April 1, 2015
Half our family caught the plague (norovirus) for over two weeks in March, and with a quarantine in place, things didn't pan out exactly as I'd hoped in regards to spending some extra family time together, but we still got in plenty of fun family activities, and an unbelievable amount of productivity. Of course the big news was both girls' birthdays: Faith turned eleven, and we celebrated Olivia's first! I love watching my girls grow so big, and we enjoyed spending the better part of the month celebrating life! We also managed to squeeze in a bit of family game time and a nice trip to Build-A-Bear. After we had all recovered, I managed to sneak away for a few hours one evening to have dinner and drinks with the girls, which was much-needed and much- appreciated.
I was able to knock out a ton of smaller home improvement projects: a few updates in the nursery, a mini makeover in the bathroom, the hallway gallery wall, updating the living room family portraits, and I also got started on setting up a little work space in our bedroom (I think our bedroom may be next on the home improvement list). I finally got around to having two pieces of customized art commissioned: David and I as Wolverine and Dark Phoenix, and a Star-Wars themed watercolor family portrait. I've been dreaming of these for nearly a year now, and I love the spark these unique pieces add to our home decor. The most rewarding part of all this is how much the whole family is noticing, appreciating, and enjoying it all - making all the effort more than worth it.
I tried my hand at "graphic design," creating a First Year Infographic for Olivia (creating something similar as a 2014 Year In Review for the family), and made a few changes around the blog, including updating the About page and adding a Camera Bag page. In addition, I wrapped up our 2014 Project 52 collage and completed Olivia's Project 52 collage.
I also made a good deal of progress on some of my 2015 goals: I had tons of wedding photos printed (proudly displayed in our gallery wall), finished Olivia's First Year photo book (ordered and should be here in the next few weeks), and completed an entire non-super hero comic book series (Sandman by Neil Gaiman).
I've started Insanity as an attempt to increase my strength, stamina, and endurance. We'll inevitably be spending more time outside and I really want to be able to run and play with these kids (without tiring out after five minutes, as I currently do). I've always simultaneously loved and hated this program, but there's no denying that it will whip me into excellent shape quickly, and I'm really looking forward to working through it again.
With no home improvement projects planned and no big events in the works, I'm planning to take it easy this month and simply enjoy a slow(er)-paced life for a change. I'll be taking a bit of a break from social media and such (not a complete absence, as I'll continue to post my photos and write here on the blog) for the month. I want to purposefully eliminate the distraction (and temptation!) of the internet for a brief period, of browsing Facebook twenty times a day, and even from reading the blogs I usually keep up with - and instead, intentionally dedicate some extra time to ME. After the hub-bub of all these home improvement projects and big celebrations and a generally busy life, I want some time to "re-center" myself, to spend more time to my own personal goals and hobbies, to get out and connect with nature and enjoy the warmer weather, and really, I just want to "disconnect" a bit and enjoy the simpler things in life for awhile.
March 31, 2015
Rounding out the home improvement projects for this month was a quick update to the family portraits in our living room. I updated the portraits, and then redesigned the layout, which was super quick and easy since these frames are held up with command strips (I'll likely change they layout a bit each time I update photos, just to have a little change now and then). I really like the less cluttered look with fewer frames, especially since the new hallway gallery wall is visible from the living room, and absolutely love having this little family so prominently displayed in the house.
Posted in Making A Home
In contrast to Faith's birthday party, which she's old enough to recall from her own memory, I wanted to set aside some time to take some photographs of Olivia's first birthday in order to preserve these memories for her, so she can look back on them someday. So, prepare for photo overload (you've been warned).
After a week of rainy and dreary days, the sun came out in full effect, as if even the heavens wanted to mark this as a special day worthy of celebration.
We started the party atmosphere off by filling her crib with balloons when she woke up from her afternoon nap. She had so much fun with them!
We decorated with lots of fun and colorful things she could really get her hands on and interact with. Not surprisingly, she completely overlooked it all, and went straight for the forbidden basket on the bookshelf. I also made a banner with each of the monthly updates from her first year, all the way from newborn to twelve months, and printed and displayed the First Year Infographic I created.
We made her a strawberry cake with strawberry icing, fitting given that strawberries are an allergy she's outgrown. Since we had already done a smash cake session to make a big mess, we opted to simply feed her the cake at the party, which she obviously enjoyed thoroughly!
When the guests had left, Noah "helped" Olivia play with her new toys, and we enjoyed a gorgeous, simple sunset. David and I had a glass of wine, curled up to watch a movie, and stayed up late into the night, reflecting upon how much this little girl has changed our lives, for the better, and reveling in what an amazing year it's been. The day was absolutely perfect.
You can see her birthday photos HERE.
Posted in Olivia