This Mama’s Week in 10 Photos: part 10

Yes, 10 photos. I thought it was fitting to have 10 photos for part 10 of This Mama’s Week in Photos. The first half of the week I didn’t think I would have any photos, life seemed so slow and the January blues were taking charge. But, by Thursday I became camera happy. So here is my week:

I wanted to share what was going on just below the TV during the Seahawk game last Sunday. I love having little girls at my house. Not that I haven’t embraced cars and footballs.


Another escape outside trying to soak up the sun peeking through the January clouds. You may notice Benjamin’s shoes are on the wrong feet. I didn’t notice until we got outside and I didn’t have the energy to change them.


I’m playing with some different camera settings and started practice on these flowers. Lowering the ISO for more color and switching from FINE to RAW. Blah, Blah, Blah, boring I know, but I see a difference since making the change.


Gilbert wanted to make sure you knew that the SEAHAWKS are going to the SUPER BOWL!


This was all Benjamin’s idea. He said, “Benmen on garbage can. Gerbert on garbage can.”


I never had a chance to take a picture of Benjamin’s first two haircuts since I was alone and he was climbing me. But Kollin came this time. He had finally calmed down at this point, thank you Thomas the Train.


We took a Saturday trip to the zoo. I think God really took his time when creating the peacock, as opposed to the worm.


One of Benjamin’s favorite thing is throwing rocks in the water….looooves it.


Just today I am realizing how much this little guy has grown. I can’t believe he is almost 8 months.


Remember the maternity shoot I did of my friends Shelley and Brett (here and here)? Well baby Claire arrived this week. I am lucky enough to have see her twice. She is so sweet and might I say the most beautiful lips I’ve ever seen. We are going to wait until she is a little older for her photo shoot.


I’ll have more photos next Sunday after the Seahawks win the Super Bowl (fingers and toes crossed)!

Lover of Movies, Books, and Music: creative photo shoot with Fanschmurl

A friend of mine, Deanna, just started her own YouTube channel. We are both teachers seeking a life of creativity. We decided to do a creative photo shoot since she likes to be in front of the camera and I like to be behind the camera. Deanna is a lover of movies, books, and music which are topics she includes in her vlog (video blog). We decided movies and books would be a great backdrop in her photos. We first ventured to the best theater in Tacoma, The Grand Cinema. It’s a small theater run by the community that features independent films. We also went to a small new/used bookstore in Tacoma, King Books. It’s a Tacoma staple. They were both gracious enough to let us take pictures there places of business. We had a lot of fun.

You can check out Deanna’s YouTube channel @Fanschmurl. She is pretty darn entertaining.

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This Mama’s Week in 5 Photos: part 9 (capturing a moment)

I write this with my adrenaline pumping. Over the past 3 1/2 years of being married to a football fan I have developed a great fondness for the Seattle Seahawks. If you didn’t know, they just beat the 49ers, earning their way to the Super Bowl. The excitement of your team winning is awesome, but over the last week I have loved seeing the camaraderie amongst the 12th man. Everywhere you go people are decked out in blue and green. No matter our differences people seemed to have bonded over their love for the Seahawks. I had no idea football had that much power. I’m so excited we’ll have two more weeks of that leading up to the Super Bowl.

Anyway, the end of the game was a moment I wish I could have captured in a photo, but my camera did not quite do it’s job. However, after looking at my photos over the last week I realized I was doing more than taking pictures of my boys, I was capturing moments. I think that’s often what we are trying to do when taking pictures of our kids. And this week, as horribly hard as it was (full moon and January blues) I managed to capture some really sweet moments of my boys. I decided to make them black and white to focus on the moment rather than the image. Here you go:

One morning Benjamin came down and crawled right into the chair to read one of his many Richard Scarry books. He was so cute. I love that he can read with pictures now.


Gilbert LOVES his brother. If Benjamin is in the room, that is where his eyes are fixed. I had a pillow propped up against the coffee table so he wouldn’t topple over on it. Here he is trying to peer around it to see what big brother is doing.


