Thursday, July 23, 2015

Twin Cousins.

While I was growing up, I felt lame because my favorite people (and best friends) were family members.



And now, I couldn't imagine my life any other way. Nor would I want it to be any different.




Most of the people I considered my best friends over time who I wasn't related to have come in and out of my life and they are ALWAYS a warm & happy part of my memories. At the time, though, I couldn't imagine my life without them.

I can see now what a supreme blessing it has been growing up next to my siblings and cousins... we're stuck with each other! And thank goodness for that.



The really great thing to look back on is how much our parents made sure we would get together as often as possible so that we could spend time with our aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. I have to give credit to my mom and Aunt Jill for all they did to get us kids together... if they hadn't done that I might not be so close with my cousin Breanne. It's true that you don't fully understand or appreciate the things your parents do for you until you're a parent. Then it all begins to dawn on you how lucky you are to belong to the family you are part of.





It's Breanne's birthday today and it's days like these that cause me to reflect on just how thankful I am for her. I have taken our friendship for granted so much over time because it's just always been there because she has always been there.




She's always been a force for good in my life. Whether it was someone to just laugh with - which we have done a LOT of - or someone to sit, listen, and give advice from the heart... Breanne is someone who always seems to get me out of my own head and comfort zone. Heck, she even successfully talked me into dating Tony a million years ago! It also helps that we're so close in age and able to relate to each other so closely in that regard.





And now that we're moms - with two sets of kids that are just about the same age apart as we are! - we get to bond about pregnancy, labor, childbirth, breastfeeding, parenting, marriage, etc!!! (Bond... AKA vent!!!) I don't know what my life would look like without her and I'm glad to not know.


So... definitely photo overload on this post... but I couldn't seem to pick just a few of my favorites. Anyways, happy birthday to one super special person in my life... hope we're around to enjoy 27+ more years of each other! (Preferably a LOT more than 27 more!) Thank you for keeping me sane at every turn and for your friendship. We got lucky by being family but no one ever forced us to be friends and I promise to always be here for you, too.



Monday, July 13, 2015

HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY, MOLLY LOU!



Holy canoli... I have a one year old (and a three year old). This makes me so happy. And a bit melancholy. Molly's infancy went by in what can only be described as a blink of an eye. She went from being this tiny babe who you could set down, leave the room, and know she wouldn't move an inch to this little lady who eats everything you put down in front of her and is cruising around our couch already. It's hard to understand what there is to be sad about, then. She's growing up - just as every parent hopes for their child - but there is something bittersweet about your child outgrowing their babyness.

In the busyness of trying to get your child to be independent, you realize you're missing out on so many special moments of their life you may never get again.




And that's the part that breaks a parent's heart. How many more times will she fall asleep on me? How many more days will she be babbling instead of speaking more clearly? How much longer will she be sucking on her little hands and fingers? How much more often will she reach out to me when she wants me to hold her? I know that these little, beautiful moments will be replaced by new and amazing things for us to enjoy, but you never know when the last time will be the last until after it's already passed. And even then, it might not even register!

My beautiful one year old weighed in at 16#14oz. and measured 28.25 inches at her twelve month check-up. Once again, she is still below 5% for her size, I believe, but has gotten back on her growth curve (which she dropped off of at her 9 month check-up). Dr. Jones doesn't seem concerned about it and so I try not to worry either. Like I said before, she eats everything we give her - very heartily - and drinks a ton of breastmilk daily.


In addition to turning one, she was baptized in the Church as well. And from all our Catholic family members we heard "it's about damn time" plenty. ;)



It couldn't have been more different than Presley's baptism - but it was a beautiful day and it was great to share the moment with family. Molly looked so perfect in the dress I picked out just for her. She couldn't have looked any closer to an angel! And she smelled heavenly. Mol smelled like the christening oil for a week later and every morning I couldn't get enough of that smell on her. We couldn't have asked for her to behave any better, too. (Anne Marie and Presley on the other hand....)

Molly wants to do everything Presley does. This includes climbing, playing with all of Presley's toys, eating whatever Presley eats, and following her around the house. Presley is a champ with most of this but like any one else, she has her limits. But today Presley was hugging Molly and said, "Mom - me and Molly are best friends..." and I literally felt my heart burst on that one.



