Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 in review.

With 2015 fast drawing to a close, I figured it was time to look back at my 2015 goals and reflect on how well I did in achieving them, whilst also setting out my goals for 2016. 

There was a time when doing this kind of post would have left me cringing, but this year, I think I have actually done quite well.

My goals for 2015 were: 

1) Lose weight
2) Finish Rehabilitation girls
3) Try to work through my anxieties by getting out more and doing more that scares me.
4) Be more focused
5) Do more blog hops

Out of my 5 goals for 2015 I achieved 3 of them. Which is pretty good for me.

I successfully lost weight. It wasn't a huge amount, because I purposefully set myself an easy goal, feeling that by doing so I would be more likely to stick to it.

That goal was 2 stone which I then had to keep off because it's all too easy to lose weight and then gain it again.

In the end I lost a total of 2 stone 4 pounds, which I was pretty pleased with. So, that's a total of 32 pounds. 

This year I also want to lose weight, again I plan to keep it pretty simple and am aiming to lose just 3 stone (42 pounds) and keeping it off, of course. 

Losing weight is really important to me, for one I hope it will help take some of the strain off my poor back, but the biggest reason of all, is that eventually my back may deteriorate so much that I am permanently wheelchair bound. If that is the case, being a lot smaller will make life not only easier for myself, but my husband, who will no doubt have to help me getting from my wheelchair to the car or bed, at least, in the beginning while I build up the strength in my arms.

The reasons I am doing this so slowly are as follows:

I don't want to get burned out and give up. 

I want this to be a life change, not just another dad diet, that sees me lose loads, but does little to change my actual eating habits, resulting in massive weight gain, once the diet is over. 

I can still allow myself to enjoy the occasional treat, which again makes it less likely that I will fail. 

I will hopefully not end up with the horrible excess skin, that seems to be left behind when people lose weight too quickly. 

My goal for losing weight should be much easier this year than last year, despite the extra stone. Mainly because I have already succeeded in adapting my body to eating much smaller portions. In fact, my meals are now less than half the size they were, this time, last year and I even find that I can frequently not eat all of the food on my plate. 

I've also got used to having less junk food. So, for the first time ever, I am feeling pretty positive about my weight loss goals. 

Finishing Rehabilitation girls. 

This goal didn't go to plan at all. In fact Rehabilitation girls, has actually been shelved for a while, in favour of working on another of my WIP's Finding Kelsey.

The reason I chose to do this, was the fact that I had a much clearer picture of where I was going with Finding Kelsey, not to mention the fact that FK was much further along than RG. 

So I guess you are wondering if I finished FK instead. Well, sadly not. There were a lot of big changes to my life this year and one of those really supped up my time. 

Now it was no secret that my son was having some pretty serious problems at school. It seemed as if barely a day passed without us getting a call from the headmistress to say that they could either not get Kye to work, or that he was causing distractions in class, or just generally acting out.

Kye was falling well behind his classmates in all subjects, which was really upsetting for us, given how far ahead of them he had been, when he first started at the school. 

We have known for a long time that Kye was special in some way. That he didn't quite think and act in the way that other children do and so we pushed the school to arrange for tests to be done to figure out just what was going on.

Sadly the school was not interested in helping is in this manner, in fact, it felt they weren't interested in Kye at all and he would often report that he felt ignored and frustrated at school. 

Bullying was also a huge problem for Kye at this time and as a result of this, Kye frustration towards others grew even more, until eventually he lashed out, not at the bullies but at his best friend, punching him in the face and ultimately destroying the only real friendship he had. 

After this Kye's angry outburst became more and more frequent and the school started to talk about permanently expelling Kye. 

At home, he was just as unmanageable. He was a nightmare to deal with, stealing and breaking things left right and centre and we knew something had to change and so after much thought and deliberation we decided to pull him out of school and home educate. 

We have ourselves a year to see how things would go, this was at Easter. 

It was tough, Kye was at times impossible, and every second of my time was spent trying to help him get control of his anger and to actually learn something. 

There were times, both my husband and I were all but ready to give up. We felt like we were failing our son miserably and were at a complete lose as to how to help him. 

Slowly, but surely and with lots of research we started to find ways that worked for not only getting his behaviour under control, but getting him learning. 

Because of all this hard work Kye is now achieving above expected for his age range in all subjects and his behaviour is far more manageable. 

We are also now aware that there is probably a very big possibility that Kye has high functioning Aspergers/autism although this needs to be confirmed via testing. 

This is something the school he used to attend should have recognised and taken steps to fully diagnose. Sadly, that was not the case and so Kye was not getting the help he needed in the classroom and thus unable to reach his full potential. 

So as you can see this year has been pretty hectic for us and as a result, my writing has had to take a back seat and so I was unable to achieve the goal I had set myself. 

Now that we have things more under control I am hopeful that I will be able to not only get more work done on my current WIP, but also be able to blog more.

