January is a month where life is different to any other month. The kids are all home, the weather is warm, and there are way less routines than normal. I’m actually one of those mums who LIKES the school holidays, and I don’t really want them to go back to school! Maybe it’s because for the most part they keep each other entertained, and the older ones are a massive help with the younger ones; maybe it’s because time is less restricted – we don’t need to be out at a certain time every day, and my days aren’t broken into a million pieces (meaning more relaxation but also a lot more opportunity for working with less interruptions); maybe it’s the break from after school activities and all the juggles of school assignments, assemblies and homework; maybe it’s because when they go back it signifies that they’re another year older – that time has really moved on and things will be different. Or maybe it’s just because I actually just like being around them. Most of the time anyway! They can drive me nuts, and I yell way more than I would like, but I have to admit, I do love it most when everyone is here.
Water and Snow
What says summer better than water fights in the backyard? The kids had so much fun getting soaked with the hose! And then in other extremes, Louie and Alby created ‘Snow’ with their sand. They were throwing the sand allllll over the decking “Look! Snow!”
School holiday mornings are slower than school mornings and I love this. Although it doesn’t mean I get to sleep in, moving slower is a big change from the hectic school mornings. Often I come out in the morning to see all three boys awake and sitting on the couch together – usually they’ve also stolen a snack from the cupboard. My daughter is usually still asleep – she definitely takes advantage of sleeping in during the holidays!
Although the mornings are less rushed, the nights are mostly just as rushed. When you have little kids there is often more of a routine where the nightly bath and bed routine needs to be at a particular time, making every thing a little rushed leading to that point. Every night Alby runs off naked towards the bath and then the boys share a bath. These little things happen every day, and are important to me to capture so that I can remember them when they stop happening.
When I think about photographing my kids, I want to capture all of the routines and daily moments – things that are so ‘normal’ we often forget about capturing them because we don’t necessarily see the beauty in routine. But it’s there! It’s there in the way Louie gets his stool so that he can reach the Greek yoghurt in the fridge, it’s there in the way he cuddles me every morning when he gets changed (I got my husband to take these shots!), it’s there in the way Alby reaches onto the bench for his dummy, and the way he and I always say goodnight to the baby in the mirror before I take him to bed (this is a routine I used to do with Louie as well).
Just as I love to capture daily routines, I also love to capture new skills. When you have kids, there are always things they’re learning. These skills which we take for granted are so momentous for them, and the amount of excitement and pride we all get when they achieve them, is just another example of how the ordinary becomes extraordinary when you have kids. This month Alby learnt to jump, and is learning about where items belong (such as shoes on his feet). Louie learnt to undress and dress himself – he is very proud and always wants me to watch him do it!
Alby always has food. He loves to feed himself with the spoon or fork – and sometimes tries to feed us as well! He also loves watermelon. He’s learning how to say it, which is really cute. Until recently he was calling it ‘bapples’ which is what he also calls ‘apples’ so it would get quite confusing. It’s so fun listening to him learning new words and being able to express himself.
As always, I mostly love just capturing the kids when they’re doing something that they enjoy doing. These are the best memories, and the most real and authentic memories too. I don’t often ask them to look at the camera, and I don’t get them to change what they’re doing (unless it’s to maybe move into the nicer light). One morning Alby was having so much fun putting dice in a cup and watching them all bounce out. He repeated that little activity so many times! Another time Kohen placed Alby in a bucket and took him for a ride down the hallway. Then there is also Alexi tickling Alby, and Louie drawing. All moments of natural childhood fun!
Sometimes I just see light and need one of the kids to stand in that spot so I can grab a photo! I particularly love shadows and directional light – I really love the mood that it brings to an image.
And then of course there was our holiday to Adelaide. I’m not one of those people who looks forward to holidays – I think I get too anxious about it all going well, and I get overwhelmed with all of the packing and planning. It’s not until I’m there that I’m able to enjoy it and truly understand why it’s so important to take little breaks away. This holiday was the best one yet. We go most years with my parents and we all stay together on the beach. This year was hot (one day was 46.6 degrees!) but this meant that the kids were able to go swimming and do other water activities which they love, and we thankfully had air conditioning back at our apartment. This holiday I also focused on just capturing natural moments with my camera. The kids commented that they thought I took a lot less photos. In reality, I took just as many but I wasn’t intrusive. I very rarely got them to stop what they were doing and smile for a photo. Instead I just captured moments as they happened. And I love them. You can see more of our holiday images in the slideshow at the top. It might give you an idea of ways to take photos on your own holidays as well!