365 project, Photography

Day 137 – The devil finds TV for idle viewing

Day 137 – Aug 1st

A week off work should mean turning off the alarm clock, but any parent knows that this is a fairly irrelevant task, as those pesky kids have no concept of “sleeping in”, and I have barely peeled my eyelids apart before our bed is turned into a trampoline.

There is a delay at this point, a few moments where me and the wife see how long we can tolerate the sleep terrorists invading our bed and crawling over us like we’re some kind of fun, organic assault course.

The temptation of a hot cup of tea and some toast is a strong one, and escaping downstairs means the little ones have enough distractions to occupy themselves so that we can get used to being awake.

After dropping Olivia at nursery for the day, there was only Chloe to entertain, but with the wife taking her shopping, it meant that I could actually take a little time to use the steam room at the gym, something I had been wanting to do for a while.

I have been missing the gym recently, due to some sort of chest infection, on top of the fact that I somehow seem to have injured my heel, preventing me from running or doing a great deal of cardio. I usually get to the gym in the evening when I have the time, after the girls are in bed. I don’t like missing out on bed time and reading stories unless I have to, which means my gym session is often ending just before the gym closes, so there is no time for the luxury of the steam room or sauna. Today I thought I’d give it a blast, and see if the steam room could help clear up my chest a bit, on top of its other reported benefits.

With only one car between us, I was dropped up to the gym when the wife left for the shops, but had to make my own way back. Halfway, I paused along the bridge over the motorway to grab this shot. I had toplay with a few settings to get some motion blur in the traffic to give it a sense of movement, easy to do at night time with longer shutter speeds, but not so easy in the day time.

I found a little time in the afternoon to start sorting out the garage, it has been on the agenda for a while, and whilst I didn’t have quite the impact I wanted, I did make a start and have a few ideas on how to maximise the minimal space we have available. The six week holidays sound like a great opportunity to do so many things, when in reality they are gone in a flash, and some serious planning and time management is required if you want to get done half of the things that you expect to. Its no secret that I have spent a portion of the last few blog posts whinging about the weather, but its so annoying when all you want to do it get outdoors and it can’t go a single day without absolutely throwing it down! Yes, I know I can’t complain, I’m aware that most people don’t get that much time off in one go, but when you are used to it, you get used to saving jobs for then, and making plans to see people, go places and entertain the kids.

As the day draws to a close I can grab myself a beer, catch up on the blog and… wait, whats this? The wife has put Celebrity Big Brother on the TV?!? Oh man, I really don’t want to watch this, its truly painful… but who are these people?? Its the kind of show that the wife loves, but that makes me want to put the TV on eBay! I am sat with the TV straight across from me and I am trying not to look, but I am totally dismayed at what counts as “being a celebrity” these days, and my eyes keep being drawn back to the joke that is modern entertainment! So far half of the people who have walked in to the house were absolute nobodys who have had a vague appearance on a reality show, and are now being classed as a celebrity in order to appear on a celebrity reality show! It must get pretty awkward when all these so-called “celebrities” meet and look at each other, wondering who everyone else in the room actually is, because the truth is… none of them are famous enough to be called celebrities!!

At least I have the internet!

365 project, Photography

Day 070 – Only mad dogs and Englishman go out in the midday sunĀ 

Day 70 – May 26th

The warm weather continues and I get home after work to find my three ladies at home, sat around looking fed up as they were just too hot to do anything. The paddling pool was still out and so we decided to put some clean water in it and throw the girls in. The wife was heading out to the hospital to visit her mom again that evening, so it was down to me to get the girls ready for bed. Both of them were feeling tired, so it was a fairly simple process. Chloe had her milk and was almost instantly read for bed, almost as if the milk was telling her body “time for sleep”. Olivia is allowed to watch the iPad in bad on a Friday and a Saturday night, so she was up early to watch a few episodes of Paw Patrol, the new favourite watch. We have had to put restrictions on the use of the iPad as Olivia is becoming quite obsessed with it, and I don’t think it is healthy to let little brains become absorbed in this virtual world. A report I read recently, which can be found here, suggested that even very young children can become addicted to them, and excessive screen time can lead to obesity, aggression and depression. We like to make sure that the girls get a balance of everything, painting, writing, outdoor play, as well as time in front of the tv to relax, and some iPad time, which I try to strictly regulate, as Olivia, although not even 4 yet, would live on the thing if she could! I don’t mind 30 minutes in bed on a Friday and Saturday night though, everything in moderation!

With the girls asleep, its time to put my feet up and relax, Friday night, the start of the weekend, and more importantly the start of half term and a whole week off work.

365 project, Photography

Day 034 – waiting for silence to happen

Day 34 – Apr 20th

My attempts at getting to bed early recently have been stalled, as we have a new surge of teeth coming through with Chloe and her sleep has been a little tempremental. Thankfully, any waking up and crying seem to be before we go to bed anyway, and so is easily resolved with a cuddle and a dummy. Plus we have also started getting Olivia up recently, just before I go to bed so she can use the toilet, in an attempt to keep her dry through the night as she is now finally out of pull ups. She’s generally pretty good anyway, but she’s such a heavy sleeper that she doesn’t always wake up when she needs to go, and me staying up a bit longer to take her as late as possible before I hit the sack is a better alternative than being woken at 4am by either a “daddy I need a wee!” or the worst case scenario “daddy my beds all wet!”

