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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Sunday, March 22

"A Spring Issue", by Sarah Dunning Park

A Spring Issue

Standing in line
at the grocery checkout
my eye slides over your glossy cover

and I imagine kicking back
  in a quiet room at home,
  sunlit air from the window
  fluttering your bright pages.

I would quietly feed on
  your inspiring concepts
  for dining al fresco, plus
  one hundred great ways
  to bring back the romance
  (and still get dinner on the table).

Actually dinner
  is burning in the oven
  while I fitfully pore over
  page after page
  of simulated perfection,
  my brain racked by the effort
  of mentally tallying these things
  I surely need:

a battery of skin-care
  potions to charm my face
  into a pristine, even poreless
  surface and a new wardrobe
  that flatters my assets
  while suiting my age
  (as well as resisting stains)
  and that Viking range
  with granite countertops
  where I’ll roast local lamb
  or raptly dice Vidalias
  at the end of each day
  dedicated to meditative yoga,
  to targeting and toning and
  releasing stress and toxins-

not to mention toxic emotions,
  rising to a high boil
  with my ravenous heart,
  now bleating for a taste of the flawless
  (which I think I’ve just beheld
  her within your pages).

Little can I do
  but dish up our lenten meal
  (peas and potatoes)

and then I will sacrifice you,
  sham of the perfect,
  to the trash, sprinkling you
  with the crumbs of tonight’s
  charred fish sticks.

(Found while enjoying the new-ish blog my friend Jodie Byrne is a contributor to, The Sham of the Perfect. Check it out. Soak it in. Let it go. I love this. Gonna treat myself to the poet's book, "What It Is Is Beautiful".)

Friday, March 6

Five For Friday: How I Fill My Empty Minutes

Someone clearly in tune with the universe the other day sent me this link, at a time I *really* needed it. (Love to you, Cindy!)

by Carmella Rayone on The Art of the Simple blog

She opens with this quote from her own journal:

 "And in between, my mind kept wandering to those creative projects that keep calling to me, hopping along with me from moment to moment throughout my day, waving. Not nagging, not impatient, but simply there and smiling, not wanting me to forget.
I won’t forget. I’ll make room and time. If only for a few minutes here, 
a few minutes there …”

It's a short little meditation, and it is lovely, for it is something I am always trying to re-teach myself: That we don't need grand chunks of time to make progress... even doing a little bit at a time, in the empty minutes, will eventually yield results. And in the meantime, the mindfulness of letting myself do work I love, even just a few stitches, pages, photos at a time, is something that fills my well throughout the day.... the week... the years of being a mama here at home. 

Take a minute to click the link and go read. Then give yourself permission to begin (get back to?) a project that may only get worked on a few minutes at a time. And then let that project NOT nag, but make you smile when you think of it waiting for you to visit it, here and there. 

My Five For Friday this week (after missing two Fridays in a row, due to end-of-winter-life-is-grey-blah-why-bother-maybe-I'll-just-nap-or-stitch-or-watch-Dr.-Phil-February-ennui. Forgive me. forgive yourself if you were/are there, too.) is a set of cell phone snaps of the five things I am most likely to turn to these days when I have some empty minutes.

1. Recently revisiting cross-stitch, after not doing anything with it since THIS project. Cross-stitch is something I will do, then take several years off, then do again, then stop... Except this time it's taken hold and has become a REAL addiction. I blame The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery for their insanely darling stitch-along samplers that cry out to be created.

2. Taking a scrapbooking pen and writing captions into my personal photo books. Years ago I gave myself permission, after a long and arduous book-creating ordeal, to NOT tediously type in captions to my photo books, and instead hand-write them at my leisure another day. Serves two purposes: A. It keeps me coming back to make more books because I don't have to type captions. B. My posterity gets some of my handwriting to enjoy. It's, like, historical, or something. 

3. Kindle books. I am a bibliophile, I promise, and I will never stop loving paper books. Ever. But for now, in a life where reading in the dark and portability trump couch/quilt/actual page turning moments, I am in love with devouring books on my phone when I can grab some minutes. It's been a renaissance of reading for almost a year now, and I am giddy about it. Thank you, Bree and Michelle/Allison and Meghan for all having a hand in ushering in this reading era in my life again. 

4. Ever the personal photo backlog. Always. If I get some time, I try to remind myself that even working for 15 minutes here and there, the work WILL get done. Shown below, thumbnails from March 2014.

