Thursday, 22 February 2018

A Year In Photos

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This picture was taken at nighttime several months ago, right before Sophia was introduced to her big girl bed. Right before our sweet little girl took the plunge and entered the great big world of being BIG. Because being big, to a little person, means everything.

So as I scanned through some of the old photos still sadly sitting on my camera card, it brought back memories that I had already forgotten about. And the reality is that it made me realize that my never-ending goal of creating photo books representing each year since our first baby was born needs to be a big priority, that I just need to get done.

I want our pictures to be frozen in time, in real paper-back books. Books that our kids can hold in their hands, not just look at from a screen. Books that will be loved and cherished, and looked at over and over again until the pages are worn and the pictures are familiar.

So as I scanned through the mounds of pictures that are still sitting there waiting for me, it made me smile--because as I looked back at all of the things that we have done as a family, all of the cute adorable moments that our kids have had, and all of the simple moments that we've had together as a family, it stopped me in my tracks for a moment. It made me put everything else aside for a moment and I just sat in that moment for a minute. That moment of appreciation, of thankfulness, of knowing that (for me) my role as mom really is the most critical, and most important role that I'll ever have in my life.

I have a little card on my fridge that says "You will always harvest what you plant", which can be interpreted in a variety of ways to whoever reads it.

But to me, I read it as what I do right NOW with my children--what experiences we give them, how we respond to them, what words we choose to use when speaking to them and how we treat them now will ultimately turn them into who they are going to be when they are older. What we plant RIGHT NOW will affect who they are in their future (the harvest). It will impact how they feel about themselves, what kind of people they are going to be, whether they're kind, compassionate, loving...what kind of life they will choose to lead. So as I scanned through all of these photos of our babies, our kids--it made me so grateful, so ridiculously grateful for this role of mother that I get to play.

So when I do finally just sit down and take the time to figure out these photo books, I'll tuck away memories now of times like this...

when my kids were the guinea pigs for so many of my kindergarten activities, where they worked in complete silence for the longest time, stringing Cheerios one by one onto spaghetti, working on their fine motor skills, hand/eye coordination and patience.

Or when Sophia refused to wear anything but this Tinker Bell costume for months on end.

or when we grew huge zucchinis in our vegetable garden that the kids loved to pick and turn into delicious zucchini bread.

Or that time when we watched a live show and Carter spent the whole time snuggling his little sister

or that time that the kids came to the hospital to meet Chloe and they wrapped up a bunch of their own toys from home to give her as her first baby gifts...

or after-school hot chocolate at our kitchen table with friends on cold afternoons.

So when life becomes distracting and busy and my mind forgets about this little memory-storing photo goal of mine...when I'm swamped with cupcake orders...

and when I'm boxing mounds of cupcakes and treats during nap time, I'm reminded of those darn photo books that I still haven't gotten done yet.

Or when holidays like Valentine's Day sneak up, and all of a sudden I find myself scrambling late at night to get things ready for the next day--I push the photo books aside again. Because it's like the world has given us these moments as excuses to celebrate with each other--so I'll take it. I swear I get just as much joy out of holidays and traditions and all the fun stuff that comes along with them as the kids do. 

So the night before Valentine's Day, when all the kids were asleep, I pulled out my Valentine's Day decorations and hung cheap dollar store hearts, set the table for breakfast with heart paper plates and napkins, and wrote out little Valentine cards for each of the kids to find at their chair when they woke up. A surprise was my intention, but my kids now know me and my antics too well. 

Before even going downstairs that Valentine's Day morning, Mya starting collecting her brother and sister together at the top of the stairs, wanting to step into the kitchen together since she knew that something fun was waiting for them all.

Yes, cheap tablecloths, mini red and white Smarties and decorations that I store away each year for this very moment is what thrills them--because all of a sudden our morning became a celebration, right before school.

And at the end of the day, the celebrations continued as everyone dumped out and showed off their Valentine's Day treat bags from school to everyone and we all got excited and thrilled at each little sucker or card that each of them pulled out and presented to everyone.

And literally 2 minutes before heading to bed, I turned to Terry, "Shoot! I forgot about their heart hunt!" I told them to close their eyes as I ran around the house and hid hearts with clues on them that led them all over the house until they finally found their little cheap Valentine's treat at the end.

Because these are the little moments that I want them to remember. These are the moments that are just plain fun--for them and their parents alike!

But here's the know what the honest truth is? If I just gave them a great big hug and called out Happy Valentine's Day to them as they walked into the kitchen with nothing set out but their mother standing there with a baby on her hip, they'd remember that too with fondness and their faces would light up with smiles just the same. Because it doesn't take much to bring happiness to children.

Now excuse me while I go try to figure out how on earth to make one of these photo books. Because I figured if I told the world I'd do it, I'd be much more obliged to actually get them done. No more distractions. 

Anyone have any good photo book suggestions??

Night everyone,
Erica xo

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