Saturday, August 30, 2014

New routine

I woke up this morning at 5:57 a.m. ... with no alarm set. And I'm happy about it.

Most people would think it's crazy to be happy about waking up so early, but to me, it means that my new schedule is kicking in. It's becoming the norm.

Mama came Sunday afternoon and left Thursday morning after we dropped off Biscuit at school. And I was sad to see her go. I think somehow it was easier making the new schedule work with her here. And she wasn't even doing anything except riding to school with me.

In 2008, when I called Mama to tell her I was going to the hospital to have Biscuit, she and Daddy packed up and got here about 3 hours later. It's a 2 1/2-hour drive. She stayed for three weeks. You'd think that we'd be tired of each other, but I cried when she left. It was really hard.

And Thursday morning, it was hard, too.

This feels like such a big change.

One day, when I was a lot younger, and single, and living in an apartment by myself, I stacked up all my monthly bills and added all the totals together. When I saw the total, I almost had a heart attack. It was such a huge number. And I can't imagine what possessed me to find out that number.

I made more than enough money to pay those bills, and I got paid twice a month and knew which check which bills would be paid from. But for some reason, even though I knew the money was there to pay for everything, seeing that big number was so scary.

Well, I had a similar moment Friday morning.

The alarm went off at 6 a.m., and it hit me like a flash. The new get-up time was not just for a week, or even a month. This will be my new getting-up time from now until Biscuit finished fifth grade.


It's overwhelming. And it's scary. But waking up on time without an alarm seems to be a good sign.

Monday is Labor Day, so the kids are out of school. So we'll start again Tuesday and see how it goes.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Different and unusual

Everybody from parents to grandparents to teachers told me that Biscuit would be exhausted after his first day of school. Actually, they all assured me that he would be wiped out the whole first week.

But of course, my Biscuit couldn't follow trend. He has been WIDE OPEN every day so far. He hasn't shut his mouth until we've forced him to go to bed each night.

He tells us about everything they've been doing at school. He has sung two new songs for us. He explains how everything works, including lunch, snack, walking down the hall, after-school playtime and on and on.

I can't figure out Biscuit's energy source because he's getting up an hour and a half earlier each day and going to bed an hour and a half earlier each night. And they don't get naps in kindergarten anymore, either. He was used to an hour and a half of naptime (or quiet time if he didn't want to sleep). Now, he has to make it through the whole day with no rest. You would think with that drastic a change in his schedule, he would be tired, cranky, grumpy and all around hard to deal with.

But that hasn't been the case at all.

He's been excited and happy and enthusiastic and just fun to be around.

I think part of that is because his Grandmama was here, and he wanted to share his new experiences with her. But partly, I think he's just been looking so forward to going to school, and mainly learning to read, that it's just been pure adrenaline.

This evening, we had the first sign of exhaustion. Jeff and Biscuit were in the kitchen, and as I walked in, Biscuit was crying and saying something in a really pitiful voice.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"Um, I just want to do something fun and interesting and unusual, Mom," Biscuit said through his tears. "I don't want to watch TV or read a book or play with my toys."

The bad part was that he made this decision at 8 p.m. His bedtime now is 8:30 p.m., and he hadn't had a bath.

I decided last week that it had been too long since we played our Wii video games, and tonight, it seemed like just the thing to get Biscuit out of his funk. There's a game where they play music, and you mimic the dance moves of the person on the screen. Biscuit and I played a short version of it with a song he really likes, and it was just the ticket.

When the song was over, Jeff gave him a bath then shuffled him off to bed.

It'll be interesting to see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Biscuit's first day

I would definitely call Biscuit's first day a success. He walked in like he owned the place, and I sat in the car and cried about it.

It was definitely a group effort to get us out the door and to school on time. It's a complete shake-up of our usual morning schedule. My Mama came up Sunday afternoon, so she could be here on his first day. She's seen all three of her other grandkids heading off to school, so she didn't want to miss seeing Biscuit.

And I'm glad she was here.

Jeff got up earlier than he was supposed to so he could help. And despite moving slowly for about 5 or so minutes, Biscuit was in a good mood when we got him up.

Biscuit has a tendency to dawdle over breakfast. I bet Jeff and I say the word "eat" at least 50 times each morning.

"Mom, did you know ..." Biscuit will say.

"Eat!" I'll say.