Today had been a quiet kinda day, Olivia was at nursery, and Clare was out for lunch with friends, so it was just me and Chloe for the afternoon… that was until she decided it was nap time. Then it was just me! There was a ton of things I could be getting on with, but you just never know how long nap time is going to last, and I didn’t really want to start something I couldn’t finish… although that to-do list isn’t getting any shorter! Where does the time go?


Day 022 – Its not real Daddy, its just pretend!

Day 22 – Apr 8th

Sometimes plans don’t always go ahead, I guess telling the people you’re planning to visit in advance gives you a better chance of them being available. This oversight left our Saturday free at the last minute, and with the weather looking good and no other plans I decided to drag the family out to the Wyre Forest for a picnic and a walk around the Gruffalo trail.

I’d been meaning to take the girls for a while after meeting friends there a few months back and finding out about the Gruffalo trail, especially as we’d watched the Gruffalo almost on a daily basis at one point, and read the book countless times.

We were a little late leaving the house, and with the weather being so sunny and pleasant, I fully expected the car park to be full when we got there, and was very thankful that after 45 minutes of driving we arrived to find plenty of spaces still left. With the car locked up, and a quick toilet stop, we grabbed a few ice creams from the cafe before setting off along the trail. Olivia was a trooper and walked the whole way around, while Chloe enjoyed the view from a rucksack style carrier. This carrier was a great little investment, Chloe loves being in it and I just want to make sure it gets plenty of use before she outgrows it, unlike some of the clothing she’s been bought in the last year! It was great to enjoy nature, some fresh air and get some sun on our skin. I can’t wait for Chloe to be a bit more steady on her feet so she can do some walking too!


Fish and chips is the new rock and roll

Sometimes, when you have kids, that’s just how exciting your weekend gets!

There used to be a time when Friday night was about getting out of work and getting ready for the weekend, in whatever shape or form that took. The inclusion of children into the equation always puts a new spin on this. Friday night with a two year old and a pregnant wife who is tired and I think its fair to say, a little grumpy after a day at work and then having to deal with public transport and the idiots that come with it, our evening, or probably mine specifically was beginning to look like a quiet one. Literally flying solo after 9:30pm with nothing but a few beers and a film to keep me company, as the good lady retires to bed to try and catch up on some much needed sleep. So the mention of abandoning dinner and in fact dining courtesy of the local chip shop suddenly seemed like quite an exciting prospect! It may not be reinventing the weekend, or having rock stars envying my lifestyle, but even so, its a nice way to end the week of you don’t exactly have plans to “party till the sun comes up”!

The wife is now just over 5 months pregnant and is already looking as big as she was at around 7 months with the last pregnancy, and consequently she is often tired and not wanting to stray far from home. So as much as I love to make the most of the weekend, sometimes you have to try and limit your plans a bit, and just relax and let things happen. I have a bad habit of trying to cram too much into the weekends, much to the disapproval of my wife. While it’s nice to make the most of two days off work, and try to see people and do the thing you have been waiting all week to do… there is more than just me to consider. On such a weekend recently, we tried not to make any plans and just ended up visiting the parents on Saturday so that Olivia could see her grandparents. We left the women behind, giving the wife the chance to put her feet up, while I took Olivia out for a walk with grandad. Some trees and a bit of running water was like a big adventure for a tiny person!

On the Sunday I convinced the wife that although she was tired, a little bit of fresh air and stretching her legs would be good for her. I was keen to get Olivia up Clent hills, especially during the colourful Autumn months with all the leaves falling off the trees, and got in touch with one of our friends lived close by, and so we met up with them and let the kids play together. We’d got up there a little late in the afternoon, and as the sun began to set,maths temperature seemed to plummet. This was our cue to get back in the car and head off for a nice hot cup of tea, how very British of us! 

I was just really pleased that we’d at least managed to get Olivia outdoors in the fresh air, enjoying nature and exploring a bit. I want her to be interested in nature, instead of just watching on tv. I want her to enjoy getting outside and walking, whatever the weather. I’m pretty convinced that if the weather was a bit miserable, it may well just be me and Olivia, with the wife refusing to come out and sitting at home thinking what an idiot daddy is for taking Olivia out in the rain! Hopefully we won’t have too much of a wet Autumn, and winter may be a little more traditional with a bit of ice and snow to make us appreciate being all wrapped up. Obviously I do have my concerns about the ice and a pregnant wife, especially living in a cul-de-sac where there is very little through traffic or people walking to keep the paths and roads clear. 

In fact, after a recently fall on my bike, I decided to upgrade my front tyre, from its worn out state with almost 3000 miles on it, to a brand new Continental winter tyre with a lot more grip on it. 


Thankfully some of the potholes on the Hagley Road have been filled in recently, but what they’ve also done is painted over the white lines on the road that I often go over when cycling between stationary traffic, and all it takes is nothing more than a little morning dew on them to make them more slippery than an ice rink with an oil spill on it! I’ve kinda lost my confidence in cycling in anything other than dry weather, but hopefully this new tyre will help make me feel a little safer on my morning commute. At the end of the day, I have only one goal, and that’s getting home in one piece to see my little girl… oh yes of course, and the wife!