Mom’s Visit | Day 2

Hello, friends. I am so exhausted. My mom has been in Illinois for three days now, though we’ve been visiting for two, and I am already emotionally drained. The first day was nice. She got to meet Liam, and the four of us took a road trip, and we all caught up and whatnot (you can read about our first day here)… but yesterday, it was just my mom, Liam, and I… and it didn’t go as well as our first day.

WARNING: This will be a looong blog. Grab a drink, adjust your butt, and go pee now!

To be fair, it was a decent day. It could have been worse. Kyle worked 10-6, so it was literally just my mom and I all day, and I got zero time to myself, or any alone time with my son (which has certainly thrown us for a loop), because she wants to come over early in the morning, and I just don’t have the heart to say no, or make her wait. She came over about an hour before Kyle left, and we all just sat around, chatting politely, and playing with Liam’s blocks. After Kyle left for work, my mom asked if we could go to the park that Liam and I always walk to. I was hesitant, because it was very hot and sunny, and close to Liam’s nap time, but I slathered Liam in sunscreen and we drove there anyway.

Since Liam and I usually walk to the park, we get out of the stroller at the park, and he doesn’t really know the rest of the park. We parked in the parking area, pretty far from the playground. Liam started running away from me, so I grabbed Liam’s hand and said, “The playground is over here, bud.”

My mom then turned to me and said, “Don’t drag him, just let him lead the way.” But her tone… her tone, guys. Like she was scolding me. I ignored it, but it definitely put a damper on my mood. I don’t know why.

Once we finally got to the playground, Liam ran to the swing immediately. As usual, the rest of the playground was in the shade, except for the swing, which was in direct sunlight. I don’t like it, and try to limit his swing time, but it is his favorite. After a few minutes standing by the swing, my mom started complaining about the sun, and saying we should let him go down the slide. I told her that he really only likes the swing, and would fuss if I tried to get him out so soon. She stopped and returned to the shade of the tree.

A few minutes later, she came back and started trying to take pictures, but was getting frustrated because they weren’t coming out right, or Liam wasn’t looking at her… because he was on the swing. Eventually she gave up and went over to the playground, where she proceeded to repeatedly slide down the largest kid’s slide, screaming, “Wheee! Wooo! Yaaay!” at the top of her lungs, and urging Liam, who was still perfectly content in his swing, to come and slide with her.

It was so embarrassing. It reminded me too much of all the embarrassing moments I had endured in high school with her.

A little while later, kiddo gestured for me to take him out of the swing, and my mom thrust her phone at me, and tried to wrestle him into her lap in the grass so she could get a few pictures. He was not too happy about that. He was trying to push her away, but she wouldn’t let him go, and he eventually caved, and we were able to get a few nice pictures. I have told her a dozen times that he will warm up to her eventually, definitely before she leaves, but this was only the second day. He still doesn’t want her holding him, and he especially did not want her restraining him to her lap when he was trying to play. There will be plenty of opportunities to get pictures that won’t involve making him angry.

All day long, she just seemed so impatient with everything. I just kept thinking, you’ve had a child, remember? Do you not remember how toddlers are? Especially with strangers?

Then we went back home. Liam had his lunch, and went down for a nap, and my mom proceeded to drive me absolutely nuts with every word she said.

Me: Mom, I’m making coffee, do you want some?
Mom: Only if it’s already made.
Me: Well, I’m making some now, do you want some?
Mom: Um, well, I don’t want you to go out of your way.
Me: … I’m up. I’m making some. Do. You. Want. Any?
Mom: I mean, I guess…

YOU LOVE COFFEE. YOU ARE AN ADDICT. I AM OFFERING YOU SOMETHING THAT I AM ALREADY MAKING. WHY ARE YOU BEING LIKE THAT?

Then, instead of sitting in awkward silence for a few hours, I decided to put something on for us to watch.

Me: Do you want to watch something? What kind of shows to you watch?
Mom: I don’t watch TV, I’m too busy.
Me: Okay… what about movies? Want to watch a movie? Netflix has a million.
Mom: Oh, what about American Idol?
Me: Oh, no, they don’t have American Idol…
Mom: Oh… I don’t know then.
Me: Okay. Um, movie then?
Mom: I don’t know.
Me: Well, what movies do you like?
Mom: I don’t know.

She was acting like a pouty toddler, and it was getting frustrating, so I just decided on one of my favorite comedy specials. Everyone loves comedians, right?

