Happy 5 month-birthday, Molly Lou!

Miss Lou Lou. I can't believe how the time has flown right by us these past few months. I love you so incredibly... you have brought an amount of pure joy to our family that I never knew was possible... never felt it was missing until we had you. You are going to bring so much happiness to the people you come in contact with for the rest of your life, I can already feel that. Thank you for helping make me a better, stronger, more loving & patient mother. Thank you for making Presley a big sister; it's a role I can see she was so naturally made for! Thank you for making my husband a daddy x2 - it has made him an even more caring and sensitive man than he already was. And thank you for making us a family of four. Along with Presley, you have made the bond of this little Duggan family stronger and more meaningful. I love you with my whole heart.

The last time I wrote a monthly update for you, it was September and you were two months old. I know... I have been majorly slacking! Thankfully, I have continued with the monthly pictures...

It's incredible how much you've grown in that amount of time and how much has changed.  Here are some of the things about you:
  • Presley is your favorite person, always. I don't think you've been upset with her yet... not even when she lays right on top of you! I know that might change as you both get older so I am relishing it now.
  • You're still on a breastmilk-only diet and you seem to have no complaints! We'll more than likely start introducing solids to you next month to see how you like it.
  • You're sleeping in our room in your bassinet. You like to wake up anytime between 5am-7am every morning to eat so it's very convenient to have you right there versus across the house in the room that'll be yours... eventually. 
  • Right now you're going through a growth spurt - you've been waking me up all throughout the night to nurse. It could just be your cold but I don't think that's all it is.
  • Your daddy still gets up with you every morning to change your diaper and hand you off to me so I can feed you before he gets ready for work. That is a huge support he offers me that I am grateful for.
  • I'm not sure when you'll start cutting teeth, but you've been drooling and chewing on any/every thing lately. Presley got her first tooth right at the 6 month mark and I will bet you won't be far from that as well.
  • You're a laughy-baby and you love smiling, too. (Except not so much the past few days!)
  • After the initial first few weeks, you've become a very great sleeper. You will go to sleep between 7-8pm (daylight savings time has really thrown us off in this regard... you had been barely making it to 6pm before the time change) and had been sleeping until 5-6am before this growth spurt.
  • We hope to switch you to your own room sometime soon... I'm just nervous to switch you in case you start to wake up Presley in the mornings before we can get to you and feed you since your rooms are near each other.
  • I'm about to (already) switch you from 3-6 month clothes to 6-9 month clothes. They just seem to fit you more comfortably.
  • You are just finally getting into size 3 diapers this week!
  • You LOVE bath time with Presley. That is when we get the best, loudest laughs out of you!
  • Your eyes are still a very pretty, complex color. I still can't really discern what color they are but lately they've been looking mostly green!!!! I'm REALLY hoping they'll be brown but green is definitely my second choice! Either way - they are beautiful.
  • You've flipped from belly to back at least two times now and each time no one else has seen it happen! You're sneaky. And you're so close to being able to do it regularly.
  • You're the cutest little thumb-sucker! Which is all new to me considering Presley never took to it. You used to like your pacifier until you discovered your thumb. You will only suck it when you're very tired. It's SO precious and I'm so glad it helps you sleep.
  • You sleep with a fan in the room and a little bunny that plays a lullaby for 45 minutes.
  • You're not really on much of a schedule as far as naps go... I just put you down when you seem tired and you are easy to get to sleep. You usually take one longer afternoon nap and one shorter morning nap.
I can't believe we are almost halfway to your first birthday and about two months away from Presley's third birthday!

On November 9, your Great Grandfather - Gordon Naylor -  passed away.

I'm very sorry you didn't get to meet or know him. He was a good, sweet man and you both would've loved each other. He came to visit us and see our new home this summer while I was pregnant with you... so your paths did cross and I know he already loved you.

A few days later we hopped in the car and drove to Evansville, Indiana to say goodbye to him one last time. It is an incredibly sad thing to lose someone but we have to hold onto the hope that we will see him again someday. A beautiful thing about things of this nature is that it brings families together - we got to meet so many aunts, uncles, and cousins on the Naylor side and though it was an incredibly short trip, it was a really great one, thanks to the generosity and kindness of Pete & his family. I hope that's not the last we'll be seeing everybody.

This is your Great Aunt Carrie. She is equal parts beautiful on the inside and out.

Here we are with Presley, Aunt Carrie, cousin Dani, & Grandmommy.

And here is your dad's cousin, Dani. She is the sweetest. She was my buddy all day long and couldn't get enough of you. I'm so glad I got to know this little gal.