5. I am an unapologetic napper. Lifelong member. SARK gave me official permission years ago (though I was already in the practice of it before reading her book), and I am a disciple. Not daily, sadly... But at least 2-4 times a week. Well-filling, healing, lovely naps. Pictured, a photo of a photo of a nap long ago, before I ever had kids. Taken by Joe. Mmm.... Wish I was napping right now. 


What are your treats/indulgences/minute-fillers? I'd love to know! Blog yours, list a few in the comments, something. I would love to hear from you!

And it's not too late to do a Five For Friday today! I mean, *I* managed it!! Woot! Let me know in the comments or via FB that you did it, and a link to yours, and I'll add it to this post, right here ---->

Thursday, February 19

Happy Korean New Year!

 February 19, 2015, is the official Korean New Year celebration day. How is this even on my radar?? If you recall from past blog posts, especially this one, Joe's parents lived for over eight years in Seoul, Korea. They have only just recently moved back to the USA to live and work, and it's been so good to have them closer again. But before they moved back, last year they sent an AMAZING Korean New Year care package, complete with foodstuffs, toys, fun information/trivia about multiple Asian countries, and ....official Korean New Year costumes. Incredibly beautiful clothing sets for each of the kids. I knew the minute I opened them that there were photos in my kids' futures. And though it's been a full year, it's turned out to be a perfect thing. Quinn wasn't quite walking yet this time last year, and his outfit was a bit roomy still. This year, the outfits fit everyone really well, AND I had time to plan ahead to have these photos done in time for the actual New Year. Win win! So with love and gratitude to my mother and father-in law, I want to wish you all a happy and prosperous Year of the Lamb, a happy new year to you from us! 

 {so willing, that boy is.... His scowl is unparallelled!}

I'm sure my in-laws could tell so many stories about the symbolism and relevance of these outfits. I do know that Lucy's rainbow purse (the boys each got one, too) is meant for gifts and lucky coins, etc., for the children. Each of their purses have a crisp dollar bill in them from their grandparents. So cute! 

I love the colors... I love the details... and it has been really cool to see these beautiful gifted outfits on my cute children. Hooray for photos! 

Do you have any stories about Korean or Chinese New Year? Any personal links to these holidays? Share in the comments! I'd love to hear! 

Sae hae bok mani ba deu seyo! (Happy New Year!)

Friday, February 13

Five For Friday: Dad Edition

One afternoon at the end of December, when I'd had a client over for a session, but not yet taken down the backdrop, I grabbed Joe and asked him to let me take some quick photos of him with the kids. He's not in many photos recently because of Daylight Savings and his work hours, and, well, the squirminess of his kids.... So it was a good spontaneous move on my part to make this happen. And, I mean, look at him... Look at him loving them. And them loving him. This is my little heaven right here. This home, these faces, these moments... 

I love Joe as a dad. 

A reminder that if you, the reader, want to post a "Five For Friday" yourself, I'd love to add your link here. You could do five images on Instagram or Facebook, too, if you're not blogging much these days. And it doesn't have to be photos! You could do a Five For Friday list, and just write a few things. Let me know in the comments if you do play along, and if you have a link for me to add here. Because I love seeing what YOU'RE up to, too!

Tuesday, February 10

A Strange, Welcome Peace

This winter has been an odd one. Last year, we were absolutely pummeled with bitter cold and snow snow snow. We had a record amount of snow days, and we began to lose our little minds pretty early on. I feel like I almost lose my little mind EVERY winter, right about March 4th, when it's apparent that just because the calendar says "SPRING", Mother Earth is laughing and sending more gloom and chill.... But last year, in particular, was brutal on our inner peace around here. 

So this year, with almost ZERO snow, with several "jacket" days versus "heaviest coat" days.... Well... it's been a strange, nice break from the norm. Still.... even on the sunniest days, it's not WARM, and the wind keeps us from spending too much time outside, though every cell in my body yearns for fresh air and the sun on my face. It's my chilly feet and the tip of my nose that remind me it's not going to be that fun to stand around outside for more than a few minutes. We take the moments we can get, but by and large, we are still indoors most of the time. 

But because it's not desperately WINTRY, it's been okay. More than okay. Since the year rolled over to 2015, I've been in this strange, hard-to-explain peace. I feel equal parts motivated to chip away at the permanent to-do list.... to tackle old tasks that have needed doing for MONTHS, and to also slow down, let go, ease up, chill out. Nothing has felt like an EMERGENCY, and that is a rare pleasure for me. I've been able to recover from little upsets like kids arguing or messes made.... To be able to let so many things go. It's been slower, gentler, and just really nice. 

