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What's Up Wednesday || April '16 Edition

Somehow it's already the last Wednesday of the month so I'm linking up with these gals again for 'What's Up Wednesday'.  

What we're eating this week
Some of our favorite fruits are back in season which means lower prices at the grocery store so I stocked up on strawberries and raspberries.  It won't be long and we'll be outside picking those same berries right from our own patches!  The strawberries already are covered in blossoms and the raspberry bushes are greening up and growing fast!  So fun to watch Tate gorging himself at the bushes!

What I'm reminiscing about
Sadly, breastfeeding.  Yesterday I found 3 bags of frozen breastmilk still in the deep freeze so I thawed them out and fed them to Tenley in 2 bottles.  When she started drinking the first bottle it was like she realized she'd been missing that flavor and just sucked it down almost in a panic.  I told Andy it would be like me with a Mt Dew if I hadn't had one in a long time.  Oh the poor little Lou, it totally broke my heart that maybe she could have been craving that taste this whole time.  Sniff sniff  In reality she was probably just really hungry but that was where my mind took me.

What I'm loving
My new coconut oil.  A couple years ago I jumped on the bandwagon and bought a container of coconut oil at the store.  I mostly used it for conditioning my hair but it was such a pain to plan for it to be on for a few hours that I didn't do it very often.  I used it for other odds and ends here and there but finally decided it wasn't a very good quality oil and pitched it.  Last week I decided to get some good stuff.  As I sauntered up to the selection in the store I saw a man standing there inspecting them, too.  He turned out to be a wealth of knowledge and helped me pick the one I eventually went with.  I started using it that night to remove my makeup and noticed right away that it actually *smelled* like coconut - novel idea! I am already much happier with this brand.  I also used it on Tate's cheeks when they got a little too much sun last weekend - took the red right out!  I'm anxious to try it in my hair.

What we've been up to
We've been trying to prepare for the 4H sheep's arrival.  We've built fence, Aiden's picked out 2 from my parent's and he's going to show one from his 4H leader.  We still need to purchase another halter, some buckets and the feed and there's a spot in the existing fence that needs fixed.  Less than 2 weeks until weigh-in, which is the day we get the little buggers.  I'm nervously excited, if that's an emotion. :)

What I'm dreading
Tackle football.  That starts this Fall for Aiden and I am super nervous about it!  I just pray that it all goes fine and isn't as big and bad as I'm afraid it will be.

What I'm working on
This should be "what I'm *supposed to be* working on.  I should be downstairs packing up all my scrapbooking supplies and all the toys so we can start demo-ing the living room.  Even though we haven't finished the bathroom we are going to start demo on the main living area down there so we can haul the ceiling tiles and track out to the curb for Spring clean up next month.  It doesn't sound like any fun to me right now which is why I'm dragging my feet.

What I'm excited about
I'm excited to get my hair colored next week.  My super talented friend does a technique called Balyage, which is like a free style hair painting technique.  It lasts longer than foils because there isn't such a hard grow out line.  I'm so excited!

What I'm watching/reading
I have downloaded a ton of books to my Kindle over the last few months, purchased a hard copy of  'Raising a Princess' but have yet to crack any of them.  I did just finish my May Cosmo magazine with June's already here staring me in the face.  When I get a few minutes to read I usually catch up on reading blogs or Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat (follow me!!! erinmcguire81)  As for what I'm watching, Deadliest Catch, Southern Charm and that new Motherhood something or other show on  Bravo and The Catch on ABC.  Most of the shows on Bravo are great for walking on the treadmill to.  Mindless entertainment.  :)

What I'm listening to
Please don't judge me but I love listening to Bill Burr's podcasts!  OMG, that man is a RIOT!!!  So dang inappropriate which is why I think he's hilarious!  If you aren't easily offended then go to and listen to his Monday Morning Podcasts.  You'll be rolling with laughter.  And also check out his specials on Netflix - he's a stand up comic, and a darn funny one!

What I'm wearing
My new shirts from Target!  Now I'm looking for some skinny capris and possible some white skinny capris - yikes!  That just seems dangerous for me, ha ha! I'd also love to get some wedges.  Looks like I need another shopping trip!

What I'm doing this weekend
BRUNCH!!!!  Yay, so excited for brunch with my friends!

What I'm looking forward to next month
May is a huge month - we have 2 high school graduation parties, our niece's 16th birthday party, my nephew's 5th grade graduation and party, both boy's school field trips, Mother's Day, Mother's Day Makeovers in Brennie's class, end of school activities, Aiden's baseball games and my favorite of all - our wedding anniversary!  We'll be celebrating 14 happy years of marriage (and 19 years since we started dating!)!!!  May's a great month!

What else is new
I'm going to a couple of greenhouses today with my sweet friend, Amy.  I'm so excited to finally get my hanging baskets and plants to fill my planters!  I hope I find what I'm looking for!

Have a great day!

A Day in the Life || Tate

I've been meaning to follow Tate around with the camera for a day to capture what his days are like at this age.  Every day for about 2 weeks I'd look at the clock around 10:00 in the morning and think 'shoot! I forgot again!'  Finally, Friday morning I remembered!

