Dream Journal 7/29/17 | Tornado

I was on my way home, driving down the backroads in my town, when it suddenly started getting very dark outside. I looked out my window, and could see funnel clouds forming and touching town in the fields on all sides of my vehicle. They were pretty far from me, but I could see them tearing trees out of the ground, and throwing vehicles and debris through the air. I pulled over, and started taking pictures of the funnel clouds, and the destruction they were causing. Within minutes, the tornadoes funnels were closing in on me, and I ran back to my vehicle, and sped off.

I got back to my house, which resembled my childhood home in many ways, and grabbed Kyle and Liam. I told them that the tornadoes were on their way, and told them we had to get into the basement. Kyle informed me that we didn’t have a basement, but I ignored him, because I was tearing a grate up from the living room floor, and digging into the flooring, which had kind of turned into rock and dirt. I dug for a few minutes, all while excitedly telling Kyle about the pictures I took to send in to our local storm chasers, before breaking through the flooring, and into a small tunnel, barely enough to slide into. I climbed in, and kept digging furiously, until the dirt walls crumbled away, and opened up to a large, underground room, that kind of resembled a dungeon.

Kyle and Liam crawled into the hole after me, and joined me under the house. The walls of the room were made of stone, and despite being underground, and under the house, there were large, glassless, barred windows on the walls, and wiry grates above us, where we could see the outside. I could hear the rumbling and howling of nearby tornadoes, and ran over to a bunker door at the far end of the dungeon room. I opened it, and called Kyle and Liam over. On the other side of the room was a short set of stairs, which led to a massive, underground bunker, that resembled a library, or some kind of mancave.

The room was warmly furnished, and looked clean, despite what I expect was years and years of neglect. There was a roaring fire in the fireplace, and we spread out to begin exploring, forgetting about the severe weather outside. The electricity was on, and there were lamps and lights everywhere. There were huge bookshelves along the walls, filled with thick books, with topics ranging from UFOs and aliens, to biochemistry, to Shakespeare. Liam was sitting on a brown, leather couch, playing with a globe, and Kyle was digging into a small mini fridge in the corner, which was stocked full of bottled water. I joked about how this room was nicer than our whole house, and he agreed.

I opened a box that had been sitting on a table, and pulled out a long strand of thick, green garland, and began hanging it around the room.

And then I woke up.

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Take A Walk With Jan #13

We trailed behind them, all the way to the park. I watched as they walked right past the large “NO DOGS ALLOWED IN PARK” signs, and entered the park.

Hello, friends! My, my… it has been quite some time since I wrote one of these, hasn’t it? Continue reading “Take A Walk With Jan #13”

From Sunshine to Storming

Hello, friends.

Yesterday was… well, it was something. For the last couple of days, Kyle and I had been compiling a list of projects and things to buy that we wanted to complete on Friday (yesterday), since it was his one day off. I’ve really been stressing out about my mom’s visit, so I’ve been pushing to get as much done as possible around the house. Since Kyle’s other job put him back into a full-time position, he’s been working a lot more, and hasn’t been able to help me with some of the bigger projects I want to do, so yesterday was our big push day. We still had plenty of money in savings to spend on some needed things, thanks to his new hours, so we were excited to get it all done.

Our to do list for yesterday was:
1) Lower Liam’s crib
2) Clean out the hallway closet and laundry room (both still filled with boxes of crap from when we moved in 1.5 years ago…)
3) Clean out our kitchen junk drawer
4) Finish the dishes and throw out old/unwanted dishes
5) Hang my new paper towel holder
6) Fix and install our AC unit
7) Buy a new organizer for Liam’s room so I could re-organize his stuff
8) Buy new throw pillows for the couch
9) Vacuum and deep clean the living room carpet
10) Transfer Kyle’s tools into his new, larger tool box, and store them away
11) Hang up my DIY scarf holder in the bedroom
12) Buy a new inner tube for my stroller tire
13) Go grocery shopping

Yeah… QUITE the list. Did I mention that we had to do all of this while Liam was awake and running loose, because it would all make too much noise if he was sleeping? That was fun. Luckily, when we put our strengths together, we make a really productive team, and in just two hours, we got all of that list done, with the exception of lowering the crib, because the ONE tool we needed, we could not find in our collection, and all of the shopping stiff, which would come later when we went out. Liam was very well-behaved the entire time!

