Monday, February 27, 2012

Project Update: Five of Us

Remember how I said I wanted to take a full-family photo once a year for the whole year?  Well, so far so good. We're nine weeks in, and we've remembered nine times.

To keep this project doable, I'm keeping it quite simple. We take the photo every Sunday, and there is no primping allowed.  Whenever we remember to take it, we take it.  (Alarm reminders on the phone help.) Since we usually go to church on Sunday mornings, we've been taking the photos in the afternoons, and you'll see that we are in various states of post-church unravelling.

I'm also using this project as an opportunity to practice very basic Photoshop Elements skills by adding a few digital embellishments and a number directly onto the photos before printing.

Here are our first nine weeks:

Poor Gutsy Dad was still recovering from his nose surgery from a few days before.  The balloons are left over from Madelyn's birthday, and I'm pretty sure Bronwen was actively nursing when this shot was taken.

This photo was taken on my iPhone at our neighbor's Super Bowl party. Thank God for the phone, since I had forgotten about the photo until that moment! You can tell Jillson was enjoying her friend's dress-up box.

Forgot until late in the day, so we had to take the photo outside. The neighbors may or may not have thought we were weird setting up the tripod on the lawn to take this pic. These photos are revealing how regularly my girls enjoy dress-up clothes! 

This one was taken just yesterday at my neighbor's house.  Please note that I allowed the kids to pick their own outfits, with no constraints (a challenge for Control Freak Me). Madelyn then got her outfit all wet playing in the neighbors tub (I have no idea what she was thinking), so she is wearing borrowed clothing. Funny. I am unshowered. (We skipped church.) The Gutsy Dad is on a business trip, so he's not in the picture.  Boo hiss.  I contemplated whether we should take the photo one day early so he could be in it, but then I forgot to do that, so that answered that.  Then I wondered if I should have him take a picture of himself where he is, and find a way to incorporate it, but I forgot to do that, too. So I guess it's just the four of us this week.

The printed and assembled version of this project includes a 4x6 journaling card, which I am printing out at home and writing on.  (The digital elements on the photos and the printable journaling cards are from Project Life, found here.  I went with the Clementine version.)

I rounded the corners and slipped the photo and journaling card into a very simple and cheap album I found at Target a few years ago.  (You can imagine my delight when I found this album already waiting for me in my closet. Equally exciting was the discovery that it has exactly 52 pages in it... to last a year. Shopping from my own stash.  Love it.)

The inside of the album looks like this when it is all together. Not complicated.

And there you have it. I'm enjoying watching the pages of this little book fill up.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Five Months

Just a little something to think about:
Bronwen Eliza is five months old. I'll have much more to say about this if I can just find the time to write it down. I'm also working on posting some updates for all of my 2012 projects. Life is good over here. More soon.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Music Mojo: Crazy as Me, Standing in My Own Way


Bronwen was up for hours upon hours last night with a deep, croupy cough.  It was loud and painful-sounding.  Once Bronwen settled, Jillson awoke and vomitted all over our bed, our floor, our bathroom, our toilet.

Today I am still in clothing that is unsuitable for public viewing.  I wore it to the bus stop. 

It is now nearing lunch time, still in said clothing, and I am preoccupied by embarrassing and small thoughts. Why am I not capable of accomplishing what others accomplish? When will I stop longing for more (of everything)? 

I have so many good days that when I have a tricky one I feel totally off-kilter.  Yes, I know I am exhausted.  I know this not only because of last night's escapades, but also because I do not have enough energy to ward off those insidious thoughts which come creeping in whenever I let down my guard.  I start doubting all of our choices. I start thinking the "what if it had been different" thoughts and I start comparing myself, my body, my thoughts, my skills, my kids, my very accomplishments, my husband, my "career," my house, my clothes, my everything to everyone else's.

Comparing is rarely helpful. It's like whining, masked by adult observations. (Amy Sorensen writes beautifully about this here.)  I think it is fair to compare if you need to state what you want, as a means to clarify your goals, as a way to help you get up off your duff. But after that it's just annoying and destructive.  I don't believe in whining or complaining unless you also take action to achieve what you want.

And I have no energy for the latter. Not today.

Don't worry.  I'm sure I'll be back to my happy-go-lucky, enthusiastic, just-go-with-it self by tomorrow, or maybe as soon as this afternoon.  No one needs to worry or talk me off a ledge.  I know that my life is full of many things that are perfect for me. And I know that focusing on what I do have will distract me from my selfish longing for things I do not have.

I'm just having a day of doubts and wanting it to pass.

Now. Because it's Monday, I'm including some songs I've been listening to a lot of late.  If you, too, are having a doubtful day, and need to cry it out, then this song is for you.  Just remember, you've been warned. This song is gorgeous but sad.

I love this part:
I still love what I know
I love to ride alone 
and sing a song 
and listen to the radio

That's some therapy right there.

Alison Krauss, "Crazy as Me."

But because, even on a bad day, I cannot walk away without leaving at least a little shred of optimism behind (you know me), I have another song for you.  This is an old standby which always helps me get up, get over myself, and carry on.  Many of you know this song thanks to Susan Werner, whose performance of it was my battle cry all through college and grad school.  (I'm almost certain I've posted this song to the blog before.) Below you can hear the original artist, Dana Cooper, perform his amazing song.

Dana Cooper, "Standing in My Own Way" 


I love this part: 
Here am I
Questioning where, how, why
Watching my life roll by
I don't want to blow it


And that's it. I need to get back to blogging more.  I feel so much better already.

One very good thing today: Bronwen's head smells like rosemary focaccia bread. I have no idea how or why this is happening, but the aroma verges on divine. It's all there: the rosemary, the sea salt, the olive oil.  (Did someone sneak into my house and rub her head with an Aveda product?)  The whole time I have been typing this (standing at the kitchen counter, pretending I am doing house chores), I have been wearing her on my front, leaning in every few sentences to inhale deeply. Aromatherapy; brought to me courtesy of my daughter's magic scalp.

the GM