Saturday, February 28, 2015

A yearlong gift

I shared pictures of the cute holiday crafts Biscuit made at school, but there was one other thing he made that will be a yearlong gift for us. He brought home a wrapped package for Jeff and me and assured us that he made it himself.

I'm not sure where his teacher got this idea, but it's really cute. The kids made 2015 calendars.

The top of each page features a piece of artwork made with Biscuit's hands, along with a little poem verse. Then the kids wrote in the numbers for the dates. I can't imagine how long it took them to write to around 30 for 12 months of the year.

But I can show you what he did better than tell you, so here are a bunch of pictures of what Biscuit made for us.

The cover.

The poem about the calendar.


The cover.











Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow days

We've had three snows in two weeks, which is quite unusual for us.

Although, I'm not sure you can call the first two "real" snows. They were more ice than snow. Biscuit and Jeff still went out to play.

Biscuit is bundled up and ready to go out to play in the "snow."

When Biscuit found out that the groundhog saw his shadow, he was thrilled.

"Do you know what that means, Mom?" he asked. "That means that there's still time for snow!"

But the icy snow was so frozen, Biscuit couldn't scoop it up to make a snowman. So Jeff, not wanting his boy to be disappointed, shoveled the back sidewalk, throwing shovels full of snow into a pile that ended up being Biscuit's first snowman of the year.

This is Fire Chief Johnny the Snowman.

He has nandina berries for his features.

I think the boy has seen Frosty one too many times because he basically resurrected his snowman from last year. He even named him the same thing - Fire Chief Johnny the Snowman.

The hardest thing for Jeff and me is that school let out early last Monday and was closed four days last week. It might sound crazy for just that little bit of icy snow, but our city doesn't have much snow removal equipment, and also, people around here drive in this stuff maybe once or twice a year, so it's just scary and dangerous.

Some of my Northern co-workers have made comments about how crazy it is for the schools to close. And my response to them is, "Would you put your kid on a bus knowing that the bus driver might have little to no experience driving under such conditions?" Not to mention that a good part of our county contains secondary roads that don't get scraped at all.

But luckily, Jeff and I both have jobs we can do mostly from home. And both our bosses are parents, too, so they get it.

And that came in handy today because when we got up this morning, we had 5 inches of snow on the ground. Light, fluffy pretty snow. 

So school was canceled today and tomorrow, and Biscuit couldn't be happier. He said, "Mom, I LOVE school, but I also LOVE snow. So I think it's okay that I get to stay home and play today."

Jeff and I both worked today, but we did take a little break for some playtime. Well, to be perfectly honest, Jeff and Biscuit went out to play, and I stood at the back door and took pictures. And I was just fine with that!

Here are some pictures:

It looks like our deck chairs have white cushions.

I love how the snow stacks up even on the skinny branches.

Sand castle molds aren't just for sand castles.
Jeff and Griffin built themselves a kingdom's worth.

I love this picture of Biscuit. He was having such fun.

Biscuit's mittens are too little, but he's in
between toddler gloves and big-boy gloves.

Hmmm. To throw, or not to throw. That is the question.

This little bird was just chirping away in a big bush in the backyard.

Biscuit took his shovel and piled snow on his slide. Then of
course, he slid down, pushing all the snow to the bottom.

And I enjoyed the snow from my nice, warm living room!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Doing the paperwork

When I was in kindergarten, I learned the alphabet and letter sounds. And we reviewed colors, shapes and numbers.

It was assumed that Biscuit and has classmates would know their alphabet, letter sounds, numbers, colors, etc. before they even walked in the door that first day. And they've been flying right along ever since then.

Biscuit is reading. He's writing full sentences and has recently started writing paragraphs and sequence sentences (as in, "First, I did ... Next, I did ... Last, I did ...). He can count to 999 and can write his numbers to 100. He can do basic addition and subtraction. He can follow patterns of numbers, like 2 ... 4 ... __ ... 8 ... 10 and can figure out that the missing number is 6.

And I could keep writing things he knows for a while.

He's learning all about Black History Month right now. (More on that later.) He's learning a lot about presidents. He says right now that Teddy Roosevelt is his favorite, and although I can't remember why right now, he can give you a whole speech about him.

I guess it sounds like I'm bragging. And I am. But mainly, I'm just amazed at all that he's learned in just a few months!

I took a picture of Biscuit's February homework assignment sheet. Down the left are "sight words." These are new words they're learning. Then for each weekday, there's an assignment. We don't have to do them in order. Since it's dang-near impossible for us to do an assignment each night, we often double-up on them, doing one easy one and one harder one on the same night. When he finishes an assignment, he has to color in the square.

And this month, there's even a bonus assignment.

I have to say, though, that the homework assignments have really helped improve Biscuit's handwriting. They got their first month of homework for October, and we struggled to get it all done in time. Partly because we just weren't used to doing assignments on a schedule, but partly because it took Biscuit FOREVER to write one word, much less a whole sentence.

