Monday, January 31, 2011

Keeping it Simple

I woke up this morning and was doing my usual routine, checking email, facebook, centralpiedmontmommies, and some of my favorite blogs.  When on ProBlogger I came across a post titled  "Use Google Reading Level to Improve Your Blog Message".

This caught my eye and got me thinking what the crap is Google Reading Level.  Last month Google launched its new Google Reading Level feature. What this does is algorithmically work out the reading level of the search results, to help users more easily decide which search results to click on.

I was sure when I searched for AbsolutelyKathy that the results would say, " Does this person know how to write the english language or is she 2 years old." I headed over to google and like the blog post said I clicked the advanced search ( the hyperlink is located next to the search box on Google's home page).  Type your search query in the first form box-the one annotated with "all these words"-and make sure that the Reading Level drop-down box shows "annotate results with reading levels". You should see the results for my blog's home page below:



I was actually quite happy with my results. I believe my reading level is nicely balanced and at the level I want my blog to be at. I was even happy to see 3% for the advanced, so maybe I am a little higher then a 2 year old. Just glad there is not a grammar writing level tool that Google has come out with. I don't think my results would be so kind. 

Head on over to Google and tell me what your favorite blog site receives for their reading level or your blogs reading level. I am curious to see the range that people receive and see if my blog stands up in my blogs category. Also if you get a chance head over to ProBlogger's blog and read his post on Google Reading Level for a more detailed post on the tool. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Do Tell

I want to start a new weekly post on my blog today called Do Tell. I got this idea from one of my favorite bloggers Alex from Late Enough because early sucks. She does I Ask every Friday. She asks a question that has been on her mind and her fans answer. She then picks her favorite answers. Well I just love this idea. So I asked her permission to do the same on my blog. I am thankful she said yes, I get so much inspiration from reading her blog and learning from her writing style. Because you all know I don't have much wisdom if any to pass on to you guys. So I am asking for you readers to pass some of your knowledge onto me.

The first Do Tell  topic is Are you going to or hosting a Super Bowl Party? If so what kind of snacks and food are you going to take or have at your party? Post your recipes and after your party please email me some of your party pictures and I will post them here as well. Can't wait to see all the yummy recipes and fun pictures.

Not sure yet if we will have a party or attend one. It may just be Reiggin, Virginia, and myself hanging out at our place. I am in the mood to have wings and chips and dip. Can't wait to see the commercials for this years Super Bowl. That is always my favorite part of the game.

I am also excited to try out my new jello jiggers molds that are in the shape of football helmets and footballs. Hopefully I may find some new recipes or ideas from you readers to try out also.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coupon Diva

Do you find yourself running out on Sunday morning to grab a Sunday paper so you can start clipping those coupons? Or searching the web for the best deals and coupons? Well I am slowly trying to learn the coupon saving process. My friend Desirae is a coupon diva. She knows the ins and outs of coupons and saving a ton of money. She has been giving me pointers and helping me along my path to figuring out this thing called coupons.


She runs her own coupon blog called The Coupon Diva. On her blog you will find the latest coupons and deals for the week. She also posts great steals for different retail and online stores. You can even follow her coupon blog on facebook. I love this tool because well I find myself on facebook alot. This way I can get updates right on my wall of the best coupons and deals of the day while I most likely am playing some facebook game.

Desirae has taken it a step further and has started her on youtube channel where she is teaching the basics of coupons all the way to the more advanced methods of using coupons. This to me has been the best. I am a visual person so being able to sit down and watch a short youtube video of her giving step by step instructions of how to start using coupons has been the most useful tool for me.


Desirae doesn't just stop at being a coupon diva. She is also an amazing professional photographer.  She has a website D. Young Photography along with a facebook page.  She has taken some amazing photos of children and families. Currently she is hosting on facebook a cutest kids contest. This is my one shameless plug of the year. Virginia is in the running for the cutest kid contest. So as you go over to visit D. Young Photography on facebook make sure to like her page and go find my alittle baby Virginia photo number 15 and Like her photo as well. Ok enough of me bragging about my little one.

I know what you are thinking Desirae is one talented woman. But wait there is more, she is also a moderator with me for the Cabarrus area group on centralpiedmontmommies.com, a chapter of The Mommies Network. This is a wonderful free online support forum for moms in the central piedmont area. Together Desirae helps me keep track of the Cabarrus area forum and plan events for the kids and moms of Cabarrus to enjoy. She has been so helpful to me and the other moms on centralpiedmontmommies.

Desirae is just one of many talented and dedicated mommies on centralpiedmontmommies.  I plan to showcase one mommy a week here on my blog. So check back each week to see who the next mommy will be.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Just Dance

Saturday we had some good friends over, Donnie, Meredith, Tony, and Bridget. I went to change Virginia's diaper and when we came back into the room everyone was there. Virginia was a little shocked at first, but quickly warmed up to everyone. She really enjoyed playing with Tony. Tony had her shushing everyone. Tony even let her fly, by grabbing the back of her pjs and lifting her into the air. She though this was the best thing in the world. Until Virginia broke Tony, the last flight did Tony in and his back was hurting for the rest of the night.

