Saturday, December 13, 2014

Just A Few Of My Favorite Things...Gift Ideas

Since it is LESS THAN TWO WEEKS until Christmas, I wanted to give some last minute gift ideas for anyone struggling this year.  These are 12 of my favorite things right now.
***none of these items or brands are sponsored and 100% my true opinion***

1. MomAgenda personal planner.  

This will be the second year that I've used it and couldn't be happier. It gives me a row for everything I need to keep up with. I also love that most items ship the same day! 

2.  Glitter Monogrammed shirts! 
I have found a local person that I have ordered from (Swag on Facebook) and the shirt pictured came from DDP Mongram and gifts online. I love all things glitter and monogrammed, so these shirts are a win win for me! (Swag is still taking orders!)

3.  Coton Colors Happy Everything platters and accessories
I got this platter for Mother's Day and it has been perfect for entertaining and decorating. Nicholas loves picking out new attachments and seeing them displayed in the kitchen. 

4.  Polar Heart Rate Monitor Watch 
If you like to run or workout I think this is a must have item! I have used mine since April and it makes my workouts better to be able to see my calorie counts. My sensor actually took an unfortunate trip through the washer and dryer, but after a day or two, worked like new again! 

5.  Personalized Adult Sippy Cups from ForPoshSake
(Photo from forposhsake IG account) 
I am in love with these cups and hope that I find one under my tree! (Hint hint Michael!)  They are so cute and perfect for a mom on the go! 

6. Scarves 
I haven't really ever embraced the scarf trend, but I'm loving my big, warm, scarves this year (this one is my favorite!).

7.  Scentsy Warmers and Wax 
When we had Nicholas I worried about burning candles in the house and Scentsy was a perfect solution. He has knocked hot wax on him and it cools immediately!  Highly recommended if you've never tried t! 
8.  Bath and Body Works
I LOVE Bath and Body Works shower gels and bubble baths!  They make awesome gifts and stocking stuffers!

9.  A Comfy Pair Of Slippers
I bought these leopard print sequined slippers at Target last year and love wearing them (even out in public when I want to be comfy)!  This picture was actually taken on a Saturday when I went into work for a few hours! Ha!

10.  Starbucks Gift Cards
Every woman I know would LOVE a Starbucks gift card in her stocking this year!  

11.  Crossbody Purse
I am on my third one and it is perfect for shopping and when I don't want to lug around my big bag. You can get a cross body just about anywhere purses are sold in any price range. 
12.  Cute notepads 
I love having fun and cute notepads to make my grocery lists, to do lists, and to take notes at work. I usually buy them anywhere from Walmart and Target to boutiques. You can find them just about anywhere and they are perfect for stocking stuffers! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Halloween 2014

One of these days I'll have time to get caught up and fill you in on the craziness of the last month, but until then, I wanted to document our fun filled Halloween! 

We started on Thursday night by carving our pumpkin. My wild boy LOVED the "ewey gooey guts"! I'm convinced he wants to be a surgeon! :-) 

This was our final product. They wanted a "creepy" pumpkin and think they got it!
I took the day off from work on Friday to be able to do all of the fun Halloween things I've missed over the years since it is Nicholas' last year at daycare. We started the day with a Halloween treat from Dunkin Donuts! 
I spent the morning with him at school by attending the trunk or treat and going to his party. I had never done a trunk or treat and I didn't even know I had to decorate until a few days before.  (gasp! I know...)
Nicholas loved the decorations in our car and had a great time at his school party!

After school we went by my office, Michael's office, and to see my dad since he had a game that night and was going to miss his costume. When we got home I started decorating for our friends to come over for trick or treating. I recycled the car decorations and made mummy hot dogs and caramel apples for the kids' dinner. (Adults had beef vegetable soup and cornbread)
It rained that afternoon and a cold front moved in and when I say a cold front I mean it was 47, windy, and rainy at trick or treat time! This was the best picture of our crew I managed to get this time. 
We only went to about 15 houses and called it a day. It was too cold and rainy, but the kids still had fun and that's what it's all about anyway! 

Things are slowly calming down for us (until the holidays start).  We've had sick Grandparents, football, busy weekends, and just our day to day lives, but hopefully I can get another post up this week...we'll see!  :-)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Football Friday Guest Post! My Mom on Being A Coach's Wife

My mom is my special guest writer for this week's Football Friday post!  She has been married to a high school football coach for 40 years and wanted to share her side of football   She also wanted to give a few pieces of advice and encouragement to the young football wives out there who are struggling this time of year.  Thanks Mom for writing this fabulous post!  

I have been the wife of a high school football coach for 40 years.  The game to us is much more than a game and definitely more than a job.  Dedicated high school coaches do not go into the career of coaching to get rich.  Yes, it has provided us with a home and  a good life.  But, it is so much more than that.

Our lives are determined by fall  football season, off season work outs and summer football camps.  Everything you do centers around these “seasons”.  Vacations are planned according to the “dead period”.  Luckily, our child was born in the spring before football started in full swing.  Do not plan on elective surgery during one of the “seasons”.  This has been our life for more than half of our adult lives.  It has been a good life and I would not change it for anything in the world.  Our daughter and I have a very special bond.  I feel it is because for so many years of her life, it was just she & I.  Dad was either at football practice, workouts or coaching a game.  On Friday nights, we tried to go to every game.  Dad would leave home around 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning and may not come home until after midnight, sometimes as late as 3 or 4:00 am if there was a long bus ride.  Saturdays have been spent in the locker room washing dirty uniforms.  Sunday afternoons are spent at the coaches’ office reviewing film and planning the next game.  I remember one Sunday afternoon, my daughter had a bike accident and broke her arm.  Dad had to leave films & meet us at the hospital.  There have been many Halloweens that trick or treating was done with friends or relatives.  Dad was likely coaching a JV football game or it was a football Friday.    Even at home, time is spent watching film and working on plays (my kitchen table and table beside the recliner in the living room are covered in play sheets, scrap paper, and news clippings).  There are phone calls to other coaches and to players that may have been injured in a game or practice.  You are never “off the clock”.  This is how it is in the world of coaching and all coaches’ families experience the same.

There is one part of my "job" as a coach's wife that bothers me.  It is when fans or parents sit in the stands and criticize the coaches and players.  Has that parent missed his child’s school activity because they were coaching another parent’s child?  Have they missed tucking their child into bed or reading a nighttime story because they were coaching another parent’s child?  Stop and think before you criticize.  Would you spend as much time away from your family?
(photo copyright of Ashworth Photography)

Football coaching is a calling.  It is a ministry.   You have the responsibility of building character, honor and discipline in the lives of so many boys.  This is how my husband has viewed his “job”.  It is worth all the time and effort to make a difference in the life of just one child.  I have seen this for myself.  I have seen high school boys who were going astray only to change his ways because a coach cared.  I have been proud to hear a parent thank my husband for his influence on their son’s life.  This is why you coach.  This is our way of life.  

What advice would I give to the younger wives?  That is hard as we each have different personalities and needs.  I can tell you for at least 6 months out of the year, you will not have a 50-50 partnership in your marriage.  While your husband is away working with the young men on his team, you will be left to run your household and to be a single parent.  It is not easy, especially with young children.  I was very fortunate to have a strong extended family support system.  My strongest advice is to accept help from family and friends.  I learned too late that the house does not have to be spotless or meals home cooked.  I worked a full time job in the corporate world and put unnecessary stress on myself to be the perfect homemaker & mother.  In all honesty, I never accomplished perfection.  As I have matured, I know that is impossible as we are not, nor can we be, perfect.  Looking back, I would not change my life.  I would put more emphasis on enjoying my life and my family.

Whatever we will do when he finally decides it is time to finally hang up the clipboard & whistle one last time?  Yes, I will miss the excitement of the games.  The anticipation of the starting whistle.  I have watched more games than I can count and been to many stadiums, some very elite and some, not so much.  I have sat through monsoon rains, temperatures near 100 degrees and even below freezing, snow & sleet and perfect fall evenings.  I have ate many bags of stale popcorn (there is nothing like stadium popcorn, by the way!)  and drank many cups of coca cola or hot chocolate. Most of our couple friends have mainly been other coaches & their families.  Yes, I will even miss the bad referee calls.  There is nothing like high school football and being married to a coach.
(this was us last year during a downpour at the 1st game of the season.  Just one of many that we have sat through together)

After decades of living with a high school football coach, I am still humbled, but proud, when we are approached with "Hey, Coach, do you remember me?"  Yes, he does.  Every.  Single. One.  Believe it or not, sometimes I also remember the player.  I have cheered for and prayed for thousands of young men by name.  We have seen many former players mature into ministers, teachers and coaches (two of which are head coaches in our area currently!), soldiers defending our country, doctors, dentist, lawyers, successful business men and many who have become hard working construction workers or blue collar workers trying to do their best to provide for their families.  That is the reward for a coach's sacrifice.

At the end of the day, when the stadiums lights have dimmed and the fans and players have all gone their separate ways, it is not the touchdowns, tackles or the numbers on the scoreboard that matter.  It is the lessons learned by young men that will follow them into adulthood.  That is what truly matters.  I 
am blessed beyond measure.  I have a husband who is a dedicated husband, father, Pawpaw and coach to so many young men.  There will be jewels in his crown one day.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thoughts On Thursday

I told you I was going to make a good attempt to keep up with a couple of blog series!  Well here I am for the 2nd time in a week with a Thoughts On Thursday!  I am going to start backtracking and post our summer while doing Thoughts On Thursday (possibly moving Tuesdays???), a Football Friday post, and weekend wrap-ups.

1.  I have been reading a lot this Summer and I read Good Enough Is The New Perfect.  I struggle with balancing everything and this book really spoke to me.  The chapter I needed the most was on being a "good enough wife".   It has made a difference in how I approach my marriage and relationship with Michael.  I highly recommend this book to any woman struggling to find the right balance in life!

2.  It's consignment season again!  I sent 120 items to a sale 3 weeks ago and have another 30 at one starting this weekend!  I have already found some good deals for Nicholas to wear this Fall and Winter!  I have also noticed that in the 4T-5T sections the selections are getting smaller.  I am sad that consignment shopping may be ending soon for me.  