We left the house a little after 1:00, and it was gorgeous outside. 72 degrees, sunny, and not a cloud in the sky. We stopped in at two local hardware stores to try and find a new inner tube for my stroller tire. Both places did not have the size we needed, but told us about a bike shop nearby that probably had it. Before going there, we stopped at my bank so that I could cash the check my mom sent me for my birthday (5 days!) so I could put it into Kyle’s account. The woman informed me that I couldn’t cash it all… because I only had 14 cents in my account. Oops… So I deposited some into my account, cashed the rest, and off we went.

The bicycle shop ended up being next door to a bra boutique that I had been wanting to check out for YEARS, so while Kyle went to get the inner tube, I went bra hunting with Liam. I got fitted by an amazingly nice woman, and began the process of trying on expensive pieces of cloth to cover my boobs. I’m quite a large size, so cute, cheap bras at Walmart and Target are not an option for me. I found the perfect, most amazing bra, but could only buy one due to the price. I let it be my birthday present to myself, since the inner tube only cost us $8. Kyle and Liam chatted with the ladies in the shop, who all absolutely adored my son, and then we left, happy with our finds, as well as our accomplishments thus far.

Next, we stopped at Menards to buy the tools we needed to lower the crib, and some CLR for another project I decided to add to the list. Then, we went to Arby’s and grabbed a late lunch for Kyle and I (Liam ate at home), before heading to Walmart to grab the rest of our items.

This is where things start to go bad…

As we pulled into the Walmart parking lot, Arby’s in hand, we noted that the skies had started getting darker, and clouds were rolling in. We turned off the car to quickly eat our food, but when Kyle turned the key to roll our windows up before we went in, the car would not start. We tried, and tried, and tried. Nothing. It sounded like it was trying to turn over, so it wasn’t the battery, but nothing would get this car to start. Kyle, having the temper he has, immediately got frustrated, as we have had nothing but nonstop car troubles for the last 3 years. We JUST had to have this car looked at, due to an unrelated issue we were having a few weeks ago, and now this.

We gave up, went in, and got only about half of our list, as we didn’t know the outcome of the car situation, and did not want to grab anything from the freezer. Sure enough, the car still wouldn’t start, and we had to call Kyle’s mom for a ride, and a tow truck to get our car to Sears. While waiting outside for his mom, it started pouring rain, thundering, lightning, and there was some crazy wind. We had left our coats in the car because of the nice weather, and quickly retreated in. We were still waiting, when I grabbed Liam to change his diaper, and discovered that I had started my period as well.

Fan-freaking-tastic.

The tow cost us $85 to tow it less than half a mile, but we have roadside assistance, so we won’t have to pay it, but Sears couldn’t look at it until 3pm Saturday (today). Kyle’s mom showed up, and we loaded our stuff into her van, and I had to put Liam into his cousin’s car seat in the back. Not only was it front-facing (he’s still just a bit too small for that), but the straps were twisted, uneven, the clip was caked with food and goop, and the car seat in general was filthy and sticky. I was trying to wrestle him into the car seat, which was impossible because there were cars honking at me, and almost hitting me (his mom did not park wisely…), and rain falling on me, and wind blowing me around, and my kid was NOT happy about any of it.

I finally got him in safely, climbed in the front seat, soaking wet, and we went home. We got all the groceries and items in, I thanked her for the ride, and she left to meet Kyle at Sears. Liam and I put the groceries away, realizing only then that we had left the inner tube, stroller tire, completely full drinks from Arby’s, and my sweatshirt in our car. Ugh. Nothing we could do about it at that point.

I quickly made some broccoli and a sandwich for Liam as a late dinner, only making toast for myself, despite feeling famished. Afterwards, we sat in front of the TV, watching Monster Fish, both completely exhausted from the day. I had a cramp that could have rivaled a contraction, a headache that could knock down a horse, my nerves were shot, and I was shaking. When Kyle came home, he was in an awful mood, understandably. I tried my best to play with Liam until bed time, but because he missed a nap during the day, he was a cranky mess. All he wanted to do was pull my hair, grab at my face, and hit me with one of his toy bucket, which was making me cranky. After he bit me on my leg while we were playing on the floor (he’s been teething like crazy lately), causing me to bleed, I put him down for bed half an hour early, and he passed out instantly. Not even our neighbor’s ridiculous noise woke him up. Kyle and I sat down and watched Chopped on Netflix, but ended up going to bed early as well. Luckily, Liam slept through the night, because we were SO tired.

