*Tenley Mae*

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I told my sister-in-law Amy that I was playing blog catch-up and that I was going to do a post about my niece, Tenley, because she’s FIVE months old today and I haven’t written about her yet. She’s our very first niece and I am over-the-moon excited about her. Our sweet Tenley Mae came into the world a little sooner than everyone expected, but I’m thankful that I got to soak up some extra visits and snuggles with her before we moved to NC. We live 498 miles away from Tenley right now, during our time here in NC, but we face-time her often and Amy sends me pictures daily.

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Amy and I were very good friends before I met (and later, married) her brother, so Tenley is as much “my best friend’s baby” as she is my niece. We knew there was a possibility that Tenley would arrive early when Amy’s OB put her on bedrest the Tuesday before her first baby shower, that I co-hosted, due to high blood pressure. At the time of the baby shower, Amy was 31 weeks pregnant. Amy asked me to take maternity pictures for her the afternoon before the baby shower, just in case Tenley decided to come before their scheduled maternity pictures. The pictures that I took that afternoon turned out to be the only ones that Amy got to take since Tenley was born less than two and a half weeks later. I’m glad there were some frame-worthy ones 🙂 Amy’s travel-themed baby shower was also the only one she got to have before Tenley’s early arrival. Her second baby shower was rescheduled as a “sip-n-see” a couple months later. You can see pictures from the first baby shower here.

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Tenley Mae was born just past 10 pm central time on Monday, May 2nd, just a few hours shy of 34 weeks gestation. She weighed 3 pounds 10 ounces and was 17.5″ long. We left Knoxville at 6:30pm and drove to Murfreesboro to be there for her birth. We didn’t get to see Tenley that night because we had to make it back to Knoxville so that Tommy could work in the morning , but we did get to see Amy before and after.

Tenley had to stay in the NICU for 17 days. They have strict rules in that NICU about touching and feeding the babies, so I had to wait way too long to hold that precious baby girl. I did get to visit her in the NICU during our next visit to Murfreesboro, two weekends after she was born.

We made sure to face-time her once she made it home from the hospital. That teal “Tenley” blanket was a gift from us and I think it will be her favorite 😉 I

On May 27th (25 whole days after she was born!!) we went to Murfreesboro for Memorial Day weekend and Tenley’s favorite aunt FINALLY got to hold her! (Just teasing about the favorite aunt part, Carmen) I was even nice and shared her with Noah for a few minutes/pictures. Emry Jane was very sweet about patting her, but Eli was not very interested in his new cousin. Side note, the little Sew Sassy ruffle pants that Tenley is wearing in these pictures are actually “icing” pants made to fit American Girl dolls. Can’t wait til she’s old enough to have her own American Girl and we can dress her doll in the premie clothes that Tenley wore!

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Tenley’s baby shower gift from us was this anchor dress (pictured above) for the girls to wear together for their first shared holiday. I originally ordered this dress from Mockingbird Threads in the newborn size, but after Tenley was born under 4 pounds, I contacted the seller and asked her to make it smaller to fit a premie. Tenley’s little anchor dress was actually small enough to fit one of Emry Jane’s baby dolls! The twins were not very willing to take pictures with the flags in the Healing Field, but Emry Jane was very sweet holding Tenley for the first time. The pictures of them together in their anchor dresses melt my heart. (Also, there were four adults standing beside the chair, albeit with watery eyes, during these pictures of Emry Jane holding Tenley.)

We had one last visit to Murfreesboro in mid-June to snuggle with Tenley before we moved to NC. I definitely was not ready to leave her, quite possibly until Christmas! The picture on the right is a newborn-sized headband that I made for Emry Jane when she was a baby, now it has been handed down to Tenley. It took a bit for Tenley to grow into it 😉

Amy sends me daily pictures of Tenley and texts me updates or videos when she hits her baby milestones like holding her head up and rolling over. We also try to have weekly face-time visits with Tenley so that Eli and Emry Jane can see and talk to her.

The girls were talking to each other about their lamb pacifiers 😉

Near the end of August, Tenley (and Amy, MaMarsh and Granddaddy Jer) came to visit us in Chapel Hill!! It was a very quick trip, after midnight Friday to Sunday morning, and I tried to hold Tenley about 75% of that time, haha. We helped her with her first bath in the sink and took some really cute cousin pictures out on the front porch. These two are my favorites:

img_4433img_4435I wish I had realized that Eli’s hair was sticking straight up like a peacock!

We are really, REALLY hoping to visit Tenley in Murfreesboro later this month, but she might be in FL Keys with her Mom and Dad at that time. If not, we’ll have to wait until Christmas to love on Tenley again. 😦 In the meantime, I will keep requesting daily pictures (and posting my favorites on Instagram because she’s just the cutest niece ever!) and buying her cute outfits like the two pictured below. After all, my hubby can’t complain about me buying her clothes because it’s his first niece too, right?! I can’t believe she’s already 5 months old!

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We love you so much, Tenley Mae!!

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