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.

Victor’s Memorial Dinner

Victor's Memorial Dinner

My husband’s maternal grandpa passed away last month and his family declined to have a viewing or a funeral. Instead, they gathered for a dinner in his honor at one of his favorite restaurants. It was really awesome to see everyone all together in one room. Husband’s grandma did not attend because she’s a bit odd and refuses to leave her house.

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It worked out, because she would have just caused trouble. My husband’s estranged cousin was there with her partner. I was happy to finally meet her, as she was one of the few people my husband was close with in his family. He still speaks of her highly. She was awesome, as was her girlfriend. We’re hoping to make a trip up to Columbus to see them at some point!

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Evangeline loved it. She got passed around and fussed over for the hours that we spent there. Husband made a slideshow that everyone loved. All in all, it was a good little event. I loved seeing Eva with hub’s cousins! It’s so nice to have family around. I really miss the closeness of my own family, but certainly not their dysfunction. His family is just so… disjointed and separated. Everyone is like their own little solar system. Very rarely do they come together.

It cracks me up that Evangeline loves Chris’ cousin-in-law. She will reach for him just like she does grandpa. This was only her second time meeting him, too. If she wasn’t with grandpa, she was with him!

We stopped by husband’s grandma’s house before leaving. I ended up falling down her stairs while holding Evangeline, but thankfully there were no injuries. I threw myself backwards to protect her from hitting the railing since as my foot caught the carpeted edge of the step and slipped, my ankle twisted and sent me there. Husband did not come check on us, which I’m still quite pissed about, but I’ve already talked to him about that.

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I did get a sweet photo of Evangeline playing on his grandma’s mother’s piano, though. She loved it!

Evangeline will be 15 months on the 12th. It’s hard to believe. She’s walking more now, saying words, and just being very exploratory! It’s so fun to watch her learn and discover new things. We’ve definitely found out that she’s not a fan of snow. We bought her a snow suit last week and put her in the snow, where she cried and flailed until we removed her.

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I really hope it grows on her. I love playing in the snow. I even tried to build her a tiny snowman, but she was having none of it!

She’s started waving hi and bye, as well as saying them. She mimics sounds when we do them. She points at things and wants to know what they are. She’s very curious. I taught her how to high-five, so she loves doing that, haha. She’s still nursing, though significantly less than ever. I think about four times a day on typical week days? She’s only on one bottle at daycare now. I’ll be done pumping very soon… and after that, bye bye breastfeeding. I’m going to try and let her naturally wean, but if she’s two and still at it, I’ll be taking steps to end it.

My period is back. I’ve been bleeding for weeks now. It’s getting quite annoying. My anemia returned after giving birth, so all this bleeding makes me weak. I’m over it.

We leave for Tampa on the 14th! I can hardly believe it. I’m really not looking forward to packing…

 

Twelve Months!

Twelve Months!

How, how is this even possible? Wasn’t it just a month ago that she was a newborn? This is just insanity. My sweet baby girl is twelve months old–technically, she’s a toddler now. Where did my baby go?!

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She’s pulling herself up, crawling, and standing. She uses her walker toy all the time now, pushing it back and forth across the living room. When she hits a wall, she looks at us and makes her “grabby hands” for us to turn it around so she can do it all over again. She babbles, says random words, and socializes with everyone. She loves going out and feels ‘cooped up’ if we just lounge around at home all day too often.

She’s curious, observant, headstrong, emotional, determined, and empathetic. Everyone says she looks like me, but I see her daddy in her more and more every day. I’m pretty sure she’s got my temperament, though, which should make things pretty interesting.

Nursing is going well, though she’s tapering off. She’s ill right now, so she’s clingy and wants to nurse forever and a day. She weighs nearly twenty pounds, her head is seventeen inches and five centimeters in diameter, and she’s thirty inches long… ten inches longer than when we brought her home.

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Her birthday (and mine) was technically Thursday, but we celebrated it on Sunday. She spent Veteran’s Day with grandma and grandpa while I ran errands to try and get everything ready. My mum and her boyfriend came down for the party and just left today (Monday.)¬† Poor thing was sick, but she had a good time. I decorated the kitchen and the living room.

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It wasn’t a huge gathering, just family. There were no overblown thematic items, pony rides, or expensive entertainers. We had a smash cake for Evangeline and a regular cake for everyone else. I had them done by a local bakery and while they may not have been as pretty as some I’ve seen, they were¬†delicious!

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I had an outfit made for her, complete with a ruffly tutu that was just too cute for words! Her ruffly butt was just too cute. It’s still so hard to believe that my little baby is one year old now. A year ago today, we were experiencing our first week as parents and it was rough. Everything was new, scary, and overwhelming.

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Evangeline loved her cake! She pieced at the icing, not really want to rip into it until one of us pierced it with a fork… then she went to town. It was too cute! I didn’t allow her to have too much of the sugar, however. She really hasn’t had much exposure to it yet and I didn’t want her stomach getting more upset than it already was since she was still sick and spiking fevers pretty regularly.

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She seemed to have a really good time, despite her illness. She was jovial and a good sport, opening her presents and suffering through all the fussing people did over her.

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She received a ridiculous amount of gifts. We’re not even sure what we could possibly do for Christmas now! She got a little riding scooter, a ball pit, a xylophone, a smaller compact xylophone, a bouncy cow, an activity table, a beatbo, some books, clothes… basically everything. We really hadn’t anticipated her getting that much stuff! Our house is overrun now. It’s ridiculous.

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The build up to the party seemed to take up a lot more time than the actual party itself. I really loved getting everything together and decorating. I wanted to make sure that when she looked back on this day, she’d remember it fondly through the pictures. It may not have been the ridiculous parties some people plan, but it was perfect for us and she really seemed to enjoy it. Good memories were made–and captured–on that day. I’m keeping a few mementos, along with her cards, to put away in a box for later. What can I say? I’m ridiculous about archiving things!

It’s crazy to think about what this next year will bring! We’re coming into the holiday season now and I’m super excited. From now on, it’s going to be even more exciting. Children always make the holidays ten times better! Soon, I’ll have someone to enjoy Christmas movies with. We’re even acquiring decorations for the house, which is definitely a new territory for us. Hopefully, this puts the husband in the ‘Christmas spirit’, too!

I haven’t cried at all, but I’ve been sad and reflective. It was hitting me today, as I took down the decorations. Everything has just been so hectic lately, I haven’t really had a chance to process it all. I’m sure it’ll smack me hard when I’m filling out the last details of her baby book. Whew.

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.