Five minutes into the comedian’s special…

Mom: *sigh* She isn’t funny. I don’t like her.
Me: Okay… what do you want to put on then?
Mom: Nothing. I don’t know. This is fine.
Me: Fine.
Mom: *long sigh*

Silence.
*In my head* Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Nothing has changed. She is the same as I remember 4 years ago, and 4 years before that. She thinks that everything she says or does is so damn bothersome, that she can’t have any opinions. Any time you say anything against her, even if it is in the politest way possible, she just shuts down, and she gets pouty, and then it becomes bothersome. She thinks you’re constantly angry with her, for no reason. She just can’t act… normal. It’s like we are constantly stuck as strangers, butting heads over everything and nothing, and going nowhere. We don’t even feel like family.

Anyway, we spent most of Liam’s nap in silence, except for when I tried to help my mom work her iPhone, which has been an absolute pain (I hate iPhones!) After about two hours of Liam’s napping, she started saying that she was getting impatient that he was still asleep. I already told her a dozen times that he naps for 2+ hours, but she just kept saying, “Wow, this is the longest nap ever…”

I eventually went in to wake him up, which he was not happy about, and we went to the mall to visit Kyle. She wanted to stop at Dunkin Donuts and get coffee, and something for Kyle and I. I told her I didn’t want anything, which set her off on a pissed off rant about how she brought hundreds of dollars that she wanted to spend on me, and it made her angry that I didn’t let her buy me everything, everywhere. So I told her I would get a smoothie, since that is really the only thing at DD that I like.

Guess what? They were out of yogurt. Yup. My mom was not happy with this at all, and said some snide comments about how, “that never happens at my Dunkin!”. I opted to not get anything, but she got a medium coffee… but then, she didn’t get cream or sugar in her coffee (she didn’t ask for any, she forgot, it was her fault), so went inside in a huff, and ended up getting a large coffee as an apology.

We got to the mall, just as Kyle was taking his lunch break, and the four of us headed to the play area, which was packed with kids, mostly over the age of 5. Almost all of them were too big (according to the height rules) to be in there, and most of them also had their shoes on, and were running around and being a bit reckless. Two moms actually left in a huff because their little ones kept getting bumped or knocked over by these bigger kids, whose parents were paying zero attention to them.

Liam was perfectly content standing by us, as he normally does when there is a lot going on, and watching the other kids. He loves it. He ventured out a few feet at a time, surveying the area, while Kyle told us about his day thus far. Then he had to go back to work, and we were back to three.

Then… this.

A family came in with two young girls, both about 6 years old, and a toddler boy. One of the little girls was in a motorized wheelchair, which she got out of once they were in the play area. My mom, who has zero filter on her mouth, or any idea what is and is not appropriate to say out loud, said the following:

Mom: I see a wheelchair, but there is no one in it.
Me: One of the little girls was in it.
Mom: One of those two in the dresses? They look fine to me.
Me: Just because she looks fine doesn’t mean there isn’t something wrong, mom.
Mom: I’m just saying, don’t spend all your money on a wheelchair like that if there is nothing wrong with your kid.
Me: You don’t know what’s wrong with her. Stop it.
Mom: What? I’m just saying. She looks fine.

Then she proceeded sip her coffee in silence. I was annoyed, and thoroughly embarrassed, because while I don’t think the girl and her parents had heard her, I was certain that other people had.

I cheered on Liam while he climbed around the play area, and my mom continued to sit in silence, watching everyone but her grandson.

The family with the girl in the wheelchair got their stuff together to leave, but as she were leaving, the young girl accidentally bumped another young boy with her chair. He was fine, and didn’t even cry, but her and her parents were very apologetic, even as the boy’s dad comforted them and told them it was perfectly fine. They were all smiles. Everything was fine.

Well, for them. My mom was upset about the whole thing, of course.

Mom: That wouldn’t have happened if they didn’t have their daughter in that unnecessary chair.
Me: Stop.
Mom: What?
Me: Just stop. That’s a very ignorant thing to say. It’s none of our business.
Mom: Fine.

Then we sat in silence, until I picked up our stuff, thoroughly frustrated, and proceeded towards Sears to say goodbye to Kyle. On our trek to the other end of the mall, we passed by several stores again, and she tried to force me to let her buy me stuff, when I had already told her when we passed by the stores the first time that they do not carry my sizes. She was not pleased.

I swear, I’ve had to repeat everything that I’ve said to her at least three times, and answer every question twice. I don’t know if she just isn’t paying any attention to what I’m saying, or she is forgetting it all immediately. Either way, it keeps making her angry with herself, which puts her in a worse mood.

