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Life Lately

Hello, Tuesday!

We had another 'lay low' kind of weekend and there just wasn't much to blog about it.  We have some super packed weekends coming up after this one so I'm not complaining in the least! Plus I'm totally a homebody so staying home and doing nothing is just fine with me!

My mom, sister and I are planning a bridal shower for our cousin's fiance.  We met up this weekend to cuss and discuss our plans.  We aren't going over the top with decorations but this is one thing we are planning to do.

My mother-in-law has her own carpet shampooer - all the praise hands!  Our living room carpet was getting pretty dingy so I borrowed her shampooer and took care of that!  I love how fresh and clean it is after I get done!  My in-laws are moving end of February so I told her I'd hold on to it until after they get moved - one less thing - so I'm taking advantage of having it longer and shampooing the three bedrooms upstairs, they all have the same cream carpet in them.  I've done the hallway and Tate and Tenley's rooms so far, just have to do our room and I'll be all done!  Aww, fresh and clean!

I got tired of Tenley standing up in her high chair and me continually saying "Sit down!" so I pulled out the booster chair to see how she handled that. She loved it! She felt like a big girl sitting right at the table.  I guess we have graduated out of the high chair and into the booster seat stage now.

This week at the grocery store a sweet older gentleman saw Tate and Tenley and came right over to give them Dum Dum suckers he had stashed away in his pocket for just such an occasion.  After he walked away I tried taking it from Tenley because, at 14 months old, I don't think she needs all of that sugar quite yet. Well, she gave me a dirty look and an 'eh!' and instead of dealing with a total freak out meltdown I gave in and let her have it.  Goodness was she in love with that sucker!  She made a huge mess and half of my groceries are sticky because she likes checking each item out that she can get her hands on but she was happy and loving that sweetness so it was kind of cute.  What wasn't cute was that I had to then wash her coat when we got home to get all the blue drool off. :)

Tate with his sucker.

The aftermath.  It doesn't look as bad here as it did in person.  Thank goodness for baby wipes!

Late last Fall I painted our entire main level a shade of gray called 'Moon Shot' by Valspar.  I 100% love it and am so so happy with the color!  But it's taken me this long to start hanging pictures back up on the wall.  I just don't know quite how I want to do it.  This past weekend I finally got tired of looking at the frames in the closet so decided to get the kid's school pictures hung up (meaning Andy hung and I directed!).

I want to put something in between each of the pictures and know exactly what that something looks like but have no idea what to call it to search for it online.  Joanna Gaines would know since I've seen it on Fixer Upper many times.  I need to make a trip to Homegoods to see if they have something similar or something I'd like just as much but in the meantime the pictures are hung and I love how they fill this whole wall up!

Next we hung an architectural drawing of the Brooklyn Bridge above the piano.  Andy and I found this drawing years and years ago and with Andy's engineering background it suits us well.  We've always had it hung in this room but moved it to another wall and above the piano.  

That's been life lately!  Uncomplicated and easy going.  Because 'Whats Up Wednesday' is a whole month away I have to tell you guys that we just started watching 'The Crown' on Netflix and oh my goodness is it GOOD!!!  We are only two episodes in but it has both me and Andy hooked.  I actually texted him earlier telling him to forget about work and get home so we could just binge watch it all day.  Ha ha!  I wish!

Another WUW topic is what we're reading.  Well, I started reading The Farm by Tim Rob Smith and had to give up.  It was just so boring and drawn out!  I texted a friend in the book club with me and whined that I'd rather claw my eyes out than pick that book back up again.  I was actually dreading reading it, it was that bad!  She actually made it through the whole thing so told me what happened.  It's actually a good story idea but the delivery was just off for me.  In my entire adult life I have only one other time started and not finished a book.  I feel like such a failure, lol!  Oh well, on to the next one!  The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain.

Have a great Tuesday!

Linking up with Justine for Tuesday Talk!

What's Up Wednesday

//What we're eating this week//
Chicken fajitas and Chili are two things that immediately popped in my head.  I'm not sure what the rest of the week will bring but hopefully it's something delicious!

//What I'm reminiscing about//
I tend to reminisce about my Dad's accident and the loss of our baby this time of year, even with all the exciting things coming up.  

//What I'm loving//
Puzzles.  More accurately, TATE is loving puzzles!  That kid will put together a puzzle, take it apart and put it right back together again.  He spends so much time doing puzzles, it's crazy!  He has 24 piece puzzles mastered so I'm getting ready to dig out the 48 and 60 piece puzzles to see what he can do with those.

