Friday, December 23, 2016

Santa through the years

I was looking back at pictures of Biscuit with Santa, and it's hard to believe that this year was his 7th visit with the Big Man. 

Remember in 2014 when we had to quickly explain to Biscuit that there are multiple "Santa's helpers" in different locations? Biscuit had seen the same Santa for the first six years, but he was having some health problems and had to cut short his Santa time. This year, he didn't come back, so there was a different Santa. Biscuit didn't say anything about it, so I didn't, either. He had a red suit and a beard, and that was close enough!

Here's Biscuit and Santa from 2009-16.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

Southern boy: We made two trips to New York this summer, and at every restaurant, I had to remind Biscuit, "They don't have sweet tea."

I don't make tea at home much anymore (mainly because Biscuit and I both like it too much). But when we go to restaurants, that's what both of us usually drink.

So poor Biscuit would make a disappointed face and say, "Aw, no sweet tea" every single time.

So after two trips north to be with Jeff's family, it was time for us to head to the nearby mountains to spend a long weekend with my family.

We started talking about what we'd get for lunch on the way, and Biscuit said, "Guys, I just have one question."

Jeff and I both said, "What?" at the same time.

"Which direction are we driving?" Biscuit asked.

"West, why?" Jeff asked.

"Do they have sweet tea in the west?" Biscuit asked.

"As far west as we're going, they do indeed have sweet tea," I told him.

And he was happy.

It's all about perspective: When we were at Jeff's parents' house this summer, one of his cousins came over for a visit. Biscuit was getting ready for the day and came running into the living room to ask me if I could help him pick out some clothes.

When we got to the bedroom, he said, "Mom, who is that guy in there?"

"That's one of your cousins," I said.

"Mom ... really," Biscuit said and rolled his eyes.

"What?" I said. "He is."

"Mom! He a man ... and he has a beard," Biscuit said.

Then I understood. Biscuit's first cousins range in age from 12-18, so it's never occurred to him that he could have a grown-up cousin.

So he got a little lesson in family ... and still couldn't believe that a grown man was his cousin!

Feeling good: Jeff was helping Biscuit get ready for bed when Biscuit said, "Hey Dad, know what the best thing about me today was? 

"What?" Jeff said.

"I was just SO energestic," Biscuit said.

I wish he would share some of his energestic-ism with me!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Trying something new

Biscuit was invited to a birthday party at a local ice skating rink. I didn't tell him where the party was until we were on the way this afternoon.

Why, you ask? This was his first time to go ice skating, and he worries and gets nervous about doing things for the first time. He worries about not being good at whatever he's going to try to do. I'm scared he has control-freak tendencies with a side of perfectionism. And that would be my fault. Those traits come straight from me.

So I gave him a pep talk and said, "It doesn't matter if you're good at this or not. It matters that you try it and just do your best."

When I was a kid, we used to go ice skating all the time. There was a mall about an hour away from us that had a big ice rink in the middle. The rink was in what I guess you could say was the basement. You had to walk down from the first floor to get there. There were two stories of stores above it. When you were on the ice, you could look up to the floors above. And people could watch you skate from up there, too.

My parents and their friends would drop me, my brother and our friend at the rink and go shopping in the mall. We would skate the whole evening, non-stop. We would be the last people to leave. And after today, I have no idea where we got the energy!

I had considered skating today, for old times sake, but I had pretty much talked myself out of it. Then, my boy stepped onto the ice. He was terrified! He actually got tears in his eyes.

Jeff said, "Dude. The worst thing that will happen is that you'll fall."

"Yeah, Dad," Biscuit said, "but I'm afraid that if I fall, I'll break through the ice into the water."

This child has seen too many movies.

"You can't fall through," Jeff explained. "There isn't a pond or any other kind of water underneath. The ice is laid out over concrete."

But Biscuit wasn't buying it.

So I went and got some skates.

