Goodbye 2017, hello 2018

I love new year, it’s always a bit emotional reflecting on the last twelve months and all the things that happened that we could only imagine this time last year. As I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve (last minute as always!) I’m feeling very happy and content, we are having a quiet night at home with the three smallest ones (as quiet as it ever is with three little girls anyway!) after a lovely family Christmas (the only cloud being my mum and dad were struck down with flu so couldn’t join us, and have been quarantining themselves so we don’t all go down with it, they have been missed!) and excited to see what the next year has in store for us all.

2017 has been pretty amazing if I’m honest, it has brought us our beautiful Luna in July and our gorgeous grandson Sony in December, although it’s fair to say it didn’t get off to the best start. This time a year ago, Dave’s dad was seriously ill in hospital and a few days into the new year we were given the awful news that he had suffered a brain stem stroke. The next weeks and months were tough, mainly for Stephen himself of course, but obviously it was so hard on Dave’s mum Paula too and for all of us who love him. It was weeks before he could walk, months before he could swallow but it is fair to say his recovery has been miraculous and while he still faces everyday challenges, if you were to meet him now you would be unaware he had been through so much and we are all thankful that he is doing so well.

Obviously I was 3 months pregnant last new year, luckily I had a straightforward pregnancy and although I was seriously knackered most of the time, had awful back pain and feet like an elephant (and I can honestly say I HATED every second of the intense heatwave we had in my last few weeks of pregnancy, which saw the nation basking happily in sunshine while I was a sweaty, grumpy mess who refused to move more than three feet away from a fan if I could help it!) our little Luna Grey’s arrival in July was the absolute highlight of our year. She has been the most contented baby there ever was and we are so happy to have our little bonus baby, our lucky number seven!

2017 was also the year that we became grandparents when Jess gave birth to Sony Ethan on 12th December. The hours that ticked by so slowly when Jess was in labour were definitely some of the most anxious and stressful of my life but I can honestly say that the second I set eyes on him less than two hours after his entrance into the world I fell totally in love with him and I just adore being a Nanna! He is utterly gorgeous and Jess is an amazing mummy, as I knew she would be.

On a sad note, in November we had to say a final goodbye to our greyhound Harry. He had been with me since 2007 when we got him from a rescue kennel and it was so tough to lose him for all of us. It is very strange without him and opinion is divided on whether to get another dog. I am definitely not ready yet though, it’s just too hard, so it’s not in our immediate plans. One day though, I hope.

For the older kids, it feels like life is working out so well for them all and I couldn’t be happier for them or prouder.

Jess has her own happy family, her partner Raj, his son Cam and now of course their new brand new arrival Sony, she seems happy and settled and has lots to look forward to. She is kind and thoughtful, everyone loves her and I’m so proud of her. We have definitely got closer than ever this year, which makes me very happy!

Matty passed his driving test this summer, bought his own car, is doing fantastically at work and has recently met a lovely girl Katie (who I have a good feeling about – mum knows best and all that!). He is the kind of young man that any mum would be proud to have as their son and I count myself very lucky he is mine!

Nathan has been working away a lot this year, six months in Spain working as a singer for TUI holidays (previously Thomson) and from there straight to Hull to board a P&O ship to Rotterdam where he is Entertainments Manager and also performs a singing set every night. This year he is planning to get an agent and it will be exciting to see where that takes him. It is fabulous to see his dreams of being a professional performer begin to happen and while it’s bound to be a rocky road at times I am so proud of him for following his dreams and also of the lovely, decent, thoughtful young man he is. Career comes first for him just now, but I also hope he will find time for love as I know he would love to settle down with Mr Right given the chance.

For Milly, 2017 has seen her becoming a lot more confident and independent and this next year will see her turning 18 (what??! how is she almost 18??) and heading off to university either to Liverpool or Lincoln if all goes to plan, something I can’t even comprehend just yet, I am still totally in denial about it and I will really miss her. I know she is worried about her A levels and it will be a stressful time but I also know she will do her best and surprise herself! I am so pleased she has found a boyfriend who deserves her, Ashley is lovely and they seem a great match for each other. She is the sweetest, kindest girl and my biggest wish would be that she could see herself as others see her.

Sienna will turn 6 in just a few weeks which sounds so big! She is as funny and feisty as ever, sometimes difficult and demanding, mostly sweet but always the most loving, patient, gentle big sister her two little sisters could wish for. She is growing up so fast, is getting suddenly quite tall, has the most impressive memory for detail and after a tricky start to Year One for the first half term is back to loving school (especially maths!) as much as ever.

Freya will soon be 3, which means I really must stop thinking of her as a baby! The terrible twos have been totally nonexistent, she is happy, sweet and the most loving little girl, who just gets on with everything without a moment of trouble. This year she has become a big sister, started wearing glasses, eye patches and developed a stammer but she just smiles through it all and takes it in her stride. If everyone in the world was like Freya, it would be a very happy place! This year she will start pre-school something I am dreading but I think she will love it and will love having lots of other children around her (though I hope they like cuddles as she loves giving them out!) Let’s hope she doesn’t unexpectedly become a threenager this year!

Luna is such an easy going baby, she sleeps amazingly well (13 or 14 hours a night, straight through!) and she has just slotted in as she’s happy to fit in with everyone else for now – I think this may change a bit this year though as she starts walking and talking and it will be amazing to see her little character developing.

Dave is as always, the most amazing daddy and stepdad and the only person I want to be beside on this crazy family life rollercoaster. Even when work is stressful and busy for him like these past few months he is always there for all of us, our rock, and he never even complains about anything – I am so lucky to have him, he’s definitely a keeper!

As for me, I will be very reluctantly returning to work after maternity leave at some point in the next few months, which will be hard as I’ve loved this time at home so much. For me this year has been about counting my blessings more than ever, and I will certainly continue to do so throughout 2018. Life is good, I am lucky, 2017 has been a good one, 2018 I’m so excited to see what you bring us all!

Happy New Year from all of us. Wishing happiness and health to you and yours xxx

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