Welcome! My name is Nicole but my friends call me Coley, a cute little boy calls me Momma, and the love of my life calls me honey.
I’m a work at home Mom, birthmom, writer, and photographer, and crafter from the south. I’m a self described mamarazzi and girly girl who loves purses, painted fingernails, funky socks, polka dots, and anything teal.
My son, Noah, is my pride and joy. He's an adorable special needs 16 year old charmer!
Go to the "about me" page to learn more about me and my family!
Sadly, another season of Miracle League baseball has come to an end. Boy does Noah love to play baseball! And boy does his Granddad love to be his buddy. And boy do we love to watch the two of them! Granddad was his permanent buddy once again this season. I don't think Noah will play without him. (Ok, wait, I KNOW Noah won't play without him - the one game Granddad was out of town for we just didn't even take Noah to because we knew he'd have a meltdown when he realized Granddad wouldn't be his buddy.) They've been nicknamed the "dynamic duo" and are super fun to watch.
I love their "routine." It's just like what my little brother used to do when he was playing baseball. They step (or wheel in Noah's case) up to the plate - my Dad helps Noah hold the bat and they knock the dirt off Noah's "cleats" (This was especially funny the night he took his shoes off and had no shoes on!) and then they take a few practice swings and then they are ready for the real deal.
I think the final game of this season, even though it was only a one inning game, was my favorite game of the season. Let me explain a few things about Miracle League first.....
There are no real hard core rules. There are no strikes. There are no outs. Everyone wins. It may sound boring to some, but it's about giving these kids, kids like my Noah, a chance to play baseball when they aren't able to play for a typical Little League team.
So, Noah and my Dad have been stealing bases. Obviously there is no real need for stealing bases in a Miracle League game but Noah and my Dad have a blast doing it and people get all riled up when they do it.
When we got to the field Thursday night, J and I were talking and I wondered aloud what batting order Noah and my Dad were in. It was the last game - they needed to go big. J politely asked Noah's coach if Noah could be first. She said of course. I'm sure she knew what was coming.
When my Dad got there we clued him in on what was up and it was decided he and Noah would go for it - the big one - they would steal all the bases and make a stolen home run. It was great. The announcer knew what was coming and he was ready. Noah hit the ball and Dad took off running. He made it to first and kept on going. At this point, Noah's chair tipped a bit - THAT'S how fast Granddad was running! He slowed down a bit (I hope think) but kept running and the crowd was going crazy. I heard lots of "Go Grandpa! Go Noah!" behind me. They kept on going and rounded third and made it home where they stopped (barely) and got Noah's medal for the season.
Noah loved it. He was BEAMING! I was teary eyed. I was proud. Did I mention Noah was BEAMING?
We ♥ Miracle League.
PS. It was really hard to get good pictures because I was so focused on what was happening. Let's not even talk about the video that should-have-been. Oh, and click on any of the photos to see them larger.
Noah's behavior has been slowly improving since we have increased his medication twice and today he had enough points to go to the school store. This is a big deal because it's only the 2nd time this year that he has had enough points to go to the school store! (They earn points all week and then can go to the school store and buy things with their points.) Well, Noah came home from school today very excited and proud to tell us he had been able to go to the school store and to show us what he bought. My child, who I can barely get to wear a hat when it's freezing outside, used his points to buy himself a pretty cool looking hat.
Here's a few pics of him wearing it while listening to his Sansa after school.
One night after getting Noah to bed, I relaxed with some hot tea while watching American Idol and one of the contestants (Lacey Brown) spoke about her nerves and how her mom always said to her, “You were made for this.” When I heard those words, it felt like someone was speaking to me. They were telling me I was made for this. I was made to be Noah’s Mom, I was made for this life.
I was reminded of this scripture.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful."
It was a real ah-ha moment for me. God made me for my life. He molded me and sculpted me knowing that I could do this – through the good times and the bad.
“You were made for this” has become my mantra. I say it to myself when times are tough and it is a comfort to me.
One night I was getting creative with my camera and I took a picture of myself in the mirror with a post it note that said “You were made for this.” I love how the picture turned out and as I was editing the photos I started coming up with other ways to photograph that phrase.
Thus a new creative project was born. I’m challenging myself over the next year to take as many different photos of my mantra phrase and eventually I’ll make a collage with them for my studio wall or possibly make a little coffee table book with them – or maybe do both!
So be prepared to see lots of "You were Made for This" photos. And if you have a great idea for a "You were Made for This" photo, I'd love to hear it!
Click here to see more of my "You were Made for This" photo series.
Noah's birthday party was on Sunday. He did pretty well for it. It was a small family party which has become our custom as anything any bigger just stresses my boy out too much and being stressed out on your birthday is just not allowed.
