Published May 7th, 2014 by

I was sick yesterday. Made Geoff come home from work. I don’t do that often. But hey, I’m 6 months pregnant and have wedding to shoot on Saturday. No playing games.

Claire is nearly 2. She talks. She talks and talks. Some more = more some. It’s pretty excellent. Our days currently look a little like: Geoff getting up in the morning when Claire does and they play and make us all coffee/baby chinos. She loves it. I love it. I think Geoff loves it. When he leaves she pesters me enough for ‘bubbles’ (cereal) or porridge to get me out of bed. We eat breakfast and I attempt to deal with the kitchen while she does. She likes to steal my toast. Then we play/read/clean etc. The independant play thing is slowly happening. She likes me involved and I try to give her good attention in the mornings because a) I should b) she sleeps better c) she’s generally a quality time girl so it’s super important. Around 10am’ish we have a drink of milk (she does) and read a story and she goes down for a nap. 1-2hrs. I work mostly when she naps, sometimes I relax. I always make a cup of tea, sometimes I remember to drink it.

She wakes up happy. We potter around and eat lunch. The afternoons are fair game – sometimes we stay home sometimes we go out. Naps are also fair game and rarely happen and if she has one she usually wakes up grumpy. By 3.30-4pm I’m done, done, done and I hang out for 4.30pm Playschool time. I love Playschool. Playschool = sanity. She gets to watch that (if anything), Giggle and Hoot and Peppa Pig and if we pushing everything some Bananas In Pyjamas – which usually holds her attention for about five minutes. Geoff comes home. We deal with dinner. We eat early. Claire has a bath, books and goes to bed 6.30-7pm. The bedtime routine works almost without fail. It’s magic. Collapse.

At night there is: TV, conversation (if we aren’t too tired), work and general electronic distraction eg. Pinterest. Sometimes we watch a series together.

This is how we spend our days.

I am attempting to build some more routine into my weeks around cleaning – because it’s falling a bit flat at the moment and I have a semi inspired list of all the things I’d like to prioritize – one day I’ll find the energy. Small steps. Day to day. Currently am grocery shopping and cooking meals to freeze on Mondays. That’s working well.

Things I do with Claire who is almost 2:

  • Read lots of books
  • Minimize TV time. We do not watch tv during the day. Ever. Not until the 4.30pm slot.
  • One on one play. Drawing/Little People/Animals/Tea parties etc.
  • Cleaning – I let her help where possible, involve her in this so I’m not cleaning while she sleeps.
  • Grocery shopping

Things I should do more of

  • Walks
  • Trips to the park
  • Trips to the library
  • Being outside generally
  • Get a babysitter more

Geoff says I say ‘should’ too much. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I need to.

Baby House Life Parenting

Published July 12th, 2013 by

It has been an absolutely wonderful thing experiencing Claire’s first year – and seeing how much she has come into her own. She knows her mind and has a wickedly cheeky streak but she is affectionate and curious and smart. I love her so.

We had a truly lovely day on her actual birthday. Presents in the morning, with a new table and chairs to sit at and fun things to explore. Geoff was at work – but last day of school for the term, so he even finished early. Claire and I went out for lunch in the sunshine and I ordered her smashed avocado on toast. So weird ordering for a someone who is inevitably not going to eat it or will throw half of it on the floor – but you only turn one once. She LOVED it (being an avocado fiend helps). Tancks Corner is so nice. If you are in Melbourne’s outer north, it’s well worth a trip to Yarrambat, but you definitely should book.

Bec Matheson Photography | www.becmatheson.com

Her party was planned for the day after her actual birthday. Which was a bit foolish in hindsight – we should have rolled with a Sunday afternoon instead of the Saturday – but hey, you live and learn. She also decided not to sleep before hand – that was fun. And we hosted at our house which was FAR too small for 40 guests. 2.30pm-5pm.

As I am an utter and complete Pinterest addict. I figured Claire’s first birthday was the prime opportunity to get my hands dirty and actually try a few things. I ran around in circles looking at themes and initially didn’t want to do a woodland theme as it felt overdone but came across other problems with my other ideas – a strawberry party in the middle of winter just doesn’t work and a few of the other options were a bit limiting. All the things I really wanted to have a crack at led back to and fit nicely with woodland. So woodland it was. This was my inspiration board for the party.

