Friday, 25 January 2013

Fun in the sun, I can't resist!

I know Project 52 is only meant to include one photo a week, but there were so many good pictures from our time playing in the sun, I couldn't resist but give it a whole post all of it's own. Gracie is a mean shot when she has a hose in her hand, let me tell you. Although I did manage to stay dry whilst I was holding the camera!

Project 52 - Week 4 Weather

I've been looking at some of the photos posted by other fellow Project 52-ers on Clickin Moms  for this week's theme, weather. As it is an American based forum, most photos are of the freezing cold, the snow or people trying to keep warm. In stark contrast, my picture this week is of fun in the sun on a hot Australian summer's day.

*No cameras were watered during the taking of this photo (Thankfully)!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Project 52 - Week 3 Shallow Depth of Field

This week's project was to capture and portray Shallow Depth of Field. This is where only a small fraction of the photo is completely in focus creating a blurred back and sometimes foreground. I was out in the back yard one day this week searching for inspiration when I noticed these new leaves on the Apricot tree. Dad had kindly pruned the tree for me earlier this week and I noticed that there was now these beautiful baby leaves. The red new growth is quite a contrast to the bright green leaves of the rest of the tree.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Oliver, 12 weeks and counting

My baby boy Oliver is now 12 weeks and 2 days old and he's quickly growing into a very happy and strong little boy. He loves tummy time (unlike his sister who hated every minute of it from the day she was born) and he's getting very good at holding his head and neck up, especially when there is something that has caught his inquisitive eye. He loves to watch Gracie play and follows her around the room now, as she plays. He's started giving cuddles too and is becoming a very affectionate and snugly little boy. He often wants to be picked up just so he can nuzzle his head into my neck or rest it on my chest. I love these quiet moments that we share. I love his cheeky smile and big blue eyes, his soft skin and even his little leg and neck rolls. It's all these things that I love, that make up my little boy Ollie.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Project 52 - Where am I?

So before all of the dramas of this past week, I did have a little time to reflect on what this new year might hold. It seemed that the year was very much a blank canvas. After the birth of our beautiful little Oliver almost 12 weeks ago, the past couple of months have flown by in a bit of a whirl wind blur, as often does happen when you are sleep deprived and adjusting to caring for two children! But in this past couple of weeks I have made a few decisions about what I would like to achieve this year.

Being a mother, is one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs I have ever done. It is draining on almost every front, physically, mentally and emotionally. But when your 12 week old baby boy looks you in the eye and gives you an ear to ear grin followed by squeals and goo-gaas, all that almost fades away (...almost). Or Gracie, brings a folded piece of paper covered in coloured scribbles over to me and says "Look mummy, I have a present for you. Open it. It's a beautiful picture", I know that I would not trade a moment.

In all of this though, it is very easy to begin to lose sight of someone. Me. Some weeks, I feel all I am is a mother. Which, don't get me wrong, I know is a very important role. But for me, it is also important to remember who I am before that. What other things bring me joy and fulfilment. As a family we have decided that, for the time being, I won't be going back to work. Being a stay at home mother and caring for my children is more important to me at the moment than working and we are blessed enough that we are able to make that decision. But to maintain my own sanity, it is so important for me to stay stimulated and active in some of the hobbies I love.

Firstly I'm super keen to start back in Musical Theatre this year. It's been over 12 months now since I was on the stage and I'm itching to get back there. I'm still deciding which Musical I might audition for, so I'll keep you posted.

Secondly, I've decided that I am going to put more time into my photography and start taking my education and skills to the next level. So far, all I have learnt about photography has been through self learning and some mentoring I've been lucky enough to receive from my good friend Chris Ingram at Deprimo Photography. Just before Christmas I stumbled upon a Photography Forum called Clickin Moms (no not a typo, it's American), a community of professional and hobbyist photographers who are (for the most part) mothers. As you can deduce, this meets me exactly where I'm at. A mum who is eager to learn and share more about photography. My first step on this educational journey is to sign up to a workshop run through the Clickin Mom's University. I'm going right back to basics with this one and completing Shooting 101- The Best Darn Beginners Photography Course Ever (Yes that is actually what it's called). I'm going to start at the beginning and make sure I have all the basics covered before I move on to more advanced things.

