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

Day 068 – Everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go

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Day 68 – May 24th

What a day! I am hot and tired, my day at work was going fairly well right up until the end. Working in a special needs school can indeed be a very rewarding job, as many people inform me when I tell them what I do.

The job has many positive points and I enjoy what I do. I’ve been in the job a long time, and know that I can do it well.

As a teaching assistant the hours are good, the weekends are always a nice bonus, and the holidays are a definite perk (if you don’t mind being fleeced when booking flights or holidays!).

Then there are days like today, when pupils tempers flare and they lose it. Having my t-shirt ripped, my iPad smashed, and being physically assaulted in a number of ways, it takes all your patience and training to get through it whilst keeping calm and trying to avoid injury. It can be mentally draining and you head home feeling like a bit of a failure for not being able to prevent this pupils meltdown. When you work with pupils with special needs, especially autism, the day can always be unpredictable, and even when you try your hardest, there are times when you’re just not going to win.

Thankfully these kind of days are rare, and I always have my family to look forward to at the end of the day when I get home. There is nothing better than getting home and being greeted by two smiling faces that are thrilled to see daddy finally pull up on his motorbike and walk through the door. Some days Olivia likes to sit on the petrol tank of the bike, and hold the handlebars as I push the it up the drive and into the garage, and Chloe just gets so excited, and gives the best hugs too, you really feel like she’s missed you!

With the wife heading out after dinner to visit her mother in hospital again, its down to me to get the girls ready for bed, although with the weather being as warm and pleasant as it is, there’s still time for a little play in the garden first! As it approaches bedtime, it soon becomes obvious that Chloe is getting tired, the hugs are a bit more frequent, the dummy is in and her poor lamb is being dragged around behind her wherever she goes! This lamb is becoming more and more valuable as each day passes. We currently have no way of replacing it with an identical one as we didn’t buy it and have no idea where it was purchased from, it isn’t supposed to be put in a washing machine, although it definitely doesn’t quite smell as fresh as it used to, and we’re dreading the day that the realisation dawns on us that we can’t find it anywhere. Still, we must continue to guard it like its made of solid gold or something, for if this thing gets lost, then we will be having fireworks at home!

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

Day 057 – You can’t escape the inevitable

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Day 57 – May 13th

It was going to be a fairly quiet weekend, the few plans we’d got had been cancelled due to our two girls and their incredibly snotty noses. I’d lost count of how many wet wipes we’d gone through cleaning these slimy noses, and I’d got to the point where I’d stopped being repulsed by it, and was quite frankly just a little bored of wiping noses! The highlight of the weekend would have been catching up with some friends to meet their newborn baby, but there was no way our two snot-infested monsters were going anywhere near a baby that was just 6 days old!

With the sun out it was a chance to spend a little time in the garden, and Olivia didn’t need asking twice. There was gardening to be done, some flower seedlings needed planting into the flower bed, and Olivia was keen to help. It was also a chance to plant out the pumpkins I’d grown from seed too, I hope these do well this year, I am very keen to try and get a pumpkin soup out of them!

I had a quiet hour to myself when Clare took Olivia out to the church fete, and while Chloe was having her afternoon nap, so it was my chance to sit down and catch up on the Formula 1 qualifying session, as strangely enough the three ladies in my house don’t seem to share this passion with me. Still, the girls are young, there’s plenty of time to brainwash them yet! Thankfully the qualifying session was finished before Clare arrived back home with Olivia keen to show off her new face paint!

This evening it seemed that most of the country was focused on the Eurovision Song Contest. I’d been threatened by the wife that she was having it on the tv, regardless of what I said. With my Saturday night viewing compromised I tried to rope a couple of friends into a night at the pub, although it fell through at the last minute, leaving me no choice but to stay in and endure it. My sister was even having a Eurovision party, and actually bothered to take time out to invite me. Pffttt! She knew what I was going to say, and if it had been any other kind of party I’d have been there! Still, at least that’s done for the next 12 months!

At least with the Spanish Grand Prix tomorrow the tv is all mine… all mine I tell you!!!

365 project

Day 055 – Got ma snacks, got ma tv…

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Eating in front of the tv is not something I generally encourage, for a few reasons. Firstly, with Olivia it doesn’t take much for her to get distracted, and its not unheard of for a slice of toast to last her over an hour! The other reason is that studies have shown that you eat considerably more when you are watching the tv and just blindly shovelling food into your mouth without thinking about it.

Now we have both of the girls eating the same as us most nights, its nice when we can all sit around the dinner table together. At this point, as we’re all sat around the table, I will often turn the tv off and put some music on instead. Its so much nicer than having the girls straining to see over your shoulder and I find it more relaxing anyway. It makes dinner a bit more of an event, and its a good chance to spend time together.

Sometimes the girls eat before us, and when this is the case, its usually in front of the tv. Lately Chloe has been paying more and more attention to the tv, although she no doubt has no idea what is going on, but you can clearly see her transfixed by it. Still, this is usually when she is tired, as she rarely stays still long enough to watch it when she is on the floor.

Todays photo was from dinner time, after she’d tried to feed herself tomato pasta. Its a time when you always need to keep the baby wipes close at hand, and make sure there are plenty in the pack! Oh what did we do before baby wipes? They can literally clean anything, I think we’ll still be buying them when the girls have both grown up!