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Life Lately

Life lately has been pretty fun!  Here's a taste of what we've been up to.

Tenley can pull herself up to about anything these days AND she knows how to open cabinet doors. Add those together and you find Loulie Girl standing in front of the snack drawer. :)  She also likes playing with the shoes and broom, as you can see in this picture.  There's a whole lot of mischief in this one little picture.  

Way back, two weeks ago, when we took Nubby back to my parent's farm we did it hill billy style.  We wired together a couple hog panels then wired another short panel on top so the sheep-goat wouldn't try jumping out on the ride home.  We got some funny looks while driving down the road, ha ha!

Tate's favorite outdoor activity is still playing in the sandbox.  He spends hours out there every week - and I sweep up pounds of sand every week in the house! :)

Mr. T-Ball!

The sprayer planes have been out in full force over the past couple weeks.  This yellow one flew over our house as he was circling back and forth over the field north of here about 15 times.  Tate LOVED it!  The big boys thought it was pretty cool, too. :)

 Andy got a new toy because his miter saw died on him, and when renovating the basement he uses it all the time.  Tenley LOVED that Daddy got a new toy because that meant she did, too!  Babies/Toddlers and boxes, best toy out there!

A rare bow-less siting of Loulie Girl!  She had her jammies on already. :)
It's sweet corn season in Iowa!  The boys helped Andy shuck a couple dozen ears and then Tate devoured them!  The first day I cooked some for lunch he snarfed one ear down and wanted more but they were all eaten.  After that I've made him two!

Andy and I met some friends for supper a couple weekends ago and snapped a quick selfie while waiting for them in the car.  I love this guy!

Tenley girl is officially a BIG baby girl!  I had stopped taking the infant carrier in and out of the car so we installed her big girl car seat.  She loves it!  It looks super comfy, plus the PINK!  It's much easier getting her in and out of this than the infant carrier so that's a major plus for me!

That's life lately!

What's Up Wednesday || July '16 Edition

The calendar says it's the last Wednesday of the month (how???) so today I'm linking up with Shay and Shaeffer for...

If you haven't played along before just finish the following sentences:

What we're eating this week
NOT fair food!  Man, eating that way all week really messed with my system.  I'm finally feeling normal again but now I need to really clean up my eating so I feel good all the time.  I'm considering trying 21 Day Fix again.  The last time I tried it I didn't even do meal 1.  It was so confusing for me!  Now I have a whole board on Pinterest with 21 Day Fix menus so I should be armed and ready to conquer it!  Wish me luck, it's going to be really really hard for me - I've never dieted or tried changing my way of eating before in my whole life.  I've needed to, just never done it.  I'm also thinking about doing the 3 Day Refresh from Beach Body.  What do you think, yay or nay?

What I'm reminiscing about
This week I'm reminiscing about our move 5 years ago. We've been here in this little town for 5 years already - I can't believe it!  We moved officially July 25th, 2011 - one month before Aiden started Kindergarten.  We knew we wanted to be closer to our hometown and families and when this county engineer job came up Andy went for it.  We live in a small town of about 1200 residents that is 22 miles from our hometown and about 15 miles from the town Andy works in.  Anniversaries always make me reminisce and so much has happened in those 5 years.  

Our family then...

And now!

And a cute throw back to that big day. :)

Speaking of throw backs, here's a short blog post I wrote about our move 5 years ago!

What I'm loving
I'm loving Batiste dry shampoo.  The week before fair I was reading a blog that did a swag swap.  She sent Batiste dry shampoo in her box and said she swears by it.  So while at Target last weekend I grabbed a bottle to try.  It works so great!  It's my new go-to!  I use dry shampoo on days I skip a morning shower, or when I've showered right before bed and my hair air dried overnight - it just gives it a little boost and adds a little texture.  I got the pink bottle based on the blogger's recommendation, it's nice!

What we've been up to
This week we've been trying to decompress from our week at the fair.  Extra sleep, lots of housework and errand running.  Nothing terribly exciting, which is a good thing after our exciting week last week.

