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It’s 2nd January 2015. When did that happen? I’m sat in my new PJ’s, thinking back over the last few days, weeks, months and the whole of 2014!

So much has changed since I made a photo book of year 1 for Lylah for her first birthday in December 2013. I was scrolling through some pictures of this year, in order to make photo book year 2 for her second birthday (just to be clear, it’s almost 2 weeks after her 2nd birthday, and the book still hasn’t been put together or ordered! Anyway, at the start of 2014, Lylah was still a baby. She was walking well, but still wobbly, she was still breast feeding, she was in a cot, she still didn’t have many teeth, she couldn’t say a lot, and she still looked like a baby, with a good head of hair, but still short and spiky and sticking out all over the place.

Looking at my little princess now, it’s like looking at a different child. At 2, she’d rather walk everywhere we go than sit in her push chair, she likes to choose her own outfits in the morning, she’s chatting to us about anything she can manage at every opportunity (even though sometimes still makes no sense!), she has beautiful, longish, bobbed blonde hair which has been cut 3 times this year, she has a full mouth of teeth which help her eat the chewiest of foods, and she sleeps in a big girl bed with very little fuss now. The difference across this year has been astounding, and for us, every Christmas will also mark Lylah’s birthday, and the chance to look back at the year and see what has changed, January to December.

So, here’s our year in review – 2014…

January – Lylah was still a baba, and at approaching 13 months, I knew it was the right time for us to stop breast feeding.   This was far sadder for me than it was for Lylah, but for a variety of reasons, it was necessary for us. The change happened overnight, and she was fine with it, which made me feel better. This was the start of my little baby girl becoming a toddler.

February – By February, I had been back at work from maternity leave for nearly 5 months, and I think it was around now that reality hit and the hard work really started. The first few months back had been fun, I had been hitting target and I enjoyed getting back into the swing of work. But from this point, I started to feel the strain of working all day and getting home to Lylah to be a mummy – I really started to miss her, but was happy in the knowledge that she gets to spend time with lots of people that she loves while I was at work.

March – We took a much needed trip to see our family. This is so important for us, and for Lylah, as she needs to know and remember the close family we have over in Ireland. At this point in the year, she probably didn’t remember much from one visit to the next, something which has definitely changed as the year has gone on, as now she can talk about her relatives in between trips and visits, and is far less unfamiliar when she sees them all. We also experimented with green milk for St Patrick’s Day!

April – Lylah began her toddler growth spurt! Overnight she seemed to change into a little girl, started wearing age 2 clothes, and also became a little madam! We had a fab Easter, and I spent a lovely few days off with Lylah, making sure we had quality mummy and daughter time, cooking, eating chocolate and going to the park. One particular picture I took of Lylah walking with my mum in a pretty Spring dress was a moment in time that I will never forget – she looked so grown up and beautiful and that image will stay with me forever.

April also marked the start of Chris working closer to home, which has changed our family life for the better, and the time we get together now as a family is priceless.

May – May is always a lovely month. It starts with us celebrating my mums birthday on the 1st, and for me, it has always felt like the month to start getting excited about summer! It also meant that the following month was Kayleigh’s hen weekend in Paris, and a month after that was the Wedding. Excited much?!

June – It was finally here – the month of the Disneyland Paris trip for my sister’s hen weekend! And what a weekend it was! It was amazing to have some time away for myself, and to let my hair down (a little too much according to Saturdays hang over!), but it also made me realise how lost I am when Lylah isn’t by my side. On the train over, when someone asked me if I was missing her yet, I burst into tears. I didn’t know it would hit me like that, but I’m glad it did, as it means I cherish every second I have with her.

July – The Wedding of the Year was here! It was incredibly emotional watching my little sister get married to Adam, and I felt very lucky to be able to have Lylah and Chris by my side all day, sharing these special moments with me. Lylah made the most beautiful flower girl, and looked like an Angel in her dress. She showed me that day what a grown up, smart and well behaved little girl she was, and it was also the first time we saw some serious dance moves from Miss Boyd!

