Dream Journal 7/29/17 | Tornado

I was on my way home, driving down the backroads in my town, when it suddenly started getting very dark outside. I looked out my window, and could see funnel clouds forming and touching town in the fields on all sides of my vehicle. They were pretty far from me, but I could see them tearing trees out of the ground, and throwing vehicles and debris through the air. I pulled over, and started taking pictures of the funnel clouds, and the destruction they were causing. Within minutes, the tornadoes funnels were closing in on me, and I ran back to my vehicle, and sped off.

I got back to my house, which resembled my childhood home in many ways, and grabbed Kyle and Liam. I told them that the tornadoes were on their way, and told them we had to get into the basement. Kyle informed me that we didn’t have a basement, but I ignored him, because I was tearing a grate up from the living room floor, and digging into the flooring, which had kind of turned into rock and dirt. I dug for a few minutes, all while excitedly telling Kyle about the pictures I took to send in to our local storm chasers, before breaking through the flooring, and into a small tunnel, barely enough to slide into. I climbed in, and kept digging furiously, until the dirt walls crumbled away, and opened up to a large, underground room, that kind of resembled a dungeon.

Kyle and Liam crawled into the hole after me, and joined me under the house. The walls of the room were made of stone, and despite being underground, and under the house, there were large, glassless, barred windows on the walls, and wiry grates above us, where we could see the outside. I could hear the rumbling and howling of nearby tornadoes, and ran over to a bunker door at the far end of the dungeon room. I opened it, and called Kyle and Liam over. On the other side of the room was a short set of stairs, which led to a massive, underground bunker, that resembled a library, or some kind of mancave.

The room was warmly furnished, and looked clean, despite what I expect was years and years of neglect. There was a roaring fire in the fireplace, and we spread out to begin exploring, forgetting about the severe weather outside. The electricity was on, and there were lamps and lights everywhere. There were huge bookshelves along the walls, filled with thick books, with topics ranging from UFOs and aliens, to biochemistry, to Shakespeare. Liam was sitting on a brown, leather couch, playing with a globe, and Kyle was digging into a small mini fridge in the corner, which was stocked full of bottled water. I joked about how this room was nicer than our whole house, and he agreed.

I opened a box that had been sitting on a table, and pulled out a long strand of thick, green garland, and began hanging it around the room.

And then I woke up.

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Dream Journal 7/21/16 | Yard Sale

I was pulling an old couch out of a large house, which was presumably mine, and dragging it to the curb. A woman asked me how much I wanted it, and I told her it was trash, and she shrugged and started dragging it away. I starting calling to her, telling her that she couldn’t just take it, but she ignored me. My mom walked out of the house behind me, and asked me what happened. I told her, and said that maybe we should have a yard sale to get rid of all of our old junk, since people apparently wanted it. Continue reading Dream Journal 7/21/16 | Yard Sale

Mom’s Visit | The Final Day

[You can read about Days 0-1 here, Day 2 here, Day 3 here, Day 4 here, Day 5 here, and Day 6 here.]

Hello, friends. Yesterday was my mom’s final day visiting with us, though her plane doesn’t actually leave Illinois for another 3 hours or so. It was a very mixed day. I felt really on edge, and anxious, from the time I woke up, to the moment we said our goodbyes. I tried so hard to make it a good day, but it felt like my mom and I were butting heads more often than not, and it created a lot of tension.

Kyle worked from 10-6 yesterday, so it was another day of just my mom, Liam, and I. Liam has been in quite the mood for the last couple days, including yesterday, which resulted in an early nap, which I was hoping to avoid doing, since we were going out to eat that night, and I didn’t want him being fussy. Ah, life with toddlers. Everything revolves around them.

My mom came over just after lunch, and we left in search of local garage sales, since there are signs littering the entire town. After over an hour of driving around, which was pretty quiet and uneventful, and not seeing anything of interest, we decided to drive to the mall so that Liam could play a bit before dinner. I stopped by Sears to see Kyle, but was told that he had just gone to lunch. I asked his co-worker if she could get him for me really quickly, as there wasn’t a single person in the store, and she was just standing at the register, but she told me she wasn’t allowed to (which is bullshit). Since I don’t have minutes on my phone, I couldn’t text him to tell him we were there, so we left, and hoped that he would be there when we came back through.

