This year has gone quickly. Let’s recap. 

Back in April, Monte started working for a company in Edinburgh. This involves a change in his working hours, so he works evenings as well as during the day. He’s enjoying the challenges of his new role, as well as the opportunities to travel. He went to Edinburgh in August. Sadly, montes beautiful mother, Maxine, passed away on December 1. She is very much missed! Monte is taking a holiday over the Christmas and New Year period, during which he will turn 40 and celebrate with friends and family. 

I returned to work in August. It was a serendipitous moment – I had just driven home from dropping off the kids at school and childcare, and was thinking that I felt ready to be working again. That very night, my boss phoned me to talk about a job opportunity, and now I am the support teacher for 3 days a week at the local primary school- and loving it! Another big thing for me this year was losing 22 kilos. 

Georgia started high school this year. She travels for nearly 3 hours a day to attend school, but she doesn’t mind the bus rides and we are all very happy with her school. She is achieving brilliant grades, loves art and guitar, and is all round awesome. She is a teenager now, and her style is evident not just in her fashion sense but her bedroom, which is a beautiful teenager’s retreat that she has set up on her own. Georgia still does guides and is preparing to be a guide leader. She is also writing every day, currently working on an apocalyptic fiction on Wattpad called ‘invaded.’ 

Matthew, now ten, is overly enthusiastic about computer programming and gaming. He’s the kid who gives me the most hugs. He’s the kid who plays outside most of the time and always does his chores when asked. He loves reading and we can’t keep up with the books he churns up! 

Elora, 6, is learning to read and write. It’s so exciting seeing these skills develop in a child. She loves playing shops and cafes, and has her room set up like a little home corner, with a kitchen, shop, dolls house and dolls bed to keep her busy. But one of her favourite pastimes is watching shows on the iPad. Curse you, Netflix. ;)

Sarah, little Sarah, just turned two. We are all enjoying her language explosion. She is a chatty little girl, learning to jump and skip. Her favourite animal is a cat, and she loves our kitty, Jade. I’m still breastfeeding her half a dozen times a day and I am really hoping to wean her this year. Sarah, to all of us, is such a blessing and we are all enjoying her cheerful, cute and clever demeanour. 

Farm and garden has been on hold for us this year as we adjust to having two working adults and increased and changed working hours. We had a cow and pigs slaughtered this year, so have two freezers filled with meat. We are still eating through the jams and other preserves I made last year. We recently cracked into a Christmas cake I made in either 2013 or 2014 (probably 2014) – it is so moist and delicious. 

2017 promises to be a busy year – aren’t they all, when you have four children and you work and try to run a little homestead? We are aiming to work in the garden more, setting up more perennial food crops. We are planning an extension, which we hope to have completed by next Christmas. There are other renovations we want to do around the house, the biggest and most important one (for me!) is the kitchen. For a long time I’ve been cooking on the wood stove during winter, which is lovely, but I still don’t have a proper oven or stove for the summer when we don’t run the fire. So watch this space! 

From our family to yours, happy new year! May 2017 be kind to you all xx