We went to Subway for dinner, the first thing she agreed to eat all day, which was uneventful enough, but then we ended up going back to the mall afterwards, because my mom lectured me again on wanting to spend all her money on me. I tried to look for a pair of decent sneakers that didn’t cost a fortune, since I’ve had mine for years and they are totally worn out, but didn’t have much luck, which only seemed to aggravate her further. It feels like she has been upset with me for no reason on this entire visit thus far. We left empty handed.

She didn’t stay long after dropping Liam and I off back at the apartment, and I am trying to limit how much time we spend together today, because honestly, I think I need a break. I need some space. I politely told her that we could meet up later in the afternoon, after Liam’s nap, because I had some things to take care of. I haven’t cleaned anything in my apartment, or spent any alone time with my son, in days. I just want to sleep, and snuggle, and relax, and breathe.

Hopefully today is better… we’ll see.

Thanks for reading, friends.

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

40 Beauty Questions!

Hello, friends! I recently stumbled across this 40 Beauty Questions TAG!, and I thought it would be fun to give my answers, and give you a peak into my life, in terms of… well, beauty stuff. I do not know who created this, but I will provide you with a link to the site I found it in.

Here we go!

SKINCARE
-How many times do you wash your face daily?
Honestly, I’m horrible about washing my face, unless I am actually in the shower. I am ashamed to admit that I go to bed with my makeup on more often than not. Ahhh, so bad.

-What skin type do you have (dry/oily/combo)?
I actually have no idea! I would say probably combination skin, because it is a bit of both, though not severe on either side of the spectrum.

-What is your current facial wash?
I use my St. Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub almost daily. I used to use the lovely Simple Moisturizing Facial Wash, which I looove, but I ran out a while ago.

-Do you exfoliate?
Nothing hardcore, just with my scrub that I mentioned before.

-What brand do you use?
St. Ives!

-What moisturizer do you use?
Up&Up Sensitive Skin Facial Moisturizer, store brand, but comparable to Neutrogena!

-Do you have freckles?
A few, yes!

-Do you use eye cream?
Not yet, probably will start soon.

-Do you or did you have acne prone skin?
Verrrrrry. Ugh.

-Did you ever have to use Pro-activ?
I have in the past, it did nothing for me at all.

MAKE-UP
-What foundation do you use?
Currently, the Younique liquid foundation in “Velour”, which was a gift, but I’m not a fan. Before that, Rimmel Matte Foundation.

-How about concealer?
I think it is also Rimmell, but I have no idea! I don’t use it much. I never have luck with concealers…

-Do you know your undertone color?
Warm? I think.

-What do you think of fake eyelashes?
No thanks!

-Did you know that you are suppose to change your mascara every 3 months?
Nope, and I definitely don’t. Oops?

-What brand of mascara do you use?
Maybelline! Pink tube.

-Sephora or MAC?
Too broke for either.

-Do you have a MAC Pro-card?
Nope.

-What makeup tools do you use in make up application?
Aside from my fingers (I know, I’m awful)? I have a Real Techniques foundation brush, which I love, and some sponges. And two different slanted brushes for brows/eyeliner. That’s it!

-Do you use make-up base/primer for the eyes?
Not anymore. Too expensive.

-For the face?
I need more.

-What is your favorite eyeshadow (color or shade)?
Honestly, I don’t wear much eyeshadow. I got some samples of a few Younique shades, and I like “Sexy” and “Confident”.

-Do you use pencil or liquid eyeliner?
Pencil usually, but I dabble in cream.

-How often do you poke your eyes with an eyeliner pencil?
Um, never actually. Not even in the car.

-What do you think of pigment eyeshadows?
No idea, haha.

-Do you use mineral makeup?
I have in the past… too broke for it now.

-What is your favorite lipstick?
I don’t wear lipstick!

-How about lipgloss?
I don’t wear gloss either really, but I have a pretty pink one from VS that I have had for years… and should probably toss.

-What is your favorite blush to use?
Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Cheek Flush in “Pinking of You”.

-Do you buy your makeup on ebay?
Noooo.

-Do you like drugstore makeup?
It’s all I use!

-Do you go to CCO’s? (cosmetic company outlets)
… what?

-Did you ever consider taking make-up classes?
I have, yes.

-Are you clumsy in putting on makeup?
Only eyeliner!

-Name a makeup crime that you hate?
Probably all of the ones that I’m guilty of.

-Do you like colorful shades of makeup (lipstick/eyeshadow) or neutral ones?
Definitely neutral.

-Which celebrity always has great make up?
Celebrity? Pssh. I only pay attention to my favorite makeup gurus on YouTube! Zoella, Marzia, Louise, and my current obsession, Stephanie Lange.