I counted it up, and it's been about 14 years since I ice skated. And I was truly shocked to find out that when I stepped out there today, it felt like I had never been skating in my life! I couldn't get going. And I really did think it would be exactly the same as it used to be. I mean, I can't remember the last time I rode a bike, but I know I could get on one right now and ride without falling off.

Anyway, I realized I wasn't going to be a whole lot of good to Biscuit, so we made our way down to the far end of the rink where they were giving the party guests a quick lesson.

Biscuit got the first couple of things down. Hold your arms out in front. Bend your knees a little bit. Keep your skates about shoulder-width apart. If you feel yourself starting to lose your balance, put your hands on your knees.

But Biscuit was moving so much slower than the rest of the class, he got frustrated and was almost in tears. I felt so bad for him. I helped him get to the door where you can get off the ice, and we took a break.

But then, the birthday boy's mom went and got a seal that looked like a little kid ride-on toy. Biscuit sat down, and I skated behind him. It's amazing how just having that little bit of support helped me find my balance.

Then Biscuit decided to try pushing it by himself. And he did a good job.

But his favorite part was when the birthday boy pushed him. That little seal changed his whole afternoon!

Of course, that seal didn't make it warm out there. Biscuit was a ball of snuggle, trying to get warm after he came off the ice.

Jeff and I told Biscuit as we were leaving that we were proud of him for trying something new. We reminded him that you're rarely good at things the first time you try them. But going for it and having fun is what it's all about.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Jeff has been battling pneumonia since early November, and I was wondering if he was going to feel up to having extra people in our house.

My parents come up the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and stay through the weekend. Mama and I do some shopping. Daddy finds something to do around the house. And Biscuit is just overwhelmed with the attention he gets!

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, my brother and his family come up, and we do our big Thanksgiving meal at lunchtime. So Thursday isn't really like a holiday for us.

Plus this year, Jeff was battling pneumonia, and Biscuit and I both had colds. I actually called Mama and gave them the option not to come, just in case we were contagious. They said they would risk it, and I was glad.

When we got up Thursday morning, Mama asked, "Are there any restaurants open today?"

I told her there were, and she suggested we go out for lunch. It felt a little weird going out on Thanksgiving, but the way I was feeling that morning, I was in no shape to cook.

The restaurant I picked is a home-cooking restaurant that is open every day of the year. So they had their regular menu, plus a few Thanksgiving specials. Daddy got chicken tenders with a side salad and mac and cheese. Mama got country-style steak, mac and cheese and lima beans. Biscuit got a cheeseburger and fries. I got chicken souvlaki, mac and cheese and fried okra (I joked about my meal being Mediterranean meets the South.). Jeff was the only one who got a Thanksgiving meal. He had turkey-dressing-cranberry sauce meal.

The restaurant was packed, and our server (Steven) apologized two or three times about making us wait. Apparently, the owner didn't expect so many people, so he only had a couple of servers for the whole restaurant.

We told him we weren't in a hurry and that he could just get to us as soon as he could. And I swear, I think us saying that made him hurry even more!

Steven took all our drink orders, and Biscuit asked for sweet tea with no lemon. He said "please" and "thank you," and apparently, that was a big deal to our server. 

"Can I please have sweet tea with no lemon?" Biscuit asked. "Thank you."

To which Steven replied, "I gotcha, big man." Then he winked at Biscuit.

When he came back to get the food orders, Biscuit ordered his food. And again, the server made a big fuss.

Now don't get me wrong, I love when people make a fuss over my boy. But restaurant servers mostly seem surprised when he acts like a normal person - behaving, ordering his own food, not making a mess, etc. But what that says to me is that there are a whole lot of wild children who don't know how to behave in public!

About halfway through the meal, the server walked back by to check on us.

"How's the burger, big man?" Steven asked Biscuit.

Biscuit had a mouthful of said burger, so he just smiled and nodded.

"You like chocolate cake, big man?" the server asked Biscuit.

And Biscuit nodded again.

So on his next trip by our table, Steven dropped off a big hunk of chocolate cake. Biscuit's eyes lit right up!

When Biscuit finished his food, he slid the cake over in front of him.

"I think I need to do this the proper way," Biscuit said and grabbed a knife in one hand and a fork in the other. He proceeded to eat his cake with the knife and fork.

He did a good job. He didn't drop a crumb.
Of course, that could be because it tasted so good!

When we got home that evening, we took part in another tradition and watched a cartoon special.

Sick or not, it was nice to hang out together. And it was especially nice to see Biscuit snuggled up with Mama and Daddy on the couch with two or three blankets covering the three of them.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Piano update

I had a request to post an updated Biscuit-playing-piano video. He can be quite a perfectionist about it, so I have to video him during practice, when he doesn't know I'm videoing him. So don't tell him I posted this. He'll be mad I posted a practice video with mistakes!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Beach time

Like I said the other day, I felt pretty guilty about getting to enjoy the sand, ocean and sunshine while poor Jeff was stuck in the room. But I did it all for Biscuit ... yeah, let's go with that.

It was breezy but not cold. We were wearing sweat suits and were plenty warm enough. Especially once we started running from waves and walking along the sand.

The first morning, Biscuit and I went out and built sand castles. We had a whole village of them. We made up all kinds of stories for the people who lived in our sand neighborhood.

We went back out that afternoon, and the tide had made it up far enough to wash away about half of our village. So we walked and picked up shells and both ended up getting our feet wet.

The second morning, I warned Biscuit ahead of time.

"I'm taking my camera out this morning," I said to Biscuit, "so get ready."

Biscuit just grinned. He knows the drill. I take a gazillion pictures, then I put my camera in a plastic bag to protect it from the sand, then we play some more!

Here are some pictures of Biscuit playing at the beach:

Barefoot in November!

He thinks he can command that wave to stay right where it is.

Too bad this isn't video because he let out some serious squeals.

If there is dirt or rocks or shells, they MUST be thrown.

We cheat by using sand castle molds. There's still skill involved,
though. Biscuit packs the damp sand down as tight as he can.

Then he positions it just where he wants it.

Then he reveals his creation. This was a corner for his soon-to-be castle.

Biscuit has had this little truck on every beach trip he's been on.

He walks like he owns the place!

Our castle ruins.

My foot and Biscuit's foot side by side.

By the time we went in, Biscuit was wet up to his knees.

It's too late to run now!

It's amazing how big the wave looks (above), then just
before it gets to Biscuit, it fizzles to much of nothing (below).

Our castles are completely gone.

Biscuit usually smiles with his mouth closed because he feels weird about a smile with teeth
missing. But something I said tickled him, and I just happened to have the camera ready.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Let's try this again

Jeff turned 50 in early October, and we decided to take him to the beach for a long weekend as his gift.

And then Hurricane Matthew blew through the eastern part of the state with flooding, downed trees and other kinds of damage.

We looked at the calendar to see if we could find another time to go. When we saw that Biscuit had Veteran's Day off from school, we decided to give our trip another chance.

I called our usual hotel, only to find that it was booked up ... in November!

We were honestly starting to wonder if our beach trip was cursed.

And then Jeff got pneumonia.

He hadn't been feeling good, and I told him that his cough was worrying me and nagged him into making a doctor's appointment

Our plan had been to pick up Biscuit as soon as school was out on Thursday. Then we'd drive to the beach and get there in time for dinner.

Then Jeff called and said the doctor was sending him to get a chest x-ray. I got a sinking feeling that our trip was going to be cancelled again.

But by then, I had found another hotel and had made non-refundable reservations. 

I asked Jeff what he wanted to do, and he said he wanted to go no matter what, so we got his prescriptions filled and off we went. I did all the driving, and Jeff slept in the passenger seat.

We made it halfway through the 4 1/2-hour trip, only to get stuck in construction and traffic. It was awful. We were crawling on the interstate. And of course all the drivers around us were getting impatient and honking horns and cutting each other off.

