Thursday, March 27, 2014

Currently {link up} x15

Currently linking up with Harvesting Kale for the fun weekly post to see how we're all doing.
This week's prompts are {facing, snapping, counting, loving & hopping}

FACING:  Today - and this entire week - has been centered around me facing the fact that not everything is going to go the way I expected.  People are not always going to be considerate.  Things will not always go our way or in our favor.  And the only thing I can control in those situations is MYSELF and my attitude.

SNAPPING: Oh, am I snapping today.  All along the home buying process we have had it set up to close one day and then gain possession two days later.  All along I thought that we were signing on the 28th but the house wouldn't technically be ours until the 30th.  It wasn't until our insurance agent told us today that wasn't the case - that we would need to start insuring the house on the 28th because it is ours the 28th!  ALSO MEANING, if anyone injures themselves while moving out before we gain possession, it could come back on us.  W-T-F!  I was NOT happy about this and if I would have been under full understanding of this then I would have insisted that we gain possession the day we sign.  My realtor explained that if anything went wrong with the signing that the sellers would be screwed because they would have the stuff out of the house and nowhere to go with it, essentially.  WELL, even if something went wrong, THESE PEOPLE ARE PLANNING TO SELL THIS HOUSE ANYWAY!  Plus - my realtor is working with the BUYERS NOT THE SELLERS.  I love my realtor, I really do, but today... I just was so upset at learning this.  I wish I was made aware of this sooner and the implications here.  Doesn't help that the fine people at First Tennessee were lazy and uncourteous (is that a word? is now...) today.  SO, I was snapping today.  Of course it was more like venting than actually voicing my disappointment with the actual people today.  TOMORROW IS A NEW DAY AND A FINE DAY IT WILL BE.

COUNTING: Down the days.  Well at this point, I guess I could just start counting down the hours.  TOMORROW is signing day!  And Sunday (if all goes well) is moving day.  So that means 68 hours, 56 minutes until we move in! But unfortunately it COULD be that we won't be able to move in until Monday.  And I need to brace myself for that.  But I will be so bummed.

LOVING:  That this is allllll almost over.  In a few days, we won't have to worry about paperwork and bullshit - we will just get to BE!  And I love that.  I am also LOOOOVING the new Disney movie - Frozen.  So in love with that movie.  It's adorable.  But is it just me or does it feel super short?  Also, loving the theory that Tangled, Little Mermaid & Frozen are all connected.  YES YES YESSS.

HOPPING: I swear, as odd of a prompt as this one is, I feel like it is the theme of our week.  We are currently hopping through the many hoops to owning a home.  Stupid little thing that irks me at the moment?  Wiring money.  I've never done it before and it honestly pisses me off that we are having to pay a bullshit $15 fee JUST FOR SPENDING OUR MONEY, essentially.  Why can't I write a damn check or better yet, BRING YOU CASH to closing?  I know, I know... really, it's only $15... but when you consider it is an UNNECESSARY charge that you are getting nothing from... just irritates me.  Call me irrational or hormonal, but I am not one to just pay fees and not ask questions as to why it's necessary.

AND, since I did my fair share of complaining here today... I will not forsake you and leave you on a bad note!  Here are a bunch of reasons why I am currently one happy person:

25 Week Pregnancy Reflection {baby two}

How far along?:  25 weeks along in my second pregnancy!  Which means about 15 weeks to go!
Side by side comparison of both pregnancies.
Left: November 2011 & 25 weeks along with Presley
Right: March 2014 & 25 weeks along with Molly
I'm feeling:  Lazy.  It's a lot easier to become complacent with lazy behavior when you're pregnant.  Sad but true.  I am just tired most of the time and then when I can sleep, I am too uncomfortable to get the best kind of sleep.  How long after the baby comes that we all start sleeping again?
Size of baby:  About the size of an eggplant - 9 inches long and weighs about 1.7 pounds!
Movement:  Definitely has been a mover/kicker here lately... mostly feel it on my right side.  Molly was a kicking machine while Presley was sitting on my lap earlier this week and it just made my day.  Presley on the other hand was supremely unphased.
What I miss most:  Not feeling huge.  For example, I'm starting to miss comfortably bending over to pick something up. 
Cravings:  Doughnuts.
Best moment of the week:  Tonight we went to the buffet inside Horseshoe Casino in Tunica, MS.  A-mazing!  Not a huge fan of buffets unless they are executed very well and this one is definitely top notch.  Seriously a pregnant woman's dream - you can have things like fried rice, shaved ham, and cheesecake all in one sitting (plus way more) and it's TOTALLY NORMAL!  Plus, my in-laws met us for dinner so it was awesome - Presley had a blast!  She devoured butter noodles, shredded cheese, and whip cream like it was going out of style.
What I'm excited about:  Moving into our house in 4 days.  Less than a week to go and it still doesn't quite feel real!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Happies & Crappies.

It's been a while since I've participated in this link-up
It's always a fun one and good for emptying the brain!

  • We are closing on our home THIS WEEK!  Which means HOPEFULLY moving in THIS WEEKEND!
  • We are finally getting caught up on movies... slowly!  We have American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club, Frozen, About Time, Rush, Prisoners, Runner Runner, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, and Hours up on deck for the next few movies to watch. 
  • May seem silly, but I am so excited for Presley to have some of her favorite toys back.  She has done SUCH a great job with our current living situation & has been LOVING on the toys she does have for now... but I will be happy for her once we get everything set up for her soon in the new house!!!
  • Another one that might sound silly - but I am so ready to start eating out less & making meals at home again!  I'm excited to meal plan on a regular basis and also prepare meals in advance for easy freezer "dump" meals!
  • Also, hoping to start making baby wipes for Presley again once we get settled.  It'll be nice to not have to use the store bought ones.  I just don't like them as much and I can literally see that Presley's bum doesn't appreciate them as much either.
  • This age/stage that Presley is at is just the best.  I can't stop laughing at all her hilarious antics and she is just smart as a whip!  She is counting so clearly and says her ABC's as well.  She loves to sing and dance and does so great at remembering lyrics from her favorite songs on the radio (Dark Horse, Royals, Happy... etc).  She also remembers lines from her two favorite movies (Tangled and the Croods).  The twos can be semi-ugly at times... but for the most part I think they are terrific.
  •  My older sister and my good friend, Katie, are both still pregnant!  Just to recap - both are having boys and both are due the first couple days in April (1st & 3rd) and so, the wait continues!!!  Hoping for healthy labor & delivery for Katie, Amanda, Matthew & baby Lemaster!
  • I think I might've gotten the proper motivation to start writing again for my Marriage Monday series.  We'll see about it but I hope it'll work out because I'd love to start it up again.  If you are interested in contributing to Marriage Monday by writing a marriage-related post for my blog, you can go here to read a little bit more about it!  You will also find my contact information there as well.
  • If you didn't catch my mention of this in an earlier post - be on the look out for some exciting stuff coming to my blog for my readers in early April!!!

    • There are several things that need to be addressed as soon as we move into the house.  AKA, things we need to fix.  Most of them are minor but some of them are not.  It would have been nice for a bunch of these things to have been covered by the seller beforehand.  Totally doable... but just dreading some of these stupid little projects already.  (And my homeowner friends are all like, "Welcome to owning a home!")
    • Had a bad experience at Kooky Canuck's tonight in downtown Memphis.  Which sucks because we used to like that place.  And now it is dead to me... cue the Lily Eriksen look...

      And now, we hate it.  All because we brought in a gift certificate that was still valid and for whatever reason the manager on duty (shout out to Chris Farsee - YOU ARE A DOUCHE) refused to accept it and suggested to take it up with  If you know me, you know I don't take "no" for an answer - especially in a situation like this from a sketchy, non-professional manager such as this guy was.  I wasn't in the mood to deal with his bullshit and resigned myself to just deal with it through contacting  We'll see how they deal with it... I've already sent an e-mail to them for them to contact me so let's wait and see.  I'm sure I'll have another rant about it again soon... so stay tuned.
    •  This up and down weather.  I thought Spring meant rain... but this year it means you will just start to get used to warmer temps before they begin dropping again!  BOO!
    • Stories like this.  Seriously?  Who is the sicko who designed this scheme?  And why target children?  It just makes me so angry and upset.  Karma, karma, karma.

      Tuesday, March 25, 2014

      50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind (Part Seven)

      It has been a long while since the last time I answered any questions from the 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind. And I'm very excited to pick up right where I left off!
      (part one, part two, part three, part four, part five, part six)

      31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
      I remember feeling so alive on our wedding day.  Yes, it was all going by so fast and now seems like such a blur - but it was such an amazing day.  I know it sounds silly, but when I was working at the zoo I always felt passionate about what I was doing and very excited to be there.  It had been over a year since I had worked outside the home - so I know that entering back into the work force (though it was brief) was really great for me.

      32. If not now, then when?
      I guess we are in such a current state of limbo at the moment that I just feel like life is paused, despite our constant going on living.  I just keep thinking, "Oh, things will be different once we get back into a house of our own."

      33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
      I definitely think I have a lot left to achieve when it comes to feeling passionate and alive on a regular basis.  I think it just requires stepping outside my comfort zone.  For example, it's easy to stay home and relax while Presley plays with blocks or watches a movie.  It's easy and it requires little effort on my part.  Like I said, I tell myself it's only temporary and "life" will resume once we get into our own home again - but what is keeping me from changing these behaviors now?  I thought our life would be on "pause" one or two months at most - but we have been in the "in between" for three months now and it's been about four months for Tony.  Hard to believe!  But the end is in sight and once our new opportunities are here, it will be up to me to change our routine for the better.

      34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
      I can't say that I have been in a completely similar situation - but I remember feeling this way (a lot) about Tony in our earliest days.  Granted, we were really young so it was quite different, but when we went on the ski trip together in 2001, I remember just walking through downtown Gatlinburg next to him, riding in the van near him, and in situations like that - I just felt so emotionally charged, regardless of any conversation between the two of us.

      35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
      I think it's got to be the lust of power.  Once you have any amount of power it goes right to your head and it becomes a slippery slope - you are so afraid of losing that power that you get desperate and you will go against your teachings in order to safeguard even the idea of your power.  And then, of course, once you've found the Lord you can excuse just about any behavior that works against the teachings of your religion in some way or another and people will still think the world of you.  It's sad, really.

      Friday, March 21, 2014

      Pregnancy #2 Q & A

      You may recall from my first pregnancy (if you followed along back then) that I filled this sucker out about halfway through my pregnancy with Presley!  I came across it yesterday and thought about filling it out this time around and figured why the heck not.  I think I will leave my answers from last time just to (potentially)  laugh at myself and see how my answers differ this time around.
      Pregnancy #1 Answers in pink
      Pregnancy #2 Answers in purple

      Your name?
      Ali Duggan

      Baby's fathers name?
      Tony Duggan

      Are you still with him?
      Most definitely; married to him so he is stuck with me!
      Going on 3 wonderful years of marriage!

      Were you trying to get pregnant?
      Nope.  I was actually informed in January that I had PCOS (Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) and because of it I rarely ovulated.  My Dr. also told me that when we wanted to start having kids that I'd most likely want to look into fertility drugs.
      Yes!  This time around it took about 5 months of trying.

      When did you find out?
      July 5th (2011)
      October 30th (2013)

      Where did you find out?
      The bathroom of our old apartment in Silvis.
      The bathroom of our old rental home in Moline.

      How far along were you?
      About 6 weeks.
      I found out just before even missing a period, I believe.  So according to the crazy way they chart pregnancies, I was technically considered two weeks pregnant.

      What was your reaction?
      Shocked.  Then happy, scared, excited, worried, etc! :)
      Oh goodness.  I don't really even remember the day we found out.  Is that bad?  I think so!  I was definitely shocked again and so excited and HAPPY!

      Who was the first person you told?
      Definitely Tony.  And then I called both of my sisters... I can't remember who was the one that picked up, though!  Maybe Ashley?  All I know is I sat there for a very long time trying to let it all sink in!
      If I remember correctly, this time Ashley was the first to know.  I sent her a picture message of the pee stick and asked her if she thinks it looked positive or if it was a "crazy line" - as in I'm crazy and seeing things - because it was so faint!  I think I remember telling her Tony didn't even know yet and that I should surprise him somehow.  Well, that didn't happen.  I grabbed him and pulled him into the bathroom to get his opinion, too!

      How did you tell the father?
      I was screaming, "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, TONY!  Oh my gosh...." and when he came in I showed him the positive test.
      This time around there was no really telling him... we both were trying to figure it out together since we found out so early this time around.

      What was his reaction?
      He was happy and very surprised as well!  But the emotion that registered was definitely excitement!
      I don't really remember.  He was wanting to play it safe and wait a few more days to test again before getting our hopes up.  But I remember he was supportive and kept saying he saw the positive line - even when it was so faint!

      When is your due date?
      First it was February 24 and now it's the 26 (2012).
      July 9th (2014).

      Did you have any morning sickness?
      Yes, I definitely did.
      Oh yes.  Absolutely had it again.

      What are your fears?
      Big fear of not having a strong bond with the baby.

      I spend a lot of time worrying about sleep - or lack thereof - especially with two kiddos this time around.  I worry I won't be able to give enough attention to Presley and that kills me.  I worry about how to keep my sanity with two little ones... how to keep "me" time a priority when there isn't enough time for that.

      What are you most happy about?
       Hmm... I honestly have no idea.  I guess just all of us being together and being able to love on this baby all the time! :)
      I am so happy that we were able to get pregnant.  I am sooo excited to see Molly in the clothes Presley wore when she was little.  I'm excited to see Presley interact with Molly and begin to understand what it means to be and to have a sister.  I am so happy that I get to hold another baby and I can't wait to see her tiny baby features.

      Did you want a boy or girl?
      A girl. :)  But I'd be so ecstatic either way.
      A girl.  And then I thought there is no way I will get lucky enough to have another girl so I started to get used to the idea of having a boy so I wouldn't be upset either way.  By the time the gender scan rolled around I was so sure it was gonna be a boy that I was SHOCKED to find out it was another girl!!!

      What did the father want boy or girl?
      Of course, he is hoping for a boy!
      Hoping for a boy again this time around!

      Do you know what your having?
      Not yet...
      It's a baby girl!

      Do you have a name picked out?
      We have several names we like - but nothing set in stone!
      Yes - a family name - Molly Lou Duggan!

      How much weight have you gained?
      About seven pounds!
      That's hilarious.  One - I don't even know and Two - I sure wouldn't want to share it.

      Have you felt the baby move?
      Yes - but it's not very distinct yet.
      Yes!  She's moving right now.

      Do you plan on a natural or medicated birth?
      Laugh at me as much as you'd like, but I am hoping to go into it with an open mind.  I'm tending towards no drugs, but I'm also not opposed to doing what's best in any given situation (which might just end up being take the meds!).
      I pretty much plan on a medicated birth.  It worked swell last time and I honestly have nothing to prove to anyone by trying it natural!  I understand the risks and I also understand the pain involved in birthing a child and I will just go ahead and be clear that I'm 100% open to accepting medication again!

      Are you scared about labor?
      Yes and no. I used to be terrified and now I am pretty okay with the idea.
      No, not really.  As scary as it was and as much as it hurt (and as long as it lasted) - it was SO exhilarating to push Presley out.  And after everything was said and done, I felt so accomplished!  That is an amazing feeling.

      What do you think will be the worst part of labor?
      Pooping on the table.  Oh, and the pain of it all.  Also, I'm worried about my body never being the same afterward.
      Good question.  I guess only time will tell because no two births are ever the same!

      Who will be in the delivery room?
      Doctors, nurses, my husband.  If my sisters come up to visit I would love for them to be in the room.
      Same as last time... doctors, nurses, and my husband.  Maybe Ashley (my sister) if she wants to/can be there.

      Are you having the birth videotaped?
      No thank you.
      I would be more open to something like that this time around, for sure.

      Do you think you will cry when you see the baby for the first time?
      I sure hope so! :)  I feel like I will but sometimes when I get in such big, important moments, my tears are nowhere to be found!
      I definitely feel like I will.  I feel so much more equipped emotionally for bringing a baby into our family this time around.  I wish I had been able to REALLY see it then... but all the signs were there that I would have some post-partum depression last time - well before even giving birth.

      What do you think the fathers reaction to the baby will be? Awww.... I have no idea!!! I can't wait to see his reaction!  I'm sure he'll laugh, honestly!  :)  He's just funny like that, especially when he feels the pressure to have some sort of big reaction.
      I think his reaction will be stronger this time around too.  We just were so not ready for what was to come the first time around!!!!  Presley has taught us SO much!

      How do you think family and friends will feel?
      Oh man, I know our parents and my sisters are thrilled and so are our cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends.  We are lucky to have so many people who love us and are so ready to love our little baby-in-the-making!
      Very excited!  I'm sure it'll be tough for our Midwestern family members since we are so far away... but the flip-side of that is that our Southern family members will get to share in the excitement a little more this time around because we are so much closer!

      Thursday, March 20, 2014

      24 Week Pregnancy Reflection {baby 2}

      How far along?:  I'm 24 weeks along in my second pregnancy - which means 16 weeks or less until GO time!

      I'm feeling:  The effects of pregnancy.  My belly is just starting to get in the way more and more - putting on my socks, bending down, being intimate with my husband (don't act like you didn't know we were intimate... HELLO, I'M PREGNANT!), and things of that nature have become a little bit more difficult.  It's also hitting me more and more each day that I will be unpacking our whole house while pregnant during the end of my 2nd trimester and beginning of my 3rd!

      Movement:  No news on the movement front... she still kicks me most when I'm lying flat - in the wee hours of the morning or just before falling asleep each night.  She kicks in the afternoons when Presley is napping and evenings after Presley goes to bed.  So basically, anytime I am relaxing.  And usual, when Tony puts his hand on my belly, she clams right up. 

      Size of baby:  This week, Miss Molly is roughly the size of an ear of corn - or 8.5 inches and 1.5 pounds!

      What I miss most:  Sleeping on my back!!!!  Ack.  Side-sleeping is getting uncomfortable these days.

      What I'm excited about:  I'm excited for Presley to feel Molly move one of these days.

      Cravings:  Still craving Chinese food.  We just don't get enough of it here anymore!  (Whereas before moving we lived less than a mile from our favorite place.)  Corn on the cob sounds delicious.  Also would love to split a rack of ribs with Tony sometime soon.  BBQ down here just can't be beat!!!

      Wednesday, March 19, 2014

      Currently {link up} x14

      Joining Ot & Et and Harvesting Kale for another week of what we're Currently up to!
      The prompts this week are {battling, surfing, jumping, taking, making}

      BATTLING:  So, we hit another substantial hitch when it comes to home buying and I am TRYING desperately to maintain the "glass half full" perspective of it all.  I really am trying.  For someone who is not always trying to find the bright side... it's a struggle.  So much of a struggle that if things don't improve by Friday, we will be walking away from this home.  And starting all over.  From scratch.  That will be such a defeating feeling.  Not to mention we will now be out of a small amount of money to do that.  Could be a lot worse but I just hope hope hope we are meant to be in this house and that it doesn't come to that.

      Well, I wrote this post earlier today, without finishing publishing it... and thankfully since then we can now breathe a HUGE sigh of relief!!!  Things are looking UP with the home situation.  So great that things are BACK ON TRACK!!!!  And it is looking like we may still be able to attain possession NEXT WEEK!!!!  We could be home owners in one week.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Now there is a whole other kind of worry!!!  Like how in the world will we be able to get everything done by then!?  But it's such a great worry to have!!!  We have to time things perfectly so that once everything is out of the house we will have the carpets cleaned and stretched and then move our things in.  ONWARD & UPWARD!!!!

      SURFING:  As you may know, we are Neflix people.  We frequently surf Netflix just to feel like there is nothing new that catches our eye.  (That's sorta rare.  Let's face it - there are so many options on there.)  After seeing Blackfish, Tony & I have watched two other documentaries on killer whales that have been awesome!  And the more recent show we've watched is "An Idiot Abroad" thanks to our friend Chris.  HILARIOUS.  What else could you expect with Ricky Gervais as the mastermind?  I was laughing and crying so hard watching it that my stomach was hurting.  Great show to watch... especially if you just need a pick-me-up!

      JUMPING:  Who else is jumping for joy over the official beginning of SPRING being tomorrow?!  March 20th is also a special day for me & Tony as it marks the beginning of our dating eleven years ago!  (Though it's hard to wrap my mind around that fact.)  I am hoping for a spring full of fun weather and new opportunities (which will include moving into our next home - wherever that may be) and lots and lots of growth (my belly, growth as a family & as a couple, and of course my two babies growing)!

      TAKING:  So many pictures and videos of Presley!!!  I swear she learns at such a progressive rate these days that everything is so new and funny and special to me.

      MAKING:  A baby.  Well, my body is doing that for me.  It's just pretty incredible.  And what's especially incredible about this week?  We've hit the VIABILITY MILESTONE!  As in, "Babies born now in hospitals with top-tier facilities for premature babies have about a 50% chance of surviving... each week, your baby's chance of survival goes up."  Obviously, as it says, I want Miss Molly in there safe & sound and where she belongs - but it's incredible that there are stories such as THESE that are just FULL of miracles!  Obviously nothing is promised.  But the viability week is a reason to rejoice!

      HEADS UP...  There will be an awesome opportunity coming up for my super fantastic readers here on the blog sometime in the next coming weeks... so make sure and stay tuned for some upcoming excitement!!

      Saturday, March 15, 2014

      Currently {link up} x13

      Joining Harvesting Kale for another week of Currently!
      The prompts I'm using this week: {hoping, wondering, wearing, watching & waiting}

      Today, right now, and for the next 11 days... I will be HOPING that everything continues to go smoothly with the home we are pursuing.  As most of you homeowners know, buying a home is such a process - there are so many steps you need to take before you can even reach the next hurdle.  Just when you think you've reached some real success you begin to realize it's really not over until the fat lady sings!  There are some potential problems that aren't an issue yet (and I hope they won't materialize!!!) but I can't help but prepare myself for all worse-case scenarios!  14 days until closing & I pray that timeline is still going to work!!!!

      Also WONDERING when I will be tired of watching the new Hunger Games movie Catching Fire.  I watch it pretty much every day during Presley's nap time and any other evening after her bedtime if there is nothing worth watching on TV.  It makes me want to unpack the book series as soon as we move into our house and read the books all over again.  Which begs the question... when will I get tired of reading those books?!  Hopefully never.  And once it gets closer to the time Divergent is coming out in the theaters, I will start reading those books!

      I've been WEARING nothing but my maternity compression pants from Old Navy... love love love them.  I would say this was easily the best buy from my first maternity clothing collection.  I pretty much love Old Navy for maternity wear because they've almost always got awesome online sales/coupons going on and free shipping if you purchase enough merchandise!  Thanks to some awesome hand-me-downs and second hand buys, I don't have to supplement my maternity wardrobe TOO much except for the fact that this is the first time I'll be super pregnant in the dead of summer... in the SOUTH!  Ahhhh... so needless to say, my most recent purchase from Old Navy included some maternity tanks!

      Do you guys have Netflix?  If so, have you seen "Blackfish"?  WATCH IT IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY.  So worth your time.  In addition to that, I've been WATCHING documents lately.  (But not food-related ones.  They depress me so much and I'm not ready to make a huge lifestyle change... denial!  I know!  Maybe someday soon...)  The latest thing I watched and loved was "Aerial America" - the Tennessee episode.  So much awesome information and incredible aerial video of the beautiful state.  Also?  I just rewatched "Friends with Kids" last night for the first time since it was released on DVD and it was even funnier and more touching this time around.  We first watched it when Presley was only a few months old and now,  two years after becoming parents, the humor and characters were just that much more relateable.

      Patiently WAITING for my sister and one of my best friends (my sister, Amanda, and my BFF Katie - who is becoming a first time mama!) to have their baby boys.  Both are due in early April (April 1st & 3rd) but I am so ready for them to have their healthy kids any day now!!!  And I'm hoping Matthew will come a little early and show up in March because we don't have many March birthdays in the family.  Matthew Alan will be my first nephew!  So excited to get into the boy world a little more.  Very excited that he and Molly will be so close in age - even closer than Presley and Annie!  It still hasn't REALLY dawned on me that we will have four kids running/crawling around during future get togethers rather than just the two girls.  Amanda... how are we gonna fit all 4 kids in the bathtub?! :)

      Thursday, March 13, 2014

      23 Week Pregnancy Reflection {baby two!} & baby's name!

      How far along?:  23 weeks along in my second pregnancy!  And I'm so excited to have made it this far in good health with no detectable complications.

      Which only means we have less than 17 weeks to go!

      I'm feeling:  very excited about Tony & I choosing our little girl's name!  We've had her name in mind and have been tossing it over in our minds and between each other for the last several weeks, but finally we've both agreed that Miss Molly Lou Duggan will be joining our family this summer!!!  It is a family name - the name of Tony's Great Great Grandmother - Molly Lou Duggan Ward.  We had been considering Molly for some time and it wasn't until Granny (Tony's paternal grandmother, Alma Lou) said the following that I really started campaigning this for her name:

      "...that makes me so excited that you would even consider it. She was my Grandmother and Duggan was her maiden name. She was one of the most beloved people you would ever hope to meet or know. She left quite a legacy in the Duggan-Ward family and was so loved by so many and never met a stranger or anyone that she didn't she the good in. I'm sure that would make a lot of people in the Ward clan happy. Ma, as she was called by everyone, related or not was someone you would haved loved too. I'll keep my fingers crossed because there's a little bit of me in that name also."

      What is not to love about that?!  Sounds great with Presley and with Duggan, her initials (MLD) aren't anything significant or offensive, and it has a strong family background... so it fits perfectly with what we're looking for.  Tony pointed it out, "Isn't it funny that we went with family names from both of our father's sides of the family for our children so far?" And according to, this could be a picture of the first Molly Lou Duggan - though we'll have to get Granny to confirm it:

      Movement:  We've got a major kicker on our hands.  She kicks most in the wee hours of the morning, around bedtime, and occasionally throughout the day.  And her movement has gotten a lot stronger over the last week... I can definitely tell she is getting bigger.

      Size of Baby:  This week, Molly is a papaya!

      Roughly 8 inches and 1.2 pounds!

      What I miss most:  Sleep sleep sleep.  This pregnancy is tampering with my sleep and that is just not entirely favorable for someone who LOVES to sleep.  I don't like that I can't seem to catch my breath or take a deep breath because she must be right on my diaphragm!  All things I can deal with and are entirely temporary.  Like I've said before, I don't feel like this pregnancy hinders me from doing anything I need to do.  I have to slow down and take it easier at times, but I never hesitate to pick up and carry Presley as needed - which is something I had worried about minutely early on.

      What I'm excited about:  I'm excited about becoming homeowners this month - I HOPE - as long as everything goes as planned.  I'm soooo beyond excited to get Presley into her big girl bed and to start setting up the nursery.  I'm excited for every possibility this home offers our family!!!

      24 month old Presley & my 23 week old baby bump!

      Cravings:  warmer weather, ice cold water, a warm bath in an over-sized bathtub full of bubbles, a back/foot rub, a vacation, donuts, to go swimming & feel weightless momentarily, to no longer live out of a suitcase, and coffee.

      Tuesday, March 11, 2014

      Bloggers I LOVE!

      Natalie over at The Iverson's wrote about some of the blogs she's been keeping up with lately and I wanted to share with her a few of the blogs I read frequently right now.  But then I figured I would just write about it and share it with everybody who might be looking for new blogs to read so here you go!  Check them out and let me know what you think!  Also, I'd love to read about some of your favorite bloggers - if you'd like to participate then feel free to link up below and share the love!!!


      AJ Wolfe at the disney food blog | food IS a theme park - this is pretty self explanatory as to why I follow this one... I AM A HUGE DISNEY ADDICT.  One of my favorite things about our honeymoon was the AMAZING restaurants we sampled in a weeks time and the delicious food we tasted.  Reading about it through someone else's experience just makes it all that much more real and vivid for me.  Not to mention, prepares me for any and all future Disney trips we take!  I implore you to check this one out for the simple reason that it will make you extremely HAPPY (and hungry)!!!

      Ryanne at Girl Ryanne - I will tell you upfront that this is one blog I do not miss updates on.  As soon as Ryanne posts, I am right there catching up!  Her blog is so incredibly relatable - maybe it's because we are both 20-something married ladies, but I truly believe her writing, journey, and story is very inviting.  Along with her husband, Chris, she is actively TTC (trying to conceive) and this is perhaps the topic at the heart of her blog and my favorite part of her writing - TTC Thursdays!  They are filled with fertility topics and I think it's so commendable that Ryanne shares her knowledge of the topic for ladies who might not know these things otherwise.  Check her out, love her, support her, & let her know you stopped by!!

      Allie at Table for MORE - One of my mommy inspirations!  She is breastfeeding, Catholic mother to FOUR beautiful boys (4 under 4 if I'm not mistaken) and not only that but she blogs about healthy living, birthday party planning, DIYs, home renovations, decorating & home life as a woman, wife, and mother.  Not to mention... Allie's also got some new projects in-the-works that I'm patiently awaiting!!  Not kidding when I say I love this blogger! 

      Mandi at Messy Wife, Blessed Life - been LOVING this blog lately.  I've been following it for several years now, so I am totally invested, but she has been through some major life changing events recently and the tone of her writing has developed and matured and I just love her perspective on life.  She's a Catholic mom blogger so it helps that we have similar interests as well.  Definitely check out her blog!

      and a bonus blogger just starting out...
      Kaela at For Love and Sunday Adventures - new blog alert!!!  This is a fellow Memphis blogger who is documenting her newlywed life throughout the first year of her marriage!  Another bonus in following Kaela?  She's going to be sharing her monthly date adventures via blog (read more about that here) - I, like the rest of the world, could use a little bit more romance & happies in my life and if that means reading along in her journey, count me in!


      Friday, March 7, 2014

      Five on Friday! {LINK UP!}

      Linking up with Christina at Carolina Charm for her Five on Friday for the first time!


      Catching Fire is finally out on DVD!  Already picked up my copy from Redbox and can't wait to watch it!!!  Normally I would wait until I had a free rental code - but this just couldn't wait.  Any other Hunger Games fanatics out there?!  


      Why is it that doctor's offices are among the most healing of places coupled with the most frustrating depending on the day/person/moment/mood/ego...?  ARGH.  For those who didn't read about my issue via Facebook - here is a quick summation of what is going on: 

      me: "Could you explain why my medical records have not been faxed from your office yet considering I faxed my release form first thing Monday morning?"
      "We only fax medical records on Fridays."
      me: "Well, it's still Friday!"
      "Your doctors nurse isn't in today so she will get to it Monday and they will fax it next Friday. Okay?"
      me: "But, it's still Friday. Are my files in the office right now?"
      me: "Are my doctor and her nurse the only two people with access to my files?"
      "Umm......... yes."
      me: "Really? Because I've been in on other days and seen another doctor and they were able to access my files every time."
      "I'm just not sure... but the nurse will be able to explain it all to you Monday."
      me: "That's just not good enough for me.  While I was a patient I always got top notch care and excellent service - and now that I am no longer a patient the ball is being dropped for me. Do you see why this is frustrating? Waiting until next week is not acceptable."
      "Can you hold just one moment?"
      me: "Absolutely."
      new person gets on the phone - "Hi! I'm going to get going on these files and fax them over this afternoon... they actually might have already faxed them..."
      me: "They haven't. I literally just got off the phone with my new OB office who has faxed my release form twice this week and it's gone through both times with no response. They asked me to contact you to see what the hold-up is."

      This is how our conversation went today when I called around 1pm this afternoon.  I spoke to my former OBGYN's office both Monday and Tuesday in addition to today.  The only difference between the beginning of the week and today?  I refused to be pushed aside.  After the strenuous 10 minute phone call this afternoon, it took approximately 40 minutes for them to pull my files, walk upstairs, fax them, and leave me a voicemail stating it had been done.  As I said before - moral of the story?  Do not EVER give up or settle... especially if it doesn't feel right and ESPECIALLY if it has to do with yourself!!!  The best advice I've ever gotten from Oprah was DON'T BE AFRAID TO BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE!  It never took blowing up, raising my voice, cursing, or losing my temper, either.  It took calm and rational thoughts and speaking.  It took asking questions.  It took courage, patience, and manners.  It also took being firm and not accepting the unacceptable.  This lesson doesn't just go towards healthcare... it's a lesson that applies to so many facets of our daily lives.  Especially as a woman.


      I'm catching up on Grey's Anatomy... again/finally!  I am SO HAPPY they have seemingly pushed through the awkward start to this season.  I almost gave up on the show after being a fan since day one because it was just THAT bad this year!!!  I'm loving where they have taken so many of the relationships and just cannot imagine the show without Cristina Yang.  I remember feeling this way when Burke left.  When Denny died.  When George died.  When Izzie left.  When Henry died.  When Little Grey died.  When McSteamy died.... ETC!  So I just hope they write her off better than they did Izzie - that was just pathetic and her character certainly deserves more.  Man.  Has it been a crazy ten seasons or what?!  But really, it's gonna be so weird without her on the show.  Oh, and the news of Isaiah Washington coming back for her big send off?  Hmmmm.... what do you think about that?


      McAlister's Deli is my favorite place right now.  It's kinda always been, but now it's for much different reasons than before.  I don't know if it's the same where you live, but on Tuesday evenings & all day Saturday kids eat free!  Plus, on all the other days, their kids meals are only $2.49!  That is awesome!  And they serve some really great options - Presley's two favorites are their turkey + cheese or grilled cheese sandwiches.  And for adults they have punch cards for meals (10th one is free) and even tea punch cards (5th one is free).  Just saying.  If you have to go out to eat every once in a while you might as well go somewhere with perks!


      This weather is crazy.  What kind of crazy is it where you live?  Right now in Memphis it is 60 degrees after being in the 20-30's all week with a weekend outlook reaching into the 70s!  The rollercoaster part is what gets me.  Also, what's your favorite weather app??  I love Haze for iPhone.  (I believe it normally costs money to download it, though.  I got a free download through Starbucks a while back.)  But Haze is limited on the information it offers so of course I'd always be open to a new weather app!

      And that's all folks!  What's your Five for Friday look like?  Link up through Christina's blog!

      Thursday, March 6, 2014

      Pregnancy Number Two.

      Milestone moment for pregnancy #2:  Last night (March 5th, 2014), Tony felt our 2nd baby girl kick for the first time!  Just so happened to take place directly AFTER we finished our conversation about name choices... coincidence?!  I THINK NOT.  I think that #1 she loves her daddy's voice and #2 she likes the name we have tentatively agreed on!  (I say tentatively because we haven't chosen her name yet.  It's just the top name that we are liking but aren't 100% on it.)  It was a really sweet moment, though, and to see Tony's face light up when he for SURE felt her kick was awesome!!!!  It's really incredible how much more prepared I feel we are this time around or at least that we know what to expect.

      It's definitely a new experience for me to not have a name for my baby by now... which may seem silly to other folks considering I am barely halfway through this pregnancy.  I know I've been talking about it so much lately... I am usually not so "type A" about things but this - naming this baby - is something I just can't not think about.  Tony and I have a great conversation about baby names last night.  He looked over my long list and starred the names he liked and could envision for this baby.  And then one by one we went through those 10 names and started marking them off one by one for different reasons.  "Oh, but Violet doesn't sound good with Presley..."  "Addison is nice.  But then we would call her Addie, right?  I don't know that I like her having two names..."  you get the picture.  So we narrowed it down to one name complete with a middle name that we both love - it's got family history, goes well with our last name, the initials don't spell anything offensive, and sounds great with Presley.  Plus, Presley can say it and it sounds adorable.

      Another thing that is different about this pregnancy?  I don't remember feeling so sappy when I felt Presley moving around.  Maybe I did and I just don't remember (highly likely)... but I just really marvel in it here lately.  Especially thinking this could be my last pregnancy.  It's also weird to me to think that I am 26 and this could be my last time carrying a baby.  I don't regret starting our family when we did whatsoever, but it just feel like such a young age to be done expanding our family.  I like the idea of having three kids, but at the same time, I think it would be a lot less strenuous (in so many ways) for our family to stay at 4 members.  It's all very surreal to talk about at this point, anyways.  So anyways, I just bring this up to say that this pregnancy is different for me in small ways.  I guess the true test will occur when the baby's hiccups start!!!  (If you don't recall, I was thoroughly annoyed by those last pregnancy!  Sorry Presley!!!)

      I also can't wait to unpack baby #2's baby book and start writing in it!  I got it several months before we got pregnant from Hallmark when it was on clearance for somewhere between 70-90% off!!!  It had a circus theme - which we are not fans of the circus - but we LOVE animals and it was just beautiful.  The colors were very neutral (mostly the color red) so I felt it would be perfect whether we would have a boy or girl.  Tony thought I was ridiculous at the time for buying it but I bet now he thinks I'm a superstar!  And my mom will be happy... she likes Hallmark baby books.  Plus, she bought us a baby book just before Presley was born last time because "she has to have a baby book!"  Which, I am so glad she does have one and I love Presley's baby book so so much!!

      Update on the home buying:  The seller has signed the contract and the inspection is scheduled for the beginning of next week!!!!  SO EXCITING.  I hope to feel more at ease after the inspection is over... just one more big step towards owning our home!  I went through our list of wants for this house - and it literally had everything we were hoping for minus ONE optional aspect - which was our preference for a flat driveway.  It is definitely not flat... it's actually pretty steep.  What makes me a bit more comfortable is the fact that there are stairs right next to the driveway AND there is plenty of room on the street for friends and family to park if they are not comfortable in the drive.  Can't wait to talk more openly about the house once plans become more concrete!!!!!!

      That's all for today... it has taken me all of Presley's nap just to write this much!  I'm not sure why my brain is moving so slow today.  Looking forward to a relaxing weekend and hope it'll turn out that way!!

      Wednesday, March 5, 2014

      22 Week Pregnancy Reflection {baby 2!}

      How far along?:  22 weeks along in my second pregnancy... which means 18 weeks until we meet our baby girl!  I cannot wait to see her features... who will she look like?  What will labor be like this time around?  How big will she be?  What color hair/eyes will she have?  Now that it's not just me and Tony - but Presley as well - it is so exciting to wonder who she will look most like.  And perhaps she will look completely unique! 

      I'm feeling:  A bit self conscious about how big I look for only being about halfway through.  I know I'm pregnant, I know it's normal to show quicker your 2nd time around, and I know it's healthy to gain weight.  I know, I know, I know.  Since I didn't get down to a weight I would have preferred before getting pregnant this time around, I am a little unhappy when I hop on the scale.  I think the true unhappiness stems from the fact that I am not very active (at all).  Otherwise, I'm feeling good.  Haven't felt overly tired and haven't felt sick in a long time.

      Size of baby:  Wow!  This baby girl is about the size of a spaghetti squash this week - weighing in at 1 whole pound and measuring about 8 inches.

      Movement:  Definitely been feeling her move and kick lately.  Typically, it's after Presley goes to bed at night.  Tony has yet to catch one this pregnancy... I'm thinking it'll happen soon though.

      What I miss most:   My sexy pre-baby body!  JUST KIDDING... didn't have one of those.  I miss what I looked like on our honeymoon.  And I do miss having my body to myself.  I know it'll be a while before I have that again considering breastfeeding will hopefully last a while.  I do miss the idea of alone time with my husband - but right now we still have this after Presley's bedtime so I can't do too much complaining.  I also can't believe that one day (soon) I'll be missing alone time with my goose (Presley).  Life is sure gonna change - but it'll be a great thing!  I know that much because looking at how full Presley's made our life just makes it clear that this baby girl is going to do just the same in her own little way!

      What I'm excited about:  naming this kid!  I don't care if we literally have to go through every name in the baby book - we are going to find something soon.  We don't have anything big going on tonight so I really want to get Presley to sleep at a decent time so we can seriously dedicate the night to trying to name our baby.  I don't want to keep putting off this conversation.  So I'm very excited for tonight.  I'm excited to hear back from the sellers tonight about the house we are hoping to make ours!  22 days until closing and there are so many hurdles to jump before we get to that point so I am just hoping we can make it all work and fit in that time.

      Cravings:  Chinese food, sushi, salads with tons of chopped up veggies, Mexican food, meat (steaks, burgers, ribs... etc), and still BBQ baked potatoes.  Just a lot of food, really.  Doesn't help that I feel starving right now!!!!  Heading to the kitchen now...

      Monday, March 3, 2014

      The Oscars (& real life)!

      Tony & I are big fans of award shows - especially when it comes to movies.  We have been movie watchers forever and seeing movies together was a huge part of the beginning of our friendship and relationship.  I wish we had saved every ticket stub over the years from the movies we saw together... there would be a literal ton, I'm sure.  Anyways, needless to say, it has become less and less of a staple for us over the more recent years.  We have moved from the theaters to watching movies at home and even then, we rarely get around to watching movies anymore!  (Too busy making babies!!!  Just kidding, family... usually just too tired!)  Probably like so many of you did last night, we made a list of movies to see together.  Most movies on the list were nominees from this year, but a couple slipped onto the list when they showed the compilations of previous nominees, too!

      1. Philedelphia  (Tony has never seen it!!!!)
      2. Ali
      3. Braveheart (again... Tony has never seen this!!! Ahhh!!)
      4. Argo
      5. Zero Dark Thirty
      6. The Butler
      7. Gravity
      8. Frozen
      9. Dallas Buyers Club
      10. 12 Years a Slave
      11. Wolf of Wallstreet
      12. American Hustle
      13. Fruitvale Station
      14. Her
      15. Lincoln
      16. Runner Runner
      17. Man of Steel
      18. Prisoners
      19. The Lone Survivor
      20. The Great Gatsby
      21. The Lady in Number Six: Music Saved my Life
      22. August Osage County
      23. The Book Thief
      24. Blue Jasmine

      So that's our list of movies to see.  And my thoughts on the Oscars this year?  Absolutely LOVED them and so happy to see Ellen hosting (again).  She is without a doubt my favorite talk-show host/personality.  She is such a great person.  My favorite moment for the whole program was seeing one of my idols, Idina Menzel, perform her song "Let it Go".  Between Wicked, Rent, Enchanted, Private Practice, & Glee {that's right... I have YET to see Frozen!} it's hard to imagine I'll ever adore her more than I already do!  Not to mention, her marriage to Taye Diggs is such a beautiful thing - I love their story - and her family is just gorgeous.  Her voice makes me want to cry in the best way... Idina is soooo incredibly talented.

      What else?  I loved Pharrel's performance of "Happy" !!!  It made me happy and sing and dance and was Tony's favorite performance of the evening.  And when Pharrel danced through the crowd?  LOVED.  When he made it to Jennifer Lawrence her face and reaction was PRICELESS and had us CRACKING UP!!!  (She was looking like, 'Oh my god, PLEASE no!')  I think Pink's version of "Over the Rainbow" was sad... I just didn't like it and wished I had.  I think Bette Midler did just fantastic and "Wind Beneath my Wings" was terribly poignant for the In Memorandum segment.  Seeing Paul Walker's face up and name up there was like a dagger to a freshly healed heart... completely respected that they ended on Phillip Seymour Hoffman and I felt the loss of a great artist once again.  It's just such an awful situation.

      I loved that Jennifer Lawrence was all over the Oscars - they showed her reaction a bunch, she presented, and was mentioned by Ellen several times.  Love.  Her.  Was sad she didn't win in her category, but if you are gonna lose, at least you lose to the beautiful, deserving, and gracious Lupita!  Her acceptance was so moving.
      "Thank you to the Academy for this incredible recognition. It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance. And for Solomon, thank you for telling her story and your own."
      Jared Leto's acceptance was one of the highlights for me.  If you haven't heard it, check it out.
      "...To all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight in places like Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to to say we are here, and as you struggle to make your dreams happen and live the impossible, we are thinking of you tonight.  This is for the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS. And to those of you who have ever felt injustice because of who you are and who you love, I stand here in front of the world with you and for you..."
       Good man.  So much respect for him as an artist and as a human. 

      I also loved Cate Blanchett's flawless acceptance:
      "...For so bravely and intelligently distributing the film and to the audiences who went to see it and perhaps those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the center are niche experiences. They are not. Audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money. The world is round, people..."
      What a woman!

      Oh and Ellen ordering pizza for her friends?  So very fun.  Oh and the selfie that broke Twitter!!!!  I mean, broke a Twitter record.  In case you missed it, Ellen was live tweeting throughout the night.  She decided to take a photo with her phone of herself and some celebrities in the front row and wanted to break the record for most retweeted photo and she just smashed that record!  Last I checked, it had been retweeted 2.8 million times!  And it's a great photo.

      All in all, I didn't regret the 3 hours we spent watching an awards show.  (Don't you hate that feeling after watching a bad award show??)  I loved it and can't wait to see what they do next year!!!  My message to the Academy?  Thank you for a great show and...


      Other things we are loving lately?  THE VOICE.  So excited for this season and happy to have started watching from the beginning this season.  I just love these four coaches (Adam, Blake, Shakira, & Usher)  and love their chemistry.  I am so happy Scandal & Parenthood are back on but I wasn't super excited about either of the episodes... hopefully both shows will continue to pick up in intensity as the season continues.  I am also so sad to have become sooo behind on Revolution.  That was my favorite new show and after the huge break they had, I just found it impossible to pick it back up.  Hopefully I'll get caught up soon.

      Now, back to your regularly scheduled news....

      We are currently entering into contract on a home that we both LOVE in Cordova, Tennessee.  Obviously, there are several additional steps to take before calling it OUR HOME... but goodness gracious I am just feeling so hopeful and so READY to get going on this process!!!  It is just beautiful and I will share photos the moment it all becomes more real and concrete.  The house is just under 20 years old and such a blank canvas when it comes to decorating.  It's in a quiet neighborhood and has so many of the things we were wanting in a home.  If everything goes well, we will close by the end of the month.

      We had a beautiful weekend - it was 70 degrees and GORGEOUS on Saturday.  Today?  Tony is home from work because of the snow and ice.  It's been so great having him home for two days in a row!!!  YAY!  Presley has absolutely loved it, too.

      Still very excited for all March has to offer.  Looking for ideas for Lent, I am considering making weekday mass with Presley a priority at least once a week during Lent.  (Not to mention making weekend mass a priority again.)  My hope with making it to weekday mass is visiting as many local Catholic churches as possible in order to find the best fit for our family.  Though, to be completely honest, I have also been considering converting to another religion that more closely aligns with my social values and beliefs.  We'll see how it goes but I'm very excited to make religion a part of my life again.

      Thanks for keeping up with us - what do you guys look forward to in March?  And what were your thoughts on the Oscars?  What about any plans for Lent?

      Saturday, March 1, 2014

      Behind the Scenes.

      As excited as I am to have moved from the Quad Cities back to Memphis, there are some real bitter parts to that sweetness.  One thing, leaving friends and family behind.  That's never fun.  I hate missing out on my friends & family members' happenings and though I didn't make as much effort as I should have to be a part of their lives regularly, I always knew the distance between us was measured in minutes and single digit miles.  Another thing I've been missing a lot lately is work.  I had this amazing opportunity to work at a zoo for a few months and it was even better than it sounds.  I loved the people who visited the zoo, the folks I worked with on a daily basis, and of course the animals.  Overall, the experience was just fantastic and I was genuinely happy to go in to work and be there everyday.  I didn't have a position that would have worked long term for our family, so I know I wouldn't have been there forever, but I sure do miss it now and I've been thinking about it a lot lately.  That's why when I came across this entry in my drafts folder, I decided to finally publish it now.

      To preface, I wrote this November 1, 2013 & had every intention of adding more details and publishing the entry back then, but with so much going on in such a little time, it slipped through the cracks.  I haven't touched the entry since I first started writing it so it isn't perfect or really even complete - but I wanted to share it nonetheless.

      So, I work at a zoo.  And it's the first time I've ever worked at one.  The more I think I know about the zoo and zoos in general, the more I find out I am actually still so clueless.  Today was one of the most awesome work experiences I've ever had.  Ever!

      Let me explain by telling you I work in the administration building at this zoo.  That means I am not an animal handler and therefore don't have any super cool opportunities to see what goes on behind the scenes.  Any animal interaction I've had thus far is really just what any zoo goer has the opportunity to do - aside from the fact that I get to conduct the twice daily giraffe feeding (which is just as amazing as it sounds).

      A few days ago one of my supervisors asked if I had ever been behind the scenes of any of the exhibits at work.  I told him no but that is something I would love to do.  He told me that one of the perks of working at a zoo should be getting to see all kinds of things that go on in a day and honestly, I couldn't agree more!  For me, this is more than likely going to be a once in a lifetime experience for me.  I tried not to get my hopes up in case this was to fall through, but low and behold he followed through with his word! 

      We went behind the scenes of the giraffe barn, which is what I wanted to see the most.  After helping conduct the giraffe encounter many many times a week since the end of July, I really was interested to see the inner workings for the hoovestock keepers.  Also, since the zoo season for us ended last weekend, it has been a week since my last giraffe encounter so I am really missing those beautiful animals!  To go through one of my favorite animals exhibit from behind the scenes was incredible... to do so with our assistant zoo director in tow just added even more to the experience!

      After that, we headed to the colobus (monkey) indoor exhibit which was even cooler than the last behind the scenes tour!!!!  Our assistant zoo director told us not to make direct eye contact with the monkeys because they would interpret that as threatening or challenging.  He also told us to stay back away from the barrier because the monkeys may try to grab/injure us.  This was not what I expected to hear at all!  When you go to the zoo and you see the monkeys in the exhibit they seem so friendly.  The monkeys will literally come right up to the window and seemingly play around with you in their outdoor exhibit.  Oh, and I make eye contact with them ALL THE TIME!  So yeah, needless to say, this was one of those moments where I just realized I was very clueless about these animals I feel like I've grown to know.

      Like I said, it was a super cool experience and one of my favorite days while working at the zoo.  I miss it and everyone there all the time and wish like hell it was a place I could have worked for tons of years!  And even before working at the zoo, we were members for years and have SO many great memories out there.

      In the grand scheme of things, it didn't work out for me to work there very long... but it doesn't stop me from thinking of everyone, missing the atmosphere, and really reflecting back on how great an experience it was.  Hopefully someday soon I will be able to put the focus on a fulfilling career for myself... as important as it is that either Tony or I stay home with our kids (IF POSSIBLE!), it doesn't keep me from having additional dreams for myself and my future.

      PS, you know how I said there were SWEET parts of moving to Memphis from the QC??  Well that definitely includes missing out on all the snow they keep getting!  Holy moly!  Living closer to our family and friends here after being away from them for 5 years has been so great.  We have so much to catch up on and look forward to and I am so thankful for all the opportunities that have been placed before us both then and now!