It’s been… AGES!!!!

Oh sigh, I’m one of those people that once I’m in a groove, I am great – I am in the flow, I am productive, I am consistent… BUT, if I get out of the groove – Totally hopelss at getting back in it! So this is what has happened here, I got out of the groove.. I neglected my blog. Life took over. Motherhood. Yes that’s right, Real Life.

And hey, you know what, I realised that is OK!

As the days went past I grew more distant from my bog as life got busier, and it got harder to get myself to add a new post. I kept telling myself I should. And then the guilt took over. Which is a horrible, silly thing to feel about a blog. This was supposed to be fun, a way of sharing my ideas and creative experiences, a way of sharing my motherhood. Not a ball and chain around my ankle, a lead weight on my shoulders. It was not supposed to bring me down. I have enough demands already to add another self imposed one to the list. So I have had to have a serious word with myself, and let go of the guilt, and the pressure, and let go a bit. It is ok to get out of the groove here. So long as I can focus on the important things in life, having fun with my boys and trying to find time to be creative for myself. I am going to stop feeling like this is something I HAVE to do, and more like it is something I WANT to do. Not necessarily once a week (my original aim) but simply when the whimsy takes me. (I no, don’t think I have ever written the word ‘whimsy’ in my life before).

So what I have I been up to in the past 7 or so weeks? Too many things to count!

Here are a selection of some moments…

MAIDFinallly got some business cards printed for my new lable. ‘MAID” stands for Maker, Artist, Illustrator and Designer. Whoop! I will be adding things to http://www.phoebegander.com for sale in New Zeland, but again, progress is slow due to my limited time to be creative!

IMG_2288 Flower and shell arrangement for me from Sen. Love him. X

DSCF1458Making felt pizzas.

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Zuchinni brownies. Making. Eating. YUM.IMG_3046These two. XXXXXXXX

Right, I have quite a few blog posts to add, but they will come when I have the time and energy, and not a moment sooner! x

 

It’s been a while…

Ah its been a bit quiet on the creative front lately (understatement) due to several factors… the main one being our whole household getting infected wirth strep throat!

Joy definetly isn’t Streptococcus . Strep is not something I was that familiar with. Oh but I am now believe me!

There wasn’t much that helped sooth my throat except a remedy I made from a mixture of apple cider vinegar and honey.

Sore throat cure

Sore and strep throat remedy:

  • 1 tablespoon of melted or runny Honey – (organic Manuka honey would be the best to use, but I used whatever was to hand)
  • 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar (again, organic would be best I’m sure)
  • half a cup of water

Basically mix ingredients in a glass and gargle then spit out first, then gargle and then swallow the second time. Do this every hour. I kept my mixture in a jar in the fridge until I needed it.

It really helped to sooth it ansd I’m sure worked more effectivly then the antibiotics!

Here are some photos of us at our worst…

IMG_5402Poor little J probably had it bad. Very high fever, vomiting, and very swollen pussy tonsils, and an ear infection. I have never seen him so poorly 😦

IMG_4334Next to go down was me, I also got a lovely eye infection to complement the other symptoms nicely…

IMG_5434Mmmm attractive close up, it was so itchy and sore!

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And then it was poor S who was hit, and my husband too but luckily he got onto antibotics very quickly and evaded most of the symptoms other then a sore throat. Phew! S got strep and the eye infection as well… 4 days of not eating and finally he had an ice lollie (ice block to NZers!) IMG_5511

Finally everyone was on the mend and I breathed a sigh of relief that things could go back to normal… But I relaxed too soon, as one week later I was driving home and my car was ht by a drunk driver! Luckily I was alone without the kids and was hit on the passenger side. I have to say it was one of the scariest moment of my life when I was hit and both airbags went off. Plus, the naughty scoundrel drove off, but the hapless fool didn’t reckon on the fact that he had left part of his car beind with the number plate on it, so the police were quickly on his tail and caught him, ha! He is being charged on 3 counts, reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol and fleeing the scene of an accident. Unfortunately I had to spend 3 hours horizontal in a neck brace in A&E which was scary, but 8 x-rays later I was given the all clear and could go home and hug my family. It’s definately times like these that make me question why we live in New Zealand so far away from family…

car crash

Still, I am counting my blessings as even though the car is a written off, we had insurance and I walked away pretty much unharmed.

Life is precious, don’t sweat the small stuff people! x

10 Tips for Photographing Children

I’ve done my fair share of photographing children and babies, not only as a professional but of my own (poor over-papped) children. And, as most parents know, its easier said then done to get a decent picture. Still, practice makes perfect and I have learnt quite a few tricks on the way, some of which I thought I’d share so others can maybe take a more ‘frame worthy’ photo of their kids.

They say a poor workman always blames his tools, but with photography it really does help to have a half decent camera, and a basic understanding of how it works… that said, you dont have to spend thousands on the latest SLR, most digital cameras nowadays have settings such as ‘macro’, ‘sport’ and surpressing flash. My best peice of advice is whatever camera you have READ the manual! I know, its dull. No one wants to read the manual. Ok so you probably won’t, but it will save you frustraion in the long run and you WILL get better photos if you know how to properly use the functions on your camera, but to save you time…

Here are my top 10 tips for the novice!

