2014 Recap

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It’s been a crazy year to say the least. From my lack of posts it probably feels like I’ve dropped off the face of the earth, but I assure you that I’m still here. My year has pretty much just revolved around this tiny little person who at the moment is rolling around at my feet, determined to make as much noise as possible today. She certainly makes every day interesting. I don’t even remember what it was like to have a newborn, only that no one was getting any sleep in the early days.

She changes every day and every time I think I’ve got her figured out, she changes it up. It’s pretty amazing how fast she changes and grows, and it’s amazing that only a few short months ago she was just a helpless thing that just ate and cried and (sometimes) slept, but now she’s a real little person. She has likes and dislikes, preferences for things, loves to explore the world and is getting more mobile by the minute. I can see some of my and her father’s personality in her. She’s like me in that she wants to be involved with everything and doesn’t want to miss out. She is grumpy when she is initially woken up, but her personality shines through once you give her a bit of time. She takes time to warm up to people but once she does she is warm and happy. She loves to observe the world around her. She’s like Mr Cookie Loves Milk in that she is endlessly curious and analytical. When she studies things she does it with such concentration and intensity. She doesn’t fall asleep or stay asleep easily. She knows what she wants and gets it, including anything with lots of buttons and things to play with (Playstation controller, keyboards, remote controls). Then there are things that she does that are just her own. She can’t sit still and needs to always be moving. She is strong willed, determined and very vocal and she lets you know when she doesn’t like something. She bounces back quickly. She is independent and tries to do things on her own and doesn’t always want to be held, but sometimes that’s what she needs.

She’s a beautiful little person who fills me with so much love and so much frustration, usually in the span of only a few seconds. The great thing though is that she and I are both learning about each other and the world. It’s been a crazily steep learning curve. As she changes I will have to adapt as well, something I haven’t always been very good at. I like predictability and stability, neither of which I have at the moment with her. She is teaching me to be more flexible and to go with the flow. She and I are much happier doing things a step at a time instead of trying to fit a mould. She is definitely not a textbook baby, but I am a textbook kind of person.

So at the moment I have been very preoccupied with her, to the point that I don’t even remember myself anymore. I haven’t worked since March. I haven’t slept a proper night through since I went on maternity leave. Some days I feel like I can’t get anything done. I have been more obsessed with sleep (or the lack thereof) than anything in my life so far. At the start of my leave I was so naive. I thought that I would be bored, but I just don’t have the time for anything. I thought I would be able to achieve so much, learn so many new skills, do online courses, bake, cook, clean, draw, paint, create, read, exercise… So much for that! I’m lucky if some days I’m able to shower, eat, and maintain my sanity. I’m definitely not alone though. There are so many blogs and articles that I’ve read this year (because I really just can’t commit to anything that takes me more that 5 minutes to read at a time) that describe my situation perfectly. I never understood what it was to be a parent before actually being one.

My (currently childless) brother was asking me for advice about parenting and honestly most days I still feel like I’m in way over my head. I didn’t want to scare him about all the challenges that I’ve faced, but I also didn’t want to sugar coat it for him the way people did with me. It made me feel unprepared for the reality of it all. I know every child is different and my little girl could be easier but it could also be harder. I just think that no one has it all figured out and that every day is full of new challenges and wonders. It’s cliche, but it’s easier to be flexible and just go with the flow, taking it one day (or even one minute) at a time.

I waste a lot of time and energy worrying about things that may or may not happen. It’s an ongoing project for me, trying not to worry and to just deal with things as they come up, but it’s also something I’m looking forward to in all the years to come in the parenting journey. I’m slowly learning that no one has it all figured out and we can only do our best to not screw up our children. I’m definitely not perfect, but neither is anyone else and that’s okay.

So I didn’t achieve anywhere near what I had wanted to over the last year with my silly goals and resolutions, but I have become a stronger and more capable person within myself. I have also managed to keep our daughter alive and well for the last 8 months (with a lot of help and support from my husband and family and friends) and that in itself is a pretty amazing achievement! I’m looking forward to seeing what 2015 brings for our little family.

Project 365 2013 – Day 94

Autumn

The Start Of Autumn

The husband asks me, “Why are there a bunch of leaves in the living room?”

My response, “It’s art!”

I don’t think he got it. These first brown leaves from our tree outside our house, finally, after a month of unseasonable warmth. I’m looking forward to more coloured leaves to take photos of.

Japan – Kyoto

We went to Japan in October 2010 for our honeymoon. See our Tokyo photos here. Our next stop in Japan was the beautiful city of Kyoto. We had a lot of fun here walking around and seeing the sights. We definitely got ‘shrined-out’ here. There are beautiful shrines with great architecture and tradition, but they’re absolutely everywhere. We also got to go on our first shinkansen (bullet train), which was amazing efficient, like everything in Japan.

