This months theme on motivational monday is children. Hey..guess what…

I have a few of those ๐Ÿ˜‰

So i thought i would give a little run down of each of the little folk who dwell here in this dwelling.

So first up. My guy. My only one.

Yes..thats right he is the only boy..

yes he is surrounded by women, yes he has lots of sisters, no he isn’t henpecked…

blah blah blah…

you can tell i have heard those sort of comments LOTS before right?!

We all know a baby doesn’t come with a ‘tick the box’ option don’t we. *stares*

A-n-y-w-a-y ย (thats a whole other blog post) ๐Ÿ˜‰

My pioneering child. Breaking all those first boundaries of parenthood. He is the one that we have had to scale that steep learning curve with and i reckon that fact that him and us are still all alive and vaguely sane is the sign of a success!

Yes?

Anyway our not so little boy is now staring down the barrels of 11.

Sweet. mary. jo.

We are so close to teenager it could spin my head clear off my shoulders!

But right now he is 10.

and right now he is:

 

  • Very very much into Minecraft, which is a game that i cannot understand the attraction in. He is asking me to download all sorts of guides to it on the Kindle and then spending hours working out how to make houses. The graphics remind me of something that was around in the days of the ZX-81 ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Finished year 5 this year and waved goodbye to one of his favourite teachers. The teacher is leaving the school as well so there is no chance that my girls will have him which is a shame. We liked him a lot

  • He loves formula one. You could talk to him for ages about cars. He knows so much about cars, their makes, models and how fast they can go. Largely fuelled by his father’s interest in formula one and all things a bit petrol head ish.ย 
  • He currently wants to work for Nintendo and has taken it quite personally that the Wii U has bombed slightly! ๐Ÿ™‚
  • He is a great big brother to his sisters and is pretty balanced about being a big brother to a bunch of girls. He is especially close to our youngest girlie.
  • He loves movies, and scripts. He remembers dialogue and quotes it often! Currently we are all about dispicable me 2 and Monsters U.
  • He is after a phone…we are resisting..we might meet middle ground with some walkie talkies ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • He still likes trains
  • He has no love for girlie pop groups such as one direction and the like. Usually a point of conflict in our house!!
  • He has never ever tasted tomato Ketchup, he used to tell people he was allergic to it. He now develops a big kinship with anyone who comes to our house who feels the same. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • He is a natural musician and plays by ear, which sometimes frustrates his music teacher. He isnt, however, a natural practicer (is that a word?) so we have to use increasingly inventive ways to get him to practice!
  • He can be a bit ‘chickin lickin’ Which we laugh about but we sometimes have to have very serious conversations about how the wind outside is not going to turn into a tornedo!
  • He is, to date, the only one of my children who has had to endure a general anesthestic. (thank God). He fell onto a coffee table when he was 2 and has to have surgery as it had gone across the line of his lip. He now has a cute Indiana Jones type scar.

He is also turning into a little bit of a photographer and this weekend asked me to help him take this sort of shot. I think he did a pretty good job.

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We had been expecting this.

Things were not looking good. There was an anxiety in the air, a tension and just a little bit of palpable panic.

It was one of those days when you don’t go far, you stay and hover like moth attracted to the light.

Except this wasn’t light, it was dark.

It was a darkness that was threatening, rising on the horizon like a storm, blue clouds slowly turning black and joining together and moving faster.

It happened quickly…..as it often did.

Fast.

His heart rate drifted, colour quickly changing. movement silenced and still.

Smiles disappear from the parents faces as they glance from the monitors to his face to my face.

I move quickly but quietly, smiling reassurance, words hushed but firm.

‘i just need to get next to him if i can for a minute’

They move. So fast. pushing chairs back like they have suddenly been charged with electricity.

Jumping aside.

I check, listen, watch.

Suction.

Extra breaths.

Waiting…

Watching.

No change.

Quietly i say ‘I just need to get some help’

Reaching for the red button.

and Action!

Doors burst open. Quick words are exchanged. A plan begins.

Settings are altered and a tube is changed.

More breaths. Counting slowly and waiting…

watching.

exchanged glances over the bed. Quick words to the parents stood paralysed at the end of the bed. Do they hear us? Im not sure. Their eyes search mine for reassurance, pleading..

is he going to be okay?

We wait.

I say quietly in my head ‘ not today little man, please please not today’

Might have even been a prayer.

An eternity frozen in 30 seconds……

colour returned slowly

numbers began to rise. Heart rate picking up.

chest moving.

Panic is over. Fear has passed by on this 25th day.

This was not going to be that day for this family.

This was not going to be that day.

