day he was born. I feel incredibly blessed to be his mama, and his steward in this life.

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 I love every last one of these photos... I love how much of his true self is in them. And I love that we get to keep him this age forever, if only in images. Because for the moment, I think this little family of mine, just as it is, is just about perfect.
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(And there they are. No more photo-hoarding for this session. Maybe I can even convince myself to prepare and share the other couple of sets of images I keep hanging onto for a rainy day. It's rainy and dreary right now. What better time than now?)

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For now, though, it is bedtime. Time to take more Advil to nurse my surprise root canal from today, and time to get to bed and get powered up for another day in this life o' mine. 
G'nite.

Monday, January 23

Ramblings From a Monday Morning:


Sitting at my desk, contemplating life and my to-do list....

It's a new week! Come on, let's GO!!

My house smells like burned toast. Guilty confession: At 10:00pm last night, I wanted toast with frosting on it. And my toaster somehow knew this was not a healthy choice, so it annihilated the two pieces of toast. I swear, I've never burned toast this bad. It was a sign. So what did I do? 

I made more toast. And babysat it this time, so it wouldn't burn. And slathered SO MUCH FROSTING on it. And it was amazing. 

Take that, toaster. 


It is a gloomy day outside. I had a MASSIVELY gloomy day internally yesterday, and so when I rolled out of bed this morning, trying so hard to pry my eyes open, I was prepared to let the mood continue. I was prepared to say, "screw the morning walk idea. It's cold and gross and I just want to be lazy." But checking the temps outside, I was surprised to see that it was already 41 degrees-- 15 degrees higher than the morning temps of late. And I knew I'd be a fool to waste this morning for walking. So I dragged myself into walking clothes, silently thanking Joe for having already fed Noah breakfast, and quickly fed Lucy and myself and bundled them up for the drive/walk to preschool. 

Ya know what? It may be a gloomy day today, but I feel 100% better than I did yesterday. And I KNOW it's because of the exercise. Stinkin' exercise. Why must it be SO hard to make ourselves do, when it CLEARLY does so much for us beyond physical well being?? Blergh.

I'm trying so very hard to make a daily 30-minute walk become involuntary. Not optional. Intrinsic to who I am. I've been working on this since October. I am not there yet at ALL. But the goal has been a worthy one, and I keep pushing for success. I mean, taking a shower is NOT OPTIONAL. How do we reach that mindset? And how can I get it to apply to a 30-minute walk? Shower. Of course. Walk. Of COURSE. 

I'm trying. 

Up for the week: Nothing HUGE that must get done, but a lot of tiny things. My parents came to town this weekend and my mom helped me tackle our basement all day Saturday. It felt AMAZING. AAAAA! When we first moved in here, it was only going to be for 6 months. So the basement, made up of two halves, ended up being a "catch-all" place. One half was chock-full of our moving boxes, still packed, all the things we loved. The other half was the place for "MISC." Things we needed, but not immediately... half unpacked boxes... new stuff we acquired but didn't have a place for. Photography props. Outgrown toys. Empty boxes saved for future packing or care packages or whatever. Now, 2 years later, it had gotten OUT OF HAND. And I've been in the mood to trim, pare, purge my life so very much, that I've been itching to get down there and make magic happen. Purge with a vengeance. So this Saturday was AMAZING. With the help of my powerful, energetic, incredible mom, we got the crazy half of the basement SO organized--- stuff trimmed down to a third of what it was before.... so many things thrown away or donated... And a new sense of order-- a more PERMANENT sense of "basement order" down there now. So much so, in fact, that my parents brought with them a full-sized bed and frame and we'll set it up in a cozy corner down there (what basement is EVER cozy, I ask you? NONE. So I'm being optimistic when I call this corner cozy.)... and there will be a little more space for the family we love that we often host. It's no "Oprah Guest Room"--- (my dream guest room, someday, will TOTALLY be like Oprah's guest rooms in her home(s)--- gorgeous linens, lovely light, and a gift basket with a novel or two, a bottled water, a bag of something yummy, and , like, a freakin' brand-new BATHROBE or something... SOMEDAY.)--- so yeah, it's not THAT, but it'll do. 

Whoops. That was a Basement Cleaning Tangent. What I was getting at, is that this week, I don't have anything HUGE to tackle, but I'd love to get back down there and work on the other half of the basement a bit. I'd also love to work on my new website a bit. I want to work on some personal photo things. I want to put together a Cupcake Party ASAP--- like I did a few years ago. I want to maybe begin sewing bumpers for Lucy's crib... I dunno. Lots of little things. 

So. 

I guess I'd better seize this moment, since Lucy finally stopped chatting into the baby monitor and is asleep, and Noah is at school. High Ho, High ho, it's off to work I go....


Doo dee doo!

Have a marvelous week, friends!

Friday, January 20

Miss Lucy: Nine Months Old!

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

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My sweet Lucy turned 9 months old last week. Can you believe it? She simply won't stay put at the 6-month age I asked her to. That girl--- a mind of her own, I tell ya.

At nine months, Lucy:

* Still only has the two bottom teeth, though I SWEAR those top two are working hard to come down.

