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"Mama's at Africa, I'm at your Nana's"

“Mama’s at Africa” says Sam with confidence when asked where Erin is.  Where are you Sam?  “at your Nana’s” he says.

 I met Michael in Murfreesboro after church Sunday to pick up Finn and Sam while Erin is in Uganda on a medical missions trip.  We met at Thornton’s and before I got back on the interstate I got a text from Michael that said, “I forgot the goggles, sorry.”  No problem right?  (more on that later)

When we arrived at the house we spent the afternoon playing, and watching “Timmy Time.” Since we were going to church that evening we didn’t get in the pool.  Upon hearing that we were planning on going to church Finn responded with, “nooooooooooooooo, I don’t want to go to church.” 
“ Why are you going to church Nana, you went this morning?” 
 Yes, Finn, but you didn’t, I responded.  
“But Daddy said we didn’t have to go to church when we are on vacation.”  
But you aren’t on vacation Finn.  
“Yes we are, we are on vacation at your house.”  
We are going to church Finn. 
Because that is what we do on Sunday evenings.
 On the drive to church I told the boys that we would get Sundaes from Sonic after church if they were good.

Well, the bag of books that I brought for the boys to look at during church almost lasted through the first song.  Then out came the paper and pencils.  After scribbling for a bit, they began to poke little holes in the paper with their pencils.  When this became boring they made all the little holes into one hole large enough that they could look through, which they proceeded to do, as they turned around and surveyed the congregation behind them.  Books were brought back up and the extraordinarily loud whispering began, “what does this say Nana?”  “what does this say Papa’?  After discovering that we would not respond, the feet in the air, feet on the back of the pews, and getting down on the floor began. Quick exit by Nana and the Begley boys as soon as the last Amen was said!  I do not have a picture of this part of the visit as photography is frowned upon during worship services.

After a sundae stop at Sonic, (yes, I know), we got home and had a family meeting.  The four of us made a list of the things that we wanted to do this week.  What follows is a transcript of that meeting.

Nana:  What do you want to do this week?
Finn:  “Buy toys”
Nana: Do you want to go to see Minions?’
Finn and Sam:  Yesssss!!!!
Finn:  Buy toys
Papa:  Would you like to sleep in the fort one night?
Finn and Sam:  Yess!!
Finn:  Buy toys
Other suggestions:  swim, watch tv, get donuts, and play.
Finn:  Buy toys

The final list:
11.       Go see Minnions
22.      Camp out in the fort
33.       Swim
44.       Get donuts
55.       Play
66.       Read books

(Notice the absence of Buy Toys on the final draft)

After no small amount of debate both boys were asleep in separate beds.

“And the evening and the morning were the first day.”  

Manchester, Day 2

Separate beds, oh how sweet it is; for Sam anyway.  Sam slept until 10:00 this morning!  Finn, on the other hand, was up at 5:30.  Finn, ever the problem solver, said, “Nana, since you can’t wake up too good I’ll just play on your IPad quietly while you watch me.”  Sounded like a good idea to me.  When asked if he played on his Mom’s IPad he said, “I like to play on yours Nana because you don’t have a password, and you have more games.”  Hmmmm. Interesting.

While waiting for Sam to wake up, Finn and I had time to bond.  Over breakfast we discussed the meaning of life. Finn is a fount of wisdom.  Then we played “Begley Boy School” which is basically just playing school, but all the pupils are Begley boys.  Some of them get in trouble a lot and have to stand in the corner.  Then it was back to the IPad where Nana discovered that she can’t get more than 3 bananas, she can’t drive through Radiator Springs, and she doesn’t know how to play any game and has to be instructed by a 5 year old!

After Sam got up we went swimming.  Without goggles this is how the Begley boys have fun in the swimming pool: 

As opposed to their last visit with goggles:

After a picnic on the porch and an afternoon of playing, Papa got home from work and they all went swimming. (Finn finally started going under water without his goggles).  Papa and the boys played in the pool, and picked blackberries and blueberries while I cooked supper.

