Monday, June 29, 2015

Family trip, Part 3

There's a long-running joke for this area of the country that if you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes and it will change. And in the summer time, I think that's especially true.

We saw some of the prettiest cloud formations and skyscapes from the deck of our mountain rental house.

The owners had a grill and picnic table on the deck (we grilled out dinner for Saturday night). And they also had eight or ten rocking chairs. We all spent a lot of time sitting on the deck, whether we were reading, chatting with each other or just enjoying the view.

Here are some views from the deck:

On Saturday afternoon, I figured I would throw a bone to the menfolk. We drove over to a car cruise-in about half an hour away. The website said the cruise-in would start at 3 p.m., but when we got to the site of the event, there was a sign saying it would be at 5 p.m.
We had two hours to waste in a town that had only a small handful stoplights and even fewer stores to look around in. We visited a sock outlet. Yes, a sock outlet! Then we watched a train go by, and Biscuit counted the cars - 130. Then we spied an antiques store across the street and went in there.

Jeff spotted a bear!

And Biscuit found an Air Force plane he wanted. At $
1.99, I was easily convinced to make the purchase.

The time finally arrived for the cruise-in, and let's just say it was less than we had hoped for. Don't get me wrong, the cars were beautiful - all nine of them!

We drove half an hour and wasted two hours to see nine cars!

Even so, we were all together.

Sunday morning, we packed up and left our mountain home. We put all of our food stuff in easy-to-reach places and drove over to a state park that has a big lake for a picnic.

I wonder why sandwiches always taste better when you eat them outside?

The lake had a pretty trail around it. We're not sure how
far it goes because we saw the size of the lake and knew
it would take us all day to walk all the way around it!

Biscuit strikes a pose at the lake.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Family trip, Part 2

You'd think by looking at the photo below that it took hours and hours for us to get to our mountain house. Really, it was only a little more than two hours from home. But somebody (and I'm not calling any names) was a little bit excited and didn't sleep well the night before we left. 

Biscuit loves his cousins, and the thought of spending the whole weekend with all of us in a house together was very exciting for him. It's funny because we've been doing these trips for years now, but this was the first year that Biscuit seemed really interested in how it all came together.

When I started looking for our rental house, he came over to my computer to watch the progress. He made comments about certain houses and asked questions about others.

So when we got to the house, it was like Biscuit had been there before. He had seen all the pictures on the rental website, and he knew where everything was. We had just arrived, but Biscuit was already at home.

This trip, more than previous ones, it seemed like everybody was interested in just relaxing and spending time together. I think sometimes we get caught up in all the things to do, but this year, we spent a lot of time just hanging out.

Within the neighborhood, there was a .9 mile trail that went to a little waterfall. So Friday morning, we decided to give it a shot.

It was a pretty walk, and everything was so green!

There were places that were a little steeper than I would've preferred, but it was a nice outing.

There were nice benches along
the way if you need to take a break.

People would kill to have ferns
this pretty on their front porches!

Everything was so pretty and green.

I think this is proof that I should've
been in the woods that day.

When the description said "small waterfall," I still pictured something a little larger than what we saw. It was pretty, but "waterfall" was a pretty generous word.

There was a really nice observation deck at the top of the waterfall.
It had nice benches and was completely in the shade. The only
problem was that you couldn't actually see the little waterfall from it!

Mr. Cool had to put on his sunglasses before I could take his picture.

King of the hill!

The water was crystal-clear, and yes, it
was just as cold as you'd think it would be.

It was a nice little adventure. And since we got all our exercise in that morning, we spent the rest of the day lying around the house.

We did work up the energy to go out to dinner. We found a locally owned restaurant that served a good variety of food. It had a '50s diner feeling, and the food was really good.

After dinner, we drove to the downtown area of the little town for a free outdoor concert. It was under the shelter that is usually used for the town's farmers market. They had chairs set up and were selling snacks and drinks. We were all stuffed from dinner, so we just wanted to enjoy the music.

At one point, my brother asked my sister-in-law to dance. And that inspired Jeff to ask me to dance.

And my brother being my brother, he leaned over to us and said, "Let's make these people remember us." Then he handed his wife to me, and he grabbed Jeff. My brother and Jeff were slow dancing, and my sister-in-law and I were slow dancing. Then we swapped again so I was dancing with my brother, and Jeff was dancing with my sister-in-law.

Then Mama came over to take pictures. But she got pulled onto the dance floor and swapped around between all of us. We were all giggling about it, and I glanced over to see some of the people in the audience basically pointing and laughing.

We may be silly, but we always have a good time!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Family trip, Part 1

Jeff and I said goodbye to Biscuit for a week this afternoon, and I had a harder time than usual letting him go.

He's going to my parents' house, so I know he's in good hands. He'll get to play with his cousins. He'll get to go fishing and ride the tractor. He'll get to go swimming and play all day. But I'm going to miss him.

And speaking of my side of the family ... 

We took our annual long-weekend trip to the mountains last weekend. We usually stay in a different house each year, but for the first time, several people said, "Hey, let's rent this house again next year." So we might just do that.

We arrived on Thursday and were very pleased with the house. It was in a gated community, but the houses are so far apart, you can't seem them from your own porch or deck. It's more in the foothills than the mountains, so there weren't a ton of twisty, curvy roads to get there. And it's situated not too far from a town that has several major grocery store chains and some good local restaurants.

