Monday, December 27, 2010

December Daily Album, Days 1-5

In late November, I decided to play along with Ali Edwards and create a December Daily album. With encouragement from my friend Nicole, I assembled the foundation pages for my December Daily album.

Beginning on the first day of December and continuing through Christmas Day, I documented holiday and non-holiday moments using my Nikon D-90 and my Canon PowerShot SD880 IS. I also kept a journal, recording my thoughts each day.

Some days, I took lots of pictures, and wrote only a few sentences. Other days, it was the opposite: I snapped only a few pictures, but wrote a ton.

And there were a couple of days early on in the month where I really didn't want to pick up my camera, where I barely scribbled down a few words in my journal. Those were the days when I was struggling most with being childless. To be honest, I thought long and hard about whether to continue with this project or stop and try again next year.

It would have been so easy to tuck the unfinished album into a drawer and move on. But for several reasons, I felt compelled to keep going. For one, I had worked hard to put together the foundation pages and I didn't want to leave them bare. (Kind of like buying a Christmas tree, but not decorating it with lights and ornaments.) Secondly, I loved that this project forced me to pick up my camera, to capture the seemingly ordinary events of my life, and to write about the big and little things going on. Ultimately, though, what propelled me to continue with this project was a child. In my mind's eye, I saw a child of ours, in the distant future, flipping through the pages of this album, gazing at the photographs and reading the journaling. And maybe remarking at how young mom and dad look. Ha-ha!

Much like I've done when I look back at my mom's old scrapbook pages.

While I took pictures and wrote notes each day, I only uploaded batches of pictures every four or five days to Costco's website. Then, I picked up my pictures on the way home from work and added them to the book as time allowed. As of today, I've completed Days 1-20. My goal is to finish Days 21-25 by New Year's Day.

Here's a look at Days 1-5:

Day 1 Journaling: Welcome, December. Time to decorate our new home for the holidays! This year, I had to give some thought to where I wanted to place our tree, and how I wanted to showcase our Christmas decorations. Simple is the word that keeps coming to mind. I like simple. I'm only going to display those items that bring me joy and/or have sentimental value. Some of the other items will be going to Goodwill, or remaining in the Christmas bins. As for the tree, Brian strung lights along its branches, and it looks great. The picture (on the opposite side) captures our Christmas lights as I purposely whipped my hand around. The photographer/artist in me was having fun experimenting with different types of tree shots.

Day 2 Journaling: Decorating the tree...Our 6-foot Noble Fir tree (purchased at Costco for $29.99) is now brimming with ornaments. We have quite the collection of firefighter ornaments, and almost as many teacher ones. My favorite Christmas teacher gift is an ornament made by a student or purchased by a student, which has a picture of the scholar on it. Their name printed on it, along with the date, is much appreciated. Gazing at the ornaments on our tree reminds me of some of the trips we've taken. For instance, the knitted alpaca takes me back to Peru; the wooden manger scene reminds me of Rome; and the Mickey Mouse frame containing a picture of Katie and me in 2001 floods my mind with memories of our trip to Florida.

Day 3 Journaling: "You can't cross a sea by merely staring at the water." ~Rabindranath Tagore So true, isn't it? I can't help but be a little overwhelmed by my lengthy to-do list right now, but I know that just sitting here and worrying (and chewing on my nails) isn't going to help. Not one bit. I need to choose one thing from my list and complete it. Then, I need to select a second item and accomplish it. I need to ask for help (from Brian) if I need it. Above all, I need to keep a positive attitude, and trust that it will all get done before Christmas. Luckily, I still have plenty of time; 22 days to be exact.

Day 4 Journaling: Salt dough ornaments and sand paper ornaments (for my 4th graders); writing our Christmas letter; laundry; Words with Friends (on my iPod Touch); grading checkpoints; shopping online; taking photographs; watching "While You Were Sleeping."

Day 5 Journaling: Loving that my husband helps me recognize when I need to take a break. Like today, for instance, when he said, "You need to be a human being, not a human doing." Loving that I put my jammies on (after taking a hot shower), lay on my bed and read a book, Rachel's Garden. Loving that Brian and I feasted on grilled cheese sandwiches and clam chowder in bed while watching the movie, Flipped. Loving my wonderful husband.

Back with Days 6-10 soon!


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