At the beginning of 2020 we were full of optimism for the new year ahead, as we finished 2019 on a high with a visit to Iceland, a place that has been at the top of our bucket list for years.
Little did we know that 2020 was going to change everything.
The year started off with storm after storm and although we weren’t affected badly, we found it frustrating not being able to get out and about as much as we would like. It did, however, make for some good fossil hunting adventures.
Eliza celebrated her 9th birthday with a Harry Potter themed birthday party with Mad4Animals and was most excited by a visit from the owls.
February set the tone for the rest of the year, with both Sebastian and I floored with a nasty bug. I had a really bad cold and cough and Sebastian struggled with the same plus tonsillitis, so had 10 days of antibiotics and numerous days off school as he battled to beat it. I remember heading out for a walk to Moors Valley and we both struggled to get around the trail.
The continuous wet weather wasn’t helping, so we decided to book a last minute holiday to Spain, in the hope that some warmer weather might help.
During our first day in Spain, it was clear that he still wasn’t well, so we headed to a pharmacy for some advice. They promptly sent us to a local clinic, who only spoke Spanish, but we were told to take him straight to hospital, where he was admitted with pneumonia.
Being in hospital with a sick child is a nightmare at the best times, but in hospital with a language barrier is horrible and google translate was my friend. My husband managed to enjoy some of the holiday, taking Isaac and Eliza out and exploring as best as he could.
After 5 long days in Elche hospital, Sebby was well enough to leave and we got to explore the park that we could see from our hospital window.
As we wandered around, Eliza keep complaining of tummy pains, but we didn’t think much of it as the kids had been living off snack food for the holiday as there were not sufficient catering facilities in our bungalow.
When we arrived home the following day, Eliza was still struggling and after a phone call to 111, we were sent straight to Casualty. At least they spoke English this time!!
Because the pain was on her right side, they thought it might be appendicitis and Eliza had a cannula put in to take some blood and left in, incase she needed to be admitted for surgery. Thankfully after a few hours she was diagnosed with mesenteric adenitis, which mimics appendicitis and is caused by inflammation and swelling in the lymph nodes inside the abdomen, often caused by a viral infection of the lungs.
I still wonder to this day if we had early COVID19, but they were not testing for it at the time, but all our symptoms point to it and we have since had confirmation that it was in our community at that time.
My husband found a new job with Dorset Adventure Park that he was so excited about starting. He had been a Retail Manager for years, but loves the great outdoors and was keen to try something new.
By 16th March, news of the coronavirus outbreak started changing by the hour and we started following the news more closely. This was the week the schools and after school clubs closed for the foreseeable future and my husband left his job at Homebase. Things were changing so fast that I restarted Project365 to keep a diary of events.
My husband never got to start his new job as they retracted his job offer on the same day he left Homebase and despite several appeals, Homebase refused to reinstate him, so I applied for a job at Tesco and was taken on the same day.
The one thing that kept us sane was our daily walks and we found some beautiful spots locally.
Kian came home from university in Bristol and my husband joined me at Tesco and we worked our shifts around each other so one of us was home with the kids.
Panic buying was still very much a thing, especially with Easter around the corner and I remember being very frustrated by the fact we could not buy eggs, flour, tins, toilet roll and other essentials and the queues to get into supermarkets were ridiculous.
With the Easter holidays now upon us, it meant a break from home schooling (thank goodness). We loved our walks and bike rides and the weather was glorious which made things much easier for us.
We also started to enjoy weekly zoom quiz nights with the family.
Isaac celebrated his 12th birthday at home and we made the best of it with a barbecue, pinata, silly string fight and a dip in the hot tub.
The arrival of May saw the lockdown rules being relaxed slightly and we enjoyed being able to jump in the car and explore places slightly farther afield, albeit, only within a 20 minute drive.
Homeschooling wasn’t going too well. The kids all had their moments with the work set and Eliza especially struggled with the maths side of things.
During lockdown, the kids were fascinated by a family of blue tits that were nesting in our bird box, so there was much excitement when the chicks emerged for the first time.
Lockdown restrictions started to lift and non-essential shops began to open and Eliza and Sebastian went back to school, with their lunch in bags and no backpacks to take with them. They loved being back, more so as they could finally see their friends again.
For Sebby’s birthday, he asked to go crabbing, so who were we to disappoint.
Although he didn’t get to have a party, we did spoil him with a special cake and balloon with his favourite things – Pokemon and Star Wars.
My birthday is the day after Sebby’s and I was keen to get out and explore a little farther afield, so we jumped in the car and visited Corfe Castle and Swanage.
