A Look At My Career History

Hello, friends! This morning, I was watching a video by one of my favorite YouTube vloggers, Louise Pentland (aka SprinkleofGlitter), and she shared a detailed history of all of the past jobs she held before starting her career as a YouTuber. It made me laugh, and made me a bit nostalgic. I thought it might be fun to share with you guys my own career history (I use that term very loosely), so you can laugh at my many failures! Continue reading “A Look At My Career History”

The Evolution of Toddler Scribbles

What are some fun, artistic things that you have done with your little ones?

Hello, friends! I haven’t written about Liam’s developmental milestones for now, I have been planning a post about it, but since he is creeping up on his 18 month mark (what?!), I figured I’ll just wait until then! Today, I wanted to share with you all something that I have been having a lot of fun doing with him lately… coloring! Well, drawing. Doodling? Whatever. Toddler scribbles, yay! Continue reading “The Evolution of Toddler Scribbles”

Those Sweet Moments

He has grown and changed so much, in such a short period of time, and while I absolutely love my crazy little monster, and am so proud of his loud, silly personality, I treasure these sweet moments so much.

Hello, friends. This blog has no real significance, or important message, other than to tell you a short story about something that happened to me tonight. This will be a sappy little mommy/baby story, so if you’re not into that, then feel free to click away. I won’t be upset, I promise!

Now, it may not seem like much to many of you, but tonight, my 16-month-old son let me read to him. Let me preface this by telling you that I read to him all the time, usually several times a day, but very rarely does he sit still, or pays any attention, during story time, and honestly, that’s perfectly fine. I just love reading to him. I’m usually just reading to a room full of toys, while my crazy toddler tries to empty his sippy cup into his wagon, or throws his Mega Bloks into the kitchen sink, etc. But tonight, after brushing his tiny teeth, I asked him if he wanted to read a book before bed. With a smile on his face, he ran to his bookshelf, and grabbed Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, his current favorite book, and climbed onto the couch.

I sat down and began reading, with him cuddled against my side, and was not that surprised when he jumped off the couch about 30 seconds into the story. However, I was surprised when he went back to his bookshelf, grabbed two more books (his 100 First Words book and Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo), put them on the couch next to me, grabbed his Froggy, and climbed back up, leaning into my lap. He sat perfectly still, engaged and smiling, while I read all three books to him. Twice. He didn’t run away, he didn’t try to take and throw the books, he just sat there.

You guys, I honestly nearly started crying. He has grown and changed so much, in such a short period of time, and while I absolutely love my crazy little monster, and am so proud of his loud, silly personality, I treasure these sweet moments so much. Him letting me read to him, and showing interest, and wanting to actually sit and snuggle with me, instead of destroying something in the living room, meant so much to me, and was exactly what I needed after this really hard week.

Sorry, I just wanted to share that.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

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 2/15/2016 | Working For Free

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/15/2016 | Money for Nothing

If you’re like most of us, you need to earn money by working for a living. Describe your ultimate job. If you’re in your dream job, tell us all about it — what is it that you love? What fulfills you? If you’re not in your dream job, describe for us what your ultimate job would be.”

My current job title is Super Mom… you may have also heard of the titles Stay-at-Home Mom, or SAHM. Those are the same thing. It’s a pretty demanding job, and includes early mornings, late nights, mandatory overtime, bio-hazardous waste cleanup, and being Chef de Cuisine, mastering the crafts of mac ‘n cheese, broccoli and cheese omelettes, and oatmeal. Did I mention that I perform these various tasks with absolutely no pay? It’s true. My bank account is about as empty as it comes. And I’m okay with that.

I always knew that I wanted to be a mother, and I even knew that I wanted to have my first child when I was 24 years old, which I did. However, I always thought that I would have had my degree, a house, and decent income by 24 years old as well… and that didn’t happen.

I went to school to study Psychology, something that I have been passionate about since elementary school. I planned to work with children and teenagers in a school setting, or even as a social worker for the state, but specifically for lower income families. Maybe even start my own practice, where people pay only what they can afford. Growing up, I had a hard life. Sure, it could have been worse, but it was hard for me. I dealt with divorce, abuse, poverty, and witnessing my mom’s abuse. It took it’s toll on me, and I ended up developing some severe self-esteem issues by the time I was in elementary school, which carried into middle school, where my grades started suffering, and I developed some self-abusive habits, which worsened as I entered high school. In high school, I made some choices that I wish I hadn’t, and let people take advantage of me. I also came very close to losing someone very close to me to suicide, who ended up making it through, but blamed me for it, and turned my friends against me.