* Is round, pink, soft, fuzzy, smiley, and the perfect size. And has been SUPER healthy. (*knock on wood!*)

* Has her own way of being semi-mobile: She loves to be on her back, because then she can hike up her hips and kick both legs down HARD on the ground/mattress and basically flop her whole lower half down again and again.... SLOWLY making her body turn in a 180-degree circle. It really looks like the breakdancing caterpillar, except she's on her back. SO FUNNY!

* She has finally started rolling from tummy to back to tummy to back many times in a row--- but NEVER when she's just on the quilt on the floor. Only in her crib or on our bed.

* Her crib is her PLAYGROUND.She has a few little stuffed lovies and things in her crib that I tuck into the corners every morning and after every nap... Yet every time I go in to get her after a sleep, she has rolled around the entire crib gathering her friends and blankets, and ends up with them in a heap in the center, all piled around her. She explores the HECK outta that crib!

* Other than that, she is nowhere NEAR being a mover. She doesn't care to army crawl, true crawl, pull up, whatever. She is most happy sitting regally on her playmat, lording over her toys and enjoying the view. I'm just fine with this. She stays put, and is happy- what more could I ask for?

* Has gotten very fond of making motorboat sounds with her mouth. It gets a bit spitty, but she loves how it feels and has been doing it non-stop.

* Favorite toys right now: Her Bunny Bunny, of course, her Raggedy Lucy doll, a Woodstock stuffie from Build-a-Bear that plays a bit of the Charlie Brown music, her blue bulb sucker thingy, ANY rattle (she is a classic baby, shaking rattles like some cliched commercial. Haha!)

* Fun food adventures: we've been adding some spices to her food--- cinnamon in her oatmeal and in her pumpkin, and a touch of garlic salt to some of her other meals. She has discovered and loved freeze-dried fruit bits, the veggie puffs that look like Cheetos, and graham crackers. She LOVES to feed herself finger foods and LOVES to be given a big-kid sippy cup of water to practice on.

* She is still the happiest, smiliest, kickiest, most reactionary baby ever. I mean, it is NOT HARD at all to get her flapping and kicking and grinning like she just won a trip to Disneyland. It's awesome. She's kind of like a puppy in that way. Leave the room for two minutes, come back, and she greets you like you've been lost for years. ♥

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And a few more from our photo set. She is laying on a beautiful quilt Joe and I bought in Bayonne, France when we went to Europe in 2006. I have photos of Noah with it too, here.(ACK! I just went to find a blog post with Noah's old photos and I DON'T SEE THEM. Did I never blog them? Really?! That's nuts. I love these photos. Here. Two Noah photos, when he was ALSO 9 months old. Oh, the parallels!):

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Okay. That is remedied. (Isn't he darling? He definitely has his own baby look, though. He and Lucy are not so similar here at the 9-month mark. But both insanely lovable.)

ANYWAY. I LOVE this quilt. Love love love it. and January, with snow, ice, winter, seemed a good month for the blues of these photos. The denim headband flower was made by my sweet friend Heather Bauers, using my t-shirt flower tutorial, here.

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The necklace is an Amber Teething Necklace, made from Baltic amber and meant to be soothing to inflammations of all kinds (arthritis, etc.) when worn against the skin. It was a gift from my friend Misty, and I love it--- both for its healing properties and just because it's sweet and pretty.

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(Gosh, isn't she perfect with all those blues? Her EYES, my goodness!)
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And her nine-month birthday was celebrated with Grandma Vicki here, visiting from Korea. We've LOVED having her here, and Lucy is just delighted by her! :)

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And there you have it... My baby. Too close to one year old, and bring utter joy to my life every day.

Thursday, January 12

Let it Snow!

We woke up this morning to a layer of snow... This, after a gorgeous yesterday with highs of 53 degrees. Noah has been on cloud 9. I, on the other hand, have been chilly and annoyed at the drivers I had to battle as we tried to get to Lucy's 9-month appointment.

(We never made it. After an hour of 3 MPH and only getting 3 miles, with 5 more to go, we had to give up, turn around, and take deep cleansing breaths to get our cheerful attitudes back.)

Ah, but snow--- even with it causing so many little frustrations (I SWEAR I need fingerless gloves to type in this cold corner of our house! Brr!), there is a tiny part of my soul that is still a child, and feels the same flare of excitement at the magic of the white stuff. It gets especially magical to experience it through the eyes of your 4-year-old.

These shots are, (full disclosure), NOT from today.... We did get a bit of snow one other day this season, back on December 27. Joe had the whole week off of work and when Noah awoke to the layer of white stuff, it was all we could do to get him bundled before he dashed out to play.

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What a dapper snow fellow! And what a sweet kiddo standing next to him! :) 

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Randoms for the moment....

1. Lucy is NOT napping. She is whiling her time away in her crib, telling stories. I am trying not to notice, or I will get annoyed. The kid is TIRED. Why why why? 

2. Joe's mama, Grandma Vicki, is in town for the week. We are in heaven under her blanket of unconditional love and unflagging energy to play and play and play. I am so happy to have her here! 

