Friday Confessions

I still can't write these kind of posts without singing Usher "these are my confessions..." in my head. Some things never change I guess...even when you are in your 30s! ha!

SO, here are my confessions.

-my house has been a WRECK since Cheney was in the hospital. okay. If I am being honest it wasn't super tidy before she was in the hospital. but now? geez. I just can't seem to catch up on cleaning or laundry.
-speaking of messy houses, is anyone else's master bedroom & bathroom the dumping ground for ALL THE THINGS?? no? just us? If you walked in to our room right now you would find a Bitty Baby double stroller, random toys, a coffee cup, Cheney's still packed up hospital bag (oops), an assortment of stickers, & many other random things.
-we have a fully fenced in backyard. our dogs still manage to run away on a weekly basis. I came home this morning from the bus stop & the door to the garage was wide open. Clearly, we will accept our Pet Owners of the Year award at any time.
-We went out to dinner earlier this week and I totally forgot I had sweet potatoes roasting in the oven when we left. big time oops. Thank the Lord our house did not burn down. I did, however, ruin my sheet pan & our house reeked of burnt to a crisp sweet potatoes.
-I'm back on my Diet Coke habit. I just can't quit it.
-my van looks like a homeless person lives in it.
-I used to think those Disney obsessed people were crazy. I am now one of them. We are venturing back to the happiest place on earth this summer & I have been researching Cheney/mama matching shirts and vinyl decals for our magic bands. WHO AM I? Don't worry. I won't be getting Mickey Ear stick people for the van. nope.
-As I am typing this at our kitchen table, I am realizing we still have a sled sitting in our backyard. It is 75 degrees out.

I feel better now. Maybe I should stop procrastinating and start cleaning:)


our brave Cheney

I am mostly writing this just because I need to remember it. I have honestly been putting this off because I don't want to think about it.  Our little girl is as tough as nails. You probably remember how she spent most of last winter super sick. She earned herself a trip to our local hospital for lots of bloodwork & then on to Vanderbilt for a consult with the infectious disease department for more bloodwork. Thank the Lord, nothing serious was wrong & we got everything figured out. Well, February proves once again to just not be her month.

In the middle of the night after we went to a Super Bowl get together, she was up most of the night acting uncomfortable. Cheney came downstairs that next Monday morning saying, "my belly is hurting me."  This is not something she had complained about before, but I just chalked it up to a potential stomach virus. I took her to our pediatrician late that afternoon for his last appointment & he assumed the same. He listened to her stomach and said based on the sounds he heard, he did not think it was appendicitis. Late that night she declined in a big way. She could not sleep, she had a fever, & she was clearly hurting. I took her back to the doctor first thing the next morning & he ruled out all the other things--flu, strep, UTI. Y'all, I have never seen Cheney act so miserable. She had not eaten or had anything to drink in 24 hours. The pediatrician knew something was not right & sent me to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital for an abdominal ultrasound.

That drive was terrible. It was raining & she was so uncomfortable in her carseat. She just moaned the whole way. The radiologist & our doctor confirmed what I had already assumed: appendicitis. Our little baby girl would need emergency surgery in the next few hours. I felt awful. She had been hurting for about 36 hours--I can't even fathom what kind of pain she was in.

I sat with her in a hospital room by myself for a while. Cheney was lethargic, dehydrated, & in so much pain. She was laying on an exam table with rosy red cheeks & those beautiful blue eyes would open every now and then & she looked so scared.  I would have given anything in that moment to trade places with her. To be the one in pain. For the first time ever, I feel like I really understood something that I have known for as long as I have been a mama. These children are not mine. They belong to the Lord. We are responsible for them, but ultimately, we have to entrust them to God. Part of me was so angry. I was mad that she had been sick for a long time and mad that this tiny little girl was about to have surgery. The other part of me was so thankful that Cheney belongs to the Lord. I knew deep down that He had this.  He had walked before us. He had her in the palm of his hand. Letting go of her as she screamed for me & trusting those doctors with her precious life was the hardest thing I have ever had to do as a mama. I want to be in control.  I want her to stay in my nest so that I know she is safe & taken care of; but I know that is not how it always is. I had to surrender my control & my little girl that afternoon. It was hard.

