The Life and Times of Some Mom

Adventures of a mom, just trying to do the right thing.

An Important Lesson Learned (Probably too Late in Life)

I like to be the caretaker. The one who helps someone else. Just so you know.

I do NOT like to be the person being taken care of. I do not allow myself to be that person. And last night I realized something; I have been robbing others of something.

I constantly rob those around me of the joy of being needed by me.

Growing up I believed a serious lie. That if I could be as perfect as I could be, that my parents would love me. I really believed that love from my parents was THAT conditional. It wasn’t anything they did necessarily, it just seemed logical to me.  Be the best = people love you. Be the not best = no one likes you. See? Logic. I am 25 28 29.5 33 years old, and I JUST realized this lie I was believing was a lie. I had this epiphany LAST NIGHT. Obvi, I am a really smart person. I think I have been living this way for so long that I just did not see it anymore.

I was having a conversation with my dad about selling our car and buying a cheaper one so we could get rid of the loan we were paying on it, and the money we were moving around to make it happen. My dad offered to help us out and I refused. Because I ALWAYS refuse. Because logic again: take people’s precious money away from them = not the best = no one likes you. Then he pointed something out to me, I always turn him down when he offers to help us. It is true. He WANTS to help me, my children, my family, and I always deny him that gift. Because I want to look like I am super in control of my life, that I am super not in control of, so I can earn my parent’s unconditional love. Still. At 33.

After the phone call I cried a lot. Much like I am doing now. Because I hurt his feelings so many times by saying no. I never thought about it that way. I though he would be impressed! Like “Wow! Amy has it going on! I just love her so much for not taking any money from me.” I was so wrong. I really feel terrible.

I do the same thing with compliments. I realized it a while ago, and I am trying to change that. When someone compliments me, I often always say “No. Not really…” And how rude is that of me? I might as well say, “No you are wrong, I’m the worst, and you are dumb for not seeing it.” Now I am trying a different approach by saying, *ahem* “Thank you.” How hard was that? Very for me. I like to tell other people THEY are the best. I do that very well. I love being the cheerleader, but not the cheered. However, I’m actively working on it.

I urge you to work on it with me, if that is your thing. Be completely honest and authentic with those you may have not been with before. ALLOW them to help you. How ever that may be. Let people into the scary, uncomfortable parts of your life, because that is when you need it most. They need it too. Even if you think they don’t. Even when you think you are doing them a favor by not letting them see it.

Please know now:

You are not a burden. You allow others to be needed.




Dear Toys (A Hate Letter)

Dear My Children’s Toys,

How did we get here?

Or rather how did you get here? For reals… who let you in? Was it a “Chucky” type situation orrr….

Anyway, I digress. I’m informing you it’s not working out. At all. You are the only thing in the house that is apparently sooo easy to take out, but sooo extremely painful to put away. And do you only work if EVERY F***ING TOY is out with you? Because that’s what it seems like. I never find one, solitary, lonely, little toy in the living room. NEVER. It is always a million pieces of toys.

I imagine it goes somewhat like this: “Well you can’t have Elsa out without Anna, and then we have this stand-in-generic-snowman-stuffed-animal from 4 years ago for Olaf, and then this HUGE thing, that was the lid to the toy box before it didn’t close anymore, can be the sled, and we HAVE to build Elsa a 348 piece castle out of blocks, (because she can be a real bitch interesting, magical person.) Kristoff can be this Dad from the dollhouse we barely play with anymore, and of course let’s pretend every other toy is snow, and actually throw them up in the air and let them fall as they may.”

Then mom has a heart attack and dies. See, toys? See why I hate you? Please, look closer, because I don’t think you get it yet.

Now, I can see how it is confusing to you because when I unwrapped those first baby toys 6 years ago at my baby shower, I was so excited. My child is going to know SHAPES! COLORS! And all the songs are delightful. I was so dumb. So naive.  I did not realize I would be cleaning the house singing “Shapes are in my cookie jar, triangle, heart, and star, there’s a circle over there, here’s a square.” That is a REAL song. Someone wrote that, and submitted it in a meeting, the boss said “great job!”and that guy WON. And he was the star employee at Fisher-Price for the day.

Plus, are you really necessary? Like, REALLY? Would my child to this day not have ever learned shapes and colors had a plastic cookie jar not sang them to her?  How did George Washington and Susan B. Anthony learn shapes and colors? Probably by looking around the f***ing Earth and focusing with their eyes. Back then there was no time for songs, you were too busy trying not to get scarlet fever or die from exhaustion.  And those people did great things! They played with rocks and made dolls out of their own hair, and they accomplished things.

