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A portrait of my family once a week, every week, in 2015
Willy: Bounced back surprisingly fast from his trip to Vegas. Also finally used the new smoker he purchased and made some killer chicken wings. I was taking Jimmie for a walk while he was cooking and I’m pretty sure I could smell the applewood smoke from blocks away. If you could eat a camping trip, it’d taste like Willy’s smoked chicken wings. It might be the buy of the century.
Hooper: Was being an a-hole and got threatened with a time out on the patio. He asked how long the time out would be for and Willy told him he may have to spend the whole night out there, to-which-he-begrudgingly replied, “people don’t spend the night out here, roly polies sleep out here”. Then when he saw Willy doing something he wanted to be a part of, he asked to help him. Willy declined, reminding him he was on timeout, to which Hooper replied, “That’s what love is though… like when I help you take suitcases up to the hotel room”. Sometimes it’s hard to keep him in timeout. First borns sure seem to know the way to your heart, don’t they?
Van: Was asked to interpret Jimmie’s barking and stated, “He’s saying he pooped in the refrigerator”. I swear he’s never watched Anchorman.
Me: Have been trying how to navigate how to get the boys to stop hitting me. In the words of one of my favorites, I don’t know if I’m the boxer or the bag.
Jimmie: Barks in the morning when he knows one of us is available to fill his bowl but it remains empty. He’s not too bright, but he’s certainly not dumb. 52weekproject-b

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A portrait of my family once a week, every week, in 2015
Willy: Got stuck juggling working from home and caring for Van, who spent much of Wednesday morning throwing up. I suppose it’s all but forgotten at this point as he got the hell outta dodge and is spending March Madness in Vegas.
Hooper: Has a growing stick collection that he has been toting around with him for weeks. It’s been growing by the day and as I watched him carry his load up to his room in preparation for bedtime, I thought he looked more like someone prepping to build a fire. He also has a sinus infection; the coughing has kept us all up and I think it’s fair to say we’re all exhausted. Taking a family portrait this week was a challenge. We are all grumps right now.
Van: I turned around, my mouth open with wild anticipation, as I watched him try his first strawberry milkshake from In n’ Out. From his backseat car seat, he told me to “turn my face around” and “put my teeth away”. It was the latter that I don’t want to forget. Who tells someone to put their teeth away?
Me: I knew I was in trouble when Willy gave my number to the people at 24 hour fitness. I’ve probably fielded at least 20 calls over the past two weeks. This week, I used my best foreign accent and told them they had the wrong number. I haven’t gotten anymore calls.
Jimmie: Got into the can of dirty diapers.
Weekly resolution: We potted many plants that needed to be potted on our patio this week. Our goal was one plant a day but we potted multiples on a few days. If everyone is feeling better tomorrow and I have the energy, I’m going to tackle the remaining ones. 52weekproject-b

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A portrait of my family once a week, every week, in 2015
Willy: Has been told a lot as of late that he resembles Chris Hemsworth. I had to google who that was.
Hooper: Has been calling himself out on his own farts.
Van: Was playing with a roly poly when Willy noticed it mysteriously disappear. When he asked Van about it he said, “I put it in my nose”. Sure enough, when Willy asked him to blow his nose, out came a roly poly and a booger. Also, first words out of his mouth the other morning were, “Mama, you so pretty”.
Me: Got out of a traffic ticket by going to court. The cop that wrote the ticket didn’t show up so my case was dismissed. I can’t really argue with the fact that I was going over the speed limit – I probably was – but never have I been met with such disrespect and attitude from a person of authority. I went with the intent in mind to urge her to treat people with common courtesy. It seemed rather fitting that she didn’t show.
Jimmie: Has never officially been invited into these family portraits but ends up on the bed with us every time, without fail.
Weekly Resolution: We made an effort not to check our phones while driving. I’m guilty of checking things on my phone at red lights and I annoy myself with this behavior; when did time sitting at a red light become time wasted? A reminder, for me, to slow down; metaphorically, not literally, though I suppose the literal sense would be beneficial too.

