Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday's Topics: Nine Pictures

Picking nine pictures of Tony and I is kinda a crazy task... what do I base my choices on?  How do I sum up the 12+ years of our life together in nine pictures?  Well, I'm going to try to pick pictures most of you haven't seen 200 times already all while painting a complete picture of our story.  So here we go.

I couldn't find the original of this picture, but this is good enough.  I'll start with a picture of our core friends when we started to get to know each other - Christine, Peyton, Me, Tony, & Ashley spent sooo much time together back in the day!  It would be impossible to talk about the history of Tony & I without representing them as well.  This was a long, long time ago.  I'm just gonna generally say early 2000s.
And then over time friends came and went... we all grew up and at sometimes apart... but Ashley was our roll dog!  ;)  Us three did everything together and looking back, I wouldn't have it any other way.  I can see why sometimes it's hard for Ashley to ever pick sides between Tony & I on stupid stuff because he's just as much her brother as I am her sister just about!  (But we know I'm her favorite, Tony! Hehe...)  This was Summer 2006.
And then there was the period of time that we were long distance.  At some points in those two years we were just friends who talked all the time and still had feelings for each other and other times we were exclusive.  This is February 2007, just around Valentine's Day.  He drove all the way from Memphis to Moline just to be with me for a few days.  It means even more to me now than it did then.
Christmas 2008 with his family.  Tony and I weren't even engaged at this point, yet they never hesitated to include me as a part of the family.  Here I am smooching Tony's cousin, Bobby.  I wish it was this easy for all of us to get together as a family, but seeing as we are all going in 20 different directions, it's a little more difficult.  On the left of the picture is Tony's brother Sean and on the far right is Tony's sweet cousin, Alexis (or Lexi or Alex - depending on where you know her from!) who is more like his sister!
I believe this was March 2009.  Here we are at our first Chicago Bulls game.  It's actually one of my favorite pictures of us!  These were some of our carefree days!!! :)
May 2011 - a time in my life I will hopefully never forget.  Here we are on the way from the church to the reception on our party bus!  BLISS just begins to describe this moment.
Now it's July 2011 and we are visiting Memphis for a long weekend.  We're actually sitting at the Memphis Zoo sweating our BUMS off!  The significance this picture carries with it?  This is the last picture of Tony and I as just the two of us.  This is just a few days before we found out the most life changing news to date: that we would be having a BABY!
This was October 2012 - a picture from the weekend my niece was baptized.  I think this is the only picture including my sisters, their significant others, and our kids!  You should recognize Tony, Presley, and I - my two brother-in-laws (or almost BIL) are on either side of Tony.  I'm sitting next to my sister Ashely, my big sister is in the dress a few seats down, and her daughter Anne Marie is the tiny one!  I look forward to many more family photos over the years of the 3 of us and our families!  (PS, the others in this photo are Amanda's siblings-in-law!) 
Fast forward to Christmas 2012.  Here we are in Memphis again celebrating with our family!  I chose this picture because I love it - we have so few of the six of us together.  I also like this to contrast with the picture above where I'm standing in almost the same spot with a few of the same people but instead of holding Presley, I'm holding Bobby.  It makes me so happy to look at this picture and sometimes so sad that we're so far apart.  I love them so much - I am so blessed with some of the most amazing family members on both sides of our families.

None of these pictures would have been possible without Tony.  He's my best friend.  He's my boyfriend.  He's my husband.  He's so much to me... much more than any title could hold.  He is a part of me that I don't even fully know how to explain.  But it's incredible to me that our love can blossom over the years and make such a beautiful life possible for us.  This journey we are on is one of the most hilarious, painful, and amazing I have ever embarked on and I look forward to looking back at these pictures YEARS from now while shaking my head and laughing at my former self rattle on while thinking, "Man! I really had no idea what was up ahead, did I?!"

Life. Love.Lauren

Monday, May 27, 2013

Marriage Monday: Sarah's Guest Post - Just the Two of Us

Let me start by saying I do NOT have an independent personality. At all. I've never lived alone, never seen a movie by myself or eaten by myself in a restaurant and my friends will tell you that I always had someone with me to even go to the bathroom throughout high school and college. Yes, I was that girl. I thrive when I'm around others and the majority of the happiest moments in my life have included family and friends in some way or another. Maybe it's because I'm an extrovert. Maybe it's because I often find boredom in solitude. But whatever it is, the move to Cleveland, Ohio was a big one for me.

