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:

Wednesday, May 30

Family Time: Enjoying the Laumeier Art Fair

I am a fair/festival/market/carnival JUNKIE. Anything with booths and some kind of music and a crowd, and I am drawn like a moth to a flame. Love love love. I'm blessed to have married a man who doesn't mind my passion and is content to tag along and enjoy the time with his overly-excitable wife. Truly--- I know he's a blessing to me. I'm sure plenty of husbands would happily stay home, save the cash, and watch a Netflix flick instead.

Since having kiddos, I've not gotten to indulge this crazy love of mine as much or as thoroughly as I once did... It's just not fair to the kids to linger in the heat/stay up past bedtimes/ponder boring things in a craft tent while they wait/drive long distances just to feed the silly excitement I get when happening upon a set of temporary tents with treasures and excitement inside. So I pass them by, or plan shorter versions of a trip, or tell myself I'll go next year... And that's perfectly okay. Its more fun to go with my family than alone, so I am perfectly okay waiting til they are good ages to go.

With the Laumeier Art Fair, which is every Mother's Day weekend, it just so happens that this year, both my kids are PERFECT ages for something like the Friday night start to the fair. I know they'll have live music, I know there is a lot of grass to run in should the bigger kid get restless or bored... I know Lucy is totally content in a stroller and VERY happy even when pushed a bit past bedtime... It was just a perfect time for a little trip to one of my favorite St. Louis Art Fairs...

And hey, it was Mother's Day weekend. I deserved a little time doing something I love, WITH the people I love, right? :)

So on a Friday evening, armed with picnic dinners for the kids, stroller, and a bit of cash for entry fees and junk food, we headed out to Laumeier Sculpture Park... Noah brought his trusty sidekick.

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The park features a permanent display of fascinating, fabulous sculptures, this on being the most famous:
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It was a gorgeous night-- cool, breezy... the music was just right, and as predicted, this little one was in heaven in her stroller, dancing in her seat to the music. (Plying her with peanut butter sandwiches and cheese sticks didn't hurt her mood either!)
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After walking around many of the artists' booths, we stopped back at the live music to sit and enjoy. Lucy danced and bopped and smiled. Noah, in his strange Noah way, was sheepish and mad and embarrassed at the sensory input (he gets "shy" and overwhelmed when things are TOO awesome.. too loud, too amazing, too perfect) and had to settle into the experience before he let himself go and let himself love it as much as his initial gut response told him to. I don't understand it, entirely, but I try to be gentle with this tendency of his.

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Once Noah warmed back up, he danced, too, and then wanted to play near the giant eyeball sculpture that was a few feet from the stage. I mean, come on! Who can resist a giant EYEBALL!?

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Self-Portrait With Noah, Attempt 1: Getting the camera positioned right, therefore not thinking about expressions.
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Too serious!

Self-Portrait With Noah, Attempt 2: Let's smile this time!
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PERFECT. :)

Oh yeah, and the artists? Fabulous, as usual. (I only managed one photo of one little booth. Oops. Trust me, there was some good stuff at this fair!)

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Once at this festival, years ago, we bought a piece of art. It was a real splurge for us, but felt amazing to do. Someday, we'll be in the position to do that again. I already have at least two artists in mind I'll be buying from first....Both of them mixed media types. (In an alternate life, I'd be a mixed media artist. I LOVE that stuff.)

ANYhoo... Just a few snaps from one recent family outing. Perhaps I'll get my act together enough to share photos from the TWO OTHER FAIRS we attended in May. Three in one month? Pure heaven to a festival junkie like me!

Thursday, May 24

A Paltry Output For My Week So Far

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This has been one of those weeks (months), that feels like I can't seem to get myself GOING. My discipline and motivation have flagged and I am floundering a bit with my goals, my personal principles of motherhood, my plans for the future.... It all kind of crashed to a halt after my insane April, when I had no choice but to be go go go go go go go go go go go for weeks... It was like after that insanity ended, I just....

