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What's Up Wednesday \\ August '16 Edition

What we're eating this week...
Let's see, marinated grilled chicken, a new round steak in the crock pot recipe, homemade pizza, and beef enchiladas.

What I'm reminiscing about...
I'm reminiscing about all the fun we had this summer.  From the pool to the county fair to the state fair to our trip to Omaha.  Throw in all the mundane days that are our life and it was pretty darn good!  I'm also reminiscing about when little Tenley was a newborn - I miss those days.

What I'm loving...
The boy's bathroom!  It's finally 100% done!  We hung the mirror yesterday so it's all done!  A post to show it off coming soon!

What we've been up to...
Football, football, football.  This week is a little calmer, less running and practices which is great because I was needing a breather.  The boys love playing football and I pray before every game and practice that they don't get hurt.  One of Aiden's teammates fractured his wrist at their second practice.  Yikes!

What I'm dreading...
Tenley turning 1.  She's already saying goodbye to babyhood in some ways and I'm certain by then she'll have said goodbye for good, which means I'll have to say goodbye forever.  It crushes me.  I love watching my kids grow and learn and spread their wings but it doesn't make the process of all the goodbye's and last's easier.

Pink rosette cake for a sweet one year old :):

What I'm working on...
Potty training.  I'm in the trenches, girls, and I absolutely hate it!  I trained both big boys at 2 1/2 years old, they were both ready, and with both of them they were the only kid home.  Aiden was trained just before Brennan was born and Brennan was trained when Aiden was off at Kindergarten.  That made it so much easier!  Now with Tenley underfoot it adds a whole other level to this game.  We started Monday late afternoon with Tate, who is 2 1/2.  Tuesday we had to make a run to the big big city which wasn't ideal when training but Tate stayed dry the whole time and went potty at the store!  Then on the way home he started getting sick (only a fever but he was not himself) so he went in his diaper, which was okay.  He loves wearing his new Thomas the Train undies and gets mad about having to put a diaper on for naps and bedtime.  He's ready and it's time but I'm not loving this stage at all.  It's my least favorite thing to do when raising the kids.  But then, once he's fully trained I'll be happy it's done.

What I'm excited about...
My new window!  It's coming mid-September so hopefully there will be a weekend shortly thereafter that has decent weather for cutting a giant hole in the side of my house!  Eek, so excited!!!

What I'm watching/reading...
I'm watching Bachelor in Paradise and LOVING it!!!  All the tears, all the drama!  I could do without all the noisy kissing, though - keep the moaning to yourself! :)

As for what I'm reading - I just finished my annual read of 'Summer Sisters' by Judy Blume,  Just as good the 30th time as the first!  After that I read a Liane Moriarty book, 'Big Little Lies'.  If you guys haven't read one of her books yet you need to hurry up and get one!  She has the neatest way of writing, there's always suspense and a surprise!  I've read 4 of her books now and every time I walk away thinking about the book for days after.  You know it's a good book when you can't stop thinking about it!

What I'm listening to...
RHNJ (on in the background as I type this up)!  This is my first season watching New Jersey so I'm not totally invested in the girls.  Also, music-wise, Miranda Lambert's new song 'Vice'.  LOVE!!!

What I'm wearing...
I hate this question.  I don't wear anything exciting anymore.  I hate my wardrobe.  My mom, sister and I went shopping last weekend and I couldn't find any clothes I liked.  How sad is that?

What I'm doing this weekend...
Friday I am going to a craft show with my mom, grandma and aunt.  It's an annual tradition. Saturday night Andy and I are meeting another couple for supper at a local brewery - date night!  Sunday and Monday are goof off days, we have no plans as of right now.  Love those kind of days!

What I'm looking forward to next month...
I'm looking forward to cooler temperatures next month and lots of Fall fun!  I'm hoping we finally make it to the apple orchard this year.  I'll get my Fall decorations put out.  The boys have football games.  We'll be settled in to the school routine so that won't feel so weird anymore.  September is a good month!

