For the last couple of years, around the end of one year and the start of the next, I’ve written a round-up post of sorts, running through my favourite moments from the past year.
I wasn’t going to write one this year. Not for any particular reason, apart from just not having a lot of spare time. But it’s now the second week of January, and I’m finding that I’m missing my yeary recap. It was a big year for us, with lots of moments to celebrate and remember.
January was a month of hanging tight and waiting. We were in the process of waiting to exchange on our new house, expecting to be moving very soon, but not being sure of exactly when. Amongst all the house move uncertainty, I started to get my head around preparing for our third baby. I wrote about my conflicted feelings on wanting a girl or a boy and whether I wanted to have another homebirth.
This was the month that we finally exchanged and completed on our new house, five months after having our offer accepted. I wrote about leaving our first family home and the emotions attached with that, and we received this lovely letter when we first walked into our new place, which made us really happy to be continuing it’s tradition of being a well-loved family home. This month will always feel like the beginning of a new chapter for our family.
March was the beginning of three months of building work in our new house. Looking back at the photos from this post is so strange, it’s like looking at a completely different house as so much has changed since then. At this point in time, we were living out of a suitcase as we shuttled from one parent’s house to another for several months whilst our building work was ongoing. There was a lot of planning and decisions made, but not much else going on in March – our focus was entirely on our house renovation.
I found it challenging to blog in April because I still had no ‘base’ whilst we weren’t yet moved in, and my computer that I use to edit photos and videos was packed away in storage. But I did write this lovely post that served as a snapshot of my two boys at that particular moment in time. They were on the cusp of becoming big brothers once again, and it feels so special now to look back on these photos and words from a fleeting moment in time when it was just the two of them for a final few weeks.
May, you were our biggest month of the entire year.
After many a building delay, the day that felt like it would NEVER arrive, finally did. May the 14th was the day we moved into our new house.
I wrote this post about Rory finishing breastfeeding. With both my older boys, this has been such a big moment, as I never know exactly when we will reach this point until it’s happening. Reading my breastfeeding posts back feels like such a long time to have breastfed a child for almost four years and almost three years, respectively. I can’t quite recall where I mustered all that commitment from and right now, I am not sure I will breastfeed for quite so long with Otto… but then again, I say the same thing every time.
My Rory, my then baby, and my soon to be middle child, turned three. We celebrated his birthday with me full of the emotions of someone about to introduce a new baby to the family any day now. And then a short few days afterwards we welcomed our fifth family member, the artist formerly known as Baby Cookies.
May was certainly a month of new beginnings.
June was all about getting to know our newest addition.
I snapped this photo of my three children together for the first time, which, for obvious reasons remains one of my most favourite photos ever.
The emotional ups and downs of the first two weeks of Otto’s life were HUGE and like nothing I’d experienced before. It didn’t take too long for me to realise that I was processing the idea of Otto being our last baby, and quite honestly finding that difficult to accept.
I wrote about not being able to categorically say “This is the last baby”. About not being ready. Seven months on and this is something I’m still processing now.
July was a happy month. A month in which I realised that having three children was not the massive adjustment from two that I was anticipating. Instead, an adjustment that felt so natural and joyful.
The rest of July was dominated with the retelling of my, rather longwinded, birth story with Otto. After being suddenly diagnosed with Obstetric Cholestasis with an immediate plan to be induced, my story starts here.
Photo credit: Little Kin Photography
August was a strange month where I struggled quite a bit with feeling unsettled.
Looking back, I can tell that I was having a little bit of mum guilt over not being able to devote myself to my children fully during the summer holidays now that I had a newborn on my hands too. We were well and truly back to our normal routine with Sam working lots, and I was daunted by the task of a whole summer’s entertainment being down to me. I missed being freely able to do the things I used to with my older children before Otto came along (a feeling I now recognise happens every time I add a new baby to the mix).
But in the midst of all of this, I couldn’t quite work out why I felt a little unhappy during this month.
I also wrote one of my most resonating blog posts of the year with Saying Goodbye to the idea of a Girl – about having an all boy family.
We were very home-focused this month, spending some time getting our kitchen/dining/family room fully functional. I posted about our kitchen design, even now it’s still not entirely finished, but we’re slowly working on it month by month.
September was about getting back in the swing of the school routine with a new baby on board. It’s funny to read back this post I wrote about Otto’s sleep. I predicted that his amazing sleep pattern would go downhill at four months… guess what happened?? He might not sleep all night any more, but I’ll always remember that month as the best time of my life.
September was also the month where Sam and I had a very run-of-the-mill conversation in the car about how we might actually be able to budget for a wedding now, which led to us visiting a venue shortly afterwards and deciding to go for it. 2018 wedding here we come.
My biggest boy turned six – something that he had been waiting for ALL YEAR. We don’t always have huge parties, but this year we went all out for him. Hearing him say his party was “The best day EVER” pretty much made my year.
October was a turning point month for my big boy. And really, for me. It was the month he received a formal ASD diagnosis, something that has been a long long time coming, and means many things, but mainly, at this stage, means validation (for me, for many years of having a somewhat different parenting journey), and support for him, for us. There is no blog post about this yet. I have been unsure as to how I want to write about it, if at all. I have felt protective over what he might read, but there may be more on this later.
I made what has now become one of my most favourite videos of my boys. It’s funny how what started off as a video I was making for a brand turned into something that makes me a bit emotional every time I watch it. One of the any great things about blogging is it gives me opportunities to create memories that I otherwise wouldn’t have had.
In November, I realised I was missing out on a precious stage of Rory’s life in that year before he starts school, and I wrote about cutting down his preschool days so I could spend more time with him.
For various reasons, I hadn’t yet ‘revealed’ Otto’s name online. November was the month that I wrote this post explaining why. It had a crazy response and I was absolutely bowled over by the amount of people who came over to my blog to find out what his name was.
December was entirely taken over with a little thing called Vlogmas, which I explain here. It’s really hard to do daily videos and regularly blog at the same time, so most of my December was spent over on my Youtube channel. Due to time constraints, I haven’t been pushing myself as far as my blog goes, so it was really great to give myself a little challenge again, and it’s really given me a thirst to continue with regular Youtube videos in 2017.
We had a really lovely time together as a family over the Christmas holidays. It certainly did a lot to compensate for my emotions at our lack of togetherness that I’d felt over the summer holidays, and I started the new year with a real sense of contentment at our family life balance.
Looking back at our year, our accomplishments are simple. Most of the time we are just trundling along with the pace of family life, trying to spend time together and just enjoy it all. It’s a pretty simple life. But I’m so proud of our achievements this year.
Moving house has been such a long term goal, that for many years never seemed like it would happen. Ever since we had Arlo unexpectedly, it’s felt like we’ve been constantly playing catch up. But last year was the point that I felt we really grew into our family life. There is a lot less swimming upstream these days.
Technically, we became a family the day we found out about Arlo. But then, we were two people living in separate houses who only came together three weeks before his birth. Every year, we grow a little as a family. And last year, we felt more like a team than ever.
And of course, 2016 was the year we welcomed Otto into our family. Our happy little guy who has seemed like he’s always been with us.
I feel like 2017 will be a slower year of getting our house in order, putting plans in place for our wedding, and preparing for a faster-paced 2018.
We have a few exciting holidays booked for 2017, which as me looking forward to the summer already.
My focus for 2017 remains spending lots of time together as a family and having fun. It’s the thing that makes me happiest.