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!

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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!

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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…

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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!

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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.

Struggling

Struggling

IMG_4366I’ve been struggling lately. I won’t lie, I can’t lie, and I haven’t. I’ve been upfront and honest. My husband knows what’s going on, even if he isn’t completely capable of understanding it or being able to help me the way he wishes he could. I’m always going to struggle, in some way or form, and not because I’m a victim, or because I’m unable to handle things, but simply because that’s the way it is. Everyone has their own personal struggles and this happens to be one of mine.

Depression. It’s hard. People like to say things like “I’m cured!” but to me that doesn’t exist. If you have medical depression, in where your brain actually has legitimate issues and medicine is the only answer, then I guess you’re right–you can be cured. But I don’t believe you can ever be completely cured when it’s environmental or something you’ve developed over time. Medicine can help you, therapy can help you, but you’ll be forever battling that reprogramming that went on in your brain. The cognitive therapy, the awareness of the problem, all of that help you battle it effectively, but you’re still fighting.

I have moments, lapses, when I’m just not good. Life right now is hard for me. I have things going on with my family I’d rather not face down. There are things I don’t want to acknowledge, but they’re there, and they’re truths, and you cannot flee the truth. Even so, I’m left floundering because of it.

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I won’t say I do this for Evangeline or that she’s my strength, because that’s wrong. It’s not right to put that on her. It’s not right to burden her with something that she’ll feel later on in life. I never want her to feel like any of this is her fault. I’ll be honest with her, but I don’t want her to ever face the issues I have. I know that she will, though. It’s in our DNA. I’ll just make sure she has the tools she needs just in case…

My family is destructive–toxic. They are not good for me. They do not make me feel better or whole as a person. TheIMG_4346y tear me down and make me feel apart from the world. Leaving them behind, escaping the mindset they throttled into me… it was freeing in a way I didn’t realize until recently, until I really, truly started breaking away. I’ve wasted almost thirty years of my life and that’s heartbreaking.

I won’t waste anymore. I feel guilt, and I should. I should never be the type of person who doesn’t feel guilty. I’m capable of kindness, of empathy, and of all the things that makes me the perfect subject of manipulation. That doesn’t mean I should accept it or take it. Evangeline is not my strength, but her presence in my life has given me a boon–a clarity I did not possess to this extent previously.

I’m grateful and terrified. This is a whole new world–a new awakening. I thought I had been free, all this time, I thought I had done everything right… but I was still tethered, still stuck, and every time, I’d revert back to that person. Now, it’s different. Now, finally, I am becoming a whole, complete person. I am shedding the skin forced upon me. I am grasping and fighting to be free of the things that tied me down.

I will always have depression, I will always be a little moody… but I’m also intensely passionate. I value life, memories, people, and most things very deeply. Depression will whisper in my ear and for a moment, I may feel beaten… but I rebound quickly, because I know better. I know now where it comes from, what it’s been hiding beneath, and what’s caused it.

I have lost nearly thirty years and I refuse to lose another one. I am taking back my life, not from depression, because depression doesn’t have it and never has… but from the people who were mistaken in thinking that I was someone to be controlled.

I’m not. I’m a person capable of many, many things.

I have lost nearly thirty years but this year, I’m gaining.

I’m not losing anymore.

Summer Time Blues

Summer Time Blues

IMG_4163It’s crazy how fast they grow. Evangeline has been changing leaps and bounds since we returned home from Key West! It’s almost as if she’s hit her stride with talking and is learning new words every single day. She’s almost stringing them together, too. She’ll repeat phrases we say, long after we’ve said them, like: “I get you!” is her version of “I’m gonna get you!” It’s cute.

There was a dog waiting at the in-laws when we they got home from our trip so we took Evangeline to meet her. Snoopy passed away in June and he was Eva’s little buddy. She was super excited to meet the new dog–who is on the tail end of being a puppy! The dog is super sweet and very affectionate. She’ll make a fantastic little companion for Evangeline. It’s funny how things work out sometimes. Snoopy will always be missed, but it’s like he sent a little friend so Eva wouldn’t notice his passing…

I’m so proud of the way she treats the new dog (and all animals, honestly!) She’s so gentle and caring. She doesn’t slap, hit, or pull their tails. It’s been a long, hard road of trying to reinforce the behaviors we want her to have towards animals, but it’s paid off immensely. I’m not really a believer in allowing children to do whatever they want to animals because “they’re just kids.” No way. Respect for animals and the things around you is definitely something you teach early on.IMG_4174

It’s hard to believe that we’re almost to the winding down part of summer already. We still have so much more swimming to do! We’ve been trying to take Evangeline to the local park, too. She loves it. It’s got all sorts of swings and several things to climb on. It even has a parent/toddler swing where you can swing with them and see their face. The husband loves that one.

It also has a splash pad, but we haven’t visited it yet. We didn’t even know about it until we arrived at the park! We’re definitely going to try it out. We’ll exhaust the park activities until it’s too cold. Evangeline is on the heavily active part of the scale when it comes to toddlers and if you don’t exhaust her energy, you’re in for a very grumpy little girl. She craves stimuli, whether it be new places, lots of new faces, or fun things to do. She’s going to be interesting as she grows up!

I’m trying really hard right now to get my albums caught up and all of her baby stuff cleaned and packed away. We’re working on our walkway now that we’re back from vacation, too, so that’s taking up a lot of time. The house never really had the chance to get itself into order since we got pregnant within months of moving in, so it’s definitely something I’m trying to continue now. We’ve spent the past year slacking hardcore and I’m ready to get back to fixing things up, etc. The husband has been murmuring about perhaps having another kid and I just can’t even think about it with so many tasks left…

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Never mind the fact that I’m an only child (as is he) and it’s difficult for me to realize that you can love more than one child… I’m trying to imagine it and it’s just so hard. No to mention the lack of space currently, the time we’d lose with Evangeline… arrgh. It’s a discussion for another time. She’s still not even weaned!

Growing Pains

Growing Pains

I keep telling myself that I’m going to be more consistent, that I’m going to do a better job at keeping up with this… and then I fail miserably. It sucks, because this is just such a perfect way to encapsulate everything that’s going on in a moment or a period of time–my thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Sigh. At least I try.

Evangeline is nearly 19 months old and I’m left wondering where time went.

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She is an absolute chatterbox now with new words almost every day. She says “umbrella” alongside silly things like “dog-dog” instead of just plain old dog. It’s fun getting to know the little habits and ticks she’s developing as we watch her personality grow and come into its own.

She’s quick-tempered, stubborn, and willful; yet also compassionate, passionate, curious, and deeply observant. We struggle sometimes with bad behaviors she picks up from daycare, but at her core, she is a fantastic little girl. Watching her grow up is going to be like watching a storm build and gather all of its might. Much like a storm unleashing its will upon the world, so will Evangeline when she is finally cut loose.

IMG_3673 I feel like this time we have with her is desperately fleeting, that she is a force to be reckoned with and that this fierce independence she already has will only grow and blossom as time moves forward. She will leave, most assuredly, and she will endeavor in whatever it is she decides to do.

It’s an emotional thing and I’m fiercely protective of her because of it. Like any flame, it can be snuffed out or diverted, turned from a triumphant, glorious bonfire in the night to a burning inferno swallowing everything in its path. She will face her own hardships and some of those will come from within her, but they will not be the same ones that I faced, this is promise both her and myself.

It’s hard to be a parent, but it’s significantly more difficult when you struggle with your “own stuff”… and I mean that in that your brain isn’t wired correctly or you’ve suffered traumas that make it difficult for you to pretend that you’re normal. I try and try, but I know that it’s a lie and that someday, she will see through the facade. I just hope that when she does, she’s prepared for it.

Even though my family is toxic, we’ve been trying to ensure that she is aware of most–if not all–of her family members. My mother, of course, is currently excluded because she is untrustworthy and exceptionally manipulative in that way that narcissists tend to be… but the rest, they are safe enough… for now.

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Before we visited them on Memorial Day, we went to the Relay for Life. It was a small affair this time, as they decided to schedule it much earlier than the usual June date. It was in May and in a small auditorium because of rain. That’s what happens when you move the date. The event itself was a bit of a mess, but our baby girl got to walk with her daddy, who is a thirty year survivor of leukemia and that’s honestly all that mattered. She also danced with her grandpa. She had a lot of fun… before coming down with Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease.

That was an event. Poor thing was so sick! But she recovered quickly and though my sick time at work suffered, she’s much better now.

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We’re all excited for summer and for everything that it entails–backyard shenanigans, swimming, grilling out… but it’s a slow process. The weather is pretty crazy right now and Evangeline’s suddenly not so sure about water that’s not warm like a bath tub!

It kind of sucked that we were away during Memorial Day weekend, as it was beautiful and perfect here… but we stayed with my dad and his wife this time and that was a lot of fun. Certainly a lot less stressful. He’s on his antibiotic IV for his assumed osteomyelitis so that wasn’t great but it certainly brought a smile to his face to spend time with Evangeline!

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We grilled out, he spent mornings playing with her while I got to sleep in, and everything on that end went perfectly. We had a lot of fun there and I look forward to staying with them again. They even bought Evangeline a swing set, which she absolutely adored! Her favorite part was the seesaw.

Unfortunately, the other side of my family was bitter and accusatory. We surprised my grandparents because we didn’t want them to know we were coming and tell my mother. We were not there five seconds and they were jumping on me about my mum and saying some pretty hurtful and mean things… all in front of their great-granddaughter. She was mostly ignored while they read me the riot act in how I was ‘treating’ my mother. I felt trapped and annoyed, but I stuck to it. My husband saw my grandmother’s ability to be downright hateful for the first time. We only stayed about an hour before leaving.

When we visited the next day, my mum ‘unexpectedly’ came in and walked over and hugged me. I did not hug her back. I barely spoke to her. My grandparents nodded and smiled, convinced everything was back to normal while my husband boiled with anger on the opposite side of the room. We dealt with my mother, who was convinced the same as my grandparents. She even had the nerve to corner me and say that ‘this’ wasn’t helping her and some other bullshit I blocked out. We got out of there and did not go back, not even to say goodbye.

I’m honestly not sure if I’ll ever go back. Kind of a bleak thought. I might never see my grandparents house again until they’re dead.

It’s a difficult time for me right now. I’ll write happier things later.

Never Enough Time…

Never Enough Time...

It really sucks. I feel like I’m constantly out of time! Weeks fly by now. Having a toddler is like putting your world into permanent fast-forward. I need time to slow down, just a little. It’s like getting swept up into a whirlwind and you can’t escape. I’m running out of breath!

IMG_3558Evangeline is into everything and her attitude lately is abysmal. I’m sure it’s just a mental leap she’s going through, but the transition at daycare hasn’t been going great, either. Her primary care teacher retired and left before she moved to the next room… filled with much older kids. So, she’s been stuck with people who know nothing about her and in a place where biting is normal. She’s bit, scratched, and been bitten. It’s been kind of awful. She’s usually quite cranky and difficult to deal with. I hate it, it makes me so sad.

On the rare chance that she’s in a good mood, she’s chattering away. She says tons of words now and loves trying to repeat what we say. She’s learned to blow bubbles and absolutely loves being outside. It’s so fun watching her discover the world, I just wish she were in a better mood 80% of the time…

IMG_3606I’m trying to be patient, but it’s hard. I’m going through hell right now. I’m doing it so it won’t hurt Evangeline in the long run, but I’m running into the issue of it possibly messing with her now. There’s nothing to be done for it, though. My family sucks, plain and simple. I won’t have their toxicity touching my daughter. I’ll light the damn world on fire before one single thing that I was forced to endure at too young an age gets thrust carelessly upon her. She will have her own demons to battle, I’m sure, but they’ll not be any I faced if I can help it.

I know that I need to take care of myself and I’m trying. We’re working out again, I went to a doctor, I’m trying to sort of not stress out so bad… but it’s difficult. My situation is not enviable. How do you cut off a metaphorical limb? It’s hard. Most of the time I just want to curl up and cry. I’m tired of everything being so damned hard.

Evangeline fell asleep on me tonight after crying for almost an hour. She refused to eat dinner and was terribly fussy. I had to stop eating and hold her. I forced her into a bath so that I could scrub the sunscreen off of her. She cried and cried. I dried her off, dressed her, and then held her. She quieted and fell asleep on me. It’s the first time she’s fallen asleep on me in ages. I held her for quite awhile before putting her in her crib.

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This sweet little thing deserves so much better. She deserves more patience, understanding, nurturing… all things I’m trying desperately to give, but I know I’m failing. I’m falling short. That realization alone enrages me. I’d be able to give so much more if the people in my life weren’t such ignorant sacks of useless crap. My family does not nurture, it destroys. They don’t care about anyone but themselves. I’m sick of it. I’m done with it.

Seeing my daughter’s beautiful face juxtaposed with the reality that perhaps Christmas was the last time I will ever see my grandparents alive is difficult. All of this because one person cannot stop making stupid decisions. I’m tired of my world revolving around the whims of an alcoholic. Done.

It will get better. Evangeline’s difficult period is a necessary part of her development and I’m not upset or angry about it… I’m just sad. Sad because I can’t be the parent she needs because I’m trying to protect her future. What is truly right in this situation? To be present 100% and allow her to be tainted, or to pull back and protect her from what will undoubtedly affect her forever? I’d like to think the bigger picture is more important… at least I know where that road leads.

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So many decisions, so many possibilities… whatever it takes, she’ll be okay.