Here's a look at a day in the life of Tate, age 2 years 2 months old.

6:38 a.m. - Tate comes stumbling into the living room dragging his best blankies and Raff (stuffed giraffe).  This would be considered sleeping in for Tate!  "Good morning, Tatie Tot!"

6:41 - First of many snuggles with Tenley for the day.  Then he goes to the basement door and cries because he can't go downstairs to see the boys. Sigh, such a tough start to the day for the boy.

6:50 - Daddy helps get Tate dressed for the day.

7:02 BREAKFAST!  Lately Tate has not been a good breakfast eater, and this day was no different.  He had an egg and bacon toaster strudel like his big brothers and all he did was pick out the insides.  At least he got the eggs, right? :)  While eating Tate talked to me about many things, including rabbits in the yard, my wedding ring Daddy gave me, he 'counted' my freckles on my arm, he held my hand and, like he does so often, asked about Papa and his 'heep' (sheep).

7:30 - At long last he is done with his breakfast, although he didn't finish it, again.

7:48 - Ut oh, Tate did something naughty and had to sit in time out.  No coloring on the walls with a pencil, Tate!  Thank goodness this is not a typical daily activity!

8:07 -  Shoes on and out the door to take the big brothers to school.

8:15 - Boys are dropped off so now we head to town for an errand.

8:52 - Tate was a big help at Dollar General, he held the cards I picked out and made room for the big package of toilet paper we were buying.

9:45 - Back home, reading books and playing.

10:42 - "What's that noise?" he asks.  It's the neighbor mowing!  Time to watch that for a little while.

10:53 - More reading! I love how much Tate loves to read books.  If he beats me out to the living room in the mornings I always find him sitting on the couch with a pile of his books.

11:03 - "I'm hiding!" Tate likes setting up the Imaginext sets to play inside them.  Lately he's been into hiding, either himself or his toys, so he thought by standing beside the chair he was hiding this morning.  We round out the morning with puzzle time - this boy loves putting his puzzles together!  He's going to love building puzzles as much as I do!

11:52 - Lunch time!  Shaved turkey, a cheese stick cut up, mangoes, applesauce and milk ... yum!

12:45 - I read Tate a few stories from his book and then it's nap time.  This is one of my favorite times of the day - I love getting Tate all tucked in to his bed and reading him a book or two.  Then he gives me big squeezes around the neck and a kiss good night.

3:30 - That was a good nap!  Pretty typical for Tate, anywhere from a 2-3 hour nap every day.  And of course, he had to say hello to Tenley right away!

3:45 - Snack time: golfish crackers and a cold cup of water.

4:00 - Finally, time to get outside and play!  Tate loves swinging on the swing on his belly - wee! He is an outdoors-y little man for sure, he absolutely LOVES to be outside!

6:05 - Eating again!  It's suppertime - even though Tate is a slow eater he usually finishes all of his supper.  He is 100% a carnivore, took down his chicken like a boss!

6:38 - Time to hang out and play, practice cool tricks on the chair, and unwind from our busy day being a toddler.  Tate asked for 'dooce' (juice) and I said no, he could have water, which in turn caused a 2 year old tantrum.  It's not all sunshine and happiness here but it's real life and I wouldn't have it any other way.

 7:55 - We head back to his bedroom, but before getting tucked into bed we brush teeth.  Then it's a bedtime story, get all the covers in just the right places and finally, Night night!  Love you, Tate!  "Dub you" he says back.  :)

After this I head back out to the living room to relax and think back over our day and how lucky I feel to have Tate as my one and only Tot.  That was a Day in the Life of Tate!

Weekend Rewind

Hey hey! Can you believe this is the last week of April?  I am stunned, I just can't believe it!  Over the past week the leaves on the trees have burst out of their buds and it is SO nice to look out my window at all the green trees instead of stick trees.  Such a nice change of pace!  It almost looks like summer out there!

As always (it seems) we had another busy weekend.  Saturday morning we were all up bright and early splitting the family up and going in separate directions.  Andy and Aiden headed to town for a required 4H meeting on FSQA (Food Safety and Quality Assurance).  If you are showing any marketable animals that could end up in the food supply (for us that's sheep!) than you are required to take this workshop.  It teaches the kids all kinds of things about ethics, do's and don'ts of raising your animals, etc.  Andy went along since it was Aiden's first year and he said he even learned quite a bit.  That went from 8 to noon.

