Nine Pictures of Us {thursday thoughts}

To start out, I am already guilty of skipping a Thursday! But to be honest, with everything going on in the news and around the country around this time last week, the last thing I wanted to do was write a lighthearted blog. Now after a week or more of so much heavy in the news and around us, it feels like exactly the right thing to do.

I thought this particular blog entry would be super easy and fun... and while it did evoke "all the feels" it was SO difficult to choose just nine photos of us. Before getting started I thought nine would be kind-of a lot of photos but now I realize it doesn't do justice in allowing me to accurately show all our history OR delve into much of our present, either.

All of that considered, this was still a ton of fun. I loved going through photos of Tony and I and recalling so many happy, fun memories with my favorite person in this world. These are some of my favorite photos of us over time (though not all of my favorites) and putting these together in one blog entry really shows me how important photo taking is... what if we had let these moments pass without capturing them on film? And how many beautiful, wonderful photos do I have undeveloped these days? It reminds me how important it is to capture moments on camera. And with that, here is a quick(-ish) trip down our memory lane...

{may 2003}
I love this picture so much. This was my first prom with my first love! I was a freshman and Tony was a senior and we were going to prom at my school... so besides his best friend and my older sister, there weren't a TON of people that either of us really knew. It was exciting and awkward and a night full of a million butterflies all night long! Our first dance together happened at prom along to Kid Rock's "Only God Knows Why" which is absolutely hilarious! We had been sitting down at a table talking and hanging out and I told him - "Okay, we are going to dance to the NEXT SONG that is slow that comes on!" because he didn't really want to dance. So of course it was the least romantic song they probably played that night. But it didn't matter. I loved dancing with him. I loved getting all dressed up and spending that night hanging out with him. He was (and still is) the perfect gentleman. He bought me the most beautiful corsage. He picked me up in his Granny's gorgeous car that night and if I remember correctly we ate at O'Charleys beforehand! He looked so incredibly handsome. (He wore a bowtie! SO precious.) We took pictures beforehand at my house and then again at his best friend, Damen's house - which would later become a second home to me over the coming years and Damen's family a second family to me. The reason I like this specific picture from that night is because it is just so... us.

{august 2008}
This picture means a lot to me because it was taken at such a huge changing point in our life. In the two years since I graduated high school I had been enrolled at two different community colleges... one in Illinois and the other in Tennessee - which is where we had currently been living. My credits didn't transfer from my first college to my second but they all would transfer back to my first college. I wasn't happy in Memphis and we both had great opportunities to look forward to in Illinois. It was a huge leap of faith for him - he had never lived outside of Memphis or away from his own friends and family. It was a make or break moment: would we move to Illinois together or would I be moving there by myself? When it came time to talk about it he didn't really bat an eye - he said he would go where I go. So this is us on our last night in Memphis on the cusp of so much change.

{april 2009}
Here we are riding four wheelers around Sullivan Hill in Eudora, Mississippi - one of our happy places! I love, love, LOVE Tony's family and spending time with them was never, ever dull, that's for sure! I'd love going over to his parent's house to have dinner because his mom always made the best food. (Though on this particular night we took the four wheeler to go pick up pizza down the road and it was so much fun!!!) I've always loved this photo of the two of us. This was a place that felt so much like "home" and I always looked forward to visiting here from time to time while we lived in Illinois.

{may 2009}
My first college graduation. This was a special moment and such a happy time. Tony has been so supportive of me from the very beginning. I could have done it without him but it would have been so much more difficult and a whole lot less fun. He encouraged me. He didn't make me feel like a loser when I didn't do well in a class or on an assignment and he didn't judge me when I skipped a class here and there. He read countless papers I wrote, helped me study, and was genuinely proud of me when I succeeded. When I wanted to quit, he talked me out of it every time. My accomplishment is mine but it is his as well. This was such a happy day - his mom and Granny surprised me and showed up for my graduation. I don't know if they ever knew how deeply that touched me.

{november 2009}
This was taken by a stranger on the beach just moments after I accepted Tony's marriage proposal and just about a week after I turned 22. He surprised me on my birthday and told me he was taking me to Anna Maria Island, FL to spend time with my Grandmother!!!! That was the best present of my life! He knew how special my gramma is to me, how sad I was that it had been a while since I had seen her, and that this was such a special place to me and a place I would love to visit alongside him. Plus it was all such a huge surprise! {Reason #14 I love my husband: He LOVES to surprise me! And he really does give the best surprises... even though sometimes I am a pain in the ass when it comes to surprises!!} Before leaving I started to wonder if he was going to propose on the trip and I turned to my cousin to see what she thought. She told me he was worried I'd get my hopes up and that when he didn't propose that it would ruin the trip... he told Breanne he didn't have the money to buy the ring he felt I deserved and that it wasn't going to happen. Not only was that such a sweet, heartfelt reason - but it really showed me how it didn't matter about a proposal, that I had him and that's what was important. We had such a special few days and on our last day of the trip we went to the beach one last time (at his insistence) where we walked the beach, had a snack at a restaurant right there on the sand, and on the walk back to the car he asked if we could sit down for a minute and enjoy it all for a few more minutes. He pulled out a piece of paper and started reading me a poem he wrote where at the end of it he pulled out a ring and asked if I would marry him. All of it from beginning to end was just perfect. And knowing he wanted to spend the rest of forever with me was the best of all.

{december 2009}
This is a photo that a friend of ours took during a photo shoot for our engagement downtown Memphis on Beale Street. I think it might be one of the most beautiful photos I've ever been a part of... I absolutely love it. Memphis is such a great place to be and it's the city where Tony and I grew up, met each other, and fell in love. It's the city we saw countless movies in, went on a million dates together, and made so many memories. I'm so grateful to Nicole for taking this one and I hope she knows just how much this one means to me. Your engagement is usually a short, short time in your life together with your significant other and to have this happy time chronicled in a photo is absolutely priceless.

{may 2011}
Of course I had to include a photo from the happiest day of my life... our wedding day! We had so many mishaps that day and truly none of them mattered to me! We were with our best friends and family members and we were finally GETTING MARRIED!!! My little sister took this photo when we were on the way from the ceremony to the reception. It was an impromptu photo taken just minutes after we became Mr. & Mrs. Duggan and I was on cloud nine. I absolutely love this picture, this moment.

{february 2012}
And exactly nine months from the last photo is this one - the birth of our first child! It is MIND-BLOWING how much our life had changed in that amount of time. It wasn't about us anymore... our life together was now about even more than all of that. It was about raising and loving our kid. It was about breastfeeding. Diaper changes. Sleepless nights and days. Dealing with and surviving postpartum depression. It was about well visits and vaccinations. It was about first steps and first words. It was trying to navigate being a newly married couple while figuring out parenthood and that learning curve was crazy difficult. But like so many before us, we figured it out. We survived. And then we started to thrive again. And having Tony there through labor and delivery... it's another one of those times where I probably COULD have done it without him, but I just sincerely doubt it would have been as successful. It was a horrendously long labor with so many painful roadblocks along the way but this moment right here when they placed this little warm body on top of mine was magical. To see the pride all over his face when he first held Presley is something that could never be replaced for me. The way he stepped up from the very first moments. How he never left my side. So much encouragement from him during labor, while pushing, to keep at breastfeeding, that I was a good mama, etc. It's no mistake we are next to each other in this life and to parent with him just adds such a meaningful layer of our life together.

{june 2014}
Meeting our second baby was thankfully a bit easier than it was the first time around - but of course not without complication. And through all the setbacks this time around (revolving around complications from having an epidural) Tony was an absolute champ. And I truly fell even more in love with him through all of it.

The time together has literally been such a life changer. It's a special thing to look back on and to cherish. It's a little bit insane how much and in what ways our life together has changed over the course of the sixteen years we've known each other. Knowing about it all and living it is all one thing... but reliving it in this capacity it a little strange. There are so many little moments that are easy to overlook or that you forget about once those moments are long gone.

I love sharing life with you, Tony! Thank you for being the father you are to our daughters and for always being my best friend. You deserve the entire world and I hope to give you as much of it as I possibly can. I love you.


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