Kyle was able to find a coworker to give him a ride to work this morning, but our car still can’t be looked at until 3pm. We don’t know what’s wrong, or how much it will cost us, but we don’t have a choice. We need the car, so we need to get the problem fixed.

So much for my birthday money… Why does this always happen to me?

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Daily Prompt 3/14/2016 | A Fleeting Moment of Confidence

There were rapid-fire holiday and birthday get-togethers, and I found it harder and harder to control myself around all of the sweets and savory foods. So I didn’t. The weather had gotten gloomy, and sucked all the energy from my body, and I slowed down on my exercise, until I stopped completely.

In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 3/14/2016 | Fleeting

I have a very love/hate relationship with diet and exercise. As some of you may already know, from the middle of October to the end of December, I decided to make some changes, and started eating a mostly vegan diet (I still ate eggs). I didn’t do it for any moral reason, and I don’t care if you eat meat, or don’t eat meat, I did it for me, to be a healthier individual. I struggled a bit at first with giving up dairy, as a large part of my diet tended to include cheese, or milk products, but I found that giving up meat was pretty simple, as I never really ate much of it, and didn’t really crave it in any way.

Not only did I make this change to my diet, but I also decided to actually DIET during this time. I downloaded a free app called Lose It!, which I had used previously to lose weight, and began tracking my daily calorie intake, as well as my weight loss. If you are counting calories, and want a free, simple app to help you out, I highly recommend it. Between this complete overhaul in my diet, and counting calories, I found myself struggling to stay on track early on, as well as struggling with cravings. I had many, many slip-ups and cheat days for the first month, and kicked myself over it, feeling guilty and disgusted with myself. I tried to keep junk food and dairy out of my fridge, but that becomes incredibly difficult when you live with a dairy crazed carnivore who wouldn’t touch a vegetable if would save his life. Every other day he was bringing home cookies, or ordering pizza, or bags of chips, and it was unbearable. I even asked him to stop, but he never did.

I was losing weight, slowly, but not at the rate that I wanted, so I started exercising. I was already going on somewhat regular walks with my son, around 2.5 miles each time we went out, but with the weather getting colder, I knew it was only a matter of time before we would be forced to stay indoor. At the recommendation of a few friends, as well as my mom, I started looking up beginner Zumba videos on YouTube, and was instantly hooked. I was able to burn several hundred calories in 1/4 the time as walking, and it was fun. The weight started to melt off after that.

I lost 10 pounds. Then 15 pounds. Then 25 pounds. I had already reached my pre-baby weight, as well as my lowest weight since college, and I felt great. My skin had cleared up from the lack of daily in my diet, and I was able to buy clothes, several sizes smaller, for the first time since getting pregnant. I even began considering buying a bathing suit, and shorts, for the first time since college. I am not joking, I haven’t owned a bathing suit in 7 years, or work shorts in probably 5 or 6. I felt good, and I looked good.

For a fleeting moment, I was the happiest I had been in years.

Then, the holidays came. I tried to have some self-control, but no one in Kyle’s family seemed to understand my struggle with my body, or my diet. Despite being very open about my dietary restrictions, and politely turning down their cooking (they are the type of folks who cook everything with ten pounds of butter), they would just repeatedly tell me to “Just have a cheat day!”, or “You look fine, just eat!”, and it drove me nuts. Even when I did eat, his grandmother would keep pestering me to eat MORE, or actually BRING ME PLATES OF FOOD when I politely declined. She would get offended when I said no. I hated being forced to eat, but I allowed it to happen, just to please her.

That was the start of the end.

There were rapid-fire holiday and birthday get-togethers, and I found it harder and harder to control myself around all of the sweets and savory foods. So I didn’t. The weather had gotten gloomy, and sucked all the energy from my body, and I slowed down on my exercise, until I stopped completely. Over the course of barely two months, I gained back 9 pounds of the 27 total pounds that I had lost. I noticed the definition in my legs and waist going back to being flabby, and the new, smaller clothing that I had bought stop fitting me in a flattering way. And once again, I hated myself.

I tried to get back into my diet several times, but no longer had room on my phone for my calorie tracker app, and used that as an excuse to ballpark it, which ended in failure. I would get stuck eating my son’s leftovers from his meals, and using that as an excuse to eat other meat or dairy items, as I had already lost it for the day. I made a lot of excuses, and it showed. It showed all over my body.