The reason I am telling you all of this is because I want to share with you how helpless and alone I felt. My school did not have any qualified counselors that I could speak to, and I wasn’t close enough with any of my teachers to let them into my life. My mom did not have any sort of insurance, and even though she knew about my issues, she couldn’t afford to get me the help that I needed. I suffered in silence, and my relationships with everyone around me crumbled. I first attempted suicide at 15 years old, then again at 16. I survived, but what if I hadn’t?

I don’t know how my life would be different if I had gotten the help that I needed, and still need, but I feel like I would be more comfortable in my own skin, and would know a bit more about why I am the way I am, and feel the way I feel. Being a teenager is hard, and there is a lot more going on than most would lead you to know. It is important to talk about issues, otherwise they can eat you away from the inside. I needed someone to talk to during those years, and I had no one, and it damaged me. Lower income families, and the children within them, are especially susceptible to bullying, self-esteem issues, and abuse, and help for these kids is not always available, or affordable. I want to change that.

I’ve had a lot of setbacks with school, mostly financial, but I still hold onto that dream. I want to make a difference, to help people, and I truly believe that I will someday.

Thank you for reading, friends.

Jan

Pancakes For A Gloomy Day

I’ve been feeling really down lately, struggling with more issues than I’d care to list out. A teething baby, sleepless nights, and disappointment in myself currently top the list. I woke up this morning, and didn’t want to move. The only thing that was able to get me out of bed was knowing that there was a tiny, hungry humanoid that depends on me to take care of him.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t in a good mood this morning either. He threw a pretty epic tantrum after I plucked the PS4 controller from his hands, which I had carelessly left on the arm of the couch. We’ve had too many electronic items damaged by this little fountain of drool, so I’ve learning to hide things out of his reach. But this morning, I forgot. As he threw his tantrum, completely inconsolable no matter what I did, I gave into all of the frustrations I had been feeling lately, and broke down crying  right along with him.

And then I made us pancakes. Cinnamon banana raisin pancakes, specifically.

Liam and I love pancakes, but we only have them on special days, or when we both need a little pick-me-up. I know, I know… they aren’t the healthiest breakfast option (I add fruit, pureed sweet potatoes, or pureed squash to mine, but they are still boxed pancakes), but we needed them today. I sat Liam in his booster seat, pushed him into the table, and gave him some banana slices to temporarily satisfy his hunger while I mixed my ingredients at the counter. The momentary quiet allowed me to calm down, and remember that he is having just as hard a time as I am, and it isn’t his fault that he is so cranky. I don’t remember getting my teeth, but I can imagine that it isn’t very enjoyable.

As I flipped our tiny, baby fist-sized pancakes on the griddle (I use a teaspoon to scoop the batter onto the griddle, which makes for fun, tiny pancakes that we can both enjoy), I kept looking over at my sweet boy, sitting contently, feeding himself his banana pieces, and smiling.

A few times, he turned his head to smile at me, making loud cooing noises to get my attention, seemingly forgiving me for losing my cool only minutes earlier, and I couldn’t help but smile back and sigh at this beautiful, smart human that I am raising. He is a good baby. He is a very good baby. We just have bad days sometimes. But things will get better soon.

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Nothing some cinnamon banana raisin pancakes can’t fix!

Thanks for reading.

Jan

Our Baby Schedule (7 Months Old)

All babies and situations are different, so whenever I looked online to try and find any kind of schedule that we could try, it just never felt right. Either the posts were written by working moms on a tight schedule, or involved multiple children, or other things that didn’t really pertain to our situation. It just wasn’t right for us. So we figured it out on our own.

I’m a stay-at-home mom to a sweet, brilliant, 7-month old boy. Besides my fiance, my support system includes very few people, spread out across the country. I’m not very close with my mom, and have very few friends with young children. I’m an avid forum reader, and I’ve had to learn A LOT of things on my own (with the help of a couple million internet searches), since I don’t have access to a doctors office or clinic whenever I have a question. One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with is how much to feed my baby, and when. All babies and situations are different, so whenever I looked online to try and find any kind of schedule that we could try, it just never felt right. Either the posts were written by working moms on a tight schedule, or involved multiple children, or other things that didn’t really pertain to our situation. It just wasn’t right for us. So we figured it out on our own.

