So much change, love, happiness and freedom has come to our family in 2015. I look back on the past year and feel truly blessed. The beginning of 2015 saw a big change on our horizon - a move to America. It was something I had expected to carefully document here on my blog, but the joy of a new pregnancy was tainted with severe sickness which was so debilitating that I wasn't able to do anything at all, which lead to a long absence from blogging and social media.
The first few months here in the USA were difficult. We were in temporary accommodation for longer than we had expected, and what we thought would be a month at most stretched slowly into eight long weeks. The apartment itself was perfectly fine, albeit small. What made it hard was living out of our suitcases for so long - the only items available to us were a small collection of clothes and a selection of toys for Henry. It was a tough time, being in a new country with a new pregnancy, severe sickness and none of our homely belongings or family to bring any comfort. But we got through it, and thankfully, found a beautiful home where we now live. It is palatial compared to the Victorian terraced house we left in Nottingham, surrounded by tall trees, so peaceful and calm, and every time I make the drive back to it, I can't believe we live somewhere so incredible.
One element of this past year that really stands out for me is the weather here in Virginia. It sounds so trivial, yet the weather has always had a big impact on my mindset and general wellbeing. Anyone who has ever lived in the UK is well acquainted with the perpetual grey days, frequent rainfall and seemingly absent summers. So arriving in Virginia and experiencing 'holiday weather,' year round was an absolute joy. Waking up to sunshine and blue skies almost every day certainly lifts your mood and gives you a new zest for life.
We've already made so many happy memories here, and our home is a place that I hold dear to my heart. I think back with fondness of Henry and I sitting side by side on the sun warmed steps of our porch, the glow of the late afternoon sun on the tall trees, enjoying the warmth on our faces as we chat and take wonder in the sweet simplicity of our surroundings whilst we wait for daddy to return home from work. The memory of placing my hands on the firm roundness of my blossoming belly, feeling our baby girl move beneath my fingertips as I watch my beloved husband and son play together, uninhibited and free in the dappled shade of our garden, the sound of their laughter filtering back to me where I sit on the decking under the never-ending expanse of blue sky. And the fast thuds of little feet running along the hallway, accompanied by giggles of glee, the sweet sound filling the walls and my heart with so much joy.
For the first time in a long time, I've felt truly happy. After all the trauma and grief that Matt and I faced as fresh faced newlyweds, we made a new start in the most dramatic way possible, a move to the USA, and now we're the happiest we've been in years. We never believed we'd get to this place. In the days and weeks after William and Noah died, when grief consumed us and made us heavy and sunken with sorrow, and each day was a matter surviving, we couldn't envisage ever being happy again. But here we are, living a life we never imagined, and finding joy again in a country we didn't know we'd been living in.
We've seen Henry blossom into a confident and charismatic little boy, full of life, love and laughter. We've welcomed a daughter into our lives, our little American citizen. I can't wait to watch her grow and discover her personality. What an honour it is to witness the progression of your child, and I'm so happy to be able to do it all over again with our little girl in a place we have come to love so much.
THE YEAR AHEAD
I have so many hopes for 2016. I want to travel more around the USA. 2015 only saw us take a short break to North Carolina, due to my high risk pregnancy ruling out travel further afield. This year, we want to explore. I want to breathe the fresh mountain air of the vineyards in Charlottesville. I want to marvel over the beauty and tranquility of Shenandoah National Park. I want to feel the soft warmth of white sand between my toes in the Bahamas. I want to feel small and overwhelmed, looking up at the bright city lights of New York.
I hope to live a healthier lifestyle. In and amongst all the chaos of moving countries and battling morning sickness, our diet quickly became one of convenience, which inevitably lead to weight gain. I've never been one for exercising, but now in my late 20s, I find myself being pulled in the direction of experiencing exercise as a form of mindfulness.
I want to take more time for myself in 2016. For three years, I have dedicated myself wholly to my children. Ensuring my pregnancies are as healthy and risk-free as possible, persevering through breastfeeding, devoting myself to their development and wellbeing. Henry and I have spent every moment together since he was born. I can count on one hand the number of times I've been away from him for more than a few hours. It's the way I've wanted it, with Matt and I raising him solely in these first few years which are so precious and fleeting. It's been humbling and rewarding beyond measure, but I want to dedicate some time to myself this coming year. It's not that I have lost part of myself since becoming a mother, but rather that I'd like more time to be the person I was before I became a mother. To pursue my hobbies and interests again, to dress up more and enjoy taking time in my appearance. Fewer makeup free days and sweatpants, more red lipstick and stylish clothing, because even the little things can make a difference. On Christmas Eve, I decided to end my 15 year relationship with long brunette hair, and left the salon with a blonde long bob. I instantly felt renewed, refreshed. Amazing what difference a new hair style can make.
I want to take time out to pursue the things I'm passionate about. I have always had a love for writing, since I was a little girl, and it's something I dearly miss. I want to find more time for Project Life, which is such a beautiful way of documenting our family life. I want to get back into blogging more regularly, to document my thoughts on motherhood as I'm experiencing it, to write more on baby loss to help those who need it, to collaborate with brands I feel passionate about.
But most importantly of all, I want 2016 to bring more cherished memories with the people I love most fiercely. My family... Matt, Henry and Everly.
Here's to a wonder filled 2016. May it bring you everything you wish for.