The weather has started to warm up, and I have been able to get outside to walk more with my son, and he is finally old enough to play with me at the park. This has given me hope, and determination, to try to get back on track. My birthday is in a month and a half, and I have decided that I want to lose 10 pounds by then. I ate a vegan diet today, and managed to get a good walk in with my kiddo, as well as a brief Zumba workout (I am astonishingly out of shape from my time away from it). I felt great… until Kyle got home, made two amazing smelling pork burritos, and only ate one of them. He was going to throw away the other… and I ate it. Granted, I didn’t go bonkers on the calories today, but I ate a burrito that was basically nothing but meat and cheese, and I hate myself for it.

As I’ve written about in the past, self-control is my biggest downfall when it comes to anything. It has ruined everything in my life at some point. I love eating healthy, and I love exercising. I love fruits and vegetables and salad and cooking… but between the weather, my empty bank account, my un-supportive, carnivorous husband, and my horrible lack of self-control, maintaining any sort of healthy lifestyle is a massive struggle.

I’m hoping my self-hatred can outweigh my lack of self-control… otherwise, I fear I will never be happy with my appearance. And I can’t live like that anymore. I miss my fleeting moment of confidence.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

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.

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!]

Daily Prompt 3/12/2016 | Misstep

Seconds later, the sky opened up, and it started to rain. It was not even 1:30. I was so angry, and frustrated, and disappointed… and I knew it was going to get worse once lifted Liam out of the stroller and brought him back inside. He loves being outside. Why didn’t I listen to my gut? Never trust the weather people. They suck.

In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt | Misstep

Hey, friends. I’m having a rough day today. Well, rough few days. From the time I woke up, to the time I went to bed, I was feeling dizzy and nauseous. I almost fainted in the shower, and had to sit on the floor of the tub for a few minutes with my eyes closed. Luckily, it was Kyle’s day off, so he was here to help me take care of Liam, since I had zero energy, and zero willpower to be alive. I managed to get outside to buy a coffee, and take Liam to the park, and the fresh air and caffeine seemed to help. But as soon as I got home, I felt like the waking dead once again.

Last night, I didn’t sleep. At all. I was having some really bad stomach pains in the upper part of my stomach, which kept waking me up throughout the night, and making me feel like I was going to be sick. The only thing that made the pain lessen slightly was lying on my back with my hands pressed on my stomach. I don’t really enjoy sleeping on my back, so even when the pain wasn’t as bad, I still couldn’t fall asleep.

This morning, Liam woke up much earlier than usual, and was very unhappy that he had to wait for his breakfast, while I sat on my bathroom floor, trying to stop the world from spinning. Needless to say, I’m still not feeling great. My stomach doesn’t hurt as badly, but I am exhausted, and being stuck inside the apartment isn’t helping with that. The forecast for this weekend calls for three days of rain and clouds, but warm temperatures. I checked THREE different weather websites, multiple times throughout the morning, to check when the highest chance of rain was. One website said not until 4:00, another said 6:00, and the last one said not until 10-11:00 at night. I figured it would be alright to spend an hour or so outside. What are the odds that THREE different sites could be wrong about the weather?

After Liam finished his lunch, I got us dressed and ready to head out to the park. Looking out the window, I could see that the sky was gray, but it was a bright gray, and not ominous-looking at all. I grabbed my iPod, hoisted Liam onto my hip, dragged his stroller down the back steps, and started to buckle him in for our walk.

Then, I felt it.

I stopped fiddling with his buckles, and looked over at the large puddle to the side of our yard. I didn’t see any ripples. I thought, maybe, a bug spit on me or something?  It was barely 1:30. There was no way that it was raining. No way, right?

Nope.

Seconds later, the sky opened up, and it started to drizzle. It was not even 1:30! HOW? WHY? I was angry, and frustrated, and disappointed… and I knew it was going to get worse once I lifted Liam out of the stroller and brought him back inside. He loves being outside. Why didn’t I listen to my gut? Never trust the weather people. They suck. Ugh. Sure enough, his eyes narrowed at me as I lifted him back out, dragged the stroller back up the stairs, and stored it away next to the back door. I put him down in the kitchen, and bent to take off his shoes and coat.

He screamed.

He cried.

He stomped his feet.