  • use the sport mode…

 Most cameras have ‘sport’ mode, usuallly a speedy looking person (or perhaps zumba-esque?!) like this:sport modeIt will enable you to capture them in at a fast shutter speed, therefore in action. Cos lets face it, kids move, a lot. Better still, some cameras allow for ‘continous shooting’ where by pressing your finger down on the button it will fire off a succession of photographs very quickly so that later you can just scroll though and pick the ‘winners’. Kids don’t stay still so the sport mode is in my opinion, your best friend when it comes to photographing them to maximise your chance of getting a decent photo – especially if you are trying to snap more then one child!! sportmode

  • use a zoom lens…

You will get get a much better photo if a child is (almost) unaware you are taking their photo.. which seems slightly impossible, unless you factor in a zoom lens. Here’s the usual story – you see your kid doing something that would make a great photo, you run and get your camera, but as soon as you darling child spots the camera its game over. Or, you start trying to get your child to ‘perform’ for the camera, they seem to have a uncanny knack of suddenly acting like a celebrity in a scandal – all coy and running away from the mum-arazzi, totally impossible to photograph… So if you have a zoom lens or decent zoom setting back off, be quiet, patient and let them do there thing, and voila, the photo opportunities present themselves.IMG_1851

  • Use ‘macro’…

OK so its a complete contradiction of my previous tip, but if you have a complient child (usually the under twos, or ok, babies) ‘macro’ or ‘close up’ mode is your answer: macroThe little ‘tulip’ icon means macro, basically alowing you to get closer to your subject and still stay in focus. Make sure you have it set and you will kiss those fuzzy close -up shots goodbye. Sooo many people don’t realise what this simple function can achieve.IMG_1111

  • Change photos to black & white/edit/crop…col:bwSometimes, a photo you didn’t think worth keeping can be saved by a bit of basic editing. You don’t need to have the latest photoshop software, you can easily download Picasa for free, or even edit the photo in your local photo printing shop, as most machines have all the basic functionssuch as cropping, B&W etc.
  • Use a different point of view.

Literally, just get down on their level, squat, lie down, and see what they are interested in, or get up high and look down on them, try different things other then just standing at your own hight and snapping away mindlessly!

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  • Think about framing

Guess what, you don’t have to have your subject slap bang in the middle of the photo! In fact, the most interesting pictures are more likely to be ones where the viewer’s eye is ‘led’ into the photo, as in the ‘rule of thirds’. And don’t always thing that kids have to be looking straight at the lens to give you a good picture.IMG_1687IMG_1504

  • Be silly – wear a wig/mask/ears etc –

IMG_0740 (2)Yes, I meant you. Although you can get the kids to do this too, but if they see you being silly and having fun, they are more likely to want to play along. You can ask them “where’s the bunny?” whilst wearing silly ears, or act like a clown in a funnny wig to get them laughing and looking at the camera. Cringe worthy, but you who cares if everybody’s having fun?!

  • Props or activities

Use bubbles, ride on or pull along toys, fairy wands, suggest they climb a tree, give them a pile of leaves etc etc… Get them doing something, and you will get a better photo. Here’s where ‘sport’ mode really comes in handy!DSCF8125 - Version 2

  • Turn off your flash.

Find the surpress flash button and use it. Flash kills emotion in a photo, often you can use the natural light available, and if indoor photos are turing out blurry, its more then enough of a reason to get outside! IMG_7556IMG_0761

  • Dont say ‘cheese’… say ‘cheesy feet’…

Kids are pretty easy to make laugh. And if that fails, tell them to scream. Enough said. DSCF5530

I hope this post may have given others some new ideas to try, I will follow it up with tips on photographing babies soon!  If you still don’t think you can take a decent photo, check out and like my facebook page Phoebe Gander Creative and you can get me to come and do the hard work for you!!! x

Organise the Chaos

So one of the reasons I have decided to write this blog as a way to document my journey through motherhood, as so many days get swept up together and lost in the blurry confusion of the past. A bit like when you wake from a really good dream but by the time your cup of half drunk tea is cold you have forgotten what was so great about it as all the details and ‘realness’ of the dream get lost… Anyway, that is kind of how the past 4 and a half years feel. Since my son was born with the sleep deprivation that followed and then the second baby arriving, throw in a 9 month visit to the uk and it all seems to be one very long a chaotic dream.

And since Senny, my oldest, comes out with the most amazing things and so often I forget them by the end of the day (bad mother alert!) I felt I should have a place to document them. Also I will be able to reflect back at the crazy times when I am older and my boys are grown up and I will be able to say “look, maybe it was fun after all!” ha ha :) I also want to keep track of my journey to understandingmy kids and how our daily life is affected by the fact that we are pretty sure that our oldest boy has Asperger’s Syndrome.

I feel like such a weight has lifted off me since I realised that  Asperger’s is most probably a part of what makes Sennen the way he is. That now I realise that he IS different, and not just ‘naughty’ because I am not parenting him effectively, or that I am some how doing something ‘wrong’ which if I did ‘right’ things would magically click into place and be easy (ha yeah right!) but actually, now I know why he is sometimes so difficult, so frustrating and challenging, I can learn to understand, empathise, and work with him rather than feeling like life is a constant battle against him.

I have accepted that he is not your ‘typical’ child. I have accepted his difference from me and from his brother, and that has been like a lightbulb turning on, illuminating a way of understanding him.

Hurrah! Hooray! Knowledge is power, and I feel empowered knowing that I can now help him be the best version of himself that he can possibly be. And now I can learn to be the best mother that I can be for him too.

Perhaps life will now resemble organised chaos slightly more than just a chaotic dream…

we shall see.

x

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 Senny being “paracute man” x