I went through this exercise last year after having one of the best years of my life. But it's pretty clear that this year has trumped it ten times over (no prizes for guessing why!).
My Top Highlights
*That moment at 7.24pm on Friday 18th March (after rather a bumpy ride and a few hairy moments), when my pride and joy, Sophia Molly Byles joined us in the world. Life was never quite the same again!
*Watching her daddy hold her for the first time, and seeing the tenderness in his eyes.
*Walking through our front door with her for the first time, and feeling like a proper family at last.
*The first time she latched onto my breast and drank. The first time she smiled, sat up and crawled. The first time she gave me a proper cuddle. The first time she looked at me and said 'Mama'. The first time I looked at her and realised she was rapidly acquiring her own little personality, that she was fierce and there would be no stopping her in life.
*Our first time traveling as a family.
*The first time she met her relatives back in the UK.
*Her first Christmas.
And many, many more...
Yes, when you have a child, all of your highlights in life are no longer your own, and I wouldn't change it for the world.
2016 in Numbers
1: The number of major surgeries I had this year
1: The number of publications I wrote for. I became the new food columnist for OhLaLa Magazine out here in the Middle East!
2: The number of events I spoke at
1: The number of years of marriage Mr Sunshine and I celebrated
9: The number of months I took off work, first for maternity leave then unpaid leave
3: The number of trips we've taken to the UAE
3: The number of times we've flown home to the UK
2: The number of weddings we've been to
3: The number of my best friends that gave birth
57: The number of blog posts I wrote
19: The number of baby-related blog posts I wrote
36: The (approximate) number of blog events I attended
793: The number of Instagram photos I posted
72,738: The number of Instagram likes I received
24: The number of new friends I made this year through blogging and being a mummy
200: The (approximate) number of sleepless nights I had
365: The number of days I was genuinely happy to be alive (cheesy but oh-so true!)
My 10 most popular posts of 2016
20 Things I've Learned Since Becoming A Mummy
Doha's Most Child-Friendly Brunch: Superhero Picnic at The Lagoon, Ritz Carlton
24 Hours at Home on The Pearl, Qatar
My Top 20 Hotel Rooms of All Time
6 Reasons to Choose Zengo for Your Next Doha Date Night
Introducing Baby Sunshine: Sophia's Birth Story
New Mum's Christmas Gift List and Baby Gift Registry
A Luxurious Family Stay at the Four Seasons Hotel, Doha
Our Nursery Choice And Journey: Twyla Nursery, The Pearl Qatar
4 Doha Date Ideas
What This Year Taught Me:
- Having a baby is the most humbling, exhausting, beautiful, difficult, joy-filled, stress-inducing thing anyone could ever do and I bloody love it!
- Family is everything
- I have a lot of resources in me that I didn't know I had (even at 3am in the morning)
- The little things that life that used to stress me out and get me down suddenly just don't matter any more.
- You CAN get through a day on only 30 minutes sleep and half a Kitkat
Tomorrow is a big day for me because I will be returning to work after 9 months of being a full-time mummy. I haven't allowed myself to think about it much up until now because it's just too painful, but I'm sure that as soon as I'm behind that desk, I'll remember why it is that I chose to do what I do. My focus over the next few weeks will be on keeping myself as busy as possible during working hours so that I'm not constantly thinking of Sophia all the time! Let's see how that goes...
In February we are returning to the UK for my younger brother's wedding in York, when we will also squeeze in some very belated Christmas celebrations and present-swapping with our families.
March marks Sophia's first birthday and I'm already hatching plans for a big celebration with all of her friends.
Then after that, we will be heading off on some exciting travels around the world (look out for tomorrow's blog post on this!) and spending some quality time together as a family in between work commitments, writing for OhLaLa and hopefully hosting a few more events in 2017 too.
For Sophia, it's back to Twyla Nursery from Sunday through to Thursday while I'm at work, but I'll be back with her by 2pm every day and I'm hoping to enrol us in a couple of mummy & baby classes to keep her stimulated (and help to tire us all out before bed time!).
Apart from that, who knows?! It's hard to plan too much when you have a baby in your life, but then that's part of the adventure of parenting I suppose. One thing that I know for sure is that it's going to be a hell of a lot of fun.
Thanks for following along with my very sporadic, unpredictable posting this year! I would love to say that I will knuckle down to a more regular and predictable blogging schedule in 2017, but between work commitments and looking after Sophia I'm not going to even pretend that that's possible. However, I do really hope that you'll stick around and keep reading. I have a couple of collaborations and new projects up my sleeve for the coming year that will hopefully keep things interesting and a bit different too.
As always, thanks for all of your comments, shares, emails, feedback, likes and support. I really appreciate each and every one of them. Wishing you and your family all the best for a healthy and happy 2017!