Sure I had been with Derek for over 7 years, but do you know how many people we knew up here? Zero. A big fat zilch. In fact, I really didn't know anyone in the entire state of Ohio. Our friends and family were mostly 13+ hours away and worse, I would be working from home. It's was nice gig, but there wouldn't be co-workers to meet or friends to be made through a new employer. It would be me, the dogs and Derek for the first year up here. Needless to say, it was rough. We had no one. Thankfully I was pregnant for a large part of it and our wonderful marriage remained flawless, but I can't deny the toll it took on my heart.

My mother-in-law always used to tell me that she credits her strong relationship with my father-in-law to living so far from family and having to raise children on their own. It wasn't until I had Drew up here that I understood. As much as I longed to be near friends and family, envious of pictures and events across social media sites, it only made our marriage that much stronger. Sure Derek had some work friends, but ultimately it was just the two of us. We HAD only each other to rely on and we had to create our own weekend entertainment. And it's only now that I can look back and be thankful.

It was because of those times together that we still look at each other and say that we have an amazing marriage. We respect each other more than ever and aren't just great friends. We are each other's best friends. Period. When Derek decided to jump on a different career path knowing we could end up anywhere in the U.S., I was extremely hesitant. I wish I could go back now and tell myself 3 years ago that it will be ok. You'll eventually make friends and your marriage will only strengthen more than it already was. Moving away will be ok.

Now in our 4th year here, we've done more in 2013 with various friends than we probably did in the first 2 years combined. We now have daycare friends, Jayhawk friends, neighbor friends, blog friends, library group friends and more. We have enjoyed quite a few night outs with babysitters and I have finally found 'my place' here in good 'ole Ohio. Despite my fears of being so far from family, I have a wonderful life and am in love with our little family unit. Sure, it's nice being with friends and having a social life, but in the end it comes down to just the two of us. Period.

Sarah's blog: Our Journey
Sarah, wife to Derek and mama to Drew, shares her experiences in her various roles and includes the occasional yummy recipe and running post!  She's also mom to her two beautiful furry babies, Lacy & Bailey.  Sarah and Derek are getting ready to celebrate their EIGHTH wedding anniversary next month, how amazing and fortunate are they?  Thanks for sharing part of your story with us, Sarah - congratulations to the two of you & here's to many more happy years!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Currently {Link-Up} x8

This weeks prompts are {eating, loving, missing, moving, talking}

Eating:  Crunchtables.  Our favorite.  Man, they are so delicious.  I wish it wasn't such small servings per package, though.  Tony and I are always fighting for the last few!

Loving:  Dave.  {As in Dave Matthews/Dave Matthews Band.}  I swear, there is something spiritual about his songs.  They speak to me on a different level than anything I've ever listened to.  My favorite album {at the moment - it's constantly changing} of his.

Missing:  Spontaneity.  Just jumping in the car and going somewhere.  Going out to see a movie late at night.  Doing anything - even grocery shopping - at the drop of a hat and at whatever odd time worked.  No schedule.  No nap time to work around.  No breastfeeding.  No bedtime routine.  It's not like I mind any of that stuff - most of it I am enthusiastic about - but just a few days a month I would like a free day.

Moving:  Too slow.  I move too slow {need to start running}.  Time moves too slow.  Our life moves at a slow speed right now it feels like... it takes us 5-10 minutes just to walk out of the house!  :)  I wonder what it'll be like once Presley can walk on her own!

Talking:  To friends.  It's been a really great week when it comes to connecting and reconnecting with friends - old and new.  I love it.  I have a feeling the weekend is going to follow suit.

Sheesh.  I'm feeling pretty dull this week.  I'm so excited that we've nearly got our marathon relay team together!  And the more we talk about the race, the more psyched I get.  Thanks to 12th House Studio for making such awesome shirts {check them out!} we've even got race day shirts picked out for our team!  The race isn't until the end of September... which is both good {I haven't even started running yet!} and bad {I'm so excited!} because it's still four months away!  It'll be our first time running the relay and I'm psyched to be running the race with my hubby and some of my family members!  Anybody else running any cool races this summer?

That's what we're currently up to in the Duggan household!  If you want to participate and share what you're currently up to, follow the link below!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday's Topics: Ten Reasons to Smile.

