I’m sure that it comes as no surprise that my 365 Days of Gratitude project has taken a sharp turn when it comes to what kind of photos have made it into the mix over the last 6 weeks. And although I am consumed by the amazingness of this little guy in our lives I have realized some things when it comes to what I am grateful for each day and how I document that gratitude.
The 1200 photos that I have taken since January 27 (I know, it’s ridiculous!) have been whittled down to 500 (still ridiculous!) that have actually remained in my iPhoto Library and then I have carefully picked from those as I decide what actually gets a spot in my Project 365 album. So yes, many of my current photos revolve around life with Coleman – how can it not? I see things to be grateful for from every direction…people just can’t seem to help themselves when a new baby is around. They just want to love and hug and play with him – all under the guise of “babysitting.” How can the gratitude I feel right now in my life not be centered on the miracle of a new life in our family?
So whether my photos are focused on the people who come to visit us, the grandmas who take a burden from my shoulders to allow me time to learn a new way to work with a baby around, the meals that are brought over, the great ideas that Jason has in order to provide more “hands-on” care than we thought would be possible, or the funny little changes and growth that we see each day in Cole himself, my album has changed. And I’m ok with that. It’s one of the reasons I chose to do this project this year and in this particular way.
And I’m really glad I did.
Mary Ellen Edmunds once said, “I’m glad I wrote in journals because I never knew when I was at the beginning of, in the middle of, or at the end of a miracle.”
I am feeling the truth of that statement so strongly right now. I have to laugh at the photo in my album of the day before my water broke and we rushed to the hospital (I posted it last week but here it is again) I never would have taken this photo if I wasn’t doing this project. And what a memory to have recorded – my thoughts and feelings, unaware that it was just a few hours before my life changed forever. I will never have that memory again and I am so glad I have it captured.
That is why I am doing this project. To capture the moments when the moments actually happen.
But now that I have had a few months to work on the project I have refined my system and I thought you would like me to share it with you. First, you know that I went through my whole album and inserted the “week” cards (labeled with the dates already) and the journaling cards (blank) along the bottom of my album pages. So that part is ready to go. I also placed one strip of days of the week stickers in the Saturday pocket of each week so they are handy. Finally, I have my clear dot stickers for each day of the week that go on the photos themselves in little individual bags by letter (one for “S,” one for “M,” one for “T,” etc.)
But I already told you all of that if you click here.
The part that I have figured out since is how I maintain my album as I go along each week. If you are using Becky Higgins’ kit like I am or adapting your own supplies to work, it is helpful to have supplies on hand that make the decisions each week simple and quick. I found that I had quite a few extra supplies from my kit – such as the tri-fold journaling cards. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to use those but needed them handy for when I felt like writing more than just what the normal cards would hold.
I also found that each week I was using other supplies as well and wanted them handy as I added to my album. So, instead of hanging onto all of that stuff, all of the time, I have used one of the boxes that came with Becky’s kit for my “go-to” supplies. Each week when I have a new batch of photos to include in my album, I pull out this little box and it has everything I need to whip up that week’s worth of memories.
In my box is the following:
- journaling pens (Micron 01 tip for the journaling cards and Sharpie fine tip for writing on photos)
- circle stickers backed in cardstock for each letter of the week (I keep the “S” ones together even though I use them for both Sunday and Saturday, and the “Ts” for both Tuesday and Thursday)
- adhesive to adhere the circle stickers to each photo
- scissors to trim the circle stickers that I have hang off the side of the photos
- tri-fold journaling cards (just a few of each design – I replenish when I need to)
- white-out (just in case)
- extra regular journaling cards that are left over from when I replace them with photos or the tri-fold cards
All of that fits into one little storage box. I print my photos for the week, pull out my box and my album and can do a week’s worth of journaling and photo placement in about 20 minutes. Then I stash my little supply box and it’s ready for the next week.
I have also been printing my photos with a thin white border because I like the look that the border creates on each page.
This is a year of gratitude for me. Every year should be but I’m so glad I decided to really focus on it this year. I love looking back at what I wrote each day and the photos that capture the most important parts of our lives. I love it when other people come to visit and browse through the album and see our lives at a glance. This project is already a treasure in my mind and I’m so grateful – yes grateful – that I’ve chosen to tackle it this year.
I know that you haven’t been able to see the photos I have included over the last 6 weeks of my blogging hibernation but here are some that have made it into my album:
I'm grateful to finally have "baby stuff" intermingled with my own things - I've never had that before.
I'm grateful that my brothers are all such great dads - here's Kent and Kam. Kamron drove all the way from Washington to surprise me in the hospital.
I'm grateful we work from home so we can take photos like this all day with our gorillapod!
After trying and trying, I'm grateful Jason & my mom finally said it's ok to bottlefeed instead of nurse. The guilt we women put on ourselves is ridiculous.
The generosity of neighbors bringing in meals was astounding. Thank you, thank you.
Coleman (and I) are so lucky and blessed to have two grandmas close by who love to babysit - it really helped me learn how to get back into a work system easier to have them available.
I used my iPhone as a way to keep track of feedings, naps, etc. - I finally felt like I knew enough about his schedule that I could give up the list-making after 4 weeks. I'm proud of myself for that.
I'm grateful that my sister borrowed Cole for the afternoon so I could work on finishing his room - it was the spur of the moment and I had a hard time seeing him drive away but knew he was in good hands.
We got a sling for Jason to use but I'm grateful that it works for me as well when I need to have both hands free at the computer and Coleman needs a little bit of "Mom Time."
I'm grateful I don't mind doing the laundry - even the little loads of baby things each day that I do to make sure he always has his little gowns that I love to keep him in right now
This was my 38th birthday shot - I'm so grateful for the men in my life.
This is who I am right now – yes, our focus has become little Cole – but that’s ok. This is my life and I love it.
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