Our Potty Training Adventure: Summer Infant My Size Potty

Hello, friends. Liam hit a pretty big milestone recently, and that was turning 18 months old! (Whaaat?) Inspired by a friend of mine, whose daughter is exactly the same age (they are birthday buddies!), and is already wearing big girl panties and using the potty, I decided that maybe it was time to dip our toes in the waters of potty training. Continue reading Our Potty Training Adventure: Summer Infant My Size Potty

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The Evolution of Toddler Scribbles

Hello, friends! I haven’t written about Liam’s developmental milestones for now, I have been planning a post about it, but since he is creeping up on his 18 month mark (what?!), I figured I’ll just wait until then! Today, I wanted to share with you all something that I have been having a lot of fun doing with him lately… coloring! Well, drawing. Doodling? Whatever. Toddler scribbles, yay! Continue reading The Evolution of Toddler Scribbles

Mom’s Visit | Day 6

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

Hello, friends. Today has been very… trying.

Kyle went back to work today, though I had him with me all morning and early afternoon. I had planned on getting some housework done, since it has all gone undone ever since my mom arrived, but that never ended up happening. Liam was incredibly fussy all morning, despite sleeping for nearly 13 hours straight, and was being quite naughty. On top of dealing with a cranky toddler, Kyle had a meeting with the financial aid office about getting financial help with his CDL class… and they basically told him there is nothing they can do to help him. So he came home very upset, which only made me more upset about this whole day getting off to a rough start.

Liam took an early nap around 10:15, despite only being awake for 2.5 hours, and ended up sleeping for 3 whole hours. I decided to put off doing anything with my mom until after he had his lunch, in the hopes that his long nap would put him in better spirits. This did not stop her from driving all the way to the park up the street from our apartment, and texting us about all the comings and goings happening there. It made me feel bad, and a little annoyed, that she drove all the way here, when we didn’t want company for a while, but whatever.

After kiddo woke up and had his lunch, my mom came over, and we all sat around, playing with Liam’s blocks, doing puzzles, and chatting. Kyle left for work, and my mom and I left shortly after to take Liam to the play area at the mall. We stopped to get some concrete mixers from Culver’s (basically, for those who don’t know, it is just building your own delicious, frozen custard treat with all sorts of candies and toppings to mix in), since we’ve all been craving them lately. We brought one to Kyle at work, and visited with him and one of his co-workers for a while, then headed to the mall play area.

Unlike yesterday, we had the entire play area to ourselves, and Liam had a blast, running around and screaming like a silly boy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all that fun for me, as my mom was driving me absolutely insane. She was crawling around, playing with Liam, and chasing him, and kept stopping every so often to proclaim loudly, “Oh, I better stop, I’m probably embarrassing mommy!”, despite the fact that there was no one around, and I had not said anything at all. She did this at least 10 times. That’s just something she does, and it honestly drives me insane. She always says things like, “I’m just so stupid, don’t listen to me.” or “I’m probably wrong, I’m wrong about everything.” or always assumes that you are embarrassed of her, even when you aren’t arguing with her, or correcting her, or anything. It is so irritating, and she has been like this my entire life. I was hoping that she had changed, even a little bit, in the 8 years since I’ve lived under the same roof as her, but she hasn’t. I’ve called her out on it before, and tell her to stop saying things like that about herself, but it just makes her angry.

Anyway, after a little while, it started getting close to dinner time, so we headed to the bathrooms at other end of the mall to change Liam’s diaper. Once we got there, my mom told me she was going to just go wait for me by the car, which was parked outside of a totally different entrance, and I told her I was going to be a minute, because I wanted to take Liam to say goodnight to Kyle, since he wouldn’t be home in time for bedtime. She just walked off without a word.

Back in Kyle’s work, where it was absolutely dead, I found myself ranting irritably to Kyle and his co-worker friend, while Liam ran around, playing with the various things that hung from low hooks. I eventually went to meet my mom back at the car, where she argued with me over where we should eat dinner, and we ended up eating nowhere, and she just dropped me off at the partment.

