It’s been quite a year hasn’t it? If I’m honest, I usually get to December and wonder what the heck I’ve done the past 12 months and think how the year flew by so quickly. Thank goodness for writing in my blog and being able to look back. My memory really isn’t what it was and juggling two kids has really hammered my memory.
It’s been a year of having two little boys and watching them grow and bond. A year of discovering new places and wanting to go back to see more. A year off work and bringing up another little human. And a year where I went back to work and learnt to juggle all that comes with balancing myself and the family. Here are some of my favourite posts of the last year…
Baby E turned 4 months and had just done his first roll and discovered the jumperoo. Everything was about bouncing or clawing people’s faces off. I was thoroughly enjoying my maternity leave and catching up with friends for lunch. I spent a lot of time being paranoid about one particular starey couple and thought they were judging the noisy baby. It turned out they were admiring his little buggy and mistakenly thought his car seat had airbags within it. They turned out to be pretty lovely! And lastly it was the month I wrote a bit of a ranty post to David Cameron one night. “This muslim girl can, because of her mum” went viral and the supportive comments I got was just amazing.
It took us till February to actually go out again as a couple and it was only when a lovely PR company treated us to a meal. I wrote about the importance of “Us time” and we took lots of blurry pics of our delicious food. I always get a bit annoyed at restaurant lighting, its so rubbish for photos. The Other Half always reminds me its more important to them to set the mood for their customer and less about setting the mood for my Instagram photos. Boo. Its also a month I spent reminiscing at some of our imperfect holiday moments. It was for a post written for the Mark Warner competition. We didn’t win but I like to look back it sometimes to see some of holiday memories.
Baby E turned the grand old age of 6 months old in March and he was becoming a very bubble baby that was still very wobbly. He couldn’t sit up and loved his feet in his mouth all the time so would spend most of his time on his back happily slurping on his toes. Little Z had spent 6 months at school by this time and he could now read, and write and do all sorts! I never realised it would be such a fast learning curve for him but he was discovering so much, including all the good and bad that comes with friendships and the big wide world. There were times when I just wanted to wrap him up and take him home but we somehow both survived his first few months.
We flew off to Turkey during the easter holidays, slightly nervous about taking a new baby with us. It turns out that flying with a 7 month old that can’t crawl yet is the perfect age to go. It was fabulous to be in the sun and see so many friends there all wanting to see the new baby. It was the first time one of our kids got poorly abroad and it was a bit nerve wracking but all ended well and our wonderful GP did a thorough check when we got back. And speaking of GPs, I spent so much time at the surgery, it felt like I should move in. I became convinced there must be a fifth trimester. One where your hair goes grey at lightning speed, you feel different aches and pains all the time, you spend half your life at the doctors and you wonder if pregnancy brain will ever leave you!
We had some fabulous weather in May so we popped to Blackpool for a nice day out. I’ve often said about I feel like its stuck in time. There are plenty of new attractions, but there are so many spots that hark straight back to the quintessential English resorts of days gone by. It’s just a lovely place to wander about and full of cheese and history. It was also BlogOn, which I love, and this year was just as good as previous years. I wrote 9 things bloggers do at blog conferences. I am totally the girl that giggles and stares at her favourite bloggers. Oh, and I met Darth Vader and was very pleased about it!
Little Z thankfully started loving going to school BY JUNE! Actually I think it was more around the April or May point but I’m so glad the penny finally dropped for him. In June, he learnt all about the Queens birthday at school but was slightly miffed there was no birthday cake in sight and, to be fair, he does have a point. He misheard her age and thought she was 19 which was still very very old in his eyes. I wrote about why I thought Brexit wasn’t a good choice for us and we shouldn’t leave the EU. Of course, we did indeed vote to leave and I still worry about what’s to come. We are basically going to Brexit based on a campaign won by people that ran away soon after, using promises that have since fallen fast by the wayside and with a plan that isn’t actually announced to anyone. I did go to Britmums 2016 though and I had a brilliant time.
