Sunday, May 27, 2007

New look

What do you think of the new look?
I'd like to do more but this will do for now.
Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Here's some photos just for interests sake.
Look at the difference a year makes.
Alex this time last year

and today (complete with bruised face).

Friday, May 25, 2007

All's well

Well it's 10:30pm and Alex is in bed and has been for an hour now. So far so good.
Last night he went to sleep and woke up about 20 minutes later screaming and ended up staying up till late again.
Today he has been very teary and even clingy, wanting to be picked up and cuddled a lot. He refused a day time nap. I tried twice and each time he screamed and threatened to throw up again. Hopefully he will stay asleep now.
The good thing, which I only realised this afternoon as I was getting food for him, is that since this whole screaming thing started he has been eating so much better than normal. I don't know which problem is worse but it is nice not to worry about him eating. He will chew on just about anything I hand him (and anything I don't).
I think he must be going through some sort of growth spurt and maybe he is having 'growing pains' which are effecting his sleep. I know it sounds weird but I have read about it and you know how it is, if you have an ache it always feels worse in the night.
Today he has eaten the required (by me) 3 meals with snacks.
He has had:

1 wheetbix dry and then with milk
1 tin chocolate custard (it worked)
1 bowl mashed veg
3!!! eggs scrambled
ice cream
3 cheese biscuits
2 ham slices
a corner of toast
2 hot chips
1 piece cooked carrot
3 bottles and 1 cup of milk
some tissue and newspaper (not as bad as the crunchy kitty litter he found the other day)

hmmm doesn't look that impressive in writing but I was impressed.
He would probably have had more tonight but until he is over this whole screaming till he is sick thing we don't want to give him too much before bed.
The words he is coming up with now are really impressive (I don't mean the swearing). Not sure if anyone else would understand him but I do.
If I let him hold my bottle of lavender spray (been using it to help calm the room down before bed) during a nappy change he will sniff it and say flower. Yesterday I pulled out an old soft toy lamb and tried to teach him to say 'Baa Baa' and today he was not only saying it but did a few 'ni ni baa' and 'baa jum' (jump). He also grouped his magnetic letters by colour today and he definitely knows which are blue though some times he think the greens are blue too (they are really similar and I have the same problem). It is so exciting to see the way he is linking words and actions and copying things he sees. Tonight he picked up two of his little food bowls and put one on each ear as stereo phones because yesterday he was playing pretend phone with something that broke in half so I put one on each ear and said stereo. He remembers all these things. We have to be so careful what we say and whats on TV too. He really likes the TV and demands it on but even when it's a 'safe' show there can still be an ad which just isn't something I want him to see. We've seen him copy an ad before. I can't risk watching the news when he is around and some of the kids shows have scary monsters too. Playschool and teletubbies are nice and safe and he likes those.

Here's a photo of my little girl Tilly.
She curls up so small when she is cold.
Critchon was on the back of this chair this morning and Tilly was lying on his back. They looked so cute (and funny) but as soon as I fetched the camera Critchon ran off and Tilly had to curl up on her own.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Again again

