Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In the spirit of giving.....



My family and I have decided that we would like to hold a giveaway everyday on my blog until Christmas Day.

There will be something different given away each day.

All you have to do to enter is to make sure you are either a reader on here (right handside bar) Or come and like me on facebook.

You can enter every giveaway that we hold this month! We just ask that you would only enter once a day to give everyone an equal chance of winning.

Each night this month my little family and I will light Christian's Christmas candles. We will all be gather around our beautiful tree and in turns we will each pick out a winner for each day.

It is the season for giving and we are doing this to teach our beautiful girls that giving is a gift that you give to yourself.

So for this first day of Christmas we are giving away a Christmas Beach Remembrance Photograph Set.

Below is what the winner will receive (Obviously with your own choice of name and wording!)

Heaven Sent Christmas Image

Personalized Beach Sand Christmas Tree

We will email you these images in a high resolution jpeg format. The images are high enough quality to be enlarged to poster size. They are a gorgeous idea to print as 6x4's to send in Christmas cards to friends and family.

You will be able to choose the wording for the Heaven Sent Christmas image and you can have up to two names on the Personalized Christmas Beach Tree.

If you are entering today's giveaway please leave a comment here or on facebook with your choice of name for the Christmas Tree.

We will announce the winner this evening on here.

Good Luck everyone! Much love and many blessings to everyone this holiday season.

UPDATED:

Giveaway now closed.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Melbourne!

So I did it. I kissed my children goodbye, picked up my suitcase and left for Melbourne. It was hard to say goodbye to them. Really hard. I have never left any of them unless I was in hospital having one of their sister's or brother.

In all honesty I needed this break more than I even realized. Originally I was taking Ocea because I felt she was too little to leave behind but in the weeks leading up to my flight Ocea started teething terribly and we thought it best to keep her at home where she is most comfortable. My lovely dad came with me as the plan was he would help me with Ocea while we were out and about. So in the end he didn't have to look after anyone but himself which was nice. It was cool to go on a trip with him, if you have met my Dad you would know he is a legend.

We got on the plane and I was able to do some work on the computer. I had over 100 photographs to name and get ready to post on the beach site.


The night before I got to photograph the most incredible sunset and I shared the experience with one of my favourite photographers and friend Andy Evan's along with his gorgeous family. It was one of the most beautiful evenings I have ever spent at the beach. we stayed until the stars came out.


Before we knew it we were landing in Melbourne.

Holy Freezingness. Okay maybe not freezingness but cold. Apparently I complained as soon as I got off the plane about the temperature difference. I had come from 40 degrees to 14 degrees! Some strange tall man to me to "Suck it up Princess" Hah! I was like "Dude. I came from 40 degrees" He came back with "Yeah... so did I!" Okay fair call.


Anyway it was time to get this party started so we met up with my bro and headed back to our hotel, which was really lovely! Chilled out there for a bit and then hit the town.


Wow. Melbourne you have got some culture going on. The food was awesome and my favourite part about the evening was watching this group of buskers play cover songs down at South Bank. They were so good I struggled to understand why they weren't play their own tunes.

How much does my bro look like something out of a Calvin Klein poster?!

We ate dinner, hung out in town and then in the wee hours of the morning we headed back to the hotel where I crashed. It was the first unbroken sleep I had almost 5 years. 5 YEARS! It was lovely.

The next day we headed out to the Royal Botanical Gardens. We met up with some friends of mine there and I got insanely burnt. Not cool. It was a gorgeous day though.


In the early evening I met up with a friend of ours who's band were opening for Metallica. My brother and I were lucky enough to hang out with Mark backstage before they went on. We got to stand at the side of the stage and watch the gig. Seriously that was cool. As you may or may not know Sam and I LOVE music. I don't think there has been a time when a waking hour has past and we have not played any music. Sam plays the drums and a little guitar. I play nothing. I once picked up a guitar and decided I should put it down and keep holding my camera instead.

