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:

Monday, January 28

Pretty Toes.

A few weeks P.Q. (pre-Quinn), Lucy and I took some time one quiet morning to initiate her into the world of nail polish. I felt it was an important milestone, one worthy of a brand new bottle of polish and photos with the big camera. The toes were our goal, and we set forth:

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(There isn't ANYTHING cuter than tiny tiny toenails painted pink, I think.)

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And then we kept snapping.... Why not?
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And then I added these photos of Noah to the end of the blog post. Why not?

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Happy Monday! Go paint some toes pink, I say. 

The End.

Saturday, January 26

One Week With Quinn

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One Week With Quinn

* Born on a Friday morning, we got to take him home Sunday midday.  The hospital was a lovely experience... it always is for me. I love the stillness and pre-real-lifeness of it. Love the pause. The ready help. The waffles. 

* Heading home this time proved traumatic for Joe and for me. We weren't able to get wheelchair help to the car until far later than we'd planned. Normally no big deal, except our other two kids were at church in their Primary classes and we really needed to get them by the time church ended or they'd be the parentless urchins running wild around the halls of the church after it ended. Add to it we only had our Civic, so the original plan was to take Quinn and mama home, then go pick up kids, since really all five of us don't fit in the car at one time. But. There was no time for that. So to church we headed, Quinn crying, and made it only 15 minutes late--- 15 minutes of parentless urchin children isn't the worst, I guess. We illegally squeezed Noah, sans booster, between the two carseats, and we made it home.

* Home, where the dining room table had a bunch of random crap on it and the early morning rush out the door for the family was evident in many spots. And there was sand (??) on the living room floor. And my baby blues rushed in and I swept, then sat on the couch with my new baby and cried. 

* Luckily, my mother-in-law was landing in St. Louis that very minute (I also cried when she called and I realized we'd botched her arrival time and had no way of picking her up right then. She was so sweet to me as I bawled into the phone and she told me she'd take a taxi and she'd be right there.)... And she came in and started helping balance come back. The calming effect was immediate. And hasn't ceased since she's been here. Thank heaven for mothers and mothers-in-law. 

* It's been a slow, strange, mildly hilly week... finding temporary rhythms in taking Noah to school, making meals, managing sleep, working together, giving three kids all individual time and love.... Asking for help, accepting help, taking turns, handing off, letting go.... The moods have been mostly good, but every one of us have dipped down, from grandma all the way to baby. And it's impressive we've not dipped more than we have. Luckily, we tend to all take turns with our moods. 

* Mostly it has been a good week--- slower, as it should be.... Taking time to just get to know the new little one, taking time to love on the other two.... Listening to music, enjoying the sunshine coming in (but staying far away from the outdoors and it's cold cold temps)...

* The sanctity of Quiet Time has been preserved mostly--- since my two older kiddos have their set time for rest, and baby seems to be content to nap then, too... it's a collective sigh of release and all the grownups relax a bit, too. Perhaps even get naps in for themselves. 

* I've managed two batches of cookies and one loaf of bread. Carbs are back in style over here. 

* Noah loves Quinn and enjoys being given things to do for him. He seems to not have missed a step in this transition. 

* Lucy has been wary and watchful-- mimicking Mama in a lot of her new motions, like rocking baby, patting baby, wrapping baby up---- she's imitated every one of these motions, and it is endearing. She is not overly curious about Quinn, but is also not overly mad at him either. For now, she seems to just be watching, figuring out what this means for her life. Most of the time she seems to be as happy as she ever is, but she definitely has more touchy moments since Quinn's been home, and I'm trying very hard to make sure she feels validated and loved as an individual in this transition time. 

* Joe has been off of work (AWESOME) and has slid right back into the groove of parenting a newborn. He swaddles like a champ, shushes-sways like a rockstar, and just loves being a daddy in general. I am absolutely the luckiest girl out there. He lets me be baby-bluesy when it happens, he scratches my endlessly itchy post-partum back, he seems impervious to Quinn's loud crying, and is generally the strength in this household. 