To make it even worse, my children LOVE you. A gut-wrenching true love. And what’s worse than that, is that grandparents LOVE buying you! Before you know it, toys are everywhere. One day, I tried throwing away a string (or what I perceived to be a string) only to find out it was the lifeblood of some toy. My daughter simply could not go on living life without this piece of trash. Because, really, that’s what it was, trash. So I have to live a double life, pretending to love you in the day time, and by night taking each and every broken one of you, and throwing you right in the garbage. And I have to admit, it feels so good. To watch a broken slinky, that my kid got at Chuck E. Cheese get smothered in a plastic garbage bag is what my dreams are made of. For Christmas I am actually asking for trash bags and bigger trash cans to get ready oncoming onslaught of broken toys.

Really, my distaste for you has no end. You know it’s bad when I watched that movie “Babies” and when it showed a baby in Africa who only had a water bottle and dirt to play with, I thought “That mom is doing something right.” That mom in Africa never once has to worry about stepping on a razor-sharp Lego in the middle of the night. I mean, sure she has to worry about a bunch of other sh*t like giant snakes, where to get clean water, and constant civil war, but Lego’s? No way. Because every toy, unless stuffed, has a sharp edge that when stepped on makes its way to the part of my foot that hurts like a mother. Then I limp away looking for the perpetrator who owns that toy so I hand out a crap-load of time-outs.

So it’s not me, it’s definitely you. 100% you. All you. None me. Got it?

Good talk. Now pick up your parts and make your way toward the exits.



In Defense of the Un-cool Mom

Please be aware: I am NOT the cool mom.

Chances are I will never be the cool mom, and I am good with that. Not to mention the fact that the term “cool mom” immediately floods my mind with visions of Amy Poehler in Mean Girls, with her rock hard titties, and pink Juicy velour sweatpants. No thanks.

I am cool in my personal human being life, where I don’t have to care about anyone but myself. Then I am super chill, cool, and fun to be around. Not in my mom life. In my mom life I care too much to be cool. To be candid, you could say I give all the f**ks, if you will. I care too much about my kids well-being, safety, and moral upbringing. Unless you define cool as doing crafts, baking ton of cookies, and reading millions lots of books to my kids, then I am the coolest.  And truth be told, the term “low-rise” is a phrase of the past, and I prefer a good 9 inch zipper on my jeans to hold my whole deal together.

I just read a news story about a 17 year-old boy who was skateboarding and was hit by a car. He is now fighting for his life because he wasn’t wearing a helmet. His mom was interviewed, and said she did not enforce wearing a helmet because she wanted to be the “cool mom” and now she regrets it. This makes me sad. I don’t blame this mom, and I don’t judge her. We have all wanted to be cool at some point. There have been times where my mom heart ached because my kid did something discipline-worthy in front of another mom, and I wanted to crawl into a hole and die instead of giving them the time-out they very well deserved. Because it would make me look un-cool. You got it guys, time-outs are un-cool. And being the “giver” of time outs is the worst. However, I have a list of guidelines for my girls about how to treat themselves and others, and if they do not follow them, the day will be riddled with time-outs and “no electronics” restrictions.

But to me, being cool, especially in this case, means compromising beliefs because of what someone else will think. For this mom it went something like this: helmets save lives (it’s science) > my son doesn’t want to wear a helmet because of what his friends think > his friends don’t wear helmets > I don’t want to be lame > I will not enforce wearing a helmet.  She did not want her son’s friends to think she was some weirdo who enforces helmet use, so she compromised. She let it go. Now she is warning others not to do the same.

Is this super easy to say while my kids are 6 and 2? Yes. Because no preschooler’s opinion is taking my ass down. Will it be more difficult to take such a stance when they are teenagers? Hell yes. And I am preparing now. I strive to be the mom that my future 25 year-old daughters come to and thank for taking the un-cool route, because it saved them a lot of heartache, or even physical hurt. I hope I am able to hold strong and tell my girls that they should find new friends if these ones really depend on them doing {blank}. Help me, Jesus.

At the end of the day, I’d like to think that I did my best to do the right thing.

Now, do I think there could never be a time where my adult children commit some crazy crime, and Time Magazine interviews them and asks “Why’d you do it?” And their only response is “Growing up, my mom wasn’t cool enough.”  Yes, that could be a thing by then. Who knows?

