Homeschool Classroom - Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nancy here.........
I was working on photos from our weekend trip to Raleigh and wanted to share some pictures. 

Our daughter, Julie, home-schools her children.  To do this, she has converted the normal living room and dining room of their home to a classroom.  It is really an interesting and unique learning environment.

Julie and Steve's House

This is the view as you enter the front door...not your typical living-dining room.
  Andrew and Daniel's desk are in the middle and there is a history time-line on the wall.  That's grandpop at the teacher's desk.

The book collection on the left and piano on the right.  In the corner is the writing center.

Close-up of the writing center.

This is the Typing Center.
They are learning on a real typewriter instead of a computer to eliminate distractions!!

Geography Center
The boys can tell you all the countries in South America... 
Makes me realize I am NOT smarter than a fourth grader!!

It's Been Awhile - Sunday, June 27, 2010

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve written. It seems life has gotten in the way of blogging. Nancy and I have had difficult work schedules for the last two weeks. Nancy works outside and the 100-degree heat has gotten the best of her. Also, some personal issues needed our time and attention.

First issue… we had a couple of paid bills stolen from our mailbox (as did our neighbors), so we had to do the prudent thing and open new bank accounts and credit cards. Next we needed to register a “fraud alert” on our credit history in anticipation of potential problems with our account. So far no problems, but changing all auto-pays and direct deposits is a real pain.

Next issue…Nancy’s mother has been thinking of moving to a Senior Living Community. We found a wonderful place near here called “The Lakes at Litchfield.” We anticipated making the move around October. However, an apartment with the location and view she wants came available now and we needed to make the necessary arrangements.
View from the mom's apartment!
She will be moving in on July 23, so we need to get her packed and downsized before then. After she moves, we will get her house ready for sale and hopefully have it on the market by Sept 1st.

So now we are in the process of downsizing two households and working fulltime.  Can you say  "RETIREMENT!!"

BEST ISSUE.....we found some fun-time!! Nancy finally got 2 days in a row off (Friday and Saturday) so we had time to drive to Raleigh, NC to visit with our daughter, son-in-law and of course the four grandchildren.

Friday night, Julie surprised Nancy with a birthday cake and ice cream. (Yes, Nancy turned 39 again on June 22)
The grandkids are thrilled to have any reason for
cake and ice cream.
Nancy had plenty of help to blow out the candles.

Saturday morning, we all went out on the back porch to watch the launch of Andrew’s rocket.
It is one of those baking soda and vinegar things.
Steve gave Andrew some help with the project.
After a couple of misfires, they had lift off.

Next on the days agenda was a trip to the neighborhood pool. They have a beautiful pool, actually 2 pools.  One with fountains and a water slide and the other set up for swim meets.
They kids were so excited to show us how good they can swim. Andrew (9) and Daniel (8) are on the swim team and really enjoy that experience. Emily (4) is already a waterbug and Samantha (3) also has no fear of the water. We had a great time with all of them in the pool.

Emily Swimming

Andrew coming up for air!

Daniel going down the slide!

Grandpop with Daniel, Samantha and Emily

Somehow we didn't get a picture of Samantha swimming. But we did get her picture taken in a red hat Nancy had saved just for her.
Can you say, "TOO  CUTE!!"

Our evenings were filled with fun playing cards, boards games and listening to the girls’ wonderful make-believe ideas. What a nice change of pace for us! We always have a wonderful time when we visit our family and this was no exception. It ended too soon as we had to leave about 5:30am this morning to drive home so Nancy could get to work by 11am.

We don’t get to see the kids as often as we would like, but when we do, it’s like “Lightning In A Bottle” – an explosion of fun! Can’t wait to retire and have more time for all that fun!!

Our Special Day, Sunday - June 13, 2010

Today marks a special day for us. Forty years ago we were married in a small church in a small town in Pennsylvania. Looking back to where we began and remembering all the wonderful times we’ve enjoyed over the years; I can’t help but get excited about the days ahead of us.

We are blessed with two wonderful children, Julie and Brian, who have both grown into strong and caring adults. Our family has grown! We have a lovely daughter-in-law, Chris; a terrific son-in-law, Steve; along with four special grandchildren – Andrew, Daniel, Emily and Samantha.

It doesn’t get any better… or perhaps it can. The house is up for sale and our adventure into the next 40 years begins!!
So what did we do on our anniversary? We got up early, “Just Showed Up”, and rode bicycles through Market Commons and into Myrtle Beach State Park. I guess that doesn’t sound too romantic. However, for us, just being together, enjoying each other’s company and doing things we like to do is exactly what makes Nancy and I happy!

It was warm (about 90) but not uncomfortable yet as the sun was just coming up. As we pedaled, enjoying the sites, Nancy snapped a bunch of pictures along the way. Riding down Farrow Parkway (the main Road through Market Commons) then over to Myrtle Beach State Park.

Map of Ride: we started about in the middle rode to top of picture and turned around and rode to Myrtle Beach State Park and then returned to the middle.

Heading West on Farrow Parkway

Heading East on Farrow Parkway: Sun coming up!

Entering Myrtle Beach State Park

Myrtle Beach State Park Fishing Pier

Riding Along the Sand Dunes

View of Beach Looking South

View of Beach looking North toward Fishing Pier.

Bill waiting and unwilling to get sand in his bike shoes!!

