A Portrait Project | April

A Portrait Project 

a portrait of my children, every month for one year

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My Micah. So observant, you are. And so appreciative of the world around you. You are kind and gentle to living things. You see much beauty all around and you are eager to share it with me. I love that about you.

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My Julian. I love your face, my baby. When I saw this photo, I knew it was the one simply because of the expression on your face. This is a face we see often. Daddy and I would look at it and see all things Julian. Strength. Sweetness. Focus. Heart. Maybe a little bit of rebelliousness. We love who you are. All of you.

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Currently Creating | April

Oh, hey, remember that time I got all inspired and thought I could do a 365 day crafting time challenge? Haha. Yeah. That was funny.

I could tell you about how it didn’t work out like I thought it would and why.

Buuuut… instead I am just gonna go ahead and move on, okay? Okay. 😉

Trying something new now. Onto the next one. Let’s see how I do with staying a bit more consistent here…

Pretty simple. I am going to just share with you what I’m currently creating; what hobbies or crafts or projects I am currently feeling most creative in. That’s all. Pretty simple.

So here’s what I have been up to in the last few weeks…

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Lots of Project Life-ing. (Yes, that is definitely a verb.) I’m happy to have found my rhythm for this year’s documenting. I found it by accident when I got “behind”. More on that when I share my most recent pages later this week.

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I joined in a super fun month-long challenge on Instagram hosted by the lovely @myfriendcourt. I knew I would enjoy it, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised just how much I actually have. So fun to try new and different things! Things that I most likely would never have tried on my own. I mean… woodgrain? Yeah, I had never given a single thought to doodling woodgrain ever before this arty party! Haha!

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See?! I mean, how fun does that look? Today, it’s now April 21st and I’ve done all but 3 days’ prompts. I’d say that I’m well on my way to actually completing this thing! Hooray!

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I’ve also enjoyed creating a few cards for friends. Above is one that I actually remembered to take a picture of!

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And it’s been a good season for photography around here. Spring is radiant and irresistible, as you can see in my post full of photos like this one of the gorgeous redbud trees, that bloomed in my yard in early March. I’ve also enjoyed taking more photos of my boys with my Canon and not just my iPhone. The Portrait Project has been great for me; I’m loving how it’s stretching me to try much different light than I would typically shoot in. I’m grabbing the camera more often in everyday moments, rather than only those special planned times with the boys, in my favorite light of the day and in a choice location.

And that, friends, is my first Currently Creating post. I think I like it. 🙂 I think I’ll do it again soon! ❤

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Take time. Make time.

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Early in March, the trees in our front yard bloomed beautifully.

We have lived in this house for three springs now. The first spring, the trees bloomed. Thousands of tiny, pinkish purple-y flowers. Gorgeous.

The second year, there were no flowers. Just lots of green. The trees were lovely, nonetheless (I love trees), but I did miss the flowers that year.

So when this Spring the flowers came, I was happy. It’s the little things, really. Isn’t it? Every time I opened my front door, their color, their magic, their beauty greeted me. Each time I returned home, I was welcomed by our sweet trees, with their fullness and I would just smile, heart warmed. Really, I would. I would smile. I smiled a lot at our trees in the few weeks to come.

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I knew I would love to photograph the trees. I knew I wanted to remember them. I wasn’t sure if I would actually make time to do so, but it was definitely a thought. Do you ever think a thought like that? A thought of a little something you would like to do, to see, to say, to write, to make? Do you think, “I would really like to do that. If I ever have time…”?

It’s not necessary to do such things, to photograph the trees and their blooms. I know that. I knew that in the busy weeks to come, if I did not go into the front yard with my camera, that life would go on. It would go on just fine, of course.

But, one day, between a commitment early in the day and an engagement later in the evening, I poured myself a fresh cup of coffee, grabbed my camera and headed out for just a few minutes. And I am just so glad that I did.