What I'm dreading
I'm dreading moving my Grandma out of her house on the farm of 60 years to an apartment in town next month.  She is very excited and ready for this new chapter of her life but I am incredibly sad to say goodbye to my grandparent's home.  It is a heritage farm so it will stay in the family but it won't be Grandma's house anymore.  I stayed there overnight many times growing up and also stayed with her for a whole week every summer for a number of years.  Throw in all the family gatherings there and I'm just so used to that being Grandma's house.  My grandpa died unexpectedly 6 years ago and that was quite an adjustment for our family, just like this will be.  She is moving into an apartment that she owns - they built a 4 unit building back in the 80's and have always planned on moving there when the time was right.  Well, one of the renters decided to move closer to her daughter and since it was opened up Grandma decided the time was right to make her move.  The neat thing about this is this is the same apartment my great grandparents lived in (her in-laws) so it will feel pretty familiar in that way.  Life changes every so often, ready or not.  

What I'm working on
Planning my new flower bed.  We have a 32x4' patch of blackberries along our perimeter fence that doesn't do worth a darn and makes it extremely hard to weed.  I've decided to dig all of those out, get the weeds all pulled, till it up and make it a flower bed.  Initially I was going to make it a butterfly garden but then I realized I had none of my grandma's flowers so was going to incorporate some of them into the bed.  After walking around her flower beds Sunday I decided to take starts from a bunch of her plants and have the entire bed made out of her flowers.  Now that I've seen what she has I am trying to imagine how I'm going to set it all up.  I'm going to look online and see if there is a free garden planner somewhere and work up a plan on there.  This is the before picture - kind of a mess, isn't it?

What I'm excited about
I'm excited about working up that new flower bed!  

What I'm watching/reading
This week I'm trying to catch up on all the Real Housewives episodes I missed last week, plus the Bachelorette.  Uh, hello, LUKE!  Can a guy get any more romantic and sweet and thoughtful than this guy?!? Swoon!  As for reading, this week I've been playing catch up on reading blogs - I missed a lot last week!

What I'm listening to
I've been listening to the Beatles Channel on Pandora in the mornings while the boys are doing their chores and I've been cleaning and doing laundry.

What I'm doing this weekend
Aiden is going to spend all Saturday and Saturday night with my parent's, nephew Charley and niece Nora at my folks' farm and Brennan is going to his friend's birthday party at the pool all afternoon and overnight.  If the weather isn't too humid I hope to work on that new flower bed I'm putting in.  And since we'll be short 2 kids maybe Andy and I will load up the other two and go out to supper after church. It's nice to have a mostly quiet weekend ahead so we can get some things done around the house. 

What I'm looking forward to next month
Back to school everything!  I love love love BTS shopping - all those new pencils, papers, folders, crayons and markers!!!  New shoes!  And then the anticipation of the first day - the first day of school picture,  nerves, excitement, outfit!  I can't wait!  Here's last year's first day picture.

I can't believe these boys will be in 5th and 2nd grades this year!

What else is new
Tenley is starting to cruise along furniture already. She only takes one, maybe two steps but its the start of her walking and I can't believe it's here already.  

Bonus question -
What was your favorite part about summer
My favorite part is how full and busy our summer has been.  It's nice to have some time to relax, and a lot of August will be like that for us, but up until this point we've been on the go quite a bit and it's been fun!  The boys have been in ball, camps, 4-H and hanging with friends at the pool.  Tate, Tenley and I have been outside, going for walks, running errands and playing in the house.  Andy and I had a date night with friends.  It's been a fun summer!  4 weeks from today the boys start school - summer is winding down for us!

Answer the q's and link up!

County Fair 2016 || Part 2

You can read about Part 1 HERE.

While the sheep show was a major part of the county fair for us this year there was so much more that we saw and did.  

Even though it wasn't ALL about the sheep that was a big part of it and Tate loved that!  Here he is sweeping out our tack stall.  A toddler in muck boots - doesn't get much cuter than that!

 Around 10:00 that morning Aiden and his buddies came running up to ask if Aiden could be part of their livestock judging competition team.  Uh, what?!? He didn't do any of the workshops because he wasn't planning on doing this competition.  Basically it's 4-Hers judging livestock.  Aiden had zero knowledge of this PLUS just look at how he's dressed!  We didn't have his 4H shirt or jeans with us because he was there to chore and hang out that day!  After much begging they talked me into letting him join their team.  Out of all the junior's Aiden came in 5th individually and his team took 3rd overall!  Ha ha, I laughed so hard. Out of his team of 4 he placed the highest!  Just think what he could have done if he'd actually known what he was looking at!  Because of placing 5th he earned himself a purple ribbon and for the team placing 3rd he got a ribbon and the team split $10!  That's a great start to the fair!

One of the best parts of the fair for Aiden was being there with some of his best buddies!  While we were washing the sheep  Monday night Connor and Hunter found us in the wash bay so came in to join in on the fun.

