Monday, June 13, 2016

Biscuit makes a splash

This week has been a really sad time for us. We lost somebody very special. I want to share some memories and stories, but I just can't do it yet.

So in the meantime, let's all laugh at my Biscuit baby!

Jeff, Biscuit and I went to a surprise party for a friend of ours. He lives a couple of towns away from us and has a beautiful piece of land that backs up to a lake. When we drove up, the street was lined with cars, and we were laughing, wondering what in the world he would think when he drove up.

There was a ton of food and drinks there, a beautiful chocolate cake decorated with half-dipped chocolate strawberries, hot dogs, BBQ, all the fixin's and a bunch of side dishes.

They also had live music. A couple who perform as a duet played and sang really good laid-back music that just gave the whole evening such a great vibe.

We had asked ahead to make sure the party was kid-friendly, and we were assured that Biscuit would be welcome.

One couple had their son and daughter with them. The girl was 12, and the boy was 10. The dad said to the boy, "Why don't you play with Griffin? And make sure to keep an eye on him."

They played for a good while, then Biscuit came walking back up looking frustrated.

"What's wrong?" I asked him.

"That boy keeps telling me what to do," Biscuit complained. "Like 'don't go over there' or 'watch your step.'"

"He's doing that because his dad knows that you're younger, and he asked his son to take care of you and make sure you stayed safe," I told him. "He's not trying to be bossy. He's just doing what his dad asked him to do."

"Ooohhh!" Biscuit said. "Okay." And away he went.

The birthday boy arrived, and everyone ran over to greet him. It was quite funny because someone asked him what he thought when he saw all those cars near his house.

"To tell you the truth," he said, "I have elderly neighbors, and when I saw all those cars lining the street, I got sad thinking one of them had died."

He seemed truly moved by the whole evening. And it was a good event. The weather was perfect.

And then ...

The 10-year-old boy came running up to me and said frantically, "He fell in! He fell in!"

I looked down the hill to see Biscuit sopping wet from his neck down with his arms held out beside him. Sure enough, he had fallen into the lake.

I wasn't convinced it was an accident until I saw the mud on his butt. He took one step back too far and just sat right down in the water ... up to his neck!

He locked eyes with me. I think he was waiting to see if I was going to be mad at him or not. But how could I be? He looked like a drowned rat! I cracked up laughing.

So here we go, sloshing up to the porch so I can ask the hostess, whom I've only met that night, if we can borrow a towel.

She was really worried about whether Biscuit was okay, but I told her that he was fine, just wet and a little embarrassed. She ran in and brought out this bath towel that was more like a bath sheet. It was huge!

We backed Biscuit into a corner and had him strip off his clothes. There was no hope for his shoes, so we just set them on the sidewalk so we could grab them on our way out. 

As for Biscuit's other clothes, Jeff wrung them out as best he could, and the hostess threw them in the dryer. I tucked the towel under one of Biscuit's arms and told him to spin around. As he did, I wrapped that towel around him.

"Spin ... spin ... spin ... spin ..." I told him. I swear, he must've spun around 10 times to get that thing completely wrapped around him.

So the party continued, and Biscuit was walking around in a towel that went from his armpits down to his ankles. After a while, the 12-year-old girl ran out to the car and grabbed a sports shirt she had. It was too big for Biscuit, but seeing as his arms and shoulders were getting chilly, he didn't seem to mind.

So Biscuit walked around for the rest of the party in a towel and a girl's shirt. Everyone seemed to get a good laugh about the situation. And thankfully, Biscuit took it all in stride.

Now here's the disappointing part. It's really shocking ...

I didn't take a picture of the child in his towel and girl's shirt. Can you believe that?! I take pictures of EVERYTHING, yet I failed to take a photo of one of the funniest moments of the year!

I did take a picture of the beautiful view from the birthday boy's backyard, though.

My boy enjoying a peaceful moment before he went for his impromptu swim.


The view from the backyard. I told him that with a
view like this, I didn't know how he ever left for work!

The hostess fetched Biscuit's clothes from the dryer, and he made sure to thank her, then he gave her a big hug. 

Since Biscuit's shoes were still soaked, he was leaving the party in his socks. As we were walking up the driveway, we stopped to say goodbye to the birthday boy, and he said to Biscuit, "Next time you come over, you'll have to bring your fishing pole."

Biscuit smiled at him and said, "The next time I come over, I'm gonna bring my goggles!"

Monday, June 6, 2016

Random photos

Here are a few recent (and random) photos of Biscuit:

I don't know anything about this candidate, but
when I saw the sign in town, I had to take a picture.
Remember when Biscuit found a good spot for TV watching?
Well, he still sits there. Wonder how long it'll
be until his feet are resting in Jeff's lap?

