Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thoughts for Thursday

I made to a 2nd week of my brain dump series!  That has to be some kind of record for me!

1.  Lately I've been swamped at work.  Let me take a minute to give my annual "don't be a trauma patient this Summer" speech.  I call summer "tis the season to be stupid" for a reason, don't be stupid this year.  Before you do anything (especially what you allow your children to do) think about how you could get hurt doing it.  We are seeing a ton of injuries already and it isn't even June yet!  Just be smart and always think about consequences, especially when it comes to your children. Ok, trauma nurse rant over. Getting off my soap box now.

2.  I have been reminded this week of something else I love about Summer!  I've found that we can take a few extra minutes getting ready because there is a lot less traffic in the mornings. Yay!  It has put a little less stress off of me knowing that I have a little more time rather than rushing to try to beat the heavy traffic out of Georgia into downtown Chattanooga. It been fabulous this week (well, until today when a wreck slowed us down). Also on that note, this short week hasn't been so bad, but I will pay dearly for it next week when we have to make up a couple of days worth of patients due to the holiday and a day of meetings yesterday. 

3.  If you love coffee and have a Keurig, you HAVE to try this coffee!  Last year I drank the mocha coconut one, but this one is much better!  I'm hooked!  It is perfect on the weekends while sitting on my patio waiting on Nicholas to wake up. 

4.  I enrolled Nicholas in a soccer program at school today.  Being a football coach's daughter I am not a fan of soccer and I have to disagree with the description on this brochure, but I want him to learn team play before he starts baseball next Spring.  He is so excited and tells everyone he will be "going to soccer class!"  

5.  I've been looking at little boy luggage for Nicholas to take to Disney and I cannot for the life of me find any cute pirate luggage!  I want a rolling suitcase made for little boys.  Stephen Joseph had an adorable one a couple of years ago, but as with everything else, I should have purchased it then, they no longer make them.  Any ideas on a cute one?

6. There is nothing to make you feel old like three of your "baby" cousins graduating high school (they were 3 when I graduated!) and the child you were a nanny for when she was ages 4 to 7 turning 17!  In the last year I have been reminded how fast time flies and how it doesn't seem so long ago my little cousin was Nicholas' age and I was the one graduating high school.  It seems hard to believe that now he is 18, headed to the same college I went to, and I have the 3 year old!  (Insert ugly cry here)  Yes, I may have shed a couple tears over that thought, but it has made me slow down a little and just enjoy these days with my own sweet little boy.  As always, I'm thankful God sends us little reminders like that.  (Sorry, Cody, I hope you forgive me for putting your picture on my blog!)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

An Open Letter To The Class of 2013

Dear Class of 2013,

It wasn't all so long ago that I was where you are now. I couldn't wait to walk out of my high school (remember, I was a Teacher's kid!) and start my life as an adult. I had been in a private school the first 8 years or in public school with my dad for high school. I was ready to be in "the real world. After all, I was 18, I knew everything there was to know!  If only I knew 14 years ago what I know now...

1. Your parents really do know what is best for you. I remember thinking my parents were too strict, being embarrassed that they waited up for me to come in until the day I left home, and that they seemed to want to know everything about what I was doing. Now that I'm 32 years and a parent, I get it. They weren't being overprotective, but they were just ensuring I lived up to my potential. Now that I am a college graduate and survived nursing school, I see that. 

2.  Chose your friends and significant others carefully. When I got to college I heard the saying "you meet your husband and bridesmaids in college". I have to say that is so true. I met the girls that I consider my best friends there. Be careful who you associate with. We don't want to see you guilty by association on the cover of busted magazine next Fall! 

3.  Have fun, but always remember there is a limit and you are in college for a reason...other than to have fun! (Wait, you did know that you are going to college for an education, right?) I will be the first to admit that I had fun in college, I went out with my friends, I joined a sorority, and I even met my husband at a party, but I kept a 3.5 GPA and attended class 99% of the time. There can be a good balance and while it may take you some time to find it, be careful you don't flunk out in the meantime! 

