Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas in Clinton 2009

The spirit of Christmas is alive and well in our little house this season.
Here's some proof that we're no scrooges around here.


Anna & Gavin the night we decorated our tree.


Hillbillies on Parade
(Otherwise known as the Clinton Christmas Parade)


Anna, our artist, drew a manger scene complete with lady bug.
Because everyone knows any self-respecting manager scene has to have a lady bug!



The Professor got his own Snuggie as a gift from the French Club...awwww.


We went to Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville
to see a fabulous light display.
While we were there the kids got to see Santa, rosy cheeks and all.
Curious who our other child is? No, we didn't adopt.
It's Gavin and Anna's friend, Henry, who came along.

I made the cutest reindeer pops, from none other than moon pies, for Anna's class party.

Anna was a "heavenly host" in her preschool Christmas pageant.
Her future husband, Shane, was a shepherd.


And, while the kids and the Professor were on vacation,
they made the annual gingerbread house.

So here we are on Christmas eve. Our first Christmas spent in Clinton. Elfie has defected back to the North Pole leaving behind Christmas pajamas for all who wanted them plus "Santa Buddies", a movie which the kids had been dying to see. Santa's cookies have been baked and are cooling. All the presents are under the tree wrapped. All that's left is to sit and watch "A Christmas Story" and wait for Santa to make his magic at our little house in our little town in South Carolina. Merry Christmas ya'll.


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

And a Kiley visits...

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Yes, you read it correctly. We had our first Kiley visit and we loved every minute of it. Grandma Cece decided to come and hang out with us this fall around Halloween. She got the "full meal deal" of small town life too. Friday both Anna and Gavin had Fall parties at their schools. In the morning we went with Anna's preschool class to the pumpkin patch. We learned all about how pumpkins grow, got to pick our own, and went through a little corn maze. We finished off the morning with Halloween cupcakes...yummm!

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The future Mr. and Mrs. Shane Nelson couldn't be separated.

The future Mr. & Mrs. Shane Nelson

Then it was on to Clinton Elementary for their red ribbon day parade (quite tragic as parades go I might add). But we did get to see the Presbyterian College cheerleaders. Sorry, no pictures of them. After the parade Gavin's class had a "Fall" party. Let me be the one to say it out loud...When did Halloween become not politically correct? Let's start a revolution. Bring back the Halloween party!

Well, not to be out done, Clinton High School's homecoming was that weekend and they had their homecoming parade late that afternoon. It was a candy fest for the kids. Back in the day, we used to have our "pre-kickers" before we'd go out partying, well, the kids got their pre-kickers to trick or treating with this parade. Oh, and with Presbyterian's Halloween party for the kids. Anna participated in a contest I have never seen the likes of. They hung two donuts from strings and people would compete to see who could get the donut off their string first (hands behind back). Well, Anna and Shane, her future husband, decided they wanted to try it. Donut icing all over their faces, they were in heaven. Again, no camera. Grrr.

So,as you can tell, Cece got a real snapshot of the small town life we are living and the small house we are living in. She even got to go to probably one of the smallest Catholic churches ever, too, in Joanna, a little hamlet just outside of Clinton. But before she left for mass we got the kids ready for trick or treating.

Here's Anna Mae as a pirate.

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And Gavin as Darth Vader.

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The kids loved having their Cece there.

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The Halloween crew arrived right before it started to rain. We got a quick picture and off we went.

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By the time Cece got back from mass it was a pure down pour and the kids were home crying in their Halloween bags from lack of candy. Oh,lest I forget, and we need to give a shout out to their generous cousins, Jacob and Ella for sending Gavin and Anna some of their candy later in the week. What sweeties!

We all had such a great time with Grandma Cece and can't wait for her to come back and visit us again. So what Kiley is going to grace our door next? Hmmmm...
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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Gamewright Games Winner!

Via Random.org the following comment was drawn:

0 0


Here is your random number:

04

Timestamp: 2009-11-08 21:15:30 UTC


Comment #4 is:


mytwogirls said...

