Friday, September 25, 2015

A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2015.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Funny story about our photo session this week. On Wednesday, after Lady J's morning nap, we hopped in the car and drove downtown to the very last exit before crossing into Illinois. Our mission was to find the two mile levy wall covered in graffiti. It wasn't difficult to find, but it also wasn't exactly in the safest part of town. Needless to say the tangle of colors and shapes was a HUGE statement piece. Complete with 4ft block letters, abstract lines, and pop culture (think Batman and smurfs) all rolled into one. Apparently Paint St. Louis is an annual event, that started 20 years ago, and draws artists from all over the country to participate in tagging the graffiti wall.

I skipped the first place I wanted to stop, leery of a suspicious looking black truck, but stopped further down the gravel road where I saw a man taking pictures. As we got out of the car Amelia was so happy to see someone else she immediately started waving wildly at the older gentleman. I looked over at him and realized it was the same man we had seen at the Botanical Garden a few weeks earlier, where he had even taken some pictures of Amelia, and also remembered the occasion. We chatted for a bit and he cautioned me several times to be safe. Bur really, what are the odds? Who knows where or when, but maybe we'll run into our friend Gordon again soon.
A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2015.

Making a Faraway Family Photo Book

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

This year we were fortunate to have not one, but two family gatherings. The first was in May when we surprised my mom in Utah for her 60th birthday. Then, in August, all of Ken's family (40+ people) gathered in Wichita for the first time in several years. On both occasions we hired a professional photographer to take family pictures. Since we currently don't live near any family I took the opportunity to take individual pictures of everyone on the same day we had our family pictures taken. Because I'm sneaky like that. When I told siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents that I was working on a project for Amelia they were only happy to oblige.

Having faraway family means we have to find creative ways to help Amelia know who her extended family members are. Luckily, Pinhole Press makes it easy to do just that. Their Book of Names and Faces—which comes in either a spiral bound hardcover format or mini board book option—are the perfect way for little people to learn about faraway loved ones. For this project I opted to make the larger book so that Amelia and I can read and talk about each family member together.
Even though getting all the pictures took a few months, making the actual photo book only took about an hour. A definite win in my book! I particularly liked how easy it was to drag and drop images from my project folder into the design template. However, while I was making the book I ran into a snag with a couple images cropping out family members on the edge of the photo. Fortunately Pinhole Press has a chat feature on their website which allowed me to immediately talk with someone about my problem. After I contacted a representative they manually resized the image and formatted the background on their end and I didn't even have to worry about it. So convenient. As I was finishing the book I was pleased to discover that there were three remaining open slots before I reached the 24 image maximum. Which allowed me to include a picture of Amelia's immediate family and an image with each of her parents. After that I simply finalized my project and submitted it for printing.
Imagine my surprise when Amelia's book arrived at our doorstep two days later, wrapped with a thoughtful handwritten note. When I opened the book and saw the first picture of my mom holding Amelia a flood of emotions washed over me. In my hands I held a family heirloom that I had created without even realizing it. What added to my delight was seeing that the book was made from high quality paper thick enough for even the littlest fingers. Each time we open the cover Amelia points to different faces, excited when she recognizes the familiar faces of her faraway family.
Thank you for supporting the products that make it possible for me to create new and original content. 


Friday, September 11, 2015

We've been cutting molars at our house. Which makes for a clingy baby and a grateful mama. Why grateful? Grateful that we have a Walgreens 500ft from our house. Making trips for last minute pain relief nearly painless. Apart from growing choppers, Amelia is pulling herself up on anything that will stand still long enough for her to push her chubby legs into an upright position. I'm betting she starts walking SOON. Too soon if you ask me. Also, she's decided that my food is waaay better than hers. What a mooch.
A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2015.