QUIT.

So I've been trying to give myself pep talks to get back on track. 

It's not like I'm some crazy schedule-nazi that requires myself to be on a rigorous and stringent schedule of cleaning, cooking, self-improvement, mothering, and crafting. Trust me-- my goals are pretty small. Which makes this lull all the more embarrassing. It's not hard to do what I usually do. Yet I can't even seem to manage that small life. 

So. 

First of all, I posted the photo above as an ultimatum to myself to finally plant my butt in this seat in the next three days and pound out the epiphany and subsequent life changes surrounding rocks... Something that happened back in the fall and has led me since then.... that I've wanted to get down in writing, but never seem to make the time for. And now, more than ever, when I need to revisit that epiphany and recommit to it, seems a good time to get to writing. 

So, gauntlet thrown down. Photo shared. Epiphany must now get written. 

Second of all, I thought it'd be good for my sheepish inner self to jot down a list of things I HAVE managed this week, so that I can be kind to myself and forgive the bog things that keep not getting done. Maybe seeing a list of what DOES get done will help me forgive myself a bit more. 

So, this week, I managed to:

1. finish long-overdue client books AND send them off to the printer
2. make dinner for my family.  Once. Maybe twice?
3. Do one load of laundry. (Well, start one load. It remains to be seen if it'll get to the dryer before it starts to stink.)
4. Sweep up meal crumbs at least once a day. 
5. Throw away the junk mail. 
6. Get sticky labels off of 4 cute vintage lemonade bottles so I can use them for cold water all summer.
7. Ooh-- I DID cut out two sewing projects and nearly complete sewing on one of them. That was genuinely productive. Never mind I caught up on The Bachelorette while I sewed. That doesn't TOTALLY negate the productivity, right?!
8. Went on one walk, to pick up a prescription. 
9. Enriched my son's life with a cartoon while I dozed. 
10. Mailed a late birthday gift. 
11. Caught up on emails for work. 
12. Make the bed once. 
13. Remind and help Noah make his bed once. 
14. Watered our seedlings a couple of times.
15. Used a Massage Envy voucher. 

See? GREAT work, Em. 

Haha. 

Maybe tomorrow, since I'm bein' real, I'll go on a "my house needs some decluttering" scavenger hunt and show you guys the "dark corners". I think it makes everyone feel better to see someone's not-so-sunny stuff sometimes. And maybe my clutter will make you feel better about YOUR clutter. You DO have clutter, right? (Please tell me you have clutter. I need you to have clutter. It makes ME feel better.)

Okay. See? 16. Blogged. Like three times this week.

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(Random: So I won't forget the little moments... I've recently discovered that Lucy is a CHAMP at entertaining herself while I work!!! Noah was NEVER like this at her age, so I just assumed she'd be needy and clingy, too. But she is amazing. She loves to take two halves of a plastic ball [like an Easter egg] and endlessly put them together, then take apart. Over and over. She just spent 15 minutes feeling up the strap of my camera and lightly exploring my camera bag in a surprisingly-non-destructive manner. She's AMAZING. I might just survive her transition to one nap if she keeps me company in this self-contented fashion. Woot!
Ooh, but must be careful not to abuse this discovery. She doesn't deserve me blogging every day during her awake time. I'll try to be aware of that. Just 'cause she CAN play alone doesn't mean she should have to every time.)

Wednesday, May 23

Hello, Morning Hair!

Wow, my baby girl's head of hair is getting impressive. Especially if she happens to sleep on it in a particular way:

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I mean, do you SEE this rooster comb??

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As best I can tell, after her bath the night before, when I combed her hair to her right side, she must've fallen asleep on her left side, helping that wave of hair, with a bit of gravity, to slowly balloon in the opposite direction until it dried that way. 

It was pretty fantastic. 

So's her face. 

Basically, I just fall in love with her afresh every single morning. How could I not?

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Tuesday, May 22

Super Felt Finger Puppets: Nicole's Amazing Gift

Oh my goodness, look what came in our mail the other day!?