I'm not kidding myself that this is a New Me, and permanent.... I have decided to just treat it like a gift, and to enjoy it while it lasts. It is, perhaps, the last Great Peace before we think about adding another kiddo to the family. Or before Lucy drops her naps altogether and I have to relinquish the sacred Quiet Time that has reigned supreme in our house for seven years. Or before some new turn in life brings new needs, new requirements of emotional energy. Who can tell? But until new demands come knocking, I am going to try to hold onto this peace. This strange absence of the Type A part of me. It's been nice. And weirdly, things are still getting done, even without the high-strung emotional energy typically surrounding such tasks. Perhaps I'm actually letting people down right and left... I am not as prompt as I would usually like to be.... I am not as proactive and gung-ho.... But then, perhaps I'm more likable right now with this hippy dippy zen groove I'm sporting. I dunno. I am not too concerned either way. Ha, see?? 

So. For now, I'm here. It's winter, though a mild one. That "invincible summer" in the quote above is here in me, as it always is.... The hope and optimism and creativity and faith.... Just manifesting is a particularly mellow way right now. I'm filling my well with all kinds of little things here at home--- reading some good books on my iPhone Kindle, working a little bit on my neverending personal photo task list, rearranging and ordering little corners of my home, baking here and there. I just began a yearlong cross-stitch "stitch along", found HERE (cutest ever) and that has been energizing to embark on. Movies and Netflix shows.... And in between, the occasional nap, and lots of marveling at my kiddos and their individual renaissances they're all currently going through. Hugs from Joe-- feeling some pretty deeply satisfying synergy in our relationship... 

It's all just good. Simple, basic, and good. I'm grateful. I'm chill. I can make it to the end of this winter for sure. One day in the near future, more will be required of me again, and things will shift, and my stronger emotions will kick back into gear, and I will be ready for it. Probably excited for the change when it comes. But I'm in no rush. This hippy dippy ZEN is pretty awesome for now. 


Friday, February 6

Five For Friday: A Mild and Sunny Winter Day

 {shot with the Lensbaby Composer, ISO 200, 4.0 ap. ring, various shutter speeds}

Foreign Lands 
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Up into the cherry tree
Who should climb but little me?
I held the trunk with both my hands
And looked abroad in foreign lands.

I saw the next door garden lie,
Adorned with flowers, before my eye,
And many pleasant places more
That I had never seen before.

I saw the dimpling river pass
And be the sky’s blue looking-glass;
The dusty roads go up and down
With people tramping in to town.

If I could find a higher tree
Farther and farther I should see,
To where the grown-up river slips
Into the sea among the ships,

To where the roads on either hand
Lead onward into fairy land,
Where all the children dine at five,
And all the playthings come alive.

Friends' Five For Friday Posts:
Awesome Sam, who I love: 120 Fingers, 120 Toes
Rachel from FL! Thanks, mama! : ScrapEquation

A reminder that if you, the reader, want to post a "Five For Friday" yourself, I'd love to add your link here. You could do five images on Instagram or Facebook, too, if you're not blogging much these days. And it doesn't have to be photos! You could do a Five For Friday list, and just write a few things. Let me know in the comments if you do play along, and if you have a link for me to add here. Because I love seeing what YOU'RE up to, too! 

Friday, January 30

Five For Friday: Home Edition

My little Five For Friday idea is really so simple.... and I LOVE the idea of it. And when I remember to do it, it's really really fun for me. 
But somehow, two Fridays got away from me already! D'oh!!! 

So for today's post, I'll do a Two-For, and post ten total images. Why not, ya know? 

Today, I decided instead of shots of my people, I'd share a little of our home. And since this month has been one of tackling little overdue projects and clutter corners, it seemed like a fun idea to share with you guys my Five Worst Clutter Spots, followed by my Five Favorite Corners of the House. Easy enough! 

To begin with,  let's get real. We ALL have Clutter Corners. Places that catch all the "stuff" and keep catching it. Place we can never seem to keep tidy no matter how many times we work on it. I think this is universal. Also universal, I think, is how much of a relief it is to see that others have them, too, so we don't feel as alone in our messes. So for the happy benefit and my readers-- so you can feel like your clutter is not alone-- here are my five worst areas for clutter catch-alls. A note: all five of these areas have been MUCH MUCH WORSE than you'll see here....today just happens to be a good average cluttery day for them. And also, every blue moon, each of these areas looks "show-house worthy." Okay, just kidding. They've never looked that good. Ever. 

