Friday, July 29, 2011

A Couple of Sundays of Firsts

Ok, first off, I know I am waaaaaaaay behind on my blog. I really do enjoy blogging, but sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by working, things at home, and work that it just doesn't always get done.  However, N and I are having a sick day since we both are sick, so I'm going to do a post or two to schedule. I've got to get caught up!!!

I've told you before that we live in a very family friendly city that has some awesome attractions for kids and families.  My parents gave us a family membership to the Tennessee Aquarium for Nicholas' birthday and we went for the first time the Sunday before last.  Needless to say, he LOVED it!
 Our aquarium has two buildings, the River Journey and the Ocean Journey.  We decided to go to the River part because Michael and I had never been there, it is the newer side.  There were penguins, huge fish, sharks, swordfish, crabs, jellyfish...

The big kid had a good time too. He seemed to enjoy the stingray touching exhibit.

 We are hoping to go back to the River side soon. Maybe this weekend...who knows!  Afterward we walked across the street to one of our favs, Buffalo Wild Wings!  Nicholas and I split chicken tenders and fries and I think he ate more than I did! Ha!

 This past Sunday we were invited to spend the day at the lake with our neighbors.  Johnathan's family own a lake house not too far from where I grew up. It was fun to spend a day on the lake near my old house (where I spent a LOT of time on the water in high school and college).  I also realized that I missed our boat after spending time on one.  Oh well, I still think it would be too hard to keep N entertained on a boat for any significant amount of time.
  After just playing in the lake for a few minutes we watched our friends tube.  Here is Marc and his son Will.  Nicholas LOVES Will!

 (Don't worry, the boat was stopped. I held onto him when it was moving.) 
Nicholas and I rode with Johnathan, Marc, Norma, Will, and Aiden while Michael rode in Scott and Jane's boat.  Will took this picture of my sweet boy and I.  He LOVED riding.  He would clap faster as the boat went faster and seemed to love his hair blowing in the wind! Ha!
 Needless to say, I had one tired, dirty boy when we got home that evening.  He was ready for a bath and the bed!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Working Moms

Today I am doing a guest post on Stafford Stories series for Working Moms.  I've thought a lot about what I wanted to say in my post and honestly I want to share a little bit about how I make it all work and then show you a day in our lives during the week.  It is my hope  that my post will show everyone that you can have both a career and a family, a clean house, and a close loving bond with your children.

I grew up in a home with two working parents.  I know what it took for my mom to make it all work, however I have had to find my own balance.  Here are some of the tips that I have that definitely help me.