Pre-game silliness.

A selfie in my lap.

Has there ever been a boy who hasn't
made himself a mohawk in the shower?!

"Dude, between your new sunglasses and
that shirt, you look cool," I told Biscuit.

Biscuit replied, "Mom, I'm not just cool, I'm THIS cool!" And I
turned around to see him in this pose. Too bad he's so insecure!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Art lesson

Biscuit doesn't care much for art projects ... much to my chagrin. I've always loved coloring and creating, but my boy just doesn't. Don't get me wrong. He's got imagination to spare, but he uses it with his action figures and other toys, not on paint, markers and crayons.

Biscuit does love history, though, and recently, in art class at school, he learned that art and history can go together. His art teacher told them all about some Impressionist artist, including Claude Monet.

They mainly talked about his paintings of water lilies. 

Monet painted about 250 oil paintings of water lilies in the last 30 years of his life. They were in his flower garden in his backyard, complete with a Japanese bridge. If you look at an Impressionist painting close up, you'll see splotches, smears and brush strokes in the paint but not the picture. You have to move back for the picture to become clear.

Here's one of the paintings with the Japanese bridge:



I wish I had shot this video the day he came home and told me about it, but actually remembered a lot a few days later. Here's Biscuit talking about Claude Monet.



After teaching them about the artist, the teacher had them make water lilies out of clay. She fired them, then they painted them.

Biscuit brought his home and was very proud.

"So where should we put this, Mom?" Biscuit asked me. "Because I know that you're gonna want to look at it every day."

I wanted to grin, but he was completely serious.

"You know, you're right," I said, and I found a place on my cookbook shelves in the kitchen.

Here's Biscuit's creation:

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Father-son time

A post from The Daddy Man:

Biscuit's school participates in the NFL-sponsored program All-Pro Dads. It's a monthly early morning gathering for dads and kids. They serve breakfast and have a speaker who talks about topics such as respect, responsibility and self-esteem. And they promote general dad involvement in families.

The program at Biscuit's school starts at 6:30 a.m. ... in other words, really early! And Biscuit wants to go every single time.

The last meeting was a couple of weeks ago, but I forgot to RSVP for us to be there. They like to have a head count so they can order just enough breakfast sandwiches. So the night before, I emailed the director and told him that we would try to be at the meeting, but for him not to worry about getting breakfast for us. The plan was to pick up breakfast on the way.

On the morning of the event, I got up and got ready. Then I got Biscuit ready. And just as we were heading for the door, I realized that I hadn't left enough time to make his lunch.

Kimmy fussed at me that evening for not waking her up, but she was sleeping so well, I just didn't have the heart to do it.

I got Biscuit's lunch put together, and as I looked at the clock, I realized that I had to give him a choice.

I said, "Dude, we can either get to All Pro Dads and not have breakfast; grab some breakfast and get to the meeting late; or you and I can miss the meeting and just go somewhere and eat breakfast, just the two of us."

"We should just go just the two of us to have breakfast," Biscuit said. "Instead of All Pro Dads, it'll be One Pro Dad." And then he giggled.

So that's what we did. We had a good morning together and had probably just as much fun as we would've had at All Pro Dads.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Lesson learned

Biscuit taught himself a lesson at school recently.

As anyone who knows him can attest, he's quite a talker. (And that's an understatement.) And whenever he gets a not-so-great color on the behavior chart, that's usually the culprit.

His first day back after the flu, Biscuit came home and said he got blue on the chart. Well, that's just one step down, so I fussed at him and told him he needed to do better, but I don't see that as a huge deal.

But when I picked him up the next day and asked him what color he got, he said, "Well, Mom, I guess I just have to tell you that you'll be getting an email from my teacher."

"Why?" I asked him.

"Well, I hate to tell you this, but I got red today," Biscuit said.

"Red?" I asked him.

"Yes," Biscuit said. "What happened was ..."

I interrupted his story to ask him to wait until we were in the car and I could hear him better.

Once we were in the car, he described how things started to go badly and went down hill from there.

We had talked before about how he shouldn't talk in class, but clearly, my message wasn't getting through.

So I said to him, "Do you realize that when you talk in class, you're basically telling your teacher that what you have to say is more important that what she has to say. And you're also keeping your friends and classmates from doing their work well."

I had used that logic before, but I hoped repeating it might catch his attention.

He listened and promised to do better ... blah, blah, blah. But I didn't feel like I had really gotten through to him.

Then a few days later, he came home and told me quite a story.

On the ride home, I always ask him what color he got on the behavior chart. Then I ask him what "special" he had (music, art, P.E., guidance, library). I ask him how his lunch was. Then I ask him to tell me the two best things that happened to him that day.

