Sunday, 31 January 2016

Me and Mine - January 2016

I am so glad that January is over. What a very long and miserable month it's been. It feels like forever ago that we got paid in December and I can't believe Christmas was over a month ago.

January for us has been very uneventful really. We've stayed close to home at the weekend and the only places we've really been are to my in-laws or town for a bit of shopping. With us only having a Saturday together as a family, they're usually so rushed as we are trying to cram everything in and get the shopping done and by the time we get home on a Saturday evening, I feel so worn out.

This year, I've been determined to try to make the most of our day off together and try to take it slower. For the first three Saturday's of the year, Michael and I have found ourselves child free as Alfie's either stayed at his Nan and Grandad's or my sister in law has had him. He hates coming food shopping, so it's been lovely to be able to do the shopping child free and actually make sure I get everything on the shopping list ;) Plus we might have had a relaxing costa / starbucks too!

I've also started potty training Alfie this month, which has been so difficult. You can read about my struggles here and here. We are getting there with him and he's improved even more this week, but he's still not attempting to use the toilet. I'm trying really hard to be patient with him and let him do it in his own time, whilst gently encouraging him and showing him what a big boy he'll be when he starts using the toilet.

We also had Alfie's first snow day which I was gutted to have missed out on, but at the same time, I'm glad that he got to experience it with his best friend (Daddy). We actually took this month's me and mine photo on the same day that the snow started. I woke up that morning and the sun was streaming through the windows, and I was determined that we were going to get our picture that day as it was the first time in a long time that we'd seen clear blue skies. Three hours after the picture was taken, it began snowing and was really grey and miserable looking! Whilst I'm gutted that we didn't get a photo of the three of us in the snow (I was working on the day it had properly snowed) I'm still glad I managed to get a photo of us outside in the sunshine - even if it was bitter cold!

Michael started a new job on the 4th January, and so far it's been a really great move for him. He's really enjoying it and has settled in well. There's more travel now as he's based in Preston (we live in Bolton) and the head office is in Doncaster, so he's had to go there a couple of times over night which is something he's not had to do before, but I really believe that this could be the making of him.

Last June I was in hospital to have a colposcopy and then the LLETZ procedure as my routine smear test showed I had abnormal cells - which turned out to be the highest grade pre-cancer.  A couple of weeks ago, I went for my six month follow up and I'm so relieved that I got my results back to say I've got the all clear and I've been discharged, meaning that I can go back to having them every three years now. It really hit home how important it is not to miss them. I dread to think what could have happened had I have missed that smear test back in May. Luckily, I'll never have to find out!

Over all, it's been a very relaxed chilled out month and I'm glad we've slowed down a little and stayed at home more rather than rushing around.

I really want to capture more photo's of us outside this year - so far
so good ;)

The Me and Mine Project

{The Ordinary Moments #5} The Dentist

Last Friday Michael had the morning off work for our family dentist appointment. Not exactly the most exciting way to spend a morning off, but needs must ;)

This is only the second or third time that Alfie's been when the dentist has had a look at his teeth and I was so proud of how he behaved. I think it helps that our dentist is absolutely lovely and has a little boy herself a year younger than Alfie, and I think it's great how she really puts him at ease.

It was Daddy's turn in the chair first and Alfie was so interested asking lots of questions. Whilst Michael was having a clean and polish, he climbed up on to the chair and lay with him. It was such a cute moment - one I'm glad I managed to capture!

Next up was my turn and finally, it was Alfie's turn. He couldn't wait to get in the chair and was such a good boy letting our dentist looking in his mouth. His teeth are in really good condition and she was really pleased that he's got rid of his dummy (he's not had it for 4 months now).

I really hope Alfie will continue to  be so co-operative going to the Dentist as I really do think it's important to get kids into the habit of going.

As he was such a good boy, we may have had a McDonald's breakfast, as a treat before going home ;) Our local McDonald's has recently undergone a make over, so they now have a bench which has tablets on. As soon as Alfie spotted them, he got his breakfast and went playing on them whilst Michael and I finished our coffee. It was lovely to let him have that bit of independence so we could enjoy our breakfast. Luckily, we were on the table right next to the tablets, so we were able to let him get on with it :)
Lying on Daddy whilst he has a clean and polish

Alfie's turn - he was such a good boy

I can't get over how grown up he looks! 

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Alfie's first snow day 17 January 2016

A couple of weeks ago, my sister in law very kindly had Alfie for a couple of hours at her house on Saturday afternoon whilst Michael and I did a few bits of shopping. Just as we were leaving town it started to snow! I was so excited! I love snow but I was also excited as Alfie's never experience snow before as he was only a few months old when it last properly snowed.