Ugh. I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve just been so exhausted lately, emotionally and physically, and it has put me so on edge. I knew that this was going to be a hard week for me, as even spending 24 hours with my mom gets under my skin, but this week has been hard for so many reasons. Tomorrow is her last visiting day with us, even though her flight leaves Saturday night, but she doesn’t want to stop by that day. I’ll be honest, I really missed alone time with my son. I missed cleaning my apartment. I missed taking naps. I missed spending Kyle’s days off with him, cuddling on the couch, watching Netflix. I missed normality.

I guess that’s it for now. I want to spend tomorrow driving around, looking for garage sales and yard sales in the area. My mom is still pushing that she wants to buy me stuff, so maybe I’ll be able to find a decent dresser somewhere for her to get me. Who knows.

Well, Kyle literally just walked in, and I want cuddles. We’ve been watching The Adventures of Merlin on Netflix, and I know I’ve mentioned it before, but seriously, you should check it out.

Also, before I go, I wanted to add something else that she does that I find… odd. Whenever Liam does literally anything, like how he plays with blocks, or babbles, or runs around excitedly… just the things he does normally, she never compares him to me at his age. Not at all. She always says that everything reminds her of herself, or her and her mom, from when she was little. She never even talks about me as a baby, or her and I. I just find it strange. Is it? I don’t know. Meh.

Anyway, thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Mom’s Visit | Day 5

[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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Mom’s Visit | Day 4

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

Hello, friends! Yesterday was an absolutely lovely day, despite ongoing thunderstorms and several tornado warnings for our area. We had made plans to go to the Princeton Metro Center, where there is a gym, pool, kiddie pool, etc. (similar to the YMCA), after Liam’s nap, which ran much later than usual, but we also wanted to wait for the storms to pass, so we didn’t have to drive in the rain. As I said, Liam’s nap ran pretty late, so it was nearly 2:15 when we texted my mom to let her know that we were ready to leave. Of course, she was miles away, and had just gotten her lunch, so it took her another 45 minutes to get there. We left as soon as she showed up, and drove the 30 minutes to the Metro Center. It only cost $11 for a family pass (which allows access to the gym, pool, and basically everywhere else), and it was probably the best $11 I’ve ever spent in one place.

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The larger pool area was quite busy with other families, but the kiddie/wading pool was completely empty. I had never been to this place before, and was immediately drawn to the adorable, detailed, under sea paintings that covered the wall by the kiddie pool. It was large also quite large, and there was a basket filled with various, tiny pool toys for the littles to play with. I was nervous that Liam would be upset at the water, since he had never been in a pool before, and it was a bit cooler than a bath, but after just a few minutes of nervously clinging to me, he began playing with the floating toys, and splashing around happily. He even stumbled a few times, getting chlorinated water in his face, and it didn’t bother him one bit.

Unfortunately, since we left so late, we only got an hour and a half of swim time in before we had to leave for dinner, and I honestly didn’t want to go home. Showering off in the locker room while holding a shivering toddler was quite the ordeal (my mom decided to just take off and not offer any help), and while I initially wanted to get us dressed behind the curtained area, I opted to just put my insecurities aside, and get us dressed in the locker area, like everyone else. I was a bit anxious about being mostly nude around other people, but a funny, older woman put me at ease by cracking some jokes, telling me a funny story about her husband, and chatting to my little guy while I wrestled some dry clothes on him. I honestly don’t mind being surrounded by nudity. It has never bothered me. I’ve never been the prudish or modest type, though I struggle with my own insecurities with my postpartum body, and being nude around others. I felt comfortable. Sure, there were young, fit girls in the locker room, but there were also moms, and grandmothers, of all shapes and sizes. I felt oddly comfortable.

It was empowering!

After we were all dressed and dry, we went out for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant near my mom’s hotel. Despite hearing great reviews, we were very disappointed with our overall experience. The staff were very friendly and attentive, but the floors were dirty, and some tables desperately needed to be wiped down. It wouldn’t have bothered me that much, except that there was only one other family there besides us, and the staff were all just standing around talking. We had no problems ordering, but when we got our food, we were surprised at the small. The prices were similar to other Mexican and Mexican-American restaurants in the area, but the portions were much smaller. We were also disappointed by the fact that Liam’s food, a grilled cheese and fries, did not get to our table until nearly 10 minutes after the rest of us had gotten our food. Kyle finished his very tiny enchilada before Liam even got his sandwich, and we were all left waiting on him. Overall, not the best experience, but the food did taste pretty good.