So my goals, regarding my writing for 2016 are to write at least 6000 words a week, I know this may seem low, but with  lesson planning and educating my son, on top of housework and all the other day to day task that have to be done, my time is going to be decidedly limited and naturally, my son has to come first.

I also aim to put in place a regular blogging schedule, which I will be posting up on the 1st of January. 

My blog post will often be written in advance and scheduled to go up on certain days, in order to help me stick to my goal. 

Try to work through my anxieties by getting out more and doing more that scares me. 

I am pleased to say that I definitely did this. Not only did I take the huge and scary step of pulling my son out of school and taking responsibility for his education, but I braved hitching up a caravan and going along to the steam shows with my husband and son. 

During all the struggles with our son this year, these shows were exactly what our family needed to unwind a little. We enjoyed our first show so much that we even brought our own caravan so that we wouldn't have to constantly borrow my fathers. 

By going to these shows, I was able to deal with a lot of my fears. For a start, I was not only going somewhere with lots of people but to events that would see is meeting the same people over and over. Something I normally avoid. On top of that, I was putting myself in the limelight to a degree, because of course having our own steam engine, which we were there to show, meant that I was putting myself in a position where people would actually be stopping and not only staring at me, but possibly talking to me as well. 

My fears; however, were unfounded, because naturally it was Trampie, our steam engine and not me that they were interested in and everyone was incredibly pleasant and not judgemental at all, at least not to my face. 

I was also afraid I would get stuck somewhere on Speedy McNipster (my mobility scooter), due to the shows being held in fields, but Speedy handled the terrain brilliantly and I was soon finding the courage to go off around the shows with Kye and even on my own, something I never thought I would have the courage to do. 

The final worry for me regarding the show was the dogs, Harley de, is a very grumpy old boy, who frequently takes offence to people for seemingly no reason and Ludo has a habit of being excessively over excited. So, I was petrified that they would misbehave at the shows and create trouble, as a result of this we decided to take only Ludo to our first show, leaving Harley with my mum. Ludo was incredibly excited as I feared and barked a lot at first and as a result I stuck by his side like glue and refused to even go off and leave him with Dan to begin with, but slowly he settled down and he also behaved brilliantly with the kids Kye befriended, who spent pretty much all of their time, hanging around our pitch. He also loved playing outside in the sun watching the going on and to my surprise, he even got over his barking every time a dog passed, relatively quickly. 

Our second show, Harley came too and him and Ludo both did great. Meaning that we had indeed finally found something that the whole family could not only do but enjoy together. 

Harley also helped to keep Ludo's barking in check when we left them back in the caravan to go off around the show together. Harley does not like Ludo barking in his ear!

I also got better about going out around the shops in my wheelchair which was much nicer than being left in the car, while Dan and Kye went off. So all in all, I think I did pretty well this year at facing my anxieties.

I even braved the beer tent one evening. Something I never thought I would do. 

On top of all this anxiety medication helped me to be more confident about travelling in the car and although I have now come off the medication, due to too many bad side effects, my fear in the car, has remained minimal. 

This year I hope to continue to improve when it comes to my anxieties. I haven't set a specific goal for this, as I don't feel that it is necessary, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Be more focused. 

This is another of my goals for 2015 that I have been successful with, it might not be in the ways that I planned, giving the life changes that took place this year, but I have nonetheless managed to stay focused on not only my goals but being more organised, via the use of my Filofaxes, and keeping on track with my son's education and getting his behaviour under control. 

I wanna continue this focused approach in 2016 in the following ways:


Quitting smoking

Getting a regular cleaning schedule in place.

Learn some new recipes and cook more.

And of course, stay organised, because I will definitely need to stay organised to keep up with this little lot of goals. 

The final goal for 2015 was to do more blog hops and naturally given all the new added time constraints of this year, I failed to achieve that goal. 

Still overall, I think I did pretty well with my goals, given all that has been going on. 

To finish up, I guess I will give you a run down on some other interesting things that have happened this year, not all of them are happy, but for the most part, I think we had a pretty good year.

We adopted two new cat's Mia and Molly, at least, we thought we were adopting two new cats, but it turned out we were adopting 7 as Mia was pregnant and popped out 5 lovely kittens shortly after joining us, one of which had the feline form of cerebral palsy. This meant even more, work because Noddy, as he came to be known, needed extra help in learning to walk. Despite our intentions to keep Noddy and give him a forever loving home, he actually ended up going to a new home, when a brief stay with my mum while we were away at a show, saw a friend of hers falling head over hills in love with him, so much so that he visited him at my mums every day. The person in question has two sons with autism and we quickly realised that he was the perfect person to love and extra special kitty, and so Noddy found an amazing home just as his siblings did. I am pleased to report that Noddy to most intents and purposes lives a seemingly normal life, in which he is able to do pretty much anything a normal cat can do. The only sign that he is any different is his tongue which is nearly always poking out and the way he shakes and sometimes spins when he gets excited. In his new home, he enjoys being spoilt and going out for walks to the local park. Yep, he loves a good walk and because his condition means it is not safe for him to go outside alone, a little harness and lead and a devoted owner to walk with him, means he still gets to enjoy the outside world, which otherwise may have been too dangerous for him. I am so very proud of him, his mum Mia and the wonderful man who not only gave him a home but spoils him rotten everyday. 