As we got to my sister in law's, Alfie was stood watching the snow out of the window and it was so cute to see him watching it fall. We wrapped the kids up warm and let them go and play out in it for 20 minutes or so. What is it about kids not feeling the cold?! Alfie and his cousin Holly absolutely loved it! There was only the tiniest dusting, but they didn't mind.

When we got home that night, we closed the blinds and I thought nothing more about the snow as it'd stopped quite a few hours earlier. It wasn't until I logged on to facebook about 10pm and saw my colleague post something about it snowing which made me get up to check - it had really started to come down and it was sticking.

I snapped a quick picture from my front door!

The next morning, I was in work at 8am and I was so gutted that I was going to miss out on Alfie playing in it. When he woke up and I showed him the snow out of his bedroom window, he was thrilled! His little face lit up and he started laughing and giggling. He's got this really cute laugh that he does when he's excited, which I'm really glad I got to see. He was so amazed by it all and asked Michael if they could play out as soon as they got back from dropping me off at work!

Once they'd had breakfast, they were pretty much out all day and built a little snowman in our back garden.

He was so proud of it, bless him.

Whilst I was at work, they went to my in-law's as they do every Sunday, so I asked Michael to send me some photo's of Alfie playing in it and I even got him to take a few video's on my new camera :)

By the time I'd finished work it was too dark and too cold for me to stay out with him even for a little bit, so whilst I'm sad to have missed it, I'm really pleased that Alfie has a brilliant day with his Daddy!

I really hope we get another couple of days for me to enjoy it with him.

{The Ordinary Moments #4} Potty Training

Yep, you guessed it. My life has been totally consumed by potty training for the last week and I can't believe how stressful it has been!

After trying on and off for a year, I decided that last Friday enough was enough and I was going cold turkey with potty training.

To say it's been a stressful week would be an understatement. Whilst we have made headway with it, we are still nowhere near where we should be. For whatever reason, he's developed a fear of the potty and won't go near the toilet - he's taken to doing his wee's on a bin bag! Yes, that's right, a bin bag! He was having quite a lot of accidents and then walking it everywhere after he'd finished, so to try and confine him to one space, I put a bin bag on the floor and it's become like his comfort blanket.

It's been the hardest hurdle we've faced so far, much harder than getting rid of the dummy. I know that once he's cracked it and is fully toilet trained, that I will look back on this time and more than likely laugh at how stressed I got about it all but for the moment, whilst I'm living it, I'm struggling.

I've spoken to several other mummies, our parents, nursery and the Health Visitor for help and guidance because I've been at my wits end. We've now come to the conclusion that he's just going to have to do it in his own time and there's nothing we can do to change him or push him along. This is the longest we've stuck at it, so there really is no way back but I just can't wait for this stage to be over.

The biggest achievement so far is that he's gone from not even attempting to take his pants off to telling me that he needs to go and taking his own pants off. He's now also stopped holding it in on the morning's he's with my in-laws and a couple of times they've taken him out and he's been to them to tell them he needed to go. This is huge progress for him. I just hope that in the next couple of weeks we can get him to use the toilet (we've decided to totally bypass the potty). If only he knew that once he's used it for the 1st time, then the rest will be easy!

I snapped this picture of him once afternoon as he shouted that he needed to go, but then got distracted for five minutes by Toy Story!

Monday, 18 January 2016

A ramble about potty training!

When I first started to thinking about potty training, I did quite a bit of research on it. I always had the idea in my head that around the age of two, we would get rid of the dummy and start potty training. One year and four months later, here we are with a little boy still not potty trained (although the dummy did go at his 2nd birthday party completely by chance because we lost it and didn't find it for another 3 days and he would only have that specific one... ditching the dummy ended up being so, so easy)!

Potty training is a whole other story though! When Alfie turned 2 in September 2014, we were on honeymoon, so I wanted to wait until we had settled in back at home before we tried. Once we got back home though, our situation changed meaning I was changing my hours at work from part time to full time, so he ended up starting nursery the month after his birthday and as he was only going a day and a half a week, it took him quite a while to settle in. Then November came and he got chicken pox and impetigo and was really quite poorly, so that wasn't the right time. In December, we were packing to move house, so again, it wasn't the right time as I didn't want to start when he was just recovering from being really poorly and we were uprooting him to a new house. Come January, when we moved into the new house, we moved him from cot to bed which was another big change for him... There just always seemed to be one thing after another and I was really worried about to much changing all at once for him. 

