Saturday, January 2, 2016

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016... 7 years of blogging and new beginnings.

A new year has come, marking 7 years of this blog. It can be difficult to keep up and I'm always slightly behind, but Raf, especially, loves looking at old blogs, seeing himself as a wee one, looking remarkably like Charlie. I used to write this blog to share the kids' adventures with our overseas families and friends but more and more it's a little diary for the kids, cataloguing our trips, funny things they say, and lots and lots more. For this reason I'm going to make the blog private (I've done it before but people had a difficult time logging in) and after this I won't share reminder links to our families on Facebook. Frankly you may all be a bit sick and tired of the Oliver-Campbells :) But should you like to read about the boys' and Hatts' exploits, feel free to send me a message and I'll send you an invitation to read. 

Anyway, on to the year's festivities.... It was really the year of welcoming into the world our little, glorious Harriet Rose. Such a sweet baby. Three children is very busy, though, and with Rich gone for long hours each day, I will admit that it's been a challenge managing everything. And of course going back to work full time with a new baby, managing a toddler, and first grader (and dogs) is, well, difficult. We had a brilliant Christmas but sadly we were hit by a lot of low level bugs and, a few days  ago, I was hit with a really nasty stomach virus that seemed to come out of nowhere. Sleeping between two children, vomiting every 30 minutes through the night while tending to Hatts left me feeling very depleted, and then mum came down with the same bug so there were even fewer hands on deck to help...

All this is to say that our new year plans were minimal. We'd been invited to some friends for a sleepover but couldn't, of course, leave poor mum, so we planned to do as we usually do, which is to celebrate 'UK time'.

During the day, though, I took the children to the Children's Museum for their noon countdown, balloon drop. Rich met us there for a short while and then Raf's good friends Cameron and Katherine arrived.

It was fairly sedate at first...

Hatts had her first set-to with another baby... and cried when the 10 month old took away her ball!

The boys checked out the little tidal pool.

And then it was bedlam! I lost Raf in the crush of the people, but now I know he was center stage awaiting a green balloon! In the midst of it all sweet Harriet fell asleep in the Ergo.

Got it!

And as if two hours of playing and celebrating at the museum wasn't enough, we rushed down to the Bounce Zone for another play date with old soccer pals.

So much fun.

And of course Charlie completely crashed.

Rich put together a spread of pickles and crackers and we had a pleasant evening, though honestly my spirits were unusually low. Mum was in bed, I was feeling burnt out, and of course there are so many expectations put on us at this time of the year. For the first time I started to give some real thought to new resolutions.

But more important than that, the kids had a good time.

And we played the BBC-Iplayer and counted down with Big Ben, London time.

And the kids watched the fireworks from London with Richard.

And Hatts was excited too!

Indeed Harriet probably thought that since this was her first New Years, she should stay up all night celebrating various time zones' festivities. Exhausted!

Even so, I'd asked Raf if he wanted to see the first sun rise of the year, so I woke him up well before he was ready to get up, and he, Hatts, and I drove down to the beach to wait for the first sun rise of the year. SO glad we did.

Unfortunately, while the sky was mostly cloudless, there were a stretch of clouds on the horizon masking the first speck of sun... still, the light was amazing (which my iPhone doesn't really capture... must get a proper camera).

Just beautiful. Raf and I watched a man propose to his girlfriend at this point... we pretended not to notice! And another woman found Raf a sand dollar....  They soon left, though, and we were left on a vast stretch of sand thinking about our intentions for the coming year.

Rich and Charlie met us for some hot drinks to warm us up...

And once we were warmed up, we went sledging. A lot of fun was had.

And as to our new year intentions.. Well, Raf and I were the only ones to really give it some thought. Rich's were along the lines of staying alive and finishing up his hours for his counseling license. Oh and him thinking about getting a tattoo.

Raf surprised me with his...

1) Learn more Spanish (and French)
2) Check in to see how people are, more often.

And my goal for him...  to continue to make great strides with his reading so he can read on his own his beloved Captain Underpants books!

As for me.. and again, I usually don't do these but my somewhat melancholy mood was a bit of a prod.

1) This is the year of writing for me. My sabbatical begins and whilst my family might think it's a big vacation it's an incredible opportunity to bring to fruition a number of research projects that I've been slowly working on.
2) To be outside more often, especially in the winter, and to visit the beach more often, especially outside of summer.
3) To be a good role model for the children. This seems especially important now Harriet is here... What do we want for these children? So questions I've started to ask myself include: 'is this what I would want for my children? Would I want them to treat others like this? To be treated like that? What kind of partners and spouses will they be and what kinds of expectations will they have? Do I want Harriet left with the burden of so much at home and in the workplace? And on that note I've started to teach Raf to cook.

So onward and upward.


  1. Happy New Year to you all. I hope 2016 brings you all great happiness and good health.
    I'd love to continue reading your blog Alex, but only if you're comfortable with that. Do you still have my email to send me an invitation to read?
    The email I have for you is a gmail one including a double-digit number. Is that the one you still use?
    It'd be great to keep up-to-date if possible.

    Emma x

  2. Happy 2016 to you all!! Lovely pictures lovely family!!!

    Send me an invite for reading the blog. I have PM you my gmail id. Thanks :)

  3. What a lovely post, Alex. I am sorry that you've been having such a hard time. I don't know how you hold it together sometimes!!!! But you are amazingly resilient, and you are raising such mindful, delightful human beings. You are doing GREAT.

    I hope that all of you are feeling better soon. What a terrible shame that you were passing around that horrid bug. :-(

    The photos are absolutely fabulous! I hope Raf enjoyed seeing himself in the newspaper. It was a bit like a "Where's Waldo?" image!

    If you are comfortable having me on your private blog reading list, I'd surely love to have an invite to my non-work email,

    xoxox and hang in there. Hoping we can get you all to come over to the house soon! Happy New Year!!

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