"Um, Dad, do you remember when ..." Biscuit will say.

"Eat!" Jeff will say.

And yesterday was more of the same.

Sunday afternoon, I let Biscuit help pick out his clothes for the first week. We got his days-of-the-week cubby holes packed up. Each day has an outfit, underwear, socks and PJs. It's a very nice system that keeps me from having to deal with it each morning.

I also packed up as much as I could of Biscuit's lunch Sunday night. He's such a pick eater that I knew he would be taking his lunch. I let him help pick out what he wanted, and he seemed to like that process.

So we walked out the front door at 7:15 a.m., and we were at the school and in line with all the other car riders by 7:27 a.m. Traffic flowed better than I thought it would, and we were at the front door at 7:30 a.m.

I looked around and didn't see any teachers or student helpers. Then I remembered that at open house, they said that if you arrive between 7:30 and 7:40 a.m., you would need to drop off your child at the multi-purpose room. The multi-purpose room is a combination of the cafeteria and auditorium. It has cafeteria tables on one side and a stage and big open area on the other side. That's also where they gather all the kids each morning. They separate them by class, then all the kids walk together to their classrooms.

So I drove over to the multi-purpose room and helped Biscuit out of the car. We got his backpack on and his lunchbox in his hand. I gave him a hug and kiss and away he went. He walked up to door and told the teacher who he was and his teacher's name. The teacher looked up and gave me a thumbs-up, and that was that.

I got in the car, watched as a teacher just inside the door led Biscuit to his group, and I drove away. And then the tears started ... both me and Grandmama.

As we drove into the school parking lot, every part of me wanted to park my car, grab Biscuit's hand and lead him into the school where he needed to be. But I knew that as routine-oriented as he is, it would be best if we started the regular routine from day one. It was good for him, but it was terrible for me. It was so hard to know that I was just letting him go.

When school is done for the day, Biscuit will be staying at the school for after-school care. It's a county-sponsored program. They help them with their homework, take them outside to play, give them a snack and plan activities for them. And it's half the cost of what his old day care was going to charge us.

And speaking of his old day care, as we drove by to get to his new school, Biscuit threw his hand up in a wave and said, "GOODBYE, day care!"

I picked up Biscuit after school, and he did not shut his mouth until we forced him to go to bed. He was wide open.

I knew we planned to go out for pizza, plus Biscuit had his piano lesson, so I gave him his bath really early. Then we did piano, then pizza. And seeing as it took FOREVER to get our food, I'm really glad I had planned ahead.

Biscuit's piano lesson went well. He got to play a couple of songs for Grandmama on the pipe organ. He was proud, and so was Grandmama.

It was a crazy, crazy day, but I'm glad it's behind us.

Monday, August 25, 2014

First day of school

It's just as we suspected ...

Biscuit did fine. I've been a weepy mess all day. 

Picture tonight. Details later.

We got Biscuit a first day of school present ...
because clearly he doesn't have enough toys already!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Getting ready

I have failed miserably at getting mine and Biscuit's schedules adjusted for school to start.

The plan is that I drive him to school, drop him off, then head straight in to work. That way, I can leave earlier than I usually do and pick up Biscuit without him having to spend 10 hours away from home! And my boss doesn't care WHEN I work, just THAT I work. And I'll still be able to bring home anything I don't finish at the office - a sad but true part of the job I have now.

My original plan was that I would put Biscuit in bed early each night this week and get him up early every morning. And that in turn would make me get up early and go to bed early, too.

But alas, the best laid plans ...

Part of the problem was good. Jeff's parents made an unexpected visit. They came Monday after spending a few days with Jeff's brother (about an hour and a half away from us). Then they left Thursday morning. We've been spoiled by long visits from them, so we didn't know how to handle having limited time, especially with Jeff and me both having to work late while they were here.

So I decided that Biscuit and I would DEFINITELY get in bed early Thursday.

Well, he had his open house at school, then we went out to dinner. By the time we got home, he was still wired with excitement and didn't go to sleep until about regular time.

Then last night, I had to work really late because I'm taking next week off (well, most of next week ... I'll still have to do some parts of my job). So Biscuit and Jeff were on their own, and the early bedtime just didn't happen.

My last chance was tonight. I filled out some more paperwork for school, took care of some couponing stuff and did some stuff around the house.

About 9:15, Jeff said, "Did you want me to give that boy a bath?"

