Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Placing Importance On Memory Keeping

A little while back, Grace was watching an episode of Play School where the presenters were taking photographs of Jemima and Humpty and all of the other toys and compiling an album.  The show finished and she came running up to me with such a look of excitement, thrilled at the prospect of sharing what she thought was a brilliant suggestion.

“Mummy, Mummy, I’ve got a really great idea!  Let’s take some photos and print them out and then stick them into a book so we can look through them.”

I smiled at her enthusiasm and yet at the same time, felt horrified that the concept of a ‘photo album’ was so foreign to her.  Why did she not know what one was?  When did I stop printing out photos?  Why had she not experienced the same pastime I remember so fondly as a little girl?… flipping through my Mum and Dad’s albums, full of photos of myself and my sister as babies, of my parents and aunts and uncles as children, all of which led to lots of questions, the sharing of tales and plenty of reminiscing.  Photos that captured memories and milestones and the changing of eras.  Photos that embodied ‘family life’. 

I decided then and there that making time to start on some memory keeping projects was a priority. 

My first efforts have been spent on updating our hallway gallery where a collection of frames have displayed several wedding photos ever since we’ve been in our home.  While those photos were no less precious after all this time, somehow, displaying a handful of family snapshots seemed a better fit for this space now.  With a combination of frames from Country Road, Spotlight and op shops in white and timber, some favourite photos of us and the girls are now on display… a mix of posed shots and other more candid ones.  Not only is our new display more meaningful to the girls, but swapping the black frames for lighter ones has really lifted this space. 

Next up, I've begun to sort through our cupboard of haphazardly stored photos.  Cuddled up under a blanket on the couch at night with a cup of chamomile tea, I've been gradually going through our collection, sorting through one small pile at a time and putting them into bundles for projects I have planned. I’m going to finally  complete the girls’ traditional baby books as well as Sophie's first year album (like the one I made for Grace), begin an on-going family record of photos using Project Life resources (as well as on-going albums for each of the girls) and print out some photo books of holidays we've been on.  I promise to share these with you as I work on them…

How about you?  Do you still print out photos or have you too fallen victim to the digital age and the habit of viewing memories on-screen only?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Snippets Of Our Week...

1.  A morning tea stop at our favourite Cookie Dough Biscuits for a milkshake and cup of tea before running a few errands in Fremantle 

2.  A special after-school treat on Friday from the markets (not actually a photo from the past seven days, but still our same cupcake choices nonetheless)

3.  It was all about fairy flower crowns for the girls when it came to dress-up costumes this week (there were also lots of squabbles over whose turn it was to wear the 'new' garage-sale-find pink fairy dress)

4.  Words of wisdom (found online) printed out to bring to a friend's Blessingway... such a lovely gathering and a beautiful celebration of motherhood

5.  Outdoors, enjoying the winter sunshine (we bought the girls a swing-set a few months back and it has been such a great addition to our backyard)

Joining in with Em

Monday, July 21, 2014

Living With Loss... Five Years On

Every year, this date rolls around and I find myself thinking back to five years ago, to that morning full of heartbreak and saddness when I found out my Dad had passed away. I also use today to think back on all the happy memories, the fun times and the joy that my Dad brought to our lives.  I flick through photos, go through keepsakes and read over condolence cards with their precious words about the kind-hearted, caring man my Dad was.

One of the cards contains a few lines that always stick with me, a card from one of my best friends, with a quote by Morrie Schwartz written inside, taken from a book I had loaned to her, 'Tuesdays With Morrie'...

"As long as we can love each other, and remember the feeling of love we had, we can die without ever really going away.  All the love you created is still there.  All the memories are still there.  You live on in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here."

It is a quote that comes to me often, whenever I find myself missing my Dad or worrying about how I am able to keep his memory alive (not only for my sake, but for my girls).

Today, I will sit here sipping my tea and enjoying Dutch Specular biscuits (Dad's favourites), remembering all the uncountable times Dad called in for a cuppa and a chat on his way home from work, just to check on me and to catch up on our latest news.  I will buy a bunch of red carnations, remembering Dad visiting me in hospital when Grace was born and bringing the same flowers to me... an unhealthy not-so-well-selected bunch that couldn't have looked more beautiful in my eyes because Dad chose them himself and they were given with armfuls of love. I will wear the necklace he brought back from Queensland for me, remembering the thoughtfulness he always showed, buying more for others than himself whenever he went on holidays...

I will hug my girls that little bit tighter and make sure they know just how much I love them, just as I did whenever my Dad gave me one of his big comforting hugs, remembering that life is precious and that my loved ones are my world...

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Slow Days: Following Winter's Lead

One day recently, Grace was home from school with the sniffles. I cancelled my plans of a play date with a friend and with wet weather forecast, was secretly glad of an excuse to hang out at home all day, pottering, enjoying time with my girls and resting.

We slept in and then lingered in our pyjamas longer than usual, without the call of the school bell to drag us out of the house. A few ABC2 shows were watched while I popped dinner into the slow cooker. The heater was on to keep us warm and toasty and the majority of our day was spent in our family room while the rain fell gently outside pretty much all day long.  Grace and Sophie played dolls and doctors, dressed Barbies and did endless craft.  I put on a pot of soup, made a dent in the washing pile (rotating item after item in front of the heater to dry them) and come the end of the day, even managed to flick through a few magazines.

Similarly, a few Saturdays ago it bucketed down all afternoon.  While the girls had some post-lunch quiet time in their rooms, Paul tinkered in his shed (his plans to mow the lawn hampered by the rain) and I drank cuppa after cuppa as I worked on my ideas for a new blog header, perched right by the fire, cosy and comfortable. Usually such a 'frivolous' afternoon would leave me feeling guilty about everything else I was neglecting, but on this particular wet Saturday, I did so happily.

A while back after reading a past issue of Good magazine, I jotted down a paragraph from an article written by Rebekah White.  She said,

"Turns out, winter's the perfect time to rediscover the joys of doing less.  As the days ebb, the evenings darken and the weather closes in, the body naturally gravitates towards a slower pace.  It's a welcome change from summer's high energy, activity-packed months, a time for inner restoration and, whether you are outdoors or in, for enrichment of a quieter kind."

At this time of year, I am happy to indulge my hermit-like tendencies... to take days slowly, do odd jobs here and there and to not be afraid of spending a lazy afternoon relaxing.  Listening when my body tells me it needs some chill out time rather than a day of tackling an endless to-do list is something I've learnt to embrace during the cold winter months.

How about you?  Do you too crave simple days when the temperature drops?

Monday, June 30, 2014

2014: June Portraits

"Portraits of my girls in 2014"

Grace: Where I find her most mornings and most afternoons... drawing or colouring in at the kitchen bench. She is desperate for a little table for her bedroom where she can work away on creative projects.  I've been hunting on Gumtree for a sweet writing desk but secretly, I quite like her being here near me when I'm occupied in the kitchen...

Sophie: "You wanna take a picture of my straw Mummy?" she asked me as I snapped away with my camera in our favourite cafe one morning.

Joining in with Jodi