I spent a few hours here and there in the months leading up to it so I didn’t have to do it all last minute. This allowed me to try a few things I would not of had time to do otherwise. However the day before I did decide to give a chalkboard design a crack. I’d seen a few online and love a bit of good typography, it was also a chance to incorporate some of the cute little woodland animals/motifs I used on her invitations and stickers into some of the decorations. And I’m SO glad I did. It was quite stressful and I wasn’t sure it was going to work, but it looked amazing – beyond what I expected. It was a super cute way to photograph her to mark the occasion, especially as I still haven’t gotten around to doing a cake smash… hmm that’s right, I was going to do one of those.

I made the pin she is wearing. I was inspired a bit by the pins shown at the top of Ivey Handcrafted (sorry not sure of the actual post they are on). But I used a combination of felt and a fat quarter and the ribbon which was actually bought for our wedding – 5 years ago. The number was also done in felt and stitched on. I had to improvise with a pin and used an alligator clip.

Bec Matheson Photography | www.becmatheson.com

Chalkboard Design

Designed first in InDesign on the computer. The fox and plant were vectors I had purchased as part of a set that I used to make her invitations – no sense reinventing the wheel. I printed the design out big. Rubbed A LOT of chalk on the back of the design and stuck it down with duct tape onto the chalkboard. Trace with a pen (coloured so you can see it) you have to press REALLY hard. This gives you a faint outline. Then I used a chalkboard pen (bought from Smiggle of all places). Liquid chalk is permanent, so there is no room for mistakes. I then filled in the areas and cleaned it up. The chalkboard I made years ago from an old frame (opshop) painted with chalkboard paint… which you can also make using fine tile grout mixed with any kind of water based paint.

I used this tutorial from Indie Craft Parade for the transfer – but used liquid chalk to get the cleaner lines and I didn’t care about permanency.

The Woodland Party

Bec Matheson Photography | www.becmatheson.com

Bec Matheson Photography | www.becmatheson.com

Bec Matheson Photography | www.becmatheson.com

Bits and pieces and decorations

The little mushrooms – these were made from champagne corks (I bought a bag off ebay of about 40 of them). They were several coats of paint. Inspired by Heather Ross.

The decorative paper fans at the back were from a vintage book pages. Three pages accordion folded and taped together – blu-tacked to the wall.

The photo garland (there was more of this around the house) – were printed at Big W (of all places), they print square with a border. 5×5 in (I would’ve preferred smaller) and hung on jute twine with tiny pegs (eBay… but you can get them at $2 shops as I discovered later). I have thousands of photos of Claire. I printed 50 odd black and whites from various ages and they were hung in roughly chronological order. Inspired vaguely by this and a few other pins.

The little bottles – yes they are done lots, but they are cute. I am a tight arse so I bought Santa Vittoria fruit nectar bottles from Maxi Foods (amazing supermarket!) and drank/froze the nectar (I was going to drink it all before the day but you can only take so much liquid sugar, even if it is delicious), they turned out to be just over a $1 a bottle. I have kept them for future parties. They are almost double this to buy ‘party ones’ or about the same to hire. Why not own them. Stripey straws from eBay. Dotty straws from $2 shop. The drink canister was borrowed from Nicole (her wedding was beautiful - check out the gorgeous photos while you’re at it) but next time we might buy one as they aren’t very expensive.

The logs. I really wanted a log or two – especially to put the cake on but it didn’t happen. The morning of the party I went under out house to check the old woodpile and low and behold one chunky block. Not suitable for the cake but nice for getting some height.

The cake stand/pie stand are all ones I had or ones I borrowed from my mum. They all come from op-shops, along with various vases and jars.

The lolly jars are from a $2 shop, left over from other parties I have hosted. The stickers I designed (if you can call it that) with some more of the vectors and printed them at MOO. These are the same stickers as on the lolly bags. Squirrel sugar cookies (cutters from Ikea) and some strawberry and raspberry lollies.

The lolly bags came from DAISO (everything is $2.80) but it’s unlikely they will appear again as their stock is always changing, I just struck it lucky. I also had donated (from my sister) nice stripey green bags which were meant to get filled with popcorn but it never happened in the chaos of hosting.