Anyway after Metallica played I was lucky enough to go backstage and meet them. Holy pinch yourself moment. They were chilled out easygoing guys and of not at all what I expected. And before you ask... no I didn't take any photos. It just didn't feel right to do so. After a while we caught a taxi in to town and I said goodbye to our friend who we probably won't see again till he is back on tour down here in 2012. Unless we get to America before then... I wish! It was a cool night and one of the highlights of my trip.

I woke the next morning to a text message. It was Sal saying she was on her way to pick me up! Yeah, I jumped out of bed and into the shower! I have been waiting to meet Sally for just over 2 years now. And that moment finally came. There were only a few tears :) I jumped into her car and we headed to the cemetery where Hope, her daughter was buried. The cemetery was closed. We sneaked in. What were they going to do? Say no to two grieving mothers. I don't think so.


We found Hope's grave. As soon as I saw her memorial plaque all my tears started. I know this little girl only in her death. But I know her. I have known her for just over 2 years. She is beautiful. Being that close to her remains was amazing to me. I pulled away some of the earth just beneath her memorial plaque and poured a small portion of Christian's ashes into ground. This was the first place I have ever scattered them. It felt so right. I covered them back over so that they would remain there forever with her. I sprinkled some sand from the beach and then cover the grains of sand with more Earth. I don't think I could leave Hope and Christian without giving them some sand from the beach that brought their mamas together. I tied two sparkly butterflies to the pink roses that Sally brought down to the grave and took a tiny part of the earth with me to keep in Christian's memory box. We said goodbye to the babies and headed back to Sally's house.


I met her family who were running around getting ready for Angus' big first birthday. What a long awaited event this was! We headed down to the park where Sally's friends and family started arriving.


My heart skipped a beat when I spotted Suz. I wrapped my arms around her and yeah surprise surprise I cried. It was amazing to meet her in person. We chatted for the shortest time when Sophie arrived. More tears and hugs. This day has been in the making for 2 years. Throughout the day we all just kept hugging each other!

I got to meet Photographer Gavin Blue. Coolest guy ever. His family are just as cool too. He photographed Sally and Sophie's girls for them in the most devastating time of their lives. Gavin does amazing work with The Australian Community of Child Photographers and has suffered the loss of his own beautiful baby girl. It was an honour to meet him. It was an honour to meet everyone.

It was the most beautiful day ever and I so did not want it to end. But of course it did. I said goodbye to Sophie and Suz. I felt really down about that. I knew it would be another long wait before we could all be together in person again. Sally, Angus and Simon drove me into town and what seemed like the blink of an eye I was hugging Sally goodbye.



The rest of my time in Melbourne I spent waiting for trams and exploring the city and St Kilda with my Dad.


We went up the Eureka Tower and the view was amazing.


The floor of the lift was not so cool.

When the time came to leave Melbourne I was ready. I missed my girls! We jumped on a plane and before I knew I was at home hugging my daughters as they slept.


I was exhausted from the most epic weekend ever!

To all my gorgeous friends who treated me to the best holiday ever... Thank you. You are all awesome. To my Dad and Bro... look I am not going to apologize for walking slowly, did it ever occur to you both that you walk insanely fast?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

To my little lovelies,

Mama loves you. I will miss you. So much. Be good for Daddy. I will be home before you know it, with treasures from the Melbourne Christmas Fairies.

Love love love love,

Mama x

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Let The Pie Throwing Begin!!!





So just over a year ago I was reading a blog post by my beautiful friend Barbara. Seriously this blog post made me so fuming mad. Not at Barb but at the doctor she was writing about. He was being a loser and if I was there with her in his surgery I would have picked up the nearest pie and pegged it right at his face!

In honour of Barb and everyone who has had something crappy happen to them I held a day on my old blog. It was dedicated to throwing pies! I have decided to make this day a more regular event.

So on the 13th of each month you will be able to come in here, have a bit of a vent about what ever it is that has annoyed you and lets face it... it can be petty and THROW A PIE!

If you are joining us from facebook you can throw a pie on my page or leave a comment on here. If you are a blogger and would like to link your pie throwing post you can do so below in the Mister Linky gadget.

So who am I throwing a pie at?

MY HUSBAND. Sam you are such a Nana. Afternoon snoozes and all... BORING! I am throwing a sweet cream pie at you because no doubt I am going to get some back!

