2013

These days…

Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)

…it is warm and cool all at once, with the breeze keeping the humidity at bay. Rick and I are both shattered. Sometimes I wonder whether we will ever pay off our sleep debt. (Perhaps not…) The boys are enjoying their new Lego and Duplo, Christmas gifts from their wonderful grandparents. We have been enjoying evenings at the beach and marvelling at the art in the sky. I am frantically writing down the tiny details of our everyday life, so that years from now, I can read back on our story right now. Bear is sleeping through the night again – we are infinitely thankful for this. The boys are playing together more beautifully than ever. I’m determined to enjoy our summer days together – in particular, I’m trying to savour my last bit of time with Angus before he starts school. I’m extremely pleased with all the photo books and ‘story books’ I’ve been able to make for our family this year, and I can’t wait to see what the new year brings…

In case I don’t pop in tomorrow, happy new year everyone!

Tonight…

Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)

It is quiet here tonight.

Rick is up at church, leading our Christmas Eve service. The boys are in bed, sound asleep.

Edward stirs occasionally, but re-settles easily. I smile as his tiny curls brush the palm of my hand.

I wander our corridor in the dark, listening to the boys breathe.

Outside, a car drives by every few minutes. I can tell from the sound of their tyres that it has been raining.

I walk into our bathroom, and lean against the window. Cool air rushes upon my face, and I can definitely smell rain.

I sit down at the end our corridor, staring into the darkness.

I am used to solitude on Christmas Eve. I don’t mind it. I welcome it, in fact.

It allows me the chance to think. To feel. To remember. To weep.

Yes, tonight, I am missing him. My boy. My son. My Cameron.

If only he hadn’t left us.

If only he were still here.

This would’ve been his seventh Christmas…

Love you so much, my little guy. These tears – they are all for you.

Be still…

Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)

December overwhelms me in every way.

Not only is it the busiest time of the year for Rick and for us as a family, but everything about the festive season that saturates my senses and makes it hard for me to relax. To switch off. To wind down.

To be still.

Tonight, I am hoping to have a quiet evening with Rick, and tomorrow, I am going to stay at home all day with the boys. I have no activities planned whatsoever. We are simply going to laze around, play with Lego, snack on food, and talk. In particular, I’m hoping to read the bible with them, and to chat again about the true meaning of Christmas, and why we actually celebrate it.

This week, I hope that you too can find a quiet moment to breathe, reflect, and – be still.

(Linking up with Em.)

The simplest gift

Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)

It’s so easy to over-think gifts for our children’s teachers – or gifts in general, for that matter. Last year, I scoured Pinterest for quite some time and in the end settled on this. This year, I decided there was no need to come up with something creative. Something nice would be good enough.

And so I decided on flowers.

Pete’s teachers received daisies. Angus’ teachers received chrysanthemums.

The flowers looked beautiful, and they smelt amazing.

So simple. So perfect.

I will definitely be doing this again next year…

Do you have any simple gift ideas that you’d like to share?

Made me smile…

Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)

…studio light / golden hair / summer feet / bedtime silhouette

Last week was intense. I hardly had a moment to think, much less sit down at my desk to write or blog. By Sunday (or perhaps Saturday) evening, I was in tears from pure exhaustion. Amidst the flurry of activity, baby Bear developed bronchiolitis, which of course only served to deepen my anxiety (read: more tears). Thankfully, he is slowly getting better, which means we are all getting a little more sleep, and I am feeling a little more sane. I’ve missed you guys heaps, and can’t wait to share some personal projects that I’ve been working on in the coming weeks…

(And in other news – only eight days till Christmas. Yikes!)

What’s made you smile recently?

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship recently, and have decided to start a new series…

As an only child, I spent a lot of time by myself when I was growing up. Often when my parents went out, I opted to stay at home. It never bothered me because there was always something on my ‘to do’ list – re-organising my room, cataloguing my newspaper clippings or reformatting my computer are some things that stick out in my mind. I guess one could say that not much has changed…

At high school, I remember actually making a conscious decision to be more outgoing. I wanted to make friends, and I did. Looking back, it’s ridiculous how much energy I had to spare in those days. I would organise group social after group social (which got interesting towards the end of high school, when we started inviting boys to them), and I never got tired from it. This on top of studying for “the most important exam of all times” (read: the HSC), editing the school magazine, starting the school newspaper, being a prefect, and taking part in endless other extra-curricular activities (none of them to do with sport, mind you). I was always laughing, always joking, always eating, always giggling and, I repeat, always eating.

I also used to talk on the telephone a lot. Like, a lot. (My mum can testify to this because she would sometimes eavesdrop from the other phone in the house, especially if I was chatting to a boy.) It’s strange to think that back then, phones were merely phones. No cameras, no internet browsers, no task managers, no Instagram, no Facebook, no Evernote, and no text messaging. (Talk about ‘the olden days.’) Perhaps that’s why conversation flowed so abundantly. There were no distractions, except for the single challenge of keeping the telephone cord untangled…

I made so many wonderful friends in high school. Each one was special to me for different reasons. There was the friend who befriended me on day one of high school. The friend who made me laugh until I cried. The friend who spilled black ink on my science exercise book. The friend who liked boys as much as I did. The friend who was a ‘Honkie’ like me. The friend who ran alongside me each morning to catch the school bus. The friend with whom I exchanged letters on toilet paper (yes, you read that right). The friend who walked to the bus station with me in the afternoons. The friend who had a crush on our Economics teacher. The friend who teased me ceaselessly in Geography. The friend who convinced me to spy on her boyfriend (he lived next door to me).

