A family man and his camera

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Day 064 – Its not the size of your family, its how often you see them

Day 64 – May 20th

When the wife and me sat down to plan our wedding about six years ago, one thing became obvious very quickly, in that there is a huge contrast in the size of our families. My mom, for example, was one of six, whereas the mother-in-law was an only child. Consequently, I have many cousins, whereas the wife only has one.

Whilst growing up, I used to play with my cousins a lot, almost as much as I played with my friends, in fact they were pretty much just an extension of my friends. Over the years the family has broken down quite a bit, to the point where we barely see each other now, my mom and her siblings don’t really get on a great deal. As a result, family get togethers are few and far between, which does make me a little sad considering how much we used to see each other while we were growing up. In fact one of my cousins even unfriended me on facebook because her mom and my mom don’t get along, yet me and her have never fallen out, in fact far from it, we were quite close at one point, and now because of our mothers squabbling she’s turned her back on me. Still, families are weird, and there is certainly no escaping this fact, no matter how big or small they are. Having a smaller family, like my wife’s does make things much easier, and the fact is that they all still see each other much more frequently.

Olivia and Chloe have got four cousins, although the two from my side, my sisters girls, are all grown up, so we don’t see a great deal of them. The two from my wife’s side, her brothers children are still little, with one the same age as Olivia, so they like to play with each other whenever they get chance. Today happened to be one of those days, although it soon became obvious that the new kids film ‘Sing’ was taking over the living room today! At least they weren’t running around and screaming like idiots!

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Day 063 – Lets wait for the sun, it can’t rain forever

Day 63 – May 19th

Ah yes, the sweet taste of the weekend. Friday means getting home nice and early, and it wasn’t long before the girls wanted to go out in the garden, no great surprise there, except for the fact that Chloe now seems to be as keen as Olivia. The lawn was still wet from a week of showers, so it was time for the girls to put more waterproof footwear on before we headed outside. Although we’d never actually got around to buying any boots for Chloe, thankfully Clare had kept Olivia’s old ones which now fitted Chloe. It was a bit of a battle keeping them on, she probably needs to grow into them a little bit more, but they did the trick and kept her feet dry.

We had a whole lot more rain to come that evening, including a hail shower, but we were safely indoors by that point. The home owner in me can’t help but think how good it will be for the lawn and the garden plants.

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Day 062 – Happy birthday to me

Day 62 – May 18th

Yup, its my birthday! I’ve reached that ripe old age where going out to celebrate seems to be becoming slightly less important, just as long as I can put my feet up with a glass of something in my hand in front of a good film, I’m happy!

The original plan was to head out with the wife and girls for a meal as soon as I got home from work. Yes, I had to spend the day at work, as sadly in my job, taking a day off for a birthday isn’t really an option, so I have to work any birthday that isn’t on a Saturday or a Sunday. When my mother and sisters all suggested coming over to visit that evening, it made more sense to stay at home and order in some food. It didn’t matter quite so much what time people arrived then, and they could all see the girls properly without anyone having to rush their food so we could get back for the girls bedtime.

It was a lovely evening and everyone enjoyed the cupcakes that the wife had made, even if she had decorated them with a less than typical birthday message. There is no denying it now though, I am officially old!

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Day 061 – I’ve been here before

Day 61 – May 17th

A day of hope and uncertainty. For me it’s birthday eve, time to open a few cards and presents with the wife and girls as I almost certainly won’t have time in the morning. I run a tight ship getting ready for work in the morning, and don’t have a lot of time for anything that can otherwise wait until later. Tomorrow I’ll have the family coming over straight after work, so I’ll be needing to entertain them when they arrive. 

The girls have got me a bottle of bourbon, although fairly certain they had some help in purchasing that! The wife had bought me a bottle of rather expensive aftershave I’d had my eye on for a while, but had never bought for myself because of its price. I remember mentioning this in passing while I was looking online, although not as any kind of hint, but it seems that the wife was actually listening!

The more significant part of the day was that the mother in law was going back into hospital for her second operation, and it was going to be a pretty big event. It had to be done, but it left us all literally feeling a bit useless all day as we waited for some news that they’d finally finished and that all had gone well.

Thankfully they finished on time, as planned, and everything had gone well. A massive relief!

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Day 060 – I don’t want it to always be like this

Day 60 – May 16th

Another year has rolled around again, and with my birthday almost here, I sit here and wonder where a whole 12 months has gone, and wonder what I did with my time… and how the hell it made 12 months vanish in a flash!

This time last year I was about to turn forty, it was the last couple of days of my thirties, and I guess I was feeling a little reflective. My thirties had been far better to me that I had ever imagined, especially when I consider where I was, and what was happening when I actually turned thirty. It wasn’t a great place, I jumped into a job that I hated and was dating a girl who was totally not suited to me. She was a party girl who gave no thought to the future, and was all about pleasing herself, I didn’t even get a present for my thirtieth birthday. Forget surprise trips to Vegas or New York like some of my friends seemed to be enjoying, I just had to be grateful she’d bothered to get me a card, seriously!

