c’est fini…

growing...So…after 365 days worth of photos showcasing the life of a very average 30something British guy who has the joy of being a husband and father to two gorgeous women; a guy who moved from being a trainee to a real teacher, got his first classroom and learnt on his feet how to ‘actually’ teach – here we are, the end of 2012.

What a year.

Highlights – undoubtedly anything to do with my family.  I’m beyond blessed.  A wife who loves and supports me in everything that I try to do.  A daughter who occasionally listens to me, but loves me all the same.  A Mum and Dad who made me into who I am today (blame them!) and a brother and sister in law that make me smile whenever I see them…which is nowhere near often enough.  In-laws to die for – Denise, Claire (and Graham) and Marc (and assorted Ransleys/Brines).  Friendships, moving home, Heavitree, Park Life, Parkology, the pub, breakfast with the Es and Rs.  All of these guys have cropped up throughout the year…hopefully you’ll see more of them as the new year goes by.

Lowlights – the weeks in the spring when it seemed like no job would ever turn up, when lesson plans overwhelmed me and classes didn’t want to behave.  The frequent undermining of everything teaching and learning stands for in British schools by a education secretary who hasn’t got the balls to be honest about what he’s really up to.

It’s been a good one.  Maybe I’m an optimist, maybe I’m a positive type, but it has really felt like it.  If you want an overview (and a really long one at that!) you can find all the 365 project photos here.

I also spent some time at the start of the year trying to explain where my beliefs are and how they’ve developed since we moved from the Salvation Army and ENC.  I hope they proved though provoking and stirred a desire within you to explore the things you believe in, testing them, figuring out why you believe what you believe, not just accepting what someone else has told you to believe.  I think some of these beliefs have moved on again over the past 12 months, perhaps something to explore in the next few months.

So…what about 2013…lots to explore, lots to experience.

May it be a year full of challenge and growth and life and love and hope and everything that being human brings…

I leave you with a picture with the star of the show…getting excited about her growth too!

day 365…

muddy...Great game of very muddy, very wet football – loads of fun with the Heavitree Park Life guys.

Managed to get in my annual sliding tackle…hence the somewhat muddy back on my top!

I’d forgotten how hard it is to run (uphill at times) in the mud…it’s like twice the effort!

Great way to end the year…and a reminder that I need to work on my fitness – again!

day 363…

empty nest...Just got home from seeing the Hobbit (a)…really good night out with an old friend and some new ones…

Home to an empty house though…Kay and Sephi have gone on an overnight roadtrip to see ‘Big’ Nan and Grandad oop north.  Weird, especially after yesterday having 6 guests to a post-Christmas Christmas lunch.

Not sure I like it, not at all sure…empty nest…

Still, they’re back tomorrow…

day 362…

holy trinity?One of the dangers of Christmas…death by chocolate…

Especially when that chocolate is Chocolate Orange…uh oh!

Anyone would think that we like the stuff…

On a serious note – love the generosity of it all…but overconsumption at this time of year is something to think about.  We’re generally pretty good on this throughout the rest of the year, but I realise we’re in the minority of those both in our world and increasingly in the UK who can ‘overconsume’.  I wonder if 2013 will be the same as 2012 on this front – more and more belt-tightening for everyone (forgive the unintentional pun!)

day 361…

TV addictsFamily Christmas started today with the arrival of Nani and Pops…cue one very excited little girl!

Family Brine arrive tomorrow for the big Christmas lunch…slightly nervous about the cooking I’m taking on…first time for this kind of gig…

Luckily, I remembered to take the meat out of the freezer earlier…phew!

Here’s Sephi and Pops entranced by Toy Story 2…not sure who the bigger kid is!

I love family Christmases!

day 358…

preparing...They say that as you grow older your experience of Christmas changes. When you’re a kid, it’s all about you, about what you’re getting – whether you can find the present stash before the big day or not!

Then you grow up and you meet someone that you want to lavish love on, and it becomes a great trial in buying the right present – not because she’ll judge you badly or anything…but just because you want to get ‘it’ right.

And then you have a child , and it becomes all about them, about creating special memories as a family, about putting together an ikea kids kitchen on Christmas Eve when all you want to do is chill with an ale in hand!

I wouldn’t change it for the world…

Oh, and tonight was the first time we’ve left treats out for Santa and his reindeer…I’ll let you know how it goes down…

day 357…

theatre!A Christmas Eve trip to the theatre has become a little bit of a tradition for us – well, this is the second year in a row we’ve done, so ‘tradition’ might be an overstatement!

Anyway, this time last year it was for the fantastic ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ – this year featured the ‘Snail and the Whale’.  Fun, moving, lovely live music…all in all a wonderful trip out.

Happy Christmas Eve everyone!