Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Men and their toilet routines.... (Potty training)

Oliver is potty training!
That means no more nappies for The West House!

Having potty trained 3 boys and 2 girls before
I approach training Oliver with trepidation and caution.

With boys there is no point even trying until you are sure he is ready.
There is no perfect age, every child is different.
What works for one may not work for another.
I have read all sorts of advice of the years, but my training rules are:

  • Never get cross about accidents - make them a teaching opportunity, tell him that was wee wee, or poo poo, put him on the potty/ toilet and tell him that's where it goes. Put poo poo's down the toilet and tell him that's where they go, so he associates the feelings of going to the toilet he has just had with wee and poo and where it is meant to go.
  • Be prepared to try different things - some may take to the potty others may prefer going straight to the toilet. Offer both options an let your child guide you. (hint: if using the toilet, give them a toilet seat they can just pop ON TOP of the adult seat... that independance is great for you and him! also it's scary up there, give him a step and choose a seat with support handles. They cost a little more but the confidence they give is paid back 10 fold!)
  • Book a week off - take a week where you can spend all day everyday at home.
  • Naked does it - if your child is happy with it let them run naked, that way accidents are obvious and it gives you a chance to explain the puddle is wee wee and put them on the toilet/potty.
  • Listen - there are many cues from your child when they need to 'go'. Including the bubbling ones from their bottom...... you don't want to miss those.... they get messy fast!
  • Reward - we choose to reward with stickers, monster stickers to be precise. make a big deal of every success and play down the failures.
  • Story it up - talk to them about potty training and read them stories. (In another post I will introduce you to 'The Potty Monster')
  • Be flexible - If it is not working out be prepared to stop for a while. Despite what you may read online, sometimes they are just not ready and pushing through will bring nothing but stress and a distressed toddler.
  • Make it fun - Give them things to do while waiting.... reading is a firm favorite in our house amongst the men!
  • Keep it clean - Keep cleaning supplies to hand, you WILL need them!
Saying all of that, even on #6, I don't have all the answers!
Each child can throw up new problems and surprises when it comes to training.
I had the girls trained within two days, 
two of the boys took months to be dry at night 
and one of them was dry from day 1 day and night.
So far Oliver has only used the potty a couple of times but he woke up with a dry nappy this morning!!
So who knows, and honsetly it does not matter....

Take it as it comes!

Would you like some nose with that?

So I was attacking David again with the camera...
I noticed when I put out our bedside light his iPad shone a lovely light over him.

So here is what I saw....

Three slightly different variations of cute!

So I showed David what they looked like, 
rather proud of the job I had done catching this rather nice light.

David announced he did not like his nose and would like it a bit pointier...
who am I not to oblige?!

Here are his two options:

Sort of like something out of the Hobbit!


well, let's just say the next masquerade ball we went to, he would not need a mask!!

Such fun!
(Miranda reference there for anyone who loves her!)

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The joy of being married to...... me

I often feel sorry for David,
why you may ask...
well, he is married to me.

It can't be easy, 
if for no other reason than when I want to try something out on my camera
Guess who gets to be the guinea pig...

You got it, David.
 (here he is merrily reading on his iPad, minding his own buisness...hehe)

So tonight, I was reading a blog about using the AF-ON back button.
(This won't been anything to most of you)
So I decided to have a go, see if it really does improve focus and sharpness
of the image given that you don't have to half suppress the activation button before firing.

I think it is a success, 
although Oliver is going to become guinea pig #2 tomorrow,
as I hear it is great for fiddly little two year olds, 
and he just happen to be a very fiddly two year old!

I love photography!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Ummm chocolate!

Every child should have a the chance to eat melted chocolate straight from the bowl...

Here's why...

That is the purest of joys!!

So cute...let them get messy!!!!

Santa baby.... new lens love

Santa was very generous to me this year!
He brought me a beautiful new lens for my wonderful camera!
I would show you a picture of it but my camera has adorned my new lens since the moment I opened it!
It is rather lovely and with a rather splendid aperture of 1.8f I couldn't be happier with it.
My house being built in 1880 was not build with camera lighting in mind!
Therefore it is a constant battle to take beautifully exposed photos in the house without flash....
I hate using flash unless I have too. 

So, I have not fully got the hang of it yet, but with plenty of practise 
I will be covering my walls with even more pictures of my stunning children!

So here are my first attempts at using my new, did I mention beautiful (?), lens;

I am so pleased with them, all natural light in my living room, just standing in front the the Christmas tree!
Oh my word,I could just eat my kids up, I may be biased, but my word they are scrummy!!

And here is where they get it from... ummm he is smoking!!!

Thank you Santa x

New year... New me?!

Are you a new year resolution slave?

Every year I usually make a nice long list of new years resolutions.
I fulfil maybe two of them and usually not as well as I would like...
So... what to do... how to be more successful?!

