Dream Journal 1/7/16

Past (?).

I sat in the back of a large van, filled with young adults, similar in age to myself. I looked to be just a few years younger, maybe 18 or 19. There were three guys, and two other girls, making six of us, plus the driver. The driver was an older, balding man, who looked eerily similar to Red Foreman from That 70’s Show.

We were complaining about being hungry, so the driver pulled up to a large, Victorian-looking building, and informed us it used to be his favorite restaurant in the area. We climbed out of the van and rush inside.

The inside was awful. The wall paper was peeling off of the walls, and the floor made wet, squishy noises beneath our feet. It looked as though the building had gone through a hurricane recently, and no one bothered to clean anything up before re-opening. The building was empty, but the tables and chairs were set up as through expecting crowds of people, and the lighting was bright and new.

A man rushed out from the kitchen to greet us. He was tall, with thinning, blond hair, and was wearing a hideous, baby blue suit. He shook the driver’s hand and guided us to a large table in the middle of the room. He took our orders without writing anything down (I ordered mushroom risotto, even though I don’t care for mushrooms), and hurried back to the kitchen.

The carpeting was so soaked, that it was hard to push our chairs in and out from the table, and there was at least a quarter inch of standing water in the room, which was soaking our feet and pants. No one really seemed to notice.

One of the girls started complaining about how the building smelled like a sewer filled with dead rats, and we all seemed to agree.

An hour passed, and we still had not been brought our drinks, nor had we seen the owner, or any other staff. The building was still empty, and no one new had come in. We stood up as a group and marched angrily to the kitchen doors to speak to the owner. When we opened the door, we saw that the kitchen was small. Very, very small. And it was in a closet. Along with this tiny, apartment-sized kitchen, there was also a very naked woman wearing nothing but a chef’s hat, and the owner, who was having sex with her, on top of the tiny stove, which was definitely on.

We stared at them in disbelief, and they didn’t even acknowledge that we had opened the doors. Nope. They just kept on doin’ it. We quickly backed out and waited outside the door, embarrassed, until they emerged from the closet kitchen… several minutes later. Still naked.

The owner, smiling, offered to give us our meals for free, but we wanted to leave. I don’t know why we didn’t just walk out, as we hadn’t received anything we would have had to pay for anyway. We all shouted angrily at the very naked owner and his very naked chef, until they told us to leave. Which we did.

As we were walking out, I started writing a very bad review on the restaurant’s Facebook page, which was filled with other reviews, all very positive. We got back into the van and drove off. We didn’t even turn our heads to witness the building bursting into cartoon-like flames behind us, and crumbling to the ground. Minutes later, there was a news report on the radio about the fire, and they cited the source of the fire as a pair of panties left on a stove top. Ha.

We were all still hungry, so we decided to stop at a local blood drive, and steal all of the cookies. We were on our way to the blood drive to steal their delicious cooking…

And then I woke up.

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Daily Prompt 1/9/2016 | No Use Crying Over Spilled Tea

Daily Prompt 1/9/2016 | Worst Case Scenario

“Of all the awful possibilities, what’s the worst possible thing that could happen to you today? Now, what about the best?”

I needed this prompt today. Boy, did I need this prompt.

This day has started off terribly. I got very little sleep last night, due to my 11.5 month old’s teething and sleep regression. I was up nearly every hour. I’ve been spoiled by this child and his amazing sleep habits, so this has been rough for me. I finally got us up for the day around 7, and have faced fit after fit from my little guy, as I have been trying to keep the “grown up” things away from him (i.e. PS4 controller, remote, my phone). He wants nothing to do with his own toys today.

Kyle came home from work early today. And by early, I mean 10 hours early. He has two jobs, and this particular one is in a distribution center, Sat-Mon, from 6a-6p. Pretty good money usually. Apparently, they’ve been slow since the end of the holiday season, and are expected to be slow all weekend, so they sent a handful of people home, including Kyle, who is still relatively new to the company. So there’s over $130 lost from this paycheck already. This is a pretty big bummer for us, as we were already pretty tight on money.

He also surprised me by running to Walmart to pick up a few things after work, including a gallon of iced tea for me, since I completely ran out of drinkable things yesterday. I took it out of the fridge to pour a glass, and proceeded to drop it, shattering the top, and flooding my entire kitchen/dining area with a FULL gallon of iced tea.

FML.

