Saying Goodbye to 2013 and Looking Ahead to 2014Christmas wasn't quite the smoothly run affair I hoped it would be. With storm damage that caused fences to fall like dominoes in our garden, to an oven that decided to give up on Christmas Eve afternoon, tripping all the fuses in the house, my plans didn't quite go to plan.
In spite of the disasters, we kept smiling. Although we had no working oven on Christmas Day, my wonderful neighbours allowed us to pop over and cook our Christmas pie in their kitchen as they were away for the day. It wasn't the easiest way of cooking dinner, running between two houses wielding stoneware and oven gloves, but we managed. Thank goodness we are vegetarian and didn't have to worry about cooking a whole turkey! We managed to improvise on the trimmings and knocked up a passable festive feast for twelve. The vegan Sweet Potato, Chestnut and Cashew Nut Pie went down a treat with a host of vegetables and potatoes.
It was lovely having my parents, all the kids and Ian's sister Debbie over for Christmas Day. Presents were exchanged and fun was had by all. I gave my parents a photo book that I had made, detailing the story of my mum and dad's story from their childhoods through to the present day. I loved finding old family photos, editing them to bring them back to their glory and including them in the photo book. It took me hours and hours but was worth every second of effort. To say that my parents were delighted with it, is an understatement. I'm so glad that I was able to make it for them. My girls made me a hamper filled with fabulous things from Lakeland, so lots of baking will feature in 2014!
My son Joe, his girlfriend and my grandson Ted spent Christmas with us this year. As ever it was great to see my son Joe enjoying being a dad to his little boy. He is a fabulous father to that little boy. Joe hasn't had the best time of things lately following a motorway car crash, which has knocked his confidence and left him with injuries that although minor are affecting him rather badly. I love my son and want to see him happy and healthy in 2014.
We had some Christmas props to add to the fun and we took a load of photos of us wearing silly glasses, hats and beards! They were the only photographs I took, due to my camera playing up and the general chaos of the day.
There is always a lot of laughter in our house, which always raises my spirits and fills me with cheer. A hilarious highlight was when Megan and Joe managed to get a photograph of my 80 year old mum retweeted by Ricky Gervais and over 200 other people on Twitter! They re-enacted a scene from Derek where Kev puts cracker hats on the old folk that he had written rude names on. My beautifully innocent and extremely accommodating mum became an internet sensation for the day appearing on Ricky Gervais's timeline for his 5 million+ followers to see, sporting an orange hat complete with a Sharpie marker embellishment. So wrong, but so right, especially as my computer savvy mum understood the enormity of a celebrity retweet!
I was so proud of Freddy on Christmas day. He is a child who does not enjoy change and thrives on routine. He had already expressed concern about the idea of presents (as he doesn't know what was inside them) and struggled with Christmas decorations changing the way the house looked. But with some cajoling he actually got quite excited about the concept of Christmas. We had contingency plans in place in case he had a melt down, but bar a few inappropriate no-filter comments regarding presents that he did not approve of (namely clothing that wasn't blue and a book that wasn't a toy!) he coped perfectly well and had a wonderful day!
Ian bought a new oven on Boxing Day morning as soon as B & Q opened and installed it as soon as he got home, ready to cook a late brunch. I love how efficient he is!
Adding to our festive disasters was the extra present delivered to us by some of our house guests, namely a rather virulent sickness bug that hit on Boxing Day afternoon, giving my three girls a night of tag teaming the toilet to be violently sick multiple times.The sicknesss bug was not fun, but the camaraderie shown by my kids as they supported each other through a horrendous night of being sick followed by a day of lying on the sofa feeling wretched, demonstrated the strength of their relationship. It was heartwarming to see the three girls together under duvets watching their new Gossip Girl boxset together. Plus Megan was delighted to have lost three pounds making the excesses of Christmas day obsolete. Always a silver lining.
Megan went back to Manchester on New Year's Eve to celebrate the end of 2013 city style. She has an exciting year ahead of her and I am extremely excited to see what 2014 brings to my wonderful daughter!
We spent a quiet New Year's Eve night eating, drinking and watching TV together. The London fireworks were amazing to watch at midnight!
I hope 2014 brings good things to everyone. This is the year that my Godson and nephew Thomas marries his American fiancee Ashley and starts a new life for himself in the USA. It is the year that my daughter Ella goes to university (conditional places at Salford and Manchester means she will be living in the same city as her big sister - perfect for me!) It's Kizzy's last year at primary school before she goes up to secondary school, a huge milestone in her school life. Megan is embarking on a whole new adventure this year after re-evaluating her life. I am so proud of her! So there are some big, exciting changes coming.
On a sad note, I was devastated to discover some tragic news about a family member this week. My thoughts and love go out to her and her family at what is a truly terrible and heartbreaking time. Some tragedies put everything into perspective and make me reassess what is important and what really matters in this world.
With this in mind for 2014:
I resolve to become the best version of myself that I can be.
I resolve to be the best wife, mother and daughter that I can be.
I resolve to look after myself and be as healthy and as happy as I can be.
Everyday is precious and I resolve not to waste any more time through apathy or disillusionment.