1.  The peninsula of our kitchen counter. It's CONSTANT. The con: it's very visible, so that's embarrassing. The pro: it keeps the entry table and the dining room table from becoming clutter spots, and I would choose this over those two areas any day. 

2. The buffet/sideboard area of our dining room. Also keeping stuff from piling on the dining room table itself, this piece of furniture has a constant rotation of art supplies, school papers, projects, toys, and miscellany atop it. Today is not really too bad, shockingly.... Some book stacks that need different homes, and some school papers that need to be tossed or filed. Oh, and that darn set of Costco giant salt and pepper grinders. We NEVER USE THEM. Anyone want them?

3. THE. BASEMENT. Listen--- it's unfinished, so it's going to be a "Stuff Place." And really, though it's been better than this, it's going to always look a bit like a yard sale gone wrong. So I don't really HATE this clutter corner. This spot is the staging area for our toys, and it is here that I decide what to bring upstairs next when I rotate toys. The kids think it is HEAVEN down here, especially because they're not allowed down here, making it even more mystical and awe-inspiring. My big problem, clutter-wise, happens when I bring the now-dormant toys back downstairs. I am usually trying to do it fast, so my kids aren't trying to come down to join me and "help", so I end up shoving the tubs and extra toys in the first blank areas, and over time, the original order of things is done for. One good naptime afternoon down here, and it will look WAY better. Or at least, maybe, to me it will. 

4. The far end of our bedroom. Our master bedroom is HUGE. Like, "not really a good use of space" huge. Maybe if we were in a mansion and one end had a fireplace so we could put a couple of chaise lounges around it next to the 15-foot wall-to-wall bookcases (you know, like THIS.)... But yeah. That's not this house. So instead, we use one end of the room as my sewing/craft area, and the rest of the not-bed part of the room as the "catch all" for all kinds of boxes and tubs and piles of outgrown clothes and photos that need to be hung and papers that need to be filed, etc. And the sewing area gets out of control pretty fast when I'm digging for something I need and don't take the time to put everything back. So it ends up like this. A lot. *sigh* Oh well. We'll never have a Better Homes and Gardens master suite, even if we do buy a couple of chaises. Haha!

5. My desk: Even when all the papers are filed away and the camera gets put away and I am able to find a home for many of the things around here, this place always looks like a workstation. And I guess that's okay. In the house before this one, the thing I'd HATED about our furniture arrangement was that my deskspace was one of the first things you saw when you came in the front door. So when we moved to our current home, I thought a long time about where I wanted my "workspace." And this view, here in this photo, is one that most visitors never have to see. It's tucked along a wall that would require you to make a full u-turn to get to it, and so even though it's kind of an eyesore, its a functional one, and I'm at peace with it. Mostly. Also, look at my newborn babies Quinn and Noah. I love them.

So. There you go. Keeping it SO SO real over here. This is my real life. And these are just the five most common areas. There are plenty of other piles and messes around my house today, I promise you. But let's forget what we've seen now, okay? To shake off all those clutter heebie-jeebies I just gave you all, let's finish this post today on a more cheerful note. Let me show you the five areas of our home that are worth seeing, and that I feel particularly in love with.... And these five photos are particularly meaningful to me because when we lived in the house before this, we always lived in it as if we were just visiting. I never let myself sink into it and "make it my home" as much as I should've- especially since we ended up staying there for three full years, plenty of time to nest and settle in. So my vow when we moved here 1.5 years ago was to not make that same mistake. And so these five images show me that I've stayed true to that promise to myself. These are pieces of me, on my walls and around my home, and they make this house OURS, for as long (or as briefly) as we get to be here. 

1. In our entryway, probably my favorite: a little printer's tray of treasures and doo dads, a birdcage-memo-holder with photos and our three babies' announcements, and stacked on the table, our family photo books.

2. The basic stacks of little, colorful bowls on my kitchen counter. These things get used all day long, and I just really love them.

3. A bit of spare wallspace at the end of our kitchen: There was never a "need" for this area, so when I put the table there to break up the expanse of blank wall, there was no plan for what would go here. The plants ended up needing a good sunny spot and this table fit the bill, and the rest of this just kind of happened around it organically. And now I adore it. The most recent addition--- the little 5x7 oil painting of my childhood home. It is my cherished Christmas gift from my mama this year. It amazes me and I love it.

4. After all the color in my house, it surprised me, then really really pleased me, to accidentally assemble this calm little area near our entry. I really really love the neutral tones, the simplicity, and that little pop of red in the vintage thread box down below. Oh, and there's Spencer the Engine. Trains are always showing up in random spots in my house, and it's becoming a full-time job keeping them picked up. Irritating. But cute, too. (See, he even still has his ickle coal car all attached and all.......)