Cheney's appendix had ruptured. No wonder she had been in so much pain. We stayed on a surgical & trauma hall for 3 days while she recovered. I saw so many children that week that had been through much more than Cheney. It was heartbreaking. That was a really rough week but I am just SO thankful that we got to leave that hospital with a healthy girl & that we don't have to worry about her appendix ever again.
Cheney is the bravest girl I know!


Menu Monday

Well, Whole30 was going great. Until it wasn't. I made it 16 days in and was just so grumpy about it that I decided to quit. I think 2 failures means it just isn't quite for me! I am doing whole-ish30 but not obsessing. The worst part of quitting on day 16 was that I had gone to MOPS, skipped the most delicious brunch because it was not-compliant, and then decided that night that I was done. MOPS brunches are my favorite! I'm still trying to limit my bread and dairy & drink lots of water. SO, here is what we are eating this week!

Chicken Zucchini Casserole

Monday: Chicken Zucchini Casserole (this is an old favorite of ours!)

Swapping bread for sweet potatoes makes eating a Sloppy Joe so much healthier! One serving is just 259 calories, and also happens to be gluten-free, dairy-free, whole30 compliant and paleo.

Wednesday: Chicken & veggie stir fry over rice noodles -- using the Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce!

Thursday: Burgers (I love this copycat Fuddruckers burger recipe but I have been omitting the brown sugar!) I put an egg on my burger last week & some compliant chipotle mayo. I think I will try the sweet potato bun this week! Serving with roasted Brussel sprouts.

Friday: Thai Coconut Chicken Curry over rice noodles -- this is a Skinnytaste recipe & she uses shrimp. Sadly, I am the only one in this house that loves seafood so I switch a bunch of her things to chicken! It is really good!

Saturday: homemade pizza night! (I will probably skip this meal and do meat sauce over spaghetti squash)


Menu Monday

I have made it to my second week of Whole30! I have to say, I didn't love some of the meals this last week & that makes it a lot harder. I'm more excited about the food this week...let's hope the new things turn out the way I want them too! Whole30 is a huge mental thing for me. Learning when I am truly hungry and not just stress/comfort/bored (I haven't been bored in 6 years. who am I kidding?) eating. I had some people ask where I find meal ideas. Most of my recipes I have found while scouring Instagram. I follow a lot of really great whole30/clean eating/paleo people & they post recipes a lot. Here are some of my favorite IG accounts:


Here is what we are eating this week!

Slow Cooker Chicken Chile Verde | 5 ingredients | The Real Food Dietitians | http://therealfoodrds.com/slow-cooker-chicken-chile-verde/

Monday: Slow Cooker Chicken Chile Verde -- Ben & the kids will make soft tacos with the chicken & I will eat over cilantro lime cauliflower rice!

Whole30 Sticky Pineapple 5 Spice Slow Cooker Chicken Wings - Let the slow cooker do the work for you with these Asian-inspired chicken wings! You'll never know they're secretly whole30 and paleo compliant! Perfect for game day! | Foodfaithfitness.com | @FoodFaithFit

Tuesday: Sweet & Sticky Asian wings, sautéed sugar snap peas, & roasted sweet potatoes

Wednesday: Tacos for the family & plantain nachos for me! (Making the taco meat with my own compliant seasoning & topping with tomatoes, avocado, & red onion.)

this paleo chili recipe is all meat, lots of veggies, full of flavor!

Thursday:  Meat & Veggie chili

Friday: Chicken & Veggie stir fry (chicken, bell peppers, sugar snap peas, & broccoli sautéed with coconut aminos)

Saturday: leftover chili

Sunday: Burgers (mine with no bun or cheese) and roasted potatoes


it's a snow day!

I never know if I should listen to the weather people when they predict we will get snow. We live in what people jokingly call "the snow dome" and it seems to snow everywhere around Nashville but misses us. Well, they predicted snow for us earlier in the week and I woke up to Grayson yelling, "MOM!!!! IT SNOWED A TON!" I stumbled out of bed at 7am, looked out my window, & it was snowing but definitely not a ton.  Luckily for the kids, it kept snowing all morning and we ended up with about 2 inches (us Southerners think that is a lot, ya know) of fluffy snow! We also ended up with a high of 18 degrees. yikes!
I do love the way our house looks when it snows! Even if it is missing a shutter and we still have our outside Christmas decorations out.

The kids were SO EXCITED to go outside. I don't mind playing in the snow. However, I do look forward to the days where my kids can get themselves ready for the snow. No joke it took about 40 minutes to round up all the gear and get all 4 of us prepped for 18 degree weather and snow. It was exhausting!
It was so cold. But, we trucked along in the backyard for about half an hour. The boys played on the playset and Cheney rode in the dune buggy with Griffin. Ellie and Hudson LOVE to frolic together in the snow. They were so funny!
Grayson loved making snow angels!

Cheney loved the idea of the snow, but did not love the freezing wind and the fact that she couldn't really use her hands. There was lots of, "I cold, Mama!"
The one thing that Griffin has been asking about since our huge snow storm last year is snow ice cream! We came in to warm up & made a batch of snow cream and they pretty much licked the bowl clean. I am still doing Whole30 but I was bad & gave it a taste test. shhhhhh.
Ben even got to come home early from work!
Griffin enjoyed the snow the most! We were all freezing after our second round & came in to warm up. He stayed out for about an hour and a half playing in our yard with the older neighbor kids. This boy just loves people and loves being included. He had so much fun! He looked like an icicle when he finally decided he was ready to come in!

The kids are already wishing for more snow later this winter so we can actually build a snowman!


I got goals, y'all.

I am not usually a resolution person. I've just never really made big, specific goals for a new year. This year is a little different. I have decided that 2017 will be the year of me.  That sounds a little narcissistic. I don't mean it in that way, promise. I just mean that the past 7 years have been all about housing babes in my body, caring 24/7 for very small children, and pouring myself out for my kids. I don't say any of that like I didn't appreciate it; it is just hard to focus on yourself when you are in a cycle of having small humans. Are you with me on that?! Well, the baby days are ending at our house & I feel like I can really set goals for myself & not feel overwhelmed about achieving them. I can put a little more time in for myself.

My first goal is to read the entire bible in 2017. Cover to cover. I have tried to do this a couple different times but have never succeeded. My soul has just been hungry for the Word. I'm craving it. What better way to dive in than read the entire bible? I have the Bible app on my phone and downloaded a reading plan. It's even going to send me push notifications every morning reminding me to stick with it. I really feel like the Lord has made me step out in faith a lot over the last several months. He has opened doors for us & it has just been a big season of growth for me. I want that growth to continue. I've gotten back into journaling -- something I had not really done since high school -- and it has been good for me. I love writing & looking back at how things have changed over the last year. How God has answered prayers. How He has paved the way for certain things to happen. If you see me, hold me accountable! Ask how my reading plan is going...I know I will need accountability.

My second goal kind of goes a long with the last. I want to get back into blogging. I hate that I have been so inconsistent since Cheney was born. I did not do well at actual baby books & I haven't made a Shutterfly memory book since Cheney was born...this was supposed to be how I kept track of memories! oops. I know; life happens. But, I really love having this as a way to look back at our life and I will always love my little blogging "community." I need to make time for things that are important to me & even though it may sound silly, this is important to me. I think it would make my Granddaddy happy, too. Hi, Granddaddy!

My third goal is to be more intentional with my time. I mean this in lots of different ways. Not spending my nights after the kids go to bed watching meaningless tv (looking at you, House Hunters & Hoarders). Not wasting time on social media.  Just being intentional with my time regarding getting stuff done around the house & with people. Filling that alone time at night with more meaningful things...spending time with Ben where we actually talk, reading, being creative.

My last goal is to change the physical part of me. I am starting Whole30 tomorrow. I tried to do it in December and made it 10 days. I will finish this round. I just need to take better care of myself. I'm really doing it to adjust my lifestyle. I have never had a great relationship with food and need to change that. I have also been using my kids as an excuse to not go to the gym instead of making them my reason for going. Even if it is not their favorite place, it is something I need to do for myself. I have to remind myself that I am allowed to do things for me. One thing that is also so important to me (especially having a little girl) is to teach my kids about being healthy. Making good food choices, taking care of your body, exercise. God gave us ONE body and we need to take care of it. I want to clean up my diet and feel good.

I am excited for 2017. What are your goals??



looking back at 2016

Look how little they look at the beginning of 2016!

One of my favorite things to do at the end of the year is to go back through my pictures and see all of the fun things we did throughout the year. 2016 was a good one for our family. Our kids all grew up so much over the last year!

In January it snowed. A LOT. I'm talking a blizzard for the south! We got like 7 inches and the town pretty much shut down. It was beautiful & the kids loved it...but 4 days of being homebound was a bit more than we can handle. I look forward to the days where it doesn't take 45 minutes to get the kids ready for snow.

This girl was sick a majority of February but she knows how to rally. She is the toughest girl I know!

February was hard. We started a rough 6-7 weeks of constant sickness for sweet Cheney. She had lots of high fevers & lots of stomach viruses. She and I missed a bunch of school, spent lots of time with our favorite pediatrician, & even some (not so fun) times at the hospital. We also learned that my mom had lung cancer. February was full of scary & unknown things but it really taught me to lean on the Lord. He is good all the time. (and also? we got some answers about our girl AND my mom is now cancer free. YAY!) I also got a minivan in February and it was a GAME CHANGER. I never thought I would be excited about a minivan....but I am obsessed.

In March it finally warmed up; a time our family always appreciates because we love being outside! Baseball season started for Grayson & he had a fun time playing with several friends. We went to Georgia for spring break and spent the week at my old house hanging out with family. We also celebrated Easter with lots of egg hunts with friends!

We spent our weekends at the ball fields in April. Cheney was finally HEALTHY. Grayson got to have kindergarten sneak a peek at Lipscomb & we all got to ride the bus and take a tour of the school. He LOVED the bus and was officially ready to start in August!

May was a fun & busy month! We spent Mother's Day at the Sounds game with Grayson's baseball team! They got to go out on the field with the players and stand out on the field during the National Anthem. It was so fun! The little kids also finished out their preschool year with the preschool program (Cheney totally stole the show--little performer) & Grayson graduated from pre-k!

In June we spent a week in Hilton Head with my parents! We had so much fun that we booked our 2017 trip almost immediately after! Grayson really learned how to swim & really enjoyed the water. The kids also did a day camp at church called Playcation & it was awesome. They had a blast and it gave me 3 days of kid-free time. THAT IS WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF!

In July we celebrated the 4th of July at our favorite little downtown Franklin festival & then went to see fireworks with friends. Sadly, it thundered right before it started so we had to wait a night for those. We also started celebrating our family birthdays! Ben turned 32 and Griffin turned 4! We did a combined birthday party for Cheney & Griffin and had a petting zoo in our backyard. Ben thought I had lost my mind but it was amazing! Now I would like a small farm.

August brought about a huge change for our family: Grayson started KINDERGARTEN. He wasn't really nervous & loved it from the start. He has done so well, is learning so much, and has already made lots of new friends. I love his teacher and his school! He is also obsessed with his bus driver, Ms. Andi:) Our Cheney girl turned TWO on August 6th & is turning into such a big girl! Grayson also starting playing baseball in the 7 year old league. I was apprehensive about bumping him up, but he did so great and improved so much. Their team was a great group of boys & I am hoping they will get to play together again this spring!

In September we let our kids in on a little secret we had been keeping from them. We were planning on spending a week in Disney World during the week of Grayson's birthday! As if that wasn't a fun enough surprise, Mimi and Pops showed up in our resort lobby--the kids were pumped! It was a magical week with our crew & we definitely have become that family that is Disney obsessed. Grayson turned 6 & is so grown up. He is sports obsessed & so athletic. The little kids started preschool & love their new classes. I became lead teacher in my preschool class & still love spending two days a week with a group of 3 year olds!

October was spent exploring all of the local pumpkin patches (it is our favorite thing to do) and going on hay rides. We spent Halloween with some neighbors at a block party & then went trick or treating. We also went to our first Trunk or Treat with some friends & had a blast!

November as a sports-free month which meant some relaxing weekends! We of course started decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving because that is how we roll. We spent Thanksgiving in Alabama & got our bellies full of yummy food! Hudson gave us a scare when his back started hurting again, but thankfully he was fine and it just meant he got to tag along on our road trip.

December was so much fun with all of our Christmas activities! The kids all had classroom parties, we went to Opryland to look at lights, we saw the Jellystone lights for the first time, watched way too many Christmas movies, & got lots of fun new toys.

I am so ready for 2017. God has opened new doors over the last couple of months & we are excited to see what He has in store for us. Happy New Year!