365 project, Photography

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

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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 066 – I may let go of your hand, but never your heart

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Day 66 – May 22nd

They grow up so fast? Will she always be seen as the baby of the family? It seems like five minutes ago that we were putting her down for naps in her moses basket and all she did was drink milk all day. Now she walks, feeds herself, climbs the slide in the garden on her own, and has even started making sounds that sound like “Mah” and “Dah”. We’re not convinced the latter isn’t just coincidence, but we’d like to think she is close to calling us mommy and daddy. I can’t even think back and remember when Olivia actually started doing that, it feels like she’s always done it!

Olivia from age 1-3 was a fun and exciting time, as her personality developed and she learned to do so much. I just want to make sure we get just as excited when Chloe does it, just because she’s the second child, doesn’t mean its any less of an achievement!

365 project

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

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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.

365 project, Photography

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

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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

365 project, Photography

Day 047 – Children make memories, not mess

Day 47 – May 3rd

Feeding the children has become a part of our normal meal time now. Quite often, if we are eating at a sensible time, the girls will eat pretty much what we are eating, making life a lot easier as we are only cooking one meal. As any parent knows though, meal times aren’t always that straight forward. Today happened to be a day where little miss I-will-eat-anything-if-it-stays-still-for-long-enough decided she was going to mess with her meal, and totally refuse her normally favourite yoghurt… that was until we left it on the table, took her out of her high chair and turned our backs.

Suddenly yoghurt was the new favourite thing again!

Only this time she was feeding herself!

It was on the floor, on the chair, on the back of the sofa, on her face, on her clothes…

So she was straight back in the highchair, and seeing as it was bath night, we just left her to it! Thank goodness for laminate flooring, wipe clean furniture and baby wipes! This is why we never had carpet or fabric covered furniture!

Baby wipes… however did we cope without them before we had children? They clean everything!! They truly are amazing, and every household should know their benefits! I think we’ll be buying these long after the girls have grown up!

365 project, Photography

Day 044 – Let them be little

Day 44 – Apr 30th

Sunday was a stay at home day, with the wife going out and taking the car, I was stuck at home for a while looking after the girls, which was fine as the weather forecast wasn’t fantastic and the Russian Grand Prix was on that afternoon anyway. Before there was any hope of watching the race, I needed to feed the girls. Olivia was excited about the idea of helping me to get lunch ready for both of them, she absolutely loves to get involved and help when she can. I hope she’s this keen to cook when she’s older!

With lunch out of the way, it was nap time for Chloe and Olivia was more than happy to settle down to watch a film on the iPad (any excuse… she loves that damn iPad, but that’s another story!), leaving me free to sit and watch the race in peace. Then, almost as if I’d scheduled and engineered the day myself, Clare arrived home just as the race finished and Chloe was waking up. By this time Olivia had been very patient about not going very far or doing a great deal today, and was starting to get a little bored, so seeing as we still had time left we all threw some towels in out bags and headed out to the swimming pool for an hour.

We don’t normally do things so spontaneously, as getting out of the house can often take a lot of planning, but we managed to do it, and remember everything, and it turned out to be a really fun afternoon. I just hope we can do it all again soon. It was Chloe’s second time in the water and she seems to be quite enjoying it.

I’d put the slow cooker on that morning, and so dinner was ready almost as soon as we got home, after a few bits were thrown on the hob, to go on the side. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday at all, and the beauty of it was… no work on Monday morning. Gotta love a bank holiday weekend.

Todays photo was taken after our swimming session, Chloe was in one of her climbing moods again, and although engrossed in the tv she had decided she was going to sit on the backrest of Olivia’s chair. Repeatedly I took her down and put her on the floor, and seconds later she was back again. In the Good Parenting Handbook (This may or may not exist!) I am sure it mentions about removing temptation and taking the chair out of the room, but to be fair, she is now quite practised at climbing and getting herself down again, and seems to do it with some confidence. She was safely removed for about the tenth time straight after the picture was taken. No babies were harmed in the making of this photo!

365 project, Photography

Day 038 – It falls like pink snow from the sky

Day 38 – Apr 24th

That’s the first day at work out of the way, things didn’t go too badly, and it fills me with a bit of hope for the remainder of the summer term. There is a sense of relief when the school is empty, you didn’t lose or kill any pupils, and your only job now is to get home and see your family.

Outside the front of our house we have a cherry blossom tree, and around this time of year it looks especially beautiful as it comes into bloom. Then, all of a sudden, the petals begin to fall one by one, until a slight breeze moves the branches and it looks like a pink snow storm is in full effect. I’d love to get a good photo of this, but its a tricky one. As I pulled into our road on my motorbike, I start to the the pink all over the grass verges and pooling on peoples driveways. As I pull my bike onto our drive, I see petals everywhere, and its not long before Olivia is outside to greet me. Then the fun ensues, its like running outside to play in the snow, but not needing gloves or a hat and scarf!

I’m just home from work, and would love nothing more than to collapse on the sofa and relax for a little while, but the girls have been waiting for me, and are excited to see me. They don’t care that I am a bit tired and want to sit down, its their time to spend with dad, and they’ve got other ideas… and so in the spirit of being a good dad, I have to give them the attention they deserve. In fairness, they are the reason I rush home from work each day, so its a small sacrifice really, but y’know… who doesn’t want to crash out on the sofa and put their feet up at the end of the day?! Having come out to greet me, Olivia is keen to stay outside playing with the fallen cherry blossom petals, and we run around throwing handfuls at each other. I do manage to take a brief moment to run inside and grab my camera so that I could get todays photo, which turned out exactly as I hoped it would. Just such a shame that within a week all this will be gone!