"Holy Moses!" I said. "He was supposed to be in bed half an hour ago!"

So for one last ditch effort, I'm going to get Biscuit and me up early tomorrow morning and go out for breakfast. That will get us up and moving, and hopefully by the time his new, earlier bedtime comes, he'll be ready to go to sleep.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Open house

Well, we're one step closer. We went to open house tonight to meet Biscuit's kindergarten teacher.

When Biscuit went back in June for his assessment, a really nice teacher took him into a classroom in the library to find out where he is academically.

As they walked in, Biscuit said, "Do you realize that this entire room is full of books?!"

"Yes," she said.

"It looks just like a library," Biscuit said. "Can I read them all?"

"Yes," the teacher said. "You can check them out just like books at the regular library."

He was impressed.

After his assessment was over, she brought him back out and said to me, "I'm keeping him!"

I smiled at her as Biscuit started to tell me about all the books he saw.

Well, she DID keep him. That nice lady will be Biscuit's kindergarten teacher. We met her and the teacher's assistant this evening.

I told Biscuit that when we walked in, I wanted him to go introduce himself. And he did. I was proud of him. He talked for a minute then saw a table full of blocks. And off he went to play with the other kids.

We talked with the teacher for a bit about Biscuit's desire to learn to read (he's been asking me to teach him for a year and a half!), his stutter and his nasty little habit of following the crowd ... right into trouble!

Once Biscuit looked around the classroom, he saw some familiar things.

"Um, excuse me," he said to his teacher. "We have this same carpet at my old day care. I call it my old day care because when I come here to big school, I won't go to day care anymore."

He has a cubbyhole for his school supplies and a tiny little chair that fits under a tiny little table. His spot is labeled with his name. There's a label for Bryce next to him. And I told Jeff and the teacher's aide that if that ends up being the Bryce from Biscuit's day care, I'm guessing either Bryce or Biscuit will be sitting at a different table very soon!

Here's Biscuit at his spot at the table:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Enjoying the scenery

I talked to Biscuit this evening, but he was more interested in the movie he was watching with his cousins. This might sound weird, but I was almost happy that he didn't want to talk to me because it meant he was having a great time.

And so am I.

Here's where I am ...

The view from our balcony.

We ate dinner on the deck of a seafood restaurant
with this view. We also saw dolphins playing in the water.

And the food was pretty tasty, too.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Camping in

I talked to Biscuit this morning ... for about 10 seconds!

He had finished breakfast, and Mama said he was in the living room. I asked if I could talk to him, and she called him.

"Hey, baby!" I said. "Whatcha doing?"

"Um, I'm watching a show on TV, and it's right in the middle," Biscuit said.

"Do you want to finish watching?" I asked.

"Um, yes, I love you, bye!" Biscuit said and quickly handed the phone to his Grandmama.

This afternoon, Biscuit went from his grandparents' house to his aunt, uncle and cousin's house. I called to check in with him this evening.

He didn't want to talk to me then, either!

But my sister-in-law sent a couple of pictures for me.

I think you technically have to be outside to call it
"camping out." So I guess Biscuit is "camping in."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Out of the mouth of my babe - from Grandmama's house

A few things Biscuit said at his Grandparents' house recently:

What's for dinner? Some of my Daddy's side of the family are visiting this week. We got to see them Sunday when we dropped off Biscuit. And the whole crew decided to go out to a buffet restaurant yesterday evening.

Mama walked around the buffet with Biscuit to help him pick out something to eat. But alas, he didn't see any chicken strips.

A restaurant employee was walking by, and Biscuit saw her. "Excuse me, ma'am."

The woman turned around but didn't really acknowledge Biscuit. But of course he wasn't deterred.

"Do you have any chicken strips?" he asked her.

"No," she said. "We don't have chicken strips."

"Oh, no" Biscuit said. "Well, I don't think there's anything here I like to eat."

And the employee had no reply.

"There's some chicken over here," my Mama told him. "Here are some chicken legs."

"Chicken legs?" Biscuit asked.

And here's the part where I'm embarrassed to tell you that my child has never eaten chicken off the bone. He's had chicken strips, chicken nuggets, boneless chicken breasts and pulley bones, but never chicken with a bone.

"Do you eat the bone?" Biscuit asked.

Mama laughed. "No, you just eat the chicken off the bone."

