Important Firsts

Some recent Maisie Stuff

November 3, 2016

Maisie recently started at a new daycare (post about this coming soon. or maybe never lol) just in time for picture day.  I had no idea how this would go and when I got the proofs back I died.  Like, literally died.  Way to go Maisie!


Then a few days later was the Halloween parade!  Confession time…I took these pictures with a scarf and sunglasses covering my entire face so she wouldn’t see me on the first parade lap.  I didn’t want to break her stride!  Secondary confession, the cuteness of seeing her and her friends in their little costumes had me fighting tears.paradeSaving the best for last…I didn’t have super high hopes for trick or treating but Maisie totally got it and totally LOVED it!  Every time another door opened and someone gave her a shiny foil-wrapped piece of candy she just kept saying “woooooowwwwwwww!…wowwwwwwwwww!”

Yay Maisie Mouse!


July 26, 2016


I haven’t had a full week off from work since August of 2014.  What’s that now?  NO, my maternity leave doesn’t count.  Don’t you dare try to make it count.

Anyway, it is now (almost) August of 2016.  Two lonnnnng and grueling years later here I am…mere days away from an entire week off.

Our very first week off as a family, in fact.  Joe is on vacation as well and Maisie’s daycare is closed for the week.

And guess where we’re going!?


A few months ago I started dorking out and dreaming up a small trip the three of us could take on our first official family vacation.  I was eyeing destinations like Sesame Place, Mystic Connecticut or even a few days in Boston.  I googled and googled for toddler-friendly vacation ideas….and then I just kind of ran out of steam.  It was like I was exhausted before even choosing somewhere to go.  The thought of how quickly the expense of a 3 day excursion would add up, driving for hours with a toddler who hates being in a carseat, the amount of shit we (I) would need to pack and having to share a hotel room with someone who goes to bed at 7 p.m….I just….gave up.

Once I accepted defeat I actually got really excited about the idea of NOT going somewhere.  I even made a spreadsheet (I literally can’t help it…I’m addicted to making spreadsheets) filled with local destinations –  brunch spots, an aquarium, museums, sprinkler parks and beaches – that we are going to check out.  I’m also pumped to catch up on some long overdue admin stuff…I’m going to get my oil changed and go to the dentist, Joe wants to do some yard work and re-grout our shower etc.

Most of all, I can’t wait to soak up some precious time together as a family…we get so little of it.

Someday I will be writing a blog post about our expensive and (probably) stressful trip to Sesame Place, Great Wolf Lodge, Disney or the monuments in Washington D.C….but today, on this day, I’m looking so forward to our low-key Dugan Family Staycation.

Maisie’s 1st Haircut!

June 29, 2016

Maisie got her very first hair cut!

As her famous mane continued to grow longer, shaggier and more out of control there were about 3-4 weeks of back and forth “should I?” or “shouldn’t I?” cut her hair discussions going on in our house.  So much so that I’m pretty sure Joe Dugan was one conversation shy of whipping out the scissors and just doing it himself so I would stop talking about it.

I feel kind of silly now that it’s all over and done with but I mean cmon!  It felt like a huge decision to me!  Mostly because I knew she would instantly look older once it was cut (and she does, *sniff sniff*).


Being very, very brave.


Here’s the official before and after.  That picture on the left is what pushed me over the edge.  Feral child no more!

afterHere’s Maisie just living the post-haircut life and somehow looking cuter than ever.


And, just for fun, here’s Maisie’s always-abundant hair at 1 month and (almost) 14 months.  

As my Dad so poignantly said a few months ago…”she’s really grown into the hair.”  True that, Papa, TRUE THAT.

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.

Big News!

May 2, 2016

S00000000 guess who took her first steps today?????????

Way to go, Maisie!  What a little hero!

Catherine Makes a Friend (Working Title)

April 23, 2016

Remember this post?

Well, I have some pretty exciting news…

I made a friend!!!!

We met at baby gym a few months ago.  Her name is Ashley.  Her daughter is Juliana.  They live like less than a mile away from us.  Harmony!

We’ve been getting the girls together for playdates and stroller walks for a while now and I’ve been secretly wanting to blog about how AMAZING it is to have a local Mom friend (did I mention that it’s amazing?) but helllloooooo I didn’t want to scare her away!  Making a Mom friend feels a lot like dating in the beginning.  You are just trying to play it cool and pretend to be normal.  Would you ask a guy on the first or second date if you could take his picture with a giant camera and write about him on the internet?  METHINKS NOT.