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Seriously. Yes. This really happened.

Handmade felt finger puppets featuring Noah's FAVORITE fellows-- the Marvel SuperCrew, most of them Avengers (Spidey making a rare appearance).... Meticulously stitched by our dear friend Nicole, the amazing crafter who made the felt jungle last year.

I am seriously in awe of the detailing on these!

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And then, as if that wasn't enough, she included a handmade stack of Memory cards, same theme.

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Boy, you can imagine the big smiles 'round this house that day. And I'm talking about Joe. (Ha!) Seriously, when I married a comic book superhero fanboy, I used to smile and nod and glaze over when he'd debate the merits of DC versus Marvel, the origin story of Wolverine... the superpower matchup of this guy versus that guy....

But then Noah got interested. 

And I accidentally got interested, too. 

So now, well... we're a whole family of comic book superhero fangeeks now. 

And Marvel is WAY better than DC. 

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Thank you, Nicole. This was utterly amazing and so much fun to receive! 

Wednesday, May 16

Beans. Why Not?

I was thinking about sitting down to maybe blog about a trip Joe and I took over a year ago to Rocheport, MO... I just suddenly had the itch to go dig up the photos I'd never edited and get them done... tell the tale... wrap up one of the many loose ends from my life history story I can never seem to catch up on.

But then, the moment passed. And I sat on the couch and did nothing except catch up on the first episode of The Bachelorette.

I'm amazing.

I know.

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Instead, I'll post a few photos of my project from last night:

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I have wanted a bean teepee for AGES now. And I decided this was the year. I hauled the kids to Home Depot yesterday morning and picked up:
 
1. bamboo poles (6-8 of them)
2. twine
3. stakes to anchor the poles to
4. good, yummy dark soil


Last evening, I got to work "tilling" the circle--- actually, I ended up using the garden claw thingy to do most of the digging up of the grass, and then prepped it by hand after that. It was surprisingly satisfying to get in there and really work. After I prepped the circle, I hammered in my stakes, then poked the bamboo poles in at an angle and tied them to the stakes.

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I gathered all the bamboo poles together at the top and tied them really snugly with twine (lots of twine) and voila! A bean teepee! I layered the good soil atop the regular soil, and will plant two bean seeds on the inside circle next to each post. Once the seedlings are starting to want to climb, I'll train them up onto the poles and strings and get them going skyward. I can't wait! It is the perfect size for Noah to chill out in once it's fully shaded. (See him helping me water plants back there? Aw!)

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This bean teepee is just one more way I've been working on allowing myself the life I dream of in the vague "someday" to come to a reality in the "now"... No more am I going to wait until I own my own home... There are so many things I can do NOW even in our "for right now" home. And It was immensely satisfying to make this vision a reality. I cannot wait to reap the harvest of the fully grown teepee. It feels good to just get out and DO it. And seeing Noah get excited for it was just icing on the cake. :)

And repeating our bean dreams from last year, here are our teeny seedlings that will grow along our garage wall this summer. They were madly thriving last year and it was so satisfying to see them grow and grow and grow:

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There is simply NOTHING like seeing a plant grow from a seed. To see that it ACTUALLY sprouted, despite one's not-so-green thumb. I love those little sprouts a ridiculous amount.

I also love geraniums.

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 I need like 15 more of these pots. Then I can feel like I am on a small patio in Italy. Ahh, THAT'S the dream....

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School picnic tonight. And only one more day of Noah's preschool this year. What are we two going to do with each other without that lovely place to diffuse his incredible mental and physical energy? How will I ever find time to do business-y things like emails and orders? Some adjusting of life and expectations is coming up very soon, I fear. Wish us luck!

Friday, May 11

20 Moments

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Life has been full and busy and moving along here... Feels like I don't know how to make time to work on my own personal photos if they're not a "formal" shoot I've done, and so often, my daily thoughts and daily snapshots don't end up seeing the light of day... and I hate that.