Did I mention I was also in the process of cooking breakfast on the stove for a fussy, hungry baby? Yup.

Then, I discovered that we were out of paper towels (the horror!), and had to use all of our bath towels (we only have 4 of them), and 2 washcloths, to contain the tea. After the towels and cloths were thoroughly soaked, I mopped the floor with my Swiffer. Twice. Now there are soggy, sticky towels in my bathtub, as I don’t have a freaking washer and dryer either.

So, yeah. This day is going swimmingly!

But… with all of this having been said… it could be so much worse.

*deep breaths*

Dealing with teething and sleep regression is frustrating… but my son is healthy. He is healthy, and smart, and so perfect. He is the happiest, funniest baby, and he fills my life with so much light and love. This will pass.

Kyle got sent home early, and we lost some money from this paycheck… but at least he has a job (TWO jobs) and is able to provide for the three of us, so that I can stay home and raise our son during this crucial time in his life. We make enough money now, to where we no longer need government assistance for food or formula, and even after buying these things ourselves, we have plenty left over for bills, or anything else that might pop up.

I spilled a gallon of tea on the floor… but it was just a few dollars lost, and only took a few minutes from my day to clean up. Since Kyle is home today, we will just run to the laundromat for an unexpected laundry trip, and have extra, clean clothes for the rest of the week.

Do I wish this day had gone differently? Yup. You bet. But, it could have been worse. My son could be sick. I could be sick. We could have nothing in the bank. Kyle could have gotten laid off. We could be in debt. My apartment could have caught on fire. A tornado could have ripped through our town. So many awful things could have happened…

But we are fine. We are all just fine.

Things are good. I just need to take a step back and remember these things whenever I have days like this, where I want to give up and cry. I just have to remember that, although the last few years have felt like living in nonstop, spiraling chaos… things are stable now, and I need to not worry and stress so much.

There is no use crying over spilled tea.

But, if anyone out there should win the lottery, remember your good friend, Jan, okaaay? That would be splendid! 😉

Thanks for reading.

Jan

Daily Prompt 1/8/2016 | Luxury

Daily Prompt 1/8/2016 | Keeping up with the Jones’

“Tell us about the one luxury item you wish you could afford, in as much detail as you can. Paint a picture for us.”

An item? No. I want experiences.

Growing up, my family never took many vacations. I have photos in a photo album of my mom, grandfather, and I in Florida, but I was just a baby. I have no memory of the trip, aside from a few photographs, and some old VHS footage.

Each year, until I was around 14 or 15 years old, my mom and I would drive to Hartford, Connecticut to visit with our cousins and a few days, but I never considered those trips to be much of a vacation. We went to the water park a few times, but most of my memories consist of sleeping on a creaky pull-out couch in their basement, and playing kickball with the neighborhood kids in the street, which is something I could have done at home, only afterwards, I could retreat to my own bed.

No, we never went on vacations when I got older. Our neighboring town had several fun parks and water parks, where all the high school kids would get jobs, and we would go there a few times each summer (we were too poor for season passes), and that was always great, but it was a 15 minute drive from home. Not a vacation.

We never stayed in hotels with overly chlorinated pools, or even really left the state at all. We never traveled to sunny, sandy locations to escape the Maine winters, or even up north a bit more to try our hands at skiing. I never got to hold a koala, or smell a vibrant, exotic flower. Nope. We just stayed home.

It isn’t my mom’s fault, I’m sure she would have loved to get away. But we were poor. I understand that now, especially since I have my own child to think about. Kids are expensive! If you’re living just at your means, then an exotic cruise or vacation probably isn’t in the books for you either. And it sucks.

I want my son to fly in an airplane. Or even take a train. I want him to visit ancient cities, tour museums, and sit on sandy beaches. I want him to try exotic foods, and see beautiful flowers that you can’t find here in the US. I want him to have these experiences that I never had, so that he will have a better understanding of the beauty that the whole world possess, not just what lies in his hometown.

That is the one luxury I wish for more than anything. Travel. Experience.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

My Thoughts On First Birthdays

Unpopular opinion time.

A baby’s first birthday is a big deal, there is no denying that. But how big should it be?

Liam will be a whole year old in 15 days, and Kyle and I have made the decision to not throw him a birthday party. I know, I know. I’ll give you a moment to pick your jaws up off the floor and compose yourselves.

That’s right. No party. No big cake, no balloons, no streamers. Why not? Let me tell you.

