A Day without the Best Nana Ever

Mary Elizabeth and I went to the Scottish Games at Furman University last weekend to see the activities and in hopes to meet up with “the best Nana ever” and Auntie, her sister. 

We saw men is skirts doing all kinds of things like: throwing sand bags and polls, playing bag pipes and flutes to beautiful dresses for woman.   ~ Sadly, we never found Nana or Auntie.

Without finding “the best Nana ever and her sister“,  quite honestly Mary Elizabeth was not very impressed with the Scottish Games or the men in skirts. 


She wanted to feed the Swans. Now to her, that is something to see. Everyone knows Furman is the place a person should go to feed ducks.  We left our hopes of finding Nana and her sister: We left the Scottish men in skirts and went to the ducks and swans.  

Although the swans were very exciting the day was hot.  We decided blue ice cream was in order and thought just maybe Nana and her sister might have the same idea.  They like ice cream.             But, it ended up just being the two of us.               One of us was happy about that ~ the other one. . .well. . . she just wanted to see “the best Nana ever. . . that was all.”



When we saw balloons in the distance our hearts soared with pure joy . 


We thought it would be fun to call Stephen to ask if he wanted to join us in our great balloon chase. After all, everyone knows,  if you can’t see “the best Nana ever. . . and her sister” “the best big brother ever” IS . . .well. . . second best. 


So we quickly picked up Stephen and began our adventure (( with our second best))  “the best big brother ever” by our side.

 and we  “chased balloons ALL. . . Night. . . Long” ~   as my youngest daughter tells the story. 
The End! 
Playing along with: 

The Brutal Days of Home School

This home school thing really gets tough sometimes. There is so much to learn and study some days I just don’t know how we get it all done. Like, a few weeks ago the kids and I headed back to Furman for another Debate Lecture about the United States Policies towards Russia. 


I am not sure if my older three are learning much from these trips but I know Liz and I are learning a lot! 

We have already learned the Swans really like us. When they see us standing by the pond they come right over. 

We studied Puddle Jumping 101 

There was a cloud class. . .and strangely enough, we did really well in that one. It was even a little relaxing. . .  But promise you won’t tell anyone. We don’t like to brag about how smart we are. Sometimes people find these college classes really hard. 

Even though we did really well in the cloud class, I think we smoked the stopping to smell the roses class 100. 

These Home School days at Furman are brutal I tell you!  


So brutal, we had to stop for ice cream. 

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Did I say Furman was brutal? 

Gee, I thought Furman was tough. . .but it has nothing on Clemson.  The debate club took our little class to Clemson last week. 


There were more Lectures about Russia that we had to attend. There was a lesson on how to use the college  library and a tour of the school. Clemson is a great big school! The lecture was tough. 

Kathryn seemed to love this school and fit right in. 

After the lecture, tour and library class Matthew and Stephen visited with friends toured the school and talked about the future. 

Liz and I attended a journalism class and  interviewed the Elite.  

They shared their thoughts on the war and how tough things were for them. We took some time to really ponder things and then we went back to our brutal home school life. 

There was little time to waste. The leaf  throwing class was about to begin and these Clemson Tigers don’t mess around. When it is time for class it IS time for class. 

There was a final run the grounds 

AND THEN 

It was time to call it a day. Yes! Sometimes these home school days can be brutal. But don’t worry, we try to take it easy and enjoy each other every now and then. 


Black and White. . .Thursday?

“Isn’t it fun when the blogging world and the real world collide and come together.”.  . At least I think that is what my new friend Ellie said. 

You probably know her from the blog Shine!

She and her family not only moved from Australia to the state I live in, they moved to a town about 15 miles from us.  

How cool is that?

On Monday Elizabeth and I set out to meet Ellie and her daughter Tia at the park.


Tia’s mom and I hit if off right away. As Ellie said, we have been leaving comments on each other’s blogs for awhile.  We kind of already know each other. 



However, it took a little while for the girls to be comfortable enough to loosen up and play. 

Tia and Mary Elizabeth

Okay, the truth is, it took my girl a little awhile to loosen up and play. 


My, Mary Elizabeth is cautious when it comes to meeting new people. She likes to take her time to  get to know the person. She wants to form her own opinions. It seems she wants to weigh the emotional commitment that a relationship may involve. You can see her thinking. . .Is it worth it . . . or??? 

There are some people that know this all to well. . .((right Karen?. . . BUT! She loves you now! You know she does.))



Tia is a vibrant child. 


She seems to have a take life by the horns attitude and just figures “You love me! 

