The Mysteries of Marriage

And it’s more than I hoped for.

April 28, 2016


The last few days I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.

Thinking about a girl and a boy sitting on a futon in a college dorm room.  I’ve been wanting to tell them things about their future.  Tell them that this chance meeting and this casual friendship is the beginning of something huge.

I’ve been thinking about a young couple in love…out and about on a Saturday night.  I want to have a drink with them, bask in their effortless happiness and tell them to keep it up.  To live wildly and freely.

And I’ve been thinking about a pair of innocent newlyweds filled with hope and ambition…I want to tell them that the road ahead will take them on highs, lows and everywhere in between – and sooner than they think.

I’ve been thinking about two pretend adults with the weight of the world on their shoulders.  I’ve been thinking about that amazing baby girl sleeping upstairs.  I’ve been thinking about how lucky they are to have her, and to have each other.  I’ve been thinking they are wealthy beyond measure.

Maisie, I’ve been thinking that I hope you are lucky enough to find one just like him.  

It’s Our Anniversary!

December 14, 2015

joelil’ babies

The weird thing about dating someone FOR-EV-VERRRR before getting married is that your wedding anniversaries seem to fall short of really summing things up.

Joe and I got married 2 years ago today.  However, it was 13 years ago (what…WHAT!?) that we met at a Manhattan College dorm room party.

13 years ago.

That is absolute madness.  

ANYWAY.  Back to the point.  We decided last year to forgo splurging on expensive gifts or fancy dinners out for our anniversary.  Some delish takeout and a rewatch of our wedding video suits us just fine.  Whether it correctly sums up our relationship or not, I think it’s important to have a day to acknowledge another year of marriage.  Joe knows me better than anyone on this planet and somehow still manages to love me and THAT is definitely worth celebrating.

And if you were at our wedding 2 years ago and saw me making this ugly-cry face:

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It’s because I took one look at Joe Dugan at the end of that aisle and saw this picture in my head:



*Photo from our wedding courtesy of Morgan Trinker

How many kids will you have?

October 27, 2015


My siblings and I circa 1992.  

Before we got married, I loved talking to Joe about how many children we might have someday.  I grew up in a big family and my siblings are such important fixtures in my life, so I always thought I wanted at least 3 or 4 kids.  Joe (who is an only child) would inevitably back out of the room or change the subject when I threw those numbers around.  Wise beyond his years, that Joe Dugan.

However, in the most unsurprising plot twist of all time, my feelings have now completely changed.  I think I made it about 8 weeks into my pregnancy with Maisie before I boldly declared “I will NEVER do this again” from the bathroom after getting sick for the 1,000,000th time that day.  If the agony of all-day morning sickness wasn’t enough to convince me, the unexpected challenges and extreme lifestyle adjustments we’ve faced over the last 6 months certainly have…there is absolutely no way we are having 4 children.  In fact, I literally have no idea how my parents did it.  I’ve tried probing them for answers and have gotten little in return, except that they never formally decided to have 5 children.  I guess they just kind of kept having babies without ever talking about an end-game? (!)

I’ve noticed that a funny thing happens once you cross the threshold from 0 kids to 1 though.  You are already passed the point of no return – up to your ears in diapers, laundry, sleepless nights and the stress of it all.  It’s like…we’re already doing this…1 baby, 2 babies..what difference does it make?

Most days I think we may have just 1 more (God willing).  I’m finding myself already feeling nostalgic for the early days home with a newborn.  And, of course, thinking about Maisie as a big sister makes my heart melt into a puddle of feels.

I’d love to hear, how many kids do you think you will have?  Did you strategize how to space them?  Did you change your mind after you had your first?

Romantical Husband and Wife Text Messages | Volume I

October 14, 2015

1 32

While waiting on line at the grocery store recently I saw a Cosmopolitan Cover with a headline that said “10 Text Messages Every Guy Wants to Receive.”  I didn’t read the article (or buy the magazine, obvi) because I’m pretty sure I am already a pro at sending Joe romantic text messages.  If I had read it, it probably would’ve went something like this:

#3 – “Turd!?”  Your man will love playfully obsessing over your 5 month old’s bowel movements throughout the day so he knows you mean business when you get home.


Our old life is getting smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror and I think our text messages clearly reveal that we are both suffering from a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome.  I’m officially enacting a new rule to designate times of day in which we can discuss anything except the baby.  And the bills that are due.  And the calendar.  What will we possibly talk about!?  I’m excited and giddy to find out!

On the Flip Side | An Interview with Joe Dugan

October 6, 2015


I have been using this space to ramble on forever about being a new Mom, but what about the new Dads?  The days of the men waiting in the hospital waiting room with a pack of cigars are long gone.  Dads are UP IN that shiz.  Diapers, swaddles, bottles…everything.

Personally, seeing Joe become the amazing Father that he is has been the highlight of our 10+ year relationship.  In the early newborn days, I was actually jealous of what a natural he was with Maisie.  He was like a duck in water and I was a frazzled, panicked disaster.  A Dad is an irreplaceable person in a girl’s life and Maisie is one lucky little lady.

Anyway, Joe Dugan agreed to let me interview him to get his perspective on things.  He can be kind of quiet and tight-lipped when it comes to his feelings so I was SO fascinated by his answers.  It was like being on a private tour of the mind of my own husband.  I joked that I want to start holding weekly husband/wife interview sessions about everything in life.

How has being a Father changed your life?

It’s amazing how it consumes every minute of your day.  You’re responsible for another life.  All the books and cliches on TV and whatnot try to prepare you…as much as you think you know what to expect you have no idea.  Becoming a Father means becoming a different person.  I was always concerned about how I was going to deal with talking to a baby or how to change a diaper or give a bottle and it’s amazing how instincts take over and you just…do it.

What has been the scariest thing about becoming a Father?

I don’t think there’s any one scariest thing.  The whole thing is terrifying.

What was it like seeing your daughter being born?

We knew exactly when the baby was coming.  Counting down the days to Cat’s induction was bizarre.  Leading up to the delivery I was nervous thinking about how awkward this experience could be – being in a room with doctors, nurses, my Mother in Law and my wife (in a very vulnerable position)…but it was totally different than what I expected.  It was the most incredible experience of my life.  Indescribable.  I went from feeling excited to meet my daughter and wanting to be a supportive husband to feeling like a hockey fan during a Game 7 overtime.  The feeling of anticipation – like the most intense Christmas morning ever – was overwhelming.  Once the baby was out I was just relieved that Cat was okay and Maisie was perfect.

What did you think when you first saw your daughter?

I had a hard time composing myself.  I was weak at the knees.  I always thought newborn babies looked like aliens…I was actually concerned in advance on what my reaction would be to my own alien baby but she was the cutest baby I’ve ever seen.  I couldn’t believe how adorable she was.

How has being a Father changed your marriage? (after a long pause…this is not a trap!)

There have been more trying moments than we’ve ever faced before, but it has also brought us closer at the same time.  We each have meltdowns and freakouts and the other person is always there to step up.  We’re a team.

What are your feelings on having a girl?

She’s not a girl, she’s Maisie.  I felt a connection with her the instant she was born.  Her being a girl just means I have a lot of learning to do about all sorts of different things.

What are some things you are looking forward to doing with your daughter when she gets older?

I don’t want to look forward.  I want to enjoy everything as it happens.

What advice would you give to a close buddy who’s wife is pregnant?

I don’t know how much advice there is to give.  I’ve only been a Father for 5 months so I don’t think I’m in a position to give advice but I guess I would just say be prepared for your life to change forever.  It’s a very difficult but rewarding experience.

Big thanks to my husband for participating in this very official and professional living room interview.  Way to go, Dads!

The End of an Era

September 21, 2015

I am the kind of girl who wears my heart on my sleeve.  An open book, if you will.  I embrace all of life’s feelings – good and bad – and expel them outward to pretty much anyone who will listen.  Joe, however, is the exact opposite.  He can be quiet, complicated and difficult to read while he internalizes emotions and squishes them in his mind vise.

His Grandparents are finalizing the process of closing on their house (the house he grew up in) this week and moving across the country.  I spent the last few days trying to support him during what I evaluated to be a bittersweet and somewhat sad life event.  To my surprise, he shrugged off my occasional prodding to see how he was doing with lots of “no big deal, this move will be good for them” types of responses.

Yesterday we took Maisie over to say goodbye.  Seeing the house all packed up and bare immediately made my eyes well up.  Joe and I cohabited the upstairs apartment while we were dating, engaged and then newly married so, to me, that will always be the place where we started our lives together.  We went upstairs and as I was explaining to Maisie that this is where Daddy lived when he was a little boy and also where Mommy and Daddy lived before she was born – I noticed Joe sneakily recording a video of every room of the apartment on his phone.  Feelings unlocked!


On the drive home I started posting some of the photos we snapped during our visit.  I was blanking on a caption for one when suddenly the most cliched lightbulb in history went off in my mind and herreeeee come the Semisonic Lyrics.  Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.  BAM.


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