prams at Cronulla Beach, a little taste of Spring Blog

My Sunday Photo – A Little Taste of Spring

My Sunday Photo for this week is from another stunning Sydney Sunday. It’s hard to call it “Winter” when the temperature reaches 27 degrees Celsius, so I’m going with A Little Taste of Spring.

The forecast had promised this perfect day all week, and it really didn’t disappoint. We planned to make the most of it, so we got out fairly early and headed deep into the Sutherland Shire. Our destination, Cronulla Beach.

When we arrived, the Cronulla area was already teeming with people. However, we quickly found a parking space and set off for a walk. After a cheeky bacon and egg roll and coffee from a small café, we headed down to the beach. Hannah had a great time in the sand. She found some seaweed and studied it intently. She also took great pleasure in walking and falling down on the soft, uneven surface of the beach. Click on each photo to see it in all its glory!

 

 

It was a stunning day to be out and about. A little taste of Spring after some fairly cold (by Sydney standards) Winter’s days.

Photalife
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scooter path at park Blog

Covet Thy Neighbour’s Scooter

It’s no secret that we love the park. I’ve written about it many times before. We regularly go to our local toddler playground, but we also enjoy exploring Sydney and finding great new places to play. Many of the playgrounds that we find have bike tracks. These are always well-used, and why wouldn’t they be? They offer the perfect, safe environment for kids to learn how to ride a bike or scooter.

 

You see me rolling

 

Recently, Hannah has begun to take notice. She likes to watch the older kids zoom past confidently on their scooters. She happily sits or stands, for long periods of time and she studies them.

Of course, the inevitable result of that activity is that Hannah desperately wants to have a go as well. The scooter, after all, fits her modus operandi perfectly – full speed and just a hint of danger.

It has now reached the point where Hannah sees any poorly-guarded scooter as fair game. She can spot one from across the other side of the playground. And once she has seen one, she’s off. Nothing gets in her way. Her previous favourite piece of playground equipment – the swings – don’t even get a look-in once Hannah has spotted a scooter. She walks with Terminator-like determination. Other kids have to slam on the brakes, or violently swerve, in order to avoid crashing in to the tiny little tot as she bee-lines straight across the bike track.

 

The eternal dilemma

 

However, once she reaches the discarded personal transport, she is faced with the eternal dilemma – Do I listen to dad, who is telling me not to touch it, or do I follow my burning impulse and give it a crack?

To give Hannah full credit, she is a better listener than many children. More often than not she follows the simple instructions that I give her. Pack-up time, for example is fairly consistently an easy affair in our house. But even for the most eager-to-please toddler, the lure of a shiny, unattended scooter can be too much.

Inevitably, Hannah will tentatively reach out, the freedom-machine tantalisingly close to her fingertips. She will pause, briefly, just centimetres away when she once again hears my voice gently remind her that the scooter is not hers. She will consider the information for a moment, but as soon as her eye is once-again drawn to the prize, she is left with little choice. Her impulse is now in charge. It tells her that if she can just wrap her tiny little fingers around the smooth, chrome handlebar, then it will indeed be hers!

 

Foiled

 

Unfortunately for Hannah, it is at that exact same moment that I swoop in and scoop her up. Over the wail of her own voice, she doesn’t her me mumble an apology to the disapproving 6 year old who has just raced over to rescue his pride-and-joy from a devastating touching by a toddler GIRL! And she probably doesn’t care much for my apology anyway. The only thing that she’s sorry about at that point in time is that her long, golden locks are not fluttering in the breeze as she elegantly sails down the bike track on her shiny silver steed.

 

One day soon, my darling, I will get you a shiny scooter of your very own. But for now, you have to wait. Have patience, my dear. Know that I’m looking forward to the day that I teach you how to ride one, almost as much as you are.

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book, heavy, trilogy, paperback Blog

The Book and The Staircase

Having a toddler is fun. Much more fun than a baby. They are interactive and mobile. They live to learn, to explore. They have just begun the great journey of understanding the world around them and it is a delight to observe.

 

With exploration comes experimentation, and in Hannah we undoubtedly have a budding scientist. She observes and she examines everything in her world. For the past few months her favourite toys have been the ones that involve stacking or nesting objects.

 

Sometimes, however, the inquisitive mind of a toddler drives them to conduct “experiments” that have less than desirable outcomes for us adults. Experiments with food, excrement, paints and crayons are well documented by frustrated an bemused parents across the globe. Thankfully, we have not had too many of those yet.

 

Hannah’s latest series of experiments are firmly planted within the field of physics. She is obsessed by the movement of objects and she appears to have a burning desire to push everything within reach to its breaking point. Her mechanical toy train, for example, was recently placed on top of the lounge and then sent on its merry journey. As it recited the ABC, it elegantly performed a front half-flip and landed upside-down on the hard tiles – song still blaring in the vaguely annoying American accent. Hannah’s reaction to this was, of course, to immediately pick it up and try to repeat the process.