One more pie is going to the city of Melbourne. Well more accurately the weather in Melbourne. On the one weekend of the year that I am flying over you decide that the most perfect weather would be cold wet and windy. BOOOOOO to you! Rotten Prawn Pie in your face Melbourne Weather!

Join me in the pie throwing festivities won't you?. .. I dare you too!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Well it's 3am again...

This is definitely my favourite song at the moment. When I get to America I will so be catching a show by this guy. I am so thankful to my friend Tim for introducing me to Gregory Alan Isakov just over a year ago.

Have a listen :)

What is your favourite song at the moment?


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Imagination Awakened




Image from the movie - The Lovely Bones

Since I have been blogging I have come across many different bloggers who avoid movies or books where the main character loses a child. I have even seen blogs dedicated to warning bereaved families of movies and books that contain pregnancy, infant and child loss. I guess I understand why people want to protect each other. We have already hurt so much.

Myself? I actually love seeing movies that force the general public to endure a moment of what it is like to go through the loss of a child. I don't care that it makes me upset to see a woman on the big screen crying over her dead son. I have been there. I am still there some days. But I have been through the worst and come out of it so now when a movie or book's main focus is on the loss of a child I smile because it means thousands, maybe even millions of people will step into our world for a moment and see what it is actually like.

Since Christian died I have been drawn to movies and I would like to say books too, but no, I am too busy to read. But yeah I have been drawn to movies that involve death.

No, I am not dark and twisted, more fascinated. Yeah :) Fascinated with the process of death. I love to hear peoples different beliefs about what they think happens to each of us when we die. Whether you believe in God or not I respect everyone's beliefs. I myself do believe in Heaven. I believe in God. But I do struggle with religion.

I have no idea what happens when we die. I hope it is amazing, unbelievably beautiful, like nothing we could ever possibly experience here on Earth.

Spolier Alert - Do not read on if you wanted to watch or read The Lovely Bones.

The other week Sam hired out The Lovely Bones for me. I asked him to. He asked me if I was sure I wanted to watch it. I was.

This movie was profoundly moving, beautiful, sad, raw, brutal and magical . All in all it is a film about a young teeange girl who is murdered and how her family find her killer. I thought of all those families who have lost their loved ones to another person's hands. The hell they must go through each and every day not knowing where their children are or how they died. It would be so impossible to live with.

I don't know how I could comprehend the fact that my child was free from pain. That they had let go of Earth and were now living their eternal life in the most magical place imaginable. But a line from the movie has etched itself on my heart and it came from Suzie, the girl that was murdered.

"I wasn't gone, I was alive in my own perfect world"

They are never gone. Never.

I loved this movie, not because I am a sucker for Mark Wahlberg but because it opened my imagination to the process of death. My imagination has really always stopped at the point where I held Christian in my arms. His lifeless little body. There was nothing else. Just his death. Now I wonder about his journey to Heaven. Was it anything like what happened in this movie? It must have been amazing. Whatever happened to him. Could he see us crying over him? Was he greeted by our loved ones who have previously passed? Did he meet other people who were making their own journey to heaven? Did he keep his physical appearance or did he transition to a pure bright light? I wonder and I day dream about it. Alot.

Image from the movie The Lovely Bones

The movie opened my mind to how our children might try to communicate with us. I was recently speaking to new friends of ours about how we both believe our children send us signs but how few and far between they can be. How much easier this journey of grief would be if we had more signs from our children.

All in all it has made my everyday life just that little bit more magical. And for that I am thankful. And can I just say how beautiful I thought the score music was for this film was. I must buy the soundtrack.

Have you watched any movies that opened your imagination to the process of death at all? What do you believe happens to us when we die?




Monday, November 8, 2010

The Sun Heart Reflection





For literally years now I have wanted to capture this. A love heart in the reflection of the setting sun on the water. I have seen many on the internet, mostly all photoshopped, still beautiful though... But I wanted a real one. It took just over two years and I didn't realize it had happened until that evening when I put my images on my laptop.

