A Letter to my Son || August Ransom

To my son on the eve of your 3rd birthday-

You. You are totally unadulterated you.

You know the words to all Daddy's songs. You ride in the car with sunglasses on, bopping your head to the music. Every new song, you ask the title and memorize it. You pick up any longish object- bubble wand, stick, tennis racket, remote control- and play your "keetar" (guitar).

Sometimes when you run, you kick your feet up until they knock you in the bottom. You love to run. Your face is lit in wonder at the world around you as you spread your arms and sweep the yard.

You would eat "sis-al" (cereal) all day if I let you. You love French fries, fruit, smoothies and jasmine rice.

You love sleeping with us at night and naptime. You snuggle up with Daddy and wake up smiling.

You love leaving the house. "Where we going today?" Today, you woke from your nap and asked me to go to Target and buy a vacuum truck.

You beckon cousins, uncles, friends to play "hey you kids, this way." And you know to pry aunts and uncles for snacks and treats.

You ask how people's days are, thank them for playing, share pretend food from your kitchen, and reply "I'd be happy to" when a request for help is made. Your heart is big and welcoming.


What a year it has been...

You potty trained and moved to a twin bed. You became a big brother. You learned the alphabet and your numbers and your colors. You started washing dishes, taking showers with Daddy, learning directions to different parks. You started setting the table and getting snacks for you and Boston.

You went in a bat cave and up a mountain and met talking Mickey and Mary Poppins and Pooh Bear. You classified your teddies by mood and Happy Sneezy won the spot as beloved teddie. You discovered the Bernstein bears and the world of Playmobils. You named every park in town and ran naked on the beach.


This year has been brimful but there were many moments I was not able to savor. You weren't two for a month when your brother arrived and spun me into an 8 month sleep deprived fog. I missed a lot of you this year. But on this, the last day of being 2, I watched and played and laughed and giggled with you. I savored you as son and I as your mother. Daddy took Boston up to the bath and you said you'd wait for me because "monkey man is always with Mumma." Perhaps my fogginess this year didn't harm you as I feared it might.


Dear one, you will never know what you mean to me and how you bless me just by being you.

Keep the wonder.

Your mumma


March Portrait

Their relationship is best defined as "follow the leader." Boston crawls so August crawls. August laughs so Boston laughs. Boston throws his food on the floor so August throws his too. August plays with trucks and Boston is not far behind. They join forces in testing boundaries and teaming up against Mumma now. May they one day use this mutual attraction to challenge and encourage each other to walk the Lord's path.


February Portrait

Brotherhood. A privilege to behold the unfolding and development of their precious relationship. One clearly ready for the other to grow up for games of chase, truck smashing, bubble popping. The other adoring and admiring and stretching himself to join. One encouraging, one following close behind. They lose themselves in fits of giggles, dance to the same songs, play with the same beloved toys. It won't be long before they are plotting and planning adventure together. May they always be friends. May they always look out for each other.


The Weekend.

Weekends are everyone's favorite. We take turns sleeping in and napping. We cook big, time-consuming breakfasts of pancakes, yogurt and strawberries or waffles with syrup and blueberries or eggs, bacon and grits. We go to Baguette Magic or Bagel Nation for pastries, coffee and breakfast sandwiches. We play games on the floor and kick the ball in the yard. We drive to the store and shop as a family. We watch movies, make pizza and pop popcorn. We make effort to preserve our weekends, to savor our time together, to rest amongst those dearest to our hearts. We try to enjoy the weekdays too, but nothing is as sweet as the weekend.

May your Valentine's weekend be filled with the finest of things.


January Portrait

We live in Grammie's backyard. Her brick house has a long wooden ramp off the back porch for easy access for the elder members of our family. But no one delights more in this ramp than August. Every sunshine moment, he asks to race trucks on Grammie's ramp. 

In the afternoon, after the boys wake from their naps, we drive the trucks over to Grammie's ramp. August runs up and down the ramp, pushing his yellow metal Tonka truck. I kick his blue plastic truck up the ramp to him. The wheels are smaller than the Tonka wheels so it gets stuck often. Boston squeals in my arms. To the joy of both boys, I sit Boston in the back of the blue truck and push him up the ramp, down the ramp and through the grassy yard. They giggle in delight.


The 52 Project: What I Learned

Week 42 of 52
Week 50 of 52

The 52 Project was a challenge to take a portrait of my boys once a week every week in 2015. Whew! What an undertaking! I recently finalized the project and I am here to tell you that it ended up being just as big of an undertaking as I thought it would. At no point did I think to myself "my, this is a simple memory keeping process." I learned a few things in the process:

  1. Set up a weekly processing time. I should have established a method for weekly picture selection and editing. I thought a blog post would be incentive enough to keep me on track but as soon as I fell behind, I had little motivation to catch up. I would have had more success had I scheduled a set time each week.
  2. Take pictures with portraits in mind. I intended to use this as an exercise developing my portrait photography. In reality, I scanned the images I shot throughout the week and picked my favorite. As a result, I do not think my portraiture or photographic eye developed much as a result of this project.
  3. Learn your photography style. I am not sure if that is even a legitimate term but what I mean is that I prefer images that capture bits of the subject's character. Some weeks I selected pictures that were just good, clear photographs. But my favorite images from the year- the ones I want to blow up and hang in frames throughout our home- are the ones where August and Boston's character is oozing through. -- August, bent in concentration stirring a puddle with a yellow leaf. Boston, determined to sleep through company with his jaw set tight and his head cocked up. -- This realization about my photographic style might have made the whole effort worth it. 
In hindsight, I realize that I should not have tried to take on this project the year we added a baby to the family. That was HARD. In addition to our regular family memory keeping practices, Brandon and I already have a rigorous "first year of baby" documenting process. I've shared a bit about my process here. Brandon makes seasonal short films of the boys in order to compile one long movie highlighting the first year of life. Adding a weekly portrait goal was a bit overwhelming. I am not sure what I am going to do with the pictures. Our family albums are already brimful of pictures and memories. Perhaps I will use these pictures as a sort of highlights reel photobook of its own. 

I may try this again in a few years but I do not think this is going to be a central element to our memory keeping framework. That is what I love about memory keeping though- you can easily try new elements and drop old ones that do not work. In 2014, I took a monthly photo of our family of three. In 2015, I took weekly individual portraits of our sons. In 2016, I am going to take monthly portraits of our boys. My aim in the photos is to capture their relationship dynamic. 

What are your memory keeping goals for 2016? Are you trying a new practice? I would love to hear.


Made to Play: December 2015 Family Video

This was our December and Boston's first Christmas. 


(A note on video quality: Unfortunately, blogger will not allow me to upload a larger resolution video. I recommend you do not watch it in full screen. Cheers.)