A Year in Review

Happy New Year people of the internet!

I can’t believe it’s 2014 already, so much has happened in the last 12 months. We moved off our floating home, not only onto land but 200 miles west to the lovely Devon. The kids have changed so much but especially Isaac, that leap from 1-2 is just magic to watch. And most recently Dan has succeeded in getting a new job which will be a complete career change and I’ve booked onto a doula training course to hopefully become a doula.

I’ve recorded a lot of what’s gone on in our lives here but not as much as I’d like. Especially recently, we’ve been on 2 home education trips to the farm and visited the zoo for Sophia’s birthday which haven’t reached this blog and I didn’t even post properly about her birthday. But such is life with 2 little ones in tow and a handmade Christmas to organise!

This time last year I didn’t know what to expect and was very nervous about our plans but I think I can safely say, it was a good decision for us. Of course we still really miss our friends from Brighton and I’m so chuffed that we are able to see them as often as we have this year and long may that continue but Devon has got our hearts. The quality of life down here feels better, the moors and numerous beautiful beaches are within 30 minutes, the home education community seems fuller and more active, the pace of life is slower and feels more genuine, more real. And the fact that we get to see my family more often and the kids are building a lovely close relationship with them is a massive added bonus.

Highlights from this year include wild swimming on Dartmoor during the heatwave, a late evening trip to the beach and swim during the same time, camping in Dorset in our new bell tent, playing several gigs in and around Topsham over the summer, having good friends coming to stay, visiting Brighton, reconnecting with one of my oldest friends who lives down here, seeing her more regularly and the incredible night that was her second album launch show (shameless plug…check out Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin here) and my amazing weekend away to Big Sky Retreat with Dan for our 5th wedding anniversary whilst my lovely parents had the kids.

So, what does 2014 hold for us?

Another move is on the cards as Dan’s new job is work from home so we need (would like) a 3 bed so he can have an office and not work from our bedroom. This time it won’t be far, we’d like to stay near Exeter though we are aiming for a village, rural or coastal location and a large garden. I’m enjoying that there is no rush to move this time so we can really take our time and choose wisely rather than doing our usual trick of rushing in feet first and moving in before realising there’s a gaping hole in the roof or no hot water (ok, ok…so it’s never been that bad but we do have a habit of choosing houses, usually won over by some eccentricity or cuteness, before realising it’s probably not the best choice). We’re also hoping to reduce our rent so we can actually save some money rather than using all our hard earned money to pay someone else’s mortgage off! So possibly a tall order but we shall see.

I’ll be hopefully attending the nurturing birth doula training course in Crowborough in March which I am very much looking forward to. I’ve wanted to do it for the best part of 2 years but had various niggles or constraints stopping me but I think I’ve covered as much as I can in preparing and deciding whether it is compatible with home education and Dan’s new job and the only way to really find out now is to get on and do it. I’m aware that a lot of people haven’t heard of doula’s and I will write a proper post about what they do and what has led me to wanting to become one but for now, you can find some information here if you’re interested.

In terms of the children, I want to make some time every day for a little Bible study with Sophia as I was given a lovely daily reading book for children so we did the first one today which was well received. Let’s see if we can stay on task! I also want to sit down and do a bit more ‘educational’ things with her this year than I have been recently (but I’ll do another post on our home education goals so I’ve got it saved and recorded somewhere in case I need to look back later in the year) and I want to facilitate more play for Isaac. Basically, I want to switch off from everything else that my head is telling me to do and make sure I spend a good amount of time really engaging with them and their wonderful little worlds.

Finally, Dan and I have decided to really try and live a more healthy lifestyle. We want to eat better, exercise more and be a bit (ok a lot) more regular with our ‘quiet time’ (bible reading and praying together). I think we’d also both like to try and be more musically active. I’d also like to be a bit more consistent with growing things. After an active spring and summer, I never got going with planting in the autumn so I want to try and be an all year gardener, not a fair weather one. Though, knowing we’re moving makes me reluctant to do too much with the garden here. I should at least tidy the beds and maybe plant some flowers – I’ll aim for that in the next few weeks!

Other than that, 2014 for us is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. The only way to see what is going to happen is to be in it, to live it.

So I wish you all dear readers, a most blessed and exciting 2014. May it be full of laughter, adventures, peace and love.

One of the few family photos of us from 2013, perhaps a mission for me - to get a few more in 2014!

One of the few family photos of us from 2013, perhaps a mission for me – to get a few more in 2014!




4 thoughts on “A Year in Review

  1. Not in a conflicting tone but, do you feel that educating your children in Christianity prior to them being able to make a conscious choice could be seen by those on the other side of the fence as brainwashing? As a considerate mother, I imagine it’s something that would play on your mind.

    How do you think you will respond as they grow and question things?

    Do you teach as fact or ‘in Mummy’s belief’?

    Do you miss the boat?

    • I think that is a really interesting question and something Dan and I have considered. Obviously we would be delighted if the children chose to follow Jesus but are very aware that it has to be completely their decision when they are at an appropriate age to make that decision.

      I suppose at the moment we do teach it as fact as we believe it is fact but having said that, we’ve already had several conversations with Sophia about people believing different things as she has asked why her friends don’t go to Church. I guess my answer is that we will continue as we have been but will make sure she is exposed to the fact that our beliefs are not the only belief system if that makes sense and will strive to always answer questions honestly and help her explore anything she asks us about. We want to raise children who are questioning and curious, who don’t take things as given without exploring it themselves. We certainly don’t want them to be sheep. Hope that makes sense?

      On the boat front, there are elements that we miss. I miss the one in, one out approach to materialistic things, I miss being so close to the elements and on sunny days I do get a pang of longing! Overall though, I think we’re happier on land. I love having a garden and more space for rowdy kids to run around. I like laundry and bath times being a more efficient affair and having more space in the kitchen and I love having somewhere comfortable to sit! We’re not against the idea of going off grid into small dwellings again but think we’d definitely need land attached. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

      • No worries. I do find it really interesting!

        Particularly interesting on the faith point. I’m a heathen non-believer and I tend to agree in the method of teaching. I expect I will teach my kids that I don’t believe in any god but will make sure they know that the option is there and if they will it, they can express it.

        I guess, like many things with children to just have to lay out as much of the information in front of them and let them choose over time.

        I think I’d miss the boat too, but you’re right – I live in a very busy city and crave a bit of space…sometimes our little apartment feels a bit like how you describe the boat – only without the freedom!

      • Such a massive responsibility raising kids, I feel like there are so many decisions that we have to make that have the potential to affect them and the way they look at the world for the rest of their lives, it’s heavy stuff! Such a good job they’re full of such fun and laughter to keep things light.

        Do you ever dream or plan to leave the city or has it got your heart? Lots of great things about living in a city too!

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