Photo-A-Day 2014 – A Personal Project

Looking back on 2013 I was dismayed at how few photographs I took of my own family and beautiful little girl…it seems the curse of being a photographer and always seeking to take the ‘perfect’ photo, made me forget about the beauty that exists in the ‘every day’. So I decided that each day of 2014 I would take a photograph of Jessica, to remind me of how much there is to be grateful for and how extraordinary the ‘ordinary’ can really be.  I’m hoping to keep it up for all 365 days, but we have just finished the first month of this year and Jessica’s interest in being photographed each day is already waning. But at the end of this year I will turn these recollections into a book for her and hopefully she will be able to look back on it fondly for many years to come.

Anyway, this is her journey through January….she is my love, my light, my heart and soul. Gina xxx

January 1, 2014 

As the first day of a new year draws to an end, I do as I’ve done every night this past year….step into your room as you sleep, tell you that I love you and kiss you goodnight.  And you do what you do…smile briefly, snuggle down into your blankets a little more and go back to your dreams.  It is a time for me to reflect on all the missteps and triumphs of being your mother each day and hope that no matter what happens throughout all the days to come, you always know that you are the light of my life and my greatest love. x

Photo-a-day_ January 1_Gina Ralli_Jemm_Photography-photographers_family_children_Jessica_Melbourne

January 2, 2014 

These little art projects you worked on today will soon be proudly displayed on those walls behind you. Today they signify all that you are…bold, bright, perfectly imperfect. In the tomorrows ahead they will be a reminder of how far you’ve come and how much you continue to fill my heart and home with life and colour.

Photo-a-day_ January 2_Gina Ralli_Jemm_Photography-photographers_family_children_Jessica_Melbourne

January 3, 2014 

Sometimes I worry about some of the idiosyncrasies that I seem to have passed on to you, but today we were bonded by our devotion to the sweet, creamy goodness of the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie.  You may have come away with sticky fingers, chocolate dipped hair and a new brown spotted dress, but I couldn’t have adored your chocolaty smile more.

Photo-a-day_ January 3_Gina Ralli_Jemm_Photography-photographers_family_children_Jessica_Melbourne_Yarra Valley Chocolaterie

January 4, 2014 

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one”. Dr Seuss

This morning we went to see the stage production of ‘Cat in the Hat’. I remember reading Dr Seuss books when I was a child and even as an adult I still get inspiration from some of his many quotes and positive philosophies on life. Perhaps if I start rhyming like Dr Seuss you might pay more attention to what I have to say…or is that just every mother’s pipe dream?? 😉

Be sweet, be kind, be thoughtful too
Be all the things that make you, you.
Have some fun, laugh and play
Make it count from day to day.
Try your hardest, never quit
Success is yours if you commit.
Smell the roses, smile a lot
Be thankful for the things you’ve got.
Learn your lessons, grow up smart
But keep the magic in your heart.

 Mummy

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January 5, 2014 

This year we have introduced you to the concept of pocket money and you relished counting up how much you have earned this week.  You have wanted for nothing so far in your first five years…you have more toys than you know what to do with.  I’m sure you think that we can just miraculously produce money from that magic ‘hole in the wall’ anytime we like.  So far you are excited about the prospect of being able to buy whatever you want with your hard-earned cash….not so much about the jobs that continuously go with it. Welcome to reality princess!

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January 6, 2014

Today we had the most amazing day at Healesville Sanctuary. From meeting Zoopergirl, playing music with the didgeridoo man, learning to throw a boomerang, feeding parrots, meeting a baby Tassie devil, patting a Potoroo and some emus, getting swooped by birds of prey, to spending your first lot of pocket money at the shop, it was a great day of adventure. Of course, I think our favourite part of the day would have to be meeting ‘Larry (the footsie playing) Lyrebird’ and the fact that we did it all with our wonderful friends.

Photo-a-day_ January 6_Gina Ralli_Jemm_Photography-photographers_family_children_Jessica_Melbourne_Healsville Sanctuary

January 7, 2014 

The benefit of being inflicted with the ‘short gene’ is that you sometimes get hand-me-downs from your tall friends. Today you scored a free bike….Soon we’ll need to embark on teaching you to ride without your training wheels, but since you also inherited mummy’s lack of patience and coordination I think that might have to be a ‘daddy job’.

