Saturday, January 23, 2010

Learning is Fun

Whew, did Christmas/New Year's/school vacation knock you for a loop too? We are finally settling back into a regular routine, for which I am grateful.

Just a few days after Christmas we received the World Floor Map from Fast shipping! I didn't realize that it was going to be made of that spongy floor mat material, probably because I'd never seen a puzzle made that way. I really liked that though because we were able to leave it together in the middle of the floor and study it instead of having to put it away all the time. I also liked that it came in a sturdy clear plastic bag, so when we did store it, it was easy to keep together. Quality wise, we were most pleased! It was easy to put together for my guys since they are all veteran puzzlers but that wasn't our purpose anyway. I did have to put some index cards over the names of the countries because 2 out of 3 are now readers. They have all learned some of the countries and can point them out now, which was our intent! :) And they had fun and didn't think of it as learning, also a good thing.

One misconception was that France was in the US! LOL Hey, he is only 7. So now we know where it is AND that the Eiffel Tower is there.

The kids got a giggle out of the Country named Turkey. :)

We are also facinated by the Panama Canal and are wondering what they did with all that dirt they dredged out.

The first time they heard about the earthquake in Haiti, they wanted to look it up on the map. We decided Haiti doesn't seem so far from SC. Now we are remembering Haiti in our prayers.

Key has a good friend living in Italy for a year. We looked her up and talked about Italy and how long it took her to fly there.

Robbie and I are going to Puerto Rico so we looked that up too. I love that they 'get it', that every place we mention can be found on a map. I've shown them all of the places I have visited and told them stories about my travels. Some of them Robbie hadn't even heard. Fun to remember back!

Now that we are able to find different countries on the map, we are going to learn something about each country. That should be fun too! Thanks, this was a great opportunity for us!

Saturday, January 2, 2010


In the spring of 1989 I was attending a pre-Calculus class at Greenville Tech. There was a cute boy in my class, kind of surfer looking. He had a cool haircut, with a weight line, and he was blonde,which made him look like he spent lots of time in the sun. I enjoyed watching him each day as he went through his routine of taking out his pencil, then his big pink eraser, and then his notebook - always in that order. We eventually started to chat with each other. One day he asked me what my plans were. I was only 19, and really couldn't be too specific. All I knew was that I wanted to graduate from college and move to Florida. Those were my only two goals. And I only had the first goal because it seemed that it would help me accomplish the second. I guess that didn't seem too strange a thing to plan for because that surfer dude and I moved to Florida in the fall of 1993 as husband and wife.

I longed for Florida before I ever got there, and I miss it really bad today. It would be easy to miss Florida on a day like today. I don't think it got above the freezing mark, and if it did, I couldn't tell! But that would miss the larger point. I miss Florida everyday. So why am I here, back in SC? It was a once in a lifetime opportunity when real estate prices were skyrocketing. We were fortunate (I don't like the word lucky) and here we are. I don't regret it. There was really no choice as to the best path to take. We took it and life is good. But that doesn't make me miss Florida any less.

The sky is bluer in Florida. The weight of the air is better. Palm trees and anoles just give everything a laid back style. You never have to wear socks in Florida. You can find a good Cuban sandwich in every town. People don't care so much about who you know, where you came from, who you went to school with - you get a certain anonymity there. And that is freeing in many ways. But friends like to listen to the quirks you left behind. You get to describe what a boiled peanut tastes like, because no one knows. You can explain what a crocus is and how it is the first flower of spring, because spring in Florida is a lot like summer, fall and winter. They even indulge you the pleasure of describing how the Clemson Tigers take to the field during home games, even though they pull for the Gators or 'Noles.

So anyway, I'm just missing my life back in Florida. I plan on returning, for sure. In fact, here I sit, back in Greenville, just like I was back in 1989. I still tell my surfer dude how much I want to be there and that it is my plan to go. He listens, just like he did back then. And I think he wants that for me, and for him, again. To return to our old town on the Gulf. We've even got our children, who were all born as Crackers, ready to pack their bags. Key told us that his teacher asked each child in his second grade class to tell where they wanted to go to college. Key told them he was going to be a Florida Gator. And this Clemson Tiger just smiled when she heard the news. Because it will be perfect if we can all end up on the beautiful beaches again as a family.