And then there were 4….

We are so blessed to announce that in May Easton will be a Big Brother….and 3 will become 4!

I have every good intention possible to be more present on this blog.  I have a crazy (almost) 2 year old.  Pregnancy the second time around is a whole new ball game.  
Truly, since getting pregnant, it’s been nothing but exhaustion and nausea.  Is the exhaustion the 2 year old or the pregnancy, though? That’s the real question. 
I’d love to be better about documenting this beautiful life we live.  Beautiful – as in crazy and screwed up.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  
Well, maybe a weekend away in Nashville with the girlfriends when I’m NOT nursing or pregnant. 

The Truth Behind Meal Planning

Here’s the truth behind meal planning

See that August calendar?  See all the changes? 
That’s real life people.  
Shit happens and momma don’t feel like cooking.  
Or, poppa goes out of town and momma finds all the possible excuses to go to dinner with girlfriends and their cherubs.  
Lots of arrows.  Lots of crossing out.  
That’s the truth behind meal planning.  
The best part about meal planning is.  I buy groceries for the week based on my meals I’m planning.  BUT, if we didn’t get to eat a meal I purchased groceries for the week before….then guess what? 
We are eating it the following week instead and that is less groceries to purchase!
It’s a beautiful thing. 
Wanna know what’s not beautiful? 
A 1 year old who refuses to eat a decent meal. 
A husband who works his ass off and is hardly ever home to eat my home cooked meal. 
A wife who basically cooks a meal for herself. 
A raging toddler who throws that delicious meal at the dog. 
A beastly little 1 year old who claims he’s “hungy” and wants to “eat” all the time but once it’s time to sit down at the dinner table he screams like a lunatic at what you’ve prepared. 
Those things are not beautiful at all. 
In fact, they’re enough to make me lose my shit on a nightly basis. 
But, I’ll try again. 
Here’s my plan for September and maybe there won’t be as m any arrows? 
One can hope!

What’s for dinner?

Before long I’m sure my sweet blonde baby will be asking, “Momma, what’s for dinner?” and in just a few days it is time for us to settle back in to our school routine.  Summer is carefree and poor planning.  Frosted flakes for dinner after I put the cherub to bed and lots of pb&js for him on his picnic table outside.

I do my best to relax during the summer, including my lack of dinner planning.

Sadly, that time has come to an end.  The beautiful relaxing mornings will fade away come Friday and it will be back to strict bedtime routines, mornings before the sun comes up, and dinner on the table by 5.

How do I do it?

Meal planning and prep.

It’s not your Whole 30 Super Healthy kind of meal planning.  It’s just meal planning to avoid the question, “What’s for dinner?” and (added bonus) to simplify grocery shopping every week.

Each week I order my groceries from Walmart Pick-Up and it saves us a lot of money.  I usually pick up on Thursday’s on our way home from work and I get our groceries for the following week.

My biggest tips for meal planning would have to be:

  • Plan out your meals for the month in advance if you can, but if that seems like too much….go for one week at a time.  That is truthfully how I started out meal planning over a year ago.  
  • Store snack items in a special spot in the fridge.  We have a drawer full of applesauce, yogurts, and cheesesticks.  
  • Grocery shop once a week and I highly recommend Walmart’s Pick-Up if you’re from our area.  I’ve had no problems with it and can’t say enough amazing things about how it saves my life (and sanity).   You can get $10 off multiple times by sharing a code.  
  • Shop for pantry and bulk items with Amazon so they arrive on your porch for FREE or make a monthly Sam’s Club trip.  
  • Take care of prepping for your meals as you unpack your groceries (marinate, chop, etc.)(
  • Keep a running grocery list on your phone and immediately add things when you’re running low.  I like to use Google Keep for my notes on my phone.  
  • Look for a creative way to use a meal multiple times.  For example, I like to make chicken tacos on a Monday.  Then, on Thursday I use the leftovers to make quesadillas.  

My friends have often asked me how I come up with so many meal ideas to fill up a monthly calendar.  Honestly, I have more than a months worth but so many meals feel like they only are fit to eat in the winter and same goes for summer.

