Am I the only one who finds the beginning of a new year really disorganized and stressful? It's not just the expectation to set resolutions (which I don't do on Jan 1, I'm an idealist 24/7/365) or looming tax dates, there's something about the sense of a new opportunity, the holiday decorations to be put away, the lack of light and vitamin D, the list of things to plan (spring activities, summer vacation, school events), and this nesting feeling I get once the tree is down. Ugh. I mean, exciting, but UGH.
So, sorry to go without updating for a while. I decided to undertake a 365 project - which is a creative project you do every day for a year - and Griff joins me on it most days. Finding time for it has been difficult. That is complicated further by a big career thing that I'll get to later.
First, January catch-up! (the links lead to 365 posts)
The kids and I finished up their winter break in a real do-nothing, go-nowhere mood. I guess that's good in some ways? I wouldn't mind it so much, except that I didn't cook enough breakfasts and read enough stories. Things to remember for next time. I'd like to remember stay-at-home days as snuggly instead of driving-eachother-crazy.
Oh, except we did do something productive. Griff and I hand-delivered birthday party invitations again this year. Part of me wants to swear that I'll be ahead of the game next year and mail them two weeks in advance, but I actually enjoy driving around and seeing where all of his friends live, maybe getting to say hello to a friend or two. (Hi, Pache!)
Xander shocked me by being the only one of my children ever to voluntarily wear a knit cap as a toddler. He's SO cute in it. He stopped wearing it two days later, though. Ah, well, at least he was warm for those two days.
Reese continues to want to wear no outerwear or only his grey jacket. He HATES wearing a coat. Our surprising compromise: grey jacket over coat. I dont' understand what part of this arrangement makes the coat acceptable to him, it looks awfully bulky to me, but hey, this is one winter during which I never have to worry about him being warm enough outdoors. He wears two shirts every day, too.
Occasionally I took a freezing-cold walk around the back alleys in our neighborhood, toting my new telephoto zoom lens and stalking hawks. I was lucky enough to find this one with a fresh kill.
We visited New York Deli at least once. We always bring a stack of quarters.
Luke spent a few Thursday mornings with me and Xander.
I learned how to do some really cool long exposure tricks.
A 1920s typewriter followed me home from a local antique shop and sparked much interest among the kids. How does it work? Why is there no #1?
We celebrated Griff's 7th birthday with a bowling party for him and his friends. Seven seven-year-olds are the perfect number and age for this kind of party!
I learned some PhotoShop tricks - textures and vignetting.
I also had a "Mom's Night Out" at the home of one of the NAP mamas, who is also one of the first friends I made after moving to Richmond.
We had some pajama days and a lot of screen time. Reese and Xander played better together than ever before.
We had an impromptu after-school playdate with Jack and Josiah, during which Dan took ALL FIVE KIDS to the grocery store. Voluntarily. Hokey Smokes! They had a great time, Josiah taught Griff some new jokes, and we all ate fabulous junk food (mmm, onion dip). I love these kids, they're so sweet and fun and polite and adorable! My boys all love them, too.
Griff had his first school dance and his first "date". You know those stories you hear about childhood sweethearts who fall in love when they're five years old and eventually marry each other and have this precious storybook romance? Those stories sound eerily like what's going on here. Griff and Mia have been sweethearts for a year or thereabouts. Not to jump the gun or anything...but the in-laws are awesome.
Ok, so back to the stressed-Jess thing. I was asked to be a photographer for the Sabot auction this year, which involves working with two lovely Sabot artists who are putting together a gallery of children's art. I count this as an honor. Then a friend referred me to friends of hers who were looking for a wedding photographer. I've been researching and deep-thinking and planning ever since. I'm arranging a meeting with the couple and there's a chance they may hire me (I believe they're also looking at one other photographer, maybe more). This would be an INCREDIBLE opportunity and honor, but it's also incredibly stressful. I had planned to take at least one paying client this year, but not until the fall and only for children's or family portraiture. This ups the stakes considerably and steps up my time frame for things like figuring out rates, contracts, insurance, model releases, and acquiring some new equipment, too. I would have four months between now and the wedding, and I need to spend that four months PERFECTING my photojournalistic event/human connection skills as well as learning flash. Yikes. This couple knows that this would be a first for me, and they have seen my Flickr; I need to address expectations with them even more before signing anything.
Scary, but sometimes you have to leap!
Phew. Writing out all of January (thus far) makes me feel like we've been far more productive than I had considered before! Here's to all the learning and living we'll do in the weeks and months to come.
Lately Dan has been snapping some shots of the boys playing in the morning. This is one of a series that captured Reese and Xander pretending to be puppies. I guess they're in cages, as at a pet store or shelter. Was Curious George the inspiration? Both boys are taken with dogs and with George. Both enjoy pretending to be panting, yapping dogs.
The relationship between Xander and Reese is entering an interesting new phase. They have had a relatively peaceful coexistence previous to this, but now they're actively seeking each other out and engaging in cooperative play, helping each other, showing affection and compassion for each other, and even requesting each other's attention or presence. It's really rewarding to see this develop!