3. I am currently sporting.... a ponytail. THANK YOU for so many thoughts and ideas and comments about my Hair Crisis last week. I have a loose plan after all of the comments and ideas, but I am awaiting the next paycheck before I do anything.... Meanwhile, I am doing what I can and working on re-claiming my curls better. I am working on getting them to find their shape better, and working on keeping them untethered for as much of the day as I can stand.... And already there is a difference--- they look more lively and there are more potential "pretty curl" days in my life. Still, today, after wearing it down until 3:00pm (!) I had to tuck it into a loose ponytail (trying not to crush the curl pattern here), and here I am. Ponytail. Still. Oh well. It's cuter than some of the ponytails I manage to sport. 

4. I am, for the most part, in a remarkably good place in my head space and in my life these days. I have alluded to having some recent epiphanies I want to write about, and have yet to actually sit and begin hashing them out into words, but I promise you--- I have had some monumental ideas come through my little head since late summer and have been seeing so many good things change because of them, and really REALLY do intend to ramble on about them on this blog. VERY SOON. You wanna know the MAIN thing keeping me from just sitting down and starting the writing? My silly idea that I want a photograph to accompany the first post, and the fact that I need to go get some things to complete the photo. WHAT A LAME EXCUSE--- waiting for the "perfect moment" to write instead of just DOING it, even if I don't have the dang photo. Seriously.

5. P.S. Lucy is STILL chattering. I am going to have to put her up for sale. Pondering a price now. 

6. I am seizing 2012 back for my photography business. I am working on blog design, website updates, portfolio updates.... I want a "fresh coat of paint", so to speak, and I am working to make it happen before spring hits. 

7. To that end, I am also booking up already. Wow! I am still not taking a FULL load of clients, since I still feel like my balance as a mom relies on me remembering to keep my workload from careening out of control.... And I am still not shooting weddings... But I am excited to see my spots getting snapped up in the coming months. And I'd LOVE to photograph YOU---- so if you're thinking this is the year for a session with me, email me!! Let's talk! 

8. Current TV Series I am Hooked On: The Bachelor (of course. Lamer each season, but a train wreck I enjoy watching). Vampire Diaries. The New Girl. Once Upon a Time. Castle.

9. Current Sewing Project: forcing myself to finish all the unfinished projects I have piled up. Not as fun as grabbing a new idea and running with it, but it will feel good in the end. 

10. Favorite Current Thing About Joe: He has been MARVELOUSLY letting me sleep each morning until the very last minute before he heads to work.... even if the kids get up before then. Seriously, folks--- this guy makes me a better mom and a better human. He really does. 

11. My most visited websites these days: Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo mail, Pinterest, Google Reader

12. My current favorite iPhone games: Angry Birds (a revival after almost a year not playing it. I've got some catching up to do!), Tap N Pop (lame, easy, mindless), Tiny Towers 

13. Current Frustration: I had to send my fancy lens in to get repaired. After only a year since its last repair. It's rough being without this lens, since it is on my camera 94% of the time, usually. (The Canon 24-70 2.8L)

14. Something I am looking forward to: My parents, Noah and I are going to Nauvoo tomorrow evening to hang out and play all day Saturday. We'll do a temple session, check out the visitor's center and the family activity thingy, go to the bluffs to look for bald eagles.... It'll be a fun 36-hr trip away. :) 

15. One last one: DANG THIS COMPUTER CORNER IS FREEEEEEEEZNG. I can barely keep typing because it is so cold and my hands are getting stiff. Ick. Time to go make some cocoa and wrap my fingers around the mug. Because I THINK *shhhh, don't jinx it* Lucy may finally be asleep?????

Monday, January 9

Lucy, September 2011

It was a warm September day, and Lucy was finally coming to an age where she was happy most of the time... and she had begun grabbing her feet (I loved this-- Noah never really did it much, so I was inordinately excited to have a foot-grabber this time).... And I realized that my days of opportunity for playing around with my garage light were numbered (I had not done ANY Lucy sessions in the garage yet... And now I was almost out of time)....

So I decided I wanted to piggyback off of THIS amazing session I had seen on Pinterest, beautiful images by the incredible photographer Meg Fish (my gosh she is good... her images are nothing like mine. Her color, the softness, the flood of light.... I don't know how to be this way. I wish it was more intrinsic to who I am...)

And Lucy was nearly the right age for this. Nearly, but not quite, turns out, because I never DID get her to grab her own feet during our session together. What I got, instead, was an inadvertent story of a girl fascinated with her thumb.

And I love them. All of them. I love that I found enough light to make this FEEL the way I was trying to make them feel. I love every face Lucy made. I love how in love with her thumb she was. I love HER. I loved shooting this.... so much so that I kept shooting. And unlike the clean, tidy self-editing Ms. Fish did with her simple 4-image storyboard, I am a terrible self-editor, and cannot cull down as far as I probably should... so instead of a brief little homage to the pinned idea I started from, here are ALL the ones I love from my sun-filled afternoon with Lucy in our little garage.

Just me, my baby ...and her thumb.

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{The meaning of the name Lucy is Light... Perfect, don't you think?}