Since starting this blog in 2011 (I just realised that makes it 10 years old, wow!), my content has evolved from frequent ‘what we’ve been up to’ content dumps, to less regular, more longform blog posts.
My blog used to be somewhere to record all the minute details. And whilst I don’t feel the same drive to journal in that way anymore, I do look back at the early posts and feel grateful for my dedicated journaling and the memories, however small, that, as a result, won’t get forgotten.
These yearly review posts have become my effort to keep that sense of journaling going, in a less labour-intensive way – it’s not every single detail, but an overview of our biggest moments and memories of each month.
We began the new year hopeful that it might be a better year for Coronavirus, but the beginning of 2021 saw another couple of months of school closures with the kids back doing home learning.
The start of 2021 also saw us in the middle of the conveyancing process for selling our old house and buying our new one. Like the rest of the UK, we were hoping to complete within the stamp duty holiday window, so this, combined with secondary school application time, made for a stressful house move timeframe!
In my memory, Jan and Feb were slow months and then everything sped up once March hit. The children started back at school after another long period of home learning, and then a few weeks later at the beginning of April, we moved into our new house in a new area.
We hadn’t moved far. Only 15 minutes drive from our old town. The children continued at their old school for a month or so. But in May, spaces for all of them became available at our new local school, and all three children were happy to make the move.
A relief for me, as I still have 11 years of primary school runs ahead of me, and it’s much nicer to be able to walk there in a few minutes rather than contend with variable rush hour traffic!
So both a new house in a new area and a new school within a matter of weeks. This was a big moment for our family, something that will no doubt remain one of the most impactful memories of this year. A lot of change all at once and the kids took it in their stride and have since settled very happily in their new environs.
May saw our usual ‘‘big birthday month’ with 3 out of 6 of us celebrating birthdays within 8 days of each other. At this point, the covid rules were rule of 6 indoors, and up to 30 people allowed to meet outside. So we were able to have a garden party with wider family for Otto’s 5th birthday, and a trampoline party for 5 children for Rory’s 8th birthday.
Another summer birthday, Bay turned one year old in July:
Sam and I got our first covid vaccination dose in May. So this month really felt like the start of being able to see people in a safer manner once again after over a year.
Euro 2020 was a big feature of our June and July. Can you believe England were in the Euros final?! We kept trying to explain to the children that this doesn’t normally happen.
Two out of three year group bubbles burst towards the end of the summer term, so Otto in reception was the only one to finish out his school year, with Arlo and Rory both back doing home learning for the last two weeks of summer term. This meant they had an 8 week school summer holiday!
Earlier in the year, we had booked up several air bnbs for stays during the summer. Eager to make the most of a summer of fun in the UK and a chance to spend quality time with our extended family after months of restrictions.
We spent a week in the New Forest, a week in Cardigan with Sam’s side of the family, and a week staying in a big house in Chichester with lots and lots of family to celebrate my Auntie and Uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary. It felt like we were barely home during summer, and we had a great time.
In September, Bay started with a childminder two days per week, as planned many months beforehand. Unfortunately, he did not settle, did not really even pause to stop crying for a second he spent there. And after attempting a very slow settling period, a month into it, both myself and the childminder eventually concluded that it wasn’t going to work at this point in time.
I’d booked in loads of work for October and November, so the juggle was tricky for a while and I worked a lot of weekends.
In October half term we managed to get on a plane and go on a sun holiday – something that had been unimaginable for us for the last year and a half due to the pandemic. We spent a sunny week in St Lucia, and it was really lovely to be able to do after all the travel restrictions.
This month was a big one for our eldest, who turned 11, and also applied for secondary schools!
November and December were quieter months for us. With covid cases increasing once again, new strains spreading fast, and an outbreak at school, we reduced our social contact once again and started spending more days at home.
One of the children got covid, with an isolation release date of midnight on the 24th of December!
Miraculously, he was largely asymptomatic, and no one else in the household got it. So, in the end, we were able to spend Christmas with our extended family, which was really nice after having our first solo Christmas at home last year due to covid.
Another big thing that happened towards the end of our 2021 was Bay finally deciding it was time to start walking! He crawled at 12 months, so we had a feeling that he might also take his own time to start walking.
He turned 17 months towards the end of December, a week later he took his first independent steps, and since then he’s been off!
What’s in store for 2022?
Our main goal of 2022 is to finalise a more concrete plan for our house renovation. The planning permission process is underway, so the next step is to gather building quotes and look at our budget. Once we’ve done this, we should be closer to an answer as to whether we will be embarking on building work in 2022 or waiting a couple of years until we’ve been able to save more money.
It’s a whole house renovation and quite an involved build that includes extending the entire rear of the house (two storeys) – I have a ‘house renovation’ instagram highlight which includes architect drawings if you would like to see exactly what we are planning.