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I had to include the last one because clearly these are just becoming a debacle.
Willy: Made his first tattoo appointment in over a year; definitely a testament to how busy our lives have been as well as to our move. He came with not one, but two, new tattoos. He had his work done by @chris_de_armas and it looks great. Also spent two nights out in the desert for work, which I’m documenting here for no other reason than the fact that this series is making me fully aware of how often we’re on the move.
Hooper: Saw me whipping up water Van had spilled on the floor and thanked me for cleaning his ‘race track’. Then he told me he had an itch in his butt and scratched it. Also got in trouble at school for saying the word “poop”. After his teacher snitched on him, I spent the entire way home debating if she really had a problem with him saying “poop” or if he dropped the “s*#%” bomb. He also likes to point out the fact that his grandpa refers to “poop” as “feces”, so I considered that as well. I had to tell him that he could use the word “poop” at home but that he cannot use it in the classroom if his teacher does not like it. Trying to navigate the whole respect-your-teacher road. And… declined Van’s invitation to go play downstairs because he wanted to cuddle with me longer. #firstborn
Van: I thrifted a pair of high top converse way back when and bragged about the $3 price tag. Turns out the jokes on me because now Van insists on wearing them and having lace up shoes as opposed to slip on shoes really highlights the lazy mom in me. Or time efficient mom in me. I’ll go with the latter. He refers to them as his “running” shoes and he wants to “run” everywhere. Invited me to smell his fart and then broke into belly laughter when I pretended to vomit.
Me: Spent Monday evening watching the sunset with Tara after several failed attempts versus lazy-maybe-next-time excuses. Walked away thinking two things: 1. Man, her kids have mad love for her. I hope she can drop me her secrets to her ‘mom rocks’ ways, and 2. Not sure why we waited so long — instant friendship.
Jimmie: Didn’t pee on our neighbor and her friend when they stopped by. That’s noteworthy.
Weekly Resolution: We had the boys pick up their toys most nights. And they did so, for the most part, without much complaint; they always started out eager to help and then got whiny when I’d start pointing out the stuff that still needed to be put away. Hooper also helped me empty the dishwasher, which was actually really helpful. The silverware drawer is in disarray, but I don’t complain about jobs I didn’t have to do, so whatever. 52weekproject-b

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A portrait of my family once a week, every week, in 2015
Willy: Got a gym membership and is now out of commission with a pulled muscle in his back. This comes right on the heels of me pulling a muscle in my back. We look like two hunched over elderly people walking around and have spoken often of the good ol’ days when we used to do soccer (him) and gymnastics (me); pretty much we’re getting older.
Hooper: While eating his peanut butter and jelly sandwich paused and inquired about the jelly coming from jellyfish.
Van: Had a large amount of snot coming out of his nose, fell, and stood up with dirt caked on to the snot and a blood coming out of the other nostril. His first bloody nose is in the books. Also, he has poop in his pants in this picture.
Me: Spent most of the week in Utah with Janet where we learned that nothing is as easy as it was before kids.
Jimmie: Enjoyed the one on one treatment he received from Willy while the kids and I were in Utah. I received several text images of him and Willy engaged in some serious canoodling.
Weekly Resolution: We skipped doing a resolution this week because we were away from home. We picked from the jar for next week, however, and will be asking the boys to pick up all of their toys before bed. Cheers to (hopefully) a clean (er) house. 52weekproject-b


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Willy: Spent the better part of the week in Virginia for work. It’s always hard having him away. He brought the boys back a pen with a flashlight on top so they’re okay with him leaving.
Hooper: Woke up in the middle of the night because he misplaced his bag of shells he collected from the beach. This kid is serious about having his stuff organized. He is currently napping with his two favorite books under his pillows (one about things that live in the ocean and one about insects), a construction hat, his flashlight pen, and – of course – his bag of shells.
Van: Accidentally cut Hooper’s finger with a pair of kid’s scissors. Has been obsessed with band-aids ever since and also holds his belly every time he gets hurt and says, “I don’t want the blood to come out”. There was quite a bit of blood. I think they were both a little traumatized.
Me: I’m stuck in the rut of having to get up in the middle of the night to pee. I get it, on the whole scale of life’s worries, so-the-f*-what. I’m not pregnant so getting out of bed in the middle of the night in exchange for nothing other than an empty bladder pisses me off. I can almost hear my mom now, “Get ready for menopause”…
Jimmie: Spent the week sleeping in bed with me while Willy was away. He always starts out sleeping in Willy’s spot but by day three, we pretty much share a pillow. He probably prefers having Willy away. Ha.
Weekly Resolutions: We skipped this week because Willy was gone. We drew from the jar, however, and were delighted to know that for the next seven days we will be exchanging 15 minute back rubs. My back could sure use it, it’s been more sore this past week than it has for a long time.