Here are the list of meals I keep in my find for when I sit down to meal plan:

  • Ham and Cheese sliders (I love to make these the day before and then just bake them after work the next day.  They also are great as leftover so make plenty so you have some!)
  • Beef Tacos
  • Chicken tacos – Super easy crockpot meal.  Frozen chicken breasts, salsa, taco seasoning.  Cook on low all day and come home to dinner!  I eat with taco shells or fritos!
  • Salmon and rice – I usually do butter and lemon pepper seasoning with my salmon.  
  • Roast, mashed potatoes, corn – Super easy crockpot meal
  • French dips – Another easy crockpot meal
  • Lasagna – I love to split this recipe up into two 9×9 pans and then freeze one for the next time!
  • Fajitas – I love the oven baked fajitas.  It takes about 10 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to bake.  
  • Steak with grilled veggies
  • Pork BBQ – This is one that Mike usually takes care of.  He smokes it and we have enough for 3-4 meals.  
  • Chili – More of a winter meal
  • Homemade pizza – I like to use leftover pork bbq and make a bbq pizza!
  • Vegetable beef soup – I like this one for a Sunday because it requires more prep.  It does, however, make a ton of leftovers which is great for the week. 
  • Grilled or baked pork chops
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Grilled chicken – I like to marinade in ranch or italian dressing all day. 
  • Buffalo chicken sliders, or wraps, or just dip!
  • Chicken fried rice
  • Cheeseburgers
  • Tilapia
  • Fried Chicken (my speciality….just like momma made)
  • Beef stew
  • Salmon patties
  • Baked pesto stuffed chicken (Pinterest!)
  • chicken fingers and fries (for those nights you just simply can’t cook)
  • grilled cheese and soup of choice
  • Quesadillas – We have a little maker….amazing!
  • Breakfast – waffles, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches….this is a family favorite because we often don’t even get a big breakfast on the weekends
  • Spaghetti
  • Beef and noodles – crockpot!
  • Meatloaf
  • Ribs – Mike handles this one on the smoker!
  • Smoked sausage
  • Cubed steak
  • Parmesan Herb Salmon
  • Butter Chicken – Sooooo yummmmy…..newest favorite from Pinterest
  • Lemon chicken Piccata
  • Chicken and broccoli stir fry
  • Pork fritters (yes, frozen ones in a yellow/blue box and don’t hate)
  • Garlic shrimp and pasta
When I meal plan, I don’t really consider sides.  I have enough sides stocked in the fridge or pantry.  I keep vegetables and potatoes or rice on hand always.  I just like to wait and see what sounds good.  We are creatures of habit and do tend to eat the same things with each meal. 
I hope this has helped some of you who struggle with the question, “What’s for dinner?”  
I suggest starting small with a weekly plan and build from there! If you’d like specific recipes for any of my meals above don’t hesitate to ask!  I’d love to share. 

Capturing Us

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({ google_ad_client: “ca-pub-5951501924902084”, enable_page_level_ads: true }); Our amazingly talented cousin, Codi, always captures the very best of our family.

How can this boy be 1 1/2 years old?

This is most definitely my favorite of all of us!

The cousin tower is always a must!

Mamaw, Papaw, and the crew!

Mamaw Debbie’s grandbabies on a very special blanket she started so many years ago!

The Wayne boys

I want to frame them ALL!
Truly Fortunate 

Thank you JJ….and Cara

First time momma here.

About a year ago a friend of mine, Cara, introduced me to what quickly became my favorite artist and songs of all time.

JJ Heller.

She has the most beautiful voice and just absolutely raw talent.

Then, to top it all off, her songs speak to me.  Every single one of them.

They make me cry.  They make me laugh.  I feel like she’s met me.  She gets me.  She’s taken the time to write my thoughts and feelings into words so that the world can get me too.

My favorite album is “I Dream of You” but I’ll be honest and tell you I haven’t given much time to any of her other music because I’m so obsessed with her songs on this album.

One particular song has really struck me lately.

I’ll probably have to write about more of her music and what it means to me….but I felt like starting here

The song “I Know You Will” has me torn and tearful each time I hear it.

I don’t want to get into what my opinions are on world matters, but I know this for certain, I’m a little scared and nervous for the hate I see spewed all across the social media outlets I use to enjoy being a part of.

There’s so much hate.  Hate for him.  Hate for her.  Hate for everyone.

My most important job now that I’m a mother….is being a mother.  I believe my husband fully understands that I feel that being Easton’s mother is equally as important as being his wife, if not more on some occasions.  He’s okay with this.  He also knows it makes me the bad ass mom that I am.