This is a Sea Turtle Habitat and they try to educate the public
about the importance of maintaining the sand dunes.
(click on picture to enlarge)
Entrance to Myrtle Beach State Park Campground

Riding through the campground
Riding road from campground to fishing pier

We left the state park and headed back into Market Commons.  This time we rode through the business and residential section of the community. 
Townhomes with first floor office/business space

Market Commons Veterans Memorial
Entering Market Commons Business District

Beautiful Landscaping in Business District

Market Commons across from the walking/jogging trail and lake

We had to finish up and head to the car as Nancy had to go to work by 11am.  Normally, I play golf on Sunday afternoons when Nancy works, but it is already 97 degrees and that is just too hot. I know Nancy will be exhausted when she gets home since she has to work outside in the garden department at Home Depot – YUK!

I spent the afternoon doing some household chores: cleaning, doing the wash, watering the garden and lawn, etc. Not exciting stuff, but things that needed to be done.

Was it a SPECIAL DAY? It was forty years ago today that we started our life together and everyday has been special since then, so YES, it was a SPECIAL DAY!!

Happy Anniversary Honey!
I hope we have 40 more!!

Nancy here….
Just want to share how very lucky I am to be married to my best friend. Bill and I grew up together in a very small town. We attended the same church, schools, played sports together then as we do now. We just grew up together. I honestly do not remember a time when I did not know Bill. So I figure if your memories start about age 5…that means I have 55 years of memories of Bill. I cannot wait to have more years together and continue this wonderful adventure.

Happy Anniversary, Bill !!

Riding Easy - Sunday, Jun 6, 2010

As had been our custom on Sunday mornings, we took a long bike ride. Normally, we push ourselves a little and get a good aerobic work-out. Today was different! Both of us had “tired” legs – me, from a long strenuous bike ride Saturday and Nancy from working 8 hours in outside garden at Home Depot in the 90+ degree heat yesterday.

We decided to ride easy and take some photos of Sandy Island Boat Landing and Huntington Beach State Park.  The next photo shows our route to give you some perspective.  We started at Huntington Beach and rode to the Sandy Island Boat Landing.  The pink straw in the picture shows you the location of the community of Sandy Island which is across the Waccamaw River.

As we left Huntington State Park and crossed the salt marsh, we took the picture below of wading birds and alligators.  All the things that looks like logs are really alligator!  Hard to believe the birds still hang out there! 

We pedaled south along the bike trail adjacent to the Hwy 17 and then turned right on Sandy Island Road towards the landing.

Sandy Island Boat Landing

The text in blue that follows is from the Internet...

Sandy Island, South Carolina

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sandy Island is a small unincorporated community in Georgetown County, South Carolina, United States, and a larger island between the Pee Dee and Waccamaw Rivers that has been preserved as a refuge and nature center.

The island itself is about 9,000 acres (36 km²) of a prehistoric sand dune bounded east and west by the rivers, on the north by Bull Creek, and on the south by Thoroughfare Creek.

The northern part of the island is higher and is mostly a longleaf pine forest, which provides a refuge for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and numerous other species of plants and animals. About 9,000 acres (36 km²) of the island has been purchased by The Nature Conservancy for permanent protection from development.

On the southern, lower end of the island are the remnants of old rice plantations, with the watergates and canals that previously managed the water supply. A small community exists there also, which consists of a few families that are descendants of former slaves that still work the rice fields. Since there is no bridge to the island, workers and school children have to go by boat each morning to the mainland for work and school.

The island is also visited by naturalists, plantation owners, archaeologists, and geologists because of the resources it provides. Daily "scenic" boat rides are a feature of Brookgreen Gardens which is across the Waccamaw from Sandy Island.

Here are some photos of the boat landing and boats used by the inhabitants of Sandy Island.

View down canal to Waccamaw River (perhaps a future kayak trip)

Boats of Residents of Sandy Island

Sandy Island School Boat transports school children each day!

I believe this boat must be out of commission!!

As we were preparing to head back to the state park, we saw this couple preparing to kayak.  They were using one regular kayak and a new blow-up kayak...think we might be back with the kayak!!

Heading home we past through the swamps.  To be politically correct, they are know as wetlands.  They look like the Everglades to me and I think "Swamp" describes them better than wetlands.  As we rode by, we heard the deep bellow of a "gator!" If you have never heard that noise, it sounds like a REALLY  BIG bullfrog. Not a place I want to hang out for too long!!                

Once back on the bike trail, we headed north of the state park entrance towards Murrells Inlet.  We rode to the end of the trail, stopped on the bridge over the marsh and then turned back to Huntington.   

Bike trail north of State Park entrance.

Bike Trail Bridge over Salt Marsh

View from bridge over Salt Marsh.

We headed back to the state park and intended to take pictures of its many attractions.  However, the batteries were running low on the camera so we only have a few to share....another time, we will share more.  This really is a beautiful park!!

Campground Check-in Building

Campground Dump Stations

Main Campground Loop

Nature Center Boardwalk Entrance

After we got home, Nancy went to work and I played golf.  With temperatures in the mid 90's, I obviously had the better time.  After golf, I sprayed the inside of the house for bugs and watered the vegetable garden.  Not too much work, but enough to say I did something useful.

Most of you know (and those who don't, know now) that I am inept in the kitchen.  About the only thing I can do with confidence is nuke a baked potato in the microwave and make a dynamite salad.  So on the days Nancy works late, you know what I am eating!!  However, today I was lucky! Nancy had made hamburger gravy, mashed potatoes, peas and coleslaw on Friday night so all I had to do was microwave the leftovers...Life is Good!

I got to thinking about just how good life is....  We are both looking forward to the next 12 months or so.  Hopefully, we sell our house, figure out where to live until we go full timing, retire from work, plan and take a trip to Alaska, buy our home on wheels and start the next leg of life's journey.  As Nancy always says, "It is not about the destination, it is about the journey!"