They say opposites attract. 



I am sure these too little girls are going to be great friends in time. They seem to have a few things in common. . . They share the same July birthday month. They are both four years old and they have older siblings that just adore them. 


After the park Elizabeth and I went to the giant pumpkin patch in town and shared some thoughts about the day. We walked around, looked at the pumpkins and talked about things

AND

  
My little thinker thought about things.  Later on that day, she told me she decided three things. 


One: It will be nice to have another little girl to play with sometimes.

Two: Tia will be a good new friend to have. 

And most importantly THREE ~ When she saw my pictures she decided, “Our shirts look much better with color on them.” 

the long road

Go and see The Long Road to China’s addition. . . The road just got shorter. 

The Apples that Is

You know, I really try NOT to show my emotions on this blog. I try very hard to keep IT happy and light. 

BUT! 

Don’t you just hate it when you make the most delicious caramel covered, chocolate apple treats with your girls AND they look so cute and perfect with sweet little bows on them. . ((the apples that is)) 

AND 

Everyone loves them, even the baby . . .Who you finally get a GREAT! updated  picture of.  


I would love to tell you my little chocolate candy apples made that droll because she just loved them.  But, this picture was taken months ago.  

I would love to tell you that and more.  I would love to show you how perfect and cute they came out. . .((the apples that is))  


 I even wanted to give you the recipe. These treats are just perfect for little hands to make.  


BUT! I can’t do any of that today. 






I erased ALL the picture I took yesterday.  

ALL OF THEM ARE GONE! ALL OF THEM!!!!! I don’t have one picture from yesterday to show you. 



WAAAAAAAAAAA! 


Don’t worry! I think I’ll be okay. . . Maybe we can make them again after school today. . . ((the apples that is))  


A  delicious caramel covered, chocolate treat might be just the thing to make things better. 

So SHE can feed the ducks

Stephen and I went to Furman University the other day.   There was a talk on Human Rights in Russia or something like that. He needed to go to the lecture for his debate class.  

You see, when your a home-school debate mom, like me,  you get to do these things with your kids. You get to go to lectures about Russia and learn things you just didn’t know like: what the United States Sanctions are regarding Russia and whether or not the U.S. should change our policies towards Russia.  And all kinds of interesting things.

 Or


If you have younger children you get to go feed the ducks your stale French Fries instead.

This is really good for me. 

Sometimes with these lectures, I have to ask my kids: “What did he say?”, “Huuuuh”, “That word means WHAT again?” and  “Does Russia have one “S” or two?”
So feeding the ducks with Liz is a really good cover for me. 

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When the lecture was over Stephen wanted to walk around the lake and the school. We sat and talked about Non-Russian things and I tried to get a few good pictures of the two of them looking at the camera at the same time.   


When Liz looked, Stephen looked away. . . at the ducks.

And


When Stephen looked, Liz looked away. . . at the ducks. 


I  just couldn’t get it right.  


Until Stephen decided to change things up and be the amazing big brother we should all have.


Next week, we have to go back to Furman for another lecture on Russia. Kathryn as well as Stephen will be going to this one. We will not only learn more interesting facts about the policies the United States Government holds towards Russia, we are going to learn how to use a college library and take a tour of the school.  It should be really great and quite a learning experience for us all. I just love Furman.


Gee, I sure hope the ducks are still hungry and Liz wants to come with me. . .   You know, so SHE can feed the ducks.  

Just Close Your Eyes and Paint!

TAA DAA!!!

Well? What do you think??? I have been working so very hard on this. 


My new decor! 


YOU LIKE???
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NOT! 

Okay, Simply Sweeter and One of my many Cuzzins’ BREATH! 


It’s okay. 


I really didn’t do this to my house. 
REALLY!!! 


But, It was done to one of the rental houses.
REALLY!!!

This house is a beautiful 100 year old house just a mile from down town Greenville.  This charming little house has all the  authentic touches: wood floors, original doors and beautiful open windows for natural lighting. This house did not need an “artistic” touch.

Soooo, your not sure what your looking at huuu? 


Maybe you should take an aspirin before we start the tour. 


I’ll wait. 


Really you might need it. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Okay, ready? 


Come on in. . . It’s okay . . . Well, it will be.

  
Let’s start this little tour  in this room. It is one of the front rooms in the house. 


See, this room is not too bad. I was kind of impressed the lines were so straight and no drips. The only thing was. . .((okay, one of the many things was)). . . the paint used here and in all the rooms was for outdoor use. The paint is very heavy and thick and was VERY hard to cover.  


