Dream Journal 3/2/17 | Chickens

I was walking down a winding, empty road, lined with green grass and trees. Beside me was a young woman, about the same age as me. We were both dressed for a day at the beach, wearing bathing suits, loose summer dresses, flip-flops, and large totes. We walked and chatted excitedly as we strolled along, talking about the weather, and the green fields, and our excitement over getting to swim finally.

The sound of footsteps from behind us made us stop walking, and we turned to see a tall, chubby farmer, who was carrying two hens. He greeted us, and told us he was walking to the campground just up the road. Apparently, that’s where we were headed as well, and he smiled and said he’d see us there. His pace sped up, and before we knew it, he had walked far enough ahead of us to be out of sight. A few moments later, we could hear the frantic sounds of chickens, and ran around a bend in the road, where we spotted the same farmer, chasing three hens in circles.

We helped the farmer scoop up the hens, but he kept angrily criticizing us, saying that we weren’t holding the chickens properly, and trying to readjust our arms. We ended up dropping the chickens. Then, we had to chase them up the road, until we reached the campground. There were two dogs fighting on the side of the road, and they stopped momentarily to chase after the chickens. My friend and I tried to catch the dogs, but the farmer kept yelling at us to catch the chickens, so we stopped, and just stood there watching the chaos, unsure of what to do.

A young girl ran up to us, bawling her eyes out, and told us that we had lost her chihuahua. I told her I hadn’t seen her chihuahua, but just then, a small, white animal (which was definitely NOT a chihuahua, it looked more like a guinea pig), ran through our legs, and under some steps nearby. I asked the little girl if that was her dog, and she punched my friend in the arm, and ran away.

The farmer was still yelling at us about his chickens, which had completely disappeared, along with the two dogs.

And then I woke up.

Dream Journal 3/2/17 | Will Smith

I was walking through a large store by myself, just browsing around in the women’s clothing section, when I saw a man pacing angrily through the aisles of greeting cards. The man was wearing a gray beanie, dark sunglasses, and a leather coat. He was shouting angrily about there being no one around to help him, and cursing under his breath. Despite him seeming slightly terrifying, I walked over to him and asked if he needed help looking for a specific card. I told him that I used to work in the store, and might be able to help him. He just stared at me for a few seconds before dramatically ripping off his sunglasses, and saying, “Get the fuck away from me.”

I stared for a moment, completely in shock. It was Will Smith. Will Smith was the man angrily pacing through the greeting card aisle. Will Smith had just cursed at me and told me to get away from him. I calmly asked him if he was sure he didn’t need any help, and he started hollering incoherently at me. I backed away and quickly retreated back to the women’s clothing section. I was shaking, and felt a strange mix of confusion and excitement. There was a girl nearby who was folding shirts on a table, and I walked over to her and told her that Will Smith was in the store. She got excited and said she wanted to say hello to him, but when I told her what happened, so said we had to warn the other employees.

We walked over to the Electronics department, where a really young guy was working at the counter. He literally only looked 12 or 13 years old. As we were telling him that Will Smith was in the store, Will Smith walked by, and before we could warn him that the guy was kind of an unstable jerk, he ran up to him, excitedly asking him to take a picture. Will Smith looked over at me and the other girl, and started shouting that I was stalking him, and that this was all my fault, and whatnot. I stood there, completely frozen, while security showed up to drag him away, still screaming obscenities in my direction.

Then, I was at home. I was sitting at my computer, and Facebook Messenger popped up. I didn’t know the person, but they sent me a link to an online blog, run by Will Smith. In his most recent blog post, he wrote a scathing article about how I was stalking him, and harassing him, and had gotten him removed from a store. He mentioned me by name, and there were pictures of me as well. I was horrified. I never told him my name, and how did he even get the pictures?

I read through the comments, and there were at least a dozen people with “Jan” or “Janise” (my name) in their screen names, all claiming to be me, and all saying horrible things, and making me look bad. There were links being posted to other blogs, social networks, and even YouTube, where people were pretending to be me. I tried writing a comment, apologising to Will Smith, and telling him this was all a huge misunderstanding, but as soon as I hit enter, I was flooded by horrible, mean replies. Most people thought I was another fake.

I started crying, and closed the blog post. Back on Facebook, I had another two dozen messages waiting for me, all from strangers, all with links to these other sites where people were pretending to be me. Trying to twist the situation, and tell “their side” of the story, trying to get attention. I clicked on a few of the YouTube links, and saw girls of every age, ethnicity, etc. impersonating me, making me look awful. It didn’t make any sense.

