I always try to see the simple pleasures in life and despite the grim weather and dark days, January is a month of fresh starts and new opportunities.
I’m a little late in writing this post as I knew January was going to have a demanding start. In the first ten days we had a number of important family appointments and the deadline for the Module 1 assignments of my uni course. I got through it as best as I can, by compartmentalising my life and focusing on the now. Whilst it was challenging, I feel relieved that I met my coursework deadline and that we presented the best case in the mediation process with our local education authority for a special school placement.
After a tough start, I can now focus on the coming year which I hope will be full of contentment. There are plans to make, for example to finalise my #20for2020. I’m looking forward to starting module 2 of my Uni course, which focuses on my real areas of interest and then most importantly to enjoy time with my family and friends. I’m not expecting a year full of big events but one of simple pleasures.
I am genuinely an upbeat, positive and hopeful person. I’m a cheerleader, always looking for something to celebrate and am pretty content with life. However this first month of January has been long, grey and dull. I have never known a month where it has been so grey and wet, there have been days on end when our town has been covered in a sea mist, the dreary skies and the heaviness of the clouds really can affect your mood. I enjoy being outside, particularly walking or running, but even this has had not had the same positive effect. I can do bright, cold days its the incessant grey and drizzle which has been so draining.
January 2018 has been a month to nest indoors and to plan; my #18in 2018 has definitely helped to shape my plans for the year and I’ve had fun researching my projects and booking activities. Its also been a time to create comforting food in the kitchen, there have been lots of roasts and new recipes to prepare, trying to give a warmth and colour to our meals. I’ve also been reading cuddled up in my chair with a blanket and cup of tea, I suppose this month has given us the excuse to stay in and be cosy. But I need those glimpses of spring now, the burst of colour from a bunch of tulips, slightly lighter evenings, new clothes catalogues to browse and choose new outfits for the warmer weather, the winter sun to burn out the dreary sky. January was a hard month but its good to know that the promise of Spring is finally on its way.
With lots of family birthdays in October, I only start to plan in earnest for Christmas in November. I do keep notes and buy a few presents throughout the year but November is action month. This month has been full of lists and plans. With a weekend on my own at the beginning of the month most presents were wrapped and ready then as the only day Mr S and I could shop together was the first Friday of the month, we made good use of our shopping trip. This year November has not been simply preparing for Christmas but a bonus holiday too, so extra to do lists here too. I end the month feeling pretty relaxed, December is full of events but I have done all that is realistic to be able to focus on the fun rather than the stress of the Christmas season.
At this time of year, every sunny day is a bonus and to be embraced and enjoyed. The past month has got cooler but there have been many bright, crisp days and we have been able to enjoy many longs walks and adventures outdoors. This month we have done lots of outdoor activities, the advantage of staying at home for half term was the opportunity to explore and play outdoors everyday, we went to the beach, local beauty spots and country parks and it felt a very wholesome and fulfilling holiday. I love being out it grounds me, connects me to our environment and inspires.
An easy choice this month, September was all about school in our household. The children returned to school this month, joining Years 2 and 4, whilst I started a new role in my school. I now work as an Assistant Head leading Key Stages 2,3 and 4. I’m still working part time, one of the key themes of our ethos is creating a family friendly work environment and I am leading by example. It is demanding, exhilarating, interesting, intense and so much more. It’s safe to say that thinking (worrying) about my little ones and their transition to their new classes and then my new role too, most of my thoughts this month have centred on school.
As the summer holidays continued, August’s word of the month is play. Whilst Mr S worked much of the winter and spring away from home, our reward was him at home for summer. Although he did have to work a couple of days a week at home, the rest of the time was family time, including our holiday to Mallorca in August. With the gorgeous weather, we seemed to be outside as much as possible, at home we played swing ball and cricket in the garden or played in local and country parks. On holiday we played on the beach and in the water, there was swimming, splashing and some legendary water fights.
August was wonderful, full of days out and our holiday and we really enjoyed each other’s company, there was lots of playing and laughing and proper family memories were created. It was one of those summers which I think we will be nostalgic of in years to come, the days really were hot and sunny and we did those magical things together as a family.
After a horrid summer so far, the sun came out mid month and since then we have spent as much time as possible outside. We’ve camped in the garden, made dens in a wood, spent days at the beach, played in the park and garden and even in the evenings relaxed in the garden. The fresh air, sunshine and natural lifestyle has benefited us all and we’ve finished the month feeling so much happier and relaxed.
There was no hesitation in choosing a word for June, it is the word which has dominated most conversations, referendum. I hoped that the referendum would allow fair, balanced debate of our position in Europe and with a remain vote secured, resolve the issue which has overshadowed party politics for years. I can’t believe how wrong I was on all counts. Brexit created the fear and anxiety among voters to encourage a ‘victory’. The result has left the continent in shock and led to a seismic shock in our political culture. It is the most significant event in British politics in my lifetime and I feel so sad and hollow about the result. Perhaps in the future we’ll look back on this period as the changing point of British politics and it will be seen slightly differently as it is now. It’s just hard to imagine a positive outcome from such a shocking result.
April has been a much more relaxed and happier month. It’s a month I always like, it’s normally a holiday month and with the weather slowly improving and longer days it’s one of the fist opportunities of the year to get out and explore in sunshine and light.
This month’s word is family as we’ve been fortunate to spend much of this month with our close family. Firstly, Mr S has done fewer weeks away working and took a few days off during the children’s holiday to allow a few trips out together en famille. We’ve had Grandad to stay for Easter which although was in March, I’m still sneaking it in. Then the children and I had a lovely week with my parents in Somerset when Mr S was working away, a great way to spend part of the Easter holiday. And finally April ended with Grandad’s birthday weekend in Devon with my sister in law, her husband and their youngest daughter who has achieved goddess status to Little Miss, she loved the teenage culture of selfies and fashion and is regularly sending her cousin emails which are so sweet.
I feel so blessed to have such amazing family around us and it’s been a good month to be bathed in family love, laughter and good times.
I’m trying to avoid alliteration in this category which is a challenge as I love a little double letter word play in my writing. There could have been a few options too this month, March madness, manic March etc.. It’s been a very busy month and the word I’ve decided to use to describe this month is overwhelming. I am a positive, proactive person and nothing gives me pleasure than ticking off my to do lists but even the ultra organised and efficient me has found this month difficult, so much happened. It was just a perfect storm of events, work was busy, Mr S was working away, there were special events for the children in addition to the normal clubs, parents evenings, annual reviews, hospital appointments, an early Easter, a poorly Little Man, a visit to my parents, my list was endless . Fortunately I recognise it was an exceptional month and am happy that it is over and everything achieved. I’m looking forward to quieter and calmer months to follow this year.