My mom bought me a late lunch at my favorite spot in the mall, and I shared a delicious, pretzel bread turkey sandwich with Liam, who already eaten lunch, but always insists on eating everything in sight. We also went into Maurice’s to scope out the huge clearance sale they were having. My mom tried to buy me every single article of clothing that I touched, not I kept telling her not to. She was not happy about that.

When we got to the play area, it was empty. I ran around with Liam for a while, but he was being naughty, and kept running out into the open mall, and I had to chase after him. There is a ramp and some stairs right outside of the play area, and he always runs toward them, which is frustrating and exhausting. My mom sat at the opposite end of the play area, taking videos and pictures the entire time. As we were going to leave, I asked her if I could see them to send some to myself, but she told me that she had deleted all of them, because none came out.

Well, okay then…

We left the play area, and my mom insisted on going into the mall bookstore to look at children’s books and puzzles for Liam. I saw so many books that I wanted to get for him, but I let my pride and my bad attitude take charge, and wouldn’t let my mom get any of them for him.

I don’t know why. I really don’t. I wanted them, he wanted them, and she wanted to buy them. I said no. What is wrong with me? Ugh.

I headed to the bathroom to change Liam, and my mom disappeared. When I came out, I was stopped by a young couple with a tiny baby, and we chatted a bit about babies and whatnot, before I went back to Sears. Luckily, Kyle was there this time, and he gave me the details on our dinner plans for the night. We were to meet his mom and step father at Applebee’s at 5:30, which was an hour from that point, and then he would be meeting us there at 6:00, after he got off work. I gave him a hug and kiss, and he got some cuddles from Liam, and I went back out to meet my mom and let her know what was happening.

Since we had an hour to kill, we decided to head to a local park that I had been to before, but had never visited the playground. It is a massive plot of land, with a cute lake, a bunch of walking trails, and a large playground, lined with sand, and surrounded by grass and trees. It is a beautiful park, and I wish we lived closer. Liam was barefoot, and as I placed him down on the grass, I remembered that he has never walked barefoot on grass, or sand. It only took him a few minutes of funny walking to get used to the it, and enjoy it… but he definitely did not care for the feeling of sand between his toes. It was funny.

There was another mom there, and she had two little ones with her, a toddler boy, and a tiny infant. Her son was about 2.5, and he watched us closely from the picnic area while Liam was on the swing. My mom sat herself beneath a tree, and watched us from a distance. She didn’t have much interest in playing until the end of our playground adventure. After nearly 15 minutes on the swing, we decided to explore the rest of the large playground, and the other little boy joined us! Rather than telling you about it, here are some pictures I took!

So that was fun!

We left the park around 5:20 and headed to meet Kyle’s mom and step father at Applebee’s. They were already there when we pulled up, and we sat in a large corner booth, and ordered our appetizers and entrees without Kyle, since he would be joining us a bit later. I ordered the Southwest Steak and Black Bean Soup, as well as the Crispy Cheddar Bacon Potatoes, for myself, and the kid’s Chicken Grillers and broccoli for Liam. It was all super delicious. I forget what Kyle’s meal was called, I think it was one of those “Build Your Own” things, but he got sweet potato fries, a steak, and some seriously amazing looking mac ‘n cheese.

It was a nice dinner. My mom and Candace politely went back and forth over who would pay the bill, as I expected, but they settled on splitting it evenly, which I also expected. We then gathered in the parking lot to put Liam’s car seat back into our Lincoln (it’s been in my mom’s rental all week), chat about some upcoming family events, and say our goodbyes.

There were hugs, and thank yous, and my mom cried.

And then it was over. She leaves tonight, and though her plane doesn’t leave for 3 hours still, and she has been sitting at the airport for 2 hours, she did not want to come by today. I’m okay with that. I had a nice week, and it was honestly good to see her, and for her to meet Liam, but I am completely drained. I don’t know when I will see her again, but I do know that I am happy to have things go back to normal around here. We definitely work better with a thousand, or more, miles between us.

