Sunday, February 27, 2011

I'm doing a photography course!

I'm doing a course at the moment by Sheye Rosemeyer and I'm loving it more than words can express.

Below is my first 'submission'. It's a piece of me and I'm actually quite proud of it. We had to photograph something that made us 'soulhappy'.....

For so many years - through so much heartbreak.. .I believed for you.

Through a broken marrage then, in my current wonderful marrage - 4 miscarriages - numerous IVF attempts and more surgery than I could number if I cared to… I believed for you.

After the heartbreaking decision to have a full and complete hysterectomy in my early 40’s….I believed for you.

After giving up and letting go….I still believed for you.

After all the fears of the great world of Adoption.. .I believed for you.

Through all the invasiveness, paperwork, decisions, paperwork, study groups, paperwork, life stories, paperwork, social worker interviews, paperwork, letters, paperwork, stress, stress, stress…..I believed for you.

Through the horrible, long, drawn out wait…I still believed for you.

Then, like a miracle, we were told your details. Two days later we saw your photo - our darling Ebony Grace Huaxing. My world has never been the same. I slept with your photo under my pillow for the 7 weeks it took for us to be able to travel to you and finally, on Christmas Day 2006, you were placed in my arms - right beside my heart - where you had lived for so long.

You are my everything - you are my song - you are my joy - you are like an extension of me - you, sweetheart - you are my Soulhappy….

Sheye's critique...


Hi Jen

I will warn you in advanced, I don’t think this critique is going to flow in the usual fashion..after reading your incredibly beautiful words, my mind is all a jumble and I’m struggling to refocus. The description of your journey strikes such a familiar chord with me, I think that’s why I feel totally overwhelmed in replying to you. My heart literally hurts to read the beginning of your story, and bursts when I read the end. I am certain I could not be happier for you. Thank you for baring a part of your soul in sharing as you have.

Okay, so…ready, set, critique.

While I do see some areas of blown highlight in the background, it’s not impacting the image greatly as you still have lovely detail through Ebony. For me, I would go straight in with a crop to remove those highlights and to bring strength again to the image. Having placed Ebony in the first third of the frame, you’ve already created some strong visual interest and her positioning still works well in other formats. Here are some ideas for how I might try cropping:

I personally love the first, just because I think it would make a beautiful canvas and really bring the focus in on Ebony’s gorgeous face. The chair behind is a little distracting as it’s a strong element, so perhaps an alternative would be a slightly wider aperture giving a more shallow depth of field, resulting in greater background blur. Another alternative might be to try a black and white conversion which has the ability to bring focus right in on a subject. Just as a side note, I’d probably never crop in this tightly - I’d be losing far too many valuable pixels and quality would deteriorate dramatically. In a session, I’d be likely to actually shoot the three frames you see below (well the middle one would be a crop from a landscape format) and see what looked best.

This second edit is a sqaure crop which still works quite nicely and removes those pesky highlights while showing off her pretty dress.

The third is just a portrait crop. I took this opportunity to tone down the bright orange areas in her dress which are causing color casts on her skin. It’s not a great job of it, I’ve ended up a little pastier than I meant to but you get the idea.. Be aware that anything magenta or orange has a strong likelyhood of doing this when shooting in bright light. (Umbrellas are the worst!).

I think you did a great job of your settings Jen, even if you are feeling overwhelmed and confused. It’s actually testament to how well you’re doing if you can take this image while feeling like things haven’t quite clicked yet. You have a great attitude and it will see you move ahead in leaps and bounds..just keep taking little steps forward, don’t give up, and the more images you take the easier it gets. Then one day, you do just ‘get it’. I promise!

Thank you so much for sharing your soulhappy.

Sheye xx

Sunday, February 20, 2011


My girl is now 5 1/2. Time has gone much faster than I ever wanted it to - but it's ok. I'm just loving this little, gorgeous, scrumptious girl that I get to do life with.

Eb is growing up so, so fast now that school is part of her everyday. I really can't believe the changes that have happened. I thought the growth in the last term of kinder was huge....this beats that hands down and it's only been a few short weeks. Conversations are getting far deeper - questions are getting FAR more frequent. She is really enjoying her days at school (once I go!).....and she is understanding so much more.

Earlier this week she woke quite early and came in to lay with me. She sat there and pointed to her mouth and said 'm-m-m mouth / (pointing) n-n-n nose / (pointing) e-e-ears'. So cute, I smiled with tears in my eyes as I listened.

