Dog Days

I remember when I was a teacher, and June was such a glorious page on the calendar.  The last week of May had its place for decompressing from the haze of exam grading, and then June followed with its warm weather and stretch of days lacking in any structure or responsibilities at all.  Ironically, instead of basking in my opportunity for laziness, I was usually outrageously productive in June.  That house project I’d wanted to tackle since January?  It was done by the tenth.  Those appointments I needed make and cross of the list?  They were completed by the fifteenth.  That stack of books I’d been eyeing all school year?  Read by the end of the month.

Then July rolled around and I essentially became a lazy slob who couldn’t muster the energy to accomplish much of anything at all.  Then came August when I cursed myself for being lazy and crammed my summer reading in the last few remaining days, furiously typing my tests the weekend before students arrived.  And I always thought this was because I craved structure and that July’s coming on the heels of June’s lack of schedule meant that I lost my groove.  I’m starting to think my teacher schedule was not the reason at all because here I am again with a bad case of the July do-nothings.  We are in the midst of the dog days again, and I am in need of some serious motivation.  My house and my life in general have plenty of projects – large and small – that need attention, and I just can’t stay focused or energized long enough to get anything done.

There’s something about this muggy weather that drains me.  My hair is large. Our windows are fogged.  I break a sweat walking from the car to the entrance of the grocery store.  I’m lazy and unproductive, and then I feel guilty and overwhelmed about unfinished tasks resulting from my laziness and lack of productivity.  (I’d like to add, as a side note, that I don’t know how I survived a Georgia summer pregnant.)

So I’ve generally just been feeling lazy and blah and like I am not the mother or housekeeper or general person that I could be / should be, and I haven’t written much here either because that sentence would pretty much sum it up.  Blah.  The End.

I stumbled across this inspirational post this week though, and it made me miss taking photos.  I haven’t in a while, and I’m thinking the camera could cheer me up considerably.  What she says is so true – that there is beauty in the everyday life, and you see it more clearly when you are looking to document it.  I need a break from structured photo projects, but sometimes I do miss my 365.  I love that I can look back and see exactly what I was doing exactly one year ago today.  Which incidentally, it was this.

Tree Canopy - Woodland Park Zoo

Looking at tree canopies at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo.  Where temperatures were comfortably in the 70s.  Sigh.  But really, if I think about it long enough, the trip to the zoo had a couple of challenges as well.  I walked around alone with a nine-month-old and got lost a couple of times, and we never did end up finding the penguins.  But of course when I look at photos from that day, I am just left thinking about how perfect the weather was or what a great day we had in a city I love.

Photographs highlight things we miss in real life it seems. And speaking of photographs, I got something beautiful in the mail yesterday.

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We worked with Andrew Thomas Lee again for Jude’s photos this year, and as expected, we are so happy with the results. (If you are in Atlanta and looking for someone who takes extraordinary photos of families or weddings, he’s your man.)  We intended for this to be an 18-month-old session, so we originally met in April.

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The shoot began really well, but it went bad fast as toddlers sometimes do, and as the clock crept closer to evening, Jude became pretty uncooperative. And since Andrew is awesome, he suggested that we give it another shot. So we met again a couple of weeks ago – this time with a 21-month-old, and the results definitely captured someone’s active and curious little personality.

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And much like what I see when I look back on my 365 project, I forget a few pesky details when I look at these photos. I forget that the April date had Jude recovering from a cold with me following him with a tissue the whole time and his becoming absolutely cranky and uncooperative after only a few minutes. I see the later pictures and forget that we chased him around trying to get him to settle long enough for a photo and that the humidity had my hair swelling. I forget all of that and only see that I am so lucky to be in the midst of these happy years with a beautiful boy.  It’s rose-colored glasses, but I love it. And I think we need it sometimes.

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So today I’m working to get myself back in a groove of optimism and productivity, and I’m using every trick in the book.  Maybe playing with my camera a little.  Maybe turning up a favorite album during the naptime cleaning shakedown today.  Perhaps calling a friend I haven’t talked to in far too long.  Or making something fun for dinner this weekend.

What are your favorite tricks to motivate and inspire?