Liam’s First (Bad) Haircut

I would usually sweep his bangs off to the side, and that kept them from getting into his eyes, but the back… the back was just ridiculous. Half the time, his hair would swoosh out to the sides, creating adorable wings, which I loved. But sometimes… it was a mullet. An awful, awful mullet. My kid is cute as heck, but even he couldn’t pull that look off.

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Hello, friends! Today, I have a story to tell you. The story of Liam’s first haircut. My son will be 14 months old in 10 days, and up until just a few days ago, he had never had a haircut. As much as I loved his silly, soft baby hair, it was time. I would usually sweep his bangs off to the side, and that kept them from getting into his eyes, but the back… the back was just ridiculous. Half the time, his hair would swoosh out to the sides, creating adorable wings, which I loved. But sometimes… it was a mullet. An awful, awful mullet. My kid is cute as heck, but even he couldn’t pull that look off.

12814438_10205890933651979_5600999972659997671_nAn example of his bangs and wings, pre-haircut. So cute.

I don’t have access to a car, or to money, so I figured I would just cut his hair on my own, without any prior experience in cutting hair, other than my own. Yeah, great idea, Jan. I looked up a resounding total of ONE video on YouTube about cutting a toddler’s hair, and figured that was enough. It actually was. Kind of.

I sat Liam down on the kitchen floor, and armed him with a snack, a cup of water, and a wide away of toys and other distractions, and was actually amazed at how still and content he stayed for almost the full duration of the haircut. In fact, right up until we were almost finished, the haircut was coming along nicely, and I was feeling really proud of myself.

And then, he loved.

HE. MOVED.

TWICE.

I ended up taking a chunk out of his bangs, and was forced to cut it much shorter than I wanted… and it didn’t look good. It didn’t look awful, but I was still so sad. He also turned his head while I was trimming around his ears, and luckily, all I cut was his hair. So one side of his head looks good, the other… well, it is behind his ear, so it’s not that noticeable.

Ugh. He didn’t care, of course. I don’t even think he’s noticed the difference. Several people, including his daddy, have commented on how cute and grown up his haircut makes him look. I definitely agree, he does look adorable, and like a real, little boy.

Ahhh, the feels, you guys!

Here are the final results of our adventure into the world of baby haircuts. I will admit that it really isn’t that awful, especially for a first-time haircut on a wiggly 13 month old. I’m still kind of proud.

CdT5aDIWoAAMRVIHe doesn’t seem to mind the short bangs! It is no salon cut, but he is just a baby, right? The haircut serves it’s purpose, and his hair no longer pokes him in the eyes, and the days of the mullet are behind us. For now. I might be too traumatized to attempt this again, unless it involves an electric razor.

So, to my sweet, little boy… I apologize. You will look a little goofy for a few weeks until your bangs grow back in, but you are still undeniably adorable, and I hope you forgive me for doing this to you.

Thanks for reading, friends! How many of you cut your little ones’ hair? Did you ever hair a haircut fail?

Jan

[Today is also my 3 year anniversary! I’m still sick, and Kyle is working all day and all evening, and it is raining… so, happy anniversary to me!]

5 Pictures, 5 Stories

Immediately, I volunteered Kyle and I to help him out. We got to work, lighting 300 tea lights, balancing them on the railings, around the benches, and spelling out “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” on the dock.

Hello, friends! I know I’ve been missing a bit lately, and haven’t been able to post my daily prompts and whatnot, but I have a good excuse, I swear. Well, kind of. To be honest, the last few daily prompts have been hard for me. I honestly haven’t been able to write anything on them. I couldn’t even think up a silly haiku in place of a blog post. I did manage to write out a couple of dream journal posts, but not much else. My son has also been going through a very clingy phase as of late, and I’ve barely been able to sit at my computer. I even spend most of his naps napping, because I’ve been exhausted lately. Ugh.

Anyway, I wanted to do something fun, and share a few random pictures with you guys, as well as some stories associated with them. I dug through my Facebook albums, and found some good ones to share, so here we go! 5 Pictures, 5 Stories!

1. The Ring
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On February 28, 2014, after a delicious dinner, Kyle and I went for a late-night walk around our favorite lake. It had been snowing for the last week, and there was thick, frozen snow on the ground, making it impossible to really walk. Kyle kept leading me towards this tiny fishing dock, where he and I would sometimes sit when the weather was warm. In the distance, we could see a young man already on the dock, lighting what appeared to be candles. Kyle and I walked over, and asked him what he was doing out on the lake, in the dark, wearing a suit, and lighting candles. He informed us that it was his girlfriend’s birthday, and that her mother was out driving her around, because he was planning to propose to her… but he needed to light 300 tea lights, and was having a hard time with the wind.

