Memorial Day Weekend in PA

Memorial Day Weekend in PA

We were in Pennsylvania for Memorial Day weekend. I was worried about the trip, but it actually went really well. Evangeline handled the car trip like a champ! We left really early so to keep in tune with her nap schedule and everything worked out great. We stopped only one extra time and we made sure to let her stretch and play whenever we did stop.

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The weekend wasn’t without its drama, but it was still a good visit. We spent Sunday morning with my dad, his wife, and my grammy Naylor. They made us breakfast–which was delicious–and then we just hung out for a bit. My dad was on 3-11 shift and couldn’t get a switch, so he had to leave for work around 3.

I was really glad that he was a lot more interested and interactive with Eva this time! He had so much fun playing with her. We also found out that his wife has MS and has been misdiagnosed for nearly a decade… yikes. They took her off a bunch of the pills she was on and she was actually pleasant to deal with, which was nice.

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We spent a lot of time with the grandparents and Eva really took to both of my grandparents. I was so happy to see them interacting. My grandpa’s sister even came in (she also has MS and has had it for a very long time) to see Eva. I’m really sad that I look like some sort of fat cow in all of these pictures! I’m only 10lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight… I just photograph horribly.

Mum was the wildcard that kind of made the visit way more stressful. First off, she wasn’t even there when we arrived on Saturday. They were at a baseball game. So, they got back on Sunday. She returned way earlier than planned and then got mad when my aunt was there, sigh. My mum really needs to be medicated. Her moods were all over the place the entire time we were there. I still enjoyed seeing her, but it was really stressful trying to deal with her erratic behavior.

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I got to see my cousin and her latest baby! He’s only a month older than Evangeline. Their interactions were too cute! I was really glad to see him and to have all of the cousins meet Eva. We tried to get everyone on the couch for a picture, which… kind of worked. It’s hard to get that many kids to sit still. My grandparents house was insanely crowded that day! There were a total of seven kids, and around eight adults. I’m honestly shocked her house can hold that many!

All in all, the visit went well aside from a few hiccups. We managed to cram everything into the few days we were there, except eating at my favorite restaurants! Because I’m from a small town, everything was closed Memorial day. The whole “everything closes by three or five on Sundays” is just a total small town thing that I do not miss at all. We missed out on Hoss’s, so we stopped on the way home… it was tasty!

Going home always reminds me why I left and I’m glad that I’m not there anymore. It sucks that Eva won’t grow up alongside her cousins like I did, but on the flipside, she also won’t be exposed to the close-mindedness, the ignorance, or the small-town mentality I had to combat my entire life. She’ll be a better person for all of it and will get a lot more exposure here, even though that seems odd, given that where we live… but it’s definitely better than the alternative. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t escaped!

 

Six Months

Six Months

My sweet baby girl turned six months on the 12th. I can hardly believe it. Six months… that’s half of a year! A year ago, I was still freaking out; I was incredibly sick; we were preparing to go to Arizona. I had no idea what awaited me–I had no idea that she was even a little girl. Now, here we are, an entire year later… and she’s six months old.

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Time has such a different meaning and flow once you’ve got someone to care for. Children change things, yes, but they change time the most–the way you perceive it and the way to seems to pass. It simultaneously flies by and lags along. It’s amazing and it’s baffling. I want to stop and cherish these moments forever, but they just seem so fleeting. They’re escaping my grasp and it makes me sad. My little baby is growing up.

Sometimes I just stare at her in wonderment–she’s a part of me, more a part of me than anything can be. I made her; she has my hands, my fingers, my cheeks, my dimples… I just can’t get over it. It hits me randomly and each time it does, it’s just so intense.

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I could never have anticipated the way I feel now. I’m still getting to know it, I’m still trying to understand it. Every day, it seems to grow and change and somehow become deeper. It’s the most intense, scary, and amazing thing I’ve ever felt. Thinking back on my life before it–before her–just seems odd. There was a life before this? How?

But it isn’t all easy. It’s hard, really hard sometimes. I’ve made sacrifices I didn’t know I was capable of. I’ve given up things I swore I never would. Free time, relaxation, all of those things are foreign concepts to me now. I know that, eventually, I’ll regain the ability to do the things I once did… but right now? I feel like a completely different person, so apart from the things I once knew and loved.

There’s also the battles in raising a child. Evangeline is growing and learning, and along with that, comes hardship. I don’t agree with cry it out and I’m definitely in the ‘attachment parenting’ camp… but ever since Evangeline got sick, she hasn’t been sleeping through the night like she once was. Every time she coughed or stirred, I ran to her, worried because she was having issues breathing. Now that she’s better, she’s waking up every hour or so and not sleeping. She’s cranky and irritable in the mornings.

So, I spoke with the pediatrician at her visit and she advised that I try a less intense form of ‘sleep training.’ Essentially, we put her to bed drowsy, allow her to fall asleep, and when she wakes, we go to her, soothe her, and then immediately leave. If she cries, we wait five minutes, go in and soothe her, and then leave again. It’s still letting her cry a bit and I’m not okay with it. The only reason I’m allowing it is because we know she’s faking. The husband proved it to me by having me leave the room while she was in a full-blown crying fit. I left, she stopped, and then she was giggling and smiling at the husband. Sigh.

I’m hoping this works. We’ve only been doing it reliably for a day or so. On Monday, she slept great and woke up super happy. It was awesome. Last night was rough, however, as she woke constantly. I’m crossing my fingers for a turnaround soon… I’m a total wimp when it comes to her crying!

Springtime

Springtime

We’ve been using the spring weather to plant and clean up the yard. Husband has renewed his “war against the weeds” in regards to our lawn. It’s looking a lot better than last year, but it still has a ways to go. He spends a lot of time researching and putting stuff on the lawn in an attempt to liberate it from the overgrowth of weeds. The house’s yard hasn’t been properly cared for in around a decade!

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Evangeline hangs out on the stoop in the front of the house in her bouncer or underneath the deck in the shade whenever we’re working outside. She seems to enjoy it–she never fusses. I take her around and let her touch the plants and trees. Being born in the winter time, this is really her first true exposure to the outdoors past the few glimpses she’s had whenever we’ve gone to the store or the doctor’s office!

It’s amazing how much she’s grown and advanced in just the past month. She’s started reaching for people and rolling, thanks to her dad’s influence. He’s been trying to teach her to reach for people for awhile now. She did it for the first time last week when we picked her up at daycare. She saw me and her little arms shot out! It was too adorable. I hadn’t even had a chance to prompt it, she did it completely on her own. She’s sitting up at daycare, too, in a little seat. Sitting up on her is still a gamble. She hasn’t quite mastered how to keep herself upright without assistance.

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She’s fascinated by faces right now. If you’re close to her or holding her, she’ll reach for your face. It’s hilarious. She’s trying to mimic expressions, too. She loves grabbing my mouth and teeth while I’m nursing her.

We’re leaving for Pennsylvania on Memorial Day weekend. I’m trying not to dread the trip, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried. It’s a long drive for such a small baby! I’m hoping everything goes okay, though. I’m doing everything I can to prepare us (and her) for it. There’s likely to be a lot more stopping than we’re used to!

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The in-laws were up here not very long after they got back from their trip to Key West. They hadn’t seen her in around two weeks. Mother-in-law walked in and Evangeline reached for her immediately, it was so cute! They spent the rest of the evening passing her back and forth because she kept reaching for whomever wasn’t currently holding her, haha.

It’s hard to believe she’ll be six months on the 12th. How has it been half a year already? Time flies…

5 Months

5 Months

How is it even possible that my sweet little baby is already five months?! That’s just madness. Even though it feels like an eternity ago that I gave birth to her, I’m constantly stunned by how quickly she’s growing. Week to week, things change with her. She went from just sort of sitting in her bouncer or her playmat to actively engaging it. She’s gone from guilelessly swatting at things to moving her hands with a purpose and reason, rarely ever missing her target. It’s astounding!

She’s started sitting up, or trying to, at least. She put her hands in my Chinese food Sunday, which was hilarious! She even made a little growly noise when she did it, ha! The husband’s birthday was Sunday, so we did a bunch of fun stuff and had a good day. We ended it with a dinner at a fancy steakhouse–The Chophouse–which cost a ridiculous amount but was worth it because the husband was thrilled. Eva was a little fussy,  but she survived. I nursed in public (with a cover) again, at the table, and at the Chinese restaurant. I’m getting braver. Yay!

We took pictures of her in her cute Easter dress that my dad and his wife bought her, but she was fussy. I want to get some more of her outside, but the weather isn’t cooperating. We had a nice day Saturday, but spent it doing a lot of yardwork and whatnot. Evangeline did great and hung out in the shade. She sat in her bouncer and played with toys.

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She’s changed so much since the whole newborn phase. We’re pretty sure she’s started teething, as she’s gnawing on everything. Her sleep pattern is still all wonky, which sucks. I hate that she’s in turmoil, but I also kind of miss my “guaranteed” hours of relaxation in the evening, heh. But it’s all okay. The only real frustration I have is with the husband and we’ve discussed that–he’s trying to help out more.

It’s pretty amazing how much Evangeline has changed me as a person. All my old worries and anxieties seem so pointless now. While I still have social anxiety, it’s even more moderated than before. It’s barely there now. Everything just sort of pushed itself aside when she arrived. I still worry sometimes, and the husband and I are still stumbling through some things in our journey of trying to be parents… but overall, things are going a lot better than I anticipated.

