Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Adventures

This Christmas was the first time that I could really see Virginia getting excited. She still didn't quite understand who Santa was and the whole truth behind Christmas, but she did feel the excitement in the air. She got to meet Santa for the first time at the CPM Christmas Breakfast. I thought for sure she would be scared, but she surprised me and was excited to see Santa. Her eyes got so large when he sat down beside her.

Christmas Eve we read our new children's book Little Star and made some cookies for Santa. I had grand ideas in my head about how much fun it would be to make cookies with Virginia. She was super excited to be helping Me in the kitchen. It didn't start off so well as the cookie dough kept sticking to the counter top. Reiggin fixed that problem and we were off and running. Virginia was a little shy at first about pressing the cookie cutters into the dough. But once she got the hang of it she was wanting to stamp the dough everywhere. She also wanted to stick her finger in the dough every where. So needless to say after while my perfectionism came out and she was driving me nuts. She has about has much patience as I do, there is no doubt she has some Ford in her. But it was alot of fun and the cookies came out pretty nice. 



After the cookies were made and Virginia enjoyed eating a few. She was off to bed to wait for Santa to come. Reiggin and I still had a long night ahead of us. We decided at the last moment to put up our artificial Christmas tree. So we got that decorated and then I was off to start the dessert I was making for the Christmas party at my parent's house. The dessert was so easy and turned out great. I believe it was my first huge success as far as food goes. Some people couldn't believe I had made it. 

After making the dessert I joined Reiggin in the bedroom to finish up wrapping all the presents. I so hate wrapping presents. I am terrible at it, my presents looked like Virginia wrapped them. We also got lazy and decided that Santa's gifts would be unwrapped. By the time we finished everything up and Reiggin put together Virginia's new toy box. It was about 1:00am when we went to bed. We thought for sure Virginia was still to young to really get excited and get up early for Santa.


Boy were we wrong. I hear her door crack open and I roll over to see the clock shining 4:00am. I roll out of bed quick trying to stop her before she sees the tree and all the gifts. I also told Reiggin to hurry and get the camera. Virginia went straight for the living room and as soon as she round the corner and saw the tree. Her eyes lit up and she got the biggest smile on her face. This was the first time I understood parents that said that seeing your child's face on Christmas morning is the best thing ever. As soon as she say the tree and presents I knew it was over and that we were up and ready to open presents. 


It felt like Christmas that I remembered at my parent's house. We were all in our pj's and had really bad bed head. Opening up presents and smiling from ear to ear. I should know by now that my husband is a tricky one. He ended up getting me a few gifts. I knew we had talked about getting me a DSi XL, but thought that he was waiting til after Christmas. So as I am opening my last gift which was a Crocs shoe box. Which I am not a huge fan of Crocs I was thinking, he really got me a pair of Crocs. But to my surprise it was my brand new DSi XL. He fooled me again. He is pretty good at surprising me.

After we opened gifts, Reiggin got some rest and I started breakfast. I have fond memories of Christmas morning at home with my mom making a huge breakfast as my dad is putting together all our toys and me and my sisters are playing with our new toys or our new video games. So I asked Reiggin what he wanted for breakfast and he requested Country Ham and homemade biscuits. I have to tell the truth and say I had to ask my friend Lisa and my Mom what country ham was. Lisa had to google it and my mom told me what it was. Oh my gosh I don't know how I went this many years without trying country ham. It was the best thing on earth. 

After breakfast we had to hurry and get ready to leave for my parents house. Some how we ended up leaving the apartment when we should have been arriving at my parents. If anyone knows my dad this is not a good thing. I am usually a on time kind of person. But ever since having a child my on time ness is way down hill. It didn't help that we got about 10 minutes down the road and I realized I left my dessert back home. So we had to turn around and go back.

Once we got to my parents, to my surprise everyone was there super early because of the fear of snow coming our way. So we quickly opened presents and ate lunch. It was great getting to see all my family. I was sad that the time we spent there was short due to the weather and Reiggin and I had to rush up to his parents house before the snow got to bad to get up there. 

Once on the road, my wonderful self realized I left my DSi Xl at my parents. So we had to turn around and go back again. Once we got up to about Huntersville, the snow started coming down. By the time we got to his parents house they already had about 2 inches of snow. Virginia had fallen asleep in the car and to her surprise when she woke up she saw snow. She was so excited and loved it. Well loved me holding her and her catching the snow. 


We opened presents and had a wonderful dinner and enjoyed great company. We decided about 7:00pm to try to make our way home. Since Reiggin had to be at Walgreens by 6:00am the next day. The roads were pretty bad, so it was slow going all the way home. Luckily we made it home safe and sound. 

Christmas 2010 turned out to be a great time and I would have to say the whole year was pretty good to us. Can't wait to see what 2011 brings.








Thursday, December 23, 2010

Little Star



I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  I am excited to say that this is my first book review for blogging for books. I chose Little Star as my first book because I believed that it would be a great book for the holidays and a great tradition to start reading to my daughter every year at Christmas. 


I was thrilled when the UPS guy dropped off my package today just in time for Christmas. I was a little worried that the book would end up coming after Christmas. I ripped open the package and was so happy to see Little Star by Anthony DeStefano laying inside. The cover is illustrated beautifully by Mark Elliott. First thing after dinner, I grabbed up Virginia and we sat on the couch and started reading the book. The vivid pictures kept her attention for a while. The book is a little longer then most books I have read to her. So considering this it did take us two sittings to finish the book. But I do believe as she gets older that this book will be a favorite and will be a great tool in teaching her about the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. 


As an adult, I loved reading this story. I had never read the Christmas story from the point of view of the star. I thought this was such a creative way to tell the story. I believe the child-like perspective and the beautiful illustrations will grab children's attention. I believe that parents will love the fact that this book brings up morals like treating everyone equal no matter what size they are and no matter how much money they have in their pocket. I would recommend this book to any parent. My daughter is 2 years old and it was a little long for her attention span, but she did still enjoy the book. I do love the fact that I will be able to enjoy the book with my daughter for years to come. I believe that I will read Little Star every Christmas Eve to my daughter as a family tradition from now on.


Please take a moment to rate my review at Blogging for Books.