Immediately, I¬†volunteered Kyle and I to help him out. We got to work, lighting 300 tea lights, balancing them on the railings, around the benches, and spelling out “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” on the dock. Kyle even had to make a run to the store to buy another lighter, once the one the guy had stopped working. The end result was beautiful (I took pictures), and we got to stick around to watch the proposal. After it was done, we talked a little bit, before parting ways. As soon as we got in the car, Kyle informed me that he had brought me there to propose to me, and that he was disappointed now, because it was ruined. I laughed, because I had already figured that out. Determined to still propose, we drove to another park in town, where he awkwardly dragged me to the gazebo, and attempted to propose. I couldn’t stop laughing. He gave up on the speech, and we kissed, and he put the ring on my finger. Sappy speeches are not his thing, and it was a perfect proposal anyway. That was two years ago today, and we are now friends with that other couple! Happy birthday, Kelsey! ūüėČ

2. Boys and Girls Club
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One of my favorite things about working at Target was how often we had the change to volunteer. Over the course of just one year, I volunteered at a homeless shelter making meals, at a daycare center reading books, and my favorite, volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of Peoria. This was an amazing experience. The Boys and Girls Club that we went to was one of two in the area, as the cities are divided by east and west, and was located in a low income neighborhood, across from a school. We brought in new games for their game room, cleaned out the old games, painted walls, weeded and cleaned up their garden, and did crafts with the children once they got out of school.

I really wanted to do this because we did not have a Boys and Girls Club in my hometown, but we did have an after school program called Kids Out, which was for lower income kids, or kids who didn’t have anywhere to go after school. I went to this program for 3 years, and the counselors and volunteers were great. I was thankful to be able to volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club, and was so proud to be a part of something great, even if just for one day.

3. Hiking With Friends
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In June 2014, my good friend Corey came to visit Kyle and I. It was my first time meeting him in person, but we had been friends via World of Warcraft, my podcast, Twitter, and Facebook, for a long time, and he was one of my closest friends (still is, don’t worry!). We decided to all go to Starved Rock State Park and go hiking, despite the fact that NONE of us were dressed for hiking, or for the heat. I was wearing jeans and sandals for crying out loud! It was an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to take my son there when it gets warmer. Corey took this amazing picture of me taking a picture of a mama deer. You can see one of her two babies off to the left. It was such a fun day! He also took a picture of Kyle and I by the waterfall, which is one of my favorite pictures of us. I was also pregnant with a tiny Liam during this time!

4. The Ginger Kittens
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In 2009, a little while after my ex and I started dating, I decided that I wanted to adopt a cat. I had had always had cats throughout my entire life, and it felt odd not having one now that I was an adult, living on my own. We went to an adoption event at a PetSmart, and fell in love with two, ginger kittens. I decided immediately that I wanted them both, if possible. We had enough to cover the fees for both kittens, and sat down with one of the employees, and began the paperwork process. We finished all of the paperwork, handed it over for them to look at, and went over to play with the little babies. A few minutes later, the woman came back, and informed us that we needed to be 21 or older to adopt. I was crushed. I had the female kitten in my arms, and had already fallen in love with her. As we put them back into the cage, and walked away, they climbed up their cage door and meowed loudly. I cried in the car on the way home.

A few months later, I bought my tuxedo baby girl, Jade, from a pet store (yes, this was before I knew better than to buy from a pet store). I had Jade until November 2014, when I was forced to re-home her with a friend, after struggling to find an apartment where we could all live. I cried for weeks, but I had no other choice. We have no animals now, as they are not allowed in our building, but I hope that we can bring another furbaby into our home in the future.

5. Out of the Darkness1383626_10200935288763954_1702612861_n

In October 2013, Kyle and I walked in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Walk for Suicide Prevention. The previous year, a classmate of his had committed suicide, and we made Team Dallas t-shirts, and walked in his memory, as well as the memories of others in our lives who had been touched by the tragedies of suicide. Myself included. I’ve written a bit about it in the past here, but I’ve struggled with suicidal thoughts, as well as self-harm, since middle school. I tried to take my own life twice, and was, thankfully, unsuccessful both times. At the time this picture was taken, it had been 6 months and 2 days since the last time that I self-harmed, and I am proud to say that I never self-harmed again after that. It was an amazing experience, and I met so many wonderful people, who were all there to celebrate the lives of the loved ones that they had lost. I was unable to participate in 2014 or 2015, but I hope to participate again this year, with the people that I love, who have kept me grounded, and saved my life.

Thank you for reading, friends. I’ll post another one of these in the future if people enjoyed reading it.

Jan

Dream Journal 1/15/16

Present day.

Kyle and I have just finished a date night, we are both dressed up. Liam is at his grandmother’s. We stop at a gas station convenience store to get snacks before going home. We are waiting in line with several other people, when three men wearing masks come running in, waving around guns, and telling us all to get down.

