Monday, August 31, 2015

another year PreK

Sorry I have been MIA from blogging - life has been busy and we have had a roller coaster of a week last week between work and home life.  Glad this week is a fresh new week and I am actually on a short LA trip for work.  Which to be honest I needed some time away to decompress, renew my spirit, read a few books on the flight, and watch adult TV.  Can I get an AMEN! 

Anyways I wanted to write a post about Grayson and our decision to keep him in PreK another year and not to start Kindergarten this year. 

Grayson in fact turned FIVE on May 17, 2015 and YES he could start Kindergarten however as his parents both of us agreed over a year ago that we would be holding him back one additional year.  Socially I think Grayson needs more time to mature.  He struggles daily with wanting to go to school and leaving his mommy.  In addition I was comparing Grayson to other kids his age at his school and he wasn't doing things that other kids his age could do... he had NO interest in writing his name and in fact he didn't learn and start writing his name until April.  I have learned over the past year that Grayson is someone that just needs to be pushed to do things and no or I can't is not the solution.  We now are instilling the "I will try my best," attitude with Grayson.  Because what I learned after I switched teachers in April with Grayson that he can in fact do a lot of things, but he was not pushed to do so... if he said no they would just let him be.  His new teachers encouraged him and cheered him along the way and showed him that he can do things on his own along with a tutor that we hired for about three months.   
We are also trying different social activities to teach Grayson and show him it is okay to be away from mommy and daddy and we will be there to cheer him along the way.  He just started soccer about a week ago and his first practice started with the following, "mommy just cancel this!"  I told him that once we start something we can't quit and that cancelling it was not an option.  Instead I told him that he had to go and try his best and that mommy and daddy would be on the side watching and cheering him on.  It was painful to watch how sad Grayson was at the beginning and he just didn't want to be there, BUT about half way through he realized this was FUN.  At the end of the practice Grayson came running to us and said, "mommy you don't have to cancel soccer."  The reason I share this is it would have been easy just to take Grayson home because it would have made him happy in that moment of sadness, but as a parent sometimes we have to do "tough" stuff and let them experience moments that make them nervous or anxious.  In the end for this situation it was a win win and I know in my heart we made the right decision to push Grayson. 

Now back to the Kindergarten Topic - I have no doubt that Chad and I made the best decision for Grayson.  I would personally rather hold him back now than in future grades when he is more aware of what is going on.  He doesn't ask "why" he isn't in Kindergarten - if it comes up I just tell him when he is SIX it is his turn.  I just pray that when he is SIX he is more than ready to step out of our car and walk those footsteps to Elementary School with confidence that I GOT THIS Mommy!  I want him to be excited each and every day for school especially for Kindergarten because boy oh boy he has many years ahead of him. 

I am not expecting that Grayson will be well above others when he enters Kindergarten, I just want him to be socially ready to take those steps with his own confidence and not me pushing him to go to school every day.  Parenting is hard and there is no manual stating what to do and what not to do as parents.  I am just following what I think is best for my kids and consulting others where needed.  We all need to support one another and cheer each other on as parents.  

So on the EVE before Grayson enters PreK again this year my hope is that he walks out of Ms Melanie's, Ms Marcia's, Ms Alex's, and Ms Drew's class with confidence, following rules, excitement for learning and exploring, and a love for school.  I am sad that I won't be taking both my boys to their first day of school tomorrow, but they are in good hands with daddy.  To my fun loving boys mommy loves you both and I hope you have a great first day at school. 

have a beautiful one, 

Monday, August 10, 2015

the weekend and prospective

last night as I was lying in bed thinking about our weekend I had a bit of mama guilt.  we did many fun things over the weekend, but why didn't I enjoy every moment with the boys?

See there were moments when I worked on Saturday morning just to answer a few urgent emails that I didn't get to on Friday because I was working an event on the Bentonville Square and I felt like I needed to answer them.  But really did I need to do so?  Could it wait until Monday AM?  Probably YES! 

Than there were the moments that I was running around the house doing laundry, making beds, picking up toys, vacuuming the floors - making the house perfect before we did anything FUN.  WHY?!?  Because in my mind if all that was in order I could press on in the day with control over what the balance of the day was going to be like.  During these moments of craziness I let the boys play with their iPad and although they were VERY happy doing so all I could think last night was I should have been doing something fun with them every moment over the weekend as we don't get to spend days together during the work week.  Instead of making things perfect. 
Boy is this a weakness for me... 
I need to change and see the GIFTS that GOD has given me and not take it for granted.  I am not promised tomorrow so I need to make each and every day the best it can be full of love and what will bring honor to God.  Not sure a clean house is the case here!  