It went on like that for a while. Endless videos, endless tweets, endless blog posts, all people trying to garner attention for themselves, while destroying my good name.

After a while, I woke up.

Dream Journal 2/2/17 | At the Mall

I was at the mall with Liam and my mother-in-law. We were sitting in the food court, when a woman approached us, and asked if we could watch her daughter for a few minutes. Before I could answer, she rushed off, leaving her stroller, and her little girl, with us. Complete strangers. My MIL and myself stood there, looking around for the mother, but she had vanished. We decided to stay in the food court with the little girl, and wait for the mother to come back. She started to fuss, and I handed her some of my french fries, which calmed her down, but she kept looking around, probably for her mother.

The woman eventually came back, and asked if we could take her daughter to the bathroom to change her. I immediately said no, and told her that she was insane for leaving her daughter with complete strangers in a mall while she ran off to do whatever she was doing. I told her that I wasn’t going to watch her daughter for her. She paused for a moment, then turned and ran from us. I called after her, but she was gone. My MIL got out her phone to call the police, but right when she started dialing, another woman came up to us, and asked if we could watch her daughter for her. I started to protest, but the woman would not let me talk. She was holding onto a stroller, which was facing away from us, and began rattling off information about her child. The biggest thing that stuck out to me was that she mentioned her daughter was 10 years old, but when she said it, she motioned to the stroller.

Frustrated, I told her that I had to take the other little girl to the bathroom to change her, but when I said that, the woman got angry, and told me that her daughter could not be around other kids, and that she was uncomfortable with me taking her into the bathroom with the toddler. Confused, I told the woman that I WAS NOT going to watch her daughter for her, and told her to leave us alone. She turned and walked off, but left the stroller with us. My MIL was still on the phone with the police, or whoever, and was shouting at them impatiently. I looked into the stroller to see a girl, definitely older than 10 years old, staring back at me with a pissed off expression. She climbed out of the stroller, and I pegged her age at around 15 or 16 years old. She was tall. Taller than me.

I rolled my eyes, angry that the girl was still here, and picked up the toddler girl. I started to walk toward the bathrooms, when the older girl started shrieking and stomping her feet, throwing some kind of tantrum. I looked around, and everyone was staring at us. Several people were taking out their phones to start recording. I went to the girl and asked her what her problem was. She laughed, and ran away. Not wanting the mother to be angry with me for losing her kid, I handed the toddler to my MIL, and chased her.

I chased her throughout the mall, until we got to a long corridor, lined with elevator doors. I watched her run through a set of doors, just before they closed, and watched to see which floor she was going to. As I waited, I started mumbling to myself about how crazy the mothers were, and how crazy this girl was. The floors went all the way up to 20, and of course, that’s where she was going.

My phone started ringing, it was my MIL, and I answered. I couldn’t hear what she said to me, but I calmly turned away from the elevator doors, and walked back to the food court. The mother of the older girl was waiting for me, along with the police. She was in cuffs. The police explained that this was all some sort of con that she and her daughter ran, and somehow they stole money from people in the process. The officer also said that they had her daughter on the 20th floor, and that they had been watching them all day. I thanked them for detaining them, and mentioned the toddler girl, whose mother still had not come back, but he only shrugged.

They left, having gotten who they came for, and I was left standing in the food court with someone else’s child. We sat there for hours. The mall cleaned out, and I could see through the skylights that it had gotten dark. The little girl’s mother was not coming back. My MIL was on the phone with the police again, shouting at them. Both toddlers were asleep in their strollers. A security guard came over and asked us to leave, and when we explained the situation, he said that no one else was left in the building, but said we could leave the little girl with him until the police showed up. I looked at the little girl, and started crying. We left her, still sleeping in her stroller, with the security guard at the mall, and left.

My phone was ringing in my hand, but I wasn’t answering it. Liam was awake now, and was on his grandmother’s shoulders, while I pushed the stroller out the mall doors. The sun was out again, despite it being dark only minutes before, and my MIL started talking about going to Baker Lake park, one of our favorite nearby parks.

I vaguely remember the park, and the lake, and that my phone kept ringing through the rest of the dream.

And then I woke up.

Dream Journal 1/24/17 | Daycare Nightmare

Liam was 3 or 4 years old, and we were on our way to check out a new daycare center that had just opened up in our town. On the outside, the building was massive, and shaped like a giant golf ball, similar to the Spaceship Earth at Epcot. We were greeted by a short, blonde woman, who invited us to spend the day at the center, so that we could see how Liam handled the building, other kids, staff, etc. She ushered us inside, and  gestured to a large, open playroom to the left. She told me that Liam could play in there while she gave me a tour. I left Liam with the staff in the playroom, and followed the woman down the hall.