Blogging for Books


About a week ago I read about Blogging for Books on centralpiedmontmommies.com from a fellow mom. Basically you sign up on their site and once you are approved you have a list of books to choose from. There is a ton of books to choose from based on your preferences you set up when you sign onto the website.

Once you choose your book it will take up to 10 days to be shipped to you. Blogging for Books pays for the book and for shipping. Once the book arrives at your home you read the book and within 30 days you post a review on your blog about the book. The review can be good or bad they don't care. They just want your honest opinion about the book. The best thing about this program is the books you receive are yours to keep. That's right you get a free book for just posting a book review on your blog. There is more to the program which you can read about on Blogging for Books.

I am so excited to say my first book arrived today. So keep an eye on my blog for my first book review to appear.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Stamp me Stupid

Oh man I feel like going and stamping stupid across my forehead today. I was super excited about bowling in the FoxFire Lanes Christmas Bowling Tournament today. Well I get up there about twenty minutes early just so I could see the top qualifiers bowl. That way I could see how good they are.

1:15pm rows around and I wonder when we are going to warm up for the second round. I thought it was set up where the top scores from each week bowled first to see who went to the final round and got to skip the second round. I believed the second round was for the top qualifiers and all the other people who signed up for the tournament. WRONG! They only had the top 5 bowling today for the tournament. So basically I went up to the bowling alley today to watch complete strangers bowl for 20 minutes. Yes I felt a little stupid. Oh well I needed to get out of the apartment for some fresh air.

I am sure this won't be the last stupid thing I do and definitely isn't the first stupid thing I have done. Oh and only 6 days left til the Harlands get into town. Excitement is building, I can't wait to get to hang out with my BFF and Scott.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Crafty Saturday

Virginia is still not feeling great today and now she has a terrible cough. Luckily we still have her Nebulizer and the breathing treatments seem to make her feel better.  So we are chilling out at home again today watching cartoons and coloring.


After looking at the box full of half broken crayons that Virginia has collected. A light bulb went off in my head and decided to finally try the recycled crayon project. I found a website with directions and it was very simple. After reading over the directions and the website suggested using plastic candy molds. It dawned on me that I could finally use those candy molds that Reiggin's mom gave to us a long time ago and the ones I discovered in the trunk of my car. So I dug them out and got the crayons together.

First step you have to peel off all the paper from the broken crayons. This step was the most annoying. I don't have fingernails so it was a little tricky peeling the paper off. Once the paper is off you put the pieces in your candy mold til it is full.


Next step you put the pieces in a old cup that is microwave safe. Then microwave for about 3 to 5 minutes til they are all melted. Next pour the mixture into the molds and let cool. Then pop them out of the molds. I was not patient and put the molds in the freezer. The website suggested using red and green together. I did this my first time, but made the mistake of mixing them after I took the cup out of the microwave. This was a mistake since when you mix red and green together you get brown. You would think an art major would know this. So I ended up with a brown Christmas tree crayon. Which Virginia thought was candy and almost tried eating it.


I decided to give it a second go around and used green only. I did have two shades of green a light and dark green. I repeated my steps and I had much better results with the green only. Now I want to try all my other Christmas molds. I may be buying Virginia new crayons. This project was super fun and Virginia loves her new crayons.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Calling Nurse Kathy....


No worries folks I am not becoming a real nurse. But we do have a sick patient in the Hilderbrand house. Virginia has come down with a nasty cold today. She has the runny nose, cough, and watery eyes. She is not a happy camper at all. So it is Nurse Kathy to the rescue. I will be serving up a good dose of Nick Jr., hugs/kisses, and lots of reading books. Things Virginia loves the most. I am crossing my fingers that she is over this cold by Christmas. We both want to see both families and to be able to play with cousin Samantha. So cross you fingers and send us some get well vibes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

All I want for Christmas is.....


All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, no no that's not it. All I want for Christmas Santa is my BFF to be in town. Guess what I must be on the good list because my BFF is flying into town on Christmas day.   Maybe not on Santa's sleigh, but at least she is making it into town. I will be able to catch up on some good  chick flicks and maybe squeeze in a little bowling time with my BFF. Because I really need to bowl with her so Scott can capture a new video of her awesome bowling approach.

Just 9 more days til Santa comes flying into town. I hope everyone is ready and has all their shopping done. I know we still have a few more gifts to get and then to wrap all the presents. I am hoping to convince my husband to do the wrapping. My wrapping jobs look like Virginia did the wrapping.

I love Christmas so much. Especially this year because on my mommies website CPM, we have been doing a secret santa event. So each week my secret santa has left a small bag of goodies or some sort of surprise on my door knob. It is the best feeling to come home and see a mystery bag on my door knob. Also the first time I made my drop off was such a rush. Running up the drive to put the bag down. Then making a mad dash back to the car praying no one say me.  We have our big reveal party Saturday and I really have no idea who my Secret Santa is. But I am looking forward to all the good food.

With Christmas comes the skill of keeping secrets. Not telling people what you got them for Christmas or not telling your family what other family members have gotten them. I have always failed at this year after year. It has become a big joke in the Ford family that if you want your secret told just go tell Kathy. So my Mom decides to torture me this morning by telling me that my sister Lisa got Virginia and Samantha the same thing for Christmas. All she said was it was something from the Ford Heritage. She knows I have to know and that this is going to drive me nuts. Unfortunately my Mom has better secret keeping skills then I do.

Well I am off to enjoy a cup of Cold Stone creamy Hot Chocolate right here on my couch while watching Toot and Puddles with Virginia. And bran storming what my sister Lisa could have possibly gotten Virginia and Samantha for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Romp n Roll


Tuesday morning came and 19 degree weather and wind wasn't going to keep us from going to see our favorite buddies Faby and Mia at Romp n Roll. So we bundled up and ran for the car. It had been awhile since we had been to Romp n Roll. Last time we went it was at one of their night open gym hours. There was also a birthday party going on at the same time. So needless to say it was packed wall to wall with kids and parents.

This time was different. We got there at 9:15am and there was only about 5 or so kids and their parents or guardians. It was so much more peaceful and all the kids were really close in age so it was great watching them play together. The last time we were here Virginia was very shy about running and playing on all the mats and slides. But this time she made a bee line and just ran from object to object. Until she eyed the basket of balls. This girl loves to play with her bouncy balls. The best thing was they also had a basketball hoop that you could move down to a toddlers level. Virginia and Mia loved it. I do believe we have two basketball stars on our hands. 