One afternoon a little bit of sunshine peeked through the fog so we bundled up and went out to the backyard. Benjamin brought out his cars, of course. He loaded up his pick-up truck with dirt. His Mimi would be proud.


Gilbert got the Little People barn for Christmas.The boys were on either side playing with it. Benjamin actually asked for “Baby” to play with him this week. Love.


Gilbert has moved to Benjamin’s booster chair for mealtime. He looks so small in there compared to Benjamin. Kollin is making airplane sounds to get him to open his mouth.


Happy Day to you 12th Man!

My Grown-up List: turning 30…sigh


                         Me at age 3 ( think). Now multiply that by 10…oy!

In a couple weeks I am turning 30….sigh. I never thought this day would come. I still remember, as a kid, watching an episode of Full House where Danny Tanner was very depressed about turning 30. At the time I thought two things: 1.) He looks much older than 30 and 2.) Yea, 30 is really old. At the time I was 7, anything older than 12 seemed ancient. My mom and many others will just tell me, “Well, I wish I was 30.” I get it, 30 is young, but I think it’s the fact that the third decade of my life went much faster than the first two decades. And the fourth decade will probably go even faster. I don’t mean to depress anyone. This post isn’t about wallowing your sorrows in an entire pan of brownies crying over the fact that time just. won’t. stop. It’s about change. Like I said in last weeks post, the last few months have been a very transforming time for me, and I’m viewing 30 as a symbol of that transformation.

This year I didn’t make a New Year’s resolution. So I’m using 30 as an excuse to make some changes. Grown-up changes. Some are fluff and some deeper, more challenging changes. Here I go….

1.) Turn off the TV and read: Before kids I used to read before bed, but now I find my brain wanting to do very little work once bedtime rolls around. A couple times a week I hope to turn the TV off sooner (I really don’t need to watch that Friends rerun for the umpteenth time) and curl up in bed and open a book until I can’t keep my eyes open any longer.

2.) Change my style: Not fashion wise, decorating. I like how I decorate, but I find myself falling back on the color schemes I loved in college. I was really into Moulin Rouge at the time, which meant bold yellows and reds. I think my style has changed and I find what I like now fighting those bold colors. I may have convinced my husband to paint our living room. I hope to share the makeover with you in a couple months.

3.) Be Calm: With my anxiety I find myself worrying about every little thing. And when you have kids your worries and fears multiply by 100 (per child, it’s a fact, really). I know this will not change overnight, but as I enter my 30s I hope to relax and trust in the Lord. We’ll see where I am with this at 39.

4.) Dance: I really like dancing and the best place to do it is in my house. I’m hoping my boys are a little more uninhibited than their dad and are willing to dance around the kitchen with me while I cook dinner.

5.) Become a Photographer: I’m trying to say it out loud as much as possible hoping one of these times I say it I might actually believe it is possible.

So there you have it….30 year old Emily. Do you have any big milestones around the corner? Or are there any declarations of change that you want to make?

DIY Play Kitchen: benjamin is cookin’

This year for Christmas we wanted to get Benjamin a play kitchen. Anytime we went somewhere with a play kitchen it was impossible to get Benjamin out of there. He loved them so much. He even created his own makeshift kitchen at his little table in our kitchen, pulling out my spoons, bowels, empty spices, and broken crayons (cookies, of course).

Instead of buying a plastic one we decided to make our own. Thanks to my favorite bloggers, Young House Love, they inspired our little kitchen. Pinterest had lots of ideas, but I loved the simplicity and realness of their creation. We did not take pictures of the process since Kollin was out in the dark, cold garage late at night. But if you want to see a step by step process, check out Young House Love’s here. They are the experts.