August – It was back to summer in England following a late July break to Portugal, and I’m sure you will remember the ‘sick on a plane’ post!

Lylah chose August 2014, age 1 year and 8 months, to jump out of her cot twice during the night! We made the very quick decision to put her in a bed, which was like starting all over again with a sleep routine, but after a few weeks, she was perfect and goes to bed with very little fuss now (there are still some occasions where she has us pulling our hair out). We marked this milestone and her 18 month (ish) age with a family photoshoot, where our cheeky monkey posed her way through a series of photographs! August also marked our 5 year Wedding Anniversary, 5 happy years not without its ups and downs, but certainly worth it when we look at our daughter.

September – I announced to my nearest and dearest that we are expecting baby Boyd number 2. I also celebrated my 31st birthday with a non-alcoholic brunch, and celebrated the joys of pregnancy with lots of sleep, some vomiting, and plenty of carbs!

October – By this point in the year, we had welcomed some chickens (one of which turned out to be a cockerel and has since been returned to farm life) into the family, and I announced the pregnancy to the wider world, including work.   I had a fab month at work, and really started looking forward to the festive period (hopefully with no more sickness!).

November – This month was all about some quality time for myself, before the madness of birthday and Christmas hit, and before I am too pregnant to do very much! I enjoyed 2 trips to London with amazing friends, a spa day and lunch with the gorgeous mummies, a hen night, and a fab carnival night with Chris and Lylah.

December – WHAT A MONTH! Firstly, my beautiful best friend Nichola and her man Andy, had the lovely baby Lily on my dad’s birthday!

I enjoyed plenty of Christmas celebrations at work and with friends, watched my fab sister sing Christmas Jazz, which Lylah loved, and then came the birthday weekend!

Chris, Lylah and I celebrated Lylah’s second birthday with our birthday buddies, Chris, Donna and Stacey. Stacey’s birthday is the day after Lylah’s, so we celebrated together and took a trip on a steam train to see Santa. We then celebrated the next day with a joint birthday party, where we were visited by Mickey and Minnie Mouse (Lylah was terrified – more on that in another post!).

It was lovely to spend the weekend with close friends and family, and although probably quite overwhelming for Lylah, she seemed to enjoy every moment (except the Minnie and Mickey moment!).

Christmas was a lovely, relaxing family affair this year, and of course, Lylah was spoilt. I read a lot of posts of Facebook about whether or not people should ‘show off’ their kids and presents at this time of year, for the sake of children who don’t have as much.   I agree with this in principle, but equally, you shouldn’t be ashamed of the products of your hard work and special time with your children. I am happy to see posts of others sharing their happy times at this time of year, but understand that equally there are people who aren’t having such a lovely time. I remembered throughout the whole festive season, that this time is so precious, and however you celebrate, or whatever you can do or provide for your children and family, it’s more about the quality time you spend with them.

We are currently spending a lovely week with Chris’ parents, who Lylah is bossing about all over the place, and enjoyed a fab New Year’s Eve, thanks to the kind offer of babysitting from my nan – thank you Nan and Grandad!  It’s very special to see Lylah enjoying some precious time with her Grandparents that she doesn’t get to see very often, and great to see them witness how very special our little girl is.  It makes me so proud to watch her chatting away to them and show them all her toys, it makes you realise that it’s so easy to take these things for granted when you’re witnessing them every day.

To top it all off, I am feeling the kicks and movements of our little boy every day, and it’s these tummy nudges, and my kisses and cuddles from Lylah, that remind me how blessed Chris and I am.

So, in the year that Chris grew a very ginger beard, we have had some amazing moments and experiences, but have also had our ups and downs. It goes without saying that you can’t have a full year without sad experiences, heartbreaking news, and hard times, but they are there to challenge you and make you stronger, and pull you together as a family.

We have seen arrivals of new babies amongst friends, and exciting pregnancy news amongst others, and it’s this burst of new life that shows you what this life is all about. It’s about love, and family, and making sure you cherish every moment. I’m excited about 2015 and what’s to come, but most of all, I will make sure that I take every moment in and not miss a moment.

Lylah dress