I'm rather a little late writing my summary of last year (although I'm sure if you look back at the blog you will notice a similar trend in previous years!) 2013 was a very busy year for us. I knew it would be but I didn't expect it to be quite as bad as it was. I feel like I never had a moment free! It has been an amazing year though. We have had some unexpected surprises along the way that have us excited about the future.
Jacob started Class 1 this year. He started at a different campus this year and we were all a little worried about how he'd settle in. But it's all happened so smoothly. He has the most amazing teacher. She is gentle, kind and compassionate. She understands the kids she teaches so well and knows exactly what they need. She has made the transition to the new campus so easy for Jacob. We feel truly blessed that she will be Jacob's teacher for the next 5 years. When you see Jacob alongside his peers these days you would never guess that he has Autism. He made some incredible changes in 2013 (again, largely due to his teacher). You may see a boy who is a bit reluctant to join in new activities or who doesn't always join in on group games in the playground but really that is not so different from some other kids. He has his special friends in his class and is happy to play with them. We still get the meltdowns at home but I think that's just the way things go with Jacob. Hopefully, as he gets older we will be able to teach him appropriate ways to deal with these.
Esme had her last year of Kinder this year. For the first time in 4 years we will not have a child at Kinder in 2014 which feels a little strange! She has loved Kinder this year. She is the real little social butterfly. She loves to play with all the other kids at Kinder and has made some beautiful friends, all of whom will continue on to school with her next year which is great! She loves to play with all the boys too, getting involved in all their rough and tumble games and getting as dirty as possible. She's very much looking forward to going to school.
Gideon has grown and changed so much in the past year. He is a real little boy now. He loves to chase after the two big kids and terrorise them (he's getting his own back now for the many times they annoyed him!) I've enjoyed having some one on one time with him this year when Esme has been at Kinder and Jacob has been at school. He seems to be growing up far more quickly than the other two did which makes me a little sad.
I continued working one day a week in 2013 and have enjoyed my little bit of time away from the kids. I will continue working one day a week next year as well, with a class that is mostly the same (which is a good thing as I've really enjoyed teaching the class I currently have). One day or work a week is perfect for me at the moment and I have no intention of increasing my hours anytime soon. I am no longer the group leader of my local ABA group. It's given me a bit of extra time and space and I have been able to manage going back on helpline once a month. I enjoyed completing some craft projects although did not have as much time as I would have liked to this year (perhaps in 2014?!)
The most exciting thing that happened in 2013 was to do with Chris' chocolate business - FunKey Chocolates. He started off the year making chocolates on a small scale - mainly for family and friends. We thought it would all be too hard to get our kitchen approved by the Council to use for chocolate production. He looked into hiring out commercial kitchens but that proved too expensive and too hard to do. Towards the end of the year though we decided to just get someone out and see what we would need to do to our kitchen to get it up to 'standards'. Imagine our surprise when the health inspector told us that our kitchen had passed and that Chris was able to trade! He has since done two markets (one our school market day and one a big market in Upwey) and done quite well. Easter this year looks like it's going to be a busy time in our household. While it's been a lot of hard work especially given that Chris still has a full-time job and is making chocolates in the evenings/weekends, I'm glad that he has found something he loves to do. We're both very excited about the future of the business.
Happy New Year! I hope that 2014 brings everyone great happiness!