05 January 2011

2010 - All the Smiles

I'm a bit slow off the mark with this whole celebration of the past year. Since we're five days into the New Year and all.

But as I've participated with a few of the Project Smile celebrations over at Alicia's A Beautiful Mess, I thought there could be no better way to round out the year than to recount all the beauty we explored and found. If only just to remember what made us smile one more time.

If I'm honest, I'm also a teeny-tiny bit proud of these collages. Together, they became a hard cover photo book we gave to both grandparents for Christmas. It was a labour of love starting way back in May and I spent many a night creating and tutu-ing (not sure that is a word but hey!) happily. When I finally finished it in mid-November, I was dying to blog about it, but I could hardly ruin the Christmas morning surprise now could I?

So without further ado, here's the smiles we discovered on our quest to Explore Beauty in 2010:

In January, I raged about the crappy Wellington summer we were having. But that didn't stop us getting out on some lovely mummy and son days. Including trips to the water front where I lamented the loss of more brain cells due to that 'nappy brain' syndrome. Mark and I finally resolved to get back in shape with the trusty Weight Watchers programme after the excesses of Christmas and post-baby weight that had to go.

In February, the boys and I discovered Karori Park for the first time.

A freshly bathed babe just had to be photographed.

We were treated to a visit by my gran who adores her only two great-grandchildren.

Noah hung out with his mates at the Chinese New Year Festival.

Some mummy and son time at the park on a sunny afteroon.

And we celebrated our six-year wedding anniversary.

In March, we were treated to a surprise visit by English grandma who was desperate to meet baby Mylo. We made the most of her short time here. Taking in the best little zoo in the world...

And relaxing at Raumati for a one-night beach escape together. Where the sun set like I have never seen it before and probably never will again.

And Mylo decided it was about time he got in on the action by learning to crawl.

In April, we celebrated Mylo's dedication day surrounded by all our friends and family. Made all the more special that Nana, Poppa and Grandma could all be there.

We had fun hiding easter eggs all over the garden. And ate ourselves silly (we weren't still Weight Watchering by then having reached our goals!).

The last day before Grandma flew home to England we marvelled at the wild beauty of Makara beach.

An unseasonably warm April afternoon providing happy playtime for us all.

I flew solo with the boys up to Hamilton to hang out in the countryside with Nana & Poppa. Yet another magical adventure in the Hamilton gardens. A wonder of my world.

 In May, I suffered for a good few weeks with awful tooth pain after what was meant to be a simple wisdom teeth extraction. Not an experience I'd ever want to repeat. EVER. It still makes me wince just thinking about it. But I put aside the pain to enjoy a magical afternoon at the beach with the boys before having to return to full-time work.

And I sat and watched this little dude growing before my eyes. Wondering  wistfully where the past eight months had gone?

In June we were thrown into a whole new world. Full-time work and daycare. And winter was upon us too. Colds, new routines, so much to get used to. Coping as best we could.

 The cold days providing opportunities for indoor creativity.

But by the end of the month we were drained. Physically sick, tired and struggling emotionally with all the recent changes. So I decided to throw caution to the wind, and have a mid-winter Christmas on June 25. Exactly half a year since Christmas, but still Christmas was half a year away. We needed this day. So much. And it gave our spirits exactly the lift we so needed.

July was a quiet month for us. More sickness, more quiet time at home. I agonised about the guilt over being a working mum. Guilt that never leaves but that you just learn to cope with. Hoping that you are doing the best you can with what you've got.

I was inspired by Bobby Robin's Photo Boards and had a go making my own. And to this day I love seeing our photoboard on the wall. So much so, that I've made a few smaller versions for friends as well.

August was a HUGE month for us. Noah turned four.

And the big day FINALLY arrived. Our brother, sister and cousin arrived from Wales to spend three once-in-a-lifetime weeks with them. In the middle of it all, Mark fell really ill with viral arthritis which gave us all a scare. But after a few quiet weeks and a course of steroids, he bounced back.

