Reflecting on 2012 & welcoming 2013

The year started on holiday in a bach on the Kapiti Coast with Grandma and Granddad visiting from the UK and got off to an energetic start with hubbie getting a paddle board for Christmas and me taking to the surf on it at our local surf beach. It was also a year of ‘firsts’ as we embarked upon the journey of home-educating our highly spirited and energetic second daughter, whose eyes speak mischief from the depth of her soul!

I also expressed how vulnerable I felt, but reawakened too – as having my parents to stay ‘allowed’ me breathing space.

I wrote, “More than anything else, I wish to stay open to these strong, overwhelming feelings of love reawakened. It hurts to feel so deeply, but it’s real. I’ve been shutting down, it’s time to wake up and let all the emotions of my heart out from behind the brick wall I’ve been building.

Like the Pohutukawa blooms that I see from my bedroom window,

I shall open with bold fullness and let my tears shed like the crimson flowers in the wind.”

As I now look back on the year I know have I have grown stronger and stayed more open. I have also allowed myself to feel more at home here in New Zealand than ever before. A trip to the UK in September confirmed for me just how much New Zealand is now home for the immediate future and where I want my children to grow up.

Princess Bay sunset on New Years Eve 2012/13

February was the month our youngest daughter turned two (and my menstrual cycle returned after 2 years and 9 months!) and hubbie turned thirty-nine. It was also a ‘leap-year‘ and the girls definitely found lots of ways to ‘leap’ and expel their energy that day! We visited Stonehenge Aotearoa. I got photographic evidence of me paddle-boarding (without too many wipeouts – at least not captured on film!) and bid farewell to my parents, on their return to the UK, with a poem ‘Memory’ for ‘Lyrical Sunday’. When Charlotte, our eldest daughter, started a new school year, we really felt like we were ‘flying’ on the back of the beautiful Monarch butterfly that visits our garden through the summer. The summer holidays came to an end, and we started the year with earnest.

March was a month of seasonal change as the autumn equinox approached and my feelings fluctuated with the weather. I wrote many poems in March – ‘The pull of the Equinox‘; ‘Salt Kisses of Autumn Winds‘; ‘Women‘; a UK Mothers Day poem to my dear Mum and Mum-in-law; and ‘Wild at Heart‘. My beautiful eight year old daughter wrote a very moving poem about life in the slums of India and I reflected on the different paths of learning each of my daughters travel on. March was also a month of creative photography, as I enjoyed capturing the many Monarch caterpillar emerging from their chrysalises into butterflies in our garden; ‘Light‘ for ‘The Gallery’ and ‘Colour‘. It was also a month of surprise – when 500 sandcastles magically appeared overnight on the beach at Lyall Bay – the wonderful things people of Wellington do!

April was a very special month as my dear sister visited us, all the way from the UK. We hadn’t seen her in nearly five years! I celebrated my 38th Birthday with a wonderful weekend away and we enjoyed a sunny, Easter with my sister – and friend – which I wrote about in a poem.

It was also a month when our whole future together, as a family, saw the possibility of us moving from New Zealand to San Francisco – but we couldn’t tell anyone. Dan was approached by Citrix about them buying ‘Beetil’ and therefore changing the course of our futures. It wasn’t till later in the year – at the end of September, when the deal was signed and Dan also sold his 40% share of YouDo (the company he’d spent five years building with two good friends) that we could ‘go public’. With the possibility of a big move on the horizon we decided to keep home-schooling our middle daughter for the foreseeable future, even though I was finding it exhausting at times.

I continued to write poetry once a week, motivated by my friend Cyndi – aka ‘Latte Junkie’. Poetry was the one thing I had ‘for me’ and the occasional ‘run‘ when time allowed, ‘If I could…‘.

And nature gave us a beautiful treat, as daylight saving ended, with the visit of a big school of dolphins close to shore near where we live.

May was the month I wrote the most blog posts (29!), mostly because I joined in with ‘Photo a Day‘, which gave me a good daily focus away from all the possible life changes on the horizon. From April we lived under the assumption that, should the deal with Citrix go ahead, we were expected to move to San Francisco at the earliest possibility. Of course there was also a strong chance that the deal wouldn’t go through too – and so Dan put in crazy hours to keep his business, YouDo, thriving – whilst meeting the requests of Citrix for information.

I continued to write poetry – and am grateful for that outlet, as well as reflecting on our lives here in New Zealand in posts like ‘The stirring of the past in the autumn leaves of the Botanical Gardens‘. My favourite way of ‘doing’ poetry for the month was ‘Book Spine Poetry‘ and ‘Numbers‘ was another favourite theme of Lyrical Sunday – that was a reflection on life!

May was also a ‘Super Moon’ month – and the surf was huge!

June was our oldest daughter’s 9th Birthday and a wonderful occasion to brighten the depths of winter. It was also a month for reflection on the journey of our daughters lives and I wrote this post, ‘Walking the pages, a book of their own making‘ and I enjoyed a very special Monday afternoon with my daughters, which I wrote about in ‘Three sisters, one perfect Monday afternoon & a chocolate fish‘.

It was a month of poetry too – my one constant relief and comfort – when I wrote poems on the theme of ‘Between‘ and ‘Blue‘, as well as sharing my love of New Zealand, even through the wilds of winter.

We visited the Marine Education Centre in Island Bay and witnessed a rescued carpet shark being released back into the wild, watched Charlotte run her heart out in Cross Country, thought of the Queen and the celebrations for her Diamond Jubilee.