//What we've been up to//
Sickness.  Ugh, you guys, I'm so over the sickness!  Three weeks ago I got strep throat and my body/stomach/guts have not been the same since.  I have yet to go a full day without feeling icky at one point or another.  Aiden came down with what I think might be Influenza A on Saturday.  By Monday when the doctor's office was open he was feeling quite a bit better but still sick.  He stayed home from school Monday and Tuesday.  I'm waiting to see if anyone else gets sick here.  Monday after school Brennan said 9 of the 24 kids in his class were out sick.  Wow!  Flu A and Strep are running rampant at school and I'm just praying Brennan doesn't get it and that Tate and Tenley don't catch whatever Aiden had.  I'm really ready to just feel right again myself.

//What I'm dreading//
I'm about to tell you something I wish someone would have told me years ago: your kids will grow up and get involved in sports, music, clubs, etc and you will then be busy busy busy!  You will have to drive those kids to and from their meetings/practices, you will have to attend their games/concerts/meetings/events and with multiple kids this means all of that times 2, 3 or in my case FOUR!  I honestly had no idea how much 'going' we'd be doing as the kids got older.  I love watching them at their activities but being a homebody it actually gives me anxiety to know I'll be gone so much.  And I'm a stay at home mom so it's not like I'm not here all the time!!!  Trying to do all of that PLUS take care of the younger kids PLUS take care of the husband PLUS take care of the house -- no wonder women don't have time to pamper and take care of themselves!  So I'm giving you moms of young kids fair warning because no one told me and I didn't think to look that far ahead and enjoy those quiet times at home.  SO!  What I'm dreading is being gone 3 of the 4 Saturdays in February for Aiden's basketball tournaments.  I love watching him play, 100%!!! But having a huge chunk of 3 Saturday's in a row taken up by the tournaments, well, I'm dreading that.  

//What I'm excited about//
I signed up for a nail polish swap that a few bloggers were hosting and got matched with a gal who's blog I already follow.  I got her polish and mailed it out yesterday and am so excited to hear how she likes it!  I'll be linking up with the gals and showing off my new polishes in February so stay tuned!

//What I'm watching//
I've been watching the Australian Open Tennis match this month.  I love watching tennis!!  We've been watching a lot of basketball.  Before the holidays I discovered Home Improvement was on the Hallmark channel but with all of their holiday movies it was preempted but now it's back on every afternoon from 1-5 so I catch a couple episodes most days while the babes are napping.  The big kids love watching it with me after school and everyone around here is doing the Tim Taylor grunt these days! 😉 As for my 'junk tv' I'm watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Vanderpump Rules and my new favorite, Summer House!  Are You the One on MTV and The Bachelor are also being DVR'd weekly for my afternoon viewing enjoyment.  Ha!

//What I'm reading//
I just finished a super duper good book called Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn T. Dingman.  I'm terrible giving good descriptions about books because I tell too much but this one was a mystery of sorts, it was a 'finding yourself' book and it had a little romance but no smut.  I highly recommend it.  I read The Magnolia Story a week ago and again, it was a great book.  It really motivated me to be better at myself, to not try 'keeping up with the Jones's', not that I try but it reiterated that for me.  It was just a good read.  And now I'm reading Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again by Teresa Guidice.  I'm just getting started so no review yet.

//What I'm listening to//
If you read my Weekend Rewind Monday then this will come as no surprise to you: Eric Church!  And guess what, I downloaded one of his albums instead of buying a CD!!! Shocker!!!  I'm also listening to Miranda Lambert's latest CD, These Broken Wings.  There are 2 CD's in there and I am totally loving 'The Nerve'.  'The Heart' I haven't listened to as much but it's good, too. And if you know me at all there's always a constant loop of Oldies being played. 😊

//What I'm wearing//
It just dawned on me the other day that I have spent the majority of the Winter in sweats and sweatshirts.  I need to do some serious rehab on my wardrobe!

//What I'm doing this weekend//
Not a darn thing!  And I'm so glad!

//What I'm looking forward to next month//
BIRTHDAYS BIRTHDAYS BIRTHDAYS!!!  We start with my sweet little Tatie Tot turning THREE on the 10th, then my brother in law on the 13th, my dad on the 16th, and my birthday on the 25th!  I love my birthday month and to throw in one of my favorite holidays makes it a pretty awesome month! We are very lucky to have a fun February in our family because we need that excitement to get us through the last tough Winter month of the season. Once we get through February the weather really starts to turn around for us here in SE Iowa!