It is so funny to watch kids Virginia's age and older. I do believe around this age you start to see kids personalities coming out. Also of course kids this age are testing their boundaries and learning the idea of sharing or not sharing. I did have to laugh a little has I see this 4 year old girl rounding up all the balls and hiding them in this tower puppet area so she had all the balls and no one else had any. I saw Virginia go in after a ball and then the girl pushing her out and telling her no that they were her balls. Virginia could care less and moved on to something else. This did make me mad because no parent wants their child pushed around or bullied. Faby came to the rescue and asked the girl for one ball and explained that we have to share the toys. When out at play groups and places like this. These situations always make me think about how much should you discipline another person's child? 


In the end all the kids had a blast. Mia and Virginia had fun playing together like always. And the best part of all is Virginia took a nice 2 hour nap when she got home. Ahhh got to love Romp n Roll. Giving Mommies and Daddies across the world some peaceful time by wearing their children out with some good old hard playing time.





Saturday, December 11, 2010

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!






Today Virginia and I went to the CPM Holiday Breakfast at IHOP in Concord. The breakfast was oh so yummy and to top it off Santa came to see the kids and pass out candy canes. This santa was awesome. I was a little worried about how Virginia was going to react. This was her first time seeing Santa Claus. She loved him and wouldn't take her eyes off him. He even sat down beside her in the booth and let me take pictures. She just stayed wide eye the whole time he was in the room and when he left. She was so upset and wanted to go after him. He came around to the side of the building where there are windows and knocked on the windows to say bye to the kids. He had reindeer antlers on his car someone said. It was super great getting together with everyone and for Virginia to get to meet Santa for the first time.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What A Day!


I had a wonderful day today. Virginia slept til almost 8:00am, which is a super treat for me. Then as soon as I put Virginia down for her nap, I headed out the door to have lunch with some of the CPM moms at Zack's Place, which is a great little place in Concord. The people are super nice to us and great with the kids. I was the only one without their child. But it was pure paradise for me to not have a toddler climbing into my lap or trying to jump out of the seat and run around the restaurant like a crazy person. I was able to enjoy the conversation and the time so much more.

After lunch I decided to go to the Memorial Garden off Spring Street in Concord for my first letterboxing adventure. Just the other day I discovered the hobby in the monthly Macaroni Kids newsletter. The hobby is a lot like geocaching in many ways. Basically, people add Rubbermaid boxes in different locations across the world. Then they post clues and directions on different websites. Next people go hunt them down and stamp the planter's stamp in their log book and then stamp their own signature stamp in the planter's box. Then they nicely hide the box again for the next hunter to find. How awesome does that sound? Yes, I am a major dork and this whole hobby excites me to no end.

Just thought this part of the garden was beautiful.

The Memorial Garden was beautiful. I would have never guessed such a lovely place was hidden in the city. Once I walked into the garden, I started to follow the clues. At first it was going pretty easy. I was finding all the clues fast. Then I hit a road block when I had to find a certain tombstone. I walked in circles for awhile but then figured out my error and found the tombstone which led me further down the garden to the first box. I could have done a happy dance right then and there. I quickly opened the box and stamped my book and then stamped my signature stamp in his book. Well I stamped my finger print in his book. I still have to go buy the stamp I want or carve me a stamp. I did make a rookie mistake and didn't bring along a ink pad. So I had to use a pen as my ink pad. The best thing about this hunt was the first box had a clue that led to a bonus box.

Part of my journey to the first box.

The bonus box clue was "Look to high ground, L'Heure L'Amitie Passe Reste (The hour friendship passes remains)" I was very stumped for awhile thinking about the clue. I thought at first look to high ground must mean I need to go to the highest spot in the garden. But the whole next phrase had me totally confused. That is until I found a path that led to the top of the garden. I won't tell the rest just in case someone is hunting this spot. Once I reached the spot, I looked everywhere. I was just about to give up and head home when a light went off in my head and there was the box. My heart was racing with joy. I think I called my mom like four times during the whole hunt, just to be able to tell someone of my adventures.

Picture of the inside of a letterbox.

I ended up finding two boxes at the garden and heading home. I got home and did some cleaning and then just hung around the house with Virginia and Reiggin. Later I had to go to the grocery store to pick up some wings for dinner. Again, being the dork that I am, I knew there was a box hidden in a park near a Harris Teeter that isn't too far from our house. So I quickly begged Reiggin to let me make a quick pit stop along my grocery run. Being the sweet heart that he is, he agreed. So I got to find my 3rd box at Dorton Park in Concord. This one had a super nice stamp in it.

The path leading to the third box.

So now I am excited about my new hobby and the fact that some of the CPM moms want to come along the next time I go on a hunt. Reiggin thinks I am crazy or just one big dork. But hey, to each their own. I figure I am having fun and getting exercise all at the same time. My Saturday turned out to be a pretty exciting day. Now if I could only convince Reiggin to let me do some letterboxing while we visit his parents tomorrow in Statesville.

Here is the links to the clues for the 3 boxes I found today.


My first stamp in the first box I found.

One of the stamps a boxer left in the book that I thought was looked really good.

Me leaving the Memorial Garden after finding the boxes.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Repurposed XL T-Shirt


Today after I put Virginia down for her nap, I had a crazy idea. Instead of napping, I decided to take a XL Wicked Shirt that Lisa Harland gave me as a present and repurpose it into a shirt for Virginia. I found a tutorial on how to repurpose a t-shirt into a dress for a toddler.

I was going to make a dress, but when I laid out a dress of Virginia's it was going to cut off the Wicked logo. So I changed plans and made a t-shirt instead. I believe later I will take the bottom half of the t-shirt and make a skirt for Virginia. That is after I regain my sanity. Making this shirt I believe took a few years off my life. Sleeves are not easy to make.


First off I have to say this was my first attempt at making a shirt. I learned that I have to work on making sleeves and figure out how to complete a collar. I am happy that the end product did fit Virginia. I believe once I master the sleeves and collar that this will be a great project. I have tons of t-shirts that would be fun to repurpose into outfits for Virginia to play in. So for now I may have to wait on that call from Project Runway.