Meanwhile. the rest of us (Brennan, Tate, Tenley and I) met my mom and headed to the big city for some shopping.  I've been pregnant for major parts of the last four years and not only does my body show it (yikes!), so does my closet!  I'd finally had it and so to the stores we went.  We started at Target and I hit the jackpot!  I narrowed my pile of 11 shirts that I tried on down to 5, woo hoo!  Me finding 5 shirts is 'pert near' a miracle (Midwest lingo for you!).  2 are casual, 2 are nicer for wearing out and 1 was a flowy tank top for working out or wearing out in the yard this hot summer.  We buzzed around the store for a few more essentials then headed out into the mall.  We were about 10 minutes early for the stores to open so we let the kids play in the play area.  *Side note.  I have never, EVER, let my kids play in there before.  It's always freaked me out with all the germs and craziness of a million kids running around there.  But Grandma suggested it and of course Brennan and Tate were all for it so that's what we did.  It was cleaner than I expected and because it was before the mall stores were open it was pretty quiet.  Hallelujah. *

While the kids played Mom and I each took a turn going to a store to shop.  I headed to Old Navy for some jeans for  Tate.  I was able to pick him up a shirt for his 2 year pics next month so was pretty happy about that.

Following the mall we headed to Kohls and, shocker!,  neither Mom or I found a thing to buy there!!! Well, let me rephrase that.  I didn't find anything to buy for ME.  I could have bought out half the baby girl's section but I held myself back and didn't buy sweet little Lou a thing.  Poor girl! :)  We left Kohls and stopped at McDonalds for a quick lunch before heading back home.  Even though it was a short shopping trip it was a successful one!

The rest of the afternoon we spent messing around the house then church that evening.

Sunday we went out to my parent's farm so Aiden could pick out his fair sheep!  That kid always surprises me - he was in the middle of the sheep pen and they were all running around him like crazy and he wasn't phased one bit!  I always get just a little nervous in that situation but not Aiden, he was cool as a cucumber!  He picked out 2 sheep and we'll get them in 2 weeks.  That's going to be an adventure in itself!  We waited for the boys to all take turns going for a 4 wheeler ride with Papa then left to head home.

This picture of Tenley and the lamb cracks me up - they are both just hanging there with the same look on their faces! :)

Tenley loves her grandma!

That afternoon my Great Aunt Joan (pronounced Joanne) had a hen party at her house.  It's just an excuse for all of us Marie Women to get together to catch up.  It was a smaller group but still so much fun.  The bad part was that I was losing my voice so talking was quite the challenge.  Tenley and I had a great time, though, and it as fun watching Tenley and Quinn interacting.  They are only 11 days apart in age, Quinn was born first and was a 10 pound baby if I remember correctly!  Such a sweet cute baby but I couldn't hold her for fear of giving her my cold.  I was able to get some really sweet pictures of them together. Tenley really loved looking at Quinn and cooing to her. :)  I might have added some pics to my Snapchat story, follow me!  erinmcguire81  Someone help me figure out what cousins and how removed Quinn and Tenley are.  Their grandma's are first cousins.  If you can tell me leave me a comment - I've never been good at all that twice removed business.  I just call them all cousins. :)

The party included lots of gabbing and some really good food!  After we were all done stuffing our faces we drove down the road to my mom's cousin's new house that they built and moved into in February.  It was beautiful but my favorite part was the amazing view of cattle pastures and timber!  My dream!

Tenley and I got home around 4 then went outside to play with the boys and Andy.  It was a great way to end the weekend.

Up this week: our last soccer games of the season!  It's gone by fast.  Both boys play Wednesday night and Brennan's final game is Saturday morning.  Up next, BASEBALL!!!

Have a great week!

Breast is Best?

I am so sad to say I have quit breastfeeding sweet Tenley.  My body just was not cooperating this time around.  I tried everything I knew to do but my body just wasn't in it anymore.  I drank more water.  Took Fenugreek.  Got a prescription for a medicine that possibly could have helped.  I rested, ate.  Nothing was working. Tenley wasn't gaining weight like she should and she was super frustrated with me every time she tried to eat.  That in turn made me super frustrated.

I have loved every minute of breastfeeding all 4 of my babies.  I was so proud that those first 6 months they received every bit of nourishment from me.  Of course there were difficult times, not every day breastfeeding was smooth sailing, but it was always important and worth it to me!

Now, at 5 months old, Tenley is 100% formula fed.  It breaks my heart every time I mix up that powdery 'milk'.  I'm so thankful there is such a thing as formula to feed my baby but it doesn't make me like it any more.  It wasn't the plan I had for little Lou.

When I stand in the store picking out the tub of formula I'm buying, or when I'm in public shaking up a bottle of milk, I feel like I'm being judged.  "Why isn't she breastfeeding? What kind of mom is she?"  I am a huge supporter of breastfeeding and I'll offer any and all advice I have to help you in the journey but I have never once judged another mom for feeding her baby formula.  NEVER!  You do you, I'll do me.  But I 100% feel judged as a mom who is feeding her own baby that stuff. We are always hardest on ourselves, aren't we?

The guilt I feel about giving this up is overwhelming at times.  Just when I start to feel ok with this I stumble across a reminder of what I no longer have - my nursing cover in the diaper bag, a wayward storage bottle that got put in the wrong cupboard, Loulie burying her face in my chest looking for lunch.  Those times are heartbreaking.

I stumbled across this blog post on Facebook this weekend and it couldn't have come at a better time for me.  I wanted to share it with you because it is so true.