After dinner, we did a few laps around Target, where I saw one of my good friends, Olivia, who told me all about her new internship with a coroner’s office, and how much she was enjoying it. We also bought Liam a new swimsuit, which you will see in the next post!

All in all, it was a nice day. I had missed swimming so much, and it felt so good to be in a pool (even if it was just a kiddie pool!) after nearly 7 years. We went back again today, but you’ll have to read the next post to hear about that!

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Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Take A Walk With Jan #11

Hey, friends! Yesterday was absolutely beautiful, and in continuation with the theme of being a fantastic day, I was able to get outside with my little one for the first time in a few days, since there had been some nasty weather happening recently. After a lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and applesauce, we set off for the park. Once we passed by the high school, I decided to attempt jogging the rest of the way to the park, and that was a mistake. I am so out of shape. It was awful. I also almost witnessed an accident between an older woman, who was driving properly, and a teenager in a large truck, who decided to blow through a stop sign and speed through a school zone. Luckily, I didn’t have to be a witness to something fatal. Kids these days are assholes. People in general are also assholes.

I made it halfway through the park before I stopped jogging. As I slowed to an exhausted walk, we passed by a woman who was talking pictures of her toddler, who was balancing on a log. She also had a another baby in her umbrella stroller. She looked up and smiled at us as we passed by, and I secretly wished that they were on their way to the playground as well. Well, they were!

We were extremely excited to see that they had put the swings back in the night before (they take all the swings down for the winter), and when I put Liam down, he immediately ran over to the nearest little kid swing. And then, he was in absolute heaven.

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Look at that happy faaace! 😀

After several minutes on the swing, the other woman walked over with her boys, and Liam immediately started trying to climb out of the swing. I put him down on the ground, and he ran straight up to them, flailing is arms and babbling like crazy. The woman, who was about my age, smiled and talked about how cute he was. The older boy, who I found out was 3 years old, followed Liam and I up the steps to the playground, and showed me his “I VOTED!” sticker. I jokingly asked him who he voted for, and he informed me that he was too young to vote, but his mommy voted. He was so sweet.

Liam was acting shy at this point, and kept wanting me to pick him up, so I carried him around for a few minutes so that he could watch the other boys play. Her other son, a chunky little 17 month old, was about Liam’s size (Liam was actually 3-4 inches taller than him, and she commented on how tall he was and how impressed she was that he was running around so well), and Liam warmed up to him pretty quickly. I took Liam’s soccer ball out of his bag, and the little boy immediately came up and stole it. His mom seemed embarrassed, but I told her it was fine, as Liam never plays with it, I just bring it along just in case. It was a good thing that our boys were the same size, because her little guy peed through his diaper, and she was going to leave early, but I offered her a spare diaper, and she was grateful.

We ended up staying at the park for nearly two hours, then we left together. She was going home in the same direction that we were walking to the store, and we split up a few blocks from the park. It was so nice to not only find someone for Liam to play with, but to have someone to talk to. We exchanged pregnancy horror stories, talked about teething, picky eating, and watched as her older boy dug out worm after worm from the dirt around the park. It felt nice to have some human interaction, and I sincerely hope that we see them again.

The walk to Dollar General was somewhat uneventful, although I did pass by a woman walking two very loud whippets, who did NOT seem to like that I was on their sidewalk, and then passed by a car with a dead bird on the windshield. Ew.

My trip to Dollar General itself, however, was another story. Now, I’ve worked retail. In fact, most of my jobs that I’ve held have been retail jobs. I totally understand that, sometimes, things get a little crazy when you are just trying to pass the time… however, what I witnessed and overheard at my local store was completely unacceptable, albeit not unexpected from this specific store.

The store manager was complaining very loudly to her co-worker, who was several aisles away, about how they were going to be getting a very large truck the next day, and she said, “I don’t know where the DM expects us to put all this shit. I should tell him to bend over and shove it where the sun don’t shine, right up his ass. That’s where he can put it.” Um… wow.