Another part of this photography journey, is I have decided to commit to a Project 52. Each week a theme is posted in the Forum on CM (Clickin Moms) and the idea is that you need to take a picture to fit into that theme and then share your photo with others on the same journey. (I was going to do a Project 365, where you take a photo a day, but I quickly realised, there is no way I could possibly keep that up all year!)

So here is my commitment to you. My Project 52. I will post each week the theme and my corresponding photo on the blog. I'm excited to see the outcome at the end of the year. Not only all 52 photos at the end, but how much I will have grown in my skills, knowledge and confidence. There is so much I still have to learn, but that's the beauty of photography. There is always more to learn. An ever evolving journey.

Here are my first 2 photos ( they will get more interesting, I promise!)...

Week 1- New Beginnings
My New Year has come with a new journey with Clickin Moms.

 Week 2 - Silhouette
Jonathan, my handsome husband, being a very patient model.

What goals have you set for your new year?

Drama, Drama, Drama.

What a week! This new year has certainly not been dull so far, let me tell you. I mean, I'm all for a little drama, but I'd rather keep it to the stage thank you! This week's events was so ridiculously crazy, I just have to laugh. I think if I don't laugh, I would probably cry.

So to begin with, Mum had a surgery booked this week, on Wednesday, to have her Thyroid removed. She has been having trouble with it for a number of years now and it was decided that removing it was the best thing for long term treatment. Gracie also had her first day of Kindy on Wednesday which in itself was a huge milestone. It was the first time she had been left all day with people she didn't know. So as you can see, Wednesday was a big day for all of us. However, our traumatic week began on Monday night when Dad was rushed to Hospital in an Ambulance with extreme abdominal pain. After 3 courses of Morphine, Dad was still shouting down the Emergency room in severe pain. Finally they gave him "the big guns" a drug they use to treat horses! It sent Dad into a disturbing hallucinating state but at least the pain was now gone. After some tests they found he had a kidney stone. He was kept in over night and sent home the next day with some pain killers and told to just wait for the stone to pass. He was instructed that he wasn't to be alone until that time in case something happened and he needed to be rushed back to hospital. As Mum went in 6am for her surgery Wednesday, Dad spent the day with Oliver and I.

The day seemed to be going just fine and Dad actually seemed quite well. Until about 2pm his abdominal pain began to return. It escalated quickly and by 3pm we were on our way back to the Emergency Department. But before we left I just had to find someone to pick up Gracie from Kindy. Jonathan was in a meeting and I couldn't get a hold of him. So I rang our good friends Chris and Aimee, who had offered earlier in the week to help us if needed anything. Chris kindly picked up Gracie from Kindy while Oliver and I rushed Dad to the ED. We waited half an hour in the waiting room before being let in and Dad was given more Morphine.

I felt so terrible that on Gracie's first day of Kindy I wasn't able to be there for her but I was relieved knowing we had good friends nearby that we could call on to take care of Gracie for us.

I left Dad in the hospital as they were organising for him to be admitted and stay the night. However at 7.30 he rang feeling 100% better. The stone had either been passed or had just got through the place it was stuck causing the pain. So Jonathan went and picked him up and brought him back to our house where he stayed the night.

Mum's surgery went well but she had some horrible nausea caused by the anaesthetic which lasted a couple of days. They kept her in an extra night to keep an eye on her and make sure her calcium levels also were correct before sending her home. Poor Dad had a migraine the next day too, so it was probably best for everyone that mum stayed an extra night.

Thankfully Mum and Dad are both home now resting and recovering and improving everyday. In all of this, I believe Gracie enjoyed her first day of Kindy. She didn't really want to talk about it, but I think she was a bit overwhelmed by everything that was going on this week. I will talk to her teachers in more detail next week, but from what they've said she was happy all day and had a good time. We should never underestimate the impact that certain events have no children, even if you think you are shielding them from it. They pick up on everything!