Linking up with Lauren @ Life. Love. Lauren for the first time for her {Tuesday Topics}

Presley learning to kiss.  Presley has been giving kisses for a while now, but her little kisses just keep getting sweeter and sweeter!  Now she'll make the "mwah!" sound at the end of a kiss and it just makes me smile.
She's not giving kisses here, but this is another thing she's doing lately.  We ask, "Where is Presley?" and she'll cover her face and then pop out and yell, "BOO!"

Fresh brewed coffee + my favorite coffee-mate creamer.  Yum.  I look forward to the mornings for this reason.  {Best creamer, ever!}

Clif bars.  If they weren't so darn expensive, we would buy these all the time because Tony and I sure got hooked on them after finding them on clearance!  {My current favorite.}

Green things.  It is so gorgeous now that all the rain has really brought everything to life outside!  The view from our window is so vastly different than it was a few weeks/months ago.

Encouragement.  One of my favorite Pinterest boards focuses on encouraging words and some days when things don't seem to be very sunny, I get lost in pinning all kinds of uplifting stuff.

Cartwheel.Target.com - if you frequent Target, check this website out for some awesome coupons!  It is beyond easy and fantastic {especially if you have a smartphone, IT'S TIME TO UPGRADE, AMANDA!}.  I used it for the first time today and saved $1.54 for pretty much doing NOTHING.  So awesome.

Warm towels straight out of the dryer.  I love it!  One of my favorite things to do for Presley is have a fresh, warm towel for her after bath time every now and again.

Crawling into a bed with clean sheets.  We're washing the sheets tonight (and it's the nice set we got from Granny!) and I am so excited to take a shower and crawl into a clean bed!

Chick-fil-A's sweet tea.  Yes!  If only they had $1 drinks like McDonalds... then I would be in some serious trouble!  For now, I'll just settle for our weekly Tuesday night spicy night special!

Flowers from my husband.  I told Tony years ago that I just wasn't much of a flower person and as a result flowers just aren't in the house very much.  But for some reason, that has changed for me and I just think flowers are beautiful and I don't see them as being as frivolous as I once did.  Well, he surprised me with beautiful flowers for our anniversary and when I saw my favorite flower in the bouquet (I love carnations!) I seriously started crying!!!  I love them so much!  {I kinda felt like Kristen Bell when Dax got her the sloth!!!!}

If you want to get in on Tuesday's topics, here is the list and link again below!

Life. Love.Lauren

Monday, May 20, 2013

Marriage Monday: Happy 2nd Anniversary, Baby!

I, Ali,

take you, Tony,

to be my husband

To have 

and to hold

From this day forward

For better 

or for worse

For richer, 

for poorer

In sickness 

and in health

until death do us part. 

It's incredible to me that we last said those words to each other two years ago.  Two years ago...?  I start to ask myself where the time has gone, but I know exactly what has made those two years feel like they've both lasted a lifetime and somehow passed in the blink of an eye...

Two years ago I thought I knew everything there was to know about the man I married.  I was wrong.  I had never known Tony as a father - even more so - the father of our child.  I think about the incredibly bumpy ride we've taken over these last 24 months.  {The days before we were parents feels as if it were an entire lifetime ago and that we were two completely different people then.  Anybody else able to empathize with that feeling?}  How could I have no idea how much one tiny person could change our lives forever?  In these past two years we have seen some of the "for better" days and several of the "for worse" days and we've come out on the other side two changed people.  My heart was altered after learning just HOW MUCH I could love my own child.  In turn, it has deepened the love I feel for my husband.

I wish I could say that I couldn't possibly love Tony more than I do today, but I know that is a lie because I continue to love him more as time goes by.  I wish, hope, and pray many things for our marriage and here is a spontaneous prayer for our second anniversary and beyond...

I pray I remember above all else that this man is my best friend
and he deserves to be reminded of that every day through my actions and my words.
May I show him the love he shows me.
God, please remind me that the little moments make up the bigger picture that has become our life together.
Help me take more mental pictures and worry less about capturing the moments from behind a camera.
Let us never forget the reasons we fell in love with each other so many years ago.
Protect him - and his heart -  every day and preserve the butterflies we've give each other over time. 
(Help those butterflies find their way back to us every now and again.)
Give us the strength and patience necessary to cultivate our marriage and our family.
 And don't ever let our passions die.
Above all else, please Lord, help us to seek you in all things and don't ever trust us to make our own plans. 
(Yours are always better.)

And finally, I heard this song a few months ago for the first time and I couldn't help but think of Tony and our (at times) tumultuous relationship.  I love that it recognizes both the ups and downs of life and the call to celebrate it all. 

