Duke Anthony Felecos: 10 MONTHS OLD!

Duke turned 10 months old yesterday Wednesday and I feel like a lot has changed this month for my sweet baby!  Duke is growing up so fast and his personality is really starting to blossom. He loves to smile and flirt with people {he literally reached as far as he could out of his stroller one day to try to touch a little girl walking by with her mom. Luckily the little girl noticed, and came back to give him a high five. So sweet!}.  He is SO BIG and I'm convinced I'm either going to get super ripped from carrying him all the time, or my arms are going to fall off.

Duke is feisty and so comically dramatic, I know we will have our hands full for...ever.  He makes the funniest faces in reaction to us 'reprimanding' him...and/or trying to prevent him from electrocuting himself or pulling all of my hair out/slapping me in the face.  He scrunches up his whole face, shows his teeth, and whines, or cries if he really feels like he did something wrong. 

I am probably most thankful for the fact that he is such a snuggle bear! I remember being so sad when I thought the days of him sleeping in my arms were long gone, but that phase was short lived, and he will sometimes snuggle up and take naps on us again.  The best is when we all play in bed on Saturday or Sunday mornings and then Duke decides he's ready for his morning nap and we all get to snuggle back in and sleep in. My favorite

My biggest personal struggle this month has probably been supplementing with formula.  We didn't really have to right away but I will be out of town for a few nights next week for work and we don't have enough of a freezer stash to last the whole time, so we started introducing a bottle a day and he's taking it just fine.  I'm not sure why I struggled with it quite so much, but I think it's just the fact that no matter how many times I said I would just see how it goes with breastfeeding, I always hoped I would make it to 1 year and loved the idea of never having to supplement.  There's nothing wrong with it obviously, but this was my own personal goal and it didn't quite work out.  That's okay, I just have to learn to manage expectation sometimes.  Duke is taking the formula so well that we will likely start to wean more feedings to help with the milk transition after his first birthday. I'd also be lying if I said I wasn't totally sick of pumping!  The important thing, he's a healthy baby boy, and any breastmilk is better than none!

Now for a few highlights!
  • Started eating real solid foods in addition to level 3 purees.  Now is super interested in what we are eating and loves to try new things!
  • Started crawling for real on his hands and knees
  • PULLS UP ON EVERYTHING
  • First sickness- ear infection/cold combo
  • Loves daycare, hates drop-off
  • Has slept through the night without feedings for 12 hours- still wakes up and cries a little throughout the night, but we've been weaning off of any feedings!
  • SO CLOSE to "mama" and "dada" but continues to love speaking gibberish
  • Separation anxiety is in full force right now, especially when this mama walks anywhere that isn't directly towards Duke ;)


Each month gets a little bit better than the one before, which is saying something considering how wonderful our lives have been since this sweet boy entered the world!  Happy 10 Months Baby Duke!

-T-




Oh Friday, I've missed you! {GIVEAWAY}

This week was a long one.  I have no idea why but most of my coworkers agreed that it just seemed to drag on and we are all very thankful the for upcoming weekend!  We had a wonderful evening last night at the Farmer's Market and Downtown on the Platz, listening to music, eating yummy food, and hanging out with my parents, cousin, and friends.  I love slow and easy summer nights that include quality time and end in ice cream. :)

Today I am sharing my top 5 all time most popular posts because as promised, I am announcing a GIVEAWAY {$20 gift card of YOUR CHOICE} to celebrate hitting 20,000 page views! Starbucks, Home Depot, Chili's, whatever you like...I'll get the gift card sent your way!

How do you enter?  Share one of the posts below to Facebook or Twitter and come back here and leave a comment with your name and a link to your shared post!  You MUST comment on THIS POST to be entered and leave the link so I can verify you shared the post.  Giveaway will close Monday night at MIDNIGHT!

#1: Life on the Farm: The Bulldog and The Baby Edition  
All about our move to South Dakota before we were in our new house!

