I’m back – with news!

March 19, 2017

Maisie has some exciting news… I’m really thrilled to finally be able to share that Joe and I are expecting our second baby girl this September!

Being pregnant for a second time is already so, so different.  When I was pregnant with Maisie I couldn’t really make myself understand what was about to happen.  This time around, as soon as the second line appeared on the pregnancy test I instantly knew what was at stake and said a million tearful prayers for the health and safety of this child.  Another note on my second pregnancy vs. the first is that time is F L Y I N G G G G by.  We are so wrapped up in Maisie and our busy life that’s its almost as if I blinked and the first trimester was over.

Some things are the same though.  Unfortunately I haven’t been able to escape the insane “morning” aka “every waking second of the day” sickness I experienced with Maisie and I think it may even be worse with this little one.  I won’t lie, it’s pretty horrific.  More on that later I’m sure.  For now I’m just thankful (after a brief scare at our 12 week appointment) that the baby seems to be doing great.  I have reached the second trimester and things are starting to get more real.

Baby Girl Dugan nice and cozy at 12 weeks.

We can’t wait to welcome this little lady into our family.  More than anything, I am so excited for Maisie to have a sister!  I can’t picture my life without my siblings and it makes me feel all the feelings to think about her developing the same relationship with this baby.

Now that the cat’s out of the bag, I’m looking forward to getting back to blogging here.  Updates to follow 🙂

Tiny Details | Volume II (Pics Edition)

December 31, 2016

Just a few snapshots from a regular day.  Maisie, stay little!

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Tiny Details – Volume I

December 19, 2016


Maisie is 19 months old (!)

Haven’t had much time for updating lately.  Here are some tiny details for safe keeping:

• When asked “what’s your name?” she will point to herself and confidently say “You”

• She is way too busy to do much cuddling these days but every once and a while will run to me, bury her head in my shoulder and say “ohhh Mama.”  Three to five seconds later she will dash off to the next adventure.  I love you too, Maisie!

• She loves coloring and calls her crayons “cah cahs”

• She loves babies, kitty cats and doggies – especially her doggie!

• She is literally obsessed with her Papa (my Dad) and immediately ditches Joe and I when we bring her to my parents house which is finneeee by us 🙂

• She is learning how to put things (her coat and hat, toys etc.) away and is a really good helper

• She has basically been sick for 2 months straight.  Ear infections, eye infections, chronic congestion galore and my tough girl still goes a million miles an hour allllllll day long.

• She is very into things being cold and hot…repeatedly approaches the radiators in our house to declare “ooooooh is hot” and make the cutest little concerned face of all time.

• At least once every few weeks Joe and I have a conversation about whether or not her occasionally-fresh behavior is “normal toddler” or “crazy Maisie.”  Thanks for keeping us on our toes, Maisie Dugan!

• Her most favorite word in the universe is, but of course, “NO.”  We are really working on “No, thank you.”

Sweet, smart, stubborn, spunky, silly and soooo beautiful.

Maisie, Mommy loves you to the moon.

Our Family Pictures 2016.

November 8, 2016

We met up with my photogafriend Tricia again this year to get our pictures taken and unknowingly walked into a perfect storm of toddler terror.  Maisie had a few vaccinations the day before and then didn’t end up napping in the car on the way there like we were hoping she would yada yada yada things got ugly pretty quickly.

After we called it quits I literally didn’t think we got even one sane shot so I was thrilled when Tricia revealed a nice handful of photos from the first 9 minutes of shooting hahaha.

I hate being in pictures but it’s so important to me to do this once a year.  I hope I can keep the momentum going as Maisie gets older 🙂

Just for fun – our pictures from last year – SO LITTLE!

Tricia LaPonte Photography

Tricia LaPonte Photography

Tricia LaPonte Photography

I title this one: “The Beginning of the End” (alternate title “If looks could kill”).Tricia LaPonte Photography

Tricia LaPonte Photography

Tricia LaPonte PhotographyAnd that, my friends, is a wrap.

Tricia LaPonte Photography

I noticed something today.

September 13, 2016



I guess it’s been true for a while….weeks or maybe even months.  It’s been true, right here under my nose and I didn’t see it.  I wouldn’t see it.  