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A family portrait, once a week, every week in 2015
Willy: Spent the better part of the week out in the desert, working.
Hooper:  Dismissed himself from the table when he saw asparagus on his plate and said he needed to take a dump. He managed to squeeze out the smallest little nug. Anything to not eat asparagus. Ultimately we bribed him with a marshmallow. He ate asparagus. He also fell in the toilet the other day. It was a funny scene to walk in on.
Van: Made an official announcement that he doesn’t like rocket ships because, according to him, there are frogs in them. I don’t know when he decided to turn against frogs. He also made his first poop in the potty. There have been misses since, but hey, it’s a start.
Me: Had one of the best days I’ve had in a long time as a mom; it was like the stars aligned. It was such a beautiful day, too, so I have lots of pictures to share. I also did a kids fashion shoot in conjunction with Sweet Threads that featured some adorable playsuits on some adorable little girls in an ice cream parlor. I really love walking outside my box every now and again.
Jimmie: Made out like a bandit this week; got to play with a neighborhood friend,  went on a hike, and enjoyed a day at doggie daycare. He also bit through his leash while I had him tied to the front door so I could clean the car. This is at least the fourth leash we’ve had to throw away. Grrr.
Weekly resolutions: We didn’t draw from the jar this week. I knew Willy was going to be out of town and so many of the resolutions involve both of us taking part. Instead, I did a little of each one as I saw fit; I read to the boys more, I worked with Hooper on tracing his letters, I took Jimmie for a few walks, I cleaned the kitchen after dinner each night, and made some real headway in a book I’ve been reading. The bed is no longer made. That was so last week. Hoping we can get back on that train.

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A family portrait, once a week, every week in 2015
Willy: The New Year always brings new work related and financial stresses, so he’s been sleeping a little less and on edge a little more. He’s also wearing Van’s beanie because apparently he cares what you think about his unkempt hair. He got a trim yesterday. I’ll put money on the fact he’s not man enough to grow it out and will end up shaving it again. Can you tell we’ve been there, done that?
Hooper: In true firstborn fashion, has been whispering sweet manipulative things into Van’s ear; like the other day when I heard him say, “Van, pee in your pants”, or yesterday when he whispered, “Go hit Mama”. He was “star of the week” at preschool this week; clearly not for aforementioned behavior. The “star” became quite the point of contention when I had to take it away because he kept hitting Van. He’s sleeping with that little star as I type this..
Van: In true second born fashion, will listen to just about anything Hooper says. And so, I got hit when Hooper told him to hit me. Luckily I intervened before he peed in his pants. He also discovered how to use the camera remote, as evidenced by the first photo. Also looks like he got in a fight with a cat, compliments of that firstborn I just wrote about.
Me: Worked a 17 hour long day in the hospital on Monday (too many nurses out with the flu) and got watery eyes when my confused elderly patient wanted me to call her mom to let her know she was safe. Made me think of my boys growing old one day and still needing me, far beyond the years they have me. Also made me grateful for my own mom.
Jimmie: Is within a 5 foot radius of me, always. Except for when the boys are getting ready for bed; he senses it coming and beats us up to their room, every time. He likes to curl into a ball on Van’s bed and hang out while we read books and get dressed.
Weekly resolutions: We made our bed everyday this week. Willy fell off the wagon a few times, but I was able to pick up the slack. I think I’m more dedicated to these weekly resolutions than he is. Also, I don’t think anyone benefited more than Jimmie to having our bed made each day. By mid-afternoon, you could find him curled at the top of a neatly made bed, sunk into the pillows. Being a dog, you know, ain’t a bad life.

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A family portrait, once a week, every week in 2015
Willy: Is waiting on a pillow top mattress pad to arrive in the mail from Bed, Bath, & Beyond. When it comes to sleeping, he’s like the princess and the pea.
Hooper: Has been stoked about his recent trip to the dentist, where he acquired some random toy trinkets – a fancy ring that flashes different colors, a mini cell phone, a bouncy ball, to name a few – and has been toting them around in his little plastic dentist’s bag everywhere. He also fell off the sofa while horsing around and put a dent in the wall and a bump on his head.
Van: In true second-child fashion, is completely fearless. He’s been jumping off high surfaces as of late. Around the house, this has meant the sofa as well as the kitchen table. When we pick up Hooper from school, this means climbing up a hill and jumping off a wall that’s taller than he is. It makes my knees hurt watching his landings. He’s also been eyeing all of Hooper’s treasures from the dentist that, at one time, he had too because he too went to the dentist. Though that sneaky brother of his has a way of making his younger brother’s treasures become his own. When Hooper’s at preschool, you better believe Van rocks that fancy plastic ring on his finger.
Me: Somehow I escaped the stomach bug. Someone upstairs must have seen my report card from last year and opted to deal me better cards for the beginning of 2015. Feeling grateful to be healthy and, more-or-less, pain free.
Jimmie: Took a big ol’ fat dump in the house the other day, just when we swore he was getting more manageable. Then yesterday he dumped again in the house just after we had taken him out, ate Hooper’s lunch off the table when Hooper wasn’t looking, ran out the front door and in front of a car going by, and snuck into the neighbor’s house (they always leave their door open) and excitedly peed on their floor. He’s a handful.

