Project 365: End of April

This is a very, very, very overdue update to my 365 Project. I’ll be honest and say that I think I may have lost my way a bit with this goal during the end of May and June, but I know that I’ve been taking at least one photo every day since the beginning of July, and I still want to pick it up and publish what I have. It’s actually quite nice for me to be editing and posting these pictures so long after they were taken, as I can instantly see just how much Thomas has changed, and it’s wonderful to be reminded of all the things we’ve done which I’ve already started to forget about!


An obsession with keys and locks began. I’m impressed that he learned that keys go in locks all by himself. Of course, he doesn’t always try to get the right key in the right lock, and fortunately he hasn’t yet succeeded in getting one in at all!


I love this picture. It is another moment of pure joy in a local park.


My, what big feet you have. Along with fitting keys in locks, Thomas also likes to fit his feet in to shoes, regardless of whose shoes they are.


We have had several incidents of attempted pushchair stealing by Thomas lately. The most recent nearly broke my heart with how upset it made Thomas. So I did the soft parent thing and bought him his very own. It proves to be a useful tool to get Thomas to keep walking in roughly the direction you want him too for longer that twenty seconds.


I’ve forgotten exactly what was being pointed at here, but pointing has been a top favourite activity on every recent trip outside!


The sweeping obsession continues.


This was taken at my parent’s house, playing with my old Fisher Price Marching Band Set. It’s hard to say who had the most fun. (N.B there definitely does not exist any video of us actually marching whilst playing the instruments. No. Defintiely not. Ahem.)


Playing with train track. This was around the time when Thomas got really proficient at actually pushing the trains along the track.


This train (or “Toot Toot”) was a gift from a family member whose own grandchildren (who are something like Thomas’s third cousins) had outgrown it. He is loves dragging it around the garden.


Colouring in.


I spent this day at a conference for work, and my parents took Thomas out for the day to the Museum of Kent Life. This was in a tunnel in the playground (and obviously not taken by me). Apparently he had a cracking day flirting with strangers, playing in the playgrounds, looking at the animals and wolfing down sausages, mash and peas (“peeeeeeeeees”). I wish I had been there instead of clocking up CPD hours!Apr262013

We went to Pizza Express for lunch. Ian captured this photo of me taking a photo of Thomas. He has pasta Bolognaise, and absolutely loved it. He did eat more than he ended up wearing, honestly!


Brand new sand table, a present from Granny and Grandad, who visited today. It was an instant hit.


Previously Thomas hated these tunnels and wouldn’t go through them at all. But seeing one on the shop floor of Ikea changed all that, and dragging him away proved really difficult. It was Ikea cheap, so once again our spoiled little boy got a new toy.


Meeting a horse up close for the first time. This is at a local attraction which has recently been taken over by new management. Whilst they do it up, admission is free, with pay-as-you-go for certain activities. Perfect for us at present as we can go and let Thomas see all the animals (chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, horses etc) and run around the very good play area, all for free.


Over Daddy’s shoulder. The chin scrape is the result of a high speed collision with furniture. The moment it happened was heart stopping, as the wail was the most distressed noise I’ve heard from Thomas ever. I hardly dared look at first, thinking the injury would be a lot worse!

Project 365 – April: Mess

The unabiding theme of these pictures seems to be mess, whether made by Thomas or by his Daddy!


One of Thomas’s favourite games is “Row, Row, Row the washing basket”. He’ll try to climb in, emptying it first if need be, and then demand that we push him back and forth on the kitchen floor whilst we sing along. The look of pure joy on his face makes it totally worth the arm workout.


Drawing with Daddy. In the interests of the environment, drawing on the abandoned instructions from the table at which they are working!


Playdough! Crayons have become popular lately, but Thomas is less sure about playdough. He normally gets us to remove the lids and will then touch it lightly with one finger before rubbing that finger on his face. He clearly thinks it is some sort of face or body cream and we can only surmise that he thinks this because the cream we put on his skin each night comes out of a similar (albeit much larger) tub. He won’t actually play with playdough though, and recoils away from it if handed a lump.