Oh the best part of this project was trying to take Virginia's photo. She was not a very good model today. I chased her all over the apartment trying to get one good photo of her in the shirt. I believe towards the end she thought we were playing a game of chase.

Easy as 1..2..3


I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. Mine was awesome, our first birthday party invite and a day with the folks, Susan, and Samantha. I also spent most of the weekend searching though tons of sewing and crafting blogs looking for a new project.

I came across a simple tutorial on how to make bean bags. I knew this would be a winner. Virginia loves the small bean bag that came in a burger king happy meal. Also Mom pointed out that bean bags would be a great teaching tool. I could make multiple bean bags in different colors. There is just endless options to how I could use my home made bean bags. Oh and the best part is that it only took me about 5 to 10 minutes to make them. Instead of filling them with beans I used rice. Rice was the only thing I had in the house.

Also Lisa, I thought you would be happy looking at this cute pink with white polka doted bean bag instead of the scary, I mean beautiful sock monkey cough...HATER!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sammy...


Yesterday I woke up and was in the mood to do a new sewing project. After searching though the new site Susan Roberts sent me. I found a great pattern for a sock monkey. After running some errands and picking up some new fabric for my purse project. I searched Reiggin's and my sock drawer for a good sock monkey choice. I ended up using one of Reiggin's socks and two of my old socks. I believe next time I will try to go buy a real sock monkey sock.

I have to say that the process took a little longer then what I expected. But it didn't help that I had a 2 year old that was very curious of what mommy was doing. I learned what a whip stitch is and also learned that I need to improve on my hand sewing skills. I also found out that working with a sock and sewing on a sock can be difficult. I thought I was going to lose my mind sewing on my old yellow toe sock. It was not wanting to work with me or my sewing machine.


But overall, the project turned out great. Best of all Virginia loves her new sock monkey and really that is all that counts. I hope to improve and maybe be able to make more fun stuffed animal characters in the future.


Friday, September 3, 2010

BUNCO....


Last night I finally got to go play bunco. I had heard a lot about the game from my friend Katie. I also had gone to one bunco party before, but didn't end up playing bunco. So finally when I saw that the CPM mommies were playing bunco on Thursday. I jumped on the rsvp list quick.

This bunco night was a themed one. The theme was wear it again. Basically we all wore an outfit that we had brought for some special event and told ourselves that we would wear it again one day. There were a lot of bridesmaid dresses and a few Christmas party dresses. I choice to wear the dress that I wore two years ago to the Avett Brother's New Years Eve show. I thought about wearing my wedding dress, but thought Reiggin may not like that idea. I couldn't find my shoes that went with the dress so I just wore my flip flops. It was a good thing since I parked at the bottom of the driveway and it was a hike to the front door.

There was 16 women at the party. I always feel a little nervous going to the CPM get togethers. I know a few women now, but not like super great. I am still the new mommy. As always we all gathered in the kitchen and had some snacks waiting for everyone to arrive and then we split off to each table. Let me just say I was a little overwhelmed at first. I am not sure why, but I wasn't expecting the game to be so fast paced. But I loved it overall. It was alot of fun and I got to know some of the moms better. I didn't do great, but at least I can say I have played bunco now.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Late Night....

Most nights is when I get the time to start any craft project. As you have noticed I have been diving head first into learning how to sew. Nights seem to be the best time for me to start any sewing project because Virginia is sound asleep. I don't have to worry about her climbing in my lap or pulling my fabric off the table as I am cutting it. At night I can just enjoy the peace and quiet. I can focus all my attention to the youtube instructional video or the pattern directions that I am trying to figure out. I have really enjoyed these nights so far.



Tonight I decided to finally sit down and do the draw string bag project from The Crafty Gemini's youtube video. For the most part it was pretty easy. I have started to get better with keeping my seams straight. I have slowed down on the pedal. What can I say I have a lead foot. The end product turned out great. The video is clear and very easy to follow. I have really enjoyed looking at all her videos. Videos so far have been the best instructional path for me. I like to actually see someone going though the steps. I tend to get lost and confused when I am just reading instructions and looking at a pattern. But I know eventually I will have to conquer that fear. Since I have brought two pattern packages and they are both very cute projects. Now I have a envelope pillow cover, toddler skirt, and draw string bag under my belt. I believe my next challenge will be a purse.

Monday, August 30, 2010

One of those days...


Just one of those days! This day was just one of those days that if something was going to go wrong it did. Started off pretty well with my sister Susan and niece Samantha deciding to come up and visit for the afternoon. But with that said it meant that I had to go into a whirlwind cleaning spree. So I quickly rushed and cleaned the kitchen, living room, and bathroom.

About halfway though the crazy cleaning I decided it was Virginia's nap time. Bring in the suspense music. Virginia did not like the idea of taking a nap. She pitched a fit, cried and ran away. This went on for about 30 minutes it seemed. Finally Virginia just shut herself in her room and read her books. This may be our compromise for during the day. If she doesn't want to nap she has to stay in her room quiet for at least an hour. But needless to say my nerves were shot by the time Susan and Samantha got here.


Then things get better. The kids play for awhile and then we head out the door to go to the Village Park Splash Pad. I called ahead and got a voice mail saying the splash pad was open from 10:00am to 7:00pm. Great, so we all hop in the van and head out. First mistake by me is assuming Susan has a GPS. She doesn't so I had to try to remember my way and the directions were a little fuzzy in my head. Finally we manage to get there with some help from Uncle Joe. Then the grey cloud above my head gets darker when I see the splash pad is closed and only open on the weekend. Yeah and the playgrounds are too big for both Virginia and Samantha. So just imagine hauling two 2 year olds back into a van screaming. That was the scene that was before me.


We head back down the road to Dorton Park to play on their toddler playground. The heat was unbearable. We stayed for maybe 20 minutes or so. It felt like an eternity. The kids got to play and they were happy. But the heat was just too much so we packed up and headed back to the apartment. Again, both kids were not happy with this decision. Once back to the apartment, Susan and Samantha packed up and headed home. Virginia and myself crashed on the couch and watched Dora the Explorer.

So my day was not as nice as I had wished. But it was nice getting to see Susan and Samantha. Hopefully next visit things will be open and the skies will be cool with a nice breeze. At least I got a few nice pictures of Samantha, Virginia, and even Susan.


Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Adventures

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This Christmas was the first time that I could really see Virginia getting excited. She still didn't quite understand who Santa was and the whole truth behind Christmas, but she did feel the excitement in the air. She got to meet Santa for the first time at the CPM Christmas Breakfast. I thought for sure she would be scared, but she surprised me and was excited to see Santa. Her eyes got so large when he sat down beside her.

Christmas Eve we read our new children's book Little Star and made some cookies for Santa. I had grand ideas in my head about how much fun it would be to make cookies with Virginia. She was super excited to be helping Me in the kitchen. It didn't start off so well as the cookie dough kept sticking to the counter top. Reiggin fixed that problem and we were off and running. Virginia was a little shy at first about pressing the cookie cutters into the dough. But once she got the hang of it she was wanting to stamp the dough everywhere. She also wanted to stick her finger in the dough every where. So needless to say after while my perfectionism came out and she was driving me nuts. She has about has much patience as I do, there is no doubt she has some Ford in her. But it was alot of fun and the cookies came out pretty nice. 



After the cookies were made and Virginia enjoyed eating a few. She was off to bed to wait for Santa to come. Reiggin and I still had a long night ahead of us. We decided at the last moment to put up our artificial Christmas tree. So we got that decorated and then I was off to start the dessert I was making for the Christmas party at my parent's house. The dessert was so easy and turned out great. I believe it was my first huge success as far as food goes. Some people couldn't believe I had made it. 

After making the dessert I joined Reiggin in the bedroom to finish up wrapping all the presents. I so hate wrapping presents. I am terrible at it, my presents looked like Virginia wrapped them. We also got lazy and decided that Santa's gifts would be unwrapped. By the time we finished everything up and Reiggin put together Virginia's new toy box. It was about 1:00am when we went to bed. We thought for sure Virginia was still to young to really get excited and get up early for Santa.


Boy were we wrong. I hear her door crack open and I roll over to see the clock shining 4:00am. I roll out of bed quick trying to stop her before she sees the tree and all the gifts. I also told Reiggin to hurry and get the camera. Virginia went straight for the living room and as soon as she round the corner and saw the tree. Her eyes lit up and she got the biggest smile on her face. This was the first time I understood parents that said that seeing your child's face on Christmas morning is the best thing ever. As soon as she say the tree and presents I knew it was over and that we were up and ready to open presents. 


It felt like Christmas that I remembered at my parent's house. We were all in our pj's and had really bad bed head. Opening up presents and smiling from ear to ear. I should know by now that my husband is a tricky one. He ended up getting me a few gifts. I knew we had talked about getting me a DSi XL, but thought that he was waiting til after Christmas. So as I am opening my last gift which was a Crocs shoe box. Which I am not a huge fan of Crocs I was thinking, he really got me a pair of Crocs. But to my surprise it was my brand new DSi XL. He fooled me again. He is pretty good at surprising me.

After we opened gifts, Reiggin got some rest and I started breakfast. I have fond memories of Christmas morning at home with my mom making a huge breakfast as my dad is putting together all our toys and me and my sisters are playing with our new toys or our new video games. So I asked Reiggin what he wanted for breakfast and he requested Country Ham and homemade biscuits. I have to tell the truth and say I had to ask my friend Lisa and my Mom what country ham was. Lisa had to google it and my mom told me what it was. Oh my gosh I don't know how I went this many years without trying country ham. It was the best thing on earth. 

After breakfast we had to hurry and get ready to leave for my parents house. Some how we ended up leaving the apartment when we should have been arriving at my parents. If anyone knows my dad this is not a good thing. I am usually a on time kind of person. But ever since having a child my on time ness is way down hill. It didn't help that we got about 10 minutes down the road and I realized I left my dessert back home. So we had to turn around and go back.

Once we got to my parents, to my surprise everyone was there super early because of the fear of snow coming our way. So we quickly opened presents and ate lunch. It was great getting to see all my family. I was sad that the time we spent there was short due to the weather and Reiggin and I had to rush up to his parents house before the snow got to bad to get up there. 

Once on the road, my wonderful self realized I left my DSi Xl at my parents. So we had to turn around and go back again. Once we got up to about Huntersville, the snow started coming down. By the time we got to his parents house they already had about 2 inches of snow. Virginia had fallen asleep in the car and to her surprise when she woke up she saw snow. She was so excited and loved it. Well loved me holding her and her catching the snow. 


We opened presents and had a wonderful dinner and enjoyed great company. We decided about 7:00pm to try to make our way home. Since Reiggin had to be at Walgreens by 6:00am the next day. The roads were pretty bad, so it was slow going all the way home. Luckily we made it home safe and sound. 

Christmas 2010 turned out to be a great time and I would have to say the whole year was pretty good to us. Can't wait to see what 2011 brings.








Thursday, December 23, 2010

Little Star

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I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  I am excited to say that this is my first book review for blogging for books. I chose Little Star as my first book because I believed that it would be a great book for the holidays and a great tradition to start reading to my daughter every year at Christmas. 


I was thrilled when the UPS guy dropped off my package today just in time for Christmas. I was a little worried that the book would end up coming after Christmas. I ripped open the package and was so happy to see Little Star by Anthony DeStefano laying inside. The cover is illustrated beautifully by Mark Elliott. First thing after dinner, I grabbed up Virginia and we sat on the couch and started reading the book. The vivid pictures kept her attention for a while. The book is a little longer then most books I have read to her. So considering this it did take us two sittings to finish the book. But I do believe as she gets older that this book will be a favorite and will be a great tool in teaching her about the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. 


As an adult, I loved reading this story. I had never read the Christmas story from the point of view of the star. I thought this was such a creative way to tell the story. I believe the child-like perspective and the beautiful illustrations will grab children's attention. I believe that parents will love the fact that this book brings up morals like treating everyone equal no matter what size they are and no matter how much money they have in their pocket. I would recommend this book to any parent. My daughter is 2 years old and it was a little long for her attention span, but she did still enjoy the book. I do love the fact that I will be able to enjoy the book with my daughter for years to come. I believe that I will read Little Star every Christmas Eve to my daughter as a family tradition from now on.


Please take a moment to rate my review at Blogging for Books.

