The time in between Christmas and New Year is when I do most of my thinking and planning, which started with some plans for my blog. But, it quickly moved onto reflecting on 2016. If you asked me about 2016, I would tell you it was a year I was happy to see the back of. A year that has had more lows than highs and one that I literally crawled through.
And then I started to look through my photos and all the blog posts I’ve written this year and actually whilst the lows are still there. There is also a lot more highs than I remember and this is why I will always be thankful that I started to write my blog. To capture all the moments in our lives.
January was the month I started my blog and I honestly can’t believe that it will be my first blog birthday next month! I fell in love with it instantly and it has already given me so much. Photos that I would never have taken, capturing those ordinary moments that I will treasure forever.
It was the month that Holly got her first pair of trainers and the month we put in Alice’s school application, making a big decision along with it. Little did we know then where that decision would lead us.
It was the month that Holly turned eighteen months which felt like a big milestone in her life. It was also a month of illness for us, for two years running we’ve come down with illnesses and I am hoping we don’t have it for a third year in February this year.
It was the month that I went self-hosted with my blog and I was really proud that I managed to do it all by myself. It was a real turning point for my blog.
March was the month of family birthday’s and afternoon tea for a Mother’s Day treat. Alice had her first sleepover at my parents house and she loved it. It was the month that Holly discovered dancing and she hasn’t stopped since.
Andy had a week of work and we took at trip to Winchester where Holly was born. We even managed a child free shopping trip, I don’t think we’ve had one since!
It was the month that I left by babies overnight for the first time, when Andy and I had a weekend away to Florence. I adore Italy and I fell in love with Florence. I missed them so much it hurt, but it was also really nice for Andy and I to have this time away together. Plus I was never going to turn down a free holiday (Andy won the trip!).
Alice was a brilliant big sister when we were away and help my parents look after Holly. They both had the best time and Alice asks when we are going away again… thanks Alice!
It was also the month that we found out which school Alice was going to in September and we knew it meant big changes for us all.
We had our first holiday abroad since we became a four, with a trip to Portugal. It was the best holiday and I have nothing but happy memories of it. The girls just seemed to thrive on us all being together, with no routine and a more relaxed approach to life.
Whilst we were on holiday it was a chance for me to take time out from my blog, to reflect on it and make a few decisions. I am the type of person that throws them into things and I was doing this with my blog. I had found something that I loved and I was a little bit obsessed with it. It was time for me to reprioritise and make changes to ensure it didn’t take over my life. Since then I’ve been a lot happier.
It was a month of sadness, with the loss of my favourite person. Loosing my nan was one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with, she was a constant in my life. Someone that understood me, we were so similar and I still miss her everyday. But, I also knew that it was her time, she was 95 years old and she was ready to go.
My nan passed away the day before my birthday, which was also Father’s Day. The plans we had made went out the window. But as a family we decided we still wanted to be together, so we all went out for dinner. Whilst we sat and ate, watching Alice and my niece Ruby laughing together was just what we all needed. Children can be the light at a time of darkness and they definitely did that for us all that day.
June ended with me going to my first blogging conference. I nearly didn’t go, but I’m so pleased that I did. It was lovely to meet people that I had spoken to online, to feel part of the community and to chat to people that just ‘get blogging’. It was also pretty daunting and I was scared most of the time.
July brought the month that Alice left preschool and had her first school disco. It was emotional realising that my little girl would be heading up school in September. I was determined that we would have the best summer ever. But of course life doesn’t always go to plan and the first day of the holidays Alice got chicken pox.
Holly was also becoming more mischievous by the day and becoming proper little chatterbox.
It’s birthday month in our house, with both the girls and Andy’s birthdays within 10 days. It’s a bit crazy and I have to be really organised to make sure that they all have a wonderful day.
The girls had a birthday party, Alice got the bike that she was desperate for and we took them to Peppa Pig World on Holly’s birthday.
Holly turning two felt like a big moment, everyone said that life would get easier once the girls got to 4 and 2 years old. And now a few months later I can say that it is, day by day.
We also went to our first family festival and had the best time. We just went for one day, but we are seriously looking at going to another festival this year.
The month that I didn’t want to come because it meant my Alice starting school. She was so excited and couldn’t wait. She skipped in with a smile on her face and she has carried on doing so everyday since.
Holly started ballet classes and she loves it. It’s our favourite thing to do each week and she gets so excited. Plus she looks adorable in her tutu.
October was one of my favourite months of the year. I am not normally a fan of Autumn, but it was such a lovely mild month and with Alice on half term we got up to lots of lovely things. Including pumpkin picking, which was so much fun and I love all the photos I took of the girls.
It was of course Halloween too and they girls looked great in their costumes, with Holly being the cutest ghost ever.
The biggest thing to happen in October was us putting our house on the market, selling it and buying a new house. It was all a bit crazy and stressful. We made the decision to move to be closer to Alice’s school and originally we were going to wait until 2017, but we brought it forward.
My blog also had a make over. I spent a lot of time in September changing my blog header and tweaking other bits of blog. I am so pleased with how it looks now and to be honest I still have a few more things to do on it. There just are not enough hours in the day.
This was a busy month in getting us ready to move at the start of December. Why is moving house so stressful? There was so much to do and not much time to do it in.
We had a lovely firework night at my parents house and Holly loved it, shouting again and again. I love our family tradition of firework night.
We also started our festive fun with a trip to LaplandUK at the end of the month. It truly was the most magical experience and the girls loved every minute.
It started with us moving house and it was so lovely to be in. We love it here already and feel really settled. The girls are happy in their new bedrooms and they coped really well with the move.
We had lots of lovely festive fun too. Alice went to her first pantomime and loved it. We went on my mum’s birthday and the day after we moved house! Andy and I watched Alice in her school nativity, where she was an angel. I was holding back the tears.
We took the girls to our favourite garden centre what does the best Father Christmas experience local to us. Alice finished her first term at school and we had a mummy and daughter day to Kidzania. It was lovely to spend some time with Alice, I miss her so much.
Andy was on holiday for Christmas and we took the girls to Disney on Ice, which they both loved. Holly was mesmerised by it all.
We also had the best Christmas in our new home, with all our family spending it with us. I think the girls have both benefitted from having lots of family together and I am sad that it is now over.
It has been lovely to look back over 2016 and remembering everything that we did each month. I am excited for what 2017 is going to bring and to make lots of new memories together.