Annie Ferguson Muscato
Dear Stranger in Target,
You didn't need to tell me, "breast is best" as I was buying a can of baby formula, because I already know.
I know that my husband and I excitedly took the four hour breast feeding class when I was pregnant.
I know that my baby immediately did skin to skin and ate from my breast within an hour of her birth, because it was important to me.
I know that we saw a lactation consultant before we took her home, and again a few weeks later.
I know that we struggled at first. That some nights we both cried together. That my dear friends swore it would get better. I know they were right, and it did.
I know "breast is best" just like you do.
But, let me tell you what else I know.
I know that my baby began screaming after she ate. Writhing in pain. Inconsolable.
I know over the last month and a half I have exclusively pumped and tried slow flow bottles of breast milk, I have tried different positions, I have seen another lactation consultant.
I know I have held my child, my baby, while she screamed for hours- one day for eight hours straight.
I know we have been to see the pediatrician at least twice a week since she has been born.
I know that I tried cutting soy, and dairy, and leafy greens from my diet to make my milk more digestible for her.
I have pumped- and I'm still pumping- enough to have hundreds of ounces of breast milk in my freezer even though she will likely never be able to eat it.
All because "breast is best."
And then finally, we tried the hypoallergenic dairy protein free formula you saw me buying today. And the screaming lessened. And my baby started smiling. She started interacting. She started sleeping.
And I cried. Because I thought breast was best. I thought my body failed her. I thought she wouldn't be as healthy on formula.
I know you think I must not care or I'm lazy, or maybe you were genuinely trying to be helpful and thought no one had ever told me the benefits of breast feeding.
But, you are wrong. What I know that you don't is that breast ISN'T always best. I know happy, healthy baby is best. I know FED is best.
What I'm sure we both know is that parenting is hard. Really hard. That sometimes what we plan for and what we want just doesn't work out, but we are all here trying to do what's best for our babies.
So, dear stranger, next time you see someone buying formula, try to remember that mamas should support each other. Think about everything you might not know. Remind yourself that "fed is best" and smile because it means someone loves their baby enough to do what's best for them.
Another Mom Doing Her Best and a Happier Formula Fed Baby
P.S. Dear friends, please feel free to share this in the hopes the people who need the reminder see it. (And I will in turn promise not to bombard your wall with any more essays about parenting!)

Her situation is a little different than mine but it still rings true - "happy, healthy baby is best. Fed is best."  So I will repeat this, over and over to myself, until I start to feel less guilty about not giving Tenley what I tried so hard to provide. I will probably always be sad that I didn't make it to my magic number of 12 months.  I already miss the closeness that breastfeeding gives you.  Those were my moments that no one else could have with her.  Selfishly I got to have those feedings all to myself, I didn't have to share them because no one else could do what I could.  Could.  Now I can't.  I'm heartbroken, so very sad, and will never, ever again nurse one of my babies.  A chapter ended.

I miss her sweet little angel breath.  Now she smells like formula.  I miss having a free hand to pet her little head, hold and caress her little hand, pick at whatever there is to pick at.  I miss knowing that when she's hungry, no matter where we are, I can just go ahead and feed her without having to search for warm water.  I miss not having to pack formula and bottles whenever we leave the house.  I miss those buttered popcorn smelling poopy diapers.  I just miss it all.

The good news in all of this: Tenley is thriving.  She's getting chubby thighs, a rounder face, and it's all so very cute!  She is happy, content after feedings, napping and sleeping well, and HEALTHY.  What more could a mother want?  Besides being able to breastfeed her baby...

Tenley Louise || 5 Months Old

Loulie Lou, you sweet little baby, here we are doing another update!

This past month has been a fun one.  You are much more a baby now, not a single trace of 'newborn-ness' left.  You reach for things and have started grabbing - you especially like faces and glasses.  You have yet to meet a stranger, you make everyone you see your newest friend!  Everyone from the lady checking us out at the grocery store to the gentleman stopping by our table at lunch to the sweet little grandma's at your Great Great Aunt Ruth's nursing home.  You give them all the sweetest little smiles and if they reach in to touch you, you hold on to their fingers which totally melts them (and your mommy!).

You are your big brother's favorite little dolly.  Aiden picks you up and holds you and when he talks to you your eyes glow with love and adoration.  I hope that never goes away.  Brennan likes to lay on the floor beside you, then you will reach out and grab his little finger and use it to pull yourself over to your tummy.  Tate continues to fall upon you with kisses every chance he gets.  Your name is not Tenley with Tate, he only calls you Baby, which I absolutely love!  He is your favorite entertainment, hands down!   Even when he tries to sit on you like a horse!  Yes, that big Tatie Tot squishy brother of yours tries to ride you, ha ha!

We hit a little blip in the growing process this past month.  At your 4 month check up you had fallen to the 25th % in weight so 2 weeks ago we took you in for a weight check.  You had dropped again to under the 25th %.  We started supplementing your diet with 2 bottles of formula per day and almost immediately I started seeing changes in you.  You are still a skinny little girl but I could see your sweet face filling out more, and maybe, just maybe, a little more squish in your thighs.  I am 100% crushed that I alone cannot be enough to feed and sustain you but I'd much rather you be healthy and drinking formula than hungry because I don't have enough milk for you.