Whew! Dramatic week or what?! Let's just say, I'm glad it's over and today is the start of a new (and hopefully less dramatic) week.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Albany Christmas 2012

Happy New Year!

Can't believe we are into the New Year already. The last few months have gone by so fast. Can you believe our little Ollie is already 10 weeks old?!

We have just got back from an amazing week down on the farm in Albany with all the family for Christmas. And what an adventure it turned out to be. It's been a few years since we celebrated Christmas with the family down there and we decided as this was Ollie and his cousin Alia's first Christmas, it would be really special to be all together this year. We stayed just over a week and boy did we pack a lot in this trip. We often just stay on the farm mostly and relax but this trip we decided to get out and about a bit more and see some of the beautiful attractions Albany and Denmark has to offer. But more of that soon.

We drove down two days before Christmas in convoy with Mum and Dad. The convoy ended up being a life saving decision because when we hit just outside of Kojonup, our Falcon began to stall and miss. We stopped at Kojonup and Dad took a look under the bonnet. The gas converter was frozen! Completely covered in ice! It was a pretty warm day and the last thing you would expect in a hot engine is ice! We pored water on it and thawed it out for half an hour, and decided to swap the kids car seats over into Mum and Dad's car just to be safe. Mum and Dad limped the Falcon the 200km remaining, to the farm while we took the kids on ahead in the Camry. Being Christmas almost every mechanic's shop was closed for the week in Albany but Dad managed to get a hold of one of the best gas guys in Albany who he knew as a kid (Albany is a small town!) and booked the falcon in for later in the week. Thankfully Grandma doesn't use her car too much so Mum and Dad could borrow it for the week. I praise God that we all made it safely down to Albany without too much fuss. With two littlies, it was potentially a very stressful situation.

But having arrived in Albany, our Christmas holiday could begin. Trudy and Steve's puppies are growing bigger and bigger and are two beautifully natured and intelligent dogs.

 Sophie and Torro

 We spent Christmas Eve relaxing and winding down, cooking, preparing food for Christmas day and catching up. It didn't take long for Gracie to get Trudy to take her on the motorbike for a spin round the farm. Won't be able to keep her off it when she's big enough to ride it herself I think! Much like her Aunty Steph.

 It had finally arrived. Christmas morning and after some early morning baking it was time to open presents!


Christmas lunch was a big family affair out at my Uncle Steve and Aunty Jayne's farm. Almost the entire family was together, minus my sister Steph unfortunately. We had enough food to feed an army and as usual the roast meat was cooked to perfection! We ate, we relaxed, chatted, we shared stories and we ate some more. It was a fabulous day. Just what Christmas Day should be.

Uncle Steve carving up the roast Turkey and Ham.

 Baby Alia.

 It was all too much for some.

 Jayne was very excited about lighting the Christmas pudding!

 Ollie and his Great Grandma.

Later in the week, we took a morning to visit Denmark. I hadn't been there for years and while there has been some development, it really hasn't changed much from when I was a kid.

We played at the park by the river and had morning tea. Gracie loved the playground and playing in the leaves under the beautiful big trees.

 We walked over to Ravens Coffee Shop and Wholefoods Cafe for lunch. Amazing Raw and organic food and Jonathan was suitably impressed with the coffee.

We followed lunch with a trip to the new Chocolate Cafe/Lounge. 

The next two days we spent with Mum and Dad and visited Emu Point one day followed by a trip to Williams Bay and Elephant Cove the next day. The weather was very warm for Albany (about 35 degrees) so we decided we should enjoy the sunshine and the beautiful beaches Albany has. It's often far too cold to venture into the water and even though the water was a little chilly, Gracie didn't mind a paddle.

 Gracie and Grandad found a Caterpillar wanting to share morning tea.

Emu Point

 Ollie's first trip to the beach.

Williams Bay. 
Dad and Grandma said they had never seen it this busy in all the years they have been visiting this beach!

Mud, mud, glorious mud!

 Elephant Cove. The rocks look like Elephants in the water (Gracie thought they looked more like Hippos).

 Beautiful Albany and our wonderful Family, thanks for a wonderful Christmas holiday and the memories we created. Until next time...