2016 – it’s a wrap!

On a patch of green beside the Brisbane River, we gather.

Our shoes are abandoned for the freedom of the cool, soft grass under our feet, while the gentle river breeze whips the girls into frenzied excitement as they dance around me impatiently awaiting their dinner.

I roll out a picnic rug and plonk our takeaway pizza boxes on top. Each week it is the same. Ham and pineapple for Miss Six, ham and cheese for Miss Four, vegetarian for me and carbonara pasta for Dave. Dave cracks a coldie and pours me a glass of crisp, white wine.

We sit and eat watching the river sparkle under the glow of the sunset just moments before the skyline is transformed into a magical fairyland of lights. In between the girls’ chitter chatter, Dave and I attempt to catch up on our week.

This picnic on dusk has become our tradition this year. It is the perfect way for us to unwind from the week and reboot for the week to come. With our lives seemingly busier than ever, we need this simple pleasure to reconnect.

2016 has been a big one for our family. At the close of 2015, I knew 2016 was going to be a year of change – and it was!

Miss Six started Prep and I was quick to learn how busy being a school mum can be. We found our rhythm soon enough and fell in love with our school community. I took on the role of marketing coordinator on the school’s P&F and had a ball working with a group of amazing people to pull together some impressive events.

I took six months’ leave from work earlier this year and threw myself into freelance writing and social media management. I loved being able to drop the kids off to school and daycare, work my butt off in between, and then pick them up at 3pm. Who knew how fast the school day goes and how focused you need to be to kick goals in the hours in between!

At the end of my long service leave, I decided it was now or never to take a leap and try something new. While I loved freelancing, my business was in the early stages and I needed the security of a regular wage. I was lucky enough to apply for and win a marketing role working school hours four days a week, allowing me to continue my freelancing and spend the time with the kids that I wanted.

The second week into my new job, Miss Four rolled off the couch and broke her collar bone. I was incredibly grateful for my village – mum, my mother-in-law and my aunt – who took care of our darling girl for two weeks while I regretfully continued working. Never have I been so grateful for the support of my village.

This year we celebrated a sixth birthday and a fourth birthday. I became an aunty for the seventh time and we said goodbye to my darling, Granny, who is in my heart every day.

We took a much-needed weekend away to Jemima’s in Northern NSW and enjoyed some beautiful family time together.

In between all of that, I managed to keep this little old blog tinkering along.

My stats tell me there have been four standout posts this year – a couple about married life, one about taking time off work, and one about my completely hopeless pelvic floor. Joy.

Modibodi review

Taking time out for me

8 photos in 8 years of marriage

Why our marriage works

Well, I don’t want to babble on too much today as I know you’re all crazy busy this time of year. I’d like to extend to you my heartfelt thanks for supporting and interacting with my blog this year. It means the world to me that so many of you can relate to my words and stories. It can be a scary thing putting your words, thoughts, worries and dreams out there into the world. Thank you for always being respectful and kind when reading my blog. I am honoured that you all take the time to read my stories.

I’m taking a few weeks off from the blog, but I’ll still be playing around on Instagram and Facebook (or perhaps I should be taking a Facebook detox. My 2016 year in review informed me I liked a disgraceful 22,000 things on Facebook this year. God alive!).

Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

See you on the flip side.



Linking up today with Kylie Purtell for the final IBOT of the year.

21 comments on 2016 – it’s a wrap!

  1. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    December 20, 2016 at 7:15 am (2 years ago)

    I love that picnic tradition – that’s what I call a healthy habit! I loved the wedding pics post! It’s been a big year for you guys, here’s hoping 2017 is jam packed full of all good things. Happy Holidays!

  2. Deb @inner compass designs
    December 20, 2016 at 7:58 am (2 years ago)

    Your family picnic sounds divine!!!! Sounds like your work situation evolved perfectly through the year. And yay for our villages. Have a good break lovely xx

  3. Nicole @ The Builder's Wife
    December 20, 2016 at 9:27 am (2 years ago)

    It’s been a huge year for your Renee, I have loved watching from the sideline. Here’s to an even bigger and better 2017! xx

  4. Vanessa
    December 20, 2016 at 9:38 am (2 years ago)

    Have a great break!! See you in 2017.

  5. Jodi Gibson
    December 20, 2016 at 9:45 am (2 years ago)

    Now I don’t feel so bad for liking nearly 10,000 things! lol
    What a wonderful year Renee, here’s to an even better 2017 for you and your beautiful family.

  6. [email protected]
    December 20, 2016 at 12:50 pm (2 years ago)

    Love following your journey you gorgeous woman! Hope you have an enjoyable break xxx

  7. Kylie Purtell
    December 20, 2016 at 1:19 pm (2 years ago)

    What a year! I’m glad you’ve had a good one and kicked some personal goals. I can’t wait to continue reading in 2017! Thank you for being such an amazing part of teamIBOT, I honestly don’t know if I would have had the guts to take over from Jess if it wasn’t for you lovely people having my back xx

  8. Denyse Whelan Blogs
    December 20, 2016 at 1:38 pm (2 years ago)

    Gosh, I liked more than that on FB..does that make you feel better? What a year it’s been for you and it’s been just great following along via the various social media we share. Thanks for your bloggy friendship and helping me out with questions & answers from your daughter. I am so pleased that you guys have worked out a wonderful way to celebrate each week.More families need to do this!! Glad the new job is going well too. See you when you are back and I am glad you are still on TeamIBOT!! Denyse x

  9. Karin @ Calm to Conniption
    December 20, 2016 at 1:39 pm (2 years ago)

    That sounds like such a brilliant family ritual. Have a wonderful Christmas Renee.x

  10. Maxabella
    December 20, 2016 at 3:20 pm (2 years ago)

    Have a brilliant Christmas and new year, Renee. I’ll see you on the flipside! x

  11. Toni @ Finding Myself Young
    December 20, 2016 at 3:45 pm (2 years ago)

    Now I want to start a picnic tradition! I wish we lived closer to Southbank, it’s such a hike from our place and there’s nothing that compares out here. Hope you and the family have a great Christmas.

  12. Emily Toxward
    December 20, 2016 at 4:35 pm (2 years ago)

    What a year Ren, it’s been choatic here too. Love your tradition! See you around SM and Merry Christmas lovely x

  13. EssentiallyJess
    December 20, 2016 at 7:05 pm (2 years ago)

    22 000! Wow! I thought mine was high!
    You’re obviously a very generous person. 🙂
    It’s been a huge year for you, but it’s so nice that you got to make some of the changes that you needed. xx

  14. Emily
    December 20, 2016 at 7:46 pm (2 years ago)

    Merry Christmas gorgeous. Such a pleasure to know you. I hear you on the school mum thing. We don’t have official positions like that, but I organised the Trivia Night so I guess that’s similar! So exhausting. But rewarding – especially now I’m back at work and can’t spend time in the classroom.
    Enjoy your break. I’ll see you round the social media circuit. X

  15. Elisa
    December 21, 2016 at 12:37 pm (2 years ago)

    22,000 likes! Haha! I couldn’t believed I’d clocked up $7K! I love your writing Renee! Love that beautiful dinner tradition you’ve created, and it sounds like you’ve had a fab year. Look forward to reading {and writing!} more in 2017. Enjoy your break xx


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