I have a few other blogs I need to write, but I don’t know when that will happen. I need rest. I need to recharge.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Mom’s Visit | Day 3

[You can read about Days 0-1 here, and Day 2 here!]

Hello, friends. Despite yesterday being not-so-fantastic, today was pretty good! It was unbearably hot, and we had made zero plans for the day, but I knew I wanted to stay indoors as much as possible. I wanted a little bit of alone time with my son, just to bond and relax, so I told my mom that we could meet up later in the day, some time after Liam’s lunch and nap, and then maybe do some afternoon shopping. I made delicious grilled cheese sandwiches for Liam and I for lunch, which had provolone cheese, parsley, avocado, and tomato (his was deconstructed, since he still doesn’t have many teeth), and they were so delicious. I haven’t cooked, or really made anything at home, in days!

We ended up meeting up much later than planned, thanks to some technical difficulties on my mom’s end with Facebook. Even though she was on it all day, she never saw any notifications for the half a dozen messages I sent her telling her she could come over at that point. After over two hours of waiting for her, I messaged Kyle and asked him to text her (I still don’t have minutes), since I knew she would get that right away. Sure enough, she did, then messaged me back immediately, very upset that she had missed all my messages. I was thankful for the time I got to spend with Liam (as well as a fantastic nap that I snuck in before lunch), but happy to finally get out and do some shopping.

She picked us up, and told me all about her morning and afternoon exploring the town. She went down to the waterfront, somewhere I didn’t even know existed, and relaxed by the water, sipping her coffee. We talked about possible plans for tomorrow, and I pointed out a few possible dinner options for tonight. We got to Walmart, and did a couple laps around the store. I picked out two shirts, two pairs of shorts, and a package of socks for Liam, and we found a cute sensory animal book for him as well. It has words I can read to him, as well as pictures of animals, and little patches of “fur” textures for him to touch. When you press on the textured spots, it makes the noise of that animal. I was excited, because I’ve been looking for a book just like that for him, and this was the first I had seen. It wasn’t until we got home that we realized that the whole back half of the book is a misleading block of fake pages, where the batteries and noise boxes are, and that it is actually only a few pages long. Very misleading, and definitely not worth the $13 it cost. Oh well.

I didn’t see anything there that I liked, mostly because Walmart only has three options for women: Too tight junior clothes in neon colors, workout clothes, and… well, clothes that even my 50 year old mother thinks are too old for her. So I got nothing, which was fine with me, since I’m still not comfortable letting her spend money on me. She bought some cute things for Liam, so that seemed to satisfy her urge to spend.

After Walmart, we went to Culver’s for dinner, since she had never been, and talked about the past. She asked me if I still kept in touch with the handful of friends I had in high school, which I do, and told me that she bumps into them every now and then. She asked me questions about my ex, and his family, and about our breakup, which I honestly didn’t mind answering. It’s not like I really have friends I can talk to about it, even though it was over 3 years ago, it was nice to be able to bitch about him and his family for a minute, ya know?

After dinner, we headed to the mall to visit with Kyle before he got off work, and Liam happily ran barefoot through the empty store. We decided that since Kyle has tomorrow off, we would head to one of the neighboring towns, where there is a huge indoor swimming pool, and do some swimming. It is supposed to be stormy and yucky for the next few days, so this will be a nice alternative, assuming it isn’t really crowded. The hotel pool where my mom is staying is still being renovated, and we spent a lot of money on swimsuits, and don’t want them to go unused. I am excited. Liam hasn’t had a lot of exposure to water, aside from the tub, and when he dumps his water cup on himself, so I am hoping he has fun. As for me, I haven’t been swimming in nearly 7 years. And I looove swimming.

It was a good day. I got some alone time with my kiddo, as well as a nice nap. Kyle is home now, so we are going to cuddle up on the couch and continue watching The Adventures of Merlin on Netflix. I can’t remember if I recommended that yet, but seriously, you guys should check it out if you’re into magic and fantasy and lore and adventure. It is quite fantastic!

