My Last 8 Selfies

A lot of people associate selfies with vanity, or narcissism, and sometimes, maybe that’s the case… but certainly not all of the time.

Hello, friends! I was recently inspired by a very lovely mama over on the It’s A Mum’s Life 2016 blog to post my most recent, eight selfies. For those of you still living in… the age of pre-smartphones, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a selfie as “an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks.” A lot of people associate selfies with vanity, or narcissism, and sometimes, maybe that’s the case… but certainly not all of the time. Continue reading “My Last 8 Selfies”

Daily Prompt 7/1/2016 | Pain and Pleasure

I’m already itching for my next one, and I’m still riding this high… what have I gotten myself into?!

[In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 7/1/2016 | Pleasure]

Hello, friends. I know I’ve been a bit absent lately, and I promise I will get you all caught up on recent events, but it will more than likely be in video blog form, as I just don’t have the time, or patience, to write it all out. However, I did want to share with you all something very exciting that happened to me recently… Continue reading “Daily Prompt 7/1/2016 | Pain and Pleasure”

Take A Walk With Jan #7

Hello, friends! Yesterday was a bonus day, and Kyle got off of work 7 hours early, thanks to a conveyor belt breaking on his line, so we decided to enjoy the beautiful weather, and have a family day. After Liam woke up from his nap, and ate a yummy lunch of brown sugar squash pancakes (I’ve been slipping extra vegetables into damn near everything he eats lately), we decided to walk to the park. The weather has been in the high 50’s/low 60’s off and on this week, and yesterday was going to be the last beautiful day for a while, so we wanted to make the most of it.

We stopped at Subway to get some lunch, then walked to the park. A block away from the Subway, I saw Liam’s black and gray, striped beanie, which he lost three days ago while we were out walking, lying on the ground! I was super excited that we found it, as it is my favorite hat of his. When we got to the park, I was happy to see that there was another woman there, with two small little girls. After chatting with her for a bit, I discovered that she was their “grandmother” (long story involving the death of her son, I didn’t quite understand it all), and that the little girls were 20 months old, and 5 years old. Liam immediately adored the little girl, whose name is Jersey, and followed her all around the playground. She was a bit better on her feet than he was, since she is 7 months older than him, so he couldn’t follow her up onto the play area, or down the big slide, but he was so smitten. I found it funny that despite her being 7 months his senior, Liam was a head taller than her, and his feet were easily double the size of hers. She had the cutest little Puma sneakers on! He doesn’t very often get to see babies his age, but when he does, he comes out of his shell beautifully.

We talked to the woman and watched the kids play for a long time. She was very friendly, and introduced us to a very nice man named Big Al, who lives by the park, and was out walking his golden retriever, Dante. Liam LOVED Dante (he loves dogs), and Big Al let all the kids pat him. He was a very well-behaved dog! Liam was so talkative, and wanted to talk to everyone, including the adults, which he never does. He would run excitedly up to baby Jersey, waving his arms around, babbling up a storm. And his smile. It was so nice to see him making a friend.

Unfortunately, the older of the two girls put a bit of a damper on our playtime, as she kept pushing her baby sister away from Liam, and demanding that he not play with them, because he was a stranger. Their grandmother tried to reason with her, and I would smile and re-introduce Liam, telling her that everyone starts out as strangers, but she had some serious attitude, and was a bit mean. She actually tried to trip Liam when he was running by her on the slide, and later slid down and almost hit him when he was standing at the bottom. She glared at him the entire time, and tried to steer her sister away. I was a bit annoyed, because the grandmother was fine with them playing, and Liam and Jersey were having fun, but it wasn’t my place to correct her behavior.

After a while, we said our goodbyes, and continued our walk to the store, where we picked up some charcoal for our grill, and some yummy treats. It was starting to cut into Liam’s nap time, so we reluctantly headed home. It was so beautiful out, and sunny, and I wanted to stay outside all day! Despite being sleepy on the walk, Liam refused to take his afternoon nap, and was a fussy little dude all night, resulting in an early bedtime. I think he is finally teething again (he is 13 months, and still only has 4 teeth!), because he has been fussy, drooly, and has been biting me every chance he gets.

Overall, it was a perfect day. Kyle works a 12-hour shift today, but has the next THREE days off, which has never happened. Ever. I’m looking forward to getting out of the house some more, even though it will be really cold, and we won’t get to take our walks to the park.

Hope you’re all having a great day today! How did you all spend your extra day yesterday?!

Thanks for reading!

Jan

Dream Journal 1/30/16

Present day.

I was out for a walk with Liam, when I saw something sticking out from a sewer drain, very Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory style. I bent to pick it up, and discovered that it was an unscratched lottery ticket. I put it in my pocket, and continued on our walk. The entire time, all I could think about was the ticket, and I kept reaching my hand into my pocket to make sure it was still there. Liam and I were walking to the store anyway, so I decided that I would scratch it once we got there.