So Biscuit gnawed on his chicken leg and decided he liked it. And then he had to tell me all about it on the phone.

Add one more thing to the "Biscuit likes it" list.

Practice time: See if you can get this straight ...

When we're at home, Biscuit calls me Mom or Mama. I refer to my own mother as Mama. So when we're at my parents' house, Biscuit says Mama to me and her both. And here's the tricky part. When he's at my parents' house, and I'm not, he refers to her as Mama and to me as Kim.

Got it?

Anyway, it's hard for Biscuit to remember to practice piano when he's at his grandparents' house. And especially so for this week with extra family there.

Yesterday evening, Mama said to Biscuit, "Oh! We forgot to practice your music."

Biscuit said, "Oh, no. Kim will be so mad at me. Can you tell Kim that we were just so busy today?"

I called just before bedtime, and Mama told me what Biscuit said. So when I talked to Biscuit, I wanted to let him know I wasn't mad.

"Did you practice piano today?" I asked him.

"Well, I might as well tell the truth ... no. I didn't practice," Biscuit said. "We were just so busy today, Mom. It's easy to get distracted here."

"That's okay," I said to him. "Just try to practice tomorrow, okay?"

"I'll try ... of course if I don't get too distracted," Biscuit said.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Clean up, clean out, organize!

I love to organize things. I love to sort and arrange and line up things. And I think that's why the state of my living room has been driving me crazy lately.

My house has the same clutter as everybody else's -- mail, magazines, things that didn't make it back to their rightful places. But for the most part, I try to make sure things do have a rightful place.

And luckily, Jeff is the same way. He has WAY too many T-shirts (because he loves them), but other than that, when he gets something new, he almost always gets rid of something old.

And of course, we're trying to instill this in Biscuit.

Since Biscuit got here, we've let him keep all his toys in the living room. His room is on the second floor, and we definitely didn't want him trying to climb up the stairs to play. So we thought it was pretty harmless to devote some space to his stuff.

The toys started out in a small basket. Then it took a larger basket. Then a large bucket. Then a second bucket was added. Then they started spilling out over that. We tried to narrow down the pile, especially before his birthday and Christmas, but it just seemed to grow and grow. And I just kept thinking, "This won't be forever."

But lately, I've noticed Biscuit has been spending more time playing in his room and in the loft area at the top of the stairs. And it was a sign unto me!

Two weeks ago, I told Biscuit, "We're going to move all your toys upstairs to your room. What do you think about that?"

"I won't ever be able to play downstairs again?" Biscuit asked.

"Dude!" I said. "Of COURSE you can play downstairs. I just mean that we're going to move your toys to your room so the living room will look nicer."

We're lucky enough to have double closets in Biscuit's room. So I told Biscuit that we were going to redo his closet by putting shelves for his toys on one side and putting his hanging clothes on the other side. I gave him a pop-up hamper and told him he could use the hamper to bring down any toys he wanted to play with. Then at the end of the evening, he could put them back in the hamper and take them back upstairs.

He still seemed doubtful until Jeff and I got done. I took him upstairs and opened the toy side first.

"Whoa!" Biscuit said. "That's AWESOME!"

Then I opened the other side.

"That's cool, too," Biscuit said, "but the other side is AWESOME!"

Of course, we did all this work, then gave him the hamper to use. He brought toys downstairs the first day and seemed very pleased with himself for getting it all figured out. And then we put him to bed with his toys spread out all over the living room.

We all laughed about it the next day and agreed that it was going to be a learning curve.

But it's a step in the right direction.

Here's what his closet looks like.

This is the toy side. Jeff installed the shelves, and we used the
hanging cubbies for all of Biscuit's hats. He still loves hats. And it
was funny because when he packed his toy bag to go to Mama's this
week, he originally had four caps, two firefighter helmets, two cowboy
hats and a police hat in his bag. I repacked his toy bag without him
knowing it, but it just tickled me that he had included all those
hats! I think maybe it was because he could easily see them all.

The rods were already installed in the closet. Biscuit doesn't have
too many hanging clothes right now, but I figure that will change
eventually. The blue and green cubbies have the days of the week on
them. Each week on Sunday, I put pants, shirt, underwear, socks and
PJs in each day's cubby. That makes mornings a lot easier. The cubbies
on the far left with the animal faces usually holds stuffed animals.
But a good many of them went to Mama's house with Biscuit.
I'm sure she's thrilled to have all those critters at her house for a visit.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Gettin' it done

My baby lost his first tooth this morning. And as most things tend to be with him, there was very little drama about the whole thing.

