Week in the Life : Mid-Week Observations + Responses to Questions


[ this is where I found him when I got up this morning : Little Einsteins on the computer + in real life ]

Mid-Week Observations

I love that this is one of those projects that always makes me think. It gives me the opportunity to take a look at my life and see what things are really important, what I love, what I dislike (and potentially the chance to change those things), and how I am living from day to day.

I love that many of you are changing up the project to make it fit your life. That is perfect.

It is ok to have the same photos from day to day. That is part of our lives and part of the story that most of us live.

It is ok to have some of the same words from day to day. Here's the thing: your routine may be the same but I bet your thoughts may be different. Why not include some of those in there as well. Or focus on something else like your gratitudes for the day or a list of some of the things you did at work. It does not have to be a list format of what you have done over the course of the day.

I love that many of you are playing with and learning how to use your cameras more. Me too! That tip from Tracey the other day about changing your ISO (this is if you are shooting on P or manual I think...rather than my go-to running man) made a HUGE difference for me last night at the dark pool and this morning in the house.

I love that many of you are using your blog to document your photos + words.

I love that we all have very different lives but have something in common through our love of this creative process. Some of us work from home, others work in an office, others are stay at home moms, students, disabled, etc. We all have something to share in this process. Our stories are all important.

I love that many of your are handing your cameras over to your spouses or your kids and involving them in the project.

Avoiding burn out : Let yourself go in terms of feeling like you have to capture every little thing. Find a rhythm for yourself and go with it. We are mid-way through the project - keep going!

Don't stress about the format: focus on the now. This project will come together.

There is no right or wrong way. You can do this.

Responses To Questions From The Last Post

Lady Scrapsalot : When it comes time to make the album I'll be missing pictures of my
daughter's preschool, which we went to twice this weeks and both times
I forgot the camera. If it was you would you "cheat" and take a picture
say next week and insert it, or just leave it out all together? I
suppose I could photograph the art she came home with...

A : I would just go ahead and add one next week. The main idea here is a specific week, but in reality, no one will ever know that you took it a week later. If it is an important part of your story right now then I would include it.

Carrie : Do you think it would be weird to enlist my sitter in this endeavor?
My little guy is 15 months, and while I am pretty up to speed with how
his days go, it would be fun for me to see how he spends his days with

A : I love this idea. Why not?

Jan : I love the calendar on the clipboard!  Where did you get the calendar?

A : That calendar was a download at marthastewart.com. You can find it here.

Carol : I love all of your little close ups of daily life. They make for neat
compositions. I haven taken some of those, but I need tips on how to
make the "big picture" photos (of an entire room or whatever) come out
looking well-composed. Sometimes these seem to be the ugliest shots,
but also the most interesting down the road.

A : Great point Carol. I also think it is important to have a variety of views to showcase many of those cool things that often blend into the background. I love many of my photos from my parents that include all the crazy stuff in the background.

When I approach a whole room I tend to find a corner, back myself in as far as I can and take a look through the viewfinder. I often will try all the corners of the room to see which one has the best light and which one can document the most. We have a small house with small rooms and it is a challenge to fit the whole room in a shot (a different lens would make this easier...but the ones I have are not wide-angle enough). Another idea to consider is to shoot one side of the room and then another and either put them together in your album or stitch them together in your photo-editing program.

JennyG : What will you do for the first page of the album?..I noticed on
some of the past albums from your class that there was a calendar.

A : Not sure yet. In the past I did use a calendar and in another year I did a square-punch collage of a bunch fo my favoites from the week. I am guessing I will lean that way.

Niki : I was wondering when you use the trading card page protectors do you cut your pictures to fit or get them resized somewhere.

A : I will probably just crop them to fit.

Michelle : Do we only scrapbook the good things? Because sometimes in a normal
average week - we just get this huge blow and it changes everything. I
think that it is important to remember the good and the bad. LIFE. I
think I am going to try next week to start this project over. Perhaps
it will be a good way to count my blessings when I am feeling blue.

A : First off, I am so sorry for your loss. I think this is a really personal decision. I think that scrapbooking can be a way to grieve and can help in moving forward (when you are ready) but timing should come into play at some level. It sounds to me like you answered your own question in this case. Peace to you Michelle.

Tracie : Can you share the recipe for the yummy looking pasta?

A : Thanks Tracie - it is super easy: whole wheat penne pasta + sauce from Trader Joes (I think it was three-cheese).

Noelia : On day 2 of this project I became very sick with a cough/cold and my
routine has been different than it normally is. Another thing that
happened is that my husband's car broke down and it made for some
changes in our regular routine as well. My week so far doesn't look
anything like a normal week would. Should that matter? I thought about postponing this project until I'm better so it can reflect our daily lives. Any thoughts on this?

A : Here's the deal - there is no perfect week. "Normal" is whatever you are living right now. Stuff comes up all the time for all of us and it is all part of our story, a part of our normal. Obviously, the decision is totally up to you but I think it all makes a pretty good picture of real life ;).

