Sunday, August 10, 2014

Anyone Still Out There?

Helllllooooo!!!! Anyone still out there?

Hi! It's me, the absentee blogger. 

I am really, really hoping to get into a groove now that preK has started and we are getting back into a routine at home. Of course, our Fall routine is crazy with consignment sales, football Fridays, and my OSHA work doubles with end of the year deadlines, but I am DETERMINED to check in at least weekly. Maybe thoughts for Thursday, a Football Friday post and a weekend wrap up... 

What's been going on with The Ledfords... We went to Destin with my parents, Nicholas turned 4 and had a fabulous Star Wars party on July 5, we went to a couple of minor league baseball games, we've been at the pool a lot on the weekends, and Nicholas started preK at his school yesterday. (He is in a fabulous program at daycare, but he will go into the lottery for a spot in our county preK program next year, but if he doesn't get a spot he will start kindergarten) I have been burdened to blog and actually sat down several times to get started, but honestly, this summer has been so much fun and I have really enjoyed my break from blogging, twitter, and I cutback on Facebook and Instagram (although both are used to keep out of town family in the loop, so I didn't cut back much). It's amazing how much life happens when you put down the phone and just enjoy the moment.  

I'm hoping by the end of the month to have a birthday and vacation post up and hopefully get back to some weekly brain dump posts again. Until then, just wanted to pop in and say hi...if anyone is still there! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Struggle Is Real

The last couple of months have been so busy and I feel so behind on here.  I have so many posts that go through my mind several times a week, but there is just never enough time to get it typed out.  Work has been crazy, Nicholas was in baseball and it seems like I'm always chasing myself; struggling to keep the house clean and picked up, meal planning is lacking, and Lord knows by the time I workout at 5am, rush home, shower and get ready, work a 9-10 hour day, cook dinner, get Nicholas to bed around 9:00, my brain is TIRED!

It has been almost 4 years since I officially became a "work outside the home mom" and it took a long time for me to feel comfortable in that role.  I am finally in a place that I am happy with our life.  For the first two years or so I felt like I was the most unorganized, crazy person on the planet.  I had no clue how those with multiple children survived, I was barely getting by with 1!  The last year it has all kind of fallen into place.  I feel like we are in a great rhythm at home, I love my work, Michael loves his job, and we are just in a good place in life for the first time in about 6 years.

There are still some things in my life that I just can't figure out how to squeeze in.  I need to pick up and do laundry, meal prep, errands, plus I need a little "me time", and I have a stack of books by my bed I just can't get read after spending all day researching and reading current OSHA literature at work.  It is hard working, being a mommy, and still having time for everything I want to do.  I feel like I live life one crisis away from a meltdown. (Trust me that this is true, it happened last Thursday.)

How do you all keep your life in balance?  I want to hear from women in all stages of life!  New moms, older moms, stay at home moms, work outside the home moms, everyone! Leave a comment on how you survive a busy schedule, if you manage to exercise, read for fun, and still spend time with your family and not feel like you are drowning in life?  I also feel like I say the same things on here over and over, so now I want to hear from you! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Thoughts For Thursday

Look! I'm back within a week! That's got to be a record for me lately! Haha!  

1. Pool Time - we have been at our pool a lot over the last two weeks.  This past weekend we were there all day Saturday and Sunday and it was fabulous!  I love having a pool down the street, especially now that we have a child.  Nicholas' Gigi got him a space ship inflatable and he had a lot of fun with it Sunday and sharing it with the neighbor kids!  It makes me proud that he shares well (at least from what I see!) 

2. Beach Prep - we leave for the beach in just two weeks and I'm starting to make a list of everything we need.  I love making lists and I love getting ready for a trip!  I can't wait to get there and enjoy a few days of just relaxing at the beach with my favorite boys!

3.  Summer Reading Update - I found a book on my nightstand I have had in a pile of books since last summer and I am loving it.  I was hesitant to read Amercan Wife after I bought it when I realized it was based on Laura Bush and I was worried it would portray her in an unfavorable way. (I love George and Laura and decided to quit if it made them look bad)  I am more than halfway through and can't put it down at night. Hopefully I can finish it this weekend, then on to Moms Night Out! 