She turned to me and told me in a very calm voice that I would not be able to be reunited with my son until after the tour, in several hours. I stopped in my tracks and asked her why, but she simply said it was “procedure”. I told her that I was uncomfortable leaving my son alone for that long, and she ignored me, and kept walking down the hall. I followed.

We passed several other rooms, all filled with children of varying ages, and I started to notice that the interior of the building was strange. The walls were all metal, with pipes stretching from the floor to the ceiling. All of the doors looked like reinforced, bunker doors, with small windows. It reminded me of a submarine. We walked in silence, until we got to a room at the end of the long hallway. The woman told me that I had to wait with the other parents, and before I could question further, she shoved me into the room, and slammed the door behind me.

I screamed and banged on the door. There were a few other people in the room, most likely  the other parents the woman spoke of, and they all looked as confused as I felt. There were two, armed men playing poker at a table in the back of the room. I continued to scream and pound on the metal door. Cheerful staff members passed by the door, not even stopping as they smiled and waved at me through the tiny window, either not realizing my distress, or not caring.

Suddenly, a loud alarm sounded throughout the facility, and the fluorescent lights in the room went out, replaced by red, emergency lights. In a panic, I turned to the room of people, demanding answers. The two, armed men just ignored me, but one of the other parents began to explain that this happens several times a day, and no one ever seems phased by it. Just then, the woman who had brought me to this room burst through the door, visibly upset, and demanded we all follow her. We did.

As we walked briskly down the hallway, two of the parents from the room began whispering something about making a run for it, and a moment later, they were gone. The woman said something about a breakout, and someone getting loose, and I asked her why someone was imprisoned in a daycare center. She just laughed at me.

We passed by a small classroom, and I saw my son sitting at a desk by the door. I pushed the blonde woman, opened the door, and grabbed my son. Holding onto his arm, I practically dragged him down the long hallway, until I started recognizing where we were. I could see other parents and kids running out the front doors, and we joined them, pushing our way through the crowd.

In front of the building, we noticed that it was now dark out, and that the large, round facility was completely engulfed in flames, even though there had been no fire or smoke on the inside. There was a man carrying a little girl a few feet from us, and he shouted and motioned for us to follow him.

I vaguely remember driving over a bridge, and seeing a town on fire in the background, and the man saying something about a virus, and test subjects.

And then I woke up.

Little Milestones | 2 Years Old

Hello, friends! My little man’s second birthday was on January 23rd, but I have been planning another milestone post for months. It’s been a long time since I did one of these, and I wasn’t sure what all to include, since toddler milestones are SO much different than infant milestones. I no longer am tracking when he rolls over, babbles his first word, or uses a spoon for the first time… he’s mastered all of that, and so much more. I tried to look up the same type of charts that I used when he was a baby, but I guess once your kiddo reaches a certain point, the charts just don’t exist.

So, I guess I’ll wing it, and just do what I did last time!

16107237_10208157496074623_2212953149510855899_oThe Basics:
Liam turned two years old on January 23, 2016. As of now, his exact height is unknown, but he’s weighing in at around 30 pounds. He has his two year checkup on February 3rd, so I’ll be able to fill that in afterwards. He wears a size 3T top, a 2T-3T bottom (depending on the brand and how they run), a size 9 shoe, and a size 5 diaper. He’s still my gentle giant! He has all of his teeth now except for his back molars, which we believe are coming soon, based on the rivers of drool, finger nibbling, and fussiness he’s been exhibiting. He’s still tall and skinny, and we still don’t know where he gets it from!

Physical Development:
Liam is active and full of energy. He runs, jumps, hops, dances, claps his hands, sings, and can even do somersaults around the living room. He is always on the move, and hates sitting still, which makes long car rides a bit difficult. His fine motor skills and coordination are great, and he enjoys twisting the caps on and off of every bottle he comes across, throwing balls and other small objects, stacking and filling cups, blocks, etc., and hiding objects around the house. He also loves to brush his own teeth, wipe himself during diaper changes, and blow his own nose. He can also completely dress and undress himself, including zippers and snap buttons. He’s pretty independant!

15977369_10208157500874743_1856180081958901388_nEmotional & Social Development:
It’s finally happened, y’all. My son has finally come out of his shell. He still won’t run up to random strangers and demand to be held, but he is finally sharing his all of his love with friends and family that he has seen before. From high fives, to blowing kisses, to giving hugs, to dancing and jumping around, and sharing his toys, my little one has finally started to get over his anxiety and open up. It is so refreshing to see. He is also able to communicate better now, and can articulate, in his own way, what he needs, which has resulted in fewer meltdowns… unless it is something I refuse to let him have. Oh, boy.

