I have a little punctuation problem... its been an ongoing problem for as long as I can remember - I have a chronic condition called "Exclamation Mark Abuse". I cant help it. Just about every sentence I create ends in an exclamation point. I have to re-read my emails, Facebook posts and particularly this little blog - several times - to go back and remove all the excess ones before hitting "publish" - and even then, my paragraphs feel so empty without one! Why oh why cant I write a sentence without feeling the need to add one at the end??!!! (There I go again!)
Its just a habit now - my finger is automatically drawn to the 'SHIFT 1' keys that are required to create this little character. And yes I did just have to go back and remove an exclamation mark from that sentence.
Apparently lots of us are overusing them, especially with text messages, and more interestingly, women tend to be more inclined to overuse them than men. We use exclamation marks to show excitement, sincerity, emotion. I use them because written sentences often feel dull and lifeless without them.
I've just read back over a few of my more recent blog posts, and on average I'm using 7-10 per post (often using two at the end of a sentence for extra impact!!)... I've just had a little chuckle at myself and how restrained I have tried to be while writing this!
Are you also a sufferer of this chronic condition? ;) Were you even aware of it?
Four wonderful kids and the cutest little dog - thats the best way to sum up Shelley's gorgeous children's session at their Gold Coast home! The kids were super relaxed in their own family environment, and this adorable little Moodle named Ted was able to be one of the stars of the show! The love these kids have for their little pooch was so apparent, everyone wanted their own individual portrait with Ted and he just loved all the attention too :)
Here's a few of the favourites from this lovely afternoon session:
Fords vs Holden - a story about brainwashing your children...
The other day we were doing a bit of a car switcheroo. I had both kids in the car with me, while my husband was somewhere in traffic behind us in his Ford. Now, hubby is a big, BIG Ford fan. Both kids have been schooled on this since birth, especially during V8 supercars season. Each kid has numerous Ford t-shirts. We all have to wear them on Bathurst day haha! Our blood bleeds blue, and "Holden" is a bit of a dirty word in our house!
So when we were in the car the other day, miss 6 kept peeking behind us to see if she could see daddy in his car. Finally we pulled up to a roundabout and she spotted a white car behind us.
"Oh! I think I see Daddy, I think that's him behind us!"
I snuck a quick look in the rear-view mirror - "Nope, thats not Daddy. Thats a Holden!"
Miss 6 then said "A HOLDEN?? Bleurghh YUK!"
(And when he heard the story later, he gave her a high 5!)
I'm still playing catch up with some family shoots from late last year - this weeks feature is of the Stephenson Family. It was a super hot morning but we had fun exploring the park, looking at the ducks and finding some shady areas to run around in. And how gorgeous are these two little ones?
I feel so privileged to get to capture so much love between families, thank you Stephenson family for sharing your morning with me!
So the kids went back to school this week - did you shed a tear, or breathe a sigh of relief? Or were you something like me and did a little bit of both?
Miss 6 has been ready to go back to school since about the first week of school holidays. We've had an pretty constant line of questioning something along the lines of:
"When can I go back to school?"
"How many sleeps is it NOW?"
"WHY cant I go back yet?" etc etc
She had new school shoes and spent the last few weeks clomping around the house in them. She's instigated games at home where she is the school teacher to Mr 4 (he is SO used to being told what to do already lol!) and she has even been spotted sitting down reading a book to him, teacher style.
So its safe to say, this week, she is one happy little vegemite.
Mr 4 on the other hand has spent the last 6 months telling us he is NOT going to kindy, and getting upset every time it was mentioned. Even promises of a school bag of his choice (Avengers), a fancy lunchbox, lots of painting, new friends... "NUP! Not going mummy. I wanna stay home with you!"
So it was with great trepidation that we arrived at kindy on Wednesday. I was nervous for him, but I kept my tone light, talking about all the fun he was going to have. We walked through the door and he was off, playing! I spent 10 minutes chatting to the teachers, and then told him I was going. He ran to me, gave me a big hug and kiss, then waved me off with a "See ya mummy!" and barely a backward glance!
And now I dont know whether to sigh with relief that he's settled in so well, or to be slightly miffed that he doesn't need me as much as I thought he did!
Harris family shoot; I love doing family shoots at this lovely park - every time I go there I find another little gem location with amazing light and a spectacular backdrop. Trees aplenty, lots of shade, and lots of space for the kids to run around and have a ball!
