As I while away the last hours of work before I finish, and head back to my family and start festivities, I wanted to put together a little message for anyone else looking to kill a little time before they do the same, and to wish all a good Christmas and 2016 filled with love and happiness.
Firstly, my favourite Christmas carol to soundtrack the next few paragraphs...
Reflecting on the past year, like every other, there have been highs and lows, which we've enjoyed/battled, and emerged the other side just in time for a lovely family Christmas. My family is something I'm thankful for all year around, everyday, but especially so over the next few days when I think of all the people going into the holiday season not as fortunate as us.
There have been some hard negatives this year which have taken up brain space, with some family struggles with more distant members and having to hand my notice in for two jobs in the space of a year, plus getting offered what seemed like a perfect job to have it only retracted at the last minute. Thankfully the job stuff is sorted (literally last week it all fell into place) and the family stuff can be put to bed. Oh yeah, my car also died a death, so that was about £4,000 down the drain.
But enough of the negatives, and onto the positives. Our main very exciting news this year is that we we're able to announce to the world the other week that we are expecting our second baby! Due just two days before Rufus' second birthday, we're over the moon and cannot wait to meet what we have affectionately (and inappropriately) names 'the doddle'.
We had a lovely family holiday this year to Portugal, with Erica's mum and Dad, her brother Dave and his wife and kids, which while hard work with Rufus discovering walking just in time to discover the tiled hard floors and constant steps, was a joy to do and especially see him in the pool having such fun.
Summer also saw my garden coming back into bloom, which I loved as always. We had a mega crop of tomatoes which took over the veg patch and eventually got turned into chutney, and we had some beautiful blackberries which got turned into jam which Rufus is still happily working his way through. The shed witnessed my second home brew beer, which still needs to be labelled but has been dubbed 'The Knitaholic'. Those who know what that means, will know who bought me the yeast and hops etc this time last year.
I also got offered a job, well about four actually (get me), in the last month or so, ranging from a remote job in New York to a creative leader of about 25 people, and I've now started the process of going to the one I'm really excited about. I'm confident this is going to be my long term professional home for a few years. More to be revealed on that in the new year.
Other things that happened this year was watching FOUR of our best friends get married, and another TWO get engaged! I was best man at one of the weddings, which seems like ages ago now, and I battled (and won) a personal demon of mine about public speaking. We celebrated Rufus' first birthday in June, which was pretty special, and amazing to see how far he has come in just one short year. We also bought a new car which is a beast, and while I would have preferred my Audi to have not died and cost us a load of money, the new one is lovely and should give us a few years peace of mind, unlike the old one. I also turned 30, and along with BFF Joel, had a mega birthday weekend celebration away with the clan.
Last mental picture was Rufus doing his first ever Nativity at church last Sunday, he played an angel and looked the part with gold tinsel and a cheeky smile.
We want to say thank you for everyone that has been there for us this year and for all the help and love people have given and shown to us. We love you all so much.
So, onward to 2016, new babies, jobs, and adventures. See you all then!
Love, Jon, Erica, Rufus, The Doddle, Gavin (cat) and Stacey (other more annoying cat)
See below for some of our year in pictures...