wow, it’s been over a month since my last post!  i would say i’m surprised, but heck, i’m not, and i bet neither are you!  i am now officially BE-HIND on my blogging.  behind by….a yyyy….okay, i’ll say it, a YEAR.  over a year actually!  and even though i swore i wasn’t going to apologize ever again for being behind in a project which i voluntarily took on and which has no deadline, i just can’t help it today.  to my small but dear, dedicated audience:  i am truly sorry and i promise i will (try to) do better.  things have been a little hectic around here the last few months….more on that later.

now that my pitiful apology is out of the way, i must acknowledge that our 2nd-born (canine) baby, gracie, turned 5 this summer!  time….SIGH….it really does fly.  it seems like just yesterday that jason opened up a crate in the back seat of our car and i spied two little black eyes and a cocked, puggy head peeking at me, and i literally started to SOB.  (and yes, gracie had her infamous ‘confused’ look on her face even as a teeny little puglet!)  i had always told jason i wanted to be surprised with a puppy as a gift one day.  so he snuck from nashville (where we were visiting our equally-pug-obsessed friends) to murfreesboro and back in an afternoon to give me the best 1-year wedding anniversary present i could have imagined.  thanks, honey, for helping me cross that dream off my bucket list.  XOXO

and a very, very happy (belated) birthday to our snuggly little fly-catcher!


i’ve been singing this song to arden alot lately, because she’s so interested in counting and in ladybugs….especially the dead one that’s been ‘sleeping’ on our back doorstep for the last week!  arden asked jason to sing the ‘lay-bug song’ when he put her to bed the other night, and since he didn’t know it, he said he made up one….and he said it was better than mine.  ha!  how can you get any better than this sesame street classic? 

and while we’re watching the classics, here’s another favorite of mine:

i hope all of you ladybugs have a fun and relaxing memorial day with your family!

5 years ago today, i was waking up and eating breakfast at my parents house, giddy with excitement about GETTING MARRIED!!!!  5 years ago today, the sky was sunny but the temperatures a little warmer.  5 years ago today, our wrinkles were a little less deep.  our lives a little less hectic.  our hopes and dreams just beginning to become reality.  5 years ago today, i stood in a beautiful garden, surrounded by (sweaty) friends and family, and i looked into the eyes of my man and made heartfelt promises that i intend to keep until the day i die.  jason, i am so proud of all we have accomplished together.  and even though we sometimes still feel like those 2 young kids who haven’t quite figured it all out yet, i know that 1 house, 2 dogs, 1 garden, many jobs, multiple professions, awesome vacations, 1 perfectly beautiful daughter and many memories later, we really have come a long way, baby.  i love you more today than ever before.  thank you for being you….my perfect better half.  HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! 

today is my parents’ wedding anniversary.  their THIRTY-EIGHTH anniversary!!!  WOWZAHS!  i feel like jason and my 5 years is quite the accomplishment, but that’s got nothin’ on ernie and katie’s 38!  mom and dad, thanks for being a constant source of support, guidance and amusement in our lives.  your growing family loves you lots! 

*photo above taken october 1, 2005, right before our wedding in the garden at rhodes college, where my parents were married in the exact same spot 33 years before us.

OH WOW.  my friend, kim, from elementary school has been busy having her mom’s ancient video cassettes of us digitized, and she is finally sending them our way via youtube.  i watched these videos last night and laughed so hard i almost fell off the couch in tears.  WARNING:  this is about as embarrassing as it gets for me, folks!  but i’m willing to share in hopes that this will make your day like it made mine.  (and to give jason a taste of what he’s in for if arden is anything like me at age 8!)  this is some of the best living proof of how spastic i was as a child.  i only have one or two short videos of me doing my infamous ‘choreographed’ dances, so this is truly priceless. 

these are both pretty long, so i’ll tell you up front:  the 1st few minutes of the 1st video says it all.  we were having a ‘tea party’ so we all dressed in our moms’ fancy (and totally 80’s-style) dresses and heeled pumps and ate dainty candies and drank tea.  and while everyone else is being ladylike (well….as ladylike as you can possibly be while listening to the ‘grease’ soundtrack), i am blurting out random silly noises and jumping up to practice my dance moves in the middle of high tea.  someone must have slipped me some caffeine right before the party started!

then the dance moves really start flowin’.  the 2nd video starts with me performing a solo act, and it is quite the interpretive masterpiece!  (oh gosh, i really cannot believe i am sharing this!)  thanks to kim for this trip down memory lane, and thanks to madonna for the ‘true blue’ album, the best madonna album of all time. 


