The Lovely Blog Award

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Hello, friends! I am super excited, and totally honored, to tell you that I’ve been nominated for the Lovely Blog Award! As some of you have seen, I was also recently nominated for the Liebster Award, which was so great! I had seen the Lovely Blog Award floating around, given to some very deserving individuals, and now I’ve made the cut! I was nominated by the fantastic Lady CAS, who I adore entirely. I am so excited and humbled. Thanks again, Lady!

The Rules For Award Acceptance:
1. Each nominee must thank the person who nominated them (including a link to their blog).
2. List the rules, and post the blog award badge in the post.
3. Add 7 facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the Lovely Blog Award, and notify them that they have been nominated.

The official rules dictate that I tell you seven facts about myself, and I had to think hard about this one, because I’ve already posted two other posts with 30 total facts about myself, haha. After taking some time to think of a few more, here we are, and here are my seven facts!

7 Facts About Me:
1. Up until the age of 17 or 18, I hated my name. I’m still not a fan, honestly. It is spelled “Janise“, but pronounced the same as “Janice“. You’d think that would be obvious, but every teacher that I’ve ever had, from kindergarten up to my senior year, called me “Jan-EE-se“. Repeatedly. It became a running joke, but I hated it so much. I usually just go by “Jan” now.
2. I went to college in Newfoundland, Canada for one year. I was studying Psychology, which is something I have always been passionate about, but had to drop out due to financial problems. I still owe the school money, nearly 7 years later, and I have fears that I will never get to go back to school, or have a career.
3. I love Harry Potter. I can honestly say that the Harry Potter series played a huge role in shaping me into the woman that I am today, for so many reasons. Not ashamed!
4. I played the clarinet from ages 9-16. I originally wanted to play the trumpet, but my mom wouldn’t let me. I ended up being really good at the clarinet, and was selected as first chair every year. I was even specially chosen to attend several district music festivals (two of which required an audition), and was selected as first chair in all 3 music festivals, beating out over a dozen other talented clarinetists. Playing the clarinet was one of the only things that gave me a sense of pride, yet I foolishly threw it away, quitting band at the age of 16 for petty, stupid reasons. I’ve regretted it ever since.
5. I have mild social anxiety. I no longer experience anxiety attacks when in public, and have come quite a long way, but I still don’t enjoy being around other people. Family, friends, or strangers. Unfortunately, nobody seems to understand this, and often mistake my anxiety for rudeness, which only makes it worse.
6. I don’t really care for coffee, and I don’t like bacon. I decided to put these two facts into one, because they are equally addictive, and I have gotten equal amounts of hate for both. Come at me, bro.
7. I played World of Warcraft for 9ish years, but had to take a 1.5 year break when I was without a computer and internet. I came back only for a few months, after my son was born, but quit when I realized that there was absolutely nothing left for me to come back to. I’ve been drifting through the internet, alone, ever since.

Whew, that was fun! To finish off this post, I’d like to nominate the following 15 individuals for the Lovely Blog Award. I wish I could nominate everyone that I follow… but I can’t. Sorry.

My 15 Nominees For the Lovely Blog Award:
1. Jleigh
2. Supergirl2000
3. Amy
4. John Jr.
5. Gloria
6. The NYC Mom
7. Heather
8. The Flip of the Switch
9. Tessa
10. Matt
11. Accidental Hipster Mum
12. Life Beyond Mommy
13. Annette
14. Everythings Rosie and George
15. Paintbox Mum

Man, I need to follow more blogs. I apologize if this is the second or third time that any of you have been nominated, feel free not to participate if you don’t want to, I won’t be offended! I just wanted to recognize and share some fantastic blogs with you lovely folks.

I do hope that the rest of you guys accept and share! It is so nice that these awards exist, and I am so honored to have been recognized and nominated for two separate ones. They are also so fun to participate in, especially when I’ve got a little bit of writer’s block going on! Be sure to check out my fellow writer friends, and make a connection! Let’s all support each other. Thanks again, Lady CAS, for the nomination.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

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Daily Prompt 1/27/2016 | Quote Me

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 1/27/2016 | Quote Me

“Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? What is it, and why does it move you?”

I’m usually not one for quotes, for a couple reasons. While I do feel that there have been many inspirational things said throughout time, I also feel that nothing is ever original. Even the most inspirational quotes, said by the world’s most influential people, are just words, pieced together, based on other expressions, or things heard in passing. Nothing is original. I’ve never heard someone say a famous quote, and thought, “Wow, that completely changes everything.