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It’s really wonderful how taking just a bit of time for just a little thing that matters to me, how it energizes and excites me. How using a piece of my day, such a small fraction really, for the passions and creativity that occupy a great space in my being, doesn’t drain me or slow me down, doesn’t steal from my time with other more pressing and necessary  things. Taking time, making time for these little things that matter to me is not only worth that bit of space in my day, but can actually add to the fullness of all the other aspects of my day.

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I’m just not that woman, that mother or wife, who doesn’t have an identity outside of motherhood and wifehood. I have always still been me. Albeit a struggling, lost or confused version of myself at certain points (read: an 18 year old first time mommy. Yikes!), but still me. It’s not that I don’t understand how a woman could get lost in all the responsibilty, the chaos, the emotional roller coaster that motherhood and marriage can be. I definitely get that. And it’s not that I don’t think being a mommy and a wife aren’t important enough to take over the biggest part of me. Believe me when I say, they ARE the biggest parts of me.

It’s just… I’m a person. And there is a lot to me. I like a lot of things. And the older my boys grow, the more time I am fortunate enough to have to spend doing lots more things that I like. And so far, I am very much enjoying that. That’s all.

But wait… really… looking back… I scrapbooked when I had newborns. I wrote and sang songs with my husband when I had toddlers. I trained for a half marathon when my boys were young elementary age. Over the course of over ten years of motherhood and marriage, I have enjoyed a number of things that did not directly benefit or revolve around my children or husband.

Oh, but didn’t they? Didn’t they benefit? Didn’t my guys benefit from having a mommy who they see learning new things and growing in her natural bents in life? Doesn’t my husband benefit from coming home to a woman who has passions, who glows and chatters on about prospective projects again and again? I think so, yes.

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Anyway… if there is a point to this post, it’s this: Take time. Make time. For the things you enjoy. For the things that make you feel fuzzy inside and make you feel like maybe you have something to offer the atmosphere around you. You know… the things that remind you just how beautiful life is. Maybe you have 10 minutes. Or maybe you have 2 hours. Take it. And if you’re a mommy? Don’t feel guilty about it. Okay? Okay. ❤

And now, I will leave you with more of the photos I took of my trees.

OH! And if anyone can tell me what type of trees these are, I would be grateful!! 🙂

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A Portrait Project | March

A Portrait Project

a portrait of my children,  every month for one year. 

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I had this month’s portrait of you already selected. But, Sunday afternoon, I snapped this photo of you laughing with Daddy and I. And now, I can’t choose. Handsome boy, you’re growing each day. I love who you are. I love getting glimpses of who you’re growing into. You truly amaze me.

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You take a book or books with you wherever you go. You read at every meal but dinner, because that’s when we like to talk about our days and catch up with Dad.

ulian!!! Soccer!! Yes! This is your first time to play on a team, first time to experience an organized sport. We are so proud of you. So proud. You have a natural athletic ability and a competitive, determined spirit. It’s awesome to watch you overcome obstacles and challenges to learn and grow and PLAY in an all new way.

Julian!!! Soccer!! Yes! This is your first time to play on a team, first time to experience an organized sport. We are so proud of you. So proud. You have a natural athletic ability and a competitive, determined spirit. It’s awesome to watch you overcome obstacles and challenges to learn and grow and PLAY in an all new way.

A Portrait Project | February

A Portrait Project

a portrait of my children, every month for one year

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Micah James… I think you have in you much more of Daddy’s problem-solver ways, his strategic, creative and effective thinking skills than I realized. As you grow, I see more of those wonderful qualities in you that I admire so much in your Daddy.

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Julian… when I find you reading and writing for fun, I feel so happy and proud. And when I tell you just how glad I am and I smile in my happiness, you beam and shine, as you should.

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Jack, you just looked so sweet, cozy and cute in the mid-day light — I had to include you. You’re a good doggie, Jackie. As Julian would say.

A Portrait Project | January

I’ve come across a couple of Mamas who are taking 52 portraits of their children — one portrait each week for one year. These portraits are intentional and thoughtful. They’re a beautiful picture of who that child is in that moment in time.

The two Mamas who have inspired me most with the project are Rachel of Big City Quiet and James of Bluebird Blog. I’m not sure where the idea originated, but it was James’ gorgeous portraits that I first saw.

