I am totally in love with this idea and I am all aboard the Me and Mine bandwagon this year.
I keep seeing these fly around and I read a few roundup posts of 2015 and pledged to the husband that we will join in. So a photo of the 5 (or 6.. got to include the pooch in some, right!) every month. They don't need to be fancy, there doesn't need to be loads, But 1 good photo of us as a family every single month this year. At the end of the year we should have at least 12 awesome photos of us all and we can see how much we have all changed over the year. Be it hair styles, tans and height!
I'm so excited already for December to look back on our year with hopefully a whole load of memories and stories to tell.
So here is our first month! January 2016. My tribe! I was so excited as I ordered a remote trigger to help us out. 10 seconds to click and run to the right position was quite frankly a pain in the arse. Also means we can take multiple at one time. Ohh technology, how I love thee.
January, although terribly long, seemed to whizz by. I have said it before and I'll say it again, I'm not a January fan and welcoming February sure is a good thing in our house. As much as I love the crisp mornings, I get a bit bored of them by about the 3rd day of it. A true sun worshipper through and through I long for the summer months at this point every year. We had scheduled in to take these this weekend as Joe has been working 7 days a week and today was his first day off since the beginning of Jan. Obviously, it is pouring it down outside and not camera weather at all. Slightly gutted, we decided to improvise and take some at home. After all, we do love days at home so it does seem fitting to take them in the comfort of our lounge.
Tripod set, remote set up and I added my flash too as our lounge is quite dark especially when its so over cast outside.
We did get carried away... Out takes at the end ;)
"And then I realised, adventures are the best way to learn!" - Annon.
It is Saturday afternoon, 4:30pm, and we are already back into our PJ's. Days like today are when I do most of my thinking, mainly day dreaming but also reflecting and planning. We have just come back from a beautiful walk in one of our many local woods and we made it back just in time before the sun hid behind the trees completely. The light was perfect and I spent most of our walk saying to the kids "Ohh just LOOK at this beautiful light! LOOK!!" Obviously all they were interested in was sliding down the banks, finding streams and getting wellies stuck in 3ft deep muddy bogs. We didn't stick to the path much, we found trees to climb and ponds to throw sticks in and that is enough for them to warrant it a great afternoon. Now home, it dawns on me that no matter where we are, they make it into an adventure.
One of the things we wanted to do this year was travel more, be it in the UK or abroad. All I want for the children is to have stories to tell and memories to look back on, anything in between is a bonus. But we don't necessarily need to go far or spend money for these adventures to happen. I think we have all, at some point, felt guilty for not going to that all singing all dancing theme park or taking a trip to the zoo. Its scary to think about how much money we have actually spent on these days out that quite frankly, are forgotten in a few weeks. I am totally guilty of thinking that if it costs a lot of money, its obviously going to be an incredible life changing experience. But actually, is it? Do we really need to always do the big days out when we have so much to explore for free? And for the record, I am totally not saying no to the big days out altogether, but I am most definitely saying YES to exploring the beautiful countryside that surrounds us.
So whether its a trip to a new woods, discovering a park we haven''t been to before or re discovering an old hot spot, lets think more like our children and make an adventure out of everything!
Just before I (re)met Joe, I didn't think my life could fall apart any more. I was at an all time low and I didn't realise just what was around the corner for my little boy and me. I didn't think there was anyone out there willing to take us both on, a young woman with 'baggage' and a whole load of issues to go along side. I didn't realise that men like him existed, and I definitely didn't think that it would take one man to pick me up off the floor and throw me into the sky.
When I fell pregnant with Oliver I was at an all time high. We were planning our wedding, awaiting the arrival of another little boy and I really was on cloud 9. He came, we got married, we had a complete blast. Life really was quite special. But something was still missing. We didn't quite feel complete, and I certainly didn't feel like I was ready to slow things down.
I will never ever forget that moment the sonographer told us our 3rd baby was a girl. I sobbed and sobbed until I could hardly breathe, and I didn't stop weeping until way past her birth. Even now, nearly 4 years down the line, she brings me to tears. They all do.
I spent a good part of her first couple of years of life feeling guilty that I so desperately wanted a girl. I wanted what me and my mum have. I wanted a female to back me up when shit hit the fan and I needed that relationship, girl to girl, Mother to daughter, teen to mum. I needed it to fill that huge gap in my life, that sisterhood relationship I so missed. No matter how selfish it may seem that I wanted a girl to help me grieve, she is the sole reason I don't crumble at every crack thrown at us, and for that I will always be so thankful for.
So for the next 8 months of your life, I will make time for you, Elsie. I will sit cross legged and sip make believe cups of tea and pretend to chew wooden cakes to make you giggle until you hiccup. I will build all the puzzles in the world and I promise to let you fill the last piece in. I will tickle you until your eyes stream and your cheeks turn rosey and I will make time for you, all of you. Before you are unleashed into the big wide world of school, and I want you to remember our days together and I want you to know that no matter how many playground arguments you will get into, no matter how many girls or boys make you cry and how many friendships that will break, I will always make time for you. Always.