//What else is new//
I'm trying to cut out the crud in my life and part of that includes me staying off Facebook.  Aside from that thing being a total time-suck there is so much negativity on it!  All I want is to pop on and see those fun announcements about new babies, engagements, job promotions, my kids did awesome, etc.  I'll still be posting pictures from time to time but otherwise I won't be on there much.  That decision feels so freeing I can't even tell you how much weight it takes off my shoulders.  Facebook was seriously bringing me down.

That's What's Up this month!  

Weekend Rewind

Hello Monday!  Another weekend come and gone too quickly and back to the grind of another week.

Our weekend started clear back on Thursday (so I can't complain too much that it's Monday again already).  Last Fall our dear friends asked us if Andy and I wanted to attend an Eric Church concert with them in Des Moines.  I really like Eric Church and Andy loves a good concert so we jumped at the chance.  Fast forward to Thursday and we had my mom come stay with the kids while we went to the concert and stayed overnight in a hotel.

The concert was AWESOME!  It started about 8:20 p.m. and lasted until after 11.  It was only Eric Church playing.  He sang for about 1hr 20 minutes, took a 20 minute break, then came back out and sang for over another hour!  It was so fun, clear up in the nosebleed section! Ha ha!  Thank goodness for his jumbotron or we wouldn't have been able to see too much from our seats.

I have been a fan of EC but now I am a HUGE fan of his!  We don't have his CD's (yes, I still buy CD's!) but I am definitely getting some now!

After the concert we walked the few blocks back to our hotel and immediately ordered pizza to be delivered - we were hungry!  The pizza came around 12:30 a.m. and I was beat.  I had one piece then went straight to bed.  I slept pretty darn good for being in a hotel but still woke up at 6:30 ready to go.  Ugh, why can't I sleep in ever?

We got ready, packed our bags then headed down to the breakfast in the hotel.  Made to order omelettes for free - yes please!  They were delicious, exactly what I needed to start off my day.  We got in our car and left the hotel just before 9:00 and headed out.  It was super foggy! Because we weren't in any hurry and it was on the way out we drove through the State Fair grounds for fun.  It was a different perspective from what we are used to in the middle of August!

We made it home just after noon, hugged and snuggled our babies then got them to bed for naps so we could do the same.  We were exhausted!  I'm not much of a napper but I did finally fall asleep for about 30 minutes.  It's always fun to go do something new and different but goodness is it even nicer to be home!

Friday night I went to my monthly book club gathering. This month we read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Holy moly is that a GOOD BOOK!!!  I've recommended it to everyone I know and I'm telling you all, READ IT!!!  There's a twist at the end that totally  had me loving this book.  The style of the author took me a little bit to get used to but once I did it was smooth sailing.  I read this book in a day because I couldn't put it down.
Image result for we were liars by e. lockhart

I love getting together for these monthly meetings - we chat about the book for about 10 minutes then the rest of the night is snacking on food and catching up on everyone's lives.  I was so tired from the concert I didn't think I'd last more than an hour but it was almost 9 before I left.  So fun!  This month we are reading The Farm by Tom Rob Smith AND The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlin -- after I left they chose the books and couldn't decide on just one thus two books this month.  I'm currently reading Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn T. Dingman so better get moving on that if I'm going to get the other two read before February 17th!

Saturday morning Aiden woke up not feeling good so we laid low all day. Andy worked in the basement, I watched a little tennis (love me some Rafael Nadal!), Brennan and Tate played and built forts and train tracks and painted with water, and Tenley ran around the house doing a little of this and a little of that.

Saturday evening Andy took Brennan to watch our nieces play their flutes in the SEIBA band concert.  SEIBA is the Southeast Iowa Band Association.  They both had to try out for this honor band and it's a pretty big deal for them to have made it.  Because Aiden was sick he didn't go as planned but that worked out great for Andy and Brennan to have some much needed one on one time together.  The concert was LOOOONG but Brennan was a trooper and sat through the whole 3 hours, mostly because he was there with his dad all by himself.  Then the two of them walked over to the original Pancheros (like a Chipotle but MUCH better!) and had supper together before coming home.  Andy said Bren told him more than once that he was having 'the best time!'  :)

Sunday was another 'lay low' kind of day. Aiden was on the mend but still battling a fever and congestion so he stayed in the basement all day.  The rest of us did our own things - Bren played his tablet and built train tracks with Tate, Tate played trains and watched a couple of his favorite shows, Tenley took two naps and played with her toys, I finished a book and Andy read some, too.  We watched football, basketball and tennis.  I did laundry.  There was some cleaning that needed to be done.  It was kind of a catch-all day.