Four Picture Books We Love

Thursday, September 10, 2015

On Tuesdays I pack a canvas bag with all the return books, pick up Amelia, and together we walk across the street to the library. Did I mention the library is just steps away? If we're feeling adventurous we might drive to one of the other neighboring library locations. This is our ritual. Rarely do we make it to story-time, however I love the consistency of this practice. Since I'm pretty certain we've read every board book in Missouri, recently we've started checking out more picture books. These are some of our new favorites!
1.) Green is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors by Roseanne Greenfield Thong. Illustrations by John Parra. This award-winning multilingual book weaves the story of Latino culture and tradition through vibrant illustrations. While the glossary at the back provides a great primer for learning a handful of Spanish words. Plus who doesn't love a piñata?!
2.) Sun and Moon by Lindsay Yankey. This delightful picture book was just published this spring. The Moon is discontent with his place in the boring night sky and asks the sun to trade places just for a day. The sun agrees only on two conditions. I love the message of finding beauty and wonder in your current place, wherever that may be. And the illustrations are heartbreakingly lovely.
3.) Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty. Illustrations by David Roberts. Remember when we discovered this book about a month ago? Well Iggy Peck, Architect is another clever rhyming work by the same duo. For a moment I was sure Iggy's dreams and natural talent would be squelched by his teacher, but when the pressure is on he manages to pull off a heroic feat and saves the day.
4.) Don't Forget the Oatmeal! by B.G Ford. Illustrated by Jean Chandler. This book is almost as old as I am and was a gift to Amelia on her first-birthday. I LOVED this book when I was a child, likely because I also love oatmeal. Not only is this book a great way to teach children about the different items and sections found in a grocery store, it also gives parents a platform to talk about budgeting. Double win.
Need more book recommendations? Check out these board books and these going-to-bed books. 


Friday, September 4, 2015

A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2015.

Amelia's First Birthday Party Album

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Have you ever had the beginnings of a creative project in your mind but don't exactly know how to execute it? That's how I felt about wanting to save all the lovely cards, invitation, and special memories from Amelia's first birthday party. At first I thought about putting them at the back of her baby book. But that didn't feel right. Then I scooped up this brilliant 1" flamingo binder at Target and read Ann-Marie's post on the same day and my head nearly exploded. Kismet I tell you! Before I blinked the project was already finished in my mind. BAM.
The guidelines for this project were 1. to get it done quickly and 2. not buy anything new for it (apart from the album and printing the photos). Happily I stuck to my goal. Which meant that this entire birthday album cost $8! If I wasn't so notorious for throwing out envelopes I wouldn't have even had to cut three pieces of paper down to size. Still, though, who knew having a stockpile of colorful cardstock, washi tape, stickers, and stamps could come in so handy?
The other thing I love about this album is that it's also the perfect place to store the letters her dad and I wrote to her on her first birthday. Apart from the actual party, I wanted us to give her something meaningful and a touch sentimental—hence a letter from each of us. I hope we continue the tradition of writing her a letter every year until she's 18. Then, once she reaches that magical age, she can open the letters and realize what amazing people her parents truly are.
Overall I'm SO happy with the way this project turned out. It's one I will definitely repeat for future events. Which means if you ever send a card make sure it's a good one, because it's bound to be immortalized in one way or another. 

Currently | 9.1.2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

WATCHING: The only consolation to an insufferable lingering sinus infection was watching this beloved movie over the weekend, paired with starting this new sitcom that feels like an Aussie mashup of The Office meets Parks and Recreation. Have you seen it?

DRINKING: This smoothie. I made it almost every day last week.

READING: This collection of nine tales from one of my favorite authors.

ENJOYING: Playing questions with Amelia. Where's your nose? Where's your belly? Where's your mouth? Where's your toes? Where are your hands? And having her point to all her tiny parts.

MAKING: A mini scrapbook to hold some of the cards and pictures from Amelia's first birthday party. Stay tuned for pictures.

THINKING ABOUT: Halloween costumes. Can I make them ALL?!

REMEMBERING: That even after reading To Kill a Mockingbird every August since 2002 I still find a great reverence for the story Harper Lee tells. Still undecided if I will read her new publication though.

EXCITED FOR: A roadtrip to Washington DC with my little crew and finding it a little ironic that we'll be returning almost three years to the date from when we left it. One city, one love.

Mural located in Wichita, KS. 

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