I’m driving, I’m more independent than ever, and I’m not frightened, really, of anything. I’m sure I would have reached this point eventually on my own if I worked at it, but motherhood seems to have forced me to cast aside all my neuroses. Which is just fine with me! The bonus is I get this sweet little thing to brighten my days…

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We’re ‘officially’ visiting my family Memorial Day weekend. We’ll only be there Saturday through Tuesday. It’s going to be… interesting. I’m honestly not looking forward to it, but it is what it is. It’s necessary. I’m sure I’ll be happier once it’s actually happening… at least I hope I will. It’s important for Eva to meet the rest of her family, though. I definitely want her to meet my grandparents while that’s still an option. I’m just sort of over my dad and his ridiculous detachment.

Looking back a year ago, I’m amazed. I was sick and miserable; I was scared; I was uncertain. I begrudged every step forward. I cowered in fear of the unknowns that loomed before me. A year later and here I am, I could never have pictured it or imagined it. It’s so far beyond anything I could have anticipated. I’m grateful. I’m blessed. I try to remember that when silly things try to plague me.

We’re still battling sickness with Eva, which sucks, but it could be worse… so much worse. Eventually, it will end. Her immune system will beef up. Until then, it’s stuffed noses and coughs. Once she gets better, she goes right back to being sick, sigh. Again, though, I am blessed. It could be worse.

It’s amazing how your perception and priorities change once you become responsible for someone else.

Busy, Busy

Busy, Busy

Things have been crazy busy. Life has found a routine, but the days pass by so quickly! Evangeline is growing like a weed. She’s so much bigger now than she was when I started work just a little over a month ago! Even the ladies at the daycare commented on it. It’s so hard. Everyone says it goes by so fast, but you don’t truly believe it until it’s happening.

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She insists on getting up with me in the mornings. I try to get her to sleep longer, but she wants to be awake! We’ve adjusted to her going to bed at 6, even though it sucks. At least we get the weekends with her, even thought they’ve been exceptionally busy lately! Last weekend, we went to visit the husband’s extended family two hours away. We went to see his maternal grandpa, who is currently in an assisted living facility. He’s got late stage Alzheimer’s.

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It was tough to see my husband so broken up over the loss of the man he used to know, but I’m glad we went. He needed to go there and Eva definitely needed to go! Even if she won’t remember it, we’ve got pictures to show her when she’s older. We stopped by his maternal grandma’s and also saw his paternal grandparents, as well. It was a very long day for Eva, starting at 10am! We didn’t even get home until around 7 or 8pm. Needless to say, that wasn’t a great night for sleep.

Eva’s still not sleeping reliably like she used to. The regression isn’t hitting us as hard as it has others, but it still sucks. I hate that she’s missing out on sleep and I certainly have some rough days at work thanks to less-than-stellar sleep the night before! This, too, shall pass… so I try not to get overly worked up about it. It could be much, much worse!

We think she’s started teething, so that could be causing issues, too. Poor thing.

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We spent Easter with the in-laws, which was nice. The father-in-law smoked a ham and the food was pretty tasty! Eva always loves seeing them, so she was quite happy. We didn’t stay long, we got there early and then got back home in time to do some stuff around the house. Okay, the husband did stuff around the house… Eva and I napped. We were both pretty beat and she doesn’t nap well when her grandma insists on bothering her when she’s sleeping!

My dad and his wife sent us an Easter dress, which I’ll be putting her in this week. Putting an infant in a fancy dress is just torture, so we’re just doing it for pictures. It’s really cute, though! I may just have them double up as her five month pictures. Ugh. I still can’t get over her turning five months! On one hand, it means we’ve made it five months with breastfeeding… which is awesome! On the other hand, my baby is growing up so fast. :(

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The husband has really stepped up. I’m so glad he’s more involved now. I understand how difficult it must be to focus on a newborn, but for me, I didn’t have a choice. It was hard then, and I regret not doing some things better. I regret not setting aside my difficulties and just enjoying those moments with her. You really, truly have no idea how quickly they’re gone until it’s over.

We’re reading to her now and still trying to go forward with teaching her French. I’m not sure how well it’s going to work, but we’re trying! Evenings are filled with playing with her while also trying to get things done. Once she’s asleep, the husband and I relax. It’s a quiet, but good routine. Going back to work has made me a better mother, as I figured it would. I’m just not cut out for the stay-at-home mother gig!

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It’s so crazy to look back and know that at this time last year, I knew I was pregnant, but I had no idea that this sweet little face was growing inside of me. I was scared and miserable. I’ll never forget those rough first months, but I hope that I also never forget when I first saw her and those confusing, but exhilarating first moments that I held her. Those first days in the hospital, everything was just so surreal. I continually recommit everything I can to memory, hoping that it doesn’t fade and that I never forget the details.