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:

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Friday, November 30

Not a Creature Was Stirring...(Shh, Giveaway!)

Want a peek at one of Lucy's stocking stuffers? As one of Santa's "elves", I found this darling idea on Pinterest and knew I had to make one for Lucy. And if I was making one, why not three??

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Do you see that tiny little mouse, all snug in her little tin? I free-handed the design from the Pinterest inspiration, and had so much fun sifting through my scrap fabric to make little pillows, quilts, etc.

And then cutting and hand-sewing the eensy-bitsy teddy bear. So tiny!!

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I ended up making a velcro strap to fasten around the whole project because the mouse and bear kept wanting to pop out of the the little tin... And though the strap was devised out of necessity, once I added some hand-rolled rosettes and such, it became the cutest way to finish the whole thing off.

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And then, of course, I made three total. The red polka-dot one is getting tucked into Lucy's stocking Christmas Eve. The pink-accented one is a gift for a little friend of Noah's for her birthday. And that grey polka-dot one featured above?

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Well, that one can be for you. It was high time I did a blog giveaway anyway, and these were so fun to make... So I crafted that third one just for my blog.

To win that cute little mouse with her teddy bear, all you have to do is leave a comment to be entered in a drawing. If you want two entries, link this post on Facebook and mention it there. If you want three entries, PIN this post on Pinterest. Mention it in your comment here so I can check it out, and you'll get one entry per each of those three avenues. Next week, on Monday afternoon, I'll put all the entries in a pile and draw a name and that lucky entrant will get this sent right away to her house... perhaps for herself, perhaps for a little one in the household.... I'll let YOU decide!

Meanwhile.... One more shot: for the birthday gift mouse, since it's for a cute little girl, I took the project one teensy step further.... and made her a wardrobe: 

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Little skirts!! I die, I die!! So cute!! I thought about making clothing for Lucy's mouse... but Lucy is 19 months old. She is not at that point in her life yet where little details like that matter. In fact, I predict after the first opening of her tin, she'll ditch the innards and just carry around the tin all day, opening and closing it. Little mouse and bear left in the wrapping paper pile. Ah well. I did this more for my own satisfaction than for her. Right? Ha!

So....

Enter to win! I want that third mouse with her grey quilt to get to her new home next week. 

And I want to thank you guys for sticking with me through this sparse-posting autumn.... I'm around. Just so busy, so pregnant, and so bad at holding myself to expectations for each post that I should probably let go of for now.... But anyway. That's all blah blah for another day. My little goal for the weekend is to get back here to post just a randomness post with the usual mind-blurts and a few accompanying photos.... Because life IS still going on here. I've just not been able to sit still enough to share it. 

Okay. Go leave comments. That's the point of this entry anyway!! Contest time!!

xoxo.

Thursday, November 22

Thankful.

In no particular order, I went through my photos last night and gathered a selection of images that capture things I am truly grateful for. There's no pattern, they're not ranked in importance... They're just sweet little things in my life that overflow my heart. But of course, it doesn't hurt to start with an image of these two: 

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I'm thankful for these two stinkers... particularly for their bond together and the joy they live their life with.


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I'm thankful for a curious, engaged little boy who has a daddy more than willing to be there to lead him to new discoveries.


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I'm thankful for my cozy, comfortable bed... Good sleep anchors my days. (And that little guy reading books on his own-- that's its own little gift.)


I'm so thankful for Joe's parents and for my parents... For their generosity of spirit, for their advice, for the ways they help us be better parents... For the Grandparentness of them.

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I'm thankful for this expressive face. Even when it pouts. Her little face kills me with it's perfect cuteness. 


 I'm thankful for this guy, and how he is a natural daddy....He is so tender with Lucy, and so engaged and involved with Noah.
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Silly... but I'm thankful for my cheerful yellow bowls and their little aqua counterparts. Every time I use one, I get a little perky zing in my day. 


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I'm thankful for that 2+ hour stretch of time when this is my only companion, both kids tucked in their rooms for naps/quit time. There is a rejuvenating spirit in this downtime, and the calm of the soft rain machine coming through this monitor is hypnotic.


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And there is nothing like peeking in on your sleeping babies. NOTHING sweeter.


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SO thankful for Julia and my clean house. This is such a treat. I've not really mentioned it before, actually... but I trade housecleaning for photos, and it is, hands down, the best decision I've ever made with this biz of mine. Julia is as much my Positive Thinking Guru as my cleaning girl, and we both love the days she comes over and we talk and laugh and inspire each other for the few hours she is here. And-- My. House. Is. Clean.


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I am deeply thankful for this little man's imagination and fascinations with all things science--- Above, he is sorting and talking about his space flashcards...


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I'm thankful for squeaky clean kids and their post-bath fresh scrubbed smells and soft skin.