Learning & Vocabulary:
We’ve had to unfortunately put some of Liam’s learning on hold because of some other stuff we’ve been dealing with, but plan to pick it up ASAP. Currently, Liam knows all of his basic colors, a handful of shapes, and the numbers 1, 2, and 3. He can also hold up two fingers to tell you how old he is. He knows how to turn his toys (and pretty much anything with a switch or button) on and off, and we recently got a LeapStart to help him hone in on his fine motor skills, and to help him further develop his knowledge on all things toddler.

Oh, and speaking of communication, Liam has made GREAT strides in just the last few months. His word list is long, and silly. I’ve stopped trying to compare him to every other kid I see his age, who seem to be speaking in full sentences. As he’s shown, he will do what he wants, when he is ready. And, boy, can this kid talk when he wants to. Here’s a list of all of Liam’s known words and phrases. On occasion, he has been known to combine a few, like “Bye bye, baby!” to form small sentences as well!

words

See? He’s come quite a long way! I feel like I may have forgotten a few, but those are all the ones I have written down. His current favorites are “uh oh” and “pizza“. He’s been calling most foods “pizza” lately, haha. Which brings me to the next category…

16178972_10208221005022307_6057956033326460555_oFoods & Eating:
Aside from when he is sick, which he has been for a couple weeks now, Liam will eat anything and everything I put in front of him. Fruits and veggies, meat, dairy… everything. Some of his favorites include pizza, ice cream, yogurt, pineapple, macaroni with meat sauce, meatballs, carrots, mashed potatoes, and pretty much anything that I have on MY plate. He can also successfully use a normal fork and spoon without difficulty. When it comes to drinks, he likes most things, but it has been difficult getting him to drink his milk. He likes milk, but I think he just finds it boring. He’d much rather have juice, or a smoothie. Since he’s been dealing with a horrible cold, with mucus coming out of just about every hole in his head, drinking milk has been practically non-existent in this house. Hoping he starts drinking more soon. He can successfully drink with a straw, from a normal cup, and from a normal plastic bottle.15107352_10207692615652903_6837362670149185000_n

Potty Training:
We started potty training several months ago, and it was going well… then we had to put a pause on it, because there were some big changes being made in our household, and I was unable to continue. Now that things have calmed back down, we plan to pick it up again immediately. For the last month, Liam has been waking up with a dry diaper most mornings, and I’ve had success putting him on his potty, and him going. He still won’t poop on the potty, but he gets really excited when he pees in it. I’m excited to get back into it!

Naps and Bedtime Routine:
Nothing has really changed in our bedtime and nap routine, and I attribute our great success to keeping a strict bedtime and nap schedule. He still takes one nap a day, roughly 2-3 hours, sometimes a bit more or less, and he goes down without a fuss. The same goes with bedtime. He has started stalling, often needing to give daddy an extra hug or two, needing to grab one more lovey, or wanting several more sips of water, but he always gets to bed on time, and falls asleep quickly.

14947474_10207609960666580_7961387108818975879_nHe still sleeps through the night, about 12-13 hours in total, sometimes more. We have a toddler bed, but have yet to transition him to it. There’s been a lot of changes happening lately, and I don’t want to overwhelm him. He’s had some interest in sitting and lying on the bed in the past, but since we only have the one mattress, moving it back and forth is a pain. Having both beds in his room makes his room look a bit small and cluttered, but I am trying to use this crib until I can’t anymore. He hasn’t tried to climb out yet! And, truthfully, I don’t feel like our apartment is 100% child-proofed. Many of the doors are crooked, or don’t close properly, including his bedroom door. Most of our doorknobs have child-proof device on them, but if they don’t close fully, those devices are useless anyway. I think I may just be paranoid, but I’ve read too many horror stories, you know? I still feel unprepared.

Playtime and Activities:
I don’t even know where to start! Liam is at such a fun age now, where he loves to play. He’s gotten so many awesome toys for Christmas and his birthday, that I’ve had to rearrange our living room THREE times to get it all to fit in a spot. He has a play kitchen, tons of play foods and dishes, a play grill, a tool bench and tools, a play vacuum, a play cleaning set with broom, mop, spray bottle, etc, tons and tons of Mega Bloks, cars and trucks, a farm set with a TON of animals, and his current favorite, a two-sided easel with a whiteboard and chalkboard. He loves to color and draw, read books, do wooden puzzles, and recently showed an interest in Playdough as well.