I just wanted to show off my husband’s craftiness. I will take credit for the aesthetics (painting and details, since that is my place of expertise. Here it is:

We used an old cabinet that goes above a microwave. We got it at Second Use in Seattle. We also got the faucet there. The sink/bowl is just a silver bowl from Fred Meyer, along with the oven rack. The knobs and red part of the stove are from the craft store. The trivet is from Bed Bath and Beyond, and the cabinet handles are from Lowes.



The knobs are not complete. We still have to add the part that turns. We just don’t have the right nails yet.


On the ceiling of the oven I put a closet dome light for the oven light.



For the hand towel I used a quarter square of fabric and hem tape.


My sister got him the play food from Melissa and Doug and the dishes are from RePlay.


This is the mess from day 1 with Benjamin and his kitchen. He is a messy cook…I don’t know where he gets it…..





Stepping Out of a Shadow: finding what brings me joy


When I was in high school I made a vow to myself that I was going to be real with people. Not phony or fake, even if that meant I was tired, sad, awkward, happy, giddy, or so on. I’m not sure that I have always kept that vow, I don’t think I have been fake, but I also don’t often put all of my cards on the table. Well here it is, I’m about to put all of my cards out on the table.

For those of you who have dealt with anxiety or depression know how much it sucks. Eight months after Benjamin was born I realized I had been dealing with postpartum anxiety, which meant panic attacks, hypochondria, and crippling worries and fears. When I realized what it was, I was ready to deal with it, when I discovered I was pregnant with Gilbert. But the pregnancy masked the anxiety. So after Gilbert was born the anxiety resurfaced. I decided to go to therapy and deal with where my anxiety was coming from. It’s a hard process, but I am learning a lot about myself and understanding why I am the way I am.

I am a little sister. I had no idea how much that title has impacted me and where I am today. When you are a little sister, all you want to be is your big sister. My younger niece even said it herself. She told her mom she would use the potty when she was “Addy” (her big sister). As the baby sister you admire your older sister because she can do things you can’t. Because you want to be like here, growing up you often start to make the same choices as your sister . For kids, I think that is totally normal. But as you get older you (or me) can get stuck in that routine. As I got older I continued to make similar decisions as my sister. This is not a bad thing, because my sister made good decisions. But the danger is I was making decisions to be like her, rather than be like me. My sister was a swimmer, I became a swimmer. My sister went to Western, I went to Western. My sister was a Young Life Leader, I was a Young Life Leader. My sister became a teacher, I became a teacher. This is okay, because these choices brought me to where I am today. But the more I thought about this the more I realized everything I tried new or different, I ended up quitting or not trying. I quit soccer, choir, water polo, and declined a ministry internship after college. I was afraid to commit to new things because they were so unfamiliar. By doing that I was denying the opportunity to find myself, my niche, and doing what brought me pure and utter joy.

Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching. I am a good teacher. But every day in the classroom I feel a longing to do something else, something more creative. And it wasn’t until taking a year off and going to therapy did I find myself trying to tackle that longing. Little had I realized the with that longing, I was trying to find myself and what gave me joy.

Ever since I found out I was pregnant with Gilbert I feel like God has been in the midst of transforming me and helping me to find the person I am. It has certainly not been easy, but at the same time, it has been amazing.

It seems to me that God has placed photography in my lap. That’s another story I will share later. But when ever I pick up my camera I feel so much joy. After I shot my cousin’s wedding I was a on a high for days. This week I left my camera at a friend’s house and I felt as if my arm was missing. So I am putting it out there, I am sharing it with my little blog/facebook people. Even as I write these words fear sets in keeping me from getting to the point. Here it goes…I have a deep desire to pursue photography as something more than a hobby. There, I said it. I know I have more to learn and more equipment to acquire and much confidence building to do. These I things I’ve told myself to scare me and keep me from sharing these dreams and ideas. But if I don’t say it out loud, the fears will take over.

So…I am stepping out of a shadow and seeking something that brings me so much joy. And now you know my dream. I don’t know what will happen, but there it is. I love photography and I want it to be a bigger part of my life.