And again, I was thinking, "Should we just go home? Have all these things been signs that we shouldn't go?"

Biscuit was so patient and so good for the whole trip. And despite the fact that our original plan had been to arrive around dinnertime, we got there at 10:45 p.m.

I had called ahead to let the front desk know that we would be checking in late, and the woman I talked to was really nice about it and said whatever time we checked in would be fine.

We finally got there, and I got us checked in. Jeff wasn't allowed to touch the luggage, which he felt bad about. I used my mom voice and said, "If you touch a single one of these bags, I will turn that car around and take us right back home!"

I did let him go out for dinner Friday night and Saturday night. Other than that, he stayed in the room. I felt really bad for him, especially since Biscuit and I spent a ton of time out on the beach playing in the sand.

Poor Jeff. The closest he made it to the ocean was to sit
for a bit on the balcony. Luckily, our room was oceanfront.

At certain times of the year, you can see the sun set on the ocean at that stretch of the beach. So Jeff did get to see a couple of pretty sunsets.

Jeff said he had a nice, relaxing trip, but it would've been a lot better if he hadn't been coughing his head off the whole weekend. His whole body just ached, and I would've given anything to make him feel better.

Thankfully, he's on the mend. He has to have a follow-up x-ray just to make sure, but his coughing is a lot better. He's still constantly exhausted, but the doctor said that would be the case for at least a couple of months.

When I asked Jeff how his birthday trip was, in typical Jeff fashion, he said, "It was good."

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Be back soon

We just got back from the beach. Jeff has pneumonia. Biscuit has a bad cold. I'm trying to hold down the fort and get all the laundry and everything back to normal. Work is work. School is busy for Biscuit. And Thanksgiving is next week!

Crazy, crazy, crazy!

Here's a teaser photo, and I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A splashy party

I was looking for something fun and different for Biscuit's birthday party this year, and a friend at work made a good suggestion.

The Y near us has an indoor heated pool, and they rent it out for parties. So back in the early spring, I talked to Biscuit about it.

"How cool would it be to have a pool party in November?" I asked Biscuit.

"Mom!" Biscuit said, "we'd freeze to death if we had a pool party in November."

"Not if the pool is inside," I told him.

He liked the idea, so I told him that as soon as the stores starting putting out their summer stuff, we'd go ahead and buy plates and napkins and tablecloths and stuff for the goodie bags. He wanted to give everybody water guns and sunglasses in sand buckets that came with a little shovel. So we hit the dollar store and were pretty much done in June.

We looked for cake ideas online, but we didn't see any good "pool" cakes, so we decided to go with an ocean cake. We crushed up vanilla wafers for the sand and used blue icing for the ocean water. Then we added teddy bear crackers lying on fruit leather beach towels under umbrellas. And we put some bears in gummy floats in the water.

Here's what we came up with:

Then we decided on the snacks. We wanted the names to match the ocean themes, so we had Catch of the Day (aka assorted goldfish), cheeseballs (aka beach balls), rafts (aka crackers), sharks teeth (aka cheddar cheese) and tourists (aka the bears that didn't make it onto the beach or in the water).

Biscuit wanted a number candle and some other assorted ones. He suggested that we put all the blue candles in the water and the others on the "beach" like tiki torches.

Biscuit did get a war wound. Once the kids got their goodie buckets, they took out their sunglasses and water guns and started running around pretending to shoot each other. Biscuit stopped, but the kid behind him didn't, so Biscuit got a nice big scratch down the back of his neck. He cried for a little bit, but it didn't take long for him to be over it and go right back to playing.

When I signed up for the party, the aquatics director said the pool would be open to all the members. But all we saw was a couple of other people who came in at different times while the kids were swimming. They almost had the pool to themselves.

All the kids played well together, and the parents all got along well, too. It's always a plus when the parents can enjoy themselves, too.

Biscuit's birthday isn't until tomorrow, but he really enjoyed his weekend celebration.