Hope you’re all having a fantastic holiday, thanks for reading!

Jan

Little Milestones 13-14 Months

Hello, friends! It has been a looong time since I gave you an update on Liam’s milestones (5 months actually, holy crap!), so I figured, now that he is into his toddlerhood, it would be a good time to share with you where he is at with his development. Like the last few times, I will be using several development charts from the BabyCentre UK site. These charts are not set in stone, and of course all babies develop at their own pace, but I just wanted to share with you all a look at where my kiddo is at.

As of today, Liam is 13 months and 3 weeks old. He wears a size 7 shoe, 18/24m clothes, and a size 5 diaper. I am not sure of his exact height and weight currently, but at his 12 month exam, he was 33 inches tall, and weighed just under 24 pounds. He is a tall boy!  As he is constantly learning and doing new things, I will be showing you the charts for 13-18 month olds. He does at least a little bit from each chart!

13

One of the biggest things that bothers me about these charts, as well as many other charts on other sites, is that they all claim that my barely one year old should have been saying anywhere from 2-5 real words from the age of 12 months. Well, he doesn’t, and I honestly don’t know any babies his age that do. Heck, I know two year olds that still only say “mama” and “dada“. Liam has been saying “mama” to me for months, but as his daddy is hardly ever home, he doesn’t say “dada” very often. He can say it, he just doesn’t. He has also started saying “oh yeah” recently, and just yesterday, he said what sounded like “no” for the first time. I have also been trying to teach him “hello” and “bye bye” to go with his waving. He also freaking LOVES “peek-a-boo” and plays it with me all the time.

The rest of the chart he has mastered, and we are especially proud of his cup drinking abilities. At 12 months, we switched to a cup with a real straw, not a sippy cup, and he picked it up within two days, and has only used a straw ever since. He can also grip and tip a real cup, without the lid and straw, but I need to hold it so that he doesn’t spill.

14

This is where things get frustrating, as far as these charts go, because several of these same things were listed on earlier charts, from 8 or 9 months old. He has been finger feeding since he was 7 months old. Most babies definitely are at this point, right? He does everything in this list, except for pointing. He does not point. He does not point to things he wants, he just grabs them, and he doesn’t point to body parts. We have been trying to learn “tummy“, but he still hasn’t picked it up.

15

This is where we get into the supposedly advanced stuff for someone his age, which seems odd to me. I already covered the talking bit, and as I said before, he just used “no” for the first time ever yesterday. The rest? He’s done it all. Liam has been walking since 10.5 months old, running since 11.5 months, and going up and down steps, and walking backwards, for the last month. He loves running around at the park, or at the store. He also tried to “help” me sweep by carrying around the dust pan, and also knows how to put his toys away, and the laundry into the basket. We also started coloring at 12 months, and he can grip and use a crayon pretty well now, although he doesn’t snow much interest in it. I never would have thought that all of these things didn’t come until 15 months.

16

Another confusing chart. Aside from the talking bit, Liam does all of this. He can turn the pages of his board books when we read, he throws EPIC tantrums when he doesn’t get his way, he is obsessed with both his Scout and Froggy toys, and makes sure to let me know that he needs to bring them to the living room in the morning and after his naps, and he has developed fussy eating habits over the last month and a half. Some days, he takes two naps, but most days it is only one. He can also unzip and pull ff his coat or sweatshirt, pull off his shirt by himself, and drop his pants, but needs help stepping out of them. He can put a shirt on over his head as well. He’s been able to stack his blocks for months. He also climbs onto the couch, climbs at the park, and climbs onto his activity table. He has yet to get out of his crib, thankfully.

17

I only wanted to include this list because, once again, it contains two things that Liam has been doing for a little while now, and one thing that he is starting to do. He has a riding toy that he got for Christmas, and has been able to get on and off of it on his own for about a month now. He can also dance, and does it regularly. He also recently started being able to get about half of his shapes into their correct holes on his shape sorter. He also responds to the phrases “sit down” “give me kisses” and “come here“.