"I think Frog juice looks really fun.."

Congratulations mytwogirls!


Gamewright Games Winner!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Deers and Alligators and Loggerheads, oh my!




Question: What did we do on my 43rd birthday back in September?

Answer: We took a trip to Fripp...Fripp Island, South Carolina.

It's about half way between Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. According to Wikipedia, Fripp Island is often seen as an alternative, affordable, and less "touristy" destination compared with its large neighbor Hilton Head Island. Fripp has garnered national attention as a leading beach destination in South Carolina. It still remains relatively uncrowded in comparison to Hilton Head and commercial activity is heavily restricted. The most seaward of the South Carolina Sea Islands, Fripp Island is known for its scenic beauty and island resort amenities.

Being used to the pristine white beaches of the gulf coast of Florida, we weren't quite charmed by the natural beauty of the beaches right away. But as our little holiday progressed we became more intrigued with the primitive quality of the beaches and coasts. The entire island is comprised of a Bird and Game Sanctuary. Wildlife and bird populations include alligators, deer, raccoons, egrets, heron, and osprey. And we saw them all...some very closely.

Wild Fripp

The deer on the island was plentiful. They were all over the place. I swore that one morning I was going to step out onto the screened in porch to find the deer with a sign around it's neck saying, "Will work for food".

deer-in-the-back-yard

Most of our time was spent exploring the island on the golf cart and trying to see if we could figure out where Pat Conroy lived. In doing so we discovered all the places where we could go swimming. Our favorite place was where there were three pools, a hot tub, a pool side bar (not opened at the time...Newman!), a beach area for the kids to play while we, in theory, drank adult beverages and it overlooked the ocean. It was idyllic.

The good life

Gavin got some golf lessons from Papa. We lounged around and enjoyed the view.

golf at Fripp

The beach was more a place for us to explore than to sunbathe and swim on. Although, I'd say give us a few times of vacationing there and we'd figure out the tidal system well enough to work that out.

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The kids loved it and the pictures show it.

Fripp Love II

But the highlight of the trip came at our last evening there. The Fripp Island community is very committed to the protection of the loggerhead turtles. Each spring the Loggerhead Turtle comes in from the sea to dig her nest in the soft sands on Fripp Island. The Fripp Island Turtle Nest Protection program insures that the nests are protected from predators and that the hatchlings make their way back home to the ocean. We were fortunate to be able to witness the volunteers checking a loggerhead's nest three days after the eggs were to have hatched. Many times there are hatchlings that don't make their way out of the nest because of debris or unhatched eggs keeping them in the sand. The volunteers check the nests around the time of hatching and look for "flipper prints" in the sand, signs of the tiny turtles making their way back to the ocean. Then three days later volunteers will open the nest to see if any got left behind.

When we were there the volunteers discovered four loggerhead hatchlings that hadn't been able to get out on their own. So we got to help them! Actually, Anna Mae got to help them. After the volunteers let the turtles get a feel for the sand, they chose children who were watching to help carry them to the ocean's edge to let them go back home. Anna decided she wanted to name her turtle "Gavin" because Gavin had to leave earlier that day with Patrick to go back to school.

loggerhead rescue

I even got to get some of Gavin, the baby loggerhead turtle's homecoming on video. Not the best sound quality but it was exciting for us. We were all surprised by how strong the three day old loggerhead turtle was. You might wonder who is the crazy lady talking in the back...uh, that's me...sounding crazy.


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So all in all, Fripp was a wonderful place to just relax. Not much to do but that. If we go in the summer they have day camps for the kids (hint hint) and more opportunities I'm sure for adult beverages. But I loved the fact that it wasn't a commercial place but just homes and condos to take in God's handiwork, a game of golf, a few sets of tennis, build a sand castle or two...oh, and save some turtles too.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gamewright Games Night Giveaway!



