2018 has been eventful. Full of children, new starts, new life, meeting new friends and saying goodbye to old friends, birthdays, tantrums (a lot of tantrums), tears, laughs, Mummy meltdowns, holidays… I think the fact that I am only managing a second blog post in this entire year is evidence of how little free time I seem to have these days. But I have learnt this year to let go of the unnecessary things and not feel guilty. I seem though, to have mustered enough energy and time to document some of this memories of this eventful and chaotic year.
The main event of this year was the arrival of our fifth baby, Finn, (who was met with utter love and adoration by his 4 older siblings)…
Lucky for me, God heard my prayers and Finn has been the easiest of all my babies so far. He has fed well, slept well and just generally been the angel baby that any mother would hope for in their fifth child.
We have had the same old string of birthdays, with the usual attempts at keeping any parties or celebrations as easy and stress free as possible…
Robin has played his ‘terrible two’ card to the maximum and has spent most of his second year of life throwing the most spectacular and drawn out tantrums I have ever seen.
It has been a long year of Robin and I feel like I have scratched off every day of his second year on the calendar, waiting for the magical moment when he turns three and all of this screaming just disappears overnight (he turned three two weeks ago and unfortunately that moment hasn’t seemed to have happened quite yet…)
2018 was the year we discovered river swimming…
Robin discovered the joys of wearing his sister’s dresses..
And poor Finn discovered that siblings and make up are not a good combination when he is in close vicinity…
The boys tried camping in the garden for the first time..
…and also experienced their first ever world cup disappointment (in which I added to the disappointment by buying the wrong flags).
The children are looking more grown up by the day and I have that terrifying feeling that their childhoods are all slipping by far too quickly.
We had some lovely holidays, and somehow successfully managed to take 5 children on a plane to the south of Spain for 10 days.
Robin made the holiday especially eventful, firstly by being the youngest of all of our children to throw himself into a swimming pool without floats and happily swim underwater, and secondly by falling and splitting his head open which ended up with him having stitches.
Immie and I were feeling increasingly outnumbered in this house full of boys…
However, this situation was soon remedied by the arrival of Lance’s sister, Elyssi, and her two daughters who moved in with us in July, in an emergency situation.
With the arrival of her cousins, to Immie’s delight, she suddenly seemed to gain two sisters overnight. It also seems they are here to stay, as her cousin Maelodie started in reception with her in September and they have just now found some local accommodation to move into, in January.
Living with 7 children, 5 of them aged 4 and under, has certainly not been easy and has tested all of our patience to the absolute limits. Some days in the summer holidays were like slow torture, with each of the younger children seemingly playing crying tag team from 7am until bedtime.
Both Elyssia and I have had many days where we thought we couldn’t go on (we spent many a lunch time just driving around with them asleep in the the car, savouring the peace) but we have both learnt a lot and have developed close relationships with each other that we would never have had otherwise.
Throwing two new children into a hierarchy of 5 siblings definitely has its challenges. I think each of them were affected by it in their own way, but they all seem to have emerged the better for it and things have settled enormously.
We somehow made it through the 6 week summer holidays and came out the other side…
…and even through their first term at school and up to Christmas. 2019 is an exciting new start for this family as they move out into their own place and normality settles in again here at home.
More events of this year include my sister’s wedding, in which Immie and I were bridesmaids.
We tried our hand at house swapping for the first time, and spent a wonderful weekend staying in this beautiful house in Dulwich (while the owners of this house moved into ours), which enabled us to take the children around London (not something we would normally attempt to do on a day trip with all five of them!).
It was such a great experience that house swapping is now high on our list of things to do again in 2019.
I have spent an awful lot of time in my kitchen, cooking and cleaning and cleaning and cooking… I’m pretty sure that after cooking for the amount of people I have had living in the house this year I could quite easily set up my own catering company.
2018 was also the year that these two become firm friends…
Robin is in the lucky position where he can happily flit between playing football or fighting with the older boys and then run out and play dolls and hair salons with Immie…
We have hopefully emerged from this year better people than we were at the end of 2017 – more patient, more generous, more open to accept God’s will and willing to follow the path he has laid out for us in 2019. I could never have predicted half of the situations we have faced this year. Although I hope to not have to repeat a lot of them, I do not regret any of it, as looking back, I can see how much we have learnt and grown. I hope our family continues to grow in our faith and love for each other, and that we can take whatever blessings or crosses come our way next year with open arms.
Happy Christmas everyone and have a wonderful 2019, full of love, joy and peace.