* And I've been mostly good--- prone to needing to "do things", in spite of this being a time for recovery--- things like making cookies or tidying up the house or organizing something or other... I promise I'm also doing NOTHING at times, too.... And getting some naps in. But this cold weather and the inability to go outside for a walk is making me trunky and I am more balanced in these early days if I "do something" here and there. It's just my nature, I guess. It's annoying. Haha. I've slumped on two of the seven days home, feeling distinct Baby Blues- empty and hollow and restless and crabby and overwhelmed and despondent... But the other days I've felt pretty optimistic and peaceful and able to just go with the hour-by-hour flow. I am really pretty happy with life for the moment. Scared how it will be when the help is gone and Joe's back at work--- but let's not think about that now. 

* So Quinn is one week old. Here we are. Family of 5+Grandma, Saturday waffles and pajamas and continuing to just take it moment-by-moment. This moment: Quinn is swaddled and starting to doze off in Joe's arms. Lucy is ready for a diaper change and clothes for the day. Noah is drawing prolifically in his sketch pad at the dining room table. I am in fleece lounge clothes and blogging, and Grandma is getting ready for the day in the other room. That's us. Update complete.

*

(and huzzah for iPhones and Instagram: providing all photos in today's post.)

Saturday, January 19

Quinn Atticus: #3

We are so grateful and happy to announce the arrival of Quinn Atticus Southerland, our marvelous, perfect #3.

After a long night of lots of contractions and little sleep, he was born yesterday morning, January 18, 2013, at 8:38 am. He weighed 7lbs, 8oz. and was 20 3/4ths inches long. We managed another successful VBAC even after some trouble with the epidural. (OUCH, is all I can say.!!)

We're still chillin' in the hospital, enjoying the strange, surreal, calm "getting to know you" time that is so unique to having a baby... I love it.

A million thanks to sweet Erin Duggin for coming by to visit, bringing treats, and spending a few moments taking these special photos of myself, Joe and Quinn. I love that even #3 gets special moments all for himself.





Wednesday, January 16

Winter Craft: Birdseed Ornaments



Earlier this winter, I got to prepare an article for the latest issue of Columbia Home Magazine-- a crafty project detailing how to make simple, cute birdseed ornaments. Since this is just about the time of year when we all get a bit restless and the winter blahs start to show up, it seemed a good time to share the craft here--- maybe one cold, stuck-inside afternoon, you and the kiddos can whip up a batch of these and head outside to give them to your neighborhood birds as a way to shake up your routine. They're simple--- and really, the main two things you need that you might have to go out and purchase are birdseed and unflavored gelatin.

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Your supply list---

Between ¾ C. and 1 C. small birdseed (parakeet food from the pet aisle works great!)
¼ C. water
1 packet of Knox gelatine (this can be found in the canning section of your grocery store or Walmart)
Wax Paper
Cookie cutters or Mason Jar rings
Twine or yarn
(The peanut butter, TP tubes, and fruit come in later)

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How To:
Pour the water and the packet of gelatine into a small sauce pan. Heat on medium until the water simmers, stirring the gelatine until the clumps smooth out and dissolve. Once it is dissolved, pour the birdseed into the mix and stir. If you think the liquid could manage more seed to soak it up, add a little at a time- probably no more than one cup total when all is said and done. Turn off the heat and let the mix cool for a few minutes.

Lay out a sheet of wax paper and set out your cookie cutters. Once the mix is lukewarm, you can begin spooning the birdseed mix into the cookie cutters. You’ll want to use your fingers or the edge of your spoon to press it into the corners and to get it firm. A note—this stuff will stick to your fingers like crazy. Just be ready for it to be a seedy little mess for a while. It may help to contain it by working on your wax paper within a cookie sheet. It does clean up easily, though, so don’t worry about it too much.

