It was around this time last year, (I can't pinpoint the exact day as we wrote up some backdated blog posts of things we wanted the boys to remember) that we had a lovely break at Bluestone and spent our evenings there setting up this blog.
We had just found out that we had been picked as Toyologists and so needed to get the blog set up in time to start our reviews as the first box was arriving very soon after!
The blog was set up to be a place to document memories for the boys, particularly as we often go on days out or do special projects for home-school, but it has ended up being so much more than that.
It has doubled-up as T's baby book as this is the only place that I keep a record of her milestones and cute moments.
And we have been extremely fortunate to have worked with some lovely brands like Nuby when we were selected as Nuby bloggers. To celebrate our blog anniversary Nuby kindly provided a prize bundle of bath toys and the competition date ended to coincide with our blog anniversary with congratulations to Laura Avery who was randomly picked as the winner.
A year ago, I had no idea that this blog would also become my 'escape' in the evenings, and help me put things in perspective after a long day with the kids. I had no idea that I would find so many other lovely blogs to read and make online friends with not only other bloggers but also some of our lovely blog readers.
I had no idea I would feel so emotionally attached to our blog and other blogs to the extent that I worry about people if I see their blog hasn't been updated for a while. When others are going through difficult times, I feel for them so much more than I could have possibly imagined I would. I had no idea that I would stumble across so many inspirational, wonderful, brave, supportive, kind, non-judgemental, caring people each with their story to tell through their blog.
I try not to look at the blog stats pages as it has always been our intention to blog for us, but it is really lovely to see how many other people drop in on our journey as we navigate our way through home-school, the ups and downs of Aspergers and family life in general. Thank you to everyone who has read our blog, has ever commented on a blog post or on facebook or got in touch with us. Your support really is appreciated!
We have loved the journey our blog has taken us on with J being asked to provide jokes for The Toadstool, and being picked as Center Parcs bloggers.
We have enjoyed joining in with various blog hops and linkys; the regular ones we try to link up with being Actually Mummy's Wot so funee, which is a great way of capturing your children's funny moments, Mummy from the heart's Reasons to be Cheerful which is just what it says on the tin really - finding reasons to be cheerful whatever life throws at you, and 3 children and IT's oldies but goodies which gives an opportunity for some of those older posts to get a second airing. We hope to continue getting the kids involved with linking up with This Mummy Love's draw with me linky too!
We have been fortunate to have been selected as the winner or runner up in various blogger competitions like Jolly Journeys, by blogging about our top tips for long car journeys with kids, Superkid Savers by sharing our top saving tips for kids and even, much to our surprise, various recipe blogger challenges like the Lean on Turkey challenge and the Richmond mini meatballs Hungry to Happy challenge!
The reason I say 'much to our surprise' is that anyone who knows me knows just what a disaster area I am in the kitchen but I have been so inspired by my little boy who has started his own blogging journey over at The Brilliant Chef that I have 'had a go' with cookery and coming up with recipe ideas, so it has been amazing to have been picked as a winner with some of these recipes and ideas.
On the not-so-positive side of blogging, I had no idea just how time consuming it would be. Me and my telly are no longer on speaking terms and I find I don't get on with the intensity of the social media side of blogging.
I also find it incredibly frustrating that only a tiny fraction of the things I would like to blog about actually make it onto the blog. All those lovely ideas and aspirations I had about researching topics in depth like home-schooling, extended breastfeeding, all the many facets of Aspergers, and then adding in our experiences and writing blog posts about them just hasn't happened. Even our home-school topics and days out only get a tiny mention in the overall scheme of things as there just aren't enough hours in the day to actually do things and then blog about the things we do.
Emotionally I have found it to be a bit of a roller-coaster too, as I find that I am constantly thinking about how much of my thoughts and feelings to blog about. I have had certain events trigger Post Natal Depression; this has caused a constant turmoil in my mind as I have not felt ready to blog about it yet but that has in turn led me to feel that I am not being honest with myself.
In addition there is the constant dilemma that I have read so many others blog about regarding how much we blog about our children without invading their privacy or embarrassing them if they look back on it in future.
But for now, we will try to enjoy our blog, to not put pressure on ourselves to blog too often or to try to cover too much, to not feel the pressure of social media and just dip in and out as we wish, to not worry what others think and see where the next year of blogging takes us!