4.  Summer Hair - I have naturally curly hair that I flatiron during the Winter, but now that it is humid outside I am giving up.  I dried it curly today and I guess that is just how it will be the rest of the Summer.  Some things are not worth it and fighting Southern heat and humidity in June, July, and August sure isn't one of those things! 

5.  Anyone else find it hard to believe it's already June?!  I can't believe we are almost halfway through the year!  

6.  Playrooms - let's talk playrooms and clutter!  Anyone else feel like they cannot keep a playroom organized and clean...or is it just me?  It is the one room in my house I struggle with and find myself just shutting the door.  I have so many cute plans for our playroom and I will have a couple of days while on vacation from work that I plan to devote to our room of disaster! 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Thoughts For Thursday...On Friday Morning

1.  After my birthday it hit me hard that few of my clothes fit well and that it was only about 6 weeks until swimsuit season.  On a random Tuesday I went, joined a gym, and for 6 weeks now I have worked out almost every weekday morning at 5am! I've lost around 10 pounds and have modified my diet. I feel much better, less stress, and my clothes fit! 

2.  For the past year I've been planning Nicholas' fourth birthday. It would be an adorable Captain America/4th of July theme and I had so many cute ideas...until he discovered Star Wars. Now I am working on a theme I know very little about and mourning the fact that the day came where I no longer got to chose his party theme! Here is a sample of what I am working on now. Lots of stars, silver, and blue.

3.  I am starting a list of books for pool and beach reading this Summer, but I'm at a loss. I love chicklit and light, fun reads. My brain works so hard during the day I don't want a deep book at night.  Any suggestions?

4.  I am now closer to 35 than to 30 (ahhhhhh!) and I see a lot of people come through my office with skin cancer. It's enough to scare you to death!  I spent my teens and twenties baking in the sun...as in I had a tanning gel with glitter in it to "enhance your tan". It's funny how things change, because now I use 50 SPF. 

5.  I'm starting to make a decision regarding kindergarten. Nicholas is very smart and excels in preschool, however with a July birthday I am so torn over two years of PK4 starting kindergarten at 6, or going ahead and starting kidergarten at 5. This is actually super stressing me because I'm afraid of making the wrong decision either way. 

6.  We are heading to Destin in a few weeks and we are getting so excited! I have been going to Destin since I was 9 years old and it is one of my favorite places in the world (along with Disney and the Caribbean). We have some fun surprises lined up for Nicholas including a ride on the pirate ship! I am in desperate need for a vacation and am counting the days! 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Welcome Summer!

This Spring has brought with it several things to slow me down; projects at work, baseball, and life in general. It is my Summer goal to blog at least once a week to try to get back into the habit. With that goal, I am hoping to write a couple of posts this week, but we all know how that goes! :-)

This past weekend was such a fun kickoff for Summer! We spent a ton of time outside, enjoying time together and with friends...our favorite ways to spend our time! 

Friday Nicholas and I started our weekend early by leaving work and school at 12:15! It was fabulous! We were able to get groceries knocked out for the week, his hair cut, and even a trip to see Michael at work!  Needless to say, a 3 year old and a line of high end bicycles on stands don't mix... We almost had a domino effect of bicycles! Hahaha! 

Saturday was an amazingly fun day. I ran out in the morning and bought some plants for the front and back porch, came home and we spent the afternoon cleaning up the backyard. I love how our patio looks for Summer! I found adorable canvases it Bed Bath and Beyond and we've been buying cute little patio sights all Spring. Next up, new cushions and outdoor curtains! 
(No clue why my pictures from my phone are all so blurry this weekend.  Must have had something on the lens.  Sorry about that!)

Nicholas spent 9 hours Saturday sliding into his pirate pool (which is now a space ship from Star Wars. Such a shame he has no imagination! ;-) 


Our close friends, Millers and Castleberrys came over for a shrimp boil and the kids kept the slide going for a few more hours!  I did a terrible job taking pictures that night, but it was because we were just having fun being present. 


Note to self...never, ever send 3 men to a fireworks store without a set budget.  Hypothetically  speaking of course. :-) 



Sunday was a day of relaxing at the pool, my Nana's birthday, and a party at our friends house. Needless to say, a busy day!  Nicholas just took right back to the pool and you would have thought he has been swimming every day all winter! I am so proud of how well he swims with his puddle jumper on! 