Everyone who meets you comments on how happy of a baby you are.  And you are, Talulah!  You only ask for the 3 major things - milk, naps and clean diapers.  Other than that you are happy playing on the floor or in your Jumperoo.

This month you learned how to roll from back to tummy.  It took you accidentally doing it only 2 or 3 times before you realized what was happening.  After that you intentionally rolled over.  I'm waiting for you to figure out that if you roll to your back and again to your tummy you can get to where you want to be.  I'm not ready for a mobile baby, Lou, so how about we don't worry about figuring that out for awhile?

You have the sweetest giggle.  I can work it out of you by tickling under your chin or in your armpit.  When you start to giggle you curl up in a little ball and stuff your sweet fist in your mouth.  If I cradle you in my arms and roll you up to my face and kiss kiss kiss your cheeks you scrunch your face up with the biggest smile!  Oh you melt me, little girl!

When you are laying on the floor, on your back, you love to grab your sweet little toes.  More often than not you grab your right toes.  When I have you bundled up in your car seat with a blanket stuffed in and around you and then I pull that off you immediately pull up your legs and reach for your toes.  And then you stick first one, then two, then three fingers in your mouth. I've even caught you with four fingers in there!

I love getting you out of bed in the mornings and after naps!  You are always happy but you are the happiest first thing when you wake up and I walk in to get you!  I'm going to record it one of these times because it is something I never want to forget or be without.  You kick your little legs!  You squeal!  You smile as big as you possibly can!  Thank you for loving me so much!  My heart swells each and every time!

I mentioned last month that you hit the 4 month sleep regression with a vengeance.  We are still in the thick of it and Lou, I'm tired!  How are you not?  Some nights are worse than others, you might need your pacifier 5 or more times in a night.  Other nights, like last, you go to bed at your normal time - 8:00 - and sleep until 2:30.  I feed you quick, then you fall back asleep until 5:30 when Daddy puts the pacifier in so you go back to sleep until almost 7:00.  That's doable but it sure would be nice to get some full nights of sleep again!  Naps are random.  You almost always want your first nap at 9:00.  It can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours long.  Like I said, random.  You take a good long, 2 to 3 hour nap, every day and throw in a few shorter ones throughout the day.  Most evenings you are awake from 5 to 8.  You fall asleep on your own, you just require a pacifier and your soft blanket up by your face so you can bury your little nose in it.

I love seeing you light up whenever Daddy talks to you.  You are so smitten with him!  When he holds you, you are perfectly content to just sit with him.  Me, on the other hand, you require me to hold up you to stand.  Then you 'kiss' my cheeks over and over again, and finally bury your head in my neck and shoulder.  All of a sudden you'll pop your head up and have a dazed, almost a "just woke up" look on your face.  I crack up laughing and you do it all over again!

Now for your stats.
Weight: 14lb 3oz
Height: 26"+
Clothes: 3-6month
Diapers: size 1 Huggies Little Snugglers (we switched from Pampers Swaddlers)

We are so so blessed to call your our Little Loulie Loulie Lou!  We love you, Tenley Louise!


Happy Wednesday!  This week is cooking right along - such a busy one for us but all fun stuff!  

Today I'm linking up with Shay and Erica, two of the sweetest bloggers you'll ever follow!  I love this link up idea, I hope you join in on the fun!

So, if I was stranded on an island, three things I would take from my medicine cabinet are...

Sunscreen.  Yes, I keep my sunscreen in my medicine cabinet!  If I'm on an island you know darn well there's going to be a lot of sun and I don't want to get a sunburn, those stink!  And since we're on the topic, here's the sunscreen I use on my face when I'm outside.  It's not greasy at all, almost goes on like a powder its so dry.  I put my makeup over the top and it works great!

Item #2 - Pepto Bismal.  If I'm on a deserted island there won't be any working plumbing, so no toilets.  I don't want to be having "nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea", or however that jingle goes. :)  Poopy tummy on a deserted island?  No thank you!

My last item would be Tylenol.  Every year, the first time I'm outside all afternoon with the sun beating down on my head I get a horrible headache.  Those are no fun, folks!  So I'd want some Tylenol to knock that baby out.  In addition, any ache or pain I get - that Tylenol would come in handy!

What 3 things would you take?

Weekend Rewind - Visiting Great Aunt Ruth

Yesterday I told you about my Saturday, today it's about my Sunday.

Friday night my dad talked to his cousin who lives in Quincy, Illinois about going down to visit him, his wife, brother and his mom - my sweet Grandma's sister.  Grandma passed away almost 8 years ago now and that was the last time I saw Aunt Ruth.  They decided to  make it work on Sunday so Saturday my mom let me know they were going.  We quickly figured out a place for the 3 boys to go for the day so Andy, Tenley and I could go down, too.  I'd never have forgiven myself if I'd not seen her just one more time.

