Small Stones 8/4/16

The play without prejudice, enjoying the summer heat.

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Thirteen young boys, playing soccer in the park. Continue reading “Small Stones 8/4/16”

Dream Journal 6/21/16 | Dream #2: Bad Boys

She started throwing handfuls of grass at me, and the operator told me that police were on their way, then asked me if I wanted anything to drink…

Kyle and I were awoken in the middle of the night by loud hollering and talking outside out bedroom window. I peered through the blinds and saw 3 teenage boys, around 15-16 years old, standing around a car parked on the grass beneath our window. Suddenly, they all turned and stared at me, as I watched them through the blinds. One of the kids flipped me the middle finger, while the others laughed. I walked away from the window and grabbed my phone, ready to call the police. I went to the window to show them that I was going to call the police if they didn’t leave, and one of the kids started taking pictures of me through the window. Continue reading “Dream Journal 6/21/16 | Dream #2: Bad Boys”

Mom’s Visit | Day 5

I sat on the floor with this stranger’s children, and my own son, and we all talked about milestones, and the joys of having boys. Their father was an absolute doll, and his words about raising his boys, and when they each started talking, walking, and getting their teeth, were so comforting to me, as I often worry about Liam hitting his milestones on time. They were such a lovely family.

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

Hello, friends! Today was another great day, with only a few minor low points to share. Today is my mom’s 50th birthday, and once again, we decided to go to the pool at the Metro Center in Princeton, and it was even better than it was yesterday! We decided to schedule our whole day around the pool trip this time, so that we could get as much time in the water as possible, and left much earlier than yesterday, as soon as Liam finished his breakfast, and we all got showered and dressed.

It was barely 11:00 when we got to the pool, and there were only a handful of swimmers in the large pool. Once again, we had the kiddie pool to ourselves, and Liam could hardly contain his excitement as we approached the shallow pool. There was no hesitation this time, no clinging to my legs, no fear, just pure happiness, and so much splashing. He really wanted to put his adorable, new swim shorts to good use! He came 100% out of his shell, wading through the water, going after the pool toys, dunking them, pouring them, and being so much more curious and adventurous with the water. My mom managed to get a dozen more pictures of him today, and he was smiling in every single one of them. It filled my heart with so much joy to see him having so much fun.

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We stayed at the pool for about an hour, but had to leave around noon to grab some lunch, because Kyle had a meeting about a scholarship for his CDL class at 1:00. Luckily, the meeting was in the same town, so we stopped at a nearby Subway to get some lunch, but because the lines were so long, Kyle had to leave his sandwich with us, and leave for his meeting. While he was gone, my mom drove me a bit nuts, which has been happening off and on for the last couple days, but I managed to have a good time. I ordered Liam his own sub for the first time, and he sat in a booster seat at the table with me for the first time ever. He did so well! It was amusing to watch him pick apart the sandwich, and decide which veggies he did and did not like (his absolute favorite Subway veggies are pickles and olives, just like his mama!).

Unfortunately, my happiness faded when I saw Kyle pull up, just a short time later, with a very obvious frown. He did not get the scholarship. His income was too high, thanks to his last two, abnormal paychecks, and he did not qualify. He was upset, and my mom kept saying that she would pay for it for us, which made me upset. She already paid $5000 toward my failed college education, and I still owe my old school, and her, money. I didn’t even want her paying for things for us while she was here (despite her many protests), let alone dish out thousands for Kyle’s class. But without her help, we don’t know if we can make it happen, and that is absolutely crushing. Maybe I should put my pride aside? I don’t know.

After lunch, we headed back to Peru to do a little grocery shopping. Despite our fridge being absolutely empty, and only having $80 to buy food for the month, I found myself feeling offended when my mom offered to pay for our groceries, and turned her down yet again. She left the store to have a cigarette (she quit years ago, but started smoking again recently, and hasn’t told her boyfriend), and never came back in. Things were a bit tense between Kyle and I, as they usually get when the topic of money comes up, and we grabbed only a handful of things, like milk, bread, bagels, cheese, and bananas, to try and stay under budget. We warmed up again once we left Walmart, and headed home.

Liam had not taken a nap yet, so I put him down as soon as we walked in, and he passed right out. I put something on Netflix for us to watch, but our internet stopped working shortly after that, and despite our best efforts to revive it, I ended up having to call our internet provider, who had me do a handful of ineffective things, before informing us that there was a actually massive service outage in our area.