Anyway.  Here are a bunch of pictures of Maisie and Juliana being besties at a recent playdate. it’s cool to think of these girls taking dance lessons together or being on the same soccer team in a few years!

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Ashley and I gave it our all trying to get them both to look and smile at the same time.  These last few had me laughing out loud…awesomely bad!

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Suns out, guns out

April 19, 2016


There they are.  In all their atrophied glory.    

Why hello there.  Would you like to know a ridiculous, embarrassing and completely insane fact about me? Of course you would!

As noted by the header of this blog, I live in New York.  And summers in New York can be occasionally brutal.  High temperatures, lots of humidity and sticky disgusting heat.  Not a problem for someone who can just apply some lotion to their pale skin, dust off the old tank top & shorts collection and call it a day.  However, it has been a big and very sweaty problem for me because….drumroll….

I haven’t worn a short sleeved shirt in approximately 5 years.

Just take a moment to digest that little nugget of information.  Outdoor concerts.  Backyard barbecues.  Scorching sun.  LONG SLEEVES.

I won’t bore you with the sob-story explanation, I’ll just give you the Cliff’s notes… I used to be a Division I athlete and now I am not.  Where there once were muscles and tone, now there is not.  I just feel better about myself with my arms covered.

I know it makes no sense.  Logically I know that no one is looking at me and assuming I have very thin arms hiding under my cardigan.  It’s just a weird security blanket that I haven’t been able to let go of.  I think every body-conscious woman probably has something like this that they do.  No?  I’m just crazy?  ALRIGHTY THEN.  Forging ahead.

The thermometer reached like 70something yesterday and I was chasing after Maisie in the hot and stuffy upstairs of our house wearing a zip up hoodie.  I started sweating my b’s off when – in a completely unexpected moment of clarity – I’m like “WHYYYY am I doing this!?  THIS IS INSANE!  I can’t expect to be going for stroller walks and trips to the playground with her in the warm weather wearing friggin’ long sleeves.  Eff this noise!” I ripped off the sweatshirt, threw it on the ground for dramatic effect and haven’t looked back.

This summer, I’m looking forward to giving exactly zero shits, embracing the body that I have and enjoying the outdoors with my girl.  The park, the beach, Mommy and Me swimming lessons*.  All of it.


*Supplemental fun fact, I haven’t worn a bathing suit in like 8 years.  Watch out!

Manic Monday | 3-28-16

March 28, 2016


“Not now, Mother.  I’m very busy.”

Maisie’s first Easter.  Hippity hop!

We were up and out by 8:45 a.m. to make it to church with Great Grandma, followed by brunch at Nana and Papa’s and then a “pop in” at Aunt Alicia’s on our way home.  I’m exhausted even thinking about it.  It was hard to ignore every cell in my body screaming at me to have a laid back day at home but I’m glad we powered was a super swell day in the hood.


Speaking of Easter, guess what happened in the car on the way to church?  I noticed that I have a lot of gray hair.  Like, an insane amount of gray hair for someone who is 32 years old.  I am going to try to find a way to Loreal the crap out of my head this week but the most disturbing thing about this is not that I have so much gray hair, but that I didn’t even notice it until now.  What goes on?

Anyway, I tried to google a possible solution that will really cover them and discovered that having gray hair is “in” – so I’m basically the coolest person ever.  I also look exactly like the girl in this picture.  Twins!


Last and most definitely least.

The boogies.

If I google “10 month old baby runny nose” one more time I might literally lose my mind.  Maisie has now seen two different doctors because of these stupid boogies.  The most recent one said (after I explained that she has had a non-stop runny nose for over 2 months) “If it doesn’t go away in a week then come back.”  That moment was…difficult.  It was like an episode of the Twilight Zone.  Inside my mind I was shaking her and screaming “DON’T YOU GET IT!?  AREN’T YOU LISTENING TO ME!?  THEY WONT BE GONE IN A WEEK…THEY NEVER GO AWAY.”

In the meantime my poor girl is so traumatized from having her nose (which is red, raw and bloody by the end of the day) constantly wiped that she cries if I even go near a box of tissues.  I feel so helpless and frustrated.

So this is my plea for advice.  Moms.  ANYONE.  Could it be allergies?  Her boogies are mostly clear and just relentlessly run all day.  For over 2 months.  We’ve tried saline spray, humidifier in her room, vick’s vapor rub and nothing has worked at all.  Help!

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.


Big News

February 1, 2016

This weekend Maisie finally put it all together and started crawling!

Way to go little Mais’….the sky’s the limit kid 🙂


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