I think it would be best to move on directly up stairs to one of the bedrooms. 

 This process will ease us into the house. There is no need to send anyone into shock right away. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Okay, 

I have absolutely NO! idea what the thought process was here, all we have are pink and purple messy lines.  

That’s it. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Moving right along, we should go back down the stairs into the kitchen. 

Here is where things really get confusing. Try to focus your eyes really good in here.


Hard to see I know.

Your seeing it right. . .little tiny brush strokes. . . all over the walls, in the drawers  and even behind the refrigerator. The molding IS painted black and where the molding stopped a stripe continued. 

WHY??? 

WE just don’t know?

Hold your breath. . . We are just getting warmed up. Now we will carefully go into one of the main rooms. You will see one of the three fireplaces. 

Notice the mantel. 


Now, aren’t you glad you took that aspirin?  

Your dizzy right?

I am sure by now your eyes just don’t know where to look. Notice, in the third picture. . . the painter went around the pictures that once hung on these walls.  

Do you remember in the kitchen I told you “the decorator” here moved the refrigerator and painted behind it?  

I just don’t get it. 

Maybe she was tired. 

Do you do this when you paint? 

I’m just wondering.  Maybe there is a technique here I just don’t get.  You know, I am just  a home school mom. . .not an artist or even a decorator for that matter. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AND THEN! 


I saved the best for last.


. . . The Pantry. . . 


WHAT THE HECK?




Thought I would run through this again just in case you missed it. . .

. . . the ceilings. . .

Did you realize the ceilings were painted too.  Did you realize this person painted a “molding stripe” where there was NO molding with thick, shiny outside paint?  



I had to keep going back in to see if my eyes deceived me or not.  


It was a not


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


What did we do? 



First we took pictures. 



Then we got our crew together by hand picking only the most qualified personal. 



 and had lunch.  


We had a system that really seemed to work.  First we primed to cover . .  EVERYTHING!  and we really tried to listen to our leader. 




But, then we decided we should throw her out and find a new one. . .Like maybe the person who decorated this cake. 


Ohhh! Cake! 

Sorry. . . back to the house. . . But, Oh! That cake. It was very yummy and so pretty! AND Since we were on the subject of decorating, I thought I would show you what Stephenie can do.



Hey!!!!  What a minute! Maybe we should have asked her to help paint?  


We put Stephen to work on the ceilings for obvious reasons and NO! he is not standing on anything. It’s all him. 




Matthew worked on all the trim and all the high corners. He’s no shorty. 


However, it all didn’t go smoothly. . . 


I don’t want to mention any names or anything. BUT! There was one person who kept telling us she was very tall and could easily reach all the high places. 



We were like “WHATEVER!!! ”  “Just close your eyes and paint!” 


She did clean all the floors! and that made us all very happy. 


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There were times that other things needed to be done.


Some of us worked on our City of Troy research papers that were due the very next day. There are NO! excuses in this home school. . . If you don’t want to study there will be plenty of on the job training for your life time career.  




Study, work and then Study “More Harder”!!!! That’s our school motto. 


We learn all kinds of things here! 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



We learned Reiner is a happy painter. 


AND 


We learned 


Mark would yell and growl at us. When he came in to help he looked around and told us we had too many drips. He also said we were very messy. He said a lot of other things too but we have NO idea of what it was. 

We were like “Laaa, Laaaa, Laaaa” “WHATEVER!”  “ Just close your eyes and paint.” 




Like Margaret

I will tell you this, Mark did not yell at Reiner. Reiner came by to help us the next day.  What a minute? Is that why Reiner was so happy?  

Was he laughing at us? 

Stupid Mark! Stupid Reiner! 

Close your eyes and Paint! 

It Could Happen

Yesterday, my mom called me and told me One of My Many Cuzzins‘ sent me and my family a package.

I was like:  “MEEE??? “A package?” “WHAT?” “Huuu?” 

 “WHY?”

My mom laughed and said, “I don’t know. . . After school come over and see what it is.”

“Oh! We will!”  I said.

After completing science, English, and math I thought we should skip the rest and call it a day. After all, I had important things to do like study for the 8th grade Confirmation class I was teaching at six that night.

AND 


Most Importantly, 

I had a very important business matter to handle at my mother’s house. . . like opening a package that was waiting. . . for ME! and my family. 


I should tell you I was confused, a little perplexed and very excited. . . But, I won’t tell you that at all. You may think I have never gotten a surprise package before in my life. Unless, I sent a package to myself and then it just wouldn’t be a surprise. . . of course, unless I forgot. 