Thomas’s first experience of baking. This actiually went really well. Whilst he had a nap, I measured out all the ingredients for some rock cakes in to a series of separate bowls. Thomas then got to pour things from one bowl to another, and mix to his heart’s content. Mixing is another favourite activity right now. Quite a lot of mixture did fly around the room, but the results were still not only edible, but yummy.


What my husband does when left alone with a box of Duplo for too long!


After finishing his yogurt, Thomas decided to spin the pot around on the end of his spoon. This had the effect of spreading yogurt surprisingly far, but also kept him occupied for a surprisingly long time.


We went to Howlett’s Zoo today. Thomas spent the day running around pretending to be a lion, shouting “Raaaaa”. The real lions were suitably unimpressed, and this is me removing Thomas from taunting them.


We keep finding Thomas’s milk in some surprising places.


Today was a messy play day. We had lots of fun with water, bubbles and food colouring. Lots of mixing, filling and pouring. Messy play up until now had really lacked any sort of focus or creativity, as Thomas simply isn’t able to play that way, so it’s mostly been about exploring textures. Today, we got the tea set out and he spent a lot of time pouring “tea” in to various different containers, as well as mixing everything with a spoon.


Thomas is obsessed by the baby monitor. He loves pressing all the buttons, and holding it to his ear like a phone, but he also likes repositioning it on its base.


The love-hate realtionship with the vacuum cleaner. When left standing innocently in the corner, Thomas is drawn to the Dyson like a moth to a flame. He can’t help but explore it, including pressing the main button. If Ian or I approach and he thinks we are going to start it up, he runs as fast as his little legs will carry him, with a look of panic on his face and a squeal of “oooooooooo”. He really, really, dislikes the vacuum actually being used. Which is ironic, given hw many crumbs he creates.


I’d love to say that Thomas built this, but I’d clearly be lying. This is again a creation by my husband. We have a large collection of wooden train track – some was a gift, some was from my childhood and a bit more was half price in the Early Learning Centre. Thomas really loves it, but it’s also a toy that we get a lot of fun from too!


A rare night out results in a very crappy low light iPhone photo. Was a good night though!


Thomas chasing the deer at Knole Park. There are almost identical photos of me at the same age somewhere. I spent a lot of time here as a child, and given how much Thomas loves running around here, I think that will also  be the case for him.

Project 365 – More March, More Thomas

I swear that this 365 Project is not meant to be a Project Thomas, but I can see it is starting to look that way! Of these pictures, only one does not include Thomas. I suppose it stands to reason. I am most likely to pick up my camera each day to capture something interesting, amusing or cute that my son is doing!


All dressed in red, ready for Red Nose Day at nursery


We went to Ikea today. Thomas thought it was the greatest playground ever! This is actually the first time he has ever worn his backpack reins without throwing a strop – I think there was just too much exciting stuff to look at to get bogged down having a tantrum about reins. Even with them on though, we had trouble reining him in. At one point he barged through two women looking at a wardrobe so that he could kiss himself in the mirrored door! And of course, he climbed inside at least one…Mar172013

At my parents’ house. This is my childhood Brio set. The track layout was courtesy of Daddy, but Thomas was chief train driver (and maraca shaker, to boot).


Stealing my breakfast. This happens every morning. Without fail. He then goes on to steal Ian’s breakfast before eating his own too!


Lately Thomas has started snuggling down like this when he is tired. He’ll put his head down then wriggle his body around for quite a while. It’s a much better tired sign than the screaming he used to treat us to!


Bathtime! Thomas absolutely loves his baths. His skin would prefer it if we didn’t bath him every day, but Thomas most definitely would not!


I had to pop in to work to sort a few bits out today, and Thomas came along to say Hi to everyone. We tried to get him to make himself useful, and sat him in the big receptionist’s chair. Unfortunately he was fired for dribbling on the keyboard!


A classic Thomas pose, peering over the arm of the sofa. I’ll miss this when he’s tall enough not to even notice the arm of the sofa, never mind peer over it.


