Menu Monday

We are almost fully back into the swing of things around here. School has started and so has baseball practice. Both boys are playing now so we will have double the practice & games this fall! A hectic schedule and late nights at the baseball fields make menu planning a little more difficult, but I am determined to not eat out during the week! When we looked at our budget over the summer and saw how much money we were spending on food, it made me sick. We have been doing a lot better about eating at our house. And let's be honest...eating out with 3 kids isn't exactly easier in the long run. Here is what we are having this week!

Taco-Filled Pasta Shells Recipe
Monday: Taco Filled Pasta Shells -- I have blogged about this recipe before. It is a family favorite! It is also great as leftovers!

Tuesday: Chicken stir-fry & veggies (I saw this posted on Instagram--hoping it is good!)

Wednesday: Grilled chicken, white cheddar macaroni and cheese, sautéed squash & zucchini

Thursday: Leftovers!

Friday: Burrito Bowls (rice, chicken, corn, black beans, avocado, salsa, & a little shredded cheese)

Saturday: Pancakes and bacon



I haven't been this happy about a Friday in a long time. We survived the first week of kindergarten and tomorrow we won't need an alarm clock to wake up! HALLELUJAH! I guess I should say Grayson survived his first week of kindergarten..but not only did he survive, he rocked it! 

This week was the real deal. He rode the bus to and from school and was there for the full day. I was so nervous about Monday since it was the first time he rode the bus, but he did it and really wasn't even nervous. I am so proud of him! He is definitely not like I was when I was his age. Love that about him!

He seems to really like his teacher, Mrs. Hodge. He has also talked about a few of his new friends...one of which is a boy named Griffin! I think his favorite things are riding the bus, eating lunch in the cafeteria (but he refuses to buy a lunch EVER because they put veggies on the tray. haha!), going to P.E, and of course recess. He was so excited to see that they have monkey bars on the kindergarten playground! 
It has been really strange having just the two little ones with me during the day. We went to our MOPS leadership meeting yesterday and I told G it was so weird to not bring him with me! I started going to MOPS at our church when he was just 11 months old. Crazy how time flies! 
Last night he was so cute. They went to the school library for the first time and he got to check out his first book. He would not show it to us until bedtime because he wanted to surprise Griffin and I. Grayson is just loving all these new experiences and it is so sweet to watch! 
I am proud to say that we have had no tears about school so far...from either of us! (don't worry--I will more than make up for it when my last baby heads off on that bus.) It has been a busy, busy week with this and baseball starting but G has handled it all like a pro. Yay for a great first week! 

...and just because I love this picture so much, I have to share it. Cheney was not happy about her Bubba going to school without her last Wednesday. She cried and cried that morning & kept asking "where Bubba go?" We are definitely missing him during the day but I know he is having fun being a big boy at school!


the day before kindergarten

Well, friends, here we are. 
Grayson is going to KINDERGARTEN.  I feel like this is his senior picture. My firstborn is looking so grown up these days!
I don't feel like I will be one of those weepy mamas as I drop Grayson off tomorrow.  He is so ready for this & has been ready for a long time! I am mostly just excited for him. Excited for him to learn how to read, make new friends, and watch him blossom into a big kid. He is mostly excited about the school bus, his new neon Nike lunch box, P.E, & recess.  I'm sure this transition won't be a walk in the park (for any of us) but I am looking forward to this new chapter in our lives.
I ordered this bag tag from my friend, Amy, and it is perfect. (Etsy: One Good Name. Check her out!) These are ALL the things I have been praying over G as he starts this new adventure.  I know he will meet kids this year that aren't nice. I know he will be around kids that say words we don't approve of. I know that this year he won't be as sheltered as he has been at our wonderful church preschool. BUT, it is all part of growing up & as hard as it is to let go a little, I know that it is time to. Grayson is more confident as an almost 6 year old than I am as an adult. I am so proud of him.  He is such a good kid & I know he will do just fine!
Watch out kindergarten, Grayson is ready for you!