A lot of things need to be considered before diving into throwing a huge bash for your little bundle of joy, who is not so little anymore. The first thing you should consider, in my opinion, is your CHILD. Specifically, their personality. Yes, your one-year-old does have a personality.

First and foremost, this is your child’s party. A celebration of their life up to this point, and their accomplishments and milestones from their first year. And who wants to have a party thrown for them and have a miserable time? All babies are different, so this may not be relatable to some, but it certainly is for my little guy.

Liam, much like his mama, has a bit of social anxiety. He only lets a very select few hold him, and if you are lucky enough to let him grace you with his cuteness, it is only for a short period before he panics, and searches for mommy and daddy. I suppose, in a way, I am partially to blame for this… sort of. You see, I’m a stay-at-home-mom in a small town, where I don’t know a single soul. We only have one vehicle, but I don’t drive anyway. My fiance works 70-80 hours a week, and on his one day off every other week, socializing isn’t exactly at the top of our to-do list. No, it goes more like: rushed grocery shopping, rushed bill paying, rushed odds and ends, rushed trip to the laundromat to do our mountain of laundry… you get the idea.

So, baby and I don’t get much human interaction, aside from family get-togethers for major holidays, and occasional, planned meet-ups with Kyle’s mother (who is pretty much the only person Liam will remain content with). I wish it were different. I wish Liam was the kind of baby who could be passed around a room full of strangers, and keep a smile on his face. I’ve received so many judgmental glances from family members, when they beg to hold him, even after my warnings about his stranger anxiety, and then he fusses after a solid 60 seconds.

That’s just how he is.

So, back to my original point. Does your baby handle strangers well? Or even family? If not, then is it really worth it to put them in an uncomfortable situation, just so you can attend a party? No. Not to me.

Next up, we have noise. Now, Liam handles noise well. Heck, he’s a noisy boy himself. He handles loud TVs, music, sudden noises, peoples’ voices, etc., all really well. But many babies don’t. Large, noisy crowds, even if filled with familiar faces, can be very stressful for little ones. Even in the arms of mommy or daddy. Popping balloons, screaming little kids, and other sudden loud noises can make for a very bad time if your baby doesn’t handle noise well. And, as we all know, nothing kills the mood at a party quite like an inconsolable, screaming baby.

Now, remember how I said this is a party for your child? Well, it is, but it is also a party for YOU. You, your partner, whatever. This is a celebration of you, and everything you’ve made it through over the last year as well. All of the late nights, early morning, poopy diapers, feedings, stepped on toys, tears and fits, teething pain, baby-proofing as they learned to crawl and walk, and chasing them throughout the house. It is a celebration for you as well. So, while keeping your baby’s personality in mind, what do YOU want?

For me, there’s the stress. I stress easily. I don’t like parties. Even my own. I don’t like birthday parties, I don’t like New Years or Christmas parties, or Halloween parties. Like I said, social anxiety. Even with family. I don’t like feeling like I’m being secretly (or not-so-secretly) judged for every decision I make. I also have a tight budget, and stress out easily when I need to plan get-togethers. So… why go through the stress of planning, cleaning, buying party supplies, blowing up balloons, dealing with who to invite, settling on a date that accommodates peoples’ schedules, maybe even finding a location, if you’re not going to enjoy yourself either? If you’re unhappy, your baby will be unhappy.

That does not sound like a good time to me.

Will they even remember their first birthday party? Probably not. Will they remember how much stress you put on yourself to pick the perfect napkins to match the plates? Doubt it. Will they even know what is happening? Nah. I’d much rather make some baby-friendly cupcakes (don’t even get my started on my opinion of spending oodles on fancy smash cakes…), and snap a few cute pictures, surrounded by the people who have had the biggest impact in Liam’s life up to this point.

So why do it? Because your family want to celebrate? Because you’re afraid of being judged? Well, with all due respect, it is not their baby. Pressure from family plays a huge roll in the decisions we make as parents, and it definitely shouldn’t. This is YOUR baby. This is YOUR time to celebrate. There will be other holidays, and other birthdays. But, in my opinion, this one is a big one, and should be for you and your little one.

Now, that’s not to say it has to be just you guys. We may not be throwing a party, but we want Kyle’s mother to be there. She loves Liam just as much as we do, and I honestly couldn’t imagine her not being there to celebrate this milestone with us. But, honestly, she’s the only one I want there. Just the three of us, and Liam’s grandma.

