Thursday, January 26, 2017

Got a Coupla Minutes? Eight Short Grandkid Vids in 107 Seconds

I've already posted a ton of pictures from our trip to
Georgia.  For those of you who are interested, here
are eight short videos that bring things to life.

Bri and Hunter go wild on the trampoline.

Hunter loves to twist as he slides down the pole.

Bri is absolutely amazing on her stilts.

Hunter is our videographer here:
Grandpa in a modified slide.

A perpetual motion machine--
Hunter, not the scooter.

Bri and Hunter showed great perseverance in
working on this stunt I showed them.

Hunter's the kind of guy that will never get bored
because he knows how entertain himself with 
all kinds of challenges.  Like forcing a kickball
up a slide.  Gravity defying feat!

And last but not least,
the challenges of playground freeze tag,
featuring Bri, Hunter, and a couple of new friends.

Now, can you honestly think of a
better way you could have spent
the last two minutes?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Georgia On Our Minds-- Small Wonder(s)!

I'm a Tar Heel through and through after 40 years
in the "dear old North State."
But my Georgia roots go back to at least the 1820's,
and with my rich family heritage there, Georgia will
always have a special place in my heart.  My parents
lived there all their days, and my brother and sister and
her expanding family all live there.

Now there's another reason for Georgia to be on my mind--
and Judy's, too.  Just before Christmas Amanda and Stephen,
Brianna and Hunter relocated to middle Georgia, courtesy
of the U.S. Air Force.  At least for the immediate future,
we're going to be concocting every reason possible to 
make excursions in that direction.

We saw them in Atlanta at Christmas, but only briefly.
We already had another visit in the works, specifically
to see them in their new home after things settled a bit.
Last week was our trip, and it was everything we had 
dreamed of.  Here are some of the memory-making
scenes that will bring us happiness in the longer periods
of separation.  You'll see that our activities there were
no radical departure from what we enjoyed doing when
they were here in North Carolina.  We did the same fun
stuff that we would enjoy anywhere, as long as they
were with us.

We brought a box of some of their favorite games that they
hadn't played in at least a month.

We all love Six Cubes, and Bri hasn't lost her touch as a high roller.

Hunter and I just love chillin.'  But we didn't sit still for long!

Bri is sporting some cool shades and musical wrist bracelets.
Oh, yes, the floral hair band, too.

Other than games, a round of thrift stores was high on
the to-do list.  Here, always-helpful Hunter parks the cart at Goodwill.

Brianna and Hunter counted out their own money for their
purchases.  This is part of Amanda's math curriculum, I think.
I'll call it Kid's Econ 101.  She helps the kids make judicious
decisions on spending their hard-earned money.
By going to their local Last Chance Goodwill Store on a
Thursday, ALL clothing items were a mere 50 cents.
That's right, FIFTY CENTS!  Even Grandpa made a purchase or two.
And Chipper bought a shirt that said,
(I told some of my nursing home friends about that
yesterday and they roared with laughter.)
Well, as they say, back to the 'hood.
Amanda's family is literally a 30 second walk to the
neighborhood playground.  Because the rain was kind
enough to delay a day, we were able to play there both
Thursday and Friday.

Grandma Judy, Amanda, Bri, and Hunter in synchronized swinging.
This cool octagonal design entertained three generations of swingers!

Amanda is an accomplished Spartan competitor, and demonstrates
some challenging skills.  The kids accept all challenges boldly.

Hunter likes to twist while he descends the pole.

Bri slides down while Hunter climbs back up.

Grandma loves a good slide as much as anyone.

Here's the beautiful Talbert home, at least for a while.

We knew Hunter and Bri have gone wild over Legos, and it was
truly amazing to watch how a six-year old could follow the 40 something
steps of instructions flawlessly to create his latest project.

Building a Lego Santa was the first step.

I picked up this mini-Foosball game at a thrift store and all of
us played it a good bit.  I brought it home so Evan and Claire
could try it this week.

Bri showed their special Air Force card deck.  It depicts the
various Air Force ranks.  Is one card missing?

No, here it is.  This is Stephen's rank, Senior Master Sergeant.
We are so proud of his achievement.  He is possibly the youngest
to attain that rank.