I also feel weird recognizing people for quotes, when so many word combinations have been spoken in the thousands of years that humans have been speaking. The odds of Martin Luther King’s Jr.’s full “I have A Dream” speech having been said, word for word, 100 years prior is a little unlikely, but you see what I’m saying, right? You see it today, when people take someone’s Tweet, or Facebook post, crop out their name, and circulate it around as a meme or something. You never know where the words originated from, and I know that I wouldn’t feel great seeing someone credited for saying my words, and making them famous, somewhere down the road, doing talk shows and whatnot. I would not be happy.

With that little rant having been typed out, there is one quote that has resonated with me since I was a child. Of course, Winnie the Pooh is just a fictional bear in a children’s show, so really, the writers should be credited with the quote, but I don’t know who they are, so we’ll give this one to Pooh.

“There is something you must always remember: You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ~ Winnie the Pooh

Daily Prompt 1/22/2016 | My Favorite

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 1/22/2016 | My Favorite

What’s the most time you’ve ever spent apart from your favorite person? Tell us about it.”

Hours. Just a few hours.

I have never left my son with anyone, other than his father. Ever. Even with his father, it was only for 15-20 minutes so that I could shower, or an hour or two so that I could nap. The thought of leaving him alone with anyone makes me anxious, and when I am away from him, it gets worse. I thought this feeling of separation anxiety would dissipate after a few months, but it hasn’t. Not even a little. Even on our worst days, when I want to scream and cry and give up, I can’t fathom the thought of leaving him with anyone else. Here are a few reasons why I feel this way:

1) Nobody knows him like I do. Nobody. Kyle has had little part in our day-to-day lives. He’s changed a total of 6 diapers over the course of a year (none of them poopy), and has never cooked for, or fed, Liam. He doesn’t know how much of what to give him, or what he likes and dislikes. He’s never put him to bed, brushed his teeth, or given him a bath either. So you can see why leaving him alone with him would cause me stress.

2) Liam has stranger anxiety. Even with his dad, if I’m gone for more than a few minutes, he gets upset. He loves his daddy, but being away from me is stressful for him. He still doesn’t really let anyone hold him, and if he does, it is only for a few minutes. The idea of leaving him at someone’s house, or at daycare, terrifies me. I’m afraid that once I leave, he will cry and cry and cry, and will never stop, and they will hate him.

3) Trust. I’ve seen how much Kyle’s mother spoils our niece, even against her mother’s wishes. I’ve heard her say candy/cookies/soda, etc. and then Kyle’s mother turns around and gives her whatever she wants. Now she is a spoiled 4-year old who throws tantrums at every little thing. I don’t want that. I don’t buy into the whole “grandparents are supposed to spoil their grandkids” crap. No. If the PARENT tells you that they can’t have something, you need to respect that. You’re teaching the child that what mommy and daddy says doesn’t matter, as long as grandma says yes. Big no-no.

4) Past experiences. Now, this is a bit more of a stretch, but on more than one occasion, I encountered abuse at the hands of a caregiver as a child. Completely normal, seemingly nice people. I’d like to think that Liam’s grandmother, father, a babysitter, or whoever, would never think of hitting him out of frustration, or for any other reason… but you never know how people will handle the strain of a crying baby, even if they’ve dealt with it in the past. This terrifies me.

Am I crazy? Overprotective? Maybe. Probably. I don’t know. I will need to go back to work some day, and I’m hoping that Liam starts warming up to strangers by the time that needs to happen.

Any other parents have anxiety over leaving their babies with someone else? My son will be one tomorrow, and this fear is not letting up at all.

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

Dream Journal 12/2/15

I kept looking at Kyle and his mom and waiting for someone to stand up for me, but no one did. I was so angry. Her tone of voice, and how she addressed me, everything about it. I was pissed. Mostly, because it felt so REAL, like it was something that could actually happen. Seriously.

Present day.

Kyle, Liam, and I drove up to Kyle’s grandmother’s house for Christmas (she lives over two hours away, on top of a very large hill, in the middle of nowhere, and always insists on having EVERY family get together and holiday up there). The whole family was sitting in the basement, opening presents, when Kyle’s grandmother turned to us, and informed us that she would be having Liam’s first birthday at her house (his birthday is at the end of January), without even asking us.

I was shocked, and Kyle and I just looked at each other. I politely told her that we didn’t want to have the party at her house, and that we were planning on just having a small party back home, or at Kyle’s mother’s house, because she lives just a few minutes from us. The conversation went something like this.