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There are two different tricks to getting the string into your ornaments. The first technique happens as you’re pressing the seed into the cutters—take a loop of string and knot it, then push the knot into the seed mix as you are forming the ornaments. Add some seed on top of the string to anchor it.

The second trick, my preferred method, can be done once the cookie cutters are full. Take a straw and clip an inch-length off of it. Stick this into the birdseed at the appropriate spot and let it stay there. Once the seed has firmed up, you can twist this straw piece out and you’ll have a tidy hole to thread string through. Repeat with all your ornaments.

Once your cookie cutters are packed to the brim with seed mixture, you’ll let it set overnight. It might help it set a bit faster if you flip them every hour or so, but you don’t have to. When they are ready the next day, you will just need to gently nudge them out of their cookie cutters and they are ready to hang.

And if you want something even easier--- to do instead or in addition to the above ornaments, here is a SUPER simple and satisfying birdseed ornament that only needs peanut butter, string, seed, and a toilet paper tube. I'll let the photos tell you how to do it:

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And a few photos of the finished ornaments: Photobucket Photobucket 

The fruit is just an extra way you can treat your neighborhood birds and add some color to your bare trees: 

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So there ya go-- something to do to beat the winter blahs AND give a treat to your feathered friends. 

(Many thanks to the folks at Columbia Home for letting me work with them on fun projects like this....)

*

Meanwhile, we're still here, still pluggin' along... Baby seems more likely to want out today, as I've been having contractions all day long. I finally took them seriously enough to pack my bags tonight, which of course means they'll slow down or completely stop. Ha. But til then, at least I'm a bit more prepared for the time when it does happen. 

Guess I should go to bed.... 

Thursday, January 10

Randoms on a Gloomy Afternoon:


*

Today, after trying to wear a maternity shirt and regular jeans for my morning errands, but continually having to tug the shirt down and the pants UP, I gave up, came home, and put on my ugliest, most comfy pajama pants. 

And slippers. 

And my day improved 100%. 

*

I'm having so much fun having an iPhone camera. Instagram name: zayneelady.  Come find me if you wanna.

*

I have ten more days til baby's due date. For once, I'm not wishing/hoping he comes early. And he seems to be complying. He has not dropped, I've only had one "test contraction", and I'm not dilated at all. Still-- despite him being locked in and comfortable, I think he's going to be a big one. The ultrasound tech told me on Monday that he's measuring 8 lbs. already. I usually PFFT at those predictions--- they've NEVER been close on my friends' pregnancies---- but maybe this time, he really is already 8 lbs. !? I wouldn't blame him. I've been hanging onto the gestational diabetes wagon by one hand since Christmas--- technically still ON the wagon, but barely. So if he's put on some weight because of my sins, I would not be surprised. 

I'm so sorry, baby. 

*

True to last pregnancy, my nesting has manifested in the form of sewing and crafting, rather than baseboard scrubbing and baby-clothes washing. I have several crafties I'm in the middle of that aren't even related to the baby, and I'm not even stressed about it. I love having my hands on pretty fabric, fun paint, etc. 

*

I miss blogging as much as I used to. I am thinking I will be trying to do a bit more of it once baby is here and I am not burdened down by work as much. But that could be a HILARIOUS plan. Yeah right. 

And ya know? The other day I was looking for a specific photo from 2009, and was skimming blog posts to find it (never found it).... and it is so interesting to see how blogging has changed in those 3-4 years. We all commented more, didn't we?? We weren't as invested in Facebook yet, so we connected one site at a time- our friends' blogs- and we left comments... had our conversations that way. Now we're all on FB or Twitter or just texting on our phones, and it gets a bit tedious to stop reading the blog you're reading, click through to the actual site, click the "comment section", and leave a note. So much more work. 

I've been used to that for a while, and it's no big deal to only get 1-2 comments these days... but reflecting back 3 years and seeing such neat, fun dialogue in the comment section from then made me a bit melancholy. People just don't do it as much anymore. Which makes me wonder, for as many hits as this silly blog of mine gets, who is even still reading...

