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Tenley's First Birthday Party

Saturday we celebrated Tenley's first birthday with our family.  I found the sweetest invitations on Etsy so we decided to go with a Princess theme.

Princess Tenley came dressed for the affair.  I bought an iron on transfer that said 'one' and put that on a plain white shirt. Then I made her tutu out of tulle and one of those stretchy crocheted headbands.  The crown headband was found on Etsy.  All of this went together to create her pink and gold color scheme.

Most of the guests heeded Princess Tenley's request to come dressed in their 'royal best' and we provided crowns and tiaras for everyone.  We had good sports and all wore their crowns!

I made lasagna roll ups, cheesey garlic bread and a lettuce salad for supper.  Easy and delicious, plus it was something I knew the Princess would and could eat. Of course for dessert we had birthday cake and ice cream.  I found the cake topper on Etsy also.

I decorated Princess Tenley's throne with a few balloons and a simple garland I made with tulle and ribbon.  It matched her tutu I made.

Tenley loved having 'Happy Birthday' sang to her!  We had been practicing singing to her for a couple days prior to her birthday so she wouldn't be overwhelmed by all of us singing at once.  Even with practicing over and over and over again for months I knew Tenley wouldn't be ready to blow out her candle - luckily she had a very capable big brother (Tate) to help her with that!

I think Tenley really liked her cake but she was quite the lady and kept the mess to minimum. :)

After eating cake it was present time!  Like all one year olds, Princess Tenley wasn't quite sure what to do with the gifts.  Tate showed her a few times how to unwrap or pull out the tissue paper from the bags to see what was inside.  She opened a gift from her Great Grandparents Maier first and was totally fixated on it! Trying to get her to open another gift was quite the challenge! She was smitten with the 'talking' book!  I was just fine with that, it showed how much she loved and appreciated the gift!

Finally we were able to move on to the next gift.  Again, fixated!  She really knows how to drag out the gift opening process, ha ha!

Tenley ended up receiving a tea set, a Leap Frog picnic basket, books, clothes, and my personal favorite - a Raggedy Ann doll. My niece was super sweet and gifted Tenley her old princess castle and fairy house!  What a sweetheart!

After that it was time to play with all of those new toys, read all those new books!

On Tenley's actual birthday we had our own little celebration here at home.  Andy insisted I make another cake so after supper we had more cake and ice cream.  We gave Tenley her gifts, she seemed to understand what was inside that pretty paper more this time!

Aiden, being the best big brother ever, gave Tenley a giant PINK teddy bear!  It's bigger than Tenley is!  He saw that pink bear the day we found out we were having a girl and knew he wanted to spend his own money on it for her.  He's been stashing it in his closet for months! Such a sweetheart!  And of course, Tenley loved it! She gave it a big kiss!

Tenley Louise, age 1.  Happy birthday, Pretty Girl!

Tenley Louise || 1 Year Old

Dearest of all dear Tenley Louise's,

My beautiful little girl, you are ONE YEAR OLD now!  I can't even begin to try and tell you how much joy and love and excitement and peace and girliness you have brought into our lives!  I look at you still and absolutely can NOT believe you are here, my daughter!

I always imagined you'd be calm and quiet, reserved, maybe even shy but you are exactly the opposite of all those things!  You are wild and loud, an extrovert to the core and you are not afraid of anyone and make friends wherever you go!  Just yesterday at the grocery store you and an older gentleman struck up an instant friendship - every time we'd run across him in an aisle he'd make a little sound to you and you'd beam with the biggest smile!  Another lady caught your attention and made you scrunch up your nose with your smile!  You are the sweetest little Pink Princess of a baby I've ever met.

Yes, BABY.  You will always be my baby so you'd better get used to being called that!  Daddy told me this so you can blame him if you don't like it. :)

You are quite the talker!  Always babbling and singing your songs.  You say 'Da-di' and it sounds like you say 'Hi there' in your own little way.  You wave bye-bye very well, love playing peek-a-boo and will pull your arms up over your head to play but never cover your eyes which is so darn cute!  You have been clapping for months but you really get into it now!  You walk like a pro and even run sometimes - you never crawl!  You have figured out how to climb up on the kitchen chairs and try your hardest to climb up on the couch but you aren't quite tall enough to get there yet.