I'm a thinker by nature, and a brain-dumper by nature as well, and I cannot tell you how many "blog posts" I write in my head throughout the weeks.... But can't manage to sit down and finish them... actually WRITE them. 

Add to that my personal need to have a photo (or 15) to go with the words.... It's silly, but it's a real thing for me...So posts don't get written. Because photos aren't ready. 

Ah. Endless dilemma. A constant circular problem. 

So for now.... a compromise: here are 20 of the crappy cell phone pics I've loved most in the last month. I have a clunky old Blackberry and the photos are genuine crap. (I dream of the day I can take pretty iPhone photos like 96% of the rest of the world). But at  least it TAKES photos, so I reach for it nearly daily to grab a quick photo of something I want to remember... something I'm loving that moment. And it's a bit freeing to know that these photos are so poor in quality that there is no point in editing them--- so I can just compile them, crop, assemble and post, the end... and not wonder if I should've done more. They are what they are. 

And in a composite like this one, I find that even though they're crappy, they're marvelous. I love them. 

So. 

20 Moments. Right here, right now.

1. Lucy's a champ at table food. She LOVES feeding herself and loves having a trayful of randomness to pick at. 
2. cupcakes for Tori's GNO baby shower
3. Lucy is enchanted with Noah's tent he got for Christmas that sits in our bedroom
4. portable lunch and a pretty day and my little boy's happy feet
5. stormy evening at the Thurtene Carnival at Wash U. I cannot resist a carnival, so we made a 20-minute visit.
6. Sewing 20 capes, frantically working on deadline.
7. Morning on the front stoop, saying goodbye to daddy as he heads to work. 
8. Impromptu evening picnic at Forest Park with dad... we played in the water and watched an ibis fishing.
9. 20 finished capes, ready for delivery
10. A full shopping cart at Aldi
11. a peek at the arch from the City Garden
12. grabbing kisses from Lucy at the City Garden
13. pre-naptime bottle and storytime with Noah beside me (not pictured)
14. my little chef, at Steak N' Shake
15. Water play in the sink. Noah had a new submarine he wanted to play with. 
16. She's getting curls!
17. Morning walk to preschool. Gorgeous weather, gorgeous neighborhood.
18.  One of the churches we pass on our walk. Noah took this shot. 
19. Her hair is long enough for pigtails. And I seriously melt when she wears overalls. 
20. VERY busy with her train. I love her big white bow.

It's a good, good life.... (Cue this song, which Noah wants me to buy from iTunes.)

Flashback Friday

 2007
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(headed home from the Laumeier Art Fair, stopped at the Basin in Forest Park for a picnic...)

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2008
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(My contribution to the first Cupcake Party I held.... And my first foray into fondant. (and my last).)

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2009 

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(My first Mother's Day gift from Noah... and the little cutie himself in Daddy's hat.)
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2010
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(Bugs are really swell.)

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2011 

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(Second-to-last day of Lucy's "30Days of Lucy" newborn photo project)

Wednesday, May 9

Restless...

11:56pm... I meant to close up shop and go to bed at 11:30, but for some reason I am restless... Feeling a bit overwhelmed by life, actually, though for no specific reason. Things are going pretty well, truth be told:
- I feel like I'm getting the amount of photography work I can handle
- the kids are in a good daily routine and are so happy and healthy
- we feel pretty even with financial stress (rare, and lovely)
- our lawn got mowed today, and the house got cleaned last Friday
- Joe and I get a date-night in two days
- I got quite a bit of editing done tonight
- I created and ordered some long-overdue business materials yesterday

But then there's the list of UNdone things that creep at the edges of my thoughts-
- Still need to unpack from camping
- Oh, and upload the photos from camping, maybe edit a few to blog?
- gotta move that post-camping laundry though and get it done
- my sewing area has been a wreck for weeks now, since making all those capes... I really need to get it back in shape!
- I have long-overdue gifts I need to sew back there.
- I have GOT to start eating better and getting back to walking. Maybe that's why my mood is slumping.
- Oh, the preschool photos! ACK!
- I never got photos of my kids in their Easter clothes. Maybe I can do something quick with that?! too late?
- I have client books to make!!
- Emails! I'm behind since the camping trip. I'll use tomorrow's preschool time for that. 
- Preschool is almost done for the whole summer! When will I EVER have time to catch up when that happens?
- Should I cut all my hair off? 
- Will I ever catch up on my personal photos?
- Why am I so tired ALL THE TIME right now?
- What should I be changing right now?