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One of my favorite moments of the day: her little habitual bottle pre-nap-- the snuggle time... the quiet peaceful aqua room... just she and I and the rocking chair.


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I'm thankful for art. Kid art, my art. ANY art.


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I'm thankful for this day, back in May. (You can't read the result in this bad pic, but I remember that moment so vividly. Surprise. Tentative joy. Shock.)


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And then I am thankful for getting to this point--- 31 weeks right now (28ish in the pic), and feeling this little one move reassuringly throughout the day. (and that little stinker photo-bombing this selfie. Haha!)


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And most especially, I am thankful for THIS part of the whole pregnancy thing: the actual being, this little man, this HUMAN who will join us in January and change our lives forever.


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I'm thankful for how good these two are at the store and on errands. Pretty much every time. The green car cart helps.


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I love this girl and her love of hats. And shoes. And making me hold/wear EVERYTHING she finds interesting. 


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I love this kid and how much he loves that he's discovered reading. He is giddy about it. 


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I am so thankful for bandannas. They've helped me through my ongoing hair crisis in a way that feels authentic and sassy... And if you don't agree, just don't tell me. I'd be so sad to say goodbye to bandanna days. Haha! 


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I am thankful for fabric. And sewing. And making things with my hands. Pure joy, I'm telling you. 


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I'm thankful for our quiet evenings together of late--- dinner is over, dishes swishing in the dishwasher, and the four of us in the dining room, together. Noah might be working on a "project", Lucy is toddling between the two parents, curious and happy and in all of our stuff... Joe, even after a long day of work, giving all of his attention and energy to his kids... Me decompressing on the computer a couple of feet away, or showing Noah how to do something in his journal, or holding Lucy and showing her fun kid Youtube videos... Or iTunes pumping out a song we all dance to.... We are communing together, the calm before bedtime. Family time.

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*
Lastly... a tender illustration from the artist Susan Branch: A Prayer For a Small Home. Amen, and amen. Happy Thanksgiving, all. Here is to gratitude and the thousand blessings we all have in our lives. 
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Sunday, November 18

Happiest of Birthdays to my 5-year Old

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Today we are spending the day celebrating my sweet firstborn son. We're celebrating with chocolate muffins, Lucky Charms, extra Halloween candy, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tater tots and broccoli.... And a small assortment of gifts wrapped in robot wrapping paper.

His main gift is a small, used point and shoot digital camera, since he's recently shown a lot of interest in capturing memories with photos. It's not much--- a six or seven-year-old camera bought from an Amazon vendor... But it turns out to be EXACTLY the right gift for him. 77 photos later, he'll take a shot, say excitedly, "THAT'S a good one!" then show both Dad and I. Then immediately goes to find something else to photograph. 

Win. !!

So. I'm off to frost cupcakes and keep giving this day to my Noah. I love that kiddo. 

(I have tales about the above photo session, from two days ago. But it'll keep. I'll post more tomorrow.)

Thursday, November 15

Noah Stuff....

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It's kind of crazy to really think about it, but the honest truth is, this kid is three days away from turning five years old. FIVE. A whole hand's worth of fingers to hold up.

For some, this milestone age is bittersweet from a parent's perspective... but for me, I'm EXCITED. And in reality, it's kind of a non-event, in that he's been acting five for months now... He's so tall, too. Since the start of the school year, I've just thought of him as already five. 

In honor of November being his big month, here are a few Noah things..... Just because.

These photos are from a few days ago. He is deeply in love with school supplies and drawing, writing, coloring, and his latest obsession: cutting paper.  Here, he has his big ziplock baggie of scraps, his markers, his new turquoise scissors, and he is multitasking--- watching an Avengers cartoon while drawing Superman logos and making a robot.

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I love how deep his concentration gets when he is working hard.
I love his beginner handwriting.
I love that a thousand pieces of cut paper scraps become so special to him.
I love that he would rather do this than play on the computer/iTouch.
I love that he wears yellow shirts and that makes him automatically "Bumblebee".
I love his big "guy" feet. They give me ripple-forward-memories of him being a preteen and a teen.
I love that even at the cusp of 5, Old Mai is never too far from him.
I love that he has never been a 'draw on the walls and self and furniture' type of kid.
I love that for the rest of this year, he is still all mine, not yet kindergarten-bound.

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Another current Noah thing. We've implemented a "ticket" reward system for him. It began when we got him a bike earlier than his birthday/Christmas so he could enjoy it in good fall weather. Rather than just bestow him with a sizable random gift, we gave him the option to "buy" it by earning tickets. Thus, the "Earn a Ticket" page was born. He had to get to 25 tickets to get his bike.

