Tuesday 29 May 2012

The Gallery: Picture Postcard

Ah yes, I'm doing another Gallery post!  These are one of the things I've missed about blogging.  Every week I read the theme for The Gallery and kick myself for having fallen out of the habit of blogging.  Now that I'm making a concerted effort to blog regularly again, I feel I can participate in week 100 of The Gallery.

So enough babble.  The theme for the 100th week is Picture Postcard.  The idea is to share a photo which you feel could pass as a postcard or greetings card.  Sounds easy, right?  Think again!  There are lots of photos that spring to mind that I would happily send to family and friends, maybe to say Merry Christmas or Thank You but they're quite personal images and wouldn't really work in any other situation.  In fact, the husband and I did indeed send out a personal Christmas card when we first started dating way back in 2005 (though I think it was only signed from him...) but we had fun designing it together none the less.  Here's a little peek:

The husband took this photo on a trip to Greenland long before we met each other.

But that's not my entry for The Gallery, not least because I didn't take the photo.  My entry is below but I want to explain my choice first.  I realised whilst looking through some of my recent photos that everything I photograph is for work or of my daughter, or at least related to her somehow.  I no longer take photos for the pleasure of taking photos and there are lots of reasons for that.

However, that little shock lit a light bulb.  I need to start doing things that I enjoy again and one of those things is photography.  So last weekend we went away to Northern Ireland with some friends and I thought that would be the ideal opportunity to not only take a photo for this project but to kick-start my 'hobby'.  So in true Rachelle fashion, off we go and leave the camera behind.  The whole time we were at the Giant's Causeway, I was kicking myself!  Everywhere I looked there were great photo opportunities and I only had the pocket camera.  I did try and capture some things but it really is a poor compact.  I don't think Ansel Adams could've shot anything half decent with it.

So I started thinking again about what I can use for this blog post and I realise that the answer is obvious.  I use this:

Now it's not going to win any awards but this photo is a firm favourite of mine (and the husband's) and we even had it blown up as a 24x36 inch PhotoBlock back when we lived in the flat.  We love it and hope you do too.

Go and have a look at the other entries here, some are truly beautiful.

Oh, and sorry for the long-winded post!

Tuesday 22 May 2012

One Giant Leap....

We've had a burst of developmental activity from E over the last few weeks, as well as a growth spurt.  We are still signing words and E seems to have picked up quite a few new ones recently, some of which are really useful for her to know and understand.  The best ones are 'cold' and 'hot' so when we're out, she will often sign 'cold' if she wants her gloves or a blanket.  She also signs 'hat' now when she wants that too so I always make sure I take it out with me on dog walks.  It's wonderful to be able to communicate with her!  'Hot' usually gets used for food.  She just likes to let me know that the food is still a little hot and that's why she's sitting there with her mouth open and not actually eating!  She does also sign 'hot' if she touches a hot oven door or radiator, although they tend to be warm rather than scalding.

E's speech is also coming along nicely.  With us teaching her English, Danish and sign language, it's no surprise that talking isn't as far ahead as some of her other skills, not that I'm complaining!  We've been getting 'Daddy' for a long time now - though no 'Mummy' yet' - as well as a couple of objects like 'door' and 'ball'.  There are also a lot of words sounds that are recognisable (even if only to me) but they're getting more word-like all the time.  Her favourite one is 'yogurt' and she will often chant it after dinner whilst doing her own little made up sign for it!  It's very cute, I have to say.  She also kind of says 'hot', 'doggie', 'Frankie' and lots of animal sounds. 

Ooh, the best bit of news is that we've got the beginnings of E's first Danish word!  She'll point at a flower and sign 'flower' but sound 'b' (for 'blomst').  I may be optimistic but I'm sticking with it.

Friday 11 May 2012


For those of you that don't know, Frankie is our dog.  We got him from Stokenchurch Dog Rescue on March 31st and he has quickly become a part of our family - for better or worse.  He is a Collie and we suspect he is crossed with another breed.  He is mainly black and tan but has patches of white on his feet and tummy.  He is roughly a year old and we decided to make his birthday the day we brought him home.

