Friday, January 25, 2013

Update on Nana

Just had wonderful news from my mom! Nana's stress test didn't show any significant findings and she will be headed home soon!!! She is probably continuing to have small TIAs, which we have known about for a few years, so she will be starting an anti platelet drug and be rechecked by her cardiologist in 2 weeks.

God is so good! Thank you for all of your prayers and good thoughts! My mom is going to stop on their way home and pick up Nicholas so she can see him. That will definitely make her day!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Prayers Needed

You all know how much I love my Nana and how this time last year my heart was so heavy over moving her to an assisted living and coming to terms with the toll dementia had taken on her. She has done so well at her new home and we are approaching the one year mark of making the move. We have been so blessed to have found such a wonderful place for her and that she has done so well.

Last night around 12:30 her home called my mom to let her know they were sending Nana to the hospital by ambulance. She was complaining of left arm pain and her blood pressure was very elevated. My mom met them at the ER and it was decided that she had fallen and fractured her scapula (shoulder blade). Well, upon further assessment and a trauma orthopedic consult, it was decided that she did not have a fracture, but severe arthritis. However, she had some EKG changes, swollen legs and feet, and high blood pressure so she got admitted.

She is currently having a stress test to see of they can figure out what may be going on. Please pray for answers and that everything can be dealt with before she goes back home. I'm also concerned because she has had at least one TIA since she has been at her new home. I'm hoping they can correlate all of this and get some answers.

Please pray for Nana, our family, her doctors, and nurses. I'll update when I know more. Here is one of my very most favorite Nana and Nicholas moments dancing at Christmas. I just had to share it with you! (Not sure why it isn't showing it all, but you can see it if you click the image???)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My 2013 Erin Condren Life Planner Review

Those that know me well and especially those I work with, know that I am incredibly type A. I plan and plan far in advance (oh, you know, like planning a Disney trip down to the meals 8 months in advance! more on that next week). Nothing makes me crazier than last minute plans. Last year I discovered the Erin Condren Life Planner and it was love at first sight. I carried it for 16 months and loved it. As it got closer to the new year I began trying to find a little bit cheaper alternative, but I couldn't find one I loved as much. So, I decided to go ahead and get over being cheap and order another one. Ha!

I went with the Mod Morocco pattern, but I wanted something fun and girly (since everything about my life is boyish these days!) so I customized it to my favorite color purple with pink accents.
 I ordered it the week before Christmas and it was expected to ship on January 2. However, January 2 came and went without a shipment did January 3. On January 5 I received an email that it shipped late Friday night. It was finally delivered the next Friday afternoon and I finally felt organized again. Haha!
So, why do I love these planners so much? The biggest reason is I love that everyday is broken down into 3 sections, morning, afternoon, and evening, giving me plenty of room to write what I need to. I am not a fan of small planners that do not give a lot of room for each day. A small box doesn't get it for me. I use it to plan our meals, household chores, and shopping lists. I need my room!
There were some improvements from my 2011-2012 planner. I am very excited about the laminated tabs. Last year my tabs were frayed and bent by the time 2012 rolled around (I started using it in August).

I am also really liking the optional addition of a pen holder. I'm a mega dork and I LOVE and I do mean LOVE pens. I only use Pilot G2-7 or Sharpie pens and this is much better than putting them on the spiral of the planner!

They also upgraded to a metal spiral bound this year rather than the plastic spiral. I like it better so far.

Overall, I am beyond happy with my planner. I feel the company itself needs to improve on customer service and their estimated ship dates. I understand there being a delay due to the holidays, but that should have been reflected in the original quoted ship date. I do plan to order from the company again, but I will order with less expectations in regards to the ship date. I have been lusting over their address books for a year and after having to round up addresses...again this year for Christmas cards, I will be purchasing one soon. I also think I need some notepads to use in conjunction with my planner. ;-)

***This post was uncompensated and 100% my opinion of the product and the company.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

It's Been A Long Couple Of Weeks Wrap Up

First up, thanks for all the good Disney tips!  Keep 'em coming and I'll write more posts on how I'm planning as we go.