5. Our "Photo Room" and its feature wall. This room would traditionally be the living room in this house, but we decided we really needed a room for my photography business, a place I could set up and use studio lights if necessary, so we re-purposed this long, open room into The Photo Room--- one part studio, one part office, and one part playroom. And because the room has a non-traditional, less-structured purpose, I let these photos go up onto the wall in a similar fashion. A bit random, not pre-planned... I just went with my gut each time. And the touch of wildness to the arrangement is so appealing to me as I look at it now. It gets to be a "display" for when I have clients over, and that is awesome.... But it is also just a way for my kids to see each other and themselves and hopefully sense my devotion to them via my work in photographing them. (There's a smaller wall to the left of this one where I have our family photos hung... so they get to see their parents and grandparents in photos, too, I promise.) In addition to loving this wall, I just love the vintage desk and the pile of quilts--- all used as photo props here and there, but also used to serve my family here at home.... And the storage shelf with vintage books and a rotation of vintage toys that could be used in a session in a pinch. I love this whole space--- visual eye candy.


So, a reminder that if you, the reader, want to post a "Five For Friday" yourself, I'd love to add your link here. you could do five images on Instagram or Facebook, too, if you're not blogging much these days. And it doesn't have to be photos! You could do a Five For Friday list, and just write a few things. Let me know in the comments if you do play along, and if you have a link for me to add here. Because I love seeing what YOU'RE up to, too! 

Thanks for reading, friends. Always.

In the Month of May (in 2013)

I've been tackling some long-overdue projects the last week or two, and it's been really satisfying. One project has been working on finishing Noah's preschool yearbook from 2012-13. I'd scanned his art way back in the summer of 2013, and had photos from his preschool teachers, but the project had stalled after that. But this week, I got a wild hair to try to get it back on track, and I've been obsessed ever since, working like crazy to just GET IT DONE. But in the process of gathering all the images I needed, I remembered that I'd taken some quick photos of Noah with his face paint on, from a performance they did in the spring of 2013. When I went to get the photo, I realized I'd never taken it from its original RAW form in Lightroom to an edited JPEG form that was usable. So what began as a simple photo search became a full-on cull-and-edit session for the month of May, 2013. Going back through those many many images from just one month of my life in a year that is almost 2 years gone was really tender and fun... so many sweet moments and images of my kiddos' faces, never seen by anyone but me. *sigh* My endless yearning to be caught up and to not let this happen... and yet it happens month after month, and is just my Sisyphean task in life. Personal photos. *sigh* 

But anyway. Since they're done, I'm going to share some favorites from the random month of May, 2013. Why not? 

So enough rambling. (It's past my bedtime, and I am not making much sense!).... Here ya go. 

Noah's First Congregational Preschool Enrichment Circus Performance Face Paint Portrait:
(Whoa. How's that for a title!?) (He was in his "Prowl" phase at this time in his life--- an obscure autobot from Transformers who was green and black. He was obsessed.)

And then in the spring of 2013, Noah got to play on his first official sports team--- a very very noncompetitive t-ball league in which he got to wear a legitimate uniform, but nearly no one on his team ever actually hit the ball well or remembered how to run bases. It was darling. So is he:

One day while nursing baby Quinn, age 4 months in May 2013, I took my camera out and just photographed the kids when they got in range. In hindsight, I'm in LOVE with this limited window light and how it converts to black and white. I almost forgot about these unplanned random snapshots, and now I'm newly in love with them. And look at wee little Lulu--- newly 2 years old in these photos... the age Quinn is now! How time flies....

And then there's Quinn. Little baby Quinn, age 4 months, going through his "bald phase" and just a cute as a button. On this day, we had a gorgeous May afternoon, and the three kids and I soaked it in on our front porch, waiting for Joe to come home from work. No special occasion--- just pretty light, cute faces, and the itch to take photos... as always. 

And then just some of the other kiddos on that day.... ♥

What fun! And what a good feeling to get even a small bit of those backlogged photos DONE. Able to be enjoyed. I swear one day I'll figure out a system or some personal discipline in order to better manage my photodocumentation of my life. :) Til then, these random flashbacks will have to do. 

And I need to go to bed. Tomorrow (today), a Five on Friday! I was so SURE I was onto something with that idea, that it would be EASY to remember to manage a blog every Friday.... and yet here we are and I've missed two in a row. D'OH. My life. Welcome to Flakesville. All flakes welcome.