A quote: ”Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need.” Sarah Ban Breathnach
Something personal: We moved. Need I say more? We left our first family home of 8+ years and we are now renting a townhouse temporarily while we decide where to go next. People often ask me why we moved, and it’s a multi-layered answer. We loved our neighborhood and friends, and the location, but the schools are a problem (as most people know). Jeff and I have also changed quite a bit over the last (almost) nine years of marriage. We place less value in the things that use to be important (cars, clothes, shoes, jewelry, home theater, motorcycles), and more value in having less “things” and more quality time together. We choose to spend our money differently (clean food, family vacations, more couple time) and we are trying to stay focused on how to best incorporate all of this into our lives. Don’t get me wrong, I still drool over the Anthropologie catalog and Jeff points out every nice car on the road, but we’ve earned an A for effort! :) I’ve learned a lot during this move. Mostly that a house, without your family in it, is just walls and a roof. I miss having a bit more space and fewer stairs, but that’s about it. I have everything I need (and more), and I still see my friends on a regular basis. Downsizing is hard, but also liberating. We are excited about the next chapter of our lives.
Which brings me to a personal project I’ve been working on. Photographs used to be more expensive, and harder to have at your fingertips (remember film, developing, etc). We didn’t take 100 pictures, just to pick the 5 that we love. And so, with old pictures there is often lots of “background stuff” that tells more of the story (and holds so many memories). I talk about this in My Love Story, and I’ve wanted to find a way to incorporate the importance of these kinds of images into my work. I’m not saying that beautiful images at the park or a studio or not important, but I wonder what the memory behind those images will be. Hopefully not the argument that happened between Mom & Dad just before arriving at the session. (Did I say that out loud?)
So, I took some pictures of our normal everyday life during our last few weeks in our home. I didn’t do any editing (I’m trying to embrace the fluorescent lighting and grainy quality) and I left most of the background in the images (yes, that means random shoes and toys all over the floor and un-matching sheets on the bed). The result? I love them. Truly. I could tell you a story about each one – and all the other things I see that aren’t in the pictures (namely, ME). Here is a look into my world over the course of a couple days. It’s kind of like being a fly on the wall – although I’ve never really wanted to be a fly. ;)
The family room. What can I say, the place where we spent the majority of our time. The place where we always took a family Christmas picture. And right outside the front door, the place where I always took a picture of my kids on the first day of school.
And morning play time. We love our lazy mornings playing games, wrestling, dressing up. Kylie has had that winter hat for over 2 years now, and no matter where I put it, she finds it and wears it.
The curtains. THE CURTAINS! They took me two years to find during the time in my life when I became a stay-at-home-mom and didn’t know what else to do, and I love them (now they are in a plastic bag in storage).
The Superman pajamas. We have an annual tradition to get new pajamas at xmas each year. The kids and I picked out the Superman pants on a whim at Target – because Daddy is our Superman.
The Football. Do you see it under Jake? He still sleeps with it every night. Awe.
This picture needs no words. ;)
The kids’ rooms.
The curtains that I loved so much (and Jake pulled out each and every plastic stick that makes them pull up straight).
His table (from IKEA) that Daddy and I designed and painted together.
The mess. Because I’m just keeping it real.
The legos (that both kids love so much), and Kylie’s green knitting bag (no idea where it came from, but it works).
The picture of her first birthday. You know the one, where you invite all your friends and make a big deal and your kid has no idea what’s going on.
AND, the tissue box. My kids are never far from a tissue box (If you look through all the pictures, you’ll see a tissue box in most). It’s a James family thing – long story.
Daddy and Kylie doing meditation and “Rainbow Breathing” while Jake does gymnastics. This is a normal scene at our house. Anytime the rest of us want to do something quiet, Jake has other plans.
Our table. The place we eat. The place we say our “Gratefuls and Thank Yous”, and watch the birds. The site of so many family meals and birthday celebrations.
And, of course, Dasher. Always trying to get in on the action.
We love family games. Sequence for Kids – AWESOME!
Friends that come to visit and warm my heart.
Giant puzzles on the floor (when we had floor space for giant puzzles).
The formal dining room turned play room turned craft room. It has been so many things over the years. In the end we just had an inexpensive IKEA table where we could draw, paint, play, and make forts to hide from the tickle monster! And Dasher can watch from his tower. But when I see this room I see all the years raising my babies. The ball tent, the endless tracks, cardboard houses, legos, push toys, music instruments, and so much more. *sigh*
And through it all, our kids have been so resilient. Loving our new house and excited about the adventure of it all. I’m glad I have pictures our home (including the mess), from when it was built, all the way through until we moved out. The stories and memories will last a lifetime.