  • We are both very hands on parents.  At my house my dad worked long hours as a teacher/coach, so my mom had to do it all, I am very fortunate that I have Michael at home most mornings to help out. We laugh that he is the "morning parent" and I am the "evening parent".  He gets Nicholas up, dressed, and ready to go to school while I get ready and get everything in the car.  In the evening when we get home I fed Nicholas his dinner, give him his bath, and put him to bed.
  • We have a laundry system that works pretty well for us.  I put the clothes in the washer and dryer and Michael folds them and puts them away.  He usually does this while I am taking care of Nicholas at night.
  • I meal plan.  I love to meal plan.  It definitely helps me to grocery shop (usually on Sunday) and to not stress about what is for dinner when I get home after a long day at work.  Before I had Nicholas I did a few posts on Monday nights that showed my meal plans for the week.  I may start that up again soon!
  • I have a friend that works as a housekeeper that comes every other Friday to clean my house.  That was Michael's gift to me when I got into my 3rd trimester and it got hard for me to move around, much less clean.  I feel like my house has to be pretty clutter free, so I try to pick up a little bit each day.  I clean up after every meal and pick up toys at the end of the day after Nicholas goes to sleep.
  • I've come to realize that if everything doesn't get done, it is ok.  Some days I just cannot get it all done, but I spent time with Nicholas and that is what really matters!
So, you may be wondering what a day in my life is like.  I kept up with my day last Wednesday, along with some pictures from the day...
  • 6:00 am - alarm goes off and we watch the news or sleep in a few minutes.
  • 6:30 am - I get up and start getting ready
  • 6:50 am - Michael gets Nicholas up and gives him a sippy of milk and some fruit while they watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse from the day before on the DVR.
  •  7:15 am - Michael gets Nicholas dressed while I eat a quick breakfast, fix a cup of coffee to go, and load the car.
  • 7:25 am - Nicholas and I leave for day care "school" and work.  I am very, very fortunate that the hospital where I work has one of the top three day cares in our area and that Nicholas got a spot when he was 12 weeks old.  It makes drop off and pick up so much easier being so close.
  • 7:50 am - Get to Nicholas' school.  He has to be there before 8:00 to get breakfast.  I usually stay for a couple of minutes after I sign him in and talk with him while he eats.  I am very happy with the meal plan at his school.  He always has a healthy breakfast and milk.  It makes mornings much less stressful.
  • 8:10 am - I clock in at work and start my day.  I spend my mornings checking email, answering phone calls, chart prep, paperwork, and making sure my doctors have everything they need in the OR from patient charts.  Here is what my desk looked like Wednesday morning when I was getting started
  • 12:00 pm - I eat lunch while either sitting at my desk or the break room, depending on how busy my morning has been.
  • 1:00 pm - I see patients with one of two trauma surgeons that I work for.  On Monday and Wednesday it is Dr. Smith on Tuesday and Thursday it is Dr. Barker.  I received this picture via text from Nicholas' infant room teacher when she went to check on him Wednesday.  They sleep on mats in his new room and I thought it was so sweet!  He usually naps from 12:30-2:00 in his new class.
  • 4:00 pm - I usually get back to my office somewhere around 4-4:30 and get caught up on messages and finish up anything that needs to be done before the next day.  I also do some faxing during this time.  
  • 5:00 - 5:15 pm - Leave work and get to school to pick up Nicholas.  He is always excited to see me and is usually completely worn out.  He takes a nap in the car every day on the way home.  Some days if we get home before Michael, I sit in the garage with him for a few minutes and let him sleep a little longer.
  • 5:30 - 6:00 pm - Get home from work.  I change clothes as soon as we get home because I am not big on Nicholas being around germs from work and we play while I cook dinner.  Most days he is happy and content to play in the kitchen.
  • 6:30 - 7:00 pm - We all eat dinner around the table.  I try to do simple meals during the week.  We eat a lot of crock pot meals as well.  Nicholas usually eats what we eat or a portion of what we are eating with a substitution for something a little more baby friendly.
  • 7:15 pm - I give Nicholas a bath while Michael cleans up the kitchen.  
  • 7:30 pm - We play, go for a walk, or just read a few books with Nicholas as a family.
  • 8:00 pm - Nicholas goes to bed.  Nicholas has always been a good sleeper and I am very, very grateful for that!  We rock in the glider just long enough to read a book (sometimes a little longer) then I lay him down with a paci, blanket, and his projector going.  He is usually asleep within a minute or two without any fussing! PTL for a baby that goes to bed well! :-)  It makes my job as a mommy so much easier.
  • After baby's bedtime Michael and I work on our bills, budget, or watch TV, blog, get on Twitter, FB or sometimes sit on the patio and just spend time together.  I also use this time to pack our bags for the next day and sit everything out on the bar in the kitchen so I don't forget anything.  I usually get a bath and try to get in bed by 10:00 to watch some TV.  We usually turn our lights out by 11 and start the day all over again bright and early!
I hope that this glimpse into our day gives you an idea of what it is like to work, keep up everything at home, and spend time with my husband and baby.  I enjoy and love my job, but ideally I would like to be a SAHM, but that isn't possible for us.  I do what I have to do to make it work and I feel that it works great for us and I really do have it all...a career, a life outside the home I enjoy, and a happy, healthy family.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Meal Plan Monday, On Sunday

We love to eat at our house...especially a certain little boy that I know! :-) Before Nicholas was born I did a Meal Plan Monday for a few weeks and I loved doing that because it kept me accountable for my meal plans (or at least I felt like it did).  I am bringing that back this week.  You can look for it on Monday nights starting next week!

