Me and Mine

Me and Mine – A Portrait for December 2016

Me and Mine on the sofa Christmas 2016

Me and Mine Christmas 2016

It’s the last day of December and I think I’ve forgotten how to write. I’ve been trying to put into words how I felt about this month for the past few days and I can’t quite put my finger on what I want to say.

I think what I mean to say is this. The past few weeks, I have given myself a break. The run-up to Christmas was not easy, and I really needed to just empty my mind a bit and kick back.

I’ve tried not to think too much, to relax with my little ones, to chill out with my family, to do fun things with friends, to walk on the moors and to break the rules a little.

I’ve drunk a fair bit of Marlborough Sauvignon, let the kids eat dinner in the lounge, let them stay up late, eat chocolate for breakfast and run wild a little more than usual.

I have hardy picked up my camera in the past few weeks, and now I’m trying to choose a family photo for this post I really wish I had. The pictures on this post are taken on my iPhone so they are a little grainy, the light is far from perfect, but they are us all the same. They are Sam, Flo and I in our natural habitat – the lounge, as it has been for the past few weeks, where like most families we have been hibernating a bit over the Christmas period.

Me and Mine on the sofa Christmas 2016

Last year I was dreading Christmas. It was the first one since Roger had died and I knew it would be hard. It’s all the build-up that’s so difficult. Even though we all know in the real world family Christmases aren’t always perfect, it seems that way when your own dreams have been broken. Everywhere you look there are happy families, happy couples, deciding how to spend their time together, what presents to buy each other, how to spend their time off in each others’ company.

If that sounds bitter then I don’t mean it to; it was like that for me once. Roger wasn’t the biggest fan of Christmas but he did love it so much more when Sam came along. We made our own family traditions, like going to the Christmas concert at the Liverpool Philharmonic every year, following it up with a nice meal out together, like our little family Christmas do.

We were pretty low key, but we were truly happy. Without those things to look forward to life just can feel so lonely, and however much I try to push those thoughts away they always come back.

It’s coming up to 18 months since my husband died and things haven’t really got easier, I suppose I’ve just got better at hiding it. So much has changed in this year though that I can honesty look back and see how far we have come.

Sam playing guitar on Christmas Day

We have moved from Wirral to West Yorkshire. Moved house from the coast to the moors; the kids have started at new schools and I am working from a different office. Although the house I bought is fairly new and low maintenance, I’ve spent a lot of time redecorating parts of it, finding furniture to fit, sorting out the ever-present storage problem, and in November and December, transforming the semi-converted garage on the side to a fully insulated, functional playroom.

That led to most of December being lived in a house where furniture was in the wrong place; you couldn’t sit round the dinner table properly as the tumble dryer was in the way; you couldn’t open the lounge blinds as two cupboards were pushed up into the bay. The weekend before Christmas though, the room was complete and it was such a relief to get the house back to normal and start using that extra space as it was intended.

Me and Mine on the sofa mark 2 2016

Jules with wine glass

Just to be able to regain the lounge, put up a tree and make space for visitors again was such a joy, and I’ve really enjoyed spending time in the house in its new form. I’ll be posting an update on that work with some ‘after’ pictures in the next few weeks.

Anyway back to this Christmas. I found the weeks leading up to it hard, but I survived. I had Christmas Day at home with Sam, Flo and my parents, and it was really lovely. Knowing that I could survive a Christmas – and even enjoy it – without Rog really helped and the dread of the day wasn’t there in the same was as it was last year. The looks on the kids’ faces when they opened their presents was just lovely, and all that pre-Christmas Barbie house stress vanished as soon as the wrapping paper came off!

Now it’s New Year’s Eve, and I can’t say I’m not feeling anxious. For about the past five years I have stayed in and been asleep for midnight, not really wanting to celebrate or look ahead.

This year might be different, although I still haven’t decided if I am up for going out and celebrating or not. Either way though, like Christmas I think this New Year will be easier than the last, and I may even start not to dread the year coming up.

I have plans for 2017 already, the year I turn 40 (eek!) and so maybe in January I will have time to think things through more and look forward to the year ahead.

For now, I just want to say thank you so much to everyone for reading my blog this year and to my friends and family for supporting me through this huge period of change.

Happy New Year, and much love, light and happiness to you,

Julia x

Kids with cousins

Mum taking a photo of Sam

This post is linked up with the Me and Mine project – hosted by Dear Beautiful, Bump to Baby, Capture By Lucy, Let’s Talk Mommy, Mummy Daddy Me and Tigerlilly Quinn – where you take a photograph a month of your family all together.