#2: His, Mine, Theirs...Who's body was it?
A very open and honest look at life after baby and finding balance.

#3: New Job, New Town, New Everything?
A life update after our big move!

#4: Mom Bod
Remember that life after baby post? This is all about body after baby.

#5:Vermont Trip Part 1: Traveling with a Baby!
Duke's first flight!

Thank you all for your support! Can't wait to see who wins!  Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!

-T-


A Very Fair Weekend

Last weekend was the Clay County Fair and we spent a good chunk of our Saturday soaking up the fun of it.  When I was a kid, they used to have a terrifying traveling amusement park with tons of rides that undoubtedly made me want to puke, but we rode them a million times anyway.  For whatever reason {safety??} they no longer have those rides, but they did have a bunch of bouncy house obstacle courses. a dunk tank, fair food, farm animals, and loads of 4-H festivities, booths, and auction items.

Backing up to Friday, we originally were going to go to the Fair for dinner and to walk around but it started raining hard right around 5:30 and by the time it stopped, Duke needed to get home and I had a hankering for Mexican food.  I picked up food to go for me {Dennis was working late} and took Duke home to get him ready for bed.  I watched TV for a bit until Dennis got home and I only made it until about 10:30 before passing out on the couch.  See also: I'm 100 years old.
Saturday morning we headed straight to the fair, walked around and checked out old cars they had lined up for a little car show and was super disappointed when I realized the Farmer's Market had moved downtown and wasn't setup by the fair grounds.  We loaded back up and headed downtown to check out the Farmer's Market, primarily so I could buy some iced coffee from one of my coworkers who makes deeelicious cold brew.  Properly caffeinated we decided to buy some local honey and a bunch of fresh jalapenos for my spice loving husband and then we popped into my favorite restaurant/coffee shop for brunch. 
Photo credit: Leslie Gerrish- coffee extraordinaire


We ended up at a table right next to 3 USD volleyball players who were obsessed with Duke.  They were so sweet and constantly looking over and smiling at him and he obliged them with lots of flirty smiles and head tilts.  He shows his affection for people by tilting his head/body total sideways and looking up at them with a big ol' grin.  It's hysterical and adorable.  In between auditions for his future babysitter {we hope!} he managed to share a cinnamon chip muffin with me and LOVE it.  Poor kid got more than his fair share of muffins when he was in my belly, so it's no surprise he loves them as much as I do.

We headed home for nap time so we could be fresh and ready for the main event that day...the Kid's Demolition Derby! I was simultaneously horrified and intrigued when I heard about this until I understood that they weren't actually trying to crush each other's cars like they do in the adult demo derby.  Duh, Trish.  Anyway, my niece was participating and she had her pink Barbie Jeep all decked out with a big number 6 and Coyote paw stickers.  The derby was hilarious.  The goal was for them to run into each other and pop the balloons that were taped to the cars.  It was the perfect combination of sheer chaos and rogue 6 year olds who just wanted to drive around and not actually hit any body.  After the derby, we filled up on food and watched the auction {crazy cool wood carvings and lots of yummy treats for bid} and walked around the for rest of the afternoon/evening.  When everyone had their fair share of the fair, we headed to our house for take out, drinks, and bedtime/movies for the kiddos.  It was a wonderful day!



Sunday was full of laundry, naps, and errands as we prepped for another work week!
Such a good helper
Stop by on FRIDAY to hear about the $20 gift card giveaway I'm offering as a THANK YOU to everyone for helping me reach {and pass} 20,000 page views!

-T-
 

The Struggle Is Real

Working mamas out there...does the guilt ever go away?!  I am riding shotgun on the struggle bus right now and I'm beating myself up more than I usually allow.  How do we balance it all? How do we keep all the plates in the air? Wife, mom, full time employee, blogs, side gigs, hobbies, family time, social calendars {what is that??}... I feel like I'm failing at 97% of this list at any given time.  I usually feel pretty good about the mama category because it's just too easy for me to get lost in little baby giggles and delicious rolls.  It's distracting, it makes me blissfully happy, and I use it as an "excuse" to not do other things. And/or I physically can't because Duke is in full on body-cling mode.