The ONE was a Pinterest experiment based on this tutorial from Urbanic Paper. Cardboard letters (mini) from Masters. I cut/ripped the fronts off them – so much easier than I thought they’d be. Stuffed them with florist foam and my sister Hannah filled them with foliage. She also did all the flowers. Check out Featherwood Flowers.

I made a banner from hessian and glitter letters too that hung out the front of the house (no photo!) based on this. But square and with uppercase letters. We had a few red and green balloons out the front too.

I also had a few other little things like some Schleich woodland animals. Chalkboard labels on the jars are from Officeworks – Martha Stewart brand. Pinecones from mum’s stash.

The Food

Bec Matheson Photography | www.becmatheson.com

The cake was made my my very talented sister Emily. Chocolate and delicious. Covered in cream-cheese icing and coconut. The green moss stuff was left over from the cupcake topping I had made (I seriously made way too much) the little animals were pinched from mum’s shadow boxes, they are ceramic. The candle I bought a pack off eBay – spots and stripes.

Bec Matheson Photography | www.becmatheson.com

I made these mini carrot cakes based on my sister’s spectacular recipe. Super easy. Made three days prior. They keep amazingly, although at this small they did dry out a little more than a normal size cupcake would – which tend to just get better a few days on. Iced the morning of, with cream cheese icing. The green ‘moss’ was made from biscuit crumbs and green food dye the idea from here but as cinnamon biscuits sadly don’t seem to exist in Australia I just used good old Arrowroot. Strawberry cupcake holders from Spotlight.

Bec Matheson Photography | www.becmatheson.com

My sister in law Anita made the strawberry macarons, they were apparently delicious – I sadly managed to get one onto my plate but left it to go and do something and it went rogue. Inspired by Little Big Company.

The mini pumpkin pies were made by yours truly. I have a minor pumpkin pie obsession and had these in my head to make before I even started planning. I did look at a few tips from Little Bit Funky. But wound up using my usual pumpkin pie recipe and store bought pastry. Made in mini muffin pans. The pastry was cut out with a scalloped edge cutter (from DAISO again). They froze spectacularly! There was enough to make a small pie too.

Tomato tartlets from Martha Stewart. So easy. Probably better hot but still super tasty.

I also had some store bought mini pecan pies, almond eggs, chocolate logs, chocolate ladybugs, pretzels (twiggyish) and other twig-like breadstick things. My other sister bought a fancy cheese platter – which oddly all the small children devoured before the adults to could get to it… and the adults all went for the Honey Joys (recipe on the side of your Cornflakes packet).

Mum made some birds nests. Like these ones. My mother in law also made some savory sweet potato bites.

The drink canister was just lemonade with frozen raspberries and mint. There was beer and cider and homemade mulled wine by Geoff.

Bec Matheson Photography | www.becmatheson.com

Bec Matheson Photography | www.becmatheson.com

Bec Matheson Photography | www.becmatheson.com

So there you go. A woodland party. I didn’t have to spend an outrageous amount of money, just be a little creative and put in a bit of effort. I would have loved to have more time to photograph a few more details but as it happens, people start to arrive and it’s all go, go, go. Give me a party to theme rather than host any day! Happy to answer any questions or share recipes.

Thank you very much to all who helped us celebrate this rather auspicious milestone. Claire genuinely enjoyed her party after most of the guests finally left, such are the whims of a one year old!

Baby Cooking Create Experiments Life Op Shop

Published April 24th, 2013 by

Being present is something I struggle with. My inner world is like the Narnia to my England. I spend a lot of time in my head. This is part of my personality yes, but it is not always particularly healthy. With my relationships with others and in becoming a parent – being present is vital. All hail to my abstract reality because here is my wandering attention to the physical one. Last night I read this article: ‘Daily Rhythm at Home and it’s Lifelong Relevance‘.¬† I am encouraged to continue to pursue being present.

Rather than highlighting where I am not being present (hola, look at my life). Where I am already being present?