That could happen.

To our great delight I find a card, finger nail polish and goodies inside the very large envelope. 

Okay, there were also Starbursts.  I gave those to out to my confirmation students last night as rewards for: class participation, reading volunteers, good behavior and just plain being there with a good attitude. I figured after being in school all day we all may need a little surprise. The bribe thought out plan worked perfectly. 


The card inside the package said my cuzzin wanted to let me know she felt my pain for the run of bad luck we had in August and I thought. . . Run of Bad Luck???  

Oh! the cars, the fall, the cut, the illnesses, the kids. . . Oh! Yeah! THAT!. 

“WOW!”

“How very nice of her.” “How very thoughtful.” “How kind.” “Gee, It is one thing to think of sending nice things like cards, nail polish and candy but THEN to actuality send them. . .  That is really something special.” ~ my mom agreed. 

And then, we both decided two things: 

1.) Complaining and whining pays off.

2.) We both want to be thoughtful, kind and follow through like Regina when we grow up. 

It could happen. 

Well! It could! 

AND Then she said….

   A bedtime routine has never been my strongest shall I say….asset when it comes to my parenting skills. I have been known to read story after story, after story to my kids late into the night never establishing an actual sleep time. I figure we home school so what difference does it make?

This strategy worked well for our other three….
But now we are in a dilemma…..Mary Elizabeth, not only likes to read in my bed she does not want to leave my bed….EVER!
Sleeping with this beautiful child is like sleeping in a tea cup ride.

Let me see if I can explain…She is not one of those cuddly types who just snuggles right in and doesn’t move.

NO! Not at all!
To start off with….She likes her head on my pillow to get as close to me as possible.
How sweet you say…..Ya, sweet….

But she flips

and she flops

and she turns
and she spins all through the night.

I can hear you ask….”Why don’t you just move her into her own bed.”
Which is a very good question….and we do.
We really do…
BUT!
She comes back….
The party just never ends!
Our night time routine is almost like a Conga Line………..We go back and forth all night long.
The other day, I sat her down and I had “the talk” with her….

I told her,  I just couldn’t do it anymore. I told her she was to hard sleep with her and sometimes it  just felt like she was jumping on me all night long.

AND 
“Starting tonight, she just had to stay in her own bed without me.”  

This train ride was over!
She listened intently.

She gave what I said a lot of thought.
She even slept on it for a little while.
When she woke, she said to me…..”Mommy, I loveS you.”
and I said to her….
“Liz, I loveS you too.”
Her response….
was an innocent….
“Then why can’t I sleep  WHICH U ? “
and I said……..sigh…with a smile….”You just can’t.”
I’ll let you know what happens.

Punkin It’s Black and White Wednesday

Do you remember these?
The pumpkins…not the little girl…I am sure you remember her.  She is the subject of most of my photography. This is mostly because my older children are getting bored with me always “snapping” while I say “wait…I’m not done…one more”.
This is the picture my cousin Anne took the weekend of “the funeral“.
I think Jen bought 17 small pumpkins and 5 large pumpkins that weekend. I remember she told me she bought that many because of  symbolism….One large pumpkin to represent each of my parent’s children and one small pumpkin to represent the grandchildren. 
I can’t remember how many mums she bought that day or even what the significance of the mums were but I know we she bought a load of mums ……maybe it will come back to me one day.
I do remember, I didn’t want to go with her to the store but she insisted. She convinced me she would be dreadfully lost if I didn’t go and she would never find her way back.  
Which was not true…She had a GPS and she lived in the area for years before she moved to California.
I figured out on the way home that day she would have been fine. I was the one who was in danger of being dreadfully lost …and thankfully she was wise enough to see it.  
Jen filled the house with colors of happiness with warm browns, bright oranges and beautiful yellows…. pumpkins, candles and mums in every room. The house looked beautiful that weekend. Just the way our mother and father loved it. 
Back to the reason for the question…..Do you remember these?
Well?
When it was time to get rid of all those pumpkins our mother didn’t quite know what to do with them: 
 So these guys
Matthew and Stephen

 took these guys

Brian and Alex
with hammers in hand, along with all the pumpkins out into the field by the compost pile.
AND
They smashed them! 
They had a ball!  hitting them, smashing them, throwing them and watching them explode.   
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Then the bees came.

and the compost pile started to flower.
and you know what happened next…
Look Jen!!!
We’re growen punkins BABY!!!
the long road