Once we were in the house and unpacked, we started to test the water and he would happily sit on his potty fully clothed and watch a bit of tv. Over the course of the year, we've tried potty training but we've not got anywhere. In fact, we are probably in a worse position now than we were when we first started. On a few occasions, he has used the potty and we have made a really big fuss, stuck star stickers on his chart, done all the things we should do, but for whatever reason, he has just decided that he absolutely will not sit on that potty and do anything. We tried to bypass the potty and go straight to the toilet... which didn't work. He only actually sat on the toilet once - we were at my mum's and he asked could he do a wee (he nearly always asks if he can do a wee in his nappy before doing it), so my mum took him upstairs and popped him on the toilet but he let go and almost fell in, so I think it scared him and he's not been anywhere near one since. 

We have tried to put him in pull ups, but he uses them just like nappies. We have tried putting him in pants, but he holds his wee in until he gets to the point where he is begging for a nappy. He's only actually had about three accidents and we've always reassured him that it's ok and he's still learning and it doesn't matter, but I think he feels embarrassed... 

It has got to the point, where if we so much as mention the potty / toilet, he has an epic meltdown. He will point blank refuse then he will scream and cry and throw the potty away and tell us he is not doing it. 

I've spoke to a few of the key workers at his nursery and the nursery manager and everything they've suggested, we've tried. They don't actually seem concerned and they keep telling me he's got loads of time as he won't start school until Sept '17. We have pulled back with it so many times. Sometimes we have given it a week between trying, sometimes a month or two. This time round, we've not properly tried him again, just tried to talk about it and ask if he will sit on the potty. 

It's now at the stage where I am actually worried about it. He is really intelligent for his age as his nursery have said he's over achieving at everything and this is the only thing that he can improve on. I just don't know what to do though. I am at my wits end wondering if and when he will ever crack it.

On Friday I decided that enough was enough and decided to put him in pants. He held his wee in from 9am, until he had an accident at 5.20pm. The weekend has been pretty much the same. On Saturday, he went to my sister in law's for a couple of hours to play with his cousins and he wore pants all day - and didn't wee and held it in all day until about 6pm... Sunday was pretty much the same, until about tea time ish when he had five accidents in quick succession. What's the most frustrating thing of it all though, is he's not even attempting to use the potty, he's just holding it in all day and then doing it in his pants. My in-laws kindly look after him three morning's a week and they'd got to the stage where it was too hard to change him because my MIL can't lift him up on to a changing table, so I need to get him trained as much for them as anything else.

A lot of people keep telling me he's not ready and leave it a while, but after doing that for a year, surely I have to take action? 

Have you got any advice? I would love to hear any tips or read any blogs posts about it.. 

{The Ordinary Moments #3} My boy and his Penguin

When I was pregnant with Alfie, his Nan bought him the most beautiful teddy bear from next for Easter. It sat in his bedroom waiting for him to arrive for 5 whole months. I was certain it would be 'the chosen one' - the teddy that would be Alfie's comforter, the one he wanted when he was feeling poorly or when he wanted a nap or it was bed time.

Once Alfie was old enough to appreciate his teddies, he wasn't over struck on this said teddy. I felt really sad as I wanted his first teddy to be the one which grew with him. On a whim one day I bought him a large blue bunny, with big floppy ears, thinking that maybe this one would be 'the one' Needless to say I don't think he's even played with it once!

Then along came Penguin. We were doing our weekly shop in Aldi one weekend, when he spotted it and wanted us to buy it for him. I can't even remember how old he was as it seemed so insignificant at the time. It was a special buy and it was £5 and filled like a bean bag. Since then, he's been Alfie's favourite by far. He takes it to bed every night, he wants it when he's under the weather, he's taken it to nursery to help him settle in - which is where Penguin had his very first accident involving a pair of scissors and me having to make a last minute dash to 'Nana's hospital' so he could be stitched sewn back up! (needless to say, he didn't go to nursery with Alfie again). He's been on honeymoon with us and Alfie still asks for him every night before bed and when he wakes in the morning, very often he will come padding in to our room with Penguin in tow. He's also got this very cute trait where he will flap Penguin's wing for comfort.

I love that no matter how big he is getting, he still needs his Penguin and he still looks like such a little boy when he's curled up cuddling him at night.

I know one day that Penguin will be put away when Alfie out grows him so I want to cherish the memories of the way my little boy always wanted his Penguin.
I love this one of him. 