I have to recognize that it's usually during times of sickness {I've been battling a cold for a week or so} that these feelings are so strong.  Because even during some downtime, I can't muster up the energy to be productive because of said illness.  I know this, yet it doesn't stop my mind from tallying up all of the things  not doing and sending me into a tailspin without a parachute.  Or so I think.  And then, just when I need him the most, my husband swoops in with all the right wordsmith. Let's me sob into his shoulder and patiently reminds me that it's going to be okay...we will get (insert random household chore here) done eventually. 

Shout out to single parents because I just don't know how you do it! It takes a village and my village is a good one, but I'm not sure how I would manage with my husband.  Even when I'm at my most frustrating, he doesn't lose his temper, and is able to bring me back down to earth and somehow calm me down.  I had an epic meltdown the other night and he literally was able to console me while simultaneously giving Duke his nighttime bottle.  Don't get me wrong, there are days we drive each other absolutely insane but at the end of it all, I wouldn't want to be on this crazy ride with anyone else.

All this is to say, some days I need to throw in the towel.  I need to accept that I can't do it all and embrace my severe lack of superhero abilities.  Sunday was that day for me...hang tight though, tomorrow I might put my cape back on and try it all over again.
-T-

Anyone out there?

We are finally coming out of the fog of Duke's first sickness + a nasty cold for this mama.  I'm usually pretty tough when it comes to sicknesses {that could be a total lie...you'll have to ask my husband and/or mom. ha!} but this go around I was pretty pathetic.  My throat felt like it was on fire and I hate that uncomfortable feeling that never seems to go away.  I had the congestion and overall tiredness as well but baby Duke took the cake with his nasty cold + ear infection combo. 
Passed out for 2 hours after daycare
Because we've been lucky enough to have Duke home with us all his life, he's literally never had more than a slight runny nose {2 months old} since he was born.  When I saw his poor watery eyes and overall lethargic demeanor when I picked him up from daycare last  Monday, I knew something was wrong with our typically happy and energetic boy.  Dennis was off Tuesday so he stayed home with Duke but we didn't think he needed to go to the doctor because it really just seemed like a typical cold.  Tuesday night was a different story.  Duke was up all night, in bed with us for 90% of it to try to keep his head elevated and give him a chance at getting some rest, and off to the doctor we went first thing Wednesday morning. 
Had to wake this poor guy up for the doctor.
The pediatrician confirmed our fear of an ear infection and said the cold was a totally separate thing that would have to run it's course.  I went and picked up his prescription for the ear infection and spent the rest of the day snuggled up on the couch with my super sleepy baby.  It is awful seeing sick kiddos, but thank goodness for endless snuggles!  I wasn't feeling awesome either, so the day off work was much needed and Duke bounced back pretty quickly over the next few days. 

We had a pretty fun weekend so that recap will be coming tomorrow, but today we celebrate being back in good health and being shocked that it's already the middle of August!  It's amazing how time flies when you're in quarantine mode.

Happy Monday!

-T-

Coffee was made for Mondays

You know what makes Monday mornings a little sweeter?  A delicious cup of coffee...I'm living vicariously through this one right now because mine isn't nearly as beautiful, but you can bet your pretty little self that I'm sipping on a yummy caffeinated concoction riiiight about now.
Anyway, we had a wonderful weekend and you know I love nothing better than reliving weekend goodness on a Monday, so let's do this!

We're off to see the Wizard...
My mom, her friend Cindy, and my sister and I all went to the Wizard of Oz play on Friday night, put on by our local community theater.  They did a really great job and we all loved the show!  It was nice to have a night out with just us girls and still make it home and in bed by 11 p.m.  My kinda night.