This kid loves bananas lately. And can really throw back some cherries, too! And she's like me when I was a kid... a little bread head!!! She's also super serious but she has really started to smile lately.


And it just brightens up a room! We got a family membership to the Children's Museum for her birthday and she loves it there. She also loves to scratch the hell out of our faces. And squeeze our faces. Like she genuinely seems to feel joy doing that. Sooo that's a little on the disturbing side but hey, we're working on it.

She tries to sing with us when the rest of us are singing... adorable. Did I mention she loves Presley?




We've got a toddler instead of a baby. I hate saying that. But I guess it's true. Even though - as cliche as it is - she is always always always going to be my baby.

Molly Lou - Miss Stinker Pants - we are so incredibly blessed by you. Every part of you is so special and unique and hilarious and spirited. You make the perfect addition to this family and I cannot imagine our lives without you, baby girl. Thank you for letting me love you and for loving me, too. It's a privilege I promise to never take for granted.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Currently x22 {link up}

Participating with Kale + Beans to tell everybody what we're up to lately.

The prompts this week are {reading, watching, listening, eating, enjoying}

So for the last several weeks I've been rereading the Twilight books. I am a serial reader... I read the same books over and over and over and I love it. I get something different out of each time I read a book because usually my life is different than it was the last time I read it. Therefore I'm looking at the book through a whole different lens than any time before. Anyways, I flew through the first several books but for some odd reason I have been reading the last one sooo slow... mostly because I'm just so tired at night that I'll fall asleep sitting up reading! It's kinda killing me because I want to rewatch the movies so much but I'm waiting until I finish all the books. No plans on what to read next... suggestions are always welcome.

Presley keeps requesting we watch the Wizard of Oz over and over. She's been interested in tornadoes for quite some time (thank you Marco Polo Weather app) and ever since we watched the movie, she is extremely enamored. We watched videos online of real tornadoes and even a firenado (her favorite)!

Ever since going to the DMB concert last month, I've had Dave on repeat. Just can't get enough of his voice... it's seriously like butter. Plus they have put out SO much music that I don't ever get sick of the same few songs. So, yeah, I'll be listening to them until the next time we see them in concert.

And lately we've been having much too much food out. Especially Chipotle. Oh my yum. That place is so delicious and fresh and five minutes from our house. Five Guys is another of our favorites and that is one of the best burgers I've ever had. Hopefully we'll start eating better and more at home but I've just been so zapped for energy lately! I swear. I don't know what it is. Plus it's hard for me to do very much cooking until he gets home... which is late... so we just eat out most of the time...

The couple weeks of May and first week or so in June are so exiciting and fun that it is ALMOST too much celebrating. Almost. May 20th is our anniversary, May 29 is my brother-in-law's birthday, May 31 is my mother-in-law's birthday, June 3 is Tony's birthday, and June 7th is one of our best friend's birthday as well as my dad's birthday. Not to mention we've got Father's Day coming up, too! So I've really been enjoying all the extra time with family & friends lately.

In other news...

We've just checked out Whole Foods for the first time and while it was a little bit intimidating at first - I am in love with that place! We went back today for some fresh beignets - which was another first for us - and a nice little brunch spread of chicken salad & fresh croissants, mozzarella pasta salad, & some cheddar chive biscuits. Yum yum yum! That place is full of positive vibes and genuinely nice people that it is easy to get sucked into it all.

Quite a bit more powdered sugar than expected... but delicious.

Sorry Mol... no beignets for you!


Afterwards Presley asked to do something fun instead of going home so we headed to the Memphis Zoo which was hotter than you wouldn't believe! (Of course, because we went at the hottest time of the day.) Every time we go to the zoo Presley asks to go swimming in the water/pool area and it's never happened yet for her so today I surprised her with a "YES!" and she was ecstatic! Not only that, but I rolled up my pants and joined her and we both had so much fun. Getting in the cold water was an instant mood lifter. Tony held Molly in the shallow water and they were both laughing and smiling with us, too.




Perfect Sunday morning & afternoon. Not looking forward to the next few days without Tony while he's away on business... so looks like we will have to find something fun to keep us busy!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Molly: 11 months


Here we are! A short few weeks away from no longer having an infant in the house... BITTERSWEET!!!



Tooth count: Eight... four up and four down.