-If you could leave the house using just ONE make up item,what would you use?
Mascara probably, though I have black lashes already… hmm. Maybe just foundation?

-Could you ever leave the house without any makeup on?
I usually do!

-Do you think you look good even without any makeup on?
I don’t even look good WITH makeup on!

-In your opinion, what is the BEST makeup line?
I don’t have much experience outside of drugstore makeup really, I get most of mine from Target, or somewhere similar. I dabble in several brands, as each has its hits and misses. I like quite a bit from Maybelline though.

-What do you think of makeup?
I don’t really know. I like makeup, even though I’m terrible at it, and it doesn’t do much to help my appearance. You definitely don’t need makeup, as women (and men) are beautiful creatures anyway, but I love to watch tutorials and marvel at the skills others have with it. Makeup can definitely be fun!
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And there you have it! I hope you all enjoyed laughing at how horrible I am when it comes to beauty things.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Advice Needed For Dealing With Landlords

** EDIT: For anyone wondering, yes, we did sign a lease. We rent through a realty company, but do have an actual landlord, who we have never met. Our lease is only a half a page long, and is basically a “Dear John” letter, with next to no specifics on who fixes what, other than that the tenant is in charge of “basic” repairs and upkeep. I’m pretty sure that pulling up a toilet, which has been caulked to the floor, and replacing a wax ring, is not basic, right?

Hello, friends. I need some advice. I’ve always rented, and currently live in a not-so-fancy, not really up-to-date apartment. We have had a lot of issues, as many of you have read, but we’ve been dealing with a lot of issues that were preexisting, from before we moved in, that I have been researching. I don’t know how long we are going to be in this place, at least another half a year, but since I have a very mobile toddler now, I want it to be safe.

Recently, I’ve been growing more concerned about our toilet. So, the linoleum in our bathroom was quite discolored when we moved in, and there is a VERY large yellow and gray stain all around our toilet. I didn’t think much about it, mostly because I was naive, and obviously they knew about it before we moved in, and I assumed whatever caused it had been fixed, and the floor was just permanently discolored now. Recently, I’ve been doing some research, because I don’t know if it is my imagination or not, but the stain seems to be growing, and I discovered that it probably means that there is a faulty wax ring, creating leaks under the floor. The floor around the toilet also does not appear to be 100% sound, and was also like that when we moved in, but doesn’t appear to have gotten worse. I can see that the toilet is poorly caulked to the floor, and has been caulked for a while, which probably means they haven’t fixed anything with it in a long time, right?

I know that I need to contact them to fix it, because it is absolutely their responsibility to make sure that our plumbing is all working properly, and is not a hazard. Does anyone know if there is anything that can be done about the floor discoloration? The stain is MASSIVE, and hideous. We don’t have any windows in our bathroom, so we can’t get any direct sunlight on the spot, which I read helps, and I’m assuming that nothing can be done until the moisture under the floor is taken care of anyway. Would they have to tear up the floor? How long does it take to repair a wax ring? What if there is a mold problem, would I have to pay an inspector to find out? How should I go about asking them to get this all done? They’ve always been so flaky when it comes to fixing things around the apartment (we’ve been here a year and a half and I still have a hole in my kitchen ceiling waiting to be covered…). Has anyone ever dealt with anything like this before?

Thanks for reading, friends. Any advice is welcome!

Jan

Mommy/Daddy Birth Interview Assignment

Hello, friends! Recently, my good friend, Lindsey, asked to interview Kyle and I on our pregnancy/birth/baby experiences as part of a school assignment, and I was more than happy to do it! I thought it would be fun to share with you our answers, so you get a chance to hear a bit from the daddy part of our parenting duo. I had so much fun doing this interview, and it made me miss being pregnant! The baby fever is REAL, guys! Here was our interview:

Mother: Janise
1. How did you find out that you going to become a parent?
We weren’t trying to have a baby, per se, but we weren’t preventing it. We both wanted a baby, and after a while, I had my suspicions that it finally happened. I went to the store and bought two of those 88 cent pregnancy tests, the ones with the silly droppers, and sure enough, they came out positive!

2. How did you react when you heard the news?
I was excited. Really excited.

3. What was pregnancy like?
A breeze, honestly. They say something like 2/3 of women experience morning sickness, which can last for months, or the entire pregnancy, but I never had any at all. I never had any symptoms at all until the last few weeks when my feet swelled, which was awful!