To whoever sent me this love heart from up above, thank you.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

About A Little Turquoise Butterfly




For so long I have wanted to find a Turquoise Butterfly ring.
Something that represents my son's soul. For he is as free as the butterflies.

I wanted a turquoise one to represent the sea as it is such a beautiful part of my life because of him.

So the other day I was out with my girls and my lovely Dad. As we were walking past each shop this little (Hmm maybe little is not the right word!) this rather massive turquoise butterfly caught my eye. I went into the store and picked it up. At first I thought it was a broach as it was so large but to my delight it turned out to be a silver ring.

It was the last one in the store. I bought it and took it home with me.

Of course I had to photograph it being the beautiful piece of jewellery that it is. As I was photographing it the poem my friend Maya wrote for me was running through my mind.

And so the above image is the result. I have added the image to my Heartfelt Card Line as a pregnancy and infant loss card as it was too pretty not too.

Do you have a special piece of jewellery to represent your baby/ies? This Butterfly is just one of many pieces I have now :)

Love and blessings to all.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Melbourne, Ashes and Hope

Most days I am fine. You know. I think of him every day. Maybe even every waking hour. But I am okay.

I missed out on him but in a strange beautiful twist he consumes me. He is my life now. My work. My joy. My passion. I just can't see him. I can't feel him, but in some very special moments I do sense him.

In just under two weeks I am flying to Melbourne to meet up with some very gorgeous girls. One in particular is my dear friend Sally. I have known Sally for just over two years now. She found my blogpost that I wrote on the day her first daughter was stillborn. It was titled Tuesday's Hope. I wrote it after I had had the dream of Christian on the beach writing his name in the sand. The dream that started his legacy. Sally's little girl Hope was born on that very day. You can probably tell just from that little story that Sally and I have a strong bond.

When I go to Melbourne I will be taking a small portion of Christian's ashes with me. For years now I have wanted to scatter some of them but I could never quite let them go. On Sunday 21st of November I will be visiting Hope's grave with Sally. I am going to leave some of Christian's ashes there with Hope.

If you are in Melbourne and would like to come to the picnic I am organizing at the Royal Botanical Gardens come and check out the invite on facebook and let me know if you can come.

I am so looking forward to this trip. I get to see my brother, rock out with him at a show of a new friend of mine, meet up with new friends and old and spend some time photographing the beautiful city of Melbourne with my awesome old man. I don't know how I will go without my girls. I miss them already. They are my world.

Have you ever scattered your child's ashes somewhere? Whereabouts? How did you feel afterwards?

Much love and many blessings.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Beautiful Sisters





I took this photo of my two beautiful friends Georgia and Maya.
They are two of the most beautiful young women I know.

I was blessed enough to share this beautiful sunset with them along with their Mum and Dad.

Monday, November 1, 2010

And The Winners Are...




Okay so I was blown away by how many people entered my giveaway that I decided that more people should win. So I am giving away 4 Beach Butterfly Photograph Sets and 4 Gallery Butterflies.

To everyone who missed out, if I had the time I would draw a butterfly for all of you. I plan to have more giveaways so please keep entering.

Okay so the winners of a Beach Butterfly Photograph Set are...

Emma Louise Mccarroll
(Catriona's Mama)

Eileen Doyle

(Wayne's Mama)

Christy

(Emma's Mama)

Kristin Cook
(Stevie's Mama)

Congratulations lovely ladies! Please drop me an email after you have visited my Butterfly Gallery and let me know which Gallery Butterfly you would like along with the wording for the image. In the meantime I will get drawing at the beach!!!

You can reach me at carlydudley@live.com
I will email you the high res jpegs as soon as possible.


The Runners Up for a Gallery Butterfly are:

Tina Azizian Whitaker

(Royce's Mama)

Cheri C
(Charles Patrick's Mama)

Erica Manser

(Isla and Catharine's Mama)

Kelley Mackay

(Regan's Mama)

Congratulations Lovely Mama's after you have chosen what Gallery Butterfly you would like for your babies please drop me an email at carlydudley@live.com and let me know your chosen Butterfly along with the wording you would like. I will email you the high res jpegs as soon as possible!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter.

Much love and many blessing to all.