Menu Monday

Menu Monday went on a short hiatus between life & sickness. But, have no fear, it is back! This weather has been amazing the last few days & I am excited about grilling out more. Makes planning meals easier! Here's what the Mays are eating this week:
Baked Chicken Parmesan - kid-friendly and much healthier than frying!
Monday: Baked Chicken Parmesan, garlic mashed potatoes, & green beans
Tuesday: Grilled chicken, sautéed squash, & baked sweet potatoes (I usually just marinate the chicken in olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, & rosemary. What's your favorite marinade?)
Wednesday: Flank Steak Street Tacos -- I am excited to try these! Someone shared the recipe on Instagram recently and they sound so good! I will post it next week if we like it!
Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken I howsweeteats.com
Friday: Cheeseburgers (we use the Fuddruckers copycat seasoning recipe & it is so tasty!) & sweet potato tots (Thanks Aldi!)
Taco Bell Mexican Pizzas


just because it needs to be said

The other night I happened to be looking at my blog and I noticed a comment on a post that I had not yet read. It was an ugly comment. This has happened a few times before, but this one pulled at my mama heart strings. I hate that I even feel the need to talk about it, but this is my space & I am going to.
I started this blog 7 years ago as a newlywed in a new city.  We were not close to any of our family or friends & this is how I shared our life with them. Along the way I found a little niche of other mamas who blogged and it became a community for me. Almost like a sisterhood.  We have shared joys, trials, and heartbreak with one another. It's an amazing little community & we rally around one another even though many of us have never met in person.  Ben laughs when so many of our Christmas cards come from people he has never even seen. But I know them! I consider so many of my "friends who live in the internet" to be real, close friends.
But, let me make one thing clear: I blog for myself as a way to keep up with our life & for our families and friends to keep up with us.  I blog about real life: the good, the bad, & sometimes even the ugly. If you have a problem with me, I am more than happy to have a respectful adult conversation.  However, hateful comments --especially aimed at our children -- will not be tolerated. This is not a place to tear down my family & those comments will not be published. End of story.
I hate that this is even a post, but I just couldn't let it go unnoticed. Thank you to those who have always been kind & encouraging...if I could give each of you a fist bump I would! I'll end with a picture, just because they are cute!


an update

The past week and a half have been so hard to process because everything has happened so fast. My mom had her surgery last Monday to remove the spot on her lung. She was expecting to be in the hospital for 3-4 days, but her recovery went so well that she was able to go home the next afternoon! She is doing great; still sore, still resting, but doing great. We had to wait until Thursday to get the results back from pathology. That seemed like the longest part of it. Thursday afternoon I got the best call ever...her doctor had been able to remove ALL the cancer & it had not spread! No chemo, no radiation...she is all done and cancer free! I can't even tell you how thankful I am! I hated that I couldn't be there during the week since Cheney was so sick, but I did make a quick trip home over the weekend. I had to see my mom with my own eyes and give her a hug!
While my mom was prepping for surgery, I was at the pediatrician's office again with our girl. She had a 102-104 fever all last weekend & was so miserable. We finally figured out that she had a yucky UTI and tonsillitis. No wonder she was so miserable! We switched her meds and by the end of the week she was feeling better.
That is, until Monday. When she started throwing up. SO, basically we were back at square one. Sick again. Over the last 5 weeks Cheney has had 3 fever viruses (we think they are viral) & 3 stomach bugs. She hasn't had one whole week where she has stayed healthy & she really has not been around many kids other than the boys.  My gut has been telling me that something is off & I was so relieved when our pediatrician called yesterday and referred us to Vanderbilt. We will see a specialist in 2 weeks to figure out why Cheney is getting sick so often & make sure it is nothing serious.  Maybe it is just a string of bad luck, but I will be happy to have another set of skilled eyes look at her blood work!
So, that's where we are! Hopefully we can keep this baby healthy & get some answers soon. Thanks for all of your prayers & encouragement! I've got to give this girl lots of credit. She has been so sick but she still has the sweetest little personality! Cheney is the toughest girl I know. We love this sweet baby of ours!