Once the guys went onto the balcony to do guy stuff and talk. The girls decided to play Just Dance 2 on the wii. Meredith had borrowed the game from a friend since we all had been wanting to try out the game before buying it. Oh my goodness talk about a work out. And I couldn't stop laughing the whole time. Virginia even joined in and danced with us or jumped on Bridget and went along for the ride. I was not the best dancer, I know surprise surprise. I looked like I was having a seizure or heart attack during the dances. I think I came in last place almost every time. But I had a blast playing. Meredith was the dancing Queen out of all of us.

Donnie took a video of us dancing with his phone. I almost peed my pants after watching the video. I will just pretend that I have mad dancing skills. The best part of the night was when the guys got up and danced to a Elvis song. Reiggin won, but he was not doing much hip shaking. The guys would not allow us to video tape them dancing. But I do believe this game will be purchase soon. It is a great workout and a great party game.



Saturday, January 22, 2011

Surprise Surprise Happy Birthday!



Both my Mom and Dad are celebrating their 60th birthday today. Yes you read that right they both are turning 60 and share the same birthday. I believe that is just the coolest thing. No they were not born in the same hospital, but in two bordering towns. We constantly debate who is older, I  don't think we have ever researched and got the true answer.


Since this is a big birthday for my Mom and Dad, my sisters and I decided to throw a surprise birthday party for my parents. Well I should say my sister Lisa while on the back of a motorcycle riding though Canada came up with the great idea and my sister Susan pushed her into following though with the plan. I just came along for the ride. My sisters did all the work and I just showed up and helped out as much as possible.



Susan and Joe provided all the delicious food and Lisa arranged the beautiful cake. I had the easy task of drinks and ice fitting for the baby of the family. Lisa had the invitations made which were well designed and beautiful. We managed to have all my parents friends from their sunday school class/ game night buddies come to the party along with my grandparents and Aunt and Uncle. So the house was packed and the night was full of fun.

I really can't believe we managed to arrange this whole party without either my Mom or Dad figuring it out. For one I do not have the best track record at keeping secrets and my sisters told me a month in advance about the party. My sister Susan even managed to sneak a box of old pictures out of the house while my mom was there without being caught. Well she got caught but luckily my mom was busy with Samantha and took Susan's answer of I am not doing anything when asked what she was doing with the box of photos.

Needless to say my parents were surprised and kind of funny that they did hear us before entering the house but thought it was maybe a burglar in the house so my dad told my mom, sister, and niece to stay in the garage as he went in first. Their faces were classic and shocked, my mom's reaction was the best. I was so glad the party went off well and only had a few hiccups.

First I had hoped to arrive at my parent's house at a little after 6:00pm. Instead we got to the house at 6:30 something. So I know Lisa was probably going crazy in the house setting up with Joe and Mike thinking where the hell is Kathy. We quickly got everyone parked at the bottom of the hill away from the house and carpooled them up to the house. Which was a little tricky but me and Mike pulled it off.




I believe everyone had a great time and great food. I enjoyed seeing all the old photos of my parents and me and my sisters. I even got a giggle at watching Mr. Mauney entertain Virginia and Samantha. He stayed in the floor half the night having tea with the kids and coloring. Virginia and Samantha were both well behaved and had everyone saying oh they are so cute. Caught some classic Virginia and Samantha moments at the end of the night as both of them were playing on the computer. Samantha told Mike she was checking her email.

We had a blast celebrating my parents birthday and it was so much fun seeing everyone and my family. Happy Birthday Mom and Dad hope you two have a great day together.



The birthday card Virginia and I made, got the idea from
DLEMMAS CRAFTS BY KATHERINE












They look like they are up to no good!











The affects of hosting a surprise party!

My mom and grandmother.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

To Be Me


Have you ever wanted to wear that outfit or play that sport, but decided against it because it wasn't the norm. Worried what other people would say and what stares you would receive. I believe this has happened to all of us at one point in our lives.

Lately I have seen the topic of gender popping up on the web and in conversations between friends and myself. People asking is it ok for boys to play with baby dolls or to wear pink. It has got me thinking a lot about my own views and ideas of the sexes. I have to be honest that I am a little ashamed of myself that when the topic of boys playing with baby dolls popped up that my first thought was why are boys playing with baby dolls that is a girl thing. After digging deeper and thinking more. I said to myself why is this odd, don't we want boys to learn to nurture just like we want little girls to learn to be a loving mom one day. Then it hit me this is what society has taught us. That girls and boys are suppose to fit into these nice neat boxes and never step outside of our gender box.


One of my favorite bloggers Alex from Late Enough because early sucks wrote a post titled The Yellow Bow today. She wrote about how her daughter N said no to wearing a bow but her son E stepped in wanting to wear the yellow bow and a yellow snow white princess dress to lunch one day. She hesitated at first to say yes. But was brave enough to stand by her and husbands parenting beliefs to allow their children to be who they want to be and not keep them in a gender box.