The kids had only been back at school for 4 weeks when they broke up for the summer holidays, but they were excited for 7 weeks off with no home learning and the ability to enjoy days our further afield.
My husband started a new job at Carpetright and was excited about having a new challenge. It also became compulsory for people to wear masks in shops this month, which took some getting used to at work, but my very talented friend made us some fabric ones to wear with all our favourite characters.
Typically, after weeks of glorious weather, now that we could go out we endured a couple of storms, one which meant we had to postpone my husband’s birthday treat. Thankfully we managed to rebook if for the following weekend and enjoyed a family kayak out to Old Harry Rocks.
The month of August saw Kian head back to work as Splashdown re-opened and us enjoying some more days out. Some places did social distancing better than others and we avoided any areas which felt too busy and over-crowded.
We also had new internal doors fitted at home, which has been a long time coming and has helped to give the house a fresh new feel – I wasn’t quite prepared for the mess though.
Isaac got to enjoy a belated birthday party with his friends to Splashdown and Sebby did Go Ape for his birthday treat.
For Kian’s 20th birthday we actually got to eat out at a restaurant and chose a local independent one, run by friends as their business has really suffered this year.
The kids all resumed swimming lessons and after beavers/cubs/scouts, so it was back to juggling days and times again.
Before the kids went back to school, we booked a a night away in Somerset, staying at the Wookey Hole Hotel.
Kian headed back to university in Bristol and the kids back to school. Eliza and Sebby were disappointed that they still had to be in bubbles, but happy to see their friends. Isaac’s classes also changed and he struggled with being in a mixed ability class at first as he doesn’t like change.
Of course, being back at school meant the kids all picked up colds by the end of the month and we worried about Sebby after his stint in hospital at the beginning of the year. Thankfully he was fine and it was me that was hit hardest by the bug and after I lost my sense of taste and smell, we had to self isolate.
Thankfully, my results came in and were negative, so we all breathed a sigh of relief when we could go back to work and school, but restrictions are back with a vengeance.
With Kian back at university, we formed a childcare bubble with Abbey, so she can help look after the kids when I am at work and Lilah gets really excited when they arrive to play.
With the weather turning, we noticed that the flat roof on our dining room had started to leak, so I got a quote and arranged for it to be replaced.
We were worried about the rising rates of Coronavirus again and followed the news closely, but venues were were still open so we were able to manage some days out, including a visit to the Hawk Conservancy Trust where we got to meet Burrowing Owls.
For half term, we book an Airbnb in Somerset and spent the week exploring the local area and visiting Kian in Bristol for the day.
We also managed a spot of Pumpkin picking.
By 5th November we were back in a National Lockdown so all firework events were cancelled. That didn’t stop us from enjoying sparklers in the garden.
It really didn’t feel like a lockdown as the kids were still at school, although Isaac did have a two week half term due to a number of his teachers having to isolate.
I looked after Lilah for the first time in preparation for Abbey going back to work and she was as good as gold and I bagged myself a new role in Tesco as Community Champion, which involves getting involved in charity work and supporting our local community.
My biggest frustration with this lockdown is that people are ignoring the rules, thinking its all a hoax. Even my husband’s work seem to think that them being open is essential………..who needs to go carpet shopping in a lockdown????
2nd December was the end of lockdown 2 and it felt like the nation breathed a collective sigh of relief when everything re-opened again.
Our Christmas Tree went up earlier than normal as we tried to make it more exciting for the kids and we picked up Kian from university early too as all his work is online.
I haven’t said too much on here, but my husband really didn’t enjoy his role at Carpetright thanks to a lack of training and support, so we were all very relieved when he got a new job, starting in the new year.
Lilah celebrated her first birthday, so we popped in to see her straight from work / school with her presents, as she couldn’t have a party because of all the restrictions.
Christmas at Tesco is their busiest time of the year, so I spent most of December without a day off as I juggled my work at the pre-school with the supermarket. I kept myself going with the thought of getting to see the family over Christmas, although that was almost taken away with a last minute change to rules, meaning we could only mix for one day, instead of five.
Thankfully, we could still have three bubbles, so all the kids were home for Christmas.
In true 2020 style, we finished the year back in a Tier 4 lockdown which started on New Year’s Eve – if I had thought Christmas Eve was busy, NYE was busier and I was very relieved to get home and welcome the New Year in with some glow stick fun and sparklers in the garden.
This year has definitely been a struggle at times with health and money worries, but I am also aware that we have been luckier than a lot of people whose industries have failed and job security is up in the air. We have all developed a slightly unhealthy obsession with Pokemon Go as it helps get the kids out on longer walks.
How was 2020 for you?