Well so much for peace and quiet.
Last night was back to the old screaming/chucking 2yo.
Alex went down well last night, straight to sleep with no problems.
He had dinner early, played, went quiet and I put him to bed without Graham about 8pm. Same bed time routine as a day time nap which always works for me.
Ten minutes later as Graham and I were congratulating ourselves on a problem solved, he woke up screaming. So we got him up before he threw up, changed him and sat him in his highchair while we proceeded to act as boring as we could. The idea being to show him that there was nothing worth getting up for, no entertainment or attention.
Well he went hyper. I have seriously never seen him so active before and he is normally very active. It was like watching a video on fast forward, except we weren't watching, well we were out the corners of our eyes but we didn't want him to see he was getting our attention.
He stayed in his highchair (surprisingly) but he had his harness on and off over and over, he stood in the chair and sat again over and over, and he had various arms and legs in and out of the harness. The whole time he was yelling at the top of his voice, not angry or upset just telling the world about everything he saw.
It was quite an experience. If I didn't know better I would think he had red cordial, coffee and a V for dinner. If he does it again I'm going to video tape him.
After a while we gave up on the ignoring him plan and tried to get him to calm down. Didn't make an difference. After half an hour I'd had enough and decided he was going back to bed. We did the whole bed time routine again and Graham and I went and hid in the kitchen (furthest we could get) and gave him 5 minutes to settle (stop screaming).
Well that resulted in him throwing up, a washing machine full of bedding again and the wettest bathroom we've ever had. We put Alex straight in the bath and he was so hyper he splashed the whole room, floor, walls, door, mirror, toilet, even the toilet paper. It's not as if we made the bath fun, he had no toys and we kept it all as calm and boring as we could but he had a great time splashing.
Then he got to sit in his high chair, had a bottle and finally went back to bed about 11:30pm.
Tonight Alex is still up, riding his bike around making car noises. He keeps riding down the hall to me and standing on his bike for me to give him a kiss before he rides off again. Over and over!
I'm dreading putting him to bed. I'm going to try some quiet time soon (for him) and see how it goes. It's all getting too much. I don't think I've slept before 5am for the last 3 days, if it's not Alex then it's the cats crying up and down the hall, Graham snoring and last night the fire alarm in the kitchen was beeping low battery.
Today Alex has been OK, just a few little tantrums like when he drops his Dipsy doll or can't reach the cat through the cat flap.
He has been very accident prone. 10 minutes ago he tripped over Graham while chasing the cat (Alex was chasing, not Graham) and hit his head on the coffee table. Earlier today he hit his cheek, impressive instant bruise there, and yesterday he fell off his bike twice. The first time he wasn't actually on it, he was standing next to it holding the handle bars and he went to get on but some how somersaulted forward over the handle bars and landed on his back in front of the bike. The bike didn't move. I saw him do it but still can't work out how. One of those moves you have to see to believe. How can he go from a standing point to do that? Would make more sense if he had been running or the bike had slid out from under him but it didn't.
Then last night he slipped sideways off his bike whilst stationary, sitting on it in front of the TV. He caught the side of his neck on the handle bars. Another bruise.
If anyone says he takes after me I would like to point out that I may walk into things but I don't trip or fall over things. Mind you I also don't climb anything.
Here's the latest war wounds from my little warrior. The stuff on his mouth is spaghetti sauce, he'd just finished eating.
He has shown no signs of them hurting. I have to check his whole body each night to see if he has hurt himself because he wont complain if he does. He has some shocking bruises on his legs still from last week when he fell over and landed on one of his toys, a blue tray that holds his peekablocks.

Some recent scrapbooking.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Grumpy

Happy Birthday Dad and Happy Birthday Auntie Elin!
To celebrate his Grumpa's birthday today Alex went to sleep tonight, first go, no vomiting!
So Graham and I had a night of peace. I really needed it after another tantrum filled day, anything sets him off from his shoe falling off to me refusing to draw pictures of 'meows' for him over and over durring dinner.
I got a lot done tonight. I made up a complete wedding invite pack ready for proofing and it looks good.
Alex woke just a little while ago crying. I went in to comfort him and he started coughing so for a while there it was 'here we go again' but he just asked for his nappy changed. Then he had a drink and has gone straight back to sleep. Which is where I'm going now (Graham is keeping the bed warm).
Was supposed to be the coldest day of the year today (so far). Below average. Wasn't too bad but the wind was chilly.

Sometimes he just needs a helping hand from Mom.
It's nice to be needed.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Enough already!

Well it's been a hard end to the week. Graham and I are both feeling quite frazzled and stressed.
Alex has decided, now he has reached his 2 corrected birthday he is going to show us the real meaning of the terrible twos.
We have had 4 nights in a row of vomiting and we are dreading tonights episode. So on top of the usual daily worry of getting enough food into him we now have the worry of getting him to bed at night without him losing that food and me having to do another load of washing. I can't keep up with the washing! At this time of year our clothes line doesn't get enough sun to dry things like doonas.
Alex is doing it on purpose. He just doesn't want to go to bed. As soon as he realises we are putting him to bed he sticks his tongue out and makes choking noises to try and throw up. If we leave him in his cot he will cry and scream until he does throw up. He also has a whole list of delaying tactics. He wants his teddies, the mobile spun, the button on his monitor switched, the other mobile playing music etc. He points at each and demands, bu, round & round, teda etc.
We don't want to give in and let him stay up or even worse get him up after we have put him to bed but I also can't handle having to strip and wash the bed each night. He is tired and the more tired he is the worse he behaves. If we do give in and get him up he demands the TV on which is just not acceptable!
We have tried all sorts of things from being strong and not giving in to getting him up and being really really boring so he gets no benefit from being up. He has had a series of non routine days. From having us leave him with babysitters Wednesday night to going out Thursday and Friday night and the dentist and his Grandmas early yesterday. So today we did the stay at home, lots of running around in the fresh air and sticking to routine nap times. He has eaten well today and now it just remains to be seen if he will go to bed. Most nights this week he has been up past midnight after we've tried to put him down between 7-9pm.
Going crazy here!
The good news is yesterday Graham and I both had our 6 monthly dentist check up and clean and no work needs doing. Alex got to ride up and down in the dentists chair and feed the fish so he is learning that dentists aren't scary.
Oh and Alex's favourite colour seems to be blue. Just what I'd expect from an Aquarian. He says 'boo' and it's the only colour he names. When I offer him a crayon he will reject all the other colours until he sees the blue one and he will say 'boo' and take it. He also seems to know which of his shirts are blue.

