Key West 2015

Key West 2015

The trip to Key West was plagued with issues, but all in all, everything went okay. I needed a vacation from my vacation afterwards, however. Vacations are not the same once you have kids…

We left here on Saturday and boarded a plane by 7am. Evangeline did really well throughout, only a few bouts of fussiness. She even trooped through us being stuck on a plane for 45 minutes past boarding just to find out the plane was dead and we’d have to switch planes. By that point, I was exhausted. By the time we arrived in Miami, we were almost three hours behind “schedule.” We didn’t even arrive at our condo until around 7pm. It was a rough drive. Evangeline was so tired she cried and cried, but eventually went out…

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Sunday was spent recovering from Saturday. We hung out around the condo and took Evangeline on a walk so she could see all the different trees and sights. We spent some time in the pool, too.

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My aunt joined us on Monday. Before she arrived, the husband and I went out on our own. We had a fun few hours trolling familiar sights. We picked my aunt up and had a late lunch. Evangeline and I promptly napped upon returning to the condo, haha. We had wanted to schedule a sunset sail with my aunt, but she wasn’t interested, so we scheduled one for ourselves the next day. It was a day riddled with a bit of conflict because everyone was kind of being a wet blanket. We were also being completely ignored as per what we would like to do… we ended up having a very late dinner, but it was delicious. Mr. Z’s stromboli… well worth the wait.

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Tuesday we (me, the husband, and Eva) spent the morning with my aunt downtown. She had wanted to try out this one place that she claimed was “a local haunt”, but truth be told, it was a trip advisor recommendation with substandard food. Luckily, we couldn’t find it so we got to try a place my husband had wanted to go. My food was terrible, but theirs was good, and that’s all that really mattered. It was a seafood place and I don’t really “do” seafood. We walked around, bought some stuff, and then headed back to the condos. We got dressed in our costumes, dropped off for our sail, and then we had a great dinner at Pepe’s and enjoyed a bit of the nightlife. We went to Key West during Fantasy Fest… so there’s a lot going on.

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The next day was more of the same. We had a lot of fun, but my aunt wasn’t happy about all the walking or the heat. Let’s note that she’s a Floridian! You’d think she’d have made peace with the heat and humidity by now… anyway, we took Eva to one of my favorite places… the Butterfly Conservatory! She loved it, especially the flamingos. It was so fun to watch her squeal and point at all the butterflies fluttering around. One landed on me while I was holding Eva, but the husband missed getting pictures of it. My aunt’s ferry departed at 5, so we ate lunch and then said goodbye.

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The rest of the week was a smattering of going out at night and trying to do stuff during the day. I actually went kayaking! The husband has wanted to do it forever and I’ve always been reticent because I’m so pale. I finally gave in and it was actually a lot of fun. Very hot and sweaty, though. And I definitely got a lot of sun… We went to the beach, late in the day, so Eva could experience the sand and ocean! She wasn’t very thrilled… but it was still a next experience to share with her.

Evangeline and her grandpa dressed up like pirates and spent some time downtown walking around. People were constantly stopping them and wanting pictures of her. She looked adorable! We got a chance to go out on our own some more and that was fun, though I worried about leaving Eva with the grandparents. They’re not usually good about respecting how pale I am versus the sun… but they did well with Evangeline.

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I finally got another chance to visit the Dolphin Research Center and holy crap, has it changed! It’s awesome. They have a splash pad now and a neat little garden. They’re remodeling the visitor’s center, too. I was thrilled to show Eva the dolphins! She squealed and pointed when they jumped. It was a really fun time, we spent several hours there. I even played with her on the splash pad a bit, though I wished I had known about it beforehand… I would have had our bathing suits handy instead of being all packed up. We stopped on our way out of the keys as we headed towards our hotel outside of Miami.

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The trip home ended up being way simpler than the one we took to Miami, so that was nice. Eva did a really good job on the plane. I nursed her to keep her calm and she usually slept, unless the plane failed to get going (like when we had the maintenance issue.) Plane rides are definitely stressful now, though. No more leisurely reading and passing the time by, sigh.

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Even though the visit was fraught with tension and issues, it was still nice to be in Key West and to have Evangeline experience all the things we love for the first time. Any time I was having a rough time, I just looked at her. The expressions on her face and the wonderment she had at everything just made it all seem pointless. Even now, I don’t even really feel like focusing on the bad. I’d much rather chronicle the good. Although, I will say, I was definitely disappointed in my Aunt’s visit. She’s usually a lot of fun to be around, but this time… yikes. Husband thinks it’s because her business is failing and she’s super stressed out. Whatever it is, the crazy needs to go back in the box. It was like vacationing with my mother. I am glad she got to spend time with Eva, though.