Heather : Sigh. I realized last night that I've taken a ton of pictures and
totally neglected to write ANYTHING down. Should I keep going? Help.

A : Don't despair. Keep going. Maybe your book will just document your life in photos and you can add thoughts/observations/etc when you put the album together. Again, there is no right or wrong way to complete this project.


Feel free to continue commenting and sharing here. I will be around today to answer questions in the comments section.


A complete list of posts related to the week in the life project can be found here.

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70 thoughts

  1. Melissa says…

    Hi, Ali - my comment is just a heartfelt THANK YOU.
    I look forward to your blog updates to kind of "touch base" with this project and to gain fresh perspective.
    'Got some funny looks today from people who saw me taking photos in my son's therapy sessions, etc. so I just explain what's going on and they seem intrigued, or at least satisfied.
    I love that part of this project introduces the concept of "telling your story" to other people and perhaps plants a seed in them that might prompt them to journal more, to take more photos, or to find their own personal way to tell their stories.
    In that way it becomes not just about my family, but also about sharing the joy of documenting and creating with others.
    Be well. :)

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  2. Danielle says…

    I am absolutely loving this project I was afraid I wouldn't stay with it but I am getting more into it everyday. My hubby is also super involved so I love that too. Thank you Ali this has been great between your blog and the Flikr group I'm having such a great time!

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  3. Nicole says…

    Ali, thanks for taking us on this journey...it has been fun and inspiring to do this right along with you.
    My question is less of a question and more of an observation: I am AMAZED at what an assessment tool this is....it has really opened my eyes to how I spend my time, how much we eat out (TOO much oftentimes), little (important) things that I have let slip out of our routine and need to make a conscious effort to reintegrate....and so many other insights. As a psychologist, I am passionate about self-assessment, and did not expect that out of this project. I wanted to do this to document our lives for my kids' future information....but am getting so much personal insight about the "now" out of the process, even though I haven't even begun compiling the actual book. I am committing to doing this every year as part of my self-assessment and family-assessment process. Thanks again.

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  4. Heidi says…

    I am also sending you heartfelt thanks, Ali. You are an inspiration beyond words. I've been documenting this week in pictures on my blog, but got derailed yesterday when things went downhill fast. After reading your post today, I was hit by the fact that no week *is* perfect. You are right. Again. :) Today I will continue to document even though it isn't a normal sort of day.

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  5. Ali says…

    Thanks guys :).
    Nicole - that is exactly why I love this project. It is not just for the documentation but the assessment of life in general.

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  6. kristin says…

    wow - can't believe it is day 4 already. thanks for the mid-week motivation. i'm finding the hardest photos to capture are the ones of myself, the easiest are the ones of my family and food. :)
    i've pulled out the tripod, so we'll see how that goes.
    have you started ordering any enlargements yet?

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  7. Lisa says…

    I am having so much fun with this. Mom and hubby are being good sports about my taking photos at random times. Corey especially loves when I take photos of what he is doing. My favorite part of thise is that I FINALLY brought the camera to one of the ultrasound appointments.

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  8. Ali says…

    Kristin - have not started ordering enlargements yet - thanks for the reminder :)

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  9. Lindsay says…

    Love this project so far! At first my kids were complaining about me taking more pictures than normal but today was the turning point. My son(3yrs. old) wants to take pictures too. Love that I will have some from his perspective as well. Thanks for sharing all your fabulous ideas!

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  10. Becky P. says…

    Thank you so much! I just looked through all the photos I have so far so I could put some up on my blog this morning. I started my project on Saturday so I am almost done! As I looked through all the photos I just kept getting hit with the realization that all of this seems so mundane and NORMAL right now but in a couple years (which is when I plan to do this again) so much will have changed and I will be grateful for these photos of regular life.
    Another benefit of this project is that it has really got my creative juices flowing. There are so many simple stories that I have realized that I want to scrapbook and haven't yet. Thanks so much, Ali!
    P.S. Also thanks for posting YOUR photos...they are also a reminder that what seems routine to me is not the same as someone else's routine. Your pictures are fascinating to me and I'm sure my photos will be to someone else as well. I love how this project connects people on so many levels. OK...enough rambling :)

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  11. noell Hyman says…

    Seeing your photos and notes is keeping me going. I keep forgetting. My first day was great--and then my notes got lost on my computer. It either didn't save them or I accidentally put them in the wrong place.
    Then with each day I've been recording and photographing less. Seeing all your stuff reminds me to keep doing it. Thank you!

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  12. vdalton says…

    I just wanted to comment on the questions of "keep going" if your week isn't normal. I say "Why is that even a question?" My week has turned into anything but normal (my uncle and cousin were severely burned yesterday and the future is uncertain) and the thought of quitting has not even crossed my mind. I thought that is the whole idea--capturing a "week in the life" normal or whatever falls on your plate--
    years from now I'll be glad I did this!!!

