Happy Birthday Dennis!

Today's post is dedicated to the love of my life, my very best friend, and ultimate life partner in crime.  Today my guy celebrates his birthday!  37 looks good on you sweets :)
If you know my husband, you know that he is fun-loving, he loves to talk, he can make friends with annnyone, he loves his family fiercely and he is very loyal.  He's incredibly sensitive, knows when and how to push my buttons, is a tickle monster in the truest form, and is a very proud daddy.  He's funny, almost as weird as I am, and doesn't let a day go by where he doesn't tell me just how much he loves me.  In short, he's a keeper.
Dennis loves football, fried chicken, and Louisiana.  He plays video games, watches baseball {Go Red Sox!}, and kicks butt at pool, one-handed or two.  He's a dreamer, a big kid at heart, and I've never doubted that he will do anything that needs to be done to make sure our family is okay. 
Dennis is the level-headed one in our duo, and he can talk me down better than anyone.  He'd always choose time with family vs. time alone.  He's a night-owl, a cuddler, and a voice of reason.  He's incredibly handsome, a roll around on the floor kind of dad, and a pretty big pushover. 
I'm thankful every day for this man.  Thankful for what he does for us, thankful for how hard he works, and how much he loves.  I thank God {and his parents} that he was born and that somehow in this big ol' world, he chose me to be his wife.  Today, we celebrate you hubs.  Cheers to 37 wonderful years and a million more to come.  Happiest of birthdays to YOU!  I cannot WAIT to finally fill you in on your birthday present surprise :)

-Wifey-

9 months!

This weekend was faaaantastic.  It was full of naps, super productive house work, and soaking up my sweet 9 MONTH OLD.  Duke is changing by the second these days so I want to make note of some of it here so I will always remember this stage of discovery, mama snuggles, and double chins. 

We started off Duke's 9 month birthday with a family walk downtown.  We live right on main street and the weather was finally only in the 80s so we were able to go on a nice walk and not sweat to death.  Duke totally digs sitting in the stroller like a big kid instead of being in his car seat.  See also: he's a giant.

In between lots of naps for this growing boy, we played, read books, mowed the lawn, did a million loads of laundry and took some pretty stinking cute pictures with a 9 month tie on.
This monkey plays a recording of Duke's heartbeat from when I was about 16 weeks pregnant.  It is one of my absolute favorite things and Duke loves snuggling with it. 

Duke has started waving and it's adorable! It's pretty random right now, and when I try to do it back he just smiles, but it's one of the many things he's learning these days and I just love it!  In other, far more terrifying news, he is pulling himself up to standing all by himself!  Somebody help me.  Pulling himself up on anything and everything in site is the new name of the game for this boy so we were forced to lower his crib practically to the floor so he doesn't flip out of it.  He's a little top heavy, if you haven't noticed.

The other day, I told Dennis that I truly always knew I wanted to be a mama, I've always been excited about having kids and picturing what life would be like, but I literally never could've imagined how happy I would be.  Of course there are challenging moments, but for the most part, life with this boy is full of so many giggles, smiles, and snuggles.  He makes us laugh with his ridiculously funny facial expressions...the newest being the totally fake sad face and crinkle nose smile.  He loves to bury his face into me and pretty much tries to kiss or bite my arms 5103851 times a day.  Nursing is still going really well for us although all of those teeth are starting to make things tricky.  He's usually fine, but just recently started biting a little bit and I hope that phase passes quickly.  We are still impatiently waiting for a "mama" or a "dada" to come out of that cute mouth, but so far just lots of adorable gibberish. 

Duke loves the water, is slowly starting to get the hang of chewing little bits of food, loves to read books, does pretty great on road trips, and is going to be starting day care in less than 2 weeks!  Dennis and I feel so thankful we've been able to be at home with  him for so long {he's never been sick!} but we also know that he will do great and love playing with all the other kids.  We did a walk through of the daycare on Saturday and feel really comfortable with our decision.  Keep us in your prayers that this new transition goes well for all of us!
In other weekend news, we painted these shelves on Saturday {literally the only productive thing that happened on Saturday} to match the stripe we painted above Duke's crib and I'm so happy with how they turned out.  We stacked up some of his books and added some adorable hand-painted blocks that I got at my baby shower.  Also, by we, I totally mean Dennis.  He hung and decorated these shelves like a champ.  If you're looking for a professional shelf decorator, you can go ahead and hire him, but you've got to hurry because he starts a job on August 3rd! Woohoo!
Hope you all have a Marvelous Monday!  Go do something nice for somebody and try to stay cooooool in all of this heat!

-T-



Five on FRIDAY +Friday Favorites!!