Frankie's Background

Frankie was originally a stray dog from Ireland.   Over there, if a dog isn't rehomed within 5 days, it gets put down so a lot get shipped over to England to places like Stokenchurch Dog Rescue (SDR) or the Blue Cross.  At some point last year, Frankie (formerly Frank) was rehomed with a different family.  I've heard two different stories but they both end up at the same point - Frankie being caged 24 hours a day.  Someone reported the owners to the police and so Frankie was sent back to SDR.  Whilst the police investigation was underway, Frankie had to stay up at SDR so when we looked at him, he'd been there a couple of months, if not longer.  When we went to look at dogs, it was obviously important for us that whichever dog we chose, would get on well with Elizabeth.  Her and Frankie seemed to get on well and we decided to bring him home with us. We picked him up on March 31st.


Frankie really enjoys the training that we do with him and has picked up some of the commands really quickly.  We are using the clicker method and so when he's doing really well, he ends up having a lot of treats!  We're currently looking into doing some agility training with him as we think he'll really enjoy the challenge.  I've really enjoyed training Frankie and have a feeling that I'll enjoy the classes almost as much as Frankie will.


Elizabeth is very excited to have Frankie around and can often be caught giving him a kiss or cuddle, or encouraging Frankie to give her a kiss back (so lots of licking of her face).  Frankie puts up with a lot from her including the affectionate 'ear pull', 'eye gouge' and 'tail yank'.  These two actually get on so well with each other that they sometimes drive me mad!  They follow each other around and Elizabeth often gets knocked over because Frankie gets so excited that he doesn't realise his bum sticks out behind him.  He'll turn around and his bum knocks Elizabeth over but usually she just gets up and gives Frankie a big hug.  If I separate them to give them each some space (and myself too!), they'll both be found by the gate, often with their hands/paws through the bars.

I have no doubt that they'll always be best buddies.

The bad side of Frankie

Frankie has one major flaw and unfortunately it's a bad one.  When we leave him alone in the house, he has a tendency to destroy things.  He doesn't do it every time and there also doesn't seem to be a pattern as to when he will wreck something.  It's usually just a cushion off the sofa - and the same one as well - which we can cope with.  He's also had a go at my handbag but I can't really blame him for that one.  I had left it on the sofa but I think E undid the zip and there was chocolate inside.  I guess it was just too tempting for Frankie!

However, I was almost in tears on Monday when I came home from visiting a friend to find a sea of destruction in the living room.

As you can (perhaps) see from the photos, Frankie didn't just wreck a cushion this time.  He had torn apart a 'thing' that had hundreds, possibly thousands, of tiny white polystyrene balls in it.  That's what looks like snow in the photos - they were a pain to clear up.  He attacked several of E's toys, destroyed a pot plant, chewed up some other bits and generally left a lot of mess for me to clear up.  I was very far from happy.  And the worst part?  He didn't even TOUCH the chew toy that I left for him!

Every time I leave the house, Frankie gets left with a Kong, a chew bone that apparently tastes like chicken, a dog toy, a rawhide chew and some biscuits or a pigs ear for him to eat.  He doesn't behave badly because he's hungry or because he needs to go up the garden.  I thought maybe he needed a longer walk in the mornings but that hasn't solved the problem either.  We're still debating the next step....



       Frankie's first grooming session                 Having an afternoon snooze           

Getting muddy out on a walk

Friday 4 May 2012

20 week scan

We had our 20 week scan yesterday, also called the Anomoly Scan.  The basic idea is that they check the baby is developing well and that there are no obvious signs of trouble.  There are some illnesses, like Spina Bifida, that can be detected at this time.  Thankfully there was nothing sinister that showed up on our scan but our little monster was being a bit awkward and there was one test the sonographer couldn't complete so we're heading back in three weeks' time.

Considering how active the baby has been (I'm getting kicks all over the place), it was remarkably still for the scan.  We got a good image and are pleased that the baby appears to be well.