Thursday, 27 November 2008

Have you ever seen....

Such a real candid?! This is my exposure test shot prior to setting the self-timer + running (well waddling) to join my family for our weekly family shot.

The actual shot turn out not so different in the end! Like father like son!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Waste of energy?

Everyone seems to be on an economy drive these days, whether it be for environmental or economical reasons. In keeping with that after Christmas we'll be switching to washable nappies with our new addition (I apologise to all hard-core green mums I cannot cope with recovering from a C-section, 2 other children and washing a zillion newborn nappies a day) and today tried some alternative to soap powder - soapnuts and essential oils- in our environmentally evil washer/dryer. I set our central heating timed programs to be cooler yesterday and we've switched to energy saving lightbulbs all over the house in the last few months. Our sky box, which we previous left on all night (*holds out hands for smacking*) has started to help us out by deciding to turn it's self off if we leave it without changing channel for too long.
That said the type of energy I would REALLY like to conserve today is mental energy! Having a C-section scheduled in less than 2 weeks and more than 2 weeks of 2 ill children behind us a good old rest would be lovely, is that likely? No of course not.

After hiding under a quilt with my 3 yr old poorly boy for the morning I managed to coax him out from under it and after a dinner of a piece of cheese and some crisps which it took me an hour to persuade him to eat, we went to get his hair cut in preparation for the seemingly far-off day that he is well enough to go back to nursery. Armed with hat, scarf, jumper and thick coat he unwilling trudged there and back and sat in stoic silence while his unruly mop was tamed.

On our return home the phone was ringing, of course, force me to walk across our newly laid and lovely floor with my outdoor shoes on to answer it. Of course I now wish I hadn't bothered. On the other end was an education welfare officer calling to ask about our son's poor attendance at his (non-compulsory) pre-school nursery place. I admit to being a bit irritated and curtly explained that due to our local school's inability to provide proper support for our autistic daughter she has to go to a school that takes me over an hour to get to on public transport and does not have a nursery while our son goes to the local school. This means we have to rely on the kindness of friends, family and occasionally strangers to pick up our daughter so that I can get to nursery to pick up our son who finishes just 10 minutes later and (before you ask) does not have an after-school club to go to. I then catalogued the hospital appointments that both children have had over the last term, my own hospitalisation with a heart problem, failure of friend's arrangements meaning we had to keep one of them at home, then passingly mention the string of illnesses he has been sick with since starting at the local germ factory; 2 viruses each taking over 2 weeks to leave him, a chest infection and currently an ear infection requiring a week of anti-biotics.

SO no I am not irritated by the referral leaving us more to deal with, and do not think that the actual referral was motivated by the fact we have previously made a complaint (which was upheld) about the school, no not at all.

In the interests of saving energy we should probably withdraw him from the pre-school place he has, as its not compulsory, and allow him to have fun at playgroups and trips out without causing us stress and continually draining his immune system. Not to mention all the electricity used up in writing such a long blog post!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Photo printing review: snap fish

After seeing a fantastic thread on babyworld linking to a website that hosts links to all the websites offering free prints I decided to try a few out for review purposes.

One of the saddest things, personally, about having 'gone digital' in the time that's elapsed since the birth of our first daughter is that we rarely print photographs these days, and what are photos for if not printing?

First up this week was snapfish and kodak. On the surface Kodak seems slightly more generous offering 30 free prints to snapfish's 20, however their upload interface is clunky and slow (arduously so, I nearly didn't bother uploading all 30 in the end) and their processing and postage times are longer. Hence the reason I can only comment on snapfish's prints today.

The prints arrived promptly and within the stated delivery time, communication was good and I received system generated e-mail every step along the way. They arrived well packaged and protected by masses of promotional information for their gift ranges etc.

On the whole the prints themselves were good quality. I uploaded a variety of colour processing methods and resolutions to see how they dealt with them. All were already in 6x4 proportions. Interestingly snapfish did not agree with lightroom as many of the images which I watermarked show that some cropping and resizing has taken place -the edges of the watermark are missed off. There was some colour distortion where more artistic processing methods had been used also, and I was disappointed in that those files that were very high resolution actually did not look 'that' much better than those that were essentially uploaded at web standard. Perhaps this would have shown up on a larger print.

The one huge unexpected jewel in the crown amongst the prints was a black & white conversion, it was printed exquitly which I certainly did not expect. That particular print has now become our photo album cover.

So overal snapfish provided a good level of service and adequate level of quality in prints, cropping and sizing issues would prevent me using a lab like this for client proofing but would be perfectly good for printing all our post-Christmas snaps.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Let the Christmas madness begin...

Why oh why have we never asked our kids to make Christmas lists for santa? Generally the logic has been that firstly until this year neither of them has been particularly capable of it and secondly in theory we shop during the year to avoid the financial embarrassment December generally brings.

What that actually means is, we put things away during the year, forget what we have and get caught up with advertising more than the kids and buy fashionable toys in the dying weeks of November like everyone else. The we inevitably find things the kids actually like in the cupboard along with a selection of beautiful clothes that no longer fit because we've forgotten they were there.

This years 'fashionable purchase'? Actually is something we wanted to play with, Elmo live, and the subsequent discovery that Elmo has 2 TMX friends of course led to a further purcahse. What?! By Christmas day we'll have 3 children, that's one sesame street character each.... of course if they touch them without asking there WILL be trouble.