4. What was the birth process like?
I wish I had been more informed of my options, and what could go wrong during labor and delivery. Despite a healthy pregnancy, I developed preeclampsia during labor, and had to be put on a Magnesium drip to keep my blood pressure down, but then it dropped really low, which made me incredibly sick. I had an epidural as well, and Pitocin to help my labor, so I didn’t feel anything at all. I was exhausted though, and slept a lot. I labored for about 14 hours, and pushed for an hour and a half. The pushing was the worst. My epidural had started to wear off, and I was starting to feel again. It was weird though, because I didn’t feel pain, just a LOT of pressure. My partner had to leave the room, and after pushing on my back for an hour, they had me switch to the supine position (on all fours), which was awful, and a lot harder. I felt like I didn’t have a lot of control or say in what happened, and when they would tell me to push, I felt like it wasn’t the right time. Yet when I knew it was time to push, they told me not to. It was really stressful, and I felt very alone, despite being in a room full of people.

5. What do you remember the most?
The moment they handed my son to me. I was still on my knees and elbows, and they handed him to me through my legs. I felt completely numb, and overwhelmingly happy, seeing his face for the first time. That made all the pain, the sickness, and the 4-day hospital stay totally worth it!

6. What do you remember about the first month after the baby was born?
Pain. A lot of pain. You hear a lot about the pain of birth, but no one ever talks about what your body goes through afterwards. I bled for six weeks, and because I suffered a 4th degree perineal tear during delivery, I had a hard time doing much of anything. Housework went completely undone, because my partner had to go back to work early, and I was alone all day, every day, with this newborn. It was a little overwhelming.

7. Is it what you expected?
Honestly, some things were easier, and some things were harder. Not to toot my own horn, but I discovered that I was kind of a natural at the whole motherhood thing. I knew exactly what my son wanted based on his crying, and that made things so easy. He was such a good baby, too! Slept great, didn’t have any colic, and ate like a tiny linebacker. The hardest, most disappointing thing for me, personally, was not being able to breastfeed. I had all these hopes that I was going to exclusively breastfeed, but it never happened for us. He just wouldn’t latch, and I found it impossible to pump enough. I still feel guilty about it.

8. At what point did you feel “comfortable” with a new baby and taking care of him/her?
Within weeks, if not earlier. The first few nights were a bit of a shock, and really confusing. I didn’t have any family or friends to help me, or answer questions, so I relied a lot on the internet to get me through it. I read a lot, and it paid off. He was only a few weeks old and I felt like a pro. It relieved a lot of stress and worry.

9. Did having a baby change your outlook on your partner?
Honestly, yeah, a little bit. Getting him to change a diaper, even 13 months later, is a fight. He used to get frustrated so easily when the baby cried, and he didn’t know why. It is frustrating, feeling like you are doing 99% of the work in raising your child, especially when the other parent is actually there, but he helps out when he is able, which I appreciate.

10. Did having a baby change your sex life?
Completely. I feel really bad about it, really, because we had a great sex life before, even when I was 7 or 8 months pregnant. But thanks to my traumatic delivery, it has been difficult. My body took a very long time to heal, and it is still uncomfortable for me to have sex now, but there isn’t much I can do about it.

11. What is your least favorite thing about being a parent?
The judgment. Parenting itself came easily to me, but the judgment that I’ve received from family, friends, and even complete strangers, is disheartening. Every little thing that I post online, someone always has to say something. Everything from not being able to breastfeed, to co-sleeping (which we stopped doing when my son turned 6 months old), to letting him use a pacifier. Someone always thinks you’re doing something wrong. It took me a long time to adjust to that, and to realize that my son is happy, healthy, and crazy far ahead in his development, so they can go find someone else to judge!

12. What is the best thing about being a parent?
Lately, it has been being able to actually PLAY with my son. He is finally walking and running around, and it makes life so much more fun. Before, when he was just a tiny thing, we could only play on one spot, on the floor, which was great… but this is so much better. Seeing him grow and develop, and learn new things, it is so amazing.
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Father: Kyle

1. How did you find out that you going to become a parent?
We kind of knew for a while that it was going to happen. She bought a few pregnancy tests, and I was outside the bathroom door, and then we knew she was pregnant.

2. How did you react when you heard the news?
I was a little scared, but I was happy, too.

3. What was pregnancy like?
Not very different really. She didn’t have any cravings, or mood swings, or anything like that. Her stomach just grew.

4. What was the birth process like?
Scary. I wasn’t able to be in the room, I just couldn’t handle it. I was still there, on the other side of the curtain, but it was still scary. I was expecting her to scream, like they always show on shows and in the movies, but she didn’t scream at all.

