Thursday, May 29, 2014

34 Week Pregnancy Reflection {Baby #2!}

How far along?:  34 weeks along in my second pregnancy.  Of course, that means only 6 weeks to go!

L: 34 weeks pregnant with Presley Rose :) January 14, 2012
R: 34 weeks pregnant with Molly Lou :) May 28, 2014

I am feeling:  Thank the Lord, I am feeling really great still.  My hips are sore throughout the day - but nothing too bad.  I can also feel the results of the extra relaxin in my system - the arches of my feet feel like they are literally shredding sometimes. (I remember this from my previous pregnancy.)
Size of baby:  Molly is somewhere around 5 pounds & 20 inches now.  Seems so unreal!  She is about the size of a pineapple this week.

Movement:  Uh, hello dancing queen!  Molly's been jumping around in there lately and must be running out of room because it is getting uncomfortable.  I feel like she is in the transverse position... I hope it's not for long if I'm right!
What I miss most:  Sleeping through the night.  I'm really not complaining, because it seems like I am able to sleep better at night than when I was pregnant with Presley, but it is just striking to wake up from a full nights sleep and still feel exhausted due to waking up several times.
Cravings:  Really been wanting Panera lately!

Presley wanted to take a picture with daddy next... so he's holding his 34 week belly... lucky guy!

Best moment of the week:  Definitely the relaxing Memorial Day Weekend we had with framily.
What I'm excited about:  I can't remember if I talked about it on my blog or not, but a couple weeks ago I entered into a contest for the chance to meet Mike Miller of the Memphis Grizzlies at the Memphis Zoo.  Seriously?!  Sounded like the most ideal situation!  Went on about my life and maybe a week after entering, they contacted me to let me know I won and that I could bring 5 guests to the event with me.  Looks like it will be a very Duggan night - it'll be Tony, Presley, myself & my in-laws!  I am SO excited!  And then tomorrow is my next doctor's appointment... it'll be great to talk to my doctor again and see how things are going.  I feel like she should be checking my cervix already, but that's not for another two weeks.  I'm also looking forward to asking her how they plan to regulate my blood sugar levels during labor/delivery since surely I won't be allowed to eat anything.

Any other news for the Duggans?  I'm looking to get my haircut soon.  If not a huge chop, at least a trim.  Ideas welcome for a good new mom haircut - which means something low maintenance that can (hopefully) still fit into a ponytail!  I've been so bad about getting my hair cut regularly that I wouldn't be surprised if I don't yet have the 8 inches without several inches being full of split ends... we'll see tomorrow though!

The Italian Festival is in town this weekend and we're hoping to check that out as well. 

Oh, and today is my brother-in-law's birthday - HAPPY 24th BIRTHDAY, SEAN!  We love & miss you and are soo proud of the man you are today.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Anniversary, visitors, shopping, big girl beds, & Memorial Day!

Since I last wrote....
  • Tony & I celebrated 3 years of marriage!  How did we celebrate?  Mexican take-out (because that's what I was "craving" and my husband is my best friend) along with my favorite flowers - carnations - from my husband along with several scratch-off tickets (what a fun idea)
  • I still haven't written about my sisters coming in town or our housewarming party.  I failed big time when it came to documenting the party - I was too busy having fun and seriously didn't take a single picture!  Not of our friends, family, or the food.  Bummer.  But it's definitely a good thing that we were too busy enjoying ourselves.
  • Did some shopping at Old Navy.  I flipping love that store and shopping their online deals, too.
  • Finally got a humungous area rug for our living room, thanks to recommendations from my favorite twin-cousin, Breanne!
  • Presley now sleeps in a big girl (toddler) bed rather than her crib.  I am so proud of her but my mommy heart breaks a little bit that the crib is officially not her bed anymore.  I now completely understand the way in which it is hard for parents to let go of these little things as our kids get older.
It's crazy to think that our wedding was already three years ago.  I can't believe how jam-packed the last three years have been.  To recap, three years ago we lived in our first apartment in Silvis, Illinois.  Since then, we found out I was pregnant with Presley, moved into a small slab rental house in Moline, brought Presley home, Tony lost his job, I worked at a zoo, I found out I was pregnant, Tony got a job in Memphis, and we bought a home.  So we've lived in three different houses (four if you include the months spent living with Chris & Kristen!) and have been almost all the way through two pregnancies.  I can't believe I actually thought life was going to slow down after the wedding... big HA-HA on me.

