Friday, February 8, 2013

Reading and Photo Projects

It's not a big secret that I take/have taken a lot of photos in the past 3 and 1/2 years and a decent few in the past 10 years.  18,000+ to be non-exact (and this was after I started culling!)  Anyway, that number is clearly insane and ridiculous so I've been working on going through my photos with a goal of keeping ~100/month.   I've gotten through about 2 years.  Even 100 a month is excessive considering I have maybe 5-10 a year for each year of grandma Jennie's life and it is a seemingly overwhelming project!

Anyway, the ultimate goal after the monthly photos are to get them into printed photobooks ASAP.  Even though I have a decent backup system in place, I want small numbers of organized photos to eventually pass onto the kiddos one day that doesn't involve new technologies, file conversions, long-term maintenance that can be easily flipped through regardless of what software/hardware we have.

Another goal of the photo organization system is to get more pictures up on the walls of the house.  I have a big wall downstairs where I want to do a family picture wall.  I want to do something a little more organized than what we had in Wyoming, (maybe an abstract interpretation on a family tree) but I haven't quite found an exact plan.

However, I had a small space in our bedroom I was ready to decorate.  We've moved all the books in the house into the Master including most of the kids' books into our room (as noted by the messy shelf to the left).  The kiddos each get a rotating bin of ~25 books in their room but most books are housed in our room and bedtime and naptime stories are most often read on the couch in there.

I had originally pictured wooden R-E-A-D letters each with a 4-pic collage frame underneath.  However, I had a heck of a time narrowing down the 40+ pictures (and I found a few more awesome ones after I finished this project) I found and wanted the project to cost as close to zero dollars as possible and be easy to finish so I opted for photo collages with letters (and then I could use all the pictures :-).
(Pardon the messy bookcase, we are in a phase where we rotate through them quickly, they are weird sizes and shapes, and we are encouraging the kiddos to put them in order by themselves.  It's a small step up from having them all over the bedroom)
At the bottom and top I took an old frame with a printout of the following quotes (which I found collected here, which is possibly one of the best baby shower ideas I've come across):

There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world.
 Love of books is the best of all. -Jacqueline Kennedy
To learn to read is to light a fire;
 every syllable that is spilled out is a spark. - Victor Hugo
Children are made readers on the laps of their parents. -Emilie Buchwald
Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading,
 to make reading one of her deep and continuing needs, is good for her. - Maya Angelou
The more you read, the more things you will know.
 The more you learn, the more places you’ll go. - Dr. Seuss
Anyway, here are the collages close up:

Though I'm positive nearly every family member we have ever visited or who has visited has read the kids stories I regret I haven't gotten pictures of everyone :(  However, it warms my heart to know how many different reading times have been documented.
I try to stay off my parenting soapbox about a lot of issues since I don't really know what I'm doing, but if you have kids and haven't read it yet, I highly recommend you run out and find the Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.  The introduction uses a lot of research (and a few well-done anecdotes) to make a clear case not just for why it's good to read aloud to children (which seems fairly obvious) but why it needs to be made a priority at both home and in schools as well as continuing well past the point where the child can read themselves.   Every time I feel I am faltering in my enthusiasm for reading (especially after reading Clifford Counts or something 3 times a day for weeks on end) I go back and re-read a chapter or two of the introduction.   There is also a really good part about suffering through this stage of reading aloud to get to the point in a few years where the books we read aloud are interesting for all of us :-)  However, the bulk of the book and the even better resource are the book lists for read alouds, broken down by age, genre and anything else you could ask for.  I use it a lot for making gift wish lists and as a literary kill list of sorts :-) 

While I still wish we read even more to the kids, we generally read at least 3 books to the kids before nap and 3 before bed and normally about 3 throughout the day.   If I were to be conservative and say our average was 7 books a day, it still means Matthew has read nearly 9,000 books (of course, Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo might account for 30% of that number) at this point in his life and will have read over 13,000 before he enters a formal school setting.  Crazy.  Catherine is well on her way to catching up as she is incredibly demanding and throughout the day will bring over a pile of books and throw herself into your lap.  I won't lie, it's incredibly hard to resist!  She especially loves Wheels on the Bus (which upon the 5,000th reading/singing I've discovered is missing a comma on page 6) and her Sesame Street sounds book right now.   I also wish we modeled pleasure reading more with the kids and while they see us read the newspaper in the morning, since I've switched to reading on my phone - reading facebook (or I'm sure to Matthew playing Elmo's ABC) looks just like reading a good book.  

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