Before I tell you what happened, let me just say that I am so thankful every day that Biscuit was sent to me. I just love that child and everything about him (even when I want to shake him!). He's just so full of personality, and he's so intuitive, and he's so funny. And he's just so nonchalant about things. Even when you think he should be freaking out, he just takes care of business.

So here's what happened ...

Last night, Jeff and Biscuit were in the bathroom, and Biscuit had stripped down for his bath. All of a sudden, I heard Jeff and Biscuit both hollering for me. My first thought was that something had happened, and Biscuit was hurt.

They finally tracked me down, and Biscuit said, "LOOK!!!" And he opened his mouth and wiggled one of his bottom teeth.

I don't like wiggly teeth. My brothers children, sweet angels that they are, used to torture me by getting right in my face and wiggling their loose teeth. They thought it was the funniest thing that it freaked me out so much. It just gives me chills from my head to my toes!

I made a big fuss about Biscuit's loose tooth, and Jeff said, "You know he'll probably lose it at your Mom's house."

I planned a girls' long weekend from this coming Thursday to Sunday. And before we rented the condo, I told Jeff to check the dates. He said, "That should be fine."

We have a big golf tournament every August here, and Jeff spends basically an entire week writing stories about it. So just to double-check, I said, "When is the golf tournament?"

"It's the weekend before your trip," Jeff said.

Well, guess what? He was wrong. It's the SAME week as my girls' trip.

So I immediately called my sister-in-law and my mama. "Can the boy stay with y'all?"

And thank God for family, they both said yes. So Mama will have him the first week, and my brother and sister-in-law will have him the second part of the week.

So we drove Biscuit down there today, and my friend and I will stop by on the way home to pick him up Sunday afternoon.

I called Mama this morning to tell her about his tooth and to work out the details for what happens when you lose a tooth.

Biscuit walked into the room and saw me on the phone. "Um, excuse me. Mom, are you talking to the Tooth Fairy to tell her I'll be at Grandmama's when my tooth comes out?"

"No, baby, I'm talking to Grandmama to tell her about your tooth," I told him.

We had it all worked out.

Then Biscuit asked if he could have a sausage biscuit for breakfast. We stopped by and got one for him, and after he took the first bite, he said, "Mom, it hurts my tooth when I bite my biscuit."

"Just pinch it off," I said to Biscuit.

A few minutes went by before Biscuit said, "Here, Mom."

"What is it?" I asked.

"It's my tooth," he said matter of factly.

"What?!" I said. "It came out?!" I meant for him to pinch off the biscuit, but he pinched off his tooth!

"I pulled it out," Biscuit said. "It hurt a little bit, but I managed to get through it."

No drama, no big deal.

I turned around to put his tooth somewhere safe, and when I looked back, he was chowing down on his biscuit.

And that was that.

Here's my snaggle-tooth boy:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Hair today

When Biscuit was just learning to talk, and he wanted to do something on his own, he would say, "I do it my byself."

And lately, he's been on a big "my byself" kick.

Biscuit is convinced that he is fully capable of doing everything that needs to be done. And although I greatly admire his gumption, we still have to help him out with certain things. And just like when he was little, he still doesn't like it!

When I went to the informational meeting about kindergarten, they told us a list of things the kids need to be able to do before they start school. And Biscuit can do most of those things. And he takes care of most of his "getting ready" stuff, too.

Academically ...

