Small Stones 8/25/16

Ten, little toes, tromping through the freshly cut grass. Continue reading Small Stones 8/25/16

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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

Take A Walk With Jan #12 | Vlog

Hello, friends! I am sweaty, sunburnt, and cranky as hell. I am also too lazy to write about it, so here is a quick(ish) vlog telling you why! The video is unedited, obviously. Please excuse my appearance, as I really don’t give a shit about it right now, haha. Oh, and some pictures from our walk today. I forgot to mention that after Liam fell down, he decided to pick up, and throw out, all the sticks in the park.

Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thanks for reading/watching!

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

Take A Walk With Jan #8

Hello, friends! Yesterday, the weather was hovering around 67 degrees and partly cloudy for the majority of the morning and afternoon, so I decided to take Liam to the park. I wanted to let him spend as much time having fun in the sun, since he had a pretty traumatic night the previous day. He fell down while running through the kitchen, and almost bit through his lip. It was so swollen, and there was SO much blood. It was awful. He’s handling it like a champ, but I wanted to give him a really good day.

I made the mistake of wearing a long-sleeve shirt and yoga pants, both black, and started sweating just a few blocks from my apartment. As we walked, it got warmer, and sunnier, and I was very relieved to go into the shade of Subway to get some lunch to bring to the park. However, I had an absolutely bizarre experience once inside. There was a woman finishing up her order when I walked in, and I stood off to the side of where the line would be, since I wasn’t ready to order. An older women walked in behind me, and I immediately smiled and told her to go ahead of me, since I was still deciding, this is a transcript of how this ridiculousness began:

Me: Go ahead in front of me, I’m still deciding.
Woman: *Moving in front of me* Oh, thanks, but I don’t know what I want either.
Me: Oh, that’s okay!
Sandwich Artist #1: What can I make you?
W: *Staring at the menu* Uh, I don’t know… hmm… uhhh…
[4 minutes pass, while the employee and I exchange glances, wondering if this woman has fallen asleep with her eyes open. Two more people walk in and get in line behind me.]
SA #1: Ma’am? Have you decided yet?
W: If I did, you would know. *Turning to me* Bet you wish you hadn’t let me go in front of you, huh?
Me: Oh, no, it’s okay, we’re not in a rush.
W: Mmhm. Okay, well, I’m going to have a ham and cheese on white bread, American cheese.
SA #1: Do you want it toasted?
W: Did I say I wanted it toasted?
SA #1: Right, not toasted then. Any veggies?
W: Nope.
SA #1: Any sauce?
W: *Sighing dramatically* Nooope!
SA #1: Any other sandwiches for you today?
W: Oh, yeah, he’ll probably want something, too. *Turning to me again* Sorry!
Me: Yup. No problem.
W: Steak and cheese, deluxe. NOT. TOASTED. NO. VEGGIES.
SA #1: … Okay. Got it.
[At this point, SA #1 slides the sandwiches over to SA #2, who appears to be new, who is standing at the register, and tells her what they are, before turning to me to take my order. SA #2 does not appear to hear her, and asks her again what the sandwiches are. SA #1 does not hear her ask, so SA #2 just stands there, while W glares impatiently at her.]
W: Hello? How much?
SA #2: Um… what were the sandwiches?
W: Are you joking?
SA #1: *Realizes what is happening* Ham and cheese, steak and cheese deluxe.
[The woman pays, and walks away to a table to fiddle with her receipt and purse. I finish my order, and start the payment process, while the couple behind me begins their order.]
W: OH, I need two drinks with these. Hello? HELLO? I need two drinks.
[No one responds, and she does not get back in line.]
W: FINE, I guess not! I’m going to Casey’s! Bye!
[She leaves, and we all exchange WTF? glances.]

Seriously. What a bitch. Why, lady? Why? There was zero reason for any of the attitude!

Anyway, we left Subway, and headed to the park. Liam started squirming and going a bit crazy once the park came into sight, and as soon as I set him down, he ran off. We were alone at the park, and Liam took full advantage of running, climbing, and going nuts all over the playground. After just a few minutes of being there, I heard, “Mommy! Look! There’s a baby!”, and I turned around to see an adorable little boy charging the playground. He immediately ran up to us, introduced himself as Gideon, and informed me that he and his mommy saw dog poop on their way to the park.

So. Freaking. Cute.

His mom was really nice, she was around my age, maybe a few years older, and had purple streaks in her hair, and a band tee on. Gideon followed Liam around, and every time Liam stumbled, he reached out to help him up. He talked up a storm, too. Telling me about how he was three years old, and how he likes to take naps after he goes to the park, and how he wishes he could sleep at the park, because he liked it there, which made his mom and I laugh. He was the sweetest little boy, and after a very short time, Liam was running around with him and following him as well. It was really nice to see him having fun, as we really don’t get to see other parents and kids very often. At all… ever.

He also may have eaten a very small pebble… still waiting to see if that was actually a thing or not.

After a whopping hour and a half at the park, we headed to Dollar General to pick up a few things. I was sweating so bad. I also walked by a really stupid fight going on in front of the high school a few blocks from our apartment. It was nearly 70 degrees by the time I got home, half dead.

Then we napped. And it was glorious.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

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