The last bits of 2016

Happy New Year everyone and good riddance 2016!  Not my favourite year of all time so I’m glad it’s gone.  Here’s to a better 2017!  Before we turn to our future hopes and dreams let’s have a quick look at last month’s happenings.  Admittedly December was a blur with all the Christmas preparations.  It’s a good thing we take pictures otherwise I’d have no recollection of what happened…!

Here’s a couple of pics of a nice walk we did in the Brecon Beacons with Morgan:


As always, Aled is determined to get Morgan up to the snow whenever he can and we let Morg slide down this little patch of snow several times.  Don’t worry, one of us was at the top to launch him and the other caught him!  The slope was steep and high enough to make me a little bit nervous about our endeavours but we are descended from mountain climbing families and were on cliffs much steeper than these at the same age so I think it’s just part of the Morgan-Evans upbringing.  As my father always says, “It builds character”.


Weather-wise this past November and December were about A THOUSAND TIMES better than the previous year which is making winter far more tolerable.  Even as I write this, I am looking out my back window at pure blue skies and sunshine.  It was zero degrees (C) [32F] this morning (which is about as cold as it gets here) but I don’t care about the temperature as long as it’s sunny.

The day to day in December was relatively low-key as I organised presents, xmas cards and food for various xmas events.  Morgan is still very much obsessed with choo-choos which he will play with on any smooth surface.  Note “Doggie” tucked under his head as a pillow.  Sadly Doggie went missing over xmas and hasn’t yet been located 🙁  Sourcing a replacement has proven unsuccessful.


In the middle of the month, we had last minute visitors from Norwich: Uncle Hefin, Auntie Emma and cousin Elis.  Morgan still has some work to do on his sharing skills but I think we are slowly seeing some improvements in this space.  Thanks to Elis for being such a good sport — and for all his great singing and dancing (inherited from his mother I think)!


It was great to see these guys and the timing was fortuitous as I was called into interview for a new job at the International Baccalaureate on a Wednesday, which is day I’m usually at home with Morgan.  Hef and Em babysat for me and the good news is I got the new position.  I’ll be starting next Monday as the “Business Change Leader” for the Assessment Division here in Cardiff.  It’s a very good fit for my skills and I’m looking forward to helping improve another organisation.  Wish me luck!

And then it was Christmas…!  Off to Uncle William and Auntie Claire’s in Wokingham(brave souls hosting 13 of us!).


Morgan quickly located his cousins’ train set and had some great fun building some amazing tracks with cousin Alex.  Uncle William helped the boys organise treats for Santa (aka Father Christmas).  I’m not sure whether I endorse drinking and sleigh-driving but never mind…


On Christmas morning, the tree was piled high with presents…


…but this didn’t last long!  The rapid opening of so many presents reminded me of xmas growing up in New Jersey and I know now how my parents must have felt as hours and hours of procurement and wrapping were resolved in a matter of minutes.


William and Claire put on a fantastic roast meal — turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings — delicious!  Only thing missing was a pile of Aunt Elena’s home-made raviolis and a game of foosball in the basement!  😉


After a couple of nights in Wokingham we headed out to Pembrokeshire to enjoy some fresh air and coastal scenery.  Oh yes, and let’s not forget some surf for Aled!  Here we are at Dadda’s favourite beach, Aber Mawr.


Luckily Dadda has his own surf photographer who can capture moments like these:


As you can see, Morgy was far more interested in driving his Corvette in rock pools.


Later in the week we were joined by Uncle Ceri, Auntie Angela, and cousins Kate and Rachel.  Here’s Morgy with his good buddy Kate on Newport Beach.


We explored the caves and rock pools extensively, thanks to this amazing red snow/rain suit I bought in October.


Aled was in search of surf but was disappointed for the remaining days.  Here we are at Aberreidy beach, flat as a bloody pancake.


But the late afternoon sun really was fantastic.


Dadda and Morg headed towards the water.


Seaweed on the rocks — very slippery but a nice green in the sun.


And Momma looking like she’s dancing but not really — just coming closer to see if she can smell a poop.  Affirmative.


One final pic of the cousins before we turn our minds to the year ahead.  Look at these cuties!


You probably know by now that I don’t make resolutions as such but rather a list of things I want to achieve.  You might call them resolutions but I think new year’s resolutions get a bad name and I don’t want my plans coloured by those low expectations 😉  Anyways I just want to enjoy things more.  I have been exhausted in 2016 — that’s probably mostly a function of not sleeping well, due to an unsettled toddler, general stress and not enough physical exercise.  I’ve never made a resolution to do more exercise but this year I must!  It’s not about weight but rather just feeling better.  Yay endorphins!  (Actually let’s be honest — it’s about re-kick starting my metabolism so I can go back to eating cookies with no guilt!)

Parenthood is also forcing me to prioritise my spare time activities ruthlessly.  Time is so precious and I have been filling my spare moments doing things for Morgy, for Aled, for family, friends, or cleaning the house.  I think mums do this a lot (I’m not saying Dads don’t!) but I have to look after myself better to create a more sustainable balance.  If I keep going at the pace I’ve been going I will totally crash.  I have a hard time accepting lower standards so I have to attempt to do fewer things.  It’s the only solution.

Hence the recent move to go off Facebook.  (“It’s not you — it’s me!”  Please don’t take this personally anyone!)  It’s only a small change to be fair but I added up all the itsy bits of time it takes out of my day and I know I could probably use that time more productively.  After a full day on a computer at work, the last thing I need is more screen time, more information to process, etc.  And I’m just starting to think that it’s an unnatural amount of human interaction to have on a daily basis!  It was a hard call to make though since I am lucky enough to be friends with SO MANY AWESOME PEOPLE all over the planet (that’s you!).  I’m fearful we will lose touch but I also know the ones who matter will write me emails now and again to say hi.

Right!  So that’s all for now.  I hope you are all well and all the best for 2017!  Love from Cardiff and stay safe everyone.