E wore the yellow princess dress to lunch and got some stares from adults, but the adults dared not to say anything. But a group of middle school girls did do some giggling and probably pointing. E was aware of this and asked if they were making fun of him. Alex made a good point that these girls were just showing what they had been taught by society and maybe by their parents. That boys are not suppose to wear dresses or bows. That these girls to were afraid of being different and wanted to just fit in and conform with society.

Alex was confronted again when E wanted to wear a bow to school. His school is progressive so she thought he would be safe. Well as she is telling his teacher about the incident over the weekend at lunch. E comes running up and is crying that a boy called him a girl. Any mother at this point wants to cry and grab their child up and tell them everything is going to be ok.

E came home happy that day and didn't want to talk much about what happened at school. Then when Alex and her family went to the children's museum he asked his father to pick him out boy clothes from the dress up chest.

It is sad that kids are having to learn life lessons so early about how cruel society can be. That a boy in a dress or wearing a bow is going to be faced with stares and mean comments. But one quote that I loved from Alex's post was


I remind myself to add YET.
Because I believe that it won’t always be this way. Each generation, while perhaps not financially better off, is more open and tolerant than the last.
And in the face of hatred, we learn every year to judge people less by what they wear or who they look like, and more by the person they are trying to be.
But progress is slow. And children are sensitive.
I believe this sums it all up and shows that there is hope for society and that one day everyone will be free to be who they want to be. Without fearing what society and people will say. I too hope that I will change my view and next time I am in a gender conversation that I won't be so quick to say that is a girl thing or a boy thing. 
I highly recommend everyone head over to Late Enough because early sucks and read The Yellow Bow post. Alex is a wonderful writer and this post is a must read. I was in tears as I read the whole post. I hope that I will raise Virginia to be whatever she wants to be either a pretty ballerina, a rough and tough sports player, or a gamer, or all of them together.
You can also head over to Momversation to watch a video on this very same gender topic.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Missing: Please Return to Two Year Old


Do you find yourself searching for a pacifier at least five times throughout your day? If you said yes then most likely you are a mom. Virginia is constantly losing her pacifier and turning to me with this cute sad face pointing to her mouth. I say, "Are you wanting your pacifier?" She will quickly nod yes and I tell her to go search for it.

The best thing is watching her go on the hunt for the pacifier. She will lift her bean bag and look underneath it. She will run down to her bedroom and spend a few minutes in there. Then she sometimes will get lucky and find the oh so important pacifier and quickly pop it in her mouth and give a big sigh of relief by throwing her hands up in the air and doing her happy dance.

Well folks this daily routine is about to drive this mommy insane. Virginia is only 2 years old and I debate on whether it is time to say goodbye to the pacifier. I try to keep the pacifier for only during nap time and bed time. But lately Virginia has been wanting it more and more. Maybe she senses my thoughts and thinks she needs to get in as much quality time with her pacifier as she can. When did you moms decide to do away with the pacifier? Also how did you go about getting rid of the pacifier? Did you go cold turkey?

I thought I had made a small victory last night when I put Virginia to bed and asked her if she wanted her pacifier and I was thankful when she said no. Because well I didn't know where that darn pacifier was. She went to bed happy with no pacifier. Twenty minutes passed and here she comes out of her room and points to her mouth and sees the pacifier on the table. She quickly grabs it and is off to bed.

I know I just need to be tough and make a game plan and stick with it. I do like one idea a fellow mom told me about. She said she allowed her child to pick a Build-a-Bear and then together they put all the pacifiers in the bear and that way the child still has her pacifiers but in a bear form.

So this is my dilemma. Moms, I am asking for your help and advice. Should I say bye to the pacifier or should I wait longer until I believe Virginia is ready to say goodbye?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Word Processing Exhibit


This morning after doing my weekly grocery shopping, I packed up Virginia and we headed out to The Gallery in downtown Concord. First off I hate finding parking in downtown Concord. First I was going to park in the very back of What a Burger's parking lot until a employee told me the owner would tow my car in a heart beat. So I was like great thanks for the heads up. Luckily I spotted a free two hour parking on the side of the gallery. So I quickly got Virginia and the stroller back into the car and made my move to the other parking space.

Inside view of the main hallway of the gallery

This was my first visit to The Gallery and also my first time taking Virginia with me to a art gallery. I was super excited about both. I have not been to an art exhibit in over 2 years or so. The last time I was able to go to an art museum was back on my honeymoon with Reiggin. I was a little worried if Virginia would enjoy the trip and if she would behave in the gallery. I did keep her in her stroller so she wouldn't touch any of the artwork.

Huge tree right outside of the Gallery that I loved.

The Gallery building itself was a piece of artwork. I loved the exterior of the building and all the features. I did end up carrying Virginia in her stroller up the stairs to the front door. I am sure there was a easier method to getting inside with a stroller. Today was the first day of the Word Processing exhibit. Virginia and I actually were the first visitors to walk though the exhibit.

I loved how the gallery also had a scavenger hunt set up for little kids and older kids. The little kids had a sheet with 12 small boxes of images that they had to find in the gallery. The older kids sheet had 24 words that they had to find in the exhibit. I thought this was a creative way to include kids in the exhibit.

