Since it has been almost a year to the day since my previous blog, I think it is probably time to get back into it! If only so in years to come I can show my daughters what life was like when they were children!
It is funny how the times we have the most to write about coincide with the times we have the least amount of time to write it.
The last year has bought Indiana into our lives. She arrived in the comfort of our home on a boiling day in July, her arrival brought relief to a challenging pregnancy for me and a new playmate for Dessi! The days are full of getting out to playgroups or the park and the evenings full of making the most of the peace and quiet, I'm incredibly grateful that both girls are decent sleepers.
Dessi is turning out quite lovely, phew! Her passions in life mostly centre around Mr Tumble and she is having a fun time exploring new words and speech. She loves to see her friends and play and is full of excitement when she hears the key in the lock in the evening signalling Andrew's arrival home from work. Thankfully she likes Indiana too, and loves to give her hugs and kisses, as well as sit on her legs and play 'Row your boat'.
Indiana is delightful, has the most amazing belly laugh and looks pretty much the same as Dessi did at the same age. It is great to be able to see the daily changes and wonder at what kind of person she will be like.
Well now the toddler is awake so better upload it whilst the going is good!
What I love about these photos is that we took them in our bedroom at home, whilst we live in a small flat, we do receive some amazing light in the afternoon. So this day we made the most if it, plus, these moments are so representative of our daily moments. Dessi, as we all are is happiest in her natural environment.
Happy 9 months-anniversary Dessi, you have now spent longer out of the womb than you were in growing in it! We love watching you grow, you're pretty adept at crawling, still learning the art of sitting up without throwing yourself backwards after a few minutes. You are also trying to pull yourself up, won't be long before you are climbing into trouble, I imagine! You love spending time with our neighbour Christa, when you and Christa are grizzly, we put you both together and you are both a lot more peaceful and happy!
Your favourite foods are breadsticks, jacket potatoes and bananas. Not so favourite is spaghetti and rice. You are three teeth, two central lower incisors and lower right lateral incisor, I thought the top teeth come in first, but you seem to like doing things in your own sweet way!
As a photographer I've never photographed an ugly person, or a fat person. Whatever their size or looks, they have always been beautiful.
Yet when I first saw our photos of Dessi I could've cried. For the vein reason that I thought I looked too fat. 'Who is that person I wondered?'.
Whilst I would've liked to come out of the experience looking like Kate Middleton, the 3 day induction and birth left me looking like the michelin man.
It is so hard to be photographed when you feel you don't look like your best. I'm still far chubbier than the day of my wedding, My wonderful pregnancy hair fell out on schedule at 4 months, leaving me me with an old man receding hair line.
Thankfully the process has left me with a beautiful baby girl who I want to be photographed and who I want to be photographed with. I want to remember this time, however I look. For this reason I'll be proud of my photos. A visual reminder of what I went through to have this beautiful girl.
"Who is that person I wondered?"
Well she is the one' that had 40+18 weeks of pregnancy, sickness and nausea for most of it, pelvic girdle pain making it too hard to walk in the latter weeks.
It was she who spent hours battling through horrible pain to learn to breastfeed, who missed hours of sleep to tend to her daughter's needs.
It was she who had awful water retention that had me sweating buckets in the dead of winter.
She, whose tummy will never be the same now it grew a baby.
Motherhood is not always glamorous, but it doesn't need to be. Our photos, our memories need to be truthful. It doesn't matter how we look, it is who we are beneath it all that will shine out.
As a photographer, I'll tell you that you look beautiful because you are. That you won't regret making a record of these memories. I'll also be sure to let you know the best way to stand to look your best for the camera, because let's face it... some angles are definitely better than others.
The first time she wore you in the sling, was when she stayed for a couple of nights. She carried you all the way to coffee shop. We were trying to hard to make sure she was firm and steady with you, I lost my footing and fell of the curb, spraining my ankle. You and Charis were fine, on firm ground.
When she carries you, she wraps her arms around you. I can see how much she cares for you.
When she carries you, you relax and enjoy her embrace.
