memory keeping

December Daily 2014

December Daily Wrap-Up: Day 22-25

The Riveting Conclusion

Each time I have attempted documenting every day in December, I have run out of steam on the last few days. It's similar to how I tend to feel about big events in general (now that I am an adult and in charge of making it all work). There's so much preparation, so much anticipation, and I just can't wait to be on the other side of This Big Thing That is Coming. I just want to be done. But sometimes the distance from 90% complete to 100% is wider than the distance from zero to 89.

When it comes to memory keeping, though, getting done is no longer the point for me.

I know there is no race. I know no one is grading my paper when I hand it in. I am documenting and telling stories about my family because they are meaning full to me, and will someday become meaningful to the people who read them. Whether that is because life looks so different, or because I am no longer here and my writing and imagery is all I have truly left behind.

So, I finish when I finish. If the story has been told, then I have done what I set out to do.

With that, I bring you this look at the final days leading up to our Christmas 2014.

Day 22

While we actually decorated cookies on Christmas Eve, I knew ahead of time that I would have more stories than days. I see this album as a way to capture stories of the season more than a strict day-by-day capture.

I had at least 20 pictures to work with from our annual sugar cookie decorating. But as has been the case for most of this album, I decided to tell the story with just a few key images and decorated minimal with type. I love the page on the right. I will never stop loving big images and big type.

No digital products were used in this spread. 

Day 23

Day 23 has a very special story for us this season, and that is that my daughter received a letter back from the North Pole. I was so touched by the magic of this event and her reaction to it. It was THE BEST. The essence of childhood, and the beauty that comes with living in our smaller town. 

And, as a momma I was so proud to have this full-circle moment of having Santa acknowledge the way she starts her letters by asking him what he wants, first.

I have to be delicate in how I tell the story in our album because my daughter reads at a high level. I know more than I can document. But, the fact that I didn't actually know the mailbox we placed her letter in was special, allowed me to experience the moment similar to how she did.

It was big, magical surprise.

For these two spreads, I returned to a theme I used previously on Day 12, which is to use lyrics to a Christmas song to create a background paper for the left side. In the right side I split the page vertically, using patterned paper on one half and long, skinny journaling on the other. My intention is to fold this page in half when I receive the finished photo book, which will allow the Santa letter in the spread below to peak out from behind. I'm experimenting with this idea of having some interactivity and embellishments in photo books and I am curious to see ho well it works out in this first try.

DIGITAL PRODUCTS USED FOR THESE SPREADS

Day 24

Two spreads for Christmas Eve that are not specific to that day, but capture one of my daughter's presents to us and a running joke from the season that we are all still laughing about.

The scanned image on the left page is from the back side of the Christmas card that my daughter made for us in school. The right side is scan of the front page and inside was very sweet poem and letter. When I get the printed book back, I will glue the card to the right page over the placeholder image.

Once again, I have used the lyrics to a Christmas carol to create a background for the left side of this page. The lyrics are to O Holy Night.  The joke is that we were listening to the Josh Grobin version of O Holy Night in the car and he got to the crescendo of repeatedly reciting the line "O night divine." Well, Lyra misheard the lyric and asked, "What does Old Ninety-Five have to do with Christmas? Why does he keep talking about Old 95?" I had a hearty chuckle about that one and we have all be laughing about it since.

No digital products used in these spreads. The O Holy Night background paper, word art, and star were all created by me.

Day 25: Christmas Day

There are certain days that I prefer to be present and live in the moment and not curate minute-by-minute in photographs. Christmas Day is generally that kind of day for me. I did not capture anywhere near half of what we did that day, the gifts we received, the phone calls and FaceTime sessions we had. But, I captured a small glimpse.

No digital products used in these spreads. The 25 text circle was created by me.

The Final Page

And finally, the last spread in my album. Here I broke out of the 6x8 grid in order to use the full 8x20 page area. It's a simple collage of all of the Christmas cards we received. I have done this in years past. I love being able to preserve the cards we receive in this way and make the a permanent part of our holiday story.

Thank you so much for spending December with me. Wishing you and your loved ones the happiest of 2015. May we all finally get the hover boards we were promised.

December Daily 2014

December Daily 2014: Day 18—20

Writing a Little and a Lot

Looking at Day 18 and Day 20 is a study in contrasts. Day 18 is a collection of graphics paired with a small line of journaling. Day 20 is all journaling, with no image. (Please note: I do have a Day 19, but it features images from my daughter's school Christmas party and I have opted not to share them here in my blog.)

Here's Day 18

Journaling reads: As the month wears on, the weight of our To Do listand self-imposed obligations ia taking it’s toll on me 

The journaling for Day 20, is a letter for my daughter. I am having an internal battle about ways to help her center this season with deeper meaning. And the importance of focusing on giving. I'm not sure if my words are more for her or me, but I wanted them written down. She won't see them until after the book is printed, but I am hoping this can be a reminder for both of us as the years go on.

DIGITAL PRODUCTS USED FOR THIS SPREAD

December Daily 2014

December Daily 2014: Day 17

One Week Left

When I have approached this project in the past and found myself unable to finished, one of the things that has thrown me a curveball are days when I don't take pictures. Either because I didn't want to, didn't find the right moment, or just plain got too busy and forgot. 

Last week, I found myself in that place a few times. I had rough ideas of stories I wanted to tell, but not always photos to match up. A few times a little nagging voice said, "Oh just skip the 17th. Who cares?" The answer is obvious: I do.

Luckily there was also another voice. One that said, simply,

"Write. Tell the story. The image will emerge." 

Here's what emerged out of my on Day 17:

It’s exactly one week before Christmas. And though the presents under the tree have started to grow, not a single one was purchased or wrapped by me. That pile you see has all been created by Garrett and Lyra. This is the first year that Garrett has really thrown himself into the process of buying gifts for Lyra. He is always good to me, but the job of shopping for Lyra and our extended families has always fallen in my lap. And this year, like most years, I started the process early and felt tried hard to be prepared, but I still find myself scrambling to get to the post office to make the priority mail deadline. I still find myself with all of my wrapping to do. I still find myself stressed. And, if I’m being honest, I still feel those feelings of guilt creeping up. I still hear the voices telling me I should be doing more and doing it more perfect. All of this will be over soon. I am kicking myself for not enjoying it more.  For not savoring it more. I’ve almost run out of time. But there is still time. There’s still one week left.

Yes. The stress is hitting me hard right now. I'm trying hard not to judge myself for it. It happens every year, no matter how hard I try to keep it at bay. More than anything it's a signal that some expectations (mine) need to be lowered. Some perfection (mine) needs to be tampered down. And that some tenderness needs to be given. 

My daughter is missing her grandparents and cousins this Christmas and has been asking us why we're going to be all alone. I'm feeling the weight of that. I miss my parents, brother, and nieces this Christmas. I'm pushing the grief down, but I feel it. My body is fragile and compromised this season. I resent the ways it keeps me from doing what I want. And I resent all the little complaints I have from my position of so much privilege when I am so keenly aware how little others have, how dangerous their daily existence is, and how painful their wounds. 

So, on that note (if you made it this far), I'm going to thank you for finding my voice interesting enough to want to read all that angst. And I hope wherever you are, you're feeling merry and full of light.

DIGITAL PRODUCTS USED FOR THIS SPREAD