Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, everybody.

Jeff, Biscuit and I did some trick-or-treating this evening, resulting in entirely too much candy!

We covered our cul-de-sac then drove over to our friends' house and walked their cul-de-sac. I've learned that cul-de-sacs are nice for trick-or-treating because they're deadend streets and there aren't a lot of cars zooming through.

On our street, Biscuit is the youngest kid. One of our neighbors is just over-the-moon for him and loves to see him. Her youngest is in upper middle school, so Biscuit reminds her of when her own kids were younger. She always makes a huge fuss over him. And of course, he eats it up with a spoon!

It was nice catching up with the other neighbors, too. And we also realized that a couple of Biscuit's schoolmates live right down the street.

He ran down a driveway and started hugging this little girl, and in the back of my mind, I was thinking, "I sure hope he knows her!" And he did. It was a girl from his class that he really likes a lot.

My two favorite moments of the evening were ...

1. Biscuit walked up to one house and started chatting with the woman who answered the door. She put two handfuls of candy in his bag. I noticed a pattern, that any time Biscuit took the time to talk to whoever answered the door, he automatically got more candy.

So this woman gave him a good bit of candy, and as he ran back to the end of the driveway to meet Jeff and me, he was all smiles.

"Mom, that girl at that house gave me SO MUCH candy!" Biscuit said. "And she gave me a compliment, too. She said she really liked my costume. And I told her thank you."

"That's really cool," I told him. "And good job saying thank you."

At the very next house, a woman answered the door, and Biscuit started chatting her up, too. Jeff and I were at the end of the driveway, so I walked a few steps forward and leaned in to hear what he said.

He told the woman, "That girl in that house next to yours, she gave me TWO HANDFULS of candy!"

"Well, I can't be outdone," the woman said, and she grabbed a ton more candy and shoved it in Biscuit's bag.

"THANK YOU!" Biscuit yelled and ran back to Jeff and me.

"We're going to enroll him in business school for sales," I yelled up to the woman.

"I have a 27-year-old that was just like him," the woman said. "And she works in sales now."

2. The other moment was just something really sweet.

As Biscuit and I were walking hand-in-hand, he said, "Mom, you know what's the best part about trick-or-treating?"

"The candy?" I asked.

"Nope," Biscuit said. "The best part of trick-or-treating is holding your hand, walking with you and just spending family time together."

Holy moley! You can't top that!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Biscuit boos

Homework started for Biscuit at the beginning of October. He got a calendar with an assignment marked for each day Monday through Friday.

The instructions say that he didn't have to do the assignments in order. He could pick whatever he wanted to do each night. But all the assignments had to be done by Oct. 31.

So we saved the best assignment for the last night. Biscuit was supposed to carve a pumpkin with his family and count out 50 pumpkin seeds.

I waited too late and missed the church pumpkin patch we've been to before. So I just stopped by the grocery store near our house. There was a big cardboard box in the produce section and when I peered over the side, there were seven pumpkins left. And they were HUGE!

I leaned over into the box (with Biscuit offering lots of instructions on how to do it!), and tried to roll one of the pumpkins over to the side where I could reach it. It was just out of my reach, but I finally got it to move ... down farther into the box.

And let me interrupt myself to complain about this MAN who stood there and watched this whole scene. A man, I might add, who was at least as tall as Jeff.

Did he offer to help me? Did he say, "Hey, I'm a foot taller than you with a wider wingspan. Let me put it to good use and at least move that pumpkin over to the side of the box so you can get ahold of it." 

No! He did nothing but stand there and watch me while his wife studied the ingredients in the salad dressing on the rack with the bags of lettuce.

Finally, and with a nice bruise on my wrist to prove my efforts, I got a pumpkin over to the side nearest me and hoisted it out. And Biscuit went a little crazy.

"MOM!" he said way too loudly. "YOU DID IT!!! MOM, YOU GOT IT!!!"

