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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Thursday, May 18

Larkin: Eight Months Old

It's great to be eight. Eight months, that is! Larkin has been hanging out in her eight-monthness for almost three weeks now, and I'm only now managing to get a blog post written. Somehow life has gotten VERRRY full and busy and time is a rare commodity.
 

But never fear- though I am late to the post, the photos were more or less taken on time, and since I hang out with this baby all day every day, I am pretty in tune with all the eight-monthness she has to offer.
 

So without further delay, here are some fun details about our girl at eight months old:

1. First please allow me a minute to tell you about one thing in her seventh month that I forgot to write down, and now that it is disappearing, I am afraid I'll forget it. From mid-six months old til about now, she has had this sweet, odd quirk with rolling her wrists... she looks like a music conductor as she twists and rolls her hands and wrists, mindlessly repeating the motion as she takes in all the big world around her. I have been charmed, worried, perplexed by it.... It's sweet, but what if it's a developmental issue? Luckily, a couple of people I trust, who have expertise in those sorts of behaviors, have reassured me it's nothing to worry about. So since being put at ease, I've just observed her as she does it, and I think it's just a kinesthetic motion she's doing as she's contemplating grabbing things, pondering what something might feel like, or when she's not within reach of something but is seeing it and hoping she can get to it soon. Both wrists rolling at the same time, a graceful little movement of her hands as she watches things unfolding around her.

2. But onward to more recent things: Our girl, crazy as it is to me, still does not have any teeth. Every one of her siblings cut their first teeth in their seventh month. Not our girl Larkin! She demonstrates signs of active teething a lot, but nothing has broken through. 

3. On the flip side, she has been advancing in her gross motor skills a month or so AHEAD of her three siblings. Her army crawl is serious business and she can get all over the place. She also has begun pulling to standing, mostly just at the tv armoire. She is so proud of herself! It's funny to see her standing like that because she still seems so tiny. 

4. But she's not really SUPER tiny-- she is wearing the end of her 3-6mo clothes and is very comfortably fitting into the 6-9mo/6-12 month set of clothes. She is in a size 3 diaper, and takes a 6oz bottle for feedings. I've not tried shoes on her in ages, since the ridiculousness of trying to keep infant shoes on a wiggly newer baby... so I don't know if she's in a size 3 or 4 yet.
 
5. She LOVES food, and loves feeding herself. Throughout her eighth month, I've been giving her more and more "finger food" to try and she adores it. She loves MumMums and puffs, plain pancakes, bananas, cheese pizza, peas, carrot cubes, corn, pretzels, among a few other things. She's getting good at learning how to suck the baby food pouches herself, without me needing to squeeze them to get her to taste them. We still spoon-feed her dishes of baby food, but less and less. 

6. Larkin LOVES Fiona. She squeals with delight when she gets near her, and she will army crawl so quickly to try to get ahold of her. I have to keep a close eye on that situation so that Fiona doesn't lash out in self-defense. 

7. She still takes two great naps a day. The first one usually starts between 8:45-9, and can be anywhere from 2-3 hours! The second nap is usually around 2:00 or 2:30, and it's about 2.5 hours, usually. It's pretty sweet. 

8. Her nighttime sleep is fine... she still wakes once, usually, but it's manageable. She's usually in bed by 7 or 7:30pm, wakes once between midnight and 6am for a 3 or 4 oz. bottle, then sleeps til either 6:30 or 7am. Joe and I trade off nights for that middle-of-the-night feeding.

9. She loves to roll around her crib and jabber, both before naps and once she wakes. She has 5 "friends" in her crib: Her fox lovey, a flamingo lovey, a white IKEA mouse, a fox "wubbanub" binky critter, and a jingly crocodile. She plays with all of them, though she doesn't use the binkie part of the wubbanub. 

10. She is enchanted with her daddy. Her whole body lights up when he gets home from work, and she practically launches out of my arms to get to him. It's so cute! 

11. Her hair is growing, and she has some curl to it. So cute! When she gets out of her nightly bath, all it takes is a quick finger-curl to her bangs and that curl on her forehead stays there til her next bath. So endearing! 

12. She loves being outside, and loves sitting on the hammock with me. Hammock time is still one of my favorite times with my girl.

13. She loves to get herself in tight places, under furniture, behind doors, etc. and she is already really into taking DVDs off of the shelf methodically, one at a time. 

14. She says "dadadadada" and "mum mum mum mum" a lot, and can really make herself heard when she wants to keep up with the rest of her loud family. She jabbers at TOP volume and it is truly hard to talk above it. 

15. She's also a bit restless and discontent a lot... I really think she just knows everyone is older than her and more able to DO THINGS, and she is just itching to get there herself. The new mobility is a blessing and a curse this way. But it could also very well be that it's the slow, persistent teething, with no end in sight.

16. My favorite things with her are wearing her in my ring sling, snuggling her when I bottle-feed her in her rocking chair, kissing her cheeks and making her laugh from the kisses (she's so ticklish!), kissing her head and rubbing my face in her soft hair, and watching her smile at other people-- especially at her daddy and strangers at stores. She is a joy to everyone around her, and we're so lucky to have her in our family.





(See that mild discontent? This is pretty common for her. Good thing she's still cute...But I sure grieve that she seems to have skipped that beautiful phase between 7 months old and 10 or so months old, when all is well with the world and baby doesn't need to be moving from point A to B, and they sit on a blanket with a bunch of toys and just smile and love life. Not this girl. She already wants MORE out of life. Go, Larkin!)


Oh, and one more thing: I have a feeling these eight-month photos will be the last ones she stays laying on her back. I was able to get Lucy and Quinn to 11 months before they rolled away from me... But this was how Larkin finished our photos this time. So.... I think sitting up photos from here on out. Ha!


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(Photos taken on Larkin's amazing bird quilt made by my friend Melanie Hess of Thoroughly Modern Minis, on Etsy. See her 1 month photos HERE, her 2 month photos HERE, her 3 month photos HERE, her 4 month photos HERE, her 5 month photos HERE, her 6 month photo HERE and her 7 month photos HERE.)

Thursday, May 4

May the Fourth Be With You

 Today is the third day school has been called off due to flooding in the southern portion of the Rockwood School District. Day one was sunny and gorgeous, and we got outside as much as we could. Day two was soggy and cold, and I declared it a pajamas-and-iPads-and-cartoons day, and we lazed about doing just that for the entire day. 

Day three, today, happens to be May the Fourth, the official Star Wars Day, and last night as I was facing yet another cold, wet day at home with all the kids in all their restlessness, I decided to skim Pinterest for some easy Star Wars ideas we could do for the day. The goal for today: postpone iPads as long as possible, and try to find other ways to have fun. Some Jedi robes and their old light saber toys from last year proved to be a perfect way to do just that. 









The super-crazy-easy DIY no-sew Jedi robe pattern came from here: http://smartgirlsdiy.com/2015/03/last-minute-star-wars-birthday/

In addition to the robes and fun, we also sat around the dining room table and made a few of these felt light saber popsicle holders. SO easy. And super handy, since my kids always ask me for a paper towel to hold these popsicle with anyway. Bye bye, paper towel waste! 
 
I have to say--- It was pretty tempting to just phone it in yet again today, but I'm really so glad that this silly, fun holiday happened to fall on today. It re-inspired me to try to CARPE DIEM, even when sometimes it feels like so much work just to do the regular daily survival stuff. It felt good to have something to grab onto to pull me out of the drudge, and reminded me that even in this trickier, more complicated life with four little kids, it is still possible to create a little magic and fun, and the "old me" isn't quite gone forever. Maybe, as baby continues to get more and more self-sufficient, we'll reenter a season of craftiness, of going the extra mile... of making art with abandon. Maybe I'll get my energy back, and my hands more free. 

Til then, making the effort to grab 45 minutes of time to do simple fun things together--- well, it's been so good. 

Happy May the Fourth, all. Here's to felt and fleece and imagination and here's to floodwaters receding and everyone getting back on schedule soon. Ha! 

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Wednesday, April 19

One of My Happiest Happy Places: Vintage Market Days STL

I'm pretty easy to please, to be honest. Give me a mild day with a breeze, some food trucks on hand, and any event with tents and booths and things to look at and maybe buy, and I'm a happy girl. Live music is just a bonus. I've joked for years that you could land me at a Harley-Davidson vendor fair and I'd still be delighted. There's just something about booths and tents and music and the smell of cooking food.

