A Year Older, Probably Not Wiser.

OK, I think today might be Sunday and so it is blog time.

Much like everyone reading this by now I am fed up of eating, almost allergic to chocolate and (this might just be me) having to live in my dressing gown and that one pair of pants that fit.

Christmas was good here, and I hope yours was too. It doesn’t matter that I have two very grown up girls of sixteen and eighteen, we were still woken at around 7am by Rebecca. She sent a tactical text from her bed asking if she could get up, and we agreed as long as she was the one to go and wake Emily. We’re not stupid.

As tradition dictates I go downstairs first and switch lights on, and most years find some festive music to play whilst they open their presents.

As tradition also dictates Rebecca has all of her presents open within thirty seconds, and Emily takes around an hour. The presents this year and in recent years have changed of course from the impossible to open dolls, with most of them now being clothes or make up for Rebecca and this year almost exclusively being Disney or One Direction related for Emily.

It is always nice to surprise them though, and we managed to do that with both of them. Rebecca had mentioned months ago that she wanted a (fake) fur jacket she’d seen, so Louise had sourced one of those, and Emily had been trying for weeks to get hold of a CD, which of course was WDW related, but not available in the UK on iTunes or in physical form.

I almost broke the internet tracking it down, and despite the best efforts of US Customs it arrived just a few days before Christmas.

WDW CD1

It contains pretty much every song from the theme parks.

WDW CD2

Of course the festive music I had earlier found was immediately replaced with this. Now, suspend your disbelief for a second, whilst I tell you that with a trip to WDW in 2014 being out of the question I have been doing quite well in blocking any such thoughts from my mind. You’ll notice I haven’t really mentioned it here for a while?

Well, I even did quite well listening to the theme parks being present in my front room until one song came on. I cannot explain why this one song gives me an aching and physically painful yearning for WDW but it does. It isn’t even a song you might immediately think of when trying to guess what it is. I suppose it is because we have spent some (a lot) of my birthdays in World Showcase and this just takes me right back to those lovely times.

Between this CD and the Frozen soundtrack, Emily has been fully Disneyfied in her listening habits recently.

I got some cracking gifts too. This year was the first year ever that the girls got Louise and I presents. They got Louise a perfume she had expressed a liking for when out with them, and I got the latest Call of Duty game for the XBox. Louise also got me a decent shaver, as I think she was fed up of me leaving for work looking like a burns victim with half a loo roll stuck to my face after another bad wet shave experience.

Xmas presents

Once all the presents were done (Louise had wisely got hers a little while ago when out shopping, and I got her a handbag and a scarf which were just what she wanted! I have such good taste.) I made our traditional breakfast of Eggs Benedict.

Eggs Benedict

Soon after that family started to arrive and the rest of the day was a blur of more presents, cooking the meal, Eggnog and in Rebecca’s case too much Christmas spirit. She ended the day not feeling too well at all. We’ve all been there I suppose.

We were hosting my Mum and Dad and Louise’s Mum so the numbers were manageable. The meal itself was a success. Louise did all the hard work of peeling everything and getting it on to cook, and then I took over whilst she got ready and just kept my eye on stuff until it was ready. There was a minor incident with the roast spuds but I like them a little extra crispy!

The day whizzed by as usual, as have all the ones since to be honest. We sit here a few short days away from a new year now, and at the risk of being like every single TV show you will see between now and then, I suppose it is time to reflect on the year that has gone.

As it will have been for everyone else it has been a mixed one. To varying degrees we will all have had crap bits, and we too have had our fair share of knock backs, upsets, bad luck and down right kicks in the goolies, but in the grand scheme of things we still have much to be grateful for, even if I forget that sometimes.

On the positive side this year just gone has been full of landmark events, and even though I’m bound to miss some here are the ones I can remember.

Louise passed everything she needed to and got onto the second year of her nursing course at Uni. As we expected, her returning to study has been a challenge in many ways. Financially of course, but also of our organisational skills in juggling busy lives, shift work, endless coursework and a hectic household. We’re over half way now, and I’m sure we’ll look back when it’s all over and laugh. Won’t we?