Favorites: She love love loves green beans right now. And pouches! (Baby food in the little squeeze pouches.) The way she downs those things you would assume we never feed her!!! And aside from baby food & table food it's still all breastmilk and water.

Mol Mol loves to wear hats! And she does really well at keeping bows on most of the time, too. Oh and she loves to see herself on my phone!!




Milestones & stuff: She is pulling/pushing herself up into an almost standing position lately. You can tell she really wants to walk but isn't quite ready yet.

She's also sitting up... but unconventionally. She sits in a "W" position... which we are trying to correct but it's really difficult when that's all she wants to do!

"W" sitter

Molly falls over and bumps her head DAILY. I do not remember this happening so much with Presley. If you know me (as a parent) then you might know I HATE to see my kids hurt. So I'm learning to tolerate it better or not freak out as much when it happens. Another time when I literally thank God for breastfeeding... boobs solve everything!

She's getting really good at clapping. Whenever we say, "Yaaay!" over something, she will join in and clap!

Molly is a little growler and it will never get old to me! So so cute.


Still fits into size 3 diapers but we have a couple boxes of size 4 so that's what she's been wearing lately. Also still fits into most of her 9 month clothes but we've mostly got her in 12 month clothes.

Oh and as if I really have to say it, but Molly adores Presley. And the feeling is completely mutual. They're so good to each other. Presley is protective of Molly... Molly was chewing on a spare outlet cover we have and since Presley associates the little covers with outlets, she said, "Molly! No ma'am! That's dangerous!" It makes me so happy that Presley looks out for her and cares about her wellbeing! And Presley is so proud of Mol. If we're out and about and someone starts talking to Presley, Presley will tell them, "Yeah... and this is my sister, Molly." :) When we go up to work to visit Tony she will remind him, "Kiss Molly, too" before we leave. She's just hilarious and such a sweet girl. I hope Molly knows how special and loved she is and likewise that she has a very special big sister.



Molly had the first taste of a doughnut the other day. It was a plain cake doughnut so we're taking little baby steps... but she liked it. I don't like my kids to have very many sweets - but everybody deserves a treat in moderation. I just really don't want my kids to want nothing but sugar when there are healthy alternatives to give them while they're so young. (Example: Kids get just as excited about fresh strawberries as they do a cupcake!) Ever since having gestational diabetes and my experiences at that time & education about nutrition... it's very hard to ignore doing the right things for my kids' bodies as much as possible.




Breastfeeding: It's going well. She definitely prefers my left boob to my right and sometimes she doesn't want to nurse on that side at all! So if you think my boobs look a little lopsided these days... they probably are! ;) I still would love to breastfeed her up until her 2nd birthday, but we'll see how far we get with it. I'm so happy the first year mark is right around the corner! It would be a lot more challenging without Tony's support to keep me going. Molly's been getting up frequently throughout the night (growth spurt? teething? who knows...) and he will go get her across the house for me when I am feeling 99% zombie. (Thank goodness for side-lying breastfeeding!) He fills up my big water cup whenever he notices it's low, if I need to breastfeed in the car he'll make sure and park it somewhere private, and he changes as many diapers as he can while he's home so I don't get burnt out! I'm thankful for his companionship and his partnership. {Reasons #7-12 I love my Husband}


In other news...

Amanda, Anne Marie & Matthew were here for a visit a few weekends ago and while our original plans didn't pan out, we end up having fun no matter what!






A couple days before our visitors came in town, Tony and I saw Dave Matthew's Band play in Southaven, Mississippi for our anniversary! It was such an incredible show. As if I didn'tl ove their music enough already... this concert sure made me a believer! It was a first for both Tony & I to see them in concert and such a fun way to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary. We followed it up with a late late night trip to Waffle House before heading back home. I love having fun with him! The night just reminded me of all the magic in our relationship and how much we have to look forward to the rest of our life together.


Finishing with Grey Street was just PERFECT if you ask me!


My favorite twin-cousin just had her baby girl, Emalynn and she is so precious. The live a hefty 9+ hours away so we haven't gotten to hold her yet (dying inside!!!!!!!!!) but I know she's getting plenty of lovin' from her sweetie pie little family. Breanne's kids love me so much... Emory, for instance, was born the day before my birthday and now Emalynn chose to make her grand entrance the day after my anniversary!