Virginia surprised me and was very well behaved though the whole exhibit. She even pointed out her favorite pieces in each room when I asked her which one was her favorite. She was super cute, I would ask which one is your favorite and she would stick her finger up to her lip and take a second to look around. And then point to her choice. I would ask is this your favorite out of all of them and she would shake her head yes. Leah Palmer Preiss pieces tended to be her favorite out of all of them. I believe the bright colors and animated creatures were what caught her eyes. I have to agree with Virginia that Leah Palmer Preiss pieces were the ones that I found myself drawn to as well. They were very detailed and involved and humerous. One piece entitled Victor's Victim almost went unnoticed by us but I happened to almost run over it with my stroller as we were making a second walk though. It is a piece of artwork on a mouse trap. I loved the placement of the piece and how heartfelt the image of the mouse holding cheese was on this mouse trap.

My next favorite piece were all the Art quilts by Ann Harwell. The quilts were breathtaking and I found myself just standing in front of them for long streches of time trying to see how the small details that she put into the pieces. I can't imagine how long it must take her to create these quilts. I also gained more joy after visiting her website to read the back stories of each quilt.

Kelly Thiel's ceramic pieces were my next favorite. She had a few ceramic bird images that caught my eye. Just the earth tones and details she put into her pieces were beautiful. The texture and female figures were heartwarming and showed so much emotion. I would love to have one of her pieces fill a spot in my house one day. Three examples of her art are below.





Warren Hicks was one of my last favorites. His pieces were painted on pieces of wood. They were so alive and vibrant with colors. The colors and movement he created in his pieces were amazing. Virginia was also fond of his pieces and pointed to some I believe she would love to have hanging in her room.


Overall the exhibit was a big hit with Virginia and I and I am looking forward to going back on February 3rd for their artist talk on the exhibit. I look forward to hearing the artists viewpoint on why and how they created their pieces. So I would highly recommend anyone in the area to make a point to go visit the Gallery and the Word Processing exhibit.

As I get permission from the artist to post pictures of their pieces I will put their photos up. So keep an eye out for that to come. You know me I am just not patient and I am ready to post my blog post :-)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Alert the Press Samantha is Two!


Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday dear Samantha, Happy Birthday to You. My awesome niece Samantha turned 2 on Friday. Sunday we went down to Clover, South Carolina to celebrate. It seems like just yesterday that Lisa and I went to Gastonia to see my sister Susan, Joe, and Samantha in the hospital.

Now she is two and she is talking non stop and jumping like she is a NBA player. I couldn't have asked for a cooler niece. I also love how much Samantha and Virginia enjoy playing together. I hope as they get older that they will stay close friends.

Samantha can get mad air when she jumps.

Sunday started off great. Reiggin was so kind as to get up early with Virginia and let me sleep in. Virginia wasn't to happy about this fact at first. She is so use to me getting up that she was a little confused when I told her that Daddy was getting up with her and to leave me in bed. But after some sneaky maneuvers I did manage to sneak back to bed.

Virginia and I quickly got a bath and got on the road. I really hate my GPS system some days. I wasn't sure what route we were going to take to get to Clover. But my GPS took me in one big circle at one point. The GPS got us on I-77 and then off and right back on I-85 South. It was just one big loop. But luckily we were super early so we just decided to stop at my parent's house in Gastonia for a bit before heading to clover. My grandparents were  also meeting there to ride down to Clover with my parents.

As we are all heading out the door to Clover I am putting Virginia in her car seat when I think my heart jumped out of my chest when I saw my Grandma trip on a cement flower pot and fall down on the sidewalk. She didn't get up so I grabbed Virginia and ran up the lawn. Luckily she just scraped her wrist and her cheek was bruised. I am sure she is sore today though. I was so scared that she had broken something or worse.

Samantha looking a little confused.

We all made it to Clover and Ralph and Judy's house was full of family. Samantha was having a little snack at the table as every body was piling into the house. She had this look on her face like what the crap is going on. But she was super excited to see Gi-Gi and was ready to give her the grand tour of the house.

Joe made a delicious lunch and afterwards we all watched Samantha open her gifts. I was thankful that Virginia didn't jump in with her and try to open the gifts. She was very well behaved to my delight. Samantha scored some great gifts. She even got a super cool tricycle from my parents. Both Virginia and Samantha were ready to jump on and take a ride. The Balloons were the second biggest hit. It is funny how the simpliest things will keep kids happy.


After filling our bellies with cake and conversation. We all said our good byes and headed back to my parent's house. Virginia got some extra play time with the grandparents and then we called it a day and headed home. It was so nice getting to see everyone and it is always great seeing Joe's family. I am so thankful to have such a wonderful family!

 Birthday Girl!

 Grandma Ford with Virginia

 Susan and Samantha

 Samantha is such the entertainer.

 My parents with Virginia

 Getting ready to blow out the candles.


 Virginia waiting for permission to help open gifts.


 Samantha was super excited over her gifts.



 Judy, Joe's Mom, helping Samantha open gifts.