July wasn’t much of a blogging month for me – with 11 posts (I even questioned whether to stop blogging altogether – but of course it was just one of those ‘blips’… never can stay away for long). There were three weeks of school holidays in the middle (Charlotte enjoyed an awesome ski trip with an old friend, visiting from Oz with her Dad, up at Mt Ruapehu). There was still time for poetry and photo taking, capturing daily slices of life, and bringing them together at the end of each week.  There was also a lot of pancake making and some excitement with the build up to the Olympics opening ceremony in London at the end of the month.

August was a month of relief, when we heard – due to visa conditions – we wouldn’t have to be moving to San Francisco immediately – but Dan would work, along with his team, for a year in New Zealand. I was so relieved and a seed of hope was planted in me that we might not have to leave New Zealand at all.

I enjoyed playing hostess, and Wellington guide, when a blogger friend and her son stayed with us for a week from Napier and making the most of winter sunshine to play on the beach with my family. We also danced in the rain and got on with life regardless, embracing a sunny Saturday at our local Lyall Bay beach. Having guests to stay gave me a focus and a reason to really get out and about – being like a tourist in my own town. I enjoyed driving our guests to the high points of Wellington and reflecting on the many years we’ve spent here, since we first arrived in 1997 (1996 for Dan)!

Dan survived ‘Beervana’ and was a real family man with his head in the game after a good night out!

I wrote a few poems, some inspired by the excursions we enjoyed with our visiting guests – like a poem about the Red Rocks Coastal Walk, on Wellington’s south coast, ‘Gateway to the Outdoors‘ and a poem about ‘Play‘ inspired by our two year old, Alice.

There was lots to love in the month of August, with Charlotte dressing up for an International Day at school as the ‘Statute of Liberty‘ and lots of wonderful natural learning in the sun. I celebrated the ‘big weather’ and changing, dramatic, sky scape of Wellington in a post and poem for ‘The Gallery – Sky‘. And I wrote a post reflecting on my breast feeding journey (sounds a bit over-dramatic – but there was plenty of drama in the early weeks with my first born!) for ‘World Breastfeeding Week’.

September was an exciting month of travel (Charlotte went on her first independent flight – to spend a week with a friend in Australia!), celebrating (a family wedding), a new enclosure opening at our lovely Wellington Zoo, and beautiful signs of spring to love and enjoy around the city – particularly the tulips in the Botanical Garden.

It was also the month that our two year old decided to deposit my bank card down the skirting board (totally irretrievable) and Sophie went busking for her dinner, whilst the man of the house was away on a business trip (which was quite a shock to myself and the girls – as we haven’t been used to him going away much in the past – quite an adjustment for us all!). I wrote a couple of teary posts on how ‘Being strong is hard‘ and how hard I found it flying solo.

September was also the month that we celebrated ‘Fathers Day‘ here in New Zealand, chased rainbows, observed some wild weather and reflected upon eight months of home-schooling (more ‘natural learning’ our six year old).

October was a month of travel, in a three week round trip to the UK and back, via San Francisco on the way there and Santa Barbara on the way back, where we enjoying ‘living the dream‘ for a few days, after the travelling, shifting time zones, and saying goodbye to the UK. It was also the month I discovered what really fuels the surfers at Lyall Bay and I celebrated the return of daylight saving with a poem, ‘Daylight‘ for Lyrical Sunday at the start of the month.

The last minute travel to the US and the UK really helped us all, as a family, find where our hearts really lie. Without doubt we love our home in Wellington, New Zealand and can’t imagine a way of living, with a lifestyle like we have, anywhere else. We came back to Wellington feeling happy to be home – but also filled with memories of our exciting trip away, our hearts happy with having seen old friends and caught up with family – some of whom we hadn’t seen in five years! We celebrated Dan’s parents golden wedding anniversary and kicked up the autumn leaves – whilst back in Wellington everything was blossoming.

November and December have flown by as the year drew to a close. Memories of our trip away lingered on and flowed into our every day lives, which gave us time to reflect and process everything.

Dan, having sold his business of five years, embarked on a new job. Charlotte thrived at school after our trip away and we all focused on making the most of every day here in the now – without talk of the ‘what ifs’ of the future. The world has carried on, despite the Mayan calendar ending on 21/12/12. There was a partial eclipse of the sun and a visit from Prince Charles & CamillaTongariro erupted and Wellington partied as the first movie in the ‘Hobbit’ trilogy of films was launched in a world premiere in the ‘Middle of Middle Earth‘. We attended a wonderful wedding of friends at a beautiful venue on the outskirts of Wellington.

The roses in the Botanical Garden of Wellington blossomed and gave us a hint of summer to come, along with the beautiful Pohutukawa trees coming into bloom. The girls made their first ever home-made lemonade and enjoyed setting up a little stand at the bottom of the driveway and selling it to raise funds for charity, and Sophie turned seven on Boxing Day!

As always, there was plenty of simple things to love in our everyday lives, which sometimes feel overwhelming with our three highly energetic and spirited children. Dan and I are always grateful to enjoy some time together as a couple (like on Christmas Eve), as well as time for ourselves to exercise – as much for our minds as our bodies. This year of 2013 will definitely be another full on one, but we are blessed with so much and ever thankful of the choices, opportunities and options open to us.

We’re starting the year with the excitement of having Grandma and Granddad visit for six weeks – and in that time we shall celebrate Alice turning from two to three (it’s been quite a year for her – thankfully without too much trouble!) and Dan turning forty!

Hopefully we’ll be blessed with some more sunshine stunner days like we enjoyed this Christmas (hottest in eighty years!).

Wishing you a very wonderful 2013 too, with good health, happiness, and more highs than lows in the ebb and flow of life x