  • Alphabet: He knows all his letters and can write them uppercase and lowercase.
  • Numbers: He knows his numbers and can write them. He can count to 999. Granted, I haven't heard him do it, but he'll tell you that when you get to 199, you then go to 200 and when you get to 299, you then go to 300, etc.
  • Name: He can write his first and last name.
  • Scissors: He can cut okay, although he really doesn't like to do it. (My child does not like art projects, and that just breaks my heart!)
  • Reading: He recognizes about 60 words and can point them out when we're reading.
  • Math: He can do simple addition. Like today, he was looking at some Legos on the floor, and he said, "Well, I have four in this pile and four in that pile, and that's eight."
  • Sorting and patterns: He's really good at figuring out how things should be separated and when a pattern is in play.
  • Reading comprehension: His daycare teacher laughs at how Biscuit can almost recite a book after he hears it. It would make me so, so happy if Biscuit's love of books stuck with him.
  • Critical thinking: Biscuit is pretty good at reasoning things out. He sorta gets the concept of cause and effect.
Personally ...
  • Teeth: He brushes his own teeth (although we still "check" them when he's done).
  • Bathroom: He can do paperwork by himself, and he knows what happens in urinals and what happens in stalls.
  • Clothes: He's been dressing himself for what seems like forever.
  • Shoes: It's hard to find shoes for kids his age that have laces, so he can't tie shoes. Although, he can get the Velcro straps done up just right.
  • Hair: He makes a fine attempt at combing his own hair. (Although he still can't get his part straight, and that bugs the heck out of Jeff.)
It's been hard letting him do more on his own because we've just been used to doing things for him for so long. And the funny thing is, most of the time, you don't even realize that you're doing it. It's like muscle memory. Not to mention the fact that it is SO much quicker to do things for him.

So especially in the past few weeks, Jeff and I have been working hard to let Biscuit do a lot more things for himself. Our biggest problem is being okay with the not-so-great efforts on some things.

Like Biscuit's hair.

When Jeff combs Biscuit's hair, you could hold a ruler up to the part, and it would be just that straight! But when Biscuit does it, the part is all over the place. But I've been really proud of Jeff's patience, especially when he lets Biscuit walk out the door with not-combed-well hair.

Biscuit is just so dang independent. And as much as I realize it's good for him, it's both sad and frustrating for Jeff and me. This whole parenting thing is hard!

One of Biscuit's first hair-combing attempts.

But he was very proud of his efforts.

I told Jeff, "Ultimately, you don't have to worry
about the part because no matter how carefully
you style Biscuit's hair, it always ends up
straight down on his forehead anyway!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

Cowboy grub: When Biscuit is playing cowboy, I'm often the camp cook. He calls me Cookie.

Last week, Biscuit had rounded up a bunch of cows in the living room. Then he left the room and came back with a sword.

"Mom, do you want me to use this sword to cut some bull?" Biscuit asked.

"What?!" I asked.

"You know, for dinner, we can have some meat."

"Um, sure," I said. But I didn't go any further.

And hey, at least he knows where it comes from ... sort of.

Feeling regret: Biscuit has a listening problem. His ears work just fine, he just doesn't use them consistently.

On one recent night, I asked him to do something. He acknowledged me, said he would do what I told him, then kept playing.

Knowing Biscuit like I know Biscuit, I got up out of my chair and started doing what I had asked him to do. He came running over and said, "I'll do it! I'll do it!"

"No," I said. "I asked you to do it, but you didn't. Now, I'm doing it."

I wish you could've seen his face. He knew he had disappointed me. And Biscuit does not like to disappoint me.

About half an hour later, Biscuit came slinking over to my chair. He wouldn't even look at my face.

"Mom, I'm feeling really sorry about myself," Biscuit said.

"Why?" I asked him, knowing exactly why he was feeling bad.

"For not listening and doing what you said," Biscuit said. "I just feel so sorry about myself for that."

I don't enjoy making Biscuit feel "sorry about himself," but sometimes, he has to figure out by himself where he went wrong and how he needs to fix it.

Lookin' good: The pajama shirt Biscuit is wearing tonight says "Heartbreaker" on the front of it. Jeff asked him if he knew what "heartbreaker" means.

"It means I look good, right?" Biscuit asked.

"Yep," Jeff said. "That's right. ... Are you a heartbeaker?"

"Nope," Biscuit said. "I haven't combed my hair yet."

Eating well: I feel like I've typed this a lot lately, but I had to work late tonight, so Biscuit and Jeff were on their own for dinner.

We go out to eat after Biscuit's piano lessons on Monday, and we had leftovers at home for tonight's dinner.

When Jeff picked up Biscuit, he said, "Boy, Mama is working late, so you get a choice for dinner. A sandwich or some leftover honey chicken."

"Ooo," Biscuit said. "Honey chicken."

"What do you want to go with it?" Jeff asked.

"Just the chicken," Biscuit said.

"You need to have something with it," Jeff said. "Like the broccoli that comes with it. Broccoli has nutrients and vitamins, and it's good for you."

Jeff said it was really quiet in the back seat for a few minutes.