Well, Oops!  Has it really been about two weeks since I blogged anything about what is going on?  We have been super busy and both of us have been working late and between that and keeping the house up, I've been wiped out.  Not much time for blogging and our day to day activities haven't really been blog worthy, but rather boring.  This may not be an exciting post, but it is what we've been up to!

Last weekend I spent Saturday running errands and getting things for a party we have coming up.  Sunday we went to eat at a Mexican restaurant and I thought this picture was so cute of me and my sweet boy!
Yesterday I met one of my favorite blogger/twitter ladies for lunch! A few years ago Natalie and I found each other by the fact that we had mutual friends that were friends.  She started reading my blog, I found her blog, and we finally met last year.  She and her daughter were in town this weekend for a cheer competition so we met up for lunch.  Since we were doing lunch, I brought my little sidekick along to meet them!  Leslie and her little girl Molly also came down from Nashville for the day.  It was great to meet them!  We've been Twitter friends for awhile and it is always fun to meet Twitter girls in real life!  We met up at 2:00 at Red Robin and I was a little nervous how Nicholas would do as he had not had a nap in 3 days and got up early, but he did pretty well considering.  I totally had a blogger fail moment and forgot to take any pictures.

On the way home Nicholas fell asleep and I ended up sitting in a parking lot just letting him sleep while I read blogs about Disney.  It was actually nice to just sit without the radio and in the quiet for about an hour!  :-)  I did take this picture of him.  Cracked me up!  He had his blanket from school and just cuddled right up.
I had to stay up until midnight last night to secure a barter shift for the next JBF consignment event.  I always work my inspection shift to allow for more profit on my sales, but I want to shop earlier than that allows me to shop, so I also signed up for a barter this time.  I'm excited about that!  I almost didn't make it because I fell asleep on the couch and woke up at 11:55!  I jumped up and sat at the computer until the shift opened up at that point!  Haha!

Today we've had a lazy day.  We all needed that.  Nicholas has spent a lot of time playing pirates (his new favorite) and worked puzzles.  He is so funny and does a great job with independent play, which I think is a huge benefit of day care.
I worked on a few dinners for this week this afternoon while Nicholas had quiet time (he didn't want a nap apparently, so he just stayed in his room for 2 hours).  It makes me feel so much less stressed if I can have dinner ready when I get home or at least ready to pop into the oven.  I have a late meeting tomorrow and won't get home until close to 6:30, so I went ahead and made carrots and mashed potatoes to heat with a roast in the crockpot.  Tuesday I will have another late day, so it's taco soup in the crockpot.  Finding healthy, quick meals that a two year old will eat is hard, so this definitely makes me feel like I have a sense of being able to keep up at home during the week.  One of these days I will get back to blogging my freezer meals and meal plans, I promise!                                                             

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Ledfords Are Going To Disney!!! Beware, Lots Of Questions?

Last weekend we made the decision to go ahead and plan to take Nicholas to see all of his favorites...Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Peter, Jake, Little Einsteins, Woody, Buzz, Lightning and Mater!  That's right, the Ledfords are headed to Disney World this Fall!!!  He will be a few months over 3 and as much as he loves all of the characters I just mentioned, I KNOW he will love seeing them in person and where they "live".  He knows we are going.  As a matter of fact, he tells me all the time now "Ichas go to Ickey's house!"  Here he is in all of his excitement at Disney on Ice and that was before the show started!!!
We have set up a little spending money fund for him on the island in the kitchen and if he sees any loose change he runs, and I mean runs to put it in his "Ickey house money" jar!  :-)
As we all know, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE and pretty much live to plan.  That is where this works out great for me because everyone knows you have to make major plans, far in advance, for Disney.  We've already decided on a resort (we are staying on property) and a date.  Now comes the fun part...picking our meals, outfits (Nicholas has got to have a few appliqued shirts from etsy!), and the trip in general.  I ordered two books from Amazon last week and I was super excited to get them this week!  