I'm seriously lucky to be married to Tony and to be going through all the crazies with him.  I can hardly believe the two people we are today are the two people holding hands up on that altar 3 years ago; we've changed as individuals and our relationship has changed, too.  I love our life and where we are headed as a family and cannot wait to make even more memories with my husband and kid(s).

Alright, alright... enough with the mushy mushy.

As I mentioned, my sisters were in town last weekend and we have a blast.  My nephew, Matthew, was born back in April (April Fools Day to be exact!) so everybody was in town to celebrate his baptism.  It was the first time that we were all able to get together - siblings, significant others, kids - since maybe Anne Marie's baptism?  (I might be making that up... but I really can't think of a time since then!)

This one is from Anne Marie's baptism - fall 2012

This one is from Matthew's baptism - summer 2014

I love getting all of us together - the more is seriously the merrier with them.  It makes everybody separating and going back to our regular lives that much more sucky!  I still hope to live in the same town someday and if we could wrangle Breanne & Dustin, too, that would just be perfect.  In the time frame that we had family in town, we also threw a housewarming party so that our friends and family could come see the new place and help break it in.  We also celebrated Bobby's birthday!  (The only pictures I took during the party happened while we sang him happy birthday.)

My mother-in-law took this one of Tony feeding Presley some dirt cake!

It was really nice having everybody over and since it was a potluck, we got to taste some pretty FANTASTIC food.  I had my first Oreo ball and holy moly... am I addicted!!!  We had a taco bar and I decided to do tacos in a bag to make clean up easier!

While my sisters were in town we spent all day Sunday together for the baptism and party afterwards and just got some time to hang out - which was nice and very much appreciated.  Jonathan and Ashley (my little sister & her fiance) left Sunday afternoon around the time Anne Marie was getting up from her nap.  Amanda and Tony blew bubbles for those two for such a long time and they acted like it was the most fun they ever had!

We had dinner over at our house with Amanda & John (my big sister & brother-in-law), Caroline & Greg (John's brother & his wife who live in the Memphis area), Pamela (John's sister who lives in Chicago), & the newly baptized baby boys (Matthew & his cousin, Noah) and that was a lot of fun!

Then we woke up Monday morning and headed to the Memphis Zoo.  Man oh man, did we have a good time there.  I feel like that was the smoothest trip to the zoo I maybe have ever had, which is crazy considering there were 5 adults + 1 pregnant lady (yes... I consider myself somewhat of a subspecies at this point), 2 newborns, & 2 toddlers in tow.  The weather was great, the kids cooperated, the food was good (but overpriced), and thank goodness there was water to play in!  We came home for a quick nap time and then had dinner together at Huey's before the Nashville folks took off to head back home.

Tony's first time holding Matthew & Matthew started crying!

Me & the girlies after dinner :)

You're probably wondering why in the world I am mentioning a shopping trip to Old Navy.  Well, I am so excited because it's another summer which means another set of flag shirts!  And this time around we bought four for the first time... which is very sweet and surreal.  I can't wait to get a family photo in them.  Tony also got some khakis & pants for work that were over $10 off each plus shopping was free, we had 20% off, and had $50 in gift cards to spend.  (We bought the Old Navy gift cards from Kroger, got $10 off, and 4x the gas rewards!)  All in all, it was a fun purchase for me because I love great deals.  And shopping.

Speaking of shopping and good deals?  We got an area rug for our living room.  The floor is wood laminate and I desperately missed having carpeted floors.  It's a big 8' x 12' area rug we got from Lowes - thanks to Breanne for the recommendation - and even best?  It's a commercial cut so it was CHEAP!  I believe it was $79 (unheard of!) and we had 10% off on top of it, so it came out to $71 or so.  It's black, white, and gray so it gives the room a bit of personality & depth, too!

And finally... there is the fact that my baby girl is in her big girl bed now.  One random day after she woke up from naptime in her crib, it struck me how big she looked in her crib.  It's not that she didn't fit in there anymore and she wasn't being rowdy in there whatsoever... it just looked like she deserved to give her big girl bed a try already.  So I put the mattress on the toddler bed from her crib and she was FLOORED!!!!  As I said, she had just gotten up from a 2 hour nap, and she went and immediately laid on her new bed and played there for a long time!  I asked her if she wanted to sleep there later that night and she said yes... I made sure to ask if she wanted to sleep in her crib and she gave an enthusiastic no!  So we took apart the crib and moved it to Molly's room.  Phew.  I have been on pins and needles about it for the last few naptimes and bedtimes, but we have one awesome girl who is seemingly unfazed by the new change!  Presley used to go right to sleep at bedtime and naptime, but for the past few weeks (even when she slept in her crib), she has taken a while to wind down.  In her big girl bed, that is still true, but it seems to take less time for her to fall asleep lately! Which I am nothing but happy about.  To our knowledge, she's been staying in her bed really well too.  I think she was way more ready for this than I thought she was!

Now we'll just need to buy a new crib mattress for Miss Molly.  Since we plan on having her in our room in her bassinet for a while, there is no real rush.  Though, I know myself fairly well, and I'm sure we'll be purchasing it sooner rather than later just for peace of mind!

To top it all off, we had a great Memorial Day Weekend with our friends.  We went swimming, played out in the sun, ate some delicious food, and laughed a whole lot.  Of course it wouldn't be complete without a little drama (like our A/C going out for 24 hours) but all ended well!

Hope everybody had an awesome weekend!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

32 & 33 Week Pregnancy Reflection {baby TWO}

I know, I know... I failed to post last week!  Making up for it (a little) by posting a bit from last week AND this week.  :)

How far along?:  32 weeks along in my second pregnancy.
 Movement:  Just this week she has started to get a LOT more crazy with her movements.  I've also started to feel her hiccups occasionally!  (And they're just as annoying as last time!)

Cravings:  All things cottage cheese.  Also, gyros.  We had Kabob International - and our first gyros since moving back - and OH MY GOSH!  They are literally the best gyros I've ever had.  Yes, that means just as good as (or better than) Uncle Pete's to my QC people.  Kabob tops their gyros with tomatoes, lettuce, onions, & of course tzatziki (cucumber) sauce.  Seriously.  Amazing.

*  *  *

How far along?:  33 weeks along in my second pregnancy - more than likely less than 7 weeks to go!  I can do this.  I can do this.  I can do this.
L: 33 weeks pregnant with Presley (January 8, 2012)
R: 33 weeks pregnant with Molly (May 20, 2014)

I am feeling:  After spending the long weekend with friends, family, my sisters, nephew, niece, & brothers-in-law... I am feeling soo great.  It's amazing how much your mental well-being effects the rest of your life.  I didn't think I would last very long at the Memphis Zoo when we visited yesterday afternoon with everybody... but we ended up staying for 3-4 hours and I felt 100% fine the entire time - up until the walk back to the car.  And even then, that was just due to my legs swelling up.  I have a feeling it just had everything to do with how much genuine fun we were having!
Size of baby:  She's the size of a honeydew - and I BELIEVE IT!  Around 19 inches and 4.5 pounds... makes sense!

Movement:  It's starting to get ridiculous over here... she is really out of room.  When she moves around in there, you've got a pretty good chance of seeing it from the outside of my belly.  Early tonight she stuck her entire hand/elbow/knee/foot or something up against the other side of my belly button and pushed it all the way outward!!!  Was a crazy thing to look at and feel!
What I miss most:  Uninterrupted sleep.  Goodbye, forever.
Cravings:  I can't think of any cravings I've really had lately.  I guess the closest thing is wanting to go have some authentic Mexican food for the past week or so... and we had El Mezcal tonight... thank goodness my husband is such a great man!!!!
Best moment of the week:  Having my sisters and their significant others and kiddos in town.  We don't get together often enough and so it was really, really awesome.  Matthew's baptism was a beautiful occasion to bring people together.  We also had our housewarming potluck this weekend and it went great!

The whole gang!
L to R: Presley & Tony, Jonathan & Ashley, Amanda & Matthew, John & Anne Marie and Me

What I'm excited about:  Starting the hunt for a church we could consider our home parish here in Memphis... even though it makes me miss Father Levitt & Christ the King in Moline so so very much!

Finding a Parish in Memphis.

As you guys probably are already well aware of - we just recently purchased a new home at the end of March in the Memphis area after having lived in the Midwest for the last five years.  We've been in the Memphis area for the last several months while looking for a home and Tony and I also both grew up in Memphis.  However, we are both new to living in Cordova (which is a suburb here).  When it comes to finding a church, we are starting the hunt by checking out the churches closest to us.  We were members of a seriously wonderful Catholic Church back in Moline.  Christ the King Catholic Church is the church I had visited for years when visiting family, the church I went to throughout my last year of high school, where I made my all my TEC weekends, home of the priest that we just absolutely love and appreciate, the place where Tony & I took RCIA classes for his baptism, the church he was baptized in, the place we got married, the church where Presley was baptized in... it just is a place that I hold so close to my heart with so many absolutely priceless memories.  So how do you follow-up a church experience like that?

It's gonna be tough and will require us to start fresh with open minds.  We're looking for a new parish with a strong sense of community.  It'd be great to belong to a church that offers activities for young, active families and that is really what we're looking for.  Neither Christ the King nor the church I grew up a part of had a school attached to it, so part of me is looking for that again (since a lot of time, energy, emphasis, and money goes into the school rather than strictly the parish when there is a school involved...) but seeing as SO many of the local parishes also have schools, I am going to just check them out individually and see how it feels.  Oh, and in the Diocese of Memphis, you can be members of more than one parish... so I suppose that is something to keep in mind as well - though I hope we find one that feels like "home."

Here are some of the places we'll be starting:

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
This church is literally part of our neighborhood... we could WALK to church every Sunday.  (How sweet does that sound?)  It's just under 2 miles from us - so we certainly would have no excuse to ever being late!  They offer mass times of 8:45am, 10:30am, and 12:15pm on Sundays.  It boasts the largest parish of the entire Diocese of Memphis - something I never knew before now!  And it has the largest Catholic elementary school in the entire state of Tennessee.  But to be honest, both of those fun facts make me shy away from this as an option and will more than likely be the LAST place to visit in the area.

St. Ann Catholic Church
This church is only about 5 miles from our house and I don't know a whole heck of a lot about this parish.  They offer mass times of 9am, 11:30am, & 5pm on Sundays.  They're also part of a school - which I believe is K through 8th grade.  Their music coordinator is John Angotti - who I just ADORE.  He is such a talented musician and is honestly a huge reason to consider checking this church out!  This parish also offers Parents Day Out, which is something I have been considering for Presley in the upcoming months.

Church of the Nativity
This church is about 7 miles from us and they offer mass times of 8am and 10:30am on Sundays.  It doesn't have a school that is directly affiliated with the parish and is another church I don't particularly know much about but look forward to checking out.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church
This church is also about 7 miles from us and they offer mass times of 9am, 10:45am, and 12:30pm on Sundays.  Rev. Patrick Hirtz is the associate pastor at this church and he was also at the church I grew up attending for a couple years there, so that is a nice connection!  This parish has a K-8th grade school that also offers Mother's Day Out for kids Presley's age.

Church of the Holy Spirit
This church is about 8 miles from our home and offers mass times of 9am, 10:30am, and 12pm on Sundays.  This is the church we visited this past weekend for my nephew's baptism.  I also know one of the priests, Father Mike, from my SEARCH weekends in high school.  We also know a few young families who regularly attend this church.  They offer Mother's Day Out, too.

Resurrection Catholic Church
This is the church I grew up attending.  It's about 11 miles from where we live and the mass times are 9am and 10:30am on Sundays.  I remember three different priests from Resurrection over time - and the final of the 3 that I remember was Father Ernie, who is still the pastor here.  He is energetic and loving and I really enjoyed him and I think I still would, very much.  The church has changed so much from the time I was a kid - so it certainly won't be the church I remember - but I also look forward to seeing how it has evolved over time - the things they've held onto and also the things they've improved.  They now have a school attached to the parish which I believe is K-6th grade.  And oddly enough, I couldn't find a photo of the church on the web!

So, these are the churches we are looking forward to trying out to see how they fit for our family.  I grew up attending a church that wasn't just a place we visited for an hour each Sunday... we really did grow up in our church community.  We played in basketball leagues there for years and also participated in free throw shooting contests (which was so much fun) every year.  We had parish picnics and cake walks and went to PRE (Parish Religious Education) classes every Wednesday night.  We loved VBS (Vacation Bible School) for a week every summer.  We attended youth group every Sunday and participated in ice cream social, regressive dinners, car washes, diocese-wide youth conferences and nation-wide youth conferences.  We went to concerts with our youth group and did Habitat for Humanity and a million other things to keep us busy.  It was just a place that meant a lot to me as a kid and youth and I want that for my kids.  I don't want to just attend my church on Sundays, I want to be involved and to grow up as a family there with other families.

These kind of experiences might not take place at the local churches here anymore, so my hopes might be too high, but I believe it could easily take place again... even if Tony & I have to start things like that at our local parish.  For the most part, I am not looking to duplicate my childhood experience, I am just looking for the feeling of family and community I always felt from my parish and I don't think that is too much to hope for at all.

**And by the way, there are certainly more churches to check out in the Memphis area... this is just where our list begins!**

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Happy Mother's Day.

Yesterday was just one of those perfect days.  My husband started off the day by giving me the gift of sleep.  And when I did get my wake up call, it was my husband and my two year old daughter coming in the room to wake me up - which was a great, warm feeling!  When they came in to wake me, they also brought me a super sweet Mother's Day card that they made together... the BEST kind.  I got to play in bed with Presley for a little while before getting up and getting ready.

Next on the schedule?  We drove down to Tunica, Mississippi to have lunch with his parents at Sam's Town Casino's buffet.  They have Corky's BBQ - so I had DELICIOUS ribs for the first time since being back in Memphis.  Delicious!  My mother-in-law even pointed out that the dessert bar had no-sugar added options for me!!  We always have so much fun with my in-laws, Selena & Mike, and Presley just adores them so much. 

Oh, and did I mention, I didn't change a single diaper?  I didn't even dress Presley yesterday... my husband did!  And she looked adorable.  (Oh and of course, Presley and Tony being the buddies they are... she decided to not poop at all yesterday.  So typical!)  Tony also gave Presley her bath last night!!!  These things were so welcomed and appreciated, especially with this almost-32-week-pregnancy-belly in my way of things.

My husband is such a giving man and I felt so loved yesterday after his gifts to me.  As I've mentioned here before, I have been struggling with anxiety about this pregnancy as well as the big changes that await us and yesterday was such a welcome reprieve from all of that.  Today, I feel more equipped for everything going on and the things yet to come as well.  It's really amazing how healing some family time (coupled with some relaxation) can be for the soul.

And as always, I spent the day thinking about the influential women in my life - the ladies who have been mothers to me through their love and encouragement.  I'm lucky to have been born into an incredible family and to be accepted into another.  I am lucky to have aunts, grandmothers, a mother-in-law, and mom to support me and the people I love most.  As if those gifts aren't enough... every single one of those ladies has given birth to some of the best people ever - some who I consider my best friends!  And knowing how tough parenthood can be - knowing these women were able to do it, usually several times over, gives me strength that I can, too.

I hope everybody had a nice Mother's Day.  Whether you were looking for a fun and adventurous day or a calm, relaxing day or maybe you just needed a reminder as to why you are doing this whole crazy parenting thing - I really hope you were able to enjoy the day and the things it offered to you.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

31 Week Pregnancy Reflection {baby two}

How far along?:  31 weeks or so - leaving only 9 weeks in my second pregnancy!  Woo-Hoo!!!

I am feeling:  So-so.  I think I am actually feeling better since making changes to my diet (aka - cutting out a LOT of sugar) but the reality of gestational diabetes is such a bummer.  This week I found out that 60% of women diagnosed with GD will develop diabetes later in life.  I have just really been stuck on that because it is such a high percentage.  And a scary one at that.  I've also just been anxious about all the changes that our little family will go through come July!  I had to remind myself today that we chose this!!!!  The closer it gets, the more I begin to feel inadequate and the panic sets in.  In truth... I just really like sleep.

Size of baby:  Somewhere around 18 inches long - and nearing birth height - but still has another 4-5 lbs to pack on before the big day.

Weekly growth milestone:  Molly is now perceiving signals from all 5 senses!  That is crazy.

Movement:  I've been noticing more and more that she moves around a bunch just before I fall asleep.

What I miss most:  Getting comfortable in bed.  I hate it because it feels like it takes so long before I can find a position to sit in comfortably.  This is especially true while reading!  Thankfully, since cutting out some sugar and caffeine from my diet, it seems like I have no trouble falling asleep at night.  (Sometimes I fall asleep literally right in the middle of my book.)

Cravings:  Two things I craved this week - baked ziti and Mexican lasagna!  Both of which we ended up having for dinners this week and both were so so so good.  I have a thing for cottage cheese right now, apparently!

Best moment of the week:  Spending the day with friends & family on Sunday!  It was just good for the soul.
Presley & Daddy swimming in the cool water!

Presley & Riley saying bye to each other... so sweet! 
They're only 2 months apart.  (And I believe it is technically her second cousin once removed.)

What I'm excited about:  I'm looking forward to my next doctors appointment to see what they think about my blood sugar levels and my diet.  I wonder if the gestational diabetes will impact my due date at all - if they'll choose to move it up at all or leave it as it is.  I'm also looking forward to my nephew's baptism next weekend!!!!  Oh, and a little nervous for our housewarming party... this place is still in chaos!