This song….

These lyrics…

You don’t need to let the rain clouds underneath your skin 

Love sings louder than the darkness

Let the light shine in

I know you will”



Each and every day I hope I teach my sweet boy that his love will also sing louder than any darkness and any hate and I pray that he lets his light shine for the hope he feels in his heart.

I know he will.

Changes

They say change can be good.
I think sometimes change can also be hard.
With age, I’ve learned it’s easier to just “roll with the punches” and “go with the flow” when it comes to change.

One of life’s most difficult changes is the people you love.  It seems like just yesterday that my oldest nephew was born.  Many years later my brother brings another sweet boy into this world.

Our very own little boy has changed so much in the last year.  As I looked back on our monthly pictures I could not believe the baby we brought home is the same we love on every day.

And in the last two months we’ve encountered more of life’s biggest changes.  
We’ve moved into our dream home. 
We made our first big mortgage payment. 
We spent our first Christmas in our own home. 
We’ve turned these beautiful walls into a place I love to spend each and every day. 
A place we can call home. 
The boy is growing so fast and learning to throw tantrums and act a fool. 
It’s about to get real fun!

Easton is ONE

Easton is a ONE year old…as of Tuesday. 
Did you hear that? 
Just my heart breaking a little. 
We’re moving from baby to toddler at warp speed and it’s just so tough. His first year of life has flown by and although some of the nights have been long the days seem so short. There just isn’t enough time in the day to love on him enough. 
In the last month Easton….
  • learned to walk – He’s no pro, but he’s getting pretty darn good at it.  When he falls he let’s out a giant grunt of disgust.  Almost like he’s saying “awwww &*$# it!”  His first couple steps were at home with momma and daddy but they were just a couple at a time.  THEN the night that Gentry was born (November 2nd) he decided to shock us all and casually walk from Mamaw to Papaw Plank out of no where.  So, of course we grabbed some bribery tools and got him going back and forth between the aunts with some snacks to guide him and videoed it!
  • had his first Halloween.  We tried the cute and fuzzy wolf costume and he had a great howl down…but he was terrified of the costume.  So, he was an astronaut!  I was the MilkyWay and daddy was “Houston” as in “Houston, we have a problem.”
  • had another ear infection.  This is our second and hopefully his last.  It’s so hard when he doesn’t feel well and I don’t know what’s wrong and can’t take away the pain.  He’s pathetic and crabby and I wish I didn’t have to go to work.  It’s rough.  
  • has started to throw fits.  He has a great fake cry routine and it’s quite pathetic as well.  How do parents not laugh at that?  I know it’s probably not the correct reaction, but come ON!
  • gets upset over the loss of food.  Example – I like Oreos.  I don’t like to share Oreos.  Easton does NOT like it when I take the last bite.  See above.  
  • loves to dance.  Anything with a good beat.  That Ju Ju song really gets him going.  I’m old, don’t know the name.  You know the one I’m talking about.  We listen to Q95 in the kitchen while I’m making dinner so he loves some good rock as well.  He even jammed out most of this evening at Hooters.  Hands in the area.  Bobbing his head.  Bouncing his knees.  Kid has moves for sure.  
  • loves music.  Any music.  Christmas music, especially.  Just like momma!
  • howls, makes a surprised face, blows kisses, and we are working on more tricks each day.  
  • had a big huge COWBOY birthday party with all his loved ones.  He was so blessed with amazing gifts that will last for the next year, no doubt.  Some momma even plans to hide away for the summer time when we need something new to sneak out!
  • had dinner for his 1st birthday at HOOTERS!  Momma was craving it just like I was one year ago when he was born.  Weird?!
  • received tons of sweet notes, and even some gifts from my students.  They must know that each day is very hard for me to leave him.  I’m truly fortunate to work with a group this year that gets that.  They all encouraged me to stay home today but since I’m taking two days next week for our move and to remember my mom then I just couldn’t take another day.  So, they made him lots of homemade cards and even some a stuffed animal, a book, and a new outfit.  The little notes on the cards were the sweetest ever.  “Did you know you have the best mom ever?” one student wrote.  Melt my heart.  
  • doesn’t have his 12 month checkup until Monday, but I would guess he’s between 24-25 pounds.  And, he’s grown more than 2 inches in the last three months!  
  • hates being strapped in his car seat unless there is a snack to occupy him and eating out is becoming more difficult.  Without a dog to pick up the food he throws it gets a little embarassing.  
  • has pooped on the potty 3 times.  I can tell when it’s about to happen if I pay attention and why not waste a diaper if he will participate.  The first time he cried when I sat him down and now he just bounces up and down until it happens.  He’s no genius, but a friend at church recommended this to me and I figure, why not?!
  • still has 8 teeth.  Each time he’s cranky I wonder when those molars are coming through.  Not yet!
  • is very busy and talkative although most of the time we have no idea what he is saying.  He can say dada, momma, dog, hi, bye and we are pretty sure he’s said BoBo (Brody), Shai (Shailynn), and Holly (Aunt Holly).