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A family portrait, once a week, every week in 2015 (fingers crossed)
Willy: Got teary eyed watching that Apple commercial where the granddaughter remakes a Christmas song for her grandma. You can watch it here and report back to me as to whether you got tears in your eyes too. Ha.
Hooper: So sincerely thanked Willy for taking care of him yesterday when he wasn’t feeling well. That kid has a heart of gold. He’s also the third one to barf. There’s only me left. Dun dun dun.
Van: Continues to blame the potty accidents he does have on the fact he “doesn’t like Christmas”. Yesterday he added, “because I don’t like jingle bells” to the list of excuses. It makes no sense.
Me: Fretting about having to spend the weekend doing stupid stuff like cleaning up a ridiculously messy house and doing loads of laundry. But what else is new? I bet I could say this for every week throughout the year. I’ll just copy and paste this exact statement from week to week. Grrrrr.
Each year, I contemplate what I’m going to do or if I’m going to do another 52 week series. The first year I participated, I dedicated the series to Willy and posted a picture each week of him. Then, this past year, I started out by trying to capture single portraits of each of us. That only lasted a few weeks before it dwindled down to simply portraits of the boys, which was easy since they tend to be my subjects more times than not anyway. Well, this time around, I’m back to trying to capture each of us; only this time, all in the same frame. It’s my goal to snap a pic, once a week, of all of us – on the same bed – throughout the year. I’m going to do my best to concentrate less on composition, lighting, etc and instead turn my focus to simply capturing us, all of us, in one shot. 
I ran my idea by Willy first, to be sure he was up for it. I always try my best to protect my photography passion by preventing it from any potential stress. But, he said he was on board with no hesitation. So I was a bit shocked when, the other day, he huffed and puffed when I suggested we all gather onto the bed to snap a few pics. He mentioned earlier that his stomach was hurting, but I shrugged it off. He sat for a few pics, left in a hurry, threw up, and came back for a few more. He clearly has an ominous expression in that first shot, wouldn’t you say? 
And so, that’s the story behind this first, of what I hope will be 52, family portraits. Are you doing a portrait series this year? If so, share your links in the comments below!

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A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Loved handing out Christmas presents.
Hooper: Stoked on his new “race car”.
And just like that, another portrait series is in the book. I have an idea for the coming year, but we’ll see how it goes — I never want this space to be stress-creating, so it’s to be determined. Are you doing any sort of portrait series for 2015?

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50/52 & 51/52

A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Found a bouncy ball on the ground, then had it taken away from him and thrown down the street.
Hooper: Got in trouble for throwing his brother’s bouncy ball down the street.
A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Is all about the reward aspect of potty training.
Hooper: Is also all about the reward aspect of Van potty training.

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A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Terrible twos and to the umpth degree, at times. Everything is “by myself” and on his own time. This week, I’ve felt like he might be the next dictator.
Hooper: Has his bed covered with cars and demands I come up to his “carnival” each day. He finds old business cards in the trash and provides me them as “tickets”. Such an imagination these days.
Jimmie: Is my best friend when Willy is around but the straw that broke the camel’s back when he is away. Sometimes I think a third baby would be easier – Ha. But I love him all the same.

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A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: And just like that, the stutter is gone. Kids change too fast.
Hooper: Has been eating so well — Must be growing.
Jimmie: In true houdini fashion has found a way out of his metal crate. We came home to an entryway full of shit and a loose dog. Grrr. Two steps forward, two steps back. 

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44/53 & 45/53

A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: His mind is moving faster than his mouth and he’s developed the most awesome stutter. I remember this phase distinctly with Hooper and it’s been quite entertaining the second time around.
Hooper: Appears as if he’s grown overnight; longer limbs, less baby fat (not that he ever had a lot) — a real boy.
Jimmie: Spent a few hours in his crate while we went out to dinner. No one called the cops, no call from our neighbor, and no poo or pee when we got home. A huge step in battling his separation anxiety. 
A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Spent Wednesday night, with me, in the ER. He was having trouble breathing and was diagnosed with croup. We’re all exhausted.
Hooper: Is getting stoked for his upcoming birthday. I can’t believe he’s going to be four (says every parent of a four year old).
Click here to check out the series, in its entirety.

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A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Has been swinging his little baseball bat with a lot more umph. Watch out little league.
Hooper: Has a whole new concept of what it means to be a “helper” and has been enjoying referring to himself as such, even when he’s not really “helping” ::wink wink::
Jimmie: Is now sleeping in his crate overnight and it’s a huge step for us in helping him with his separation anxiety. (Thank you all for your tips, I’m hoping to see the light at the end of the tunnel soon)
Click here to check out the series, in its entirety.

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A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Has been holding our hearts in his hands. I know two can be terrible, but it’s a lot of fun too. He’s such a character.
Hooper: Has been testing our patience more than usual. I’m blaming preschool. 
Jimmie: Has some serious separation anxiety anytime we leave him alone. It’s causing us a lot of concern.
Click here to check out the series, in its entirety.

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