3.  Nicholas is in PreK this year and just casually told my mom a couple of weeks ago that he wanted a "pack pack" and lunch box.  This arrived on our front porch last week...

4.  About 6 weeks ago I joined a new gym and I have really enjoyed the change.  It is a little further from home so I am losing about 15 minutes a day, but I'm still seeing a change and losing weight, so I'm happy!  There is a lot more room for growth there and my personal favorite part...the stair mills and ellipticals have TVs!  It makes the time fly by! 

5.  Anyone else excited for Fall?!  I saw this at Costco a couple of weeks ago and it made my heart happy!  :-)  I'm ready for cooler weather, pumpkin spice lattes, sweaters and boots and all the other things that come with Fall.

6.  Speaking of Fall coming, who else is happy that college football started TONIGHT?!  Last week's post on football was one of my most read posts and I received a lot of feedback.  I have a lot of friends who are also coaches families and coaches wives, so I've decided to make a weekly Football Friday post, starting tomorrow with a guest post from a surprise guest!  It will be my 1st ever guest writer and it is a fabulous post that you do not want to miss!  Hope you come back tomorrow to see what this person has to say about football season!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

When The Game Is More Than A Game

Tomorrow is a big day at my parents house and many other houses across the state of's the official beginning of high school football!  It's a day that my Dad has been preparing for since November 23, 2013...the day after the season ended last Fall.  For those of you who do not know, my Dad has been a high school football coach for almost 40 years.  I grew up around "the game", I've been to more stadiums than I can count.  Friday nights in the Fall always meant that we were headed to a game.  My Mom and I have seen it all and sat in monsoon like rain, 100 degree temps, 30 degree temps and my personal favorite, snow!  We have been part of a team that had one of the worst records in the state and a team that was the state champion.  There was a 10 year gap from the time my Dad retired until he coached again and I will tell you, I never dreamed we would miss it like we did. Football isn't just a game to us, it is life.  

When I was growing up I never understood the big picture and the impact he was having on his players.  My Dad can remember the names of almost every player that has come his way.  He also can tell you about their families, where they lived, and the position they played. When you are 7 and your dad spends the majority of his time with other kids it is hard to understand.  I never got that Dad uses coaching as a ministry until I was 31 years old.  He has been a father figure and mentor to many, many young men who didn't have a dad or someone to look up to.  My Mom tells of how we came home from church once to find a player waiting in our driveway just because he needed someone to talk to. I remember a time when a player needed dress clothes for Senior Day and Dad let him borrow his suit jacket and tie.  I remember the time last Fall when a former player from 25 years ago walked up to our table at Longhorn to introduce his son to my Dad. Those moments are what makes the time away from our family worth it.  To know that by sharing my Dad with 1,000s of football players over the years he has made an impact on their lives.  

My Dad is one that gives 150% in everything he does.  This isn't more true than in his career. He spends countless hours reviewing film, breaking down offenses, defenses, and planning the next game.  I can call their house at 10:00 on a Tuesday night and ask what they are doing and my mom will almost always say "watching film!"  Coaches work hard and until you live with a coach you don't understand just how much heart, sweat, worry, nerves, bottles of Tums, and even tears go into a season.  As a child I heard comments about my Dad and other coaches that no child should ever hear about their parent.  My heart still breaks when I hear those things said knowing how hard coaches work. I always want to turn around and yell "how would you do if your job depended on the actions and decisions of a 17 year old kid?!"  Those actions and decisions can make or break a coach's career.  Think about that for a minute.  I learned early on to turn the other way and ignore the "coaches in the stands" that think they know more than the coaches, however even as an adult I find that heartbreaking. If only they knew how much time and energy went into that play or game they are critiquing. Every Friday night before I get out of the car I pray "Lord, please let the game be fair and help me ignore any ugly words and keep my mouth shut."   
I was lucky growing up.  Not only did I have a Dad who loves me, but I had a fabulous Mom who worked a full time job, but was basically a single mom in the Fall and made sure she never missed anything of mine at school or dance.  She has always been supportive of my Dad and his career.  She has prayed for countless kids by name and cheered for them all by name.  We have no clue how many football dinners and banquets she has been to!  We have been to who knows how many weddings, a few funerals for players parents, and Lord knows we have jumped and yelled louder than anyone on Friday nights.  I had to laugh when my cousins came to a game and were shocked how loud and into it we got.  Unlike me and my Dad, my Mom isn't very outspoken...unless it's time for football!  I just had to share this ecard because I'm convinced whoever wrote this one knows my Mom and I (and any other coaches wife and daughter out there!)
God gave my Dad and thousands others like him, a chance to impact the lives of teenage boys and make a difference in their lives.  Football gives opportunities to kids who may never have a chance to go to college or get out of a bad situation without it.  This is why football will always be more than "just a game" to my family.  It is my Dad's job.  It paid for my education, provided us with food and a home, and most importantly, allowed my Dad to make a difference.  And that is why football is more than "just a game" to our family and thousands others just like our family.

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 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!"