 Grandma Brown was appointed gift holder by Samantha


















Monday, January 31, 2011

Keeping it Simple

5 comments
I woke up this morning and was doing my usual routine, checking email, facebook, centralpiedmontmommies, and some of my favorite blogs.  When on ProBlogger I came across a post titled  "Use Google Reading Level to Improve Your Blog Message".

This caught my eye and got me thinking what the crap is Google Reading Level.  Last month Google launched its new Google Reading Level feature. What this does is algorithmically work out the reading level of the search results, to help users more easily decide which search results to click on.

I was sure when I searched for AbsolutelyKathy that the results would say, " Does this person know how to write the english language or is she 2 years old." I headed over to google and like the blog post said I clicked the advanced search ( the hyperlink is located next to the search box on Google's home page).  Type your search query in the first form box-the one annotated with "all these words"-and make sure that the Reading Level drop-down box shows "annotate results with reading levels". You should see the results for my blog's home page below:



I was actually quite happy with my results. I believe my reading level is nicely balanced and at the level I want my blog to be at. I was even happy to see 3% for the advanced, so maybe I am a little higher then a 2 year old. Just glad there is not a grammar writing level tool that Google has come out with. I don't think my results would be so kind. 

Head on over to Google and tell me what your favorite blog site receives for their reading level or your blogs reading level. I am curious to see the range that people receive and see if my blog stands up in my blogs category. Also if you get a chance head over to ProBlogger's blog and read his post on Google Reading Level for a more detailed post on the tool. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Do Tell

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I want to start a new weekly post on my blog today called Do Tell. I got this idea from one of my favorite bloggers Alex from Late Enough because early sucks. She does I Ask every Friday. She asks a question that has been on her mind and her fans answer. She then picks her favorite answers. Well I just love this idea. So I asked her permission to do the same on my blog. I am thankful she said yes, I get so much inspiration from reading her blog and learning from her writing style. Because you all know I don't have much wisdom if any to pass on to you guys. So I am asking for you readers to pass some of your knowledge onto me.

The first Do Tell  topic is Are you going to or hosting a Super Bowl Party? If so what kind of snacks and food are you going to take or have at your party? Post your recipes and after your party please email me some of your party pictures and I will post them here as well. Can't wait to see all the yummy recipes and fun pictures.

Not sure yet if we will have a party or attend one. It may just be Reiggin, Virginia, and myself hanging out at our place. I am in the mood to have wings and chips and dip. Can't wait to see the commercials for this years Super Bowl. That is always my favorite part of the game.

I am also excited to try out my new jello jiggers molds that are in the shape of football helmets and footballs. Hopefully I may find some new recipes or ideas from you readers to try out also.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coupon Diva

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Do you find yourself running out on Sunday morning to grab a Sunday paper so you can start clipping those coupons? Or searching the web for the best deals and coupons? Well I am slowly trying to learn the coupon saving process. My friend Desirae is a coupon diva. She knows the ins and outs of coupons and saving a ton of money. She has been giving me pointers and helping me along my path to figuring out this thing called coupons.


She runs her own coupon blog called The Coupon Diva. On her blog you will find the latest coupons and deals for the week. She also posts great steals for different retail and online stores. You can even follow her coupon blog on facebook. I love this tool because well I find myself on facebook alot. This way I can get updates right on my wall of the best coupons and deals of the day while I most likely am playing some facebook game.

Desirae has taken it a step further and has started her on youtube channel where she is teaching the basics of coupons all the way to the more advanced methods of using coupons. This to me has been the best. I am a visual person so being able to sit down and watch a short youtube video of her giving step by step instructions of how to start using coupons has been the most useful tool for me.


Desirae doesn't just stop at being a coupon diva. She is also an amazing professional photographer.  She has a website D. Young Photography along with a facebook page.  She has taken some amazing photos of children and families. Currently she is hosting on facebook a cutest kids contest. This is my one shameless plug of the year. Virginia is in the running for the cutest kid contest. So as you go over to visit D. Young Photography on facebook make sure to like her page and go find my alittle baby Virginia photo number 15 and Like her photo as well. Ok enough of me bragging about my little one.

I know what you are thinking Desirae is one talented woman. But wait there is more, she is also a moderator with me for the Cabarrus area group on centralpiedmontmommies.com, a chapter of The Mommies Network. This is a wonderful free online support forum for moms in the central piedmont area. Together Desirae helps me keep track of the Cabarrus area forum and plan events for the kids and moms of Cabarrus to enjoy. She has been so helpful to me and the other moms on centralpiedmontmommies.

Desirae is just one of many talented and dedicated mommies on centralpiedmontmommies.  I plan to showcase one mommy a week here on my blog. So check back each week to see who the next mommy will be.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Just Dance

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Saturday we had some good friends over, Donnie, Meredith, Tony, and Bridget. I went to change Virginia's diaper and when we came back into the room everyone was there. Virginia was a little shocked at first, but quickly warmed up to everyone. She really enjoyed playing with Tony. Tony had her shushing everyone. Tony even let her fly, by grabbing the back of her pjs and lifting her into the air. She though this was the best thing in the world. Until Virginia broke Tony, the last flight did Tony in and his back was hurting for the rest of the night.

