Saturday, June 4, 2016

Baby 3.0: 23 Weeks + MINIVAN!

If Crosby shows up on the same timetable as his sisters, then we have about sixteen weeks to go in this pregnancy! That is a long... long... long time to go.

23 weeks along in my third pregnancy
It's really not sinking in that this is more than likely my LAST pregnancy. Yes... I probably sound like I'm stuck on repeat since I said this with Molly, but now it's even more likely that this will be it. (And if you ask Tony then he say we are "99.9%" done having kids after this!) I think it will probably be a little bit more sad and will sink in a little more once Cros is here... it's easier for me to miss little babies than it is to miss pregnancy. Pregnancy isn't so glamorous! It's totally not bad, either, but it's definitely not the most comfortable I've ever been... that's for sure. But lets be real... it's such a relief when you're out of the sleepless newborn stage, too. The passage of time is so bittersweet!

Hitting the 23 week mark in all three pregnancies - first with Presley, second with Molly, third with Crosby

It's a little bit insane that I was getting ready to celebrate my 24th birthday in the first picture there, especially as I sit here writing this as 28 year old me. I don't have any insight to share in this regard, only that parenting has taught me a great deal in that amount of time. There was no amount of preparation that could have gotten me ready to become a mom the first time around. I'm so incredibly thankful we all made it through those early days and through the darkness that was postpartum depression. I can only hope and pray that the transition from 2 to 3 will be as seamless as going from 1 to 2 was for us. I think the hopelessness I felt so deeply when Presley was a newborn had a lot to do with not being able to see that it really WAS going to get better and now I have these beautiful, intelligent, wonderful girls with whom I get to spend my days. Still, PPD is something I am still so incredibly aware of and I can only hope and pray that I'll be able to ask for the medical help I need if I'm faced with it this time around. Mental health is so intimidating to face when it's in jeopardy and I have so much respect and admiration for those who advocate for awareness as well as those who face anxiety and depression.

So, back to the here and now. Crosby's been kicking up a storm lately and we're starting to see his kicks on the outside which was kinda surprising to us both! I don't remember it being this soon in my other pregnancies so it makes me wonder if we've got a little baby hulk on our hands. He's also starting to kick more and more - especially in the early morning hours when I seem to turn over and lay on my right side.

A super exciting thing around here this week was joining the minivan club!

A new-to-us 2005 Honda Odyssey
Yes, I absolutely love it. Equally as important - the kids are so obsessed with it. Presley asked me this morning if we could just go for a ride in it because she just loves being in there! My favorite thing about it is all the extra breathing room in there. I have absolutely nothing against my Fit... I really, really love that car... but we were outgrowing it. If you ask the girls what their favorite thing is it would most certainly be the DVD player! Now all I want to do is plan a road trip to really test this baby out. (Totally craving Imo's Pizza so I think a trip to St. Louis sounds wonderful!) This vehicle will be well loved and adored here with us.

This time is definitely celebration season in the Duggan family. We celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary, Sean turned 26, Selena turned 52, Tony turned 31 yesterday, and today is Selena & Mike's 30th anniversary!!! Next up is Father's Day and then Molly's birthday. It's definitely a fun, busy month and a half.

Also, I've got to announce the winner of the Me Before You prize pack!

Yay, Caroline! I'm glad it's ending up with someone who loves to read!! I'll mail it out to you in the next few days. And thank you to everyone who entered - you all deserve prizes. :)

And lastly, my blog posts have been a bit stagnant for some time now so I'm going to shake things up around here next week! I'll be writing with a purpose every Thursday over the course of ten weeks on ten unique topics. And I'd love for my fellow bloggers to take part if they'd like to, so stay tuned or contact me if it sounds like something you'd like to take part in!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Spare Thoughts.

It's insane the amount of scrutiny out there regarding the child that fell into the primate exhibit. I've read where people said the mother sounds way too calm. But can you imagine what they'd say if she sounded hysterical? "Well geez, that mom really should have kept it together - what a wreck! She should have put her child first and kept her emotions in check so as not to upset her 4-year-old or the gorilla." And of course people are quick to throw in their judgment on how she could ever allow her child to get in there in the first place. "What kind of mom would allow this to happen?" But unless you've constantly got your kids in a carrier, stroller, leash, or restraint of some kind, aren't you expecting a little bit too much of the mother and especially of the preschool aged child? Kids learn (at that age especially) through exploring their surroundings. And we all know accidents just happen... usually quicker than we have time to control. Oh, and can you imagine the comments this mother would have faced had she had her child on a leash? "How tacky and awful to put your human child in a restraint like that!" Parents are condemned for being too laid back and they're condemned for being too uptight. We label each other which alienates us further from others.

After encountering such harsh reactions to this situation has caused me to take a step back and wonder why we're all the way we are... WHY are we so quick to judge each other? And why are we so cutting with our words? Why can't we find ways to start a conversation with others without gossiping, judging, and vitriolic comments?

