As 2011 reached it’s end, I decided to write an end of year post which reflected back on the highs and lows of the last 12 months. Since then, it has become a personal tradition to write and publish my “That was the year that was” post on 31 December every year. More than anything, this post is a personal opportunity to look back as a year a draws to a close. 2017 has been an eventful year with a focus on just embracing ‘normal’ life and getting out and about on trips. Little H never ceases to amaze me with how she develops – whilst technically still a ‘toddler’ to me she is now a little girl. We really found a this our stride this year which will hopefully give us a strong base as we embrace more change as a family next year. But before I get ahead of myself, it’s time to sum-up 2017:
‘Best of the Year’ awards
Song of the Year
Film of the Year
Moana – it can’t be anything but. I tried it after a recommendation from one of the staff at the trampoline park we visit. Little H wasn’t sure initially but now she loves it AND the songs. It has replaced ‘Frozen’ in the film hierarchy and Moana herself is a wonderful role model for young girls. Thumbs up all round!
Unfortunately January didn’t start off well – the first weekend in the New Year saw Sam come off his bike and fracture the scaphoid bone in his left hand. We were all very relieved it wasn’t worse but it meant Sam couldn’t drive for 10 weeks. It left me having to do both pick-up and drop-off for nursery and it was incredibly exhausting.
But January always ends on a high because it’s Little H’s birthday. My baby girl turned 2!! Because my mother-in-law’s birthday is 2 days before H’s, we went over to their house for some celebrations. Then we spent Little H’s birthday proper at home. Unfortunately she wasn’t well the night before so we were all quite tired but we still had a lovely day!
Favourite personal blog post: What would you do with an hour?
After the events of January, February was quite a quiet month. We spent some time catching up with family and friends. Little H and I also went to Gravity Force trampolining with one of H’s friends. There were some glimmers of good weather even this early in the year – Little H and I managed to get out into the garden and enjoy the sunshine. It was also the month that Little H really started to demonstrate ‘Terrible Two’ behaviours though so it was also a month of adapting and changing for me!
Favourite personal blog post: 1 – 2 years with a toddler: 11 things I couldn’t have lived without
The dreaded Chicken Pox struck our house at the start of March. By this point I must confess that it did feel like one thing after another. I shan’t replay the whole affair because I recounted in ‘The Chicken Pox Diaries’ – part I and part II. Whilst it wasn’t a fun experience for either Little H nor I, it passed without too much drama and we managed to have some fun times.
I also hit my 10 year blogiversary. Amazing how time flies!
Favourite personal blog post: Can I have it all or has something got to give?
We made a concerted effort to be more active this month. My Dad came down to visit and we went to Standalone Farm in Letchworth for an outing. Little H was more interested in the ride-on tractors than the animals but we had a good time nonetheless!
We also had a visit down to Sam’s parents in Surry one weekend to celebrate Sam and his sister’s birthdays. It was over the Easter long weekend so we took the opportunity to go on a visit to RHS Wisley. Little H enjoyed exploring all of the beautiful colours and flowers. She was a real trooper and walked for ages before having to have a rest in the buggy!
Little H had her first beach experience when we went for a Saturday trip to West Mersea. It wasn’t amazing weather but Little H enjoyed collecting sand on the beach. The colourful beach huts were also beautiful! We then rounded off the month with a trip to Whipsnade with Sam’s parents which was our belated birthday present to Sam’s mum.
Favourite personal blog post: Memories I want my daughter to have
The highlight of May was our weekend in Center Parcs in Woburn. We had some amazing weather even though it was still only spring time. Little H enjoyed a Messy Play session with her Nana and Baby Owls with Sam. I had a morning in the spa on my own. I also did segway again with Sam’s parents. During nap times I even managed to get some quiet time to myself whilst Sam and his parents went off to do activities; it was wonderful to have some time to myself without feeling like chores were sitting there!
I also took a week off work to decorate our dining room. At this point we’d lived in our house over 18 months and the only room I’d taken a brush to was the downstairs toilet. It was three days of hard work but the results were worth it!
Favourite personal blog post: I must remember, she’s only 2…
Little H and I started the month with a trip to Chepstow to visit my friend Helen and her daughter. We were joined by our other close friend and it was lovely to catch-up. I was also proud of myself for managing the entire drive there and back alone with Little H!
Otherwise we spent the majority of the month enjoying the weather. We had some lovely weekends in June so it was a great opportunity to get out in the garden and do some planting, or in Little H’s case get in the paddling pool.
