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Sydney
Australia

LIFE:CAPTURED began in August 2013 when we held our first full-day workshop at RAW Space in Sydney, Australia. Our mission is to help people document their stories and create tangible keepsakes to be treasured for generations to come. We offer intensive design, photography, and memory keeping workshops, as well as interactive online classes. We are advocates of honest photography, minimalist design, and memory keeping that's simple, beautiful, and tangible. We are the pioneers of the story book, and we offer flexible templates that enable everybody to tell their story. We believe that life is worth remembering and that it is never too early or too late to start documenting yours. LIFE:CAPTURED was founded by Rhonda Mason (of the Pink Ronnie blog) and Trish Chong (of Tealily Photography).

The blog

The official blog of LIFE:CAPTURED Inc, the modern school of memory keeping. We believe that life is worth remembering and that it is never too early or too late to start documenting yours. We blog about design, photography, and how you can preserve your story with timeless, tangible keepsakes.

Story book: Documenting our family rituals, Part 2

Ronnie

| Written by Ronnie |

Today's post is the second part in a mini series about a story book that documents our family's rituals. In the first post, I gave an overview of the project and I also wrote about the first section of the book which documents our weekly rituals as a family. In this second post, I'll share the second part of the book, which is all about our daily routines. 

First of all, I decided to call this second section: Part 2 - Our Daily Rituals. (The first section was called Part 1 - Our Weekly Rhythm.) This second section was in turn divided into three parts: 

1) Mornings
2) Afternoons, and
3) Evenings

Each of these parts began with a single title page consisting of a full-page image, with the title typeset in white and centred on the page. I also decided to include a thin white border around the title to make it stand out just a little more.

The rest of the section was then filled with imagery that I'd chosen that corresponded with that time of the day. My method for choosing imagery was the same as for the first part of the book (I'll repeat it here for those who haven't read the previous post):

  • As a rule, I chose only from photos that I'd actually taken over that Autumn.
  • Even though I had three months worth of photos to choose from, I picked only my favourite photos from the entire season. 
  • Many of the photos had already been included in our family's life album, but this didn't bother me at all since this particular keepsake had its own specific purpose. In fact, I welcomed the opportunity to print my favourite iPhone photos in a beautiful coffee table style book.
  • I chose only photos that I'd taken on my iPhone. I mentioned this in my previous post, but the reason for this was to maintain a certain visual style through that the book as my iPhone photos have a particular style/mood to them that is lacking in my DSLR photos (note that this was all before the purchase of our Fujifilm X100s).

I'd written a heap of text describing the tiny details of our daily rituals - starting with the first hour of the day when Bear woken up to the last hour of the day when Rick and I went to bed. Like the words that I wrote for our weekly routine, the aim here was not to record the details of any particular day, but rather, to capture the ongoing rituals that we perform as a family every day.  I wrote in the simple present tense, and I highly recommend doing this if you decide to do something similar for your family. Just imagine someone asking you: "What happens in your home in the mornings? What do your afternoons look like? How do you go about your evenings as your family?"

I ended up with a page of text each for Mornings and Afternoons, but there were three pages of text for Evenings, since that encompassed dinnertime, bath time, bedtime and then what we did after the boys were in bed.

An excerpt from the Mornings section:

Up until Edward’s arrival, Rick would almost always wake up before me. He would get up when the boys got up, bring them downstairs and start giving them breakfast. Some half an hour later, I would drag myself out of bed and tidy all the rooms upstairs and open up all the blinds in the bedroom and in the corridors. Very often, I hear someone crying, complaining or screaming downstairs, and then the inevitable plea from Rick for me to hurry up and get downstairs as soon as I can. When I finally stumble down the stairs, it is usually in the middle of the boys’ breakfast − most mornings this is So Good and Weet Bix. The boys always hear me first. “It’s mummy!” Angus usually exclaims before they actually see me. (continued below)

(continued from above) Rick would be unpacking the dishwasher, making preschool lunchboxes whilst trying to eat his own Weet Bix. We always try to exchange smiles and share a hug before soldiering on. I take my tablets, drink my Metamucil and put the kettle on for a cup of tea. I always ask Rick whether he’s had one yet or not (the answer is usually ‘yes’). Sometimes I make myself Weet Bix, sometimes I make myself toast. I then sit down with the boys and spend the rest of breakfast time trying to encourage them to finish eating their food. Angus feeds himself, Pete needs help half the time and Jamie still needs someone to feed him. Once they’re done, they return to the playroom where they’re allowed to watch television until Play School is over. Meanwhile, I try to read a bit of the bible as I finish my breakfast and Rick is usually in the laundry taking care of a load of washing or outside dealing with the bins. We then clean and tidy up the kitchen and meals area, and each finish getting dressed and ready for the day...