This week FLEW by and while I feel like I left 47 things undone, I'm totally okay with the weekend sneaking up on me.  We are headed to Denver tonight for a last minute trip back to celebrate the wonderful man that is Dennis' Opa who passed away last week.  He was as sweet as he was tall {very!} and we are so thankful he was able to meet Duke!  In my experience, Opa was a man of few words but it was always apparent that he was genuine and that he loved his family fiercely.  He will absolutely be missed but we know he's in a better place now and reunited with his beautiful wife. 

Before we head off for our little road trip, let's dive into what's been on my list of randomness this week!

one

Duke is getting SO MANY teeth right now.  4 on top are working their way down and a 3rd on the bottom is making it's debut.  As much as I adored his gummy little smile, this wild toothy grin is too. damn. cute!  These are the pictures I get when I try to sneak a peak at his teeth...

But check out this gem my sister captured today!


two

I'm totally digging some of the fun events around town that we get to go to and in turn spend time with my family on a regular basis.  Last night we got to check out a new housing development that is all the rage right now and I can totally see why with the ridiculously beautiful homes and VIEWS.  We got to see 4 different homes, one of which was built by my best friend Amy's uber talented triplet brothers!  Mart Brother's Construction is their name, and building sweet homes is their game.  They do awesome work and are incredibly humble.  Bliss Pointe is on our wish list/5 year plan of potential forever home locations.

three

We had a great visit with my Grandma Ruby on Wednesday this week.  Duke sufficiently wreaked havoc all of her room and may have given her an anxiety attack {or two} but she was delighted to see him and the feeling was most certainly mutual.


four

I managed to spill water all over myself on 4 different occasions at work this week and it made me realize that I'm 10x more self-conscious about it now that I'm a breastfeeding mama! You just never know if people will believe you when you swear it's just spilled water. ;)
five

It's no secret I love reading blogs as much as I love writing my own, and discovering new blogs is always fun in my book.  I love digging back into the archives, especially if the blog has been around for years, and it's also a great way to get new post ideas and get to know the writer.  A few weeks ago, one of my awesome readers reached out via email and was incredibly sweet!  She is ALSO a small town South Dakota girl and her blog is fantastic...head over and meet Katie today at A House With Character.  She is a mama, a book lover, dog lover, and a big fan of anything that's chock-full of charm with a healthy dash of character.  Basically, she's awesome.
Happy Friday folks!

-T-





Confessions

First off, I totally have Usher playing on repeat in my head as I write this post...and now you probably do too, so you're welcome.  "These are my confessions..."

Anyway I tend to really enjoy reading other people's posts like this so I decided to take a stab at it.  Here we go!

I confess that I totally wish I could go back in time and punch my 15 year old self in the face for not wearing my retainers!  And probably for lots of other stuff, but seriously, put the retainers IN Trish!  Le sigh.  Me and my annoying, crooked teeth will have to keep fighting the good fight until I can come up with a fixer upper plan B for my big mouth. 

I confess that I'm addicted to ICE CREAM! And I read all about this amazing museum of ice cream in New York that basically sounds like Willy Wonka exists and has planted the chocolate factory smack dab in the big apple.  Read all about it here and then go get yourself an ice cream cone.  Who's gonna send me to this amazing place to do some serious ice cream research?!

I confess that I feel like I'm 92 years old because I am so incredibly confused and out of the loop on this Pokemon craze.  What is happening?! Why do I keep seeing pictures of people's kids with weird little characters around them?! I didn't understand Pokemon when it was originally a thing and now it's a thing again and while I truly don't care enough to figure it out, I also don't appreciate feeling like a geriatric.

I confess that I haven't been swimming ONCE this summer and I'm real disappointed about it.  I'm hoping we can have a slew of super fun summer weekends that involve water + sunshine after we get back from Colorado next week.

I confess that I have never laughed as hard as I do with this boy.  He cracks me up, provides endless smiles, and has started to actually let me give him kisses.  Like he'll stop moving and look at me with his mouth closed when I say "mama kisses!" and then giggle after I lay one on him.  So cute.  

Phew! That was fun :)  Happy Hump Day!

-T-


Monday Musings: Man, I love weekends

I hope you all are feeling refreshed and AWESOME today.  We had such a wonderful weekend and I'm loving feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on this week.  Let's recap this weekend so I can soak it up a little big longer.

Friday afternoon I spontaneously decided to text my sister and she if she and her husband were up for a double date night.  I was craving a movie theater night and really wanted to see Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates because of the preview I had seen months before.  I also know how much my husband loves going to the movies, so I figured it would be a fun little surprise for him too.  Thankfully she was in, and even MORE thankfully {pretend that makes sense} my mom and dad were free to babysit all 3 munchkins.  I rushed home from work to pick up my guys and we met at my parents house to drop of the kiddos and head to Sioux City for a Target run {it's sad how much I miss this place being 2 minutes away}, appetizers at Applebee's, and made our way to the theater.  The movie was hilarious.  Super inappropriate, and real funny.  If you're easily offended, you might hate it, but it was right up my alley.

Saturday we slept in a bit and I snuck downstairs to make coffee, and grab some yogurt and fresh fruit to bring back upstairs.  I figured I was 10x more likely to work on our mess of a bedroom if I had my fuel up there with me and didn't risk getting distracted with projects downstairs.  It sort of worked...on top of putting away a bunch of clothes, Duke face planted in my bowl of yogurt and later managed to fall of the bed.  #momfail 

Dennis took off for a high school all star football game with my dad, I had an awesome conversation about my R+F business with a cousin, and made a visit to my grandma before heading to my niece's 6th birthday party!  S is growing like a weed and becoming the funniest little lady. Saturday's party was just for immediate family/grandparents and it was perfect.  My sister made a walking taco bar feast, her mother in law made a fantastic cake, and we got to watch S open her presents and literally say "I'm trying not to scream...AHHHHHHH {squeal}" when she opened up her kids kindle fire.  So stinking cute.



Sunday we took our sweet time easing ourselves into the day because Duke was up every 2-3 hours and seemed to be in quite a bit of pain from the million teeth he has coming in right now.  We finally got ourselves motivated with some homemade waffles and started to work on the house and make some serious progress.  Slowly but surely everything is coming together and I really love it!  Pictures will come at some point in the future...no promise on timeline. :)  To give you a little glimpse {because I know you're sitting on the edge of your seat} you can see the bookshelf I finally put together that I am admittedly far too excited about.  But seriously, I love it. 


We ran a few errands and found some perfect items for Duke's itty bitty awkwardly shaped closet as well as a rug for our bedroom.  Still on the hunt for the perfect rugs for our living room and dining room but those are a purchase for another day.  Maybe a day when I win the rug lottery because daaayumm they can be expensive.  I ended the night doing a little prep work for my side biz and having a delicious Summer Shandy. 


Anyone else feel like sometimes it's the weekends where nothing really major happens that end up being the best?  It's such a relief to not have much on the calendar sometimes and I think the biggest wins for us right now are quality family time and house progress.  We do need to start incorporating some more water activities into our weekends before summer slips away though! And for cuteness...no weekend would be complete without a million and one giggles with this boy.

Happy Monday- I hope you rock it!

-T-


Five on Friday!

I'm jumping right in today to share 5 things I am absolutely LOVING this week!

one
Duke is in the most adorable phase right now where he grabs my face {or hair, clearly} and brings me in for some big ol' wet/open mouthed kisses roughly 47 times a day.  Makes my heart ultra happy that he might share a little of the "I'll eat you up I love you so" feelings I get for him.
two
Me drinking coffee every day is as much of a sure thing as the sun rising.  I love it.  And while I'm not partial to saving iced drinks only for the summer, I have certainly been making/drinking my fair share of iced coffee concoctions as the temperatures continue to rise.  I made sure to get some coffee iced cubes in the freezer this week to encourage me to make my iced coffee at home instead of going to the local coffee shop.  They also have coffee iced cubes and ridiculously good espresso but I try to save that for special treats since we are trying to stick to a budget.

three
This is such a basic thing for most people, but watching Dennis mow the lawn this week had me so excited.  We actually have our own little space to tend to and take care of and I'm starting to get into a good domestic groove because we take such pride in this home.  Now I need to go tend to this #jungle...

four
Anyone else get hooked on summertime drama TV?  3 go-to shows for me in the summer have been Mistresses, Devious Maids, and Pretty Little Liars the past few years.  Love them all and hoping to start binging on Orange is the New Black soon because I'm real sick of hearing so many people rave about the show and not have a clue what they're talking about.
five
We are kicking off our first double date night with my sister and brother in law tonight and I'm so excited! I've been dying for Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates to come out because I think it looks ridiculous and hilarious so we are leaving the kids with our parents and taking off for Sioux City to see it.  Cheers to the weekend!


-T-

PS Don't forget to Go Naked today from the neck up! 

Post a no-makeup selfie on social media using #RFGoNaked and the Rodan + Fields Prescription for Change® Foundation will donate $5 to our nonprofit partner buildOn---helping to provide students with positive afterschool opportunities in safe, encouraging environments. This is a HUGE BLESSING to so many!!  With all of the hate and tragedy happening in the world right now, take a minute to give to a good cause and be a positive influence to others...spread the good!

Want to learn more about R+F?  Check out this for PRODUCTS or this for information on the BUSINESS opportunity!  Feel free to send me an email with questions... merrigan8 {at} Gmail {dot} com




Vermont Trip Part 2: Wedding Adventures

I have known my best friend Nancy since we were 10 years old.  She is beautiful, funny, smart, and quite possibly one of the most patient people I know.  She married Yussef, a handsome, funny, incredible chef/jack of all trades and I could not be happier for them!