Terrified, we all get down on the ground, while the three men go to the counter and demand money. The leader of the group seems anxious, and he is threatening the cashier, pointing the gun right in his face, screaming at him to hurry. The other two guys repeatedly tell him to calm down, and that they just want the money, they don’t want to shoot anybody. The cashier reaches for the alarm button, and the robber shoots him in the head.

We all scream. There is a middle-aged couple in the store with us,¬†as well as¬†a man who later explains to us that he is an ex-marine, and a young mother with a little girl. The two other robbers rush to the leader, and an argument ensues. They are angry that he shot the man, and they didn’t want to hurt anyone. The leader shoves one of the men and hits him with his gun, knocking him out. The other robber runs out the door.

The leader begins pacing, talking to himself angrily, while waving his gun around. The man on the floor starts moving again, and he pulls him up violently, yelling at him for not following orders. While they argue, the ex-marine quietly instructs us how to get out. He motions for the young mother and her little girl to get to the door quietly, and they manage to get out without the men noticing.

Next, the older woman and I are told to go. We crawl to the door, breaking into a sprint at the threshold. We join the woman and her daughter in the parking lot, who are already calling 911. Next, all three men make a break for it, but the armed men notice, and start firing.

They manage to make it out the door… but aren’t fast enough. Kyle and the ex-marine are both shot several times in the chest, and collapse on the curb. The two men take off running.

I scream, rushing over to Kyle, who has two holes in his chest, and blood trickling from his mouth. He is struggling to breathe, yet tried to speak to me. I cradle his head in my arms and sob, urging him to save his breath, and begging him not to die. After several minutes, the older woman pulls me away. I look down at Kyle’s lifeless body, and collapse back to the ground. I crawl over to him and try to give him CPR, but he is gone. I grab his hand, kiss it, and pull off his wedding band, slipping it into my pocket.

The police come to take our statements before releasing us all to go home. I watch them cover Kyle’s body and load him into an ambulance. They don’t bother turning on the lights as they drive away. The older woman and her husband offer to drive me to my mother-in-law’s, and we get into their truck. I take out my phone to call her, but my entire body is numb and heavy, and I can’t move.

When she answers, she doesn’t seem to notice my violent, hysterical sobbing, and brightly talks to¬†me about our plans for Liam’s first birthday. She asks where Kyle is, and all I can do it hang up. We get to her house, and the couple helps me inside, where Kyle’s mom and two sisters are waiting. They don’t seem to notice the blood on my hands, face, and clothes, or my red eyes, still crying.

I collapse to the floor as the woman and her husband tell them what happened. I can’t hear them, but I know they mention Kyle, as his mom falls back onto the couch in tears. She then turns to me and says that I need to find a job now, or I will lose our apartment. She asks me who is going to take care of Liam, and if she can have our vehicle, since I can’t drive.

Liam walks over to me and gently tugs on my hair as I curl into a ball in the middle of the floor, shaking and crying. The older woman is patting my shoulder, telling me everything will be alright. Then they leave, and I am left on the floor, sobbing, while Kyle’s surviving family members stare at me.

And then I woke up.

I woke up with a pain in my chest, and tears in my eyes, as I rolled over in a panic to make sure that Kyle was still there. He was, but it had felt so real…

Daily Prompt 1/14/2016 | Headlines

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 1/14/2016 | Ripped Into the Headline

Write about something that happened over the weekend as though it‚Äôs the top story on your local paper.”

This past weekend, as well as this week¬†so far,¬†has been filled with nothing but heartache for myself and so many others. After the death of David Bowie, and the announcement of the death of one of my favorite actors, Alan Rickman, this morning… I don’t think I can handle anymore headlines of any sort. I went browsing online, trying to find anything to lift my spirit this morning, and came up horribly short.

Nothing but stories of death and murder.

Even as I sit here typing this, I have two other tabs open. Both are stories about the horrendous¬†murders of young children. Maybe some day, these stories won’t make the¬†headlines, because they will cease to happen.

My heart is shattered. I don’t want to write today. I don’t want to think. I just want to cry and mourn.

J

Daily Prompt 1/11/2016 | Idols

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 1/11/2016 | Teen Age Idol

“Who did you idolize as a teenager? Did you go crazy for the Beatles? Ga-ga over Duran Duran? In love with Justin Bieber? Did you think Elvis was the livin‚Äô end?”

Before I start in on this prompt, I think that it is appropriate to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of a great man, Mr. David Bowie, who left us this weekend after an 18 month long battle with cancer. He was an unparalleled talent, a member and advocate for the LGBTQ community, and a phenomenal human being, who touched the lives of millions, and inspired many. He will always be the Goblin King in my heart, and I will be watching Labyrinth today with my son, as it has always been a favorite of mine. I am glad that he is no longer suffering, but many hearts have been shattered today. You will be missed, Major Tom.
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I was a teenager between 2003 and 2009, and I can honestly say that I did not idolize any one artist or group in particular during that time. I grew up in a time where the world was transitioning from the good music of the late 80’s and early 90’s, to the… well… stuff that influenced the weirdness that you hear on the radio today.

