Mom’s Visit | Day 3

[You can read about Days 0-1 here, and Day 2 here!]

Hello, friends. Despite yesterday being not-so-fantastic, today was pretty good! It was unbearably hot, and we had made zero plans for the day, but I knew I wanted to stay indoors as much as possible. I wanted a little bit of alone time with my son, just to bond and relax, so I told my mom that we could meet up later in the day, some time after Liam’s lunch and nap, and then maybe do some afternoon shopping. I made delicious grilled cheese sandwiches for Liam and I for lunch, which had provolone cheese, parsley, avocado, and tomato (his was deconstructed, since he still doesn’t have many teeth), and they were so delicious. I haven’t cooked, or really made anything at home, in days!

We ended up meeting up much later than planned, thanks to some technical difficulties on my mom’s end with Facebook. Even though she was on it all day, she never saw any notifications for the half a dozen messages I sent her telling her she could come over at that point. After over two hours of waiting for her, I messaged Kyle and asked him to text her (I still don’t have minutes), since I knew she would get that right away. Sure enough, she did, then messaged me back immediately, very upset that she had missed all my messages. I was thankful for the time I got to spend with Liam (as well as a fantastic nap that I snuck in before lunch), but happy to finally get out and do some shopping.

She picked us up, and told me all about her morning and afternoon exploring the town. She went down to the waterfront, somewhere I didn’t even know existed, and relaxed by the water, sipping her coffee. We talked about possible plans for tomorrow, and I pointed out a few possible dinner options for tonight. We got to Walmart, and did a couple laps around the store. I picked out two shirts, two pairs of shorts, and a package of socks for Liam, and we found a cute sensory animal book for him as well. It has words I can read to him, as well as pictures of animals, and little patches of “fur” textures for him to touch. When you press on the textured spots, it makes the noise of that animal. I was excited, because I’ve been looking for a book just like that for him, and this was the first I had seen. It wasn’t until we got home that we realized that the whole back half of the book is a misleading block of fake pages, where the batteries and noise boxes are, and that it is actually only a few pages long. Very misleading, and definitely not worth the $13 it cost. Oh well.

I didn’t see anything there that I liked, mostly because Walmart only has three options for women: Too tight junior clothes in neon colors, workout clothes, and… well, clothes that even my 50 year old mother thinks are too old for her. So I got nothing, which was fine with me, since I’m still not comfortable letting her spend money on me. She bought some cute things for Liam, so that seemed to satisfy her urge to spend.

After Walmart, we went to Culver’s for dinner, since she had never been, and talked about the past. She asked me if I still kept in touch with the handful of friends I had in high school, which I do, and told me that she bumps into them every now and then. She asked me questions about my ex, and his family, and about our breakup, which I honestly didn’t mind answering. It’s not like I really have friends I can talk to about it, even though it was over 3 years ago, it was nice to be able to bitch about him and his family for a minute, ya know?

After dinner, we headed to the mall to visit with Kyle before he got off work, and Liam happily ran barefoot through the empty store. We decided that since Kyle has tomorrow off, we would head to one of the neighboring towns, where there is a huge indoor swimming pool, and do some swimming. It is supposed to be stormy and yucky for the next few days, so this will be a nice alternative, assuming it isn’t really crowded. The hotel pool where my mom is staying is still being renovated, and we spent a lot of money on swimsuits, and don’t want them to go unused. I am excited. Liam hasn’t had a lot of exposure to water, aside from the tub, and when he dumps his water cup on himself, so I am hoping he has fun. As for me, I haven’t been swimming in nearly 7 years. And I looove swimming.

It was a good day. I got some alone time with my kiddo, as well as a nice nap. Kyle is home now, so we are going to cuddle up on the couch and continue watching The Adventures of Merlin on Netflix. I can’t remember if I recommended that yet, but seriously, you guys should check it out if you’re into magic and fantasy and lore and adventure. It is quite fantastic!

Hope you’re all having a fantastic holiday, thanks for reading!

