portraits of my children {11/52}



The 52 Project: a portrait of my children once a week & every week in 2014.

Lena: Both of these photos are from last week in Florence with my family. On Thursday we visited Pisa, and while we were walking to the Leaning Tower we spotted this balloon abandoned in a bush. Lena and Gil played with it the whole time we were there! (Also I was editing this photo and was going to straighten it, but then I realized that everything in the photo is tilted. That’s Pisa and little kids for you!)

Gil: Our last night in Florence, the kids rode the carousel in the Piazza della Republica. The carousel itself was magnificent, and I found out later that it is the ancient carousel of the Picci family and was built in the early 20th century. But of course none of that mattered to little Gil, who was thrilled to be up there with his Auntie Ema, twirling around and around!


Unfortunately, one bad thing happened in Florence: my iPhone was stolen. Ugh! We were enjoying the view from the Piazzale Michelangelo, and I stupidly set my camera bag down to take some photos. My iPhone was in my camera bag. When I realized my mistake, the bag was gone.

The thing that devastated me the most about losing that perfectly-good, planned-to-have-it-for-years phone, though, was the photos and videos that I lost with it. I take several photos (or dozens) a day on my phone, and I don’t keep up with downloading them onto my computer. Honestly, I hadn’t downloaded them for months. I sobbed afterwards to Elliott that I felt like I’d lost a part of Lena and Gil’s childhoods. I’m thankful that I’ve saved the best through Instagram and my blog and emails to family, but there are so many I’ll never get back.

Anyway, the phone is gone. I started to think I might prefer to just live with a flip phone for awhile — so much less distracting for me and my kids! But because we have a contract and are paying for data, it makes financial sense to get another smartphone. I’m hoping, though, that until my new one arrives, this break from an iPhone will make me more aware of my phone-checking habits and help me be more present with my children. It’s already been eye-opening for me. Maybe I’ll blog about it!

Do you have a smartphone? Do you wish you didn’t?

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22 Responses to portraits of my children {11/52}

  1. Alica March 17, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

    Fantastic photos of your kids! How many of us have pictures of our kiddos in such interesting places?! I’m sorry about your phone…I would still be sobbing…for the same reasons. :( I don’t have a smart phone…we just have the simplest, most basic phones there are, but really it’s all we need right now, working at home, etc.

    • Becca March 17, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

      I’m borrowing a simple, basic phone right now and enjoying the retro feel! Haha, but seriously, it is kind of nice not to have anything to “check” all the time. The world keeps on spinning whether I have an iPhone or not!

  2. Carrie March 17, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    Oh, that stinks! I am so sorry!

    • Becca March 17, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

      Thanks, Carrie. I still can’t get over my carelessness! Such a loss… of money, of memories, of convenience. Learn from me. :-/

  3. Sarah March 17, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

    I’m crying right along with you at the loss of the photos on your phone :(. I will say, though, that I have never had a smart phone and plan to avoid getting one until it becomes our only option. Going back to the States, maybe this will be the case? Today we had an all-day power outage in Marinai….which meant no internet on our home computers or Kindle. It was glorious! I relished the lack of distraction – especially with the boys.

    • Becca March 17, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

      I can imagine! But whenever I feel this way — “oh, the lack of internet is amazing!” — I question a) my sincerity if otherwise I’m online so much and b) my motivation if I don’t take any steps to curb my usage and distractions. These are all things I’m mulling over now with the lack of an iPhone… definitely food for thought for me, and other moms of young kids!

  4. Ali March 18, 2014 at 12:22 am #

    Lovely pictures of your kids on vacation!

    I am so sorry about the loss of your phone, and all the pictures and videos that were on it. What a terrible and frustrating loss!

    When I got my first smartphone, my husband encouraged me to get a Dropbox account and add it to my phone. Then each time I took a picture with my phone it would automatically upload to my Dropbox account the next time I got onto my computer, ensuring I would have all my phone pictures no matter what happened to my phone. I’m so glad I did that as my phone (which was already well-used by my brother-in-law before I took it over) did eventually die one day and wouldn’t revive. I didn’t have to worry about my pictures at all, though, since they were already backed-up on my Dropbox account. (I did lose all my notes that were on my phone, though. Now I use Google Keep for all my note-taking needs, both on my phone and on my computer.)

    Maybe look into syncing your new phone with Dropbox to see if that method might work well for you to keep any new pictures safe and sound. (I’m not sure if it works with videos since I’ve only used my phone for pictures so far, but it might.) Hope that it helps!