It's just hard spending time around negativity. It's draining. It doesn't propel things forward. It's not constructive. We're not perfect people but we've got to grow and try our best to encourage each other. Are we going to like and agree with everyone? Absolutely not. Are we all meant to be friends? Nope. But doesn't it feel so much better to lead with respect, compassion, and understanding in order to learn where people are coming from? The good stuff runs a whole lot deeper than all the junk, anyways.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Baby 3.0: 21 Weeks + "Me Before You" House Party Giveaway!

If this pregnancy follows the same pattern as my last two, then we should have about 17.5 weeks to go until this baby arrives. I'm already counting down the days!

I was just looking through the weekly photos from my other pregnancies and realized this is the first pregnancy where we're not moving halfway through! Which is so amazing. But we couldn't just keep things TOO nice and easy, right? We're going to be adding a new vehicle to the family so that'll be enough excitement if you ask me.

21 weeks along in all three pregnancies: 10/15/2011 with Presley, 02/28/2014 with Molly, and 05/23/2016 with Crosby 
Seems like Crosby has done a lot of growing in the last week or so. And he's definitely kicking a lot more lately which is a really great feeling. I guess I've been letting Presley know when the baby is kicking a bunch lately because she asked me the other day if I liked being kicked. And when I said I did she asked if she could kick me. (Also, yes, she was dead serious. Silly goose.) That's really all there is to say about pregnancy at this point.

So, if you're not familiar with House Party, you should absolutely check it out! They offer the opportunity to host all kinds of parties from different companies that want you to try and hopefully recommend their product. You can apply for the parties that seem like they'd be a good fit for you and occasionally you get picked! When you're chosen for a party they give you all the tools you'll need to plan the party and to invite everybody. In the past I've gotten a TurboTax party which included filing my taxes for free and a ton of 50% off codes for friends and family to use for their taxes.

This time around I was super lucky to host a party to promote a book I love and the accompanying movie that I cannot wait to see. If you're not familiar with it, the book is called Me Before You and is written by Jojo Moyes and the movie stars Sam Claflin (Finnick from the Hunger Games) and Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones). The trailer could explain the premise better than I could...

Of course I'm sure the movie won't be able to touch the book - but it looks like they cast SO appropriately all around. When I applied for the party I had just read the book and was deeply moved by the story. So when I learned I was chosen I was through the roof excited! The party supplies included 11 paperback copies of Me Before You, 1 hardcover copy of the book's sequel, a pair of bumblebee tights (significant in the book), bookmarks, notebooks & pens, photo props, and even adorable cloth handkerchiefs for WHEN you inevitably sob.

So I got to invite people and share some of this awesomeness and thank goodness because I had such a great time! Kelsi, Kaela, Ashley and I got together at Starbucks and I had all these points of conversation to talk about that has to do with some of the themes of the book that didn't give anything away since none of them had read it yet. However, once we all started talking about life we literally didn't stop. We got there around 7pm and stayed until Starbucks kicked us out two hours later!

So since we didn't discuss the book at all and we all had a ton of fun we decided we'll get back together after the three of them read the book (and I'm sure I'll end up rereading it...) so we can talk about it and then go see the movie. It really is one of those books that you just have to talk about after you read it so I can't wait to see what they think.

I'm so glad you guys showed up and stuck around because it was exactly what I needed right now! Except maybe a little less ghost talk next time. And we should absolutely repeat this regularly.

And with that, I'd like to give one of my loyal readers (all five or six of you...) a Me Before You prize pack that will include a paperback copy of Me Before You along with a bookmark, handkerchief, pen, & notebook! There's only one way to enter and that's by using the Rafflecopter below and by answering the question there and leaving your answer in the comments on this blog entry!!
*Which means: If you enter through the Rafflecopter but don't leave a comment on the blog then you can't win the prize.*

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!! So good luck and let me know if you have any questions!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Tony & Ali 5-ever

Five years ago today Tony and I were still reeling from one of the biggest days of our life.

When people talk about the happiest day of their lives they often mention the birth of their children... which I am always a little envious when they truly feel that way. That day is always so intertwined with pain and struggle and exhaustion for me. I always think about our wedding day when the topic of "best day ever" comes up. I felt so much joy and peace on that day, it was amazing. Things went wrong but all negative feelings just bounced right off of me. I had a hundred reasons to be anxious but I was excited and truly happy. My dad was missing from such a huge day of my life and I expected to feel especially empty but instead of that I felt loved and cherished by everyone present. I loved everything about marrying Tony and would do it again every year if I could. We had such a fun time with our friends and family that night! And then we headed off to Walt Disney World in all our wedded bliss.

And since then life has been amazing and absolutely crazy. We were surprised not even two months after our wedding to find out we were expecting and that began an entirely new chapter of our lives. Or really, it would just completely change life as we knew it.

