Fall Visit to Tampa!

Fall Visit to Tampa!

img_5205We headed off to Tampa, FL for our second-ever visit to my family that lives down there. Last time, it was a pretty quick visit cut somewhat short by our horrendous travel issues. This time, we were going for an entire week! Luckily, everything went great with the plane and we arrived just before lunch. My aunt picked us up, took us to Cuban, and then we headed to the house where we spent the evening chilling out and just settling in.

Saturday we went shopping at the outlets. We went to a different one this time and it was a lot nicer, but the stores were smaller. I snagged a really nice purse for $50. I’m sad that my Fossil purse is pretty much dead, but it’s been through a lot and I’ve been using it sans a zipper since Key West. Birds or not, it’s time to call it quits on the purse. We picked up some stuff for Evangeline and since they had a LOFT outlet there, I grabbed some tops. I’m still looking for pants that fit…

Sunday, we spent the first part hanging out at the house and then the second part at this amazing beach in St. Pete! We went there last time, too… when Evangeline had the flu and was running a fever, but we had no idea she was actually sick. This time, she loved it! She ran around yelling “beach!” “sand!” and kept throwing sand all over the place. We finally got her in the water, too. It was awesome to watch her goofing around and just having a blast.

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Monday was our trip to the aquarium in downtown Tampa with my dad’s dad. We had a lot of fun. Evangeline immediately started calling out “fish!” and pointing at all of the cool fish. They had some super cute otters, there, too. We barely got to see the penguin they had out for some sort of talk they were doing. Someday, I will get to see penguins…

When we got back from the aquarium, we hung out at the house. It was really nice having plenty of time to see everyone and just sort of have moments where we weren’t constantly going.

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Tuesday was one of the most exciting days of all! It was Evangeline (and my) first time at Disney. We went to the Magic Kingdom and she had an absolute blast. She danced at almost all of the street parties, she met Ariel, she went on a couple of rides, bought some cool stuff, and even got to see parts of the Christmas program that included Elsa and a second one that had her changing Cinderella’s Castle to ice! That part was super impressive. Unfortunately, my aunt had no idea they had started the Christmas stuff, so we didn’t have tickets to Mickey’s Christmas Party which meant we had to leave at 7 since the park closes early for it. We had zero meltdowns all day despite being there from around 10-7!
img_5883Wednesday was another pretty calm day. We hung out during the morning and then we headed out to do some local shopping with Gigi, my dad’s dad’s wife. It was nice to see some local places and for Evangeline to get that time to spend with her. Evangeline loves shopping and if you mention it to her, she will run and get her shoes! It’s hilarious. Unfortunately, she wasn’t in the best of moods but there was a carousel in the mall which made everything better.

On Thursday we had one mission–see Elsa. We went super early and despite getting there only a little after 9am–when the park opens!–we still had to wait in line almost an hour and a half. Unfortunately, we should have just gone on the ride first because while the wait to see Elsa will eventually go down, the one for the ride never does once it goes up. Sigh! So Evangeline didn’t get to see that, but she did get to meet Elsa and Anna and she loved it! She just kept hugging Elsa. It was too sweet.

The rest of the day was spent sampling food from the Wine and Food Festival, which wasa lot more fun for the husband and me than it was for Evangeline. We only had one snag, where my aunt threw a fit because I don’t like French food and she apparently had this huge deal planned around French food. I kept asking the husband why he allowed it to happen, since it was ‘involved’ in the planning… to which he replied, “she said it was for dessert, not food!” sigh.img_5815

Either way, we had an amazing trip. It was a lot of fun. I’m so glad Evangeline is able to experience all of these new things and that she’s getting to know family that I never did. She’s grown so much in the past week; she’s describing things, speaking in sentences, and her language development has just shot forward so far. I know she’s approaching two, but it’s still just an amazing thing to witness.

We’re doing her birthday party on Sunday, so that her grandfather can be there. It won’t be the small ‘big deal’ last year’s was, but I still hope she enjoys it.

Halloween 2016

Halloween 2016

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Halloween already! This time of year is so crazy. It feels like everything moves at the speed of light. I’m sure it’s because we have a lot going on. Even so, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to how quickly it rushes by–it’s my favorite time of year, after all.

I’m considering this Evangeline’s first true Halloween. She kind of has an idea, if not a concrete opinion, on what’s going on. I asked her several times what she wanted to be and mostly got nothing, unless I offered her suggestions. She’s not even two yet, after all. We settled on Elsa.

She made an adorable little Elsa. I pulled her slightly curly, unruly hair back as best as I could and it’s amazing how much older it makes her look! Needless to say, her hair will be staying down for as long as humanly possible, haha.

We did a mini-photoshoot where she sort of cooperated and then we packed up and headed off to a local trunk-or-treat. I didn’t realize it was such a big deal in this area and even though we got there relatively early, it was packed. There was even a long line to get in! Luckily, this is something they’ve done for years so it was extremely well organized and executed. The line moved quickly.

img_4982I was so proud of Evangeline for being so patient while we waited! She was even great during the run-through, though a bit shy. Towards the end, she was pulling the husband along as she had figured out that the people were giving her candy. It was too cute!

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We came home and she immediately wanted to go through her candy. We had hoped she wouldn’t realize what it was, but boy did she ever. She refused to relinquish her Hello Kitty basket the entire time we were there and refused to let us carry it for her, even after it was loaded down with candy. She even kept a firm grip on itwhen she was in the car seat afterwards!

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I gave her a few pieces of candy that she picked out and then when she wasn’t paying attention, the husband and I took the rest away. Those who are barely-two don’t need candy, much less that much candy! It was so cute watching her sort through it curiously, though. She carefully curated her candy and then picked out the ones she either thought were interesting or looked yummy.

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On Halloween day, we spent the evening handing out candy to the kids doing trick-or-treat. The husband and I have loved doing this since our first Halloween at the apartment. We missed last year because we were in Key West. The husband dressed up in his costume from last year (which he is in love with; it’s Ezio from Assassin’s Creed) and we had hoped Evangeline would want to dress up, too, but she wasn’t feeling well and so we just watched for awhile. Eventually she felt good enough to stand near husband and check out all the costumes. It was an unusually late night for her, but she was fine and didn’t throw any tantrums despite it. The only fuss we got was when we got home after rushing around just before trick-or-treat and she refused to eat dinner.

She’s caught the cold that’s making the rounds through our house. It hit husband first, then me, and now her. It’s tapering off, thank goodness. Hopefully she’s in much better form when we travel on Friday!

Embracing Autumn

Embracing Autumn

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Despite the weather, we’ve been doing our best to get into the autumn spirit. I’ve been pretty adamant about experiencing all the fall-related stuff we possibly could this year, since Evangeline is relatively old enough to enjoy it now. The first thing on our agenda was the pumpkin festival. It’s kind of a big deal around here and people travel from all over the state to come. It pales in comparison to anything Ohio has to offer, but it’s nice to have close by.

The last time we went, I was pregnant. Husband has lived here forever and never went. It was our first time and we enjoyed it. It’s nice to get out and enjoy local things. Evangeline had a good time, she saw animals, tons of people, ate some weird stuff, and even got some books.

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Second was a local farm that does this huge thing every fall; it’s basically a pumpkin patch and a kind of fair of sorts. There’s games, a corn maze, stacks of hay oriented around for kids to play on, a little playground, and a big tub of corn for younger kids to play in like sand. There’s concessions and some animals/etc, too, which makes for a pretty interesting trip. We went with a coworker/friend of ours and their child. It was fun, if a bit hot, for being mid-October.

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Evangeline’s favorite part was the pumpkin patch, which was hilarious. She got so excited about them! She ran in and kept yelling, “pumpkins! pumpkins!” When husband picked her up, she proceeded to whisper it to him, which was cute. She picked out a pumpkin by hugging and kissing it! Then we found one for daddy. I didn’t bother getting a pumpkin, it didn’t even occur to me at the time. I probably should have–they were way cheaper than buying them at a store!

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By the end, she was done. She was super tired and hungry. She kept crying on the way back, “mummy, hungry! Mummy, eat!” Heartbreaking. She was fine once we got home and had dinner, though. She slept like a log that night, despite her teeth coming in. She was exhausted!

I loved watching her run around and experience all the cool stuff they had to offer. I have all sorts of anxiety issues and I really, really hate crowds, but none of it mattered. Watching her face fill with joy and curiosity made it all seem pointless in comparison. The place was super packed, too. We did not expect such a huge crowd! I’m just glad we didn’t have any tantrums or fits.

She was obsessed with the slides, too, which surprised me a little. She’s definitely a daredevil.

I had asked the in-laws several times to go with us to the Pumpkin Festival or the farm and was rebuffed, rather rudely, all times. I told Chris was done trying to get them to act like normal grandparents. They’re so strange sometimes. They love Evangeline and they’re not cold with her, they just have zero interest doing typical grandparent things… which is sad.

Summer’s End

Summer's End

img_4485Mother-in-law wanted to go to some festival in a city nearby, so we indulged her. It was pretty lame but it was nice to get out and do something together as a family. She had mentioned wanting to do more of that stuff, which is nice, I’m all for family outings.

