This has been a good year - a very good year. All our dreams have come true. Of course, there are wobblies along the way, and hiccups that hurt, but we are so incredibly blessed with our family and our home and our health. Sad to say goodbye to such a wonderful year, but so looking forward to what lies ahead. I was not so good about blogging personal events this year, so it is all packed into one post.
January tends to be my quiet time so it is when I like to try out personal projects and my children are the best models. I have been dreaming of fairytale shoots for ages so this year, I finally was able to make a few of my ideas come alive. This snow fairy one above, and the Princess and the Pea one below are just two of the dozens I have in my head so hopefully this year I will have time for a couple more.
When Ben comes home from work, it is such a special treat for the kids if he takes them for a wee whirl on his bike. I remember my father doing the same with my sister and me so really special to see my children making the same sorts of memories.
In February, we went skiing with our dear friends in New Hampshire. It was such a magical holiday - we were so lucky with the snow as a blizzard had hit the day before we arrived and the snow only started to finally melt the day we had to leave - very lucky and although it was the second time we had taken the children on a ski holiday, it was the first one there was actually enough snow for them to ski.
Much of the holiday was spent making snow angels for Indigo, and digging caves for Oslo.
Our friends' home was minutes from the slope so it was heaven all cooking and living and skiing together every day - a real family holiday.
Indigo, Natalia, Oslo and Ale on our first night as soon as we arrived rolling in the snow and having a ball.
Another winter favourite activity in Bermuda is to go to Tom Moore's jungle and explore the forest and the caves.
Ever creative Oslo making boats out of coconuts that fall from the palms.
Every year since the children were tiny, I have dragged them to a field of white flowers and forced them to dress in white so I can take an annual photo. One day, I would love to frame them all together to show how they changed from year to year. It is almost always in March when the freesias are blooming and always a crisp sunny day and the kids are almost always freezing!
On my birthday, these two love bugs surprised me with a spa day and spoiled me rotten.
The children performed in a darling little production during their Easter dance camp with Sophia. Amazing what they put together after only a week.
One of the highlights of last year was the End to End which was quite the action packed day but they made it to the finish line.
My kids love Easter almost as much as Christmas. It is such a fun time for family and treasure hunts - the best combination.
Ben and I celebrated our tenth anniversary in June. We had huge plans to have an intimate vow renewal with just the four of us and then a big party that night. But we ended up buying a house that week instead so dinner at Mickey's was our big celebration which was really so us since in the summer, that is our local.
Our friend Felix has been running these Big Chill djing sessions up at Sea Breeze since the summer began so we were regulars there every Friday night. Oslo would skate board, the kids would run around and the adults would catch up with friends - heavenly set up.
We moved house on Ben's birthday. Life was chaos for a month or so, but so so worth it knowing we hopefully never have to do it again!
This is our new home. It is more my dream house now that we are settled in than I had even realised when we first bought it. We feel so grown up and so so so thankful. We were born to be in this house - it is so so us.
Of course, life would be dull if you didn't add a new kitten into the mix of a move!
At the end of July, we made our annual trek across the Atlantic to see Ben's family. First stop was his darling Granny in Weston Super Mare.
The kids think Weston is the best place on earth. The pier is always heaving in the summer and there is so much to do from rides to donkeys to gambling 2p pieces!!
Next stop is always Ben's parents' heavenly home in France. It is such an oasis there with all the cousins next door. We laze the days away eating sumptuous French food, going to markets, exploring the country side and playing games. Reading, snoozing and catching up make it the perfect summer get away.
The highlight is always the canoe trips we take. There is always a mishap of sorts, be it crashing into blackberry bushes, capsizing or getting stuck on the locks.
For the last couple of years, we have spent part of our trip at the dreamy Chateau de Lavaud which we found through Alistair Sawday. This place deserves a post of its own which I will get around to one of these days but suffice to say that the hotel is decorated in the epitome of my style - so chic and elegant yet comfortable and old worldy with a new world flair - divine. This is Granny and Pa with Indigo, Oslo, Niamh, Jacob and little Hannah Rose.
As soon as we returned home, it was Indigo's 7th birthday. We didn't really have a party for her this year - just a wee tea at the house with her closest family friends.
A couple weeks later was my father's 80th birthday which we celebrated with a lovely dinner at my sister's ocean side cottage. It was a wonderful night and we all feel so lucky that he is in such good health and spirits at this fine age.
The other big birth news was our dog Cairo had puppies. Well, to be fair, his "wife" (as Indigo and Oslo call her) had puppies. And we were lucky enough to get a visit from all six one day before they all went to their forever homes. I fell a little madly in love with the little one who looked just like Cairo did when he was a baby - the little straight haired dark red one - I could cry. How much did I want to keep her!
And more babies - Tin Tin, who has been with us since Indigo was only 4 months old, finally became pregnant after hoping for a baby for the last four years. She left us in October and had a beautiful baby boy in December. It was very hard for the kids to say goodbye, but knowing she was going on to be a mama herself, when she had been so incredibly loving with these two for the past 6 1/2 years made the parting easier.
We tried out rag curls on Indigo - such fun - need to remember to do it more often for special occasions!
For Halloween, Oslo went as Zorro and Indigo as a cat. But for Indigo's school Halloween Fair, Oslo dressed up as the Lorax, and he even won a prize. It was quite funny as he was desperate to win the contest and I kept telling him there were hundreds of kids with great costumes and he shouldn't feel disappointed if he didn't win and then he did get a prize - he was so so excited and I was so proud as he had put together his costume all on his own. He made his Zorro costume at the last minute too, complete with duct taped lettering. Indigo is too funny and went as a cat for about the fifth year in a row - hence the too short shirt - think I need to invest in a new black shirt for next year!
Since moving into the new house, we have become real do-it-yourself people. From filling in water pockets on the roof to building our own brick path, it has been really fun and great family bonding to work on these projects together.
If you have ever seen my posts on birthday parties for the kids from previous years, you will know I take them very seriously. Not so much on the spending money front as on the spending time front. I would start working on a theme months before hand and have been known to get a little carried away. What with the new house, I was a little overwhelmed this November and the idea of doing two over the top parties for the kids was more than I could face. So on Oslo's 9th birthday, the four of us flew to New York where we spent four days in the city celebrating the kids' birthdays. They had a blast and it was so fun and different and not very us at all. And because we had flown on Oslo's actual birthday, the children were surprised with being invited into the cockpit of the plane - so incredibly cool.
We got into the Christmas spirit early this year and on the first day of December, we were spray painting gold everything we could get our hands on. I did the old wreath from last year that I had saved and Oslo sprayed the pine cones he had brought home from our trip. Indigo decided that a hibiscus flower would be the perfect item for a paint job and I tried to explain to her how it would wilt and die, which it eventually did, but I was able to take some magical images of her with the flower in her hair first. She wrapped all the Christmas tree beads around her neck and looked so festive - just darling.
I took this picture of Oslo when I was testing the light out for one of my shoots. I love his hair and his eyes and little freckles on his nose - so so cute!
And here is our Christmas tree - our first Christmas in our new home. It has been an amazing holiday and we really do know how lucky we are and are so so thankful.
Wishing everyone a wonderful send off from 2013 and much health and happiness in the year to come. xxx