Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tucker Allen McQuerry

It's Show & Tell Tuesday (a day late): Pet Edition so I'm linking up to share our favorite little guy!

Tucker Allen McQuerry
(First Birthday 7.31.2014)

Tucker came to us on a bit of a whim. Having a little dog was something I had always thought about but was too scared to actually do. Growing up, we never had animals in the house. We lived on a farm so our dogs were not welcome inside. Plus, my Dad was super strict about no animals inside policy!

At the time, I was finishing my Masters, three months away from getting married, running a small business, teaching courses, taking classes, and managing a lab. So, why not add a brand new puppy to the mix?! Yes, looking back, it was the craziest time to get a dog yet the best time!

My husband (fiance at the time) randomly saw an add in the newspaper for a teddy bear pup for sale. He was interested and after looking into it further, we fell in love with this sweet, precious, little GIRL! Yes, you read that right, we called the "breeder" as advertised and let them know we wanted her and would be there the following weekend to get her. We proceeded to name her (Maddie Mae) and buy all things purple and pink!

On Saturday, the hubs and I took a 3 hour road trip to pick up sweet little Maddie Mae...except it wasn't at a was a local pet salon. We walked in, smiling ear to ear, and asked for the little girl teddy bear pup. I could tell immediately by the look on the young teenager's face that something was wrong. He went to get his mother, the salon owner, who proceeded to tell us the dog had sold earlier in the week. WHAT?!?!?! I was so shocked, confused, devastated, and outraged. She explained that someone else walked in with cash so they sold her!

Needless to say, that did not end well. My husband demanded she give us the number of the actual breeder (as these people were falsely fronting as the breeder and were reselling the pup for more $$. Thankfully, she had two little brothers left but I couldn't get my mind off of little Maddie Mae. After many tears and deep breaths, we arrived at the true breeders and they were so sweet and understanding. They were quite outraged at what this woman had done and were glad we let them know.

The breeder went to get the two little brothers and they came bounding down the hill, tails wagging, two little balls of white fluff. I didn't know how we would choose until the first one came right up to my feet and put his paw on my shin. I looked down into those big black eyes and that was it! I scooped Tucker up, held him in my arms, and knew I didn't want to ever put him back down. He got a bath, we signed some papers, and we were off on an adventure we were not even close to being prepared for!

Happy tears on the way home! This was 5 minutes into our journey home before he pooped and peed all over me and his purple taxi carrier. 

I love these pictures! He was so wittle!! Look at that little tail! All of his toys were pink and purple including Ellie the Elephant which was bigger than him!

That first day was rough but we started potty training and he slept a lot. My fiance at the time, now husband, left to go back home and I stayed in Lexington (an hour away) with the little guy for our first night all by ourselves!

We continued that arrangement until we got married a few months later so I was solo on the multiple middle of the night potty breaks, feedings, walks, etc.

The hubs and I laugh hysterically every time we look at this picture! These were taken within seconds of each other and his facial expression with Travis versus with me is just too funny! Clearly he was not having it!

After his first Puppy-Cut!

Tucker was eventually allowed in my parents home on the weekends, slowly but surely my Dad came around. Now, the first person my Dad wants to see when we come home is Tucker! My parents absolutely love him!

First Wedding Shower

Of course he stole the show at the wedding too in his little tuxedo!

Tucker did great transitioning to North Carolina. We celebrated his first birthday and since then, time has just flown by!

He loves celebrating the Holidays!!

We had no idea on September 28, 2013 what a sweet, sweet little blessing God was giving us! He is such a comfort to us and is our "child" right now in this stage of married life. He brings us lots of laughs, cuddles, and wet kisses!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

PhD Celebrations!!!

The hubs and I celebrated the completion of my PhD the best way we know how...getting all fancied up for food!!

We headed out that evening to dinner and a movie. One of our favorite places to get an excellent steak is Firebirds...delicious! And it happens to be conveniently located next to the favorite!!

My friends and fellow PhD'ers were not kidding when they said you literally can't wipe the smile off your face!


The hubs surprised me with a big balloon and the most beautiful flowers!

I am absolutely in love with the dress I defended my dissertation in!

