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2013/07/09 / Shanan


Maybe it’s strange, but I never sang lullabies to Theo when she was a baby. In fact it wasn’t until earlier this year, when I went away for the first time by myself for a friend’s wedding in Switzerland, that Chris started a new bedtime routine in my absence (one that didn’t involve nursing).  He would lie beside her crib and sing her to sleep. Now we sing songs every night, although she seems to prefer more ‘active’ tunes like ‘Wheels on the Bus’ or ‘London Bridge’ over the whole ‘Rock-a-Bye Baby’ genre.  I guess you go with whatever works?

I remember when I was little, my mum used to sing me this song called ‘Spider John’ that I really loved.  It was a simple, sad ballad by Willis Alan Ramsey, who released only one cult album in 1972.  My parents must have had it on vinyl.

Lately I’ve been listening to the song on YouTube, trying to recall the words so that I can sing it to Theo.  I like the idea of having a special song that’s just ‘ours’ and not something that she hears at school or on the playground.

Do you have any songs you love to sing, or would love to sing, to your child?  xx Shanan

Image above: Theo at one month, photo by Ashley Renée.

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2013/07/04 / Shanan


Chris and I traveled to Iceland in the summers of 2009 and 2010.  At the time people seemed to think it was a weird pick (and… ‘twice?’), but it had been a long-time dream of mine to go and during our first visit, we got engaged.  The following year we decided to return for our honeymoon and it was there that we conceived our daughter (TMI?  It most likely happened in a tent, beside a waterfall, if you must know).  So clearly the place holds great meaning and memories for us.

But it’s not sentimentality that keep beckoning me, in fact it’s the opposite – it’s the rawness and immediacy of the place.  It’s the otherworldly landscapes, sometimes desolate and bleakly beautiful, sometimes heady and lush, and sometimes just plain bizarre.  It’s trudging through volcanic ash and listening to the creak and groan of glaciers. It’s like the place just gets into your bones, and you feel this palpable yearning when the wind blows a certain way and for a quick half-second you’re there all over again.

A siren song, magnetic pull, call it what you will.  Lately I’ve been dreaming of going back, as a family now.  Last year I (finally) had some books printed of our adventures there and have been revisiting my photos.  These are but a few favourites…