Sunday: Smoked ribs, potato salad, and baked beans (Nicholas had chicken tenders, mac and cheese, and beans)
Monday: Lasagna with meat sauce (prepared ahead and baked after work)
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Mashed Potatoes
Wednesday: Crab and Corn Chowder (from Costco, we love it!)
Thursday: Swiss Stuffed Chicken (from Kelly's Korner recipe blog) and green beans (Nicholas will have a plain chicken breast)
Friday: Margharita Pizza
Saturday: Blackened Tilapia Tacos, Rice, Black Beans
Sunday: Smoked Roast for BBQ (can you tell Michael LOVES his smoker?!), Corn on the Cob, and Baked Beans

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July Weekend

We had a fabulous 4th of July weekend!  We spent it with friends and family and we are so blessed to be able to enjoy the freedom God has given our great country.  Saturday we got up early and went to The Little Gym for our 1st class!  At first our wild man played shy and acted like he didn't want to cooperate, but about half way through, he did great!  I think it is going to be a great family activity for us.  After Little Gym we went to Stride Rite and bought him a new pair of tennis shoes and a pair of Sperrys.  He will be styling in his new class! :-)

We spent some time at the pool this weekend and Nicholas is officially a water baby!  

 Sunday Melissa came and joined us at the pool.  Nicholas enjoyed spending some time with her and then we had the most awesome meal of the summer so far.  Michael did a shrimp boil that was to die for!  I can't wait to have it again soon!  We just bought some fresh shrimp at Kroger, sausage, new potatoes, and corn from my dad's garden and mixed in some Old Bay seasoning.  YUMMO!
 Last night was also the White Oak Plantation 4th of July fireworks.  Our subdivision is so perfect for us.  It is full of young families and we've gotten to be good friends with a lot of them.  I loved that everyone came out to watch at the houses closest to the fireworks.  It was a really good time!

 Our fearless kid LOVED it!  He watched in awe and didn't seem to mind the noise at all!  We do not know where his fearless side came from!

 My boys!

 My big one year old and I!  I kept thinking that one year ago we were in the hospital waiting to go home and what a special 4th of July it was to bring him home that day.  This year we get to spend it playing outside and eating Daddy's smoked BBQ!
Today we have had a great, lazy day, but it started with a little drama.  We had lowered Nicholas' mattress as it has been necessary, but apprently he has grown a little faster than we have lowered it.  We put him down for a quick morning nap and he cried for a few minutes.  I was in the kitchen and after a while he quit crying.  In a minute or so he was crying again and it seemed to sound like it was coming from right beside the door.  I ran to get the video monitor, which I ALWAYS have right beside me except this one time, and sure enough, he wasn't in the bed!  He had flipped out!  He was completely fine, but it took me a long time to calm down!  Needless to say, it is now as low as it will go!  After that he went right to sleep and then it was time for some kiddie pool fun!
 We had a quick little afternoon shower and then discovered that our all-boy, boy LOVED something new...water in the downspout!  He had so much fun playing in the mud and puddle!
Tonight we smoked a roast in the smoker and had BBQ, baked beans, homemade mustard slaw, and potato salad with my parents.  It was fun, but our little firecracker started wearing out pretty fast.
One year ago today we brought him home from the hospital and we were finally all at home as a family.  I look at these pictures and compare and it is pretty crazy how fast a year has gone by!

Hope you and your family had a very happy and safe 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July from the Ledford Family!

Hope everyone has a very fun and safe day while remembering how lucky we are to live in such a great country.  It is a blessing to have such freedoms.
(Nicholas' 12 month post is published below, don't forget to check it out!)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 12 Months Nicholas!