4.  Thou Shalt Respect Thyself. You may be away from home for the first time or you may be dorky like I was and still living at home, but never lose respect for yourself, your morals, and your goals. You will be surprised how fast you will find yourself questioning what is going on around you. When that happens, ask if you are respecting yourself. 

5. There is not a guy or girl in this world worth compromising your goals for. I learned this one when the guy I just KNEW was my dream guy walked away. Within weeks God put Michael in my life, the hives I had for a year went away (suddenly I realized how controlling and manipulative he was), and my life seemed much less stressful. Enough said. 

6.Sunscreen REALLY is your friend! The year I graduated way back in 1999 (yes, I know you were only 4!), the big song was  Wear Sunscreen and it was a graduation speech put to music. I was a sun worshiper and I never felt tan enough...I am paying for that now. If you don't do anything I say, WEAR SUNSCREEN! 

7. Remember God has plans for you. No matter how crappy things may seem sometimes and how you feel there may be no hope, remember He has a plan!  Just keep Him the center of your life. 

So, to summarize all of that, enjoy yourself, have fun, make good grades, and keep God in your life. Remember that decisions you make will effect you for the rest of your life, make them with a respect for yourself and for your parents. They really do just want what is best for you, not to make your life miserable...shocking, I know! 

In closing, I may be old and yes, I did graduate when you were still in preschool, but I have been there and I survived. :-)  Congratulations on all of your hard work up until this point! I can't wait to see how God works in each of your life! 

May The Lord bless and keep you! 


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Ledfords' Summer Bucket List

I've been seeing seasonal bucket lists on Pinterest for a couple of years and I love the idea, so I made my own for this Summer.  To hold me accountable for it, I am posting it here.
  1. Play in the sprinkler
  2. Go for a boat ride
  3. Spend an afternoon at the zoo
  4. Go for a picnic
  5. Grill out often
  6. Shrimp boil with friends
  7. Try fun Summer recipes
  8. Make homemade ice cream rather than store bought
  9. Bike ride as a family
  10. Cookouts with family
  11. Daddy and Nicholas campout in the backyard
  12. Watch fireworks
  13. Invite friends to spend an afternoon at the pool
  14. Read every book on my Summer reading list
  15. Catch fireflies
  16. Go to a baseball game
  17. Go on a hike
  18. Visit the blueberry farm
  19. Go to the farmer's market on Saturday mornings
  20. Just enjoy each other and be thankful for time we have as a family!
I'll check in as we check things off of our list.  We already have a few things scheduled, so hopefully I can get all of them checked off by September! 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Summer Kickoff Fun

We have had an amazingly fun weekend!  Friday night we just went to bed early and enjoyed a relaxing night after a long week.  Nicholas didn't take naps at school this week (apparently he thinks he doesn't need to) and I had a couple of nights that I didn't sleep well, so we were just wiped out.  I just laid on the couch and finished my book while he went to bed at 8:00! Ha!

Saturday morning we went to work early on our backyard.  We had been saying for a couple of years that we wanted to do some landscaping around our patio and fence.  We started small and made a small shrub bed beside our patio.  I might as well be known as the hospice for plants because as soon as I buy them, they die, so I decided to get a few things you cannot kill.  I got 2 knockout rose bushes, 3 hosta, and a couple of wave petunias just because I love them.  Pray that my plants can make it despite the fact  I am the worst plant owner in America.  I also put a bird bath out that belonged to my Nana in her yard before she moved to the assisted living.  I think it was the perfect finishing piece!

While we were working, Nicholas played in his water table and wore his pirate bathing suit for the 1st time.  He was in pirate heaven!  This kid played for 2 hours with his pirates and table.  I am pretty sure he is going to spend his Summer wearing a bathing suit and playing in the water table or pool!