*written around 10 p.m. on august 5th, 2010:

as arden’s birthday approaches (tomorrow!), i couldn’t help but be bombarded all day today by a flood of memories of last august 5th.  boy, was that a looooong day!  (the thumbs-up photo below was taken right after we started the pitocin drip at 8 a.m. after 12 hours of broken water and not one single contraction.  needless to say, i didn’t stay this perky for long….)

jason was so wonderful and attentive throughout the whole ordeal, just as i had hoped he would be.  i remember him telling my mom at one point, when i was in the throws of pain-induced hallucinations and painstakingly controlled breathing, ‘i wish i could do more for her, but at this point, she seems to be in her zone and i don’t think i can help much anymore….’  very observant, dear!  but i remember thinking, ‘you are doing a perfect job, jason, especially with that cold rag on my head.  and i will tell you this later, when i have recovered my ability to speak.’

this is my favorite photo from that day (before arden was born, of course!), and i have to thank my mother-in-law for taking it even though i was busy ignoring her at the time!  it will forever remind me that i did not go through labor alone.

it was at about this time, 10 o’clock, that i was preparing to receive an epidural, after 25 hours of labor, 14 of which were painful, and 5 of which were very, VERY painful.  for multiple reasons, i had craved an all-natural, completely unmedicated birth.  but once the hopes of laboring at home while slowly sipping chicken broth and listening to my relaxing i-tunes mix had long vanished, and the dreaded c-section seemed imminent, i said ‘BRING THAT SUCKA ON!’  oh, the sweet relief!  and a couple of hours later, at 1:11 a.m., our perfect baby, arden marie, was delivered into the world.  she was chubby and pink and alert but calm, and we were HAPPY….and exhausted.

here’s jason getting ‘prepped’ for surgery, and me post-surgery, freezing, thirsty, shaky and fighting to stay awake to spend time with arden.  no one told me that our entry into parenthood would look so incredibly sexy!  

it’s funny how after all the preparation, the excitement, the anticipation, the childbirth classes, the stretching, the yoga, the non-stop walking, the eggplant parmesan with extra basil and oregano (that i credit for breaking my water!) and all of the other crazy and amazing things that happened over the 41 weeks we waited for arden, nothing could have prepared me for the ecstatic clarity of knowing that i had finally arrived; it had finally happened; the day for which i had waited for almost 31 years was here: i was a MOM.

arden, our dear little love monster, you have made your daddy and me the proudest parents in the world, and we ADORE you with all of our hearts.  we can’t wait to see what fun you bring us in your 2nd year!

arden then:

and now:

what a difference a year makes!

oh, speaking of preparation, i wanted to share these photos of our childbirth classmates.  despite this 11-week course being an educational endeavor, it was also laid-back and lots of fun.  we both enjoyed meeting and bonding with our fellow moms-and-dads-to-be.  and even though i ended up having a c-section, the information and confidence i gained during this course was invaluable, and jason appreciated it, too.  at our reunion last october, it was quite apparent that although we each had our own unique birth stories (as all moms and dads do), we all came away with perfect, beautiful bundles, and nothing could be better than that. 

babies in the bellies:

and at the reunion:

happy 1-year birthdays to all the bradley babies!

to find out more about the bradley method of natural childbirth, please visit  our teacher in memphis was sarah stockwell (on far right in photo above).  i highly recommend her!

this was one of my favorite photography sessions to date, not only because finn and ryan are two gorgeous little boys, but also because it gave me an opportunity to reunite with my friend and college roommate, whom i hadn’t seen in 4 years.  together, amanda and i lived and studied in italy, traveled through europe (ever heard me mention my ‘one crazy night in munich?’  yeah….only amanda knows – and will EVER know – the complete story of that night!), suffered through long interior design studios and exhausting teachers and projects, shared a fabulous melrose place-like apartment (my first!), played pool and drank lots of beer with vern at the thirsty tiger in baton rouge, watched hours of cooking shows (amanda taught me a lot about cooking, including basics like how to slice a pepper and how to saute breaded chicken) and dated chefs/best friends who were equally (but i promise, just slightly) mentally unstable.  YIKES.  needless to say, we have made some fun memories together!

i was overjoyed when she and her husband, tim, planned a quick trip to memphis to hang out and have their boys photographed.  the 7 of us spent a chaotic 24 hours together, eating brunch at arcade, blowing bubbles with the kids in our backyard, eating dinner at central BBQ and the next morning, feeding ducks at the park and exploring the botanic gardens.  we were hot and sweaty the entire time, but we managed to keep the kids happy and the adults had a fabulous time catching up.  i happily snapped photos throughout their entire stay, hence all the wardrobe changes you’ll notice in these photos! 

our main goal was to capture several nice shots of 4-month-old ryan, since amanda and tim have admittedly slacked on capturing every breath of his existence like they did with finn.  this little cutie has the brightest blue eyes i’ve ever seen on a baby, and his sweet smile is so contagious.  i giggled uncontrollably while snapping these pictures:

2 1/2-year-old finn was acting shy at first, but he started to open up over the course of our visit, especially while waiting in line at central BBQ.  the shots of him in the striped shirt are some of my favorites;  i took them while he was busy laughing at and counting the pigeons on the roof of the restaurant.  what a smart, sweet boy!

amanda and tim, you have a BEAUTIFUL family, and i’m so glad i finally got to meet the boys.  thanks for traveling to memphis, and for putting up with the insane memphis heat!  we are daydreaming about our trip to little rock to pay back the visit soon. 

kiss those 2 little redheads for me!

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