Eleven Months

Eleven Months

My sweet baby girl is eleven months old now. How is this even possible? We’re one month away from her being one year old. I can’t believe it. My baby… it goes by so quickly. Those first few months felt like agony but now everything is just breezing by. I’m pretty much close to sobbing at all times now, ha.

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She’s scooting like a total boss now, and just moving around in general a lot better than before. She can get up from the lying down position, back or belly, get onto all fours, and generally recover from falls. She’s standing and trying to pull up on things. She can walk, albeit unsteadily, with her little walker toy if you place her standing at it. It won’t be long before she’s fully mobile and that’s kind of terrifying. She pulled herself up from the seated position and had her legs straight yesterday while leaning on my legs and I nearly sobbed right then and there.

She’s pointing and gesturing constantly now. She’ll point at something and make a small noise and then look at us. Evangeline has always been ridiculously observant, but now it’s turned up to eleven. She notices everything and is enthralled by everything. It’s a little annoying at times, especially when we’re trying to get her to focus (especially with eating or nursing), but I’m glad she’s so observant.

Sleeping is going a lot better. It improved markedly after we moved her to the crib (and survived the first tumultuous week.) We’ve had a few missteps, but in general. she’s doing very well. She usually sleeps from 7:30 or so until 1 or 2 am. Sometimes she even goes as long as 3 or 4 am. I don’t mind, I’ve made peace with the idea that I’ll always be nursing her at least once at night and that’s okay. Some babies just need that! I’m sure I’ll miss it when it’s over. Even now, when I nurse her in the dead of night, trying desperately not to fall asleep while sitting on her nursery room floor… I wonder how much longer we have. It creeps up on you.

Eating is going great. She eats like a total fiend at daycare, which is awesome. She won’t do it so much for me, as I’ve got the boobies and she would much rather have that, but she does like to mooch my food. I don’t mind sharing with her, especially since it broadens her horizons. The only things she’s shown a complete distaste for is pineapples.

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She loves when we read to her and even scoots over to her books to look over them on her own. I absolutely love that. Nothing would thrill me more than her developing a love of reading. We both love it and it’d be amazing to share it with her.

Breastfeeding is still going good, although I’m definitely excited to cut down on my pumping. I’m going to slowly taper off at the one year mark and hopefully be done with it by 2016… but we’ll see. I plan to breastfeed her for awhile yet, but to introduce whole milk while she’s at daycare and nurse primarily when I’m with her. I’m not ready for that relationship to end quite yet…

Mum was supposed to be here for Eva’s birthday and to possibly bring my grandparents along. We were going to do a small party for her the weekend following the 12th… but now she’s telling me she can’t come. I’m upset. I want to give Evangeline something to look back on. I want to have pictures of a nice, small party where the people who love her are gathered to celebrate her. My family is continually disappointing me and now it’s moving to her and that makes me going into protector mode. My daughter will not suffer in the way that I did. I cannot protect her from all suffering, but I sure as hell will move Heaven and Earth to ensure she does not suffer what I did.

I still want to do something. I still want to decorate. Even if she won’t remember or know now, she’ll look back on it someday. I want her to have something to look back on. I will not leave that space empty in her baby book.

Quick Trip to PA

Quick Trip to PA

We made a quick trip to Pennsylvania this past weekend. My grandma lost sight in her left eye due to a blood clot or plaque buildup (they’re not sure which yet) and so I thought it was paramount we visit her and lift her spirits a bit. All in all, she’s doing fairly well, but the news is scary. We did something we’ve never done before and left for our trip after work on Friday! We arrived there after 10pm. The trip went all right, though Evangeline had a meltdown or two because she wanted to be in her bed, not sleeping in a car.

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I was anxious about the visit, at first. It was a fairly quick trip, with us arriving very late Friday and leaving Monday. We had Monday off as Columbus Day is a state recognized holiday. I’m glad we went, though. Everything turned out well and my grandma was really happy to see us! We stopped in for a quick visit with my dad, too, since he can’t seem to muster up the energy to visit… sigh.

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The visit itself was fairly uneventful–there was no drama for once and everything went well. We saw my Grammy Naylor Saturday afternoon for a short visit and then dad cooked us dinner that evening. The rest of the time was spent with my grandparents. On Sunday, we went to mum’s work and then out to eat with my grandparents. Evangeline did really well, she napped and she slept, for the most part, at night. I was shocked. I figured her schedule would be shot!

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I was definitely glad to have the opportunity to visit with my family before the holidays. We’re planning on going up for Christmas, but if the weather is anything like it was last year… there’s a chance that might now happen. Mum has said from day one that she intended to visit for Evangeline’s birthday, but I’m hoping my grandparents will come with her. They keep saying no, that it would be too much to have them all here at once, but I’d deal with it in a heartbeat if it meant good memories for Eva to look back on when she’s older.

We have two weeks and one weekend before we leave for Key West. I’m trying not to freak out or get anxious, but it’s hard. Everything is so much more complicated with a baby in the mix. I’m not even sure how I’m going to begin to pack. When we visited my family in Pennsylvania, the car was loaded up with stuff… and it was all hers!

While I’m looking forward to this weekend, I have a feeling it’s going to be extremely busy and anything but relaxing… there’s just so much to do, and so little time to do any of it! Time is speeding by. It’s hard to keep up. Sigh. It’s so hard to believe that soon, Evangeline will be one year old. I don’t like to think about it. I’m going to be a sobbing mess. We’re not doing anything big or grand, but we had planned on doing a small party so she can have fun pictures to look back on. I want to get her a little cake to destroy, too.

Wow, Just… Wow

It’s so hard to believe that it’s October again already. At this time last year, I was uncomfortable, horribly pregnant, and a little bit nervous about what was about to happen. We were taking the birthing class, looking at cars, and scrambling around trying to get everything ready for Evangeline’s arrival. I had zero idea what to expect. It’s almost laughable how little I knew. Like, there was absolutely no way of truly knowing, but the change between now and then is just crazy!

Evangeline is moving around like a champ now. She’s trying to pull herself up onto things. She still refuses to crawl, although if put on her belly, will do an ineffectual crawl backwards… which then just results in her getting really angry about it, haha. I’m both excited and anxious about her walking. It will be so awesome to see her toddle around, but it opens up so many more issues with danger and trying to make sure she’s safe. It will also mean that she is truly no longer a baby

She’s been in her crib for three weeks now. The first week was rough, but towards the end, she really seemed to get it. She was so happy because she was sleeping well. We had a bit of a slip-up this week, but we’re working through it. I hate seeing her miserable and tired. Giving her the opportunity to well and truly sleep has really changed things with her baby rage and actually being able to set her down. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m confident it will get better. I’m still waking up once or twice in the night to nurse her, so I’m not really getting more sleep… but she is. That’s what’s important.

My grandmother has lost sight in one eye. They’re not sure of the cause. I’m trying to figure out a way for us to go to Pennsylvania for a quick, short trip before we leave for Key West at the end of the month. It’s going to be a busy end of the year…

I’m also trying to prepare for Evangeline’s 1st birthday. We’re not doing anything huge, but we are having family gather. I want her to have a little cake to destroy. I plan on getting some decorations/etc. It won’t break the bank, but I want her to have pictures to look back on fondly and I want her to experience new things like cake.

Things, in general, are going okay. It’s still an adjustment, even almost a year later. It’s amazing how much changes. Sometimes, I get pretty down and feel like I’ll never be the way I was before. It’s okay, though. I’m just really bad with change. I’m not going to lie, I certainly miss video games–I miss being able to play them whenever and for however long I wanted. Now, even if I do get the opportunity, I don’t play very long because I feel guilty. I need to get over that. Video games are how I decompress… and I’m slowly losing it, haha. My anxiety is super high lately and I’m having issues dealing with things. Since video games are usually unavailable to me… I’ve turned to shopping. I have a baby clothes addiction fueled by anxiety, sigh. It’s getting better. I’m addressing it.

Sometimes, I get so frustrated at myself when I remember back to my recovery time and maternity leave. There’s so much I could have done or should have done. I had plenty of time, but I was just so mentally out of it. Even though I can’t change it, and there’s really nothing to be done for it, it still frustrates me since my time is so limited now. I was just so overwhelmed and my hormones made me insane. Plus, I was in pain, and couldn’t take any pain medication… the ones they prescribed me were harmful to Eva and would go to her through my breast milk. It was a rough time. If I had known what I know now about breastfeeding, it would have been slightly easier… but how was I to know?

Breastfeeding is still going well. We cut down to three bottles at daycare to encourage Evangeline to stop snacking and instead take full meals when she’s with me. It’s helped a lot. Pumping is going okay, my automatic pump still isn’t working and I’m still using a manual one. I’m not getting as much as I was, but I’m trying to figure out if it’s just the natural progression of things or if the fact that I started working out a little after work has anything to do with it.