Finally around 2:30 we had eaten lunch, mowed the yard, and cleaned up all the landscaping things and off to the pool we went.  Nicholas wasn't so sure about the cold water, but he LOVED playing with his pirates and his friend Blake.  

Nicholas also enjoyed spending time with his babysitter Miranda who was at the pool with her family.  She is so sweet and loves to play with Nicholas.

 This picture completely cracked me up.  He just HAD to have a pair of goggles to be like his friend Jackson (our 11 year old neighbor).  He wore them all afternoon and just the way he is standing and the look on his face is just priceless!

Saturday night 2 neighbor families came over and we all grilled out and watched the kids play in our backyard.  We love our subdivision, but we REALLY love it in the Summer when we can have nights like that.  I can't imagine living anywhere else right now we love it so much.  The Payne family brought these over for dessert.  Needless to say, they didn't last long! Yum!

Today we had another fun day of Summer fun! Michael had to work :-( but Nicholas and I were lazy for a little while before heading to Walmart to get some pool toys and then back to the pool we went! We met some of our fun neighbors there and enjoyed another day of sunny fun!

Tonight we had steak kabobs and baked potatoes.  Nothing quite says America like some good red meat!  :-)  One of us had too much fun today and was just too tired to eat and just watched Mickey while we ate.

Nicholas wore his "America clothes" today.  Even though we had a fun day and enjoyed the pool, being off of work and school, we also remembered the reason for the holiday.  I am so thankful to live in a country that I love where men died to give me the right to enjoy the day today.  I am forever grateful for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for my rights.

Fun Summer Recipes: Nana's Peach Ice Cream

When I was a little girl there was a couple of things you could ALWAYS count on eating at Nana's house in the Summer: homemade tea cakes, rice krispy treats, and peach ice cream!  Nana loves peach ice cream and she always had some made and ready.  I never realized how much it symbolized Summer to me until I made some this weekend for her birthday.  As soon as I tasted it I felt like I was back at her house and it was 1990s all over again!  :-)

6-8 sliced, peeled peaches (I cheated this time because they aren't really in season yet and used thawed frozen peaches)
1 cup of sugar
4 cups half and half
1 small box of instant vanilla pudding
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Slice and peel peaches, mix with sugar.  Stir and let sit for about an hour.

After an hour, place the peaches and sugar in a food processor (do not use a blender, it will not work as well) and puree until it is a chunky puree.  We like to have chunks of peaches in our ice cream so I do not puree all the way.

In a large mixing bowl, stir pudding and evaporated milk.  Add peach puree, condensed milk, and half and half.  Stir well.

Pour into ice cream freezer and freeze according to the freezer's instructions.

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Happy Birthday Nana!

My Nana is truly an amazing woman. She has done SO much in her 83 years. I truly believe she has lived one of the most full, Godly lives of anyone I know. Today we celebrated her 83rd birthday and I couldn't help but think of everything she has seen in her lifetime. She has seen 13 presidents, the great depression (she used to talk about it a lot), Pearl Harbor, World War II, Kennedy assassination, Vietnam, 9-11, and both Iraqi wars. She married at 16, became an interior designer in her mid 40s, a grandmother at 51, a widow and on her own for the 1st time at 56, and again at 77. She definitely has seen and been through a lot! 

My Nana has always been my biggest fan and probably loves me more than anyone (it also makes me laugh because I see the same thing with my mom and Nicholas). I have been blessed to have her and blessed to be able to say she is my Nana, so today, we celebrated her!

We had a small party at her assisted living this afternoon. We brought cupcakes and enjoyed spending some time with Nana and her friends. 
After her party, we brought her to our house and we grilled out and had her favorite...homemade peach ice cream! To me nothing says Summer quite like peach ice cream. Nana always made it during the Summer and it has always been a family favorite. We enjoyed a nice evening just being a family and celebrating our favorite Nana! 