Once the guys went onto the balcony to do guy stuff and talk. The girls decided to play Just Dance 2 on the wii. Meredith had borrowed the game from a friend since we all had been wanting to try out the game before buying it. Oh my goodness talk about a work out. And I couldn't stop laughing the whole time. Virginia even joined in and danced with us or jumped on Bridget and went along for the ride. I was not the best dancer, I know surprise surprise. I looked like I was having a seizure or heart attack during the dances. I think I came in last place almost every time. But I had a blast playing. Meredith was the dancing Queen out of all of us.

Donnie took a video of us dancing with his phone. I almost peed my pants after watching the video. I will just pretend that I have mad dancing skills. The best part of the night was when the guys got up and danced to a Elvis song. Reiggin won, but he was not doing much hip shaking. The guys would not allow us to video tape them dancing. But I do believe this game will be purchase soon. It is a great workout and a great party game.



Saturday, January 22, 2011

Surprise Surprise Happy Birthday!

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Both my Mom and Dad are celebrating their 60th birthday today. Yes you read that right they both are turning 60 and share the same birthday. I believe that is just the coolest thing. No they were not born in the same hospital, but in two bordering towns. We constantly debate who is older, I  don't think we have ever researched and got the true answer.


Since this is a big birthday for my Mom and Dad, my sisters and I decided to throw a surprise birthday party for my parents. Well I should say my sister Lisa while on the back of a motorcycle riding though Canada came up with the great idea and my sister Susan pushed her into following though with the plan. I just came along for the ride. My sisters did all the work and I just showed up and helped out as much as possible.



Susan and Joe provided all the delicious food and Lisa arranged the beautiful cake. I had the easy task of drinks and ice fitting for the baby of the family. Lisa had the invitations made which were well designed and beautiful. We managed to have all my parents friends from their sunday school class/ game night buddies come to the party along with my grandparents and Aunt and Uncle. So the house was packed and the night was full of fun.

I really can't believe we managed to arrange this whole party without either my Mom or Dad figuring it out. For one I do not have the best track record at keeping secrets and my sisters told me a month in advance about the party. My sister Susan even managed to sneak a box of old pictures out of the house while my mom was there without being caught. Well she got caught but luckily my mom was busy with Samantha and took Susan's answer of I am not doing anything when asked what she was doing with the box of photos.

Needless to say my parents were surprised and kind of funny that they did hear us before entering the house but thought it was maybe a burglar in the house so my dad told my mom, sister, and niece to stay in the garage as he went in first. Their faces were classic and shocked, my mom's reaction was the best. I was so glad the party went off well and only had a few hiccups.

First I had hoped to arrive at my parent's house at a little after 6:00pm. Instead we got to the house at 6:30 something. So I know Lisa was probably going crazy in the house setting up with Joe and Mike thinking where the hell is Kathy. We quickly got everyone parked at the bottom of the hill away from the house and carpooled them up to the house. Which was a little tricky but me and Mike pulled it off.




I believe everyone had a great time and great food. I enjoyed seeing all the old photos of my parents and me and my sisters. I even got a giggle at watching Mr. Mauney entertain Virginia and Samantha. He stayed in the floor half the night having tea with the kids and coloring. Virginia and Samantha were both well behaved and had everyone saying oh they are so cute. Caught some classic Virginia and Samantha moments at the end of the night as both of them were playing on the computer. Samantha told Mike she was checking her email.

We had a blast celebrating my parents birthday and it was so much fun seeing everyone and my family. Happy Birthday Mom and Dad hope you two have a great day together.



The birthday card Virginia and I made, got the idea from
DLEMMAS CRAFTS BY KATHERINE












They look like they are up to no good!











The affects of hosting a surprise party!

My mom and grandmother.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

To Be Me

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Have you ever wanted to wear that outfit or play that sport, but decided against it because it wasn't the norm. Worried what other people would say and what stares you would receive. I believe this has happened to all of us at one point in our lives.

Lately I have seen the topic of gender popping up on the web and in conversations between friends and myself. People asking is it ok for boys to play with baby dolls or to wear pink. It has got me thinking a lot about my own views and ideas of the sexes. I have to be honest that I am a little ashamed of myself that when the topic of boys playing with baby dolls popped up that my first thought was why are boys playing with baby dolls that is a girl thing. After digging deeper and thinking more. I said to myself why is this odd, don't we want boys to learn to nurture just like we want little girls to learn to be a loving mom one day. Then it hit me this is what society has taught us. That girls and boys are suppose to fit into these nice neat boxes and never step outside of our gender box.


One of my favorite bloggers Alex from Late Enough because early sucks wrote a post titled The Yellow Bow today. She wrote about how her daughter N said no to wearing a bow but her son E stepped in wanting to wear the yellow bow and a yellow snow white princess dress to lunch one day. She hesitated at first to say yes. But was brave enough to stand by her and husbands parenting beliefs to allow their children to be who they want to be and not keep them in a gender box.