Last weekend I sorted through bags of big-girl clothes from cousin Claire and Lila – not thinking much of it other than you would grow into them at some point this fall.  But now you’re wearing them.  And, for the record, these big-girl clothes are NOT big on you.  Daddy has been sending me his daily “outfit approval?” text pictures each morning this week and I can finally see it now.

Maisie!  You’re not a baby anymore.  

Not even a little bit.  Not even an in-between!

You’re a little girl.  A beautiful, curious, smart and crazy little girl with perpetually skinned knees and crooked piggy tails.  You’ve got more energy than I can comprehend.  You’re funny.  You’re stubborn and strong-willed.  You’re affectionate.  You light up any room you enter.  You’re my buddy.

And would you believe that, for once, Mommy is just too excited to feel sad about you getting so big!?  I can’t wait to see what the next few years will bring.  I’ve already started obsessively researching dance and other local activities for 2 year olds.  Besides – I’ve got some very cliched news for you sister gurrrlll, whether you are 16 months or 16 years – you are always going to be my baby.

So that’s all.  No ridiculous emotions or added mushy paragraphs.  Let the record just show that today Mommy finally saw you, my big girl Maisie.  To infinity, and beyond!

Love you to the moon,


Summer Update – Maisie @ 15 Months

August 22, 2016


The two images above both feature Maisie strapped into a high chair or carseat – and that’s not a coincidence.  It’s almost impossible to get a picture in focus of her with my iPhone now because Maisie at 15 months old is a terminator monster of energy.  From the second her tootsie toes hit the ground in the morning she does.not.stop.

I haven’t done an update like this since she turned 11 months old so I figured a mini-summary was in order.  She is getting so big so fast – I need to pause for a moment and leave a few details here for safe keeping…


• Trying to pick up the heaviest thing she can find and carry it across the room.

• Trying to put a headband on her baby dolly’s head (!?) and then covering her with a blankie and kissing her night night.  She will happily repeat this process over and over and over again.

• Frozen on DVD.  Frozen soundtrack in the car.  Just, Frozen.

• Generally running around the house like a lunatic and climbing on her toys, climbing on her chair, climbing on the couch.

• Having her teeny tiny toenails painted by Mommy!  She recently became super interested as I was painting my own toes and to my amazement she sat perfectly still and stared in awe while I did hers.

• Snuggling up with her sippy cup in Mommy and Daddy’s bed in the mornings.

• Eating.  She’s been SUCH a good eater lately.  Way to go, Maisie!


• Doing anything other than exactly what she would like to be doing (i.e….putting her shoes on, getting strapped into her carseat).  She expresses this dislike in a not-so-nice way (which is my very nice way of saying “she will literally punch us in the face”) and we are working on that.

New Skillz:  New words are coming almost daily and I can hardly wait to hear more about what is going on behind those big blue eyes.


Monthly Tidbit: I’m finally starting to really feel the payoff from all of those longggggg days with newborn and baby Maisie.  We have such crazy, silly fun now.  Dance parties, making up games, going on adventures all over the place.  Being Maisie’s Mom at 15 months is the best kind of exhausting there ever was.

Staycation Recap

August 10, 2016


I was going to write this very detailed post about our staycation and then when I started gathering images I found the shots above and changed my mind.  These 3 random pictures of Maisie being silly while Mommy tried to convince her to wear a headband perfectly sum up why our staycation was awesome.

I’ll leave the play-by-play storytelling to my Instagram account.  Yes, we went to the aquarium.  We went to the beach 8 million times and the playground too.  We had lazy mornings, big family breakfasts and even went out to eat.  We got iced coffees and took Maisie for stroller walks in the late afternoon and, in the evenings, we sat on our deck sipping beers.  Most importantly, we (the royal we…Joe, Maisie and I…UGH fine Gillies too) were together.

It was the most amazing and restorative week I can ever remember having.  It was the happiest I can ever remember being.


Flying with a 13 Month Old

June 6, 2016


Last week I had to go to Las Vegas for work and Joe & Maisie tagged along to visit his Mom and Grandparents. When we booked the tickets back in November I naively looked at my 6 month old and thought – “It will be easy to fly with her in June. She’ll be over a year old at that point.”