Above all else, he enjoys doing the things that Kyle and I do. He loves to help with the laundry, and put the dishes away. He is no longer afraid of the vacuum, and when he sees me getting ready to vacuum the floors, he runs to get his vacuum to help. He was always stealing my broom and dust pan, so we got him his own, and he loves to sweep the floors. He was always trying to see what we were cooking, and we were afraid he would hurt himself, so we bought him his own play kitchen, and he plays with it all the time. Seeing him turn into a productive, independent little boy, right before my eyes, has been… everything. I’m getting emotional just typing that out!

Oh, and he enjoys watching cute animal videos on YouTube. I even made him his own playlist!

I suppose that’s it for now! I’ll give you all more updates as he grows, but I think that about sums up my sweet, silly, energetic boy. I am so proud of him, and he fills my heart with so much love.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

16251989_10208233658618639_831415270322811316_o

Sorry for the Silence

Hello, friends. It’s been quite some time since I’ve had the chance to sit down and write a post (just over two months), and a lot has happened. Most of the things that have happened aren’t really worth mentioning, but there are a few things that I’d like to share with you.

15995039_10208147301339761_8093609280292525493_oFirstly, and most important in my eyes, yesterday was my son’s second birthday. He’s two. I have a two year old. Trying to wrap my head around the fact that I have been a mother for two years is just… insane. I was babysitting all day, so we really couldn’t celebrate, and my entire household has been battling the cold from hell for a few weeks, so we were all more than happy to lay low. We had a cookie cake, took some pictures, and enjoyed some family time at the end of the day. Liam had an actual party a little over a week ago, when we went up to visit Kyle’s grandmother, and the whole rest of his family, for the big, annual family Christmas party. We bought Liam a really nice, super delicious cake, and he got to open a massive pile of Christmas AND birthday presents. He’s gotten so many amazing gifts this season, I might have to start doing some more toy reviews. There’s plenty to report on!

Luckily, we got all of our holiday and birthday shopping done early this year, because as you all know, whenever things are going too well for us, something goes wrong. Now, I went off on Facebook and Twitter recently, ranting about the medical lab where Kyle had his blood tests done last year when he was starting his new job. He had to be screened for diabetes, which we then discovered he had. Well, what I may not have mentioned, is that the clinic ordered a number of other tests, which we did not ask for, and in the end, we were charged roughly $1,000 from the lab, and nearly $500 from the clinic. For BLOOD TESTS. Gotta love America…

So, since Kyle is unable to afford insurance through his employer (oh, he no longer works two jobs, just the one driving now), and doesn’t qualify for state aid, it all had to come out of pocket. His mom agreed to help us with the clinic bill, since she was supposed to put Kyle back on her insurance and forgot about it, but the rest was on us. We were making the minimum payments for a while, but since Kyle’s job pays pretty well, he decided to pay half of it all at once on the site. Well, he screwed up and accidentally hit “Pay In Full”, and over $800 was taken from our bank account… and we didn’t have that much in there.

We got slammed with an overdraft, and a fee to go with it. Of course, he didn’t tell me this was his mistake until after I went off online, blaming the company, but when we reached out to see if we could maybe get half of the money back, they wouldn’t work with us. Not even a little. Luckily, I got paid enough the next day to pull our account back from the negatives, but we’ve been riding on $32 in the bank for over a week. Thank goodness for Christmas cash and gas card gifts. Tomorrow, Kyle gets paid, and then I get a few dollars on Friday from babysitting, and we will be all set again. But it sure threw us for a loop.

And speaking of babysitting… that’s all over.

It’s been rough. I had to put my Twitter as protected, because I found out that someone has been stalking my tweets, taking screenshots, and sending them to people who don’t follow me there, which has caused me some drama. Ridiculous, high school drama. I have a good feeling I know who it might be… though I’d like to think it isn’t one of my friends who follows me. I don’t trust anyone anymore.

I feel empty. More alone than ever. I feel like there’s been too much to deal with, but I haven’t been letting myself deal with any of it, because there was always something that needed to be done. Something more important than me, and my feelings. I didn’t let myself feel, or deal, or vent. Blah.

I also recently became an aunt again, to a little girl whose name I don’t even know, and who I’ll probably never meet, we lost my grandmother’s husband, Richard, to cancer right before Christmas, and I gained 45 pounds in 2016.

Oh, and Trump. That happened. So we’re all stuck in this sinking boat of misery.

Thanks for reading, friends. I should have more time to do writing prompts, reviews, etc… I missed writing. Talk soon.

Jan