Weekend Family Outings

Hello, friends. Today is Wednesday, and I am finding myself still needing to recover from our weekend adventures. I am starting to feel like myself again, but I am tired. Continue reading Weekend Family Outings

Advertisements

Small Stones | 8/2/16

I stood in front the refrigerator, searching. The fridge was nearly empty. My stomach growled again, and I reached for a bottle, nestled between the mustard and the Sriracha. Zesty Italian dressing is no substitute for olive oil, but it was really all I had. Continue reading Small Stones | 8/2/16

Dream Journal 7/16/16 | Murder At A Concert

I was waiting backstage, holding my clarinet, getting ready to go out on stage to perform with people from my childhood and high school years. I recognized several people from high school, some from middle school, and some from district music festivals, even though we were all adults, and I hadn’t seen any of them in eight or more years. Continue reading Dream Journal 7/16/16 | Murder At A Concert

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 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.

Cj5SakrWsAUUB3S

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

Cj5SbstWsAAFCZq

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.

Cj02xrEWYAAO7Dy
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!

Cj02yF1W0AAgi39

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan