Posts from October 2015

On Not Enjoying Every Second

October 29, 2015


When you are new Mom, you receive a lot of advice from the more seasoned Mothers around you – both solicited and unsolicited.  One of the most common phrases thrown my way after Maisie was born was “enjoy every precious second…it goes so fast.”

To that, I simply say:  Nope!

To clarify a bit, I am enjoying most seconds.  I am willing myself on a daily basis to soak my baby girl in.  To memorize everything about her in this fleeting stage of babyhood.  The way her chubby hand will softly rest on mine when she’s drinking her goodnight bottle.  Her two little teeth poking through her gums.  The look on her face when her Daddy gets home from work.  The way she nestles into my chest when she’s tired.  All of these things are more enjoyable than I can possibly express.

But on the flip side, there are also many seconds that cannot be enjoyed.  Moments that push me to the brink of insanity.  Moments that make me want to get in the car and drive away.  Moments of pure frustration.

And I’m okay with that.

A few years ago I stumbled upon this passage while reading my favorite blog and it has completely changed my outlook on happiness:

I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that—I don’t mind people being happy—but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down three things that made you happy today before you go to sleep” and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position. It’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say, “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness.” Ask yourself, “Is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.

—Hugh MacKay, author of The Good Life

Ever since I read these words I’ve been striving for wholeness, rather than 24/7 happiness.  And part of that wholeness is NOT enjoying every second of my girl’s existence.  Because, let’s face it, when you are exhausted and at the tail end of a long day, dealing with the fact that your baby is suddenly making her “I’m doing a poopie” face in the bathtub…not so enjoyable!

And that’s okay.

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?

Manic Monday | 10/26/15

October 26, 2015


Detox update: It’s been a week.  I have logged into my account twice to link business blog posts.  Both times I literally had a physical reaction (so embarrassing) to finally having access to my newsfeed.  Each time, I allowed myself 5 minutes of frenzied scrolling and clicking before I once again deactivated my account.  The app is still deleted off my phone – which has been the most crippling thing to overcome.

I have started to kind of leave my phone on a counter or in my bag when I’m home.  I really have no reason to constantly check it anymore.  I don’t know how long this will last but, for now, I’m enjoying the more-focused time with Maisie.  I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I feel like I’m missing things though – during a 5 minute session I saw a picture my friend Kaitlin posted of her baby and I got mad that I didn’t get to see it sooner.  I’m torn!


Most babies will look sad in situations like these but thanks to Maisie’s oh-so-expressive Joe Dugan eyebrows she looks MAD!  “How dare you leave me Mommy!?  Not cool, bro.”

Sleep update: I initially thought it was teething, a sleep regression or both but after 7 straight nights we identified that the real problem was separation anxiety.  Maisie would only fall asleep if she could be near me and every time she woke up and saw that Mommy was gone, the entire process started all over again.

Something happens to a person who is sitting on the floor for 45 minutes at 11 o’clock at night with one arm wedged between the slats of a crib softly begging a baby to fall asleep.  While it’s so very heartbreakingly sweet that Maisie is suddenly so desperate to be near me, I realized that the current state of things was unacceptable.

My sister advised the Ferber method.  I spent half of yesterday researching it.  I wrote notes down.  Joe got home and I was SO ready.  We followed our normal bedtime routine except this time, Joe brought her upstairs and put her in her crib.  I set a timer and braced myself for the screams anndddddd silence.  That stinker went right to sleep!  I don’t know if it’s because Joe put her down and not me.  I don’t know if it was just a weird phase and she figured it out on her own.  However, I’m cautiously optimistic!  99% of the time I’m the one putting her to bed, so we’ll see how things go the rest of the week.  :Fingers crossed:



On Halloween, Joe and I are both off.  I have been looking forward to this day for weeks.  I am giddy even thinking about it.  There will be no errand running, house cleaning, function attending, LIE driving, yard work, photo editing or bill paying permitted.  We are going to wake up, make a massive batch of chocolate chip pancakes and spend the day with our baby girl.  I bought Maisie a costume, and when I put it on her I will probably have a cuteness-induced heart attack.  It was nice knowin’ ya!

library card

And finally, this.  Just this.