I laid in bed praying for forgiveness and grace that I can let go of little details and focus on BIG things that will IMPACT my little guys and myself.  I don't want them remembering that our house was ALWAYS clean.  We did do fun things over the weekend and I should give myself GRACE that I did make memories with the boys.  But in my heart it needs to be more!  We need to be silly and laugh more!  As I stated a week ago it is in my heart to seek GOD and do the work that he created me for.  I may not know what the full details of that is however impacting and teaching my boys is my responsibility as a parent.  They are the greatest blessing to me and my husband.  

a few memories from the weekend thru pictures 
these images give me prospective especially the final image where it was a last minute fun as we were watering the flowers for daddy turned into sprinkler fun and laughter!

have a beautiful one,


Thursday, August 6, 2015

working mama posts

so you might remember a time when I did a working mama post series. 
I am going to do it again.
if you are interested in writing about how you do things as a working mama send me an email at
titled working mama post with your blog name.  
I am planning on sharing my post with how we do things now with both parents working full time with a 5 year old and 3 year old.
Maybe we can all get some helpful times to either help us with household things and our errands so your weekend and week days in the evening are not consumed with these BORING tasks.  I know I would rather spend time with my boys and my husband.  Let's be cheerleaders for working mama's that may work at home or in an office.  We all can benefit from a little encouragement or advise to help us make life easier.  Looking forward to hearing from you lovely mama's...    

here is a link to my working mama post from the past two times I have done this series.  

have a beautiful one, 


Wednesday, August 5, 2015


my title to this post is nothing special just sharing how I document pictures of my family, where I print images, and create books.  

I have documented DAILY a picture a day for the past FOUR years and though it may seem like a lot it really is not TOO bad once you get a system down that works for you. 

Instagram is that place for me because - one it allows me to use hashtags and two there are several APPS that will allow you to download pictures from IG.  I still occasionally get my big camera out and take pictures, BUT not often enough!  

Before I move forward thanks for the IG LOVE I got some really great new followers!  So big hugs to you all! 
IG is where you will see daily happenings in my life! 

So do you use hashtags? 
If you don't give it a try - think of unique names that no one will come up with is the trick. 
I use hashtags currently for the following:
my daily favorite picture 
Grayson hashtag
Crew hashtag
Stafford Brother hashtag - to capture moments when the boys are together 
school hashtag 
vacation hashtags 

WHY use hashtags??? 
I can create books from an APP called Chatbooks and search hashtags and all of those images will load ONLY for that book to be ordered.  You can change settings within the APP so you can see your comment you posted on IG or not when the photo book prints.  It is great!  Another great option is you can create an instagram series - this is where you can subscribe to a book series from your IG feed with little to no effort and at the same time you can search and load the images by an hashtag.  When you get to 60 pages the photo book will ship to you.  HOW great is that! 

{I will note that I was not asked to do this post as a sponsership to Chatbooks I just wanted to share how I do things so maybe it will help others create lasting moments for your family instead of them seating on your Phone or IG account.} 

below are a few Chatbooks I just received this week 

I personally LOVE apps that make life easier.  In terms of additional APPS for photography I like here is a list:
IG - Instagram
Pic Frame
Flipagram - make video with your IG account and with music!
Day One - place where you can document by day on a calendar and ADD an image to remember milestones
PicTapGo - I love this photo editing tool 
Lastly I love having my IG photos in our house I have them in several formats from magnets on our fridge in our garage that I get from Sticky9

to little tiny circle magnets and bigger square magnets for our fridge in the house that I print from Print Studio 

I hope this helps all of you build wonderful memories for your family.  
Lfe is too short embrace create moments and document them for the future to see! 

have a beautiful one, 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

{a little} about me

a few things about me...
since I have been away for about a year and only posted a few posts last year and in any case someone is new to reading my blog let me share a few things about me

