Hello and happy, happy 2020!
I still can’t quite get my head around that it is 20 years since the turn of the new millennium. Quite frankly it’s frightening that I remember exactly where I was, who I was with and what I was doing – 20 short years ago. That thought alone has made me feel really old. Jared and I hate summing up a year as a ‘not so good’ one, but we both felt like 2019 was too overwhelming for us in lots of ways. I have constantly felt pulled in so many different directions and juggling all of our commitments has felt quite exhausting.
There are lots of things that I am not good at, but one thing I am good at is keeping Jared and I’s relationship in check, and recently this has felt absolutely necessary. In general, we communicate really well, but this is something we have massively improved upon over the last year. One evening we actually booked a babysitter so that we could do life admin without the distraction of being at home – we went for a meal, took a laptop and had a massive organising session. It was probably my favourite date of the year! and I’m not joking.
Parenting four children is amazing, but consuming (as it should be), I have started studying, we both have big commitments at our local church, Jared’s business is always on our minds and he also has a side work project that has taken up more time than he expected. Another factor is that Otto is a very demanding three year old, and Jasper has never been a baby I can just drag everywhere, which is a big contrast to baby Rufus and baby Otto. I thought I’d nailed ‘dragging a baby anywhere’, but it’s obviously just a difference in personality. I am immensely grateful for everything life brings, I just feel that we have learnt a lot over the last year. Overall, I have felt very distracted by stresses, rather than enjoying the present moment – a feeling I don’t enjoy.
Two things we have done to help manage our load are: employ a cleaner who comes every other week, and we have also found a local babysitter we can call on if we get desperate. Both of which have become invaluable to our family life – knowing we can get some help with cleaning twice a month, and knowing that we can sort a calendar clash out easily.
So much to celebrate about 2019:
In February we went to Italy on a sightseeing trip. I was so grateful to rediscover Rome, Florence and Milan with Jared and the boys. Exploring a city with children in tow is such a different experience, and as long as we are all in bed early; it is such a joy.
In March, Win turned 7 and he had an art party. I have a love/hate relationship with hosting a birthday party, but I keep doing them, so clearly, they can’t be that bad. In May, one of my sisters got married and it was such a perfect day. I loved every single minute of it. Her husband is also one of eleven children and it was a privilege to spend time with them and get to know them.
A massive highlight of our year was buying a bell tent and going on our first camping trip as a family. During the summer we went on three camping trips, and we hope that summer 2020 will bring more camping adventures. Winston and Rufus took part in a triathlon, we attended a festival with friends and in July we holidayed in Tenerife. I saw a whale swimming in the wild for the first time and it was magical. A moment that I won’t forget.
In September, Jasper turned one and he is such a brilliant character. He has a ‘glass half empty’ approach to life, and is quite difficult to please. At over 15 months old he isn’t walking – an event I encourage and am looking forward to. I also started studying a course with Open University. It is a science module, enabling me to apply to university to study Dietetics. As a result, almost all of my evenings and nap times are spent studying.
In December, I loved watching Win and Ru’s Christmas shows at school. I spent a day in London with my sisters. On Christmas Eve, Jared and I (along with friends and family) did some carol singing to raise money for Samaritans and the boys helped to collect funds in a bucket. It was special, and really helped to invite the Christmas spirit.
Days out have included Abbey House Museum, Brimham Rocks, The Forbidden Corner, Lego Discovery Centre Manchester, Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds Industrial Museum, Aysgarth Falls and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. We also loved visiting our favourite local hang outs – Fairburn Ings, William’s Den, Nostell Priory and the beach.
House-wise we finished our downstairs toilet and transformed our utility room. Two projects that I am so pleased with. We also made our bedroom a little cosier, and updated our playroom with some help from Great Little Trading Company.
I joined a Book Club and have really tried to get back into reading regularly. Pre-children I was always a big reader, and I’ve missed it a lot. It is so good having a list of books to read that I know I will enjoy. Books have brought me much needed respite in 2019.
So, what will 2020 hold?
A big renovation project that I am equally thrilled about, and equally can’t bear thinking about. It’s been a while since we did a big project and I’m not looking forward to the upheaval. The project will involve an extension and the renovation of (almost) our whole downstairs. We’ll see how we get on!
Aside from the house – Otto will be starting school and I am applying to university (!) We have a holiday with my family in Italy to look forward to, a trip to Harry Potter Studios booked and I have a weekend with my sisters in the diary. But most of all, I am looking forward to more camping trips and time getting to know my five favourite people. Maybe I’ll go surfing, or go wild and dust off my sewing machine.
Here is a little summary of what people enjoyed reading on my blog in 2019:
- I don’t enjoy breastfeeding. Did I say that out loud?
- Joining Slimming World
- Creating a downstairs loo
- Make room for play with Great Little Trading Company
- Chatting miscarriage
- A last minute camping trip