Monthly Archives: September 2016
Feel like I am finally getting into a little bit of a routine with the 365 now, although it does still feel like a bit of an effort to keep getting these posts up! We’re flying through September, and it has been a busy month along the way, its good to take some slower days sometimes, just to relax, spend time with the family and appreciate what you have around you.
The last couple of weeks have also been quite exhausting as we have a little one who is waking up every night at the moment, maybe teething related again, who knows?! We can’t seem to find a reason for it, and the first night we tried using some teething gel that had been recommended by a number of people, Chloe was back off to sleep in 10 minutes!
256: The growing adventure continues, and the little landmark achievements still continue to amaze us, even though we’ve already been through this all once before with Olivia. On top of happily sitting up by herself now, Chloe has also taken to drinking from a beaker as well, and clearly loves to guzzle some water back in between bottles. Olivia has always been a good drinker, and I’m hoping Chloe is too!
257: Ah y’know, some days you just don’t have much going on and you forget all about the photos, today was one of those days. Suddenly its late, you’re tired, and you know that even though you’re fresh out of inspiration, ya gotta take that photo!
258: So in keeping with the recent post about achievements, our little lady has a new favourite past time… standing up! She loves it! Its very early days, she is very wobbly on her feet, even with support, but she just loves being on her feet and seeing the world from a different angle. Some days its the only way we can get her to stop being grumpy!
259: Some days your only photo is unintentional. This pen was something we brought home from a hotel that we stayed in whilst out in California on our honeymoon four years ago. It has been a pleasant reminder of our wonderful stay in the golden state, but sadly this pen has reached the end of its life. I took a photo to stick on the hotels facebook page, to thank them, and the following morning I realised its the only photo I’d taken all day! Thank goodness for Hipstamatic on the iPhone!
260: Not learning my lesson of making the effort to take a photo, this was another last-minute-just-before-I-went-to-bed type shot. I was feeling very tired due to the afore mentioned disrupted sleep due to the little one waking up crying and not wanting to go back to sleep. It feels like these two things, the dummy and the bottle are the only things stopping her from being grumpy sometimes. She’s a lovely baby really, full of smiles, but when she’s grumpy, you know about it, and the bottle and the dummy can be your best friends!
261: I love Fridays for so many reasons, but one of them being that I get to finish work an hour earlier and spend longer at home with my girls before they go to bed. This Friday was a little different as they wife was going straight out to meet friends in town, and so the survival of the children depended entirely on me! Pressure!! Its times like this that you really respect the single parents and all that goes into bringing up little ones with no-one else to rely on, just doing it for a few hours is enough! My wife does so much, and goes through this every day when I am at work, but I am less used to it, as she is always around. I managed to get them fed and in bed without breaking them, but captured this quick shot of Olivia as she watched tv and just thought how old she was starting to look. You have to enjoy it while they are little, as it doesn’t seem to last five minutes!
262: After a 1st birthday party for a friends little girl, we headed home to relax for a bit, but I had other things on my mind. Me and Olivia headed out in the car to StreetBike, as I wanted to look at helmets. Yes, I have put in for my CBT and will be buying a motorbike in the next few weeks. No, not a midlife crisis, just something I have wanted to do for a long time that I never thought I would get the chance to do. Going from having a car each to becoming a one car family has not presented too many difficulties, especially as I have been commuting to work by bicycle for four and a half years, but there are times when I am feeling tired or run down and just dont want to cycle, but then don’t want to deprive the wife of a car, while I leave it sat in the car park at work. Plus I have a number of friends with motorbikes and would love to go on a few rides out with them!
263: Looking after my friends boy again for the morning, and another walk over Lickey Hills. Its easy to get nice wide angle landscape shots, but I had my camera with its 50mm lens on today, which is not a wide angle lens, and it often best suited for portraits and head shots, so it forced me to think a little differently. I took this shot as I like it all the lines of the trees and as soon as I saw it on the back of the camera, I knew it was going to be black and white!
Back to the blog, and back to the 365 project, it has been a couple of weeks and I wanted to make Sunday night my regular blog night, but so far it hasn’t worked out that way, although there is still time to work on that for remainder of the 365 project. Its never too late to give up! We’re back into regular routines now that I’m back to work from the summer break. Accepting that it was time to go back was a little hard, I’ve had such a lovely time off with the wife and my two daughters. It has been fun, relaxing and a bit of a lazy summer break in some aspects, we didn’t go very far, or do very much, and my to-do list isn’t much smaller than it was when I started the summer break back in July! One thing I was keen to get back on top of was the running, and I’d even thought hard about hitting the training a bit harder and signing up for the Birmingham Half Marathon again this year, that was until an injury forced me to abandon the idea completely. A blister halfway round because of my worn out trainers should have been no big issue, but it meant I had to run the last 2.5 miles awkwardly to compensate for the painful blister instead of running with a more natural stride, doing unnoticed damage to my knee until I’d finished running. Harumph, that was my one chance to run the Birmingham Half Marathon gone!
