365 project

Day 160 – The best camera is the one you have with you

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Day 160 – Aug 24th

Thursday means an early start, making sure we are out the house by 8am to walk Olivia to nursery. We’re also now at a stage where its hard to do much without Chloe wanting to get involved too, she is very aware of being left out. So today I figured I may as well be pro-active about it but his morning and bring her out for a walk with me so that she can take her big sister to nursery, which thankfully is only a few minutes walk away. 

With Olivia dropped off, Chloe and me headed home. The sun was out and it was a gorgeous morning, so no need for any coats, and as we came down the alleyway leading on to our road, with the sun in front of us and Chloe walking ahead, I knew I had a lovely photo… only I’d left the house without a camera! As this is my fourth year of doing the 365 project I am used to having a camera on me pretty much everywhere I go, although I don’t always have it out, as I don’t want to look like some kind of weirdo, so I usually keep it hidden away in a shoulder bag. All I had on me at this point today though was my phone. I have previously mentioned the capable ability of my phones camera, and have previously used photos from it for the project. It just seems a little funny that with the numerous cameras I have, and all the professional lenses to go with them, that it should be down to my phone to save the day. Hence the title of today’s post.

As usual, a nursery day is a day to get things done around the house, which is one of the reasons we still send Olivia to nursery while I am off work, apart from the fact she enjoys it, has friends there, and learns from it… as well as the fact that we’re paying for it anyway. We’ll soon have her going during term time only to bring the costs down a bit, as we’ll need to save as much money as we can once Clare goes back to work, the nursery fees are going to rocket with both of them in full time day care. Its a prospect we’re aware of and not looking forward to much. On a plus side, it will only be about 12 months or so after Chloe starts before she gets her allocation of free hours. It is a necessary evil, we need to go out to work to earn the money to pay for someone to look after our children while we are out working. It seems a little illogical when you look at it like that, but its a great preparation for them ahead of starting school, with the social skills and academic skills they will learn. Its the sort of experience they could never have if they were being looked after at home by the wife, or even grandparents once the wife was back at work, even though the latter is no longer really an option any more.

We’ll work it out, its going to be difficult for a little while, not forever, and other parents seem to cope. Although it is a changing world we live in, and the days of stay at home moms looking after the children is becoming increasingly rare as women are generally more focused on careers and feel an obligation to return to work once their maternity leave is over, to maintain the lifestyle they are used to. I remember growing up, my mom was always about, taking us to school, and picking us up, there if we got sick and had to stay home. It kind of makes me sad that in my job its going to be almost impossible to do that when the girls are in school, we may be relying on breakfast and after school clubs, which seems to be very much the modern way of doing things. How lovely it would be if a work-from-home position came up!

How does everyone else cope?

365 project, Photography

Day 147 – It feels good to get out

Day 147 – Aug 11th

One of the things on my to-do list for the summer holidays was to make sure we got out for a good walk at some point, specifically over Clent hills. The weather lately still hasn’t been up to much, but at some point you have to say “screw it!” and just get out there and do it!

So thats what we did! Clent hills have always been a firm local favourite place to go, and somewhere I have been visiting for many years now, a place I always wanted to take my girls, even before they were born! As we’d got nothing on the calendar for today we decided to dig out our walking boots and wellies and head out for a walk. It was good to get some fresh air, appreciate the countryside scenery, the lack of people and noise, zero distractions from TVs and Ipads, even little Chloe who struggled with the terrain a bit still kept going!

Clent, as like most wooded areas, isn’t somewhere that dries out quickly, especially after several days of rain. As expected, when we got there it was fully of puddles and muddy spots along the walk up from the car park to the main view point.With the high probability of muddy puddles and some puddle jumping going on, we’d prepared by putting the girls in wellington boots.

It made the walk up slow going, but we were in no hurry to get anywhere, there was no destination or time limit, this was all just about the walk itself. It reminds me of the quote that I sometimes think about: ” Its not about the destination, its about the journey.” some words that can apply to a variety of situations especially when you spend too much time focusing on some imaginary goal, and not appreciating what is around you right now, and enjoying the things you are doing to get there.

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!