Although it's a very small party I do usually make an invitation and decorate. Here is this year's invitation.....
This year I decided to decorate the birthday mantel complete with a happy birthday banner I made, purple pumpkins, the Noah subway art I wrote about yesterday, some Clemson tigers, and balloons.
Closeup of the pumpkins (one on each end of the mantel )
I spray painted them purple and then modge podged the letters or the picture on.
I made little masks out of scrapbooking paper for the Clemson tigers so they'd fit in with the Halloween theme.
We had a "booffet" complete with "Tiger Brew" in the witch's cauldron, pimento and cheese sandwiches, turkey burger sliders, homemade spinach queso dip and chips, orange fruit dip, and more.
Noah doesn't like regular cake so I decided to make a Rice Krispie Treat cake. It came out looking very homemade. I wasn't really happy with it but it was made with lots of love and most importantly Noah seemed to like it although I he wouldn't eat any of it at the party he did eat some later.
As Always, Noah was spoiled for his birthday. He received a new Clemson comforter as his old one was a couple of years old and starting to show signs of wear and tear.
He received books and 5 Clemson shirts! I think his favorite gift was probably his Sansa (a portable MP3 player) though, such a typical 14 year old gift, eh! It's purple and is decorated with orange Clesmon tiger paw decals.
I've shared with you before my newfound love of Subway Art and Noah's love of Wordles, so when I was working on decorations for Noah's birthday party I got the idea to make Noah-themed subway art in the colors of the party.
I went the easier route (since I only have a Slice die cutting machine and would have to cut out every single letter individually which would take forever) and made this on the computer.
I simply started with Noah's name in the middle in the largest font I used and then I filled it in with different words and phrases that describe him in different fonts, colors, and sizes. (I used purple and orange since it was the main colors of the party decorations.)
I then spray painted a frame I had purple, popped the printed "Noah subway art" in a frame and called her done.
Since Noah's room is also purple and orange, I intend to hang it in his room or on his door when it is no longer being used as a birthday decoration.
PS. I had a hard time getting a great picture so I have shared several as well as the jpeg of the file I created on my computer. (Click on any photos to make them larger.)
Fourteen years ago today you entered the world. You were raring to go just like always and came early. I eagerly waited to hear you cry but you didn’t until later. You were whisked off to the NICU and thus our adventurous life began.
We’ve had ups and downs all throughout the years, my sweet boy, but you are strong. You’re a fighter. You are tough, brave, kind, and loving. You are my hero.
Today, I celebrate you. I celebrate you coming into my life, making me a mother, and teaching me what a Mother's love is all about.
Happy Birthday Noahie!
Photo is from Noah’s birthday party on Sunday – more party pics to come in the next few days!
PS. Happy birthday to my namesake, Nickel too.
(My BFF's son, who is named after me, who was born on Noah's birthday. Crazy/cool isn't it?)
If you are a Facebook friend of mine then you probably saw my posts over the weekend that Noah was having massive (autistic) stemmed) meltdowns. Basically, if the child was awake, he was melting down. He even woke up Sunday morning melting down.
It was bad. J and I were at our wits end. He had to work on Sunday evening which is not the norm so we knew that would throw Noah off even more (any break in routine is tough for him to deal with) so we called in the re-enforcements aka my parents. (Thanks Mom and Dad!) They came over right before J had to leave and Noah calmed down for a bit and I was able to think without the screaming going on and re-charge my batteries with a nice hot bath while he was safe and calm with my parents.
Monday brought about messages left for the doctor and then Tuesday was Noah’s parent/teacher conference. The sad thing was he really didn’t want us to go. I think he knew that we would not like what we heard. His behavior has been the same at school which is a smidge reassuring because it makes me feel like we’re not terrible parents and doing something wrong at home which is always my biggest fear.
Aside from the meltdowns his repetitious behaviors have been at an all time high and he just can’t seem to focus. It took him over an hour to cut out pictures of 2 fruits and 2 vegetables from magazines for a school project. That should normally take him about 20 minutes.
He has gained weight so we all thought that it probably has to do with him not receiving enough of his behavior medicine so per the doctor’s instructions we started giving him a higher dose of the meds on Wednesday. We should know in a week or so if the higher dose is doing the trick or not.
He did seem a little less stressed yesterday afternoon but still wasn’t back to his usual self yet. I’m hoping he’ll continue to improve on the higher dose and be in a good mood for his birthday party on Sunday!
I had the idea for the candlesticks awhile back and originally they were going to go on the mantle but the mantle ended up going in a different direction so now they are on the side table.