My Nana turned 84 this weekend, so we had a small party for her Sunday afternoon. She is just doing so well since moving into assisted living and I pray we have many more days like Sunday with her!  Again, I didn't take very many pictures. 

Yesterday we spent the day swimming with friends at their pool. Nicholas just kills me how much he loves the water and how well he is doing swimming! 



All in all, it was an absolutely fabulous weekend or as my almost 4 year old said Saturday, it was one of "the best time ever!" 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Three Years Ago...

Three years ago yesterday an event happened that forever changed me.  It changed the way I did my job, it changed the way I cared for others, it changed the way I viewed my little town, and it changed the way I loved my family.  On April 27, 2011, a EF-4 tornado at 196mph came through my little town about 2 hours after it destroyed Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  That night and for the next several weeks, I had serious survivor's guilt.  There were 9 fatalities within miles of me and less than a mile from my house everything was destroyed.  How could this have happened so close to home?  I began seeing survivors as we cared for them at work and hearing their stories was the most humbling thing I've ever experienced.  The ones who were close to my age or who had young children just rocked my world.  If only the tornado had turned left instead of right less than a mile from my house, I would have been the one injured.  That was hard for me.

All of my life I've been an Alabama football fan (although I've added Tennessee to the mix after getting married).  It seemed unbelievable that a tornado did as much damage as it did in Tuscaloosa that afternoon.  The next day I heard one of the Alabama football players was in the hospital and had lost his girlfriend in the storm.  It was kind of like the final straw for me.  I could not imagine being 21 years old, holding my loved one in a closet and next thing I knew, she was gone.  Last Fall I found out that Carson Tinker, that 21 year old kid who had been through so much more than any kid should, was writing a book about his experience.  I knew I had to get that book!

It took me over 2 years to really shake the things I saw in the aftermath of that day.  Carson Tinker shares how he overcame so much in his book.  It isn't so much about the actual tornado, but rather how he kept his faith and chose to "be a blessing" rather than give up.  He tells his story of how he spent sleepless nights just reading his Bible, how he relied on his teammates, spent hours upon hours in rehab for his injuries, and how those around him encouraged him in so many ways.  He easily could have given up on his dreams, chosen to accept that his injuries ended his football career, and dwelled on the fact that he was here and his girlfriend was not.  Instead, he worked harder than he ever had and is now a NFL long snapper.  God has given him so many blessings, he is now giving back.
I want Nicholas to read this book one day and to know that no matter what circumstance God puts in your life, you can overcome it.  You do not let circumstance overcome you.  Let Carson be a blessing to you and read his book.  You will be so glad you did!

*I was given a copy of the book to read for this review.  You can preorder a copy today on Amazon or Lifeway.com.  It will be released on May 1.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Happy Birthday Michael!

Today is our favorite guy's birthday!  Michael has been away camping all weekend and we cannot wait until he gets home to spend his birthday with him!  I know I say it all the time, but it is true.  God has blessed me immensely and I'm so thankful for Michael.  He works hard to provide for us, is a fun, but good Daddy, and my best friend.  Here are a few of my favorite pictures of the birthday boy  and Nicholas to celebrate his big day!  





Happy Birthday Michael!  We love you!!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

First Baseball Tournament

As I mentioned in my post earlier today, Nicholas played in his first game a few weeks ago which was an exhibition type game in a preseason tournament.  His age group just played one game on a Saturday morning and they did great and had a lot of fun!  They earned their first trophies and saw how a game is played.




 After the game we took him downtown for some yummy ice cream.  He chose blue cotton candy and sure did seem to enjoy it!  Haha!

This weekend was our first real tournament and it was a full weekend of baseball!  They played THREE games yesterday and two today!  I still can't believe they made it all weekend!  Haha!  It was only about 5 minutes from our house, so we were able to go back and forth between games and I think that helped some.  The first game yesterday was a little touch and go, but the next two he did great!  

Here are some of the highlights of day 1:

Getting a hit on his first at bat!