Then Biscuit said, "Good to know."

In other words, he was not going to eat the broccoli. But at least he was diplomatic about it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Family stories

Saturday night, after our activities were done for the day, we were all hanging out in my uncle's den. Biscuit was watching a movie in the living room, perfectly content to be spending some time alone.

And Mama and my Uncle started telling stories about themselves and our family members.

One story my uncle shared was that he was in the Air Force before he ever saw pizza. It was in the mid-60s, and he was in Orlando, Fla., and saw a pizza for the first time.

"All I could think was that cheese and tomatoes, that just didn't seem like a good combination," he said. He doesn't have that opinion now!

Then Mama was telling about when they were kids, living in the mill village. Back then, whole neighborhoods would be built near a factory, so the workers would be close enough to walk to work. It also meant built-in friends for Mama and her brother and sister. There were always other kids around to play with.

Mama was telling about when Granny worked second shift at the mill. She said Granny would cook up some vegetables, and Grandaddy would make biscuit dough. But instead of making round biscuits, he would just spread out the dough in a 9x13 pan and bake it. When it was done, he would slice it into squares, just like a sheetcake. My uncle said it had the best crust on it.

After dinner (or supper, as they call it), Grandaddy would sit in the porch swing while Mama and the other kids played. Grandaddy would fall asleep in the swing, and they'd just keep playing.

Granny's shift would end at midnight. Mama said the big whistle would blow, and you could hear it all over the village. So the kids would all take off running and jump in their beds, filthy as can be. But they'd rather go to bed dirty than get caught still playing when Granny got home.

Mama told about them getting bicycles for Christmas one year. There was nowhere to hide them at Granny's house, so Grandaddy put them at my Great Aunt and Great Uncle's house. And in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, Grandaddy, Uncle Harvey and Uncle D.D. rode those little-kid bicycles from my Aunt and Uncle's house to Granny and Grandaddy's house.

"I would've paid money to see that!" Mama said.

Then they moved on to the stupid kid stuff.

I've said before that I don't know how my brother and I are still alive. We did stupid things like putting an old mattress underneath the door of the hay loft, then jumped! It's the equivalent of jumping out of a second-floor window onto a mattress. I'm surprised one of us didn't break something!

But I felt a little better when I found out that my Mama and her siblings and her friends did stupid things, too.

Mama said they used to walk down to the park, where there were rows of concrete picnic tables. They used to start at one end and run and jump from table to table all the way to the other end.

"If one of us had slipped, and hit our head, it would've killed us!" Mama said.

There was also a big cast iron drain pipe that ran through the park and sat up on pylons. And it got higher and higher as it went along. They used to climb up on it and walk it as far as they could. But I guess walking in bare feet wasn't good enough because they decided to walk it in their roller skates!

"We had to turn our feet sideways with our skates on to walk it," my Uncle said. "It's a wonder we hadn't broke our necks!"

But they saved the best story for last.

My Great-Grandfather (who Mama calls PawPaw) was in the hospital. So my Grandaddy and his brothers took Great-Granny Ella up to see him. Well, Granny Ella had never been on an elevator before, and rightly so, she was nervous.

So they all piled in and rode up to the floor where PawPaw was. The doors opened, and they got off. Well, everybody but Granny Ella got off. And by the time everybody turned around to look for her, there she was, standing in the back of the elevator and the doors were sliding shut. They didn't catch her in time, and away the elevator car went.

So the brothers all ran down the stairs to try to catch her.

They made it to the lobby just in time to see a flash of Granny Ella as the elevator doors were sliding shut again. And away she went, back upstairs.

Well, the brothers took off up the stairs after her.

I'm not sure how many times this happened before they finally got her off the thing, but it didn't matter. Just the thought of that poor woman being paralyzed with fear to the point that she couldn't step out of that new-fangled moving box! It sounds like something out of a sitcom, not somebody's real life.

Biscuit was sad when I told him that his Grandmama and Uncle were telling stories and he didn't get to hear them. But it made him feel a whole lot better when I whispered and told him that I had recorded a bunch of the stories on my phone without them knowing about it!

I wish I could post one of the stories, but sadly, the TV was on in the background, and it's hard to hear them over John Wayne and Kirk Douglas. But between their thick Georgia accents and the stories they had to tell, it was an evening of entertainment.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A surprise for Mama

Biscuit has figured out that it's fun to pick out presents for me. And his first choice is jewelry. And of course, I have no problem with that!