After thinking long and hard about this I decided to change tactic.
I have decided to make some, gentle changes instead.
Making changes which are likely to stick and stay rather than fade away! 
(2013 Mantra!)

So here they are, my small and steady changes:

Keep a spending diary - My fab spending diary,
It may seem expensive start to that change, but it is leather so will last and the notebook inside can be replaced when filled! So it looks chic when I grab it out of my bag to note my spending but will last beautifully!
I think this is important because you often don't realise how things add up, I know I don't unless you see it written there in black and white. All the ebay shopping and little bits add up and fast!
If you are anything like me you will hate the running total adding up too high and so will control what you buy better than without it!

Don't leave the room without tidying one thing -
Whether it is taking a child's discarded shoe out or a mug abandoned as it's contents where exhausted, they all need taking care of and you will rest and relax much better if it is gone and put away!
It's amazing the difference this rule makes, and it may just surprise you how many opportunities you have to do this, we get up and move around far more than you would think!
Trust me, this could be a life saver if you have someone turn up at the door unexpected!

Children interviews - 
This one is more for David and I, I have sat down with the school age children to discuss their goals for the term and how I can help them. We have come up with a plan for each of the children and even started a family book club. Sounds odd, but we have a tradition in the run up to Christmas that David reads The Christmas Carol to the children (voices and all... it's hilarious!) and the children loved it so the older three have asked that we continue reading together once a week. They get to choose the books and I get to enjoy helping them fall in love with numerous mysterious worlds they can only access through their amazing imaginations!! I get to join them in those worlds, what a privilege! 
Sammy taught me a lovely lesson during his, I had been discussing what his report said he could improve on and not given much thought to anything else. He stopped me and said " Mum, so, what am I doing that is good?". Such a wise boy! This gave me such a wonderful opportunity to point out all the wonderful and impressive things he does everyday.

David has scheduled the children for monthly Father/ Child meetings. 
They like this, most of them have calenders now so love being able to add their appointment to their calender and seeing their name on the family calender too!
This is an opportunity for David to talk about important things and for the children to be able to have open discussion with the him about anything they need/ want to discuss.
I got a fun idea form a fabulous blog I found;

(I love this blog!)
The lady who writes this blog said her father used to do father/child interviews, but he would start them by writing letters on his children's fingers. Each letter represented something he thought they were amazing at.
I.e. if they were good at art, he would write am 'A' on their finger, he would continue this until each finger was filled.
What an amazing way to show your child they are truly talented and wonderful!
So we have decided this is a good way to start parent/ child interviews.

Our Family Tree - 
We made a lovely dining room tree for Christmas this year..

We have decided to keep it going throughout the year, changing what hangs on it depending on the season.
Obviously there is Valentines day, Easter, summer, Halloween, thanksgiving and Christmas. 
But it would be sad to be naked the rest of the year, so I am making some little tags with journal prompts on them. That way if the children or us grown ups get stuck on what to write that day we can ask the tree!

I am leaving out all the eat better, exercise more type resolutions. 
They are things we need to do anyway and not as a fad.
 So those types of things will be worked on over time making steady and permanent changes.

So what are your big or small changes for 2013?

New Years Eve 2012!

 The end of a crazy year!

We have a lot of family traditions and one we started last year, 
which proved to be popular,
was to fill and bury a time capsule.

Here it is all dug up after its first year in the ground...
Looking.... pretty... maybe I should paint it next year!

The children were very excited to have a reminder of what they put into it last year.

So here it is... all that was important enough to out in last year.
I would like to be able to tell you the reasons for each item...
But some...I have no clue!

We had:
  • A Glitter Berry J2O.... these are just yum... nuff said!
  • Kool Aid... again yum?!
  • My ticket to Samuel's concert at the Sheffield arena
  • A Chinese news paper from David's first business trip to china
  • Buzz Lightyear.... loved by everyone!
  • A nappy.... we had hoped it would be the last year we had nappies in the house... that will be 2013!
  • A photo from my first wedding photo shoot 
  • A photo of all the children's fav teddies of 2011
  • A snow angel picture... loved the snow of the last few years.
  • Pictures from Mine and David's lake district an Scotland work trip.
  • Letters from me to each member of the family.
  • Ink and ink pen, from our lovely and wonderful neighbour
  • A pound coin...a little secret behind that one.... I'm not telling : p
So we then had to decide what was to go in this year...

  •  I chose photos from David's cancer fight
  • Larakia chose a flip book she got from her great-grandparents for Christmas, she had so much fun with this on Christmas day. She thought it was amazing... paper can do that?! hehe
  • David chose a Rabbit Suicide card I sent him.... I write to David regularly over the year... I still post the letters like when he was on his mission.
  • Liliana chose a colouring book.... her fav thing to do of all time!
  • Harrison picked a racing Christmas pudding we got in our crackers this year.
  • Micah chose our soft reindeer.... not sure why....
  • Harrison chose a couple of army men... the was so excited to pull them out of his stocking this year.
  • Although not pictured Oliver put in a sweetie.... what 2 year old does not love sweets!!
  • We decided to put the letters and some of the photographs back in for another year too.
 We finished our evening with some indoor fireworks...