Remember last year when we discovered the book, The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller? We had just moved here to the little town in the South and living in our little house. Gavin and I were stoked when South Carolina and Indiana were hanging out next to one another! We loved Scrambled States of America so when Gamewright Games offered me the opportunity to review the game I was all over it.

There are reasons why I like games so much. And the Scrambled States of America card game pretty much met my game expectations. I'm sure by now you are all curious what those game expectations are. So allow me to share:
  • Games should make everyone laugh and generally have a good time. This game has lots of laughs. The illustrations alone crack us up.
  • Games shouldn't take 3 weeks to finish. We like our games over in at least 30 minutes or less. Gives more chances for multiple wins! No, there's absolutely no competition in our household. One round of Scrambled States takes 15 to 20 minutes tops.
  • We like our games to either a) stand the test of time (ie "Sorry") or b) be the winner of lots of awards. Check out the awards The Scrambled States of America Card game has won:
  • Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award
  • Creative Classroom Magazine Teacher Tested Tools & Toys
  • Parenting for High Potential Magazine Recommended
  • National Parenting Center Seal of Approval
  • National Parenting Publications (NAPPA) Honors
  • Parents' Choice Approved
  • Dr. Toy's 10 Best Socially Responsible Products
  • Dr. Toy's Top 100 Children's Products
  • Finally, as a parent, I like my learning covert. Meaning, if my son, the reluctant reader, gripes and complains about reading time but jumps at the chance to play a game with me, who am I to deny him his fun? Why? Because most games require some sort of reading, math, logic etc. This game is as covert as they come! Woo hoo! It's got language arts, social studies, geography, and math...a parent's dream and a kid's nightmare (that is, if they only knew!).
The only complaint I have about the card game is that it doesn't have as much playfulness as the book. I'm not sure how that would, excuse the phrase, play out in the card game, but I did miss the campy banter of the book. However, that is not a deal breaker in my book. Plus the game's cards and maps of the United States (made of some sort of plastic material) that each player gets speaks to the quality of Gamewright's game pieces. All in all a great buy for $14.99.

And now you, dear readers, can have a Gamewright Games Night too! The folks at Gamewright have generously offered to giveaway one of their newest games, Say Cheese, to one lucky reader. Say Cheese is a super fast dice game. Quickly roll your dice to match the characters on the photo booth cards. The game is for ages six and up and there is no reading required so you might even be able to get under the "six year old requirement".



Here's what you need to do to get a chance to win the game:
  • Go to Gamewright Games and choose which game sounds like the most fun to you. Come back here and leave a comment telling me the name of the game AND an e-mail to contact you if you win.
For additional chances to win you could do the following and leave a comment for each that you do:
Leave a comment for each entry. Giveaway is open to anyone in North America and closes at midnight est on Tuesday, November 3, 2009. Winner will be chosen from Random.org, will be emailed and has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn. Thanks for entering! On your mark, get set....go!
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hear ye, hear ye!


Perhaps, 40 years ago this cute little guy, heard words of encouragement and inspiration from someone he looked up to. Today, many of our children are being denied this option. Fear mongers keeping opportunities for inspiration from our children is inexcusable. Shame on you. Today, fourty years later, that cute boy who is now President Obama will be addressing our children at our kitchen table after dinner tonight.

Prepared text of Obama's speech to school students

By The Associated Press (AP) – 19 hours ago

The prepared text of President Barack Obama's back-to-school address scheduled for Tuesdays, as released in advance by the White House:

OBAMA: Hello, everyone — how's everybody doing today? I'm here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we've got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through 12th grade. I'm glad you all could join us today.

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it's your first day in a new school, so it's understandable if you're a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you're in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could've stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn't have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday — at 4:30 in the morning.

Now I wasn't too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I'd fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I'd complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."

So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I'm here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I'm here because I want to talk with you about your education and what's expected of all of you in this new school year.

Now I've given a lot of speeches about education. And I've talked a lot about responsibility.

I've talked about your teachers' responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.

I've talked about your parents' responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don't spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

I've talked a lot about your government's responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren't working where students aren't getting the opportunities they deserve.