Here's to us, Anthony Thomas!  Two years down and hopefully many, many, many more together.  I love you so so much.

Stuck it out this far together
Put our dreams through the shredder
Let’s toast cause things got better
and everything could change like that
And all these years go by so fast
But nothing lasts forever

Here's to us
Here's to love
All the times
That we messed up
Here's to you
Fill the glass
Cause the last few nights
Have gone to fast
If they give you hell
Tell em to forget themselves
Here's to us
Here's to us

Here's to all that we kissed
And to all that we missed
To the biggest mistakes
That we just wouldn’t trade
To us breaking up
Without us breaking down
To whatevers comin' our way

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Favorite Bloggers!

I like to think of myself as somewhat selective in the blogs I read, so when I find ones I enjoy reading regularly, I really do become attached!  Here are five blogs I enjoy and recommend checking out:

exodus31three - I love reading Courtney's blog and I'm so happy to have come across it.  The thing I enjoy most is the fact that Courtney, her husband, myself, and my husband share the same hometown!  Since Tony and I no longer live in Memphis, Tennessee - I feel like we can vicariously live through the two of them through the words and pictures in her blog.  I also love how creative she is and how descriptive her words are!  {Oh, and if you haven't been to Memphis before, go and check it out sometime.  It's a very fun city and I don't think you would be disappointed.}

our journey.  I feel like I could be friend's with Tara - her blogs are simply written and I can almost always relate to what she is talking about!  She is such a great story teller - she shares about her life and writes with such vivid detail.  Surprise, surprise... but I found her blog through Pinterest while searching tips on traveling to Walt Disney World with a baby.  I found this entry & have been following her (and loving it!) ever since!

The Great Umbrella Heist - You know how people (who have cable) love reality TV shows?  Well we don't have cable and honestly, anymore, most of reality TV (minus the Bachelor) is just not so much my cup of tea.  With this being said, I feel like (and get ready for this to sound creepy with a capital "C") reading about Sarah and her kiddos is my guilty pleasure!!!  I love reading about her three beautiful girls as they grow - the everyday challenges they face and the beauty in the joys they encounter.  Oh and... big shock... but where do you suppose one of their favorite vacation spots is??  None other than WALT DISNEY WORLDAre you starting to see a trend here?  I've been following Sarah for a while now but just recently started reading her blog back from the beginning - Seriously.  Go read her blog!  It'll quickly turn into a favorite of yours (if it's not already), I'm sure!

And So I Give Thanks: A Glimpse Into My Everyday Holy - I was aiming to mention five blogs I haven't referenced lately, but I am kinda bending the rules on this one since Sarah just guest blogged a few weeks ago!  I say this about several of the bloggers I follow, but I know we'd be two peas in a pod and would get along famously.  Biggest subject we'd bond over?  DISNEY!  Oh yeah, she's a Disney fanatic, too!!!  She is also a runner and reading about her running experiences really pushes me towards setting and achieving more fitness-minded goals.

A Method in the Madness - Okay, I just love Ryanne and enjoy following the journey as she and her husband try to conceive.  It hasn't been an easy road but I love that she shares their story - both ups and downs.  And maybe that's my favorite part... that her blog is so real and balanced.  She shares the happy stuff and she's not afraid to talk about the struggles that make us who we are.

Any blogs you follow and would recommend for me to check out?  Do you already follow any of these lovely ladies?  If so, what's your favorite part of their blog?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Baby Number Two.

Now don't get too excited, there is no baby on the way!  But it seems like this is a popular topic of discussion lately.  It's really no wonder I've had baby fever!

Why Tony and I are talking about it:

We are at a pretty great stage right now.  Presley is becoming more self sufficient.  We are well enough out of the newborn phase where all of the "there is no way in HELL I am ever doing this again!" has worn off.  And not only that, but Presley is such a jewel in our life that it is a motivator for wanting another!  Who would have thought!?  I just find myself thinking all the time how blessed we would be to have another beautiful child when I look at Presley.

Why others are talking about it:

No more exciting pregnancy stuff and no more exciting newborn stuff... people are ready for some excitement from us, it seems, because as I said before - expanding our family is a subject that's come up with friends & family lately.  And really, it isn't something that bothers me like I thought it would.  I like talking about the possibilities of expanding our family and I enjoy hearing experiences and opinions from other people.  Maybe this is because I am very comfortable with my life right now...  I don't feel the need to people-please anymore like I have for so much of my life... I feel like I can stand on my own feet and state my opinion without apologizing for it.