Which is OKAY. Truly. I blog for myself. I write to an audience--- I DO think about other people when I write, so it's not a journal in the purest form, but ultimately, I blog for my own need to capture moments and pin them down (much the reason I take photos. Keep a journal. Make Blurb books.)

So as I revisit the feeling that I yearn to be blogging more, part of me thinks I might as well blog like no one's reading. Just let go some of my personal standards (cohesive and relevant photos every time, alternate the rambling emotional posts with more useful or tame craft posts, etc.) and blog what I feel like when I feel like. Even if I don't have photos ready to go with it. *GASP* 

I dunno. 

Baby could come along and take over my life and we could look back at this idea and just laugh and laugh. I could be lucky to even post iPhone photos and no text for the next few months. 

I dunno. 

Hey, wanna comment, for old times' sake? I'd love to know who still comes by. 

No pressure, though. 

*

I'm a Facebook addict. Anyone else? 
(Anyone who is NOT an addict sick of seeing me on there all the time? Wait, maybe I don't want to know.)
I am totally on Facebook all the time. I have a loose blog post already written in my head titled, "I Was Born to Be on Facebook".... a whole personal history that shows how my life path has led to me being a Facebook addict. 

Someday I'll actually make myself sit down and write that post.

*

Randoms might be almost done here--- I hear Lucy stirring from her nap.

*

I wonder if I'll manage to still have SOME of this window of quiet time once baby arrives? The 2-4:30 stretch? Get the baby to sleep during that time a bit, too, and somehow preserve this zone? 

That would be a lovely miracle. 

*

What's on YOUR mind today?

Saturday, January 5

Make a Cell Phone Photo Book: New Year's Resolution, Perhaps?

Oh my friends. This iPhone of mine is getting a LOT of action in the photo department. It has been so much fun to be able to take my usual "crappy cell phone pics" throughout the day, but have them be... well, better than crappy. And to have some fun editing apps to play with. And frames. (I'm a sucker for frames. Even if that makes me outdated one day.)

It's just another way I can preserve my personal history, savor moments, wax sentimental, "keep" my memories-- in a life where I am a self-admitted personal history junkie. I still take out the big camera, sure. But for the quick snap--- the one moment I know will pass before I can get the lens cap off, there is nothing like a cell phone camera to grab the moment. Here, a few from the last couple of weeks of December:

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Even at a poorer resolution and quality than a "real" photo, those little gems up there are so special to me. Crappy cell phone photos have always been special to me.

Which brings me to a project I've been making an effort to keep up on--- something I think lots of you might not have even considered trying, but something I personally think is SO worth the few hours of time/effort it would take to get one done.  I'm talking Blurb books, people. Using the fabulous Blurb book website and bookmaking program (free!) to gather and assemble and PRINT your cell phone photos into a little book of their very own.

Anyone following my blog for any amount of years knows I am a disciple of Blurb.com, the bookmaking website. I first used it to create an epic keepsake coffee table book of our trip to Europe in 2006. Another favorite project was making Lamby's ABC Book for Noah for Christmas the other year. And throughout all of these and other  "special projects" using Blurb, I have been working so hard to get my massive quantity of personal photos into yearly books for our family to enjoy--- the modern take on photo albums.

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(And here is the burden of my life: I am still 3 years behind on those big books. This is all I've managed to get completed. *sigh* Still, how nice is it to have a stack of at least a few years of photos??)

But those cell phone photos. Especially pre-iPhone, they were, let's face it, pretty crappy. Why clog up a lovely family album with those stinkers? And yet..... what to do with them? Just scan through them on my phone from time to time? What about when the phone crashes or gets wet, and those photos are gone forever? Sure, they were crappy.... but they were special moments.

So I decided they needed a Blurb book of their own. Not a big 8x10 or 12x12 book... Just the small 7x7" size... Something small and no big deal.... but something that got them on paper and into my hands in a more permanent way.