Image result for fall images

What else is new...
It's almost Fall and I am so ready for it!  I'm thinking of pulling out my Fall decorations next week. What do you think, too early for that? They'll be up until the weekend after Thanksgiving when I get out the Christmas decorations, is that too long?

Bonus Question:
What's my favorite Summer to Fall transitional piece of clothing...
I love a good pair of boots!  Nothing says Fall like boots!  Also, a good scarf.  Nothing too heavy, just something light weight to ease you into warmer clothes and cooler temps.

Grab the images above, answer the questions and link up with the gals - it's a fun post to look back on!

Life Lately

Today's post is a little summary of what we've been up to lately.  Fair warning - there's a ton of pictures!  Buckle up because here we go!

My little Loulie Lou, she's growing developmentally in leaps and bounds.  She hits two milestones at a time in quick succession.  Guess who's "SOOOO biiiiggg!!!"  Yep, this little girl! :)

A rare bow-less Tenley sighting!  And this documents the fact that Tenley no longer wants baby food.  Nope, only real food for this girl.  Waaa!  I love the baby food stage, it's so handy to grab a container and go!  Now I have to think ahead, plan meals accordingly and always have soft foods on hand.  Again, waaa!

My sweet little Tatie Tot, the first of my babies to have an attachment to a shirt.  For some reason he loves his bee shirt!  If he sees it in his drawer when I'm picking out his clothes for the day he grabs it and say "No, dis bee sirt."  :)

Tate also has a fascination with shoes all of a sudden.  He wants to put on our tennis shoes and 'tie' the laces.  This will occupy him for 20, 30 minutes at a time.

Like I said before, my little girl is growing up before my eyes.  It has been months since she fell asleep in my arms. She wants to be laid down with her soft blankie and pacifier and left alone. This day, in the middle of putting on my makeup and doing my hair she was ready for a nap.  I grabbed her a bottle and rocked her in the chair in her room.  As soon as the bottle was empty I popped in her paci and she shut her eyes.  There was no way I was going to pass this opportunity up!  I sat there and rocked and snuggled her for 15 minutes.  Andy found us and snapped a couple of pictures for me so I could have it documented. It really meant the world to me to have that quiet time with my little girl.

My Aiden Boy is such a good big brother to Tate.  He is usually very patient with him.  We got the toddler bike out this week and I attempted to teach Tate how to pedal.  It's tough with a toddler!  He kept trying to push the pedals backwards which is the brake, as you know.  Finally Aiden decided to give it a shot.  He worked with him for 5 minutes then had the genius idea of putting the back of the bike up on blocks of wood so it wouldn't roll but Tate could figure out the motion of the whole thing. It worked great!  Tate is not a master on the bike quite yet but he's getting it figured out, all thanks to his big brother Aiden!

Tate and I have had a fun two days since the boys went back to school.  In the morning while Tenley naps we've gone outside and played.  Tate insisted I sit in my hammock chair while he played on the swing set.  He climbed the tower and I snapped this cute picture of him at the top.

Last weekend was my dad's family reunion.  Every time these two little sweet pea's are together we snap a picture of them side by side.  Ella is about 6 weeks older than Tenley.  Tenley kept trying to pull Ella's bow and poke her in the eye.  :)  Besides that they had fun playing together.  These two will be classmates in a few years and I hope life long friends. #PaciPrincesses

It's football season!  Brennan had his first game Wednesday night.  They came up short one touchdown but looked pretty tough out on the field!  Bren is playing with 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders and holy smokes do those 4th graders look big next to the 2nd graders!  But my Brennie Joe held his own and didn't seem intimidated at all!  Go Seahawks!

Yesterday morning Andy walked out to the living room after taking his shower to find Tate asleep on the couch.  We have no idea how he got there or how long he'd been there.  The night before he kept telling me he was going to "sleep here", meaning the floor of the living room, instead of going to bed. Nice try, Buddy!  I took him to bed and then we found him here in the morning.  When he woke up he looked really confused about where he was so I half wonder if he didn't sleep walk out there.  I hope not because knowing Tate he'd sleep walk right out the door to his sandbox, his most favorite place to be outside.  