At a soft play birthday party. He went crazy climbing and chasing and had an absolute blast. This was also the first birthday tea he’s been to where he sat at the table and ate party food with everyone else (rather than in a high chair or on my lap). He wolfed down his ice cream dessert faster than anyone else too!


Reading with Daddy. We had gone to the pub for lunch and were waiting for our food to be served. A sure fire way to entertain Thomas is to get out a book. I just love how much he loves books.


Playing with another of my old toys, the “Clatterpilar”. Thomas has really “got” the idea of pull-along toys now.


Reading with Great-Grandpa, who had stopped by for lunch long with my mum, on their way to a hospital appointment.


Oh dear. Somehow Thomas has learned how to fit a plug in to a plug socket. He can actually get it right in there, the right way up and everything. I’m simultaneously impressed, and terrified!


Wine! An Easter Case ordered as part of a special offer from Naked Wines. A whole case of wine is a bit of a novelty these days!


Mummy and Thomas, a phone selfie taken at a local shopping centre.


I’ve already talked about our day on the farm here.


I’ve also already talked about the chocolate cake experience!

Project 365 – To the Middle of March

Ah… the 365 Project.

I’m a little bit behind. Ok, ok… very behind.

And I have a little confession, one that I may already have confessed before: Some of these photos weren’t taken on the day I’ve put them down as. And yes, I am struggling a bit to properly keep up this project. But I don’t want to quit because there are a few missing images, or because I’m behind on updating them. When I look at other people’s completed projects, especially the ones that document their children, I’m always struck by how lovely it is to see the changes that young children go through in the space of a year. That is still my motivation. So if a photo was taken a few days either side of the date I’ve assigned it to, but it captures the essence of what Thomas and our family was like at that time, then that is good enough for me. If I get to the end of the year with a set of photos that reflect our year as a whole, that will be success for me, even if it doesn’t conform to someone else’s definition of a completed Project 365.

So better late than never, this is the first half of March.


Still unwell. This is a very uncharacteristic pose for a little boy who never normally stands still.


We went shopping today, partly because we had a few things to get, but also as a way to get Thomas out of the house without any major pressure (i.e. we could easily come home again). He was actually on good form, amusing several people by standing inside the shop window of Paperchase and blowing his cheeks out against the glass! Sadly I did not get a photo of that, but I did get a picture of this. He took a real shine to this Thomas the Tank Engine umbrella in Mothercare. He was running around with it ‘Singing in the Rain’ style. Removing it from him when we needed to leave initiated a tantrum…


Following illness, food has been an issue. Toast and Mini Cheddars have been the staples, but it turns out chocolate biscuits are also quite welcome!


Favourite game of the moment – turning the bathroom light on and off. And on again. And off again. And on again. And… you get the picture!


Thomas has suddenly decided that he quite likes riding around on his Wheely Bug. The broom is, obviously, along for the ride. I think he sees that broom as his little friend.


There is something about this picture that I love. And he looks so much like I did at the same age.


This was my entry in to the March Me & Mine


Thomas loves cars, buses and lorries at the moment, so standing at the window in Starbucks is great. Of course, he also seems to like licking windows at the moment…


We were eating pizza. I can’t remember what made Thomas laugh like this, but I do remember that the whole meal was punctuated by Thomas declaring “Mmmmm. Mmmmmmmmmm”


Trust Thomas to use a toy in a completely different way to that which was intended!


Not what you expect to see in March.


Definitely not what you want to see in March! At the deepest point, there was more than 10 inches here!


The flying biscuit monster! I dislike everything about this picture other than the fact it contains my two favourite boys!


Shake your maracas! Thomas loves music and dancing. He will issue his maracas (and tambourine) to anyone who happens to be near (including, for example, the boiler repair man) and then expect you to shake them until he puts his finger to his lips to “sssh” you. If the musical instruments aren’t to hand, he’ll wave his hands at you to “conduct” a chorus of “la la la la las” and again silence you with a finger to the lips!