So the summer break is over now, regular service is resumed, and its pretty much a countdown to autumn when the weather begins to change and the evenings get dark much earlier. Those evening runs with my friend are going to have to be done in the dark until closer to easter next year. We have half term to look forward to, plus bonfire night which is one of my favourite nights of the year, and then christmas which is now less than 100 days away.
243: Catching up from where we left off last time, and we’re up to September 5th now, which is Olivia’s birthday. After a weekend of celebrating, her actual birthday happened to be a Monday, the first day back to work for me sadly. We still had a lovely evening, which happened to be bath night for this cheeky lady.
244: A second day of intensive training at work, and so was looking forward to a drink at home that evening, which was made easy as one of my sisters was coming round for dinner with her other half to drop off Olivias card and present.
245: A hot day, of which there have been many lately, and along with the joys of the summer sunshine and rare warmth that allows us to leave the doors and windows open, one problem we seem to have is flies in the house, doing laps of the ceiling lights for some unknown reason. Fly spray isn’t very nice for everyone around, especially children, on top of the fact that it can be tricky to catch them all unless you treat the entire room and leave the house for at least an hour, so we went for a more old school method and hung up some fly paper, and it worked a treat. That’ll teach the little buggers!
246: The first day of the kids being back in school didn’t go so badly, but it soon became obvious that we were starting to lose the daylight a lot sooner than we we’ve been recently used to. I love the light evenings and mornings in the Summer, but we have to face that Autumn is knocking on the door, and temperatures are going to be dropping soon. Its a disappointing time of year for someone who cycles to work, as you begin to spend longer on the road in the dark. I have spent a some good money on bike lights and over winter they get used heavily!
247: Thankfully the end of the week, and as I was home early from work it gave us some options for what to do with our evening. After talking a lot lately about how to best deal with her redundancy payout, we’d agreed that it was about time for clare to upgrade her phone any buy a new handeset… the flashy iPhone 6 plus, and so after deciding not to wait in for delivery, it was into the car and off to the Apple Store for a family trip out! We even stopped off at the Build-A-Bear shop to treat the girls.
248: Saturday and Clare is out for lunch with friends, and I can’t pretend I don’t feel a little bit more under pressure. I am used to the support of having the wife around to make sure I don’t break one of children or something stupid. I know she’s perfectly used to having them on her own by now, she’s a pro at it having been off work for so long with each of them, but its unfamiliar territory for me. She knows all their routines, where their spare clothes are, all the little details I miss out on when I am at work, and consequently I am not used to this level of responsibility very often! I soon get over it and decide to distract myself by setting up a flash and get some nice portraits taken of the girls while I have the chancel
249: Sunday and a visit to the mothers house, where I find an opportunity to capture a still life. I like getting over to see my mom with the girls when I get chance, as they no longer have a car anymore, and public transport to ours is limited. There are always fresh flowers there, but it takes a bit of effort to try and find a different way to shoot them.
250:The weaning process is in full swing and going very well with Chloe now, we seem to have the feeding routine fairly well established. She’s still has her off days when she just doesn’t seem hungry, and there is no getting any food past those pursed lips! It was even worth trying to fool her by giving her a spoon of her own, and trying to get the food in while her mouth was open. This had limited success. Sometimes they’re just not hungry and there’s nothing you can do about it!
251: One of those days where the camera is a bit of an after thought, and doesn’t get brought out until I am off to bed and realise that I had totally forgot. This shot at least reminded me that it is time to swap the tinted lens on my cycling glasses, which are a very useful addition to the commuting cyclist. Far from being just a fashion accessory and nothing else, they keep wind, rain, bugs and flying stones out of my eyes while I am moving at speed.
252: After recently purchasing my ticket to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers in December, which I am very excited about as its my first time seeing them in over 20 years of being a fan, I have been annoying the wife by playing this album on repeat, which is one of my favourite albums. I caught up with my friend at the pub on Saturday, who is also a big fan, and to my horror doesn’t have this album, and so through the magic of the mobile phone and amazon, sat in the pub with my beer I ordered him a copy which arrived today!
253: Today I woke up to a rather foggy start to the day, very beautiful but the kind of scene that makes a commuting cyclist a bit nervous. Thankfully I was fairly confident that my lights would be up for the job of keeping me visible. They are one area that I didn’t want to skimp on, as they are one of the most important parts of my bike. I’d sooner have good lights than any hi-viz clothing or even a helmet!
254: Home alone with my girls again as the wife heads out with friends to see the new Bridget Jones film at the cinema with her friends. I treated myself to a pizza and a few beers in front of a more manly film, and then remembered the home made wine kit in the garage that should be ready by now… although sadly it wasn’t quite, but I did get to taste some and it tasted good. I just need to leave it another week or so to settle before I bottle it.
255: Saturday is finally here and I’m off to shoot another wedding today. The couple are two lovely people who are both widowed and remarrying, but still wanted a classic wedding day. The weather was on our side, an overcast but not cold day, making some great light for photos. Even though I was driving all the way from Birmingham to Coventry I realised that the reception venue was a hotel I’d already been to twice before! It was a very relaxed and easy day, but I was still glad to be home at the end of it.