I spent the week or two leading up to this voyage absolutely freaking out and reading dozens of blog posts and articles about flying with a young toddler on your lap.  If you have just frantically googled “Flying with a 13 Month old” and found yourself here – spoilers ahead!


Here is a list of things we did right:

1Packed a TON of snacks. Turns out there are plenty of food items you are permitted to easily bring through airport security. Including (but not limited to) bananas, cheerios, cheese sticks, wrapped sandwiches, powdered milk, freezer packs etc. We just picked up a few bottles of water in the terminal and we had enough food to feed 10 Maisies. I am usually pretty rigid about her nutrition and food intake but the mantra for the flight was “whatever Maisie wants, Maisie gets.”

2Packed a bunch of toys that Maisie has never seen before. I ordered some cheapie (and travel friendly) toy assortments on Amazon and we slowly rolled each new toy out during her awake periods on the flight.

3 – We didn’t let her nap before getting on the plane. On the way out west Maisie fell asleep on me during takeoff and slept for 1.5 hours. On the way home she fell asleep while we were on the tarmac (more on this below) and slept for the first 3 hours. We also encouraged her run around crazy and burn off as much energy as possible in a quiet corner of the terminal before boarding.

4 – We stuck together.  Joe and I were giving each other a pep talk as we approached the airport and the main concept was – no matter what happens on that plane, we need to stick together act as a team.

5 – We got a used carseat for the trip. I’m so glad we did because guess what happened on the way back when we went to pick up our checked luggage?? NO CARSEAT. If we had been relying on that carseat coming out of the carousel in order to get home, I would probably still be in a detention cell at JFK right now. We made a quick game time decision to just ditch it and get the hell out of there. Also, we checked the stroller right at the door of the plane – which was awesome.

6 – We stayed organized. My carry on item was our diaper bag which had all dipes, wipes and a lunch box/bag thing with food and snacks for Maisie. Joe’s contained toys and an iPad with Maisie-friendly stuff loaded on it.

7 – We were literally the last ones on the plane. They make an announcement at the gate saying something like “anyone traveling with small children please board now.” We completely ignored that. In fact, on the way home they actually made an announcement in the terminal saying “Last call for Dugan, party of 2.” That’s how long we waited to get on the plane.

Here is a list of things we did wrong:

1 – We flew across the country with a 13 month old.  If there is one lesson I learned from our trip, it is that you can prepare all you want but flying with a toddler that young, for that long, is just not going to be an enjoyable experience. It will be stressful.  You will be counting the seconds until you can get the eff off the plane.  However, I am glad we did it.  I’m so glad Maisie got to spend time with Joe’s family.  I feel like we earned some kind of parenting gold star for surviving.  But ya’ll.  It. was. tough.


Worst Moment – When we boarded the plane on our way home, Maisie was exhausted but still content. We had her sippy cup with milk ready to go. We were all set for her to fall asleep while the plane was taking off. And then the pilot made an announcement to the effect of “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have an issue with the air conditioning, it’s going to be about a 15-20 minute delay while they make repairs.” Funny, because what I heard was “Catherine Dugan you were a serial killer in a previous life and this is your punishment.” The plane was fully loaded with people and suddenly the engine shut off and it was silent. And delirious Maisie went ballistic.  We got “the look” in unison from about 37 irritated people and I imagined them all updating their social media with FML posts about being trapped on a plane with a screaming brat.  I jumped out of the seat and brought her to the back of the plane and fought against her thrashing limbs and piercing screams for what felt like forever. Finally, after 30 sweaty minutes of rocking and swaying she fell asleep on my shoulder, just as the pilot was pulling away from the gate.

Best Moment – It’s been probably over six months since Maisie napped on top of me. It was just like the old days. She is 15 lbs heavier but just as sweet.

An Update

May 24, 2016


toddler1 toddler2

What I would like to say about our lives at the moment is holy crapola we are all of a sudden living smack dab in the middle of Toddlerville.  Maisie is very active.  She is VERY opinionated.  And she is very, very cute.  And boy does she know it.

She is so attached me lately.  Like, I’m not allowed to be more than 7 feet away from her at any moment.  Can’t believe I was ever worried about her not knowing that I am her Mama.  Her favorite word to say is “Dada.”  Joe is Dada.  I am Dada (Maisie has two Daddies!), pretty much anything in her sight line is “Dada.”  She loves our ceiling fans, she loves pointing at things she wants and “expressing herself” if she can’t have them.  She loves trying to pull the card out of the cable box.  She loves bolting towards the stairs.  She is sneaky.  She is smart.  She is testing her boundaries.