One of his assignments this month said, "Write three ways you can take care of your teeth."

Here's what Biscuit said: 

I brush my teeth. I floss my teeth. I go to the dentist.

I drives me a little crazy that I can't help Biscuit with his spelling. His teacher wants him to sound out words. She says that right now, figuring out letter sounds is more important than him spelling words correctly.

Another assignment was "Identify the jobs in your house and who is responsible for each."

Here's what he came up with.

Jobs: I sweep. I practice piano. I do homework. I pick up my toys.
Mom cleans the house. Mom makes dinner.
Dad gives me a bath. Dad does laundry.
Mom and Dad take care of me.

And I've noticed that he has been getting more words spelled correctly, too. Like when he had the word "keep" as a sight word, he realized that the long e sound could be made with two e's in a row. So he spelled "sweep" correctly. And some words, he's just learning. Like "does." 

His teacher suggested we make flash cards of his sight words. I bought a pack of 250 index cards, and I've written words on 130 of them. There are about 4 or 5 that Biscuit gets mixed up. But he knows all the others on sight.

I laughed when my father-in-law watched Biscuit do homework. He just couldn't believe that a kindergartner could do the work Biscuit is doing. Biscuit doesn't put up too much fuss about doing homework. He seems to enjoy learning new things, and I hope it continues that way.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The look

When Biscuit recently outgrew all his pants, his growth spurt also took out the dress pants he had. And guess how he was supposed to dress for his recital?

So we went and got him a nice pair of khaki pants. And just in case, I left the tags on them. Knowing how quickly he's been in and out of sizes lately, I waited until the very last possible moment before cutting the tags off and claiming them as his own.

When we got him dressed that afternoon, I couldn't get over how grown up he looked. I think it was the belt. That just completed the outfit to make him look like a big guy.

I look at him in his recital outfit, and I think about other times he got dressed up.

I can't believe how big he is now.

And remember when I was talking about when Biscuit finished his songs at the recital, and he turned and gave me that look and grin? Well, I did a screen grab on the video and captured it. It's not a great, clear photo, but you can see the attitude in his eyes!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day just ain't what it used to be for kids. It's not about homemade hearts anymore. It's about cartoon characters and stickers and rub-on tattoos and candy.

So when Biscuit's teacher sent out the list of kids in their class, Biscuit and I headed in search of valentines.

We got to the store, and there were four rows of Valentine's Day ... stuff. There was everything from cards and candy to bubbles and bobble-heads to toys and T-shirts and plush animals to pencils.

I helped Biscuit navigate through the craziness, and he decided on the cards he wanted. They were from a movie he saw last year. And they included tattoos and stickers.

I guess the decision was just too much for Biscuit because he asked if he could ride in the buggy. He's so big now, that I can't just lift him anymore. I have to do the "1, 2, 3, jump" thing to get him up there.

I pushed all the stuff to the end of the buggy, and Biscuit said cross-legged in the buggy.

"Mom, how much longer will we be in the store?" Biscuit asked. "I'm really kinda tired."

"Not too much longer," I said, "but I still need a few more things."

We got to the cosmetics area, and I grabbed some toothpaste, then remembered that Biscuit needed toothpaste, too.

"What kind of toothpaste do you want?" I asked him.

No answer.

"Hey!" I said. "What kind of toothpaste to you want?"

Again, no answer.

I walked around to the buggy and saw this.

Who knew shopping for valentines could be so exhausting?

I picked up a few more things and walked back to the front of the buggy. He was leaning over a little bit more. I was wondering how he could possibly be comfortable.

But by the time we got to the checkout, I was REALLY wondering how he could possibly be comfortable! Look at his hand!

The cashier leaned over, looked at him and shook her head. "How is he doing that?" she asked.

"I have no idea," I said.

She packed up my bags, and as I started to put them in the buggy, I draped my coat over the side and straightened Biscuit up. It was really cold outside that day, but I wasn't worried about Biscuit using my coat. It was a short walk to the car.

The one thing I didn't think about was that Biscuit had no idea we were walking out the door.

I rolled the buggy out, and Biscuit sat straight up and made this awful noise. "Agh! Agh! Agh! Mom! Cold!"

My poor Biscuit. It never even occurred to me to wake him up before we went out. Just imagine how shocking that must have been for him!

I got Biscuit all bundled up in the car, and we headed home to put together his valentines.

I always loved crafty projects, especially the different creations we made for our class valentines. We covered shoe boxes in construction paper and cut out hearts to glue on. We made pretty envelopes. And Biscuit's class made cute valentines holders, too.

He came home with this bag half full of cards, candy, pencils, stickers, balloons, tattoos and more.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy New Year ... Chinese style

Last week, we were having dinner at our favorite Asian restaurant, and the owner's son came over to tell us that they were planning a Chinese New Year's celebration for tonight.