So when I found my way to my first Vintage Market Days, back in the fall of 2013, arm in arm with my bestie Katie who was visiting from out of town, it was like angels singing from heaven. Not only did this market have all the elements of an Emily Good Time, but this market... THIS set of tents: THIS was carefully curated to bring together all the trinkets and treasures and thrift shopping and flea market hunting and craft/art fair handiwork of all the various other tent-y events I already loved, but ALL IN ONE PLACE. Condensed. Intoxicatingly specific. Junking AND art. Old things waiting to be repurposed AND new-old things already lovingly refurbished and set out for sale. Artisans AND trash-gatherers. 

And food trucks. 

And funky, vintage, catchy live music. 

This is Vintage Market Days. And they're oh so cruel/amazing because they hold this market TWICE a year. Not once. TWICE. Fall and spring. And I've managed to get myself there at least six times of the eight times they've held the VMD in St. Louis. It's just my happy place, you know? 

In the past three and a half years I've been going, I've brought home a dollhouse, little chairs, handmade fabric dolls, pillow covers, succulent plants, wire baskets, quilts, props for my photography business, gifts for my kids, and on and on. And on and on and on. I vow one day to bring home a refurbished dining room table set and probably a lovely hutch of some kind... someday. I look for both every time and find courage to walk away every time because it's not yet that season for me. But they're there. So many amazing things to look at, even when you're not buying. The Vintage Market Days is a sensory feast. 

This spring, I got to bring my other bestie, Genny, and I toted Larkin around with us. Last fall, I had returned again with Katie, who was again visiting from out of town. (In 2013, she came to shoot our family photos when Quinn was still small, and in fall 2016 she came to meet little Larkin.) We walked six-week-old Larkin around the market days and she slept the whole time.♥  It was so good to return and still have this sweet baby girl who was so content to be worn as Gen and I browsed and ooh'ed and aah'ed at the treasures.

But enough words... have I effused enough? Do you wish you were there with us? Guess what: I took a bajillion photos this time (with permission from the vendors and the VMD owner, woo hoo!) and I'd love to show you some of my favorite moments from the latest VMD last weekend.  If I managed to remember to grab contact/website info for various vendors, I tried to include it for any of you who might want to do some couch-surfing shopping. 

We started our day taking the obligatory selfie in front of the VMD's incredible rusty metal sign. 
It's a must! I mean, isn't that the coolest sign? 

One of the first booths we stopped in our tracks for was the huge corner booth for
Come On In Antiques. There were endless things to ogle:




Come On In Antiques: www.facebook.com/ComeOnInAntiques/
This gorgeous yellow flower display was in another nearby booth... Maybe Boxwood and Brass?? I can't remember. 
But I loved the sunny abundance of the display!

At the far end of the line of booths, there was a huge tent set up for some premier vendors who wanted  a little more shade and room. Dominating this tent was the incredible booth of Whimsy Willows. This is the first year this vendor has been at our VMD, and she's a perfect fit. Ashley Wilkinson, the owner, designed the booth herself and carries a huge variety of regular and plus sized clothing that speaks to the bohemian gypsy spirit. Lots of florals, lots of lace, and so many trendy cuts and styles. I sure hope we see her back in the fall: I need to save up and treat myself to something extra cute, I think.

Whimsy Willows: www.whimsywillowsboutique.com
Also in the big tent was a beautifully staged booth with trinkets and throw pillows, Cottage Collections by Suzi Ulkus. So pretty!
Cottage Collection: Suzi Ulkus 636.394.1628
And oh THIS booth: Winnie & Tulula's. Last fall was the first I noticed them, and they stood out for their lush, cozy, gorgeous monotone linen bed displays. Very appropriate for fall, the beds were covered in grays and off-whites, and I wanted to lie down and nap among the linen ruffles right then. So imagine my delight to see this booth again this spring, and in the middle of their other monochromatic bed displays (as gorgeous as ever), there was this utterly colorful SPRING display. Forget monochrome, I'll take THIS bed, please. Can you even handle the floppy, abundant, soft, elegant long ruffles of it all? This is all in linen. LINEN, people. Someday when I can afford it, I want my whole bed dressed in Winnie & Tulula's. *sigh*
Winnie & Tulula's: 214.395.4970  winnieandtulula@yahoo.com
This fabulous old shelving unit, styled to perfection with Ball jars, plants, and other ceramic details, was it the JMG Design booth. I swear if I had a place for this tall vintage shelf thingy, I'd have bought it right then and there.
JMG Design: https://www.facebook.com/JMGDesign/

Another fun booth, The Trendy Cottage, had a knack for styling her corners of her booth in "themed" treasures. This was her "strawberry display". So cute! She had a dozen other equally cute corners with other themes. 