During Game 2 they figured out exactly what they are supposed to do, catch the ball...but they ended up piling on and fighting over it...


 During Game 3 we began to slowly lose them.  This is how my child spend the last inning in the infield...  Haha!

We had a little later start today and only played two games.  The motivation today was that if they did well and everyone played hard, they would all get a trophy.  It's amazing what a trophy will do to motivate a kid!  Hahaha!

Nicholas' fan club came in full force this weekend!  Yesterday his Aunt Peggy came to his 1st game, today Lindsey and Katie came to both games and his Gigi and Pawapw stuck it out all weekend with us!  He is definitely a lucky little boy with such a large fan base!  :-)


Today didn't go quite as well as yesterday, but we still had fun!
 During the break today Nicholas had fun playing with his "new friends" as he calls them!
 We did have one little mishap today.  During the 1st inning of the last game, Nicholas got an abrasion to his arm and it was quite dramatic...and traumatic.  After we got him cleaned up and a couple of bandaids on it, he felt that it was just too hard to run, so he slowly walked from base to base while carrying his arm.  LOL!

When the games were over Gigi took him to the concession stand for 2 lollipops!  Pretty sure that was the highlight of his day, other than the trophy!
 We are sooooooo proud of these guys!  They played so hard all weekend and I just love our coaches!  Lori and Sue are awesome!  No way could I do what they are doing!
 Nicholas loved getting his trophy!  When they called his name he was so excited!
 As soon as we got home he ran and put it up on his dresser with his other trophy.  He should be proud of himself!  This was a hard weekend, but it was fun and worth how tired we all are tonight!

We Are Still Alive!

Just wanted to pop in and reassure everyone we are ok, just super busy!  Since I last posted, we've had baseball twice a week, a game, a tournament, I've been out of town for a work trip, trauma season is in full swing a little early so work has been crazy, and life has simply just taken priority.  Here is a quick recap of where we have been...

1. Nicholas is LOVING baseball and we are having so much fun!  He is doing pretty good when we can get him to stop playing in the dirt and wear his helmet to bat! Haha!  He had his first game a few weeks ago and is in a tournament this weekend.  I'm hoping to find time for a post about that tonight or later this week!


2. Three weeks ago I had an overnight work trip. That was a new thing for me!  I went to Knoxville for an OSHA class to help train for my new position.  It was a good break from the everyday routine, but I was happy to be back home with my boys when it was over!  I want to give a huge shout out to all of those Mommies that travel often.  I have no clue how you stay organized and pull it off!

3. Nicholas had a new babysitter a couple of Saturdays ago!  Nicholas has gotten to know one of my Dad's former players by seeing him at games and at my parents house a couple of times and has just fallen in love with him.  He came over and kept Nicholas while we went to a birthday party and it went great! They had a lot of fun and I'm so thankful Nicholas has someone like him to look up to! 

4. I have kept my resolution to spend more time with friends and having a monthly night out.  In January I went to dinner, February went to a wine tasting, and last Monday went to a paint and wine party with the ADPi alum group.  So much fun!  My cousin is also a member of the group, so it was fun to paint and spend some time with her.  This was our group

and my painting...
Not a masterpiece, but I think I'm going to hang it in my office to add some color.

5.  Last Friday we took Nicholas bowling for the first time.  He LOVED it!  He did pretty good too!


Michael won the first game, but I killed them the second!  :-)


That is just a quick summary and recap of our last month.  It has been wild and crazy, but mostly fun!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

First Night of Baseball!

Tuesday night was our first ever attempt to play organized sports and Nicholas loved it! It was so cold, so we had to bundle up as best as we could for practice, so he had one 3 different shades of blue and 3 different sets of stripes, but he was warm and cute anyway! :-)  We got there just in time and he started out by learning how to let the ball roll between his legs.


Next they had batting practice. Oh. My. Word. It was adorable!  He swung 5 or 6 times but finally got a hit!  It was the first time he has ever hit a ball pitched to him, so excuse his loud, obnoxious mother cheering at the end of this video. :-)



They practiced running the bases and he said that was his favorite...possibly because they got a skittle every time they made it around! 