So, I already take quite a few photos of my children each week. They’re snapshots, they tell a story — our story. And I take  most of them with my iPhone. Ha. It’s the world where I live — I have my phone on me 99.9% of the time and I have come to count on it for a far majority of my needs for capturing the moments.

But, I do have a decent DSLR and there really isn’t anything like delicious light, lovely composition and a subject more precious than gold to me. Playing and feeling creative with all of those things and more can lead to some lovely photos that I can really appreciate. Not to mention — I would love to continue to hone my photography skills. I have much room to grow.

And then there is my borderline obsessive desire to document our lives. Who we are right now. My sweet boys… they are growing in a way that seriously blows my mind on the daily. I want to eat these moments up. I want to hold these moments in my hands. And if I turn a moment into a photo… then I can. I can hold it in my hand for years to come.

Image-1 Here is my plan: A Portrait Project :

One photo each month, of each boy, for twelve months.

Must be taken with my DSLR. (or a friend’s DSLR, because I have some bad a** photographer friends who are cool like that)

I’m really happy that I decided to do this and looking forward to it very much. The boys are used to me with a camera. They really pay no mind most times, so I should be able to get some pretty natural shots of them in their element.

Here are January’s portraits…

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Micah James Phoenix. 10 years old. He loves to read a book while he eats his breakfast. He gets quite disappointed when there’s a rushed kind of morning and he doesn’t have time for a leisurely morning meal. 

IMG_3108Julian Daniel. 8 years. He also likes to read at breakfast, but not everyday. Some days, he just wants to chat with me. Also, he is on a hot cocoa kick and has been all winter. He asks if he will be able to drink hot cocoa in the summer, because he would really like to. 

I am less than pleased with the quality and lack of crispness of these photos. The light wasn’t quite right and I gave myself approximately 10 minutes to play before we had to move on with our day. Rushing isn’t my strong point and my creativity doesn’t blossom under pressure of any kind. Still,  love these moments. So that makes me have a love for these photos as well.

Thank you for having a look today. It’s so fun for me to have all of these projects going. I look so forward to continuing to create and share. ❤

Right now

Just a little bit about my right now…

Today, I had the boys journal a list of the things they would like to do this Christmas season.

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I made a list, too.

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I do love this time of year, with all it’s sparkle and wonder. I do love Christmas movies, lights, ornaments and giving gifts.

What I don’t love is getting lost in the busy and the rush. I don’t like that at any time of the year. I have done it and I don’t like it. I just want to enjoy the simple things and not feel guilty if I don’t put lights on the house or if I eat one too many Christmas cookies. 😉

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I think maybe these two have got the right perspective on the Christmas season. ❤

And right now…

I have got Project Life on the brain big time. I’m not all caught up and current, but I am closer to having a completed one year album than I have ever been in all my years of scrapbooking. I’m thrilled with both this process and the results so far. EEK.

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Above is a little peek at my re-worked title page for my 2014 album. We had some family photos taken, which inspired me to tweak my title page. I will be sharing it in full soon, along with a few of my other spreads. 🙂

Right now…

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We are trucking along through Micah’s 5th grade year and Julian’s 2nd grade. I am proud of their positivity, their can-do attitudes and their overall progress. In many ways, I know we are “behind’, but in many others I feel that we have come so far and I know the momentum has shifted. I’m excited for things to come. The possibilities are endless!

(and yes, we do school in our pajamas most days. 😉 )

Right now…

I am like 99% Multiple Sclerosis symptom free. And have been since 2 weeks after going off of meds… which I find very interesting. I am unsure of my next step in treatment. But, I trust that peace will be my guide. And I am super duper grateful for these days that I am feeling WELL.

Right now…

My mind is busy. As usual.

My heart is full. How could it not be?

My hands are striving. But, I’m finding grace and knowing that their work is blessed.

My husband is amazing. Somehow he just seriously loves me and I just can NOT get over that!

My boys are content. And that is no small thing.

My house is always a little messy. And that is okay.