We left our house at 7:00 Sunday morning, dropped the boys off at my in-laws and headed out to my parent's house to pick them up.  We left their house just after 8:00 and started heading south.  2 hours later we pulled into Quincy.

We went to my dad's cousin's house first - Jim and his wife Margaret.  They actually live in the house next door to Aunt Ruth's house but unfortunately she now lives in a nursing home.  They still own her home because Jim runs his business out of that house - the business his dad started years and years ago.  They make dentures and crowns for teeth!  Uncle Milt passed away a few years ago.

Anyway, we went in to their house - hugs all around!  Then we sat in their sunroom catching up for a little bit.  Margaret said that Aunt Ruth wanted us to come by before and after lunch so we loaded up in the cars and headed to the nursing home a short way from their house.

I should tell you, my sweet Grandma and I were very very close.  We were kindred spirits and I miss her dearly every day of my life.  I think of her often and know that she came to visit me twice after she passed away.  Because of this I was super anxious to see Great Aunt Ruth.  I was scared to see her 'old', worried about her mental state, I didn't want my last memory of her to be something awful.  It was a nerve wracking drive down thinking about this.

We walked in and went straight to her room.  Jim went in to get his mom and out they came, Aunt Ruth in a wheelchair.  And there she was - Aunt Ruth. Mostly the Aunt Ruth I remembered her to be.  A little quieter, definitely older, but she was still there.  I couldn't help it, I started to cry.  I missed Grandma more in that moment than I had in probably 5 years.

We went to what they called the sunroom and chatted with Jim, Margaret and Aunt Ruth.  Cousin Dan, Ruth's oldest son, joined us, too.  Aunt Ruth was very smitten by Tenley, they had a great first meeting.  I could tell Aunt Ruth was happy to see her. And all I could think about was when Grandma held Aiden for the first time and said "He's such a dolly!"  More tears.

Then I asked Aunt Ruth if she wanted to hold Tenley.  She spoke softly to her, gave her sweet little soft kisses on her head and smiled at how strong and wiggly she was.  It was an amazing moment for me.

After that it was dinner time at the nursing home so Margaret took Aunt Ruth down to the dining hall and we left for lunch.

We ate at Kelly's Restaurant and it was so dang yummy!  Andy and I each picked a different sandwich - Prime Rib Sandwich and Buffalo Chicken Sandwich - and cut them in half so we could each have both.  Holy smokes, that Buffalo Chicken Sandwich was AMAZING!  We're already talking about someday going back for another one.

After lunch we went back to see Aunt Ruth again.  We chatted for another half hour before she started yawning, which was our cue to leave.  But not before I snapped a few pictures first.

It was a really wonderful visit, I'm so glad we were able to go.  I truly believe Grandma came to see me while we were there -- before lunch I told Andy I couldn't see Grandma in Ruth at all.  But after lunch, I was watching her as she was telling us a story and all of a sudden there she was!  Ruth looked just like Grandma!  I saw Grandma in Ruth's eyes, they looked right at me and I swear that was Grandma. I'm so happy I saw Grandma again, even if just for a fleeting moment.  I feel so blessed to have seen Aunt Ruth (and Grandma) one more time.

Here's a picture of my sweet Grandma with Aiden, the 'little dolly', at his baptism.

Gosh he was a little tank! :)  Oh I miss this sweet lady...

Weekend Rewind - Winery Tour

Last week I mentioned that this past Saturday I was going on a winery tour with my mom, grandma, sister and aunts to celebrate my mom's 60th birthday.  Girls, we had SO MUCH FUN!  I knew we would but knowing it and actually having it are two different things.

A couple months ago my sister and I discussed doing something special for my mom's birthday.  We threw around a couple of ideas and settled on this winery tour.  I did a little research and realized we could also stop at a cool antique store that I've been dying to get to!  I figured out the route and sent out the invitation.

Saturday morning we all met at my mom's favorite coffee shop in town.  After everyone grabbed their drink we took a quick selfie before heading out.

After an hour and 10 minute drive we arrived at our first stop, Apple Tree Antiques.  Oh my goodness, that place was so worth the drive!  Amazing antiques!  Everywhere you looked there was an awesome Hoosier cabinet!  Beautiful quilts!  Stained glass windows!  Glassware!  Antique bed sets! Antiques, antiques, antiques!!!  We wandered through their two buildings then snapped another selfie.

Our group got smaller by 3 at this point because my aunt and two cousins had to head in the opposite direction to get to their grandson/nephew's baptism.  The rest of headed to our first winery stop, Hershman Christian Winery.  It was a neat old stone building that was built in the 1800's. On the same property was an old stagecoach stop and this building was a winery and a smokehouse.  The proprietor was full of info and knowledge, about the building and about the wine!  There were somewhere between 12 and 15 wines to sample, and she started at the top of the list and worked her way allllll the way down!  I sampled two wines here - Elderberry Blossom (ick) and LEMON!  Yes, LEMON!  And no, it didn't taste like a lemon. It was so perfectly sweet and delicious.  My one aunt hates lemon flavor and smell but we forced her to try it and she actually liked it too!  

From here we hopped in the car and headed to the west about 40 miles for lunch.  We ate in Keosaqua at First Street Grille.  Their burgers are ranked in the top 10 burgers in the state - good enough for me!  Of the six of us, 5 got the Bacon Cheeseburger.  My grandma got the cheeseburger salad, which was a cheeseburger chopped up on a bed of lettuce, basically.  It looked amazing but I forgot to snap a picture.  Then it was off to winery #2!  

Crane Winery was another big hit.  This stop and the first had my kind of wine - what I call "Juice Wine".  It's all the fruity wines, like Cherry, and Raspberry, and LEMON.  We walked in and all of us spotted a bottle called Chocolate Cherry.  Intrigued, it's what we started off with.  Holy yummy!  It was perfectly sweet and delicious!  I ended up buying a bottle of that to hold on to until I'm done nursing Tenley.  

On a whim we decided to stop in Eldon at the sight of the house in the American Gothic painting. Did you know that was an actual house? And that it's in Iowa?  We were just going to drive by and say we saw it but I decided we needed yet another selfie there.  :)  Tenley sat this one out because she was asleep in the car.

Finally we made it to the last winery, Cedar Valley Winery.  It had your "real wine", the kind with bite that I don't like, so we did a quick sampling and then loaded up to head home.  We ended the day with our last selfie.  You can see we are still having fun at the end of the day!

I am so glad we celebrated my mom's birthday this way.  It was so fun - we laughed non stop, gossiped until we were all caught up and drank and ate so many good things!

My grandma turns 80 this year and we are talking about taking a girls weekend trip away to celebrate this special gal.  I can't wait!  I have the best family!  My aunties/grandma/cousin's are cooler than yours! Ha ha!  (I need the emoji with the tongue sticking out!)

Show and Tell Tuesday: Talk Show Edition

I'm a couple days late in linking up with Momfessionals but this topic was too fun to pass up.  If I had a talk show what would it be like?

First of all, I definitely have an annual 'giveaway day'.  It'd be a lot more like Oprah's than Ellen's.  Ellen gives away big ticket items, like new TV's and fancy cameras but if you're like me you don't need a new TV or camera generally, so as nice as it is to be given a giant 60" TV I'd much rather go to a show and be given a bunch of smaller, more unique items.  For instance, my favorite bottle of wine.  A new Erin Condren planner.  Fancy lotions and potions.  I'd throw in a big gift card to a couple of my favorite stores, plus a ton of other things so everyone goes home with a passel of gifts, not just 4 or 5.  "YOU get a planner and YOU get a planner and YOU get a planner!"

I'd start my show off with a friendly guest or two to gab and gossip and catch up on the day's news/entertainment stories/etc.  After that I'd welcome some famous people to talk about their latest projects.  And we'd finish every show with either a musical guest or a comedian.

There would be days where we'd have fashion segments.  I'd love to do 'the latest hairstyle' segments so an amazing hair stylist could demonstrate the latest trends.  We'd talk makeup and nail's.  I love Kathie Lee and Hoda's Ambush Makeover segment so we'd definitely do something similar!

I'm sure we'd have home improvement segments with before and after's.  And we'd have a big budget so we could surprise someone who is struggling by fixing up a part of their house - maybe give their kitchen a face lift complete with new appliances, or transform a drab mudroom into something useful and functional, or clean up and replant their flower beds and landscaping while freshening up the paint and roof.

I think it'd be so much fun hosting a talk show!  Maybe I'd have guest co-hosts every day, always someone new to keep things fresh!  Would you watch my show?

So What Wednesday

So What if...

\\ I'm thinking of starting my Christmas shopping already.  I have 4, count them FOUR, kids to buy for, plus an awesome husband, a sister, brother in law, 4 parents, 3 nieces and 1 nephew.  If I don't start now and spread out the spending my pocketbook is going to be hurting in December!

\\ I've already sold a bunch of my baby equipment that we are still using.  Yep, sold it right out from under my sweet Loulie.  :)  My dad's cousin's son and his girlfriend are expecting in August so they won't be needing it while Tenley is still using it. Feels good to know it's all going to a good home where they'll love it and take care of it.  I'm a tiny bit ready to get rid of the clutter but not ready to say goodbye to all things baby.  

\\ I have been waiting for the series 'Ed' to finish up on the channel UP so I can downgrade my satellite service.  It is super duper pricey and I'm tired of paying for a bunch of junk/channels we don't watch.  I think I have to say goodbye to Bravo, also, which hurts big time because I love RHOC and BH but it hurts even more saying goodbye to my dolla dolla bills each month.  I'm hoping that once our contract is up this Fall I can cancel our service all together and go strictly with an antennae and Netflix.  Unless any of you have any suggestions... ???  The worst part about not having satellite service is losing all sports channels - we watch the heck out of sports here!

\\ I can't drink more than a tiny taste of wine Saturday on my mom's birthday winery tour.  I'll have fun with my mom, sister and aunts regardless of where we are and what we are doing/drinking.

\\ I go to the grocery store every week and yet I come home and think I have nothing to make for supper.  What am I doing wrong?  I need to get back to meal planning, that would help immensely.  

That's what I'm saying So What to this week!

Weekend Rewind

Welcome to a new week!  I am so happy that its April, although that means we are starting the second quarter of the year, which is totally nuts!

Today is my mom's 60th birthday!  Happy birthday, Mom!  We are celebrating this morning with a little shopping trip. We live close to an Amish community and they have a few stores sprinkled out in the country.  There are bakery's, greenhouse/nursery's and little community grocery stores. The grocery stores sell herbs, spices, and grains in bulk, along with some candy and other odds and ends.  I get my pepper, cinnamon, and oatmeal there.  We both are in need of stocking our pantries so since Mom took the day off for her birthday we decided to make a run up there.  We are starting at the bakery for a glazed twist and doughnut holes (yum!).  Once we are done with our little shopping excursion we are heading back to town for lunch.  We are meeting my grandma, aunt, uncle and dad for lunch.  That is our little birthday lunch group - we meet up for all of our birthdays. :)

We began the celebration yesterday with cake and ice cream at my folk's house.  I made a super delicious Lemon Cake and my sister brought the ice cream.  We had a fun afternoon hanging out - the weather was nice and warm, although super windy, so the kiddos were outside playing and my dad was giving them 4 wheeler rides while the rest of us adults sat inside chatting.  It was a good time to snap a picture (or 7) of my mom with all 6 of her grandkids.

Why wasn't I paying attention and trying to get Tate to smile? Sigh, oh well, they can't all be perfect. Case in point...

Just WHAT is Tate doing? Ha ha!

Since the weather was so warm Sunday we were outside as much as possible.  The boys had religion class in the morning but as soon as they came home we got to work outside.  First, the boys climbed down in their window wells to clean out the leaves that gathered there over the winter.  Then we worked on raking out the sod and rocks the snow plow pushed into our neighbors yard.  She has a bad hip, plus Aiden is working to 'pay rent' for a small pasture area at her farm in the country where he'll keep his 4-H sheep this summer, so we thought we'd take care of that for her.  Tenley was hanging out in her stroller while the rest of us worked.

After we got back from my parent's house Andy took the big boys to the golf course to play a few holes. Tate, Tenley and I played outside for an hour until we got tired of being whipped by the wind.  Tenely had bare legs and toes for the very first time because it was so warm - I loved it!  I can't wait to be able to have her bare legs and toes out all the time, they're so cute and sweet!

Saturday we were supposed to have the boys' first soccer games but because of the cold and 50mph wind gusts they cancelled the games.  The did still have pictures so Andy ran them over for that while the Sweet T's and I stayed home and waited for them.  After lunch we ran to town to grab some lemons for that yummy Lemon Birthday Cake I was making Sunday, then came home and worked on figuring out how to lay the tile in the basement.  It's a tad tricky because we want to make sure there aren't any weird cuts that you will see.  I think we have it figured out.  Next step is finally laying it!  After that, the big boys and I went to church while Andy stayed home with the sleeping babes. Then we finished the night watching the Final Four games.  As of right now I'm still in 2nd place in our family brackets, but I can get no more points because my championship game picks are out. It's down to Andy and Brennan.  Fingers crossed North Carolina loses so Andy can pick where we go out to eat - I'm afraid of what Brennan will pick, ha ha!

That was our weekend!  Nice and relaxing, for the most part.

Up for this week - Monday, Mom's birthday. Tuesday, groceries and make up soccer game.  Wednesday, meeting a friend for lunch in the big city.  Thursday night, the boys' school conferences. Saturday, WINE TOUR DAY!!!  Going to be a quick week, can't wait for Saturday!  Have a great week!

Friday Favorites

Happy Fri-Yay friends!  So happy to have  made it - its been one of those weeks...

I have one FAVORITE to share this week but it's a good one.  Are you watching the new drama on ABC called 'The Catch'??? I mentioned it Wednesday but it is THAT GOOD that I am making it my one FAVORITE this week!

The flow of the show is so great.  I love how they flashback and those flashbacks are like clues for the main character.  

I love the 70's vibe they have given the character's style.  OMG, last night she looked like a modern day go-go dancer! Swoon!  The makeup, the hair, the clothes - it's all on point!

The 'bad guy' - holy hotness!  I think I recognize him from 'Parenthood', am I right?  I haven't watched that series yet (in my Netflix queue still) but I think that's the commercials I recognize him from.  Or was it something else?  Either way, HAWT! :)

It's not too late to hop onto 'The Catch' bandwagon!  Only 2 episodes in, you can log in to ABC and catch up before next Thursday -- you won't be disappointed!

Plans for our weekend: first soccer games tomorrow and starting the birthday celebrations for my mom's 60th birthday with cake and ice cream Sunday afternoon.  See you back here next week!