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The day before, the day before came and went with nothing,

presents wrapped

the day after too, passed by in silence.

Candles lit, carols at midnight

The day itself dawned and crawled by, slowly, with festivities and anxiety.

Not today, no..not today. Let this not be the day.

It wasn’t.

I sighed.

Sighed that it wasn’t that day.

Sighed that it wasn’t a day.

Come on that day.

Come on!

pudding and cream eaten, washed with cups of tea.

More days came and went, a whole seven days…

24 hours of waiting..

seven more night times wondering, waiting, niggling…anticipating!

Slowly giving up and settling in for a long haul but then….

surprised….

tossing and turning…

becoming breathing and leaning..

phone calls, decisions, excitement rising…

Twinkling lights.

little ones sleeping…still

Kisses dropped on heads, bags by the door.

Ready to go.

The journey.

little donkey plays, then silent night

short and painful journey.

cursing.

speed bumps.

jingle bells all the way

Breathing

heavily.

rocking.

sitting.

standing.

pain.

rocking around the christmas tree.

momentum disappearing

Heart rate drifting.

People running.

Alarms blaring.

We wish you a merry christmas.

Panic starting to flood my veins. Fear.

My hand held, strong words spoken.

Time to get to work.

Fast.

Game face on.

She arrived. Screaming, full of life.

Indignant.

Here.

Safe.

Our beautiful Christmas baby who arrived on New years Eve.

This post is inspired by one of my favourite writers who I have mentioned before. The fabulous Oldermum.

Also by a happy accident earlier today when i was walking out of the maternity hospital in which i work and i noticed in the corridor a heavily pregnant woman leaning on the wall. She was gently and quietly rocking backwards and forwards while her partner, next to her was on the phone to what was clearly their young son at home. “are you going to go to bed like a good boy now?’ I heard him say. Made me smile a warm, hearty smile and remember my own babies being born.

This little girl of mine was the only one out of five who was late..properly late….and i found it so hard to cope with…we had been expecting her before christmas but she had other plans. She knew what she wanted and when she would show up. A little bit what she is like now really! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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I was struggling with what to write for this week, especially something about christmas, not being the best planned for the festive season. I generally don’t think about christmas until much closer to the season. So thinking about it that little catchphrase that has been used by the RSPCA ย ‘a dog is for life and not just for christmas’

A little over a year ago we were embarking tentatively on our first steps towards purchasing a little doggy companion for our family. My eldest daughter had been banging the ‘can we have a dog’ drum for a long time. She told us that she used to dream about having a dog. She was pretty relentless. Her enthusiasm wasn’t the entire reason for us considering it. Although i did say after having a rabbit that was begged and begged for and then largely ignored by all except me and the OH, there was no way we were having another animal that I, personally, didn’t want. Seeing as I ended up doing most of the looking after!

So we started thinking about it…weย had dogs in my family from when i was about 10 so it was a pretty easy decision for me, the OH took a bit more persuading. ๐Ÿ˜‰

When i was growing up we always had golden retrievers, which are fabulous family pets but they are big and hairy and our requirements were small and not hairy at all. One of our kids has a slight allergy to animal hair and so it was really important to get a dog that might reduce the possibility of this happening.

So our criteria for what we wanted in a dog was:

1. small – we have a 7 seater car, so there are no ‘seats’ available for a dog, its the foot well or nothing so the dog has got to be small

2.no hair – well obviously hair, as in not a naked, no hair dog, but a dog that doesn’t moult

3. a very very calm and tolerant

We did some research and we came up with this little guy:

He is a miniature schnauzer, a breed that is well known for its calm, even character and laid back approach. I wanted a dog that didnt NEED tons of exercise. Sure we wanted a dog that would run with the kids for miles and miles if needed but i also wanted a dog that would be happy with a walk round the block to ahem ‘make himself comfortable’ and that would be enough without its excess energy frying its head and tearing up our floorboards in its boredom. This isnt because we aren’t active every day but sometimes we just cannot fit in a long walk.

There was much agony over what we were going to name our dog. We got him from a breeder in Lancashire and on the way back there was much discussion. Names flying about ranged from sublime to ridiculous but it was an impass. Wondering if we were ever going to get to a point of agreement as we were driving past a truck i noticed the name O”Reilly on the side and i said ‘ooh what about Riley?’ and in a moment of harmony everyone agreed and that was it. We weren’t going back. So he was named before we got him home.

Initially having a puppy, I did wonder on a couple of occasions if i have completely taken leave of my senses. I had a baby of 18 months, a 3 year old with very sketchy success in the number 2 department and an incontinent dog….