That's what we've been up to lately!

The Swinging Bridge

A little town about 30 minutes away from us is "famous" for their swinging bridge.  I didn't read the plaque that was there with all the info on it so I can't explain it to you very well or tell you the history but trust me when I say IT SWINGS!

The bridge spans a deep ravine in a timber on the edge of town.  It is so long that I could not make myself get out on it.  Thank goodness for my fearless husband!  He grabbed Tate's hand and off him, Tate and Aiden went.  Brennan was like me, no way was he going out on that bridge!

The farther out they got the more it started to swing!

They made it all the way across, explored that side of the bridge and then started on their way back.

Brennan decided to get a little brave and inched his way out a little.  And then a little farther. And then a little farther.  He decided maybe it wasn't so scary and headed out to the middle of the bridge to meet Andy, Tate and Aiden.

They all walked back and the boys begged to go across again.

Tate and Andy went a second time with the boys then sat on the bench with me and Tenley while the big boys went across a couple more times.  The boys thought it was a pretty cool place so we decided we'd have to go back again next summer.

Back to School \\ 2016

Here we are, the start of another school year!  I don't know what's different about this year but I have been dreading it in a way.  Is it that my boys are getting older, doing bigger kid things and not needing me as much?  I don't know, but I do know I want the simpler days of playing with toys and watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse back for them.

Time marches on...

This year we have a 5th and 2nd grader.  I need the eyes bugging out emoji here.  :)

This year Aiden's teacher is Mr. Wenger.  There's an asterisk that goes along with that, though.  He will be rotating between three teachers - each one has their own specialty that they teach. So, he's really having Mr. Wenger (social studies and science), Mrs. Stevens (reading/language arts) and Mr. Hill (math).  He will start his day for attendance and what not's with Mr. Wenger then immediately move on to one of the other teacher's.  He doesn't make it back to Mr. Wenger's classroom until after lunch.  It's kind of nice switching rooms, gives them a sense of what Jr. high will be like in 2 years.

Brennan is in Mrs. Gretter's class for 2nd grade.  This is her first year back to teaching after staying home with her three kids for the past 8 years or so.  Her daughter, Bailey, is in Brennan's class so that will be neat having that dynamic in the room.

Here's my brood!  All excited and happy to start the school year!  I couldn't love them more if I tried!
Back to school night was a success.  We took the boys' supplies and back packs, met their teachers and the new principal, Mr. Smith.  I was on the parent interview committee and he was for sure a shoo in!  So happy he accepted the position - he's young, energetic and wants to conquer the world, love it!

Tate had to try out the desk for himself. :)

Our school's PTO dissolved a couple years ago so I have been asked to help revive it with another mom.  Last night, to drum up new volunteers and to welcome the kids back we hosted an ice cream social during BTS night.  It went really well, we got a ton of volunteers to sign up and the kids all loved the ice cream!  Here's the sign I made for the event.

I hope this is an amazing school year for my boys.  I hope they learn lots of new, interesting things and grow as individuals.  And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go do a little more crying. :)

Tenley Louise || 9 Months Old

Here we are, Loulie Girl, another monthly update.  And this time it's for month 9 - that's 3/4 of a year! It's amazing how much you have changed in those 9 months.  You went from a little puddle of dough to a wild, energetic, always on the go pink petunia princess!

You have added a couple of new tricks to your bag this month.  You learned how to wave!  It almost sounds like you say 'hiieeee' when you do it, such a big girl! The above picture is you waving at the camera - both hands get moving but it's your right hand and arm that do the biggest waving. :)  You love blowing raspberries.  This is something you did a few months ago while eating but now you just do it for fun.  You are pretty much guaranteed a new shirt after a good raspberry blowing session because you drool so much while doing it!

Your 'big girl' new trick is two fold.  First, you decided it was a good idea to start letting go of things while standing up!  At first it was just letting go as you were lowering yourself to the floor but out of nowhere you just let go and stood for a solid 12 seconds!  Good balance, Lou!  And then, on the 15th (the day you turned 9 months old) you went buzzing by, walking while pushing Tate's bike!  I was completely shocked!!!  Daddy and I decided to see how you would do with the walker and you loved it!  That big smile, you were so proud of yourself!