    Waiting for Gentry to be born!


  • Getting ready to move to a new house!

    We voted in the most ridiculous election ever!
    His new mean mug

    Practicing his ONE finger!

    Celebrating Unkie’s birthday!
    Some mornings are rough..

    Getting so fresh and so clean for his big party!

    His big ONE year old photo shoot with Didi!
    The night before he turned ONE

    Wow how time has flown by

    Birthday celebrations with his buddies at Jenny’s!

    A tattoo….

    and dinner at Hooter’s!

Here’s an amazing year sweet boy. 
And many, many more
Love you more, 
Momma

Big moments means a little bit of heartache

There are a lot of BIG life moments about to happen.

Easton’s turning 1.
Thanksgiving.
Krista turns 40.
We move into our own home.
Mom’s been gone for 15 years
Brody turns 6
Christmas.

Do you know what that means for me?

Anxiety.
Depression.
Sadness.
A huge feeling of loss.

What should be some of the happiest times turns into the saddest….when I let it.

I try and stay positive and remember she’s with me and she’s proud and she gets to see it all.

But, I miss her.
I wish she was here to help me through it.  I wish she was here to help me put on the parties and make the food and help me decorate.

I’m so thankful for my helpful team.  My sister.  My best friends . My aunts.  I’m so blessed to share these moments with them.

My sweet husband loves and cares for me so much through these times.  When I cry and tell him I just miss my mom.  He does the best he can and just says, “I know.”  If I’m driving him crazy he doesn’t let it on one bit.

The holidays are tough when you miss someone so much.

Trick or Treat!

Easton’s 1st Halloween!
Of course like all things with parenthood it didn’t quite go as perfectly planned. 
Found an adorable fluffy squishy wolf costume. 
He was terrified. 
We tried it multiple times over the course of October with no luck. 
So, 10 days before Halloween momma orders this cute astronaut costume. 
And because I (momma) firmly believe in family costumes for as long as everyone will play my little game we made daddy “Houston” because “Houston, we have a problem” and mommy “Milkyway” because …..well….you know.  
We had fun with our cousins trick or treating Saturday afternoon in on Main Street. 

Visiting Aunt Cathy

Of course Brody can’t take a normal picture….goof ball!

Visiting Papaw in the fields

Visiting Grandma and Grandpa S

 Then on Sunday we decided to carve a pumpkin and see what the guts felt like. 
He was quite disgusted. 

Early this morning we got him dressed for Mrs. Jenny’s Halloween party and at 6:30 am he was less than thrilled about being dressed up.  

After playing with his friends all day we made a few stops for Halloween. 
Visited Great Great Aunt Mary

And Mamaw

And some more fun at Aunt Cathy’s with her beautiful backdrops…

So tired of getting in and out of his carseat…

Last stop to see if we could convince Gentry to come out and see cousin Colton. 
He was terrified of Colton…

And Gentry stayed in….but we got to see Aunt Holly!

We love the crafts he makes with Mrs. Jenny!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!

11 months

Our baby will soon be one…..and I’ll just be over here crying because when everyone told us “it goes by so quickly” they seriously weren’t lying.  Didn’t we just bring him home from the hospital?  Didn’t I just cry nonstop because I had no clue how I was going to live with a baby?

I think I’ve got things figured out….for now.  It’s a day to day thing.

Each day is blessing, we know, and we soak up every single moment we have with him.  In the last month I was so lucky to have two whole weeks off to make incredible memories with our little sweetheart and daddy’s work has slowed down a bit so he could enjoy a day or two with us two.