Anyways, these were easy and inexpensive to make. I started with 2 glass candlesticks from the Dollar Tree along with two candleholders. I spray painted the candlesticks black and covered the candle holders with spider web scrapbooking paper. I glued the candle holders to the candle sticks using E-6000. I turned them upside down, set a heavy book on them, and left them sitting overnight.
Then I used some fake spider webbing (also from the Dollar Tree) along the base of the candlesticks and finished it off with a fake spider (that came with the bag of spider webbing) per a candlestick. I didn't glue down the spider web or spiders I simply wrapped it around the bottom of the candlestick and just placed it where I wanted it.
And here they are on the little table with Noah's little "wish wish" (snowglobe) and "Boo" blocks.
Since writing the original "I was made for this post" back in May this has become my motto for all things in my life. (I even have a bracelet that sports this motto.) It might seem silly to some but it just reminds me that no matter what obstacles come my way or my family's way God made us for each of the challenges and triumphs in our life.
I was made for this.
PS. Taking this photo and the reminder was fun so you might be noticing more. ;)
Click here to find out the story behind my mantra, "You were Made for This."
Click here to see more of my "You were Made for This" photo series.
I heart my mantle. I really, really do. It's fun to decorate!! All last week, I shared with you Halloween candle holders I had been making. Over the weekend, I decorated the mantle with them and some other things I had made. I've never really decorated for Halloween too much before, other than a pumpkin here or there. In fact, I've never really decorated that much for any holiday besides Christmas but I think that might be changing.
Left end of the mantle
I made the Spells book by just covering a book with scrapbooking paper and adding sticker letters.
I made the candy corn garland out of ribbon and cardstock.
Middle of mantle
The trick or treat family is simply a black frame with scrapbooking paper inside and letters I cut using my Slice.
Right end of mantle
Close up of the boo frames
These are just frames I bought at The Dollar Store. I spray painted them black, cut scrapbooking paper to fit the inside and cut out the letters with my Slice.
So I needed a Halloween wreath but hadn't felt inspired. Finally an idea came to me after seeing a wreath made of ribbon but I decided to use scrapbooking paper instead of ribbon. I think it turned out super duper cute and it was easy.
What you'll need:
Wreath form (I got mine at The Dollar Tree making this an inexpensive project.)
Scrapbooking paper (I used 3 sheets.)
3 Satin Flowers
Embellishment (I used a little "Happy Halloween" wooden embellishment from Hobby Lobby that was 60 cents.)
Silk flowers (I made my silk flowers following this tutorial at Sister's Stuff.)
Hot glue gun
What to do:
1. Cut your scrapbook paper in to strips. Mine are about 1 inch wide.
2. Wrap your strips around your wreath form and secure them in the back of your wreath using your glue stick. If you find this isn't strong enough, you could use hot glue or even tape but it worked fine for me.
3. Continue to wrap your strips all the way around the wreath form overlapping them as you go.
4. Once your are finished and your wreath is totally covered, glue on your silk flowers using your hot glue gun.
5. Glue on your embellishment.
6. Add ribbon for the loop so you can hang your wreath. I just glue it down on the back of the wreath using the hot glue.
I actually decided I liked how the wreath looked above my mantle so I made a second one (the same method just use different colors and paper) for the front door.
Noah came home from school super excited today immediately wanting me to look in his back pack. As I looked, I noticed artwork rolled up and rubber banded and poking out through the top of the backpack. I knew he was excited about the artwork.
I unrolled it and found a white piece of paper mounted on a larger orange piece of construction paper. On the white paper, Noah had painted a tiger paw. Ya, it's painted in Noah's own special way but take a look - that's definitely a tiger paw.
He then immediately wanted me to hang it in his room. He even picked out a spot on the wall for it. It was a blank spot, a spot that I had thought needed something at some point. It's lower to the ground and right near his bookcase so he can see it when he's playing or reading. It's like he had been thinking all along that there was a blank spot that needed something so he just decided to create something for it!
Check them out all together - sharp looking crew, eh? All made with just paint, cardstock, and glass candle holders from the Dollar Store.
The last one in this series is Jack.
To make Jack, you are going to need: Items Needed: Glass candle holder (This actually an ivy bowl from the Dollar Store.) Clear Matte Spray Orange paint Black card stock Mod Podge
How to Make Jack: 1. Spray your candle holder with the clear matte spray. This will help the paint go on easier. Be sure and spray it in a well ventilated area (like outside) and let it dry overnight. 2. Paint the candle holder orange. Let it dry completely (I let it dry overnight) before moving on to the next step. 3. Cut triangles for the eyes and nose and free hand a shape for the mouth. Apply them with the Mod Podge. 4. Apply a coat or two of Mod Podge to the entire candle holder. Be sure and let it dry in between the layers.