These photos above were taken on a beautiful Thursday afternoon, 1st October in Morden Hall Park. We met Auntie Heather and your cousins, and it wasn't long before you and the sling were on Charis. And there you fell asleep.
You slept as she walked around the rose garden, and sat on the swings, as she wrapped her arms around you. I gave Charis a few opportunities to let me take the sling so she could paddle in the stream, take photos and play with more freedom. She thought about it and chose you instead.
And what a beautiful pair you make!
We made our plans and prayed for no rain. We got out on time at 10am, and after a lovely drive found the Mayfield Lavender Fields in Banstead. It was the quickest photo shoot ever, we took the girls out of their slings and put them on the ground, my friend steadied them as I realised Dessi would not be sitting for anyone so I had her lie on her front instead, and then shot.
All photos taken within 5 minutes before going for a Lavender flavoured scone (fun to do once, won't do again) and a drink for us whilst the girls had a roll around on the ground. Our desire to let them exercise and hopefully improve their moods outweighed the desire to keep them clean, back to the car where we set them in their seats and gave them lunch before heading home.
Just as we exited the gate, it rained. And that is what you call good timing!
This blog has been going in it's current form since 2007 which is quite a long time to be blogging and made all the more easier by putting it on the back burner once in a while. The last back burner was put into action just before our wedding in April 2014 and I'm steadily getting back into the blog again, catching up.
Some of what I missed at the time but will share mostly for my benefit are the photos from the wedding and my pregnancy. I say mostly for my benefit, because this blog acts as a store for my atrocious memory as much as anything else.
So waiting for Hadassah.
The best bit about the pregnancy was looking forward to the baby at the end of it, and the bump. Pretty much the rest of it was quite a challenge. I had morning sickness, a lot, and towards the end I had pelvic girdle pain and unable to do much in the way of walking.
We did manage to get out to central London to get photos with our lovely wedding photographer, Pui (of www.loveohlove.com). The reason I love Pui's photos is she takes photos as I'd take them, just what she sees in the moment. There is no really fancy set up, no studio that we will never step in again, just natural photos of how we are living in the moment. And she is funny. And she doesn't mind us being silly. And at this moment she is having a surreal discussion with my brother (who she has never met) on Facebook.
So many reasons to love Pui. Oh yes, she is a Londoner - so that seals it.
It is so easy to stay within our comfort zones in life, to do familiar things, safe things, happy things. But sometimes we are forced into difficult situations, sometimes bad things happen to us, to our friends, to others in our community.
One of the worst things is when people lose their babies. Since having Dessi I have become more conscious of this. Towards the end of the pregnancy, due to Dessi's lack progress and late arrival I was having regular scans. In the end I chose induction as the risk to continue pregnancy seemed a bit high for comfort. We were the lucky ones.
Some are not so lucky, and what can you say or do for someone that has for months grown a baby, suffered the morning sickness, the growing belly, the dreams of what life with a baby will be like… only to have that taken away. I cannot answer that question at all.
But there is an charity aiming to do the next best thing, to offer these families an opportunity to have their baby photographed by professional photos, to have quality memories of one of the most precious times of their lives.
Remember My Baby celebrates their one year birthday today, they had 126 photographers at the last count who have undertaken almost 100 sessions, 100 families have received free professional photos of their baby. Whilst this in no way will take away any of the pain it will hopefully help them to remember their baby.
So it is with great pride, I've been accepted to volunteer with RMB. The first session will be hard, as will the ones after that, but that pales into insignificance to what these families are going through.
For people who use to travel an awful lot, Andrew and I really haven't been too adventurous since Dessi arrived. I'm ashamed to say, the desire for an easy life usually overrides. Routine = sleep in this house.
Sometimes we make an exception and we decided yesterday to go further afield so off we went to visit the lovely royal town of Windsor.
The train journey was easy, as was the baby. We enjoyed a delightful walk down the river, lunch and tea, so very English!
On a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon, we got together to do some family photos as a present for this little girl's grandmother. Before the rest of the family arrived, we took these as we tested the light and location.