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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!