While that is super fun and I have quickly become one of those crazy Disney people that I've always made fun of, I am also overwhelmed.  I have not been to Disney since 1994, and have not been to the Magic Kingdom since 1989 and wow!  Things sure have changed!  You don't just show up at the gate, buy a ticket and go in anymore!  Sooooo, on that note, here come the questions!  Meal plans, fast passes, how to spend 3 days effectively and how to give a 3 year old a fun trip is beyond overwhelming for me!

I am 99% sure we want to classic Disney Dining Plan, but is it really worth the extra money from the quick serve plan?  We 100% plan to do one character meal, breakfast at Disney Jr Play and Dine at Hollywood and Vine, so it would pay off that day.  Not to mention he will love meeting his hero Jake in person!  I've also considered breakfast at Chef Mickey, but is it REALLY worth it?  We will be coming from the other side of the property at an All Star resort, so we would have to allow a lot of commute time (estimated 40 minutes), early in the morning.  Also, is it worth not being at the Magic Kingdom at rope drop (whatever that is?!)?  I'm thinking about doing this on the 1st day at MK so he can meet the characters before we get to the park.  I've also read a few blogs/articles that recommend Tony's on the patio for a great view of the parades.  Is that realistic for a front row seat for the Electric parade (my favorite childhood Disney memory)?  Can I get reservations at 180 days out and specifically request patio seating?  And yes, I plan to be up by 6am on that magic 180 day mark to reserve our character breakfasts and table service meals!

Now, can someone explain how I should do Fast Passes for a 3 year old to get the most out of 2 days at the Magic Kingdom and 1 day at Hollywood Studios.  At MK my priorities will be: Peter Pan, Pirates of The Caribbean, Buzz Lightyear, the Speedway, Dumbo (because it is a classic), tea cups, and Small World.  Oh, and Mommy wants to ride the new Ariel ride (don't hate, it's my favorite Disney movie!).

I am beyond excited and between that and my type A planner personality, this is getting to be a sad obsession!  :-)  I'm pretty sure my mom and Michael are about to have me committed over this trip and it is still 8 months away!  Hahaha!

Friday, January 11, 2013

He May Be Big, But He Is Only Two

All of my sweet boy's life people have made comments about his size. That doesn't bother me. I am guilty of doing the same with other children and that isn't my issue. It is the expectations people place upon him thinking he is older than he is because of his height.  From the day he was born it has been the case. Yes, he was a pretty big boy for a 38 weeker and NO, my OB did NOT "guess his date wrong". (Infertility babies with medically assisted conception have pretty darn accurate due dates). I still hear that comment when people find out he was almost 9 pounds and 22 inches at 38 weeks and 1 day. :-)
Nicholas is just a healthy boy that has a tall dad, 2 tall grandfathers, 1 of which was a college football lineman.  The kid can't help it but be tall!  Now, he can put away some food, don't get me wrong! I am terrified of the teen years and pretty sure I'll have to get a 2nd job just to keep him fed, let alone if we have a 2nd boy, Heaven help us! As someone who is short and always had trouble reaching things, buying pants and dresses, and wishing I was a couple of inches taller, I think he is blessed to be a "big boy" as everyone says.
However, there are definitely some cons to being a "big boy" and the unrealistic expectations people have for him aren't fair to a toddler. First, I get looks and/or comments on a daily basis about his development. People expect him to be much more advanced and clear when he talks because they think he is older. He is barely 2 and a half, he speaks in complete sentences and according to his pediatrician, he is right on target if not a little ahead. I want to cry when I see the surprise looks from strangers and on occasion the comments from even family that "he doesn't talk clearly for his age". Yes he does...for his age, but maybe not his size. When he was 16 months old he was asleep in his stroller at Lifeway bookstore and someone stopped me and in an amazed tone asked "HOW do you get your 3 year old to nap in the stroller?!" All I could think to say was, "Um, well, he isn't even a year and a half old!"
Also, there is the ever present pacifier. Now, let me just say right now that I despise this thing and I pray multiple times a day for him to be secure without it. I have tried to take it away and either he got sick or found 10 more stashed away. I honestly don't know what to do at this point, but his pediatrician said not to worry about it right now, so I try not to, but it's hard when everyone judges your parenting based on the fact your 2 year old that appears to be 3 has a paci. Best comment yet was from a lady with a much older child in the grocery store: "look at that BIG BOY (said with much emphasis) with a pacifier!" Stab!
The moral to this post is that I understand why my child and my parenting are judged based upon his size, but I worry as he gets older it will continue into other aspects that will effect his self esteem: sports, school, and even with girls and friends. I wish people would think before they make condescending stares or comments about a child. You never know what the circumstances may be. I guess this is just another piece of the ever present mommy wars and a part of parenting.
Since the new year I've started telling him how wonderful he is and how he is exactly like God wanted him to be. He is smart and just the perfect size for him because God made him to be that way. I've decided to go along with that, my new response to the frequent comment of "he is only 2?, He sure is so big for his age, Why does he have a paci, he may need speech therapy, I think he should be talking better than that for his age" Is going to be, "well, he is only 2 and he may be a tall for his age, but that is just how God made him!"