We have a nice, quiet week ahead of us - no meetings, no plans.  YES!!!  That is much needed!  I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Tenley Louise || 14 Months

 Precious girl, you are growing  up so fast!  There isn't one thing  about you that's baby anymore  and that makes this momma  sad.  On the other hand I am so  happy to be your mommy and  to be here to watch you grow  and learn.

 You are a very curious little girl.  You like figuring things out and  you want to know what is going  on with others at all times.  You  hear things happening in the  basement with the boys and will  run over to the basement door,  drop down on your tummy and  try looking under the door to  see what is going on.

 As soon as you hear someone  coming in from the garage you  go running to the baby gate that  blocks off the kitchen and wait  to see who it is.  Then you make  all kinds of happy noises, kind  of run in place and get very  cranky with Daddy if he doesn't  sweet talk you right away.  You  are 100% a daddy's girl already.  You get very angry with him  when he crosses the baby gate  and grabs his coat to leave if  he's not smothered you with  love first. You will stand there  at the gate and cry and cry and cry until you make him feel super guilty. Then he will come back, pick you up and kiss and hug you.  Immediately you sniffle and then smile at him because you got what you wanted - Daddy!

You are saying a few words here and there.  "Hi-ee" is very clear.  "Yea" is said a lot.  "Dada" and "Mama" are spoken quite a bit, too.  You can moo, quack, bark, and baa.  We've even had you repeat "night night" a few times.  I think you are a very smart little girl - when I ask you if you need your diaper changed you will nod or say "yea!" and then run over to the diaper changing spot on the floor and lay down.  Wow!  And when it's time for bed I tell you it's time to go 'night night' and you smile, grab your snuggly blankie and run for your room!  You know where socks and shoes go (on your feet) and try to put shirts on. I think you might be a little fashionista someday because you love playing with clothes and shoes.

You are such a happy, easy little girl!  You are always smiling and laughing.  The only time you get fussy is when Tate takes a toy from you (which happens more often than I'd like to admit).  The only time you get mad is when Daddy tries leaving without saying one more goodbye OR when you are hungry or see someone else with food.  You love to eat!  You are not very fussy about what you eat, just so long as you have it when you want it.  You love snacking on Goldfish crackers after nap and feel like quite the big girl sitting on the couch next to Tate while you have that snack.  Fruit is, of course, your favorite food but you also love your veggies and chicken.  You are pretty much eating everything we do unless it's something spicy.  You love your sweets, like cake and ice cream!  You are relentless about getting your share when I am having dessert. :)

You are the sweetest little mommy and you love your dollies!  You especially love pushing them around in your new pram!  You know how to feed them a bottle and we are working on the burping and rocking part.

Anytime you hear music, whether from the TV or a toy, you immediately start bobbing your head and swaying your cute little body.  I can't wait for the day you start taking dance, I can tell you are going to love it!  You also love to hum to yourself, so sweet!  Music is in your heart.

You are very good at picking up toys and putting them in baskets.  Sometimes you like taking toys out of one basket and running them all the way across the room to another basket to deposit them in.  Back in the Fall I brought in the little slide from outside and you love playing on that.  You hide under it with the boys or climb on top of it and jump around.

You were given quite a few fun, girly toys for your birthday and Christmas.  You like playing with the Little People that came in your castle and love the picnic basket that plays songs.  You are a book-a-holic and will sit and look through books many times throughout a day.  Sometimes you bring me or Daddy a book then climb up on our laps to look at it with us.  We don't get through reading a whole page very often before you are ready to turn the page and discover what's on it.  'That's Not My Princess' is your current favorite.

I think you believe Aiden hung the moon.  I hate to say this but I think he's your favorite brother (for now).  The two of you seem to be kindred spirits and I'm excited to watch as you two grow together. I have a feeling that the day he leaves for college will be a very sad one in your life.  I'm sure we'll be hugging each other crying that day as he leaves us. Brennan is totally in love with you, too, and tries playing with you whenever he gets a chance.