It wasn't only the kittens that we said goodbye to this year. 

Sadly our beloved bunny Fizz had a stroke and went to the bunnies fields in the sky. Poor Fizz has never been quite right, when she came to us, from a local pet store she was a nervous wreck and it took a long time to build up her confidence. She was badly bred and as a result, she had a lot of problems with her skin, weight and fur loss. We were often left worrying and bewildered by her poor condition in comparison to our other to bunnies, Dandelion and Smug, who were fat, healthy and happy. It broke our hearts to lose her, but we were so happy that we were able to show her that not all people were bad. 

We also waved goodbye for good to two family members. Family members that we had walked away from previously, but, I guess mistakenly given another chance. It's a complicated situation so I won't go into too much detail here as this blog is already pretty long, but essentially, the lies, drama and behaviour of one of the family members involved started to go beyond just hurting my husband and I and started to hurt our son. The actions of the second family member also led to our son being hurt,  even more so than the first, so much so that he went from loving her deeply to being very angry towards her, to the point that even now when either of the family members are spoken about he gets very mad. In the defence of the second family member, I do feel that it was the actions and pressure put on by the first that caused her to do what she did, I have no doubt that the first filled her head with lies and doubt, that essentially led to the issues that arose, but it was evident that the others influence on her was not likely to ever go away. We were very upset when this first happens, but other family members quickly assured us that they had experienced similar things with this pair, which helped us to feel that it was indeed for the best. Sadly, until the second family member stops allowing the first to influence her so badly, I don't think things will ever get better with this pair and my husband, who they are most closely related too, is adamant that he is done giving them any more chances. 

On a more positive note, life has been a lot more pleasant and relaxed now that we no longer feel that we need to tiptoe around the pair.

Other exciting things to happen this year was the purchase of our second steam engine, which we part exchanged for the first.

Our purchase of our caravan, which now allows us to go away whenever the mood takes us. 

And a wonderful holiday break, for our sons birthday that allowed us to spend some quality time with one of the family members we have now sadly waved goodbye too.

This time with her, without the influence of the other, enabled us to see just how great things could be when the absent member was not stirring trouble and it is of course, nice for Kye to have some good final memories of them to hold on to.

What else, we succeeded in quitting smoking, for several month, yep as my goal above shows, we did start again and thus need to aim for that again this year. Well, life did get quite tough for a while, poor excuse I know, but it is what it is. 

Did you know too, that Speedy McNipster earned fame in his own right this year too, when he got a special mention by name, in an article on scooter safety, go Speedy. 

So that's my 2015 in review. Along with my goals for 2016. I hope you had a good year and that if you set goals you were able to achieve them, if not keep smiling, there's always next year.

Love and hugs 
Joss xx 

P.S. The photos dotted throughout the post are some of those that have been taken this year, below is a great video of our steam engine Trampie, in steam with all her lights going, recorded at our first show.


  1. Congrats on your weight loss, although keeping it off has been your real achievement. Good luck for your next 3 stone.

    Sorry to hear about your struggles with your son. A diagnosis is so important to allow you to access the help you need - so I hope that happens asap.

    Happy New Year :-)

    1. Thank you for your comment Annalisa, I hope the new year is treating you well so far. A diagnoses is definitely the next step, as we really need to find out what is going on with Kye and how best we can help him. It's a scary process, but worth it if it means we can help find away to make Kye the smiling happy boy he was when he was little. Right now I think his frustrations at not being able to fully express himself make it really tough for him to cope with everyday life.

  2. Wow! Congrats on your weight loss and keeping it off. That's been a struggle for me, too. My doc can't believe my cholesterol isn't out the roof, but it isn't - however, I still need to get the weight off so I can do all the active things I used to love to do with my family. (These days, I've been sitting on the sidelines a lot.)

    And, I'm glad that you've turned a corner with your son - it sounds like you had a tough year, but you've weathered it and that's awesome! I think our kids learn from those experiences - when we don't give up on them, they learn not to give up on themselves, too.

    6,000 words a week is an awesome goal - and sounds about similar to mine, except maybe more manageable since you've made it a weekly goal.

    And, wow - steam engines sound like fun. :)

    Wishing you the best in 2016!

    1. Hi Tyrean, there is nothing worse than sitting on the sidelines and feeling you can't really take part, I can totally relate as I feel that way a lot, especially with my disability. There was a time when I aimed for 6,000 a day and managed it without a struggle, but it's tough juggling home school, tantrums, housework and all the other joys of life as well as the writing these days. Still you can only do your best I guess so I try not to get to down about it. Happy new year and I hope it's a great one for you Tyrean.