He was too loud, but it was very sweet.

So we hauled it home and got all set up to carve it up!

Don't worry! He only got to hold the knife for the picture.

So I cut a hole in the back of the pumpkin and started to scoop out the goop. I don't like pumpkin, so the whole thing was kinda gross to me. And then I told Biscuit to scoop some.

He stuck his hand in there, and yanked it back out so quickly, the first picture I tried to take of him was blurry!

You'd think the pumpkin was giving off an electric shock!

Biscuit had to count out 50 seeds. He decided to do five piles of 10.

Next it was time to work on the face.

I gave Biscuit a piece of paper and told him to draw what he wanted me to carve on the pumpkin. He drew the face he wanted and brought it over to me.

"Mom, here's the blueprint for the pumpkin's face," Biscuit said.

Here's Biscuit's "blueprint" for the pumpkin.
Biscuit was disappointed that he couldn't do the carving, but I told him he'd have to settle for the marker he used to make his blueprint.

And here's what we came up with.

Biscuit asked if we were going to put a candle inside, but I told him I had something WAY better. It's a battery-operated strobe light that goes inside the pumpkin.

So we did this ...

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit said at some point that I don't remember ...

I have note pads all around me all the time. I'm a big list-maker, and I also try to write down fun things Biscuit says. But every once in a while, I come across some notes I've made and set aside, then forgot about. And I have no idea when Biscuit might have said these things.

So if you've read them before, I apologize. And if you haven't, here's some fun stuff Biscuit said ... sometime.

Dinosaur roar: We were talking and wondering about how loud dinosaurs might have been.

"Mom, do you know how loud a T-rex can roar?" Biscuit asked me.

"I don't know for sure, but I bet it was pretty loud because they were so big," I said to him.

"A T-rex could roar as loud as a clap of thunder!" Biscuit said. "And you don't even need to be a paleontologist to know that!"

Face fall: Biscuit was talking about falling down on the playground.

"Mom, do you know what happened?" Biscuit asked. "I fell face first! ... Eye first, even!"

Best wishes: We were having a thunderstorm, and our power flickered. Biscuit wanted to know what would happen if the power went out. 

"Well, we have lanterns, flashlights and candles," I explained. "And we have food we can eat without power because we don't have to cook it. And we'd still have water. Let's just hope that it stays on, then we won't have to worry about it."

"Yeah, Mom," Biscuit said. "Let's hope for good luck."

"Some people cross their fingers for luck," I told Biscuit. "So we can do that."

And we did.

Then about 20 minutes later, Biscuit said, "Mom, can I let go of this luck now? My fingers are kinda hurting."

I had no idea his fingers were even still crossed!

Use a trashcan: My boy does not like litter. He will say something about it every single time he notices it.

We were walking through a store parking lot one day, and Biscuit went on a little rant about how people shouldn't litter.

"It's just so uncool, Mom," Biscuit said. "And when I say uncool, I mean that there is no coolness AT ALL!"

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Here's lookin' at you, kid

Here are some recent and random pictures of Biscuit:

The hygienist painted blue stuff on Biscuit's teeth
to polish them, and Biscuit didn't believe me when
I told him. So I had to take a picture and show him.
"This is how you keep your balance when you're walking on a 'type rope', guys," Biscuit said.
Sometimes we correct him, but sometimes we just giggle. And this was a giggle evening.
This is what a tired boy looks like!


Tick-tock, tick-tock, Captain Hook.

A friend of ours at work made chocolate cupcakes for Jeff's
birthday. And she was kind enough to send three of them home.
"Dad, I LOVE cupcakes. Can I have all of them?"
"Um, no!" I said. "It's DAD's birthday, not yours!"
"So can I have three cupcakes when it's MY birthday?!" Biscuit asked.
"Just eat the one you have!" I told him.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A day at the farm

Biscuit went on his first field trip Friday. All the kindergartners (just over 100 kids) went to a working farm.