  • a grew up in Montana - went to college in Montana - moved to Arkansas at the age of 23 (I think) - I got married when I was 27 years old - worked at the Walmart Headquarters which was my first
    "real grown up job" before that I worked as an gymnastics and swim instructor both in Montana and Arkansas - I now work in the supplier world for almost 10 years working at a toy company where I call on accounts for both Walmart Stores and Sam's Club - I have three sisters - I am a twin - both my loving parents live in Montana and between all my sisters we have given them 8 grand babies (6 boys and 2 girls) - I have two boys, Grayson (5 years old) and Crew (3 years old) who are my whole world and my loving husband who completes me - Chad makes me a better person with his ongoing busy personality - there is always laughter, smiles, and fun in our house.  We will celebrate 10 years of marriage in 2016. 
  • I love chocolate milk - each morning I have a glass a chocolate milk it is like my coffee is morning - it is what gets me out of bed :) 
  • Speaking of chocolate I love chocolate it is my love language - it makes a bad day good - it gives me energy just when I need it  
  •  Yoga especially HOT yoga is my passion over the past few years - it makes me a better mama - it makes me feel centered in my life when I practice - I don't like to run unless I am on a work trip and it is funny I will run 3-5 miles on a treadmill. Weird I know! 
  • I have a passion for taking pictures of my kids and documenting moments of their day via IG.  You can follow me here StaffordStories  I confess I probably take TOO many pictures of my kids, ha :) 
  •     I love decorating - hence the reason it may seem I am always changing things up in my house.  I blame it on the new show Fixer Upper.  If Joanna and Chip lived in NWA I would have them fix up an old house for me in downtown Bentonville and I would move in a heartbeat.
  • I love a clean house - I get comments on IG all the time on how do I keep a clean house with two young boys running around?  I will do a separate post on this some day, but it is my TYPE A in me and something I need to learn to let go.  It doesn't have to be PERFECT or SHOW ready all the time, but to be HONEST it is! 
  • I rarely watch Adult TV - if you have small children you probably can relate, it is either Disney or Nick Jr - I do however get the chance to indulge in adult TV at work since I work in a two person office.  I love Bravo TV, I can pretty much watch all the Housewife Shows. I love some good drama on the Bachelor or The Bachelorette and I am going to give Bachelor in Paradise a try.  I love a good soap opera - my favorite is Young in the Restless, however I probably haven't watched it in over a year because they charge you now online to watch it.  BOO!  I love a good crime drama such as the Black List and a sexy and scandal-is show such as Mistresses and Nashville.     
  • I love apps on my iPhone that make life easier so you don't have to do everything on a big computer, my favorite apps besides IG and First 5 right now are timehop (where I can see old pictures of my babies), print studio (where I print my pictures for magnets etc), mindybody (where I sign up for workout classes in my area). 
  • I love shopping I prefer to shop at places that NOT everyone is wearing the same thing.  For me my favorite boutique online is Dottie Couture I love following their IG page and I have been known to purchase things weekly... ouch!  It is easier for me to shop via online vs the store.  For the boys my go to place for them is Gap for nice church clothes and Old Navy or Target for daycare clothes.  
  • I love beauty and fashion blogs because they do all the work for me and help me with my style.  Thanks pretty girls out there! 
  • I love reading but rarely get the chance to read currently I have three books started... I have FOUR work trips scheduled over the next two months starting in September so I am sure I will get caught up.  
  • I travel for work probably 6 times a year and I don't like it ONE bit!  I hate being away from my husband and boys! 
  • If you follow me on IG or Facebook you know that I want another baby - I tease my husband about it all the time in fact my friend Tiff helps me out any chance she can get and I love her for it.  She prays and dreams for me that I will have just one more.  It is something I am praying for our family and waiting to hear what GODS wants for our family.  
  • I love ending the day playing and being a kid again with my boys 
  • I believe that I was created for this world to be a mama and all the other stuff I get to do in between is icing on the cake. 
have a beautiful one, 

Monday, August 3, 2015

{trying} we will see...

my heart has been pulled to start AGAIN to document L I F E - share my heart - my passions - my loves - GROW as a person - I have overwhelming feelings in my heart that GOD is saying, "GROW MELISSA" spread your wings - be vulnerable, reach new limits personally, reach out to others, share your thoughts even if they scare you.  We are not promised tomorrow so make the best of each day.   

It has been an ENTIRE year since I blogged on Stafford Stories - WHY?
Life - always BUSY - with work and caring and loving my family. 
however as I stated earlier we are not promised tomorrow and last week like many others in the blogging community we were and still are sad for the loss of Leslie from A Blonde Ambition .  A gentle and joyful soul she was, with the sweetest girls, loving/supportive husband, and extended southern family you will ever meet.  Please continue today and the days to come to pray for this family.   It got me thinking go back to writing, sharing, and documenting life of my own family.  So I am going to try! 

