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Pssstt...update!

 

Time for an update, but I won’t keep you long, you busy people!

My Sibling Revelry Project, which I first mentioned back in the fall, has picked up considerable momentum. If you haven’t tuned in, I would love for you to follow along and see what’s new.

A recap: The Sibling Revelry Project is an ongoing photography project that captures the spirit of siblinghood through images and interviews. I meet with siblings of all ages and backgrounds in their natural environments to highlight the unique stories and universal truths of siblinghood.

In the last few months I have featured siblings ranging in age from 4 months to 92 years…including two sets of twins, several pairs of youngsters, and a set of five adult siblings. Though each group has been different, undeniably timeless (and hilarious) themes keep emerging.

Case in point: the conversation below between these charming whippersnappers. (Raise your hand if you know a sibling who does this, too!)

 

Speaking of bringing something to attention…

I’m thrilled to share that I have been nominated for an exciting award for my work on the Sibling Revelry Project. The Iris Awards are annual awards hosted by Mom 2.0 Summit to recognize achievements and creativity in the Internet’s vast world of parenting content. I’ve been nominated in the Best Photography category. Only past attendees of Mom 2.0 or Dad 2.0 conferences are eligible to vote, so I’m not even asking you to click anything. Just join me in celebrating the nomination!

This week I’ll be in Orlando for the Mom 2.0 Summit and the Iris Awards…connecting and learning and celebrating the industry. I plan to be spreading the world about the Sibling Revelry Project and finding ways to expand this project. There’s so much on the horizon, y’all! I hope you will tune in and follow along on Instagram or Facebook.

And if you want to talk details or sponsorship opportunities, shoot me an email!

Thanks, as always, for your enthusiasm and support!

Liz

What's up, November?

   

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Seems like just yesterday we were wondering where September went and now BAM...what happened to October??

Life's been busy, y'all! A few things I've been doing, reading, talking about or just generally enjoying...

* Hiking with my family and telling others how to make it easy and fun. (Hints: Never call it hiking and always bring treats.) Read more about it at The Queso, which incidentally has all kinds of awesomeness planned this month. Tune in!

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* This week REI won my heart (again) when they announced their #OptOutside campaign, in which they will close their doors on Black Friday and encourage employees and the public to spend the day outside with family. Can I get an Amen?

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* Even though the weather in Austin has been cool (ish) lately, my camera and I have been recreating the heat of summer with our friends at Fine & Folded. They sell delightful (and super practical!) hand fans that are a purse essential for 9 months out of the year in Texas. Check them out...You're going to want some of these.

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* I was so excited to have one of my photos featured in the November issue of The Sun, a literary magazine that I have read and admired for decades. When my kids saw it they said, "Oh darn, it's on the last page, Mom..." I said, "YES! That's where everybody turns first!" The whole issue is dedicated to parenthood and family life. As always, it's full of thoughtful, humorous and unforgettable personal stories.

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* My friend Kacie of MamaCasePrints, who is a rockstar T-shirt designer and mom of two, has the most amazing new member of her family: Emma the Labrador service dog. Two years ago Kacie's son Eddy (now almost 4 years old) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This year, thanks to special T-shirt sales and donations, Eddy has Emma by his side to detect dangerous dips in his blood sugar levels. She has been a game changer for their family and it's only just the beginning. Every single time I read a post about Emma I get chills. Follow them on Instagram and you'll fall in love with their story.

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* My new favorite gift is a custom poem from the talented crew at Typewriter Rodeo. This group of writers has been entertaining events for years by setting up a table and working their magic on the spot. Now they are also offering custom poems for birthdays and special holidays. Here's just one brilliant example of their work. Find them on Facebook for more! (Click image to enlarge and read poem.)

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Other that, I've been throwing together Halloween costumes, trying to track down a cookbook from the library that I lost before I even made it to the kitchen, and texting my friends inane things like this. What have YOU been up to?

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Optimism in Overdrive

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Parenting requires a huge dose of optimism. Who else but the glass-half-full crowd would dare bring children into a world fraught with injustices, Kardashians and high-fructose syrup? It can be an uphill battle to keep focused on the bright side.

I have a naturally Pollyanna personality, but I still need frequent reminders to help stay the course. I seek them out in stories, images, blips of conversation. I’m a heat-seeking missile when it comes to examples of the power of positive thinking.

Last week a reminder came from an icon in the world of optimism. I had the great pleasure to meet Bert Jacobs, co-founder and Chief Executive Optimist of the Life is Good Company. Jacobs was in Austin to wow a crowd of 7,000 at the Texas Conference for Women. His speech was everything you’d hope it would be: energizing, inspiring, tear-jerking and funny.

Afterwards I had the opportunity for a quick interview with him, and I went straight to the topic closest to my heart: family life.

Me: Cynicism seems a little too cool in our culture right now. How do we raise children to be optimists? Bert Jacobs: Tell your kids to look through history and find us the great pessimists. Find us the great cynics. You’ll be done with your assignment in 10 minutes. Then go through and find the great optimists, and you can do it for the next 3 years. Every hero you’ve ever had was an optimist, because they see things before they happen. In order to be optimistic, you have to be open-minded and ambitious.

My work is focused on the “small moments that tell the big stories of family life.” What’s one small moment in your life that tells your big story? I would say my mom at the dinner table saying, “Tell me something good that happened today.” That could look on a given day like a very small thing, but it changed our lives. It changed the trajectory of our whole path. It led us to greater business. It led us to a great kids foundation. And look how lucky we are, doing all the things we are doing. All from one thing that Mom said at the dinner table. The interesting thing is...and it’s not even in the book...is that she had huge challenges in her 20s. My mom was put in a mental institute and was told that she would never amount to anything or have a family. So I think her heightened appreciation for life, and never taking a day for granted, and teaching us “Tell me something good” came from a place where she was really challenged.