He tried to pull his coat back on.

That went on for nearly 20 minutes, while I tried to calm him with a snack, and some water, and all of his favorite toys. Nothing helped. So, I collapsed onto the couch, exhausted and nauseous, and waited for him to calm down on his own, so that we could play together. He eventually did, and we built masterpieces with his Mega Bloks and watched some Chuggington. And all was well… except for the nausea, dizziness, stomach pains, exhaustion, and wanting to die.

Question: HOW MUCH MONEY DO METEOROLOGISTS MAKE TO BE THIS WRONG?

Three. Three different websites, three different forecasts, all of them horribly incorrect. How is that possible? Hell, pay me half of what they make, I’ll stand outside for 5 minutes, and give you my best guess of what the weather will be. I’m sure I will be more accurate than these people. Seriously.

Anyway, thanks for reading, friends. I’m going to go sneak in a nap with the kiddo before dinner.

Jan

Take A Walk With Jan #7

Hello, friends! Yesterday was a bonus day, and Kyle got off of work 7 hours early, thanks to a conveyor belt breaking on his line, so we decided to enjoy the beautiful weather, and have a family day. After Liam woke up from his nap, and ate a yummy lunch of brown sugar squash pancakes (I’ve been slipping extra vegetables into damn near everything he eats lately), we decided to walk to the park. The weather has been in the high 50’s/low 60’s off and on this week, and yesterday was going to be the last beautiful day for a while, so we wanted to make the most of it.

We stopped at Subway to get some lunch, then walked to the park. A block away from the Subway, I saw Liam’s black and gray, striped beanie, which he lost three days ago while we were out walking, lying on the ground! I was super excited that we found it, as it is my favorite hat of his. When we got to the park, I was happy to see that there was another woman there, with two small little girls. After chatting with her for a bit, I discovered that she was their “grandmother” (long story involving the death of her son, I didn’t quite understand it all), and that the little girls were 20 months old, and 5 years old. Liam immediately adored the little girl, whose name is Jersey, and followed her all around the playground. She was a bit better on her feet than he was, since she is 7 months older than him, so he couldn’t follow her up onto the play area, or down the big slide, but he was so smitten. I found it funny that despite her being 7 months his senior, Liam was a head taller than her, and his feet were easily double the size of hers. She had the cutest little Puma sneakers on! He doesn’t very often get to see babies his age, but when he does, he comes out of his shell beautifully.

We talked to the woman and watched the kids play for a long time. She was very friendly, and introduced us to a very nice man named Big Al, who lives by the park, and was out walking his golden retriever, Dante. Liam LOVED Dante (he loves dogs), and Big Al let all the kids pat him. He was a very well-behaved dog! Liam was so talkative, and wanted to talk to everyone, including the adults, which he never does. He would run excitedly up to baby Jersey, waving his arms around, babbling up a storm. And his smile. It was so nice to see him making a friend.

Unfortunately, the older of the two girls put a bit of a damper on our playtime, as she kept pushing her baby sister away from Liam, and demanding that he not play with them, because he was a stranger. Their grandmother tried to reason with her, and I would smile and re-introduce Liam, telling her that everyone starts out as strangers, but she had some serious attitude, and was a bit mean. She actually tried to trip Liam when he was running by her on the slide, and later slid down and almost hit him when he was standing at the bottom. She glared at him the entire time, and tried to steer her sister away. I was a bit annoyed, because the grandmother was fine with them playing, and Liam and Jersey were having fun, but it wasn’t my place to correct her behavior.

After a while, we said our goodbyes, and continued our walk to the store, where we picked up some charcoal for our grill, and some yummy treats. It was starting to cut into Liam’s nap time, so we reluctantly headed home. It was so beautiful out, and sunny, and I wanted to stay outside all day! Despite being sleepy on the walk, Liam refused to take his afternoon nap, and was a fussy little dude all night, resulting in an early bedtime. I think he is finally teething again (he is 13 months, and still only has 4 teeth!), because he has been fussy, drooly, and has been biting me every chance he gets.

Overall, it was a perfect day. Kyle works a 12-hour shift today, but has the next THREE days off, which has never happened. Ever. I’m looking forward to getting out of the house some more, even though it will be really cold, and we won’t get to take our walks to the park.

Hope you’re all having a great day today! How did you all spend your extra day yesterday?!

Thanks for reading!

Jan