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January 8, 2014 

Since you were born we have spent a day each week visiting your Nana & Grandpa in Rosebud.  I have such fond memories of the time I spent with my own grandparents, that I hoped you would have the same wonderful experiences with yours. Of course, as they live by the beach and spoil you with ice-creams and treats whenever we go there, I’m pretty sure that you’re satisfied with how the relationship is working out so far.

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January 9, 2014 

“Those who don’t believe in magic, will never find it.” – Roald Dahl

Luke the Magician dazzled us at his show today and I watched you with just as much delight as you ‘oohed and aahed’ at his tricks, giggled at his jokes and looked with eyes agape as he performed his illusions. You came home eager to test your skills with your own magic kit and although your sleight of hand needs a tiny bit more practice, you are already well-skilled with your wand waving technique and abracadabra chanting…..and look as cute as anything in your magician’s hat. 🙂

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January 10, 2014 

You have always loved the water and you’d stay and splash around in it all day if you could….oceans, pools, puddles, baths, sprinklers, hoses and rain; you’re not too fussy.  You have no fear of it – you’ll swim, jump, dive and slide whenever and wherever you can, and your smile is never bigger than when someone is there to throw you in. 🙂

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January 11, 2014 

You love everything about the beach so this summer we have enrolled you in Nippers. You’re the youngest and smallest of the girls, but you run your little legs as fast as they’ll go and splash through the icy water with confidence and determination.  You may not be saving someone’s life anytime soon, but you are in your element playing around in the sand and surf, soaking up the sunshine…ahh, this is the life!

Photo-a-day_ January 11_Gina Ralli_Jemm_Photography-photographers_family_children_Jessica_Melbourne_nippers

January 12, 2014 

Beanie Boos….you have a lot of them. Cute little animals to collect that you treat as your pets. We like to look up all the different ones and tick them off the list when you add another one to your growing family. Your favourite today is ‘Hero’, the lion with the Union Jack coat….I had it sent from the UK as a small symbol of your English heritage. Tomorrow one of the other animals could be the lucky one to have your favour.

Photo-a-day_ January 12_Gina Ralli_Jemm_Photography-photographers_family_children_Jessica_Melbourne_Beanie Boos

January 13, 2014 

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense.” ~ Alice in Wonderland

What a beautiful day at Ripponlea we had watching ‘Alice in Wonderland’…and how lovely to share it with some wonderful friends who are now part of our own nonsense world. 🙂  There are some people in life who we meet and are instantly kindred spirits – this is you and Darcy.  Meeting unsuspectingly one day at swimming lessons, you clicked immediately; like two little peas in a pod…like Tweedledee and Tweeledum.

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January 14, 2014 

We have sweltered through a 43° day. With three more days in the 40’s to come, we are already suffering from cabin fever.  You are eager to get out, do something, alleviate this boooooooredom. Never one to sit still very long you have resorted to riding your bike up and down the hallway and terrorising the poor cat.  Tomorrow we’ll face the threat of bursting into flames and leave the house…someone needs to invent a hat with a sprinkler system stat!

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January 15, 2014 

Another stinking hot day and you were equipped with every Aussie kid’s summer essentials – a swimsuit wedgie and an icy-pole. With temperatures set to soar to 44° tomorrow you have remained stoic – trips to the movies, pool and plenty of dousing with the hose (otherwise known as a ‘shower’), has maintained your love for the sunshine and warmth…with just a little bit of back-up support from our air-conditioner friends! Mummy has been much less keen…bring on the cool change!

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January 16, 2014 

We ventured into the outdoor oven that was Melbourne today…..but quickly sort relief in the air-conditioned refuge of Chadstone Shopping Centre. You found some brief solace in the freezer section of Coles, ironically amongst the vegetables that you usually fight so hard to avoid.  And our visit gave you an opportunity to satisfy your strange soap-smelling fetish which dictates you getting a ‘fix’ every time we do our weekly grocery shop. But the highlight of your day was the lady offering to curl your hair. With dreams of one day being Rapunzel with her long silky locks, you squealed in delight at the soft waves that cascaded down your neck and demanded that we make a ‘pointy princess hat’ to finish off your new look. Your wish is my command, your highness. You were just a little bit in love with yourself as Princess Jessica. I was in love with you even more…

