Goodbye 2018, hello 2019

New year is a time that makes me unusually sentimental, it’s nice to look back at the past year and all the memories made, while wondering what the year ahead holds. In many ways, 2018 was not a big year for us, it has passed in a blur of raising three little girls and supporting the older four kids and there were none of the usual big life events, no births, marriages, house moves (we did try to move but it wasn’t meant to be) or life changing trips, not that I’m complaining, there is a lot to be said for a quiet life (or as quiet as life can ever be when you are a mum of seven!)

2018 started when Luna was still just a little baby, I was on maternity leave as she was only a few months old and our grandson Sony was brand new at just two weeks old. They have obviously both grown and changed so much and it has been a privilege and a lot of fun to watch. If I’m honest though having Sony to stay in those early months, as we often did, was a massive juggling act and many times had me wondering how the hell 20 year old me had managed with baby twins (shout out to parents of twins everywhere, you are bloody AMAZING!) Fortunately though, two walking talking one year olds who love playing together are much easier than two screaming babies!

There have been lots of happy memories made of course, we enjoyed that incredible hot summer, holidays to Wales, a few trips to London, many National Trust days out and a lot of theme park days out with our Merlin passes. Of course in between all the trips, time just flies by with the everyday stuff, which can at times feel utterly relentless with school runs, childminder/nursery dropoffs, bath times, endless snack demands, tantrums, never ending laundry, homework etc but I know in the future it will be a time that I look back on (with slightly rose tinted glasses of course!) and remember the snuggles, the fun and the innocence and wish I could return to it all.

Luna at 18 months is developing into a real little character, she has the cheekiest grin and a laid back nature but her feisty side is showing more and more. She loves books and bricks but is less keen on anything that gets her hands dirty. She is starting to say quite a lot now and understands a lot of what we say to her too. She is a real cutie pie with gorgeous squishy fat cheeks and one thing for sure is she loves her sisters more than anything else in the world!

Freya at 3 seems to have grown up a lot this year, it’s hard to believe a year ago she wasn’t potty trained and still seemed like a baby in many ways. She is so confident most of the time that it has been a bit of surprise that settling into nursery has been such a struggle for her but she is getting there finally. I am planning to remain in denial about her starting school this year for as long as possible (*sobs in corner*) and at this point I’m honestly not sure if she will love it or if there will be tears from us both on the playground every day! The stammer that has been sometimes barely noticeable but at other times devastatingly crippling for her speech seems to be disappearing and I feel optimistic that she will grow out of it. She is our hilarious, easy going, crazy, cuddly, strong minded girl who is loving and sensitive though she has a definite rebel streak and I think she will be quite the little rule breaker!

Sienna at 6 is a feisty, strong willed, beautiful, complex, clever girl who delights us and frustrates us in equal measure. Never what you could call ‘easy going’ her moods can dictate the family mood, but fortunately she is usually happy and the meltdowns are getting few and far between these days. She is very loving and nurturing, has the most infectious giggle I’ve ever known, loves school, her friends, reading and learning new things and is without a doubt the best big sister in the world.

For Milly this has been a pretty big year, she turned 18, she did her A levels in the summer (and did fab!) then in September headed to Lincoln University. I know it’s not always been easy but she has not let her anxiety define her, has coped with everything thrown at her proving she is way tougher than she thinks and I honestly could not be prouder of her, she is beautiful inside and out, the sweetest, kindest girl. I miss her lots, we all do, especially the girls who adore her, but I am happy that she is busy making her own way and has Ashley her lovely boyfriend, along with friends new and old, and it is lovely to have her home for the holidays.

Nathan at 24 is doing great. This time last year he was still working abroad but this year saw him coming home, finding love with boyfriend Lee and then moving out to set up a home of their own. Lee is wonderful, everything I could wish for for Nathan and I’m so happy they found each other. Career wise I feel that there is probably more for Nath to achieve so I hope he doesn’t get too comfy where he is working, though I know a regular income is important too, and I’m proud of him for just getting on with it. We don’t see him as often as we’d like, as life is busy for us all, but it is so nice to see him happy and settled. He will always be a diva at heart but he never fails to make me laugh!

Matty at 24 is still at BT, working hard and doing well. His relationship with Katie that was brand new a year ago has gone from strength to strength and we all totally adore her. He is big hearted and a great big brother and often helps with the younger ones who love him, especially as he is (and always will be!) a big kid at heart.

Jess at 27 has her own happy little family with Sony, along with stepson Cam and her partner Raj. She is back at work after maternity leave, moved house this year and is settled and happy which is lovely to see. Jess is a great mum, as I knew she would be, is enjoying work and managing the juggle really well.

Dave is amazing as ever, the only person I want by my side through this crazy life we have created. He could have had no real idea of quite what he was getting into when he joined this circus over 5 years ago but he takes it all in his stride and is simply the best dad/stepdad the kids could hope for and I could not love him more.

I obviously have to give a mention to our parents too, we are so lucky to have them, the girls adore them and we would be totally lost without them!

I am not really one for making resolutions but new year has a funny way of making you think about what your goals are regardless! There will be the inevitable healthy eating drive in January (after weeks of chocolate and mince pies I’m ready for it, can’t wait for a salad!!), I’m doing dry January (I don’t drink much generally (though this may be a bit of a lie in December!!) but still like to have a totally alcohol free month in January) and I’d definitely like to get back into blogging a bit more (as let’s face it this is in the running for The Most Neglected Blog of 2018!) I’d also like to take a few more photos of the older kids (though they will all roll their eyes when they read this) as when it came to photos for this post I realised I had practically none!

Obviously I have no idea what 2019 has in store for all of us, a house move is a possibility but uncertain, will we get a dog?(calm down Milly, I’m still not sure I’m ready!) will we have another baby? (just kidding!) I am sure there will be ups and downs but as long as we are mostly happy, healthy and together I am sure we will be just fine.

Happy 2019!

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