I said to myself a lot last year that I needed to set myself some projects. I wrote a list of the subjects I want to photograph, I wanted to push myself a bit more and start looking at things more creatively rather than always going by the rules. So here is my attempt of picking this back up and completing my list!
My list was/is -
Black & White
From the hip
Quite varied, but all doable with a challenge too. So I have started the year off with black & white.
I shared these on my business blog but I enjoyed doing these so much that I wanted to share them here too! We went into my studio one afternoon after school and took snacks and a change of clothes, and after a bit of bribery and a 7 year old having a meltdown because "Everytime I look at the camera I have to smile, and you're saying I can't smile!!" we eventually got there and the look I was going for was achieved. I am really eager to photograph more children this age and capturing their raw natural beauty, no strings attached and definitely no cheese in there either.
So here is my black and white project, I am super excited for my next subject of negative space.
Since deciding on stopping my studies I seem to have developed a lot of free time. Most definitely not a bad thing, and I have wholeheartedly taken advantage of it. Filling my time with day long Netflix binges and actually keeping on top of ironing and cleaning! I bore myself to death. I know that come Spring I will be busy at work so I am lapping it up whilst I can!
Not only does it mean I have a tidy house and I'm completely up to date on Making a Murderer, it has given me time to do a lot of thinking. And I need to calm the shit down. Seriously.
I seem to do everything at 100mph. I hurry the kids along every morning, I even get pissed off waiting for dinner to cook. Why?! Life is so chaotic when the children are at home but it doesn't need to be! I need to calm down, breathe and take a step back. Last Summer, every time I felt myself getting stressed about something I asked myself 'But does it really matter?'. 'Does it matter they have just spilt their drink on the table?' No. It doesn't. Thats what a cloth is invented for. 'Does it matter that we are a few minutes late out the door?' No. It really doesn't. Everyone is late and I won't be the last one to walk through the school gates. 'Does it matter that Elsie has put her shoes on the wrong feet and Oliver can't do his coat up?'. I mean for goooooodness sake Charlotte! So my mantra of 'Let it goooooo' will be carrying forward from here on out, I will from now try my hardest to calm the fudge down and take a chill pill.
We did bugger all this week, the first full week back to school and the boys were so tired so we didn't even go out after school at all this week. We did however get a flurry of snow over night and the kids were desperate to go out and play. Fresh air, red noses and cold fingers made for a super relaxing walk in the village and through the fields. I absolutely adore where we live. This was our perfectly ordinary moment of the week. These winter walks and frosty mornings seem so average to the children but they are one of my favourite things to do. Getting a dog 5 years ago was so we could do this regularly, its the best excuse to layer up and go out in all seasons!
This week has seen the last 2 days of the holidays and the first 3 days back to school and pre school. I don't want to say 'back to normal' as quite frankly my normal is not getting up at 7am and turning into an army cadet ordering instructions every 5 minutes. That is not normal.
However, I do quite like the routine side of school weeks. I like that I know where I stand in the week, and I like that we have structure to our days. Don't get me wrong, I am holding on to every ounce of the holidays still and those fairy lights are staying put. Forever. My god am I ready for the holidays within 2 weeks of being back, but for just those first few days of routine it really is quite nice. And when I walk back through the door and I switch on the music, get on with uninterrupted chores and sing really bloody loudly, I forget about the stressful 2 hours that followed me rolling out of bed. The 2 days a week that I get to myself really is quite lovely. I think being apart from them those 2 days (or all 5 with the boys at school!) really does make me appreciate the time we spend together more. I am a better Mum for it so I have no shame in admitting I enjoy being on my own a couple of times a week!
So in our last 2 days of holiday we laughed a lot, danced a lot more and we enjoyed our time spent together before the mad rush of school started again. Christmas definitely gave me some perspective too and that has pushed on through the beginning of January. We made some big decisions this week and one of which I am feeling so content about now. (after having a HUGE wobble. Huge.) I have decided to not pursue my dream in becoming a midwife yet. The thought of not being around on birthdays or Christmas due to shift work, fills me with such sadness. I want to enjoy them being at school and I love being part of the PTFA, I love helping out on the school trips and doing the drop offs and pick ups. It suddenly dawned on me that they are only going to be this small once, sounds ridiculous but I think I let my head run away with it and I didn't realise how much of a commitment it would be. I kinda thought my photography business was over and I had settled down by September last year thinking my time was up and I needed to move on.
I don't want to miss all the little things, I know I would regret it in 20 years when they are all grown up with their own families and I wonder where their childhood went.
It doesn't mean I'll never do it, but I just can't do it right now. And I know deep down it is the right decision for us all even if I do feel hugely disappointed in myself.
