Roundup of 2011

Roundup of the year by person this year as we all seem to be doing increasingly separate things as the children grow up! Starting with the youngest and newest addition to the family …

Sleepy SuzieSuzie – was born on Steve’s birthday to a rescued cat that belongs to a friend of mine – they didn’t know she was pregnant when they rescued her! Suzie was my present to myself, at the end of a long hard academic year – she came to live with us at the beginning of the summer holidays and we all absolutely love her to bits, even if she is a bit smelly sometimes. Definite cuddle therapy.

Josiah models his new hoodyJosiah – has continued working hard at school and with chorister duties. You can actually hear him sing these days, being in Y6 and having a copy to himself has made all the difference, it seems! He doesn’t seem to have an awful lot of time left for much else, but passed his grade 5 violin in the summer, too – and won a LARGE trophy (size matters!) for his promising musicianship at school. In other news he managed to break a metatarsal, doing nothing but walking down the stairs?!! He went on a trip to France with school in October and loved that :)

Abbie's haircutAbbie – also carries on working hard at school, picking up a prize for academic achievement at the end of Y7. She passed Grade 4 flute early in the year, but carries on playing percussion in most places rather than being one of a whole host of flautists! She absolutely loved her holiday at Mill on the Brue and made loads of new friends. She’s also enjoyed being involved with the local panto this year again- happily playing the back end of the panto horse! For her 13th birthday she had a surprise when her local friends all descended at 7am for a continental breakfast! And she’s gorgeous – she had a short and very trendy haircut this year and it really suited her – but she’s very camera shy and won’t ever let me take a decent photo of her.

Anna – well, we do despair rather! She is lovely but can’t seem to work at anything that isn’t music, or, in fact ‘being a teenager’ :roll: She auditioned for the Junior Royal Academy early in the year and didn’t get a place, but she did manage to bag a place at the South West Music School, which she absolutely loves, and it is brilliant for her, as it is allowing her to continue with the breadth of instruments that she enjoys. This summer she took exams in singing (Gr 5 distinction), cello (Gr 7 distinction) and bassoon (Gr 6 merit) as well as a merit in her piano Gr 7 earlier in the year. Not a bad achievement really. She had the chance to play in a couple of pit bands for local shows this year too – all good experience which she really enjoyed. Anna seemed to have the most holidays out of any of us this year – as well as various music residentials, she went to Romania in the summer with a group from church, and that was a major highlight for her. Oh, and she’s taller than me now, aargh!

I made it through my first year of teaching, along with Ofsted, which I maintain was no mean feat. I have got some comfort-eating to make up for as a result; 2012 will be the year of the diet, but never mind! We did have a brilliant school residential in March which was definitely a highlight of the academic year. Into the second year of teaching and I am miles happier and very much enjoying my job, most of the time at least ;) I’ve also loved ECO this year – it’s been a brilliant year with recording with the BBC, then the QAVS and Royal Garden Party – fantastic to be part of running such a fab organisation. Low point of the year was crashing the car rather spectacularly, not really my best moment :( The best bit of my year, though, was definitely a trip to Nashville to see my all-time favourite artists, Amy Grant and Michael W Smith, on tour together. Steve and I had a fabulous time together, and mainly enjoyed one another’s company – always reassuring ;)

Steve, Russ, cars and Mamhead HouseSteve – carried on running three businesses, relatively successfully – well, they are all still here, which I think is a great achievement given the current very difficult financial climate. As well as this, Steve supported me through the rest of my first year of teaching which was incredibly hard all round, and he continues to do loads of taxi driving for the children, giving him lots of time for brilliant dad-kid conversations which he is great at. He’s joined a band and so is drumming again – I still haven’t seen them play (rock covers? no thanks!) but apparently they’re quite good ;) The highlights of his year, apart from Nashville with me of course, were a trip to Le Mans with a bunch of friends, and hill climbing (very uncompetitively – boring!) with his Dad this season.

We have somehow managed to take some decent family shots this year, so I’m adding them here for the record :)

Obligatory Self-timer Best of the serious ones? Probably my favourite