Thursday, June 28, 2012
I am skipping over Week 24, as I still have tons of photos to sort through from my time in Aspen, CO for the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen. So instead let's jump to Week 25: Monday, June 18th through Sunday, June 24th. The week started off on a rough patch, as exhaustion kicked in for both Mike and me after a grueling past few months. Such things can be difficult to properly capture in a project like this - do you ignore it, skimming over something that really had an impact on the week, or bluntly record that you had a disagreement? I found myself naturally drawn to the middle, including a quote from a song that perfectly summed up the situation and including lyrics to my favorite song that played randomly, exactly when I needed it, on my commute to work.
I am loving so many parts of this project, especially the organization of photos and thoughts that would normally be lost over time, and I have found myself looking at things from a much more creative perspective, trying to really absorb and appreciate the small things around me each day. For instance: the photo behind my Week #25 circle is from a Serena & Lily catalog, which I normally would have flipped through and tossed, but colors and patterns really caught my eye, so I decided to incorporate it into the colorfulness of the week.
Most of my weeks tend to be very photo heavy, but I incorporated a few more journaling elements this week. I loved the treatment Ali Edwards used on a recent journaling card, so I replicated it to write a few words about our really fun date night.
I also try to incorporate things from Mike’s perspective as often as possible. This is his photo of the lake from a bachelor weekend spent at a lodge. I just added the graphic of a compass and some words about the location.
This photo is also from the date night we enjoyed – I bet you can’t tell it is almost 100 degrees! I purchased Ali Edwards' Memory Circles to use as an overlay on the photo.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Today my parents celebrate their twentieth wedding anniversary. Twenty years! It doesn't seem so long ago that I was standing with my sister, in our pink floral dresses and braided hair, listening as they took their vows on a beautiful summer day; taking our own vows to accept our new family as a whole.
Shortly after their wedding, our family of four plus Missy, our sweet golden retriever, piled into a moving van, and drove south towards the life we would all make together in Virginia. Despite being sleepy and hungry, I remember insisting on returning the moving van with my new stepfather. It was dark and quiet, one of those perfectly still Virgina summer nights I would soon grow to love. Despite not having slept in days, he already knew the ride was entirely too quiet for the usual chatterbox of a six year old that I was, hungry or not. He said very quietly, "You know, you don't have to call me Dad until you are ready. And if you are never ready, that's okay too."
He may have been expecting a simple "Thanks" but he soon found me sobbing - long, exasperated wails - as all the anger and fear I could possibly contain in my tiny body escaped as thick, hot tears running down my face and neck. He did his best to soothingly ask what was the matter - let’s not forget the man had been a bachelor less than a year ago and now found himself living with three females - probably desperately trying to figure out how to deal with a little girl's breakdown with no Mom around. “I just don’t want you to leave us too,” I managed to say between sobs, so calmly it still surprises me to this day.
“Look at me,” he said comfortingly, but in a tone I already knew not to ignore. “I will never leave you. We are a family. I need you to know that if your mother and I disagree, no one is walking away. There might be times when we don’t get along, but I’m not leaving.” I started calling him “Daddy” that very same night as he tucked me into bed.
That promise has stayed very close to my heart these last twenty years. There have been highs and lows, milestones and disagreements. But together, my mom and dad have set the example for my sister and me of a solid marriage, incredible parenting, and what it truly means to be a family. They have celebrated our accomplishments, encouraged us when we needed it, and comforted us in moments of sadness and desparation.
I wish you both bundles of happiness in the years ahead. I know you sometimes still wish Val and I were young again, racing outside to catch lightning bugs after dinner, but I hope you also enjoy the time together, making up for the moments you sacrificed to ensure we started life on the right path. I love you Mommy and Daddy.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I'm playing a bit of catch-up here as I have been out of town and away from this project for the last week. Week twenty-three (Monday, June 4th through Sunday, June 10th) was filled with numbers, work, and horses. And in between all of that - Mike celebrated his 28th birthday!
In addition to my typical two page layout for the week, I added a 6x12 page protector - one side holds the picture of Mike's birthday cake and my thoughts about it, the other side holds a sweet note from my mom. I also added a 12x12 envelope page to hold all of Mike's birthday cards.
I included a few random things that made me smile during a tough week: dinosaur cartoons, a funny text message from Mike, confetti from our Classic team meeting.
The last page holds some photos, my pass, and some (losing) betting tickets from the Belmont Stakes. I also included some photos and coasters from a Sunday enjoyed with Mike and Tom.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
The sky over New York City is still black and thick rain drops are falling from the clouds, but I will soon be hailing a cab to catch my flight for the 30th Anniversary of the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen. It is sure to be an exciting, exhausting, and inspiring weekend working behind the scenes! Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram for updates! You can also see daily updates of my photography on the F&W Classic in Aspen Facebook page!
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
I have now celebrated seven of Mike's last birthdays and each year I ask what special birthday cake I can create for him. Before we lived together, when we lived in different states, I would mail a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies. One year, I surprised him with a cake inspired by Maker's Mark logo, complete with wood detailing for the barrel, the logo, and, of course, red wax. While he claims to enjoy each of these creations, his talk about his favorite childhood cake - a Carvel Fudgie the Whale cake - continued long after the memory of whatever I had made had passed. Last year, I decided I make him an adult version of his favorite cake - an ice cream cake of homemade bittersweet chocolate ice cream, vanilla bean ice cream, and crushed Oreos, encased in a perfect layer of chocolate frosting. Still nothing.
So this year, as our plans for dinner changed last minute and I faced the issue of no food in the apartment and no plan for the meal, drinks, or dessert, I finally caved. I trekked to Penn Station during evening rush hour and found Carvel between the rush of harried commuters. When they began writing his happy birthday message - in blood red frosting, off center, and outside the border - I bit my tongue.
The look on Mike's face as I emerged from our kitchen with his precious cake illuminated by candles was worth every second of hassle in transporting an ice cream cake across the city. As I set it down, he whispered, "Get the (bleep) out!". Of all the desserts I have made, nothing has ever yielded the sweet smile that crossed his face as he took his first bite.
And in an instant, I understood. It wasn't that I hadn't made a better version of this very cake or that he didn't appreciate my efforts. It was that I couldn't possibly compare to the memory of something associated with the simplicity of childhood. And instead of trying to make these things that transport us to our younger days into something better, I should just be thankful we both have great childhood memories to look back upon.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Friday, June 8, 2012
Did you think I had forgotten about this project? It has been quite some time since you have seen a post organizing photos, milestones, and thoughts from the past week. But, not to fear, I enjoy the process and results of Project Life far too much to abandon it just a few weeks into the year.
After week eleven, I realized that while I love the convenience and precision of digital scrapbooking, I really missed the texture of traditional scrapbooking; the combination offered by collecting an array of mixed elements. There was a delay in actually receiving the products I wanted to utilize and by the time they did arrive, I was over my head in my sister's wedding preparations and my job. I kept notes and photos from each week I missed and I look forward to catching up once things settle back to only minor chaos.
Another change I made - learning as I go here! - was to adjust the weeks I documented to Monday through Sunday. This ensures I include the entire weekend in each week.
Week 22 included a Monday holiday from work in observance of Memorial Day. It was a beautiful, sunny day so we decided to soak up the sun while spending an afternoon at the ballpark, though neither of us had a rooting interest in either team.
Otherwise it was a rather uneventful week, except that we were both quite stressed with work and Mike's big test is just around the corner. We ended the weekend with a delicious meal at Barbuto, shared with friends we had not seen in entirely too long.