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January 17, 2014 

Miette is your cat. She’s your substitute brother or sister. She sleeps on your bed and tolerates your kisses, cuddles and torment.  But she won’t play Barbies or make up stories with you; she won’t ride her bike with you or play games. Most of the time she just sleeps. So for five years you’ve mostly only had me…and I’m not that keen on playing Barbies either. We’ve tried to keep busy… see things, do things, make things and where possible, involve others in these pursuits, but I am eager for you to start school this year so you are surrounded by others every day. And with any luck you will make friends who will become like family to you and be the brothers and sisters you don’t have. Otherwise we may have to resort to getting you a puppy! 😉

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January 18, 2014 

Your first birthday party of the year and you spent most of it playing with Darcy’s dad. I love that you’re so sweet, kind and all-inclusive…you’ll play with any kid, big or small. 😉

Photo-a-day_ January 18_Gina Ralli_Jemm_Photography-photographers_family_children_Jessica_Melbourne

January 19, 2014 

We visited your grandpa in hospital this afternoon.  You have no fear of hospitals or doctors – probably because at this point in time you’ve never had any personal experience to create that fear. At the risk of jinxing myself, we’ve been miraculously blessed by having a wonderfully healthy child, with no serious illnesses or injuries to date.  In fact, we’ve only ever had reason to take you to the doctors once since you were born and that was for just an ear infection. I know it will only be a matter of time until you are faced with something more severe and I am fully expecting that neither one of us with cope well with that reality (even if it’s just a broken bone). However, in the meantime you enjoyed playing the sick patient in grandpa’s hospital bed today and came home to play ‘doctors’ with your barbies and have a full bandage strapped around the very minor scrape on your foot.

Photo-a-day_ January 19_Gina Ralli_Jemm_Photography-photographers_family_children_Jessica_Melbourne

January 20, 2014 

Your first wobbly tooth announced itself to us today. You are over the moon that the Tooth Fairy will be visiting you soon and are already on a mission to eat things that will progress the situation faster. I openly shared in your excitement, but inside secretly ushered a little sigh of resignation.  With school looming just around the corner, even your baby teeth are now taunting me that you are no longer in fact my baby and the process of you growing up seems to be accelerating faster as each day passes. 

Photo-a-day_ January 20_Gina Ralli_Jemm_Photography-photographers_family_children_Jessica_Melbourne

January 21, 2014 

A trip to the shops to buy some runners for school….and you spotted these. How could you not? They were the pinkest and sparkliest shoes in the store, practically calling out your name and begging you to take them home.  Once you discovered they would also light up as you walk, there was no turning back.  You bounded out of the store with glee without even taking them off – completely impractical for school and too hot for summer, but looking totally awesome and making you feel like a rock star. And let’s face it, isn’t that really how most women end up deciding on shoes??

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January 22, 2014 

It was an early start today as we farewelled daddy off at the airport. We will miss him while he’s away, but you know that his return means presents are imminent so your level of despair was somewhat diminished. For me it means that for a few days I need to find another threat motivator different to “just wait until your father gets home.” With my shrewd mind I’ve already discovered that it is the risk of not getting said presents if you misbehave.  It could very well be a looooong week!

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January 23, 2014 

“If you go down in the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise…”  Today’s the day the teddy bears had their picnic and we invited some friends around to join in the fun.  The sun was shining, your little picnic boxes were packed with goodies, the bouncy castle was up and for a few hours you hosted a lovely little soirée to celebrate the final few days of freedom before school starts.  And then unfortunately everyone had to go home and there was cleaning up to do…and all of a sudden you were tired (typical!)

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January 24, 2014 

A visit to Rosebud Carnival this evening gave you plenty to smile about. You are a true thrill seeker at heart and you’ll go on any ride that you can.  Unfortunately, your passion for spinning, dipping, twirling and whizzing around is not often matched by your height. Despite a few rides that will allow you to scream and squeal and giggle in delight, the height restrictions on most of them confine you to the toddler section, and they do little to appease your thirst for speed as they turn around and around pathetically slowly.  Growing to the next ride requirement of 110cm will be a huge milestone for you and you are eager to hit that mark before we visit Disneyland later in the year.