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See those very topmost books? Right above Noah's preschool book (that's another project for another day. Let me know if you wanna know about it. It's another marvelous use of Blurb to get things consolidated and preserved. LOVE.)-- those smaller books are my cell phone photo books. AWESOME.

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So far, you see my 2008-2010 book (my cell phone didn't have a camera prior to those years, so that's as far back as these books will need to go.) and my 2011 book. I maintained the same cover design for both books and will do the same for the 2012 book--- I love the cohesiveness of it, with small changes made to keep it interesting.

I then added some insert pages that I designed in Photoshop that help organize the photos inside. Not many of them.... in the first book, I just added an insert when the year rolled over from 2008 to 2009, then from 2009-2010. Example: 
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But beyond the covers and those few inserts, everything else is done within Blurb's bookmaking program, Booksmart, and you do not need any other program to work on it. I use Blurb layouts, don't add any fancy stuff, and keep it simple with white pages and thin black borders around some of the photos. (Depending on the layout you choose, Blurb gives you the option to add frames. Some layouts don't have this option. I don't have a preference, so I'll add thin black frames if/when it permits, and shrug it off if it doesn't permit.)

The beauty of these small 7x7" books is that you can cram lots of photos into the pages. They're not high-quality photos anyway, so they don't need full-page bleed treatment. The point is to have them in one place to enjoy, so having lots of small images on one page is fine. And I don't reserve these spots for just the photos I take of people. Any cell phone photo I took, random though it may be, goes into this book--- the next image has: location scouting, new packaging for my biz, a funny street name, and then a walk I took with Noah when he was 10-11 months old. Random. But all tell part of the story.

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(Anyone else melting at Noah as a baby?  Seems so long ago!!!)

Something funny/fun I then added to the end of my 2008-2010 book was this page:

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Those are google-image photos of all the phones I had from 2008-beyond that helped capture the images in the book. The same makes, models and colors. I know that one day this will not only amuse me, but my kids when they see "those old fashioned cell phones from the olden days". It makes me smile to see this page. And again, it is part of the story-- the history.

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And then a few pages from my second book, the 2011 book. This book is divided by quarter, so the divider pages tell what months are what. At this point, I'd begun taking a LOT more cell phone photos--- particularly once Lucy was born. A friend of mine who'd had a baby just a week before me (Hi, Misty!) would text me a photo almost daily, and I'd text her one back.... we'd share our baby oohs and ahhs and woes that way, and taking more and more photos became a habit. So 2011 got its own book. And a thicker one at that!

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Lots and lots and lots of moments... Mostly mundane, not worthy of even a paragraph of description... and yet those are the moments that make up the majority of life. The details caught in them--- the clothes we wore, what we ate, where we spent our time.... will be precious to us one day when memory becomes a bit fuzzy.

And though the photos themselves are, in large part, also fuzzy, they are there. And they matter to me.

Do your phone photos matter to you?

Does this seem like something you'd cherish for yourself?

I challenge you to go to www.blurb.com (no they're not paying me. BUT THEY SHOULD. I preach the gospel of Blurb ALL THE TIME. Pay me.) and download their free program, Booksmart. I challenge you to "start a new book" and choose the 7x7 size. I challenge you to upload as many of your cell phone photos as you can get your hands on and begin just dropping them into this new Blurb book. Don't even worry about order or captions or design. Just begin getting the photos into place.

If it starts to excite you-- starts to make you feel like this could be worthwhile.... THEN go back and decide how you want to continue the journey. Add captions? Add divider pages by year or month?  Or just throw a bunch of photos in the book, title it "Cell Phone Photos Since 2007", print it, the end.....Well, that is still going to be one really fun book to have in your home. I promise you.

I challenge you to allow your small moments, seemingly insignificant, to be special enough to put into a real book.

From there--- who knows? You might get the bug. And might suddenly have ideas for 10 more books. (Beware that bug. It comes with a hefty dose of guilt when you don't get them done in a timely manner.)