Once we got to the store, I began stacking items on top of the stroller. I pulled out the lottery ticket, and scratched it with a quarter. I stopped and stared down at the ticket, realizing that I had scratched off several matching items, revealing a prize of $42,000,000. I looked around, thinking it was a joke, but no one was there, no one was looking. I silently walked up to the register to pay for my stuff, and handed the woman my ticket. Her eyes widened, and she scanned it, causing a loud celebratory jingle to play over the register. She started screaming and jumping up and down, and came around the counter and hugged me. The manager came out, and handed me a check for $42,000,000. Just like that.

I said goodbye to them, and rushed out of the store before anyone else could see me. I headed straight for my bank, which had conveniently teleported right next door, and deposited my check. The teller who helped me sobbed hysterically as she gave me my receipt, displaying a balance of $42,000,327. I thanked her, and ducked out the door. I was in shock. I quickly went home, put Liam down for a nap, and got online.

I paid off the rest of our lease on our horrible apartment, and proceeded up buy a large, beautiful house that Kyle and I had been dreaming out and looking at, but knew that we could never afford. I then called a moving company, paid them a large amount of money to pack up my apartment, and move everything to the new house. While they came to pack everything up, I bought a brand new truck that Kyle had been eyeing, and had it delivered to the new house.

Liam woke up, and I got a ride to our new house, which was already unpacked. I texted Kyle, who wouldn’t be off of work for several hours, and told him that he needed to meet me at the address, and that I was visiting with friends. I then got online, and bought all new furniture, decor, and other odds and ends for our new house.

Kyle got off work, came to the house, and rang the doorbell. When I opened the door, and he saw some of our furniture inside, he was shocked. I sobbed, and hugged him, and told him about everything that had happened. I then gave him a tour of the new house, including his 4-car garage, with built-in workshop, and finally, his new truck. He cried and smiled and we just hugged each other while Liam ran around the large, beautiful front yard.

We decided that we were then going to finish paying off Kyle’s mom’s mortgage, buy her a new SUV, and a new truck for Kyle’s step-father. I also deposited $50,000 into my mom’s bank account, and sent her a long email, telling her about everything. We never told Kyle’s mom about her new vehicles, and had her van towed while she was working. She called us, in a complete panic, telling us that her van had been stolen. Just then, a driver pulled up with her new SUV, and she broke down in tears, thanking us over and over again.

We then donated $25,000 to the local Humane Society, which we went into to adopt a dog. We were walking through the kennels, looking at the various dogs…

And then I woke up.

Baby’s First Birthday Toy Haul Review

Hello, friends! As some of you may know, I wrote a 3 part series of reviews for all of the toys that Liam got for his first Christmas (if interested, here’s Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). Well, his first birthday was less than a month later, on January 23rd, and he got some great toys! About a week has passed, and we have had time to thoroughly explore and play with all the new toys, and I thought it would be fun to do another toy haul review! Unlike my Christmas toy haul, I’ll be doing just one post for these reviews, as I am only doing 6 toys.

As with the previous posts, I will post the name and link for each toy, as well as an image. Beneath these, I will be using a 4-star system, rating each toy on their:
Attractiveness: Colors, shapes, detail, and how well it captured and kept my son’s attention.
Interactivity: Age settings, movement, how much can he do with it, etc.
Noise: (If applicable) Music, sounds, volume control, sound quality.
Quality: Flimsy plastic, not baby-proof, etc.
Overall Score: A mix of my opinion and my son’s opinions.
I will also list Pros and Cons.

Here we go!

1. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Table
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Pros: Amazing learning toy! Very interactive. Power and volume control, as well as four ways to play (learning time, Spanish, music time, and play time with real sounds). Very colorful and eye-catching. My son attacked it and wanted to play before I had even put it together. The piano keys are our favorite!
Cons: None!

2. Bizzy Square – The Buckle Toy
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟✰✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: N/A
Quality: 🌟🌟✰✰
Overall: 🌟🌟✰✰
Pros
Colorful, soft material. The back has several numbered tabs that baby can lift to reveal animals. Clips are very easy to clip and un-clip, great for babies who like to play with and chew on clips, with little risk of pinching their fingers. Comes in several colors/characters.
Cons
Toy is smaller than it appears in pictures, has a cheap feel for the price.

3. Fisher-Price Little People See n’ Say
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟✰✰
Noise: 🌟✰✰✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟✰✰
Pros: 
Colorful. Features a variety of animals, a song option, and a little game.
Cons: 
Lever is a bit difficult for my 12-month old to pull, and can be awkward. So power or volume control, and volume is VERY loud. Animal noises are unrealistic and sound a bit weird.

4. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Speedsters, Monkey & Sis


Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟✰✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: 
We have the full set of 3, and they make excellent learning tools, that double as great, cheap toys, and my son loves them. Colorful and eye-catching. Move very smoothly.
Cons:
No power or volume control. The volume on the Monkey car is much higher than the other two, and his voice is very shrill. I actually get headaches from that little green car.

5. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Tablet
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Pros:
Great learning tool, features power and volume control, as well as 3 stages of learning. Each button has the option of saying the letter, character/object, and the sound it makes. Plays several different songs, different on each learning setting. Lights on top and sides light up in several, bright colors.
Cons: 
NOT a touch screen, which is fine, but baby does need to press a bit on the buttons, which seemed to put my kiddo off a bit. When you are playing with the alphabet buttons, it randomly cuts you off and plays music, which is a bit annoying.

6. Mega Bloks Jeep Lil’ Off Roader Building Set
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟✰✰
Noise: N/A
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros:
Instantly caught my son’s attention in the store. Great size for toddlers. Looks like a realistic, tiny Jeep! Comes with 7 pieces, which includes a little removable character, and 6 Mega Bloks blocks. Blocks can be played with on their own, or can be arranged on the roof of the Jeep.
Cons:
Very basic, limited interactivity. A bit expensive for what little it does.

There you have it! I have to say that my favorite toy is definitely the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Table. I love how many settings it has, and I actually really enjoy composing short piano pieces with the 4 colorful piano keys. Liam loves the piano keys, too, and plays with me! I’d say his favorite toy is probably the Learning Table as well, but he is definitely a fan of his Mega Bloks Jeep, as well as his Fisher-Price Tablet (but only if I’m using it with him), and his Fisher-Price train that he got for Christmas, of course!

We are really loving all of the Fisher-Price learning toys! I love toys that have multiple learning stages, and look like “real” items that mommy and daddy use, and these are all just fantastic! I hope this helped out a few folks out there who are hunting for gifts for little ones!

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Daily Prompt 1/27/2016 | Quote Me

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 1/27/2016 | Quote Me

“Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? What is it, and why does it move you?”

I’m usually not one for quotes, for a couple reasons. While I do feel that there have been many inspirational things said throughout time, I also feel that nothing is ever original. Even the most inspirational quotes, said by the world’s most influential people, are just words, pieced together, based on other expressions, or things heard in passing. Nothing is original. I’ve never heard someone say a famous quote, and thought, “Wow, that completely changes everything.

I also feel weird recognizing people for quotes, when so many word combinations have been spoken in the thousands of years that humans have been speaking. The odds of Martin Luther King’s Jr.’s full “I have A Dream” speech having been said, word for word, 100 years prior is a little unlikely, but you see what I’m saying, right? You see it today, when people take someone’s Tweet, or Facebook post, crop out their name, and circulate it around as a meme or something. You never know where the words originated from, and I know that I wouldn’t feel great seeing someone credited for saying my words, and making them famous, somewhere down the road, doing talk shows and whatnot. I would not be happy.

With that little rant having been typed out, there is one quote that has resonated with me since I was a child. Of course, Winnie the Pooh is just a fictional bear in a children’s show, so really, the writers should be credited with the quote, but I don’t know who they are, so we’ll give this one to Pooh.

“There is something you must always remember: You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ~ Winnie the Pooh

Pancakes For A Gloomy Day

I’ve been feeling really down lately, struggling with more issues than I’d care to list out. A teething baby, sleepless nights, and disappointment in myself currently top the list. I woke up this morning, and didn’t want to move. The only thing that was able to get me out of bed was knowing that there was a tiny, hungry humanoid that depends on me to take care of him.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t in a good mood this morning either. He threw a pretty epic tantrum after I plucked the PS4 controller from his hands, which I had carelessly left on the arm of the couch. We’ve had too many electronic items damaged by this little fountain of drool, so I’ve learning to hide things out of his reach. But this morning, I forgot. As he threw his tantrum, completely inconsolable no matter what I did, I gave into all of the frustrations I had been feeling lately, and broke down crying  right along with him.

And then I made us pancakes. Cinnamon banana raisin pancakes, specifically.

Liam and I love pancakes, but we only have them on special days, or when we both need a little pick-me-up. I know, I know… they aren’t the healthiest breakfast option (I add fruit, pureed sweet potatoes, or pureed squash to mine, but they are still boxed pancakes), but we needed them today. I sat Liam in his booster seat, pushed him into the table, and gave him some banana slices to temporarily satisfy his hunger while I mixed my ingredients at the counter. The momentary quiet allowed me to calm down, and remember that he is having just as hard a time as I am, and it isn’t his fault that he is so cranky. I don’t remember getting my teeth, but I can imagine that it isn’t very enjoyable.

As I flipped our tiny, baby fist-sized pancakes on the griddle (I use a teaspoon to scoop the batter onto the griddle, which makes for fun, tiny pancakes that we can both enjoy), I kept looking over at my sweet boy, sitting contently, feeding himself his banana pieces, and smiling.

A few times, he turned his head to smile at me, making loud cooing noises to get my attention, seemingly forgiving me for losing my cool only minutes earlier, and I couldn’t help but smile back and sigh at this beautiful, smart human that I am raising. He is a good baby. He is a very good baby. We just have bad days sometimes. But things will get better soon.

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Nothing some cinnamon banana raisin pancakes can’t fix!

Thanks for reading.

Jan