The house was built into the side of a small mountain, so it was two stories on the front and three stories on the back. There were decks on the main floor and the bottom floor that overlooked the valley. There were eight or ten rocking chairs on the main deck, so everybody had a place to sit and admire the view.

The house had four bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms, a living room, kitchen/dining room and game room with a foosball table and a pool table.

I didn't take as many pictures this year as I usually do, but here are some the family had posted on their website.

The loft area.

My parents' bedroom.

The living room.

The game room.

The side porch is covered.

A view from down the road.

The kids' bedroom. It had an adjoining bathroom.
A view of the house from the road.
The kitchen / dining room area.

The stairs leading to the loft area. The giant triangle
window overlooks the valley and distant mountains.

Mine and Jeff's bedroom.

My brother and sister-in-law's bedroom.

A small balcony off the upstairs bedrooms.

More pictures and stories to come.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

Flowers for Mama: After the irises die back and before the day and trumpet lilies arrive, our yard doesn't have many blooms to speak of. But leave it to Biscuit to find some.

I think I now have vases to fit all the seasons of little-boy-flower-picking. 

I have the rectangle vase with multiple holes in it for daffodils. I use that one in late March-early April. Remember how I got it?

Then come the irises. I have three kinds that require a tall vase with a wider mouth. I have tea roses that he wants me to have in the house but doesn't pick because of the thorns. So he shows me which flower he wants, and I cut it and put it in a small bud vase.

I explained to him how I don't have many tulips, and I'd like to leave them in the yard. And I told him about how day lilies bloom during the day and close up at night, so we can just leave those in the yard, too.

But during that down time, when there aren't any real blooms in the yard, here's what I get ... 

I picked up this vase on an afternoon shopping trip with a friend. As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be perfect for just this kind of thing.

I see clover blooms, but Biscuit sees flowers for his Mama. So I'm glad I have the perfect way to show them off.

Hard questions: I've long said that the hardest part of being a parent is the little stuff. And this week, it's been the questions.

"Mom, what's trivia?" Biscuit asked.

"It's questions," I answered.

"Oh, I have lots of trivia," Biscuit said. "All the time, I ask you trivia, trivia, trivia."

"Well, it's different from regular questions," I said. "Trivia is usually stuff you already know the answer to, but you're trying to see if someone else has the answer. Like if you asked someone, 'Who was our tallest president?' You already know the answer to that question, right?"

"Yes," Biscuit said. "It's President Abraham Lincoln."

"But a regular question would be like you asking, 'Mom, whose the tallest president?' See the difference?" I asked him.

"I think so," Biscuit said. "That means I have a lot of questions AND a lot of trivia."

"Yep," I said. "You're right." 

He's Canadian now: Biscuit and I went into one of our local dollar stores to get some glow sticks and a couple of jigsaw puzzles for our family trip to the mountains. Now that Biscuit can read, he reads EVERYTHING! Signs, billboards, menus, anything he can get his hands on.

So I had to laugh when we walked into the store, and Biscuit stopped, looked up and said, "Summer fun, eh?"

Monday, June 15, 2015

Happy early Father's Day

Thursday morning, we'll be driving to the mountains to meet my side of the family for our annual long-weekend trip. I found us another beautiful house (pictures to come) with plenty of room for all 10 of us.

Next weekend is also Father's Day. And although it will be nice to be with my Daddy and my brother, I wanted a chance for Biscuit and Jeff to have some father/son time together. So Biscuit and I talked about it and decided that we would celebrate Father's Day this past weekend instead. Biscuit especially loved it because there were presents involved. He doesn't really care who the presents are for as long as he gets to help tear the paper off them.

When I was thinking about a gift for Jeff, I considered all the usual Father's Day suspects. And then I decided to go with a playful choice.

In the past couple of months, Biscuit has discovered the Wii video game system we have. Jeff and I got it before Biscuit was even born, but after he got here, needless to say, there wasn't much time to play. It's a fun system because the games require you to be up and moving around.

We have some basic games like baseball, bowling, boxing and some other sports. We also have some dance games where you match your moves to the dancer on the screen. And not only is there fairly strenuous activity involved, there's always a lot of giggling, too (especially when Jeff attempts to dance!).

So I decided that I would add to the gaming collection with some things Jeff and Biscuit would enjoy doing together.

Now, you know how fast technology moves, so the system we have is considered a dinosaur by video gaming standards. But that was actually okay. I was able to buy used games for a small fraction of the original cost!

Biscuit decided that Jeff needed to open his presents Saturday evening, then we would take him out to eat at a restaurant of his choosing for Sunday lunch.

After Jeff opened his presents, he and Biscuit both stayed up way past bedtime to play with their new toys. And then they played again Sunday. 

The temperatures here are already terribly high. It was 96 degrees today. So I think this will offer a cool respite when they can't be in the backyard playing baseball.

Here are some pictures of Jeff and Biscuit opening Jeff's presents.

There's a discount store near our house that sells the
musical cards for less than half of what you'd pay in
regular stores. So I took Biscuit in there to choose one.
A fellow shopper got a big kick out of him having
to listen to every single card that made noise.

Biscuit picked out this ping pong set a month or so ago and completely
forgot about it. It's made to be used on any rectangle table. "We can play
this on the dining room table," Biscuit said. "And what do you plan to do
with the electric train set that's already set up on that table?" I asked him.

I individually wrapped the games and equipment
and put them all in a big box. Biscuit was thrilled when
he saw that there would be more presents to open.

Of course I had to get my car guys a driving game!