Favourite personal blog post: The fear and worry of parenthood
July was a quiet month. I discovered during the early weeks that we were expecting our second child so I slowly began to feel slightly rubbish! The nausea I had with Little H struck again and I my first clue was the I went off tea again. We did take a trip to London Zoo one weekend, meeting-up with my sister. It was a dank and chilly day for July but we had a lot of fun with Little H running around!
On a personal note, I took a real step back from blogging this month. I had really enjoyed the 18 months or so of heavier blogging; the interaction with other bloggers was really fun. But at the same time it was incredibly time consuming and also fairly fickle – comments in return for comments. I completely support those who commit the time to it, but I felt very relieved to finally get some of my time back. Not that I had the energy to to think or write anyway!!
Favourite personal blog post: The end of napping, toddler struggles and remembering this is my blog
Another month spent mainly mooching around whilst feeling slightly grotty! We had some good fun though. We got H a new activity table to keep her entertained in the garden. Although we quickly discovered that putting both sand and water in it was a recipe for, well, sludge…
Little H also got more interested in helping me out with household chores. She’s got to up her game a bit but I was impressed by her efforts as a 2.5 year old!
We also found a nature park only a few miles from us which we never knew about. It’s 500 acres of open park land, woodland and a lake. We took a walk there one weekend in the baking sunshine and it’s something we hope to make use of more in the future.
We spent yet more time enjoying the garden and also took a trip to Gravity Force for Little H to get some jumping in. But in reality September was all focused on one thing: our holiday. On 23rd we headed off to Kent to stay with Sam’s Aunt Jackie for a couple of nights. Little H enjoyed exploring her big house and we also went on a ‘Peppa Pig’ train ride on the local steam railway.
After a fun weekend, we took the Le Shuttle to France on Monday morning then drove up to The Netherlands (via a lunch stop in Dunkirk) to our little holiday house at a Dutch holiday resort.
We spent some time relaxing in our little house, intermingled with day trips to Bruges, Vlissingen and Sluis. We went to the pool, took H to the beautiful local beach and let her bounce on the big trampoline thing! It was a truly excellent break!
October saw our return from The Netherlands. Little H went back to nursery for a couple of days so Sam and I could do some things ourselves. I used one of the days to paint the ensuite which was much harder work than I anticipated pregnant. We also took delivery of Little H’s Big Girl bed. On the last Friday of our holiday, she helped Sam assemble it. She was so excited about it and adapted straight away!
We also took the big decision to finally remove her Den (aka play pen) from the lounge and replace it with some smarter furniture for Little H to store all of her toys.
We also got to see Mini 2 for the second scan. Everything they could check was A-OK (well as much as they can tell). But exactly as it’s sister, it wouldn’t get into the right position so we had to book a follow-up scan!
I’m not really sure where November went but we were busy the entire month with various visits. Little H had yet another birthday party to go to. We went to the park a few times to enjoy the more wintery air. Little H got some new duplo cars which saw our building creativity reach new heights! I made my Christmas Cake too. Sam and I also celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary by going out for a lovely lunch with our little girl.
The twelfth month of the year was almost entirely focused on the build up to Christmas (apart from our friend decorating our hallway and little bedroom for us, which now look awesome!). For the first time, Little H was really aware of Father Christmas coming and was incredibly excited. We got her a cool advent calendar which was Christmas tree and each day she added a magnetic bauble. That really helped manage her expectations. We put the tree up the first weekend in December too which is the earliest it’s ever gone up in our house.
My dad and sister came down to visit the Friday before Christmas. Sam had to work but Little H and I went out for lunch with them both. Then Little H went and played at the park, enjoying time with her Auntie and Grandad.
Christmas Day itself was just Sam, Little H and I. It was such a chilled out day and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Little H open her presents from Father Christmas. She got the dolls house (well Sylvanian house) that she wanted, along with some books and build-your-own dinosaurs. We got out for a walk after lunch and then watched ‘Tangled’. It was a fantastic day!
We rounded-off our Christmas celebrations when the Watling clan descended for the day on 27th December. Little H got yet more presents and enjoyed playing with her relatives. After which we were well ready for a rest which the lull between Christmas and New Year happily gave us!
2017 has been a great year. I have taken so much pleasure in watching Little H grow and change. We braved a proper holiday and had such a wonderful time. Then we probably embraced Christmas for the first time in as long as I could remember as Little H helped remind us how magical it is for children. Despite a rocky start, I have thoroughly enjoyed this year. And with a (hopefully fit and well) addition to our family due next year, I am excited about what 2018 will bring.
Happy New Year everyone!