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Tenley Louise || 8 Months Old

Sweet Loulie Girl, EIGHT months old?!?  Oh my heart.

I have to start off this update talking about how much of a mover and a shaker you are!  Tenley Girl, YOU ARE CRAWLING!  Full fledged FAST crawling!  No more inchworm or army crawl, you are up on your hands and knees (sometimes feet!!) crawling.  You get around very easily and because of this you are now off exploring your world.  I find you all the way back in my bedroom no less than twice a day.  You have to pass your bedroom and Tate's to get there but for some reason neither of them are nearly as exciting as mine in your mind.  You really like crawling through the kitchen to the mud room where all of the (dirty) shoes are.  I am *thisclose* to getting the baby gates back out but am trying to hold off as long as possible because hurdling over those things again does not sound like any fun.

Add to this list of 'moving activities' is the fact that you can now PULL YOURSELF UP!!!  Okay, Little Girl, you REALLY didn't have to start this fun trick quite so early!  At 7 1/2  months I think that's a record that beats out all 3 of your brothers!  You are so proud of yourself for figuring this out. It started with you using me to pull yourself up to stand while we were playing on the floor one day.  Then you grabbed the cushion on the couch and pulled yourself up. And now I find you in your crib standing about half of the times I go in to get your from your naps.  Sweet Girl, why are you in such a hurry to grow up?

You are curious about mouths now.  I'm not sure if it's the teeth you see, the tongue moving in there or the way the lips move.  You stick out your tiny little pointer finger and gingerly touch my mouth while staring at it.  Then you'll all of a sudden look up into my eyes and smile the cutest, silliest smile at me!

Speaking of silly smiles...

Your scrunchy face smile has me all kinds of mushy!  I don't know where you learned it from but oh my does it make my heart happy!

You are a pro at sleeping with the exception of one week about 2 weeks ago.  You just couldn't (wouldn't?) fall asleep at nap time.  You would cry so hard, almost like you were in pain, which made me think your teeth were finally popping through.  No teeth yet so I'm ruling that out.  I'm so glad it only lasted a week.  You are back to laying down, snuggling into your soft pink and white blankie, and going right to sleep.  You love that blankie, by the way, and it's so sweet to see you love on it like you do.  You still take a pacifier - your big brother Tate calls it your 'fire' - and because it's a 'baby thing' I'm in no hurry to take it away from you.  Will you be our one and only baby who gets to keep it through toddlerhood?  Time will tell. :)  Speaking of sleeping, you take a nap at 9 and 1 every single day, those usually last about 2 hours.  Some evenings you take a nap but with Aiden's 4H sheep keeping up busy in the evenings those naps are hit or miss anymore.  You might snooze in the truck on the way there or back or you might not.  Depending on that evening nap you might go to sleep at 8 or not until closer to 9.  You have been sleeping until close to 7 in the mornings, I love that!



Loulie Taloulie, you eat very well.  Last month I said you actually liked peas (shocker!) but I spoke too soon.  The next package of peas I fed you made you gag (that a girl!).  Now those are out of the rotation.  :)  But, you seem to enjoy everything else!  I have started feeding you Stage 2 Gerber baby foods.  You eat a fruit for breakfast, a veggie for supper and lunch is one or the other.  With a meal you take a 4oz. bottle.  In between meals you take a 6oz. bottle.  You don't require a bottle to fall asleep but most evenings take one sometime between supper and bedtime.  You have tried Gerber Puffs and Yogurt Melts and really like both but Daddy put the ca-bosh on the Yogurt Melts for the time being because you started to gag on one and it scared him.

Speaking of Daddy, he dotes on you like no other!  But Mommy is the one you 'need' to comfort you when you are crying.  It takes the tiniest tap for you to start crying like your finger has been cut off, and I must say its the cutest thing I've ever seen!  Girl, you are EMOTIONAL!!!  You come by that honestly and your poor daddy has his hands full with the two of us, ha ha!  When you cry you drop the biggest, sweetest tears!  Your pretty little eyes get all red and puffy and you are ADORABLE!  No mommy wants to see their baby crying or sad but if they are going to cry then it should be done as cutely as you do it!



You LOVE your big brothers.  Like, totally idolize them - love them!  But boy do you get ticked off when Tatie Tot tries slowing you down!  He wants to snuggle with you and you are way over that - you have places to go, things to explore!  Aiden and Brennan rescue you from big bad foes (dish soap under the kitchen sink since you know how to open cabinet doors now) and know just where to tickle you to get you to giggle.  Tate holds the trophy for making you really laugh out loud, though.  He was making funny grunting noises at the table and boy did you LOVE that!  Him making you laugh made us all laugh, too!