Pics Post | Just Because

October 24, 2015

Because as much as I keep willing time to slow down, it seems to be speeding up.  Because this little girl is growing and changing so fast I can hardly keep up.  And because I never want to forget these days with my almost-6 month old Maisie.

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The Times They Are A Changin’

October 22, 2015



The weirdest part about having a young baby is how fast things change.  Phases come and go in the blink of an eye.  That carseat problem?  Sooooo last week.

The breaking news in the Dugan household is that in the past few days Maisie has sprouted 2 little teeth, sat up like a big girl and stood on her own.  All very exciting happenings in our world but there has been a nasty side effect to these developmental milestones.  She  Our rockstar sleeper has completely disappeared and it is now taking 3-4 hours (!) to get her down for the night.  For months I’ve been able to put her down at 7:30 and she would fall right asleep until the next morning. NO MAS!

We’ve tried moving her bedtime a little later.  We’ve tried letting her cry it out.  We’ve tried comforting her, giving her another bottle, giving her Tylenol, letting her fall asleep in our bed and then moving her, not letting her fall asleep in our bed, reading another book, leaving the lights off, turning the lights on.  We’ve tried everything.   Every night Joe and I strategize and outline our battle plan and every night the whole thing goes out the window into a spiral of chaos.  We are doing our very best to stay the course and stick to our normal bedtime routines as much as possible but it hasn’t been easy.

There is something so terrifying about doing everything in your power to get an exhausted and delirious baby to fall asleep but to simultaneously feel like you are creating bad habits that may come back to bite you.


Scutchie sleeping in Mommy and Daddy’s bed.  

As always, to any other Moms who may be reading – I’m all ears!  Any advice is much appreciated.

Hey Facebook, we need to talk…

October 19, 2015



I registered my Facebook profile over 10 years ago at the ripe old age of 19.  At the time, it was exclusively for college students.  Needless to say, I was instantly addicted.  I loved staying in touch with friends at other schools, stalking my ex-boyfriends at will and procrastinating doing schoolwork for hours on end.

Facebook has seen me through graduations, breakups, makeups, moves, getting engaged, getting married, finding out I was pregnant and Maisie being born.  It has been nice to share our life in real-time with far away family (and the other 378 people I ended up being “friends” with…but that’s neither here nor there).

However, there have been too many instances of Facebook causing more stress than good in my life lately.  I’ve caught myself zombie scrolling through my newsfeed instead of soaking in my baby girl, getting honked at because I’m “liking” a picture (that I don’t even really like) instead of driving after the light turns green and, worst of all, Facebook has created issues with family members on more than one occasion.

So today I am taking the first step towards breaking an addiction.  I am admitting I have a problem.

My name is Catherine and I am 100% addicted to Facebook.  I’m addicted to being on Facebook instead of spending time with my baby and husband.  I’m addicted to feeling jealous of others and comparing my life to theirs and I’m addicted to trying to project a perfect and false image of my own life.  

That’s the weirdest part about Facebook now, no?  It’s not even Facebook anymore, it’s KeepingUpWithTheJones’sBook.  And I’m so guilty of it.

Here’s an example from yesterday:

What my Facebook friends see:  An adorable photo of Maisie “helping” me make cookies.  How cozy!  Life sure is swell when you’re me.

What is actually happening:  I’m trying to survive a 12 hour day alone with a cranky and teething 5 month old.  I also have an endless to-do list (none of which is getting done because of said teething 5 month old), work in the morning and I’m getting a cold.  The house is freezing so I turn on the oven and look for anything to make.  Instant cookies from last Christmas that are about to expire?  Sure!


Here we are.  I have deactivated my Facebook account indefinitely.  I deleted the app off my phone.  My immediate emotions were relief and freedom.  Yay!  That lasted about 5 minutes before the withdrawal started.  Stay tuned for updates on this detox mission.

Pics Post | Maisie at the Pumpkin Patch

October 17, 2015

I’ve been hemming and hawing nonstop about not being able to take Maisie to get her first pumpkin but YAYYYY cousin Becky saves the day!!!!!  Part of me wants to apologize for the ridiculous and repetitive amount pictures below but another part of me is like…”this is MY blog!  I do what I want!”

Copious amounts of images below!  Happy Fall!!
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Romantical Husband and Wife Text Messages | Volume I

October 14, 2015

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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!

