Archive | January, 2010

December Daily: Day 18, 19, 20

14 Jan

Day 18

With this layout I am taken again by the magic of this process of documenting every day in December. Pizza Friday is a way of life for us. It is as strong a food memory for me as one can have. But it’s not Christmas-y”. It’s just an ordinary Friday. I’d never think about documenting it, if it hadn’t been for this. I’d never think about acknowledging its role in establishing traditions, in a season that’s all about traditions. Here’s what the journaling says:

We didn’t have a lot of traditions growing up, holiday or otherwise. During the years that my dad worked two jobs, my mom and I would eat salami, cheese, and hot apple cider on Christmas Eve. We’d turn on Christmas music and turn off all the lights, except for the Christmas tree. But like many things, that started for a while and stopped. Nothing persisted. The exception to that lack of tradition, was pizza Friday. Every Friday for as long as I can remember my dad bought two pizzas: pepperoni and sausage with extra cheese, easy sauce, cooked well done. And since I’ve moved out into the adult world, it’s a tradition I continue. Often we make it at home. On this Friday, we’re at Killer Pizza from Mars eating a half pepperoni, half bacon, with one slice of cheese for Lyra.

Day 19 Day 20

Although both photos are from the same event, they represent the highlight of our weekend. Here Lyra is working on her first gingerbread house with her cousins. Although the decorating was mildly interesting to her, the chocolate eating was even more so. The journaling is below:

The highlight of this weekend was our Saturday spent decorating gingerbread houses with all the young kids in our extended family. For Lyra, that meant less decorating and more sampling. We followed the decorating with a huge family dinner out at the Old Spaghetti Factory. We also visited an amazing neighborhood with yard and window lighting displays, but none of the photos came out.

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December Daily: Day 17

14 Jan

Day 17Day 17 right

My original design for this spread had space for many more pictures, as I knew there would be a lot of story to tell when fifteen young children have a surprise visit from Santa, who just happens to bring a special toy for each one of them. To our surprise, Santa took time with each and every child, allowing them to sit on his lap and open their special gift. Lyra was first up and I was surprised how comfortable she was this time. But nothing surprised me more than the HUGE reaction she had to unwrapping one of her favorite library books, One Boy. I was too surprised and busy smiling to have captured that memory with my camera, but I’m so thrilled to watch her passion for books and “reading” emerge at such a young age. Books are her favorite play things, by a long margin.

Although I left the party with plenty of magical images to fill all of those waiting spaces in my layout, in the end, the page looked chaotic and the story was unfocused. These two images most closely conveyed the enchantment the white-bearded man creates when little believers are in his presence. I have many feelings about the myth of Santa and the role adults play in perpetuating the myth, and often the commercial greediness of the holiday; but if childhood should be about anything, it should definitely be about magic. I love the slack-jawed wonder and rapt attention on the children’s faces as they await their turn in Santa’s lap. And I love seeing Lyra sit so confidently and comfortably with this visitor who truly loves to put a smile on every child’s face.

December Daily: Day 15 and 16

13 Jan

Day 15

First up is a clean, simple collage of black and white photos documenting a handful of mommas from our playgroup braving a chilly 42-degree night to go Christmas shopping. I had a lot of fun editing these photos. i won’t reveal all of my tricks, but when you shoot manual on a point-and-shoot camera, you’re going to have a lot of misses. With my Photoshop skills I’m able to correct a lot of wonky-colored, underexposed, and otherwise useless images. This trip was pretty fun, but is mostly memorable for three things:

  1. My friend, Jessie, spraying herself in the eye with CKOne and all of the high school memories that came flooding back because of that wretched scent.
  2. Me, coming this close to paying $42 for a single pair of underwear for my  husband. Luckily I came to my senses before committing the deed.
  3. And me, failing use appropriate caution when backing out of a parking space and slamming my rear bumper into some poor guy’s Corolla.

Yeah. I’m on a role with unforeseen expensive mishaps in the month of December. And yet somehow I was almost willing to pay forty-two dollars for a pair of underwear? What was I thinking?

Day 16

This is one of those little moments that would never be captured, if I hadn’t taken on the task of bringing my camera everywhere in December. The small fender bender, the days without television, and the night-after-neverending-night of my daughter climbing out of her bed every hour from 1 AM on, were starting to get to me. Until this day, I had mostly maintained perspective. I’d remained present, tried to accept each day for what it was. But the bad was weighing on my heavily. I spent the entire previous night flogging myself over a dark spot on Lyra’s tooth that I mistook for a cavity (in the end it was probably a raisin skin that was stubborn). So, the last thing I wanted to do was drag myself to the store and pick up the final things I needed for the following day’s Christmas party, which had been a disappointing drama in and of itself.

But there I was in the store watching my husband—who knew I was reaching the end of my rope and had volunteered to go to the store with me minutes after getting home from work—crouch down and talk to my daughter in the gentle way he reserves for her. She is offscreen, and I don’t think he even noticed me squat down to take this. And in the hustle of the shopping trip, I didn’t really know what I had captured. But when I sat down to look at my images later, this one made my heart leap a bit. It made me smile. It made me grateful for not having to do any of this alone. It made me appreciate the mundanity of a grocery aisle and the absurdity of eating strawberries that somehow manage to grow upstate in December. It stopped my pity party long enough, for me to celebrate the life I’m living right now.