On Friday, July 1, we celebrated Nicholas' FIRST birthday!  I cannot believe my little buddy is already a year old!  Where has the year gone?!  We had a great day.  I took off from work and we started the day with waffles then a trip to see Dr. Spraggins.  He did great there and she was very happy to see him for a "happy visit" not a sick one!  She was also excited that it had been almost three months since we were there last!  HUGE for us considering we were there four time in one week in February!  Our big boy is now 21 pounds and 8 ounce and 30.5 inches long!  He had lost 8 ounces from the time we saw the GI dr 2 weeks ago, but she said that is normal at his age to lose a little here and there.  He got three shots and did great!  He has always been good about getting shots and barely even cried!

We came home and both of us took a long nap, then for dinner I cooked his favorite foods: chicken tenders, car shaped mac and cheese, and mashed potatoes!
For dessert he had leftover birthday cake and milk.  Yum!
All and all it was a great day!  I love being at home with him, but it just isn't possible.  So glad I am able to take off when I want to have a day as a Mommy!  Our next day together will be a week at the beach in a few weeks!  We are getting excited about that!

I have bought him a couple of "big boy pjs" for his birthday and we tried them out for the first time that night.  SO CUTE!

So Nicholas, what are you up to these days?
  • You are moving up to the snails class at school and so far so good.  It is a BIG change from the baby room.  He now eats at the table in a chair and actually naps on a mat!  Last week he transitioned and did well.  This will be a big week for us as we transition to being a snail full time.
  • You are in 9-12 month clothes depending on the brand.  You are still in size 3 diapers because you are so tall and skinny.
  • You still LOVE foods of every kind!  I haven't really found anything you won't eat! 
  • You are starting to nap a LITTLE better.  You are taking a good nap in the afternoon which is really helping Mommy on the weekends.  You still sleep from about 8:00 at night until we wake up around 7 in the morning.  On the weekends you sleep from 7:30-8 at night to 8:00 am.
  • You are starting to walk more and more every day.  You started really walking around on your birthday Friday.  You will take 5-10 steps then fall, but doing better every day.
  • You LOVE the pool.  You and Daddy have had a lot of fun swimming this weekend
We are very, very blessed to have you and love you very much!  

Friday, July 1, 2011

To Nicholas On Your First Birthday

Dear Nicholas,

I had planned to write a letter to you before you were born, but you surprised us and came before I had a chance to do it.  However, if you go back and read the posts on this blog and my old blog from before you were born, I think I pretty much covered everything I wanted to say to you there.  We prayed for you for almost three years before you surprised us at 1:30 in the morning on July 1, 2010.  We hoped and prayed for a healthy, happy baby and God blessed us with you.  The greatest gift either of us have ever received.
You were born at 4:28 am on Thursday, July 1, 2010.  I have never felt so happy, so much love, and so thankful in my life.  I will never be able to explain the feeling I had at that moment.  Since you were almost two weeks early we were a little nervous that you wouldn't want to breathe well on your own, however, you didn't have any problems with that at all!  You screamed for the next three hours! :-)  The one thing I want you to always understand about the day you were born is that it proved God is so good, all of the time, even in your darkest days.  There were so many days Mommy never thought she would ever hold a baby of her own.  He is very faithful, never forget that.  This picture is one of the most true evidence of that.
You were the most anticipated baby either of our families had ever had.  We had all waited a long time for you.  Everyone was in the waiting room waiting to meet you.  Daddy and I kept you in the recovery room with us for a an hour and a half before you went to be check in at the nursery.  Everyone watched you from the window and everyone instantly loved you...of course!
That night we spent a couple hours just getting to know you.  I will never forget the love between you and your daddy instantly.  You definitely loved each other from the moment you first met!
The day we came home, Sunday, July 4 was the second best day of our lives (behind the day you were born of course!).  I had spent so many days and nights wondering if we would ever get the chance to have our very own stork in our yard.  I cried when we got home and I saw a stork with your name on it in our yard!  I was reminded again that God is so good, all of the time, even in your darkest days.  He is very faithful, never forget that.  You are true evidence of that.
We put you in your bed and you immediately snuggled with your friend the lion.  You were immediately a snuggle bug, which is definitely one of my favorite things about you.  You love to snuggle with anyone!  Especially if you are tired or not feeling well.  You have always been a good sleeper.  The night we came home I had to wake up up to feed you, all you wanted to do was sleep!  There were many nights you almost slept all night!  We kept you in our room for five weeks and one the night we moved you to your room, you slept until 5:45!  You slept 12 hours when you were 6 weeks old!  It was amazing how good we all felt that morning!  You did that again a few more times until you were 11 weeks old and then you started sleeping from 7am-7pm regularly!  I was so happy that you slept all night just in time for Mommy to go back to work!
As much as I love you and as happy as I was that you were finally safely with us, we had a very rough first few weeks.  You had a milk protein and soy allergy that was very hard to recognize because you didn't have all of the classic symptoms.  We finally saw a GI doctor when you were 8 weeks old and you were almost immediately better after starting you on a very expensive, special formula called pregestimil.  It was worth every penny we spent over the next ten months!  Even during those LONG, hard days that you cried almost non stop, I always said thank you for you and I never stopped remembering all of those days I cried wanting you.  I remembered the line in my favorite poem from infertility, "my dream will be crying for me".  Again, you were evidence of such a faithful God.