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  13. jennyg says…

    This has been my favorite project. It is going to be so hard to pick my favorite photos...glad this album will have room so many shots!

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. tracy says…

    I am already feeling anxious about a way to include a ton of my photos-I have taken quite a lot that I truly love and really tell our story here, this week. Sigh.
    Also, and you can remove this if it is not appropriate, I made a 12x12 digital template that digi scrappers can use if they would like to highlight one large photo on a page, with text surrounding the photo. It is my plan for approaching one page of my 2 pages per day. The link is here: http://www.4shared.com/file/65287364/76b3abe0/tkuethe_12x12_template.html
    or on my blog.
    My great big thanks to you as well, I am so motivated by this and am having a great week!

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  15. Nancy L says…

    I like the idea of documenting the bad with the good. Yet, when I come down to it, I am so embarrassed about the scrapbook clutter that surrounds every corner of our place. Apparantly I collect and shop at the LSS alot and don't actually scrapbook. I know I should breathe and let it be a reflection of who I am now and my feelings. I cropped a photo of my husband stretching in the one small area he could actually stand in and tried to eliminate the clutter in the photo. You can still see it but I don't think I can bring myself to show anyone how bad the clutter is. Is this OK? Or should I take the overall picture of the room?

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  16. Betsy Cruickshank says…

    Does anyone else have teenagers? How are you documenting their life? I actually went to my oldest daughter's school during class and took photos of the outside of the school and sign. I take photos for my younger teenager's school slide shows so it wasn't unusual for me to be there with a camera and I got lots of shots there, but high school is a different story. Any ideas?

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  17. eira says…

    I've been waiting all day for your post. Every hour or so I was checking...oh..nothing new from Ali.
    I absolutely LOVE this project. It made me think about my style in taking pictures. I always try to blend out most of the background because most of the time it's the person I tend to focus on. But as I thought about this project I realized that - though my old baby pics are imperfect when it comes to photographic techniques - I love looking at them. I love seeing what things looked like back than! Not only the person but the surroundings!
    I'm going to focus on this in my future photographing. Not only pictures but stories!
    Thanks so much!!
    Greetings from Austria,

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  18. Ali says…

    Betsy - what about asking them to take some photos of their day (with your camera, a disposable camera, or their camera)?

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  19. lynne moore says…

    My kids have the love/hate relationship with my camera. They put up with it tho - ages 13 (g) and 16 (b). I try not to pose them. I try for real candids. I take pix of their body parts - that sounds weird - like their hands writing their homework or their feet in their (giant) shoes. Or the way my son sits when he is waiting for me. My son's cross country bag with it's laundry spilling out speaks as much to me as trying to catch him at practice. And less embarassing for him.
    And I go about it as if it was my job - kinda is right? "I am taking the pix of the Starbux because that is where we go Thusday after school. I am documenting it and that is just the way I am going to roll this week. Your chocie might be whether or not I decide to include you in the pix"

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  20. Lauren says…

    OKay Ali - you are going to laugh, but this post here (just look at the picture):
    Inspired me to find my gorrillapod to get some better pictures and not balance my camera on things!!! LOL! :)

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  21. emilyt says…

    Ali, I too am just in awe at all the possibility that this project has implied so far. I have learned more about how I take in my surroundings and how self-assessment is playing a big role in my thoughts. Some of the struggles I face in my daily routine require some changes but in a good way - to make my life easier & more efficient. The looking glass is scary but I also am learning to be ok with the imperfection and share it. :) I also like capturing the big and the small things. Big things happen - it's part of life and to see it unfold while I'm going through my routine is just an awesome perpsective. Thanks so much for the inspiration. I think as I begin to pull the actual photos, words, stuff onto paper I will end up being inspired to bleed over onto other styles of pages. I'm glad to be doing this project this week!

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  22. Lauren says…

    Sorry if this is a double post:
    But I thought you would appriecate this Ali:
    Maybe I should dig out my gorillapod and put it to good use this week instead of trying to balance my camera to get me in the picture, huh? :)

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  23. Angie Key says…

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this project! I feel like I've regained my inspiration and passion for this hobby just in the last three days.
    This couldn't have come at a better time - this weekend is one my stepdaughter will be with us - so seeing how much our routine changes between the days she's not here and the ones she is will be fascinating ... and not something I would have ever thought to capture before.
    You've blessed so many of us in so many different ways with this project, Ali!

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  24. mrsmojanks says…

    Hi Ali,
    I have a question about one of the things I want to use to put this project together. I have tons of 8.5x11 page protectors that I want to use for this project and I think I am ready to try sewing them into pockets.
    Have you found that using your sewing machine has gunked up your needle or threading area? Thanks for answering the question.
    Amy M.

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  25. Karen says…

    just wanted to let you know that i have not taken one photo as of yet today and it is ok! no stress, just going with the flow!

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