Before we arrived for our visit, they had shopped to get some
special food.  Bri suggested Corn Pops, a cereal she knew I like.
Of course, when I was a kid, they were SUGAR Pops.  The
politically correct version taste just as good to me!

I told Hunter I would post this picture since he had not yet
chewed the cereal.  Wouldn't want to be gross!

Back at the playground, Hunter shows he's as good a rock climber
as his mom and dad.

This could just as easily be the rigging on a pirate ship.

We got some VIP treatment at Chic Fil-a.
Both kids are wearing some of their new thrift store attire.

I got special VIP treatment, too.  Maybe because I told him
my father grew up on a dairy.

I love Hunter's pedal-free cart.  He can zoom on it.

Bri doesn't need pedals, either.  Her balance is astounding.

The kids have endless recreation opportunities in their
cozy little neighborhood.

I loved getting to share a couple of Mollie Whuppie stories with
the children.  These are some super-cool adaptations of Jack Tales.

The previous residents left their trampoline behind, and nothing
could have made our little acrobats happier.

We brought along Muggins (with Flinch cards) a card game we had
 taught the kids but which Amanda had never played.  A huge hit.

Stephen said he's eager to explore the vast woods behind their home.
Supposedly there are some trails.  And who knows, maybe deer!

It was supposed to rain much of the time we were in Georgia,
but hallelujah, the rain waited till our departure day.
This is what the sky looked like on Friday, far different than the forecast.

In any spare moment, a card game or other pastime could
spontaneously be organized.

Hunter and I were still playing with his super heroes on the
last morning we were there.

He's smiling extra big because all of these characters came in
one bag-- another thrift shop bonanza.

Thanks to some poor kid somewhere whose mother thought he
had outgrown this stuff.  That'll never happen with me and Hunter!
Comprendez, hombre?
(Or comprenez, mon ami?)

The memories of this visit will satisfy us for a little
while, but we're already anticipating the next reunion.
In the meantime, Georgia (and grandkids) will be
on our minds.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Snow from Manly to Murdocksville

The weekend winter storm marked the first snowfall since
our temporary stay in Manly (north Southern Pines) began
last February 29. We love snow, wherever we may be, and
enjoyed a neighborhood stroll once the precip had stopped.

Judy's familiar swing and chiminea look just as much at home
here as they did in her prayer garden at the Murdocksville home.

We like the looks of our cozy little snow-dipped "town house."

Like most folks locally, our winter coating was very shallow,
but it only takes a little to make a winter wonderland.

The playground is on hold until everything thaws-- which should be
in about 15 minutes.

We are making the most of living near horse country,
so an afternoon tour was in order.
The horses weren't out, but the fences and fields made
for some beautiful sights.
As they say, "There's no place like home."
We may not have a house  in Murdocksville, but
one day we'll be back there.  I couldn't resist a visit
to see what the storm had created there.  These scenes
were three days after the snow, so a lot had departed.

Obviously no one had walked on our wetland boardwalk since
the snow fell.

Obviously?? Maybe I should say no human!
Here's my theory.  The tracks on the right are some small game
animal, perhaps a squirrel.
The tracks on the left are actually about the size of a child's fist.
I believe they're from a bobcat, which we had seen on this property
before.  Larger prints than a housecat by far, but no claw marks,
which rule out a dog.
I think the bobcat may have been in pursuit of something that had
passed this way earlier.  No sign of a chase, so they didn't come
through together.

This bridge is at our "island" where some snow remained.

From the other end of the island.  There are FOUR bridges, but
I'm not sure you can see them all.

It appears that the bobcat had stopped for a drink and was in
no hurry.

There were also signs of deer activity, though deer are not
suitable prey for a bobcat.

The three prominent trees are our 100 year-old pear trees.
We are in hopes the cold weather provides some stimulus for spring growth.

I just had to visit the tree house.  Before long, we'll have the
grandkids up there for play once again.

Judy's arbor and picnic table are waiting patiently for our
permanent return.
If you enjoyed these winter sights, be sure to visit my
Sandhills Nature Trail blog at
Well, guess the snow was on the ground long enough
to be waiting for more.  But not this week. Even the 
nighttime lows won't reach freezing for a while.
Such is winter in the Sandhills of North Carolina.