It has been tough go for us over here for the last few weeks.
Maddy, Owen, Cora, Brady–everyone–has unfortunately felt the ‘funk’ that I conveyed throughout the last weeks, especially when Susan became very ill. It was hard. So hard. And it still is.
But before I took off for NYC, on one quiet afternoon when Cora and I had the house to ourselves and Maddy and Owen were at school, we did a little something that made us both happy. Really, really happy.
We set aside a full hour to look for pretty things, to arrange pretty things, to photograph pretty things, and to put all the pretty things we found into one pretty little book: Cora’s Favorite Things.
Simple, easy, and happy. Just what the doctor ordered.
Here’s the skinny:
- Favorite Things Book–Easy, Little Book of All Things Happy: It all started with Cora asking if she could use my camera to take some pictures.
Forget that she has a LeapPad and a Leapster (which has a camera attached), and forget that she has her own ‘kid’ camera. She always wants to use mine. And believe me, it’s not all that great of a camera.
Cora is arranging her favorite, most beautiful things.
But I was tired. And I felt like doing just about nothing, so I walked upstairs with her, and I brought my camera. I said, Sure, Sweetheart, you can use my camera. But I’ll just stay right here while you use it. What do you want to take pictures of?
She had already arranged things on her floor–she had her make-up set, her chap stick, her glitter, and several other items–all her favorites. She said that she wanted to take pictures of all of her things.
Very cool photo by Cora of Cora’s special box from Aunt Mary and Uncle Ronnie’s wedding
I looked around and said, Oh my gosh, Cora. You have a great idea! You have all of your absolute favorite things here–all of the things that make you so happy. Why don’t you take photos of each of these things, and then I’ll help you make a book–a teeny tiny, happy book–that you can look at whenever you want? Of all of your favorite little things but in one place?
She was totally game.
I handed her my camera, and she got right to work.
I taught her how to use the automatic focus, how to gently press the button until the image became clear in the window. It was hard for her, but she could definitely see the difference in her focused and unfocused photos.
So she took photos. . .
. . . and she arranged. . .
. . . and she took more photos. . .
. . . and arranged some more.
And when she was completely finished, we hit the computer, and she chose which photographs were ‘publishing worthy’.
I printed them out, we cut them, and then she very carefully, very meticulously arranged the photos in the order she thought would work best.
Cora’s favorite things. . . all ready for binding.
And once the photos were in order, they were re-arranged and arranged again because a Favorite Things Book has to be just that perfect if it’s full of your favorite things.
I punched a hole in the left hand corner of each page, made a front and back cover, and tied it all together with a ribbon that Cora chose and declared absolutely perfect for her book.
She put her finished book on top of her jewelry box, on a shelf in her room, and it’s been there ever since. And seriously, for the small amount of time that it took to make this teeny book o’ favorites, the payoff for creating a little book of all things happy was really great.
Just last night before bed, Cora and I sat on her floor after reading a few books, and we looked through her Favorite Things photos. And we were both. . . well, surprisingly happy.
And why wouldn’t we be?
Cora’s Favorite Things Book, right on top of her sweet little jewelry box
I like the idea of this book, something that focuses on little things that make Cora happy, but I did hesitate at the fact that it was full of material things. However, we’ve been struggling with helping her identify emotions, control her temper, focus on happy, and work through all of the challenges the come with being four, so I also thought that identifying things that make her happy might be a good starting point for working through tough times.
Like those afternoons when she’s so tired that she doesn’t know what to do with herself (and has stopped napping ages ago)? Maybe I’ll say Why don’t you head up to your bedroom and look at your Favorite Things Book? Maybe that will lift your spirits?
Or the times when she’s huffy and angry and needs to remember how lucky she really is? Again, maybe I’ll remind her of her Favorite Things book and all of the happy parts of her little life. I can only hope, right? It’s all about having some tricks in your back pocket. And I’ll take as many as I can.
And here’s to many more easy, little books of all things happy to come! Our plan? Our Favorite Outdoor Things Book; Our Favorite Foods Book; Our Favorite Activities Book; and more. Happy thoughts for happier days. Cheers.