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

8 Years

8 years ago those two young, skinny kids had NO idea what the next few years would bring.  Pretty sure if they did, we wouldn't be here today.  Haha!  It is so hard to believe it has actually been 8 years since this day.  It was one of the very best days of my life and I truly love Michael more today than I did then.  I cannot imagine my life without him and He is the best husband and dad I could ask for Nicholas and I. 

I wanted to show you a few of my favorite wedding pictures from that day.  Another sign of how long ago it has been since we got married...It cracks me up when I look at my wedding pictures on the computer because I had to scan them in back in the day.  We didn't have all of our pictures on digital, just about 200/800 of our pictures were digital.  Only a few very expensive photographers in our area were going 100% digital then.  What a long way wedding photography has come!  Haha!

Our first glimpse of each other
Yes, we had a big wedding party and I wouldn't do it any other way!

We went to a park by the river and had some pictures taken which turned out great!

Two of my favorites from the reception

Another sign of how long we've been married...tonight instead of a fancy dinner out, we are grilling steaks and eating in while watching TV.  :-)

Monday, January 7, 2013


Tonight we are settling in to watch the National Championship game (ROLL TIDE!) and eating a tasty Southern meal.  After all, what would the game be if there wasn't a SEC team playing, so we are eating a southern classic!  We have tried several, and I mean several, gumbo recipes over the years, but I finally found a good one in Southern Living a few years ago.  I have made some changes to it and tweaked it a little and it is so good.  Everyone that has tried it loves it.  I made it yesterday and kept in the refrigerator until tonight.  It was even better eating it the 2nd day.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
2 tablespoons garlic
40 oz chicken broth
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 pound andouille sausage (1 cut mine into slices at an angle)
1 1/2 cups frozen cut okra
1 pound peeled, raw shrimp
Step 1: In a large pot heat oil over medium-high heat.  Gradually whisk in flour and continue to whisk constantly for 7 minutes or until flour mixture is a chocolate brown color.  DO NOT BURN mixture.  If it starts to stick, take it off the heat and continue to stir.

Step 2: Reduce heat to medium and add onion, pepper, celery, garlic, and Creole seasoning.  Stir continuously for 2 minutes.  

Step 3: Add chicken, chicken broth, sausage, and okra.  Heat to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  

Step 4: The last step is to add the shrimp and cook for 8-10 minutes or until shrimp turn pink.  
We eat it served over rice (I use a bag of 10 minute success rice).