Photo-a-day_ January 24_Gina Ralli_Jemm_Photography-photographers_family_children_Jessica_Melbourne_Rosebud_carnival

January 25, 2014

There are some horses that live up the road from Nana & Grandpa’s house that we often go and visit and sometimes treat with a carrot or two. One mistook you for a tasty morsel one time and tried to take a little nibble out of your head, but you held no grudges this morning and were eager to go back there and feed them some goodies. I am proud that it is not often you let fear dictate your actions and I hope that your courage stays with you as you find your way in life. I hope too, that the lesson of forgiveness is one you hold close and you continue to allow people (and horses if applicable), the second chances they may deserve.

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January 26, 2014

“I am, you are, we are Australian….”  There is much to be thankful for today as we enjoy being part of the ‘lucky country’ and we raise you in what has been voted the ‘world’s most liveable city’.  You have every opportunity here to be happy and successful – we live life comfortably in a country that is beautiful and diverse, resourceful and free. We are truly fortunate to have all that we need right here on our doorstep and experience everything this amazing country has to offer.

Photo-a-day_ January 26_Gina Ralli_Jemm_Photography-photographers_family_children_Jessica_Melbourne_Australia Day

January 27, 2014

Today we immersed ourselves in a fairy tale as we explored the wonders of the Fairy Park at Anakie. I remember visiting it with my parents as a child and wondered how much the old-fashioned animated dioramas would engage you.  But today I was reminded that your heart is young and that you still believe in the magic of these stories and their characters. You eagerly explored the fairyland and went from scene to scene pushing the buttons to make the characters come to life and I was happy that in this age of fully tactile, surround sound, 3D experiences, you were still able to use your imagination and be enchanted by the simple joy of seeing your favourite fairy tales in a land of their own.

Photo-a-day_ January 27_Gina Ralli_Jemm_Photography-photographers_family_children_Jessica_Melbourne_Anakie_Fairy Park

January 28, 2014

You are often not still for long and after moving through the house spreading your toys like a tornado, you rested briefly to watch some cartoons and refuel. It has been a busy holiday period with lots of outings and activities and although I am looking forward to some ‘me’ time, I know that I only have one more day left with you before you start school. We will have to do something special…something to commemorate the last five years and show you how much I have loved being able to spend this time with you. We are supposed to pick up Daddy from the airport in the morning….home just in time to see you off on your first day of school. But his departure flight was delayed two hours…that’s ok, he would still just make it in time for his connection. Now his plane’s landing gear is not working and he’s stranded in LA…tired, angry and sad that he may not be able to get back for you. 🙁

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January 29, 2014

Your final day with me before school starts was spent at your favourite place in the whole world…Luna Park. Although you have limited life experience to compare it by (Disneyland at the end of the year will probably blow your mind!), Luna Park is always your answer to “What do you want to do today?” Although you can only go on a handful of rides we spent 5 solid hours there and already I heard whispers of your growing independence as you requested to go on some of the rides alone (clearly you’re too cool for me already…sigh!) Then it was off to the Pancake Parlour for some fluffy goodness before heading home to prepare for school and try to talk you into having an early night (yeah, right!) Tomorrow you embark on a whole new exciting adventure… 🙂

Photo-a-day_ January 29_Gina Ralli_Jemm_Photography-photographers_family_children_Jessica_Melbourne_Luna Park

January 30, 2014

There were tears this morning – not because you didn’t want to go to school, but because you weren’t so keen on getting out of bed so early! But you recovered, you smiled, and mummy got the obligatory ‘first day of school’ photos that will forever be a reminder of this momentous step in your life journey. I was lucky to get a cursory look as I bid you farewell and although I will miss our days together and that time as my ‘little girl’, I felt joy and excitement for you.  I will not begrudge you growing up and experiencing as much wonder in this world as possible, so there were no tears from me…just a heart full of pride. xxx

Photo-a-day_ January 30_Gina Ralli_Jemm_Photography-photographers_family_children_Jessica_Melbourne

January 31, 2014

As the first month of the year draws to an end, all is right in our world….daddy is home and a couple of ‘hard’ days at school are rewarded with an icy-pole and a foot rub.  Life is good… 🙂

Photo-a-day_ January 31_Gina Ralli_Jemm_Photography-photographers_family_children_Jessica_Melbourne 

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