What did you want to be when you were 10 years old? A stuntman. I was a typical boy.

I went home and told the kids about my day, and we had a lively discussion about great people in history, about how we can all inject more optimism into our lives, and how (high five!) we are already doing the dinnertime sharing ritual, although ours comes in the form of “What are you thankful for?”

The interview and the conversations that followed with my family were both such lovely gifts. I enjoy any opportunity to talk with the kids about my inspirations as a parent and our goals as a family. The entire day was a great reminder that one small conversation can make an impression well beyond the people who initially shared it.

Knowing the power of that ripple effect, I have to admit one thing, my friends: I kept the stuntman detail to myself. The kids don’t need to know everything. I’m optimistic, not crazy.

A week of evenings

I had so much fun capturing bits and pieces of our mornings with my #aweekofmornings series that I've decided to tackle the flip side. The dark side, in my opinion. It's only Tuesday, and I'm already daunted by the task. With three kids ages 6, 10 and 12, our evenings are often a complicated test of logistics and endurance. Long gone are the days of scheduled toddlers and early bedtimes. (Longer gone are also the days of walking around with a wailing newborn in the witching hour, so let's keep some perspective.) For me, the glory days were a brief and perfect time when our family's evening routine consistently looked like this: Kid dinner promptly at 5:00, baths at 6:00, bedtime at 6:30, and adult-only dinner afterward, with no nuggets and ketchup in sight.

Now our routine changes daily depending on work responsibilities, kid schedules and carpool duties. When I have my act together and our schedules allow, I prep dinner in the morning and have it ready for all of us to enjoy together. Sounds lovely, but for us it's only a realistic goal maybe twice a week. Many other nights I'm throwing sandwiches in a bag, raiding the kids' lunch boxes for whatever they didn't eat earlier, and hustling everyone into the car for soccer/ballet/biking/etc.

Despite the full calendar, we carve out mini-routines where we can. Bedtime always involves books. It always involves rituals, no matter how small or strange. One kid wants hugs and kisses and movie-star air kisses in a very particular order. Another kid prefers a quick tuck-in, a special repeated phrase, and lights immediately out. The other wants the sheets and pillows just so and then a glass of water with ice and multiple check-ins just in case. If there's anything we've learned as parents, it's to not fight these evening rituals too much, no matter how exhausted we are, no matter that some feel like stalling techniques, and no matter that a kid was just screaming at us 10 minutes ago because they had the Worst Day Ever. Nobody likes to go to bed grumpy, and the rituals seem to settle us all down.

That said, there's no predicting how an evening will go. Someone can forget homework at the last minute, or fall apart because favorite jammies are dirty, or just be sick and tired of dealing all day. Other nights there is singing in the shower and relaxed chapters of Harry Potter. Your guess is as good as mine...Tune in to my Instagram feed this week, and we'll find out together.

2015.04.07.evenings-1 Monday 8:30pm. Busy boy avoiding bed. Patient dog waiting for attention.

2015.04.07.evenings-2 Monday 8:30pm. Already well past his bedtime and he's asking for 5 more minutes.

 

2015.04.07.evenings-3 Monday 8:45pm. Late dinner for our dedicated ballerina.

 

My #aweekofevenings project runs from April 6-12, and all the images can be found on Instagram @ewmcguire.

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In other news...

I was thrilled to have the story of our new mother/son running routine featured on Huffington Post last week.

I have a new professional Facebook page and would love to get your Like on it. 

Thanks again for all your enthusiasm and support.

xoxo, Liz

Rubble

2014.rubble This week I'm reaching for my own words and coming up empty-handed.

Five days ago a friend's life was devastated in a split second and the only words I can muster are..."no words."

So I've been relying on this beautiful piece of wisdom I found. I bet I've read it dozens of times over the last few days...

"Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could." --Louise Erdich, The Painted Drum

The night my 11-year-old heard the news, she curled up beside me and cried for her heartbroken friend. Trying to wrap her head around such a senseless tragedy, she said, "You always think it happens to someone else, but we are all 'someone else' to somebody."

Of course she's right. And once again, I had no words.

And then today I stumbled on this photo I took a while back. It was shot in a quick moment that caught my attention but was quickly forgotten. The image doesn't entirely fill in the words that I'm lacking, but it does remind me of the incredible, countless people helping our friend through this nightmare. It reminds me that maybe I have a few words after all:  Even in the midst of tremendous loss and heartache, there is still love to be found among the rubble.

 

 

 

 

Adios @peaceloveguac. Hola @ewmcguire!

2014.02.beachI'm thrilled to unveil my new site! The goal was to streamline my work and put all my passions under one roof. So here we are, all shiny and new...

Above all, the new digs will still be a place to find the humor and grace in everyday life. I will continue to blog, but will also update you on other writing and photography projects I’m pursuing.

One of those is my brand-new etsy shop! I’m selling images from my Word on the Street series, which captures the wit and whimsy of urban graffiti and turns it into sleek, modern works of art.

I would love for us to stay in touch! Please subscribe to my feed, find me on Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook. Note that I’ll soon close down the Peace, Love and Guacamole page on Facebook. For simplicity’s sake, I will be maintaining only one FB presence.

I’m really excited about this new space! I hope you’ll look around let me know what you think. And of course, come back often.

Cheers, Liz