My Week(338) in iPhone Photos

April 27th, 2017

Someone shared this article about Grand Designs on Facebook last week and I’ve been binging the episodes available right now. I really need everyone to go watch it so we can talk about how bananas some of these houses are. I can’t even decide which one I love the most, but the very best part of the show is that it follows through ALL THE WAY to the end. The home flipper shows on HGTV drive me crazy when they say “if we sell it, we’ll make $100,000! So far, no offers.” WELL THAT’S NOT REALLY YOUR PROFIT YET, IS IT? The British have weird houses made out of mud, by at least they FOLLOW THROUGH.

That had nothing to do with this post, except it’s what I’ve been watching while I catch up. And now I’m caught up!

Sunday:

Easter bunny haul

He bought this with his birthday gift card and is SO pleased

Just chilling out, feeding myself a bottle as if that’s something I’ve EVER DONE BEFORE

Monday:

Super happy to be shopping with me!

SUPER over shopping with me

Oh you know, just letting the 2 year old run away (E is watching him from behind that tree)

 

Tuesday:

Gorgeous weather for a beach wedding!

My new glasses are…big

Did nothing else but edit wedding photos because I was so excited

Wednesday:

Staying hyrdrated

Toddler yoga

Lots of naps

Thursday:

Octonaut playdate was VERY much enjoyed by toddlers

This is called Nine Man Morris, they learned at Old Sturbridge Village and E made them a board

 

 

 

 

Starbucks date

Friday:

Puddle playdate

The futuuuuuuuuuuuure!

The opposite of the future

Saturday:

SQUIREL!

How to escape your children

The opposite of escaping your children

It turns out Grand Design does sometimes give up on people – the mud house never got finished. So I guess I don’t have to feel guilty about being terrible at following through with some things. I think tonight I’ll finish a whole pint of ice cream and celebrate my success. Hashtag goals.

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My Week(337) in iPhone Photos

April 25th, 2017

Currently: It’s raining, Linc is sleeping on the couch, Finn is napping, Caroline and Evan are finishing homework, and I’m knocking out busywork while watching this crazy-ass photography show on Netflix called Tales of Light. It’s part nature documentary, part adventure story, party Canon commercial, but the cinematography is gorgeous and it’s great background noise.

Sunday:

Linc was acting like he was going to eat this goat

But then it followed us all over the property, so he didn’t scare it too much

My face on the last day I am 34

Monday:

This is the “before” picture of my vegetable garden

SO EXCITED that Bumpa offered to wear him for a walk

Star Wars obsessed

Tuesday:

Chance of me every being able to do that: less than zero

Blogger baby slept through half the show

But was totally into the candy store

Wednesday:

I pulled the covers off my patio furniture cushions. It didn’t do much good.

Cheese face

That’s not where I left my baby

Thursday:

Doing a little chilly morning photo modeling

YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT SAYS (it’s to go over the baby carrier)

Egg decorating is serious business

Friday:

Doing important grinding work at OSV

Tiny woodpile helper

“Good news! You get to play Jesus in the pageant! Bad news…it’s for Good Friday.”

Saturday:

SO EXCITED TO SEE THE BUNNY

This is adorable

How many times is too many times to watch Moana? (The answer is it’s never too many)

Now I’m only a week behind on iPhone posts! And if it ever stops raining I’ll have actual content to share too – it’s just hard to get my vegetables in the ground when we’re expecting 48 hours of downpours. I also have a baby who refuses to stay put and keeps trying to pull up on things but then getting stuck and crying. That means I have about 3.2 minutes to get stuff done at a time. Turns out I’m not super productive in that timeframe.

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Bluff Point Hike

April 24th, 2017

During spring break we took the kids to Old Sturbridge Village, which is one of our favorite places. We only made it 45 minutes before Evan started complaining his feet hurt, and after 3 hours all the kids were D O N E with the walking and looking at stuff and waiting a whole 10 minutes for a carriage ride. It does not fill me with confidence that our trip to Disney World will go well.

(Have I told you we’re going to Disney World??? We’re going to Disney World! I am SO EXCITED.)

The kids don’t know we’re going yet. I’m not planning to tell them anytime soon. But I do need them to get used to walking, so I’m instituting the Disney Training Plan. Basically, that just means we’re spending a lot more time hiking and a lot less time watching Netflix between now and June.

But I’m not trying to make their lives miserable, I’m just trying to whip them into shape, so I’ve planned our hikes in places they will have fun. I need them to enjoy the walking now so they will REALLY enjoy the walking when it’s between rides and parades and restaurants in Florida. Our first training day involved a 3.5 mile hike around Bluff Point. I wore Finn, Evan and Caroline walked the whole way, and Linc did about half walking, half in the Tula on E’s back. We all survived!

He really wasn’t as annoyed as he looks in that last photo.

Everyone went to bed very early with no argument tonight. I think *I* am going to need the longest to recover, I haven’t hiked with a baby on my back since last spring and it’s a lot of work when you have a super chunk for an 8-month-old. Our next walk will be a nice short one around the neighborhood, then a longer hike again. I’ll let you know how the Disney Training Program worked out once I force them to walk 10 miles a day for four days. I figure if we all survive, that’s a success.

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April 20th, 2017

I can’t believe I am still doing this, even after falling behind, even on weeks that are super boring, even though when I started I had ONE KID and was pregnant with Caroline. The blogger friend who inspired it hasn’t blogged in years. And yet I refuse to give it up – it’s like the longest baby book in the world.

Sunday:

Feeding baby goats is fun even if you’re a cool 8-year-old

Baby snuggles, front and back

We are SO GLAD it’s spring

Monday:

This is a good look

Selling some of my favorite baby wraps

Unicorn helmet is life

Tuesday:

This is why I usually wear him

So far, the Caffeine eye cream and the Niacinamide are fantastic

I’m being attacked by balloons

Wednesday:

Eight today!

Sup, frog?

Linc has to ALWAYS be touching someone

Thursday:

Rainy day walking

Super excited to be at the doctor, I guess

I don’t know what’s happening here

Friday:

Skillz

Everyone loves Bumpa

Oreo cake was requested, Oreo cake was purchased

Saturday:

Still 8, and I still can’t believe he’s so old

They made hand puppets out of the silverware sleeves

Bubble bath + tub jets = LOTS OF SUDS

We turned off the heat in the house, which means I’m putting away the winter coats but also wearing a sweater all day because it’s actually still pretty cold. But the trees and flowers and blooming and that means winter is OVER. I had forgotten how dirty children get when they’re out in the garden. I should buy stock in a bubble bath company.

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My Photographic Eye

April 19th, 2017

I read an incredibly interesting article the other day that analyzed the photos Melania Trump has posted publicly on her Twitter account.

(No this isn’t a political post. Yes, the article was pretty critical of Melania. Yes, I agreed with it. No, I don’t want to have a political discussion here.)

If you look beyond the actual subject of that post, the idea of learning how someone sees the world from how they capture it is fascinating. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a photographer, any time you stop long enough to take a picture you’re saying “This is how I see things, this is a moment I want to be preserved, this is my reality as I want it to be presented.” In this era of social media, photos are even more performative – you can crop or filter so your friends (or strangers) can see what you want them to see. You are making a lot of choices, whether they are conscious or not, and looking at those choices can be eye-opening.

Because I’ve been doing a 365 photo-a-day project for three years now, I have hundreds of everyday life photos to look at and analyze for patterns. Once I started thinking about my pictures (many of them not more than snapshots) as a body of work versus just individual photos, it became super clear that my photographic eye says a lot about what I value, what I want the world to see, and what I want to remember.

The most obvious fact about my photos is they are almost all of my children. I almost never photograph myself. I could make a list of my excuses for that, or I could look at it more analytically. My appearance in the photographic record isn’t a priority for me. I don’t want to remember what I looked like during these years. My body doesn’t need to take up space in the frame. It’s incredibly important to me that I witness my children’s lives, but not necessarily as a participant in their activities. This feels both sort of uncomfortable for me (I don’t want to be distant or emotionally separate) and accurate (I’m much more free-range than helicopter mom). ¬†Also, from a practical standpoint, my live as a stay-at-home-mom revolves around my children, so obviously my work shows that.

The next pattern I saw right away is my love of capturing a small body in a big frame. I’ve chosen my equipment (mostly a 35mm lens) so I can focus on my subject while also including a lot of their environment.

When I think about how I framed these photos, I intentionally avoided other people in the frame (unless they were also my children) to make my subject stand out. I didn’t try to blur or compress the environment to the point where you couldn’t identify it – WHERE is an important part of the story. I took photos like these in every season, at home and away, with my subject aware of me and not. Children are small and the world is big. I want my kids to be confident and bold when faced with big things, unafraid of the world, so they remain the focus even though the environment could overpower them.

Another fairly obvious trend in my pictures is that I center my subjects.

 

There they are, right in the middle of the frame. The main focus. There is balance in this composition, and something very calming about a photo that tells you exactly what it’s about. It’s easy. When I think about these photos, I often took them during challenging times, when I didn’t have the energy to devote to seeing something artistic or unusual. Simplicity is something I often value.

Something I was actually surprised to see was my love of taking a photo from behind my subject. I think of my work as being full of faces, so I wasn’t expecting so many of these.

 

These photos are about seeing what my children see, looking at the world from their point of view. I often crouch down, sit on the floor, get low so I can capture their perspective. I want to learn about what catches their eye, what THEY view as important or noteworthy. I’m following along as they direct the show, ready to be supportive but not interferring. Without the emotion of their face, you have to infer feeling from their body language. When you’re raising kids, this feels true in everyday life as well; they often don’t – or can’t – tell you what they’re feeling, so you’re left to interpret what they need.

Something there is slightly less of but still often featured is taking photos of small pieces of my small people.

Fingers, toes, hair, eyes, hands. I love them. They are soft and unlined, a perfect example of how children are unbothered by the realities of life or age. The same way an elderly person’s hand speak to their lived experience, a child’s hands show innocence. Their eyes are clear and open, unguarded. They also are little pieces of where they come from – Caroline’s red hair comes from her father, Linc’s blue eyes are from me. These photos are more personal than any of the others. I do have to be physically close my children to take them, even if the small bodies are in motion and I have to be quick. They capture something so very fleeting – the split second before those feet grow bigger, run faster, carry the children away.

And finally, my neverending love of taking pictures of my kids while they sleep.

The sleeping photos fall into almost all of the previous categories – sometimes up close, sometimes lots of environment, etc – but I took them because of the sleeping so it deserved its own analysis. Children are loud and busy, capturing them at their most quiet and still is a treasure. While they are vulnerable, I watch over them. They feel safe in their home and with their family, which is why they so often fall asleep in places other than their own beds. Our home is comfortable, even if it’s not always magazine-worthy, with plenty of places to take a nap when you need it.

I really loved this exercise for myself, even if putting my emotions and inner thoughts into words was difficult. I appreciate my photographs more and I’m thrilled this record will exist (as a reminder, print your photos! I have both 2015 and 2016 books as hard copies of many of these, the rest are from 2017 and will go in a book in January).

Are there any trends you can recognize in your own photographic record? Go look at your Instagram feed or Facebook photos and see if there are patterns or constants that emerge. Or you can take some of this analysis and use it to inspire your own pictures. I’m definitely going to make an effort to take at least one self-portrait this spring.

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