Two Years Old

Two Years Old

img_6102My sweet baby girl is officially two-years-old! We had a pretty low-key day on Saturday (our actual birthday)–we had to move her party to Sunday so father-in-law could attend. He was able to get out of work early enough to go out to dinner, which was nice! Evangeline and I shared a piece of tasty cake and we all had a nice evening. The in-laws bought me a cute pair of earrings and gave me a $50 giftcard to Ulta, which is pretty awesome. They don’t typically do presents, so I was pretty surprised!

For Evangeline’s birthday, we didn’t go all out. It was just a very small gathering with some Elsa-themed decorations. I had her cake made by a local bakery which I picked up the Friday we returned home… it was a cute little cake and quite delicious, too!

I’m not hugely great with parties and my birthday has always been a pretty dismal time, so I am trying my best to make every birthday for Evangeline special, even if it’s not a huge affair. Intimate, family gatherings can be nice, too!

img_6104

I was so happy when Evangeline woke up from her nap and saw all of the decorations in the kitchen! She stepped into the room and just stopped and stared. Her little voice said: “Oooh, woooow…” it was too precious. The in-laws had inflated the balloons and then come to the house shortly before she woke up. I couldn’t have timed it better. Even more surprising was the fact that they didn’t just bring the one gift that I had hand-picked and told them to get (they requested this, I am not a control-freak) but others they had picked out themselves!

img_6124

Evangeline actually blew out her candles! I had to re-light them and take photos again because my camera wasn’t being cooperative and even so, ended up with sub-par photos… sigh. All my own fault, of course. If I hadn’t been an idiot and drained our bank account, I’d have my camera and we wouldn’t be having financial issues right now but I digress…

img_6138

She opened presents with a little help from grandpa. He would rip a tiny part of the present and then Evangeline would feel confident finishing it off. Without that, she’d just hold it up helplessly and say, “help, help.” It’s so cute and helpful that she can vocalize these things now.

We didn’t go overly crazy with birthday presents. She got a big present, some books, and two little presents along with some character sweaters she’d love. The Elsa outfit she wore I had bought at the Disney store months before. I’d forgotten how freaking cute it is. I can’t wait for her to wear it again!

img_6181

She had a piece of cake that she didn’t finish, because she’s her father’s daughter and isn’t terribly into typical sweets. The cake was freaking delicious, though. The blue icing also wasn’t messy at all. It didn’t stain or show on your lips or teeth. I seriously love that bakery. They custom-mixed the color to match Elsa!

I’m so happy and thankful that her birthday went off without a hitch for another year. She had a great time playing with her grandma and grandpa; we even went out for pizza for dinner, which she absolutely loves! I just can’t get over the fact that she’s two now… I cleaned out her closet, packing up all my breastfeeding things, the bottles, and her baby items. That was rough. Even though I’m just packing them away right now, there’s a very really possibility I will never use these things again and even worse, that time with her is forever over. Ugh. Right through the heart.

21 Months

21 Months

img_4400

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.

img_4410

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.

img_4439

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.

img_4447

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.

Key West 2016

Key West 2016

We had a lot of fun in Key West this year! It was leaps and bounds better than October, which we certainly enjoyed. Evangeline was better able to get into the spirit of it this trip, though. She absolutely loved it! Every morning, she wanted to go out and about. Actually, she wanted to be out and about pretty much the entire time.

Our trip started off pretty rocky. We had delayed flights and maintenance issues on both legs of the trip, which made us arrive a lot later than we were supposed to. We arrived at the airport in Key West around 7 or so when our original arrival time was around 3 or 4, if I remember correctly. It was rough. We’d been going since around 10 that morning! Evangeline was quite a trooper, though. Everyone was impressed with how well-behaved she was for a toddler who had just had enough.

IMG_3963

We arrived, we ate, we swam, and then we promptly passed out. The in-laws were nice enough to not only keep Evangeline in their room, but they even gave us the big room! It was awesome. We got to sleep in and just enjoy a level of privacy we don’t really get anymore. It was truly a vacation this time.

Our first day was pretty low-key. The husband and I had lunch at our favorite Cuban place. We hung around the condo, still pretty worn out from our previous day of travel. We swam and did explored a little bit with Evangeline.

IMG_4129

Tuesday was a pretty lax day, as well. The husband and his dad went on an all day fishing excursion, leaving us ladies to our own devices. It was ridiculously hot and humid, so we mostly hung around the condo. We got some photos with Evangeline and swam a bit. By the time we got her to nap, it was pretty late in the day. We had expected the guys home around five, but they ended up catching so many fish that it took them until around six to get back. The husband and I packed up Evangeline and headed down to Duval. She was pretty done at this point, but we got in some sight-seeing and she enjoyed it before she became overtired.