The day started with a hayride all around the farm. The tour guide (who is also the farm's owner) told the kids all about growing soybeans, corn, milo, cotton and some other plants. The kids also learned about what all of those plants can be used for.

The farm has more soybeans than anything else - about 850 acres, if I remember correctly. They're not soybeans you eat, like edamame. Their soybeans are processed to extract the oil, which is mostly used to make vegetable oil.

Their corn is field corn and dent corn. And just like the soybeans, it's not the kind you eat, either. Well, you can eat it, but it's not the sweet corn like we buy in the store. Field and dent corn is used to make corn meal or processed to make animal feed. Milo is also used to make feed.

There was a small patch of cotton. It was probably about 30 feet long and 12 feet deep. The boles had popped open, and the kids all said they looked like marshmallows! The tour guide asked if anyone could guess how many T-shirts that patch of cotton could make. One little girl guessed 6, but the answer was about 1 1/2. There were a lot of oohs over that. It seemed like a lot of cotton to just get 1 1/2 shirts out of it.

After the hayride, the kids lined up on hay bales under a shelter to hear about what the farm does with its crops. The speaker was really good at talking to them on a kid-friendly level.

"Raise your hand if you like to eat dirt," she said.

"Eeeeeewwwwwwww!" all the kids said.

"Well, if you eat corn, you're eating dirt," she told them. She went on to explain how the dirt holds all the vitamins and minerals that end up in the corn. Biscuit latched onto that fact and has told everybody who would listen.

Next was play time.

They took hay bales and created a maze for tricycles. The kids had to ride through without touching the sides. It was harder than they thought it would be.

Then they played in the corn silos. Each silo had about 2 feet of corn kernels in the bottom, and the kids could roll around like they were in a ball pit. I think that was their favorite part.

The best line I heard all day was a kid who walked up to the teacher and said, "I think I have corn in my pants." I couldn't help but laugh. I didn't let him see me, though.

The kids brought sack lunches, and we ate at picnic tables. The only bad part was yellow jackets. Two kids were stung while we were eating. I think they swatted them a little too much. But the teacher was prepared. She had a boo-boo bag.

There was a swing set, a see saw, a tire swing, a tractor made from hay bales and wood, a hay bale mountain with a tunnel underneath and a few other things to climb on. The big attraction (for an older group than kindergartners) was a giant corn maze. Since it would've been too much for the kids to do the whole thing, a guide led us a little ways in. We stopped at a bridge, and the kids were allowed to run up and down the bridge as many times as they wanted. When it was time to move on, the teacher counted backwards from 25. Every one of those kids was in line by the time she got to 2!

Each kid got to pick out a cute little pumpkin to bring home. And it was easy to see that Biscuit's teacher had been there and done that before. She brought 24 grocery bags. Each kid picked out a pumpkin, put it in his or her bag and took it to the teacher's assistant to have his or her name written on it. Then all the bags went into the cooler where their sack lunches had been.

After they had picked their pumpkins, the kids had free play until it was time to leave. And by the time the buses were cranked up, the kids were exhausted. I had to go to work for a few hours and felt really bad for having to send Biscuit back to school. 

By the time they got back, it was time to go to the after-school program. The county sponsors an after-school program at each school that is really affordable. They go outside, have structured play and games, have a snack, have quiet time for reading or coloring then have free play. It's a good program, and seeing as it's half the price of his day care's after-school program, we're very happy to get to use it.

I have to say that Biscuit's class was just extremely well-behaved. I saw some things happening with kids in other classes. I actually scolded one kid who was throwing corn in one of the silos.

I stuck my head in the silo and said (or maybe yelled), "Don't throw the corn!"

And just as soon as my head left the door way, I hear "BAM!" that sounded like scattershot on the side of the tin building. That kid had thrown the corn.

I stuck my head back in the silo and pointed, "YOU ... in the red shirt ... if you throw corn again, you're coming out of there!"

He had a handful of corn, ready to throw it. But it slowly, kernel by kernel drained out of his hand.

When I pulled my head back out, another parent was standing there.

"Is he yours?" she asked. Like I shouldn't be saying anything like that to a kid who isn't mine.

"No," I said and just looked at her for a few seconds. And then I couldn't help myself. "I don't care whose kid he is, he could've hurt another kid by throwing that corn."

She just stared at me. Sometimes I think I'm too old-school for some of these new-fangled parents!

Here are some pictures from Biscuit's field trip:

A combine used to harvest crops.

School rules can sometimes be really dumb. The kids
aren't allowed to wear sunglasses, so Biscuit couldn't
look at the camera because the sun was too bright.

We saw a LOT of corn.

The kids run toward the pumpkin patch.

A guide led the kids a little ways into the corn maze. Biscuit really
liked it and wants to know if we can go and do the whole thing.

I couldn't believe how much fun these
kids had running up and down the bridge.

Don't you hate to see Biscuit having such a terrible time?!

Class photo.

Playing in the corn.

Learning about farming.

The sun was too bright for Biscuit to show his face.

Why is it that boys have to jump off of anything
that is more than a step above the ground?!

Please don't jump! Please don't jump! This hay bale
climbing mountain was at least 10 feet tall. The bales
were stair-stacked, and I could just see him
missing a step and tumbling to the bottom.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Our nutty selves

Jeff, Griffin and I are very close. We recognize shared traits with each other. We enjoy spending time together. And we all have things in common.

But there are also lots of ways that the three of us are different. Even at 5, I can see parts of Biscuit's personality that are different from mine and different from Jeff.

Our dinner conversation tonight was a great example of what I'm talking about.

Guys, if you're ever at the beach, and you see a tree that has a coconut in it, get the coconut down from the tree. Then all you have to do is poke a straw in it, and guess what you'll find inside? ... Coconut milk! Can you believe that?

When I was in college, I lived in a dorm. It's sort of like a hotel but the college students live there as long as their in college. 

So one girl who lived next door to me got a whole coconut from somewhere. And she decided she wanted to drink the juice and eat the fresh coconut that was inside. And she came over and asked my help to bust it open.

I tried a bunch of different ways to get it open, but nothing worked. I lived on the third floor, and on my side of the building, there was a basement. So it was really like I was on the fourth floor. So I raised up the window, held the coconut over my head and threw it as hard as I could from my fourth-floor window down onto the sidewalk below.

And do you know what happened to that coconut? ... Absolutely nothing!

(And we all laughed.)

During World War II, the first American casualty in Guadalcanal was a guy who sliced his hand open while trying to crack a coconut with a machete.

(And we laughed again.)


So Griffin tells something that he's recently learned. I share a story about something that happened to me once. And Jeff references history. Yep, that's pretty par for the course.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

Lady Liberty: Most of the time, there's no way to know where Biscuit hears things. But it sure is a lot of fun when he throws his new-found knowledge into normal conversation.

I was cooking dinner, and Biscuit walked into the kitchen. With no lead-in whatsoever, he said, "Mom, I just love that Statue of Liberty. It greets you if it's your first time in New York. She looks like this." And he proceeded to stand really straight with his arm up in the air like he was holding a torch.

And before I could ask why he was thinking about Lady Liberty, he was gone.

Manners? Sometimes, you just have to shake your head.

"Mom, can I go poo?" Biscuit said, then paused. "Or I could also say, "Can I please be excused to go poo? I used that word because it sounded more scientific."

Playing firefighter. Biscuit was all decked out in his firefighter gear in the living room. There was a line of police officers (blue) and firefighters (red) lined up and ready to assist the civilians. Apparently, there was a BIG emergency, and all the people had to evacuate.

Let me interrupt myself and say that I love that Biscuit works hard to use the right word at the right time. He loves opposite words. But sometimes the opposites just aren't quite as clear cut as they should be.

So after the fire was put out and the emergency was under control, Biscuit held up his hands like a megaphone and shouted, "Okay, everyone! You can unevacuate now!"

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Good, better, best

How do you teach a kid to be confident without crossing over into arrogance? That's what we're working on with Biscuit.

Monday night at his piano lesson, Biscuit impressed his teacher. His teacher asked Biscuit to play a song he's been working on, and Biscuit did a good job on it. He counted well. He paid attention to the dynamics (loud and soft). He just had a real intensity about in his playing.

His teacher and I traded glances, nods and smiles. A silent agreement that we both noticed what was going on. And that should've been it. But no. The teacher had to made a big fuss ... out loud.

"He just has a concentration that you don't see in kids his age," the teacher said. "That's not flattery, Kim, I mean it."

"That's really good," I said.

"I can just see the talent," he said. "He just very talented, and it's coming out now."

It was wonderful stuff to hear, but the whole time, I'm thinking, "What on earth would you say this stuff with the boy sitting right in front of you?!"

The piano teacher's house has white carpet, so we take our shoes off in the foyer. So any time I want to talk about Biscuit's progress, I tell him to go put his shoes on (a room and a half away), THEN I ask how he's doing.

Oftentimes when we're leaving, the next student is coming in. And there's crossover time to chat as we put our shoes back on and the next student and parent are taking theirs off. So we talked to a boy a little older than Biscuit and his mom. The boy has been taking lessons for almost two years.

As soon as the boy walked into the music room, he banged on the piano keys.

"Remember how we talked about not banging on the keys?" the teacher asked.

Just then, the boy started playing a song that Biscuit learned to play about a month ago.

Right in the middle of putting on his shoes, Biscuit looked up at me with his mouth open and said, "Mom, that's not how ..." And before he could finish, I slapped my hand over his mouth.

"Shhhh!" I whispered. "Don't say anything else until we get outside."

Once we were outside, I said, "Whisper, and tell me what you were going to say."

"That's not AT ALL how you play that song, Mom," Biscuit said. "He wasn't playing it well."

"Listen," I said to Biscuit in my serious mom tone. "You don't criticize how someone else does something. That boy is playing that song the best that he can. And you can play it the best you can. But you don't compare yourself to him. And you don't compare him to you. Everybody does everything in a different way."

"Okay, Mom," Biscuit said in a contrite little voice.

And then we got off on a different topic, and that was the end of that.

Later, as Jeff, Biscuit and I were sitting around the dinner table, we talked about our day, and then there was a lull in the conversation.

"Hey guys," Biscuit said. "There is someone at this table who is VERY talented. Do you know who it is?"

Are you kidding me?!

Jeff and I looked at each other, then both raised our hands. "Nope," Biscuit said. "It's ME. My piano teacher said so!"

Okay, maybe we have still have some talking to do.

Monday, October 6, 2014

That face

Everybody who knows me knows how crazy I am for photographs. I love them. I've heard people say that if you're taking pictures, you're not "living" in the moment. But when I take a picture and six months down the line, I look back at a face Biscuit made or I see something he created or I see him in the midst of learning something new, I just get the warm fuzzies. I am by no means a great photographer, but I just love having pictures of the people I love.

But I've found some trends in my picture taking. And one is that every year at the end of September, I open my September folder, and I find fewer than 10 photos. I don't know what it is about September, but I just don't seem to take a lot of pictures. Granted, our summer trips are over, but we're still out and about doing stuff.

I also realized that I didn't have any recent pictures of Biscuit just hanging out being Biscuit.

So ... guess what? I took some this past weekend. And let me say that he was still in his jammies. And he had chocolate Pop Tart on his face. And he hadn't combed his hair. But it's pure Biscuit!

Here you go:

Pretty grin ... minus two teeth.
Flying his space shuttle.
I have no idea.


Ninja mode.

Ninja mode.