She is so, so loved.

Some Admin – It’s been a pretty long time since I posted.  The adult issues in our life have been particularly stressful and adulty and I just haven’t had the energy or mental space to write here.

Something strange happens when you share intimate details about your life on the internet.  The line dividing subject matter into an “off limits” category can get blurry.  But it’s still a line.

I started this blog over a year ago hoping to neatly document and preserve memories for my family.  I imagined my future self talking a digital stroll down memory lane someday.  I imagined her feeling so thankful to have such an easy way to access snippets of our life as a young family.

But then Maisie was born and things got really weird.  I couldn’t EFFING believe how hard being a Mom was and I had a lot to say on the matter.

Maybe I got side tracked.  Maybe I started writing posts with other new Moms in mind, rather than my own family.

Either way – I’m trying to refocus and move forward.

P.S.  Hey future Cat – Remember these days?  It was the best of times it was the worst of times, amIrighttttt?  What was that?  You’re a size 4 now!!???  We will win the lottery!!!???  Woooooooo!!!!!!  Yes, I’m trying to soak in our toddler girl before she gets much bigger.  It’s not easy but I’M TRYING!!!

P.P.S.  There has never been a more bizarre person alive than the author of this blog.

Maisie’s 1st Birthday Party | Houston, We’ve Lost All Control

March 14, 2016

bday invite

With my daughter’s 1st birthday rapidly approaching, I figured it would be nice to have a low-key celebration for her with some close friends and family.  I planned to pick up a cake from the local bakery while my husband threw some burgers on the grill.  I was not going to be that crazy Mom with the catered party and Pinterest-worthy pictures.  Because let’s not kid ourselves, those people are nuts.  Throwing an elaborate event for a baby who won’t even remember being there and doesn’t even know what a birthday is?  PUHLEASSEEEEE.

Anyway, I flipped the calendar ahead, chose a Saturday and sent “save the date” text messages to all of Maisie’s Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles.  Easy peasy.

But then something bad happened…

I picked a theme.

If you must know, the theme kind of picked itself.  Cinco De Maisie!  I mean, c’mon.  Irregardless, I can look back and pinpoint the “beginning of the end” to that exact moment; the choosing of the theme.  The theme may have been a mistake.

Because if you have a theme, you need corresponding decorations.  And a theme-esq outfit for the birthday girl.  And the food has to match the theme, but of course.  And how can you have a themed-party and only invite 10-15 people?  That would be weird.  Besides, it will be nice to see everyone anyway!  And if there’s a theme and a 50+ person guest list, you need to send out formal invitations.  And how can you send formal invites without an image of the birthday girl to be?  No big deal, just schedule a mini session with a photographer and whip up a theme-inspired invitation design.  And if there’s a theme, decorations, a matching birthday girl outfit, a 50+ person guest list, a photoshoot and formal invitations; not just any bakery cake will do….

You guys.  Not until I googled “custom 1st birthday cakes Long Island” did I realize what had happened.  I am that crazy Mom throwing a ridiculous, Pinterest-inspired 1st birthday party for my baby.  And if you MUST know, I have a 3-tabbed running spreadsheet to keep all guests, expenses and supplies organized.

Why am I doing this?  Why does anyone do this?

I’ll tell you why.

Because we made it.

WE FUCKING MADE IT.  (First time/Last time f-bomb on this blog.  Scout’s honor!)

This party is for those two terrified morons walking out of the hospital with a baby last May.  For the newborn who wondered if any of her nursery mates got lucky and had parents who actually knew what the hell they were doing.  This party is to celebrate surviving the 3 a.m. fights, the tears, the exhaustion, the worrying.  Oh my Gahhh the worrying. This party is for the belly laughs, the most tender moments I’ve ever known, the love feelings, the milestones and all the victories, big and small.

And it will be ridiculous.  And 97% of my social media connections will roll their eyes in unison when the pictures start rolling in.  My response to that eye roll will be to take a swig of Corona (theme – check!), admire the wedding band still on my finger and kiss my still-alive baby.


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