29 and Three Quarters

Upon realizing my thirtieth birthday is a little less than 2 months away, I have been thinking a lot about what my 30’s hold for me. If I do say so myself, my 20’s were pretty kick-ass {excuse the harsh phrasing}. In my 20’s I: married Joey, got a wiener dog,  graduated college, moved 4 times, had a baby that I adore, ran a 5K, finished numerous books, made a zillion friends, threw a million parties, traveled outside of the United States, watched friends start their families, realized who I am, and became more in touch with the Creator of the Universe (not to be confused with the Master of the Universe, which is still He-man).

So now I am left to ponder, what next? Somethings can only be done once in this life, and I want more firsts in my thirties as well. Sure I can have more kids, or get a masters degree in something, and I will probably throw more parties, but I am excited for more then that. I can’t help but think my thirties are somehow going to be my twenties part 2. Am I just going to do everything again, and repeat these things every decade until I am 6 feet under? I need to get a thirties resolution list going.

Ok, {ahem}. In my THIRTIES I will: Own a home, go to Europe, do my stand-up routine at a place that actually facilitates that, after that re-write my whole act so people actually laugh next time, jump into a new career with both feet, film a re-make of “The Landlord” starring Ava, have a ton of fun, and enjoy the journey God has given me.

Does everything have to change upon my turning the big 3-0? No. I am going to keep that Dugan around. I like that guy. And Ava is pretty cool, too.  Plus, I have the best friends in the world. I look forward to getting old with them, so we can all make fun of how we used to be.



Ok guys, I have been MIA, but I have important and shocking news. My baby (the one and only Ava), has turned into a full blown kid!  It is the eve of her second birthday, and for me, bittersweet. Where has the time gone? It felt like forever when she was a baby and we were up all night feeding her, and changing her, and rocking her, but now she runs around with reckless abandon. I remember when she would sleep on my chest when she was first born, and I would sit there and try to remember her baby smell, how her wispy hair felt on my cheek, her tiny little hands, her wrinkly feet. Now she runs up to me calling “More food, mama, more food, pwease!” She still eats all of the time, so there is that. I received my first “My Preschooler This Month” newsletter, and shed a tiny tear. Not that I am sad she is growing up, but she reminds me that time is so short, and we only get one go around at this life. She is the funniest, sweetest 2 year old, and I am honored God chose me to take care of her.

My mom took us to Disneyland last weekend for her birthday, which was a huge blessing since we would not have been able to afford that on our own. Such good memories. My favorite is when she was checking out Tigger, trying to make sense of how a cartoon was in real life, and said “Ni Hao, Tigger.” And when we were on It’s a Small World, and she pointed to the dolls dancing and said “Look at the girls dancing! They are happy!” With all of the crazy stuff in this world, she reminds me there is such an innocence left. She is going to do great things in life. I just know it.

So, dear readers, part of the reason I have been gone so long is that the great Mr. Dugan has started going to school online, so he is really hogging the computer. Which is fine with me, considering in the great scheme of things, getting his degree far outweighs blogging. He is doing really well, so if you see him, make sure you cheer him on in his endeavors.

Community group is tonight! Potluck, whoop whoop! Chicken enchiladas as usual.

Enjoy a few pictures of our little one…


The past couple of years my life has been full of firsts. 2008- I ran my first 5K, and graduated from college. 2009- I had my first beautiful baby. 2010- was my baby’s first birthday. Now for 2011 I plan to do something I have not done for I don’t know how long. I am not going to make a New Year’s resolution about my weight. I resolved to lose 50 pounds in 2010 and I lost 75. Done. I actually accomplished that which I have been promising to do for years. 2011 is about something different to me. I worked on the outward, and now I am about the inward this year. My goal is to be a better me. A better wife, mother, daughter, friend, and Christian. A better Amy Dugan.