Not only was I felt pulled to start writing again on this blog, but my heart was saying dig deeper seek God it is your time.  I agree it is my time to GROW deeper to knowing God, trusting God, loving God deeper.  So I am going to do it! 

I am going to get off the mat.  Make a difference in myself and others! 
Slowing down and just embracing the moments in the day! 
My sister shared this APP with me last week and lets just say it was PERFECT timing!
instead of your annoying alarm clock you are greeted each morning by God's word. 
this morning my morning wake up was this... besides my two monkeys climbing into my bed at 6AM!
the passage states, Jesus reminds us in our key verse today that the work of God is to believe in Jesus.  If we really want to put a finger on the pulse of how well we are serving God, then we must check how deeply we are believing Jesus and seeing Him change us on the inside.  AMEN and this hits my heart and soul BIG time! 

So in closing I will tell you I will be trying... 
trying to share my heart
trying to make changes 
because my heart and in my mind for over a week have said it is time Melissa don't be afraid.  
love God GROW and SHARE him with all you come into connection with, but first I need to grow in my relationship with him.

Okay now that this is all out there and I am a ball of nerves I will move onto the day, but I will share you a few moments this weekend with my boys. 

Crew was over the weekend and sleeping by 6:30 PM on Sunday {reason #1 why he was up at 6AM today}

 since Crew was sleeping it gave Grayson and I time to spend one on one time playing UNO
I just loved this time with G! 

 Our weekend started off with the boys getting their new bunk beds and for now they are sleeping in the same room (reason #2 why Crew was up early Grayson woke him up to come down to my bed at 6AM I am sure of it) we will see how long sharing a room lasts.  They both think the bunk beds are AWESOME! 

Happy Monday Friends and I hope you will continue I mean start reading my blog again!
have a beautiful one! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

New Passion

I was asked to be a guest blogger on Jamie's Journey Through Life
I don't blog much these days as you can probably see my last post was in March 2014.  There are days I have full attention of blogging and journaling our lives, but something always comes in front.  I do journal our lives better on instagram and you can follow me at staffordstories.  Not sure what the future holds for this blog I am not ready to shut it down it is about finding balance in order to fit it into my busy life right now and again finding the passion to start writing posts that have meaning and can captivate an audience. 

I do have a new passion and today that is what I am going to share with Jamie's readers.  In April of this year I went to my first yoga class with my sister Amie in South Dakota.  It was hot yoga and before going I just knew I was not going to make it through the class who works out for over an hour in a HOT room that gets above 90 degrees.  Amie's yoga studio in South Dakota was very welcoming and just after one class with Amie I was hooked.  I needed to find a place in NWA where I live. 

That is where I found my yoga studio - Yoga Story located in downtown Bentonville.  My first class was a lunch class and it was a lot different than Amie's studio in South Dakota, but I decided I wanted to fully give it a try so I signed up for their 30 classes for 30 days only $30.00.  After the 30 days I was completely hooked and loving the way I felt and now consider Yoga Story my yoga home. 

My love for yoga
I go to yoga at least 4 days a week
I go to three hot yoga which is really called Power Vinyasa Flow sessions during the week and one Yoga Body Boost.
Definition of the Power Vinyasa Flow:
It will tone your body and electrify your mind as you move through a series of challenging poses.  This flow will torch calories, tone your body, and relax your mind.
Definition of Yoga Body Boost:
Yoga + Cardio + Conditioning + Endurance = Energy

Why do I love yoga?
Main reason it makes me feel so much better.  I feel taller, stretched out, leaner, and stronger.  I feel that I have better patience. I feel that I am calmer and peaceful during moments of craziness with my boys and life. 
I love to go to Yoga and I am getting a great workout in the process!
So why share this with all of you?
Maybe someone out there is searching for a workout that will make them happy and feel better about themselves...
if that is the case I strongly suggest give yoga a try, try different types of yoga at a studio near you. 
Yoga is hard work, you won't be great at it at first, but keep going and over the weeks and months you will see the strength and confidence shine. 
One this note I remember the first several times I went to hot yoga I always felt MAN I am going to die in this heat, but every single time after the class I felt amazing.  I felt light and my mind was free and I am ready to face the day ahead.
Give Yoga a try and find balance and strength within and I will close with Namaste.

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