Of course, as I said before, this may not be relatable to some. Maybe your idea of celebrating all that you’ve accomplished as a family is to throw a big bash. Maybe you have a loving, supportive  family, and they make you feel comfortable, and you want them there with you. And maybe your baby takes after you, and is outgoing. Maybe they love being bounced, cuddled, and smothered with love and affection from everyone they meet. But not all babies (or parents) are like that. And that is perfectly fine.

These are just a few of the reasons why I’ve decided that I don’t want to throw a big party for my little guy. I want to quietly celebrate all that we have overcome, and accomplished, in the first year of his life. I want to reflect back on each and every special moment with the man that I love, and our sweet boy.

I know you want to make memories, but that doesn’t mean that you need to include everyone in the making of them.

Unless you want to, of course.

But, when he turns two… that’s another story.

Thank you for reading!

Jan

Self-Control

Self-control… I have none.

As of today, I am down 26 pounds since I started my diet in October. Now, this might sound like quite an accomplishment… but I don’t really feel like it is. Right up until the middle of December, I had been busting my ass, making sure to stick to my diet (no meat, no dairy, and a calorie limit), and to get my walking and/or Zumba workout in. And it was going well! I was losing around 2 pounds a week, my skin was clearing up, and I felt amazing. I was less tired, and just happier in general.

Then… the holidays came.

I never wanted special treatment, or pity, or for people to go out of their way to prepare special dishes for me so that I could eat at family parties. I also never wanted people to say things like, “It’s okay to have a cheat day every once in a while!” or “Come on, it is Christmas! You can indulge!” Because, you see, for me… I have no self-control. None at all. I wanted to live in my happy little bubble, where I could surround myself with my healthy foods, and not worry about the cookies, hams, and cheese plates (all of which are super delicious, and evil). But, alas, the holidays came and went, and I was forced to be in the same room with these delectable dishes… and I caved.

I caved, and I gorged, and I can’t stop.

They say it takes 90 days to make or break a habit. I almost made it. I’ve been kicking myself so much the last few weeks, mostly for allowing myself to nod along and say, “You’re right, it is the holidays!” because I should have known myself better.

I should have known that those cookies were a slippery slope. That eating from the cheese plate would mean that in a few days time, I would be sneaking to the fridge in the middle of the night for a handful of shredded cheese, straight from the bag. I wish I had more support at home. But I don’t. Despite being quite overweight, my carnivorous, dairy addicted fiance insists that I am fine. He doesn’t care about my diet, or my need to have zero junk food in the apartment. He brings home packages of cookies, bags of chips, and random Buffalo Wild Wings, then ends up not touching them. So they sit in the cabinet or fridge, next to my brown rice, quinoa, and dried fruit. Taunting me.

And then, I snap.

Some days, I am so proud of myself. I stay within my calories, eat my veggies, keep my sodium down, and feel good about myself… but when the sun goes down, and my baby goes to bed, something inside of me just… snaps. I crave. Everything. It gets so bad that sometimes I find myself pacing the kitchen, wondering what would be “acceptable” junk food to satisfy my cravings. Carrots and hummus? Sure. Followed by 3 iced oatmeal cookies. Followed by a peanut butter sandwich. Followed by a handful of Tostitos…

I CAN’T STOP.

Is it boredom? I have no idea. Maybe.

On top of this, my son is going through a developmental leap, and has been a tiny (adorable) demon lately. Refusing to nap, taking forever to get to bed, throwing fits, and being clingy… making finding time to workout or do Zumba impossible. So the calories add up.

My weight loss has slowed… significantly. Actually, it has stopped. And it breaks my heart.

I know, I know. I have no one to blame but myself. Old habits are hard to break.

Can someone come and take all this junk food away? And yell at me to get my butt back on the right path? Please?

Jan

Dream Journal 1/3/16

(I’ve been meaning to write out several entries from my dream journal, and finally have time to do it. Here is the final.)

Present day.

I am walking around a large hobby/craft store with my friend Dominique, who I worked with years ago, and haven’t seen in quite some time. Her little boy, Aaron, was also with us. The store did not have a normal roof, instead, it was a large, transparent dome, and we could see the sunny skies above.

Dominique and I were talking about our ex-boyfriends, and it was really upsetting. I don’t want to go into detail, but things got really deep, and sad. Aaron was talking to a little girl, and brought her over to us and told Dominique that he wanted to marry her. She got upset and shouted at the little girl, telling her that he was only seven years old. She ran away crying, and Dominique started laughing. I looked horrified.