As a photographer I am so lucky to have a child who likes hats. I love photos with hats. Let's hope it lasts. Though by the time he is a teenager I'll probably give anything to get the dirty, grotty hats off his head so I can see his hair.

His Crocs are still way to big for him but when he wears his thick white socks they stay on quite well. When it's a choice of change his socks so he can put some shoes on to go outside or wear his oversized Crocs so we don't have to get another pair of socks dirty, quite often the Crocs win.

Check out the curls!
Yep he needs a hair cut but I love the curls.
This was tonight after I had used a wet flannel to get the thai green chilli chicken out of his hair (yep he rubbed it in). Just a bit of water and his hair goes all springy.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A night out

Wow what a good night. Stressfull in a non serious way but all good in the end.
Alex had his first night with 'babysitters'. He has stayed with his grandparents before but we have never had anyone else look after him (unless you count the nurses in the hospital, they were the best 24 hour babysitters).
So I was a little worried about how he would go. Not worried about him being upset without us but worried about how R & R would cope with things like nappies and dinner. Alex didn't miss us at all, had a great time, refused his home cooked dinner but ate 2 jars of shop bought food and some finger food. His nappy changes went OK, the nappies stayed up. The only hiccup was bed time. He played his 'if you make me go to bed I will scream until I throw up' card. I had warned them that if he cried for more than a minute he would hit throwing up mode. I forgot that as he has a bit of a cold and is more flemy than usual he will hit throwing up mode a lot quicker. So he got to stay up the rest of the night and I got a load of washing. All in all R & R did a great job, they even did my washing up! Alex cried when they left.
We had a camera club competition on tonight. It was my second time with this club and first time in A grade competition so I'm so glad we could make it. It was an 'open' night so no set subject which is a whole new challenge. Whilst it meant I didn't have the challenge of photographing to a subject it made it harder to pick my entries. I had a lot more to choose from and I couldn't rely on a set subject to help convey the meaning in my photos. I had to chose photos that could stand on their own without a story.
We had an interesting judge (most are) who put a lot of emphasis on the technical side, things like DOF, composition and rule of thirds. He also liked to find an emotional connection with the photo and he liked things that were creative or experimental. A good all rounder then I guess which suited me because I do try to cover all the technically correct stuff and the creative. He said some great things to me during the break and said he could tell I was a perfectionist :)
I entered 9 photos, 3 in each class and all of them placed. 5 merits (like a 1st) and 4 credits (like a 2nd).

Small print class, all 6x4 inch, all got credits.

The judge thought this one was a studio shot with clever lighting and a backdrop. It was taken against the computer room wall with a desk lamp. Not even a tripod.

He said the balance in this one was off somehow but he couldn't put his finger on it. I know but the correction would have still been wrong from a traditional composition rules point of view so I left it as shot.
To make it pleasing/balanced to the eye Alex either moved over to the left with the empty grass behind him or flipped so he was facing right with the empty grass still behind him. Either was would have given a much nicer composition but he would then have been up against the edge facing out which is technically 'wrong'. So either way had it's faults and really up to the judge which rules he prefers to break. I may have done better if I had edited it but I'm happy with a credit.

He liked the use of space in this and the rich green and sharp flower.

Large colour print class. All got merits.

The judge said this one had 'sumptuous cropping'. I think he were referring to the quality rather than the size or expense :) He really liked it and used it as an example of good, well thought out cropping, in camera or post production.

This one was described as 'compelling' and he said nice things about the blance, composition, colours and lens used (long).

This one he referred to several times as an example of the sort of work he was looking for, before he even judged it. When he did get to judge it he said it was 'either a merit or a merit or a merit'. It got a merit :) It's a favourite of mine.

Large monochrome print class. 2 merits and 1 credit.

The photos of Graham and myself he said were both very strong images. The one of Graham he loved the detail and crispness (so do I). He suggested Graham fix up a hair in his eyebrow that was out of place before he poses for me again. He liked the lights and darks in the one of me and said it was a good brand camera. So these both got merits.

Alex's eyes only got a credit. I didn't expect this one to do well. I thought it was one of my weaker shots but I do like it and Graham picked this one. I was sure the blown lighting and harsh crop would be a fault and the one eye not as sharp as the other. The judge didn't have a problem with any of that but he thought the shallow DOF didn't work. He would have liked to see the mouth and nose in focus. I can see his point, the mouth is a strong darker area so some detail would be nice but then I don't think the close crop would work. If the whole photo was sharp it would look strange being cut off where it is and it would lose the impact of the eyes. Still it got a credit when I didn't expect anything.