Blogging for Books

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About a week ago I read about Blogging for Books on centralpiedmontmommies.com from a fellow mom. Basically you sign up on their site and once you are approved you have a list of books to choose from. There is a ton of books to choose from based on your preferences you set up when you sign onto the website.

Once you choose your book it will take up to 10 days to be shipped to you. Blogging for Books pays for the book and for shipping. Once the book arrives at your home you read the book and within 30 days you post a review on your blog about the book. The review can be good or bad they don't care. They just want your honest opinion about the book. The best thing about this program is the books you receive are yours to keep. That's right you get a free book for just posting a book review on your blog. There is more to the program which you can read about on Blogging for Books.

I am so excited to say my first book arrived today. So keep an eye on my blog for my first book review to appear.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Stamp me Stupid

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Oh man I feel like going and stamping stupid across my forehead today. I was super excited about bowling in the FoxFire Lanes Christmas Bowling Tournament today. Well I get up there about twenty minutes early just so I could see the top qualifiers bowl. That way I could see how good they are.

1:15pm rows around and I wonder when we are going to warm up for the second round. I thought it was set up where the top scores from each week bowled first to see who went to the final round and got to skip the second round. I believed the second round was for the top qualifiers and all the other people who signed up for the tournament. WRONG! They only had the top 5 bowling today for the tournament. So basically I went up to the bowling alley today to watch complete strangers bowl for 20 minutes. Yes I felt a little stupid. Oh well I needed to get out of the apartment for some fresh air.

I am sure this won't be the last stupid thing I do and definitely isn't the first stupid thing I have done. Oh and only 6 days left til the Harlands get into town. Excitement is building, I can't wait to get to hang out with my BFF and Scott.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Crafty Saturday

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Virginia is still not feeling great today and now she has a terrible cough. Luckily we still have her Nebulizer and the breathing treatments seem to make her feel better.  So we are chilling out at home again today watching cartoons and coloring.


After looking at the box full of half broken crayons that Virginia has collected. A light bulb went off in my head and decided to finally try the recycled crayon project. I found a website with directions and it was very simple. After reading over the directions and the website suggested using plastic candy molds. It dawned on me that I could finally use those candy molds that Reiggin's mom gave to us a long time ago and the ones I discovered in the trunk of my car. So I dug them out and got the crayons together.

First step you have to peel off all the paper from the broken crayons. This step was the most annoying. I don't have fingernails so it was a little tricky peeling the paper off. Once the paper is off you put the pieces in your candy mold til it is full.


Next step you put the pieces in a old cup that is microwave safe. Then microwave for about 3 to 5 minutes til they are all melted. Next pour the mixture into the molds and let cool. Then pop them out of the molds. I was not patient and put the molds in the freezer. The website suggested using red and green together. I did this my first time, but made the mistake of mixing them after I took the cup out of the microwave. This was a mistake since when you mix red and green together you get brown. You would think an art major would know this. So I ended up with a brown Christmas tree crayon. Which Virginia thought was candy and almost tried eating it.


I decided to give it a second go around and used green only. I did have two shades of green a light and dark green. I repeated my steps and I had much better results with the green only. Now I want to try all my other Christmas molds. I may be buying Virginia new crayons. This project was super fun and Virginia loves her new crayons.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Calling Nurse Kathy....

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No worries folks I am not becoming a real nurse. But we do have a sick patient in the Hilderbrand house. Virginia has come down with a nasty cold today. She has the runny nose, cough, and watery eyes. She is not a happy camper at all. So it is Nurse Kathy to the rescue. I will be serving up a good dose of Nick Jr., hugs/kisses, and lots of reading books. Things Virginia loves the most. I am crossing my fingers that she is over this cold by Christmas. We both want to see both families and to be able to play with cousin Samantha. So cross you fingers and send us some get well vibes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

All I want for Christmas is.....

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All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, no no that's not it. All I want for Christmas Santa is my BFF to be in town. Guess what I must be on the good list because my BFF is flying into town on Christmas day.   Maybe not on Santa's sleigh, but at least she is making it into town. I will be able to catch up on some good  chick flicks and maybe squeeze in a little bowling time with my BFF. Because I really need to bowl with her so Scott can capture a new video of her awesome bowling approach.

Just 9 more days til Santa comes flying into town. I hope everyone is ready and has all their shopping done. I know we still have a few more gifts to get and then to wrap all the presents. I am hoping to convince my husband to do the wrapping. My wrapping jobs look like Virginia did the wrapping.

I love Christmas so much. Especially this year because on my mommies website CPM, we have been doing a secret santa event. So each week my secret santa has left a small bag of goodies or some sort of surprise on my door knob. It is the best feeling to come home and see a mystery bag on my door knob. Also the first time I made my drop off was such a rush. Running up the drive to put the bag down. Then making a mad dash back to the car praying no one say me.  We have our big reveal party Saturday and I really have no idea who my Secret Santa is. But I am looking forward to all the good food.

With Christmas comes the skill of keeping secrets. Not telling people what you got them for Christmas or not telling your family what other family members have gotten them. I have always failed at this year after year. It has become a big joke in the Ford family that if you want your secret told just go tell Kathy. So my Mom decides to torture me this morning by telling me that my sister Lisa got Virginia and Samantha the same thing for Christmas. All she said was it was something from the Ford Heritage. She knows I have to know and that this is going to drive me nuts. Unfortunately my Mom has better secret keeping skills then I do.

Well I am off to enjoy a cup of Cold Stone creamy Hot Chocolate right here on my couch while watching Toot and Puddles with Virginia. And bran storming what my sister Lisa could have possibly gotten Virginia and Samantha for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Romp n Roll

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Tuesday morning came and 19 degree weather and wind wasn't going to keep us from going to see our favorite buddies Faby and Mia at Romp n Roll. So we bundled up and ran for the car. It had been awhile since we had been to Romp n Roll. Last time we went it was at one of their night open gym hours. There was also a birthday party going on at the same time. So needless to say it was packed wall to wall with kids and parents.

This time was different. We got there at 9:15am and there was only about 5 or so kids and their parents or guardians. It was so much more peaceful and all the kids were really close in age so it was great watching them play together. The last time we were here Virginia was very shy about running and playing on all the mats and slides. But this time she made a bee line and just ran from object to object. Until she eyed the basket of balls. This girl loves to play with her bouncy balls. The best thing was they also had a basketball hoop that you could move down to a toddlers level. Virginia and Mia loved it. I do believe we have two basketball stars on our hands. 