  Gives new meaning to the threat,”I’ll beat you with a wet noodle.”

Manchester, Day 3

Sam got up at 8:00 and we attempted to complete number 4 on our list, get donuts. My first inkling that something was amiss was that we were the only car in the parking lot.  A handwritten sign on the door explained why; closed until further notice while new appliances are installed.  Three very disappointed people went home and had poptarts for breakfast.

Finn wanted to play Begley boy school again but didn’t want Sam to play.  We finally settled on a game that we could all participate in without pushing, tattling and yelling: throwing things over the balcony.  This game has several variations, all equally exciting.  This lasted until the boys got tired of going downstairs to retrieve their animals.

After swimming, lunch and getting baths, we played quietly (so we wouldn’t get dirty again) until time to leave for the movie.  Finn managed to give up the IPad long enough for Sam to have it to himself for a while.  Sam was racing Thomas the Train (all you do to make the train go is hit the Ipad with your finger over and over again).  He was getting the hang of it because he got really really excited and was yelling over and over, “I’m gonna win!.....  I’m gonna win!”  Then, he paused, looked at Finn so seriously, and said,”am I gonna win Finn?”  Priceless!  I wish I had a recording of his sweet little voice.

By the time we got to the theater in Murfreesboro it was coming a deluge.  This did not bode well for number 2 on our list, camp out in the fort.  Finn became very concerned and disappointed that he might not get to sleep outside, however I was holding out hope that it would clear up.  After we got soaked running in to the theater, we got our tickets, made some pictures with the minnions, got our bucket of popcorn and waited on Papa to get there.  

After supper at McDonald’s, we went home to check the weather forecast and see how wet everything was.  Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans...... we slept inside. But before we went to bed Papa challenged Finn to a video game of Angry Birds.  (he found this installed on our television, we do not sit around and play video games for those of you who don’t know us.)  Anyway, a great time was had by all, even the spectators, and Finn got so tired that he forgot about not being able to camp out.

Manchester, Day 4

Finn’s signature, “wake up Nana,” over and over again (in his exceedingly loud whisper) began this morning at exactly 5:45.  Since it was rainy and dark outside, I persuaded him to turn back over and try to rest some more.  Success!  We got another hour!

After failing to please my grandson at making breakfast, we played until Sam woke up.  The waffles were delicious!  I ate all of mine and could have eaten more, but according to Finn, they were too sweet and the syrup didn’t stay off to the side on his plate.   Some grandmothers have it and some don’t.  

Sam loved his waffle and ate it all up!

Sam tickles me to death every morning the way he gets up.  He is like Erin in that he is so expressive and dramatic.  He will stride into the playroom like he owns the world and announce to everyone, “I waked up.”  

The day was still dark and rainy looking so we played inside all day.  I had planned to take the boys to another movie but Finn didn’t want to leave.  He decided that we should make a treasure map, build a city with blocks, read books, and hone our skill on throwing things over the balcony.



One exciting thing that happened this morning was that the free download of the Mr. Potato Head Game (that usually only has 4 outfits and 1 scene) suddenly had unlimited outfits and scenes!  I don't know how this happened but it made Finn deliriously happy!  I haven't checked this out yet.  I may be the proud owner of the full Mr. Potato Head Game, at what cost I know not.

When it was time for us to leave to meet Michael, I sent the boys to the bathroom before getting in the car.  Sam walked into my bathroom, looked down at the scale, stepped up on it with those sweet little baby feet, and said, “Let’s see how tall my feet are.”  He always keeps me laughing!

We met Michael at Thornton’s in Murfreesboro a few minutes before 5:00.  I was sad to see the boys leave.  I always get a tightness in my throat when I have had the grandsons for a few days and they go home.  Bye, bye Begley boys.  Come back soon, we still have numbers 2 and 4 to complete on our list of things to do.  I love you!  Nana 


  1. I'm glad you are home safely from Uganda!


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