E wore the yellow princess dress to lunch and got some stares from adults, but the adults dared not to say anything. But a group of middle school girls did do some giggling and probably pointing. E was aware of this and asked if they were making fun of him. Alex made a good point that these girls were just showing what they had been taught by society and maybe by their parents. That boys are not suppose to wear dresses or bows. That these girls to were afraid of being different and wanted to just fit in and conform with society.

Alex was confronted again when E wanted to wear a bow to school. His school is progressive so she thought he would be safe. Well as she is telling his teacher about the incident over the weekend at lunch. E comes running up and is crying that a boy called him a girl. Any mother at this point wants to cry and grab their child up and tell them everything is going to be ok.

E came home happy that day and didn't want to talk much about what happened at school. Then when Alex and her family went to the children's museum he asked his father to pick him out boy clothes from the dress up chest.

It is sad that kids are having to learn life lessons so early about how cruel society can be. That a boy in a dress or wearing a bow is going to be faced with stares and mean comments. But one quote that I loved from Alex's post was


I remind myself to add YET.
Because I believe that it won’t always be this way. Each generation, while perhaps not financially better off, is more open and tolerant than the last.
And in the face of hatred, we learn every year to judge people less by what they wear or who they look like, and more by the person they are trying to be.
But progress is slow. And children are sensitive.
I believe this sums it all up and shows that there is hope for society and that one day everyone will be free to be who they want to be. Without fearing what society and people will say. I too hope that I will change my view and next time I am in a gender conversation that I won't be so quick to say that is a girl thing or a boy thing. 
I highly recommend everyone head over to Late Enough because early sucks and read The Yellow Bow post. Alex is a wonderful writer and this post is a must read. I was in tears as I read the whole post. I hope that I will raise Virginia to be whatever she wants to be either a pretty ballerina, a rough and tough sports player, or a gamer, or all of them together.
You can also head over to Momversation to watch a video on this very same gender topic.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Missing: Please Return to Two Year Old

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Do you find yourself searching for a pacifier at least five times throughout your day? If you said yes then most likely you are a mom. Virginia is constantly losing her pacifier and turning to me with this cute sad face pointing to her mouth. I say, "Are you wanting your pacifier?" She will quickly nod yes and I tell her to go search for it.

The best thing is watching her go on the hunt for the pacifier. She will lift her bean bag and look underneath it. She will run down to her bedroom and spend a few minutes in there. Then she sometimes will get lucky and find the oh so important pacifier and quickly pop it in her mouth and give a big sigh of relief by throwing her hands up in the air and doing her happy dance.

Well folks this daily routine is about to drive this mommy insane. Virginia is only 2 years old and I debate on whether it is time to say goodbye to the pacifier. I try to keep the pacifier for only during nap time and bed time. But lately Virginia has been wanting it more and more. Maybe she senses my thoughts and thinks she needs to get in as much quality time with her pacifier as she can. When did you moms decide to do away with the pacifier? Also how did you go about getting rid of the pacifier? Did you go cold turkey?

I thought I had made a small victory last night when I put Virginia to bed and asked her if she wanted her pacifier and I was thankful when she said no. Because well I didn't know where that darn pacifier was. She went to bed happy with no pacifier. Twenty minutes passed and here she comes out of her room and points to her mouth and sees the pacifier on the table. She quickly grabs it and is off to bed.

I know I just need to be tough and make a game plan and stick with it. I do like one idea a fellow mom told me about. She said she allowed her child to pick a Build-a-Bear and then together they put all the pacifiers in the bear and that way the child still has her pacifiers but in a bear form.

So this is my dilemma. Moms, I am asking for your help and advice. Should I say bye to the pacifier or should I wait longer until I believe Virginia is ready to say goodbye?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Word Processing Exhibit

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This morning after doing my weekly grocery shopping, I packed up Virginia and we headed out to The Gallery in downtown Concord. First off I hate finding parking in downtown Concord. First I was going to park in the very back of What a Burger's parking lot until a employee told me the owner would tow my car in a heart beat. So I was like great thanks for the heads up. Luckily I spotted a free two hour parking on the side of the gallery. So I quickly got Virginia and the stroller back into the car and made my move to the other parking space.

Inside view of the main hallway of the gallery

This was my first visit to The Gallery and also my first time taking Virginia with me to a art gallery. I was super excited about both. I have not been to an art exhibit in over 2 years or so. The last time I was able to go to an art museum was back on my honeymoon with Reiggin. I was a little worried if Virginia would enjoy the trip and if she would behave in the gallery. I did keep her in her stroller so she wouldn't touch any of the artwork.

Huge tree right outside of the Gallery that I loved.

The Gallery building itself was a piece of artwork. I loved the exterior of the building and all the features. I did end up carrying Virginia in her stroller up the stairs to the front door. I am sure there was a easier method to getting inside with a stroller. Today was the first day of the Word Processing exhibit. Virginia and I actually were the first visitors to walk though the exhibit.

I loved how the gallery also had a scavenger hunt set up for little kids and older kids. The little kids had a sheet with 12 small boxes of images that they had to find in the gallery. The older kids sheet had 24 words that they had to find in the exhibit. I thought this was a creative way to include kids in the exhibit.