Fantastic.

With no internet, cable, movies, games, or really anything to do, we all just kind of sat around in silence for a bit, not knowing what to talk about. Eventually, the internet came back on, and we continued on with watching Netflix, and fiddling with our phones. Around 4:30, just about when Liam would be waking up from his nap, my mom suddenly stood up, and left, telling us to text her if we wanted to get food or something later. Sure enough, not even 10 minutes later, Liam woke up, and we texted her to come back. She hadn’t even gone back to her hotel, she had gone to the park up the street, because apparently the trees and grass are better company than we are.

We decided to go to the large, Chinese buffet in Peru, located right near her hotel, since it is a favorite spot of ours. We pigged out hard on all the delicious things, and left feeling miserable, and hating ourselves, as usual. It was delicious. Afterwards, we decided to take Liam to the mall play area to burn some energy, and tire him out, since he had taken such a late nap. When we got there, there was only one man in the play area, with four boys. We immediately hit it off with him and his sweet boys, and Liam made two friends. He was there with his wife and mother, who were across the way getting their nails done at the salon. He had a baby with him, who was just four months old, and the sweetest little thing I’ve ever seen. He made my ovaries weep, and made me crave having a tiny baby again. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about.

He also had a little boy who had just turned two, and another boy who was four. They were absolutely enamored with Liam, and the four year old asked me a million questions about him, and me.

“Does he like cars? What kind of car do you have? We have a Diesel truck!”
“Does he eat a lot of food?”
“Does he cry a lot? I cry a lot, and scream, because my parents irritate me.”
(LOL!)
“Does he talk a lot? My brother is two, he doesn’t talk.”
“Do you like bouncy balls?”
“Do you live here? We’re from far away. We’re driving.”

He was adorable. I sat on the floor with this stranger’s children, and my own son, and we all talked about milestones, and the joys of having boys. Their father was an absolute doll, and his words about raising his boys, and when they each started talking, walking, and getting their teeth, were so comforting to me, as I often worry about Liam hitting his milestones on time. They were such a lovely family. The four year old kept giving Liam hugs, and saying he wanted to be friends, and the two year old would walk up to me and share his bouncy balls. They were the absolute sweetest, and it was so wonderful. We talked and played for a while, before we all had to go our separate ways and head home.

Oh, I forgot to mention that right before we left the mall, my mom got a FaceTime call from her boyfriend back home (who she has been with for 20 years, but they aren’t married, so I still call him her boyfriend instead of my step-father), and we were able to introduce him to Liam and Kyle, and chat for a little while. It was nice to see him, and for him to meet the boy who is basically his grandson.

We also stopped to introduce my mom to our upstairs neighbor when we got home (the one who has helped us with many, many problems we’ve dealt with since living here), and we all chatted outside for a bit, before I insisted on going inside, since it was an hour past Liam’s bedtime. Liam was half asleep before I even put him in his crib, and I sat down with a cup of coffee, and began typing shortly after. Kyle goes back to work tomorrow, after having these last two days off, and I think I might take a day to myself to catch up on housework and cleaning, which has gone completely undone since my mom’s arrival. We’ll see.

I am also trying to arrange a nice dinner with Kyle’s mom, my mom, and Kyle, Liam, and I on Friday, since it will be my mom’s last full day in Illinois, and we really want her to meet Kyle’s mom, who is basically my second mom. It is the only day Kyle’s mom has off, though Kyle works until 6:00 that night. I’m hoping we can work something out.

Anyway! That’s all for today! Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

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Judgmental People | Vlog

Hi, friends. It has been a rough few days for me. Kyle and I had a fight that lasted all day yesterday, and it pretty much ruined my week. It was immature, and ridiculous, and I wish it had never happened, because it served no purpose, other than to cause pain. A few things have happened in the last few days that put me in a pretty bad, downward spiral, in terms of my depression and anxiety, and I am trying to recover. Today was better. I left the house with Liam, and got some ice cream and sunshine. Unfortunately, between the woman at the park (who I mention in the video), a very aggressive pre-teen on YouTube who called me a “pathetic 30+ year old who needs a Proactiv prescription and a gym membership” (who I do not mention in the video, since it happened shortly after I recorded), and my son being an irritable, teething mess, I’m feeling pretty low again.

Anyway, I just wanted to share with you an experience that happened on my walk today, that has happened a few times in the past with strangers in public.

Don’t be this person, please.


Thanks for watching, friends.

Jan

Take A Walk With Jan #6

Hello, friends! I haven’t written one of these in a while, despite having gone on dozens of walks in the last couple of months, so I figured I would tell you all about our walk today!

iPod Sampling:
Skyscraper ~ Demi Lovato
Cold ~ Evans Blue
Take It Away ~ The Used
Try ~ P!nk
Second Chance ~ Shinedown

It was absolutely beautiful outside, both today and yesterday. Despite it being February in Illinois, it was 60 degrees and sunny outside today. Liam took his first nap around 10:oo this morning, woke up at 11:45, ate his lunch (mac ‘n cheese, bananas, and apple pieces), and then we took off. This was the first walk that we didn’t need to use our weather protector on our stroller, and it wasn’t windy at all. It was seriously beautiful! I was warm wearing just a long-sleeve t-shirt and jeans!

We took off around 12:20, and our first stop was Subway, so that mama could eat lunch. I got there at the same time as a large family, and the mother smiled at me, and told her son to hold the door open for me, which I appreciated! I said thank you, and got in line behind them. The woman then gestured for me to go in front of them. I thanked her and told her we were in no rush, and that they were there first, but she insisted. I thanked her again and ordered my sandwich: Six inch veggie on Italian bread, no cheese, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, olives, banana peppers, jalapenos, and oregano. Complete with a half iced tea, half lemonade. So. Good. I decided that I would eat at the park, and turned to leave, only to see that the line was now backed up out the door. A nice woman held the door open for us, and off we went!

At the park, I was forced to eat on a bench, as opposed to under one of the five gazebos, because there were gangs of pre-pre-teens running around, wreaking havoc, and being obnoxious. I sat down on the bench closest to the playground, and put Liam on the ground so that he could walk around. He immediately tried climbing onto the bench, so I decided to relocate to the bottom of the smallest slide, so that we could sit together. The playground was empty anyway.

Halfway through my sandwich, which I was picking apart to share with my tiny human, a group of 3 boys crossed the street, and met up with 3 other boys, who had been jumping around in the nearest gazebo to us. All the boys were around 6-9 years old, and were completely unsupervised. Whatever, they’re not my kids. Not my problem. Moments later, the whole group walked over to the tiny playground, and began running around and messing with each other. Two of the boys grabbed another boy, and tried to push him down the slide that we were sitting on. On purpose. This was the smallest slide, meant for tiny toddlers, and we were very much in plain sight. They were just being jerks. I ignored them, and they eventually stopped. The two boys walked away, but the third sat at the top of the slide, dangling his feet down by us, mere inches behind my back. I could feel him staring at us, but kept ignoring him. His friends called for him, as they were walking to the other end of the park, and he shouted back, “I’m waiting for this lady to move so I can slide!” Sassy.

At that point, I turned to him and said, “There are four other slides in this park. Leave us alone.

His eyes widened, and he took off.

We finished our sandwich, and went down the slide a few times. I could hear the group of boys coming back, and kept ignoring them. Liam was sitting at the bottom of the same toddler slide, trying to climb up, when another one of the boys sat down at the top, and started banging his heels against the slide. I looked right at him and said, “Seriously? Stop.” And he did.

I could hear them bitching about me, and using language that would (hopefully) make their mothers slap them silly, when suddenly, an SUV pulled up by the park. The woman driving rolled down her window, and shouted to a boy named Spencer, who happened to be the boy I just scolded. She asked him if he was behaving, then looked at me, and asked if he was leaving me alone. He protested loudly, and I just smiled. I should have ratted the little punk out, but she drove away, and he was embarrassed, and that was good enough for me.

We picked up our stuff, and walked to Dollar General after that, where I encountered a man walking around with two unbelievably cute chihuahua puppies in his arms, a sweet 2-year old girl named Emily who was absolutely in love with my son, as well as a very old woman, who asked me literally 100 questions about my schedule, and what I was doing that day. I grabbed a few things from there, checked out, and crossed the street to the grocery store to pick up some pineapple, one of Liam’s favorite foods.