See? Restless. 

Little creeping thoughts of discontent and listlessness and frustration... Hopefully only a few days' worth, something I can get through and back to the regular business of living and thriving. *shrug* 

I don't know. Not really sure what to do about it all. 

Kinda just want to nap for the next three days and not think about it.

Anyone have thoughts/insights on what to do when this state of mind threatens the balance of a pretty good little life? 

Okay... bed.

Friday, May 4

Friday Randomness:

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Photos from Lucy's birthday weekend... She's in her onesie and pigtails from these photos, and is happy to be free from the tape and allowed to explore and show off her blossoming skills in crawling and pulling up. 

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The first Friday in May.... How is it May already? Tomorrow is supposed to be the largest full moon of the year. Here's to a cloudless night so we can see it and enjoy how amazing it is! (and here's to none of the full moon shenanigans life seems to play on us.... flat tires and restless kiddos and such...).

We're trying to go camping this weekend. We have two nights reserved with two families we love, and are hoping so hard that the patchy rain predicted this weekend is heavy on the dry and VERY light on the wet. Pray for us, won't you?! Add to that, this is Lucy's first time sleeping in a tent, so I am trying to prepare myself that she might not settle right away, and might not sleep through the night. Who even knows?! She might surprise us all! 

I still have.... oh, EVERYTHING left to do in preparation. Like pack. Pick up foodstuffs. Load the car. Oops. But in my defense, this day has been a full one with a session in Illinois taking most of the morning, and getting kids lunched and down for naps taking the rest of it thus far. Still-- I could probably NOT sit here blogging and get packing instead... But isn't it funny how when we want to put something off, we find other things that need doing? Ha!

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To round out the randomness of this post, here are a few of the recent pins I've pinned on Pinterest--- things that have caught my eye and make me think/smile/salivate:




1. First Aid pouches for a keychain: Cute AND incredibly clever! 





2. Taking Time to Live Life... A lovely sentiment done in a lovely print by this Etsy shop: Departika












5. Games and Activities to Play in the Car: We're headed on a doozy of a road trip in June, so this has been on my mind. I can't wait to check out these ideas! Original link: http://www.activity-mom.com/2012/02/games-to-play-in-car.html

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Man, I love Pinterest. Endless inspiration and motivation, I tell you. 

:)

Okay. I suppose I COULD start packing now. Ah, camping. Anyone here LOVE camping? Loathe it? I love it in theory, but check back with me after two nights with two little ones.

Wednesday, May 2

Lucy Turns One: Her Photo Session

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And then we gave her a cake to smash: 

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She's off.... Ready to conquer her next year of life. 

Love you, LuLuBell. You are my sunshine. 

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Credits:
Birthday crown: made by me, inspired by the PropShopBoutique on Etsy.

Custom-Embroidered onesie/bloomers with matching tutu and hairbow: made by the fabulous Emelia's Mom's Boutique (Thanks, Hollie! LOVE them!)

Cream PettiRomper with straps: the ChubbyBaby shop on Etsy (Note: Emelia's Mom's Boutique sells a few colors in their shop without straps, a better price!)

Rolled flower headband: made by me

Party Hat: quickly thrown together by me

Cake: made by me, inspired by this cake tutorial (just a white cake mix, homemade buttercream)

Ruffle backdrop: made with a LOT of blood, sweat and tears by me. Never to be done again. Geez.