Empty Streets

Streets

My favourite place in Kyoto was probably the Arashiyama region, which was west of Kyoto and had these beautiful bamboo forests. Wish I got better pics, but there are plenty around already. I just really enjoyed walking around this region.

Arashiyama bamboo grove

Like suckers we walked, but there were lots of rickshaws around for the less able. I like how the driver of this one doubled as photographer. So talented.

Rickshaw

Maple Leaves

Bamboo Fence

We also ventured up Mt Arashiyama to the Iwatayama Monkey park.

He’s liking those binoculars

My favourite shrine in Kyoto was the Fushimi Inari shrine. There are so many trails up the mountain that leads to the top with smaller shrines along the way. It’s famous for the torii gates that line the paths and are donated by businesses. We got there late afternoon as the sun was going down and decided to hike all the way up to the top, which was lots of fun, and just a little bit spooky on the way down.  It was particularly scary when we got completely lost, until the husband figured out that the writing on the gates led the way out.

Torii gates

Writing on the gates leading us out!

Kitsune (fox) wishes

Instagram

I’m probably very late to jump onto the Instagram bandwagon. I know many people have a lot of mixed opinions about Instagram out there. I have to admit that I was one of those people because I thought it was a bunch of posers and hipsters ruining their photos with terrible filters to make their photos look very low end film camera like. After biting the bullet and making myself an account and forcing myself to try to use it, I actually really like it.

There are a lot of really talented people out there and I’m finding their photos quite inspiring. It is also forcing me to rethink how I take photos, particularly with the iPhone. I’ve never really been able to figure out the iPhone camera but I’m slowly learning and experimenting because let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to carry around the phone (which my husband insists on me doing even though I’m terribly forgetful) than a giant DSLR. I’ve also never really understood or appreciated square crops, so it’s forcing me to branch out into something different.

I know a lot of the filters are very gimmicky, but sometimes they just work if you’re aiming for a certain feeling in the photo. Colour is an amazing tool for changing the mood of the photo. Also instagram lets you save unfiltered photos so you don’t have to use the filters.

A few things I still don’t like about Instagram are that it doesn’t have a browsable website, because I don’t like just looking at the photos on my phone. I also don’t like what I like to call hashtag abusers. I know they just want to promote their photos, but it makes it feel really messy when the list of hashtags takes up more space than the actual photo.

Either way I will keep using Instagram. There are some great tips here from Christina Dixon for mastering Instagram

My username is cookie_loves_milk if you would like to follow.

Darling Harbour, Sydney

Soccer ball lamp post

Seagull

View from the 75th floor of our Sydney hotel

Patterned cushion

Under the bridge

Market at The Rocks

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Opera House

Step of the Sydney Opera House

Tiles of the Sydney Opera House

Maple leaf

Bright shoe laces

Panel's at Parliament station

Mind the gap

Project 365 2012 – Day 92

Shadows

It was a beautiful autumn afternoon and our tree outside our kitchen has started changing colours. I still don’t know what kind of tree it is. I thought it was maple because of the leaves, but now I think it’s a kind of oak tree because it has acorns.

It was the perfect day to sleep in, be lazy, do a bit of reading and go for a walk.

Glimpse of Autumn

The leaves in the street have started changing colour, which means that autumn is on the way! It’s definitely my favourite season, when it’s not too hot and not too cold. There are also great colours and good photo opportunities.

These I took up in the Dandenong Ranges two years ago when we were searching for wedding venues. It was when I first got the DSLR and I’m hoping I’ve improved a bit since then. I’m noticing a lot of clipped petals and ends of leaves, which I still sometimes do now =p

Love the colours in this one. So vibrant

Japanese Maple

The leaves are just about to turn

Rhododendrons

Azaleas

I love how bright the red is in this one

Blue Hydrangea

Fuchsia

I like this one, but clipped the petals. Oops

Clipped this one too... otherwise would have been a great shot

Pink Cyclamen

Project 365 2012 – Day 31

One month done! I didn’t think I would get this far, but I did so here’s to another 11 months.

Today’s photo is of my bonsai that I got from my sister in law as a wedding gift. This was something I also thought wouldn’t survive as last winter it was looking very sickly, and we tend to kill every plant we have (we destroyed mint and that’s like a week!) However last spring the bonsai just started sprouting new leaves like crazy and now it’s doing better than ever. It’s going so well that it even has a resident spider now.

I like to think of this project like the bonsai, with a little love and care it will grow wonderfully.

Silken Threads