We went through all of that usual stuff, then he said, "Mom, I realized something today."

"What was that?" I asked.

"Well, we were in music today, and I was telling my teacher about a composer I like, and as I was talking, a couple of boys in my class started talking and giggling so much that I forgot what I wanted to say," Biscuit explained.

"Okay," I said. "But what was your realization?"

"I realized that it hurt my feelings when I was trying to talk and they were talking and laughing at the same time," he said. "So I figured if it made me sad when they did it, it probably makes them sad when I do it."

Eureka!!!

All the talking I've done. All the encouraging his teacher has done. And it all comes down to him getting a taste of his own medicine.

And it really has helped. He's had all good colors on the behavior chart since that day.

As much as it frustrated me that I never got through to him, it also pleases me so much that he figured it out.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Spring break at Grandmama and Papa's

Biscuit spent Spring Break at my parents' house. The reasons for his trip were threefold.

1. We didn't have to find a babysitter or somewhere for him to go.
2. Jeff and I had some time to ourselves.
3. Biscuit got to spend some good time with his grandparents.

And I think the last reason was the best one.

Biscuit had a hard time the first day he was down there. But that's pretty common. He is such a creature of routine that he has a hard time adjusting. But after that first day, he's always fine.

And he gets to do things at Grandmama and Papa's house that he doesn't get to do at home - Pop-Tarts every morning for breakfast (sometimes with chocolate milk!), snacks whenever he wants them, skipping the occasional bath, you get the picture.

And luckily, my parents are still in good health and can still play with him. He's old enough now to remember his time with them.

Like having a lightsaber fight in a store with Grandmama: 



And riding (and driving) the dune buggy:



This is a 1970 Volkswagen bug with the body taken off and replaced with roll bars. We've had this thing since I was a kid. My brother and I actually learned to drive on it. It's a stick-shift, and I remember the first time I got into an automatic. "Where's the clutch?" I asked Daddy.

I love that this thing is still around, and it's still teaching kids to drive. I think my brother's kids learned to drive on it, too.

Biscuit will get to go down there for two weeks (one in June and one in July) this summer. He seems to be excited about it already!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A surprise concert

I just realized that I never posted about a concert we went to back in April.

Since Biscuit is immersed in "Star Wars," when I saw an announcement for a music program that would feature music from the movie, I knew we had to go. But I didn't tell Biscuit. I wanted it to be a surprise.

The symphony one city over planned a performance of the John Williams' "Star Wars" songs (he's the guy who composed the music for that movie and a bunch of others), and they also included songs that inspired him to write the movie's music.

Before the concert started, there were a lot of activities set up for the kids. They had an instrument petting zoo. That's where they put orchestra instruments out and show kids how to play them. Since my brother's plays trumpet, Biscuit decided that's what he would try.

Here's how to hold it.

Blow really hard.

Enjoy the sound you made.

Next came the characters. Don't even ask me the names of most of these critters ... because I don't know them. But Biscuit did. He asked for them by name. Here's Biscuit with some of the characters he wanted to have pictures with.

Biscuit with Boba Fett.

Biscuit and a Clone.

Biscuit and Rey (from the newest movie).

Biscuit holds a Commander Stormtrooper at gunpoint.

Biscuit and a Tuscan Raider.

Biscuit battles Darth Vader.

Looks like they made friends.

Biscuit with some Stormtroopers and
Kylo Ren (from the newest movie).

The orchestra members took their seats and started to tune up their instruments. Then everything got quiet, and a fully-robed Jedi came out onstage, complete with the hood.

He stepped up on the podium and flipped back the hood. It was the conductor of the orchestra! All the kids loved that, and he got a big round of applause.

He explained that they were going to play a song from the movie, then play the song that inspired John Williams to write it. It was really cool, and you could definitely hear the influence of the songs.

At one point, they started playing "Imperial March," aka Darth Vader's song. About halfway through the song, Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper came walking out onstage.

Darth Vader stopped right in front of the conductor and held his hand up to do a "force choke." That's one of the evil powers he has. He can choke people without even touching them.

For illustration purposes.
So the conductor grabbed at his throat and pretended to stagger around. Then the Stormtrooper held the conductor at gunpoint on the side of the stage while Darth Vader conducted the rest of the song with his red lightsaber.

It got a big reaction from the crowd.

At the end, all the dressed-up characters came down and stood in front of the crowd. I was too short to take a picture, so I got Jeff to take one.



The kids got miniature lightsabers to wave around during the music, so Biscuit and I had to fight with ours after the show.



And because I've noticed that Biscuit and I don't often have photos taken together, I got Jeff to snap one of us.


It was a fun afternoon.