when life is hard

I left off last week saying that we had pretty much kept Cheney away from all humans for well over a week in hopes that her immune system could recover. Well, on Thursday she got a high fever again at school. We went to the pediatrician on Thursday afternoon and our doctor ordered some blood work to be done so we could figure out why she was getting sick so often. That was brutal. Two sweet nurses tried at his office (well after closing time) & couldn't find a good vein. We went to the hospital and I stayed with our feverish & pitiful girl for almost 3 hours there. After 3 more attempts, they finally got what they needed. Cheney was so brave but it was not easy on my mama heart. It was awful. We have some answers but will get more tomorrow. She has had a 102-104 fever all weekend. I'm just so ready for our baby girl to feel good again.
That's not even the bulk of it. Last Wednesday we also found out that my mom has cancer. I hate even writing that out. I hate cancer. She's been trying to get answers as to why she is short of breath a lot & they found out that a spot on her lung is cancer. It's small (thank God) and a very slow growing type of cancer.  We are praying, praying, praying that it has not spread to her lymph nodes. She has surgery tomorrow to remove the spot & we will find out more after that.
This week has been hard.  Hard because it breaks my heart to see my little girl so sick & hard because the unknown is downright scary. I'm a planner. I don't like surprises. I want to know answers to something immediately.
This week has been an emotional rollercoaster. I have quite literally felt ALL THE FEELS. I have been mad, sad, overwhelmed, and I have been thankful. Thankful that my mom has great doctors. Thankful that they have a plan of action. Thankful that even though cancer is big (and ugly. and horrible) GOD IS BIGGER.
This is the story I read over and over on Thursday morning.  Daniel 3...the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  They chose to be faithful no matter what the consequences were.  I know how I want this story to end. But, if it doesn't go my way, He is still good.
He is still good. 


Menu Monday

Well, I think Cheney's plague has finally passed. She has been quarantined all weekend so that she wouldn't catch anything else! I feel like my brain isn't working after the doozy of last week so our menu is super simple. Speaking of brain not working, I drove all the to Aldi with the boys yesterday with an expired debit card. Big fat oops. Ben had to come to my rescue. Adulting is hard, y'all.
Monday: Oven fried chicken, baked sweet potatoes, & broccoli
Tuesday: BBQ Chicken pizzas (these are our favorite!) Using tortillas as crust is the best cheat way to get thin crust at home!
Wednesday: Orange chicken, fried rice (I will post my recipe below. It is super easy!), & steamed broccoli
Thursday: Chicken cutlets with brown gravy, mashed potatoes, & peas
Friday: Tacos
Saturday: out!
My at-home fried rice recipe:
1 boil-in-a-bag white rice
1 cup frozen mixed veggies
1 tbs sesame oil
soy sauce
2 eggs, scrambled
Prepare the rice as usual & set aside. Heat up the sesame oil in a skillet and sauté the veggies for a couple of minutes. Add in rice. Add a few shakes of soy sauce. I don't measure, I think it all depends on how you like it. Just taste & add! Make a well in the rice and add the scrambled eggs. Stir around quickly until well mixed. That's it! 