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

And that's what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.

Every single one of you has something you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That's the opportunity an education can provide.

Maybe you could be a good writer — maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper — but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor — maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine — but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a senator or a Supreme Court justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

And no matter what you want to do with your life — I guarantee that you'll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You're going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can't drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You've got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

And this isn't just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you're learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

You'll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You'll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You'll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don't do that — if you quit on school — you're not just quitting on yourself, you're quitting on your country.

Now I know it's not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.

I get it. I know what that's like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn't always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn't fit in.

So I wasn't always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I'm not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our first lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn't have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.

Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don't have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there's not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don't feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren't right.

But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life — what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you've got going on at home — that's no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That's no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That's no excuse for not trying.

Where you are right now doesn't have to determine where you'll end up. No one's written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.

That's what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.

Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn't speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.

I'm thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who's fought brain cancer since he was three. He's endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer — hundreds of extra hours — to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he's headed to college this fall.

And then there's Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she's on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.

Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren't any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same. That's why today, I'm calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education — and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you'll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you'll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you'll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you'll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don't feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.

I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you're not going to be any of those things.

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won't love every subject you study. You won't click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won't necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

That's OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who've had the most failures. JK Rowling's first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

These people succeeded because they understand that you can't let your failures define you — you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn't mean you're a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn't mean you're stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

No one's born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You're not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don't hit every note the first time you sing a song. You've got to practice. It's the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it's good enough to hand in.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don't know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust — a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor — and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

And even when you're struggling, even when you're discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you — don't ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

The story of America isn't about people who quit when things got tough. It's about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best. It's the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

So today, I want to ask you, what's your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I'm working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you've got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don't let us down — don't let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Betty's got a new job!

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I haven't told ya'll about my new job that I started back in June, have I?

Curious?
Well, I am officially receiving a paycheck again. I like that part. The one hour commute...not so much. Living in an upstate rural village between two major cities sentences those of us hoping for some kind of career to a commute. Hey, at least it got me a spiffy new Honda Civic and a beautiful green iPod nano.



So I am working for Magellan. Some of you know the company and may be seen screaming running in the opposite direction of your computer. Others of you may be saying to yourself,"Huh?". Well, Magellan is the country’s leading diversified specialty health care management organization. That's quoting coporate. You've gotta be careful blogging about your work you know. It could get you in trouble. I don't need any extra trouble in my life. I've got enough right now thank you.

So I'm working as a district EAP consultant for the Greater South Carolina District of the U.S. Postal Service. Magellan Behavioral Health, a division of Magellan Health Services, has a contract with the USPS to provide EAP services to them. Now the next question you may be asking is "What the heck is EAP?".

Well, EAP stands for Employee Assistance Program and/or Professional. Most major corporations and companies have these in place for their employees. So, of course, the US Postal System is no exception. They want to avoid someone "going postal" as much as the next company. So I consult with management, assess employees needs for support, provide short term counseling to employees, and assist the organization to support employees' health and wellness. If you are curious click here to read more.

The Great South Carolina District is all of South Carolina except for a small little part near Charlotte, North Carolina. I don't provide short term counseling for all of the district, only those within twenty-five miles of my office in Columbia. As for the consulting part, that does cover the entire district. So I'll go to different post offices through out the state and provide presentations to employees and consult with management and union reps on organizational issues.

I have a virtual boss, kind of like Charlie on Charlie's Angels.



So my new job requires me to have some internal motivation since no one is watching over me too closely. It's kind of like private practice but with a paycheck and set hours. I get to be as creative as I want to be or not and for the most part set my own pace. Plus I'm gaining new skills that I know will benefit me professionally in the future.

All in all, it's a good gig!
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

First Day of School '09

Okay, better late than never with this bear of very little brain. Anna Mae became part of the learned community of Clinton by beginning 4-K (otherwise know as preschool) this year. And she was sooooo excited. There was no hesitancy about leaving Mama behind. Here she is on the front step of our little house.