Lastly here's my new windows desktop picture I did this morning. I needed a change. The black area border is where my icons sit and it's wide because I have a 22 inch wide screen.

Now Alex is asleep, I've just had dinner and Graham is due home soon. Graham had a staff sale day on tonight at Dick Smiths which finished at midnight and he has been going on about a new PDA/phone for months now so he went over there after we came home to see if he could order it tonight while the sale is on.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A red balloon kinda day.

Lots of photos today!
but first the news in brief for my parents.
Hi Mom and Dad. If you're reading this I guess you've left Spain and are back in England. Your Spanish trip isn't on the itinerary you left me so I don't know when you're back.
Happy Mothers Day! I meant to do a blog on Sunday to say that but I was waiting until I got a card from Alex first because I didn't want to do an entry complaining about not getting a Mother's Day card. I kept making very direct hints leading up to Mothers Day that I wanted a card from Alex. I'm sentimental and that's the sort of thing I would have saved. Of course I didn't get a card (or breakfast in bed etc) because apparently he had left if at his Dad's work. So I waited to see if the card would come home with Graham yesterday but it didn't. I did get some flowers yesterday though. In a way I can really appreciate a man who knows that flowers are reduced to half price the day after Mother's Day :) I did get my scissor set a few weeks ago for Mother's Day but a card would have been nice.
We are all well. Alex has a bit of a cold but it isn't slowing him down, it's just messy. He probably caught it from someone at the hospital on Friday. He isn't eating breakfast and lunch very well but is catching up nicely at dinner. He is just too busy to eat during the day.
Critchon is happy. He is hanging around with us more and more rather than hiding in the laundry. At night he is crying up and down the hall when he wants Tilly to play with him (and she is asleep) and we have had one incident of him stealing bones from the kitchen bench. He is spending most of the day outside and is getting filthy rolling in the dirt. Yesterday when he came in I brushed him down with my hands and when I washed them the sink ended up brown. When Alex goes out to play Critchon hangs around too but so far Alex isn't very good at gentle pats. Today I caught him dragging Critchon backwards by the tail. Critchon is being very tolerant though and doesn't even run away when Alex does things like that. Critchon has taken over his lounge chair again but he is almost to big for it now. Yesterday he tried the back of the lounge but it collapses under him. He still likes being held upside down and reaches up and pats out faces when we hold him.
Tomorrow we are going to camera club and R & R are babysitting. A little worried about that as we still haven't been able to pin down what time they are getting here and if they know their responsibilities. If there's any problem we will just take Alex with us in the end. We are hoping to get over early enough to water your pot plants first.
Spoke to Bonnie yesterday and we are going to catch up next week.
Had a bit of a panic last night. Turned the computer on and all my mail was gone. Probably the result of Alex turning the power points off while I was using the computer. That's not all, my web browser was stuffed, photoshop is complaining about missing files, I need to reinstall my graphics tablet and various history and shortcut lists are blank. I've recovered my mail, hard to know if any is missing so if you emailed me yesterday I didn't get it. I now have to set up my mail preferences again including my junk folder cause today it's been junking mail that wasn't junk.
Ok photo time.
Critchon making himself at home. He is such a big boy now.

Tilly loves Critchon's bed.

Alex is loving hats now, he even sleeps with this one. He got the balloon from the hospital Friday and it's lasting well. It was a nice day, most of the washing dried and it wasn't cold. The new lawn is looking brown now the green tops have been mown off but the old lawn is still green. Alex gets lots of mowing practice.

Alex 'playing' with Critchon. Yes that's Alex's foot kicking Critchon (what aim!). Naturally I didn't let him do that again.

Both boys playing in the dirt.

Critchon all fluffed up after meeting the dog next door again. He wasn't really bothered but Alex had followed Critchon 'round the side and was terrified when the dog barked. So much so he forgot how to walk and tried to crawl away.

Alex found a new game. He turned his lawn mower over, picked bits of grass out of it and put them in the cuffs of his Dad's tousers on the line. Over and over. It was cute until he decided it was more fun to fill my shoes with grass, while I was wearing them.

Alex got his hands dirty and tried to brush them off on the fence. He ended up with a hand full of splinters. Hopefully he wont do that again. I've taught him to rub his hands together to brush them off.

I've heard so many camera club judges complain about photos of snotty nosed kids but never had any of my own. So here's some snotty nosed photos this Mom is proud of. Alex isn't a snotty kid. I think this is his 4th cold and in between colds he just doesn't have the running nose thing happening, not even while teething. Drool is a different story!