At lunchtime yesterday I paused my photo taking to look back on the pictures from the Home Life Project a year ago and I was reminded that it was muddy, the weather was miserable and everyone was itching for spring to start. Does that sound at all familiar? There was one picture in particular where Alice’s buggy was parked in a sea of mud and I remember when I took it thinking, I just can’t deal with this any more. By April though we were barefoot in the garden and hunting Easter eggs at a family lunch. These next few weeks of early spring will make a lot of difference.

So if finding inspiration this weekend was a struggle, you are not alone. I took my photos yesterday and the weather was beastly. We delayed our morning dog walk by an hour hoping for a forecast break in the weather, but got caught in a downpour anyway! Alice faired better than most of us, as after several dog walks where she has returned caked in mud, we ordered her a splashsuit and it’s brilliant. The water and mud just falls off it and despite these photos she was dry underneath it all when we got back to the car.

When Theo and Jim disappeared to the driving range in the afternoon I got the tripod out to get some photos and Alice made her first photographic contribution to this project, can you spot the picture where she fired the remote?!

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This month’s creative challenge is all about capturing the real in your family life and in this case it’s the real emotions. I’m sure most of us have lots of albums of our children (and maybe the grown ups too) looking presentable and smiling for the camera, but fewer of them caught in the moment, experiencing the highs and lows of childhood. Tears and laughter are a very big part of parenthood, but we often don’t capture them on film.

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Not everybody will feel comfortable getting the camera out if their child is crying. Most of the images I have like this are taken after my son has been comforted and just before that last tear is wiped away. You can see in the photo above, he’s not actually upset, he just has that last tear below his eye which tells the story. My sister-in-law had done an excellent job of making him feel better and I was free to take a quick discreet photo.

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One of the things I enjoyed about looking back on Lucy’s family portraits for the Me & Mine Project was not just seeing her family grow, but also seeing the seasons change around them throughout the year. I remember when I was younger being told that we were so lucky to live in a country that had proper seasons and it’s taken a long time to learn to appreciate that. Famously Alberta in Canada which was our home for two years has two seasons “Winter and July” where as when we lived in Cyprus, harvest was in the spring and we all looked forward to the rain returning in autumn!

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A month ago I shared with you my ambitions to use this year to reduce our household waste, live more frugally and declutter. It turns out I wasn’t the only one thinking along these lines and since I wrote that first post I have been introduced to the Danish concept of “Lagom” which means “just the right amount” and is about being frugal and fair, creating balance in your life and living sustainably. Yup, it turns out I could have called this my year of “lagom” – except for the fact that no one would know what I was talking about!

So how are we getting on? Well six weeks into 2017 the small changes we are starting to make are already having an impact. Our household waste wheelie bin is now barely half-full and I no longer panic about missing a collection, thanks largely to the introduction of waste food composting. After resisting buying a special bin for the kitchen, I finally gave in and you can see that and the composting bin bags in the video.

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Yesterday I finally resurfaced after six days of unexpected and total computer blackout. One moment I was doing a routine upgrade of my software on my mac and the next it was dead. To cut a very long story short, my saga ended with my computer being totally wiped and the operating system being reinstalled, all my files were mercifully rescued first, but as you can imagine it gave me a lot of time to think about the processes I have in place to protect my family photos, not just from computer failure, but also from the scary prospect of ransom ware.

I already keep copies of my photos on Flickr, dropbox and an external hard drive, but as time had moved on, the drive had become too small to accommodate Time Machine backups so I switched the automatic process off. Needless to say, after the week I’ve had, I now have a brand new 3 TB hard-drive solely for that purpose and I’m also giving thought to using BackBlaze as an additional cloud backup.

All this computer talk probably seems a bit off track in my monthly Siblings Project post, but I think its part and parcel of the same thing. We share these images every month because they are precious to us and its easy to be blasé about our digital archive when we are so used to being able to access it on multiple devices almost instantly.

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Hello. I'm Clare.
I'm a mum of two. I live in the Sussex countryside by the sea and this blog focuses on creative family living through photography, design, crafts and interiors. Read more

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