When playing your go to toy is your dollies!  Nora Jean gave you her Little Tikes Princess Castle and you like playing with that now, too.  You love looking at books and being sang to.  You give your dollies and stuffed animals kisses, talk about melting my heart!  Tate is your favorite playmate until he gets too rough.

Currently you have two teeth on the bottom but you are definitely working on those top teeth - they are puffy and swollen and hurt.  You had 4 shots at your check up yesterday and boy did you cry!  The kind of crying where you just can't seem to catch your breath.  You are still the cutest little crier and you can push out soap opera style tears at the drop of a hat ... do I see acting in your future? :)

You are constantly on the go and trying to keep you corralled at church is near impossible!  You have taken to screaming when you are tied down and don't like it so that's a lot of fun when everyone is praying.  Daddy is helping coach Aiden's basketball team so I am left to wrestle you all by myself on Sunday afternoons.  Luckily those games are quick so it's usually for only 30-40 minutes.  You give me quite a workout!

You are 100% on table food.  Each week you try something new.  This week you had your first hamburger and loved it!  Everything gets cut up into bite sized pieces and you feed yourself quite well.  We are transitioning to whole milk and sippy cups, both of those things are going fairly well.  You don't love the sippy cup but at least now you will finally drink from it - before you just chewed on it. You don't like being cuddled while drinking your milk anymore, that really breaks my heart.  I guess you are saying that you're a big girl now and to give you a little space. Sigh.
I would say chicken is your favorite meat, green beans your
 favorite vegetable and mandarin oranges and bananas share the top spot in the fruit category.  You tried lima beans that other day and that was a big fail!  Otherwise you are pretty happy eating whatever I make for you.

You had your first taste of sugar this past weekend with your birthday cake and I think it's safe to say you didn't hate it.  You didn't make a big mess with the cake, you were quite the lady.  I'm excited for Thanksgiving next week, you will love everything we serve and even get your first (tiny) slice of pumpkin pie!

You are so much fun to dress!  I have finally branched out from just pink, although pink is still the main hue in your closet.  You still have very little hair, although it's really filled in over your head, so we are still wearing strictly headbands these days.  Maybe by next Spring we'll get to try on your first barrette?!?  You do have one small spot in the back that is long enough for a tiny ponytail but Daddy thinks it'll look funny so I have yet to get the elastic out to try that.

Here are your stats for this month:
Weight: 20lb 15oz - 70th %
Height: 30.5" - 90th % (you've really stretched out!)
Diapers: size 3 Pampers
Clothes: still running the gamut here.  I have you in mostly 12mo but you are small enough to fit in 3-6m skirts, 9 mo dresses.  You are just a tiny peanut!

Happy happy first birthday, sweet girl!  May all your dreams come true, may your days be full of laughter and may you always always feel how loved you are!

Love always,

Tenley Louise || 11 Months Old

I'm sitting here staring at that age - 11 months old.  1 month left until you are ONE YEAR OLD, my sweet little Tenley Girl.  I'm excited and sad at the same time.  I already miss all of your baby-ness, the time went so fast.  You've been the sweetest, happiest little baby!

Over this past month you have taken off walking.  You almost never get down on hands and knees anymore.  In fact, I can't think of a single time you've done that to get where you want to go in the last 2 weeks, or even more!  Once you decided it was time to walk you walked.  I found you some sweet little moccasins and some shoes with soft soles so you can walk around outside or wherever we go because you do NOT like to be contained anymore!

As quickly as you are growing your hair is not. :(  By now all of the boys had their first haircuts.  I know we have many many MANY days ahead where we can play with and style your hair, add cute clips and barrettes, braid lots of braids but waiting for those days is getting hard on this hair-styling momma!  Thank goodness for all of those headbands you have!  Somehow it seems that we never have the perfect shade of pink, though. Funny how that can be!

I am having so much fun dressing you up!  You have the sweetest coat for this winter, kind of a tweed pea coat, and super cute knitted headband to cover your sweet ears up!  We had to pull that out this past week when the temps dipped and boy did you look ADORABLE!!!  I was definitely swooning over you!

Just this past week Daddy came into the kitchen where you were having breakfast.  You looked right at him and said "Dada!"  Your first real word!  You've been saying 'dada' and 'mama' for quite awhile but this was the first time I knew you really knew what that word meant!  Yay, Tenley!

We have finished our last jar of baby food.  Fittingly we finished with sweet potatoes, the very first baby food you ever had.  You now enjoy all fruits and vegetables that I make for you, plus you've added cheese and shaved ham and turkey to the list.  I still spoon feed you oatmeal and applesauce, those are pretty messy for you to feed yourself.  You are finally drinking bottles that aren't warm, but do not like bottles that are cold quite yet. We are trying to get you used to colder drinks because in a short month (sigh) you will be on whole milk.  You don't take your sippy cup at all so we need to start practicing that more this month.  But you do love to find Tate's on the floor and drink that!

For a short period you seemed to require a bottle of milk before naps and bedtime but you are now back to going to sleep without them.  You take 2 naps per day, usually 1 1/2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon.  You go to bed at 8:00 most nights and sleep until 6:30 or so the next morning.

You love your baby dolly and blankie!  You carry them all around the house and it totally melts my heart! You give your dolly kisses, which is more like you lick it's head and get it nice and slobbery. :) You seem to favor the one dolly and so far that's the name she has - Dolly.  :)

You are quite the explorer. Because of those new shoes we let you walk all over the yard.  You will get in the sandbox and try to figure out that strange new texture of sand.  You walk all around picking up leaves, watching the trees blow in the breeze, pulling little blades of grass out of the ground.  You really seem to enjoy being outdoors!  And you love looking out the window to see what's out there, too.  You especially love looking out our new window!

You enjoy books and music and will dance a little sometimes.  As much as Tate wants to hold and kiss you, you will not allow this anymore.  You come to both Mommy and Daddy for comfort and snuggles, but the snuggles don't last long because you have places to go, dollies to carry.  The big boys dote on your like crazy and you get very excited to see them when they get home from school every afternoon.  You aren't afraid of your Grandma Jeannie, Papa or Auntie Cole, and always hold yours sweet little arms out to them so they'll pick you up or take you from me.  And then they fall upon you with kisses!

You get TONS of kisses, by the way!  You don't even act like you notice you are getting them, you are so used to those chubby cheeks getting smooshed on!  And your cheeks are finally chubby!  They bounce a little in the car! :)

I am busy planning your very special First Birthday party!  It's coming very quickly, Little Lou!  Enjoy your last month before you turn 1.  I will probably hold you a little longer and more often than normal, which is quite a bit!  I will kiss you more, which is a lot!  And I will whisper "I love you" in your ear more than you have ever heard it whispered before.

Happy 11 Months, Tenley Louise!  Here are your monthly stats:
Weight: 21.2lbs
Height: 31"
Clothes: all over the place!  3-6m shorts. 9-12 and 12m shirts, jeans and dresses. Whatever fits is what we wear!
Diapers: size 3 Pampers

Fire Prevention Week

This is Fire Prevention Week in our neck of the woods.  Every year on the Wednesday night of this week our hometown does something called Operation Edith.  There's some background story to how this started I believe but I'm not sure of the details, but basically it's just one more way to bring awareness to everyone about fire prevention.  With Operation Edith the fire trucks in town go up and down every street with their lights on.  Homeowners are supposed to turn their lights on and if they are on the trucks toot their horns or turn on their sirens for them.  As a farm kid I missed out on this every year but once I started dating a town boy I had somewhere to be in town to watch this.  I love it!  And my boys love it!  So last night we grabbed some pizza and headed to my in-laws to wait for the trucks.

At about 6:45 we started hearing the sirens so bundled everyone up and headed outside to wait our turn.  We'd hear the sirens get closer but  not see the trucks.  I started getting worried they'd miss our street.  Finally around 7:20 they came by!  Tate was totally thrilled!  We waved and waved our arms and as they got right in front of us they came over their microphone and said "Nice job kids!"  What a thrill!!!  Of course, it was dark so I didn't get any pictures.  But if you follow me on Snapchat (erinmcguire81) you saw a short video and heard our excitement! :)

Tuesday night I received a phone call from one of our local fireman letting me know that Aiden was one of the winners from the annual coloring/drawing contest! His prize for winning was getting picked up by the firetruck before school and getting to eat donuts as they drove around town until school started!  So cool, right?!?

This is his drawing of his escape route if our house catches fire. My favorite part is he included our new window in the living room! :) :) :)  He did an awesome job, the floor plan is right on!

Bright and early we all got up and got ready so when the firetruck arrived to get Aiden we'd all be able to go out and watch him get on!  Finally they arrived ... in a van! What?!?  Where was the firetruck??  Well, it's such a small town we only have 2 and one of them had to be serviced.  Go figure! But Aiden was still excited because he won this same contest 3 years ago and rode in the big firetruck then so this was a little different and exciting.  :)

I dropped Brennan off at school and then waited with the Sweet T's until the trucks arrived. The kids all got out and stood for pictures as the whole school watched. Then they all said the Pledge of Allegiance outside under the flagpole, pretty cool!

Needless to say Tate's entire month has been made by all of these firetrucks!

Fall Has Arrived!

Like everyone else I absolutely LOVE Fall!  I love the crispness in the air, I love the pumpkins everywhere, I love the colors, I love the decorations!  Fall is exciting, there's anticipation in the air that good things are coming!

For the fun of it I thought I'd share my Fall decorating with you.  I don't have my pumpkins outside yet (gasp!) so today's tour is just of the inside of my home.  Prepare yourself for an overload of pictures!  Cheers to Fall!

I just love a good stack of vintage books worked into my decorations.  These were my grandma's (not the grandma in this picture, though).

My shelves on either side of the fireplace are tricky for me when it comes to decorating.  They are so big, so deep and so dark.  So 'oak', too. :)

I made this 'Boo' set of frames from scrapbooking paper a couple years ago. Still like how they turned out.

This chicken is from my grandma's collection.  I love the 'Fallness' of it!

I found this leaf garland at Menards of all places!  Super inexpensive and it totally did the trick for completing the Fall look on my mantle!

The other side of the fireplace.  The diapers don't scream "Fall" but they are in a handy place for me so there they stay. :)

We love seasonal books!  Tate has commandeered quit a few of our Fall and Halloween books so the stack looks pretty puny right now. :)   Some of our favorite Halloween books are "Pumpkin Soup", "A Halloween Scare in Iowa", "Ten Timid Ghosts", "The Runaway Pumpkin", and "The Pumpkinville Mystery".

Something simple for in front of the TV. (Ignore the construction dust!!!)

I love decorating the top of the piano!

Andy built me a shelf above our fridge, it's been a challenge for me to decorate but it is the perfect depth and height for this Jack-o-lantern.   I love that I can have lights up there, it looks pretty in the evenings with the glow coming from up there.

This little scarecrow has been with me since the first Fall after we got married.  I bought it on clearance during our town's June festival called Ridiculous Days and have loved it ever since!  He's been with us through all three of our homes!

After Halloween is over I'll swap a few things out for my Thanksgiving decorations which helps freshen things up after having my Fall stuff out for 2 months already by then.  I hope you liked the little tour and it put you in a festive mood!

If you have any suggestions on how I can improve those giant built-in's beside the fireplace please share!

Happy Fall, y'all! :)