This is really a simple recipe, but SO GOOD!  I have found a few tips to make it easier.  Get all of your ingredients out before cooking.  Chop all of the veggies and meat and place into bowls based upon the steps.  That way all you have to do is just dump the bowls when you are ready.   This has become a favorite of ours and I hope you enjoy it too!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Big Boy Room Makeover

Last year around this time we began the transition to a "big boy room", but there was a lot more I wanted to do other than new bed and bedding. I had a vision and I found some awesome ideas on Pinterest. We never really had the time or money to do them, so I just kind of filed them away on my phone and planner.   Last Friday, I was sitting at my desk and for some reason I started thinking about it and after a few texts about my "vision", Michael agreed we needed to make his room a little more fun and grown up.  I LOVED and I do mean LOVED my sweet brown nursery, but it was time to make it more and loud! :-)
The 1st picture I took of his room all ready for my little guy in 2010...
 then the last picture I took right before we started taking it apart Saturday morning...
And then it began...the quest for paint! Those of you who've been followers since our fire remember how I agonized over paint colors then, well, this wasn't much easier. Needless to say, this is another the where I desperately miss my Nana's abilities to decorate (she was an interior designer)! I need someone to tell me what colors I'm using and then I just go buy it. I went to Home Depot, showed the girl a few pictures of my vision and we ended up Bliss Blue.   I'm loving how it turned out!!! Nicholas spent the
day yesterday with his Gigi and Pawpaw and we spent the day literally speed painting. Michael and I actually had fun, but I'm glad we are done and Nicholas LOVES it!  Without further is the final product...
His quilt and canvas look so good in there too!  I seriously think this is my favorite room in the house now!
His dressers and artwork on the wall.
I bought this car beanbag for him when he was 6 weeks old.  It is perfect in his big boy room! (this is also the best picture showing the true color)
The only thing left to do is to hang these ceramic road signs.  I'm still debating on where I want them to go, so they are just waiting. (yes, he has his own Precious Moment race car collection)
Unfortunately, this project was not without a crisis.  We were almost done with the 1st coat when I pulled the tarp and spilled almost a half gallon of paint ON THE CARPET!!!  It actually looks a little better now.  I got most of it up and I've still got a couple of tricks to try before the professionals come clean the carpet in a couple of weeks.  I literally wanted to throw up when I did that.  
8 hours, paint on the carpet, and a lot of work later my big boy loves it and that is all that matters!  

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year Brain Dump

So, what's been on my mind lately???

1. I am organizing a freezer meal swap again and back to doing freezer meals. I made a few last week and it just makes my heart happy when I open my extra freezer and see these. I just feel less stressed knowing it's there.  I made 2 manicotti with sauce, 1 pan of chicken rolls, 1 pan chicken enchiladas, and hamburger steaks.

2. This is seriously such a fun age with Nicholas. You never know what he will say next. Monday afternoon he was in the bathtub and I said "Nicholas it's time to wash your hair" and he said "no Ichas (Nicholas), I matey". Well, ok then, we shall call you matey!  He is obsessed with pirates, obviously!

3. I finally got around to ordering the last canvas voucher I had. I got home last Friday and found this amazing canvas on the doorstep! I die at the sweetness!  I hung it over our bed and I just need to get a frame for it.  That was the last day we had before he started showing signs of his milk allergy and I am so thankful I took some pictures that day before he began crying 20 hours a day for the next 6 weeks. How did that little bitty guy get so big?!

4. I have a HUGE fear of heights and the only way to get to our attic is a pull down ladder. Not happening! I needed a way to be able to access my holiday decorations, so Michael put up some awesome overhead storage for me in the garage. I LOVE IT!!!!  (excuse the crappy iphone pic)

5. I know a lot of people don't like winter or cold weather, but I love it! Ok, mostly I love jeans, boots, and heavy sweaters. I'm also dressing Nicholas in such cute little sweaters and turtlenecks lately. It is adorable! It's hard to get a good picture in the morning, but I managed to get a couple of cute ones lately.

6. I embraced a mommy trend from Twitter last weekend. A few weeks ago a lot of moms I follow on twitter were discussing carrying a cross body purse. I didn't give it much thought because I didn't plan to buy a new purse for awhile, but Michael's parents got me a cross body Coach for Christmas and let me tell you, it saved my life during a blowout diaper change in Rooms To Go last weekend! It was so much easier than trying to juggle a squirmy toddler, poop all over him and his clothes, a backpack, and a purse!

