Facebook last week reminded me that this time 3 years ago, Nathan and I were in Prague. What a great place that was and the trip itself was amazing, we carry some great memories from it. But then there’s nothing like seeing the fun of being elsewhere and the drag of January in the here and now to make you feel a great desperation for some travel, and lots of wanderlust.

And so, on the last day of the Month we decided to take the plunge and booked a 2 week vaycay in America that we’ve been talking about for months! It’s going to be epic!

It’s been on the cards for us for a while as I want to go back and show the fam where I lived in Mesa, as well as visiting a few big things too like HollyWood, the Grand Canyon and Vegas, and our family and friends in Utah! I will do either a post or Vlog about it at some point soon, because in my true thrifty style, it was a right barg! But yes, we are ending the month on an absolute high with a great trip on the Horizon for us all!

January for us, like most has been littered with some seasonal illness, new starts and hibernation! We bought a new (to us) car a couple of weeks ago and Nathan and I started to eat better and cut out Sugar. So far we have been doing great and between us have lost 10lb. I am excited for Springtime and the hope of a flatter stomach and less bulges on the sides.

Megan and Ethan finally started their swimming lessons, which we go to every Thursday and they absolutely love it. They spend most of the time with huge smiles and laughter on their faces and it’s such a delight to see, despite the mad rush getting there! Megan also started Gymnastics and Rainbows, both of which have really built her up and given her some independence.

Alice and I haven’t done a huge amount out of our ordinary, and in fact probably not even that much.

But the highlight for us all this month (aside from the epic Vay-cay coming our way) was certainly the snow and cake we enjoyed right here at home!

We had several days of scattered snow showers and then a week or so ago we had a really good covering which was a lot of fun and very pretty too. The village looks great in snow and I feel being in the countryside its all so much prettier and fresh. And then last week we welcomed friends and neighbours over for an afternoon of fun and frolic (and tasty cake) as part of a collaboration I have been working on with Baking Mad. It was so much fun and lovely to socialise with everyone and have them in our home!

January has been nothing special and no major news to report, but it has been great to get back into normal life and routines and think about our goals, plans and what we want to make happen this year. I am really excited for the year ahead and to welcome in February with new fresh moments to enjoy – Not just because its a shorter month, but because we have half term to look forward to and buckets full of love coming our way too. I really love it and all the things you can make and do together around love!

Today the sun has been shining (and feeling somewhat spring like), and that combined with 4 or 5 days of feeling weak and rubbish with a cold virus, I just can’t stop smiling at what’s to come! We are all soooo excited for a trip, for a new month and for what lies ahead in 2018 for our family. I won’t miss January but I will be thankful for it teaching me a lot about patience!

Sorry about these dreadful pics!!! I promise more lovely ones of us in the coming months!

I hope if you have had a bit of a blue January that February will be kinder and filled with love for you!

This Month we are grateful for 

Grandma Smith lending us her car whilst ours is in the garage
The cake turning out brilliantly
Our Neighbour for taking Megs to Gymnastics
Ethan being Star of the Week
Megan and Ethan starting swimming lessons
Megan starting Gymnastics and Rainbows
Mummy having more work through her blog
A USA trip to look forward to

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And just like that Christmas is over and here we are on New year’s eve of 2017!!! What the heck!! Where has this year gone?! It literally feels like no time at all that we were welcoming in 2017 and now we’re saying “good bye” to it, and “Happy New Year” to all! But what a lovely end to the year we have had, and year in general. It has been filled with life changing moments, lots of lovely and crazy ordinary moments, and adventures we have loved. It has been (mostly) great to do it with this crazy bunch and build new memories and experiences together.

This month has been so incredibly busy for us, but so great too. I have loved all of the little things we have had the pleasure of doing to #LightTheWorld. We have sung carols, baked treats and delivered gifts to the homeless. We have sent gifts of appreciation and cooked meals to share with family. We have bought gifts for underprivileged children and families, delivered treats to the elderly and met asylum seekers and refugees. We have donated to good causes, and given our time to others, yes this December we have been truly humbled by so many, and felt grateful to have crossed paths with them. I feel with all of that, we have sincerely felt the spirit of Christmas, and therefore felt an ease to our grief.

