It may be because I am finally starting to come out of my post-baby fog. It may be that it is Spring.
I’m sure that Pinterest has something to do with it.
I suppose it could simply be that the recent sunshine pouring through my windows revealed all the dust and the drab.
Whatever the reason, I’m feeling itchy to make some changes in my surroundings.
For one thing, these bare walls are closing in on me. I’m home with four little children, three of them under the age of five. It gets loud around here, friends. There are times when the noise is suffocatingly loud.
Decorating has not been a priority the past seven years we have lived in this space. And, while I take a lot of pictures, framing them or scrapbooking just has not happened. (Some day I’ll have to explain to my children why the oldest has volumes of albums documenting her early years and the youngest three just have memory cards and my flickr account.)
My hands, and thoughts, have been quite full with other things.
But the bare walls are starting to get to me.
My motivation to make some changes is simple, really: I want some visual reminders of this wonderful, messy, happy, roller-coaster life with my family. I need it where I can see it, even when (especially when?) what is happening around me isn’t the happy messy but the messy-messy.
Yes, you do see black eyes, markers, and a certain blue hedgehog.
But first I hope you notice the smiles.
During those moments when the roar gets to be too much, I think it would help if I could gaze upon my walls and see the faces of my loved ones smiling back at me. I believe it might be comforting, say, in the middle of the night when pacing the floor with a teething, tired, fussy baby, to look upon these walls and see the face of my baby broken wide into a grin from a recent happy day.
Yes, visual documentation of joyful moments might be just the sweet reminder I need when the three year old melts down that the days are long but the years are short.
And, maybe, just maybe … when the ten year old is rolling her eyes at me or believing her mother incredibly unfair, maybe she’ll look at those photos of that smiling, bald baby from ten years ago and notice the love on the face of the mother holding her in the pictures. Hopefully she’ll remember that we are the same pair, aged just a decade, with the same love.
What does it say about me that my blog has more recent family photos on it than the walls in my home? Egad.
There will be no professional photography and family portrait session (as much as I would love it), no artwork rendering our family into something suitable for the mantle. My simple point and shoot camera and cell phone photos are what I’ve got to work with, alongside my meager shutterbug skills.
I’ve got to liven these walls up and coax them into speaking our family story by other means.
This mama is on a budget.
Instead, off into cyberspace my digital images have been flying (practically every time I stumble upon a coupon code for photo printing), ready to be turned into prints. To the thrift store I’ve been cruising, digging for picture frames and artwork whose wrappings I can raid. I’ve been eying the creations of my very own in-house artists and curating our family gallery.
I haven’t been worried about the “perfect” shot or if there are too many toys (or dirty dishes or dust bunnies) in the background of the pictures. I just go through my images and pick the ones whose memories shout out to me the loudest, the ones where I can almost hear the giggles or feel the soft baby cheeks.
My frames are a motley crew of mismatched second-hand finds and some of my prints are in color and some are black and white. Maybe some day I will spray paint all of the frames a matching color and create groupings like the ones I pin on Pinterest, but for now it just matters to me that I put the pictures up so we can enjoy them.
I already feel like the walls are easing up on their squeeze a bit and this place is starting to feel a little less drab (the sun went back behind the rainclouds so the dust is waiting patiently, as dust tends to do).
It has been some time coming and I’m so glad that I decided not to put it off any longer, waiting for the “perfect” timing, photograph, or financial moment. Kids don’t slow their growth for time, budgets, or sentimental mothers.
Other stories our walls tell …
Our walls remember, yes, and sometimes they do more than tell stories.
They count down.
Occasionally, as was the case recently with my five year old and a sharpie maker, the walls tattle-tell.
What stories do your walls tell?
How do you display your family photos? Any budget-friendly tips for preserving family memories, photo printing, or displaying family photos? I certainly would appreciate your tips and tricks on displaying family photos, especially on a budget. And, if you know of an inexpensive, but worthwhile, online photography class or book, please spill the beans! Thank you.