For my birthday, Biscuit picked out a heart-shaped ruby necklace. His rationale was "Red is your favorite color, and hearts mean I love you." Sounds good to me.

Friday afternoon, we stopped at an antiques store that had all kinds of cool stuff, including jewelry. Biscuit saw a pair of earrings he wanted to get for me, but 1. they were too expensive, and 2. they were SO heavy that I doubt I would ever wear them.

When I told him that we couldn't get the earrings, he lost it. He just sobbed the most pitiful tears ever. Part of it was for not getting to buy me the jewelry. And part of it was because he spent the better part of Thursday in the car, then another couple of hours Friday in the car, and the activities we were taking part in were not really kid-friendly. Throw in the fact that he hadn't had a nap, and it was just sad.

I convinced Biscuit to walk around with me a little bit, and I showed him this vase that I loved. It was blue and white rectangle with a frog lid.

"Check this out," I said to him. "Wouldn't this be perfect for when you pick flowers for me? You could put one flower in each of these holes on top."

But he wasn't buying it. Literally!

My Mama came and got Biscuit and walked around with him. I made a lap around the store, drooling over all the fun stuff they had. Then I looped back through the room with the vase. I convinced myself about halfway through the store that I was going to buy it. And it was only $8.

I got back to the table where I had seen the vase, and it was gone!

I saw the woman who owns the store and asked her if she knew what happened to it. I explained that I wanted to buy it, but couldn't find it.

"I'm sorry," she said. "A woman JUST bought it. She said it would be perfect for when her grandson picked flowers for her."

I was so mad. I mean, I need another vase like I need a hole in the head, but for something different, unusual, pretty and cheap, I was going to find a spot at home for it.

But alas, it wasn't meant to be.

We all met at the front of the store (Jeff, me, Biscuit, my Mama and my Uncle), and we started walking out.

The owner pointed to Biscuit and said, "Is that your son?"

"Yes," I said. And she had a weird look on her face.

I noticed that she looked over at Mama, but I was still too dense to put together what was happening.

Biscuit was still in a bad place, so when we got to the car, Mama called him over to her side. Biscuit walked up to the driver's door and handed me a bag. I looked inside, and guess what I found? The vase!

I made a big fuss with Biscuit, asking how in the world he could pull such a big trick on me. And it did seem to cheer him up.

Then I grabbed the bag and walked back into the store.

I found the owner, straightening some books on a shelf. She had her back to me when I said, "The woman who bought this was my Mama!"

She turned around and had big tears in her eyes. "As soon as I saw y'all walking out together, I knew what was going on. That was just the sweetest thing," she said.

Then she grabbed me and hugged me.

Here's my pretty new vase:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Back home

We made it back home this evening ... safe and sound ... and tired and cranky ... and dreading going to work and day care tomorrow.

But we had a really good time. We caught up with some relatives, and took in some sightseeing. Details and pictures to come, but after unpacking and getting Biscuit bathed and in the bed, I'm ready to head to my own bed.

And after sleeping for three nights in a bed that wasn't mine. And one that is two sizes smaller than my own, it'll be nice to stretch out in my king size!

(But just in case Granny knows I'm writing this, "Thanks for letting Jeff and me have your bed for the weekend, Granny!")

We started our trip Thursday by heading to my parents' house to pick up Mama. My Daddy is just not the sight-seeing type, well, unless it involves music. So we left him at home to piddle in his shop and work in the yard. (Note: We got back to their house this evening to drop off Mama, and Daddy said he got so bored, he actually washed his lawnmower!)

Anyway, we got Mama and started on our way to my uncle's house. My parents live about 20 minutes from the nearest town, and as we were driving through, it was getting close to lunchtime. I was wondering where we could stop, and then I looked up and saw the hamburger joint my Daddy and I went to on the day I got my driving permit. And it happened to be on my 15th birthday.

This place has been there forever. They have hamburgers, hot dogs and other sandwiches. Fries, onion rings and bags of Lance chips. Their sweet tea is incredibly sweet. And their soft drinks come in cans with a plastic cup of crushed ice. And the inside looks exactly the way it did on my 15th birthday!

So we stopped to eat, and in addition to reminiscing over good times, we got a good lunch for a reasonable price and were soon back on the road with full bellies.