Cheney: 18 months old

Our Cheney girl is 18 months old! I want to freeze time and remember her exactly like this. I was so good about doing monthly updates on the boys each month until they turned two. I haven't been so good with Cheney. But, 18 months is a pretty big milestone. Halfway to TWO. Can't even believe it!
Cheney is almost 21 pounds and 33in tall. She just moved into a size 5.5 shoe and wears all 18 month clothes. She's our tall, leggy girl! Her hair is starting to grow pretty fast & she's developing the awkward baby mullet. She has the prettiest blonde hair and even some curls in the back!
I am LOVING watching Cheney's big personality develop. She knows what she wants, when she wants it. She can Hulk smash with her brothers but also loves to wear her shiny red shoes and pick out bows. Right now Cheney loves babies. Real babies; not her dolls. She will play with her dolls & actually likes being "Dr. Cheney" and checking on them. But a real baby?? SHE IS OBSESSED. Hearing her say the word "bay-bee" is the cutest!
 Our girl LOVES being outside. She loves playing in the cul-de-sac, going down her slide, exploring the backyard, & jumping on the trampoline. She loves her rocking giraffe, coloring, looking at books, & her pretend makeup. She is fast, mischievous, funny, & a really good climber! Cheney is also obsessed with animals! Dogs are her favorite but she loves reading books with animals in them. We've been practicing lots of animal sounds! She loves going to church and school & I think praise and music are her favorites. I love watching her dance & clap to all the music!
 Cheney's vocabulary has exploded recently! She is saying: Daddy, Mama, Bubba (Grayson), Gugga (Griffin), Huddy, Ellie, Jack, pink, bowl, shoes, bow, Nana, Mimi, ball, dog, choo choo, baby, thank you, night night, & yummy. I'm sure there are more, but those are the frequent words. I feel like she is learning new words every day!

I can't imagine our family without this sweet little girl. It's been 18 month and her brothers are still just as smitten by her. Cheney has the best little personality & I love watching her learn new things every day. I am so blessed that I get to be her mama! Happy HALF BIRTHDAY, Cheney girl. We love you SO much! 


State of Affairs

I feel like we live at the pediatrician these days. We sure do spend a lot of time there. This has definitely seemed like the sickest winter we have ever had.  Grayson has an ear infection & missed school yesterday.
Cheney has had a cold for like 12 weeks now but this week her cough has gotten so bad. It's messing with her sleep and it is making her choke and throw up. fun times, right? Her first year of preschool has been a doozy on her immune system. Look at those two sickies. They both passed out this morning on their own in the bonus room. That never happens. We are SO ready for spring!
Well, we have entered into a stage that I originally dreaded. The NO NAP stage. Grayson has always been our amazing sleeper & he actually just stopped napping in the last several months. I know; pretty amazing since he is almost 5 1/2! Griffin just decided over the last week that he is "too big" for naps. It was taking longer and longer for him to fall asleep & if he slept too long, night time was not fun. So, he has stopped napping. And guess what? We are surviving! It's actually not bad! The boys entertain each other and we can do fun big kid stuff while Cheney sleeps. The best part? They go to bed early and they fall asleep fast! My boys are growing up. It makes me laugh that they both stopped napping at the same time & they are 2 years apart.
We sponsor a little boy through Compassion named Charles. He is 6 years old and lives in Togo, Africa. We got new pictures of him last month but it had been awhile since we had gotten a letter. We specifically prayed on Monday night that we would hear from him soon. I went to the mailbox yesterday & his letter was sitting on top. How cool is that?! God is in the details, my friends! Grayson was so excited. When I reminded him that we had just prayed the night before about getting a letter soon his eyes got so big. He said "God gave us this today!" It was so sweet. Grayson drew a picture of Charles and himself playing soccer & we will send it to him this week. I would LOVE for Grayson and Charles to actually meet one day. 


Menu Monday

We had a pretty successful week of sticking to our menu. The time we went out, we actually ate for free because of vouchers we had. Wish that happened all the time! The crowd favorite was definitely the Buffalo Ranch Ritz Cracker Chicken. I posted the recipe on Friday if you are interested! Here is what we are having this week:

Taco Bell Mexican Pizzas
Monday: Copycat Taco Bell Mexican Pizzas. I am embarrassingly excited about these!!!!

Tuesday: Baked chicken, green beans, baked sweet potatoes. (the boys actually ate sweet potatoes last week. WHAT IN THE WORLD.)

Thursday: Spaghetti and Garlic Bread

Friday: French Bread Pizzas...the boys love making their own pizzas!

Saturday: out

Sunday: Super Bowl food! This is the first year Grayson has been excited about the game. He requested football food. Ben is making his Jalapeno Bacon Chicken bites & we are having pigs in a blanket and rotel dip. Fancy, right?!