The Harris family did just that - and 3 very energetic and absolutely gorgeous kids made for a fun day at the park. And the best bit is they got to have a play on the playground as a reward (for all those beautiful smiles!) when it was all over!
Thank you Harris family for allowing me to capture these memories for you!
Isn't it funny how when you're a kid, all you want to do is grow up? Dress like a big kid, eat what you like, do what you like, stay up late and play for as long as you want - heaven, right?
My own miss 5 is becoming "miss independent". Achievements are coming thick and fast - first we could click our fingers, then whistle (wasn't THAT a fun week at our house!!) Now we can tie our shoelaces and show everybody at the first chance we get (seriously, we stop and untie our laces every 10 minutes, just to show everyone we can) She has lost her second tooth and been on her first school excursion. Tying her own hair is the next challenge.
Although we do battle EVERY - SINGLE - MORNING getting ready for school. Apparently its impossible to get ready without having every single step spelled out at least 3 times.
"Time to put your uniform on please"...
(Goes and checks 5 minutes later to find her playing instead)
"Why aren't you dressed? Get dressed please!"
(Checks soon after)
Repeat same conversation for: Brushing teeth, putting shoes on, combing hair, picking up school bag etc.
But honestly, WHY do we want to grow up so fast? I mean, being a kid means someone else pays all the bills, puts meals down in front of me, does all the washing, drives me around everywhere I wanted to go...?
And also, being a kid looks like so much fun! Just ask Jayden and Hudson from my recent shoot with their family - they had a blast! (And secretly I did too!)
Riding on dads shoulders, I'm sure many of us remember doing this as a kid? Kinda scary but kinda exhilarating at the same time!
Tackling your brother from behind, big bear hugs :)
Running, running, everywhere - why walk when you can run?!
Rewards for good behaviour - still works for me now actually!
But best of all, cuddle and tickle time with family!
Yep - pretty sure being a kid is still pretty cool. If only we could appreciate it when we're that young!
Is it just me, or is this year flying?? School holidays are upon us again and I don't know about you, but the bickering in my house started about 3 days in.
I remember when I was a kid, my mum used to complain "I'm going to change my name!!"
I didn't really get it then, but I certainly do now. The plaintive call of "MUU-UUUM" is familiar to all of us. Is it even possible for a kid to say "Mum" in a normal tone of voice?
The older my kids get, the more I start to sound like my own mother.
Here there is a constant chorus of "MUMMY! He's not sharing!" "Mummy! She pushed me!" "That's MY toy!" "I had it first!" etc etc that really begins to grate on the nerves after a while. And I really cant complain, as I only have 2 :) All you mums with lots more kids, how do you do it??!
Anyway, I'm no expert but here's my favourite ways to stay sane this school holidays, with a 5 and 3 year old:
1. Keeping them busy. Be it playdates, visits to the grandparents, or taking the scooters to the park, keeping busy means less time to bicker. Also tires them out. Win.
2. Send them outside. My two have been loving the spring weather and spending time in their sandpit. Sure, they come back inside looking like filthy street urchins, but hey, whatever works.
3. Make up a big picnic to enjoy. We set ours up on a blanket outside. I chop up lots of little finger food - carrot sticks, cheese, nuts, little sandwiches, a special drink, and a couple of biscuits to finish - my two love it and it keeps them entertained for ages. The dog quite likes this too and manages to score quite a few tasty morsels :)
4. Quiet movie time at home. Favourites here include Despicable Me, Turbo, Frozen and Tangled.
5. Get them to help! I actually had a surprisingly easy grocery trip last week with both kids helping me, grabbing stuff of the shelves and helping me choose. They also love helping me cook, chopping up soft food for salads etc and helping me do the washing.
Do you have any great tips to share? Especially as the kids get older? I'd love to hear them!
As a balm to soothe my frazzled nerves, I had this little sweethearts session to edit this week. Miss Ellaria just loved having a WHOLE cake to herself and dived right on in! Her lovely mum brought some gorgeous little props for our set, I especially loved the dreamcatcher, isn't it fab?
Oh that face!! "Is this REALLY all for me, mummy??"
Ohh yes, this is great fun!
The cake carnage!
This was so much fun! Thank you miss Ellaria for enjoying your cake smash session with me! I loved it!