Then, we were in an aisle lined with fake flowers, and there were petals floating down from the dome roof, and it was beautiful. Aaron was angry with Dominique, and was calling her a horrible person and a bitch, and she was ignoring him and picking out flowers, as if nothing had happened.

When we went to check out, the old woman at the counter glared at us, and mumbled something racist (Dominique and Aaron are not white), and Aaron threw his shoe at her face, which set off an alarm. Then we ran out the front door, and got into Dominique’s car, just as a dozen police cruisers pulled up.

Then we drove away, as if it didn’t even happen.

We were driving in the country, Dominique and Aaron were arguing. I think we were going to a park, or maybe a pond… or something.

And then I woke up.

Dream Journal 1/2/16

(I’ve been meaning to write out several entries from my dream journal, and finally have time to do it. Here is the second.)

Present day/near future.

Kyle, Liam, and I are hiking at Starved Rock State Park. Liam looks only slightly older than he is now, maybe 18 months or so, and I am wearing him on my back in a bright, blue carrier. Kyle and I are wearing matching white tops and black bottoms (t-shirt and shorts for him, tank top and leggings for me). Liam is bundled up in a coat and hat, as it appears to be Autumn, judging by the changing leaves on the trees along the trails. The cold doesn’t seem to bother either of us.

We pass by dozens of people, and each person or group stops to compliment us on how cute our son is. Eventually, it starts to get aggravating, as our hike is continuously interrupted, and we decide to go onto one of the harder trails with less foot traffic.

We run into my old work friend, Brooke, who volunteers as a photographer at the park, and she tells us that there is a hurricane coming, and that we need to continue up the trail to the nearest lodge for safety. This confuses us, as we are in central Illinois, and hurricanes don’t reach us, but we comply.

As we continue up the trail, it starts to sprinkle, but the rain is a soft, translucent, green color, which casts a beautiful, green veil over the woods. We stop to take pictures, as the rain is very light, but can hear people yelling urgently a little ways in front of us, so we quickly continue onward.

Further up the trail, there is a large sinkhole, at least 10 feet across, which has swallowed up most of the bridge that we need to get across. Water from the small river is loudly pouring down the gaping hole, creating thundering echoes. There is a family on the other side of the gap, beckoning us over, though they seem very angry that we are unable to cross. The father is shouting at us, but even though he is only a few feet away, is sounds as though he is across the Grand Canyon, and we can’t hear a word he says.

We leave the trail to find another way around, and come across another bridge, which leads to a small, abandoned cabin, where we decide to wait out the storm.

The inside is fully furnished, albeit very rustically, but there is a working computer in the corner, which is already turned on, and logged into my Facebook account. I put Liam on the floor and hand him his stuffed, purple Brachiosaurus toy, and sit down at the computer. Kyle retreats to the kitchen, where he finds a fully stocked fridge, and starts cooking.

It is no longer raining outside, and the ground is already dry. I peek out the window as I change Liam’s diaper on the hideous, yellow couch in the living area, and see that the trees are greener than they were before, but apparently that is because the rain was actually very glossy paint, which is now coating, and dripping off, their leaves. I sit on the floor to play cars with Liam.

Then, I am watching a Shane Dawson video on YouTube, when there is a knock on the door. It is Brooke, and she informs us that we have been missing for six days, and that the entire state has been looking for us. Kyle and I laugh and tell her that that is impossible, as we have only been in the tiny cabin for an hour or so. She looks confused, and asks us what cabin we are talking about.

Then we are in the woods. The trees are back to being shades of orange, red, and yellow, and it is very, very cold. I can hear Liam crying, and Kyle picks him up. Brooke asks if we are okay, and hands me a water bottle, which I chug, because I am apparently very thirsty.

We start walking back to the trail, which is only a few feet from the cabin, and Brooke radios that she found us. Kyle and I argue with her that it is impossible that we have been gone that long, and tell her that we only went inside to wait out the weird, green rain. She looks confused, and says she’s never seen green rain before.

This only adds to our confusion. I hoist Liam up onto my shoulders, and we follow Brooke down the trail. I can see a large group, containing hundreds of people in the distance. They are all cheering. Brooke says something about making us a chocolate cake, and asks if I like Sprite or Dr. Pepper better.

And then I wake up.