2017 Year in Review
As I write every year, I can’t believe that yet ANOTHER year has flown by, and that here we are, waving goodbye to 2017 and saying a big fat hello to 2018! Each December, I take a look back and reflect on the highs and lows of the year gone by. As with last year, it seems that it is only when I write everything down that I get to look back and realise what a bloody fantastic year it has been. Some amazing milestones have been achieved, and here are just a few of them! 🙂
After the madness of December and our first Christmas as a family of four, January seemed like a long and cold month. Mike went back to work, leaving me at home with both girls, to the point where I went so far as to say I HATE January – having consumed almost my entire body weight in Quality Street.
I decided to set myself some 2017 Blogging Goals, aiming to turn my hobby into a source of income to support our family during my 12 months maternity leave. As someone who can’t ever seem to sit still, focusing my energy into the blog alongside being a new Mum felt like a good opportunity and it was now or never!
In February I attempted Sugar Free February in a vague attempt at losing some weight. I did REALLY well at first – despite the fact that I had withdrawal headaches and felt a bit like a zombie for most of the earlier part of the month!
Unfortunately, in the middle of February Neve got a really bad sickness bug and we ended up spending a couple of nights in Birmingham Children’s Hospital as she couldn’t even keep water down after a whole week of vomiting. They were really worried about her becoming dehydrated as it can be very dangerous in young babies. Waiting in their A&E department for hours with no food except a packet of chocolate biscuits was only going to end one way – and as such, my Sugar Free February came to a slightly abrupt end!! The care we received at Birmingham Children’s Hospital however was simply fantastic, and although it was fairly scary at the time, being around lots of other very poorly children who were far worse off than us, definitely put some perspective around it!
In March, Erin reached the end of her reward chart and achieved her mission of working towards a big girl bed. We used the reward chart to try and encourage her to stay in her own bed all night long as we had been experiencing a LOT of Daddy lying on the floor next to her. Despite someone accusing me of being cruel see (Reward Charts Who’s Benefit?), she really bought into it, and something relatively simple had really positive effects.
Accepting that Neve too would soon need to be moving out of our room and into her own, we started work in converting the box room in our Nursery Renovation Project– as a tiny space, this was somewhat of a challenge, so we tried to use some tricks of the trade to make the most of what was effectively a box room. I love the cloud theme that we went for and was really proud of the finished effect!
At the end of March, we started Weaning Neve (and I had total weaning fear) – I was worried that Neve would be a picky eater just like her sister and it appears that my fears may have been justified. Neve has turned out to be EVEN worse than her sister and is under a dietitian as even at 15 months, she still hardly eats at all! This continues to be a huge challenge for our family, and I am extremely sleep deprived as a result, but she is happy and healthy, and for that, I have to be grateful!
A huge event for me personally took place in April, when we travelled to London to take part in The Big Chop for Little Princess Trust. Having had long hair pretty much most of my adult life, I agreed to donate 7 inches of my locks to this fantastic charity who make wigs for poorly children. It was quite a daunting experience, but I am really pleased I did it (although I have been growing it again ever since!)
The before and after pics are quite a transformation!!!
May was our annual tradition of heading to the Bluebell Woods with the camera. Unfortunately the woods we had taken Erin to in previous years no longer opened to the public (as they had become a little too popular!) but I still managed to get some beautiful shots of the girls together amongst the flowers. A blogger’s dream!
In June, Erin, our baby, turned 4 – June is always a bit bitter sweet for me, as my Mum passed away just a few days after Erin’s 1st Birthday, so these happy days are closely followed by sadness that she is not here to join in our celebrations!
Most years since Erin has been born her actual birthday has been an absolute washout – so I was praying for a bit of sunshine and somebody must have heard me! Despite limiting her party to just family, 14 children and about 20 adults invaded our back garden on one of the hottest days of the year! We had a giant bouncy castle slide and were lucky enough to be allowed to keep it for a few days. June ended up being a complete heat wave, and so we spent a lot of our evenings on the slide in the garden till the house became cool enough to sleep!
Mike had a few days off work and we took Erin to Drayton Manor for the first time – where we quickly learnt that Erin is more brave than me, and officially has no fear; ditching the tamer rides of Thomasland for rides such as the Accelerator!
As the month was drawing to a close, a friend tagged me in a job advertisement on Facebook. I hadn’t even considered the prospect of leaving my current employer, but the role sounded absolutely perfect. As a new Mum of two, with one starting nursery and another starting school, the prospect of school and nursery runs before a long drive to Coventry was a little overwhelming. The new job was much closer to home, part time and offered fully flexible working – I simply couldn’t not apply. After a nerve wracking interview – my first in over 5 years, I was offered the job and accepted! 🙂 Big changes afoot!