Virginia surprised me and was very well behaved though the whole exhibit. She even pointed out her favorite pieces in each room when I asked her which one was her favorite. She was super cute, I would ask which one is your favorite and she would stick her finger up to her lip and take a second to look around. And then point to her choice. I would ask is this your favorite out of all of them and she would shake her head yes. Leah Palmer Preiss pieces tended to be her favorite out of all of them. I believe the bright colors and animated creatures were what caught her eyes. I have to agree with Virginia that Leah Palmer Preiss pieces were the ones that I found myself drawn to as well. They were very detailed and involved and humerous. One piece entitled Victor's Victim almost went unnoticed by us but I happened to almost run over it with my stroller as we were making a second walk though. It is a piece of artwork on a mouse trap. I loved the placement of the piece and how heartfelt the image of the mouse holding cheese was on this mouse trap.

My next favorite piece were all the Art quilts by Ann Harwell. The quilts were breathtaking and I found myself just standing in front of them for long streches of time trying to see how the small details that she put into the pieces. I can't imagine how long it must take her to create these quilts. I also gained more joy after visiting her website to read the back stories of each quilt.

Kelly Thiel's ceramic pieces were my next favorite. She had a few ceramic bird images that caught my eye. Just the earth tones and details she put into her pieces were beautiful. The texture and female figures were heartwarming and showed so much emotion. I would love to have one of her pieces fill a spot in my house one day. Three examples of her art are below.





Warren Hicks was one of my last favorites. His pieces were painted on pieces of wood. They were so alive and vibrant with colors. The colors and movement he created in his pieces were amazing. Virginia was also fond of his pieces and pointed to some I believe she would love to have hanging in her room.


Overall the exhibit was a big hit with Virginia and I and I am looking forward to going back on February 3rd for their artist talk on the exhibit. I look forward to hearing the artists viewpoint on why and how they created their pieces. So I would highly recommend anyone in the area to make a point to go visit the Gallery and the Word Processing exhibit.

As I get permission from the artist to post pictures of their pieces I will put their photos up. So keep an eye out for that to come. You know me I am just not patient and I am ready to post my blog post :-)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Alert the Press Samantha is Two!

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Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday dear Samantha, Happy Birthday to You. My awesome niece Samantha turned 2 on Friday. Sunday we went down to Clover, South Carolina to celebrate. It seems like just yesterday that Lisa and I went to Gastonia to see my sister Susan, Joe, and Samantha in the hospital.

Now she is two and she is talking non stop and jumping like she is a NBA player. I couldn't have asked for a cooler niece. I also love how much Samantha and Virginia enjoy playing together. I hope as they get older that they will stay close friends.

Samantha can get mad air when she jumps.

Sunday started off great. Reiggin was so kind as to get up early with Virginia and let me sleep in. Virginia wasn't to happy about this fact at first. She is so use to me getting up that she was a little confused when I told her that Daddy was getting up with her and to leave me in bed. But after some sneaky maneuvers I did manage to sneak back to bed.

Virginia and I quickly got a bath and got on the road. I really hate my GPS system some days. I wasn't sure what route we were going to take to get to Clover. But my GPS took me in one big circle at one point. The GPS got us on I-77 and then off and right back on I-85 South. It was just one big loop. But luckily we were super early so we just decided to stop at my parent's house in Gastonia for a bit before heading to clover. My grandparents were  also meeting there to ride down to Clover with my parents.

As we are all heading out the door to Clover I am putting Virginia in her car seat when I think my heart jumped out of my chest when I saw my Grandma trip on a cement flower pot and fall down on the sidewalk. She didn't get up so I grabbed Virginia and ran up the lawn. Luckily she just scraped her wrist and her cheek was bruised. I am sure she is sore today though. I was so scared that she had broken something or worse.

Samantha looking a little confused.

We all made it to Clover and Ralph and Judy's house was full of family. Samantha was having a little snack at the table as every body was piling into the house. She had this look on her face like what the crap is going on. But she was super excited to see Gi-Gi and was ready to give her the grand tour of the house.

Joe made a delicious lunch and afterwards we all watched Samantha open her gifts. I was thankful that Virginia didn't jump in with her and try to open the gifts. She was very well behaved to my delight. Samantha scored some great gifts. She even got a super cool tricycle from my parents. Both Virginia and Samantha were ready to jump on and take a ride. The Balloons were the second biggest hit. It is funny how the simpliest things will keep kids happy.


After filling our bellies with cake and conversation. We all said our good byes and headed back to my parent's house. Virginia got some extra play time with the grandparents and then we called it a day and headed home. It was so nice getting to see everyone and it is always great seeing Joe's family. I am so thankful to have such a wonderful family!

 Birthday Girl!

 Grandma Ford with Virginia

 Susan and Samantha

 Samantha is such the entertainer.

 My parents with Virginia

 Getting ready to blow out the candles.


 Virginia waiting for permission to help open gifts.


 Samantha was super excited over her gifts.



 Judy, Joe's Mom, helping Samantha open gifts.





 Grandma Brown was appointed gift holder by Samantha