My kid is weird. He doesn’t cry unless he’s really tired (or really wants to be held), and that’s it. He’s never really cried from hunger, not even as a tiny baby, so I’ve had to learn to pay close attention to his little queues, like sucking his fingers, or opening and closing his mouth. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if he is hungry or not, but he definitely let’s me know when he is full.

First off, my son is 7 months and 5 days old. At his 6 month checkup, he weighed 19 pounds, and was 28 inches long. He’s grown since then! He wears 12 month shirts and onesies, and 9 month pants. Size 4 diapers. Size 4 shoes. He’s tall, skinny, growing like crazy, and has an appetite to match. We started him on baby food at 4 months old, because he was drinking over 32oz. of formula a day, and still wanted more. He also presented with all of the signs of readiness for baby food. Don’t worry if your little one doesn’t present with signs yet at 4 months, a lot of babies aren’t ready until 6 months. Also, don’t worry if your baby doesn’t eat as much as him, or maybe eats more. All babies are different. They know how much they need and will let you know when they want more, or have had enough. This is just what works for us! Okay, now keep in mind, this is not rigid and it is not set in stone. Sometimes he wakes up at 7:30, sometimes 8, sometimes not until 9. I also included his general nap times. Sometimes he wants to sleep immediately following breakfast, but sometimes he doesn’t get tired until after his second bottle. Here’s a general idea of what our day looks like:

8:00: Wake up, drink an 8oz. bottle.
8:30: Breakfast, 1tbs of oatmeal cereal, mixed with formula and a fruit or vegetable. I also put out a few Cheerio pieces for him to practice picking up.
10:15: Mid-morning 6oz. bottle. (Usually, when he takes his first nap)
12:30: Lunch, 3-4oz. of pureed fruit with a finger food on the side, usually Cheerios or tiny pieced of fruit, but sometimes we use leftover veggies from the day before.
2:45: Afternoon 6oz. bottle. (Usually when he takes his second nap)
5:00: Dinner, 3-4oz. of pureed vegetable with finger food on the side, preferably another vegetable.
7:00: Bath time!
7:30-8:00: 8oz. bottle while we attempt to wrestle into bed.
8:00: Bed time… preferably. Sometimes it doesn’t happen until later. Sometimes earlier.

Like I said, it’s not set in stone. Sometimes, his naps run long and I have to push back his meals, and move some things around. At the moment, he takes 2 (occasionally 3) naps a day, ranging from 45 minutes to 2.5ish hours long. He also almost always falls asleep in the car, and when we go for walks. You just never know with this kid.

In case anyone was interested, here’s a list foods he will actually eat so far (there are some things he has tried that he HATED, so they didn’t make the list), in ranking order. Some of the lower ones he will only eat if it’s mixed in cereal or something else (he’s a GOOD eater, haha). And no, I don’t make my own baby food, these are all either Gerber or Beech-Nut 2nd Step foods.

Jarred Vegetables:
Squash ***
Sweet Potatoes ***
Sweet Potatoes & Corn ***
Mixed Vegetable ***
Carrots ***
Peas ***
Garden Vegetables **
Green beans **

Jarred Fruits:
Pear Pineapple ***
Pear ***
Apple(sauce) ***
Apple & Cherry ***
Apple & Blueberry ***
Apple Strawberry Banana ***
Apple & Prunes **
Bananas **
Banana Mixed Berry **
Banana Orange Medley **
Strawberry Banana **
Apricot **
Apricot Mixed Fruit **
Yummy Mango **
Banana Plum Grape *
Peaches *

Jarred Fruit/Vegetable Combos:
Pear Zucchini Corn ***
Banana Carrot Mango **
Apple Peach Squash **

Cereals:
Oatmeal Cereal **
Rice Cereal *

Finger/Real Foods:
Cheerios ***
Black Beans ***
Kidney Beans ***
Plain Hummus ***
Peas ***
Green Beans ***
Pineapple ***
Blueberries ***
Mashes Potatoes ***
Spiral Pasta **
Pieces of Plain Toast *

(His favorites seem to be more on the side of veggies! He absolutely loves black beans and peas as finger foods!)

We have not tried any jarred meats or jarred meat meals. Gross. Just… so gross. We will be giving him small bites of chicken in the next month or two when his chewing is a bit better. We just started finger foods a few weeks ago, and will continue to introduce more as he develops.

That’s it! I hope this helped out a few moms and dads out there, or maybe gave you a few ideas on what foods your baby may like. Mine likes… basically everything. Except for avocado. Oh man. He puked everywhere.

Thanks for reading!

Jan