Jan

Mom’s Visit | Days 0-1

Day 0:
Hello, friends. I had mentioned in a previous post that my mom was coming to visit me, and meet her grandson, for the first time ever. She was due to arrive in Illinois around 4:00 pm yesterday, and should have arrived to her hotel around 7:00 pm. We decided that she would not come for a late night visit, as Liam would already be in bed, and she would probably be tired anyway. The morning of her departure, I remembered that I hadn’t given her Kyle’s new number (my phone has been out of minutes for ages), and messaged her around 6:00 in the morning, well before she left for the airport. Unfortunately, my mom did not check her computer before she left, and did not know that she could check Facebook or her email on her new iPhone, and this created a few problems.

We waited around for a call or a text, and started getting worried once 8:30 pm rolled around, and we hadn’t heard anything. She hadn’t seen my FB messages, and I was worried she hadn’t seen my emails either. At 9:00 pm, I remembered that I could check her flight online, and discovered that she had been delayed in Detroit for 3 hours, and hadn’t even landed in Illinois until 8:07, much later than scheduled. She wouldn’t even be getting to her hotel until after 10:00. We waited some more, but never got a call. I assumed she just went to sleep. We watched several episodes of The Adventures of Merlin, which we just started watching Netflix, and then went to bed.

Day 1:
We woke up this morning and realized that we still hadn’t heard from my mom. Kyle decided to re-read the email that she had sent me last month, and discovered that she had actually given me her phone number, which I didn’t think I had. Kyle texted her, and we figured out our situation, and then we showered and got ready for her visit.

Her hotel is only a few minutes from us, so her drive was short, and then she was here. Kyle and I were nervous. Kyle had never met, or talked to, my mom, and didn’t know much about her. I hadn’t seen her in over 4 years, and our last meeting wasn’t the greatest. It went surprisingly well.

We greeted her, we exchanged hugs, and Liam cried immediately when she sat near him, which we expected. I gave her the birthday drawing that Liam had made her, as well as the card and bracelet that I had gotten her, and we took some pictures together. We decided to play with his Mega Bloks on the floor, and within minutes, he was building towers with his grandma. He warmed up to her quicker than most. We had some coffee, played some more, and decided that we should do something, so we went on a looong drive to the Fox Valley Mall, about an hour and 20 minutes away. Liam sat in the back with my mom, which made me nervous, because I thought he would get upset, but he was surprisingly comfortable, and even played with her for a while, before falling asleep. We stopped to eat lunch at Golden Corral, since my mom had never been, then continued to the mall.

We love walking around malls, especially when they are enormous. And this mall is enormous. Three stories, and massive. We forgot Liam’s stroller, since we were taking my mom’s rental, and it took us forever to find the rentable strollers. Once we did find them, it was smooth sailing, and Liam was much more behaved. We went into several stores, like Lane Bryant, Torrid, a gaming store, and a few others, and my mom tried to coerce us into letting her buy us everything we passed. We politely declined several times, and she finally stopped, but I know it will come up several times over the next few days.

After three hours walking around the mall, we left for home. The ride was uneventful, and we talked about Kyle’s job, my mom and her boyfriend’s plans to build a new house, and the future and potential moves for us. It was pleasant. We got back to our area, and stopped to get some dinner at Steak ‘n Shake, another first for my mom. Afterwards, we went to Target for a few things, and I got to see my good friends Aubrey and Lindsey, who were both working that night. I introduced them to my mom, and they got to see Liam, who was happy to see them as well, and proceeded to be an absolute little flirty ham. It was SO cute. Then we said our goodbyes, as it was almost bedtime for the kiddo, and came home.

My mom said some goodbyes, and we told her how to get to her email and Facebook on her iPhone, so that she could keep in touch better, and upload the pictures that she took today. My mom has been in the state for a day and a half, and I thought it would be terrible… but it has been surprisingly nice. Her questions and energy can be exhausting, especially when they are deeply personal, and we have been estranged for a while… but it was okay. She will be here until next Saturday, and I won’t always have Kyle with me for morale support, but I am hoping that it continues to go well.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Dream Journal 5/27/16 | Time Warps and Old Cars

[A dream I had during my short nap today.]

I woke up from a nap to the sound of my phone ringing. I ignored it, then checked the time. It was 3:30. I had been asleep for 2 hours. I checked the baby monitor to make sure that it was on, since I had not heard Liam wake up from his nap, but figured either he was taking a long nap, or that Kyle just got him up when he got home from work. I fell back asleep, phone still in my hand.