All in all it was a great practice. Nicholas definitely needs to work on waiting his turn and the concept of hitting the ball not on a tee, but otherwise he did great! He woke up the next morning and immediately asked if he could go to baseball today! We've had practice again since and he did great again!  He has two more practices and then their first game!  GO LIL' ROOKIES!!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Learning A Lesson From Spider-man Valentines

The past month has been a struggle for me as a mom balancing a full time job, household chores, and a family. I've been out of work twice due to either a sick kid or snow, Michael has had to miss a day due to Nicholas having a rash and told he had to stay home from school, I've prepped over 100 items for consignment, cut over 20 newspaper articles and made a scrapbook for my Dad for his birthday, kept my house picked up, my family fed and clothed along with working on a big project at work, seeing patients and my daily tasks, and trying to keep up all of the above. I think all moms no matter if you stay home or work outside the home all face these times. Y'all, I want to be real here and let me say, I've struggled. I've lost sleep, overate, and shed a few tears over trying to stay afloat and I want those feeling the same way to know they aren't alone. 

Let's rewind a couple of weeks and recap a crazy day in my life. It was a Friday and my stress level and emotions were at a high because two days earlier day care administration decided that Nicholas should be sent home with a 24/hr sick suspension because they felt the rule we had been following related to the treatment of a rash was suddenly not good enough. Great. Then I find out that if I had just provided evidence we are using the medication we had been prescribed, he could have come back without a 24/hr leave. When he went back to school that Friday he cried and didn't want me to leave him. I had enough at that point. It was only 8am and I lost it. I had not sleep much for a few nights, spent 10 minutes trying to find the pants I wanted to wear to work that day, Nicholas spent 15 minutes while trying get leave lying in the kitchen floor crying over not wanting cereal, but rather oatmeal (after requesting the cereal), then a potty accident on the way to day care that led to me changing an embarrassed 3 year old in the bathroom at school first thing at drop off, who then cried because he was embarrassed and that I had to leave him, topped off with the news a day off for a "sick" child could have been avoided. I cried as I crossed the street from day care to work. I was stressed and it was only 8am! Then I was busting it to complete a section of my project by the end of the day when I ended up juggling some unexpected patient problems. Cue the tears number 2 by 10am. After work I spent 4 hours tagging for the sale and when it was done at 11:30pm. I crashed and had an ugly cry. I was emotionally and physically exhausted and thank goodness it was the end of the week. 

That was a week when I felt overwhelmed, that I could not balance all of my hats and that I was failing everyone: my employer, patients, husband, and mostly my child. Having to chose between a child unable to attend day care and work is torture. Leaving a crying child that just wants his Mommy is heartbreaking. Then came the big lesson when I learned that it is ok to let something go and set priorities. 

I was still planning to whip up some homemade Valentines to send the following week and as I finished the last two things on my list that Sunday, the scrapbook and meal prep. Michael could tell I was starting to stress over making Valentines. He told me to please just take N to the store and let him pick something he wants. Not stress over crafting something. I felt torn again. I kept seeing all these fabulous homemade Valentines on social media and I didn't want my child to feel like his Mommy let him down because we didn't spend time crafting his valentines. (Red flag, I'm clearly overthinking at this point. Keep in mind this child has no clue that creating our own Valentines was even an option. Let me also say that I think it's awesome that some of you made those cute valentines, so please do not think I have anything against you at all! Again, I was sleep deprived and clearly delirious!) Nicholas ended up taking Spider-Man valentines complete with a heart shaped lollipop and I'm pretty sure he couldn't have loved them more. 

(See also: I'm a crazy mom. I was so upset the 2 days we were home during the snow because that was prime crafting time...had we had any craft supplies. At this point I was really panicking that he would be the only one without cute little valentines, still not acknowledging the fact he could care less! I was surprised to see that no one handed out anything but valentines like we brought. Time for this crazy mom to calm down. No permanent psychological harm was done over Spider-Man valentines!)

The Valentine card lesson was definitely needed.  It showed me sometimes as moms we worry too much. We also need to know that there comes a time when we have to let something go and know that no one is let down by us when it is all said and done. I'm learning to let go of my need to please everyone and admit that I can't do it all sometimes. So, that fellow stressed out Mommies, was the day I leaned a lesson. From Spider-Man Valentines.