July came around and the sunshine returned, so we spent lots of time in the garden and visiting local National Trust properties. I LOVE the summer sun, so it was really great to be outside enjoying my last few months of maternity leave with the girls. We quickly learnt that Neve LOVES padding pools, so many of our July days were spent like this….
August marked the last month of my last ever maternity leave. I was feeling a bit emotional knowing that my sepsis nightmare had pretty much sealed the deal on me ever having any more children, and as such, this was the last time I would ever be fully at home with my children.
With Erin starting school in September, I arranged a Mother Daughter Date week at the end of August when Neve was at nursery – a week jam packed full of fun activities and one on one Mum and Erin time, including our Afternoon Tea Date at Hogarths, a pampering day at home, dress shopping and a trip to the theatre. It was so much fun, and I have some really precious memories of those last few days with Erin the pre-schooler.
At the beginning of September, Erin started school, and we were SO So proud of her. She skipped in on her first day without batting an eyelid, and quickly made some new friends, who have since become thick as thieves! She has settled in relatively well to the new routine but is struggling a little with her reading. As a relatively young four year old, I was always worried that starting school may be a challenge, but she will get there – practise makes perfect.
On the 8th September, Neve turned one. A birthday cake for someone who doesn’t eat proper food would be a little on the wasteful side, so we got her a duplo one instead! We spent the day together as a family, and I did my annual tradition of decoupage letters to place in the album.
In mid September I started my new job – working three days a week practically on my doorstep. I settled in really quickly, and everyone was so lovely that I felt like I’d been there for months after just a few weeks. Working in central Solihull however can be dangerous – I am FARRRR to close to Paperchase for comfort, but first world problems and all that!!!
Towards the end of September I went to BlogOn Xmas – my first ever blogging conference thanks to Onlookr who sponsored my attendance. I met some amazing bloggers and brands, and learnt lots of hints and tips about blogging leaving me feeling motivated and inspired. I also finally met the group of bloggers from my WhatsApp group who I’ve been messaging for months. They had been (and continue to be) a huge support to me on both a personal level and from a blogging perspective, so it was so lovely to finally be in the same room!
In October we had a fab Halloween Party at my sister’s house thanks to Party Pieces who supplied us with a whole heap of Halloween decorations so we could fully embrace the tradition. It was such a fantastic evening, although my poor niece was a little overwhelmed when Erin got a bit too much into character!
November marked Neve’s first proper bonfire night where I took the girls along to a local display. I wasn’t sure how she would react but she actually really loved them – with lots of little ooohs when the sky lit up with colour!
Towards the end of November, we started the festivities early with a trip to the Birmingham Lantern Festival, and it soon started to feel a little bit like Christmas was on it’s way!
In December we had Erin’s First Snowman and both girls first experience of snow! Despite being four and a half, Erin had never seen a full covering of snow on the ground, so she was determined to make the most of it, building a whole family of snowmen and going sledging with Daddy in the park! I also enjoyed reliving my youth and realised just how much of a workout rolling out a snowman can be!
This Christmas was Neve’s second experience of Father Christmas and did NOT go quite according to plan! We visited two different Santa’s this year, the first at Hogarths, and the second, her granddad (Yes my Father in Law IS Father Christmas!) at Notcutts garden centre. Both times she ended up in hysterical tears, and I’m hoping we haven’t scarred her for life!
We have just had the most wonderful Christmas with the children – the first year where Erin truly understands what’s going on! 🙂 It has been so lovely watching her handwrite her list so neatly, the excitement on her face when Father Christmas wrote back to her, and the realisation that he had been when we stepped into the lounge on Christmas morning. This age really is magical, and I have loved watching them enjoy every moment together (even if I have spent the majority of the holiday reminding Erin to share!)
New Years Eve as a Mum of Two is a somewhat different experience to days gone by, but it will be lovely none the less. We are off for a curry with my Dad, Sister and family and Mike’s parents. It’s always great to be able to all be together on what otherwise could be a difficult night for my Dad, and for that reason I am grateful we all live so close.
After doing well with my 2017 blogging goals, I have set myself some challenging new blogging goals for 2018 – I hope that the blog continues to grow and be successful as I love recording my random warblings.
I hope that each and every one of my followers has an amazing New Year whatever you are up to, and that 2018 is kind to you!
Thank you again for your support.