30 January 2014

Realising your potential - The 52 Project 4/52

Chuck - 29.01.14 - 21 months old

Three things happened recently to give me a much needed power-up confidence boost. A very cool, young graphic designer bought my house and loved it as it was. No redecoration, just as is*. It meant that someone liked my style and ideas, it also meant that someone else fell in love with the house I've made my home for the last 6 years. This was a huge compliment to me. Then two extremely talented and sweet creative friends of mine made public proclamations of appreciation for some of my photography [the photograph you see above], of my little boy. And at the same time my husband sent me a text message to say I should become a portrait photographer. Bless.

It's a silly, perhaps childish moment for me, but it made me feel good. It made me feel as though I could actually do something well, aside from making pretty awesome babies**. And I'm not saying I'm going to become a photographer, or that I'm anywhere near good enough to become one but it did make me realise something fairly profound...

Sometimes, I feel inexplicably unhappy. Today made me realise that I am living my life below my limitations. I've done this all my life. Presumably because it's safe back there where you're not pushing yourself out into the world, ready for criticism and failure.

I suppose the biggest realisation was that this makes me feel inadequate and, therefore, unhappy. So I decided that I need to work on my happiness so that I can begin to realise my own potential. As such I've started to try and work on making some basic, but fundamental, changes by embarking on a few personal projects in the hope that I can make myself feel happier; become more productive; feel as fulfilled as I should feel and generally be a bit nicer.

Then stumbled upon, as is quite often the case in blog-world, the Practising Simplicity website where I found Jodi's The 52 Project. One portrait a week for a year of each of your children.

I can get on-board with this; Chuck makes me happy, looking at photos of him makes me happy and taking photographs also makes me happy - as does furthering my skills. So I've decided to join in 4 weeks late. It's really a way of forcing me to get my butt into gear, to take photos, to document his life and blog. Actually blog. Like I promised so many times that I would. As well as my own personal development. Win, win.

So here it is, my first - and pray it be not the last - contribution to The 52 Project.

* for now.. 
** ok, I've only made one so far but I'm sure the next will be just as cool as Chuck. It's genetic. Right?


27 January 2014

A chilly winter's walk and Living Arrows 4/52 - a combined post

Last week I realised I need to stop being such a pansy-ass-mother and start taking my son out more. I spend so long agonising over silly questions like; "Where should we go", and "How long will it take?", and "Will we be back in time for Chuck's nap?", and "Will he fall asleep in the car?' that by the time I've made a decision, it's usually too late to go any where. Which inevitably means we end up stuck in the house.

So I decided, with no forward planning, to take my little boy out for a very chilly morning walk around our local, and historical, garden centre. We walked, talked and checked out some animals. The rabbit was quite fascinating to Chuck but the fish paled into insignificance compared to the cupboards on display.

We shared a lovely cooked breakfast and walked and walked [and got stuck] in the maze until Chuck couldn't walk any further. I thoroughly enjoyed our morning. That morning was a bit of a revelation to me, I realised how simple and uncomplicated our time together can be, that I don't need to force or plan activities to do together. We can just be. Watching him roam around freely and giving him the time and space to explore and investigate the world at his own pace was so valuable and refreshing to me.

I've long considered home educating Chuck but have found it terribly difficult to come to a conclusion for fear of; not being good enough, not having enough time to myself and not enjoying it. But this morning out taught me that home education doesn't have to be daunting, I don't have to mourn the time I'll loose for myself because of all the other grandiose things Chuck and I will have gained. I realised how easy and organic home education could be and that I don't have to pile all the pressure in the world onto my shoulders to be an awesome teacher because, actually, that wouldn't be my role. I wouldn't be his teacher, I'd be his guide and companion. And that thought makes my heart flutter about inside. It feels right. Right now, it feels right. That's not a decision - just an observation - but if I can continue to see the world through his eyes it might just make making that decision* just a little bit easier.


I'm always a little late to the game. You'll have discovered this by looking at when I last posted [how long ago?] but I've [finally] decided to join in on the Living Arrows project currently being run by I Heart Snapping; a collective of snap-happy-mamas [and papas I'm quite sure]. I'm only 4 weeks late to the game, in true Stephanie-style.

The aim is to capture and share the beauty of childhood through our eyes* and I think this post certainly captures the beauty of Chuck's childhood, if only because of the potentially life-changing revelation I had about his future education. This really could be a huge turning point in our lives and so I felt it was worth documenting.

The reason I combined these posts is because I wanted to join in the Living Arrows project but I also had an important moment to document. I think, although I'm told there are no rules, that you're supposed to pick one image so if you insist on holding the meat cleaver to my head, then I'd choose the picture where you can see the back of Chuck's head as he's looking down the paths. Y'know to symbolise this ere crossroad, and that.

* if there's anyone else out there who struggled with this decision and who has any pearls of wisdom to share on the matter, please do tell..I'd love to hear.
**or camera, ahem.
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