We had an amazing time our whole weekend in Vermont, and this recap is all about the wedding festivities!  If you missed Part 1, you can check it out here.

On Friday night, we got to go to rehearsal with the rest of the wedding party to make sure I knew where to sit/stand/speak when it was time to do my reading.  I love the rehearsal because it's a little preview into the culmination of so much work and it was so clear how hard Nancy and her family had worked to make this day absolute perfection.  After we had sufficiently practiced all the walking/talking while still leaving enough to chance {Would there be microphones?  Could I say my piece without bursting into tears?} we headed out to the Timbers Restaurant in Sugarbush {seriously the names of these little towns had me feeling like I was living in a Hallmark Channel Original Movie} for the rehearsal dinner/welcome party.  We ate ridiculously good food while Duke gnawed his way through the table and then we drank, mingled, and chatted with all of the wedding guests as they started to roll into town. Nancy was absolutely glowing and the best moment was when one of her best friends from college completely surprised her by showing up and had her instantly crying the happiest of tears.

 
We had a pretty low key morning the day of the wedding with the hope that Duke wouldn't be a total disaster that night.  We luckily had plenty of time to get ready and have a glass of wine before we were due to head over to the wedding venue which was thankfully only 2 miles from the house we rented. We ditched the boys at the house and showed up with plenty of time to get some pictures with the bride and soak up the moments before the big event.  I wasn't paying too much attention to my phone when we were with the bride so I can't share any of the pictures we took with Nancy until the photographer shares them with us but the entire place was unbelievably beautiful so I'm quite sure the pictures will be perfection. We wandered around, picked flowers, took 235 pictures of ourselves and anxiously waited for our dates to finally show up 5 minutes before the ceremony was set to begin.  Rumor has it, Duke gave Dennis a run for his money with the whole 'getting ready' process so we're lucky they showed up at all. :)
 
The ceremony was absolutely beautiful.  Yussef's sister officiated and Nancy's Uncle and our friend Carrie played guitar and sang before and during the ceremony.  There were tears as we watched Nancy's dad Jim give her away, both in his honor and Colette's, smiles {and more tears} as Nancy got chocked up saying her vows, and laughter as she told Yussef he'd have to push the ring on a little harder due to a little hot weather puffiness. :)  I can't leave out Nancy's aaaaadorable nephew Max sprinting down the aisle to his mama to deliver the "Here Comes the Bride" sign to kick the whole thing off.

Nancy's mama was sorely missed by everyone but she did a wonderful job incorporating her into so many things throughout the day.  A beautiful bouquet of flowers marked an empty chair in the front row, charms with her picture were attached to each bouquet the girls held and Nancy wore an engraved locket with Colette's picture in it all weekend.  It's a true testament to the love this family shares to watch everyone pull together to make sure this wedding not only went off without a hitch, but was a true celebration of love and happiness.  

Nancy and her beautiful sisters Lyndsey and Sara
The Round Barn!
Stunning!

Nancy's beautiful mama Colette



The reception was fantastic.  Drinks and appetizers were served on the main floor of the Round Barn and then we moved up to the second floor for dinner.  There were 4 unbelievable courses, followed by cupcakes and late night snacks of sliders and popcorn.  Pretty sure I ate everything in sight and enjoyed every second of it.  Duke lasted with the babysitters through the ceremony and dinner but he wasn't really having any of it after that.  I had to go scoop him up, jammies and all and cart him around the party for the rest of the evening.  No one seemed to mind and he was in good spirits, just didn't want to leave my side, unless it was to hang out with his daddy for a bit.  Dennis took over so I could dance with my girlfriends for awhile and all and all, even with our unexpected mini date, we had an unbelievable time.  


Best friend and maid of honor!
We rounded out our amazing weekend with brunch with the happy couple and wedding guests and then hit the road for Boston late morning.  I was so excited we could be there to celebrate with Nancy, but was truly surprised at just what an incredible weekend it was.  I was anxious about traveling with Duke for the first time and just wanted everything to go smoothly.  Vermont was stunning and so relaxing.  The detail and work that this family put into the weekend made everyone feel incredibly welcome and oh so special and I know this will be a trip we will not soon forget!  I remember months and months before the wedding, Nancy had reached out to me to see if we thought we'd be able to make it, knowing we would have an 8 month old and lots of change happening around the same time and I remember telling her we wouldn't miss it for the world!  These girls are like sisters to me and I love that we all make an effort to be there for the big stuff and small stuff whenever possible.  We're running out of wedding activities though, so it's time to start making up reasons to get together.

Cheers to a wonderful trip and many more like it!  Congrats Nancy and Yussef!

-T-






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