It felt like i bought a LOT of cleaning products!

Not to mention the fact that my youngest took great delight in trying to get in the dogs bed, food, water..anything to do with him really…and puppies are snappy as you probably know and we had a few little nipping incidents and i sent Riley scolded to his bed with a bewildered look on his face..

She still does lie on him, drag him about and if she can get hold of the lead she ‘walks’ him around the house for hours and hours and he incredibly puts up with it with such good nature. He knows no different, he was a tiny 7 weeks when we got him. His life is a merry band of brothers and sisters that may just have 2 less legs than him but eat much more interesting food than he does!

Despite my initial panic about our decision, having a dog has really bought a lovely dimension to the family. The kids play with him a lot, he plays endlessly with them, happy to just follow them, waiting for them to throw a ball. He loves each of them and is always thrilled to see him. When we are out he is always wanted to be near whoever is in the front of the group. He is, like ive said, super tolerant and sweet natured whilst being rolled on and pulled around by any of the kids.

Best thing though is that thrilled, enthusiastic reception you get from a dog when you come home. With fail. He is the first at the door and the first to make a fuss of someone coming home. Way to make you feel wanted pup!! ๐Ÿ™‚

All growed up!

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So many people ask for camera’s for christmas. Its that time of year that you might be getting a lovely big present and also that time of year where you start to think about capturing memories. You might be seeing family or having a big party and they want to capture a few moments.

Ive put together a few ideas for some fabulous camera accessories that will make great presents for the budding photographer and also looks pretty good under the tree on christmas morning. If you click on the images they will take you to the website where they are listed. You can probably buy cheaper options of them if you shop around. The large montage of the fun camera-geek gifts at the bottom is all at Clickinmoms, which is an american website but the stuff can either be sourced here in the UK (etsy is a good bet) or you can order from them and the postage actually isnt too bad! Have a shop around!

1. Camera bags!

There is a HUGE range of camera bags out there, you might want to get a super slim, fit only the camera in, type bag. These are really useful for small, point and shoot cameras, that although pretty robust really benefit from having a bit of protection as they bump around in your bag.

My personal favourite is a bag made by an american photographer who bucks the trend of the boring, beefy camera bag and has produced a line of beautiful, stylish handbag style bags.

2. Tripod

Tripods are not just for the professional photographer. Once you get the hang of a tripod and the benefits it can be to you it will become and essential bit of kit for you. Tripods help to minimise the amount of movement (camera shake). This happens regardless of how stable you think you are when you are holding the camera. You have to breathe in and out right?…thats movement..and if you have your shutter slow then that movement will effect your camera. You dont need to spend a lot of money and you dont need to have an enormous tripod. There are little mini-tripods that are good value for money.

 

3. Lenses

Whoop whoop! My favourite! These can totally change the images you are taking, its a subject that i go could on and on and on about and i have written a post about lenses that if you want to know more do check it out. These don’t need to be for a dslr at all. You can get some cute little lenses for smartphones ย now that are fun and worth checking out if you want to play!

4. Memory Cards

Not the most exciting of presents but to a photographer a large storage capacity is massively important and also the speed which you camera can write to your card once you have snapped the shutter. If you are planning to do a lot of post processing on your image you might want to shoot in RAW and this will effect how many images you can store on your card. Look for over 4GB for good performance. I have a 16GB card which takes nearly 500 RAW files. Thats a lot of images but it means that im rarely in the situation that i will need to change my card mid shoot

5 Camera Straps.

No you dont have to stick with the boring, manufacturer supplied camera strap. There are ย many options for different ones. Pretty girl, decorative ones. Often available on Etsy. Or you can go more ergonomic and think about your back especially if you are toting a large camera around for long periods of time. I use a fabulous camera sling made by Blackrapid and it is by far one of the best investments i have made. It would be tough for me to go back to having a strap around my neck now as this strap goes across you like a satchel strap. It also screws into the tripod stand bit at the bottom of your camera so you it is perfectly positioned to go when you need it!

6. Flashes.

Until you get to the higher end of DSLR, most cameras will have a flash built in. There are many options for boosting your light if you are taking portraits or inside a lot. Having a flash that you can point in a different direction or have a diffuser attached to it will make your flash photography much less harsh.

 

 

Shopping for camera accessories is a LOT of fun!

Here are a few more fun ones to have a little look at!!

There is a great giveaway this week that myself and pinkoddy are running together! Would make a fabulous christmas pressie for those early planners! Just follow the rafflecopter. Winners for previous competitions will be announced on my facebook page. Be sure to follow!!
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