An excerpt from the Afternoons section:

For quiet time, we all trundle upstairs. If Rick is at home, he is the one who puts Pete down. He’ll grab Pete’s pillow and blue blanket from his bed, and then they both head downstairs to the couch in the lounge room where Pete his naps. They always read a couple of books together, and a few favourites during these few months have been George, The Dragon and the Princess as well as A Lion in the Meadow. Jamie naps in his own cot. This used to be the brown cot before he moved into the boys’ room at the beginning of April. Once in the boys’ room, the white cot became his. I usually read a book or two to him after changing his nappy and his pants. Current favourites include Amazing Cars and Tough Trucks. After reading, I tuck him straight into bed, we give each other a kiss and I leave the room and close the door.

(continued from above) Before Jamie moved into the big boys’ room, Angus napped on his top bunk in the bedroom. However, once Jamie started napping in his white cot, we asked Angus to have his quiet time on our bed (like he used to do sometimes back at Thornleigh) and he happily obliged. Angus changes his own pants these days and is happy to climb into bed by himself. He doesn’t like the door to be fully closed and usually requests that something be put in the doorway. Even if he doesn’t fall asleep during quiet time, he is really good about staying in bed...

As for Edward, he is usually asleep during quiet time as well since he’s still so little and needs to sleep a lot. Even if he wakes up at the beginning of quiet time, he’s only up for about forty or so minutes before going back down again. He’s napping pretty well, and we couldn’t be happier. 

(continued from above) While everybody is in bed, Rick usually keeps working (if he’s at home) and I tend to spend the time at the my computer, too, if I have the energy. I try to pray through prayer points and reply to emails in my inbox. I then allocate time for taking photos for blog posts and/or prepping my blog post for that evening if there’s one scheduled to be published. (Sometimes I try to post daily, and other times, I post every other day.) If I’m truly exhausted, I lie down for a nap either on my studio couch or the family room couch (depending on where my laptop is situated on that particular day). Or our bed if Angus is at preschool...

An excerpt from the Evenings section:

Once Rick has finished preparing dinner, we tell the boys to turn off the television and to pack up the family room. Depending on what mood they’re in (and what mood we’re in), this sometimes goes smoothly and other times, it doesn’t. Once everything is tidied away, the boys each make their way to the meals room. Pete and Jamie need to be hoisted into their high chairs (as Pete’s booster seat still hasn’t arrived) while Angus climbs onto his seat opposite Pete. While Rick serves up dinner, I try to pre-empt the boys’ request for drinks by making them first. Often it’s water mixed with a bit of diet lemon cordial. If I am slow with the drinks, the boys will inevitably pipe up with, “I want milk! I want lemon! I want orange juice!” To which we always respond: “How do you ask properly?”

(continued from above) Once everyone is seated at the table, Rick says grace and we begin to eat. Rick sits between Pete and Angus at one end of the table, and I sit at the other end next to Jamie (sometimes he asks for daddy but I insist on sitting next to him anyway). Rick is always the first to finish. He then has to help Pete to eat his dinner, whether it’s by encouragement or actually helping him to get food onto his spoon. Angus is rather good at feeding himself these days and hardly needs any help at all, although if he gets too distracted with talking, we have to gently remind him to keep eating. If Jamie is hungry and feels like eating, he can sometimes eat his food all by himself and quite quickly too. Most days, however, I need to help get food into his mouth. A lot of time, he co-operates. Some of the time, he can be stubborn and not want to open his mouth...

Instead of the two-column layout that I used in The Weekly Rhythm part of the book, I decided to go with a single column format for The Daily Rituals text - mainly to make the two parts of the book easily distinguishable from each other. The headings are typeset in Didot, and the body copy typeset in Century Schoolbook.

Looking back, it's the details of our daily rituals that change from season to season, and I'm so thankful to have them documented in this way. I deeply wish that I'd done something like this in previous years, but as always, I choose not to dwell on what I haven't documented but to celebrate what I have managed to record, and I'm determined to keep doing this going forward. 

Next time I write about this memory keeping project, I'll share the third and final section of this book: Part 3 - A Day in the Life.

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If you are interested in creating a similar story book for your family, you can purchase the template for this story book here.

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