I need to be holding this kid while drinking some coffee with my cousin, STAT.

And it was just Grandmommy's birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SELENA!!! We got tacos (Maria's Cantina is soooo delicious!!!) and birthday ice cream and had so much fun hanging with Grandmommy and Papa for the afternoon!!!


Next it'll be Tony's birthday followed up by Molly's birthday & baptism and then Anne Marie's 3rd birthday! Hopefully we'll be able to get to Nashville again soon to have some cousin strawberry picking fun and maybe get to the zoo, too! I'm so excited for the summer. Hope everyone is having a stellar 2nd half of 2015!!!



Molly baby. I love you and your silly growls, your funny faces, and your big-ole-loving heart. I'm so lucky to be your mommy and I promise to never forget that. I might lose my patience and sometimes I can be a shitty mom... but no one will ever love you the way that I do. You light up our lives! Thank you for being my girl.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Florida.

Exactly FOUR years ago today, Tony & I were wrapping up the B-E-S-T week of my life from our honeymoon at Walt Disney World! The entire week was just perfect! Everything was filled with so much magic from start to finish and the closeness I felt to Tony in our perfect little honeymoon cocoon was something I never wanted to leave. We were lounging by the pool at Animal Kingdom Lodge and literally soaking in the last of the gorgeous Florida sun and beautiful weather. I don't think I will ever get sick of that sight.
 




It was such a great way to finish up such a fun and fast-paced honeymoon by just slowing it down and relaxing until it was time to leave. I wish after our busy week at Disney that we could have stayed an entire second week JUST at the resort to unwind and relax... but a few hours on our last day would just have to do!

Later that evening we were on a plane from Orlando, Florida to Chicago. It was an evening flight and when we were just beginning to leave Orlando we caught the fireworks going off at Magic Kingdom. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect send off. So while we were reflecting on our trip with the fireworks going off, we put on some headphones and plugged them into the free XM radio in the armrest when one of our songs came on.

Fireflies by Owl City| The song became significant to us on our previous trip to Florida in 2009 to visit my Gramma Myers - the trip that Tony proposed on! It seemed like every time the radio came on, this song played. We both loved the song and thought it was so hilarious that it kept playing. I'm pretty sure when we jumped in the car right after Tony asked me to marry him it played... so it just really ended up being a song that meant a lot to us.
That's one of the little details from our honeymoon week that I don't think I will ever forget. Or at least, I hope I'll never forget how I felt in that moment.

 
Going home together is the only good thing about having to leave Disney!

Snacking on some of the Disney chips we got brought home
SO sad to say goodbye to our magical honeymoon!


Once we landed in Chicago we picked up my car from our hotel and headed back to the Quad Cities. But first we had to pick up something to eat... and what did we choose...


White Castle. After a week of deluxe dining we chose the exact opposite. (And we regret it just a tad bit afterwards, too!)

We made it back home late that night to our Silvis crapartment with the shag carpet & bugs galore and went about our normal lives again for the next few weeks... little did we know the huge shock that would soon be coming to us via pregnancy test! A gigantic part of me would love to go back in time to me four years ago and enjoy those few weeks as Mr. & Mrs. Duggan before pregnancy and parenthood and savor in our time together. I'm so incredibly thankful to be married to a person who is my best friend with memories together that are so happy that I just wish I could go back in time and experience it all over again! I'm even more grateful to be able to create new, amazing memories together plus our little heathens! We're FINALLY planning a return trip to Walt Disney World that will be our children's FIRST trip and I am so excited I could just scream!!! It'll also be our first family vacation since our trip to Florida with Amanda, John, & Anne Marie in 2013.

It's pretty hilarious now that I'm sitting down & thinking about it... I went to Anna Maria Island, Florida to visit my Gramma in 2008 with my little sister, again in 2009 for my birthday with my boyfriend/fiance, to Anna Maria again in 2010 with my sister & brother-in-law for Thanksgiving, to Orlando in 2011 with my husband, and back to the Anna Maria area in 2013 with family. Now we're planning a 2015 trip to Anna Maria & Orlando! So I guess it has unintentionally been at least every two years to go and visit.



I can't wait to visit my amazing Gramma, walk on my favorite beach, and introduce my daughter's to one of the most magical places I've ever been!