Those Sweet Moments

Hello, friends. This blog has no real significance, or important message, other than to tell you a short story about something that happened to me tonight. This will be a sappy little mommy/baby story, so if you’re not into that, then feel free to click away. I won’t be upset, I promise!

Now, it may not seem like much to many of you, but tonight, my 16-month-old son let me read to him. Let me preface this by telling you that I read to him all the time, usually several times a day, but very rarely does he sit still, or pays any attention, during story time, and honestly, that’s perfectly fine. I just love reading to him. I’m usually just reading to a room full of toys, while my crazy toddler tries to empty his sippy cup into his wagon, or throws his Mega Bloks into the kitchen sink, etc. But tonight, after brushing his tiny teeth, I asked him if he wanted to read a book before bed. With a smile on his face, he ran to his bookshelf, and grabbed Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, his current favorite book, and climbed onto the couch.

I sat down and began reading, with him cuddled against my side, and was not that surprised when he jumped off the couch about 30 seconds into the story. However, I was surprised when he went back to his bookshelf, grabbed two more books (his 100 First Words book and Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo), put them on the couch next to me, grabbed his Froggy, and climbed back up, leaning into my lap. He sat perfectly still, engaged and smiling, while I read all three books to him. Twice. He didn’t run away, he didn’t try to take and throw the books, he just sat there.

You guys, I honestly nearly started crying. He has grown and changed so much, in such a short period of time, and while I absolutely love my crazy little monster, and am so proud of his loud, silly personality, I treasure these sweet moments so much. Him letting me read to him, and showing interest, and wanting to actually sit and snuggle with me, instead of destroying something in the living room, meant so much to me, and was exactly what I needed after this really hard week.

Sorry, I just wanted to share that.

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

Daily Prompt 5/23/2016 | Vivid Dreamer

In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 5/23/2016 | Dream

I’ve always been a vivid dreamer, sometimes even a lucid dreamer. For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed in black and white, and in color. In sound, and in silence. I’m fortunate enough to be able to recall most of my dreams in vivid detail. My subconscious has remembered hundreds of faces from passing glances in my past, and they have all wound up in my dreams. I’ve never taken my dreams for granted, and even wrote a novel based on a series of dreams I had about a world overthrown by androids. My mind is a beautiful, crazy place.

I jot down my dreams when I wake up, and type them out in my Dream Journal when I am able, so that I can share them with my friends here online. Feel free to look through them. Some are sad, some are funny, and others frightening. Some are complete works of fiction, and some are long lost memories.

Do you ever dream about wonderfully bizarre things?

Jan

Dream Journal 3/23/16

[Since I’ve been so busy being glued to the couch with my sick, clingy toddler for nearly two weeks, I haven’t had any time to type out the dreams from my dream journal. I finally have a few minutes today, so here is dream 1 of 3.]

I was at a graduation party with my high school best friend, Adara, and a few other people. Her younger brother was graduating from college, and we were in a beautifully decorated mansion, filled with nicely dressed people. Adara and I, along with a random dream created girl, were upstairs drinking, and Adara was getting crazy. The more she drank, which was quite a lot, the smaller she shrunk, until she was about the size of an American Girl doll, less than 2 feet tall. The other girl and I went to find her brother, but couldn’t, and when we found Adara in the bathroom a few moments later, she was in the process of falling off of the toilet, and hitting her head on the sink.

Dream girl and I picked her up, which looked incredibly awkward, as she was still very tiny, and we were holding her as though she were normal sized. We carried her downstairs, and two guys came up to us and tried to pull her away, saying that no one was allowed to leave. I punched one of them in the face, and we loaded Adara into the back of her brother’s car, where he was waiting for us. He told us that he needed to stop at Walmart for something, and that he would be quick, but instead, he pulled into the driveway of another mansion, and got out, leaving us there for a long time.

It started to rain, and the other girl and I grabbed Adara, carrying her in the same awkward position and started running with her toward the hospital in the distance. There were sports cars speeding by us, and people drunkenly hollering to us.

At the hospital, her mom was in the waiting room, and she started hitting us with her purse and telling us it was our fault that Adara ended up like this, because she is allergic to alcohol. The other girl started crying, and a doctor came and put Adara on a tiny stretcher and carried her away. Adara’s mom took a place of cookies out of her purse and started eating them, but told us that we couldn’t have any because we were both bitches.

That’s the last thing I remember before.

Daily Prompt 2/3/2016 | Voice Work

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/3/2016 | Voice Work

“Your blog is about to be recorded into an audiobook. If you could choose anyone — from your grandma to Samuel L. Jackson — to narrate your posts, who would it be?”

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Well, let me tell you, my friends. I’m a complicated, multi-faceted, fascinating, modest person, and my blog reflects this. I couldn’t possibly choose just one person narrate my audiobook, as there are just too many dimensions that need to be conveyed in specific tones. So, I picked three!

The phenomenal Anna Kendrick, my spirit animal, would narrate my “About Me” section, the majority of my day-to-day blogs, my occasional gaming blogs, as well as most of my baby blogs and reviews. Whenever I see her, she just radiates everything that I am. Anna was born just 20 minutes away from where I was (albeit 5 years before me), and I couldn’t trust the bulk of my “me” blogs to anyone but a fellow Mainer. Her mom’s name is even Janice! WHAT?! I’ve even been told that she is my (prettier) doppelganger. If I believed in any sort of fate or destiny, it would be that she is destined to narrate not just my audiobook, but my LIFE! She is intelligent, funny, laid back, loves food, is slightly awkward and adorable, and isn’t afraid to be herself. Despite nailing some pretty huge roles on the big screen, she hasn’t let fame change her, and I admire that so freaking much. I want to be like her when I grow up!

Next up, is Mr. John Oliver. John would be narrating any rant that I post on my blog, on any subject. Baby stuff, life stuff, family stuff, stupid people at the store… anything and everything. Have you seen this guy when he gets headed? He is captivating. He fills every rant and tangent with conviction, with passion. He is just so brilliant, and I think he could certainly do justice to my random bitching. Plus, a British accent just makes everything better, am I right?

And finally, the lovely Emma Stone. Emma is another person that I relate to on a deep, spiritual level. I’ve even been told on several occasions that I look like her as well, which is the most amazing thing that you could possibly say to me. Look at her, she’s freaking gorgeous! I’ve chosen Emma to narrate everything else on my blog, including my daily prompts, random prompts, poetry, and random blogs. Much like with Anna, I feel like she could do justice to my words, and portray my personality perfectly. And her voice… if I could listen to one person speak for the rest of my life, for whatever reason, in whatever form, I’d pick Emma Stone. In a heartbeat!

Thanks for reading, friends! Who would you pick to narrate your the audiobook version of your blog?

Jan