IMG_4042

Wednesday was our ‘let’s do a bunch of cool stuff for Evangeline’ day. We set out early and took her to the aquarium, which she loved! We dropped by Build-A-Bear and she got her very first thing there, Skye from Paw Patrol. It was incredibly humid, so we headed back to the condo and played in the pool until it was time for the sunset festival. We took Evangeline down and she loved it. She ended up being up quite late, but a good time was had by all.

IMG_4057

Thursday was another pretty packed day. The in-laws went to the beach early and then came back to pick us up after Evangeline’s nap. She ended up napping until 3, which is when we finally tried waking her up. By 3:30, we were at the beach. She hated the sand! Every time she touched it, she cried. She loved the ocean, though! The sun is pretty intense down there, so she was only in the ocean here and there. We sat under the umbrella and watched the seagulls. We left around five because the husband and I had a sunset sail scheduled. It was awesome. Afterwards, we went and had our yearly anniversary dinner at our favorite Cuban place. We love the food, the atmosphere, and the live music! We came back to the condo and did some late night swimming.

IMG_4085

Friday we went to my favorite place on the island–the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. Evangeline was amazed. When we took her as a baby, she found it interesting, but this time… she just seemed to be in awe. She said, in hushed amazement, “butterbye…” It was too cute. She loved the flamingos that they had and one even came right up to her and said hi! The husband ended up taking her through a second time while I trolled through the gift shop and picked up a few things.

IMG_4097

She also had her first taste of candy and Key Lime pie. She wasn’t very impressed with the pie, haha. We had swam randomly throughout the week and she was really beginning to warm up to it. By this day, she was jumping in and getting really brave. She’s still not ready to go underwater or anything, but I’m just so happy she’s excited about it now! We went to our Cuban place again. The in-laws took Evangeline to the sunset festival and then ended up coming by so Evangeline could enjoy the music. She loved it and even danced a little!

IMG_4070

Saturday was our last day there and we did a little of everything. The husband and I trekked out fairly early to enjoy breakfast at our favorite French Bakery. It was amazing. There was also lot of swimming! We went to the pricey seafood place and then hung around the docks in the evening. Evangeline loved feeding the fish! The in-laws went to the sunset festival on their own while we started packing up with Evangeline running around like a crazy person.

The next morning, it was loading everything up so the father-in-law could drop us off at the airport. Our flight left around 11:30. He dropped us off a little after ten. We hung out in the airport and had some fun before boarding the plane. We had a very tight time between flights, but we made it with time to spare, thankfully! Once home, we ate some Panera, collapsed into our doorway, and rested up. Phew. It was a long, eventful week. It took Evangeline a lot of time to recover, haha, she had so much fun!

It definitely took her mind off weaning, which we’ve started. We’re now down to one nursing session a day! I’m trying to look at the positives so I don’t get too sad about it…

Summer Begins!

Summer Begins!

We’re in the full swing of Summer around here after some dismal weather. Evenings spent eating dinner and chilling on the deck, lots of water stuff, and a lot of time outdoors after we get home from work. Evangeline loves being outside and she doesn’t care how hot it is.

IMG_3837

We finally got some pool time in, too. At first, she was not a fan but she warmed up to it gradually. She’s certainly nowhere near as accepting as she was a year ago at this time… but we’ll get there. I’ll make a water baby of her yet! I don’t think it’s possible for me to give birth to someone who dislikes water.

IMG_3878

Father’s Day was pretty chill. We spent the day with his grandparents in Parkersburg because it was his grandmother’s birthday. There’s a long path into the woods behind their house, which was perfect for photos! I can’t wait to get my new camera. I’m super excited. I got some decent photos of Evangeline and the husband, though.

The day went without drama until we contacted his maternal grandma to visit. She was being dramatic and we didn’t end up seeing her, which bummed out my husband. His family doesn’t have near the mental dysfunction that mine does, but they can still be Grade A assholes sometimes.

13442478_10154382881084758_2092869018912069466_o

We got our photos done the week before, as well, finally! We’ve only got the teasers so far, but they’re fabulous and I’m so happy with what I’ve seen so far. Our photographer does such a wonderful job! She’s definitely got a client for life, haha.

We had to wade through a waist-high meadow to get some of the shots, but that’s okay. Evangeline found a puddle in our second location and she played in that… while wearing all white. I didn’t have a panic attack, amazingly. I can ‘let loose’ sometimes.

13442484_10154382881759758_7687558136743458931_o

Every day I feel like Evangeline’s personality is becoming more and more apparent. She’s regressing a bit with her talking and behaviors, but I think that’s due to me trying to urge her to wean. I’ve stopped the after-work nursing and now only nurse her when she requests it before bed. She’s handling it better than I thought she would… she’s been doing a fantastic job weaning herself, but I want to get off the mini-pill ASAP as I’m having complications, so I’d like to wean her within the next two months if possible… I’m not going to force it, though. I don’t want her to be too upset and view it as some sort of traumatic loss.

