Vokesy

A family man and his camera

The year behind and the year ahead

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So that’s Christmas and the New Year done and out of the way, and like so many people, I like to reflect on the past 12 months, what we’ve got up to, what I can do better and to make sure I appreciate all that has gone on along the way. Like you’d expect, a house with a toddler in it is generally focused around the toddler for most of the time. Our little girl has had an amazing year and has learnt so much. This time last year she was just taking her first steps, now she is walking, running, jumping and climbing… oh, and having a bit of a dance here and there too. She’s feeding herself, the bedtime bottle has long since disappeared, and our latest challenge was potty training! I was feeling a little nervous about potty training, a sense of responsibility came over me, whereas kids learn to walk and talk pretty much on their own, toilet training is more of a skill that needs to be taught, and isn’t always straightforward. So I did my research, spoke to friends, and built up an idea of how I was going to attack it before we even began. My concerns really didn’t last long, as all our preparation began to fall easily into place, and by day 4 she was totally dry with no accidents, and has been ever since. Apart from bedtime, she hasn’t worn a nappy in two weeks, which leaves me feeling quite proud of my little achievement, feeling like a proper parent! I do wonder how much of the credit I can take though, as our little lady has made everything so easy for us since day one, sleeping through from nine weeks, rarely ill, rarely crying. We’ve literally had the perfect baby, and if anything it has left us totally unprepared for baby number two, which is now just a few weeks away! If number two gets here and doesn’t sleep, ends up being always ill and cries all the time, I’m not sure how we’ll cope, we literally won’t have a clue what to do! It will be like starting from scratch, and all the rather envious parents who glared at us for having such an easy time with Olivia, and pushed through the tough times with their little ones will all suddenly be feeling quite smug as they sit back and watch us pull our hair out with bloodshot, almost vacant eyes… and who’d blame them!?

Still, the year ahead is a journey into the great unknown, we won’t know what it’s going to throw at us until it actually happens, so we can’t go worrying too much about things that haven’t happened yet. All we can do at this point is reflect on the previous year, which to be fair, hasn’t been a bad one! 

One thing I am glad about is that I manage to keep up the blogging after my two back to back 365 projects finished, even if it has been a bit irregular since. It’s a good way to keep track of what has actually been happening, as it is often easy to forget things when you have a lot going on. 

  • I got to meet the legend that is Brian Blessed, and picked up a signed copy of his book, oh and I got a photo with him.
  • I got to meet my favourite and local author Mike Gayle, and got him to sign a book for me too, plus I got a photo with him too.
  • I attempted, and didn’t get to complete the three peaks challenge, thanks to part of our group getting lost!
  • Olivia got to meet Peppa Pig in the Bullring.
  •  We went on our first family holiday to Torquay.
  • I picked up my new iPhone 6 Plus, probably the best phone I have ever owned!
  • We got to visit Bath and Bourton On The Water  with friends.
  • I got to visit Liverpool with my friends for a 40th birthday!
  • I began looking after my friends little boy who has autism, it helps them out a bit, and helps me bring in a bit extra pocket money.
  • I got to see one of my favourite bands live, Neds Atomic Dustbin, after waiting twenty years!
  • We made a full shopping switch to Aldi, and have saved ourselves a lot of money in the process.
  • We announced our second pregnancy.
  • I started printing photos, just need to get them in an album now.
  • Ooh yeah, the new Star Wars film, got the see the midnight showing the day it came out.
  • Potty training, nailed in three days!

All in all, a pretty good year really. What didn’t go so well though? 

  • Well, my photography business has been slow, it needs a lot of care and attention, and it’s fair to say I have been neglecting it a bit. That needs to change. 
  • We had a couple of bumps in the car, that was annoying! 
  • I’m into the last year of my 30s. I can’t lie, it’s disturbing me a bit.
  • I found out that NowTV had been charging me twice a month, and refused to give me most of my money back. I still say that their customer service is amongst the worst! I cancelled.

I can’t let these few things bother me, I am not one of those people who complains about how unfair life is and how awful the last year has been and how next year is definitely going to be better… only to do nothing to actually make it better. I like to look around me and appreciate and be grateful for everything I have. I have my health, a loving wife and beautiful daughter, a car out front, money in the bank, a roof over my head and food in the cupboard. By these standards I already have more than over half the worlds population. I am grateful for every single one of those things, you have to be!

Looking forward, what is going to be happening in 2016? Well obviously our party of three is going to expand to four in a few weeks, that’s going to happen! I want to get a photography project going again, maybe another 365? It’s certainly going to be an interesting year to document. I’m pretty certain Olivia will move from a cot to a proper bed, we’ll be needing that cot! I need to finish sorting the garden out, and get it looking great. I’ve already reduced the flower beds along the borders to make it more manageable and less time consuming. I do enjoy getting my fingers a bit green when I get the chance.

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Author: andrewvokes

Husband to my beautiful wife Clare, and father to two gorgeous girls. Cyclist, runner and photographer, living in Birmingham, UK.

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