Well this post is going to be the last one of the summer holidays, September is now here, I’m going back to work after six fabulous weeks off with the family, and I am very grateful for the time I have had with them. We’ve done some lovely things, seen family and friends, had plenty of BBQs and enjoyed some lovely weather on days out, in the park, or even just in the garden.
230: This was the day that the wife was out for lunch with work friends, and I was left to watch the girls. Even as a dad of three years, I still feel the pressure of parenting alone when the wife isn’t around! Its like I have never done it before, and one of them might explode or something. Thankfully the big one was in nursery and the little one still isn’t moving very far when you put her down. One thing she is doing is showing us that its almost time to give up the baby bouncer, for as much as she loves it, its getting hard to keep her safe in there!
231: Today was a hot one, a strong reminder that summer wasn’t done just yet. It was my turn to head out for a couple of hours. I’d arranged to meet up with some of the other dads from our antenatal group, and we found some of the new and quirky bars in Birmingham to head to. Not the kind where the kids were all hanging out, doing shots and fighting, this was a little more refined, but still had a “we’re off the beaten track and cool” feel about it. Even the doors had some funky artwork on!
232: Not all selfie’s are polished works of art. There is a growing culture of particularly young ladies who seem to have the selfie down to a fine art and will be prepared to take 500 of the same shot until they’re happy. I gave this idea two fingers and thought I’d grab a shot during my 5 mile run from dropping the car off for its service. Thankfully the father in law was around to take me back to pick it up later that day!
233: Road trip was on! After a painful drive down the M5 we made it down to Devon to stay with friends for the weekend, and that night thought we’d all head out to Lyme Regis beach for a walk and to grab some ice cream. I took other shots, but particularly enjoyed the serene feel of this shot. Canvas material? Something to hang on the wall as a work of art? Maybe so… until the wife shot me down in flames and exclaimed “Its rubbish… theres nothing in it!!”. **shakes head**
234: We headed out today to see a number of places including some fun catching crabs and eating fish and chips by the sea. It is lovely to just relax and spend time with friends sometimes, life can be so hectic at times.
235: These girls love playing together, and now there is a new one to add to the group. I only wish we could see them more often. Today we had some lunch before jumping on the motorway and headed home. Thankfully as it was a bank holiday weekend the motorway was still quiet on Sunday.
236: We were supposed to head out to Stratford-Upon-Avon to meet up with some other friends, which sadly ended up being cancelled at the last minute, and so we headed out for a walk around the local park instead, as it seemed a shame to waste the sunshine, and with the summer holidays drawing to a close and my return to work imminent, I wanted to spend some more time doing nice things with the family. Todays photo was yet another portrait, as I love looking back on them all and seeing the changes.
237: I was out this morning taking care of my friends son for a few hours again after I’d dropped Olivia at nursery, and there was a window of a few hours before the wife headed out for food with a friend. I decided to capture this shot of Chloe now she is sitting up so much, as most of the previous shots were of her lying down. She seems to be changing at an astronomical rate at the moment, and doubling in size! The is becoming a real character, always full of smiles and loving the interaction with adults, very much like her big sister, but very different at the same time.
238: Yeah yeah, another portrait, I need to get the camera out and try some different shots, I know, but today Chloe was all dressed up for her grandmothers birthday and looked gorgeous. We all headed out for a family carvery, which was amazing, even if I did over do things a little.
239: Back out looking after my friends son for a few more hours again, and a nice walk in the Lickey Hills to blow a few cobwebs out as I haven’t done a great deal of exercise since I have been off work. September is now here, and summer is starting to disappear. The days are still warm, but the sun is setting much earlier, and the nights are feeling a little cooler. I think we still have a couple of BBQs left, but autumn is definitely not far away. The green in this picture will soon be replaced by reds and oranges.
240: I’m not going to lie, this was a day I didn’t take many photos at all, and had very little to choose from, but Chloe’s smile just melts my heart sometimes, and she looked so cute just lying back on the cushions after sitting up for a while and then just giving up!
241: Our little baby is no longer our little baby, and we struggle to call her our little girl, she seems so much older than her years sometimes. Her 3rd birthday is just around the corner and today we had a soft play party for her and some of her friends, she is so confident and took it all in her stride, but almost looked a little overwhelmed at the attention was very much focused on her as the cake came out. A rather stunning peppa pig handmade by the wife I might add!
242: The second part of the celebrations was on the Sunday as the parents and one of my sisters came over for a BBQ. We decided to open the bulk of the presents while everyone was around, and Olivia had a fantastic day to finish off a fantastic weekend. Plus we had a little visit from a friend and our second surprise pregnancy announcement of the weekend. Two separate friends are both due with their second babies and both expecting in March. How exciting!
So That’s it, summer holidays are over, our girl is almost 3, and the little one has already turned 7 months old. Time is flying past and the new school year is upon us again as Sunday night lands with a disappointing thud. So much I wanted to do, and so many things still on my to-do list! I am just grateful for the time I have had at home with the family, it has been invaluable and I have been very lucky to have six weeks off, not just with the girls, but with the wife as well. Will we be able to do it again next year? Well, if we can work the finances, then possibly. Fingers crossed!