With our family, we discovered a Wellington we didn't even know existed.

 And showed off familiar haunts.

 And then it was off to our friends' beach house again. With photo opportunities running into the thousands.

 Where a driftwood filled beach turned into a scene from Boy: The Movie.

Where the fact it was mid-winter didn't stop two brave boys from getting their kit off.

 Neither did it stop a little boy from exploring the sand in bare feet.

 Ah the memories. They have to tide us over for months and years to come. Until the day we meet again. We know not where or when.

 Sunset walks on the beach. Every night the sun had something new to offer. Couldn't take my eyes off it. Transfixed.

And then as quickly as they came, they went. And it was back to cold hard reality for us.

But there were good distractions ahead to take our mind off the sad farewell.

In September, there was Mylo's first year of life to celebrate. A weekend spent at home with Nana & Poppa and a few friends to celebrate the occasion equalled the perfect tonic. And we were jolted awake by early morning fireworks and saw the drama of a garage fire across the road play out first hand, even feeling the heat of the flames from our bedroom.

In October, Noah and I turned pirate for a day. Mark surprised me at work one Friday with flowers and a trip down memory lane reminiscing about our early days together. We were amazed at how many moments on our 'wish-list' have since come true in the past 12 years. We celebrated Labour weekend with an A-Z of our fun moments.

November hit me hard. With a really nasty dose of conjunctivitis that kept me home and in hiding for a few days. We celebrated Guy Fawkes in spite of the weather's best attempts to have it called off, lighting our sparklers in a howling southerly gale. Mark and I agreed to disagree on what constitutes fashion. And we shared our Punch Buggy family tradition. I created my Summer Bucket List of things I'd love to do over the summer. And was decidedly grossed out by a near miss with Mylo eating cat poo. We rounded out the month with a fantastic afternoon at the beach - practically unheard for Wellington in November.

December couldn't have gotten off to a better start when I took a surprise trip to Ruth Pretty's Christmas Cooking class. A day I'm unlikely to forget. I got all inspired on the Christmas crafting front, making a nativity advent calendar and candy cane crunch. Oh and paper snowflakes too.

And before you could say Christmas Cracker, the big day was upon us. Not even an 8-hour road trip could dampen the excitement of knowing our holiday was underway. And there was nothing that made me smile more this year than having our extended NZ family together for this one day of the year. In fact on Christmas Day, I think I smiled so much it hurt. But it was so worth it.

I aim to catch myself smiling till it hurts throughout 2011. I mean, you gotta put some stretch in those mouth muscles right - what other way is there to smile!


Leonie said...

Oh wow! your album is just stunning! and what a year!
What a gorgeous post... the photos are amazing.

Sarah said...

This is a stunning work of art and magic which must have been greeted with huge smiles. So beautiful! I'd love to know what applications you used and who you got it printed through. I haven't made a photo book in a very long time and it would be perfect for the English Mothering Sunday in May. Gorgeous!

Jaz from Treacy Family said...

Oh my.................................those collages are so beautiful.
I'm a bit speechless. Well done. You should be soooooo proud for compiling all of that.
Wonderful memories!!!
Happy New year.........I hope you make many more!!

Mika said...

All the long hours to make the book certainly paid off! The images are gorgeous (it was interesting to see how Mylo was growing throughout the year)

I would love to do something that brings out the gazillion photos out from my computer and onto something tangible.

Couple you please tell me what you used to make the books? I'm wondering how much it would cost.


Sammy said...

Your book is amazing! What a wonderful way to celebrate a year!

alicia said...

Those are absolutely breathtaking my dear! A labor of love indeed. Want to come and do mine? They were all so beautiful, but I especially loved the ones at the beach, particularly the splashing one. Oh, and that first one was amazing. Will that be the cover? Bravo, bravo. What a beautiful way to recap and celebrate a year. So much to smile about. Thanks so much for sharing them for project smile. And may 2011 bring just as many smiles your way.


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