It is so funny to watch kids Virginia's age and older. I do believe around this age you start to see kids personalities coming out. Also of course kids this age are testing their boundaries and learning the idea of sharing or not sharing. I did have to laugh a little has I see this 4 year old girl rounding up all the balls and hiding them in this tower puppet area so she had all the balls and no one else had any. I saw Virginia go in after a ball and then the girl pushing her out and telling her no that they were her balls. Virginia could care less and moved on to something else. This did make me mad because no parent wants their child pushed around or bullied. Faby came to the rescue and asked the girl for one ball and explained that we have to share the toys. When out at play groups and places like this. These situations always make me think about how much should you discipline another person's child? 


In the end all the kids had a blast. Mia and Virginia had fun playing together like always. And the best part of all is Virginia took a nice 2 hour nap when she got home. Ahhh got to love Romp n Roll. Giving Mommies and Daddies across the world some peaceful time by wearing their children out with some good old hard playing time.





Saturday, December 11, 2010

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

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Today Virginia and I went to the CPM Holiday Breakfast at IHOP in Concord. The breakfast was oh so yummy and to top it off Santa came to see the kids and pass out candy canes. This santa was awesome. I was a little worried about how Virginia was going to react. This was her first time seeing Santa Claus. She loved him and wouldn't take her eyes off him. He even sat down beside her in the booth and let me take pictures. She just stayed wide eye the whole time he was in the room and when he left. She was so upset and wanted to go after him. He came around to the side of the building where there are windows and knocked on the windows to say bye to the kids. He had reindeer antlers on his car someone said. It was super great getting together with everyone and for Virginia to get to meet Santa for the first time.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What A Day!

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I had a wonderful day today. Virginia slept til almost 8:00am, which is a super treat for me. Then as soon as I put Virginia down for her nap, I headed out the door to have lunch with some of the CPM moms at Zack's Place, which is a great little place in Concord. The people are super nice to us and great with the kids. I was the only one without their child. But it was pure paradise for me to not have a toddler climbing into my lap or trying to jump out of the seat and run around the restaurant like a crazy person. I was able to enjoy the conversation and the time so much more.

After lunch I decided to go to the Memorial Garden off Spring Street in Concord for my first letterboxing adventure. Just the other day I discovered the hobby in the monthly Macaroni Kids newsletter. The hobby is a lot like geocaching in many ways. Basically, people add Rubbermaid boxes in different locations across the world. Then they post clues and directions on different websites. Next people go hunt them down and stamp the planter's stamp in their log book and then stamp their own signature stamp in the planter's box. Then they nicely hide the box again for the next hunter to find. How awesome does that sound? Yes, I am a major dork and this whole hobby excites me to no end.

Just thought this part of the garden was beautiful.

The Memorial Garden was beautiful. I would have never guessed such a lovely place was hidden in the city. Once I walked into the garden, I started to follow the clues. At first it was going pretty easy. I was finding all the clues fast. Then I hit a road block when I had to find a certain tombstone. I walked in circles for awhile but then figured out my error and found the tombstone which led me further down the garden to the first box. I could have done a happy dance right then and there. I quickly opened the box and stamped my book and then stamped my signature stamp in his book. Well I stamped my finger print in his book. I still have to go buy the stamp I want or carve me a stamp. I did make a rookie mistake and didn't bring along a ink pad. So I had to use a pen as my ink pad. The best thing about this hunt was the first box had a clue that led to a bonus box.

Part of my journey to the first box.

The bonus box clue was "Look to high ground, L'Heure L'Amitie Passe Reste (The hour friendship passes remains)" I was very stumped for awhile thinking about the clue. I thought at first look to high ground must mean I need to go to the highest spot in the garden. But the whole next phrase had me totally confused. That is until I found a path that led to the top of the garden. I won't tell the rest just in case someone is hunting this spot. Once I reached the spot, I looked everywhere. I was just about to give up and head home when a light went off in my head and there was the box. My heart was racing with joy. I think I called my mom like four times during the whole hunt, just to be able to tell someone of my adventures.

Picture of the inside of a letterbox.

I ended up finding two boxes at the garden and heading home. I got home and did some cleaning and then just hung around the house with Virginia and Reiggin. Later I had to go to the grocery store to pick up some wings for dinner. Again, being the dork that I am, I knew there was a box hidden in a park near a Harris Teeter that isn't too far from our house. So I quickly begged Reiggin to let me make a quick pit stop along my grocery run. Being the sweet heart that he is, he agreed. So I got to find my 3rd box at Dorton Park in Concord. This one had a super nice stamp in it.

The path leading to the third box.

So now I am excited about my new hobby and the fact that some of the CPM moms want to come along the next time I go on a hunt. Reiggin thinks I am crazy or just one big dork. But hey, to each their own. I figure I am having fun and getting exercise all at the same time. My Saturday turned out to be a pretty exciting day. Now if I could only convince Reiggin to let me do some letterboxing while we visit his parents tomorrow in Statesville.

Here is the links to the clues for the 3 boxes I found today.


My first stamp in the first box I found.

One of the stamps a boxer left in the book that I thought was looked really good.

Me leaving the Memorial Garden after finding the boxes.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Repurposed XL T-Shirt

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Today after I put Virginia down for her nap, I had a crazy idea. Instead of napping, I decided to take a XL Wicked Shirt that Lisa Harland gave me as a present and repurpose it into a shirt for Virginia. I found a tutorial on how to repurpose a t-shirt into a dress for a toddler.

I was going to make a dress, but when I laid out a dress of Virginia's it was going to cut off the Wicked logo. So I changed plans and made a t-shirt instead. I believe later I will take the bottom half of the t-shirt and make a skirt for Virginia. That is after I regain my sanity. Making this shirt I believe took a few years off my life. Sleeves are not easy to make.


First off I have to say this was my first attempt at making a shirt. I learned that I have to work on making sleeves and figure out how to complete a collar. I am happy that the end product did fit Virginia. I believe once I master the sleeves and collar that this will be a great project. I have tons of t-shirts that would be fun to repurpose into outfits for Virginia to play in. So for now I may have to wait on that call from Project Runway.

