Week in the Life™ with Ali Edwards | a brief look back

I am thrilled to be a part of looking back and sharing our Week in the Life™ memories as part of gearing up to participate in it again with Ali Edwards this August. For more information on Week in the  Life™ click here. For more information on my own albums click here.

***note I have fully completed one album (2011) and the rest are a work in progress. I do have notes and photos and partially filled albums, which is fine. It was a busy period of my life and the last thing I want to do is berate myself for not finishing some project. But, they are on my list and will happily announce when I do finally finish them!! And just because life is busy doesn't mean you can't take some photos. Make the time. It will be worth it. Click on!!

Now back to the story. 

As part of the gearing up for Week in the Life this summer, I was asked to share one day for each day of the week (Monday through Friday) to be able to share on Instagram. Yes!! of course I would love to share! Happily most of these were already finished, just a few needed a bit of journaling and hoping I had not lost the little Thursday flair button! 

A little note for finishing up old projects: keep a "materials file" which is a gathering of the products, photos, notes that you want to use. Keep them in a plastic bin or folder of some sort. Makes it easier to pull together old projects. (or say goodbye to them if you are really uninspired…but hopefully you won't feel that way with this project! Re-work it or try something new to get your inspiration back.  I did that for my 2011 project and it worked out great. This project is worth it!)

Here are my five days I have shared on Instagram this week on AliEdwardsDesignInc


MONDAY | APRIL 23, 2012

"hello Monday | get to work day"

A little about me: I am a work outside the home mom and was working a pretty heavy schedule with long hours and a long commute for four years while my husband was in a PhD program. We all have different seasons of life and reasons we are busy. This just happened to be one of my busy work seasons. And even though the schedule was tough, I have found that capturing self portraits helps increase my self awareness, self compassion and decision making. I also know that I am part of this story and I want to make sure I am a part of these books as well!

On this particular Monday, I worked (as noted by the photo of my purse with my work tablet and other accessories) and then made it home before dark to do finish up work. I was driving a lot for work during this part of my life so the fact I made it home at a decent hour was a good thing. And I like that I captured my scrapbook desk / work desk that was actually in the bedroom of our apartment at that time. Making it work, right?



"Remembering the little things"

Fast forward two years. My daughter is now four years old and is definitely growing up. Here's my journaling from the title page: "The story of this photo is her independent spirit at 4 years old. That she often gets her own milk and cereal, even when the jug is full and she boasts how strong she is since it is so heavy. That today I poured some in a measuring cup for her because I was stressed and didn't want to clean up a big mess, just in case. That one of her habits is pulling her hair back with her left hand because she refuses to wear anything in her hair and loves it long. That the yellow sunflower mix is still looking good after celebrating her grandma's birthday over the weekend. It was a good morning. Hello Tuesday."

The story of this photo is also that I am no longer driving the long distances I was. Still working but not to the extent I was in the prior 4 years. So thankful I had time to spend at home that morning to capture little moments like this.

I also love the daily schedule in Ali's kit last year but I had not filled it out during the week. I just finished up my journaling in time to share it with you now. Thankfully I had written notes on Ali's daily sheets so I had some great nuggets to add to the schedule. My favorite little nugget: 8 am: "Mom, you can't go to work in those pants can you?" Note to self: must do laundry!



imperfect stories + photos matter

I love to make sure I capture some photos of the characters of the story that is our life. That afternoon I came home from a busy day and because it was Week in the Life™ I grabbed my camera and got my daughter to cooperate with a few photos on the balcony. And while I'm super thankful to capture her cute face at 17 months, I'm also happy I captured the story behind our day with additional photos, like places I went that day. Lunch at Panera (so that's where my Panera card is!!) Clean bathrooms at Central Market (when you drive a lot in Austin traffic you are thankful for clean bathrooms!) And then the stories not told with photos. Here I added a note from her teacher at daycare and I love that I added those details.

Also remember the photos and stories don't need to be perfect. It is the collection of little photos and stories that make this project so great.



the bedtime routine

In 2013 I started each day with a focus on a particular time of day or routine. So for each large photo on the left side and the smaller photos on the right side I have a focus on things like the morning routine, work routine, afternoon routine, bedtime routine and after school routine. You can break it down as you need for your routine. I liked that it gave me some focus to make sure I got a good photo for the enlargement each day. That took pressure off of me to not feel like I had to take a zillion photos each day. Again, my work routine was very busy during this time but taking the time to capture a bit of my life has been amazing to look back on. Instead of focusing on the negative, I was able to reflect on the beauty that is all around me and the stories that are present if I just look and reflect.

Here I captured how her room looked at the time, which is cool to look back on. I also captured her love of pajamas and blankets. Doing the the pajama dance and hiding under her blanket. So happy to have these little moments recorded!

The journaling: Evening routine: "You right now. Bedtime routine at 3. You really love your pajamas. Just like Mom, as soon as you get home it is PJ time! We like reading a few books like Sandra Boynton "Pajama Dance" and maybe watch a Curious George episode or two. And milk. Always milk. We love you."


FRIDAY | JULY 29, 2011


One of the things I love about Week in the Life™ is just simply to observe your life as it is right now. I like to capture the photos in a documentary style much of the time. And I like finding new points of view, such as placing the camera on the floor and then seeing what you get (as in the top right photo.)

I also love this project for easy comparisons between years. For instance, in Thursday's photo I notice the difference in her bed. Here she is 17 months old and still has the full crib. Two years later she has the rail off for a toddler bed. ***big sigh here as I reflect on how fast time flies

I also like that I captured my husband picking up my daughter from daycare. He is a very caring and involved father and he did this most days so I could focus on work. He was going through a rigorous PhD program and stressful internship at the time, which makes me even more thankful for all he does. Again, this time of our lives was busy. But I'm so very thankful I captured what I could.

And I'm so thankful for Ali for her inspiration with this project. It's amazing and I will happily be joining in again this year! Hope to see you there too! Below is a free graphic Ali created. It's in the Week in the Life Community. You can find that here!

And a few more thoughts:

- Looking back over several years at a time in such a compact view is amazing. To me it is like Project Life in a smaller time frame. Easy to compare previous years easily. Note changes, growth. Things you are proud of. Things you want to do better at. Things you are grateful for. As I looked back over these I  really think this is my favorite project. Unfinished albums and all. I'll get there.

- Have a plan. Using the digital templates and kit make it much easier. But you could go more simple or more elaborate. Do what's right for you.

- Be flexible with your plan.

- Plan for extra time during the week to take photos and notes. It does take a little more time than usual. If you need to, try to focus on a particular person, time of day or routine to make sure you get a good photo for that day's main photo. That has helped me.

- Take notes!! Definitely use a journal or notebook or Ali's Daily Sheets. Something. Jot down a few quotes or things overheard. Bits of life are what you are after. Things you may not remember if you are finishing it up later. A lot of the photos I take are just for triggers to help remind me of what we did that day. I don't include them all, but it helps with the journaling too.

- Like I said above, keep materials together in a materials file so you can put it together when you have time. Do what you can in the moment, but don't beat yourself up or let yourself feel down if you see others getting it done faster. "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." --Theodore Roosevelt.

- Relax and enjoy the week. Let it unfold as it happens.

You can do it!! I can do it!! One photo at a time, one journaling card at a time. Most of all, view your life through the lens of gratitude. When I do, I remember it's pretty awesome.

Thanks so much for letting me share some of my Week in the Life with you!

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