She so easily just says 'I love you mummy'. Something I've waited so long to hear. She loves cuddles with mummy and we really are great pals.

I still haven't had one single night apart from her - and I'm not in any hurry. That time will come all too soon.

It's been such a wonderful journey and I know it's going to get better and better as we grow together. I'm so glad I take the time to observe and enjoy the special...and not so special moments - they are all part of who she is and I really do adore my little princess.

Just some facts ....
* Eb is now 113cm (so has grown 4cm's in 6 months!)
* She weighs around 18.5 kg's

....and some funny/notable ones from the past 6 months....
* Finally after many, MANY attempts she was able to open the car door herself (12/10) (with much glee!)
* Said 'I got a hegache mummy' (22/10) when walking back to pick up my car from detailing
* 'I walked 10 dilometers mummy' (22/10)
* Rode to kinder (4km on 20/10) without complaint
* When drawing (herself) on a card Ebony asked for a black pen 'because I have black hair mummy' (16/11)
* today is the first time Ebony has drawn a person and not had their arms and legs coming out of their head! They came out of a 'body'! (17/11)
* When I sent to bed I noticed that Eb hadn't packed away all her toys like I had asked her to - when I showed her in the morning she said ' oh, never mind mummy'! (26/11)
* After taking of her 'santa' outfit for our Christmas photo shoot - she says 'now I cumtable mummy' (it scratches her and sadly is very unpleasant for her!) 26/11
* For the first time ever I heard Eb talking in her room first thing in the morning rather than her coming out...which she does all the time now. When I went in she was in bed with books and toys! now that's a first :) (30/11/10)
* Came out this morning with her guitar and microphone singing 'rise and shine' :) (16/12/10)

She also moved from her much loved car seat into a big girl booster.I found this really hard. We bought it before we even knew who she would be - and because she was 16 months old when we arrived back in Australia - it was always in this position (never facing backwards). I remember the first time we put her in it for the journey home from the Airport. I had been told many of the children who have come home from China (and are in no way used to the restriction of a car seat) will scream when they are belted in - well not our baby girl! She slept :)

so it's goodbye car seat of many memories.....I'm passing you on to a dear friend here in Mt Beauty and I'm just so glad someone wants you - I couldn't have bared to throw you out!

A new grandson for Graham!

Graham's daughter - Kimberley and her husband Michael - are finally parents! It's been a long road for Kim because she suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis. She has bravely fought the fight and won. She is now a mummy to a gorgeous little boy - James Edward. We both look forward to meeting this little man in May if not before xxx

A new grandson for Graham!

Graham's daughter - Kimberley and her husband Michael - are finally parents! It's been a long road for Kim because she suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis. She has fought the fight and one! She is now a mummy to a gorgeous little boy - James Edward. We both look forward to meeting this little man!

Mary Poppins and darling Ming!

Sadly very few photo's (because I wasn't allowed to take them!) but such a great night. It was a bit stressful getting there for you and I because of when we left home - when we arrived in Melbourne and an accident on the freeway - but we got to Ruth and Chris's in time to get changed and get in time for some dinner with Di, Renee and Jess and then enjoy a wonderful night at Mary Poppins. Sadly, just after intermission you asked for snugly (which silly me didn't bring)! You were really just too tired (we went to the 8pm session) and you fell asleep in the car on the way home and transferred to Mei's bed very easily!

and some great fun with Eb's boy China buddy Ming!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

One week of school over

Gosh - a week has gone already...why does time pass so quickly.
A week ago today we were celebrating Chinese New Year and I was looking back on your very first day at Kinder.
You did so well honey - but gee you struggled.
I knew in my heart that you would.
I had prepared you as best I could....but 3 out of 4 kinder terms you struggled so I just knew the likelihood was that you would struggle today.
You were so excited at home and in the car. I watched you and knew what most likely lay ahead...but I was excited with you...praying it would all go well.
We got to school and the first signs of uncertainty started.
I took you into class (with Daddy of course!) and you were clinging to Daddy like there was no tomorrow......for some reason you had your heart set that Daddy was staying with you.
Then it was time to line up and you wanted Mummy. I had already had a chat with Mrs. Rutherford and she had said it was ok to come in for a few minutes....but the Literacy Aide ended up taking over (in a positive way) and you were whisked tears.
Not a nice way to say goodbye and not a nice picture to have in my head.
I cried and then some of us Mums met at Svarmisk for a hot drink. You were the only one that cried! I felt so sad inside but prayed you would be ok.
While I was at Svarmisk - I got a call from school. My heart stopped when I heard who it was...but it was to say you were ok but that one of your new shoes had broken! I was glad because in the end it meant that I got to see you again and you were basically happy to see me and to let me go! At least the picture I had in my heart for the rest of the day was a happier one.
Picking you up was so much fun and I don't think I've been happier to see you and hug you for a long time!