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And here's our 3rd grader, big guy Gavin, avoiding the paparazzi!

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They both seem very excited about the year ahead. I think back to last year to one of my earlier posts when we first moved here. I was a mess. Crying all the way home, I didn't see how I was going to be able to live happily without my peeps nearby. I worried that my children wouldn't flourish and grow as well here as they would back home in Indiana. Even though there is a part of me that pains me to write it, my worst fears were just boogey men...not reality. The kids are doing well. Gavin made it to third grade (although he has informed me already that he might not make it to 4th grade...talk about fears,huh?)and Anna isn't asking Mama anymore why she is crying. We're all doing better.

That doesn't mean I still don't want to come home...but I'll tell you later about that. For now, let's just say we are all doing the next right thing.
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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Down on the farm...

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The farm at Thornwell Home for Children.

Full of olfactory memories of childhood for me.

Sunday afternoon before the official start of school we headed over to see the babies of one of the mama goats. Patrick and the kids made weekly pilgrimages to the farm during the summer as a part of the Dr.'s Summer plan to avoid boredom. I, on the other hand, having started working full time on June 1st (notice great gnashing of teeth), didn't have the pleasure of the weekly farm visits. So this day was my first visit.

Thornwell Farm

It was a beautiful summer day...blue skies, white puffy clouds and the smell of farm animal manure. As we talked to the goats, explored the barn, pet the pigs, and hee-hawed with the donkey/mule, I noticed my spirit becoming lighter and lighter. Patrick and the kids ran over to the playground behind one of Thornwell's homes but I wanted to stay with this feeling. I realized it was all the farm smells that was creating this joie de vivre for me. It was like I was able to share the summer joys of being a kid with my kids at that moment.

I showed Gavin where the haymow was and encouraged him to climb up the ladder to see it. He was kind of hesitant to go but I told him about how I had played in my Grandpa's haymow as a kid. So up the ladder he went.

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Then it was off to the slide of death...

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This too brought childhood memories back as well. All the unsafe playground equipment and swing sets we risked life and limb on played on our children were having the time of their life with. It was a good Clinton moment.

Old school slide

Thornwell Home for Children is not only helping create good childhood memories for our children but for so many other deserving children as well. Please take the time to watch this video about Thornwell. It may help you appreciate your childhood as well.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We have a winner!

From Random.org here is the winning number:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

4

Timestamp: 2009-08-18 13:53:43 UTC



Angela said:

"I love that they have events for the girls to take part in!"

Congratulations Angela!
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Fairies of Summer, a special giveaway...

hunting

South Carolina summers are hot. Actually that's an understatement. They are really hot and really humid. Of course the fairies need a place to cool off and we had the perfect oak tree to shade them during those hot days. The same one we used for our fall fairy house. So Anna Mae and I went off to hunt for materials to build their summer home. She pulled the wagon all around the yard and here is what we found...

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Mr. Ant decided to help us build the house. Anna Mae wasn't sure if he was a "good ant or a bad ant"...I looked to see if she was wearing her red slippers when she questioned his goodness.

ant

We discovered a cute little mushroom in the yard too. South Carolina has the most interesting mushrooms. I may have to do a mushroom expose sometime here at Betty's. Now you know mushrooms pop up where fairies have been. So we knew that our summer home would be put to good use. We also found some pretty purple flowers to decorate the house with. Making sure to follow the rules of Fairy House construction the other materials used were moss, pine cones, rocks, sticks, a broken bird's egg, dried hydrangea flowers, bark, acorn tops and magnolia leaves.

