Our first Christmas as a family of four. It’s been a mixed bag. We had fun with the kids, but also suffered from dealing with the inevitable overtired children and sleep deprivation that comes with the holidays. Most days we’re constantly trying to talk the 4-year-old down off the edge of the tantrum-cliff, and usually failing. We’re also trying to get a lot of work finished off in the house which sucks up so much more time than you ever plan for. As the year draws to a close we have big plans for what we’d like to do in 2017. 2016 has been a year of highs and lows. Some of those lows may ultimately be unpleasant, but necessary, starts of good changes for next year.
I’m saying goodbye to 2016 by joining in the annual linky hosted by Sadhbh over on Where Wishes Come From. So here’s my 16 from 16 (where I shamelessly rob some of the headings from other linky participants instead of thinking up suitable ones myself)…
1. Most Popular (Practical) Blog Post
According to the stats, the most popular blog post published and read this year was My Breastfeeding Cheat Sheet which I wrote with the benefit of hindsight as I prepared for the arrival of baby number two. It’s nice to see this particular post at the top of the list as I hope it’s got some helpful tips for others. The also-ran post for this was about Respectful Maternity Care which was a topic of interest last year for me. Both personally as I entered the Irish maternity system once more, but also on a wider scale as the campaign to ‘Repeal the 8th’ took off across Ireland and further afield.
2. Most Popular (Impractical) Blog Post
This blog is focused mainly on writing about everyday life for me. The events you think will be etched forever in your memory start to fade and the finer details blur as chaotic life goes on. Just as photos visually capture a moment in time, these posts prompt me to remember the thoughts and feelings when they’re no longer fresh in my mind. The most popular non-factual posts were my homebirth, and the recent Newborn to Baby in the Blink of an Eye. Both capture fleeting moments in my life that are already rapidly disappearing into the mists of memory.
3. Favourite Post
This is a tough one. The Last Summer was one that dealt with those conflicting feelings about some of the changes 2016 brought to our family life. It seemed to resonate with a lot of other people who were either expecting their second baby, or remembered experiencing those same thoughts when they were expecting.
4. Favourite Title
Another hard choice for me, but I’ll go with Brotherly Love in a Time of War. My titles are often SEO-unfriendly, but in the early days my post titles for our travels were a lot more obscure. See Fevers and Pink Klingons, Won’t Someone Think of the Poor Starving Ducks? or The Singapore Shuffle as examples of that.
5. Favourite Photo
My own favourite on the blog is from our visit to Antrim on an unintentionally long walk through the lush fields. This image gives me a sense of calmness.
On Instagram the most popular with followers was this photo of Plitvice Lakes in Croatia from the #tcl31daysofhappy challenge.
6. Favourite Celebration
This is going to have to be the (very long awaited) arrival of my second son. It was the biggest change in 2016 for our family. He was two weeks overdue and made quite an entrance.
7. Most Common Theme
Pregnancy, unsurprisingly! From the first trimester to way past overdue, the labour and finally afterbirth. I can guarantee we won’t be revisiting this theme in 2017!
8. Best Adventure
It’s been a quiet year for adventures. I felt extremely limited in what we did in 2016 between having moved away from old friends and having to take it easy as the pregnancy progressed. Pregnancy and house-hunting ate up most of our time and energy. Obviously on the parenting side of things our biggest adventure was the arrival of our second child. When it comes to travel, we did manage an escape to Malta for a week in March. Driving in Malta definitely counts as an adventure!
9. My Best Move
Choosing a homebirth this time around. Odds are high that if I hadn’t, then I would have ended up with a second induction and mostly likely a c-section. While the homebirth was long and tough, it was an opportunity to heal some old scars and have a very different kind of birthing experience where I felt as much in control as I could. I wouldn’t change anything about this, other than ideally convincing the baby not to move into such an awkward position just as labour began.
10. A Good Moment (High)
Finally holding and getting to know the newest member of our family.
These are a few of my favourite (newborn) things
11. A Bad Moment (Low)
One of the worst things this year has been the ongoing sleep deprivation saga. Obviously 2017 will be so much easier with TWO of them waking at night!
12. Most Common Search Term
It’s hard to say as there are may variations of essentially the same search. The top two this year have definitely been:
Versions of “can you rent a car if you forgot your license” which leads to that time we forgot our drivers licence for a driving holiday.
And searches like the factual “wonder weeks leap 10” that progress towards the more desperate queries for “baby leap of doom” all bringing searchers to the classic popular Leap (of hell) Ten post. Can’t wait to go through that one again myself…
13. Weirdest/Funniest Search Terms
Where to start… here are a few linked to the resulting blog posts
considering cancelling holiday because of terrible twos
car skidding in desert
rubbing back while vomiting
why is prague associated with cats
And let’s not forget the disturbing number of similar searches for ‘thai men speedos’ or ‘simon cowell speedos’ that have brought strange people to this blog because of that time I innocently mentioned thailand, speedos and Simon Cowell in the same post back in 2009.
14. Most Commented on Blog Post
The post where I mentioned I was choosing a homebirth over hospital birth got the most blog comments, whereas The Last Summer got people talking on Facebook.
15. What My Blog Did For Me In 2016
This blog has always been a personal blog in the literal sense that I write firstly for the sake of writing. Following that I write to record my memories as best I can for future years. This blog doesn’t, and is unlikely to ever have a large following. But that’s never been the aim. I’m happy to write for me. It’s a bonus if anyone else gets something from my words.
Unexpected benefits have been the online blogging community – particularly for parenting wisdom and advice. Also finding new interesting blogs and making new friends online through the blog. This year the connections I’ve made through blogging have resulted in the motivation/push to take on some part-time freelance work. That has made me think more seriously about options for the future.
16. One Word
2016 was a year of uncertainty with a lot of possible change on the horizon making it hard to have any real plans for the future. ‘Directionless’ is probably how I felt for a lot of it. We’re hoping for a clearer sense of direction in 2017.
I’ve never been a fan of New Years Resolutions, but I love the idea of the One Word Movement that Kate from Kate Takes Five has been doing for the last few years. So I’m going to jump on that bandwagon now too and choose the word ‘Minimise’ for 2017. There are a lot of areas where I’d like to apply some minimalisation to give myself more time and space to concentrate on the important things in life. This definitely involves eliminating unnecessary physical possessions and reducing waste in our life, but also cutting out unhelpful mental distractions like the amount time spent online. Minimise stress levels, unhealthy foods and negative influences/relationships. The list could go on.
What’s your one word aspiration for 2017?