Duke had a bit of a rough night Friday night but thankfully slept in a bit and got in a solid nap before we took off for Wild Water West at noon on Saturday.  We had a car full of 4 adults and 3 minis and we passed our time watching the Lion King on the hour ride to the water park. 
No burns and we were in the sun all day!

Love my little fam.
Unfortunately, Duke was really not impressed with the water portion of the water park. -_-  He LOVES bathtime but wasn't digging the less than warm water all over the park.  He clung to me like a baby koala and made sure he's little feet were at my shoulders up high enough that they wouldn't get wet.  I really couldn't blame him because the water was pretty chilly but I was bummed he couldn't enjoy the day as  much as the rest of us did.  We still were able to get plenty of laps around the lazy river, go down the slides 37 times and splash around in the wave pool.

Sunscreen hair don't care.



We made a pit stop at the mall to pick up some things for my mom and headed back home around 7:30.  Duke crashed hard and I followed shortly after.  It was juuuust the summer day I was looking for!
Professional slide rider

Signs of a successful day

Backseat chats
Dennis had to work yesterday {so thankful he has a job but weekend hours are going to take some getting used to!} and Duke and I enjoyed the day just the two of us.  I got some cleaning done so our lives could be a little organized before the work/daycare week started and squeezed in plenty of giggles, snuggles, and playtime.  And this guy got in plenty of naps. ;)

Hope you all are kicking some Monday booty! 

-T-

P.S.  The Optimistic Duke almost to 20,000 views!  You guys are the BEST so stay tuned for a fun giveaway once we hit it!


Friday is My Love Language

Woohoo! First week of August is in the books!  Time is flying these days, and I'm really working on being present and enjoying this season of life.  The only thing I'd change right now, is maybe ask for a little less humidity.  I don't even know why I curl my hair in the mornings because by the time it's 9 a.m. I'm trying to tame a big ol' fuzz ball.  I'm not ready for Fall, but I'm ready for Fall.

Anyway, even though the store shelves are stocked with all things Back to School, it is hot and still full-on SUMMER here so my theme today is all about how we are soaking up the sun.

one- Wild Water West

We are headed up to a water park in Sioux Falls, SD tomorrow and I am so excited to watch Duke splash around, float around the lazy river 27 times and ride all the water slides!  Gimme sunshine, gimme water, gimme my baby in swim trunks!

two- I scream, You scream...

Here's the deal- I LOVE ice cream regardless of the season, but this summer has been full of more ice cold deliciousness than I can remember in a long time. I may need to workout for 5 hours for every 3 bites of it, but that's a story for another day.  For today, let them eat ice cream!
Photo Cred
three- Downtown fun

We live right on Main Street and Thursday nights during the summer, there is a Thursday's on the Platz series with music and food in our cute little town.  Last night my sister and her fam and my parents all met at our house so we could walk down and enjoy the evening together.  There was beer, BBQ, bouncy houses and a band- all the ingredients for a perfect Thursday night!  We had to pit stop at the ice cream shop on the walk home and I couldn't resist some caramel and chocolate goodness. See #4!

Meeting his grandma's friend Patty whose nickname is Duke :) #cheesin
four- Daycare

Not summer related but worth mentioning- Dukes first day of daycare was a success!  From the report I got a pickup and the endless smiles and cuddles from my nugget, I'd say he had a great day. He was exhausted so the smiles were interrupted with some screams but he was a champ.

five- A lake trip

We are hoping to make a trip to the lake in the next couple weeks since our river trip last month was kind of a bust due to weather.  I'm picturing sandcastles, sunshine, and swimming in our future and I'm determined to make it happen this month!

Anything else we MUST add to our summer bucket list?? 

Hope you all had a wonderful week- cheers to the weekend!!


-T-


Baby Duke: Starting Daycare!

Today marks the first day our sweeeeet baby Duke is heading off to daycare.  I have zero doubt that he will have an amazing time playing with all of the kids, but I also have a belly full of knots as I prepare to spend more time away from my sweet boy {very few lunch hour visits so I don't make him say goodbyes twice!}. 
The cheeks this morning were on point!
Duke is changing by the millisecond these days...pulling up to stand on anything he can, tempting fate as he tries to let go and step away, usually without moving his feet!  He just belly flops and hopes for the best. Spoiler alert! It usually doesn't end well.
Our selfie game was a little rough this morning...Take 1

Take 2- at least he gives me the biggest smiles if he won't give them to the camera ;)
He is clingy and so sweet as he struggles through some separation anxiety.  I am soaking up all the extra cuddles I can these days, even if it means I'm still not sleeping through the night.  Knowing that these days are so fleeting has me holding on extra tight and #sorrynotsorry
I can't look at you mom, I've got places to go!
Keep my sweet little family in your thoughts as we venture on this exciting journey of both of us working outside of the home {It's been 7 months since that's happened!  You can read all about that here.}  Dennis started work yesterday and my day job and side business are really amazing right now- so thankful for this!  We are praying that Duke makes a smooth transition into daycare and that we quickly adjust to a new routine that works for us. 

Happy Thursday Friends!  Check back tomorrow for some 5 on Friday fun!

-T-

Weekend Rewind: 10 Year Reunion, All the Food, and Naps!

Sounds like we had a killer weekend, huh?  I feel like our weekend started on Thursday when we went to the Jim Gaffigan show in Sioux Falls.  My cheeks hurt so bad from laughing hysterically and I'm so thankful my sister thought to buy the tickets 6 months ago as a celebration of Dennis' birthday and an excuse to get a babysitter and enjoy a night out.  We had a triple date with my sister and brother-in-law, my parents, Dennis and I.  A sweet family friend watched all 3 kiddos and Duke gave her quite the run for her money around bed time.  Poor guy is struggling a little bit with separation anxiety, but eventually he fell asleep and the sitter's ear drums were able to recover. -_-
We couldn't help but laugh- a security guard took our picture and failed to mention my dad and Kyle's half cut off heads...
Friday night was super low key and full of Chinese takeout and a Redbox movie.  We watched 'Love the Coopers' and it was just okay.  It definitely got better towards the end, but it's definitely a movie I wouldn't have been sad to fall asleep during. Either way, I was in bed by 10:30 like a 70 year old and loved every minute of it.   We also discovered the face Duke makes when I say "Cheeeeeese!" Dying over here.

Saturday, Dennis was the lucky guy that got to help my dad chop down branches and trees all morning and Duke and I walked down to the park for a free kids event.  He was too little to enjoy the activities but he was digging the fresh air and people watching {he is his father's son}.  We met my mom, sister, and nieces and watched them go through a bouncy house obstacle course 15185012 times in between snow cones, cotton candy, popcorn, balloon animals, and yummy grilled hot dogs for lunch. It was a great late morning/early afternoon activity and Duke knocked out a 2.5 hour nap starting on our walk back home.
Blurry morning snuggle selfies

Dennis and I made ourselves presentable and dropped Duke off at my parents house so we could attend my 10 year High School Reunion!  At first I thought it can't possibly be 10 years already, and then I looked at my yearbook.  Woof.  It's most certainly been 10 years!  One of my classmates took on the organization of the night and did a wonderful job.  She had printed out pages from yearbooks all the way back to 6th grade, we had food, drinks, and lots of fun reminiscing over bad hair cuts and what everyone's been up to over the past decade.


After lots of errands on Sunday and a killer nap for everyone in our little family, we had some friends over for dinner.  I made a delicious Cajun chicken and sausage pasta and our guests brought over salad and chocolate covered strawberries.  It was the perfect ending to a wonderful weekend and I woke up today ready to take on a whole new month!  Happy August friends!  I hope you had a fantastic Monday.

-T-

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