Monday was similar - but I knew you would be was Tuesday really...maybe not quite as good. Tuesday night was awful! I picked you up and for some reason you had it in your head that we would go out for dinner (like we had the previous night with Jade's mummy). Jade must have said something and you absolutely believed it was true. For the first time ever I became the enemy and you were SO cross with me. You even said I could stay home and you and Daddy would go out! that's a first!
You cried all the way to Mt Beauty shops - wouldn't come into the Bank or the I had to leave you in the car with the air conditioner on (and where you were visable!) while I did what I had to.
On the way home you had settled a little and wanted to talk about why I didn't want to go out...I said we'd talk about it at home. When we got home I cooled you down and changed you out of your uniform and we sat on my bed and chatted. You seemed to come around a bit. I then unpacked your bag to find that all you had eaten all day was a Nectarine and only about 2cm's of water. No wonder you were feeling horrible! I felt so protective of you and was, momentarily, cross with the School.
Next day was a day off (after you slept a solid 12 hours) and you were such a happy girl.
Thursday I spoke with the teacher and she was horrified and said she would watch you and make sure you had water close by. All that has improved.
You were still upset when I left Thursday morning...but today! well today I encouraged you to go and play with Sarah and Jade and you left with an (uncertain) smile...but a smile and a wave. My heart leapt with joy. I was, and still am, so happy for you sweetheart.
It will happen - you will find your way.
Mrs. Rutherford says you are very social and love playing......that doesn't surprise me!
I love you are are learning....your wings are starting to move!

ready for the big day....

...excited and ready.... School and still excited! Daddy is still here - so I'm still happy!

....then the uncertainty began.....

...and continued...

Day Two and we're still happy to go...

and finally - a video to enjoy
of that very first morning....

now who knows what next week will hold :)

Two very cute video's!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Out to dinner

then we had dinner out on your second day of school! just the way the cards fell with one of the other mum's birthdays. You sure didn't mind!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Off to a party...

Yesterday - 1st day of school - was the twins Erin and Isaac's birthdays and we were invited so dressed up and ready to go you were!...

Friday, February 04, 2011

Chinese New Year 2011

...and we took you over to Bright because this year the Chinese Restaurant is open! yipee!
We had a lovely night - low key - but lovely. So glad we went and you had lots of fun!

First dance for 2011

We are really back into it now! - First day of school today, followed by first dance followed by Chinese New Year celebrations in Bright!

It's been fun though and here's a sneak peak of dance.... (iPhone inside = no good image!)

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Goodbye to my kinder girl

Sweet Ebony - my darling precious little girl. Tonight I have such a heavy heart as I try to prepare for all tomorrow will hold.
I have no idea where the last 4 years have gone - but they have and tomorrow I begin the process of a different kind of letting go to any other I have ever had to do.
From tomorrow I will no longer be as bigger influence in your life - and I have real heaviness about it - but I also know it has to happen.
I don't know that you are necessarily fully ready - but the way the cards have fallen it's definitely the best way for us to go....for you to go. Holding you back another year would only make it harder anyway. I pray we've made the right decision. I pray that you settle well and really enjoy school.

You have been my little 'best buddy' for the past 4 years. We have grown together in many ways and I will so miss your chatter and your 'huggles' during the day.

I wish you great happiness - good friends - fun learning.....and tonight I give you the beginning of the wings that I pray will take you to be all your little heart wants out of this world.

Love always....Mummy

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Erin's visit

Erin came for a visit today and you two had so much fun just being gorgeous little girls!....

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Sleepy head

Sleep soundly my little princess - with your snuggly close by and Suixi bear entwined in your arms. Only a few more sleeps and life is going to change so much for both of us. I love you to the moon and back sweetheart xxx