Tenley Louise, you cannot be tamed!  You are a bundle of energy and you go-go-go constantly!  Trying to hold you still in church leaves me feeling like I just ran a marathon!  Same goes for any place I try holding you.  You are quite nosey, you lunge yourself over my shoulder to see who is behind me and what they are doing.  You still flash your amazing gummy smile to any and all - no strangers in your world, they are all friends!

Speaking of gummy smiles, you still have yours!  No teeth yet!  The only symptom of teething you have is the constant drooling.

You are a happy happy little girl!  You adore your big brothers but man do you let Tate know when he's ticked you off!  For some reason he thinks it's fun to grab your foot and hold it when you go crawling by.  At first you giggle but then when he holds on for too long -- watch out!  You shriek and then cry your sweet little girlie cry that melts my heart and makes me giggle at the same time!  You always want to play with whatever Tate has, and that in turn makes him mad.  You are content sitting in the middle of a pile of toys taking one out of the basket at time, looking it over and then setting it aside to go in for yet another.  Your favorite toy has been and still is the pink vanity table Grandma Jeannie and Papa gave you for Christmas last year.  When I helped you open that toy I squealed in delight!  And now you absolutely love playing with it!  When you 'wake it up' it lights up and says "Hey cutie!" and you just grin at it!  You smile at anyone if they tell you you are pretty. :)

Sometimes you disappear and I find you back in either your room or Tate's.  It used to be the bathroom or my bedroom until I got wise to that and started shutting the doors. Tate likes playing with you in his room.  He sets up the Imaginext castles and the two of you play quietly for some time.  It makes this momma's heart happy to see you two playing so contentedly together.

You are an excellent sleeper and napper.  You nap every day at 9, again at 1 and to bed at 8 every night.  Naps last 1 1/2 to 3 hours and you sleep until about 7 every morning.  You hate to get off your nap schedule so we try to make sure to be home or heading out in the car at those times.  You sleep great in the car, by the way. And if you fall asleep on the way home I can get you out of the car and lay you down in your bed and you will fall back asleep  no problem.  You are an easy baby still, Loutalou!

You are a very good eater and in the last week or so we have started adding in real table food. So far just green beans, cooked carrots and tiny bits of bread.  You do great feeding yourself!  You also love Puffs!  You eat one container of food at each meal but have needed a second container on occasion.  You take 4 oz. bottles with meals, 6 oz. bottles in between.

I love getting you from your naps because you are always so darn happy to see me!  And when Daddy comes home every day you squeal with delight!

Something very exciting happened this month - you were chosen to be a brand enthusiasts for a cute little Etsy shop called Sparkled With Love!  We have bought quite a few bows from this shop so I was very excited that you were chosen!  There isn't a day that goes by that you don't wear a bow, my little muffin, so being chosen a brand enthusiast was super exciting!!!  I should take more pictures of you without a bow on because I think you look very different without one.  And very cute, I might add! :)

I started planning your first birthday party months ago (ha!) and have 100% settled on your theme finally.  I won't give too much away but think soft pink, gold and crowns! :)  I'm so excited to celebrate you little lady but that big birthday can wait as long as it likes because I'm not ready to say goodbye to your babyhood (although I think you are ready to kick it to the curb).

Here are your stats for the month:
Weight 18lbs 9oz., 57%
Height 29", 92% (you had a growth spurt in this department, Lou!)
Diapers Size 2 Pampers
Clothes 6-9 months but I am sprinkling in some 12 month summer outfits I bought for you last summer so they get some use.  Most you need a little more squish to fill out but they work for days at home.  I couldn't NOT put you in them, little girl, because they are so sweet and were bought for you while you were still growing in my tummy - they are special to me!

Mwah!  I love you, love you, love you Loulie Lou!  You are the answer to my prayers, my dream come true!  Our first girls only trip to the craft store was everything I'd hoped it would be and more!  I can't wait to do all the other little things I've always wanted to do with my own little girl.  You continue to amaze me and make me happy every day.  Happy 9 months, Baby Girl!

The Iowa State Fair || 2016

This year we decided to leave the Sweet T's home with a babysitter so we could go to the State Fair with just the big boys.  This was a great idea!  We were able to go and do without having to worry about the strollers.  Talk about freedom!

We left the house just before 7:00 and made the almost 2 hour trek to the state fairgrounds.  One of our state fair traditions is to stop about halfway there for a quick breakfast - either a Hardees biscuit or Caseys donut or breakfast pizza.  It was raining on the way there and by the time we got to the fairgrounds it was slow going parking people because of the wet grounds.

We made our way into the fairgrounds and checked our second tradition off the list - we used the bathrooms in the poultry barn! Ha ha!

We walked to the animal barn where, if you are lucky, you can watch a pig, cow or sheep give birth!  We never get that 'lucky' but we did watch some baby chicks hatching from their eggs!  There were brand new baby piggies and a 2 day old calf in there, too.

On to tradition #3 - Ye Olde Mill! It's a simple little ride that my dad would take our family on every year and so I've brought the tradition forward to my little family!  You hop in little boats and float through dark tunnels until you come up to lit pictures every so often.  Super simple but a thrill for all of us!

Aiden declared just after the ride that he wanted to try fried pickles.  Brennan wanted to try something new, too, so he went with a Sno-Cone!  Am I the worst parent ever that my 7 year old has never had a Sno-Cone before?!?  Bren was a big fan! Aiden wasn't as big of a fan of the fried pickles - they weren't on a stick like he thought it would be.

We headed farther into the fairgrounds and walked through some of the buildings. We also cruised past the old car show, tradition #4!

We made our way into the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) building and Brennan took a spin in a kayak.  

Tradition #5 goes back to my childhood trips to the fair.  We stopped for fresh salsa!  There are booths everywhere with people trying to sell you stuff and this particular booth they are selling little 'machines' that chop things.  I have one and love it.  They go through the whole schpeil and at the end make a batch of salsa.  It's super yummy and fresh and we always stop by for a little plate of the goodness.

Because we were sans strollers we took a stroll through the Varied Industries Building.  Tons of booths with people sharing their businesses with you.  We always stop by the Iowa Hawkeye booth regardless of having the strollers, and this year was no different.  Tradition #6!  Here are some of the awesome trophies Iowa earned last football season.

Finally, lunchtime!!!  Brennan decided to go off tradition (#7!) and get a corn dog while the rest of us went to the Cattleman's booth for BEEF!  I, of course, got my Hot Beef Sundae, and it did NOT disappoint!

After lunch we always pop across to the horse arena (#8) and take a load off our feet.  There are tons of cowgirls in there warming up and exercising their horses for upcoming shows.

We made our way through the 4-H building and looked at all the projects then headed to the sheep barn.  They were having a show and just look at these giant sheep they were showing!!! We teased Aiden that he had to try showing one of these behemoths next year! It took 2 people to show these - one to hold the head and one to set up the feet.  :)

The reserve Big Ram and my two goofy boys.:)

The big boar...

And the BIG BULL!  We watched it take a BIG DUMP, so that was cool for my all boy boys. Ha!

This is where tradition #9 comes in -- THE BIG SLIDE!!!  We went down it twice and it was so fun!  We laughed and yelled and had a great time!

We made our way to the Agricultural Building where the famous Butter Cow and butter sculptures are.  This year's theme was Star Trek. Pretty neat, huh?

 We hitched a ride on the Sky Lift and I about had a panic attack.  For some reason I have gained a fear of heights.  Luckily I had the perfect companion - Brennan!  He took good care of me and once we were about to the end I snapped a quick selfie of us!  I also grabbed a quick picture of the view - don't we have pretty fairgrounds?

That was pretty much the end of our day at the fair.  We headed out and stopped in a cute little Dutch community on the way home and grabbed some goodies from one of their bakeries.  Soo yummy!  It was another successful, fun year at the Great Iowa State Fair!