Anyway, without going into too much detail about that, roughly about 18 months later I met my wonderful wife, who has changed my life in so many wonderful ways, and given me two beautiful girls. So as I sit here looking back on what has been, I can’t be too regretful for the choices I’ve made, as they’ve brought me here to where I am today.

My only real regret is that we don’t make enough time for each other at the moment. Its all part and parcel of being parents, the girls are young, and they come before everything else. They are our world and we both put them above ourselves and each other. We had no idea what being a parent would actually be like beforehand, regardless of what people told us, so this overwhelming love for our children that has made absolutely everything else less of a priority has kind of created an unwritten understanding between me and the wife, in that I am no longer her number one any more, and vice versa… the girls come first. We happily accept this, and know that one day they will become independent young ladies, and we will be left with little option but to turn the focus back to ourselves again.

It would be nice, however, to make sure that me and the wife still have a bit of time together, as a couple, to enjoy each others company. To remember what makes the other one smile, and enjoy all the reasons we got together in the first place. We just need to show a little more patience first, our time will come!

Moving onto todays photo, this particular evening I had invited over an old school friend, back from when I was at infant and junior school, so it has been a good few years since we not only knew each other, but actually last saw each other, up until we’d started meeting just before Christmas. She had enquired about photography training courses on facebook, and I replied that I had been thinking of putting some together. If she was willing to be my guinea pig, then I’d happily share my knowledge for free. We both got something out of it, and it was great to catch up too, especially as she wasn’t living far away. She may well be reading this, and I hope she doesn’t mind me using this photo for the day, it was only taken to demonstrate a lighting technique, but I think it turned out well!

Canon 50D – Canon 24-70mm @ 31mm – F/3.5 – ISO400 – 1/160s – Canon 430EX speedlite off-camera w/radio trigger

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Day 059 – Just let me sleep

Day 59 – May 15th

Well, its the UK, sunshine and dry weather can’t last for long, the rain never came yesterday, but today its arrival was inevitable. This morning was a wet start to the day, which used to be a minor annoyance when I cycled to work, but now I am riding the motorbike it makes me a little bit nervous. The motorbike is considerably heavier than a bicycle, and just as liable to slip on a bend, as it has done previously! Having such a small 125cc engine, my bike also has small tyres, as they are all that is needed for an engine of this size, but the downside is that there is less rubber in contact with the tarmac even at low speeds, than on a bigger motorbike!

I made it to and from work without any issues though, I have learnt how to handle the bike a bit better now, and know where I have to be more cautious, especially in the wet. hence todays photo, rain drops on my living room window from when I got home from work.

Today wasn’t a day I wanted to be having any balance issues on the bike, as I was already feeling rough. Pushing myself at the gym on Saturday had done me no favours, and a lack of sleep over the last week or so was finally catching up with me. I monitor my sleep during the night with my apple watch, which I leave on, and my iphone, and over the last seven days I have averaged five and a half hours sleep a night… that’s pathetic! How am I getting only five and a half hours, not just one night, but every night for a week?! No wonder I am run down and my immune system has left me an “out of office” notice for the weekend!

I promised myself that I was going to start working on earlier nights, and so far I clearly haven’t done a great job of it! Oh well, if at first you don’t succeed, then try, try again!

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Day 58 – The day the rain never came

Day 58 – May 14th

I’m not sure a Sunday comes much better than a Formula 1 Grand Prix at lunchtime, followed by eating out at a carvery in the afternoon.

We bathed the girls in the morning after failing to get it done on Saturday night, and with it being a surprisingly sunny and warm morning, headed out into the garden to play. Any opportunity to turn the tv off and burn a little energy is always welcomed. The frustrating thing is that the weather forecast had made us certain we were expecting showers, and consequently this meant we had planned very little. It would have been the perfect day for a BBQ if we’d had any idea of how nice and sunny it was going to be.

Of course, we could only assume that the promised rain was going to make an appearance at some point and so opted to head out for a carvery once the race was over, rather than chancing a BBQ or even cooking. We even gambled on the blue sky and sunshine, and walked down to the carvery and back to stretch out legs, as any rain was clearly not going to be here any time soon.

Its a bonus having a carvery on the doorstep, but Sunday afternoon seems to be when everyone wants to go, the place was very busy, even though we hadn’t gone at lunchtime, and the experience wasn’t quite as much fun as it could have been. I like my food hot, not the room I’m sitting in! The food was good though, and the staff were helpful, so you have to give them points for that. Our favourite carvery is a bit of a drive away, but its definitely worth the effort, we must book at table there soon, and with my birthday coming up, it looks like we have an excuse!

As the day drew to a close the sunset was giving us some hope that the day was going to stay dry and I wanted to take a slightly different spin on my usual type of sunset shot. I liked the way the rooftop aerials were lined up and disappearing into the distance, and thought a black and white twist would be interesting. Does it work? You decide…