And to facilitate this project, I am offering to:

1. Make myself available via comment section here to answer your questions as best I can (reminding you that I am not 100% expert in Booksmart, and Blurb is not paying me. THOUGH THEY SHOULD.)
(and reminding you I am great with child and may not be as prompt as we'd all like once he arrives) So leave a comment and check back to see my reply. :)

2. figure out how to make a free front and back cover template available to you for your own use. They'd look just like the ones here, but with masks/spaces for photos and a mask/space for you to use your own digital paper. Someone tell me how to host a PDF or PSD for downloading here? Anyone?

3. Heck, if I can figure that out, I'll make the insert page available for free download, too. You'll only need some PS knowledge to tweak the templates to be specific to your needs.

4. Heck x2-- I'll make a plain 2011, 2012 and 2013 cover available if I can--- just patterned background and title "Cell Phone Photographs 2013", etc. and host them as JPGS so you don't even have to edit them-- just drop them into Booksmart as the cover images. EASY.

5. Because I think these kinds of projects are worthwhile. And immensely rewarding.

And who doesn't love the idea of their own stack of lovely lovely finished Blurb books in their entryway?

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* 
And with that, I'm out of here. I accidentally took like 400 iPhone photos in the month of December 2012 alone. My 2013 cell phone photograph book has some work to be done. YIKES. I'm off to be productive.

Or nap. 

We'll see.

Tuesday, January 1

Full-Term.

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As of this past Sunday, I am 37 weeks pregnant. Babycenter tells me that means I am FULL-TERM. Baby could come any day and be considered totally normal-sized, ready, fully baked. 

I am, however, NOT ready. So, please, baby boy.... take all of the rest of these 20 days. I can wait. 

Some of my terrifying To-Do List before baby comes: 

Baby-Related

* make room in Lucy's closet for baby things
* buy drawer tower for baby
* put away train table in our room
* prepare corner for baby's pack n play
* buy a boy changing table cover
re-cover glider cushion?
* wash Noah baby clothes, remove a few yellow stains a la this pin
* hang art/mobile near changing table/baby's corner?
* dust off, clean, prep breast pump, put next to armchair in our room
* Make baby quilt!!
* make secondary cozy quilt?
* Buy: newborn socks, newborn plain white onesies, 0-3mo. plain white onesies
* Buy: NB and size 1 diapers
* treat myself to an official Moby wrap?
* Get fabric for carseat tent
* make this carseat blanket?
* get minivan (ha. big one here!!)
* get high-backed booster for Noah
* new pumpkin seat for baby?
* borrow swing for baby
* register at hospital!

Non-Baby Related

* Make gifts for friend exchange
* make "favorite things" for online swap
* finish felt robot for Noah
* baby gift for friend
* blog birdseed ornaments
* blog cupcake article
* blog story quilt
* haircut/color?
* pedicure?
* Noah haircut
* find some new church pants for Noah
* WIC appt. 
* finish and pay SALES TAX, ack. 
* Goodwill dropoff


Oh people. My mind spins with things still left to do, and honestly, there is only  TWENTY DAYS. 

Approximately. 

Noah was 4 days early. Lucy was induced one day late-- my doc wouldn't let me go later because of the gestational diabetes... Which tells me that I need to expect this little one to be here no later than January 21 or 22, even if he doesn't come on his own. 

And that to-do list is looooooong. 

