As Christmas and my planned blogging break grows closer, there is just one post left to publish. Which is a good thing as I still have so so much to do and I need to switch off from the blog.
I’ve always admired those who manage to celebrate life with a regular gratitude list – monthly, weekly or even daily. Maybe that’s something I’ll try and do next year, or maybe I’ll just manage an annual look back and smile.
So what did 2016 mean to me?
F A M I L Y
This felt the first year in a long time in which there was no pregnancy or babies. It has been the beginning of the next chapter – one in which our family making days are behind us and we step into life as a family of four, enjoying all that comes with it. We holidayed abroad as a 4-piece, took the girls to London and got to have a few date nights as the girls were packed off for sleepovers. We archived the cot sides, the baby changing bag and the group 0 car seat and there’s just one last baby stage to go for next year (the dreaded P.T.). But let’s not even think about that yet. I have packed off all my baby clothes to a close friend who had a very precious little girl this autumn, and have almost closed the door on expanding our family. I just left the door very slightly ajar for now.
H O M E
Our major project for 2016 was to expand our garden by removing an old garage. It all went to plan in the spring, and we enjoyed lots of summer days out there enjoying the extra space. The renovation made way for a wendy house and trampoline, and an adult friendly BBQ area in the afternoon-sun-spot too, so we all got something out of it. Another big tick on our home Wishlist done!
W O R K
So we are still rolling with the SAHM thing. This year I heard a phrase that stuck with me – ‘make a decision to enjoy it’. So, this really has been my mantra for 2016. I can’t lie, there are times I miss work massively, but I also feel incredibly lucky to be able to be at home for the kids, and soak up every moment of them being little before it passes me by. I’ve really got into the rhythm of life at home, and have worked the toddler group circuit with the mouse in a big way this year. It’s kept me sane hanging out with some other Mums and keeping her busy. Who knows what the future holds…lets see what the coming year brings, and how it all pans out. One things for sure and that is that I can’t be hanging out at toddler groups when I have no toddler, so I plan to be back at work in some dimension by the time the mouse is at school.
M I L E S T O N E S
The biggest news of 2016 for the girls was Tigs getting a place at a wonderful school, leaving her nursery behind and starting the next chapter. After just a short wobble, she settled in amazingly and we have lucked out with a wonderful little class and two lovely teachers.
I guess we should celebrate the eventual achievement of the mouse sleeping through the night just after she turned two…BUT given she’s traded the all night partying for 5am wake ups every day, maybe a celebration is a little premature. Still, it’s progress. Her talking is now really coming along, and she still gets endless comments about how adorable (and tiny) she is.
H E A L T H
So in 2016 I finally got back to doing some running, and felt like I started making real progress. Setting increasing targets, pushing myself and enjoying some time to both clear my mind and get my heart pumping. That said, as the winter drew in it all went to pot as I spent more time cosy indoors cooking roast dinners, so I need to get back on it next year.
As a family we have all been blessed with good health which I am forever grateful for. We had a few minor scrapes which all turned out fine, and there isn’t a day that goes by in which I thank our lucky stars for that.
The only real health issue still hanging over us is the mouse and her lack of appetite which continues to amaze me given her energy levels. That said, we are reassured continually that she is getting what she needs so we will just keep trying.
We stuck to our word and after the summer signed both the girls up to swimming lessons which I both love and hate. Sweating it out poolside with a toddler in tow at 6pm isn’t exactly my favourite time of the week, but it’s worth it when I see the improvements in confidence both girls have made.
B L O G
So who knew, 18 months in and I’m still blogging my way through life. Still somewhat weirded out by the whole thing, I have to confess, I can’t see me giving it up any time soon. Blogging has given me a strange sense of calm in the craziness of being a stay at home mum. Free therapy. A few perks. Definitely brought some pretty lovely people into my life.
This year, I stepped back a little from the all consuming addiction of joining linkies, in order to be able to host my own. If you have a linky – you’ll understand. I continue to see my blog as a hobby, not a career. But like any hobby, it brings me a lot of happiness to be a part of a community with common ground, shared passions, and camaraderie.
I also managed to attend two blog conferences; BML and blogfest, which were great fun, if a little exhausting and above all turned the friendships secured from behind screens into actual real life hugs.
I’ve continued to focus my blog post promotion through twitter and instagram. On twitter I’m just about to hit 10K followers which I can’t really understand or believe. I truly believe this comes from mainly sharing YOUR great content as opposed to my own! I still love the visual sharing element of instagram – which is nothing new, but through a bit of #coolmumclub magic, the instgram is growing too. It’s always kinda tricky to be a parent blogger who doesn’t show their face, or their kids…but that ain’t gonna be changing anytime soon.
In terms of successful posts, the one that seems to be doing the rounds again and again is this one, about having a second baby. I sometimes wonder if I’m responsible for any little brothers and sisters out there? If the thousands of views is any indication, I may have been responsible for a mini baby boom… Hope it was all I promised it to be!
My personal favourite post of 2016 was ‘Parenting through the good days and the bad’. For me, it brings together everything I want my blog to be about – in one single outburst.
I’ve worked with some incredible brands in 2016 which I’m really proud of. It wasn’t really why I set out to become a blogger, and I hope to always balance the promotional content with day to day stuff. But, as a family we have all gained something out of the blog. It’s been great fun, and nice to get something back for all the hours..and hours that go into writing, maintaining and promoting a blog.
So, all that’s left to say is thanks to everyone who has hit follow, shared, had a scan read, written an epic comment (or even just ‘great post’). Thanks to the #coolmumclub – the linkers, the taggers and the icons. To Talya for her endless energy and enthusiasm. For the ones in the private message groups, the ones I exchange texts with, the one I shared a bottle of vino with, the ones I have a fave bloggers shortcut to…you’ve all brought something special to 2016.
Have a wonderful Christmas xx
Until next year…