Evangeline enjoyed it, however. She got to run around and see all sorts of people. We’re dealing with the terrible twos already, so it can sometimes be a challenge to take her out, but she did fairly well. She’s usually cooperative if her pawpaw is there, which is a relief. Everything was fine until dinner, where she started getting fussy and wanting to run around.

The husband and I have been discussing eating together as a family. We desperately need to buy a new dining set, because ours does not suit the much smaller space we have for it now… it’s mostly served as hoarder storage in the corner of our kitchen. We’re going to clean it up and make it mandatory that we eat together now instead of separately. Usually, Evangeline eats while one of us cooks dinner and then we eat in front of the television in the living room. I’ve always wanted to eat together as a family, so I’m definitely happy about the change and I’m sure it will help Evangeline’s attitude towards sitting and eating versus wanting to run around crazily.

 

img_4462There really hasn’t been much else going on. Evangeline is developing new skills every day and her gasp on words and language is definitely improving. She actually sat and played with blocks with the husband the other evening, which was refreshing and nice! She’s still definitely a more on-the-go toddler and not so much interested in spending a whole bunch of time with toys, but she’s starting to have more quiet moments, too. It’s still such a treat to see her sit down and just read aloud to herself.

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We’ve booked out trip to Tampa for the week before our birthdays, so that will definitely be an exciting trip! We leave on November 4th and return on the 11th, just a day before our birthday on the 12th. My family down there is desperate to take her to Disney, so I’ve agreed. Staying a whole week will give us a lot of time to really get to do more things than we did last time. It ended up being a much shorter visit due to all of the airline mix-ups! We had a six hour delay that was not fun. I’m hoping this one goes better…

We’re not getting professional photos done this year for fall since our spring ones turned into summer ones. I’ll probably try to snap some decent shots of her at a park or something nearer to her birthday. I wish that I could buy my camera, but I messed up royally and let myself go overboard buying from a certain company. I spent well over the cost of my camera in a month’s time–the husband was furious and he had every right to be. I feel like an ass.

Money hasn’t been a huge struggle since we first moved out onto our own, so it sucks that my own stupidity had us walking that line. I’m doing my best to try and face my issues right now. When my depression rears up, my OCD and my spending ramp up… which sucks. I can’t let the cycle continue. I’m cutting out birth control since it seems to be affecting me mentally way worse than it ever did before. Hoping that helps me cope better.

21 Months

21 Months

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Evangeline is growing so fast. I say that every time, but I feel like it’s just increasing more and more rapidly. She’s communicating more clearly and is quite adamant about getting her points across. She is demanding and withholding. She has a mind of her own. She no longer simply parrots back words or phrases without first carefully considering whether or not she’d like to say them. She sometimes says “please” in the softest, most beseeching way that you can’t ever say no. She’ll often even thank you as she toddles off, clearly living in her own little world.

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She’s truly becoming a tiny person; no longer is she an extension of us. Her likes and dislikes aren’t just mere additives to her cuteness, they’re discernible things, true preferences. She mimics us, but always adds her own flair to it. She likes to walk around with our old point and shoot camera and take pictures. She tells us to say “cheese!” Sometimes, she’ll say cheese and try to snap selfies, although clumsily. It’s adorable.

She likes pizza, especially the Pizza Hut lunch buffet we go to sometimes on Sundays. She loves going to the park, playing on the swings, and climbing the play equipment. She’s generous, incredibly resourceful, and fiercely independent. She’s also stubborn, strong-willed, and incredibly determined. Few things will distract her from her tasks, and her emotions are ridiculously strong yet fleeting.

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People are naturally drawn to her and she is incredibly charismatic, which is the opposite of us. Everyone in the daycare knows her or is aware of her, even those well beyond her age class. She is outgoing and adventurous; unafraid and unrelenting. The sweet-smelling calm before the storm that will naturally follow. It’s an interesting dynamic.

Watching her grow and develop into the person she’s becoming is honestly one of the most rewarding things I’ll probably ever do.

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She says far too many words for me to catalog now and is even putting words together, which is awesome. She’s running around with little issue and loves to climb things. She’s too smart to bother doing things she’s capable of doing when there’s someone else there much more capable of doing it for her, which is hilarious!

It’s crazy to think that soon she’ll be two and that she’s been boob free for like, two weeks now. She still snuggles them or mentions them, but she never asks anymore. That time has passed. I’m still sad about it, but not because I wanted it to go on forever… more so because it means she’s growing up.

In news unrelated to Evangeline’s milestones, I had a difficult phone conversation with my grandparents and pretty much drew my line in the sand. They are aware of my feelings and will hopefully no longer bother me about my mother and that situation. We’ll see. I’m keeping them at a distance for the time being. I feel better, though. More relaxed and capable of moving forward now that I’ve made myself abundantly clear.