Happy birthday Nana! We love you!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thoughts For Thursday

Because so many people do a "brain dump" and I seem to want to do one at least once a week, I have decided to do a post every Thursday called thoughts for Thursday. Here are my thoughts for this week:

1.  A few weeks ago I made my Summer Scentsy purchase and I had been dying to get the Forget Me Not warmer that is for Alzheimer's awareness.  I am so glad I got it.  My shipment arrived and I LOVE how it looks in my blue bedroom and I bought it in honor of my Nana, so it is absolutely perfect!

2.  Nicholas has gotten so BIG lately!  He has been sitting at the bar to eat like a big boy.  I die at how big he looks from the kitchen side of the bar!

3.  I made a change with my hair earlier this month.  I am still growing it out, but I decided to add some caramel highlights for Summer.  I am loving how they turned out!

4.  Last Friday was the last day for Spring practice for my dad's football team and it makes me feel like Fall is getting near (I know it really isn't).  I love Summer but by July and a month or so of 90 degree humid weather, I'm ready for Fall. I think Nicholas is going to enjoy going to games this year and I am so excited to take him again. Not to hurry Summer, but I'm ready for football season and our Disney trip...

5. Speaking of Disney, it is less than 6 months until we go to Disney and we finally made our reservations last week! I've been busy again planning our trip! It seems to come in waves, but I'mback to  planning  again! I'm thinking of doing a Disney planning series so you can see what I've done to plan and for those of you who are new to the Disney planning thing like me, we can learn together!

6.  I've completed my 1st Summer book.  I started with Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner.  It was a good, easy read.  Now I'm reading Where We Belong by Emily Giffin, to be followed by Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella.

7.  It's has rained 3 out of the last 4 weekends and I am beyond excited to see the forecast for this rain!!!! We have been wanting to get started landscaping our backyard and I can finally get that going Saturday! I plan to be at "the flower store" as Nicholas calls it, bright and early!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Praying For Oklahoma

It has now been 2 years since the devastating tornado in our small town, but there are times I still feel overwhelmed by the things I saw as a nurse in the days and weeks that followed. This week my heart has been so heavy for those in Oklahoma, especially those missing family members, the first responders, and the hospital staff. 

I cannot imagine what the families of those sweet children at Plaza Towers Elementary are going through. I also cannot stop thinking about how awesome the teachers were as they shielded the students in the hallway as the school was destroyed.  We are again reminded that teachers love our children as if they were their own. (I know my dad always has been that way. We actually refer to his football team as "his boys" because he feels as though they are his.) 

Those involved in the recovery efforts and at the hospital are working long, emotionally and physically draining days right now and a lot of them will have post traumatic stress when it is all over. I know the sadness they are dealing with. There is nothing to bring reality into your world like seeing someone face to face that is your age that has lost everything including their wife and child while you were spared when the same tornado turned towards them a mile away from your house. I know I changed as a person after seeing the things I saw during that time.  I learned to never take anything for granted.

Please pray for my friend, Heather that I have met through blogging and twitter that lost her home. She and her family are ok, but they lost everything. If you feel led, you can read how to specifically help Heather here:

Please join me in praying for those in Moore, Oklahoma and those coming to their aid. It's going to be a long, hard road ahead and they need our prayers. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fun Summer Recipes, Easy Chocolate Ice Cream

Instead of boring weekly meal plans, I am going to do a Summer recipe series over the next few weeks.  First up is my easy chocolate ice cream.  It is one of the recipes in a book my mom made me when we got married.

I was given the Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment for my mixer for my birthday and I was so excited to use it to make ice cream this weekend.  If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer but do not have this attachment, GET ONE!  It is awesome!  It is soooooooo much better than dealing with the mess of ice, salt, and a big ice cream mixer!

