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

2/52

2/52

This kid has so many expressions, but his impish grin is one of my favorites. This has been the scene for so much of this week – working on his floor routine (this week he figured out how to army crawl and sit up on his own from his belly!), feeling his two brand new teeth with his tongue all. day. long.

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

Project Life 2014 Highlights

projectlife2014

When I came back here a few weeks ago to see how far I got when it came to posting my Project Life 2014 pages, I was really surprised to realize that I only ever posted my January pages. And then I remembered that while I stayed current until the beginning of February, I didn’t make a single page from early February until I began my maternity leave in May. I got myself all caught up, and then didn’t touch it again until Ben was two months old… and that pattern continued until December. December was amazing, because the instant photos meant I could stay caught up, which felt SO GOOD after being epicly behind all year long. I’m determined to keep this momentum with 2015, but we’ll see how that goes. I’m switching to 9×12 albums, but they aren’t available yet. Ah well. Anyway! Here are some of my favorite pages from 2014!

6

Many of my winter pages look like this, all snow and ice and blue.

16

Here, I was documenting my maternity outfits each day, figuring I’d want to remember that some day. I also included this blog post, and the paper with my extended family’s guesses for Ben’s arrival and size.

18

I don’t use a lot of green, but in 2015 in general, I was really trying to stick to color schemes with each spread. This is also a good example of the method that made it so possible to catch up – I made these 3×4 cards with the Collect app on my phone, and then uploaded them directly to Persnickety Prints. In 2014, I finally started ordering 3×4 prints, rather than printing two on 4×6 paper; not having to trim them really saves so much time.

21

I had to share this page, because I stared at that left side for months; I made that page just before Ben was born, and then my album was open to that page until I caught up again. I included some 8×10 inserts, with one of our first photos of Ben, which is one of my absolute favorites still.

21-2

This is the rest of Ben’s birth day spread; on the left you can see the 8×10 inserts, which include a really detailed version of his birth story, and some photos Dan took in the hospital. The right side has our bracelets, a quote I found on Pinterest while I was in labor that was SO perfect, and some photos I took in the hospital.

22

This spread also includes some cards from the Collect app, plus one of Benjamin’s teeny tiny newborn-sized onesies (this one was my absolute favorite, so it’s fitting that it has a place of honor here). I’m fairly sure I saw this in Elise‘s Project Life album when her daughter was born, and it stuck in my head because it really reminds me just how tiny he was.

35

Here’s a page from the end of the summer. I like it because I printed images of some of our summer favorites (the beer we couldn’t stop buying, and those frozen pizzas that I’m still addicted to.)

40

On the left here is one of my VERY favorite photos of Ben; it was just begging to be printed full size. (And printing full page photos is absolutely a secret trick to catching up when you’re super behind.) On the right are a bunch of photos from one day with Ben; I had been planning to do a day in the life but I never got around to writing out what we did.

49

This is my first page from December; you can see how I incorporated the daily instant photos, plus some cards writing out what we did each day.

50

I love the color scheme here; I had a 6×6 paper pad with holiday paper, and it made it really easy to make things look cohesive. On the right, I used a 2×2 coin protector page to include a Day in the Life. Dan and I both did Day in the Life in March, and I’ve been wanting to do another now that Ben is here and we’re in the thick of it. It was a regular day at home together, and I took photos and wrote the journaling as the day went on, which was really fun.

52

And here’s the last page of the year, with our last few instant photos, and the before and after of my epic haircut (and yes, I did totally cut all my hair off on New Year’s Eve. What better way to start the new year totally fresh?)

So that’s it! I’m really glad I started Project Life a few years ago; it’s such a wonderful creative outlet, and knowing my photos have a home and aren’t just lingering on a hard drive somewhere is SO gratifying. I’m so excited to keep going with this project in 2015!

1/52

I have been trying to write something to introduce and explain this new photo project I’m undertaking this year, and I keep typing and deleting everything I’ve written. I feel this need to explain why I want to do this, when I spent much of the last few months trying to let myself OFF of the hook of formal projects. And I really, really didn’t want to have anything serious for 2015, other than Project Life and Ben’s baby album, just because there’s only so much creative time around here these days.

But then a few more of my internet friends (blogging friends and flickr friends alike!) have started new 52 weeks projects, and the more I think about it, the more it feels like what I really should be doing. I have stopped using my dSLR almost entirely, with the exception of Ben’s monthly photos, and that’s just not okay with me. I don’t want a project that’s going to stress me out, but I really should be taking more photos of my son with something other than my dumb phone. (And look at that, I tried to be concise and simple and I just went and wrote 200 words. Sigh.)

1/52

And so! In 2015, I’ll be taking a photo of Ben each week with my real camera.