We took you to church for the first time at 5 weeks.  It meant a lot to me to take you.  I spent so many days and nights praying for you for years before you were born, I was ready to praise God for giving you to us!  You were so good in church that day.  You just looked around and then slept the rest of the time!  You went to the nursery for the first time on Easter and loved it.  You are so good about going and staying at new places.  I'm very thankful for that!
As you grew we started to see signs that you were going to be a very sweet, outgoing, funny little personality.  You started showing us your easy going side and I loved being able to capture that on camera and you loved show it to us!
As you continued to grow you got more and more independent and more and more adorable!  You started "school" on Monday, September 27.  I remember being so nervous when I dropped you off.  I didn't cry, but I had a hard time driving off.  I wanted to run back in and take you home!  I couldn't wait for 5:00 to come so I could take you home and snuggle with you!  You love school from the very first day and Mommy and Daddy are so thankful for that.  We also love, love, love your teacher and we are so sad to leave her class.  I'm a little worried how you are going to do without your Ms. Carla!  I can't believe how much you have grown since your 1st day of school!
 The holidays were another dream come true and evidence of how faithful God is!  I always asked him that if I ever had a baby to spend Christmas with, could He please give us a white Christmas to go with it.  Not only did we get a white Christmas, but it was our first in 25 years!  God is so GOOD!
 You continued to grow and explore.  You became more and more independent and after you turned 6 months old we saw even more signs of how fun loving and sweet you are!
 You also had a few rough months during the winter.  You had RSV and three ear infections from January 22-end of March.  It was a very long, hard time for all of us, but you were such a good baby through it all.  This picture says it all.  This was on one of the worst days we had and one of the sickest that you ever were.  You always slept well (even though Mommy didn't because you coughed all night long and cried out in your sleep) and you were always happy.  Bless your sweet little heart!
 You got tubes at the end of March and we've had a healthy, happy baby ever since.  Unfortunately you did develop asthma because of the RSV, but we take steps everyday to keep that under control and you don't have any problems because of it anymore.

One thing I will have to will anyone who has met you, you are an EXCELLENT eater!  You will try anything once and I haven't found anything you won't eat!  You LOVE your food!  Haha!
You are the light of our lives and so worth the wait.  We cannot imagine our lives without you.  You brighten the day of everyone you come in contact with.  I have been stopped out in public and told how precious and sweet you are!  You are so laid back and you adapt well to every surrounding you are in.  You are definitely a good baby and I am so thankful for that.
  God has blessed us in so many ways by giving you to us.  We all love you more than you will ever know or imagine.  I rocked you to sleep last night and the entire time just thanked God for the chance to be your Mommy.  You have made my world such a better place and you have brought so much love, laughter, and light into our home.  I always want you to remember that you are a gift from God and if nothing else, proof that no matter how dark and sad your day is, God is ALWAYS faithful, you just have to have hope and patience.
We Love You Sweet Nicholas!