One of my favorite photographers did this project last year where she made sure that her family had a family photo every month of the year. Sometimes the camera was placed on the sidewalk and the timer was set. Sometimes it got put in someone's hands to snap some shots. Some were messy, some were technically far from perfect, but all were amazingly able to convey something true and beautiful about their family.

I am going to do the same this year. Six of us Hamiltons times 12 months.

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January.

Me. I feel like I am finding my groove for the first time in a long time. I have spent much of this year pregnant and trying not to have a preterm baby, and then having a beautiful full term baby and trying to find a rhythm for our family again. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed after Christmas but have been having some long talks with Ben over what we value and what we want our family and time to look like. I have done some cleaning, which always seems to settle me down. I have let go of some extra expectations that I have had for myself. I have given myself some time to sit,pray, read, and drink hot chocolate. I am feeling good.

Ben. Ben is working hard and playing a bit too. He is loving chances to go shooting. Big stress reliever for him. He is playing a lot of Wii with the kids. He's making plans of what he wants to do. I love this. He often is so focused at taking care of us that he doesn't remember to do the things that fill his tank. It is important.

Ruby. Had a conversation with Ben that went like this.

R: Dad....?

B: Yes, Ruby.

R: Well, why are boys and girls different?

B: That's how God made us, boys and girls, men and women.

R:I wish we could all be the same. I wish we were all girls and there were no boys...

Maybe that would simplify things a little. Maybe not :) .I love her six-year-old-ness. She is working hard in gym class to do the pullover and as I watched her at her last class, I looked at her leggy, skinny body and thought of how much she looks exactly like I did at that age. Having a little girl like her reminds me of the simple sweetness of my childhood. I am happy to see her good attitude and fun heart.

Jasper. This boy of mine is loving Mummy-Jasper school, which was one of those things I wanted to implement in the new year. Really just 15 minutes a day, we are hammering through some harder shapes, numerals, letter sounds. He is pleased as punch to arrange the number bears, to sort, and to tell me the letter sounds that he knows. I was realizing how important it was for him and Tymen to each have some time alone with me each day. On the flip side, he and Tymen have actually had some chunks of hard playing together that leads me to believe that there may be some truth in the statement that I have heard since they were little. Oh, they will play together and keep each other busy and be the best of friends. Pretty much they have just been a lot of work together and though they have had fun, much of their time together has been punctuated by scuffles. The other day I tossed them in the backyard and they kept each other going happily in the mud and playground for over an hour. Except for a minor incident involving clobbering each other with plastic golf clubs, there was great camaraderie out there.

Tymen. Will this two year old ever cease to pick his nose? I hope so. We were at the library last week and he was digging away during story time. I was whispering his name and telling him to stop. The other moms smiled. I shook my head and finally he closed his eyes tight so he didn't have to see my disapproval, and picked away. Good thing we had sanitizing gel. Sigh. I asked him later in exasperation how many times I would need to tell him to stop the nose picking and he said, "Free." Uh...three times? I just wish I could figure out what language because it certainly isn't English....

Theo. I have expounded much lately about how we are all adoring this boy. He is rolling over. And ....LAAAAAAAAA.....can you hear the angels singing? He is sleeping through the night! Yay. All my kids have around two months and I am a much better mummy when I get my sleep too. I have kissed his cheeks and tummy and hands and feet in gratitude.

So here's our January photo, taken by our friend, Jonathan. Love it! More to come from this sledding trip soon.

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Anybody up for taking the "Times 12 Challenge" with us? I'm thinking it might be a great idea for a photobook.

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