Thursday, 25 September 2014


My mum died yesterday.

She retired in July.  She toddled off to France, expecting to spend her whole summer there.  Unfortunately she was taken ill while there and told to return to the UK.  On her return, she was diagnosed with pleurisy.  While investigating this, they found malignant cancer cells.

She was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer on Monday 8th September.  I flew out to see her on Saturday 13th.  I got to spent 6 days with my mum.  She came out of the hospital on tuesday 16th September, for palliative care at home. She has had a great support network of friends and her husband, my step-dad, Lee looking after her. I was sad to leave her last wednesday, but happy that those around her would take good care of her.

Her sister flew out Monday to see her.  Her brothers were supposed to be flying out on friday.

Mums friend Marie called me yesterday to tell me the news.  It is very sad, but she died peacefully, holding Lee's hand, and being her usual cantankerous self to the end.

Words cannot describe how much I am going to miss her.

We told the boys yesterday afternoon, Oliver took it well, Seb doesn't understand.  Isaac got a little teary.  Their school has been awesome, they all said a prayer for Nanny this morning.

I am sitting here in tears writing this.  A date for the funeral has been set, and we are arranging our travel plans as we speak.

I expect the stages of grief to hit soon.  At the moment everything is numb, and this just feels like a big surreal experience.

One of mums friends has set up a memorial page on Facebook, you can find it here if you wish.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

While mums away.....

I had to take an unexpected trip back to the UK last week.  My mum is not very well, but I will write more on that at a later date.

So it was daddy and the boys for 6 days.  I left them well prepared, with food in the freezer.  All those little organization things I do?  Well, they certainly came into their own! Paul was able to still go to work everyday, as the boys were in school or day care.

They took a trip to Monkey Joe's on Sunday.  They actually wanted to go to Frankie's Fun Park, but it was closed for a private party

Bubbly fun.....

Paul took them to Frankie's Fun Park after school on the Monday.  They had a blast!

Sebastian helping himself to a post-breakfast snack.....

And sand and water fun!  He should not be standing in that water table....

Would appear we have some good size snakes around us.  This skin was found down the side of the house.  We think (hope) it is a black rat snake. 

Before school chaos

Honestly, think they boys had a lot of fun with daddy!!!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The last week (a bit late…)

Last weekend we were lucky enough to go and see another baseball game.  My friend Tracey had reserved a suite, like a private box at the top of the stands.  It even had air conditioning, which was very nice in the intense heat.

We stayed for most of the game, and the kids had a good time.  They were all nice and tired, and Seb fell asleep on the way home.  Nothing like a late night over a long weekend.  

Sunday we went out for some ice cream, then to the pool, then a BBQ at home.  Nice and relaxing.

Monday was Labor Day so everyone was off work and school.  We decided to check out the Bacon Labor Day festival as Simpsonville City Park.  It was well advertised and looked like fun.  We got there about 12.30, and they had already run out of food.  The queues were stupidly long, and there was little mention of bacon anywhere.  They did however have a pretty good car show, always a winner with my boys.  All sorts of different cars, old, new, military.  There was also a stock car, which the boys had kittens over.  The owner was nice enough to let all 3 have a seat in the car.



They loved it, it was the highlight of their day.  We felt a little let down by the festival. It was billed as being awesome, and so was not.  Thank goodness for the car show.  We went up to Simpsonville and got some lunch, then headed to Home Depot.

In our last trip to Costco, I had bought a massive bag of floor.  I wanted a decent container to store it, and had an idea for a big bucket.  I found what I wanted.....


Everyone went back to school and work on Tuesday.  Sebastian had his first lunch at school.  He did really well, and ate most of it.  He will now be having lunch there on a Monday and Tuesday.

This still gives us our afternoons together.  We have been to the pool, and caught up with friends.


He is also still off all day on a Friday.  This week we went to Gravitopia for their kids under 6 jump.  This is $8 for an hour 9-10am.  There was only 5 kids and 5 adults.  Perfect.


Then it was shopping at Walmart.  I spied a few presents for Christmas and Isaacs birthday.  Not long now!!!!

After lunch we headed into Greenville.  I wanted to check out the main library.  I was not disappointed.  Their kids section is massive, and although there is plenty for Sebs age, there is even more for kids Oliver and Isaacs age.

Seb loved playing with the castle and the people who went in it.


It took him about 30 minutes to find the computers, which is unusual.  But there were so many other things to get his attention that he wasn't there for long.


They have a play room at the back of the kids area which he also enjoyed.  It was the perfect way to kill an hour before we had to get the boys, particularly in the heat.  I will definetly take him back, and I intend to take the older 2 one weekend soon.  

He had such a good time, and was so please to get this book, that he fell asleep in he car holding it while in car pool for his brothers.


Yesterday we checked out Trains, trains, trains at the Mauldin Cultural centre.  This is an exhibit of model trains that comes once a year.  The boys loved it, even better it was free, though we did make a donation.

We want for lunch at Chicora Alley in Mauldin.  Our friends the Withers recommended it.  We were the first there for lunch at 12, though there was someone drinking at the at the bar.

The server, Corey, was very good, attentive, and not too in your face.  We all went with soft drinks. The boys choose chicken tenders for Oliver and Seb.  We ordered a grilled cheese pitta for Isaac.  He was much dismayed about this, as he wanted normal bread, and boy did he make his feelings known.  Paul went with a burrito, while i opted for the Chicora burger. Sen decided to split his drinks cup, making a large mess, but the staff quickly cleaned it up and got him a new one. We did not have to wait too long for our food, we could even see the chefs in the kitchen. 
After all Isaacs moaning, he loved his pitta cheese sandwich, and the other w were sold on their tenders.  I had opted for sweet potato fries with my burger, and they were delicious.  Paul loved his burrito, especially the beans not being too processed inside.  Everything felt super fresh. 
There was clean plates from 3 out of 5.  The check came.  A pleasant surprise, one child eats free for every adult eating on a saturday.  This made it very reasonably priced.  Pretty sure we will be back at Chicora Alley sometime soon. 

Chicora Alley on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

First week back!

School did not come soon enough for me.....  Last Friday the boys had their hour induction.  Paul had taken the day off to look after Seb, which was awesome for all involved.

We dropped Isaac first and he went in really well. Then I dropped Oliver.  Again no problems.  I headed of to Chapel for the service, and got talking to a delightful German lady who had only been here 3 weeks.  Brought back some memories.....


I then headed to Isaac's classroom to pick him up, only for him to rebuff me and tell me to get Oliver first! So I did.  I then got talking to another German mum in Oliver's classroom, who also has a child in Isaac's class.  To make it even spookier:  her youngest went to Isaac's old school, but was in the other primary class, they have also just extended their contract, and I bought our Quinny buggy from her when we first got here.  Weird........

We got back home about 10.30, and decided to do something to celebrate the end of the holiday.  We jumped in the car after lunch and headed to Greenville.  

Someone's first morning really took it out of them.....


Some of my blogging friends and other local websites had mentioned that the Upcountry History Museum were running a special exhibit about medieval times, so we went to check it out.  Entry was less than $20 for all of us, and as it was a Friday afternoon and all the Greenville school were in session, we basically had the run of the place. 


The boys had great fun exploring all the hands on interactive exhibits.  They planted vegetables, cooked up a royal feast, dressed up and built castles and chairs.  Really good fun.


The rest of the museum seems really interesting, all about the history of Greenville. I would like to return one day sans kids and take my time to read it.

It has been so hot here, so we decided on the Saturday to go exploring. Paul had a car from work, so we jumped in and headed towards Stumphouse Tunnel, about 90 minutes form here.  It was much cooler in the woods, and in the tunnel in particular.  The tunnel was originally started in 1852 to connect Charleston to Knoxville, then eventually to Cincinnati.  Construction was halted due to the Civil War, then a lack of funds.  To read more on the history, click here

Isaac freaked a little bit, and refused to go in, but we dragged him.  We should really have brought a flash light, as the light on our iPhones wasn't quite adequate....

We also explored nearby Isaaquenna Falls, a short walk from the tunnel.  It was pretty over grown, so we couldn't see much.  Plus it was pretty high up, and with 3 chimps in tow, a little prequarious.  We headed towards home, stopping in an Outback restaurant for a late lunch on the way.

Then we drove into one of the worst thunderstorm I have encountered while being in a car.  The rain was coming in sideways, you could barely see in front of you as the window wipers were working full pelt.  It was so bad the boys couldn't hear their movie over the rain on the car.  We ended up pulling off the road to a petrol station and sheltering behind a building as rubbish bins rolled around the forecourt.  Scary stuff.

Monday came, and I walked Isaac in for the first day.  Here he is with his grade.  I love the way school gives them a bag for the kindergarten year.  Isaac's school calls it primer instead of kindergarten, don't ask me why.  Maybe they are 'priming' the kids ready for school....

I also walked him in for the second day, as Oliver had a follow up at the ENT department at the same time school started.  He was a little wobbly, but fine once one of the teacherscame and talked to him.  He seems to be really enjoying it and settling in.

Oliver's ear is healing well.  The doc said he is fine to do physical activity again this week, but he is still not allowed to get water near his ear.  He has another appointment in 2 weeks time to check the progress, then we take it from there

Here isaac is on Friday in his casual dress.  The shirt was provided by the school, as a kinda welcome gift.

As I said earlier, it has been really hot here.  Paul got this temperature as he sat waiting for the boys on Friday afternoon.  

We have hid in the house a lot, due to the temperature.  We did go to the pool of Friday afternoon, but it seems so unfair on Oliver having to sit on the side.  We have started allowing him to go up to his waist, but he has to be so careful to not get any water on his ear.  If Seb goes splashing near him, he knows he has to move away, and quickly!


I am about a week behind on my blogging, so please bare with me.  Despite the fact the kids have gone back to school, I have about 3000 words to write for my final OU module.  My degree is slowly coming to the end, with only 2 short lever 1 10-point courses left to do.  This blog post has taken me 3 sittings to complete, as I don't have much time right now.  As well as the OU work, there are various school coffee mornings and doctors/diabetic/ENT/IRS appointments in the next few weeks, so apologies if things take a while!!!!
Thanks for your understanding!!!!!