There are your great aunts & uncles with your Grandmommy. Of course you know your Great Uncle Mike (the one holding up the sign for "I love you") and Grandmommy. In the back is your Great Uncle Pete and down in the front is your Great Uncle John & Great Aunt Carrie.

And here is our family.
Since then, we've taken another road trip, this time to Nashville, Tennessee to visit more family. We spent Thanksgiving with Aunt Ashy, Uncle Jojo, Sage (the puppy), Aunt Amanda, Uncle John, Sammy, and your cousins Matthew and Anne Marie. That was another quick trip but it was so much fun getting everybody together. We're so lucky to have each other and it's so silly how we let life get in the way of spending more time together! I really hope we can start getting together for quick visits like that every month.

Here's the book Ashley & Jonathan go you for Christmas!
Anne Marie & Presley got to paint and things got a little crazy before bath time!
Our chefs and the hosts for the holiday

As you know, this is Sage... Ashy & Jojo's baby girl! She will be one in January.
Sitting down for our Thanksgiving feast.

Another thing that's been happening is this awful cold that's been going around our house for the past 3 weeks. Right now you've got it (again!) and it's been the worst yet. You have an awful cough that keeps you up at night. Sometimes you will get into these coughing fits that will make you throw up some of the milk you just drank! And the other night you woke up around midnight and your entire face was covered in slimy snot!!! (I'm not exaggerating either! Your dad will serve as a witness for this one.) It seems to be getting better but now your dad has gotten it... I just hope it ends there!

I found an old roll of film the other day and it turns out it was photos from your Great Uncle Stuart's wedding. I was hoping there would be some good photos of your Grampa Scott on there, but of course he was the one taking the photos... like he always was. The only photo he ended up in was a family photo which I am thankful for. There are also some beautiful snapshots of your Great Grandmother, Elinor.

That's my Grandma Myers there on the left.

The girls in the matching dresses are Ashley, Amanda and myself and behind us is my dad and mom. Then there is Aunt Debbie, Caden, and Uncle Stuart and next to him is Gramma Myers.

We've started to decorate the house and I'm so glad we did. It really warms up the place.

We have a lot to look forward to this holiday season and I'm trying my best to be positive, but recently there have been a string of home invasions in the immediate city we live in and the most recent included the murder of someone I went to school with. It has left me with an incredible amount of anxiety about the area we live in and what we need to do in order to keep you girls safe both now and in the future. I'm sure a lot of my anxiety recently stems from the fact that my dad was killed in a similar fashion... but it also has to do with the fact that I don't feel safe in the city we live in (or the times we live in). We just moved back here and bought our first house... it's a home we had every intention of staying in and raising you girls in but now I am not at all sure that will happen. I am hoping for peace in this situation but I'm not sure that it will come.

I also have been feeling extremely foolish for thinking that the Memphis area had become safer over the last few years and that things were getting better. I feel foolish for moving back... again... just to find out that this isn't what I wanted. I know these things can (and do) happen everywhere, but just not this frequently! I feel scared being at home, I am fearful leaving the house, and I am scared to come back home. I'm nervous while we're out shopping or driving. I just don't feel safe in this city and I hate that feeling. But what can we do in this situation? We have been in our home for less than a year and financially we are not equipped to sell the house and start over again in a new area. But eventually, that is what I hope we can do. I hope things will feel better and be better when I revisit this topic in a few months... I truly do... but on this, I am not sure that it will change.

You and your sister mean so much to me. I am in charge of protecting you guys and for giving you a happy childhood. I want to be able to do those things and I hope that you will both grow into your old age without any problems. Having so much to look forward to makes me feel like I have so much to lose. Not our money or our house or any of our "things" - but you, Presley, and your dad make me rich every single day. I know what it's like to lose someone at the hands of evil, selfish, thoughtless people and it is one of the greatest (and most awful) fears I have. I don't know what I would do if something happened to any of you... I don't know if I could survive. But I know I would somehow have to. And I can't let these fears and horrible people take away my peace and hope and joy in the meantime. I have to find a way to focus on all the things in my life that are beautiful until we are financially able to get out of the city I was so looking forward to raising you both in.

I know this is not an uplifting entry but it's what's been going on for me lately. I just ask that people be patient with me regarding this subject. I'm trying hard to put on my big girl panties and deal with it... but it might just take some time. And may you both rest in peace, Jarmelle & Papaw Gordon. You were two great men and it does give me peace to know you're both with the Lord and those who have gone before you.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.


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