Project 365 – February’s Final Fourteen

I’m well behind on updating my progress with my 365 Project. I’ll hold my hands up and say time as been something in short supply lately – as evidenced by te overall lack of activity here – and I’m definitely struggling to keep up!


I love this picture. He’s always stuffing his face!


Fast asleep, squashed in the corner of the sofa next to me, sweaty from feeding, and still wearing dinner all over his face! Just about sums Thomas up!


Pure joy! The weather was lovely, so after Sunday Lunch at the pub we went for a walk around the local castle grounds. Thomas had great fun watching the ducks and chasing the pigeons. he ran at them flapping his arms as if he had wings of his own. catching him on camera is tricky because he moves so fast!Feb182013

Brushing Daddy’s teeth. Despite having no teeth (still) Thomas loves “brushing” his…. and ours!


Conquering playground equipment.


This is Ian’s “stop-taking-photographs-of-me-and-do-something-useful” face. I was only taking picture because he was modelling his new apron!


Going for a walk. With conspicuous lack of hand holding or reins! I have realised that we have a lot of pictures of Thomas like this and people may begin to worry that he doesn’t have any hands! It is simply that this coat is MASSIVE. Thomas is not 16 months old, and this is 9-12 month size. I’m thinking it will do next winter as well at this rate. We usually leave the house with the sleeves rolled back, but that doesn’t last long.


Tea party! Thomas loves to stir imaginary cups of tea, before drinking them. He offers about one in five to someone else.


With the Wheely Bug. This was a first birthday present from Granny and Grandad. It hasn’t seen that much play yet, because his feet didn’t reach the floor when he sat on it. This week it’s suddenly had a lot of attention.


Another stuffing-his-face photo. Toast. Another favourite food.


We bought the BabyBjorn Babysitter in a panic at around 9 months of age when he completely outgrew his previous bouncer. At that time the bouncer was still the only place he would nap during the day. This has been one of our best purchases, and he still uses it as a seat now.Feb262013

Crazy hair. It really does need a(nother) cut now.


Spaceman Thomas! Who knows what was going through his head.


First day of the vomit-fest. He looks so sad and unwell in this picture.


Project 365 – February’s First Fourteen

I’m way overdue for this update, but at least I’m still taking pictures!


Special Kiss! When he is in a particularly loving mood, Thomas doles out kisses very readily. The only problem is that in Thomas’s world, kisses are delivered to the nose, accompanied by nomming actions. We call them “special kisses”.


Thomas helped himself to the fork I was using to cut up his pasta, and then proceeded to eat the whole meal with it!


Running around in B&Q. Thomas selected a lampshade that was in rather dubious taste, and tried to make off with someone else’s trolley. Going to DIY stores used to be boring!


Little Picasso – artwork from nursery


More artwork! This time a card for Great Grandpa.


Bum defence. I’ve already written about this lot, here.


Swings! The giggles whilst he’s swinging are infectious. We had to brave the semi-flooded park to get to the semi-flooded playground. Lots of mud underfoot, but the biggest advantage was that despite blue skies, it was almost deserted. Which meant we go to swing for ages!


Bedtime stories from Daddy, with Mr Cow the comforter.


Hospital visiting. the expression on Thomas’s face is priceless. I have no idea what he was annoyed about, but he’d been having a fun afternoon of opening (and emptying) cupboards and drawers that he shouldn’t have been it, and driving his cars across the floor, complete with nee-naw sound effects.


If Thomas could speak, he’d definitely have been saying “Noooooooooooo Mum…. geroff me! What if my friends can see?!”


Ian and I took a trip up to KCH for my “report card”. All was well.


Thomas was supposed to be going in the bath, hence the lack of trousers. Daddy does the majority of baths though. He usually gets through the door just in time for bath time, so it’s Daddy-Thomas boding time. Ian was late tonight though. And Thomas was definitely searching for him!


The beloved broom. And the washing machine’s not bad either!


Valentine’s cards from my boys!

