A year ago, I wrote how I was sorry to see the end of 2015, which was, the best year of my life. And now, here we are a year onwards. Some things have changed so much, some things haven’t changed at all. 2016 has been a very difficult year for a lot of people, including me. I concluded my 2015 post by saying that I had felt happier that year than I thought it was possible to be, and that I had felt more pain that year than I’d ever felt before. Well the pain got worse in 2016, much much worse, and there were certain days where I felt I’d hit rock bottom. But there were also so many good times, and that’s what I always try to focus on in this blog. Rather than write a half hearted post about how great everything was, I thought I’d get that bit out of the way. It was hard, it was very very hard in parts. But here we are at the other end of it, healthy and happy. And we are very very lucky.
Here’s what 2016 brought for us…
January for me brought a big health kick. I completed veganuary which I really enjoyed, and Frey and I had a few trips to Bath. Here were are about to have lunch in an amazing vegan cafe. He was 10 months old. We also met my mum there one day and did some lovely sales shopping. Frey’s Daddy had moved up to Scotland. I was getting prepared for my return to work after maternity leave, and booked Frey into a nursery for two days a week.
February was birthday month! This picture was taken at a little birthday gathering for one of Frey’s friends. Frey turned one on the 22nd February, we woke up and opened his presents in bed, and then we had a walk in the park followed by a little tea party at home with some of his friends. It was a lovely day. I’ll never forget that it was the first time he had ever tried chocolate, I got him a chocolate cake. It was as if he had never eaten before, he couldn’t get it into his mouth fast enough!
Frey started his settling in day at nursery in February, and it was the month of illness with him getting every bug going! He came home with a sickness bug after his first full day which he passed on to me, and I then passed back to him. I also remember getting conjunctivitis this month and looking like an absolute red eyed zombie for about a week! Although we were getting a lot of bugs, I really thought that I didn’t feel quite right, and on 9th February I took a pregnancy test.. it turned out that I was seven weeks pregnant.
The beginning of March brought my birthday, which was on the same weekend as Mothering Sunday. My wonderful friend Anna invited Frey and I to stay for the weekend and took us out for a lovely birthday lunch. She even brought me Mother’s Day presents which Frey gave me on the Sunday morning. I was totally spoilt and she made me feel so special!
March was also the month that I returned to work. I worked two days a week while Frey attended nursery, and Frey and I had a long weekend together every week. We got out and about as much as we could, with trips to the park, and at the end of the month a visit to Cardiff to stay with my Mum and Dad for Easter, where we went to the miniature railway and the biggest soft play centre I’ve ever seen! Unfortunately our little run of ill health cumulated right at the end of March when Frey ended up spending two nights in hospital with pneumonia. Thankfully he recovered pretty quickly, and we were back to our new routine within a few weeks.
In April, Frey’s Daddy moved back down south, so we got to spend more time with him and had some lovely days out. This picture is one of my favourite of Frey as he crawled around Chalice Well gardens. We also took in the blossom at Tintinhull. Frey was so happy to be able to see more of his Dad again. Later in May I finally got around to making soap again! I registered as self employed and put Frey into nursery for an extra morning a week so I could have time to work on my new business. As I write, this is still very much a work in progress!
May was the beginning of what became a long, hot summer! We had many trips to the park, got the paddling pool out in the garden, and had a few visits to the baby gym. We also took Frey to messy play where he made some art. On 16th May I had my 20 week scan where we found out that bump was another baby boy!
June was definitely the beginning of my absolute obsession with flowers, thanks to these abundant, beautiful roses that were growing on the front of my neighbour’s cottage. It might sound silly, but my love of flowers over the summer really kept me in a good place, they brought me so much joy! In June, Frey and bump’s Daddy got his own place in Devon, and we went down to visit. One of the best places we visited on that first trip to Devon was Coleton Fishacre, a National Trust house and garden that I’ve wanted to visit for years. It was so beautiful.
July brought many more flowers.. more trips to Devon, and a visit from my Mum where we had a lovely afternoon out in Shaftesbury. Frey loved the paddling pool so much that I bought him a bigger one and we had lots of fun splashing around and soaking up the sun in our garden.
This photo was taken at Trago Mills in Newton Abbot on the day after the referendum. I remember listening to the Jeremy Vine show on the drive down to Devon, and the scent of these amazing sweet peas!
In August Frey went to a party with all his friends to celebrate them turning 18 months old that month. He absolutely loved this car which belonged to his friend Henry. They had so much fun playing in the garden, in the car and the paddling pool. We all had a barbecue too. Then I needed to leave the party early as he had a complete overtired toddler meltdown! He fell asleep in the car on the way home and I stayed outside our house in the car with him as I didn’t want to move him. As I was waiting, a neighbour walked past who was on her way to the village show, so we went down and checked out all the prize winning vegetables! What a perfect summers day that was!
With my pregnancy progressing, this month I was determined to get out and about with Frey as much as I could. We went to a number of village fetes, I took him to some National Trust places, and we did some gardening. At the end of August, I used up all my holiday from work and we had a weeks holiday in Devon. I started my second maternity leave, and was given some beautiful flowers from my work friends, as well as this amazing cake..!
September was the month of Frey’s first shoes, and the month that he finally started to walk! This picture was taken at a local nature reserve which was a favourite of ours in late summer. I was on maternity leave in September but Frey was still attending nursery for two days a week. I had planned to really work on my business during this time, but instead used the time to focus on myself and my new baby. I had a few pregnancy massages, and had a couple of hypnobirthing sessions. These were incredible and I would recommend them to anybody who is expecting a baby. I was taken to a ‘happy place’ in my mind where I could throw away any negative feelings and just focus on myself and this little life inside of me.
The first week of October was a pretty difficult one, but on the positive side, and it is a very positive side, this week I discovered the value of the true friendships I had, and I can never thank my friends enough for being there for me and Frey. Then, on the 10th October, life moved on again, with the arrival of little Alfie.
I wrote a post on my birth story , but I’ll mention again here that my labour and birth was incredible. And I think a lot of that was down to the hypnobirthing, which I did manage to draw on during labour. When Frey and Alfie were introduced it was love at first sight. The rest of the month is really a complete blur! We had visits from family from all over the country. The boys’ Daddy came to help out, and Frey had his first trip to Devon with Daddy on his own, which he loves to do.
November was spent getting used to being a Mama of two. My Mum came to stay a couple of times which was a great help, mainly because she could look after Alfie while I gave Frey all of my attention. One day we took him to soft play and it was great being able to run around with him, something I’d hardly done as the more mobile he became throughout the year, the more pregnant I became! I gave myself small projects to do, such as make Frey’s advent calendar and put together a care package for a friend who was recovering from an operation, and I started to take both boys to playgroups. I also started a baby massage course with Alfie. At the end of the month I even treated myself to a hair cut and colour for the first time in well over a year!
In December I started to feel more human again. My newborn is now two months old, and my toddler is getting more grown up by the day! We did a lot of Christmas crafts this month, had lots of winter walks and caught up with friends, and I’m really enjoying being a Mama of two. The boys’ Daddy came to visit for all the important days, their first visit to Father Christmas, and for Christmas Day, which really was one of the best Christmas Days ever.
And that bring us to today.. the last day of 2016. The babies and I are staying with my Mum and Dad, which is so lovely, and something we haven’t done since Easter!
I would love 2017 to be a year of healing. I can’t wait to see my boys grow together throughout the year. And how lucky am I to have spent the last two Christmases on maternity leave? I’m very lucky, for a lot of things.
Happy New Year!