Oh the best part of this project was trying to take Virginia's photo. She was not a very good model today. I chased her all over the apartment trying to get one good photo of her in the shirt. I believe towards the end she thought we were playing a game of chase.

Easy as 1..2..3

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I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. Mine was awesome, our first birthday party invite and a day with the folks, Susan, and Samantha. I also spent most of the weekend searching though tons of sewing and crafting blogs looking for a new project.

I came across a simple tutorial on how to make bean bags. I knew this would be a winner. Virginia loves the small bean bag that came in a burger king happy meal. Also Mom pointed out that bean bags would be a great teaching tool. I could make multiple bean bags in different colors. There is just endless options to how I could use my home made bean bags. Oh and the best part is that it only took me about 5 to 10 minutes to make them. Instead of filling them with beans I used rice. Rice was the only thing I had in the house.

Also Lisa, I thought you would be happy looking at this cute pink with white polka doted bean bag instead of the scary, I mean beautiful sock monkey cough...HATER!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sammy...

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Yesterday I woke up and was in the mood to do a new sewing project. After searching though the new site Susan Roberts sent me. I found a great pattern for a sock monkey. After running some errands and picking up some new fabric for my purse project. I searched Reiggin's and my sock drawer for a good sock monkey choice. I ended up using one of Reiggin's socks and two of my old socks. I believe next time I will try to go buy a real sock monkey sock.

I have to say that the process took a little longer then what I expected. But it didn't help that I had a 2 year old that was very curious of what mommy was doing. I learned what a whip stitch is and also learned that I need to improve on my hand sewing skills. I also found out that working with a sock and sewing on a sock can be difficult. I thought I was going to lose my mind sewing on my old yellow toe sock. It was not wanting to work with me or my sewing machine.


But overall, the project turned out great. Best of all Virginia loves her new sock monkey and really that is all that counts. I hope to improve and maybe be able to make more fun stuffed animal characters in the future.


Friday, September 3, 2010

BUNCO....

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Last night I finally got to go play bunco. I had heard a lot about the game from my friend Katie. I also had gone to one bunco party before, but didn't end up playing bunco. So finally when I saw that the CPM mommies were playing bunco on Thursday. I jumped on the rsvp list quick.

This bunco night was a themed one. The theme was wear it again. Basically we all wore an outfit that we had brought for some special event and told ourselves that we would wear it again one day. There were a lot of bridesmaid dresses and a few Christmas party dresses. I choice to wear the dress that I wore two years ago to the Avett Brother's New Years Eve show. I thought about wearing my wedding dress, but thought Reiggin may not like that idea. I couldn't find my shoes that went with the dress so I just wore my flip flops. It was a good thing since I parked at the bottom of the driveway and it was a hike to the front door.

There was 16 women at the party. I always feel a little nervous going to the CPM get togethers. I know a few women now, but not like super great. I am still the new mommy. As always we all gathered in the kitchen and had some snacks waiting for everyone to arrive and then we split off to each table. Let me just say I was a little overwhelmed at first. I am not sure why, but I wasn't expecting the game to be so fast paced. But I loved it overall. It was alot of fun and I got to know some of the moms better. I didn't do great, but at least I can say I have played bunco now.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Late Night....

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Most nights is when I get the time to start any craft project. As you have noticed I have been diving head first into learning how to sew. Nights seem to be the best time for me to start any sewing project because Virginia is sound asleep. I don't have to worry about her climbing in my lap or pulling my fabric off the table as I am cutting it. At night I can just enjoy the peace and quiet. I can focus all my attention to the youtube instructional video or the pattern directions that I am trying to figure out. I have really enjoyed these nights so far.



Tonight I decided to finally sit down and do the draw string bag project from The Crafty Gemini's youtube video. For the most part it was pretty easy. I have started to get better with keeping my seams straight. I have slowed down on the pedal. What can I say I have a lead foot. The end product turned out great. The video is clear and very easy to follow. I have really enjoyed looking at all her videos. Videos so far have been the best instructional path for me. I like to actually see someone going though the steps. I tend to get lost and confused when I am just reading instructions and looking at a pattern. But I know eventually I will have to conquer that fear. Since I have brought two pattern packages and they are both very cute projects. Now I have a envelope pillow cover, toddler skirt, and draw string bag under my belt. I believe my next challenge will be a purse.

Monday, August 30, 2010

One of those days...

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Just one of those days! This day was just one of those days that if something was going to go wrong it did. Started off pretty well with my sister Susan and niece Samantha deciding to come up and visit for the afternoon. But with that said it meant that I had to go into a whirlwind cleaning spree. So I quickly rushed and cleaned the kitchen, living room, and bathroom.

About halfway though the crazy cleaning I decided it was Virginia's nap time. Bring in the suspense music. Virginia did not like the idea of taking a nap. She pitched a fit, cried and ran away. This went on for about 30 minutes it seemed. Finally Virginia just shut herself in her room and read her books. This may be our compromise for during the day. If she doesn't want to nap she has to stay in her room quiet for at least an hour. But needless to say my nerves were shot by the time Susan and Samantha got here.


Then things get better. The kids play for awhile and then we head out the door to go to the Village Park Splash Pad. I called ahead and got a voice mail saying the splash pad was open from 10:00am to 7:00pm. Great, so we all hop in the van and head out. First mistake by me is assuming Susan has a GPS. She doesn't so I had to try to remember my way and the directions were a little fuzzy in my head. Finally we manage to get there with some help from Uncle Joe. Then the grey cloud above my head gets darker when I see the splash pad is closed and only open on the weekend. Yeah and the playgrounds are too big for both Virginia and Samantha. So just imagine hauling two 2 year olds back into a van screaming. That was the scene that was before me.


We head back down the road to Dorton Park to play on their toddler playground. The heat was unbearable. We stayed for maybe 20 minutes or so. It felt like an eternity. The kids got to play and they were happy. But the heat was just too much so we packed up and headed back to the apartment. Again, both kids were not happy with this decision. Once back to the apartment, Susan and Samantha packed up and headed home. Virginia and myself crashed on the couch and watched Dora the Explorer.

So my day was not as nice as I had wished. But it was nice getting to see Susan and Samantha. Hopefully next visit things will be open and the skies will be cool with a nice breeze. At least I got a few nice pictures of Samantha, Virginia, and even Susan.