These boys have my heart!

 My favorite night of entertainment is always the night of the tractor pull!

Brennan was such a trooper the whole week while we were focused on Aiden and his sheep.  Isn't he cute!?!

After the sheep show a big rain cell moved in and it just poured and poured.  It was windy and cold.  We hid in the sheep barn for about an hour until it finally started to let up.  We took the break in the rain and high tailed it to the truck to leave and get the babies.  We decided to call it a day and didn't go back that night.  The rodeo was cancelled because of all the rain so we didn't really miss anything.

This was the swine show day.  Another of Aiden's best buddies was showing his pen of 3 pigs.  I think showing pigs looks like fun but what do I know?!? :)

By this day the temperatures and humidity were really ramping up.  We were in a heat warning starting the next day and we were already feeling it!  The busy week and warm weather was catching up with all of us.

That night we stayed long enough to watch the Clydesdale parade around the fairgrounds.  Those big horses are so amazing!  It was pretty cool watching them run by.

After we watched the horses go by I took Tate for a ride on the 'choo choo' around the perimeter of the grounds.  He was so darn happy on that train!  He waved and waved and waved!  I had the best time with him and am so glad I got to be the one to go with him!  Just look at that happy face!

This day was so dang hot, it was ridiculous!  The heat index made it up to 118 degrees!!!  Ouch!  But we suffered through the hot morning because we had some friends to watch in the show ring - it was the Cattle Show!

Another good buddy showed up to watch this day, too!  This is my dad's first cousin's son - don't they look alike??  You can tell they are cousins, even if they are distant!

Typically with the hot weather like we had the cattle are lazy and don't get jumpy - not this day!  One of the kids showing his calf (which are full sized cattle, don't be fooled by the word 'calf'!) got trampled by it, it was pretty scary!  Luckily nothing was broken (he stomped his leg pretty good.  As a 12 year old, getting stomped by a 1200+lb steer doesn't feel very good!) and he came back after going to the ER to do the Showmanship Competition. His mom said he was bribed with $100 by his aunt to get back in the ring.  I was a tad nervous sitting in the stands watching these calves out there with those small kids!

Aiden's buddies had a good day - neither won their class but they did great and their cattle did what they were supposed to.

The show was over by 12:30 and we bailed on the fair.  It was just too hot.  We grabbed Aiden's one friend and took him with us to lunch in the air conditioning.  We dropped him back off at the fair and went home for naps.  That night Aiden and I sat in one of the 4H buildings watching the projects to make sure nothing happened to them.  We finished the night off watching some of the motocross event.  One of Aiden's classmates races - he got 2nd and 4th in his 2 divisions!

This was the last day of the fair.  The week was long in a good way and none of us were ready to say goodbye to the fair.  We cleaned up our tack stall, loaded all of our stuff in the truck and off we went.  It was a wonderful fair and we can't wait for next year!

County Fair 2016 || Part 1

Aiden had a GREAT first year in 4-H!  We all have learned so much this first year, not just in the sheep project area but in how the entire 4-H program works.  It's a lot different now than when I was in 4-H and I am so happy that Aiden and our other kids get to have this amazing experience!

I'm breaking my fair recap into two parts - the first part will be all about the sheep.  The second part will have everything else. :)

You can read my other posts about Aiden's sheep HERE and HERE to get caught up.

We started off the Friday before fair having the sheep slick sheared.  This is a super close shear so the judge can see only the sheep's muscle tone and so you can't fluff up your sheep's wool and make them appear more muscular than they really are.  Aiden started by washing the sheep with Ivory dish soap.  They were pretty dirty from being out in the pasture for 2 1/2 months!

We are fortunate to have a show sheep producer as our 4-H leader so he was very helpful this entire year.  He was the one who sheared Aiden's sheep for him.

Sunday afternoon, in the worst humidity I think I've ever experienced (dew points in the 80's!), we loaded up the sheep and hauled them in to the fairgrounds!  It was so exciting!  Right as they were unloaded they were checked over by the vet - if any sheep have any diseases or issues they are sent right back home because they don't want all the sheep there to be infected.  Once they pass the inspection they are shuffled down the way to get weighed.  Their weight determines which sub-class they will be in.  Aiden's sheep were in the market classes because they were bred to be sold off to be butchered, basically.  Then they are broken down into either black faced or white/speckled faced, then broken down into either a ewe (female) or wether (male).  And finally, broken down by their weight.  So, for Skippy, she was in the Black Faced Market Ewe class and her weight was 119 and competed with other sheep that ranged from 113 - 119 lbs.  There were 4 Black Faced Market Ewe lamb sub classes.  The top 2 lambs in each sub class come back to the Champion Black Faced Market Ewe Lamb drive and compete for the Champion and Reserve Champion lamb.  Skippy got 3rd in her class so just missed the champion drive.  But we'll get to that in a bit.

After they were all weighed in it was time to get them settled into their pen.  We laid down wood chips for their bedding, hung their feed trough and filled their water buckets.  It was so stinking hot, we were all hot and sweaty and those lambs drank and drank their water.  We fed them a little feed, refilled their water and said goodbye for the night.

Monday was a pretty quiet day - we went in the morning to feed and water them.  That evening we went back to do the same and to also wash them and primp them for the show the next morning.

Tuesday morning the sheep show started nice and early at 8:00.  We got to the fairgrounds about 7:00.  We fed and watered the sheep then grabbed a cinnamon roll for breakfast while we waited for the show to start.  About 7:30 we decided to have Aiden walk Ted in the show ring to get him familiar with those surroundings - we were more nervous about how Ted would do in the ring than the other two.  After we put him back in the pen we sat in the show ring and watched the first few drives of sheep then went back to the barn to wash our 2 black face sheep again - their leg wool picked up a ton of wood chips and we had to primp them all over again.  Lesson learned!  Aiden's white face lamb had no leg wool so we just brushed her off and she was ready to go.

Tiny was Aiden's first sheep to show.  I really wanted Ted to be his first because we all knew he'd be the hardest to walk in the ring but he ended up being his last.  Andy and Aiden got Tiny haltered to walk her to the ring and I grabbed my seat and camera.  It was finally time!  He was in a class with only two other 4-Her's, one being his cousin!  Of the 3, Tiny came in 3rd.  She was by far the smallest.  We were all relieved to have that first lamb done and out of the way.

Andy and Aiden finished primping the 2 black faced lambs and then it was time to show Skippy.  Aiden and Skippy did great, she set up perfectly and we were happy with her 3rd place finish out of 8 lambs.

Finally it was Ted's turn!  As they were waiting to go in the ring I could see Andy walking Ted around - he was jumpy and nervous.  There was a big rain cell on it's way and every time there's weather coming in Ted would go nuts.  And guess what - he went nuts in the ring!  Aiden didn't even make it in the ring and that dummie took off!  Every time he'd get away Aiden would stay calm, walk after him and grab him and try again.  One of the helpers in the ring finally started staying by Aiden and Ted to help catch him.  Finally the judge asked for Ted's halter - hallelujah!  It made all the difference. Aiden was able to set him up after that and walk him by the head like he's supposed to.  He tried bolting again but luckily Aiden was able to grab the halter and catch him.  And guess what - that darn lamb got 2nd in his class!!!  We were so excited, except that meant Aiden had to show him a second time, ha ha!!! That second time, though, he was much calmer and didn't try bucking and getting away.  We walked him back to the pen and I am not afraid to admit I might have used my shoe to push him into his pen, ha ha!

Waiting in the show ring pens with Ted for the Champion Black Face Wether drive

We watched the rest of the show and then Aiden got Skippy ready for the Showmanship class.  In this class it's less about the sheep and more about the 4-Her, how they handle their animal and themselves and if it appears they kept good care of their animal. This is the class we wanted Aiden to do really well in.  They walked their animals around the ring and then the judge started separating them into 2 groups.  In Aiden's line he was third.  Finally the judge announced that the line Aiden was in was the purple ribbon winners -- he came in 3rd out of all the juniors competing!!!!  Oh my goodness, my heart nearly burst with pride!  I am certain the judge awarded him for being so patient with Ted while he was being a wild animal.  So many kids would have cried, would have thrown their hands up and said forget it but Aiden kept with him and persevered and it paid off for him!  I am so SO proud of that kid!  That made all those rides out to the farm, all those times dragging those sheep around, all those times getting buzzed by bugs TOTALLY worth it!

And with that his first year showing sheep for 4-H was over.  Andy and I are already so excited for next year and I think Aiden is too!

Friday was the auction and he sold 2 of his sheep.  The black faced ewe, Skippy, went back to the breeder.  She'll either be bred there or sold to another breeder.  The other two will be sold at the sale barn.

Raising and showing sheep was a wonderful experience for our family and I'm excited to continue doing so for the next 18 years as our kids go through 4-H!

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!