"Hey, you guys need to come back next Thursday for Chinese New Year's," the guy said.

"Will you have a goat?" Biscuit asked.

Jeff and I looked at each other with confusion.

"Why would they have a goat?" I asked.

"Because it's the year of the goat," Biscuit said, matter-of-factly. And the owner's son nodded his head.

He told us more about the food and festivities. It's funny because when I say Asian restaurant, I mean it. They serve Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese ... just a little bit of all the Asian cuisines.

But the Chinese New Year's event sounded fun, so as we were leaving last week, we made a reservation for tonight.

The restaurant is pretty all the time, but for the celebration, they had added red lanterns with gold tassels from the overhead lights. They had some menu specials. And the place was packed!

About halfway through our meal, we heard drums starting to play. Then, through the front door of the restaurant, came a big, colorful creature. It was dancing up and down and wiggling around the front of the restaurant.

It looked like a half-dragon and half-lion, so Biscuit decided we would call it a "drion."

It came dancing right to our table and tried to swallow Jeff's head! Biscuit was half scared and half thrilled.

The "drion" made its way around the restaurant three times, and Biscuit couldn't keep his eyes off it.

Here are some pictures:

Sunday, February 15, 2015

He rocked his recital

Jeff and I don't really do Valentine's Day, so yesterday evening, I told Biscuit to pick somewhere for us to have dinner. He chose a Mexican restaurant, and as he was taking the last bite of his black bean quesadilla, he said, "Uh ... Mom ..."

I looked over and his tooth was bleeding and wobbly. He's already lost his front two teeth, and this one was right beside where his front teeth used to be. So now, his smile has a three-tooth gap!

I only mention it because Biscuit had his first big piano recital today, and he sang along with his third song. And although I'm sure nobody else noticed, when Biscuit sang "the little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head," I could hear the difference in his "s" sounds.

The recital was originally planned for January, and we were excited because Jeff's parents were still here. And it was set for a Saturday, so my whole family was planning to come up. But Biscuit's teacher got the flu and had to reschedule a lot of lessons. And he didn't think it would be fair to the students to have a recital after he had to cancel two weeks of lessons.

Although I completely agree with his reasoning, it was disappointing to learn that the make-up date would be in February and on a Sunday. That narrowed our group down to just Jeff and me and my parents.

Then this past week, both my parents got sick. Daddy has a bad cold, and Mama has bronchitis. I had seen the weather report and knew it was going to be in the 20s here, and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted them to just stay home and get well. They reluctantly agreed.

So it was down to Jeff and me. And Biscuit was just fine with that. I told him that we could make some phone calls after the recital to let his grandparents know how he did.

We got a nice surprise just before lunchtime today. We heard a knock at the front door that turned out to be my brother and my nephew. And Biscuit was so excited. My nephew is 10, so Biscuit really looks up to him.

When they arrived, I had just finished my house cleaning. All the stuff I normally do on Saturday, I put off until today. I knew I would have a lot of nervous energy, and I wanted to have something to do besides sit around and wait on 3 p.m. to get here. I can't believe how nervous I was. Jeff was the picture of calm, as usual!

After the recital was over, I gave Biscuit the choice of ice cream or doughnuts. I think the weather somewhat influenced his decision to get doughnuts. As we were walking in the shop, I asked, "Hey, were you nervous when you went up to play?"

"No," Biscuit said, matter-of-factly. "I just pretended it was you and dad and grandma and grandpa and grandmama and papa and my other people."

He played with a lot of confidence, and just as he finished the last song, he shot me this grin that could easily be translated as, "Yep, I rocked it!"

Here are Biscuit's three recital songs:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Honesty is the best policy ... except for sometimes

We take Jeff's parents to a local doughnut shop each year when they're down here. Well, it's not exactly local anymore, but it did start one town over from here.

They have a display along the assembly line so you can watch the doughnuts being made. And what's really good is that when the doughnuts come off the line, they're still hot. And they melt in your mouth. It's easy to eat three of them without even realizing it.

That said, there is a really, really good other local doughnut shop. A much smaller chain. I think they're up to three stores now.

In my opinion, if you're looking for regular glazed doughnuts, you can't beat the big chain. But pretty much everything else is better from the small chain.

And apparently, Biscuit agrees. Because halfway through his doughnut (which was not a hot glazed one), Biscuit said, loud enough for everybody to hear, "Raise your hand if you like the other place better." Except he announced the name of the other chain!

Luckily, I think everybody was too distracted by their own hot doughnuts to pay much attention to him. And I explained to him, in my best cowboy movie accent, "Boy! You don't bite the hand what feeds ya!"

Here's Biscuit at the doughnut shop:

Biscuit watches the doughnuts make their way down the line.

Biscuit calls this the "doughnut icing waterfall."

Biscuit is too predictable. He always gets a
doughnut with chocolate icing and sprinkles.

And he takes bites that are WAY too big!