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.

Key West 2016

Key West 2016

We had a lot of fun in Key West this year! It was leaps and bounds better than October, which we certainly enjoyed. Evangeline was better able to get into the spirit of it this trip, though. She absolutely loved it! Every morning, she wanted to go out and about. Actually, she wanted to be out and about pretty much the entire time.

Our trip started off pretty rocky. We had delayed flights and maintenance issues on both legs of the trip, which made us arrive a lot later than we were supposed to. We arrived at the airport in Key West around 7 or so when our original arrival time was around 3 or 4, if I remember correctly. It was rough. We’d been going since around 10 that morning! Evangeline was quite a trooper, though. Everyone was impressed with how well-behaved she was for a toddler who had just had enough.

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We arrived, we ate, we swam, and then we promptly passed out. The in-laws were nice enough to not only keep Evangeline in their room, but they even gave us the big room! It was awesome. We got to sleep in and just enjoy a level of privacy we don’t really get anymore. It was truly a vacation this time.

Our first day was pretty low-key. The husband and I had lunch at our favorite Cuban place. We hung around the condo, still pretty worn out from our previous day of travel. We swam and did explored a little bit with Evangeline.

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Tuesday was a pretty lax day, as well. The husband and his dad went on an all day fishing excursion, leaving us ladies to our own devices. It was ridiculously hot and humid, so we mostly hung around the condo. We got some photos with Evangeline and swam a bit. By the time we got her to nap, it was pretty late in the day. We had expected the guys home around five, but they ended up catching so many fish that it took them until around six to get back. The husband and I packed up Evangeline and headed down to Duval. She was pretty done at this point, but we got in some sight-seeing and she enjoyed it before she became overtired.

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Wednesday was our ‘let’s do a bunch of cool stuff for Evangeline’ day. We set out early and took her to the aquarium, which she loved! We dropped by Build-A-Bear and she got her very first thing there, Skye from Paw Patrol. It was incredibly humid, so we headed back to the condo and played in the pool until it was time for the sunset festival. We took Evangeline down and she loved it. She ended up being up quite late, but a good time was had by all.

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Thursday was another pretty packed day. The in-laws went to the beach early and then came back to pick us up after Evangeline’s nap. She ended up napping until 3, which is when we finally tried waking her up. By 3:30, we were at the beach. She hated the sand! Every time she touched it, she cried. She loved the ocean, though! The sun is pretty intense down there, so she was only in the ocean here and there. We sat under the umbrella and watched the seagulls. We left around five because the husband and I had a sunset sail scheduled. It was awesome. Afterwards, we went and had our yearly anniversary dinner at our favorite Cuban place. We love the food, the atmosphere, and the live music! We came back to the condo and did some late night swimming.

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Friday we went to my favorite place on the island–the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. Evangeline was amazed. When we took her as a baby, she found it interesting, but this time… she just seemed to be in awe. She said, in hushed amazement, “butterbye…” It was too cute. She loved the flamingos that they had and one even came right up to her and said hi! The husband ended up taking her through a second time while I trolled through the gift shop and picked up a few things.

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She also had her first taste of candy and Key Lime pie. She wasn’t very impressed with the pie, haha. We had swam randomly throughout the week and she was really beginning to warm up to it. By this day, she was jumping in and getting really brave. She’s still not ready to go underwater or anything, but I’m just so happy she’s excited about it now! We went to our Cuban place again. The in-laws took Evangeline to the sunset festival and then ended up coming by so Evangeline could enjoy the music. She loved it and even danced a little!

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Saturday was our last day there and we did a little of everything. The husband and I trekked out fairly early to enjoy breakfast at our favorite French Bakery. It was amazing. There was also lot of swimming! We went to the pricey seafood place and then hung around the docks in the evening. Evangeline loved feeding the fish! The in-laws went to the sunset festival on their own while we started packing up with Evangeline running around like a crazy person.

The next morning, it was loading everything up so the father-in-law could drop us off at the airport. Our flight left around 11:30. He dropped us off a little after ten. We hung out in the airport and had some fun before boarding the plane. We had a very tight time between flights, but we made it with time to spare, thankfully! Once home, we ate some Panera, collapsed into our doorway, and rested up. Phew. It was a long, eventful week. It took Evangeline a lot of time to recover, haha, she had so much fun!

It definitely took her mind off weaning, which we’ve started. We’re now down to one nursing session a day! I’m trying to look at the positives so I don’t get too sad about it…

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.

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.

16 Months

16 Months

Toddlers are hard. Like, seriously… it’s rough. Evangeline is mobile now. She’s been walking like a pro for awhile now and she’s into everything. Her curiosity is boundless and as fascinating as it is to watch her dissect the world around her, it’s incredibly tiring trying to keep up with her! She’s just unstoppable and that temper, whoa! She definitely gets that from me. She melts down over everything and anything. I’m exhausted!

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She’s slowed down considerably on nursing. We’re now on a pretty reliable schedule of when she wakes up, when I pick her up from daycare (4pm-ish), and sometimes before bed, but never for very long. Rarely she’ll want a snack here and there, but usually, she’s just fine without it. It’s a little heartbreaking but I’m so glad she’s moving forward with this milestone without me having to force it upon her.

Words are suddenly tumbling from her mouth in a sudden wave. She’s always said some variation of “mama” and “daddy” but now we’re hearing new ones like “bye,” “hi,” “uh-oh,” “whoa!” and “wow.” She says “kitty” pretty well now, too, and we’ve caught her trying to say “Paw Patrol” but in her words it’s “paw-paw!” So cute.

As much as I love watching her grow and learn, I honestly never thought that I’d miss her being a baby. I do. I miss baby snuggles and how she loved to lie next to me. Now she’s a barely contained ball of endless energy. Her little coos and sighs are replaced by distinguishable words and exclamations. Her legs and feet have grown and extended rapidly in the past month. She’s wearing eighteen month old clothing now… my baby is long gone. She’s a toddler now, fully and truly.

As if to accentuate this fact, she graduates from her ‘younger’ one-year-old room next week. The move from the infant room was quite heartbreaking but this one is especially so, as the teacher that was moving with her this past year is now retiring. Her last day is April 15th. I’m concerned about the future, but I’m trying to remain hopeful. So far, we’ve been lucky. Evangeline hasn’t really had any serious issues at daycare… yet.

We did have a scare last month where her breathing was shallow. She was teething and kids in her class were getting sick, so we didn’t think anything of it. We kept a close eye on her, but assumed it was just a cold. We were leaving for Tampa on Sunday and this all happened on Thursday. When she was breathing really shallow Saturday morning, I made the executive decision to take her to the doctor. The doctor freaked out and had us go to the emergency room. She wanted her admitted. It was terrifying. Thankfully, everything turned out okay and Evangeline was cleared to leave. She was better within two days. They thought it was RSV, but the tests came back negative and the nose swab they did revealed only the common cold.

She’s since sprouted like, ten teeth. So I’m pretty sure we know the culprit. Poor thing has been in agony for over a month now. We had to reschedule our trip and we’re leaving Friday. It’s exciting and a little scary all the same. I’m excited for her to meet more of my family, though. Even I’ve never had the opportunity to visit them before!

I really need to make it a point to update this more frequently. She’s growing so fast, it’s important to catalog it all. I’ve since finished her baby book (aside from the first hair cut page, which she hasn’t had yet) and I’ve also just finished the photo album for her first year of life. I’m proud of myself! I’m so happy she’ll have all these memories to look back on.