 The Trendy Cottage: www.facebook.com/TheTrendyCottage
Genny was stopped in her tracks at this jewelry booth, Tarnished Charm. She ended up treating herself to a few pairs of earrings. I was enchanted by this velvet and pearl book ribbon. *swoon*
 Tarnished Charm: 
Cabin Creek Mercantile was a booth with a great selection of items to look at, but what grabbed me most what that it selectively had this beef/cow theme hiding among the greens and ceramics and such. What a fun whimsical twist!

Cabin Creek Mercantile: www.facebook.com/Cabincreekvintiques/ 
Another show-stopper booth (and maybe also I am discovering I have a thing for how linen looks when it's in abundance) was the always incredible Spellbound Collections booth. In the fall, their booth was made from old windows and doors assembled to make a full BUILDING, topped by wings and a gold crown. Seriously impressive.
Also impressive is the racks upon racks inside, filled with more flowy, gypsy, boho funky clothing, much of it linen.  Another wall is filled with beads, and another display carries duplicate wooden wings and crown like the ones that top the outside of the booth. SO COOL. 


Spellbound Collections: www.facebook.com/SpellboundCollectionsTexas/



Lunch break for us included enjoying the food trucks while Larkin napped, and being treated to live music from Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers, a vintage jazz and swing band that fit right into the vibe of the VMD. 
Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers: http://miss-jubilee.com/
After lunch, we browsed the second half of the booths, finding more fun things to photograph:

 Bella Vintage Home: 
www.facebook.com/bellavintagehome
 CLcreates: www.facebook.com/clcreates/
And then we found the Stapley Dolls booth, a favorite of mine. I've come to really enjoy the owner, Christy, and she impresses me every time with her craftsmanship and fresh ideas for her dolls, as well as her charming displays. I confess I've caved in and bought a doll from her not once, not twice, but THREE times, counting this last weekend. They're just TOO CUTE. I could make dolls like this. But why bother, when Christy Stapley does such a marvelous job at it?? So Lucy has one, Larkin has one, and now I have one for my very own. Ha! 


 (Please note how she has found perfect vintage books to add to her displays. PLEASE BE AMAZED LIKE I WAS.)
Stapley Dolls: www.etsy.com/shop/stapleydolls
Next door to the Stapley Dolls, I met a new friend, the owner and creator at Birch Tree Bundles. This booth featured beautiful baby quilts in modern fabrics, as well as some really cute bibs, burp cloths, and other baby items. This girl seriously has such good taste in fabric. Why didn't I buy these bunny quilts, whyyyyyy????
 Birch Tree Bundles: www.birchtreebundles.etsy.com
We wrapped up our three+ hour exploration once Larkin began getting fussy and the clock began to run down on my amazing babysitters' time. A few more quick photos of a few more too-cool-to-walk-past items, and we headed to the car, finally. WEARY, for sure, but so filled up. (Literally and emotionally!)



All in all, it was as fun as ever, and I came home with these treasures:
clockwise from top left:
1. Strawberry creme mini bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes (only the bag here, since I devoured the cake. YUM.)
2. Sweet regency-style doll from Stapley Dolls. Mine, all mine!
3. "Be Still My Soul" nail art from Boxwoods and Brass www.facebook.com/stlboxwoodandbrass/
4. Heather gray lace-bottom tank from Whimsy Willows
5. bamboo and fabric teething bunny from Urban Chic Baby Boutique www.etsy.com/shop/urbanchicbaby
6. Dare to Be Different zip pouch from Come On In Antiques
7. "Grandma's Kitchen" scented soy candle from Beckley's Best Blends https://beckleysbestblends.com/  www.facebook.com/BeckleysBestBlends
 8. and 9. Weathered red bench and framed quote from two other booths I forgot to grab a business card from, so I don't remember who to give credit to! 

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The next VMD here in St. Louis will be in the autumn, typically in early October. Keep in the loop by following their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/stlouisvintagemarketdays

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Thanks for letting me show you one of my happiest places. I love treasure-hunting, and love time with friends, love chatting with artisans.... It just fills me up. I hope everyone I know figures out their own happy places-- finds tried and true ways to fill up, too. It's so good, this feeling of knowing yourself enough to know what brings you joy. Thank you, dear readers, for being here. You also bring me joy. I hope you have a great rest of your week!