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  • Reply
    December 31, 2016 at 10:41 am

    It sounds like a really nice Christmas and I hope 2017 brings you an immense amount of joy. You so deserve it. I wish I could take the pain away but I hopefully does get a lot better over the coming months xx
    Notmyyearoff recently posted…2016 – Another year of Not My Year OffMy Profile

  • Reply
    Mackenzie Glanville
    December 31, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Oh honey I can not even begin to imagine. It is just so unfair that Roger is gone. I turned 40 this year and it was surprisingly iterating and so I say do not fear it, I think us women get stronger and more beautiful as we age! Much love to you, I truly hope 2017 brings some very beautiful moments xx
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…My most popular blog posts in 2016My Profile

  • Reply
    December 31, 2016 at 11:23 am

    It’s a fab post julia and you really have made some huge changes this year. Time to enjoy those changes a little more next year and get ready to celebrate that 40th! Me too!

  • Reply
    Carie @ Space for the Butterflies
    December 31, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Happy New Year to you all too. It’s lovely that you’ve managed to make your own new traditions even if the need for them is desperately sad.
    Carie @ Space for the Butterflies recently posted…Me and Mine 2016: DecemberMy Profile

  • Reply
    Natalie @ Little Jam Pot Life
    January 1, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Happy New Year to you guys! Wow so much change in one year right? It really has whizzed by for us too plus a new addition. The change that can happen is unbelievable isnt it. I really can’t imagine how it must feel with Rog not being around anymore but I think you’re very inspiring with how you’re coping and staying strong for the children. Wishing you all the happiness in 2017 xxx

  • Reply
    Steph at Mental Parentals
    January 1, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    I’m glad your Christmas was enjoyable. You look like you had a fab time. I can’t imagine how it must be for you all – you do wonderfully. All the best for 2017 xx #meandmine
    Steph at Mental Parentals recently posted…Hot Milk Lingerie Nursing Bra – ReviewMy Profile

  • Reply
    Caro | The Twinkle Diaries
    January 3, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    So proud of you Jubarb. I think you’re doing an AMAZING job of hiding how you feel and getting on with things for the kids’ sake. I can’t even pretend for a second that I understand how hard it must be. But I’m always here if ever you need a shoulder (or a gin). Love these family pics — it’s awful that there’s a key member missing but totally awesome to see three smiling faces. Just goes to prove how far you’ve come — and that you’re doing a grand job. Love you lots xxxx #MeanddMine
    Caro | The Twinkle Diaries recently posted…A golden weekend | Featuring Center Parcs, Sherwood ForestMy Profile

  • Reply
    Mary Smith
    January 3, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    The build up really is hard, but I am glad you have had moments of joy and enjoying your new home together in this chapter. You did right to switch off and have a rest, and I hope this year does get a little easier. x

  • Reply
    January 4, 2017 at 12:51 am

    Beautiful pictures, so lovely to see you all smiling.

  • Reply
    Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love)
    January 4, 2017 at 9:56 am

    So glad that you were able to enjoy Christmas and that you managed to get the house back to normal in the run-up to it too. Wishing you all the very best for 2017 and hope that this year will be an easier year for you x #meandmineproject
    Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) recently posted…#withkindnessandlove 1 – stories of kindness and sharing some blog loveMy Profile

  • Reply
    Katy (What Katy Said)
    January 5, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    I cannot imagine what it has been like for you and as much as I sit here and think omg 18 months has flown I just know it must have seen such a long time ago that he was here with you. Big loves to you and your two beauts, I hope 2017 is a happy year for you and you can make some plans to look forward to xx

  • Reply
    Laura @ Little Ladies Big World
    January 5, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    That is a lovely photo and just where we all are for most of December like you say, in the lounge! I am glad to read that you have found a little less dread this year and I can only imagine how hard it is to go through these times of year without him. Life isn’t perfect but when you are missing that 1 person you want it can feel like everyone elses is. I send all the love in the world to you for 2017 xx
    Laura @ Little Ladies Big World recently posted…Me and Mine – December 2016My Profile

  • Reply
    January 6, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    What a gorgeous set of photos lovely. You do so well and looks and sounds like you had such a lovely holiday with your beautiful family. I love seeing your family snaps each month and look forward to another year of them. Happy New Year! #meandmineproject

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