But also, I think it's just a comfortable topic for people to talk about.  Which is funny, if you think about it, considering what an intimate decision it is.

Of course, there are reasons why we would want to postpone at this point in our life.

We aren't at a place of permanent residence.  We'd like to own a home and ideally, move out of the Midwest within the year.  And if we move, that means new job(s) and all sorts of uncertainties that come along with that.

Time with Presley.  Of course, Presley wouldn't be going anywhere if another child were brought into the scene, but some days we really relish the moments we have with her and think - it might be nice being just the three of us for some time (or always).  And then there are the days where I am feeling frazzled (why is she not eating ANYTHING I give her?  Really... throwing another fit?  Waking up an hour earlier than usual all week!?) for different reasons and think... okay, maybe one is ENOUGH for now.

I used to think that the main motivator for expanding our family would be based on the proximity of age between our kids - I love that my sisters and I are close in age and have always theoretically wanted that for my children as well.  But I don't even think Tony and I talk much about that point.  I just thought about it the other day and the if we got pregnant at this point our kids would be two years apart.  That sounds insane on so many levels!  Thinking about Presley as a two year old?  Thinking about Presley as a sibling?  Starting all over in the baby stage - what are we thinking?  I just can't imagine those possibilities because it seems so different from our current life.  But it doesn't sound too bad to my ears lately.  The possibility of expanding our hearts and making room for another set of grimy hands in our house has been weighing heavily on my heart lately.  I'm not sure if it's just a little phase I'm going through (what most call "baby fever") or if it's a more permanent longing... I've asked myself an lot recently... idea or reality...  do I like the reality of adding another child into the mix or the idea?  But if you knew me 15 months ago, would you have EVER guessed I'd want another child?!  Absolutely makes me chuckle!!!

I guess at this point, I am open to new possibilities.  And it is really a freeing and peaceful feeling.  Though, no body get your hopes up.  I don't remember if I've shared very much about it in any of my previous posts (other than briefly in my guest post), but all the ups and downs in my cycles are still just as prevalent after having Presley as they were before.  Since my PCOS was diagnosed on symptoms alone (no further testing) I sometimes doubt the diagnosis, but other times when I read more about it... it's hard to dispute.  Though, it would be nice and give me peace of mind to really confirm whether or not I have PCOS through some form of medical testing or further investigation.  {I recently had my thyroid tested and the results came back normal... so at least we know it's not that!}

And, of course, all things considered, this is really only MY opinion on the matter that I've shared, not so much my husbands.  He sways back and forth between the possibilities, but right now, he is more inclined to wish we'd postpone at the time being.  {Reason #5 that I love my husband:  He is almost always the yin to my yang while remaining a part of the same team.  I love it and I love him for it.}  So we will see when and if there will ever be a baby Duggan #2 in our near or more distant future... but for now it is sure a fun topic to think about!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I'm a Mother Lover!

How was everyone's Mothers Day?!  I hope it was exactly what you needed it to be, whether that is relaxing, adventurous, or somewhere in between!

I spent the majority of Mothers Day this past Sunday with my husband, daughter, and mom in Peoria, Illinois - which is about 1.5 hours from where we live.  Well, let me back up a bit... the first surprise of the day was Presley waking us up an hour earlier than she normally does - silly girl!  And then Tony made the most delicious breakfast tacos for us before we left for Peoria - Italian sausage, red bell pepper, hash browns, and scrambled eggs!!!  Then we played at home with Presley, my mom came over, and we hit the road.  My husband then surprised me by taking us to McAlister's Deli for lunch, which was one of our all-time favorite places to eat when we lived in Memphis.  Peoria is the closest location for us so in the past we've tripped to Peoria solely for McAlister's - sad but true!  I love my husband for doing that.  My mom was trying to guess all the way what Tony had planned for us and she had guessed we were going to the Peoria Zoo.  It's a beautiful zoo but we had been there a few times before so I didn't think Tony would be taking us there.  And I was right because he pulled up to a place I'd never seen before - Wildlife Prairie State Park!  Everything was BEAUTIFUL from the animals to the enclosures they were in, everything was just wonderful to look at!  One of our favorite things was that the animals are all native to the area and so their enclosures were very natural to the environment and looked incredibly low-maintenance.  We plan to go back sometime this summer or fall with our nice camera (versus the cameras on our phones) and with our jogging stroller (versus our umbrella stroller with crappy tires not made for walking trails).

Before we really started the day Sunday, I put together some pictures of some of the most important Mothers in our lives.  I didn't do a very good job at sending Mothers Days cards out this year to the moms in my life because at times I see cards as being frivolous - don't we all end up throwing them out after a while anyways?  To me, the most important part is the sentiments that are scrawled within the cards, not so much the cards themselves.  Well, unfortunately, we were so busy between visiting Peoria and a cookout back in the Quad Cities with family that I didn't really make the time to let those moms know I was thinking of them!  So here I am a day two days late to make up for it!

Here are our beautiful grandmothers - Sharon Catherine (my maternal grandmother), Evangeline Sue (Tony's maternal grandmother), Alma Lou (Tony's paternal grandmother), and Elinor Rose (my paternal grandmother).  We are so grateful to have 3 out of our 4 grandmothers still here with us and consider ourselves supremely blessed to have gotten to know each of them throughout our lives.  (Though, I really wish Presley had the opportunity to get to know her Great Grandmommy just as much as I wish I had gotten to know her.  That is her on the top right holding my husband, Tony, when he was a little guy!)  Our grandmothers brought some of the most important and influential people in our lives - our parents and our aunts and uncles!  And where on EARTH would we be without them?!  Not only that, but our grandmothers are responsible for turning our parents into the thoughtful, loving, and caring people we have known them to be today.  All 4 are known for being STRONG women who have taught us how important it is to set goals for ourselves and to ever stop achieving.  Not only that, but they've always loved us, given us some of the most fun memories, and they've occasionally spoiled us!  Thank you for the various legacies you've started for our families, we promise to continue and honor them.

Here is my lovely mother-in-law, Selena Jane.  I've gotten to know Selena over the last ten years or so and I don't think anything has bonded me to her quite as closely as giving birth to her granddaughter has.  Don't get me wrong, I've felt close to Selena for many years, but sharing the rights to Presley has really just taken our relationship together to a whole new level and I am lucky to consider my mother-in-law as one of my closest friends!  Not only did she raise my husband to be the man he is (and my hilarious brother-in-law!), but she has loved Tony's father all these years as well as overcome some great adversities - all which has been an example to those around her of what a courageous & dedicated woman she is to herself and to her family.  I look forward to the years in which we live closer, Selena!  For all girl slumber parties and going for pedicures with Presley, for family dinners with ALL of us together again, and making new family traditions and memories.  Thank you so much for making a space for me in your heart and your family - I promise to always do the very same for you!

And here is my mom, Julie Marie!  I'm lucky enough to just live about 4 miles down the road from her and know that if I ever need her help, then I can count on her to help me out.  Everyone has always told me I looked exactly like her and it's pretty cool to carry on the tradition and hearing how much my daughter looks like me!  I am so grateful for my mom being brave enough to face childbirth not once or twice, but three times over - not only giving life to me but to my two sisters as well.  And if anyone knows me, they know how much my sisters mean to me!  How can I ever repay the woman who not only brought me into this world but my two best friends as well?  I will always love my mom and will always support her because if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be who I am today!  I couldn't imagine a better Mom and wouldn't ask for anyone but her.  I love you mom - Happy Mothers Day!  Thanks for taking care of me for all these years - changing countless poopy diapers, cleaning up the throw up, & giving us a house that was truly a home to us for so many years.  It's our 26th Mothers Day together... here's hoping we have many more together and lots of reasons to celebrate over our time together!!!

And a special Happy Mothers Day to all my blog friends - those who are trying to conceive, those who are expecting, those who celebrated with their kiddos, and everyone in between!  Happy Mothers Day to my sister, Amanda, and my cousin, Breanne, who celebrated their FIRST Mothers Day with their sweet babies this year.  Happy Mothers Day to my sweet friend, Ashley, who is celebrating her first pregnant Mothers Day and will soon have a beautiful boy to keep her busy!  Happy Mothers Day to our beautiful aunts - Jill, Donna, Kelly, Angie, & Carrie and also to Tony's beautiful step-Grandmother, Judy!  I hope you all had wonderful days and know that I was thinking of all of you this past Sunday!!!  Now everybody, take a moment and say a prayer of thanksgiving for your mother (and if you're not the praying type, find a way to show her how much she means to you and if she is no longer with you, find a way to honor all that she was to you in your daily life!) - no matter the relationship you have with your mother, she brought you into this world and for that we all have something to be thankful for!