Once the bike was won, I saw the value in keeping this system alive in our home, so I created the second page, the "Spend a Ticket" page, for him to work towards routinely. Both were just handwritten/doodled by me:

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The idea, for now, is that he is not REQUIRED to do any of those things with penalties attached. We prefer him to pick up his messes and clear his dishes, but there isn't a formal punishment system in place if he fails to do so. But to begin rewarding him as a way to make these behaviors more desirable--- I love that idea. He is on the edge of an age where I think he can, and should, manage many of these tasks on his own, without being
asked. What better way to encourage it than this?

The other fun thing about it is that he gets to start making some big choices: does he spend each ticket as it comes, eating candy only? Or does he begin to see the allure of SAVING and getting bigger, better things?

I'm proud of him--- his first "purchase", after he won his bike, was a notebook/pencil. 5 tickets. And his second "purchase" was a 20-ticket action figure. He is already patient enough to wait for the good stuff. Since then, of course, he's seen the charm in getting a piece of Halloween candy for just one ticket... and he LOVES to hurry and earn two tickets at night, just to trade them back in for 5 more minutes before bedtime (spent, without fail, with his dad, doing guy stuff. So cute!). But he's currently back to saving for a bigger item. He loves this new system, and we are enjoying it, too.

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It's amazing to me that we've arrived at 5 with this kiddo. That we've been parents for five years. How it seems like just yesterday, we were in love with this little one:

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And suddenly, in the blink of an eye, that little face has become this:

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It's incredible. All of it. And so is my little man. I cannot wait to celebrate him with fanfare this weekend, to ring in 5 Years Old with my Noah. 

Wednesday, November 7

Eighteen Months:Jekyl & Hyde

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Oh Lucy. Lucy, Lucy, Lucy....

I look at that photo of you on the left, and ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.... You are perfection. The curls. The toothy smile. The little hands clasped. The sparkle in your eyes. You are the light of my days, and I feel such joy in being your mama. 

But then there's that photo on the right. In just the last few weeks, the sunny, easy-going Lucy has been replaced more and more with.... Well, with THAT Lucy. The Monster 18-Month Old.  

Where before, if I needed to tell you "no", to deflect your attention from something (a toy at the store, something special of Noah's, anything breakable or dangerous, etc.), you were so easily swayed and redirected to something else. It was so simple. 

Now? Oh, girl. You have learned what "no" means, and you get ANGRY when it is said to you. The growly scream you've begun to perfect is so. loud. And persistent. You will FIGHT for that thing like mad.

Where before, you'd be so chill and pleasant when we went out in public, happy to ride in the cart/be carried around/ hang out near mom and dad.

Now? You have to wriggle free. You have to have anything you see that catches your eye. You have to try to do things yourself. And you get LOUD when that doesn't happen. 

Where before, if Noah wasn't quite sharing as well as he should, I could hand you something else, most ANYTHING else, and you'd be content.

Now? You KNOW he's got something better than you and you holler at him and at me and try your darndest to wrest it away from him. And scream. And bawl. 

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I think I am starting to lose my mind. 

I've been so spoiled. My baby girl has been so sweet. It's been AGES since I've had to work on hard discipline with EITHER of my kiddos. Noah is pretty easily communicated with when he needs to be taught things, and if we keep him fed and rested, he's not a stinker about anything. Really--- if we can keep him from saying "poop" too much, he's basically awesome. 

So to now face the monster 18-month-old issues, which I know are COMPLETELY normal and should be expected, I feel really unprepared and rusty and stressed out.  I just don't remember how to help facilitate Lucy's new independence... How to direct it and encourage positive structure and how to get a thick skin when I'm in public and totally embarrassed by her screeching anger at not getting what she wants. 

Help?

Seriously.... I am RUSTY. Can any of you other mamas of toddlers/veteran mamas who've had toddlers in the past/childcare types offer any insights? Reassurances? Advice? Even war stories? At the very least, if I feel like I'm not alone, I might get through this. 

!!

My memory of Noah at this age is that he was REALLY tough from 15 months old until about 20 months. Then he eased into a lovely phase after that where he understood boundaries a bit more, was able to communicate a bit better, and wasn't so VOCAL in his anger.  We were lucky in that he had his "terrible two's" early and was pretty lovely during his 2's. 

So can I hope that this will be short-lived with Lucy? That her formerly pleasant demeanor will ease back in sooner than later?

Is the key going to be ME? And my consistency in how I handle her reactions? 

(I suspect that's the secret: me. And what I decide to do to help her manage her reactions.)

So. 

Help, if you can. If you have thoughts on what I need to start doing/change/work on, I'm ready. My sweet Lucy deserves a well-prepared mama ready to help her tackle all of these new skills/emotions/awarenesses she's developing. 

Because despite being at my wit's end more and more these days, I sure love that stinker. And I want to be her best mama.