Easy Chocolate Ice Cream
1 Can Eagle Brand Milk
2/3 cup Chocolate Syrup
1 small jar Marshmallow Cream

Mix eagle brand milk, chocolate syrup, and marshmallow cream in a bowl, refrigerate for a couple of hours until chilled.  Pour into ice cream maker and finish filling the container with milk.  Freeze according to ice cream maker instructions.  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fun Night With Fun Friends

Last night we had one of the most fun nights we have had in awhile!  Those of you who read often know we have an amazing circle of close friends that have children the same age as Nicholas that we LOVE to get together with, the Millers and Castleberrys.  They came over last night for a shrimp boil, which is a Summer favorite meal of ours!  It had rained on and off all day and right before they were to come over the sky cleared off for about 4 hours.  It was perfect timing!  Michael fired up the boiler and we had a lot of fun watching the kids play.

Baylee and Nicholas are a match made in heaven!  They love each other, but I think deep down Nicholas really loves her older sister, McKinley.  I'm thinking he may like older women! :-)
I'm laughing at all of these pictures because Nicholas INSISTED that his top button be buttoned last night.  He had a meltdown until it was done! Haha!

We have found the best way to eat a boil is to cover the table in a vinyl tablecloth, cover it in newspaper, and pour it all over the paper and just eat off the table!  We are true Southerners! 

Needless to say, I love some shrimp and corn! (and Coronas, but who was counting? Ha!)

The kids had cheese pizza and I made homemade ice cream with my new attachment for my mixer.  I'll share the ice cream and a tasty pie recipe later this week!

Having a house full of kids and our closest friends is as close to perfection as it gets around here.  My heart was full all night.  We are so blessed to have this close group of friends and we plan to do this a lot this Summer and I can't wait!

Nicholas LOVES having friends over and we love entertaining, so it works out well.  The best part of doing a boil is that it doesn't require much clean up, the playroom however...that's another story!  :-)

Mother's Day 2013

Sometimes it is so hard to believe that my baby is almost 3 years old, almost potty trained, and acts like he is much older than he is.  I still imagine him being a tiny baby!  It's also hard to believe it has been 4 years since my last Mother's Day without him (or being pregnant).  I spent 2 very sad, lonely Mother's Days while waiting to be a mother.  I spent days sad and wondering if I would ever get to celebrate that day honoring me as a mom.  I have spent the week of Mother's Day thinking about those days and how blessed and thankful I am to have this sweet boy in my life.  Last Friday morning I fought tears the entire time I spent having breakfast with him during his Mother's Day breakfast at school.  I dreamed of that day for so long, and it was finally here.  I just kept hugging and kissing him while we ate because I was so thankful for that moment.

Sunday my boys made me mimosas and gave me 2 Pandora charms for Mother's Day before they took me to brunch!  I am a very lucky Mommy!

We then had some time with Michael's Grandmother and enjoyed spending some time with his family.

After we played at the park for about an hour, we went to the cemetery where his Mother and Grandmother are.  It was so sweet, but also very sad because Nicholas just randomly went up to the flowers on their markers and he would take one flower out and say "Happy Mother's Day" as he placed them back into the vase.  So sweet!

That night we went to spend some time with my mom and Nana.  Nicholas LOVES his Gigi and his Nana!

I'm always so happy when he gets to spend time with Nana.  This week we will celebrate her 83rd birthday!

I am definitely blessed beyond measure to have this sweet boy.  God definitely knew what He was doing when He gave Nicholas to me!  He is the best gift I have ever received!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Happy Nurses Week!

This week is nurses week and yesterday our clinical secretary set up an amazing candy/dessert bar!  She is truly the best and I am so thankful for all she does for us!  We couldn't do what we do without her and all of her help!
 She made chocolate covered graham crackers to look like x-rays!  This was my favorite of all of the snacks!  This lady is beyond creative and talented.
 Dipped pretzels to look like thermometers...
 Let's not forget cookie "pills" and medicine cups full of "pills".  Seriously, how creative!

Thank you Debbie for remembering us and doing something special for us!  You're the best!