My creation

Back in the spring Light-Beams Publishing read about the Unplug Your Kids Blog Challenge and they contacted me. They wanted to reward those who were participating in that challenge with the book, Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane. With great generosity, Light-Beams Publishing not only offered three books as giveaways in that challenge but also sent me an extra one to do another giveaway at another time. What better time to offer fairy house inspiration than with a book about fairy houses? So if you would like an opportunity to win Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane here's what you need to do:

  1. Visit Light-Beams Publishing and leave a comment about their website.
For additional entries do the following:
  1. Click the "Tell a Friend" button at the end of the post and tweet about this (with a rt@laterbetty) plus follow me on Twitter. Then leave a comment with your user name and if you tweeted.
  2. Click the "Tell a Friend" button at the end of the post, choose another social network (our favorites are technorati, kirtsy, stumble upon) and show some love. Then leave a comment with what you did.
  3. Follow me or subscribe to my feed and leave a comment that you did.
  4. Go over to Later Betty's Bargains, check it out and follow that blog; leave a comment here that you are following that blog
  5. The big one worth 5 entries: Build a Fairy House and blog about it; leave a comment with the link.
Leave a comment for each entry. Be sure I know your e-mail address to contact the winner. Giveaway is open to anyone in North America and closes at midnight est on Tuesday, August 18, 2009. Winner will be chosen from Random.org, will be emailed and has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn. Thanks for entering! On your mark, get set....go!

Anna Mae can't wait to see your fairy house!
sfh5
The Fairies of Summer, a special giveaway...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, July 18, 2009

News flash: Kenmore sees the light of day after over 365 days!

sewing in our little house

For the first time in eight years, I was by myself in my own house for five days. And I loved every minute of it. Now don't get me wrong, I love my family. I enjoy their company...most of the time. But Mama needed some rejuvenation on many levels and she got it. Even though I worked that week, I came home to our little house and pretended to be a woman who had no obligations to anyone but herself. It was divine.

I decided I was going to sew. Some of you know that I had aspirations around this at some point. My hope was when we moved here that's what I would be doing - designing and sewing and hopefully, selling. But we didn't count on being in such a little house. Put four people in this house and there is no room for sewing. Unless you are very organized and efficient at it, which I am neither of those things. So, I hadn't sewn for over a year. The living room look like it had exploded.

sewing explosion

I started off easy, deciding to forgo patterns and do a elastic waist skirt for Anna Mae that my sister-in-law, Laurie, turned me onto. Here are the two skirts finished. I haven't got my little monkey to model them for me yet.

2 completed skirts

The sugar skull fabric is called "Glitter Skull" by Alexander Henry and is a bit longer than the other but both are good for school clothes. Oooh, but now I've got a sewing itch that needs to be scratched. I have got to have a plan so 365 days or more don't pass by me again. Hear me now believe me later: I shall sew before school starts again...somehow.

How could someone not be inspired by such fun fabric? Oh, and five glorious days to yourself, yeah...that did help.
sugar skull fabric

Perfect skirt to start off your school days in the bible belt don't you think?
News flash: Kenmore sees the light of day after over 365 days!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Red Grammer sings for me and for you...

I came across this song on iTunes looking for some children's music. Isn't this what we all want and deserve? And to those I have witheld that from, hearing this song softens my heart to them. My prayer today is that I can see the beauty in you...whichever "you" that happens to cross my path. I guess that would include myself, huh?
Red Grammer sings for me and for you...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, June 26, 2009

Welcome to the family!

On June 7, 2009, in what seemed a nearly effortless birth thanks to the amazing labor powers of Cindy,my sister in law, Philip Gallagher became the newest member of our family. My brother captured this moment soon after the birth between mama and baby. It touched me so. I thought I'd share it with everyone. Welcome to the family Philip!
Welcome to the family!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Alice in Wonderland Unbirthday Party

We must have been all mad.

I know we were. Mad for a little girl named Anna Mae who turned four on June 16th. On the 13th of June in the late afternoon South Carolina heat we had a Mad Hatter's tea party under the canopy of a beautiful beech tree generously loaned to us by our wonderful friends and neighbors. Here's a little digital scrapbook documenting the occasion...the only thing missing was you...


Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook:
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We're all tuckered out now and resting up for the next unbirthday to come along.

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Alice in Wonderland Unbirthday PartySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend