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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

Easter 2016

Easter 2016

Easter ended up being… interesting. We had talked to the in-laws several times to iron everything out. The plan was: we would go to their house, eat Easter lunch, and just hang out and they’d get to see Evangeline for the first time since we’d returned from Tampa. She was kind of in quarantine because of the flu and then I was. Anyway, that didn’t happen, of course…

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We woke up and gave Evangeline her basket and her small present (the big present was her trampoline, which she got before we left for Tampa.) It was her first Easter basket, so she wasn’t quite sure what to do. She pulled things out, one and time, and held them up. It was adorable. She had no idea what to do with the few peeps and bunnies I’d put in there. She takes after her dad and isn’t much for sweets. I think she ate one or two by the time the day was over? I ate most of them!

Once we did that, we all got ready, loaded up the car, and prepared to head to the in-laws. It was then that we found out father-in-law wasn’t going to be there. In fact, he had left that morning, around 6am, to go work on this house he bought several hours away. He hadn’t even told the mother-in-law. It was a mess. We were confused and upset. I felt bad for Evangeline, because I knew she’d be walking around their house, looking for him. She did, but it didn’t seem to get her down that much… it sure pissed my husband off, though.

IMG_3411We regrouped and did our best to still have a great day. Mother-in-law bought Evangeline a bubble tornado, which she loved. She chased them around and around, yelling “bubbles!” We tried to get some photos together, but I forgot my tripod and mother-in-law is kind of terrible at using my camera.

We had lunch, which mostly involved me standing at the island and feeding Evangeline, as she sat on the floor, because she was getting impatient. I gave her things as they finished.

IMG_3426Evangeline’s great-grandma on father-in-law’s side got her an Easter dress, so I wanted to be sure she wore it. I tried to put it on her in the morning and she threw an absolute fit. She screamed as I tugged it over her head and kept trying to tear off the ruffles! She was fine in her other dress, I have no idea what she had against this one. Even so, she tolerated it long enough to get some photos and then it was off again. Silly girl.

It sucks that father-in-law was being a giant child and missed the day, but whatever. His loss. He won’t be pulling this crap as Evangeline gets older and becomes more aware, however. Not acceptable.

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.

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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!

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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.