You are such a laid back baby, for the most part.  We drag you from one big brother activity to another and you take it all in stride.  If it wasn't such a pain finding a parking spot for the stroller I'd just take you with us next week to the fair because I know you'd do just fine watching Aiden show his sheep.  You really like those sheep, by the way.  You sit in your Go-Pod and watch us practice with them.  Every time we walk past you just smile and clap - I think you think it's your own personal parade going by!

One of the best milestones you've met so far is giving kisses when I ask for them.  It started a month or more ago with your baby dolls.  I would hold them in front of you and tell you to give them a kiss.  You'd open your cute little mouth and lean in to them.  Oh my heart!!!  So a couple weeks ago I asked you to give Mommy a kiss -- and you did!!!  And so now I ask for them all the time!  Big open mouthed wet baby kisses, my favorite!  Even more my favorite?  When you lean in and give me one without being asked!

Here are your monthly stats (weight and height done at home)
Weight: 18.6 lbs
Height: 27 1/2" (ish)
Diaper Size: 2, Huggies or Pampers
Clothing Size: Well, this is all over the place!  3-6m shorts, and those fall off your tiny little princess waist!  Shirts and dresses, 6-9m with a couple of 12mo items thrown in.  Your 6-9mo jelly sandals (squee!!) are finally staying on your little feet and your toes don't pop out the middle of them quite as much.  :)

Happy 8 Month Birthday, sweet baby of mine!


Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites 01

Hey there everyone - it's FRIDAY!!!  This has been one of 'those weeks' and I'm so ready to move on and get next week started, FAIR WEEK!!!  Fair week is DEFINITELY one of my FAVORITE things!  We have an amazing 4H fair, plus there's great entertainment at night.  No, we aren't bringing in any huge music acts but I don't care, I'd much rather sit and watch the tractor pull, rodeo and demo derby! :)

Another FAVORITE of mine is finding new blogs to follow.  This past week I started following 3 new blogs and one of them might have had the answer to my crazy week.  A summer schedule!  I have known it for many years but somehow forgot - my kids NEED a schedule to follow!  They are constantly asking me "what's going on today?" or "what are we doing now/next?"  It drives me insane!  But that's how they work and function the best so when I saw the schedule on Justine's blog post it triggered that knowledge in me that my kids need one.  Because of that I made a schedule for them to follow for the rest of the summer (only 6 weeks left, yikes!).  Here's what I came up with.


I'm hoping this helps calm the crazy and gives them a path each day to follow.  Of course somedays we will be completely off schedule (think swimming for the afternoon, a spontaneous trip to get a donut and find a park) but that's ok - you need FUN days, too!  And this is only for the big boys - maybe I'll make one for Tate once the big boys are back in school.  I can't imagine trying to juggle 2 separate schedules at once!  When I showed this to Brennan last night he went bonkers!  He was so excited about it, he kept going back to it to read it and got all excited for this schedule.  See!! My kids like knowing what's coming next!  Right before he went downstairs to bed he said "Mom, you're the best mom!  I can't wait for tomorrow!"  :)

This weekend we are going out to supper with 2 of my FAVORITE people, Brian and Amy!  We originally were going to try a brewery in a little town about 45 minutes from here but they are having their town festival this weekend and holy smokes, will it be busy there! So instead we are going to the big city to the Ped Mall.  It is right in the heart of the city, next to the college campus, and will be nice and quiet this time of year with all of the students home for the summer.  They have a ton of restaurants to choose from so we'll go where our stomachs take us!  It'll be so fun getting together with these two to catch up.  There are always big laughs when we're all together.

Finally, a FAVORITE I've mentioned before - the show Parenthood.  OMGosh is it so good!!! I'm totally addicted!  This week I've watched 9 episodes!  I sneak a couple in the afternoon during nap time and Wednesday night Andy was gone to a conference so I watched a couple that night, too.  Ugh, it's so darn good!  Hello hot dad, Adam!  This actor is  now on 'The Catch' on ABC, love that show and totally have a crush on him on that show, too!  If you haven't watched Parenthood YOU MUST!!!



*******
A quick follow up on my sweet cousin-in-law.  She has Stage 1 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, specifically Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma.  There is an 80-90% cure rate (yay!) and she will need to have Chemo and Radiation.  They took a sample of her bone marrow to test and be sure there were no cells in there, otherwise her scans were clear except for the spot in her neck.  It is an aggressive form of Lymphoma but they are confident since she caught it so early she'll respond to the treatments really well.  Thank you to all for the prayers.  Although she got "good" news she still needs a lot of prayers so if you think of it say one for her, please and thank you.

*******
Next week is fair week, like I've mentioned a few hundred times. :)  I will be taking a break from the blog since I will not have time to sit down at the laptop to pound out a post.  I'll see you back here for the LAST WEEK OF JULY, yikes!!!


Have a great weekend!

Stranded \\ Famous People

Stranded With

I'm linking up with Shay and Erica for their monthly 'Stranded' link up.  These are so fun, I love answering their monthly question.

My previous 'Stranded' links 

This month they are asking "Which 3 famous people would you take if you were stranded on a deserted island?"

It's not hard coming up with famous people I'd take, it's hard narrowing it down to only 3!  Here are the ones I finally settled on.  (P.S. I LOVE this deserted island!!!)

Matthew McConaughey
Ok, I have had a HUGE crush on this guy for years and years (and my husband knows it!).  I actually had a mini shrine to him in the dispensary at the salon I worked in!  Remember those cologne ads in magazines??  I'm fanning myself right now remembering.  :) :)  Anywho!  He's totally smoking hot and I LOVE listening to him talk!  Those Lincoln car commercials make me giggle, ha ha!  So, on the island I'd wile away the hours just listening to him talk... or watching him fashion us a hut out of bamboo and palms (shirt optional!).

Melissa McCarthy
Isn't she just the funniest and funnest person?!?  I think she'd be so much fun to just hang out with and she'd be an awesome friend!  Plus I bet she'd have great ideas on ways to talk Matthew into taking his shirt off again.  :) I'd also like to talk Gilmore Girls with her non-stop!

Savannah Guthrie
I am a big Today Show fan and I went back and forth between Savannah and Matt Lauer but decided I'd want another girlfriend there because if I'm stranded I'm going to need friends to keep me grounded and not freaking out.  Plus she's a genius, really really smart, so I bet she'd be able to figure out a way off this island ... when we're all ready to go!

These made my short list also:
Kelly Ripa
Matt Lauer
John Slattery
Lauren Graham
Jenna Bush Hagar

If you were stranded on an island which famous people would you take along?

Join in on the fun next month -- shoes!

Stranded Dates

Currently

Happy Wednesday everyone!  I haven't done a 'Currently' post in awhile so thought I'd write one up.  I love these post on other's blogs so hopefully you do, too!

Currently I'm...

Reading
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume...again!  For the, what, 20th time?!?  I've lost track a long time ago but it still gets me EVERY.SINGLE.TIME!!!  I have loved this book so much for so long that last year for my birthday Andy bought me a hardcover copy. I might have asked for him to have Judy Blume sign it for me, and I'm still waiting!  #AskForTheMoon!



Watching
The Real Housewives of New York, New Jersey and Orange County!  I can't get enough of these shows!  This is my first season watching NY and NJ, what took me so long?!?  I also am watching The Bachelorette and Are You the One on MTV.  Drama drama drama!!!  I love it, fun little escape!  And it makes me appreciate how 'boring' my life is - no drama here!

Praying for
Good, positive news for my cousin's wife about her lymphoma diagnosis.  Today she finds out what kind she has and what stage.  We have been praying non-stop for her since finding out about this last week.  We need it to be Non-Hodgkins and it'd be awesome for it to have been caught so early it's not even a stage 1 yet.  Fingers and toes crossed, prayers said, wishes made.  She'd appreciate any and all prayers she can get so please say a quick one for her today.  She has a sweet little girl at home that needs her mommy!

Loving
summer clearance sales!  This week I snagged 6 items from Crazy 8's online clearance sale for $30!  Tenley's winter wardrobe just got bigger!  I found her the cutest Valentine's Day outfit and a fun flouncy tutu for Christmas parties (not shown here)!


Wishing
That my tomato plants looked bushier and were producing more tomatoes than they are.  I've had quite the season with my tomato plants. First, out of the 6 I planted only 1 survived the rabbits and/or birds.  Then I bought and planted 6 more and Tate tried helping me weed my garden by pulling out 2.  I quickly replanted them but they didn't rebound quite like I'd hoped they would.  I have some small tomatoes on the vines now so fingers crossed I get a good crop still because I have far too many empty jars in my basement!

Excited for
the county fair next week!!!  I am SO excited to watch Aiden show his lambs!  I am SO excited for Sloppy Joe Dinners!  I am SO excited for all the sights, sounds and smells of the fair!  I am just SO excited for it all!

Dreading
the heat they are forecasting for next week.  Hot, humid weather and the fair don't mix in my book (although they should since it's July in Iowa!).  I'm planning on packing lots of water bottles and cold packs!


Trying 
Biotin!  I'm on the edge between wanting my hair long again and wanting it short again.  I can't decide which way to go but obviously if I cut it short there's no quick fix to getting it long again so while it's at the length it is I think I'll go for 'long' for a bit and see how it goes getting there.  I'm just frustrated with it, feel like I never look good because I throw it up in a ponytail a lot.  I need to start taking the time to style it in the mornings because when I don't I feel like I look terrible and get antsy for a change.  I did like this haircut, though...



That's what's going on 'Currently' with me!  How about you?


Working Aiden's 4-H Sheep

This year we took on a whole new adventure and got 4 lambs for Aiden to raise and take to the county fair to show.  From 4th grade through 12th grade I was in 4-H but I never took any livestock to the fair, just 'indoor' projects.  This has been quite the learning experience for our whole family.  And really, raising livestock for the fair is a FAMILY PROJECT, not just a project for the kid.

Back in April went to my parent's farm and picked out 2 sheep. We had no idea what we were looking for as far as overall structure of the lamb goes.  We ended up picking a ewe (female) and wether (male).  Andy talked to Aiden's 4-H leader who raises show lambs and ended up agreeing to getting 2 lambs from him as well.  All of a sudden we were raising four lambs!!!


May 7th was the official weigh in day for all lambs going to our county fair which is also the day we picked up our new 'pets'.  Let me clarify that statement by saying these lambs ARE NOT PETS.  If you let yourself think that way it'll be so much harder getting rid of them on auction day at the fair.  We have reiterated this to Aiden over and over and over again.  I really didn't want him naming his sheep, because that makes them pets, right?  But of course he didn't agree and I let him have it this year. We'll see how things go at the auction (tears?) and maybe next year we'll just number them.

Immediately we started haltering the lambs and getting them used to the feeling of having that on them and being more contained.  They are wild little buggers to begin with, and although you don't want them to be 100% tame it's nice to have them more comfortable with you so they don't constantly try pulling away while you are walking them.  As for why you don't want them tame?  If they are so comfortable with you they will be relaxed, but in the show ring while you have them set up you need them to brace against you a little to show off their muscles therefore not wanting them 100% tame.

Once we had them used to the halter it was time to start walking them.  Initially we walked them around the circle driveway at the farm we were pasturing our lambs.  Once they weren't digging in their hooves anymore we ventured out to the gravel road.  At the most I'd say we walked each lamb about a half mile per day.  You need to work them up to a distance because otherwise you'll exhaust them and that could cause them harm.  There were a lot of days they'd be panting when we finished walking them.  This is okay, we just made sure they had plenty of water and shade to cool down in.

Time for the last step in the process of breaking them -- walking them without a halter just by guiding them by their heads.  Sheep are herd animals so we always walked them with a friend.  There was a lot of pushing and prodding them from behind in the beginning, and we always had the halter on them still just in case we needed to quick grab it if they jumped/bucked and tried to get away. The entire process can be very frustrating but you just need to stick with it and keep going!



Once they are broken you then start to 'set them up'.  This is how you show off your animal in the ring.  To set up your lamb you put your left arm under their head to hold it up and use your right hand to set the legs where you need them.  You want the head and front legs to line up vertically when all's said and done.  You want the back to legs to be 'shoulder width apart'.  Last you check to make sure the lamb isn't pushing their back up, you want their back to be flat.




In the show ring you could stand there with your sheep for more than 20 minutes so you want to practice standing there with your sheep for 5, 10 minutes at a time to get used to that feeling.  It can be quite exhausting for the 4-Her and for the lamb.

A few things we've learned this year:

  1. Feed the sheep before working them. This will help with their stamina and keep them from wanting to run back to the pen the whole time because they know that's where the food is
  2. Feed the sheep individually in their own 'pens' so you know how much feed each lamb is getting
  3. Work your sheep every single day and DON'T GIVE UP!  Payoff doesn't come until fair week so it can be discouraging to be out there day in and day out and not get to show off your hard work.
  4. Touch their legs earlier on and get them used to you moving them to set them up.
That's just the tip of the iceberg on all we've learned.  We'll feed them differently next year, set their pen up differently, work them differently... I'm already excited for next year's lambs!  And we are only getting 2 lambs - 4 was too many to start off with and Aiden is talking about raising a bucket bottle calf next year, also.  

One week from today Aiden shows his sheep.  We are excited and ready for the big day and can't wait to see how these sheep compare to the others at the fair!