Looking Forward To 2019
My, isn’t 2019 grand? You’ve gotta love a year where none of your family have yet experienced natural disasters, been through near-fatal accidents or died, and 2019 is as yet living up to these standards.
I hope you’re all having a decent start to the new year. I actually hope things are going spectacularly for you all, but I know that it is very unlikely that every single person reading this is having the best time of their life, so let’s settle for cope-able, decent, hopeful, shall we?
I thought I’d share a bit about our hopes, dreams and resolutions for 2019. We have found ourselves in a hugely unexpected place, both emotionally and physically- back in the UK after our family gap year in Asia came to a rather startling end. I would be lying if I said things were easy at the moment- we are continuing to spend a fair bit of our time touring hospitals with Eira (and the other girls in tow, #yayhomeschooling) and we are all still processing everything that happened.
But, onwards! Positive mental attitude and all that- there are several things that we are happy and excited about, and looking forward to. The first is that Patrick is very happy in his new gym manager job; it’s a really good fit for him and the progression plan seems to be pretty great, so that is all super positive. The second is that we’ve found a new home! To be honest we were absolutely dreading coming back to the hyper inflated rental market, and I was sure that we wouldn’t find anywhere as good as the place we left before our family gap year.
But- woohoo!- we have found a really sweet little house in a good location, close to friends and family and church and London (which we are hoping to explore much more of this year now that the kids are a bit older). It’s even got a lovely garden, which is something we’ve never had since getting married so we are chuffed to bits about that! When we get decent photos after the move in a few weeks I’ll introduce you to our new place- and if anyone was wondering at what age you start to get disproportionately excited about built-in cupboards, it’s 29. Just thought I’d clear that up.
So, to hopes, dreams and resolutions for 2019. I’m not a huge ‘resolutions’ person, just because I don’t want to set myself up for failure really. A few years ago I made these resolutions (which I haven’t edited since my blog redesign so good luck with the weird typos) and hilariously I have kept only one of these- however, it was ‘to play with my kids more’ and I’m very happy with that! It may or may not have anything to do with the kids being older and, frankly, more fun to play with (Monopoly! Uno! Bananagrams! Yay for older kids!) but I did it all the same, so that’s a big ole’ check mark in my book.
This year I had some things that I wanted to try and do more of- little nudges towards a more productive and organised lifestyle- not resolutions as such, but just things that I thought would help me feel better about myself. “Getting up every day at 5am to work for a few hours before the kids get up” seemed like a great one before I remembered that I am actually a human being, as are my children who frequently wake me during the night to ask me urgent questions such as, do I remember where they put their bouncy ball that they bought at soft play before we went travelling? Specifically the orange one with stars on? (No, no I don’t.)
So my 5am power-work plan has been downgraded to “when I get up in the morning with the kids (as long as it’s after 6.30am), don’t go back to bed.” It might seem ridiculous but once I’m up, laying semi-conscious on the sofa with kids fly-kicking me with demands for cereal doesn’t seem as appealing as just- well- getting up and getting on with the day. It’s been successful so far and I do feel more productive.
Another thing that I wanted to do more of was focused time with the kids on activities such as arts and crafts, science experiments, reading and gardening and research on subjects that interest them. Now that they’re a bit older they’re able to focus for longer and actually get stuck into a topic or interest and even better, they’re interested in chemistry sets and magnetic experiments and board games and fun things that also happen to be academic. I’m reading a lot to them, most mornings to all of them as they do craft, and then to Esmae for a good half-hour each evening (we just finished A Little Princess and James and The Giant Peach). As much as we are very relaxed homeschoolers it is good for us all to have set activities we can choose to do just to give a little bit of structure to the day and to introduce new and exciting topics to the kids.
One of the things that Patrick and I both wanted for this year was to set up a nice home- somewhere for the girls to settle and recuperate from their trauma in Bali and just enjoy their little lives. This is of course an ongoing thing, but now that we know where we are moving we’re really looking forward to setting up their rooms and the garden nicely, and for them to have space to enjoy their pets and activities, and to feel safe and secure.
This is the first time ever that we’ve moved into somewhere without thinking that we were going to eventually leave for extended travel, and although I’m sure we’ll move at some point, it’s really exciting to be actually investing emotionally into a place. We went to Ikea this afternoon and the girls got really excited looking at all the colour schemes and bedroom options, (and Patrick and I did too!). We also had a total nightmare in the Ikea cafe, involving Elfie losing a clump of hair and us dumping excessive amounts of food and drink on the floor, but perhaps that’s another blog post altogether 😉
The next thing that I want for 2019 is to invest more in health- the girls’ and mine (Patrick’s way ahead of us with his Adonis abs and creatine pills). Mental and physical health is so precious, and it was highlighted to us after Eira’s injury just how precious it is. Eira is still pretty weak- her little body only went through a huge brain trauma 6 short months ago, and more recently a month of bizarre vomiting and stomach pain- and it is a freaking tightrope trying to balance her physical and mental health.
Green smoothies for iron, or the chocolate spread sandwich for calories and joy? A trip to the park for normality and fresh air and exercise, or a quiet day in because I know she has so few resources and any over-exertion brings her right back down? Gah, even writing that has made me well up, to be honest. It’s hard, and I’m still learning how to parent a child who’s been unwell for a long time. It’s particularly hard when I’ve got Esmae and Elfie to consider too, trying to meet their needs while keeping Eira safe, and when every decision involves all of us because we homeschool.
Managing the girls’ mental health is also something that has never been more time-intense. I am, as always, walking the line between being honest and protecting their privacy (something I’m not sure I’ll ever master, but I try) so suffice to say, none of us are getting much sleep at the moment and outbursts of emotion are frequent and intense. Every one acts as a reminder that I fucked up, big time, in failing to protect them from injury and earthquakes and trauma, and I have to wrestle through thick guilt as well as the outbursts each time they happen, on top of my own fried brain. So, this year is all about self care. Exercise and eating healthily (with treats of course) and a good sleep routine and some more structure, because we just need to prioritise predictability and nourishment.
Work-wise, I am looking forward to writing for you- a combination of stories from our lives (if any of you used to read my old blog, the old-style stories are coming back ;)) and posts about homeschooling, parenting and veganism. I know that these won’t all be for anyone so please think of this corner of the internet as a pick’n’mix station where you can take what you like and leave what you don’t!
And travel? (ha!) We will be travelling, of course. We are explore-y people, but this year I think we’ll be staying away from far-flung destinations and will discover more of our wonderful country. We’ve already got plans for trips to Wales and Dorset, the New Forest and Sussex. I’d love to get up to the Lake District and perhaps Scotland if we’re lucky, and of course we’ll have day to day adventures in our general homeschooling life.
So that’s us! I’d love to hear if any of you made resolutions this year (and if so which have you kept and which have gone out the window?) Thank you so much, as always, for reading!