I will say one more thing. Which is probably the thing I feel most nervous about since I HATE putting myself out there. If you are interested in having me take your picture or you family’s or friend’s or baby’s or you have a special event for a very LOW cost, let me know via my blog or Facebook. I am chomping at the bit to practice, improve and learn.

Thank you for reading all the way through and letting me be real with you.

The Mama’s Week in 5 Photos: part 8

What a strange week. It was filled with ups and downs, highs and lows. Really good days with the boys, and really not good days with the boys. Gilbert has been a great challenge to get to nap lately, he is so interested in the world he doesn’t want to close his eyes. So, I decided at the last second, this week would be the time to let him cry it out during his naps. There were days of success and days where I found myself a sweaty mess eating chocolate to cope with my baby’s cries. I was also planning Kollin’s 40th birthday party, which was supposed to be a surprise (and he was). I planned it during the Seahawk’s game. It worked out perfect, until we lost power at half time. Thankfully our neighbors across the street had power, so we made a very long extension cord and plugged it into their house. Everyone was happy (especially since the Hawks won). Again, a week of highs and lows.

Here is my week in 5 photos:

I am aware this is not a pretty picture. You are staring at a pack and play, air conditioner and paint tested walls. But in the the pack and play is my sad crying boy. I worry my weekly pictures make it look like my weeks are a breeze. They are not. This was very hard for me.


We had a play date with one of Benjamin’s favorite people. Her mom and I were friends as kids and they were born 3 weeks a part. I have never seen him play so comfortably with another child (besides his cousins). They were so cute together.


It’s not often I include pictures of myself in my blog, since I am the one behind the camera. But my dad insisted on taking my camera. However, I decided I really need more pictures of me with my children. I must train my husband how to use my camera.


In January, we light lots of candles. Christmas goes away and it’s dark outside, we need light! I pulled out all of my green and blue glassbabies in honor of our Seahawks. We had them lit during the game and they won. Now, superstitiously, I will light them for next week’s game against the 49ers.


Kollin, his boys, and his cake. Designing each other’s cakes has become a bit of a competition (see last year’s cake he did here). Thankfully the awesome people at Corina Bakery are so willing to work with us.

p.s. Note the yellow lines on the 40 yard line (even though it should just be one line).


This Mama’s Week in Photos: part 7

Half of this week was spent in 2013 and the last half was spent in 2014. Nothing really seems different except I got to put up the new calendar my mom got me from Rifle Paper Co. (soooo pretty). All I know is I am really glad to start a new week back in routine. Here is my week in photos. All baby pictures this week.

On New Year’s Eve our friends Ashley and Brady and their baby Ruby came over to hang out. This summer Ruby was much bigger than Gilbert now he looks like a monster next to her (check out that noggin). We are already planning the wedding. Ruby is a little more engaged in the relationship.


On Christmas Gilbert got his two front teeth. He is finally showing them off.


The sun has decided to come out the passed few days. So we bundled up and went to the park. This was Gilbert’s first ride facing forward.


This was also Gilbert’s first time on the swing. He was a little confused, but he was happy to have his brother next to him.


My little Cookie Monster.


I’m loving my new camera lens. We’ll see what else I can do with it.

My First Portrait Shoot: keeping it in the family

My family and friends have been great about letting me photograph them. My next experiment was a portrait photo shoot. My mom wanted an updated picture of my niece and she knew I’ve been wanting to continue playing around with my photography. So on New Year’s day my niece and I went to the campus of University of Puget Sound. It’s a beautiful campus with an amazing brick backdrop. It was very cold, which gave us about 30 minutes of tolerance. Elizabeth, her doll Sage and myself had lots of fun.

Here are 5 of my favorite:

I like this one. I think it’s the most frame worthy.




This one was her idea. I think it turned out pretty well.


This one is a bit serious for an 11 year old. But I still like it.


This is her American Girl Doll Sage, my mom got her for Christmas.



I still want to recap my experience with the wedding I shot, I will get to that soon.