I’m hoping it’s not working out, as I feel like a total fatty. I’ve gained five pounds the last few months and now I’m at 150 lbs… which is less than before I lost weight and certainly less than when I was pregnant, but it’s still not great. My body refuses to shed weight easily due to breastfeeding, but I’m hoping exercise will help my mood and adjust my appetite back to normal a bit.

How weird to think that my next entry will likely be Evangeline’s eleven month post… yikes. How did we get here? How has this year flown by so fast? Hell, the past two years!

Ten Months

Ten Months

Evangeline is ten months old! I can hardly believe it. Time is just flying by… ugh. Soon, she’ll be a year… I can’t deal. It just seems too fast. Aside from the complete lack of sleep we’ve been getting lately, I’ve been really enjoying this part of her development.

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She’s changing so much, so rapidly now! Almost every day, I notice her doing something new or mastering something she used to struggle with. She’s scooting around like a champ now. I’ve caught her a few times up on all fours, but it never lasts long. She doesn’t seem interested in crawling. She’s attempting to pull up at daycare, but when she’s with us, she expects us to help her! She’s also started pointing and reaching for things she desperately wants, which is adorable.

Her words are the following: “mama”, “dada”, “daddy”, and she’s been trying to say kitty lately. Sometimes, she says things and we don’t quite catch them but she won’t repeat them. She babbles, but not as much as some other kids do. She mostly starts so we’ll talk to her and then she just intensely observes us as we speak. If you tell her “no”, she smiles and laughs at you… little butthead.

Breastfeeding is going well. I’m being forced to use my manual pump at work, as there’s something wrong with my expensive automatic one and I can’t figure it out. Only a month and a half left of full-time pumping! I can hardly believe it. I’m going to continue breastfeeding past a year, but definitely cutting back the pump until I’m done entirely.

Solids were going amazingly until Eva got sick. Now she’s being rather difficult about it all. She won’t eat the purees anymore unless they’re chunky, and even then, she eats very little. She’s regressed back into wanting boob and only boob if I’m around. She was doing great with table foods but now even refuses them sometimes. At daycare, it’s touch and go. She refuses to eat chunky purees she used to love but will take table foods, sigh. I’m hoping it’s a phase.

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She’s definitely developing a little personality now. She’s goofy and silly, but also quite fiery. Her temper is going to be a point of contention, I know it. Her emotions seem to be quite intense. She’s also a little stoic sometimes. It’s interesting to watch the facets of who she is going to be take root and develop. I definitely see a mix of us both in her.

We survived the croup plus ear infection, but not without some issue. It was hard without the husband here. I stayed home that Wednesday with her and it was kind of a nightmare. She was angry, the steroid plus the pain just made her an absolute terror! She scratched me and even bit me–several times–while I was nursing her. It was a rough, rough day. Not being able to talk to the husband consistently was wearing on me, too, plus recovering from my mum’s visit. I ended up breaking down crying on the phone with the husband that night. I survived, though, and Evangeline seems to be feeling better… though I think we’re in for another round of teething.

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I needed a break at the end of the week on my own with Evangeline, so on Friday after work, we drove down to the in-laws and stayed with the mother-in-law. It was fun, just us girls hanging out. We went shopping while waiting on the men to get home the next day and I was super excited, because I never, ever get to shop with ladies. I’m always with the hub and he’s not the most enthusiastic shopping partner…

Unfortunately, that started a bit of an issue as the husband was desperate for us to be there when they got back and they got back a lot earlier than planned. This was mostly because the husband drove through the night! He was determined. It was mostly exhaustion and hunger talking. There was a little bit of drama, but at the end of the day, we were just happy to be together again. He held Evangeline for a very long time. She didn’t quite react the way we’d hoped, but she was feeling particularly ill that day. The ear infection and croup were rough on her.

The husband didn’t end up taking the other job he was offered. It was too much time away and not enough pay. He would have been shipped off to Langley, D.C. for an entire month starting out and he’d be unable to go to Key West at the end of October. He’d be there so much that they’d planned on renting out an apartment for him. It was quite the cosmopolitan offer and perhaps at a different point in our life, he’d have taken it, as the opportunities that followed would have been immense… but right now? He told me that his gut said no.

It worked out, though. His current job offered him a 20% raise and a job re-classification, which is unheard of in our organization! I got a 20% raise two years ago, but that was my entire department and our boss fought hard for it. Husband is so vital they don’t want to lose him. I won’t complain about more money!