7. Random rant, but has anyone else noticed a lack of etiquette lately? Has it become the norm to NOT send thank you notes, especially for baby or wedding gifts? I get a lot less thank you notes than I give gifts these days and it seems weird to me. Now, I may not be prompt at sending them, but I send them out eventually. I decided this year that I would start Nicholas off by sending thank yous for his Christmas gifts. He may not understand now, but in a few years he will and I hope it will just be second nature to him. Call me a crazy mom, but it's important to me that he always shows gratitude.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Two and a Half Years Old

Yesterday was January 1, which means Nicholas is officially two and a half.  :-(  I am struggling with the fact that he has gotten so big and grown up.  I still think of him as being a baby and cannot believe he is so grown up and such a big boy at that.  I looked back at his 2 year pictures that were taken in mid-July and I still can't believe how big he was then...and that he is even bigger and more grown up now!
Nicholas has a HUGE personality and loves life with everything in him!  He runs everywhere, he is loud and boisterous (which I LOVE, it makes him a boy!), and he loves to play.  He is messy and I have to use an insane amount of oxy and zout on his clothes (again, that is ok, I want him to just be a kid and enjoy everything around him).  He is 100% all boy and it makes him such a fun two year old.  We've been blessed in that we haven't really had an issue with the "terrible twos".  I'm praying that because he is just so laid back and fun-loving that we will somehow miss out on it.  He just kind of goes along with the flow and just has fun.  His teachers at school and church love him and enjoy him (or so they say).  He has a lot of friends at school and at home.  I just love how much his personality shines in pictures.  He always appears to be having fun and loving life!  Such a gift!
Nicholas is a big boy. We went to the doctor a few weeks ago and he was 35 pounds. At two years he was in the 100th percentile for weight and height. He is in 2T clothes, but mostly 3T pjs.  He wears size 2-3T pullups and size 8-8.5 shoes.  Pretty sure he is preparing for his career as a linebacker! :-) He also has a very thick head of hair that has to be cut at least every 6 weeks, if not more often. He couldn't help it, everyone in both families have a head full of thick, wavy hair! However, with his size and hair people tend to think he is older than he is, which isn't always good. Sometimes I get my feelings hurt when I get looks because he has a paci, throwing a fit in public, or when he starts to talk and people don't understand him or think he should be talking more clearly for his age. This is a topic for another post, but it isn't always a good thing to be so big! :-)
We are working on potty training. He has pretty much mastered it at school, but isn't interested at home. We suspect it is a peer pressure issue at school and without seeing the other kids do it, he just doesn't want to at home. Well, as of this weekend, he is going to have to at least try. I'm planning to start working pretty hard at it. He loves working puzzles, climbing, and "reading". He has incredible hand/eye coordination and has been working puzzles on a 3 year old level for a while. He will sit and "read" for hours. It is funny how much he loves puzzles and books. Again, definitely a blessing and something we hope he maintains.
Nicholas plays independently and well with others.  He likes to have "quiet time" where he plays his Leap Pad, reads a book, works a puzzle, or colors.  He still likes his playroom and plays well there by himself.l
He enjoys playing with toys in his playroom, especially his Geotrax train and Cars set, any tractor/dump truck/bulldozer type toy, and cars of any kind. His very favorite thing right now is anything Pirate related, especially Jake and The Neverland Pirates.


He still sleeps great and sleeps about 10-11 hours a night and 2-3 hour nap during the day.  I still say going to a big boy bed was the best decision we've made for Nicholas.  He is still a big eater and loves to eat grilled cheese, mac and cheese, carrots, broccoli, lima beans, and any sweets, but not a big fan of meat. Weird, I know! He could pretty much live off of chocolate milk "chock gilk". He wants to drink it nonstop.
God definitely blessed us immensely when he gave us Nicholas.  Overall, he is a very good child and gives us very little trouble.  With that being said, yes, there are times that he doesn't mind, fights us about his paci or naptime, doesn't want to eat what was cooked, doesn't want to go to school, or pitches a fit in the middle of Target, but he is two, it's normal.  I pray that he continues to love Jesus and that he continues to love life and love to learn.  I am excited to start planning his 3rd birthday and to see how God continues to work in the life of this sweet boy!