I have loved that amidst the busy things, projects and general shopping/wrapping, we have had moments to just be and enjoy the season. I loved seeing the kids nativities, all of the Christmas films and the brief snow showers we squealed over and dreamt about. I have loved the freezing country walks, and the cosy lazy days. I have loved been together and bringing sparkle to Poppy’s grave.

This Christmas morning was our first one at home. Whilst we still spent most of the day at Grandma’s, we slept at our own home and then spent the first few hours of Christmas morning there in our new home. It felt so lovely and was absolutely great. The kids slept on our floor and then gathered round the bed to open their stockings. We all crept together to see what had been left downstairs and then just sat on our sofa’s taking in these special little moments of magic. Moments I often miss in the chaos and giddiness of so many. I didn’t really take pictures, their little squeals and smiles were enough, but I love that because we live so close now, we can enjoy these ordinary moments of present opening just together before the madness of Christmas with so many. I love both, but I especially loved this years Christmas – it was a great balance of making new traditions and spending lots of time with family.

I love the crazy poses in these family pics, once again taken in Grandmas garden as it’s been our second home this season. I love how Ethan and Megs are discreetly holding hands, and I love how Alice is not bothered!

Well it’s that funny time of year now with the new year fast approaching. The time of year where I suddenly feel pressure to make goals and big decisions to change life for the better. I have a few things I want to see and do, But in the meantime I am taking a few minutes to be grateful for all the good in 2017.

8 years of marriage
A 1, 5 & 7 year old
A beautiful adventure in Italy
A fun Scottish road trip to Edinburgh
The national Space centre
A weekend in Oxford
Seeing Alice grow and develop
Go Ape
Lots of walks, days out and little treats
Theatre Trips
Yorks Chocolate Story
Remembering my wonderful Granddad who we sadly lost!
A beautiful new house in a place where dreams are made!!!

We are blessed with lovely neighbors scenery and a home we love. Family all around, great scenery and fabulous memories and lessons. Thank you 2017 for such wonderful memories and experiences. A hearty year for our hearty life – I love seeing the changes and remembering such great times!

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For the first time in 3 years I can’t wait for November to be over and welcome in December tomorrow, with all of its excitement and festivities. Despite the excitement of a snowy day today, November has been a bit of “meh” type of month overall! We have lots planned for December, and it already feels like it’s going to be good, so I am excited to see the end of the month and welcome in a new one, with moments planned with the kids of decorating the house, baking Christmas goodies, crafting and snuggling on cold nights watching far too many Christmas films (can you ever have too many?).

Our pictures this month certainly reflect that festive feeling that seems to be in abundance everywhere (and rather early this year). They were taken on our magical day last weekend when we visited Santa on a double decker bus and aside from the odd closed eyes, I think we look pretty good/fresh this month!

November has been a mediocre kind of month and im not sure really sure why. Its normally such a fun one, especially for me, but I guess it’s been a bit of a let down in many ways due to Mr Smith being unsuccessful with a couple of new jobs we had high hopes for, and then me turning 33!!! My birthday’s are usually such a big and exciting thing. Jam packed with joyful moments and celebrations, and sadly this year it wasn’t really that at all. The day it’s self made me sad and grumpy, which of course made the rest of the family feel awkward and grumpy too!! Eventually things seemed to sort themselves out and a few days later I had a nice American themed meal out with Nath, and a scrummy hotchoc with a friend.

I don’t particularly like odd numbers so I guess 33 was never going to be great, but I don’t like that the older I get the less fuss we seem to make. I never want to feel like that again on my birthday, and perhaps my hints or lack of communication were to blame, but either way I have learnt that in future years I certainly want my birthdays to be a big deal. Whether that means a kid free cinema trip and yummy meal, or a great adventure, I want my day to be out of the ordinary and feel that little bit different. I don’t want to feel mediocre, I want to create joyful hearty moments to make me excited for another year of life!

I love to celebrate each of us in our family, and I love birthday’s, and I think after this slip up, our little family have got that that needs to be reciprocated to mummy too HA!

The rest of the month held some better and more joyful memories, with a trip to Sewerby park to see the animals, and of course our little adventure to see Santa last weekend (which has been a fave!). We have held a stall for the kids to make some pocket money, decorated our porch, and grabbed a random bargain at William’s Den one Friday evening after school! I guess remembering these things, it was a good month, but that first week or so around my birthday felt naff, and we hoped (again) for a new job closer to home for Mr Smith which right now doesn’t seem to be happening!

But December is a new month and one we are excited for. That feels strange to say that as for so long, December and the Christmas season has felt so raw and painful, and I usually am feeling a little anxious around now about it all. I am sure there will be moments that that pain of not having poppy here will consume me again, it’s only natural when we are buying and wrapping gifts and hanging the stockings for the other kids, but right now I am embracing the joy and excitement we are feeling as we celebrate Christmas in our new home. The tree is out, the house is organised and we are ready for a fun packed, crazy December and end to 2017!

How exciting we get to be in our new home, with new exciting things around us, and of course lots of opportunity to see our families too – We can’t wait!

 In November we are grateful for…

Seeing Santa

Megan getting star of the week

Megan going up a reading level

2 great reports at parent’s evening

A spontaneous trip to William’s Den

Making £7 each selling tat

Seeing Alice walking outside more and chattering to us all

A sisters night with my sisters

Snow

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I wanted to get some pictures this month that felt like Autumn and also represented our new life in the country. Whilst not taken in our village, they were taken last Saturday when we visited a fairly local windmill/museusm and I like them because they are the first weekend this month we’ve been out together and felt light and more relaxed after a very intense month.

September has been such a random one; we’ve had the kids back at school, new clubs and hobbies started, baby groups and are all back into the term time routines. Then we’ve had Poppy’s anniversaries, a family wedding and finally managed to squeeze in a family day out and some country walks too. As you read this I am hopefully on my way to London (if I made the 5.30am train) for Britmum’s live 2017 (a blogging conference) where I hope to meet some of you and other blogger friends and influencers…I can’t believe how different the month end feels to 30 days ago when it started. Like I say, its been so random but we have made it, taking with us lots of new memories and friends, whilst having opportunity to reflect and talk about the hard aspects of the month.

September is a month I don’t particularly enjoy anymore and find it to be a tough one for us right from the start really with it holding all of the anniversaries of losing Poppy. I feel like the majority of the month, especially once the kids return to school, is spent preparing ourselves emotionally for them. By the 14th we have her death date, induction was on the 15th and birth date the 16th. A week later on the 22nd its then her funeral/burial date (which in someways is worse as there is nothing to celebrate there). As a result of that for a couple of weeks, the majority of that time just feels incredibly heavy and sad, and even anxious. The build up is hard and then before we know it, its all over again and we’re left felling a little dull and shell shocked.

This year we struggled with the fact that Nathans gorgeous cousin was getting married the same day as Poppy’s birthday and I felt so torn between my love and excitement for them, and my heart ache and one day for my daughter. We talked over it a lot and wondered what the best thing was to do, but in the end we followed our hearts and were glad to have attended with family and friends and celebrate their love and our entire family generally. It felt lovely and was an opportunity to scoff plenty of chocolate and cakes! On the evening we had a meal out with my family and then released balloons on the cliff tops at the light house again, in the morning we decorated her grave.

This year definitely has felt harder for some reason and has thrown us a few curve balls that have been very hard to navigate through grief, so in some ways I am so glad September is finally over… in other ways I can’t believe how fast its gone and how quickly we have moved away from the month that’s mostly about her, it feel weird. Lets just as we enter October I am almost 100% certain I’ve gained a fair few pounds over the last few weeks with all of the rubbish I have indulged in to comfort myself in my sadness and anxiety and will welcome some normality and excitement with Ethan’s birthday and our 8th wedding anniversary!

September has been a funny old month, a very hard month, and a month that has seen us settle into life back at school in the village. I am grateful for the little family we have, and the life we have together now – it feels so much nicer!! I love that in our little home and lives we can each be loved and accepted in our sadness as well as the joys, the highs and the lows and sometimes through the sheer pain that comes with September. I am grateful that whatever happens around us in the month, we have each other and together will always remember our little Poppy and that September meant we got to meet her.

In September we are Grateful for

* Kind friends
*Too many treats
*Time to reflect and remember Poppy
*The people who talk of her and ask of her
*Our new village and lovely neighbourhood
*New school clubs
*Living in the gorgeous countryside and having peaceful things around us

 

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