It's absolutely gorgeous!! The most beautiful blue, pretty pattern, softest fabric, with pockets and  it made me feel so fancy and confident! It is LuLaRoe and thanks to my friend who is now a distributor I can't wait to add even more Amelia dresses to my closet!

My favorite color blue...Kentucky blue!!

The celebrations continue as I try to enjoy this brief pause in the summer. I am still working at NC State full time as I finish up my assistantship and complete the final edits of my dissertation. But I'm trying to take time here and there to sit back and enjoy my accomplishments for once!

Monday, June 20, 2016

I am PHinally Done!

Well I'm back friends!! 

Looking back, April, May, and June all seem like nothing but a blur. I was so busy and immersed in my dissertation I couldn't even tell you where the time went. BUT.....

I AM NOW DR. MEREDITH MCQUERRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's right!! A little over a week ago I successfully defended my 365 page (yes, you read those numbers correctly) dissertation in front of my doctoral committee members, colleagues, and friends. 

I gave an hour long presentation on the last two and half years worth of work...yes, just an hour...that was a challenge believe it or not...could have talked all day! After that, the audience asked a few questions and then it was grilling time. My committee members went question by question and asked me to recall any ounce of information regarding the field of research I studied during my PhD. Thankfully, by the grace of God, I was able to sufficiently answer their questions and they deemed me worthy of earning my doctorate! 

It still does not feel real...I don't really think about it much...but, for the last week I have felt more like myself than I have in years...seriously. All of the hard work, dedication, discipline, rigor, and intrinsic motivation basically went by the wayside and for the last few days I have been doing good to get myself dressed...for the pool! LOLololol

All kidding aside, I did give myself a period of grace this past week to relax...aka binge watch Netflix. SIDE NOTE: you must go watch Peaky Blinders right now! So good! And then OITNB what's a girl to do?! ;)

I still don't think I'm far enough removed to have really reflected on all this journey has meant to me...because that's exactly what it is...a journey. It's one of survival and to be honest, there were a few moments (or many) where I really didn't know if I could do it. In fact, I knew that I alone could not do it and it was strength from the Lord alone that carried me through. Although I don't like to dwell on those moments, I think it is important to look back and realize all that I overcame to earn this degree. Not just the last few years, but all the years before including my Master's, undergraduate, and even the mindset I developed in middle school after giving my life to Christ which was to do my best at anything I set my mind to. That attitude has definitely served me well in life.

I feel the need to keep constantly thanking my husband, parents, brother and family and friends for their endless support. To my husband, I absolutely would not have been able to do any of it without him. He relocated for me, 8 hours from home, started a new job in a new city with new people, just so I could pursue my dream and our dream. From the beginning this has always been our pursue careers that we love and are passionate about so that we can settle down and be financially secure to start a family. We are so excited for the future and what is to come!!

Before Travis, there was my parents who set forth and lived out the best example any child could ask for. They are both independent, hard working, humble, ambitious, caring, compassionate, and most importantly, God fearing. They have supported me in every way imaginable, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and financially. My parents made sure college debt was something I never had to take on. That was one less worry in the back of my mind as I pursued degree after degree (although the last two were completely funded by government grants) that no matter what, my parents had my back and would be there if I ever needed them for anything.

Then there's my best friend who happens to be my brother. Although we fought tooth and nail as kiddos I am so thankful for the close relationship we have. It is one of laughter, respect, and understanding. We celebrate one another's accomplishments and look up to each other. Thank you for always being willing to listen on the other side of the phone no matter the time!

Finally, there's my one true bestie who God graciously blessed me with almost a decade ago before we even started our college journey together. She just gets me...and is always there to listen and give me the best advice. Most importantly, she's my prayer warrior. Knowing she was praying for me in every stressful turn of this journey gave me strength!

Lastly, I have to thank my wonderful colleagues. They are too numerous to name them all but the lunch crew (you know who you are) kept me sane through this crazy time. I will miss all of them dearly as I will be a lunch party of 1 very soon :(.

This is now reaching #longestpostever status and I'm sure there aren't too many out there who really care to read if you're still must be really bored ;) But thank you for reading. It has been therapeutic to put all of this into words (now that I can finally think about writing again...just a little). This probably isn't the last you've heard of my PhD journey but for now, it's all I got!

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