Project Life: January

Project Life continues to be one of my favorite things ever, and since 2015 began, I have been trying to keep up the momentum I had in finishing my 2014 album. I feel like I spend a lot more time looking at blog posts and instagram photos of other people’s spreads, and it makes me want to get my hands on paper and printed photos of my own really badly. So far this year, I have been ordering prints of my photos once a month, and then making the pages once the photos arrive on my doorstep. This is partly because more often than not, when it’s time for my free time during one of Ben’s nap, I have to do basic human things like shower and eat. (The logic there being that it’s easier to edit and order photos in one chunk on a weekend, rather than in ten minute increments each week. I’m not sure if this process will continue to work, but I’m going with it for now. Even if it bums me out to have to wait so seemingly long to actually make pages.)

I have decided to use a 9×12 album this year, after two and a half years of working with the 12×12 size. I wanted to change things up, and I was also thinking that the slightly smaller page size might be easier to keep up with. I also theorized that I’d use a more “interesting event/noteworthy day” set up, as opposed to the more strict two pages per week method I’ve used up until this point. I’m not sure if it’s my rather… orderly… personality, but so far? It’s mostly working out to be two pages per week. I am giving myself a little more leeway when it comes to leaving out photos or days that don’t seem all that interesting, though. So maybe it’s working? Or maybe I just like the freedom of not feeling like I have to put a card with the week number in there each week? Either way, I’m enjoying the creative jolt that the different size has given me so far. Oh, and I don’t actually have an album yet, because I wasn’t totally jazzed about the initial release of 9×12 albums. But there are different designs/colors supposedly coming soon, from two sites, so I’m hoping I can get one soon. (Having my pages loose is making me nuts.)

So here are my January pages!

jan1
I’ve been really drawn to black and white lately, and I always like to keep my title pages relatively simple (and full of stripes, of course). I am using a printable calendar from Harley Quinn & Co for monthly calendar title pages, printed 5×7.

jan2
I’m also including my weekly photos of Ben in my spreads, and it’s really nice to know I have a really good, non-iPhone photo of him to include each week.

jan3
These pages included some major milestones for Ben (which I’m also documenting in his baby album, but they were so noteworthy I had to include them here, too), as well as our two year wedding anniversary. I hesitated to include a photo from two years ago in this year’s album, but the photo makes me so happy that I had to include it.

Project Life: January
I keep finding myself drawn to gray and black and white when it comes to journal cards and filler cards this year, so this was my attempt to make a concerted effort to include color. I sorted all of my cards by color right after the new year, thinking it would make it easier to find cards that coordinate with the photos on my pages, but I keep reaching for black and white cards. I’m wondering if it’s a winter thing, or if it’s more of a style evolution. This week was also a great example of just using the best photos – last year I would have used an insert for those beach photos, or just included one, and it was so fun (and liberating!) to be able to include all of them.

jan5
And this turned out to be one of my favorite spreads of the month. All of the photos of Ben on the left side are from one afternoon the day after he learned to crawl, and most are screenshots of a video I took. (And therefore all blurry and grainy, so black and white was absolutely the way to go!) He has been SO busy and all of my photos of him are blurry these days, and I like that these photos reflect that.

So that’s it! I’m hoping to be able to get my February photos ordered today, because I can’t wait to keep working on this.

6/52

6/52

Ben’s newfound crawling skills are taking him to new frontiers… like the dining room, as he chases toys that roll away from him. One morning (despite the difficulties of crawling in jammies!) he found a mirror we had unearthed when cleaning, and it was pretty adorable.

In 2015, I’m taking a photo of Ben each week with my real camera.

5/52

5/52

Ben learned to crawl last week, and that felt like a pretty big milestone… except he pulled himself up to stand the very next day and he would very much rather do this all day every day. He requires a constant spotter, because he also doesn’t seem to know that he still needs to hold on. He is SO happy and proud whenever he is standing up and it’s so cute. I’m getting the impression that he will not rest until he can stand up on his own (and then walk). (Incidentally, the thing that does get him to crawl is Luna; it won’t be long before he is chasing her all around the house.)

In 2015, I’m taking a photo of Ben each week with my real camera.

34 Before 34: Halfway There

So every once in a while, I remember that I continued with my tradition of writing a birthday to do list back in July. The list isn’t really at the forefront of my mind these days, although it does contain some stuff that I really do want to do. As a way of reminding myself about it, I thought I’d catch us on what I’ve managed to do so far. I’m including the original list below, with notes on some of the items that I have actually worked on.

  1. go on dates with Dan
    We have actually done this! We went on two dates to celebrate our second anniversary in January, and my sister watched Ben just after the new year so we could see The Hobbit. It’s not as easy as it was before, but I definitely want to keep working on this.
  2. host a party of some sort (dinner party, housewarming, football party) for more than 4 people
  3. shoot at least one roll of film each with the AE-1, instax, polaroid
    I started working on this in a roundabout way in December, when I finished up my year of daily photos with daily instax photos. I ended up going through almost four rolls of film, and it got me really pumped to get out the AE-1 in particular.
  4. make a wedding album
  5. make wedding albums to give to our parents
  6. visit the ocean (at least 5 times)
    So far I’ve gone twice – once in August in Cape Cod, and once in January.
  7. walk across a bridge in NYC
  8. visit a new local brewery
    Dan and I visited Carton Brewing Company in Atlantic Highlands back in July with my brother, sister, and brother-in-law. Their IPA 077XX is one of my absolute favorites. Even though this one is technically complete, I really want to visit another small brewery near my hometown, Kane Brewing Company before my birthday.
  9. make pom poms
  10. eat at Pete and Elda’s
  11. make quote wall art
  12. crochet a giant scarf
  13. get another tattoo
  14. hang a photo gallery wall in our new place
  15. go to a Patriots game with Dan to celebrate six years since our first spark
    done in August, and now Ben is part of the tradition!
  16. make a new dessert
  17. get a sewing machine
  18. and sew something simple
  19. make a wreath for each season (summer, fall, Christmas, winter, spring) for our front door
    I did make a fall wreath, and it was simple and SO worth it. I haven’t made any others, but would consider this one complete even if I buy a few more seasonal wreaths so we can always have something on our front door.
  20. decorate the living room and the dining room
  21. write in a paper journal three times a month
  22. blog more
    I’m working on it, right? Ha.
  23. learn how to be a mom
    I wrote this knowing that it would always be a work in progress, but there really are a lot of days when I really do feel like I know how to be Ben’s mom. (Of course… there are other days when I super don’t but I am gathering that that’s part of the whole deal, too.)
  24. try NOT to overthink things so much
  25. go on a photo excursion (by myself or with friends)
    Yes! And I blogged about it last week. I am hoping to do this again, though.
  26. thoroughly purge my closet (again)
    I couldn’t stop thinking about this, and went through my closet rather harshly over the summer. I got rid of a bunch of stuff, and boxed up some more, partly because Dan was kind of appalled at how much I wanted to get rid of. (Honestly? I would have gotten rid of almost every piece of clothing I owned, at the time, and still kind of feel that way.) The box is in the basement, and if I don’t want anything out of that box for six months, that’s going, too. (And I may do another pass when it gets warm again, because I just have SO MUCH that I don’t or can’t wear.)
  27. start building a new wardrobe
    I can’t really say I’m working on this; clothes fit so strangely now, and until I start exercising I’m sort of at a stand still. Baby steps.
  28. collect more bracelets for an arm party
    I am doing this, thanks in part to a very nice Christmas haul. Maybe I will blog about this, although I can’t imagine too many of you are dying to see photos of a bunch of bracelets.
  29. grow out my hair
    Whoops. So I totally forgot I had this on my list, and have obviously chopped off my hair completely. Ha. (I am LOVING having super short hair, though, more than I ever expected. It is AMAZING and I haven’t regretted it for a single second.)
  30. plan an awesome first birthday for Benjamin
  31. eat healthy food and exercise (and okay, also lose weight) to really stave off diabetes
    I can definitely be doing a better job on this than I have been so far. Exercising in particular, which I basically… don’t do. It’s hard when it’s so very cold outside.
  32. keep up with Project Life and Ben’s baby album
    I have been doing this, and absolutely loving it. I have plans to blog about my latest creations soon!
  33. choose a positive outlook even when things are hard
  34. laugh more. feel the wind. go for walks. read books to Ben. savor the snuggles. tell Dan how awesome he is. love big. breathe deep.

I have to be honest and say that I’m pretty surprised to have made as much progress as I have. There are about six months left until I turn 34, and my goal is to choose a few things to work on each month. For February, I want to keep blogging more, work on decorating the living room (we have many of the pieces, we just haven’t set them up/hung them up/framed them yet), make or obtain a wintry wreath, and maaaaybe finish knitting the scarf I started for Dan like… three+ years ago so that I can start on the giant pink cowl I bought yarn for over a year ago. We’ll see. (And just to put this out there, mostly for myself, it is TOTALLY okay if I don’t come close to finishing the stuff on this list. Life with a baby who’s more active by the day is, as they say, unpredictable at best.)

4/52

4/52

We’re dealing with our first pint-sized cold, and while we’ve been awfully lucky that he hasn’t gotten sick before now, it stinks to see a little baby all stuffed up and totally bewildered about the fact that he can’t breathe out of his nose. So I’m even more grateful for every minute of his naps; he needs it. Now, can someone tell me how I can avoid catching a cold from someone who finds comfort in smearing his boogers all over me?

In 2015, I’m taking a photo of Ben each week with my real camera.

The Beach in Winter

On Friday, Ben spent the day with his grandparents, leaving me with a very rare afternoon to myself near where I grew up. I took care of some errands that were way easier to handle without Ben, and then took my camera to the beach. When I lived near the beach, I used to do this all the time. Any time I felt sad or lonely, or needed some inspiration, I’d head down to the boardwalk in Asbury Park and listen to the waves, feel the ocean breeze on my cheeks, and breathe in the salty air. I have gone only once or twice since I moved west, and that bums me out more than I realized. Visiting the ocean was on my 33 Before 33 list, and got carried forward to my 34 Before 34 list, and until Friday, I’d only been once (in Cape Cod when we were there this past August). Taking my camera out and taking pictures just for fun was just so good. I really need to do this again, soon.

on the boardwalk

no swimming

the ocean in winter is my favorite

camera on the ground

the old casino

I've taken this photo a million times before

the old casino

sigh.

on the beach