They looked more impressive in person...
the second set were crazy... you lit them and they uncoiled like they were growing!
The kids LOVED them!

Happy 2013 everyone!!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

With only 9 days to go....

Hello everyone!!

With only nine days to go we thought it was time to share our Christmas wishes with you.

We truly hope you all have magical Christmasses
filled with amazing memories which will last a lifetime!


The West Family

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Wow, it's been a while!


Good to see you!!

I keep going on to far away friends blogs to see what they have been upto,
Only to find they have not blogged in a loooong time.....
Then I realised, neither have I!!

So here we go....
We had a super fun summer, which included many fun activities.
My favourite had to be going upto Scotland with David.
We took a train and then cycled over hills and mountains, it was truly stunning!
When we arrived at our hotel we found it was a bit of a work in progress.
Not quite what we were expecting, but quickly settled in.

We spent the next day doing lots of fun activities, like;
Off road driving
Blindfold driving
Axe throwing

It was ALOT of fun!
Though I did make a fool of myself and set a new record at the place we stayed at.
How did I do that I hear you ask....
Well I got 30ft up a tree and then slipped and fell (harness attached)....
Upside down into a static caravan!
Slightly bruised but nothing more than my ego was!
 Oh and I won the Blindfold driving...
David by far won the axe throwing, which is oddly a relief....
If we ever need protecting he can do it!!!

That night we missed the "bus" to the nearest restaurant, uphill 2 miles away.
So we had to walk it, which was actually rather nice.

This was our lovely view!

The next day it was time to be packing up to come home (I think, I can't really remember).
On the way we stopped to take in the scenery a little
and enjoy the wildlife....

Who seemed to enjoy the taste of bike seat....

Crazy cow!!

We rode in pouring, no torrential rain.... we have never been so wet before!
Even enjoyed a few bolts of lighting while at the top of the mountain....
Holding on to our metal bikes, in shorts, and no cover!

We even Had time for a little fun...

(Sorry, we have a sick sense of humour!)

And just passed the top of that rather steep (much more than is evident in this picture)
We had a little moment of reflection...

It was an amazing trip,
Filled with some beautiful memories.

A perfect way to relax a little after what had been a 
slightly stressful start to the year.

Well plenty more wonderful memories to be made before the year is out.

Thanksgiving is coming up,
 (we know we are not American, but it is special to us as a family for many reason) 
David going to Scotland and China, 
Christmas work party.... always a wonderful way to kick of the festivities!,
Seeing Santa,
Christmas fair,
Stake carol concert,
School Nativities,
Ward Christmas party,
Christmas itself, for the first time in years just us!,
New years eve, and all the fun we enjoy with that.

I am sure there is much, much more too.

I love my family and the memories they have already given me and the ones yet to come.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Candles making

This week has been a fun week!
David & I have been busy bike riding and hiking (across over grown woods!), 
and having a lot of fun doing it.
This weekend though we enjoyed a lovely day at Clumber park.

We had planned on going bug hunting,
but ended up visiting the discovery centre and checking out their Bee display.

The children were able to observe the Bees being very busy!
Sammy informs me that the white bits in the comb are baby bees developing!
(my children knowing more than me begins!)

Micah rather enjoyed examining the Bees.
We had the pleasure of trying 6 different types of honey too...

we took a vote on which we liked the best and bought a jar,
we are saving it toward Christmas.
This is something we try and do every year.
We like to buy little special food items throughout the year at places we visit and have fun
 and save them to enjoy at Christmas.
That way we can remember the fun we had while enjoying the treats!

The children even had the opportunity to make their own candles!
Everyone loved doing this, even Oliver (2 years old) loved it and did a wonderful job.

I may be biased, but I think these are the best candles I have ever seen!!!

We then went and enjoyed a play in the park,
A BBQ, and some games in a random field near by.

England being England,
 we did experience a period of quick retreat under the boot of our minibus as the heavens opened.
(Thank goodness for needing such a big car!)
But when the clouds dispersed we were rewarded for our endurance with wonderful sunshine!!

Which Oliver took advantage of to steal Micah's bike...
Sadly for him he couldn't reach the pedals....
Lucky for him he has a very loving big sister!

We had a wonderful day and just as we had finished packing up
and driving out of the field the heavens opened and released a downpour
that would have made the most defiant of Brits go running for shelter.
It did create some beautiful rainbows,
which allowed for a spot the rainbow competition...
there were 6 rainbows spotted!

All in all a lovely day!