Having had so much grief in my life, I get the odd day where it is put to the back of my mind, but the majority of the time I have the mantra of 'We get one shot, make the most of it.' And I think Joe is slowly coming around to that too. Why spend the next 5 years+ being completely stressed out trying to make a career work when I have a perfectly great career ahead of me in photography (I hope!). So I am going to spend the time that would have been spent studying, trying to own this whole self employment lark. I want to do it properly and I want to smash it.
This year is going to see a lot of me stopping the change instead of striving for it. So much of my head space is spent wondering what could happen, what may not happen or what I could be if something changed. I need to change that. You heard it hear first.
So we did nothing fancy this week, went to the farm and took advantage of their very quiet soft play, watched a couple of films and had an extra bubbly bath (pictures of bath time here!) Harvey spent the weekend with his Dad so it didn't leave me too many opportunities to photograph his cheeky face towards the end of the week!
Here are our Ordinary Moments from this week... Linking up with the lovely Katie.
Truth be told I am feeling it. I am unmotivated, slobby, lazy and I want to eat everything naughty.
I don't feel like I can pick up my course again, I am totally over it and I want to be a stay at home mum forever and I don't want to put my brain through it.
I want to be toned and skinny but I can't be bothered to work out.
I want to photograph more babies but I can't be bothered to seek them.
I want to photograph the children more but I am bored of our surroundings.
I want to stop writing this post but I want to share some snaps that I did find the energy to take... ;)
I know deep down I am being over dramatic and i will just get over it, but i'm in a little bubble of feeling sorry for myself and I am going to stay here until I am ready to pop it. That will probably be February. You have been warned.
I know its because of the darker mornings, the constant rain, the need for some sun Vs. the desperation for snow and sledging. Which brings me on to some exciting news that really should be popping this bubble! Our first 'proper' family holiday is booked. Proper as in going on a plane and when we arrive we can scoff whatever we want and lounge by the pool. I have been so so desperate to take the children abroad and for whatever reason it has never worked out (mainly the cost!!). It is also a complete nightmare trying to find family rooms that cater for 2 adults and 3 children, which has put us off previously too. We have done lots of camping trips, Center Parcs and Euro Camp which have all been amazing fun but this is the cherry on the top for holidays.
We have found a beautiful hotel in Kos, Greece and praise the lord we are all in one room! Perfection! Sun, cocktails, the beach, family, cousins. So a middle finger to this rain, a middle finger to my bank balance and a thumbs up to a summer holiday with some of my favourite people!
We have been enjoying some downtime this week in the lead up to back to school, here are a few snaps of one of my favourite times of the day. Bath time!
I have just had a flick back to previous years goals and had a little chuckle at them. 2012 and 2013 both had 'be more creative with photography' and I think that ticked off in those 2 years, especially for 2014. I also had 'spend more time just us 5' in 2014. This hasn't happened in 2015 at all.
So here are my new and revised goals for 2016.
Travelmore. Even just in England. I want to see more, experience more and I want the children to see endless opportunities that lay ahead of them. I want to be spontaneous, lets grab the tent and go one weekend!
Craftmore. Be it sewing, photography, anything. Just craft.
Not set my Expectationsso high. Of myself, of an event, of somebody else. What will be will be and thats okay.
Bake. I can't even type more after that. Just bake!
Prioritise myself. In the sense of my skin and body. Take vitamins, look after my skin and look after my health. I feel like I have completely gone full circle this year with looking after myself and currently feeling like an unhealthy slob so this year I will take control and look after myself, after all we only have the skin we're in, one set of lungs and one body. We should really look after it all. Get fitand frigging well stay fit. This goes along side the above goal too. Every year I say it, I dip in and out of exercise more than I do hot baths but this year I really want to change that. I want it to become part of my lifestyle and not just an added extra every now and then. We have a holiday to work towards so that will be my first target, I want to do a couple of mud runs and really push myself in the second half of 2016.
I feel like although 2015 hasn't been our best year, it has made us hugely appreciate what we have and we'll make sure 2016 is kinder, calmer and we feel more confident as the new year begins.
We both also have a few work goals, Joe wants to expand more online, I want to be more confident in seeking out bookings and get more involved in our local community of small businesses. Make contacts and network much more. I also want to complete my Access to High Ed course by the Summer which will then kick start my Uni application in September. Elsie starts school in 2016 and I am feeling completely okay with it. 3rd time around I know exactly what to expect and she is so beyond ready, far more than I thought the boys were. She'll completely smash it.
I hope that your 2016 treats you well,
Also going to try so hard to link up weekly with the lovely Katie over at MummyDaddyMe. I love the idea of capturing the ordinary, something I do strongly believe will be what I miss when they are coming through the door and heading straight upstairs to their dens! So here is the first week, A few snaps from our stay at Marwell Zoo, it poured the whole weekend so I didn't even take my camera into the zoo, so just a few from in the hotel room. Char x