 

Today, Hannah decided to take her physics experiments to the next level. She had been sitting on the floor next to me, happily pulling novels off of the bookshelf while I sat and typed. This activity has never bothered me too much, she is normally reasonably delicate with the books, often choosing to flick through the pages or admire the pictures on the front covers.

 

However, this time she suddenly stood up. In her hand was The Bourne Trilogy – a hefty book. Purposefully, she looked out of the door and towards the staircase. A plan had formed in her mind – an experiment to test the effect of gravity on the humble paperback. In an instant, Hannah was off. Trailing close behind her was me. I had seen the look in her eye and almost immediately I knew what she was up to.

 

A part of me – the responsible, adult part of me – knew that the experiment had to be stopped. After all, children cannot be lefty to throw objects down stairs according to their whims. Imagine the chaos! Another part of me – the perpetually juvenile – insisted that the experiment be allowed to continue. What harm could come from it?

 

The adult side won the battle this time and so I called out to Hannah “stop, don’t throw the book”. Despite my speedy reaction, Hannah had reached the top of the staircase first. The sound of my voice had interrupted her, mid wind-up. Hannah turned around and faced me. Despite her young age and inability to understand the specific words, Hannah knows an instruction when she hears one. Comprehension dawned as she looked at me, then down as the book in her hands. She turned back to look at the staircase, then she looked back up at me again.

 

An internal struggle was undoubtedly raging in her little mind. It was written all over her tiny face. In direct competition was the burning desire to complete her experiment – to add to her growing neurological catalogue of “things that happen when I throw stuff”, while at the same time she wished to please the “bringer of afternoon snacks” (me) by doing as I asked.

 

“Can I please have the book?” I asked, while inching closer to Hannah, who was still standing in her commanding position at the top of the stairs. Once again she looked at me, at my outstretched hand. Once again, she turned back to look at the stairs. It was now or never. Shortly I would be in a position to grasp the book and the opportunity to conduct the experiment would be lost.

 

Hannah wasted no more time, she heaved the book above her head and hurled it with all her might. It spun through the air in slow motion and gracefully cleared the first five stairs. On the sixth it landed with a thud. The spine-side corner hit the steps. The pages splayed open. The book tumbled down a further four steps, then stopped.

 

Hannah smiled and let out a pleased sound. Her experiment was complete and the results were very satisfying indeed. I looked at her and tried to hide my smile. Despite my best efforts at presenting as an adult to Hannah, I had undeniably enjoyed watching the spectacular journey of the book almost as much as she had. Despite the hard landing, no damage had been done to the book. I appreciated that Hannah had formulated, then conducted an interesting experiment.

 

Do I want Hannah to throw books down the stairs on a regular basis? No, of course not. But I don’t believe she will. If she does persist with doing it, it is then my job to teach her that it is not appropriate. Some may suggest that I have made this task harder for myself by failing to stop it the first time, but I’m not so sure. My observations of Hannah to this point lead me to believe that she gets great satisfaction from turning the unknown into the known. It is possible that had I stopped her the first time, her desire to throw books down the stairs may have grown.

 

I could be wrong. Maybe I’ve created a monster. Time will tell…

Twin Mummy and Daddy
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Dad jokes, joke Blog

How to Spot a Dad Joke

Something strange happens to many men at a certain point in their lives. It’s not so much to do with age as it is with mentality.

For me, I began to notice it several months before Hannah was born. It was a subtle, yet significant change to my persona, to my psyche. I started seeing the world in a slightly different way, as if things had ’tilted’ slightly. Different things became amusing. I began to hear words in different ways. Phrases began to escape my mouth, without filtration. It became clear to Emma, long before it was clear to me – I had begun to tell dad jokes.

This will most likely happen to you too. But fear not. Becoming a dad joker is a thing to embrace. It’s an adult milestone. Don’t fight it, enjoy it.

I’ve put together this guide to spotting dad jokes. It also contains some fine examples of the kinds of jokes you can expect to begin telling. Feel free to use them and to adapt them. No-one owns dad jokes, they belong to the universe*.

 

Sure-fire ways to know if you’re telling a Dad Joke:

The joke involves a pun

Often, it is based around a homophone, or around a word that sounds like a phrase with totally different meaning. Dad jokers are particularly good at this.

 

dad joke

Nobody laughs, except you

Indicators that you’ve just told a quality dad joke include an eyeroll by the Mrs or a groan from a child. Extreme dad jokers are sometimes even pre-empted by a “no dad, please don’t”, squealed by a child frantically searching for a normal upbringing.