She went through a bully phase at daycare, but that seems to have ended… Thank God. She’s always surprising me with the things she does and says. Her dance moves are pretty priceless, too. Even on the trying days–and right now, there are a lot of them–I have a hard time remembering what life was before her or how anything even mattered. It’s as if the world before was in black and white and now it’s filled with bright, magnificent colors.

She’s strong-willed and stubborn; passionate and fiery. She’s all of the things that make a person so difficult sometimes, but it’s also going to help her so much in life if she can learn to temper and master it. Her emotions will run so deep and so strong, but she’ll care and love so deeply. Her will and her might will make her a force to be reckoned with.

I don’t have to worry about life getting her down. She’s strong and amazing already. I can only imagine the things she’ll be capable of some day… and she’s still growing and learning. There’s so much she has yet to reveal to us.

First Trip to Tampa!

First Trip to Tampa!

The trip was not an easy one at first. It all started off simple enough. We were early for our flight, settled into the tiny gate area (this airport only has two very small gates) and we were ready to go! Unfortunately, when the plane arrived, it was not. Not only was it a little behind schedule, it had a maintenance issue. There was an emergency slide that had its electronics detached. It was a simple, ten minute fix that took five hours. They had someone drive from a city around four hours away to sign off on it.

We were stuck, in an airport, with an already agitated toddler… for five hours. Did I mention there wasn’t even any food? And this would span the length of lunch time? Yeah. Luckily, the airline had pizza brought in but even that took a few hours. All in all, it was exhausting, but we made it through. Evangeline was a trooper. I’m still impressed with her. The people waiting on the flight were all very nice and helpful, too.

We had an incident where Evangeline was desperate for boob and screamed, “BOOBIE! BOOBIE!” in the middle of the very crowded gate. Sigh. I did end up breastfeeding her openly. It’s so funny how you just stop caring after awhile. I made sure my shirt covered me, though. I’m not a fan of folks seeing my boobs. We finally got on our plane to Tampa around 5 or so in the evening.

We arrived at Tampa around seven and were greeted by my Aunt. She took us to my grandfather’s ridiculously huge house. Seriously, our time there was like getting a glimpse at the good life. Their house had wings, we stayed in the upper floor of one of them! Everyone was so very nice and welcoming. What was originally very awkward soon become very comfortable and warm. We really enjoyed our time there.

IMG_3142

Our first day, we hung around the house and chatted on the lanai while eating a Cuban breakfast. Then my aunt took us to my first ever outlet trip, which was amazing! When we came back, it was dinner at this awesome Greek restaurant! The husband got up and danced with the belly dancer, which was hilarious. Evangeline loved it, especially the part where they threw napkins. We went to bed late and even got to sleep in, as Eva wasn’t waking up until past eight… which she has never done before!

IMG_3281

Our second day was spent around the house, meeting with extended family. I got to see one of two of my cousins on my dad’s side of the family for the first time in a decade and a half… which was pretty cool! We had lunch at a local Cuban place and then grilled burgers at home for dinner. It was a really awesome day. Evangeline and I napped while the husband went grocery shopping with my aunt for dinner. It was very relaxing and chill. Again, Eva slept in. She slept in the entire trip!

IMG_3268The third day, we went to the Zoo with my grandfather. We had a blast. Evangeline was obsessed with the flamingos, just like in Key West. She threw a fit when we tried to leave them. She also kept saying “maowww!” at the clouded leopard. It was adorable. We left there and then met my grandfather’s wife and my aunt at this really fancy Cuban restaurant. Our food took forever, but it was just so much fun. We got home super late that night and stayed up talking to my grandfather’s wife and her mother. Thankfully, Eva slept in again!

IMG_3363On our fourth and final day there, we just bummed around and hung out. We went to this really cool local market and got lunch. We then went to my aunt’s favorite beach, where it was super windy. Poor Evangeline was not a fan! We had no idea at the time, but she was coming down with the flu. She spent the entire time against me, wrapped in a towel. We went to a restaurant and then finally got home around 10. We packed and stayed up talking again until around 1. Our flight boarded at 6:45 am, so we had to be up early. We barely got any sleep. Evangeline refused to wake up. We said our goodbyes, rushed into my aunt’s car, and made it to the airport.

We were home well before noon and I called the doctor immediately to have Evangeline looked at. She was shaking, which is something I do when I have a high fever. They did a test and said that she had a flu, poor thing! So I stayed home the rest of the week caring for her and then trying to get better myself, as I came down with it. That’s what happens when you have to share everything with your toddler.

I’m just now recovering and I’m writing this like, three weeks later (but back-dating it.) Even so, it was worth it. We can’t wait to go again! I really did not expect to have so much fun or to be welcomed so warmly! The husband and I both agree that it was like getting swept up into a world where there are no stresses or worries.

I hadn’t even thought about all the things usually troubling me until the first weekend we returned. Sigh. It was so nice to forget about everything for awhile… and awesome to see a part of my family be so open and loving to Evangeline.