Now, every goal needs a plan in my book, so lets see, how will I do this…

  • A better wife lover- Well, I cook and clean, check. That is the easy part. What I need to do is work on the AFTER the cooking and cleaning and mothering, and dog care taking. The times when I feel like I am all out of energy from wiping and vacuuming and talking. Especially for [Ahem] Mr. Dugan. Because, I will tell you, after a day of doing nothing but being touched and grabbed and pulled, a girl needs a break. But I do resolve to being a better lover. So thus, I resolve to at the end of the day after my sweet baby is in bed, pulling myself together, and giving my husband what he deserves – his girlfriend.
  • A better mother- Hmm… well, keeping in mind that a particular baby is going to be 2, this one is going to be most challenging. I think I do a pretty good job already, but there is always room for improvement. I resolve to keep my patience, even if it looks like a difficult go of it. I resolve to keep building her into a strong, God-seeking woman, who loves people and is kind to friends, even when you want to slap them. However, I do not resolve to keep a straight face while disciplining her, because that girl is funny.
  • A better Christian- I resolve to complete the current devotional book I am reading, and potentially start a new one. All in an effort to connect with a God that loves me so much. Plus, I need to make sure I keep asking for forgiveness for making up jokes about Jesus being the ultimate zombie. But you have to admit it’s true right? He dies, and comes back, and instead of wanting brains, he just wants to give you salvation. What can be better?
  • A better friend- I think this has a lot to do with being a better listener too, or just keeping my big mouth shut. I need to resolve that I listen more than I speak, and make sure I pass on more love than opinions. Which is difficult because I feel like I have SO many great opinions. However, I will keep the few things I do well, making them laugh, being quick to apologize, and being honest.
  • A better daughter?- Well, I am already pretty great at this.  But I should resolve to continue giving my parents a hard time about smoking. I would like them to be around a while without having emphysema and lung cancer.

So that my dear friends is what I resolve to do. Some parts may be more difficult than others, but I think I will be a better person for it in the end.  As my friends and blog mates, I would like you all to hold me accountable for these things as well. If I fail at these, please tell me, and I will blog about how [you are a jerk] thankful I am that we are friends. 😉

For dinner – Party! I am bringing pulled pork sandwiches. Yum!

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Catching Up

Halloween came and went. Ava was a sweet little cow and was so cute when she attempted to say trick or treat (came out “tik o tee”). So fun.
I have been having trouble sleeping lately. Not fun. I can’t shut off my brain for sleepy time. Probably because I am super smart.

I am excited to see my family for thanksgiving, and super excited to do my stand up comedy act at Max and Summer’s wedding reception! I am continually amazed by God’s goodness and sovereignty. I am so thankful for so many things. Good friends, a place to call home, and a sweet baby girl who is the funniest thing on the planet. She makes me laugh every single day. She is completely obsessed with Elmo. She gets down from the table after breakfast, runs to the TV, turns it on, runs to the couch while yelling, “Elmo, Elmo, EELLLLLMO!” I don’t get it. I am a Oscar fan. And remember Oscar’s pet worm, Slimey? That guy was always cool.

Sorry for the lack of blogs. I have been rather uninspired, and really tired. I have instead been napping, when I should be blogging about various things. Monday, November 15th, I am doing a cake demo at church. It’s at 6:30pm and it’s $5. Would love to see you all there! We will be making bundt cake wreaths, Christmas trees, and fondant bows. Come on out. I promise to tell jokes and ham it up. Let me know if you are interested in going, and I will send you the address. I will post pics of the cakes for the demo and the wedding cake I made for today.

We are going to a wedding tonight, so dinner will be whatever they feed us. Hopefully something good.

Enjoy this little heifer:


Lucky Lady

My husband recently made a statement that I do not talk about him enough in my blog. Well, Dugan, you asked for it. Here it goes.

For those of you who do not know, I am married to the illustrious Joey Dugan. Born in 1982, Joseph M. Dugan was born to John and Lynn Dugan on Halloween at Tri-City hospital in Vista. He has lived in Vista is whole life, except when we lived in Escondido for a short time, but ended up moving back to Vista because Escondido was in Joey’s words, “Hotter than Balls”. I met my husband while I was having coffee with my friend Jared in 2001 (ancient times) at the old Starbucks off of University (R.I.P.). Jared knew Joey who worked next door at Cold Stone (also R.I.P., sad). So we went over there and he introduced us, and then they proceeded to talk about things of which I had no interest in, when Jared ran out of the door because he knew someone outside and went to say hi to them.

*Ok, let me explain the look of Mr. Dugan at this time. Joey had long shoulder length hair and a long goatee, and looked a lot like Jesus. If Jesus worked at Cold Stone. Ice cream into wine anyone? OK continue…

Joey and I stood there awkwardly, and I eventually just walked back to Starbucks. When Jared came back I told him I thought his friend was cute. Jared offered to “hook us up”, but I said no, because I thought it would be weird. Well, because Jared is a true friend, he did it anyway and one day I was online and I received an IM from Joey.

*Remember IMing on AOL? That used to be so cool. IMing is to communicating how the beeper is to cell phones. Wait… 2001? Did Al Gore even invent the internet yet? Oh well.

He asked for my phone number, and we started talking. He was 18 and a senior in high school and I was 19 and in college. The point is that he was 18, ok. No cradle robbing here. I am a law-abiding citizen! I went to Joey’s winter formal with him, and his graduation. We even took some community college classes together. We got engaged in October of 2002 after dating for a year and a half, and were married in July of 2004.

It is crazy to think we have been together for almost 10 years. Joey has definitely made it easy. It doesn’t even seem like 10 years. We are such easy-going people, and things don’t get us angry very easily. That is definitely a trait I loved about Joey from the beginning. When things get tough, he calms me down. For the most part I just need someone to tell me it is going to be OK. He is such a sweet, loving, person, and has always treated me the best. Coming from a divorced household, it was scary for me to get married. I have never once felt scared that he would leave. I know that we are in it forever together. He has worked really hard for our little family, and still does. Joey is the exclusive breadwinner for us so I can stay home with our baby. What an incredible gift he has given me that i have the opportunity to raise our babies. I love it and could not ask for more.

It has been such a wonderful experience to see Joey grow as a father. He loves that little bean so much and I get to see it every day. I am so happy that Ava will get to have an intact family. I know the pain of divorce, and I would not wish that on my worst enemy. It is a heart-wrenching experience that no child should have to endure. (With exception of divorce because of abuse, addiction, and adultery, I feel those are valid. It is divorce because people stop trying that makes me sad.)

I know he will read this as he reads all of my blogs, and I just want to say thank you Joey Dugan for loving me as I am everyday. You are the best husband, father, and friend a girl can have. I know if I am 1/1 millionth of a wife to you as you are a husband to me I am doing a great job. I love this life adventure we are on together. You make it all worth while. You supported me while I worked my way through college so that I could graduate, which was one of my life goals. Thank you for Ava and allowing me to be her mommy all of the time. I am so looking forward to what God has planned for us. There is no one I would rather spend forever with than you.

Now enjoy these pictures from our wedding and honeymoon!

Tonight for dinner we had oatmeal cookies. What? They were good! Don’t judge me. Ava had mac and cheese, fruit, scrambled eggs and cookies. Dinner of champions!

Home Works

So after long discussion, and weighing the pros and cons (or as I like to call them, pluses and minuses) we have decided that we are going to stay in our current place for another year. A few things encouraged our decision. First, Ava is just young enough to freak out and not yet at the point of understanding what a move is. We fear if we move she would be a nervous wreck and we would have to spend most of our time consoling her rather than completing the moving process. Second, we have NO money for another deposit at this point. Third, this place is close to all of our friends, and is fitting for us right now. So now after living in this place for 10 months, I have decided to start decorating. I know, it is a bit soon yeah right, but we are going to jump into it. And I am not talking decorating for the season, I am talking decorating in general. I have not so much as hung a picture since we have been here. I guess we just did not know how permanent this move was going to be. We thought we would be in a house about now, but that is not in the cards for us this next year. So we are making the best of it.

This weekend was the beginning of the “Dugan Home Beautification Process 2010-2011”. Mr. Dugan put up the ledge shelves on either side of the mirror in the living room, I found frames and printed out pictures for them. We had a tray that you could put pictures in, so I put pictures in it even though baby Dugan likes to take it off of the ottoman and tap dance on it! I told her tap dancing is only on the linoleum. Whatever. New shower curtain, pillows for the couch. The white one has owls on it (LOVE) see pic below. Put black birds on the wall in the kitchen – one of my favorite things I have done. A vinyl saying above our bed *so sweet*. Lastly, place mats on the dinner table. It’s weird when you start to do these things and it starts to feel more like home. Now, I really like this place, and will probably be sad when we leave. I guess I always thought of this place as so temporary. Take a look at the pics and let me know what you think.

On a side note I would just like to give a shout out to our friends Stuart & Patti and Mindi & Jared. You guys are the best! We had so much fun with you guys last night. Just like old times! Thank you for loving us and our little family, we love you guys! <3. Min – I hope your birthday week was the best, and that it was memorable for your big 30, ahem, 29 1/2. Love you so!

On a side side note: James and Kristen – you guys need to come to the wave next year. It was bomb, but we missed you guys.

Trying to keep this one short since my last blog was so drawn out. Tonight for dinner is pork chops and rice. I should have Joey get applesauce on the way home… yum…


Special thanks to Target and World Market for making this all possible.

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