I woke up, and glanced at my screen, which read 4:15. I rolled over and fell back asleep.

I woke up again and checked my phone. 5:30. I woke up in a panic, it was past Liam’s dinner time, and no one had woken me up. I walked into Liam’s room, but he wasn’t in his crib. I walked into the living room, but it was empty. I picked up my phone and started to call Kyle to see where they were, but a loud noise outside caught my attention, and I walked to the window.

There was an old, lime green car parked in Kyle’s parking spot, and several other older show cars parked behind it. There were old cars parked on our lawn, on our neighbor’s lawn, and in the streets. I peeked through the blinds, watching the dozen large, burly men (who looked more like bikers than car enthusiasts) standing around the cars. I took my phone out, and pushed it through the blinds, trying to get a picture of them without being seen, when suddenly, one of the men started shouting. He was staring right at me, and was alerting the other men about my surveillance attempt.

I back away from the window, afraid…

And then I woke up, for real this time… very confused.

Holiday Toy Haul Ratings (6-36m): Part 2

Hello, friends! Happy 2016! I hope you all had a safe and fantastic holiday. I won’t talk too much about our New Year’s here, since this is another toy rating blog, but we did have a good time doing things with family, and Liam got tons of new clothes, books, and toys, which I will tell you all about in upcoming post, hopefully sometime soon. But here we go with five more toys!

Just like last time, 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.

1. B. LucKeys Toy Car Keys with Lights and Sound
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Keys are made from stainless steel, and are easy to clean. They look and sound like real keys, which keeps baby’s attention. Makes several realistic car noises. Light up.
Cons: Price. We found these keys at Target (though they are only available in-store), and just like with the B. Toys HiPhone, we only paid around $10. However, both toys are listed well over $35 on Amazon. Not sure why. No volume control, but the noise isn’t loud to begin with.

2. Fisher-Price Musical Lion Walker
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Volume control. Piano keys play notes and tunes. Has a tiny mirror with flippy animal images, and several other little gizmos for baby. Lion’s nose lights up (is also a button they can press). Walker makes noise as baby walks with it.
Cons: Walker is a bit on the lighter side, while pushing it, baby knocked it over easily. Wheels do not turn. Not many play options for babies who aren’t interested in pushing it.

3. VTech Touch and Swipe Baby Phone
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Very interactive and realistic. Is an actual “touch screen”! Screen lights up in several patterns. Screen slides to reveal two, different screens, each with different activities (number keys and music/sounds). Each number key does several commands. House button (to the right of the “0”) allows you to program your home phone number, so that you can teach your little one!
Cons: No volume control. Screen looks cheap. Lights in screen are red, as opposed to blue or white, and show up dull. Have read reviews about the lights/sensitivity in the screen not working after a short time, but no issues so far.
** As of 2/24/16, this toy no longer works. It repeats the same tune all day long, and no other buttons work. We had to turn it off permanently.

4. Little Tikes Lil’ Ocean Explorers – Crawl ‘n Pop! Turtle
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟✰✰
Noise: 🌟✰✰✰
Quality: 🌟🌟✰✰
Overall: 🌟🌟✰✰
Pros: Cute and colorful. Shapes are easy to put into their corresponding spots. Baby enjoys chewing on shapes.
Cons: No volume control, and VERY noisy when moving. Moves somewhat erratically, as opposed to a straight line. The popping noise it makes when popping the shapes out is very loud and may startle baby. Shapes sometimes get stuck and do not pop. If the turtle is not turned on, shapes do not stay in place very well, and may fall out. Cute toy, until you turn it on.

5. Oball Rattle and Roll Car
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Colorful, fun design. Comes in 4 different colors (my son has the red and blue pictured). Durable. Surprisingly quiet for a “rattle” toy, but still makes enough noise to satisfy baby. Moves very fast with just a tiny push. Doubles as a teether. Baby can put fingers into holes for extra grip.
Cons: Wheels are a bit loud when on hard surfaces. A bit too lightweight.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope these posts are helping at least a few people with potential gift ideas! I’ll be writing another post or two soon, depending on how many more toys I have left to score.

Hope you’re all enjoying 2016 so far!

Jan