18
Now, this chart, he doesn’t do too much from, obviously. We started brushing his teeth twice a day when he got his first tooth at 10 months (he still only has 4), and I will often hand his toothbrush to him to “brush” them himself while I am changing him for bed. He also can take apart block towers, and put blocks together, and has one amazing throwing arm.

I’m starting to not put much weight into what these charts say. I know that my son is a rock star, and is pretty on point in his development, but for him to be doing things that are supposedly moderately difficult for 17 and 18 month olds? I don’t know if I buy into that. It’s a nice thought, but really? Am I not giving him enough credit, or are these charts catering more to parents of children who may have slower development? Who knows.

Anyway, there’s a look at where my kiddo is at in his development. 🙂 As far as feedings go, he is drinking about 20-24 ounces of whole milk every day, and water for the rest of the day (no juice for us). He also eats 3 pretty hefty meals, and two snacks, every day. This kid eats like a high school football player, I swear. We haven’t really had any issues with constipation either, though some days he only poops once, and strains a bit, but he does go 1-4 (sometimes 5) times a day, depending on what he ate. No allergies so far! He’s also had every possibly seasoning out there (no salt!), and has loved them all. He has started his fussy eating phase, and has all but stopped eating vegetables, unless I sneak them into something he really likes.

His current favorite foods:
Broccoli and cheese omelette/scrambled eggs
Toasted English muffin with cheese and garlic
Baked cinnamon brown sugar apple bites
Soft carrot chunks with brown sugar and butter
Elbow noodles with shredded cheese and garlic
Cinnamon apple/banana/cinnamon raisin wheat pancakes
Black olives
Mozzarella cheese cubes
Plain broccoli and butter
Banana slices rolled in crushed Cheerios or graham crackers

Okay, maybe he isn’t that fussy, but he no longer eats sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, or raisins on their own, and it has been a pain to sneak those particular foods into things!

Okay, I’m done now, haha. What do you guys think about these development charts? Are they just really loose guidelines? Did/do your little ones seemed further in their development as well?

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Random Prompt | 6th Grade

“Write about yourself in the 6th grade.”

I’ve written about this in the past, but wanted to share it again with anyone who never read those posts. The 6th grade was actually a monumental turning point in my life. Four years prior (I think?), the first Harry Potter novel had come out in the US. I was only 8 at the time, and did not really know much about it. It wasn’t until I was in the 5th grade that I heard much about the book, and it wasn’t until the 6th grade that I was able to read it. And it changed my life.

My 6th grade homeroom teacher’s name was Mr. Eder. He was also my English teacher. Mr. Eder was already very familiar (and slightly obsessed) with the world of Harry Potter, and decided to plan our entire school year around it. First, my class was divided up into the four houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. I was put into Slytherin, which I later learned was actually quite perfect, and I have related with being a Slytherin for the rest of my life. No joke.

Next, each group voted on who would be the Head of the house. Guess who won for Slytherin? Meee! It didn’t really mean anything though, but it was still fun. We read the book aloud in class, but I finished it on my own time within a week. I had never known that I was a fast reader before that point in my life. Each week, we had a test on what we had read thus far, and the points from each house’s tests were averaged, and the houses that scored the highest would get points. We also had fun tournaments and games, including a Quidditch game at the end of the year. I don’t mean to brag, but Slytherin won the Quidditch game, as well as most of the other challenges (my friend Travis and I carried our entire house basically). We won the House Cup at the end of the year, and got to choose a theme for a party for the class… we chose Harry Potter theme. Obviously.

Being a part of this experience not only opened my eyes to the world of Harry Potter, but also the world of books, and imagination. I started spending a lot more time at the library, and convinced my mom to buy me books whenever we went out. I read so much, that I won an award at my senior assembly for graduation as well! It also helped me with my writing, which is something that I also got really into in middle school.

I still wish I had tons of money to throw at books, but, ya know… adulthood stuff happened. Stupid bills.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan