Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rocking chair car

I'm in the middle of writing a blog post about mine and Biscuit's adventure yesterday, when he comes into the living room, grabs a rocking chair from Jeff's childhood and starts pushing it across the floor making car noises. I'm not sure what type of car he thinks it is, but it makes all the right car noises.

Adventure Saturday

Ever since college basketball started, I've declared that one of these Saturdays, Biscuit and I are going on an adventure. I hadn't made a plan of what that adventure would be, but I just wanted to get us out of the house to do something fun.

The problem was that every Saturday, I would wake up early, ditch the boys to go to the grocery store, come back and get everybody fed, then maybe throw some clothes in the washer and start picking up around the house. Next thing I knew, it was time for Biscuit's nap. So I'd put him in his playpen or his swing and get back to the housework.

Then when he woke up, it was lunch time. I'd make lunch, swap the clothes from the washer to the dryer, find myself something to eat, clear up all the dishes, and next thing you know, it would be time for Biscuit's afternoon nap. Then after he woke up, I would usually say to myself, "Well, it's really too late to head out now," then I'd vow that next Saturday, we'd do something for sure.

Well, yesterday, we did it!

I was halfway through folding Biscuit's laundry when he woke up from his morning nap. So I put down the laundry and got him some lunch. I put the dishes in the dishwasher (and left them unwashed) and left Biscuit's laundry (half-folded on the couch), and he and I headed out the door.

I didn't know where we'd go, but I wanted us to do something outside. The temperature was hovering around 50 degrees, and this time of year, that's as warm as it's gonna get. The ground at the park was too soggy from rain we had earlier in the week, and since Biscuit still loses his balance and falls down every once in a while, I knew the muddy park was out.

So I drove around for a little bit, then it hit me. The Natural Science Center! ( They have a small zoo area that includes lemurs, howler monkeys, alligators, birds, maned wolves, an anteater, two tigers, a barnyard area and more. And it's only about 10 minutes from our house.

(And let me go ahead and say it right now ... not knowing where we were going, I didn't grab a camera before we left the house, so I have no pictures to share of our adventure. Bad mama! Bad!!!)

We got there and went straight for the zoo area. A few of the habitats we passed had nothing much going on. The animals were curled up napping or were in the inside parts of their habitats staying warm.

The first habitat with activity was the ring-tailed lemurs. The Biscuit went NUTS! He was squealing and pointing and almost jumping out of his stroller. He loved them. They have long tails with gray and black stripes, and their tails swing around as they jump sideways from limb to limb on the trees in their habitat.

And of course, he called them dogs. All animals are dogs right now. Oh, and yes, he did roar at them, too.

We moved around to the tiger habitat. At first, Biscuit wasn't too excited because one tiger was on one side and the other tiger was on the other side, and they were both just kinda hanging out. But then, the first tiger came over to the second tiger's side and the second tiger didn't appreciate that at all! They started swatting at each other with those giant paws and then the growling started. Biscuit jumped so hard that his jacket hood fell off his head. But then, he joined them and started growling back. Biscuit's growling was pretty impressive for a 16-month-old, but I tell ya what, those tiger roars were intense! I knew they were secured, but still, that sound made my heart race.

Biscuit wasn't as impressed with the barnyard area as I thought he would be. Of course, it would be hard to be impressed after the tiger action we saw.

He roared at a couple of otters. Then he waved to a big cage of rainbow Lorikeets. They were so pretty with their rainbow-colored feathers.

After the Animal Discovery area, we went inside the science center. They have play areas for all different ages. Biscuit's area had a couple of little houses, shopping carts with plastic groceries, and a bunch of other stuff that reminded me of a kindergarten room.

We left there and went to the aquarium, where his favorite thing was the a tank of spiny lobsters. I'm pretty sure he thought the aquariums were TV screens. He wasn't too impressed by them.

Then we went into the Herpeterium. SNAKES!!! He really enjoyed the Burmese python. It was moving around some, and it was big enough for him to really see it. I should clarify by saying that it was big enough that it could have swallowed Biscuit whole for a quick afternoon snack!

As much as I didn't really want to, I took Biscuit into the bug room. They had hissing cockroaches, some humongous centipedes that really creeped me out. But the boy was quite impressed with a red hairy tarantula. He pointed at it, then he reached for it, then he started making his question noise like he was asking to hold it. "Mmm? Mmmm?" he said while looking back and forth between me and Mr. Hairy Legs. Some of the people around us thought this was really funny. I thought it was more than a little creepy and told him he must've gotten the desire to hold that spider from The Daddy Man, because my side of the family doesn't do spiders!

We really enjoyed our day out. We'll have to do it more often, especially as the weather gets better. Plus, the day was so exciting that Biscuit wasn't in the car 5 minutes before he was out! I drove us home and he was still asleep, so Mama got a 30-minute nap, too.

Nice, nice day!

Friday, February 26, 2010


I have a new Mommy-mobile. It's fancier than anything I've had before, and I'm enjoying it very much.

This was my old Mommy-mobile.

And this is my new Momm

The old car was fun. People always wanted to stop and talk to me about it. And anybody who knows me, knows that talking is something I never shy away from. But we were going to have to buy new special-order tires and have the decals redone, and the only place that could legally do the decals was in Michigan.

So over lunch at a local mom-a
nd-pop diner, we decided to check into getting something new. It all happened so fast. I'm always amazed that I can debate the kind of toothpaste I buy for days, weeks or even months, but the two biggest purchases you'll ever make - car and house - require you to make decisions in a matter of hours!

Jeff picked out the new car. It's a 2006 Dodge Magnum. I had test driven a Magnum at the car show we go to in Pennsylvania every year and really liked them. But when they first came out, they were just too expensive. But now, they've been out long enough to have some nice used ones floating around the used car dealerships. For a 2006, it has really low miles, and Jeff haggled a good price for us. Luckily, we have good car loan options from our credit union.

My brother has three kids, and I make fun of him because they have a minivan. So I go around singing, "My brother has a minivan, minivan, minivan ..." So as soon as he saw the pictures of what we were buying, he started singing, "My sister drives a station wagon, station wagon, station wagon ..."

But hey, it's a COOL station wagon!

Oh, and yes, that thing DOES have a hemi!!

An e-mail from Biscuit

Biscuit has his very own e-mail account. So when Grandma and Grandpa Mills sent him a Valentine's Day e-card, he sent them a thank you e-mail.


From: Biscuit
To: Grandma and Grandpa
Wednesday, February 17, 2010 7:07 PM
Subject: Thank you

Hey Grandma and Grandpa.

Thank you for the Valentine's card you sent for me through Mama's e-mail.

When I saw that dog jumping around on the screen, I started flailing my arms around and making all kind of noises. I liked it a lot. Mama played it for me several times, then I cried when she wouldn't play it anymore. She said we had to go visit family, but I didn't like it.

I went on a trip to Georgia with Mama and Grandmama last weekend. We had a good time. We drove to Grandmama's house in S.C. on Thursday evening after Mama finished with work. Then we drove to Georgia on Friday morning. When we got about halfway to Uncle Leon's house, it started snowing. We weren't expecting that at all. By the time we got ready to go to bed that night, it had snowed 4 inches. Mama said snow doesn't last long in Georgia, and she was right. By lunchtime the next day, most of the snow was gone.

Uncle Leon has a little white dog named Luke. He and I got along great Friday evening, but by the time Saturday rolled around, we didn't really like each other anymore. Uncle Leon has baby gates up so the dog can't go into certain parts of the house. So Luke stood on one side of the gate, and I stood on the other, and we hollered at each other.

"Bark, bark, bark!" he said to me.

So I pointed my finger at him and said, "Go, go, go, daw!" Mama says there's a G on the end of that word "daw" but I can't say Gs yet.

We visited all kinds of people Saturday, then we came back to Grandmama's house in S.C. on Sunday. I got to play with Josh and Uncle Greg, and Josh gave me a lawnmower he doesn't play with anymore. Mama said she and The Daddy Man gave Josh that lawnmower for his birthday a few years ago. He played with it for a long time, but now he's too big for it.

Did The Daddy Man tell you we got a new car? I like it. My car seat is forward now, so I can see where I'm going. I rode all the way to Georgia without crying or whining once. Mama seemed very happy. She said kids twice my age cry and whine more than I did. She said she hopes I'll stay that way.

Well, it's almost time for Mama to pick me up from day care, so I better go.

Thanks again for the Valentine's, and I can't wait 'til May to see you.

Love you,

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Random Acts of Biscuit

Biscuit is doing some cool stuff right now, so I thought I would share.

Copy cat: Biscuit has started watching everything we do and say ... and he's copying it. The other night while I was sitting in my rocking chair, I took my socks off and rubbed my feet. Guess what Biscuit did? Yep. He sat down in the floor, pulled off his socks off and rubbed his little feet. Then as Jeff was drinking his coffee the next morning, he would take a sip and say, "Ahhhhhhh." Guess what Biscuit did when he took a sip of milk from his sippy cup? "Ahhhhhh!" He's also really enjoying a book called "The Very Cranky Bear" right now. His favorite part is when the grumpy bear roars. So every once in a while, he roars. Today, he roared at a day care teacher. Then he roared at me in the car. Then he roared from his high chair during dinner. Hopefully, the cranky part of the bear won't go along with the roar!

Car noises: Biscuit has started making car noises when he wants to ride in the car he got for Christmas. He also makes the noise when he's playing with cars.

And speaking of car: Jeff couldn't be happier because now Biscuit can say "ball" and "car." What more could a Daddy Man ask for than his son saying his two favorite words? The funny thing about Biscuit saying "car" is that he's just figuring out the "c" sound, so it sound like he's going to start speaking Yiddish or something. He extends the "c" sound, and it sounds like he's trying to clear something out of his throat. "Ccccccccccar."

Eat, eat: Biscuit loves to eat. There are definitely foods that he likes better than others, but just in general, the child loves to eat. When he gets hungry, he'll say,
"E. E." (That translates to eat, eat). So you'll say, "What do you want?" And Biscuit will say, "Dat," while randomly pointing at nothing. So you give him something to eat, then you say, "Is it good?" And whether it is or isn't, Biscuit says, "Mmmm."

Double-fisting oranges:
My Biscuit baby loves him some Mandarin oranges! I open the little cup of them and rinse off the syrup. Then I put them on a plate for him. As he sees me coming toward him with the plate, his arms start flailing and he makes this "uhhh-uhhhh-uhhh" sound, like he is absolutely going to die if those oranges don't get to him in the next 2 seconds! I put the plate on the tray of his high chair, and he goes to town. He grabs them two at a time, one in each hand, and shoves them in his mouth. Each piece gets chewed about twice and then down the hatch. He even has this little dance he does when he's really enjoying some kind of food. He moves his head quickly from left to right like he has a rubber neck. We named it "The Spoon Dance."

He likes to share: Biscuit likes to feed Jeff and me. When he has finger food, he always holds pieces out so we'll lean over and let him put them in our mouths. It sounds like a really sweet thing. And it is ... until you close your mouth and realize that the Cheerios you just got were already wet. Mmmm. Used Cheerios!

He likes for us to share, too: It doesn't matter how much he has to eat, Biscuit always wants some of what you have on your plate. You can be eating the exact same thing he's eating, and he won't eat it from his own plate, but he'll eat it from yours.

Questions, questions, questions: Biscuit has this noise he makes when you talk to him. It doesn't matter whether you're asking him a question or just saying something to him, his response is always the same. "Mmmmm?" Like he's saying, "What?" He's started doing it even more since he's learning words. Last night, I pointed to the stove and said, "Hot." He said, "Mmm?" I said, "Hot." He said, "Mmm?" I said, "Hot." And finally, he said, "Ha." And I said, "Yes, hot." It's like he has to hear and watch you say it several times before he will attempt to say it.

Ooooo, sparkly!: From the day he could make a fist and grab things, Biscuit has loved anything hanging around me neck. He always plays with my necklaces, but he especially loves my work ID. He grabs it, swings it around, and occasionally chews on it. Maybe one day he'll be able to BUY me sparkly things!

Babies, dogs and horses, oh my: The boy doesn't pay too much attention to the TV unless there's music on. Then everything comes to a halt. Then there's dancing. But the only things that will top music are babies, dogs and horses. Then he flails his arms, starts squealing and runs over to the TV to get a closer look. Of course, sometimes finding these things on TV can backfire. I flipped over to Animal Planet the other night to see what was on, and we saw horses hooked up to one-person buggies running around a rink. The boy saw the horses and went crazy. Then, all of a sudden, the HORSES went crazy. One horse went nuts and threw its rider out of the buggy. Then it took off and terrorized the rest of the horses and riders. People and horses were flying everywhere. And of course, the remote was nowhere to be found. I had to distract Biscuit with toys until we could get the channel changed. Luckily, he's only seen good examples of dogs and babies.

Bed time: When Biscuit starts getting sleepy, he playing with his hair in the back. He grabs a small piece and lets it slide through his fingers. If you're holding him when he gets sleepy, he'll grab your hair and do the same thing.

And speaking of bed time, it's mine. Good night!

Carbon monoxide emergency

A few weeks ago, we had quite a scare when our carbon monoxide detector went off, and we had to call the fire department, which told us we had to leave our house. Luckily, we still have friends who work the night shift, so having to call someone for a place to stay at midnight wasn't too bad. Luckily, one of our friends has a really nice guest room and was happy to let us stay with her. Thank God for generous friends.

Anyway, I wrote a column about it for the paper. Here it is.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Carbon monoxide detector worth the price for your life

By Kim Mills

We got kicked out of our house recently.

Our monthly mortgage was paid. And we weren’t throwing a loud party.
Carbon monoxide was the culprit.

A colorless, odorless, tasteless gas required my husband and me to pack up our bags and our 1-year-old and head to a gracious friend’s house to spend the night.

Jeff and I were sitting on the couch, flipping channels, trying to make ourselves go to bed about midnight on the weekend of the big snowstorm, when a woman’s voice rang through our living room.

“Carbon monoxide warning,” she said and then repeated the phrase over and over.

Our first thought was maybe the batteries were dying. So Jeff grabbed a step-stool and changed the batteries. That seemed to quiet the voice, but just as an experiment, I stuck the old batteries in the TV remote control, and they still worked fine.

That was the clincher.

You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, so the only way to be sure was to call the fire department.

We didn’t call 911 because we didn’t feel that we were in imminent danger, but apparently it’s protocol to run the sirens on the fire trucks anyway.

Jeff had barely hung up the phone when we heard the sirens. I couldn’t believe how fast they got to us, especially with the treacherous driving conditions.

We felt bad for probably waking the neighbors, and we felt even worse for dragging the firefighters out in the snow and ice for possibly nothing at all.

I had to laugh, because as the firefighters entered our house one by one, they carefully wiped their feet on the mat at the front door and lined up on a long throw rug so they wouldn’t make wet boot tracks on our floors.

So they were there to save us from danger, but they were not going to make a mess of it ... literally.

I was starting to get overwhelmed and sort of emotional, realizing that this definitely was not a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. Then I saw a huddle of fully-outfitted firefighters standing at the bottom of the stairs.

I walked over to try to eavesdrop on their conversation only to realize that they couldn’t figure out how to get the baby gate open.

And even after I opened the gate for them, picture someone with all that equipment trying to squeeze through an opening that is clearly not wide enough for him and the oxygen tanks he was wearing on his back.

Comic relief always seems to arrive just in time.

We have gas logs in our fireplace, a gas clothes dryer, a gas water heater and a gas heating unit. And those are the things that can produce a carbon monoxide overload.

The firefighters tested the air near every gas-operated thing we have and found that the readings on the carbon monoxide meter were 29 upstairs and 17 downstairs.

Jeff and I nodded our heads to the meter guy because we had no idea what those numbers meant and didn’t know what else to do. But looking around the room, I could see the firefighters looking at each other, and I immediately knew that those numbers couldn’t have been good.

One of the guys explained that for any reading over 9 parts per million, the house must be evacuated. Apparently, that’s enough exposure to give headaches and even flu-like symptoms.

Could that be why I had a headache all that day and had taken two long naps? I am not a nap person, and my combined naps had added up to several hours.

If it was having that effect on me, what damage could it do to our son?

The firefighters told us that the problem was most likely our gas heating unit, and we would need to have it looked at and fixed or replaced before we could go back home. We had to leave our house as soon as possible. They consider prolonged exposure to 100 parts per million to be deadly.

I know you can’t dwell on things, but every once in a while it hits me. Do you know what could’ve happened if that alarm hadn’t gone off?

The firefighters left about 12:30 am., and even though I considered calling our neighbors to let them know what was going on, I talked myself out of it, thinking maybe they were still asleep.

I was wrong.

We went back to the house the next day to pick up some more clothes, and we were scolded by the neighbors.

“You call us no matter what time it is,” our next-door neighbor said.

“Didn’t you see our faces pressed against the window like the neighbor in 'Bewitched’?” asked a woman who lives on our cul-de-sac.

It’s really nice to know that you have people you can count on. And I have a whole new appreciation of home safety devices, as well.

If you have gas logs, a gas heating unit or anything else in your house that runs on gas, please, please, please get a carbon monoxide detector. They’re not that expensive, and believe me, it’s money well spent.

Kim Mills, day desk chief, is very thankful to be safe and sound back at her home. Contact her at 373-7014 or

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Parenting in public

Today I had to "deal" with Biscuit in front of a bunch of other mamas. This is the first time that's happened, but I can tell you that it's crossed my mind before about how I would handle it when the time came.

I try very hard not to judge other mamas because you never know what kind of day they've had or how bad a mood the kid is in or maybe even that the kid's personality qualifies him or her to be called "a handful."

But today, I proved to myself that I can do what's best for my son, everyone else be damned! Okay, it really wasn't that severe, but I'm still proud of myself.

Biscuit and I were at a baby shower this afternoon and when the hostesses sliced up the cake, I decided I'd share with him. I put Biscuit in my lap and gave him two small bites of cake. Then he hauled off and smacked me right upside the head. I was so stunned that it took me a minute to realize what happened.

I set him down on the floor and said, "You're done," and of course, he started crying.

I immediately felt my stomach flip as I realized several of the ladies were looking at me to see what was wrong with Biscuit. "He's okay," I said. "He's just mad."

"What happened?" asked a lady I didn't know.

"He hit me so he doesn't get anymore cake," I told her.

"Awww. Poor little man," she said.

"He has to learn." That was it. I didn't go into any further explanation. He hits, he doesn't get anymore cake. It's as simple as that.

I'll go ahead and say that I was proud of myself. I did what I needed to do, and I really didn't care what anybody else thought. I've always had tendencies toward insecurity, so I worried that if other mamas gave me "the look" or they said something critical about how I was handling a situation, that my first thought would automatically be that I was doing it all wrong.

But that didn't happen. I would bet money that even though I was nervous and worried, nobody thought twice about what was going on. Most of the women at the shower have kids. They've all been there. And now I have, too.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

And the nominees are ...

I like to watch movie awards shows with Biscuit. The first awards we watched together were the Golden Globes (and yes, he was up way past his bedtime, but that's what happens when he takes a nap too late in the afternoon).

When the show first started, he was busy playing and didn't pay too much attention. But as he got tired, he crawled into my lap and started watching with me.

The next presenters came up, read their lines, then said, "And the nominees are ..." As the nominees' names were called out and the audience started to applaud, Biscuit started clapping with them.

He slowly got the hang of it, so every time the nominees were named, he clapped for them and said, "Yaaaaay!"

I thought it was a one-time thing, but a week later when the Screen Actors' Guild Awards came on, he was right back at it.

So maybe on the day of the Oscars, I'll get Biscuit to take a late afternoon nap so we can discuss the winners and losers. "Yaaaaaaay!"

Buttons everywhere

Almost every toy Biscuit has been given makes noises, flashes lights or plays music. So now, he's conditioned to push or twist anything that even looks like a button or knob.

So imagined how surprised The Daddy Man was this morning when Biscuit joined him in our bed and promptly reached over and pushed the button that is his nipple. Nothing happened. So Biscuit reached over and pushed it again. Still nothing.

That's when he reached over and twisted. "Ouch!" yelled The Daddy Man, and Biscuit laughed because the knob made noise, just like it should.

Then The Daddy Man said, "I don't mind when he pushes the buttons, but I really don't like it when he twists the knobs."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Say what?!?

We were at a restaurant last night, and toward the end of the meal, Biscuit was getting restless. So Jeff and I took turns walking him around the restaurant to keep him occupied.

There was a woman doing the same thing with her almost 2-year-old daughter. But as Jeff started talking to the mom, he realized that she had a heavy accent and her 2-year-old was speaking French. Apparently the were from France and the little girl hasn't learned English yet.

"Bonjour," she said to Griffin. "Bonjour."

Griffin just looked at her, tilted his head and said, "Huh? Huh?" Translation: "Do whut, now?"