5. What do you remember the most?
I remember when Janise threw up on me, because she had to take Magnesium, and it made her really sick. She wasn’t even completely awake when it happened. They didn’t let her eat anything, but then they gave her an apple, because she was so weak, but it didn’t stay down. That, and cutting the umbilical cord, which I did do!

6. What do you remember about the first month after the baby was born?
A lot of crying. I got really sick right after he was born, and we found out it was because of my blood pressure, and probably stress. So I remember a lot of crying, and being sick all the time.

7. Is it what you expected?
No, it was actually a lot easier. I thought it was going to be like death, or the end of everything normal, but it has been really easy. He is really good.

8. At what point did you feel “comfortable” with a new baby and taking care of him/her?
Umm, I think after he turned 5 or 6 months old, and he wasn’t so tiny anymore. It was less scary. I was always afraid to do anything when he was really small.

9. Did having a baby change your outlook on your partner?
Not really. It has been really cool to see her as a mom though.

10. Did having a baby change your sex life?
YES. It did! Drastically.

11. What is your least favorite thing about being a parent?
I can’t really think of anything. I didn’t have a life or friends previously, so not much has changed about my social life, except now there are three of us here. She’s made it pretty easy for me. I don’t have to change any of the bad diapers.

12. What is the best thing about being a parent?
Seeing how goofy my son is. He’s just like me. The weird faces he makes, and just how silly and funny he is, it just makes my day. He is a funny kid.
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Thanks for reading, friends! Thanks again to Lindsey for choosing to interview us. I hope you enjoyed our answers!

Was your pregnancy/birth experience similar to ours?

Jan (and Kyle!)

The 5 Love Languages Test

Recently, I stumbled across a Good Mythical Morning video on YouTube, which inspired me to create a bit of a writing challenge for myself, revolving around The 5 Love Languages Test. The 5 Love Languages Test was developed by Dr. Gary Chapman, who is an accomplished author, as well as a marriage counselor, and motivational speaker. The test is a series of only 30 questions, which help you determine your love language (or your child’s), and what is most important to you in a relationship. There are 5 different love languages: Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Quality Time, and Receiving Gifts.

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Once you complete the test, these 5 love languages will be listed, in order of importance to you, based on how you answered, and you will be given a complete breakdown on what your results mean. Here were my results:

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According to the website, my highest scoring language was Acts of Service, with 12/30 points. The website defines Acts of Service as the following:

“Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.”

Do I agree with my final results?

Nail. On. The. Head!

As a stay-at-home mom, nearly all of my time and energy is spent on my son. Cooking meals, cleaning up spills, changing diapers, teaching, playing, etc. The time that I’m not spending with my son, such as during his naps, are usually spent taking care of myself. Things such as showering, finding something of my own to eat, or even catching a short nap so that I don’t fall asleep in the middle of building a Mega Bloks tower, become priority when my little monster is in his crib. Dishes, vacuuming, folding laundry, scrubbing the toilet, and other household chores, just melt away into the chaos, and my apartment slowly turns into a war torn country. Acts of Service are like tiny Christmases in my life. They don’t happen nearly as often as I would like, however, and that is a problem for me.

My fiance works 55-65 hours a week between his two jobs, and is usually exhausted by the time he gets home. He simply does not have the time, or energy, to help me with the housework, or with our toddler. I hate my apartment being messy, and while I do manage to find the time to keep my living room, and my son’s room, neat and organized, there is so much more that I wish I could get done, but I definitely don’t really have the time or energy either.

Recently, my son had been going through a bit of sleep regression/separation anxiety, and was waking me up every hour to hour and a half. I slept terribly, and so did he. Despite this, he still managed to wake up, bright and early, ready to begin his day. I, on the other hand, could not move. My fiance, who did not have to work until later in the morning, and was still home, got out of bed, changed our son’s diaper, and occupied him for a bit so that I could get a few extra minutes of sleep before making them breakfast. In the 13 months my son has been in this world, my his father has only changed 7 diapers, including that one. He’s verrry squeamish, and even pee diapers make him queasy. For him to realize that I was basically comatose, and to take care of our son so that I could get those few moments to myself, truly meant so much to me. It wasn’t exactly emptying our sink of all the dirty dishes, but it was a huge help. If we weren’t already engaged, I would put a ring on that man so fast if he did my dishes for me…

What about my other scores?