As I was checking out, I smiled at the young woman who was at the register, who couldn’t be bothered to look up from her phone to notice. She did not greet me, or say a single word to me, the entire time. She didn’t ask me if I wanted paper or plastic (yes, this place still does that). Not only was she texting in plain sight, but there was another young woman behind her talking to her about something that was definitely not work related. I’m not sure if she even worked there, because they won’t wear uniforms of any kind, just street clothes. She made eye contact with me and gave me my total, and I swiped my card. They also have to ask you if you want cash back at this place, that’s how old school they are, but she didn’t, and just hit NO on the screen. I didn’t need cash back, and she did give me a plastic bag, which I prefer, but she was seriously rude. I almost went to look for a manager, but decided against it, and just left.

Then, we went home. Liam got sleepy on the walk back, and my feet were killing me, because I decided to wear my boots, instead of my sneakers, because my sneakers look weird when I wear jeggings, which were the only clean pants I had left. First world problems, right? We got home, and I thought he would take a good nap, so that I could nap, but it never happened. So we ended up playing with our Mega Bloks (I ordered a second set off of Amazon, along with a nice baby gate, which should get here this week) for a while until dinner.

The rest of the week is supposed to dip back down into the chilly temperatures, so we’ll see if walks will be possible. I really need to get back into walking, and eventually back into Zumba. I’ve already gained 4-5 pounds back, and my new clothes are starting to feel tight. Ugh. I can not wait for spring!

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Random Prompt | Schoolyard Bully

“Tell a story from your grammar school days.”

When I was in middle school (grades 6-8), we had dances every weekend. Sometimes, these dances were themed. This particular, unpleasant memory takes place during a Hawaiian-themed dance that I attended in the 6th grade.

But first, a little backstory.

When I was in the 4th grade, I developed a crush on a boy named Billy, who I had several classes with, and always sat near, because our last names were near each other in alphabetical order. He was a skinny boy, with gray-blue eyes and pale blond hair. Billy had an older brother named Bobby (I’m not joking, those are their real names), who was two grades above us. However, Billy did not like me. Despite the popular belief that, when a boy is mean to you in elementary school, he likes you… yeah, no, he didn’t like me. And he made sure to make that perfectly clear to me in the following years, even after my crush had gone away, by teasing and taunting me on an almost daily basis.

Okay, now skip forward to the 6th grade Hawaiian dance.

I showed up at the dance in my black pants, black tank top, and an over-sized, men’s Hawaiian shirt… which was blue and black. I wore a lot of black, even back then. I walked in and was immediately approached by my friend Travis, who told me, “Please, don’t get mad…” I was confused. He told me that Billy and his brother had pulled a mean joke on me, and had hung posters around the hallways and cafeteria, where the dance was being held, depicting a fake AIM/AOL conversation between “me” and Billy. I was mad alright.

We went into the cafeteria, and sure enough, there were white pieces of paper taped up to the walls. Dozens and dozens of them. I tore one down and read through it. Someone had created a fake AIM name, it was “janice95775” or something, and was pretending to be me, saying embarrassing, mean things. First of all, that isn’t even how you spell my name, which luckily, a lot of people knew, because teachers were always saying my name wrong, and it was kind of a running joke. Second, I had always been known for my great grammar and spelling, even in elementary and middle school… and this person did not type like me.

The conversation was vulgar, and disgusting, and mean.

I wanted to cry, but I was too angry. Travis and a few other friends helped me tear down all of the posters, while Billy, Bobby, and their friends, laughed at us from the chairs in the corner of the dark room. They were loving it.

After we tore down all of the posters, I angrily marched over to them, and threw them in Billy’s face. I called him an asshole, or a prick, or something similar, and walked away. The next day, I reported him to the principal, and he was given several days of detentions, since I had ample proof of his mean joke.

After that day, he left me alone. Despite having several classes together in high school, we never spoke to each other again, until our junior year, when we exchanged words during an assembly on bullying. He did eventually apologize, but I could tell by his laughing that he wasn’t serious.

While his joke was cruel and immature, it didn’t bother me as much as I could have let it. I think I found the fact that they thought that people would fall for it made me almost feel bad for them. They wasted all that paper, and so much of their precious time, trying to make me look bad, and not a single person fell for it.

Don’t let bullies get you down, friends. They aren’t worth your time and energy.

Jan