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

October 13, 2015

BABY BOOM, Kristina/Michelle Kennedy, Diane Keaton, 1987

Joe and I are constantly hustling in 5 different directions, passing the baby back and forth while we (I) try not to have a stress-induced breakdown at every turn.  Lately, there hasn’t been much time to stop and enjoy this life we are working so hard to afford and maintain.

A few weeks ago I posted about being so excited to take Maisie to a pumpkin patch but unfortunately there hasn’t been a day (or even half a day!) that we have been able to go.  Last night we looked at the calendar for the rest of the month and it was clear – it’s just not going to happen this year.  A small disappointment in the grand scheme of things, I know, but to me it feels significant.  I will admit that I tend to over dramatize but, C’MON, what is the point of any of it – the schedule juggling, the planning, the stress of it all – if we can’t even take our baby girl to pick out her first pumpkin?

Anyway, with horrible montages of rush hour traffic and the insane price of living on Long Island in my mind, I keep daydreaming about moving to the middle of nowhere and sloowwwwinnggg things down.  I could run my business part time while Joe wears plaid everyday and becomes the town handyman…pick up truck mandatory.  Of course it’s easy to romanticize and not think about the friends and family we would be forced to leave behind – but the truth of the matter is when it comes to our daily grind – we are on our own anyway.  Why not be on our own in a place where we can afford to take a deep breath and spend time together as a family?

I’m 87% sure it’s just a fleeting feeling.  But if it’s not – I’d love suggestions!  Have you relocated your family somewhere completely different in search of a lifestyle adjustment?  Tell me everything!

The Carseat. It’s a problem.

October 13, 2015


Just hanging out at the Exit 53 text stop.  Ya know, with the sleeping truckers and drug dealers.

During my pregnancy I happened upon a tongue-in-cheek article outlining the “Different Kinds of Babies” there are.  The kind that doesn’t sleep, the kind that has colic, the kind that won’t eat etc.

The article ended with a paragraph that said…”but worst of all…the kind of baby that hates being in a carseat.”  The only advice offered was to stock up on earplugs and alcohol.

Fast forward 6 months and guesssssss which kind of baby I have?

You guys.  I hate even talking about this.  I can hear myself when I do.  I sound like an overprotective, coddling new parent when I tell tales of having to pull over multiple times on a trip home because the baby is crying.

But here’s the thing.  Unless you’ve been in that car…you don’t understand.

It always starts as fussing.  Harmless enough, right?  But 5-10 minutes of fussing turns into 5-10 minutes of crying turns into 5-10 minutes of sounds like a baby being tortured in the backseat turns into purple-faced choking between ear-piercing screams….and then I have no choice but to pull over.  And wouldn’t you know it that little stinker stops crying the instant she is out of the carseat and even has the audacity to LAUGH and SMILE in my face.

All the usual suggestions have been tried.  Wait until she’s well-fed and tired?  Tried it.  Give her a toy?  Tried it.  Sing to her?  Tried it.  Play children’s songs on the radio?  Tried it.  Give up and just cry along with her?  TRIED IT.

The crazy thing is it doesn’t happen every time.  These days, getting in the car with Maisie feels a lot like playing Russian Roulette.  Sometimes she’s FINE.  “Over the hump!…it was just a phase!” I think.  Those thoughts continue to be dead wrong.  If we take 10 car trips – 3 of those will inevitably be a nightmare.

We have identified a few scenarios that are more likely to trigger a backseat freakout.  Driving after 3 p.m.  Driving if it’s dark out (SOOOO excited about daylight savings time…ughhh).  Driving if she has recently had a long nap.  But it’s also happened without any of these.

As silly as it sounds, this carseat situation has kind of been my first real parenting hurdle.  Half of me wants to give in to fears of traumatizing Maisie for life and never leave the house again.  Half of me refuses to be held hostage in my own home by a 5 month old.

So, my dears, after a lovely day with my parents turned into the ride home from hell last night, I am asking (begging) for your help.  PLEASE comment with any advice, tips or tricks.

The ONE thing we haven’t tried is an iPad.  Joe and I talked a big game when I was pregnant about being super strict with exposing the baby to these kind of electronic fixers.  WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE MY FATHER DROVE ME TO CALIFORNIA AND BACK, THERE WAS NO IPAD!  But I’m so desperate, I think we may have to give in.


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