Curled up with him a couple of nights ago

Here is is on honeymoon with us in Kos

Thursday, 14 January 2016

{The Ordinary Moments #2} Train sets

When I was pregnant with Alfie, I couldn't imagine having a boy as I'd never really been around them, nor could I imagine buying boys toys and having my house filled with train sets, action figures or other boys toys. I have male cousins, but I've never been around newborn baby boys. I'm a girly girl through and through and all I could imagine was playing with dolls and all things girly!

Once Alfie was here, all those thoughts of 'I don't know what to do with a boy' disappeared. He was my baby and I would learn with him.

For a long time, Alfie's never really had a specific thing that he loved to play with. He's got a penguin which he takes to bed and which he will cuddle if he's having quiet time, or feeling unwell, but toys, he would flip between a lot of different ones. The same with his favourite tv shows - a lot of children are completely caught up in all things Frozen (our niece included) but Alfie swaps his favourite tv program every week (this week it's currently Umi Zoomi, last week it was Paw Patrol)!

When Alfie turned 2, my in-laws bought him a train set. It was just a little something that he could open on the day as they'd given us some money so we could choose something. I think the train set cost about £10 and it's been absolutely worth it. As Alfie's nan and grandad look after him 3 mornings a week for us, he needed some toys for there, so it was agreed the train set would be left there. No matter when he's there, be it at 8am in the morning or if we call at a weekend, it's the first thing he wants to do.

It is by far his favourite thing to play with. So much so, that for Christmas, we decided to get him one to play at home too. It was a set bought from Smyths, but we also got him a motorway and extension set from Lidl as part of his Christmas presents. It  has been played with every single day since Christmas day. We were lucky to have 10 days off over Christmas and every single morning, before he'd even had his breakfast he would ask his Daddy to build him a train track! One morning a couple of weeks ago, when he woke up, the first thing he said was 'I can go and play trains with Grandad'! So cute.

We've taken it everywhere with us, my parents, my in-laws, my grandparents and the obsession of playing trains doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon and it's something I can see lasting for a long time to come. There's just something about wooden toys which are so traditional and I definitely prefer them to plastic ones!

Sunday, 3 January 2016

{The Ordinary Moments #1} Cousins

For the last couple of years, I've been taking pictures of my little family as part of the Me & Mine project, which was created by Lucy. Without this, I wouldn't have captured two years of photo's of me and my boys every month. So when Lucy created the siblings linky, it made me really excited to have another baby so I wouldn't finally be able to join in. 

Somewhere  along the way, I decided that although I couldn't do 'sibling' pictures, I could do 'cousin' pictures. I spoke to my sister in law about it, to see if she was up for me photographing Alfie and my niece and nephew every month and at the end of the year, we would put all the pictures of the three of them together as a Christmas present for my mother and father in law. Luckily, she was really on board with it. 

When I was growing up, I was really close to all of my cousins but two in particular. Gemma is 3 months younger than me and Anthony is a year younger. I have such fond memories of the three of us all playing together and having sleep overs when we were kids. I'm still really close to them now - so much so that they were bridesmaid and usher at our wedding in 2014 and are also Alfie's godparents. 

I'm very lucky that Alfie and his two cousins also have a great relationship. Holly, at 6, is the closest in age to Alfie and Jack is the eldest of the three at 10. I feel very lucky that Alfie gets to grow up with Jack and Holly as he's got two ready made friends in them and they really are the best big cousins we could wish for. Very often, I'll see Jack putting a protective arm round Alfie if they're at soft play or playing in the garden and Holly will very often adapt to doing what Alfie wants when they're playing together. Just yesterday, we were at my in-laws and Holly was building a tower which Alfie knocked over a couple of times, (which we told him to stop doing). Rather than getting upset of falling out about it, Holly very kindly built another tower for him and made a big fuss over him when he knocked it down, as he'd wanted. It's little things that like that which make me realise what great kids they are and how much they put up with from Alfie. (He's going through a not sharing stage and finds it difficult to share his toys sometimes).

Every month last year, we managed to get together and get a picture of them. Some months were harder than others as some days one or the other didn't want their picture taking (it was usually Alfie), but overall I'm so proud that I've captured these pictures of them all for a whole year. It was wonderful to be able to frame them all for my inlaws to give to them on Christmas day. 

I'm really proud of this bunch of photo's, but more than that, I'm proud of the three great kids in them. They're growing up to be such good friends and I'm so excited to continue watching them grow and change over the next year.

I love how something as ordinary as taking a picture, can bring so much happiness to people and capture so many memories. I can't wait for them all to be older and we can look back on these pictures together. 

*linking up with Katie over at Mummy Daddy and me makes three