Her: So, we’re going to behaving Liam’s party here on January 20th.
Me: … Um, no, that’s alright, we’re just going to do something back home with him.
Her: No, it’s fine, we already ordered him a cake.
Me: Oh, no, don’t do that, I’m making him a vegan cake.
Her: Vegan cake? No. He should have a real cake. We’ll just do it here.
Me: No, we aren’t doing it here. I’m sorry. I’m not driving 2 hours for his party. You’re welcome to come down though.
Her: Well, we’ll just come get him then.
Me: No. No, I’m sorry. We’re not having it here.
Her: Well, you don’t have to come.
Me: Excuse me? It’s my son’s first birthday.
Kyle’s Sister: Just have it here, your apartment is too small to have a party anyway. We don’t want to go there.
Me: We aren’t HAVING a party. He is having a cake, which I am making, and it is just going to be the three of us, and maybe your mom.
Kyle’s Grandmother: Well, we’re going to have it here, so we’ll just come pick him up. You’re welcome to come if you want.
Me: ……..

I kept looking at Kyle and his mom and waiting for someone to stand up for me, but no one did. I was so angry. Her tone of voice, and how she addressed me, everything about it. I was pissed. Mostly, because it felt so REAL, like it was something that could actually happen. Seriously. All the women in his family can be so controlling, and I felt helpless. I woke up feeling anxious. I picked up Liam and walked outside with him, and just started walking down the road, in the middle of nowhere. In the snow.

That’s all that I can remember, but I think it ended around here anyway.

I was so mad, you guys. Holidays seriously stress me out, clearly.

J

Never Get Your Hopes Up

This. This is my life, folks. A giant fucking snowball of shit that just keeps on rolling.

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So close. So fucking close.

I’ll try to make this short, because the longer I let it sit and think about it, the angrier I will get. I’m feeling quite a range of emotions right now, ranging from sad, to frustrated, to absolutely livid. I’m tired of nothing ever working out for us. It honestly feels like every time things seem to start looking up, everything falls apart. I don’t know what we did in our past lives to deserve this shit storm that we are living in, but I am sick of it. So. Fucking. Sick of it.

I’m sure as most of you who follow me on Twitter have seen, we’ve been having car problems for a very, VERY long time. We’ve tried to raise money on several occasions to try and replace our Mustang, but it never worked out. Well, several weeks ago, our Mustang died. Completely, and utterly, died. So we started a GoFundMe page to try and raise some money to get a used car. Despite the fantastic efforts of my friends donating, re-tweeting, and sharing our page, we were only able to raise $305, which is less than 1/8 of our goal that we set.

I don’t currently work, so I don’t leave our apartment ever, but Kyle has been needing to rely on his mom to bring him to work (and she lives 40 minutes away), as well as a few of his co-workers. The problem is, he is the only full-time person in his department, so there really is never anyone working at the same time as him. To top it all off, he just got a second job, where he knows nobody, so the only person who could drive him to that job is his mom, and this job is even further from her than his other one.

But, things were finally starting to look up. After weeks of searching and reaching out to our families, Kyle’s aunt and her wife offered to give us one of their vehicles, as they only had $5600 left to pay on it. It was a nice, newer, family-sized vehicle, and we were so excited. Too excited. And for a moment, we forgot that our lives are shit and that things never work out for us. Over the course of the week, we worked out how much we would be giving them in payments, and then just today, we bought the insurance for it.

But, like everything else in our lives, it had to totally fall apart.

Just a few hours ago, Kyle was in the middle of a conversation with his aunt about bringing the car down to us TOMORROW, when she suddenly stopped responding. After a little while, we got a message from Kyle’s mom, saying that she needed to talk to us about the car. And the alarms went off. We are able to smell disappointment from a thousand miles away. So Kyle called her.

According to Kyle’s mom, while Kyle was talking to his aunt about the car, she was actually in the middle of a heated argument with her wife, about who knows what. They are always fighting about something. Basically, her wife stormed out, shouting that she was leaving, and took the vehicle that was supposed to go to us, instead of her own vehicle, just to spite Kyle’s aunt.

Then Kyle threw his phone and let out a string of profane words.

I seconded everything he said.

Now everyone is fighting and blocking each other, and we are sitting here stunned, upset, depressed, helpless. To top it all off, Kyle’s mom seems to think that despite having zero credit, Kyle should be able to “easily” get approved for a loan on a used car, because of how much he makes. And she keeps arguing with us, and can’t seem to understand why we keep getting denied for loans. It is so fucking infuriating that she doesn’t understand why we aren’t getting approved.

Kyle has two jobs now, but has yet to start at the second, so there is no income from them yet. He also has no line of credit or credit history, as he is only 20 and hasn’t really established any, since everything has always been in my name. And of course, despite having EXCELLENT credit, I can’t cosign for him on anything because I’m not currently working.

Yeah, trust me, we’ve tried at banks, dealerships, and credit unions. Nada.

So now we are searching through the inventory of all of the used car places around us, searching for anything that we can afford without having to give them a huge down payment, since we can’t get a loan or financing.

This. This is my life, folks. A giant fucking snowball of shit that just keeps on rolling.

Thanks for reading, I’ll keep you all posted.

Jan