In breastfeeding Claire. I literally cannot do anything else. No that’s not quite true. I can play on my phone, there’s a whole external inner reality in the internet. But many times I cannot play on my phone and I certainly can no longer watch anything while I feed her or she doesn’t feed. I found this one of the hardest things in having a baby. I like to be busy and to get things done even if it is relevant to collating ideas etc. but I had to stop. I don’t always do this terribly well, but it is an enforced stop where I can – if I’m in a reasonable place use it to be present to what is going on. My life is richer for it.

Behind the camera. Oddly I am more present when I have a camera lens to my face – when I’m shooting a wedding. Perhaps it is the necessity to be finely tuned in to what is going on, to be attentive to the moments so as not to miss them. It teaches me to be observant and to be there in the moment.

I will keep looking out for places I am most present so as to continue to cultivate this stillness. There is joy hiding.

Baby Enneagram One Life Personality Photography

Published January 2nd, 2013 by

A while back (probably on one of those optomistic ‘I’m going to post lots!’ posts) someone requested that I write a bit more about pregnancy/parenthood. I totally missed the boat writing about being pregnant (maybe next time), so perhaps a little about parenthood as we observe how others do things and give it our best crack, so perhaps you can observe and learn from our mistakes and experiments.

My average day (at home and not during holidays) with a six month old to offer some kind of vague idea is something like this:

Wake up a 7am and feed Claire, if she makes it to 7, hooray! (This has not been the case the past few weeks, damn teeth). Change nappy, find cute clothes (of which we own far too many because my mother has scourged and purged all of Melbourne’s opshops of their finest girls clothes – I’m sorry everybody).

Then we have a play on the rug out in the lounge-room together, I leave her to her own devices: toys, schemes etc. while I make breakfast and tea – although I usually hesitate with the tea and decide to wait until she’s back in bed so I can enjoy it properly, or I have two cups. She watches me eat. Wears out pretty quick in the morning so it’s back to bed by about 8.30am.

I then have that cup of tea and attempt to sit down and journal/pray on a good day, then I clean some of the house or I go straight to um… the computer – to which I am still sorely addicted. To either Facebook or Lightroom and sometimes Pinterest. After a really bad night (not too often) I’ll go back to bed, but I always feel like it’s a bit of a waste of time…

Claire is ‘supposed’ to sleep to 11am. She now usually makes it to 10.30am. If she wakes up before this I change her nappy and put her back to bed.

She gets up, feeds and we play or read books – I’m a huge advocate for reading lots of books – Peepo is still the favourite, or if I need to clean up in her room she plays on the floor in there or I fold washing or something while she kicks around on the floor, sometimes put some music on. Has some ‘solid’ food at lunch time… still trying to coordinate how to get her and my lunch happening at the same time and I’m still trying to sort out the wide world of food for babies (which mildly terrifies me because a) there are so many things they can try and should try and can’t always try just yet b) I’m quite unorganised in this department. Consequently I am using purees despite a bit of a desire to run with baby-led weaning, but I’m hoping to change that now she’s hit the 6 month mark.

Back to bed 12.30-1pm for her and I do whatever in the afternoon.

Up between 2-3pm, feeds again. More playing etc. get outside, in an ideal world go for a walk… Down at 4.30pm up at 5.15pm and a play and some more solid food. Cranky time. Dad gets home and all is happy again and I palm her off to Geoff. Bath and feed and then bed by 6.30-7pm. Then we eat dinner and typically crash infront of the TV, or I hole up in the study and edit photos.

Stay up until 10.30pm, when I feed her again and then usually hit the hay. She’ll wake up once (mostly) about 2 or 3am and feed and go straight back to sleep, as do I. And fingers crossed for a 7am start again.

Repeat.

Essentially I run with a ‘flexible’ routine. Based roughly on the Save our Sleep stuff – some of which is bollocks, but it provides a reasonable framework. I don’t let it stop me leaving the house and I know a few crucial things that help make things just work eg. that 4.30pm nap is an important one! I’m still working out solid food for her and the reduction in sleep that happens around this age along with the joys of teething.

Tip from me to you: for babies who detest baths, let them sit up (not recline leisurely) and introduce bath toys… it took us 5 and a half months to work this out.

Ask me anything.

Baby Life

Published December 21st, 2012 by

Claire

She makes me madly happy.

Baby