    • Becca March 19, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

      This is a really great idea and REALLY helpful, Ali, thank you! My sister-in-law told me she has a similar thing going with iCloud; whenever she’s in a wireless zone, her phone automatically updates her photos to iCloud. I checked my iCloud account and all my contacts are saved, but sadly my photos were not. Stupid me.

      The first thing I’m going to do with my new phone is set up a Dropbox or iCloud account that syncs them automatically. :-(

      • Violet March 20, 2014 at 4:41 am #

        Syncing my photos with Dropbox has been a huge lifesaver for me as well! My iCloud storage fills up if I try back my photos up on there, but Dropbox has quite a bit more space and leaves my iCloud space free for other stuff from my phone. So sorry to hear about the loss of so many special photos! :(

        • Becca March 21, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

          This is so helpful, Violet! Thank you! Dropbox it is.

  5. Katie | The Surly Housewife March 18, 2014 at 5:32 am #

    Such cute pictures! Little Gil on the merry-go-round is priceless.

    I am so sorry about your phone!! that stinks. Plain and simple. I love my iphone and I probably use it too much but I love being able to take everywhere so I have pics of my kids at all the random places we go. I second the use of dropbox. It is so handy! I am worse at texting my husband throughout the day more than checking social media. Most days (some more than others) I can put myself on a limit of checking fb/twitter/instagram. It is a great idea for a post! How much is too much when it comes to your iPhone.

    • Becca March 19, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

      Thanks for your encouragement, Katie! And yes, taking pics of my kids is definitely my #1 reason for having a phone. I haven’t really missed it for anything but that, and it’s been almost a week now. Oh well…

  6. Maggy March 19, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    oh booo, so sorry about your phone! What a bummer about the photos, plus I don’t know how it works for you but getting an unlocked phone is SO expensive! We might have to get new ones when we go back and I just don’t know if I can do it (maybe with my eyes closed…) Love the photos of your children though…you still have some amazing ones :)

    • Becca March 19, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

      Maggy, you know what we just went through, then. :-( My parents-in-law just bought me an unlocked phone in the States (where it’s a little cheaper than Italy) and are sending it to us. It was SO expensive and so discouraging. I wish we didn’t have the data plan; I would have happily lived without it! But this really is the best decision, I think, and I know I’ll be grateful for it. *gulp*

      • Becca March 19, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

        (We are reimbursing my parents-in-law, of course!)

      • Mark March 21, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

        Becca, can you give the low down on what type of cell phone to bring to Sigonella? We are moving there in June and are trying to decide how to make our purchase.

        • Becca March 21, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

          Mark, you can easily purchase a phone here at the Vodafone store on base. They have pretty good prices and can set you up with a SIM card, phone plan (pay-as-you-go or a contract), and phone of your choice. They have regular office hours, are located right next to the commissary, and all the staff members are super friendly and speak excellent English.

          However, do you want to use an iPhone here? In that case, you need an unlocked phone; whatever iPhone you have now in the States won’t work unless it’s unlocked. Unlocked, no-contract iPhones are expensive! You can buy one at the Apple store before you leave and save money because an unlocked phone is more expensive here. (The Vodafone store on base only sells the unlocked iPhone 5S, and we just compared prices and decided to have my parents-in-law buy one in the States and send it to me here.) That’s really the only thing I would recommend doing. Otherwise I think just wait and get a phone here.

          Hope this helps, and let me know if you have any questions!

  7. Alise G March 21, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    Oh no!! That’s probably one of my biggest fears about losing my phone. We actually lost our iPad yesterday and I was secretly glad we would have one less electronic device to distract us from the day (plus my eldest daughter is super addicted to it. She won’t leave it alone or stop asking for it if she can see it, which drives me batty). But then I thought of the few pictures and videos we have on it that can’t be found anywhere else. :( so sad! I’m feeling your pain!

    The advice above to get a Dropbox app is awesome. I’ll be doing that today too.

    • Becca March 21, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

      I had one small inkling of happiness about losing my phone because I thought it would be less distracting for me (my kids aren’t allowed to touch/use it except on very rare, special occasions), but then because of my contract I had to buy a new one. So much for that bit of joy! I would probably feel the same way as you about an iPad.

      I actually really wish it had been my old camera instead of my phone. I actually DO need a new camera! But guess you can’t choose what gets stolen, right?

    • Mark March 21, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

      Becca, Just what I needed to hear. Thanks


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