Both the girls took exams in the summer, Emily passing her A levels and Rebecca getting enough passes at GCSE level to get onto the course of her choice at college. We have to be happy with that! Rebecca of course also had her prom.

Rebecca Prom Dress

I made that!

Shortly before her prom she turned sixteen. Hmm, this year has been chock full of important events. No wonder I’m knackered.

A short while after that in the summer Emily passed her driving test. As weird experiences go, having your daughter driving is right up there. Whether she is grabbing the keys and heading off on her own or if I’m sat in the passenger seat desperately trying not to break for her, I still haven’t got used to that.

On a personal note I did something I never thought I would. I wrote and self published two books. It still feels odd to say that, but it is true. I didn’t actually write the first one this year, other than trying to make it more readable and less error strewn, but you know what I mean. Mkingdon’s Tales of Family, Food and Florida and Mkingdon’s Going Limp in Orlando Tour 2013 were supported by you kind folks to a level that I could never have imagined, and I need to thank you all again for that.

The release of the latter led to a bit of a kerfuffle and a rant on my part, which led to two things. That blog post got a huge number of views and the fallout from that kicked me up the backside sufficiently to get on and do something I have been threatening to do for years. I have now actually written my first fiction novel, and am in the process of reviewing and editing it. Whether it is good, bad or indifferent, having it done and released (soon) will be something I should probably be proud of in itself.

Of course, another major landmark this year was Emily’s 18th birthday in July. Attached to that of course was her surprise trip to WDW as her present. The build up to the reveal was very stressful, but I have to say it was worth it. The way in which that panned out and her reaction is something that will stay with me forever. If you haven’t seen it, or want to do so again then have a look at that post here.

August of course saw us go on holiday to WDW. Emily spent most of it in tears, but they were happy tears. We did the Keys to the Kingdom Tour and loved it, and if it were possible this trip and that tour made Emily’s love for WDW even greater. The rest of us quite like it too!

WDW 2013

Door shot 2013

WDW MK

WDW Rebecca

The rest of the year was probably a blur of me moaning, Pick n Mix, things going wrong in the house and rants about crap TV. But then again that could be any year. I know I will have forgotten some major happening this year and I’ll remember it as soon as I publish this post.

We know that 2014 is going to be a challenging one for us with Louise coming to the end of her course in early 2015, but we know that it will be worth it once she is qualified, earning and done with most of the studying. I can assure you though that we will NOT be going on holiday next year. You have my word! Again.

I’m sure 2014 will be the usual mix of ups and downs so here’s hoping we can roll with the punches. I hope your 2014 is everything you want it to be and more, and I wish you and yours good health and happiness throughout it. Thank you for your interest, support, comments and patience with the Mkingdon output, and when the time comes to release the new book into the world I hope it doesn’t disappoint too much.

From myself, Louise, Emily, Rebecca and Oli, have a great 2014.

oli xmas hat

Till the next time….

8 thoughts on “A Year Older, Probably Not Wiser.

  1. Craig, I love your blog. Thank you for the gentle humour (and suggestive!) you alway bring a smile to my face. I shall look forward to the publication of your fiction book and if it’s anywhere near as good as your Mkingdon trippies then it will be a smash hit! Happy New Year to you all and especially the long suffering Louise! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the great blog Craig. Have a fantastic New Year to you and you’re family.
    Look forward to sharing 2014!

  3. Enjoyed every blog and book of yours, makes me laugh and cry!

    Happy New Year to you all!

    Oli is just gorgeous by the way.

  4. Your blog is a Sunday highlight Craig, thank you! I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year! 🍻

  5. I just want to say a huge thank you to you for sharing your experiences of life here in the UK and also your travels to Florida, situations we can all relate to, laugh and cry with you over. I have thoroughly enjoyed every book and blog and I wish you and all of your family all the very best for 2014 and look forward to the new book and future blogs!! Happy New Year!

  6. Can’t believe it’s the last Craig blog of the year. But that means we start a whole new one soon. And yes, it’s been a crap year fir so many of us – but your little blog each work really does help.

    Happy new tear to you, Louise, Emily, Rebecca, Ryan and Oli x

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