If you had asked me all these same questions pre-baby, my answers would have been completely different. My obsession with keeping my apartment reasonably clean has basically consumed all of me, and at the end of the day, I have no desire for anything else, much to my fiance’s dismay. I’m not surprised that Physical Touch is at the bottom of the list, as it has never been that important to me to begin with, intimate or otherwise. I’ve never been big on affection in public, but lately, we have both just been too exhausted to even cuddle with each other on the couch. Well, about half of the time.

Which brings us to Quality Time, the second highest result. While I may be low on my desire for Physical Touch, I do very much love my fiance, and I value what little time we do get to spend together. We don’t have date nights, or anything like that, but even sitting next to each other, watching Netflix, means a lot to me. I look forward to the one day a week that he gets off, just so that we can go to the store as a family, or go for a walk. That means so much to me.

Words of Affirmation and Receiving Gifts are also low on my list of results, and there is a good reason… I simply don’t like them. Pre-baby, these things would have been tied for the absolute bottom, because both make me quite uncomfortable. Sure, I appreciate hearing, “I love you.” every once in a while, but other than that, I do not take compliments, or gifts well, even from a significant other. Every birthday, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day, I insist that Kyle not get me anything, but he refuses, and I end up with flowers, candy, a cute stuffed animal, or a new piece of jewelry. I don’t mind getting these things from him (as opposed to getting presents from family, which makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but they will not listen to reason) but they aren’t things that I actively desire. Same thing with compliments. It makes me smile when someone tells me I am a good mom, but I definitely don’t like compliments pertaining to my appearance, even from Kyle. I just don’t. Never have.

All in all, I would say that I completely agree with my results, and I understand why I got them. I didn’t necessarily learn anything new about myself, as I’ve always been pretty in-tune with my needs, but I feel like I should sit down with Kyle, show him my results, explain what they mean to me, and have him take the test as well, so that we better understand what we need from the other person. Our relationship is great, but it is not without flaws and challenges, and I feel like this exercise could help us out.

My challenge to you: Take the test, and write a post about your results, and how you felt about them. Were you surprised by your results, or were they expected? Did you learn anything new about yourself? I encourage anyone reading this to take the test, whether you are in a relationship or not. You can even take the test for your child. Who knows, it may help you understand your own needs, or someone else’s, a bit better. Let me know if you do!

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Daily Prompt 2/21/2016 | The Road Less Traveled

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/21/2016 | The Road Less Traveled

Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.”

In June of 2008, I graduated high school. In the months prior to my graduation, I struggled with deciding where I wanted to go to college. My mom was the only person who ever went to college in my family, and she only went to the local community college, and I felt like that just wasn’t an option for me (no offense at all to anyone who went to community college, I was an ignorant child who thought community college was below me, but now I would be thrilled to be able to attend classes as our local community college). I had had four years of extra help, tutoring, advanced classes, and college tours, thanks to the Upward Bound program, but I still struggled. I think, deep down, I felt like I didn’t belong in the area that I grew up in. I had applied to many good schools in the area, and had gotten accepted into all of them, but I wanted something more.

During this time, I was dating a great guy named Matt, who I wrote about a bit here. Matt lived in Missouri, I lived in Maine, and we had met online. Matt was determined to go to school in Canada, so we applied to the same schools, and I ended up getting accepted to the Memorial University of Newfoundland, the Grenfell Campus. After springing this information on my mother, and packing my life up, I left for Canada, leaving everything behind, and changing my life entirely.

But what if I hadn’t?

What if Matt and I had stayed in a long distance relationship, or even went our separate ways, and I attended one of the several universities in Maine that I had been accepted into? Let’s talk about The University of Maine Farmington, for example. This is an excellent school, as well as my top choice school that I applied to, for local schools. Many of my friends from Upward Bound applied, and ended up attending this school. If I had chose to go to UMF, I would have qualified for so much more in financial aide, as well as scholarships, and probably would have been able to stay in school. I would have had more opportunity to make more friends, and become closer to the friends that I knew who went there. I have two good friends that I met in Upward Bound, Barbara and Kat, who both attended UMF, and who I have grown closer to in the last couple years, despite our distance. I would have loved to go to school with them. I would love to have friends that know me, and know where I came from, who I can talk to, face-to-face, and have a good time with. In the 8 years since I left home, I haven’t had that. At all. And it is so lonely.

I love my fiance, and I love my son, and I love our life that we have built… but all of these What If? questions tug at me daily. What if I had stayed in Maine, went to UMF, and had gotten my degree? Would I be married to someone else? Would I be single? Would I have any kids? Would I have a cat or a dog? Would I have started my career? Would I have a house? I don’t know. I have no way of knowing.

