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

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Daily Prompt 3/12/2016 | Misstep

In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt | Misstep

Hey, friends. I’m having a rough day today. Well, rough few days. From the time I woke up, to the time I went to bed, I was feeling dizzy and nauseous. I almost fainted in the shower, and had to sit on the floor of the tub for a few minutes with my eyes closed. Luckily, it was Kyle’s day off, so he was here to help me take care of Liam, since I had zero energy, and zero willpower to be alive. I managed to get outside to buy a coffee, and take Liam to the park, and the fresh air and caffeine seemed to help. But as soon as I got home, I felt like the waking dead once again.

Last night, I didn’t sleep. At all. I was having some really bad stomach pains in the upper part of my stomach, which kept waking me up throughout the night, and making me feel like I was going to be sick. The only thing that made the pain lessen slightly was lying on my back with my hands pressed on my stomach. I don’t really enjoy sleeping on my back, so even when the pain wasn’t as bad, I still couldn’t fall asleep.

This morning, Liam woke up much earlier than usual, and was very unhappy that he had to wait for his breakfast, while I sat on my bathroom floor, trying to stop the world from spinning. Needless to say, I’m still not feeling great. My stomach doesn’t hurt as badly, but I am exhausted, and being stuck inside the apartment isn’t helping with that. The forecast for this weekend calls for three days of rain and clouds, but warm temperatures. I checked THREE different weather websites, multiple times throughout the morning, to check when the highest chance of rain was. One website said not until 4:00, another said 6:00, and the last one said not until 10-11:00 at night. I figured it would be alright to spend an hour or so outside. What are the odds that THREE different sites could be wrong about the weather?

After Liam finished his lunch, I got us dressed and ready to head out to the park. Looking out the window, I could see that the sky was gray, but it was a bright gray, and not ominous-looking at all. I grabbed my iPod, hoisted Liam onto my hip, dragged his stroller down the back steps, and started to buckle him in for our walk.

Then, I felt it.

I stopped fiddling with his buckles, and looked over at the large puddle to the side of our yard. I didn’t see any ripples. I thought, maybe, a bug spit on me or something?  It was barely 1:30. There was no way that it was raining. No way, right?

Nope.

Seconds later, the sky opened up, and it started to drizzle. It was not even 1:30! HOW? WHY? I was angry, and frustrated, and disappointed… and I knew it was going to get worse once I lifted Liam out of the stroller and brought him back inside. He loves being outside. Why didn’t I listen to my gut? Never trust the weather people. They suck. Ugh. Sure enough, his eyes narrowed at me as I lifted him back out, dragged the stroller back up the stairs, and stored it away next to the back door. I put him down in the kitchen, and bent to take off his shoes and coat.

He screamed.

He cried.

He stomped his feet.

He tried to pull his coat back on.

That went on for nearly 20 minutes, while I tried to calm him with a snack, and some water, and all of his favorite toys. Nothing helped. So, I collapsed onto the couch, exhausted and nauseous, and waited for him to calm down on his own, so that we could play together. He eventually did, and we built masterpieces with his Mega Bloks and watched some Chuggington. And all was well… except for the nausea, dizziness, stomach pains, exhaustion, and wanting to die.

Question: HOW MUCH MONEY DO METEOROLOGISTS MAKE TO BE THIS WRONG?

Three. Three different websites, three different forecasts, all of them horribly incorrect. How is that possible? Hell, pay me half of what they make, I’ll stand outside for 5 minutes, and give you my best guess of what the weather will be. I’m sure I will be more accurate than these people. Seriously.

Anyway, thanks for reading, friends. I’m going to go sneak in a nap with the kiddo before dinner.

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

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