You transitioned over to whole milk with no problems.  I was a tad worried because you were so fond of your bottles and formula but we just started adding more whole milk and less formula to your bottles until it was all whole milk.  And the bottles, well, taking those away turned out not to be a big deal, either.  You haven't taken a pacifier in a couple months, you prefer your ring and middle finger to suck on with your pinkie and pointer finger resting on either side of your mouth.  I didn't even try taking the pacifier away, you did it all on your own.  Maybe you will surprise me and make potty training super easy too!  Can I make a request that it's sooner rather than later? :)

You have 3 teeth on top and 2 on the bottom and very little hair.  Loulie Girl, where is your hair?!?  I want to put barrettes and piggy tails in so bad, why is it taking so long to grow in? :)  You are wearing 12 and 18mo clothing and getting close to wearing size 5 shoes.  Diapers are size 3.

I could sit here and write about you all day, you are an absolute joy to have around!  We are all so lucky to call you our Tenley Weese!  Keep on being smart and silly and sassy and girly, Pretty Pink Petunia Princess!

All my love,

Weekend Rewind

Hello to a new week! How was your weekend?  We didn't do anything too exciting but here's a recap just the same.

Saturday morning my sister and I went to my friend's house to stamp.  She's a Stampin Up! consultant and hosts a monthly stamp class at her house.  We used to go monthly and then the babies came and it became more difficult for me to leave them alone for a couple hours (hello breastfeeding babes!).  I haven't breastfed Tenley for a a few months now but there always seemed to be something else going on the nights and mornings she was hosting so the last time I went was when I was pregnant with Miss Tenley - that's at least 15 months ago!  It was long overdue for us to get our stamping on and goodness did it feel good to be creative again!

I think this one is my favorite of the group - love that dragonfly!

After getting my creative juices flowing again it makes me very excited for Andy to get the basement done so I can have a dedicated space for my stamping, scrapbooking and sewing.  We have big plans for a little space for me and I can't wait!  You know when it's done I'll be sure to show and tell.  In the meantime, think something like this:
A scrapbooking workstation. Pros: very clean and straightforward.  Cons: Small worksurface, not much room to set aside an in progress project while you work on a different one.:

Speaking of that basement renovation, that's what Andy was working on Saturday.  He's making progress!  It's hard to get too far too fast when you only have a couple or a few hours here and there to work on it but it'll get done when it get's done. :)

Saturday night we hung out in front of the TV watching football and basketball.  It's funny how a few years ago I wasn't that into sports, now it's almost all we watch!  #momofboys :)  

Sunday we didn't have much planned. We were chatting about what to do and then Andy got a phone call from his parents - his dad needed to go to the ER.  Andy's mom doesn't drive and his brother wasn't able to help so Andy took off.  A week and half ago Andy's dad had surgery to remove a tumor from his bladder - Bladder Cancer. :(  They think they got it all but he will have to undergo chemo treatments. Luckily those treatments are 'mild' and he won't be sick or lose his hair.  Unfortunately he has to have them weekly for 6 weeks and monthly for 2 years after.  It'll be a long road but could be much much worse.  So, the ER trip.  He was having complications and needed a ride.  It turned out to be minor and they didn't spend their entire day in the hospital, thank goodness!

The boys were supposed to go to a skating party for 4H but because of the nasty weather coming in (ice!!) we decided to skip it this year.  They were pretty bummed but better to be home safe than out on the roads when it got slick.

The rest of the day consisted of laundry, mopping the floor, and watching more basketball and football.  

I hope you all have a great week!

Friday Favorites

We made it to another Friday (and everyone shouted HOORAY!)! This week was tough, gals!  I tell you, strep throat is NO JOKE! Neither is the fact that my stomach just does not handle medicine very well.  I didn't step out of the house in makeup and real clothes between Tuesday of last week and this Wednesday - no lie.  I'm still taking my prescription for the strep but finally my stomach is back to normal, and so am I!  Andy and I had a celebratory lunch date (with the two little ones) yesterday because I texted him in the morning telling him I was finally back to normal! It was a long time coming and my amazing, doting husband rocked things by taking caring of the house, the kids and me for the entire week.  I love that man! 💗

On to my Friday Favorites for the week!

I got a planner at Target in the Dollar Spot for $1 that I'm using to write down all of the upcoming link ups I want to participate in.  Why in the world have I not thought to do this before?!? Something so simple and gosh will it help me stay on top of things where my little piece of the internet is concerned.

I also picked one up to use strictly for my PTO business.  I figured I'd be able to look back on it next year when I'm trying to remember just what there is going on at the school in February or May or whenever.  I'm on a mini-mission to get organized around here and these two planners are going to help.  Plus, $1!!!

Tate!  Next month this big boy turns 3 (hold me!) and I can't wait to write a whole post dedicated just to him.  He is such a fun kid and I love getting to spend my days with him. He is definitely one of my favorites every week but this week I had to share him as a favorite because, that hair! :)  Hats are tricky with a mop of hair. Wink

Miranda Lambert's latest CD 'The Weight of These Wings' is absolutely a favorite of mine!  It has two CD's in it titled 'The Heart' and 'The Nerve'.  I've listened to both but am currently listening to 'The Heart' on repeat and totally digging it!  If you are a Miranda fan and don't have this CD yet GO GET IT!!!
Image result for miranda lambert's new cd

Short and sweet this Friday.  I'll see you back here next week!

Workin' It Wednesday || New Year's Goals

A new year, a fun new link up hosted by these fab ladies!

This month's topic is how do I work my New Year's goals?  I actually thought about skipping this first month because I am the WORST at keeping any New Year's goals and resolutions. Because of that I hardly ever make NY's goals.  In a previous post I touched on a few things I want to improve about myself this year, you can read that HERE.

Now, how am I going to 'work it' to accomplish my goals?

Well, first thing was I made a list of what I'd like to improve about myself this year.  Then, in a month when I've already forgotten about half of my goals I can go back and look at that list to remind myself.  :)

One of my goals is to read 20 books this year.  I have a Goodreads account with a ton of books saved that I'd like to read so when I'm in a rut and needing some inspiration I can go there and find a book to check out.  I'm also in a book club where we read 1 book a month and meet to talk about it.  Also, I read Shay's monthly book posts where I always get at least one book to add to my 'to read' list, if not all that she's read that month.  I get a daily email from BookBub with free or very cheap books for sale in it and I've purchased quite a few books through there and have them on my Kindle waiting for me to get to them.  That's all fine and good but finding the time to read is my biggest hurdle.  For that I just try to keep my book or Kindle handy for those spare moments I get of peace and quiet.  My Kindle fits easily in my purse so I can take it along wherever I'm going.  Naptime, after the kids go to bed or when Tenley's napping in the morning and Tate's quietly playing with his playdough are all times I try to get a little reading in.

Personal development goals are a bit trickier. Those I just have to work at and remind myself of them daily. It's not easy to change your habits but you just have to keep working at it and soon you'll have formed a new, healthier habit to replace the old one.

Join in on the fun and link up for Workin' It Wednesdays!  The year's topics are listed below.

Weekend Rewind

Hello all!  I wanted to start this with a "Happy Monday morning to you!" but gosh am I dragging today.  I was not ready for the weekend to be over at all.  Sadly I have no pictures to show you what we did this weekend, mainly because I spent a good portion of Saturday on the couch.  Last week I was hit with Strep Throat.  I don't remember ever having it so was not at all prepared for how badly it makes you feel and how long it lasts!  It's much more than just a sore throat.

Saturday we had no plans (luckily) so I laid on the couch quite a bit.  Andy worked on putting together the table saw he bought with his birthday and Christmas money.  We watched college basketball and NFL football playoffs and that's about the extent of it.  Totally quiet, calm day and it was really needed with me being sick.

Sunday we had my parents and sister's family, plus my aunt, uncle, two cousins and their families over for lunch.  We didn't get together for Christmas this year and it's been too long since we've all been together so I invited everyone over.  We kept the meal simple - I made chili, my aunt brought potato soup, there were rolls, a cheese tray (that's a Midwest staple!), lettuce salad and yummy dessert.  Everyone had their fill, we all got caught up and the kids played like crazy.  There were 21 people here and of those, 9 were kids ranging in age from 1 to 12.  It got pretty loud in here!  And again, I forgot to take any pictures!

After everyone left we got things cleaned up and watched the Iowa men's basketball team beat Rutgers. :)  Aiden had his 4H meeting and it was free night for supper, meaning everyone fends for themselves (except the little 2, obviously).

It was so chilly last night so we decided to start the fire.  We haven't had it on all winter because of Tenley so it was quite the challenge to keep her away from it at first. But finally she got used to it being on and pretty much ignored it the rest of the night. (follow me on Snapchat! erinmcguire81)

Because of the family being here for dinner and much of the afternoon Tate didn't get an afternoon nap so we sent him to bed early and the big boys were tired so went downstairs to shower and get ready for bed early, too. That meant we had Loulie Girl all to ourselves!  We grabbed a couple of bowls of homemade ice cream and sat on the couch by the fire watching the Golden Globes with our girl.  She has quite the sweet tooth, I think she ate more of my ice cream than I did!

That was our weekend!  It feels like it went by so fast and we are all exhausted from it.  I have two meetings in the evenings this week and that's about it for us.  I'm hoping for a much healthier week.  Have a great one, everyone!

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!  The kids are back to their school routine and we are fully settled into 2017!
A few of my favorites this week.

Photo Books
Gosh, 5 years ago now (???) I made a photo book about the two older boys.  It's one of my favorite mementos. Tate found it on the book shelf awhile back and liked looking at it.  I decided then to make one for Tate for Christmas.

Guys, oh my goodness does he LOVE it!!!  He brings that book to me no less than 5 times a day asking me to read it to him.  He smiles through the whole thing and says 'yea' after each page (agreeing with what it said about him).  It is by far his favorite gift from Christmas and favorite book on the book shelf. I do believe Tenley will be receiving one in a year or two.


I used Shutterfly to make mine and they often have 50% off sales and even free 8x8 books quite a bit.  I got my code from a purchase at Old Navy, I've gotten them in my Kohl's bills before, you can use your Pamper's codes to redeem for them ... just keep your eye out and you'll probably find one.  My mom had me help her make a book for my Grandma with the pictures I took at her 80th birthday celebrations this year, too.  It made a really nice gift!

Portable highchair seat
I don't know about you but those wooden highchairs in restaurants gross me out!  All the grime and grease and gunk, eck!  Plus they are HUGE for my tiny Tenley and the straps never work and she can wiggle around, turn around, stand up and sneak her way out of there every.single.time.

WAAAAYYYY back when I was pregnant with Aiden (11 years ago, sniffle) a salon client had me go out to her house to go through a bunch of her baby stuff. She had this awesome little seat that hangs on/attaches to most tables and it's super portable.  I snagged it right up and never used it until now with Tenley. What was I thinking with the other three??? This thing is amazing!  It's CLEAN, the straps work so I can buckle her in, she can't wiggle her way out because it snugs right up to the table, she's on the same level as us, sitting right next to us and it's totally 100% AWESOME!

For some reason it embarrasses Andy when we carry it in to restaurants but every single time I get a compliment on it from either the waitress or other diners.  We took it to a wedding reception even!  This venue didn't have a highchair but we were all set regardless.  It folds flat so storing it in the back of our car is no problem.  It is seriously the best thing!  My aunt has one that she used with her kids and she still pulls it out at her house for her grandkids to sit in for meals.  So much nicer than a grandparent having to store a highchair for those few occasions the kids are eating at their house.  Have I gushed enough to convince you that you need one?!? :)

Now the bad news - I can't find them online ANYWHERE!!! They are listed as sold out on Amazon and they don't know if they'll be restocked.  No!!!  Mine is called the Graco Travel Lite Table Chair.  Maybe you can find something similar after looking that one up.  Sorry!  But it is definitely one of my Friday Favorites!

Target Dollar Spot
Ugh, you GUYS!!!  This little 'hot spot' at Target gets me every.single.time!!!  I always go over board in this area.  It got me again last weekend.  They had Valentine's Day decorations and since V-Day is one of my favorite holidays I couldn't help but stock up!

I bought not one but TWO garlands - love me some cute garlands!  This one has mini clips on the back so you can hang pictures or Valentines from them if you want.  I won't, I like it just for decoration on my mantle.

This second garland fit perfectly in my kitchen window!  I don't have a ton of decorations for the heart holiday so the only room I usually have decorated is the living room.  I love that I now have something for my kitchen!  The tassels are so cute!

Back in October I found some cute Halloween plates in the Dollar Spot that Tate just loved so when I found these adorable HEART plates I couldn't pass them up!

I also grabbed this sweet birthday plate for my special little loves to use on their special days!

I could have bought so much more but held myself back since I'm trying to cut back on the unnecessary spending I seem to be infected with.  :)

P.S. Target is clearancing out tons of cute kids clothes right now, run and grab yourself some!

I hope you have some fun plans for the weekend.  I'll see you back here Monday!