Key West 2017

Key West 2017

We went to Key West again (the in-laws go several times a year and we usually go October or July) and Evangeline was so excited. I’m not sure if it’s the palm trees or getting to be with her grandparents for an entire week, but she loves the trip. She does amazing on planes. I’m so happy she travels well.

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We were there during the fourth of July but didn’t go see the fireworks. Father-in-law didn’t want to spend money keeping a car all week since we were at the condo downtown during the first half, so we had to walk everywhere. Fireworks scare Evangeline, anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal. We still had a blast. It’s so much fun seeing her explore and discover places we love.

We went to a local deli that’s owned by a former New Yorker and everyone there is so friendly. They were immediately enamored with Evangeline and even brought her out free fruit and cookies. Our waitress absconded with her and let her “ring up” our check, as well. Things like this make me love visiting. There’s so many local, awesome places.

The downtown condo is great because almost everything is easily accessible. We even made the trek across the island to one of my favorite spots, the Butterfly Conservatory, but Evangeline wasn’t as impressed by it this year as she was last year (which was disappointing.) Instead, she enjoyed the aquarium. She kept talking about sharks and making a motion with her arms while saying, “chomp!” Too cute.

She spent a lot of time roaming around and with the in-laws in the pool. There were a lot of condo events. I spent those napping, usually. Sitting out in the sun is not something I’m into.

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The husband and I went snorkeling, but he got sick and went back to the boat. The waves were pretty rough but I had a blast. We didn’t see nearly the amount of cool stuff or fish as the time we went a few years ago, but it was still awesome. I can’t wait until we can take Evangeline with us on the boat!

We had a sunset sail and dinner at our favorite Cuban place down there for our anniversary, which is pretty much a tradition at this point. I always love when we spend it down there but the heat, ugh. October is so much cooler!

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Evangeline has really grown to love the beach. We didn’t get a chance to go until nearly our last day there, but it was worth it. We were in Key West for longer than a week this time, so we had to switch condos. We went to the one on the Windward side of the island, which we hadn’t been to for several years. It’s my second favorite and the recent updates made it even better. We even got a princess balcony! I wish we had it longer… sigh.

We stayed up late one night, long after Evangeline had gone to bed (in the in-laws bed, no less), and played the game ‘Keep Talking and No One Gets Hurt’. It was a lot of fun with the in-laws! So funny to see their reactions. Father-in-law got really into it. We had a blast.

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There’s also a shuffleboard area at the condo, so we messed around with it a bit. Evangeline just liked scooting the pucks back and forth. It was funny watching father-in-law and my husband trying to instruct her on the proper way to ‘shuffle.’

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We set off on our own and left the in-laws behind on our last full day in Key West to go to my other favorite place, The Dolphin Research Center! I was so excited for Evangeline to see it again. She loved the dolphins and they were super active! Unfortunately, as was on trend for our vacations this summer, a big storm came in and we had to leave as they shut down the center due to lighting. Sigh.

We had a very early flight and so we spent the rest of our time hanging out in the pool or condo. The airport is right next door so early in the morning, we packed up, and walked the short distance while it was still very dark out. It was quite the eventful trip! I’m so sad that it will be over a year until we’re there again, but the husband and I agreed that we’re ready to branch out and go other places. We want to do some smaller trips. The airfare cost of flying into Key West is incredibly steep.

I really try not to take for granted how fortunate we are to get this opportunity. It’s only through the in-laws that we are able to travel to what would normally be a pretty pricey place. I’ve been going with them since I started dating my husband, and that’s nearly a decade now, so it’s so cool to visit somewhere I’m familiar with.

It makes my heart happy to know that Evangeline is getting opportunities to broaden her horizons at such a young age. I just hope we can keep it up. I never want to her to lack for experiences. Every time we come back from a trip, it’s like her brain has absorbed everything and grown leaps and bounds.

 

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.

Fall Visit to Tampa!

Fall Visit to Tampa!

img_5205We headed off to Tampa, FL for our second-ever visit to my family that lives down there. Last time, it was a pretty quick visit cut somewhat short by our horrendous travel issues. This time, we were going for an entire week! Luckily, everything went great with the plane and we arrived just before lunch. My aunt picked us up, took us to Cuban, and then we headed to the house where we spent the evening chilling out and just settling in.

Saturday we went shopping at the outlets. We went to a different one this time and it was a lot nicer, but the stores were smaller. I snagged a really nice purse for $50. I’m sad that my Fossil purse is pretty much dead, but it’s been through a lot and I’ve been using it sans a zipper since Key West. Birds or not, it’s time to call it quits on the purse. We picked up some stuff for Evangeline and since they had a LOFT outlet there, I grabbed some tops. I’m still looking for pants that fit…

Sunday, we spent the first part hanging out at the house and then the second part at this amazing beach in St. Pete! We went there last time, too… when Evangeline had the flu and was running a fever, but we had no idea she was actually sick. This time, she loved it! She ran around yelling “beach!” “sand!” and kept throwing sand all over the place. We finally got her in the water, too. It was awesome to watch her goofing around and just having a blast.

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Monday was our trip to the aquarium in downtown Tampa with my dad’s dad. We had a lot of fun. Evangeline immediately started calling out “fish!” and pointing at all of the cool fish. They had some super cute otters, there, too. We barely got to see the penguin they had out for some sort of talk they were doing. Someday, I will get to see penguins…

When we got back from the aquarium, we hung out at the house. It was really nice having plenty of time to see everyone and just sort of have moments where we weren’t constantly going.

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Tuesday was one of the most exciting days of all! It was Evangeline (and my) first time at Disney. We went to the Magic Kingdom and she had an absolute blast. She danced at almost all of the street parties, she met Ariel, she went on a couple of rides, bought some cool stuff, and even got to see parts of the Christmas program that included Elsa and a second one that had her changing Cinderella’s Castle to ice! That part was super impressive. Unfortunately, my aunt had no idea they had started the Christmas stuff, so we didn’t have tickets to Mickey’s Christmas Party which meant we had to leave at 7 since the park closes early for it. We had zero meltdowns all day despite being there from around 10-7!
img_5883Wednesday was another pretty calm day. We hung out during the morning and then we headed out to do some local shopping with Gigi, my dad’s dad’s wife. It was nice to see some local places and for Evangeline to get that time to spend with her. Evangeline loves shopping and if you mention it to her, she will run and get her shoes! It’s hilarious. Unfortunately, she wasn’t in the best of moods but there was a carousel in the mall which made everything better.

On Thursday we had one mission–see Elsa. We went super early and despite getting there only a little after 9am–when the park opens!–we still had to wait in line almost an hour and a half. Unfortunately, we should have just gone on the ride first because while the wait to see Elsa will eventually go down, the one for the ride never does once it goes up. Sigh! So Evangeline didn’t get to see that, but she did get to meet Elsa and Anna and she loved it! She just kept hugging Elsa. It was too sweet.

The rest of the day was spent sampling food from the Wine and Food Festival, which wasa lot more fun for the husband and me than it was for Evangeline. We only had one snag, where my aunt threw a fit because I don’t like French food and she apparently had this huge deal planned around French food. I kept asking the husband why he allowed it to happen, since it was ‘involved’ in the planning… to which he replied, “she said it was for dessert, not food!” sigh.img_5815

Either way, we had an amazing trip. It was a lot of fun. I’m so glad Evangeline is able to experience all of these new things and that she’s getting to know family that I never did. She’s grown so much in the past week; she’s describing things, speaking in sentences, and her language development has just shot forward so far. I know she’s approaching two, but it’s still just an amazing thing to witness.

We’re doing her birthday party on Sunday, so that her grandfather can be there. It won’t be the small ‘big deal’ last year’s was, but I still hope she enjoys it.

Embracing Autumn

Embracing Autumn

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Despite the weather, we’ve been doing our best to get into the autumn spirit. I’ve been pretty adamant about experiencing all the fall-related stuff we possibly could this year, since Evangeline is relatively old enough to enjoy it now. The first thing on our agenda was the pumpkin festival. It’s kind of a big deal around here and people travel from all over the state to come. It pales in comparison to anything Ohio has to offer, but it’s nice to have close by.

The last time we went, I was pregnant. Husband has lived here forever and never went. It was our first time and we enjoyed it. It’s nice to get out and enjoy local things. Evangeline had a good time, she saw animals, tons of people, ate some weird stuff, and even got some books.

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Second was a local farm that does this huge thing every fall; it’s basically a pumpkin patch and a kind of fair of sorts. There’s games, a corn maze, stacks of hay oriented around for kids to play on, a little playground, and a big tub of corn for younger kids to play in like sand. There’s concessions and some animals/etc, too, which makes for a pretty interesting trip. We went with a coworker/friend of ours and their child. It was fun, if a bit hot, for being mid-October.

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Evangeline’s favorite part was the pumpkin patch, which was hilarious. She got so excited about them! She ran in and kept yelling, “pumpkins! pumpkins!” When husband picked her up, she proceeded to whisper it to him, which was cute. She picked out a pumpkin by hugging and kissing it! Then we found one for daddy. I didn’t bother getting a pumpkin, it didn’t even occur to me at the time. I probably should have–they were way cheaper than buying them at a store!

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By the end, she was done. She was super tired and hungry. She kept crying on the way back, “mummy, hungry! Mummy, eat!” Heartbreaking. She was fine once we got home and had dinner, though. She slept like a log that night, despite her teeth coming in. She was exhausted!

I loved watching her run around and experience all the cool stuff they had to offer. I have all sorts of anxiety issues and I really, really hate crowds, but none of it mattered. Watching her face fill with joy and curiosity made it all seem pointless in comparison. The place was super packed, too. We did not expect such a huge crowd! I’m just glad we didn’t have any tantrums or fits.

She was obsessed with the slides, too, which surprised me a little. She’s definitely a daredevil.

I had asked the in-laws several times to go with us to the Pumpkin Festival or the farm and was rebuffed, rather rudely, all times. I told Chris was done trying to get them to act like normal grandparents. They’re so strange sometimes. They love Evangeline and they’re not cold with her, they just have zero interest doing typical grandparent things… which is sad.

Summer’s End

Summer's End

img_4485Mother-in-law wanted to go to some festival in a city nearby, so we indulged her. It was pretty lame but it was nice to get out and do something together as a family. She had mentioned wanting to do more of that stuff, which is nice, I’m all for family outings.

Evangeline enjoyed it, however. She got to run around and see all sorts of people. We’re dealing with the terrible twos already, so it can sometimes be a challenge to take her out, but she did fairly well. She’s usually cooperative if her pawpaw is there, which is a relief. Everything was fine until dinner, where she started getting fussy and wanting to run around.

The husband and I have been discussing eating together as a family. We desperately need to buy a new dining set, because ours does not suit the much smaller space we have for it now… it’s mostly served as hoarder storage in the corner of our kitchen. We’re going to clean it up and make it mandatory that we eat together now instead of separately. Usually, Evangeline eats while one of us cooks dinner and then we eat in front of the television in the living room. I’ve always wanted to eat together as a family, so I’m definitely happy about the change and I’m sure it will help Evangeline’s attitude towards sitting and eating versus wanting to run around crazily.

 

img_4462There really hasn’t been much else going on. Evangeline is developing new skills every day and her gasp on words and language is definitely improving. She actually sat and played with blocks with the husband the other evening, which was refreshing and nice! She’s still definitely a more on-the-go toddler and not so much interested in spending a whole bunch of time with toys, but she’s starting to have more quiet moments, too. It’s still such a treat to see her sit down and just read aloud to herself.

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We’ve booked out trip to Tampa for the week before our birthdays, so that will definitely be an exciting trip! We leave on November 4th and return on the 11th, just a day before our birthday on the 12th. My family down there is desperate to take her to Disney, so I’ve agreed. Staying a whole week will give us a lot of time to really get to do more things than we did last time. It ended up being a much shorter visit due to all of the airline mix-ups! We had a six hour delay that was not fun. I’m hoping this one goes better…

We’re not getting professional photos done this year for fall since our spring ones turned into summer ones. I’ll probably try to snap some decent shots of her at a park or something nearer to her birthday. I wish that I could buy my camera, but I messed up royally and let myself go overboard buying from a certain company. I spent well over the cost of my camera in a month’s time–the husband was furious and he had every right to be. I feel like an ass.

Money hasn’t been a huge struggle since we first moved out onto our own, so it sucks that my own stupidity had us walking that line. I’m doing my best to try and face my issues right now. When my depression rears up, my OCD and my spending ramp up… which sucks. I can’t let the cycle continue. I’m cutting out birth control since it seems to be affecting me mentally way worse than it ever did before. Hoping that helps me cope better.