Project 365 – One Month Reflections

So here we are, the final four images of month one. Compared to my previous attempts at a 365 Project, things are going great. But everything is relative! This has not been a simple undertaking for me at all, and I’ve already discovered quite a lot about myself


Playtime just before bed!


Ian’s parents had bought us, and Ian’s sister and husband, tickets to go and see Phantom Of The Opera. My mother-in-law babysat our nieces, whilst Thomas was left with my father-in-law. Needless to say, bedtime was less than successful (out of routine, in a different house without Ian or I there will always be a recipe for disaster for our poor sleeper). We arrived home to the news that he had stayed up playing until he fell over dead on his feet. Amazingly he still could not be persuaded to sleep in his cot, so ended up sleeping in his Grandad’s arms until we got home. This is how we found them. (The show was fabulous, by the way!)


Dressing up in his cousin’s dressing up clothes!


A return to bedtime normality. Playing with Daddy, blowing raspberries on the changing mat, whilst Mummy runs the bath!

Overall I’m pleased with the collection of pictures the first month of this project has yielded. However there are many more iPhone images than I would like, particularly as part of the aim of this project for me personally was to make sure I was picking up my DSLR as often as possible. The main reason for all the phone pictures is simple: I always have my iPhone to hand. I’m disappointed in myself for not using a “proper camera” more often though, and I’ve identified something which I need to work on getting over – my lack of confidence in being seen with a camera constantly in my hand. I suppose I’m shy about being seen taking photographs in public, although I find this much easier when taking landscape images.

The reasons behind this are a bit complex. There is the old fact of not wanting to miss the moment because I’m too busy trying to capture it. And not wanting to be judged for photographing my child rather than paying close attention to him (although ‘d never think this of someone else with a camera!). But the deeper issue goes back to worrying too much about what other people think of me. You see, I think that these days almost anyone wants to call themselves a photographer, or claim that photography is a hobby. The number of people buying a DSLR because they think that they will somehow get better photographs just by owning it has soared. The number of people using said camera on full auto mode, because they have no understanding of the basics of aperture and shutter speed, is also huge.

I don’t, and could never, claim to be a photographer. I enjoy creating photographs, when I have the time. I enjoy the process of experimentation and learning about light and looking at subjects in unusual ways. There are perhaps a couple of dozen photographs that I’ve taken in my life that I’ really, really proud of. But I will freely admit that I mostly take snaps, although I do use my camera in full manual as often as I can, but I often make mistakes with exposure and using the available light effectively. The bottom line is that there is a massive difference between the snaps that most of us take most of the time, and photographs. It may sometimes be subtle, but the differentiation is there.

What I don’t want  to do is to give the impression that I think I’m a photographer, when I know that I’m not. And that is the main reason that I feel self conscious about wielding a DSLR in public.  I know it’s crazy, and why should I care what other people think?  This project is starting to show me that I do need to get over it and start getting my camera out more.

The other good thing which has come out of tackling this project is forcing me to deal with some of my unruly Lightroom Catalogs and come up with a more ordered filing system for the pictures I keep on my hard drive. As all of our images are also stored on our file server, I’m very guilty of not organising my local folders very well, but that is obviously something i cannot get away with during this project.

Anyone with too much time on their hands who chooses to look at the EXIF data for many of my images will, however, notice something amiss. The dates on the vast majority of the images don’t match the dates they are filed against. In case anyone wanted to accuse me of “cheating”, I thought I’d include an explanation. The first part is to do with how I handle uploads from my phone, because I don’t connect my phone directly to my Mac and upload through iTunes and nor do I store the images on the local drive, somehow this sometimes does something to the dates. The second part of the explanation is that we have two identical camera bodies, but use one much more than the other. I switched cameras quite a bit this month, due to issues with the auto focus in one camera and a couple of episodes of mirror jam. One of the cameras had an incorrect date and time setting, which has only just been fixed. I thought about using a program to alter the metadata, but decided that I simply couldn’t be bothered. After all – and this is the third part of the explanation – this is my project. Why should anyone else care when I did or didn’t take the images.

It’s about challenging myself and making memories for my family. I’m definitely succeeding there.

January Collage