First off, I get it, I really do. She was frustrated. I’ve worked at a smaller DG store before, so I completely understand. However, it is completely inappropriate to talk like that on the sales floor, especially that loudly and vulgarly, around customers. She didn’t even care. The conversation continued like that for the duration of my visit to the store, and I was not the only one noticing. The older woman in front of me when I was checking out asked the cashier girl to speak to a manager to complain… well, sure enough, the look on her face was of shock and disgust when the manager of the store walked over. So she told them that she would be calling the 1-800 number, and the manager did not seem to care. I wanted to be shocked, but I wasn’t, and that is saying a lot.

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Look at those chicken legs!

Then, we came home. Despite being exhausted on the walk back, Liam did NOT want to take his afternoon nap, and instead chose to run around and repeatedly take off his pants (see above picture). So we played for a while, ate dinner, got ready for bed, and he slept like a rock, even with the insane thunder/hale storm raging outside our apartment.

That’s it! Today will be another beautiful day, and I’m hoping to get outside and do some stuff.

Thank for reading, friends!

Jan

Clicker Heroes: The Most Addicting Game I Have Ever Played

Clicker Heroes, you guys. Clicker Heroes.

For those of you who have never heard of this game, you probably don’t have a Steam account. If you do have a Steam account, and still have never heard of Clicker Heroes, then you probably hate amazing, addicting, free games, and WHO ARE YOU?

You actually do not need a Steam account to play this game, though that is how I downloaded it and I recommend going there to see all of the videos and images of the game, but you can also play it directly on the Clicker Heroes website.

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Developed by Playsaurus, Clicker Heroes is a casual, indie, RPG, adventure-style game, which has been rated one of the top free games on Steam, with an impressive 90% positive rating and just under 27,000 comments. It is also completely ad free! It is a popular game, guys. In Clicker Heroes, you simply click these silly, adorable monsters to kill them, collect their gold, buy new adventurers, and level them up with the gold that you earn. That’s it. It sounds horribly stupid, but it isn’t. The monsters don’t even fight back you guys. You just click. And click. And click. You actually DON’T even need to click if you don’t want to, or if you want to let the game run overnight, as you have base damage that does damage over time automatically, as well as your click damage, which does significantly more. The higher the level of your heroes, and the more abilities that you unlock, the more damage that you do, and the quicker you kill monsters to get all the shiny, shiny gold.

I haven’t closed this game since I downloaded it, you guys. Five days ago. It is running in a window next to this one as I type, with my cursor on the game so I can collect gold. I have a problem.

Every 5 levels you get to fight a big boss, with obscene amounts of health, and they get more and more challenging as you progress. As you level your heroes, and unlock all of their abilities, you will get even more special abilities, with various cooldowns, which are essential for killing the bosses later on. You also earn achievements for a variety of different milestones, such as killing a certain number of monsters, collecting a certain number of gold, or clicking so many times. Once you reach a certain point, you can also create your own nickname and join a clan to participate in daily Titan raids (no idea what that is yet) with other players to earn rewards. You can create your own clan for  50 gems, which can be obtained by clicking this silly goldfish that occasionally pops up on the screen, or you can search for a clan that already exists. Unfortunately, and I’m not sure if this is just for me or not, the button for finding a random clan in the downloaded game seems to be broken, and gives me an error every time I try to search. Boo!

I’m no pro, and I’m still learning as I play, but I’ve already gotten through the first 100 levels (which you get a cool reward for), and have a total of 24 heroes under my belt, all of which are over level 100 except for two. I feel like I would be further, but I keep getting distracted by, you know, life and whatnot. There are quite a few walkthrough and playthrough videos on YouTube, but I have been avoiding them, as I want to get a feel for this game on my own.

It is so addicting, you guys. Did I already mention that?

For anyone looking for a fun, free, addicting, silly game to destroy your life, and slowly suck out your soul, I highly recommend Clicker Heroes.

I give it a 9/10 (fix the damn clans!).

Now, if you’ll excuse me… I need to go click some more.

Thank for reading, friends!

Jan