It truly has not stopped or slowed down since. We came home from our honeymoon to our apartment in Silvis which we would end up moving from in the next coming months to the tiny Moline house. That's the house we brought baby Presley home to... the house we became a family in! We stayed there for around two years when we up and moved back to Memphis and lived with friends until we found our home. The Duggan family expanded just after buying our home and we brought Molly home here in 2014 not long after our third anniversary. Life here since then has been crazy and beautiful and full of laughs and tears.

Here we are, five years post-wedding, and we're staring the reality of becoming a family of five directly in the face. Never in a million years did I envision this exact life for us all those years ago. I hoped and dreamed and always thought of what could be, but the reality is so much better. Maybe not every moment of every day... because that crap is hard! (Especially parenting a strong willed child!) But the challenges certainly causes you to grow in the best ways.

One goal for this next year of marriage is to finally use our fondue pot. Yes... this is a serious goal. I'd like to get rid of so much of the unnecessary crap in our life - both the physical stuff as well as the baggage you can't touch.

Dear Lord,
Continue to help us protect our hearts, our love, our marriage, our family
Guide us down the path You have set for us and to put each other first along the way
Teach us how to react with kindness and patience and understanding to each other and those around us and how to grow from the experience when we get it wrong
Thank you for granting courage and grace and mercy in the face of personal adversity 
Help us to remember that as beautiful as looking back is, to live in the now and to always look forward to the future You hold for us
I look forward to the surprises of year six of our marriage and finding ways to make it even better than the last
Thank you for sending me a partner for the ride, please help me to love him the way You love us.

Remember we used to dance
And everyone wanted to be
you and me
I want to be too

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Baby 3.0: 20 Weeks + WE HAVE A NAME!

Pregnancy in the second trimester can be so dreamy when compared to the first and third trimester experiences. Typically for me, the first trimester is full of morning sickness and nausea while the third trimester is full of aches and a hard time sleeping at night. So I really don't have a whole lot to report at the moment as there isn't too much action here lately. I'm feeling good. I'm sleeping good.

I was walking around Aldi last night with a big jar of pickles on my hip and realized how much of a stereotypical pregnant lady I must've looked. The same thing happened to me when I was pregnant with Presley and ran into my friend Jaime while shopping. She was like, "Oh lord could you be more pregnant?" because I was headed to the checkout lane with a huge jar of pickles in one hand and a tub of ice cream in the other!

And yes.. I just bought this yesterday and it's mostly gone.

It still feels surreal we're having a boy and a little crazy we'll have to wait 4 months before we get to meet him. I have a whole long list of boy names I like but my top four favorites at this point are Luke (mosty because of Luke Skywalker!), Walter (for the one and only Walter Elias Disney), Crosby, and Jude. I like the names Andrew, James, and Charlie but my husband has vetoed those. (I love Charlie, James & Andy even as girl names, too!)

Presley was not a fan of a single name we were suggesting. When we originally told her our frontrunner name, she told me absolutely not. After a minute or two of thinking it over she said, "Okay mom. If you want to name him that, you can." I asked her what changed her mind and she said, "I don't know any other boy names." So cute and a little bit sad, too, for some reason. I told her I'd help tell her some more names so she could find one she liked... but she told me we already knew his name...

Crosby Thomas

And once Presley accepted the name she would hear NO other suggestions - that is his name! "His name is Crosby Thomas and just Crosby!" So we definitely have a name and we are absolutely excited about it. We thought about keeping his name to ourselves until we announced his birth, but our Presley girl is SO excited she can't help but tell people. Thomas is my husband's middle name and I absolutely LOVE it. It was also his grandfather's middle name. If you were as obsessed with the show Parenthood then you might recognize the name Crosby from the show (played by Dax Shepherd). All of our names end in the "y" sound - Tony, Ali, Presley, and Molly - so we definitely wanted to keep that going. (Yes, we've thought it through. No, we won't be changing our minds.)

Crosby has his Great Great Aunt Brenda to thank for his first name, too! A couple weeks before finding out the gender of our baby I posted on Facebook how I had no great ideas for boy names and felt like I had a million ideas for a girl and my friends really came through with some awesome boy name ideas and Aunt Brenda's was one of them. So thank you for suggesting it, Brenda!!! You helped name our baby!

Don't ask me why, but it just dawned on me today that I won't get to put this kid in any cute dresses. Actually, I think I was looking at one of the girls' dresses on the floor in the laundry room and it hit me all of a sudden. Holy moly... I'm not having another girl. It's these little tiny things that creep up on me every day and has taken a little while to really sink in.

Also, if you aren't a member of the Disney Movie Club yet, I suggest you give it a second look. I love it and everyone else we know in the club loves it too. Right now you can get 5 Disney movies for only $1 plus FREE shipping when you join! You get the choice from over 1,000+ titles and there are some really great ones out of the vault right now. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me and I'll try my best to answer them. If you sign up through our referral link, our kids will get to pick out two free movies! (And each time you refer someone to the club after joining you will get to do the same.)

These movies make for great gifts for grandkids, friends, family, adults, ANYBODY! I have a hard time thinking of someone who doesn't love Disney.

If you'd like to sign up through our referral or learn more - check it out here.