my girl is two

Time seems to move a little bit faster with each child. Today this precious baby girl of ours is TWO years old & that doesn't even seem possible!
Cheney Katherine, you are such a special girl. We always knew we wanted to have to a girl but we could have never dreamed of a more perfect girl for our family! You are the perfect mix of sweet and spicy. You love to "go nigh nigh" on our shoulder when you need a snuggle but you are a feisty little thing when your brothers are bothering you! You are fearless--always climbing, exploring, jumping off things, & trying to keep up with your brothers. You have the sweetest heart & always make sure I know if someone nearby is crying and you always check on your brothers when they are upset. You ALWAYS keep us laughing too! You love to disappear upstairs and come down wearing random items of clothing and shoes that are way too big for you. You have girly dress up clothes but prefer Griffin's spiderman costume--that's just your style!
At 2 years old, you love:
-Doc McStuffins, Mickey Mouse, & Peppa Pig
-your baby dolls. You are a sweet little mama and love to carry around your babies!
-reading books. You love having us read to you & sometimes I find you sitting in your chair reading by yourself!
-music & dancing--Hosanna Rock is your favorite song!
-your brothers! Y'all drive each other crazy but you love them so much. I know you will miss Grayson this year while he is at school!
-all animals but especially dogs!
-your daddy. You are a daddy's girl through and through & only like when he puts you to bed!
Cheney, you are such an active little girl. You remind me so much of Grayson at this age. You are very coordinated, can run really fast, and love jumping on the trampoline. You also love swinging on any type of bar you can reach. Future gymnast?! You have gotten super independent lately and love exploring playgrounds on your own.  I think that is the 3rd child in you...you want to be big just like your brothers! I love your fearless and adventurous spirit....even if it does mean I have been researching toddler leashes. ha!
You are my opinionated, sassy little girl and already want to have a say in what you wear. You like to pick out your shoes and bow. Snow boots and cowgirl boots have been your favorites lately! You also hate tutus and ponytails. We are working on that!
Cheney, you are such a gift to our family.  You are the little girl I never knew I needed. I catch myself just staring at you because you are beautiful & I can't believe you are mine! Watching you grow up, learn new things, and turn into a sweet little girl is such a joy. You are strong, independent, brave, & loving--I can't wait to see how God uses you as you grow up! We love you so much.
Happy birthday to our Cheney baby!


a barnyard bash

The one great thing about having birthdays a week apart is that we can celebrate two kids with one party! Griffin and Cheney LOVE farm animals so we decided to have a Barnyard Bash party for them! The party was this past Saturday at our house. Can I say for the 1000th time how grateful I am for a huge backyard?! It has served us well over the last year & it was perfect for their party!
It took some work because Ben (and probably everyone else) thought I was crazy, but we had a petting zoo come to the party and it was so fun! What is a barnyard bash without animals?! If you are in the middle Tennessee area, I highly recommend Molly's Ark Mobile Petting Zoo. Molly was wonderful!
We had some goats, a sheep named Teddy, a mini donkey named Penelope, two bunnies, two mini chickens, and a huge pot bellied pig named Lulu.
Lulu was the star of show. She does tricks & performed for Griffin and Cheney! She could wave, turn around, AND played a little piano while we sang "happy birthday!"
The kids loved petting and brushing all the different animals! The goats really enjoyed eating bark off our tree and trimming all the grass.
This girl was in heaven!!
Griff & his buddy, Jaylan
our rising kindergarteners, Hutson & G!
a sweet lady from our church made the cake and it turned out so cute!
I've realized that pinterest party foods are way too difficult and time consuming. Hot dogs, watermelon, dip, chips, & rice krispy treats are way easier!
Happy birthday to Cheney & Griffin!
One of my favorite things about our day was giving Griffin his present. The only thing he asked for was a real dinosaur.  I was puzzled for a month about this but happened to find a mom here that was selling this huge triceratops & knew it was perfect! Koda is pretty much our new pet & he moves, makes noise, & eats leaves. The whole family loves him!
with Mimi, Pops, Thomas, & Alex....and Koda!
 our big 4 year old!! still can't believe it!
Nana and Poppy were here too!
It was a GREAT day celebrating our littles!


and then Griffin turned FOUR.

Well, it happened. My baby is FOUR today. I know, technically he isn't the baby...but he still kinda is and I love it that way!
Griffin has always been my special middle kid & is a total mama's boy. For whatever reason, his babyhood days are the most vivid in my memory.  I think that is why I always have a hard time believing another year has flown by. I can remember sitting on our old couch, watching Parenthood on Netflix, and propping Griffin up on my legs and just watching him sleep. That was his favorite place to nap. He always wanted to be attached to his mama!
And now here we are...flash forward many years and my big blue-eyed boy is 4 years old. At four years old, Griffin loves all things dinosaur related. He even asked for a real life dinosaur for his birthday. We read dino books and watch Dinotrux on tv. He also LOVES snakes. ick! His dream is to have his very own pet snake. I always have to break his little heart when I tell him that will only happen after he moves out of our house.
This age has been a great combo of having all the confidence in the world but still needing reassurance from mama and daddy. Griffin will leave the house wearing his cape & IronMan mask just like he would any other outfit. I love that about him and hope that confidence stays with him. He is my biggest snuggler and would watch movies on a pallet in the bonus room all day, every day. Griff also loves Peppa Pig and always wants to jump in muddy puddles...even says it in a little British accent! ha!
This next year will be a big year of change for our Griffy. His best bud and constant companion is heading off to kindergarten. I know it will be hard but I am excited to have some more one on one time with him during the day! I am also excited to watch his relationship with Cheney grow. They adore one another (and can fight like no other) and I think they will love being together more. Griffin has already grown up so much this summer. Making his own bed, getting dressed (correctly) all by himself, brushing his own teeth, helping out more around the house....we lost all that was left of his toddler self and gained another big boy!
I love watching this boy grow up. His personality is SO BIG and he makes us laugh all the time. I can't imagine life without our Griffy! His joy is contagious, he has the biggest heart, and quite the imagination. We love you, Griffin! HAPPY 4TH BIRTHDAY!


summer recap

I have slacked majorly on this blog.  I am not good at keeping up with baby books & I haven't made a Shutterfly picture book since Cheney was a newborn. I figure, this is the best way to keep up with our life & give our kids a way to eventually look back at memories if they want! I am really working on my time management skills (it's tough, y'all) so maybe I will get better this year!
Here is a little rewind & recap of our summer! So, sorry about the picture overload. Warning you in advance!
Summer officially started for us when Grayson graduated from pre-k! He spent four wonderful years at Clearview and he finished it off with a great year. He said his memory verse on the stage or everyone to hear & didn't even flinch! I am so proud of him. Grayson is ready for kindergarten (in less than 2 weeks!)!
We spent the first week of June in Hilton Head with my family! It was the first time I had been back since high school & we had such a great time. We even booked our trip for next summer that same week!
This was such a fun age to be at the beach. Griffin and Cheney LOVED the tide pools. They would float around on the boogie board and walk in the shallow areas. Griffin could dig in the sand all day long. Cheney thought HHI was wonderful because there dogs on the beach...pretty much her favorite combination!
It was a big week for Grayson, too! We had just finished swim lessons a few days before our trip & I was hopeful that Grayson would truly learn how to be an independent swimmer.  It was definitely his week! He really learned how to swim AND he learned how to boogie board in the ocean! He is a little fish now & it has been so fun watching him get better throughout the summer. Also, having a kid who can swim? total game changer!
I'm also going give a little shout out to this guy of mine--he started Crossfit in April and has lost 25lbs and looks great. We have made a lifestyle change and I am so proud of him!
The kids all got to do Playcation at our church for 3 days after our trip. It is like VBS for the preschool age group. They had a petting zoo day & water day. The kids had so much fun with their friends & it was nice for me to have 3 days to myself. I got to clean, organize, & even lunched with my friends!
Mimi and Pops surprised the kids with this amazing playset in June! Pops and Ben took a whole weekend to set it up (and it was about 1000 degress. bless them) but they finished & the kids love it! We love, love, love our huge backyard and the kids have been begging for a playset. We are so thankful for this and it has gotten tons of use. Grayson has been practicing his Ninja Warrior moves on the monkey bars & Cheney wants to swing all day!
We went to Wagner Berry Farm with our friends one morning & picked lots of strawberries, blueberries, & raspberries. We love these friends! Grayson and Molly Cate have been buddies since birth...it's fun watching them grow up together!
I've got to brag on my Griff for a second. We started off at swim lessons by screaming and refusing to get in the water. We had a scary pool accident late last summer & he was terrified at the beginning of the summer. My goal for him was to be able to swim with his floaties & not be afraid. Griffin has gotten braver each time we go swimming and is doing so well! He is swimming with his floaties, isn't crying when he goes under, & is even jumping off the side!
Cheney enjoyed our pool days too:)
Nana and Poppy came up around my birthday & we took the kids to Cheekwood for the first time! They have a really cool tree house exhibit that I wanted to check out. It was super hot but fun!
This summer Grayson turned into my workout buddy. He doesn't always like go to the gym so we compromised about half the time & went walking on the trails instead. He rides his scooter & I push the littles in the stroller. It is a tough workout because he is hard to keep up with!
Our zoo membership is one of our most used things. We made zoo trips a couple times this summer!
and we FINALLY got to hang out with a kangaroo while we were there!
This was definitely the summer of Super Griff. He has worn his cape ALL over Franklin & Brentwood. There is no shame in his superhero game!
We helped host a Backyard Kids Club (neighborhood VBS) at our neighbor/friends' house! We did it for 3 nights & had a lot of fun. I did the music and got to show off my stellar dance moves. Our boys are still asking when the next BKC is...they loved it!
This girl grew up a lot over the summer. She has lost most of her baby-ness and is acting like such a big girl. Cheney talks nonstop & keeps us laughing!
The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. I love that Ben now has a job where he can enjoy it, too! We went to Franklin on the Fourth & walked around downtown for a little bit. I love our little historical downtown all the time, but it looks especially charming lined with American flags!
we had some of our favorites (hey Spradlins!) over for dinner that night and attempted the Crockpett Park fireworks. We trekked it over there, got all set up, and then BOOM. A storm rolled in. ha! We had to post-pone our fireworks until the next night. Cheney girl missed out but the boys loved it!
My mom and I took the kids to Baton Rouge for a week in July. We don't get to see our Louisiana family as often as we would like but spending time with them was so fun!
"working" with Papa Bruce is always the highlight of Grayson's trip and even Griffin joined in this time! They love the big tractor!
This is almost the whole cousin gang. We were missing our New Mexico cousins...maybe one day we will all be there at the same time!!
The day after we got back in town, he headed down to Alabama for the day! We saw the UNA lions (Cheney was intrigued) and spent the day swimming and playing.
Our days have been spent playing, having fun, swimming with friends, & just enjoying our time off of school! Like I said yesterday, this is such a fun age. I think this has been my favorite summer yet!
and now? Well summer is almost over and our lives are about to change forever. Grayson starts kindergarten in less than 2 weeks and he is so excited. I know it will be a big adjustment (for all of us!) but we are welcoming the change. I am so excited to watch him learn this year & make new friends. Summer, we sure will miss you!