Are you the mother of a boy? I must admit, I was not prepared for all the joys that this special group is privy to. Perhaps I use the term 'joys' loosely. Boys are challenging in a very different way. I'm pretty sure its not just my son who is like this, but here is a brief rundown of life with Mr 3-and-a-half:
Dirty, messy, noisy. Walks past something and kicks it, for no apparent reason. Smashes stuff. Breaks stuff. Curious beyond measure. Picks up every filthy piece of rubbish off the side of the road as if its the most interesting jewel in the world. Cannot resist throwing sticks or pebbles. Climbs like a monkey. Obsessed with diggers.
Unclear what his chosen career path might be some day, but we're thinking something in Demolition.
I joke of course - what I didn't expect, when this little baby boy was placed in my arms 3.5 years ago, was just how loving and affectionate he would grow to be. My cuddly little dude. He constantly climbs onto our laps, blessing us with "squishy hugs" (where the receiver is squeezed as tightly as possible) and gives big smacking kisses right on the chops. I might be in the middle of telling him off for something, and he will stop me in my tracks, through his tears, to ask for a 'huggle'...
Are your boys like that?
We also have a beautiful, amazing and loving girl too, not quite as cuddly but with many other endearing qualities which I love and will talk more about in future.
So I had the pleasure recently of doing a morning photo shoot with TWO gorgeous boys, aged 2.5 and 5 months. It was a little bit cool on this particular morning but they handled it like superstars and quickly warmed up. I think the secret to shooting this age group is to just keep talking - you capture the most amazing expressions and learn some fascinating things along the way too haha!
The very handsome Zac
Beau - super cuteness x 3
And the most beautiful smiles, so gorgeous!
And a big wave goodbye!
Thank you gorgeous boys, for a fun shoot!
I remember during those long, seemingly endless months of infertility, promising myself that if we were ever lucky enough to be blessed with a child, that I would never take that child for granted. This long wished for and dreamed of baby, who would make our world complete and bring us everlasting joy and happiness, no - not me.
You hear so many stories from those older and wiser, that you must enjoy them while you still can. "They wont stay little forever", those wise owls proclaim, as we tear our hair out and wonder if we will ever sleep properly again. You wont get this time back. You will look at them one day and wonder where the time went, how they got so big?
Part of me rejoices at each small step towards independence. Part of me whispers "they're not your little babies anymore"...
With a 5 and 3 year old, I know that the time for cuddles on laps, kissing "ouchies" and loving on them is now. And though I get frustrated with the constant interruptions, the demands for snacks, the whining and bickering over toy ownership, and the constant chatter & hullabaloo that is the background music to any parents life, I try to stop and remind myself to breathe - remember, they will not stay little forever. One day I will stop and realise that the house sounds empty and I will miss kissing "ouchies" better, I will miss having little hands to hold, and I will miss having a soft warm body climb onto my lap for cuddles and to see what can be swiped from the computer desk. I will miss this stage.
I am lucky enough to get to photograph lots of little cuties, and honestly, no matter what the age of my young models, I think to myself "Oh I loved this age..." I do. It reminds me that it wasn't that long ago that my "littles" were that, um, little! And how quickly they grow, and change, and become independent of us... yes, a bit sad, but also a bit awesome too.
I was lucky enough to photograph the Richardson family at a nearby park recently, and spent a lovely morning exploring the area and capturing memories. Miss Abigail is 6 months old, an absolutely gorgeous age! She seemed quite fascinated by the sounds of trucks nearby, kids playing and birds singing as we moved to each location.
Anyone watching on would have had a bit of a chuckle at me, as I was trying to sing bits of Wiggles songs (her favourite) and busting a few moves to try and catch her attention! Not so easy with a camera in hand I can tell you! Luckily, having mum or dad dance around behind the camera (when they're not in the shot) helps too :)
How cute, loving being able to "stand" just like a big kid!
And sitting up? Too easy!
But you cant beat cuddles with mum and dad :)
Enjoy these special moments while you can - they are only little for a little while.
What a wonderful way to celebrate the arrival of a beautiful baby girl - with an updated family shoot! The weather was perfect: a lovely warm winters day, and the sun shone beautifully for us for this shoot. Little Sam was a bundle of energy and certainly kept me on my toes!
Thank you Chevalier Family for trusting me with your memories!
It was a rather brisk, early morning shoot for the Heathcote family! When we arrived on location we were greeted with this beautiful, ethereal light filtering through the trees, so the cool morning air was totally worth it!
The boys were so co-operative and well behaved, and we captured some lovely memories for this fun family.
Hilary Hudson Photography. Natural Light Newborn and Families Photographer based in Tamborine, QLD. Australia.