I loved them all, and I still love them all.

When high school ended, I cried long and hard. We all promised each other that we would remain “friends forever” (a catchy mantra, thanks to Hallmark), but deep down, I must’ve known that things would never be the same again…

“Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I’m glad for that.” – Ally Condie

Project Life by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)

Now that there are only a few weeks left to go for our 2013 albums, I thought I’d share some reflections on Project Life this year…

My photography style has morphed. There’s no doubt about it. My photos are darker, full of silhouettes and shadow. As a result, my spreads feel slightly more…dramatic, even though I am still documenting the same family life as before. This is not something that I anticipated happening, but as I wrote in this post, I know that my Project Life ‘style’ will evolve over time and this development in my photography is simply part of that process.

There are some weeks when I take beautiful photos, and there are other weeks when I feel like my images are completely uninspiring. I’ve had to learn to embrace this ebb and flow and to let go of my innate desire for every spread to be ‘perfect.’

Project

I am still using my iPhone to capture all my daily photos. This works well for me, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon. I’m looking forward to upgrading to the iPhone 5S next year as the light sensor on that camera is meant to be quite remarkable, and I’m excited about what that might mean for my images. VSCO Cam is still my exclusive photo editing app, and F2 is still my favourite filter.

I am journaling more than I did a year ago. Not so much writing down my feelings so much as recording in greater (textual) detail what actually happened on certain days of the week. To keep things simple, I like to use either my 6×4 template with the square image on the left, or I type white text onto a part of the photo with negative space. By using these two techniques, I am able to keep my layouts looking uncluttered despite the extra text.

Project Life by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)

I’ve somehow managed to keep up with doing our family spreads almost very single week. My weekly routine of sorting out our photos on Sunday evening and working on my layouts on Monday evening has worked really well for me. Using the same InDesign templates every week also helps immensely in terms of maximising efficiency.

Having said that, there are some weeks when I honestly don’t feel up to it. However, I push through this and do it anyway, because I know that for me, it’s much better to just get it done than to let the backlog build up.

Project Life by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)

I’ve also kept up with updating my boys’ individual Project Life albums. I won’t lie. This is a lot of work, and usually when I’m in the thick of it, I find myself constantly asking Rick: “Do you really think the boys are going to appreciate this when they are older?” And always, always, he looks me straight in the eye and say ‘yes.’ And there’s no doubt about it. When I see the boys flipping through their albums and scrapbooks and when I see their faces light up and when I hear them talking about ‘the olden days’ (like on Peppa Pig), it honestly just gives me unspeakable joy. Plus, it’s scary how much we (Rick and I) actually forget, and it’s just so reassuring to know we have it all documented so that we can go back and remember together.

Ultimately, I’m incredibly thankful for our Project Life albums, and at this stage, I’m quite certain I will be continuing this journey in 2014. (Will you?)

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Other posts you might be interested in reading:
My weekly Project Life process from beginning to end
Tips on taking photos for Project Life
What you need to get started with Project Life

You can read all my Project Life posts here.

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Project Life is a system created by Becky Higgins that is designed to simplify your efforts to document life and help get your photos into a book. To learn more about the product and how to get started, click here.

(Linking up with The Mom Creative.)

Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)

Despite the fact that today was our day off, I’ve been incredibly tense, stressing over one errand after another. Thankfully, Rick was all calm and relaxed. If it weren’t for him, I’m certain my mini meltdown would’ve been a huge one. Anyway, as part of today, I inspected an old but beautiful pine trestle table, and I said ‘yes’ to buying it. I have exciting plans in store for next year, and this wooden table is going to help make them happen!

This weekend, I’m thinking of picking some flowers from our garden to help me de-stress (and maybe to give as gifts to the boys’ kindy teachers). May I suggest you do the same?

Get outside, look up at the sky, breathe that fresh air, and gather some wild flowers…

Motherhood is…

Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)

feeling exhausted every single day.

yearning to sleep for a week.

learning to rest when they are resting.

telling myself that work can wait.

struggling to get to bed early, yet…

wanting to get to bed earlier.

embracing the tiredness.

remembering that this, too, shall pass.

These days…

Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (www.pinkronnie.com)

…it is cold one day, and hot the next. Our new vegetable garden is soaking up the rain, while the big boys are happily jumping in puddles. Bear is still recovering from his viral infection and struggling to sleep at nights. We have been holding him often – humming softly, stroking his hands, whilst giving him a chance to breathe. On our days off, we have started a new family ritual: driving to a scenic spot and eating dinner in the car together. The boys love it, and we do too. Rick and I are both exhausted and bracing ourselves for the month ahead. I’m re-organising my schedule to allow for more rest and down time with the boys, and I’m attempting to introduce some healthy habits back into my life. Getting to bed earlier and going for a walk each day are at the top of the list. Every day, I am doing my best to slow down, take a moment, and just be. I am checking my phone less, and going online less. I am, slowly but surely, learning to embrace today

(Linking up with Em.)