And doesn't even list the things I REALLY want to do this last 20 days:

1. go on a few dates with just Noah--- let him choose the conversation topics
2. Spend a few afternoons with just Lucy-- staring into her eyes and delighting in her new words and countless expressions. 
3. have a sleepover with Noah and flashlights and late bedtime.
4. try to get Lucy to fall asleep in my arms one more time as my baby.
5. take a nap daily and relish in the predictability and length of it. 
6. Sleep in every morning and relish in the decadence of it. 
7. Make out with Joe while I still want to. 
8. wear fabulously bold maternity clothes and go all out with accessories because I'm SUPPOSED to be this huge. 
9. Make cute, crafty, nesty things for my baby-to-be
10. Sit in an empty house in the incredible comfy glider rocker with a soft blanket and a novel and gaze out the window until I doze off...
11. take my kids to the Magic House. Just two kids. Easy.
12. Sit back at breakfast every morning with my choffy and let my two kids feed themselves as they always do. Easy. But take note of how easy it is.
13. Let Joe give me footrubs nightly because I'm so big and puffy. 
14. Get a massage every other day and take a little too long to make my way back home because Joe has thing handled at home. 
15. Go to bed every night at 11 pm because I know I'll mostly get 8 hours of sleep that way. 

You know--- the things that will be desperately, achingly missed when life flips the Newborn-in-the-House switch. 

And I am so enchanted by my kids... So in love with the balance we four have these days. Joe's been home all this week between holidays and we all just move in sync and with an easy rhythm. Everyone has someone to love on them at any given time. The give and take has been perfectly balanced. 

That'll change. Of course. 

And I am reminding myself that the newborn thing IS hard, but that it is fleeting. When reviewing all my random snapped cell phone photos of Lucy's first two months, the majority of them are her swaddled, in my sling, in my arms. She was in my arms for two months straight. At the time, it felt a little like prison. But reviewing it, what a sweet excuse to just keep slowing down and letting go...

I want to remember that when I am frustrated that my baby will only sleep in my arms (trying not to hope for an easy baby. That would just jinx it, right?!). I want to remember that it was only two months, and that a swaddled, sleeping, close baby is one of the most tender things in the WORLD, and other things can wait. 

And sleep will come back. It always does. And is more appreciated than ever when it comes back. Sleep and hot showers--- more precious than gold to a new mama. 

And oh please, Noah and Lucy--- forgive me these next few months. I will miss "us" desperately, but please be patient as we all figure out how to create a new rhythm and routine with the little one included. Lucy, you especially--- forgive me. You are the light of my life, and you are in for a shock, and I am so so sorry. I ache for what you'll be feeling. The frustration, confusion, jealousy, anger. You are my sweetheart and I want to cuddle you forever. But this baby will need me, too. I am so sorry I can't help you understand any better... but you're so young. I promise to hug you as often and as long as you'll let me, and to take you into your room without baby in tow for time where it is just you and me, and you don't feel so confused. I promise to try to keep you laughing as much as I can.

And Noah. You are so EXCITED. It takes the edge off of my worry and sadness for  Lucy. I am in love with your plans and your ideas for how you'll take care of your brother. I am so happy you want him here and are counting down. But you'll also have several moments of frustration when  I simply cannot be for you what I have been for you these past several months. I will be asking so much of you, and I am so sorry you have that burden as the eldest. I'll try to remember to just laugh with you and let you play and let you be messy sometimes. I'll try to get that baby out of my arms sometimes so I can just take you into them like you're still my baby, and we can have whispered pow wows about life-- just you and me.

Full-term, folks. This is it. Countdown and go time. Work to be done, but also moments to savor--- Now more than ever, I need to be mindful of the present and to really SEE when something marvelous is happening. Because the world is about to tip, and I don't know when I'll get equilibrium back. 

And then it will just be about enjoying the newness and mayhem and tiny fingers and toes and allowing others to help me out and just being okay with letting go of the illusion of control for awhile. 

And both states of being are okay.

Happy New Year! This is my 2013 mindset... all that mess above... And it's all good. 

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(Notice a significant lack of maternity photos this year? I never really needed any, after the big projects of Lucy's pregnancy. I am a-okay with only taking time today [yes, just this very afternoon. Fresh photos.] to grab a few shots. This is the most "me" I can imagine capturing for this pregnancy--- hair in braids in bandanna, comfy dress and leggings, big nose, goofy socks. This is just ME. Thank you Joe, for helping out, both as the shutter button pusher and the stand-in model. You're hot.)