Heck, maybe on the day I would have left to go to UMF, I would have crashed, and died, and none of those questions would even matter. Who knows? What I do know, is that I love my life currently, despite financial difficulties, or family drama. I love my life, and I wouldn’t want it to be any different.

This prompt has inspired me to reach out to my old university, to see how much I owe them for tuition, and what my payment options are. I can’t afford to pay anything now, but it will be nice to have a number in my head to work toward.

Thank you for reading, friends.

Jan

The Liebster Award

What is the Liebster Award?

The Liebster Award is a new-comer award given by bloggers to other bloggers, it creates a great platform for new blogs to be discovered and build communications. The best thing about this award is, it creates a lot of encouragement and support within our blogging community.

I had never heard of this award before, and was pleasantly surprised to be nominated by the fantastic Christina (aka justbluedutch)! I am so excited to answer some questions, and nominate 10 more individuals for this award. I also urge you all to check out Christina’s blog, which is filled with beautiful images and words about living life to the fullest. She is just wonderful. Thank you again, Christina! 🙂

Now, for those who have not heard about the award, here are the rules:

  1. Thank your nominator.
  2. Share the award on your blog.
  3. Answer 10 questions asked to you.
  4. Ask 10 questions to 10 new nominees (who have less than 300 followers).
  5. Notify them via social media.

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Here are the ten questions that the lovely Christina asked of her ten nominees, including myself, which I am more than happy to answer!

  1. What have you learned from Blogging?
    Patience. Lots of patience. I’ve dabbled in blogging off and on for years, but have had the hardest time sticking with it. In the last year, my life has changed so much, and I’m constantly surrounded by inspiration for writing. I’ve finally found my groove, and I hope I’m able to stick with it this time!
  2. What do you love about the place where you live at the moment ?
    Unfortunately, not much. This area holds a lot of bad memories for me, and I would love nothing more than to move away before something else tethers us here. The best thing, I would have to say, is that Kyle’s family is nearby.
  3. Where is your happy place?
    Deep within the pages of a good book. Or buried deep within the warmth of my covers.
  4. How do you keep your posts original & interesting?
    I don’t know that they are original OR interesting! I write about my life, and what I’ve experienced as a new mother. The most original and interesting thing would definitely have to be my dream journal. I am lucky enough to experience vivid dreams, which I am usually able to remember. It makes for fun writing!
  5. Where do you get your inspiration to write?
    My day-to-day life, as well as my brilliant baby boy.
  6. If you had to travel to an isolated location, far from civilization, to live for 2 months without internet, name three books that you would bring with you to read.
    Oh, man. I’ll be honest, since having my son (a year and 2 days ago), I haven’t picked up a single book, and I miss it! I have no idea what books are even on the shelve these days! And I’m kind of weird about rereading books… so I’d probably just sunbathe on the beach and relax!
  7. Would you still blog if you knew nobody was going to read it?
    Of course. First and foremost, I blog for me. Being able to articulate my thoughts is very therapeutic for me. If people enjoy reading about it, then that’s great!
  8. Who is your favorite Blogger at the moment?
    Too many to list!
  9. What is your vision for  your Blog for the next 3 years?
    I honestly have no idea! Who knows if I’ll even be writing 3 months from now!
  10. What is the best thing about your Blog?
    Hmm… my personal favorite is my dream journal. I enjoy looking back and reading through them, laughing about how bizarre my mind is.

The following bloggers/blogs are my super awesome nominees for the Liebster Award, and I hope they are as psyched as I am!

  1. Where In the Life
  2. Life Beyond Mommy
  3. Crazy Grad Mama
  4. That Crunchy New Mom
  5. Its A Mum’s Life 2016
  6. This little life
  7. Mars Gone Mad
  8. The NYC Mom
  9. The Flip of the Switch
  10. Confessions of A SAHM Site

And here are my ten questions for my ten nominees:

  1. If you have someone in mind, who would you say has been your greatest writing influence in terms of your own writing style?
  2. Aside from blogging, what are some of your other hobbies?
  3. What are three books that you have read more than three times?
  4. What is your favorite genre of music? Does the music you listen to affect your writing in any way?
  5. Do you find writing by hand more preferable, or typing on the keyboard?
  6. Do you consider yourself a full-time writer, or a part-time writer?
  7. What time of day is most productive for you in terms of finding time to write?
  8. If you were to start writing a book right now, what would it be about?
  9. What is your favorite topic to write about?
  10. What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?

This was so much fun! Once again, a huge thanks to Christina for nominating me, and putting my name out there! I can’t wait to read what my fellow newbie writers in the community post.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan