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.

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.

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!

Progress

Progress

Things have slowly been going better with Evangeline and nursing. I’m basically force feeding her every opportunity that I get! If she doesn’t finish a full feed at the breast, then I pump, and give her what comes out in a bottle. This isn’t something I’ll continue once she “catches up”, as babies will overeat easily. Right now, though, it’s all about packing those calories in so she can grow and her brain can develop properly!

The baby scale definitely helps. She’s gaining several ounces a day so far. I haven’t done any feeding weighs yet. I may or may not, depending on how things go.

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We had our first outing alone yesterday. I took her into work to visit. It was also my first time driving the new car (and driving in general for two months!) After we stopped at work, we continued on to Target, stopped at Petsmart, and then grabbed lunch and headed home. She only fussed a little at work, due to over-stimulation, and then a little bit in Petsmart because she was tired. She slept on the way home and remained asleep in her car seat for almost a full hour and a half nap!

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It was a busy day in general, as the in-laws came up to deliver our futon couch. We went out to eat for father-in-law’s birthday, Eva’s second restaurant outing! By the time we got home, she was more than ready for bed. She was in her bassinet, asleep, by nine. She slept until three, too! Which I was greatful for. Sleep has been fleeting lately.

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I’m officially six weeks away from returning to work. I’m still trying to work on my freezer stash when I can. The ability to leave the house with Eva confidently definitely makes things less bleak. I’ll be happy to return to work and some semblance of normalcy… but I’ll miss her, I can’t lie. I know she’ll enjoy daycare once she’s old enough to socialize properly… but with her being so young, it just seems wrong! At least I was able to go four months with her. I would never even consider staying home–that’s just not my bag. I like money, I like making money, and I like having a part of me that’s not 100% mother.

I remember the stress when the husband was the only one properly working and it was awful! Both my coworkers deal with this, living paycheck to paycheck, I just don’t know how they do it. It’s maddening. We’ll still have weekends and holidays with her. Plus, the vacations we’ll be able to take!

My dad and his wife are supposed to be visiting this weekend. He texted me that they made reservations, so perhaps it’ll actually happen! He hasn’t visited me once in the seven years since I moved here. They were supposed to visit directly after Christmas, but her kids gave them the flu. I really hope he comes down. I don’t even care if it’s just to meet Eva, I want him to visit!

My Aunt Beth (his sister) arrives next weekend, too. We’re both stoked about that, as my Aunt Beth is tons of fun! She was our saving grace during my dad’s wedding in Atlantic City and she visited during my pregnancy, too. It’ll be so fun to introduce her to Eva.

We’ve been doing some deep cleaning, which is nice! I finally got to tackle our bedroom and closet. I purged all of my clothes from my second job. No more black everywhere! I only kept a few pieces I knew I’d make use of. I still have more purging to do, but three bags worth seems good for now. I got rid of some other stuff and some of the husband’s stuff, too.

We need more plastic bins to store things in and another set of plastic drawers to help keep the closet from going into chaos again. I’ve also been eyeing an accent table to put in our little stairway area, so we have a place to put mail and whatnot… but the current depth is 12 inches and most things are 14+ inches. If we redo the railing, we’d have plenty of room… but that requires us to redo all of the railing… which I want to do, but is quite the task for right now.