I grew up listening to my mom’s varied collection, which included the likes of David Bowie, The Beatles, Billy Joel, Elton John, ACDC, Madonna, Savage Garden, Led Zeppelin, Goo Goo Dolls, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Guns ‘N¬†Roses, Hootie and the Blowfish, The Rolling Stones and whole lot more (she had a pretty killer taste in music, if we’re being honest here). Being so young at the time, it was hard to for me to relate to any of the lyrics, and I hardly remember any of the songs today, but it definitely shaped my taste in music in the future.

Sure, I was guilty of singing along to catchy pop songs on the radio, and bought a few J-14 magazines with Britney Spears, N’Sync, Backstreet Boys, or Christina Aguilera on the cover… but I never related¬†or looked up to them either.

My mom’s preference for¬†electric guitar and loud, in-your-face lyrics caught back up to me into high school, where I started listening to bands like Breaking Benjamin, Anberlin, Red, Blue October, Evans Blue… and then later I got into Atreyu, Bullet For My Valentine, 30 Seconds to Mars, and Muse. You get the idea. I was one of those kids. I went to a few concerts, got a few posters and CDs signed, and that was that.

I wouldn’t say any of these artists were really the type you’d want to idolize, and I never really believed in idols much anyway. I’ve always been perfectly capable of enjoying an individual or group’s music without becoming a crazed fan girl… or a stalker.

And you know what… I don’t really listen to music much these days. When I do, it is the same stuff I listened to growing up. If I turned on the radio right now, and put it on a Top 100 station, I guarantee you that I would not know 85% of the songs. Or the artists. I think I migh be a boring person…

Thanks for reading!

Jan

Self-Control

Self-control… I have none.

As of today, I am down 26 pounds since I started my diet in October. Now, this might sound like quite an accomplishment… but I don’t really feel like it is. Right up until the middle of December, I had been busting my ass, making sure to stick to my diet (no meat, no dairy, and a calorie limit), and to get my walking and/or Zumba workout in. And it was going well! I was losing around 2 pounds a week, my skin was clearing up, and I felt amazing. I was less tired, and just happier in general.

Then… the holidays came.

I never wanted special treatment, or pity, or for people to go out of their way to prepare special dishes for me so that I could eat at family parties. I also never wanted people to say things like, “It’s okay to have a cheat day every once in a while!” or “Come on, it is Christmas! You can indulge!” Because, you see, for me… I have no self-control. None at all. I wanted to live in my happy little bubble, where I could surround myself with my healthy foods, and not worry about the cookies, hams, and cheese plates¬†(all of which are super delicious, and evil). But, alas, the holidays came and went, and I was forced to be in the same room with these delectable dishes… and I caved.

I caved, and I gorged, and I can’t stop.

They say it takes 90 days to make or break a habit. I almost made it. I’ve been kicking myself so much the last few weeks, mostly for allowing myself to nod along and say, “You’re right, it is the holidays!” because I should have known myself better.

I should have known that those cookies were a slippery slope. That eating from the cheese plate would mean that in a few days time, I would be sneaking to the fridge in the middle of the night for a handful of shredded cheese, straight from the bag. I wish I had more support at home. But I don’t. Despite being quite overweight, my carnivorous, dairy addicted fiance insists that I am fine. He doesn’t care about my diet, or my need to have zero junk food in the apartment. He brings home packages of cookies, bags of chips, and random Buffalo Wild Wings, then ends up not touching them. So they sit in the cabinet or fridge, next to my brown rice, quinoa, and dried fruit. Taunting me.

And then, I snap.

Some days, I am so proud of myself. I stay within my calories, eat my veggies, keep my sodium down, and feel good about myself… but when the sun goes down, and my baby goes to bed, something inside of me just… snaps. I crave. Everything. It gets so bad that sometimes I find myself pacing the kitchen, wondering what would be “acceptable” junk food to satisfy¬†my cravings. Carrots and hummus? Sure. Followed by 3 iced oatmeal cookies. Followed by a peanut butter sandwich. Followed by a handful of Tostitos…

I CAN’T STOP.

Is it boredom? I have no idea. Maybe.

On top of this, my son is going through a developmental leap, and has been a tiny (adorable) demon lately. Refusing to nap, taking forever to get to bed, throwing fits, and being clingy… making finding time to workout or do Zumba impossible. So the calories add up.

My weight loss has slowed… significantly. Actually, it has stopped. And it breaks my heart.

I know, I know. I have no one to blame but myself. Old habits are hard to break.

Can someone come and take all this junk food away? And yell at me to get my butt back on the right path? Please?

Jan