Friday, 3 January 2014

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Looking Back....2013

At the start of last year I had a one month old baby and was about to embark on a major house renovation project. I decided not to make any resolutions, I wrote here that all I wanted was to get to the end of 2013 as a happy family unit with a new (non leaky) roof over our heads.

The good news; we are a happy family unit. The not so good news, our project ran behind, 6th December (our finish date) came and went and we did not spend Christmas in our house. A shame, but Christmas was perfectly lovely anyway.

A word cloud describing my 2013 would feature busy, stressful and chaotic in bold type.  I consider myself to be a professional plate spinner, but last year was ridiculous - even for me.  Yet, I managed. Kept on keeping on.  Laughed (mostly) through the stress of the build (and rebuild), kept calm when dealing with the unexpected delays and costs. I fell to pieces a couple of times; ‘fence-gate’ was a low point, as was the builder coming to blows with the landscape gardener, and finally there was a large parcel load of pre-Christmas stress when the kitchen cupboard sample arrived on the 23rd December resembling something found in the cabinet war rooms as opposed to a modern day kitchen.  Still, with the help of wine and a sense of humour, we muddled through.

In the midst of the chaos, two small boys were loved, nurtured and developed. Pip started school (and loved it) and EB, transformed himself from a small baby lying in a Moses basket next to the Christmas tree a year ago, to this Christmas, a toddling one year old pulling every single bauble off it.

2013 was a seat of the pants type of year. We stretched ourselves financially, physically and emotionally like we never have before.  It was hard work, but I’m proud of how Husband and I stuck together and supported each other.  I’m thankful for my family who not only assisted with valuable advice on all matters Faulty Towers (thank god they’re so practical), but also, for two sets of very willing babysitters, in the children’s Grandparents. An unexpected bonus of 2013 was the strengthening of bonds with our parents.  Seeing the pleasure they get from visiting and spending time with us all (particularly the boys) made me very happy. And to be honest, I don’t think I’d have got through the last year without them.

Looking back, at times I struggled last year. With the relentlessness of it all, the constant, all consuming stress of project managing the house, of our dilapidated rental place, of trying to maintain a calm and consistent routine for the boys through it all.  In the autumn months, my heart felt heavy some days, weighty,  like the sodden leaves on the ground.  The lack of any ‘me’ time got to me. The infrequency of having time and space to relax and empty my head of grout, bricks, kitchens and window frames wore me down.

I’m an optimist at heart. I knew then, as I know now, we'd get to the end. That I just had to battle on. That I’ll look back on 2013 and laugh.  That in time, the stress inflicted scars will fade and this project will be haloed with a rose tinted nostalgic haze.  It’s not over yet. The latest estimate from the builder is four months more. By then we’ll have been out of our home for fourteen months. That’s a long time, for us, for Pip. I often repeat the words below in my head, they’ve been my mantra for the last year and will be so for the first few months of 2014 too.
Image courtesy of Pin Interest

Looking Forward -2014

I have no big, meaty resolutions this year, just some good intentions. They definitely don’t include giving up alcohol. That would be insanity. The next few months are going to be far too stressful. My good intentions are:

To focus on my health Am I the only person in the world who buys up massive supplies of vitamin and mineral supplements and then forgets to take them? This is going to be the year I remember. (3 days in, so far so good). And early nights - I need to force myself to go to bed before 11.30pm some nights, I feel so much better for it.  This year I’m going to make an effort to get some proper sleep one or two nights a week.  Exercise? Yes, that too. Starting with the free gym membership I won in a Christmas raffle. (I just need to find time to actually go.)

We time - Coming out of the first year of EB’s babyhood, he’s walking, he’s sleeping better and it feels like things are getting easier. I want to spend some quality time with my husband this year; step away from the sofa and get out and about, just the two of us. We deserve it.

To celebrate life - I’ve decreed the second half of 2014 year is going to be our time as a family to have fun. I’m looking forward to moving back to our home in the spring, and for the remainder of the year I’m saying ‘no’ to anything remotely stressful and looking forward to some ‘feet up’ time with my family. The last fourteen months will have been an endurance test for all of us - from May onwards I want us to reap the rewards. We’ve got a pizza oven we need to learn how to use, a garden that needs replanting and rooms that need to be filled with laughter.  That's one resolution I hope I find easy to keep.
Have you made any resolutions for 2014? 
Wishing you a wonderful year.


  1. Wow I feel exhausted just reading all of that! Busy indeed. I bet you all can't wait to move back into your home! Happy New year x

    1. Yes, it has been v. busy! Roll on springtime! Happy New Year x

  2. What a whirlwind of a year you had in 2013.... I am so pleased for you that it's now behind you, and you can look forward to moving back into Faulty Towers this Spring...... and then finally, you can enjoy your lovely renovated home and put your feet up. Quite right too not making any resolutions - this should be a nice, relaxing year for you all.... and Faulty Towers, I guess you'll have to rename it now! X.

    1. Yes, guess I will have to rename it...or maybe it won't need a name then. :0)

  3. I love that mantra - might have to adopt it when the chaos continues a bit tooooo long, but half of it is just in the having of two boys, let alone your house project. I'm working backwards and am pleased to see you're aiming for more sleep. It's honestly the thing that'll save your sanity - even more than the wine! A good friend once told me during my most rough times that one day it'll be like it never happened - and she was right. I hope it's like that for you too one day - forgetting the ugly bits, remembering only the beauty and laughing! XX

    1. Thank you! I think that nostalgia does have a way of putting a rose tinted glow on most things - here's hoping. Would be a shame to move into the house and walk round it unable to enjoy it!