He really has no idea how happy he makes us and I thank God each and every day for blessing us with such a good baby and such a sweet husband and father to him.  He has no idea how in love we are with every move he makes, rotten and evil included.  And there are starting to be more ornery moves than ever before so look out world!

In the last month …….

we got to watch lots of our cousins soccer games
attend his first Luebkeman and Plank family reunions
watch another cousin’s football games
look at many of houses with mommy and daddy searching for the perfect one to call our new home
celebrate cousin Tracy’s 40th birthday and surprise him
celebrate our cousin, Katie, and her little princess who we can’t wait to meet

He’s started to be a little picky on food and over Fall Break he preferred baby food over table food.  He’d much rather have a roll or a muffin than fruits or veggies and I know exactly where he gets that from!  He loves grilled cheese and whatever is on our plate and not his.  He’s constantly on the move and loves to be doing whatever he shouldn’t be doing.

He’s not taking any steps yet, but I think it will be any day now.  When he was with his cousins he attempted a step and nose dived and hasn’t tried since.  It kind of caught us all by surprise.

He loves his new tent and tunnel and riding his tractor around the living room.  He’s saying “Dada” and screams it often.  He cries “momma” when he’s sad or upset.  He makes the “ba” sound for dog and ball and I’m looking forward to hearing him say more.  He still says “I” a lot and usually points to the nose even though we are working on eyes, nose, ears, and mouth.  He still has his 8 teeth and has been playing with his tongue a lot lately (and trying to pull the dog’s tongue) which makes me wonder if those back teeth might be starting to come in.  

He loves to read books and his favorites are the ones with flaps or noise.  He even got to take his favorite books into Mrs. Jenny’s one day and share with his friends!

We enjoyed Fall Break together and went to…..Hobby Lobby, Tuttle’s, The Children’s Museum, Piney Acres, Kiki’s school playground, Riley Days, Papaw’s retirement party, Edinburg Outlets, Quack Daddy Donuts, Tuttle’s again, tractor rides with Papaw, Newport Aquarium, IKE, The Children’s Museum again, and lastly Zoo Boo.  We were BUSY!

I love making memories and making every second count with this little boy.  He has every bit of my heart that his daddy didn’t already have.  He’s growing so much and he amazes me each day.

  

My first Luebkeman family reunion!
Me and my cousin Ryan

Mom thinks it’s so cute how I sleep with my arms tucked and my legs crossed.  

Me and my buddies at the sitters. 

Me and my girlfriend, Gracie

Watching Colton play some football!

New coats from Mamaw!  She loves to shop for me!

One of my favorite spots in the house is the pillows!
Fall Break begins!  Swinging at Tuttle’s!

I love to stand on the pew and watch daddy outside.  

Messy food makes mommy nauseous.  

My first time at The Children’s Museum!

We met my friends!

My first time at Bonicci’s too!

My first time at the dog park, taking a walk, and feeding the ducks with my cousins.  

Pumpkin Patch with Daddy at Piney Acres!

We finally made it to a Fortville Cruise In too and checked out the cool cars.  

Playing at Kiki’s playground with my cousins!

The Riley Day’s Flower Parade

A donut date with Aunt Amanda and her kids!

My first time riding in a tractor with Papaw

Here’s what happens when I don’t nap because my cousins are around and I can’t stop….

My first trip to IKEA

Newport Aquarium was awesome because we had daddy and I LOVE fish!

Another trip to the Children’s Museum with friends!

Of course momma had to take the nice warm October night and ruin it by painting my butt…and Gracie’s too.  

We had fun though!

Zoo Boo!

Our original costume….the cute little wolf….fell through because I threw a huge fit and refused to wear it.
Meg’s pumpkin for the win! 

First morning back to Mrs. Jenny was rough and I sobbed and didn’t want mom to leave but pancakes solved all my problems.  

I love these girls!

My Papaw finally retired after 40 years at Fortville Tire Center

 It’s hard to believe he’s 23.5 pounds and 11 months old.
I wish I could stop time, but then we wouldn’t get to watch him grow.
He’s a funny boy with a snuggly warm heart and I just know he’ll move mountains and make us proud.

We love you more than ice cream Easton Wayne……and that’s a lot!