The very first year of school ended and we survived reception. Little Z went in as a little preschooler and came out looking a bit more stretched and a lot wiser. I nearly threw my arms around his teacher as she’d taught him so much. I was really looking forward to a good 6 weeks off but was so nervous about entertaining my two little monkeys non stop for so long. I didn’t have to worry too much as we soon found a groove of sorts and managed to have a lot of fun with some hair pulling times intertwined into it. We ended up taking the kids to celebrate our anniversary and it turned out to be quite a nice outing.
We took a trip up to Scotland in August and it was a brilliant trip. We did a few days in beautiful Edinburgh and then took trips to Falkirk to see the Kelpies and Stirling to see the Wallace monument and Stirling castle. Its such a beautiful part of the world and I think I remember reading somewhere that Scotland has over 2000 castles. Imagine just driving to each of them to see them all and learn all about their history. One day I’d love to do it all and stay at the very tip and see the Northern lights. If someone could schedule that all in for me, then I’d be very grateful. We finished our mini tour with a trip to Luss at Loch Lomond and vowed to go back again soon to discover more.
I think I spent a lot of this month counting down the last few weeks of my maternity leave and getting ready to be a trapeze aristist. I was really nervous about going back to work whilst juggling two little ones and getting everyone to everywhere on time, never mind actually doing a full days work. It turned out I didn’t need to worry too much. The Other Half and I have had to work as a tight knit tag team and each day is different with who is dropping who off to where but we are almost there with some tweaks. All I will say is that there is a lot of truth in “it takes a village to raise a child”. In our case, it consists of us, my parents, my inlaws and breakfast club.
It looks like I squeezed a heck of a lot in. Baby E turned a whole year old and we spent time celebrating his birthday. I did one of my favourite reviews, mainly as it involved food, at the Zouk indian cookery school in Manchester and Little Z went into Year 1 after our long summery school holidays.
October came and I went back to work and started a new chapter. I’m not sure why I was SO worried about it all but it felt like home again within about 24 hours and, once I’d learnt to juggle, I was so glad I’d gone back. There is always a huge uncertain cloud that can hover over when you’ve been off for so long but I was really relieved to slot back in. I had a huge “This is my life” moment…I think it was as if I’d seen my future for the next 10 years and that is a bit like a bolt of lightning hitting you. We spent time enjoying pesky autumn and all its beautiful colours. I’m a lover of summer so reluctantly drag my heels when the leaves start falling, like a sulky teen. It is very pretty though, isn’t it? October was the month the Olympic parade came to Manchester and we manage to rush there in the nick of time and enjoy it all. Wow, what a parade. I’ve never seen so many athletes or medals in my whole life. It was definitely a memorable experience.
I’m not quite sure how we did this but we managed to get some time off to fly off to Abu Dhabi for some good sun. Flying with a one year old that wants to walk about is pretty challenging and we somehow managed to get there quite calmly. Coming back was a different matter but I guess not everyone loves a loud baby on a flight. Nonetheless, it was a fantastic trip and so good to catch up with one of my best friends. We all got a bit poorly but managed to have a good day out at Ferrari world, visit an amazing brunch and just have a very nice chill out.
December is always wind down month in my head and, like all good parents, we’ve succumbed to the germs the boys bring home and had hacking coughs for weeks. We’ve spent a lot of time working our way through all the Christmas hot chocolates and waiting for Little Z’s birthday. He was so excited to be turning 6 and we celebrated with a party for him and his classmates. It’s a slightly daunting concept being faced with a large number of little excited boys but, thankfully, it was a lot of fun and went smoothly. We’ve since been looking forward to family time and its been lovely catching up with everyone. I was absolutely gutted with George Michael dying and still can’t believe he’s gone. I’m not usually attached to celebrities but I’ve loved all his stuff for as long as I can remember and was so sad to hear he’d died. I really hope 2017 is better in that sense.
Looking back, it feels like we’ve had a busy year. I wouldn’t mind the same in 2017. We have no plans as such just yet but, whatever we do, I hope its a good one.