Meanwhile, you find the joke that you’ve just uttered so amusing that a large grin has spread across your face. If it is particularly funny, you may even allow a large belly laugh to escape.

dad joke, bored

dad joke

A strong feeling of déjà vu

Have we been here before? Yes. Many, many times. Your wife didn’t laugh the first time you told her the joke and she sure as hell isn’t going to laugh the tenth time you say it. Dad jokers have a tendency to try and wear down their audience through repetition. It doesn’t work. Ever. But they try anyway.

dad joke, jokes

 

dad jokes, joke

Other dads find it funny

If you are unsure of whether you are about to tell a dad joke, quickly run it past the dads on Twitter. If they express amusement at what you have said, be warned. You are about to tell a dad joke. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say it, in fact the nature of dad jokers most likely compels you to tell it. If you’re lucky, the Twitter dads will respond to your dad joke with a smorgasbord of their own. This will provide you with a whole day’s worth of material to try out on the family.

 

Dad jokes, joke

Dad jokes, joke

That’s it from me. For more fantastic dad jokes, I suggest you head on over to a few of my favourite dad-bloggers and check out their fine collections:

Daddy Poppins – Dad Jokes

Virtual Wombat – 20 Eyebrow Raising Dad Jokes – Tumble Weeds Guaranteed

*Jokes may actually belong to people. If any of these jokes belong to you from a legal perspective, please let me know and I’ll remove them immediately.

Twin Mummy and Daddy
One Hull of a Dad
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Botany bay, sunrise Blog

Sunrise

One of my favourite things to do is get out of the house before dawn, drive to a beach or river and set up for a sunrise photo shoot.

It was an activity that I used to do semi-regularly, but with work and family commitments it had been a long time since I’d had the opportunity. A couple of days ago, however, the timing was right. I had a late start to work, but I also had to be out of the house before Hannah woke up, so that I didn’t interfere with her usual ‘grandparents day’ routine.

I threw my photography gear into the car and headed for a special spot that I’d had in mind for some time now. It’s a place that I had first noticed over a year ago, when we had gone for a walk with Hannah in the bassinet (how quickly things change).

The Intended Subject

The thing that had caught my eye on that walk was a disused and semi-deconstructed pier. It must have fairly recently fallen into disrepair, as I actually have recollections of visiting the same spot as a kid, and watching small fish from the end of the pier. So it was surreal to see it now, disconnected, abandoned and slowly being swallowed by a sea of sand.

I arrived ten minutes before the advertised sunrise time. The pre-dawn glow told me that sunrise was imminent and so I set about finding the best place to shoot. However, immediately I had a problem. A sign informed me that the beach area was closed for maintenance. Normally such a sign wouldn’t bother me, but this sign was also accompanied by a great big digger in full swing. Also nearby was a worker in fluorescent gear, whose sole job appeared to be making sure people like me didn’t get too close.

bulldozer, beach, sunrise
No photos from the beach today

 

I cursed my bad luck. The photo that I had in mind relied on access to the beach. I had hoped to capture the sun rising behind the dilapidated pier. I quickly scouted the area for a new point of view. I didn’t have much time and I sure wasn’t about to waste a rare opportunity to capture a sunrise.

A Different Point of View

From up on the walkway I found a spot that looked directly down the pier. Interesting clouds had formed over Towra Point, on the other side of Botany Bay, and a hint of pink could already be seen. I set up my tripod and set about taking a few long exposure shots in the final moments before sunrise.

Already slightly pessimistic from the limited access to my subject, I was further disheartened by the thickness of the cloud cover. Sunrise came and went, and all I had to show for it was some muted pinks and purples in the otherwise grey sky. I didn’t mind too much as it all worked together to make a grungy, apocalyptic-feeling picture. It wasn’t what I had set out to capture, but that’s the nature of photography sometimes.

 

A Brilliant Sunrise Through a Telephoto Lens

After taking the photos I switched to my zoom lens. I was sure that I had captured the best of the sunrise and the colours in the sky had begun to fade. I decided to go for a little walk and see what details I could capture. A couple of ibis birds walked past, and I took a couple of snaps of the Bin Chickens.

All of a sudden, a sharp ray of sunshine poked out from behind the clouds over Port Botany. In the blink of an eye, the whole scene changed. Golden light flooded into the bay and across the beach. The sunlight reflecting off the water was blinding, and everything in that direction suddenly became silhouetted against the brilliant sky.

I was stuck with my Telephoto lens. I was unsure of how long the glorious moment would last, plus by now I had thrown caution to the wind and jumped down onto the beach. I didn’t want to risk missing everything or damaging my equipment, so I set to making the most of the situation and shooting the scene in front of me.

On reflection, the 55-300 mm lens that I was using worked quite well. Port Botany is a fair few kilometres away from where I was standing, and this lens enabled me to capture some interesting perspectives. I took a couple of shots to stitch together as well, in order to try and capture some of the wider view.

 

All things considered, I was pretty happy with my morning. I witnessed a spectacular sunrise and I captured some decent photos. I really should make the effort to see the sunrise more often.

DIY Daddy Blog
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