Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day

Let's talk for a minute about parental sacrifice. 

I know that Red Sox hat was burning his Yankee-loving head, but did that stop him from wearing it? Nope. He wore it at every practice and at every game. Jeff has never shied away from whatever it takes to be an active part of Griffin's life. I admire him as a man and a father, and I know Griffin does, too.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently: 

Ah, Grasshopper: Biscuit's class learned how to order food in Spanish, so he was trying out his new words with our server one evening at dinner.

I don't remember what word he used, but Jeff said, "What did you say?"

Biscuit repeated it, and Jeff said, "I don't know that word."

And Biscuit replied, "Aha! The child has become the parent."

I think he meant the student has become the master, but he got his point across anyway.

Know the names: Biscuit started summer camp this week. On the ride home after his first day, I asked him the names of his group leaders.

"Um, I know one of them, but I don't know the others," he said.

"You need to find out and use their names when you talk to them," I told him. "It's important and respectful."

"I guess you're right," Biscuit said. "I mean, like at times when I experience harshness."

"What do you mean 'experience harshness,'" I asked him.

He said, "Well, you know, like if I fall down and get hurt, it wouldn't be that nice to yell out, 'Hey you! I need some help!' But if I knew their names, I could say, 'Excuse me, John, can you help me?'"

"Yes," I said, "it would be nice to call them by name if you should happen to 'experience harshness.'"

It ain't me: Biscuit, Jeff and I were in the car yesterday, and I was fussing at Jeff for something he had done or had not done - I don't really remember. But I had a headache and a thousand things to do, and everything was jumping up and down on my last nerve.

I felt this little hand pat my shoulder a couple of times, then Biscuit said, "Mom, I just want you to remember that I'm not the one annoying you. It's Dad. He's the one annoying you. I just want you to remember that I'm not in it."

"I know, baby," I said, "and I appreciate it."

Monday, June 12, 2017

Catching up with Biscuit

Here's what's been going on with Biscuit:

School festival: Biscuit's school had a spring festival a few weeks ago. They had a DJ for music and dancing, food, games, bounce houses, and of course, facepainting.

When Biscuit was little, he wouldn't ever get his face painted. I finally asked him why he never wanted to do it.

"Because I like my face the way it is, Mom," he told me. He thought that once you got your face painted, it stayed that way. 

I wanted to ask him, "How many kids have you seen walking around with Spider-Man or butterfly faces?!"

Since his favorite animal is a tiger, that's what he asked for at the facepainting table. They had college kids doing the painting, so I've definitely seen better designs, but the kids loved it, and that's what mattered.

Lack of seating: You know how those building block kits come with diagrams about how to put them together? Well, I LOVE to put them together.

And Biscuit loves to tear them apart!

He has taken a bunch of the kits and put them together with other kits, and he has epic battles on the couch. Always on the couch.

It's kind of funny because you might see Harry Potter fighting with Indiana Jones and Luke Skywalker against storm troopers and random unnamed characters. But in Biscuit's battle, they're all good guys against bad guys. None of them are who they're supposed to be. And then he has these elaborate back stories and battle strategies, and he wants me to play with him.

Of course I like to play with him, but I swear, the characters and storylines are so dang confusing, I can't seem to keep up.

But just know that if you come to our house, unless you want to get stuck in the middle of a war, you can't sit on the couch!

Improve your handwriting: I'm constantly getting on to Biscuit about writing neatly. He would rather be done with his work than make sure it looks nice and neat.

Last week, he brought home a memory book from his afterschool program. They listed their favorite activities of the year, what they played outside, what they liked about their group leaders, etc.

And then there's a space to list friends' names. And here's where the bad handwriting comes in. Biscuit's best friend's name is Dennis. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017


Remember Mother's Day?

Biscuit came up to me the other day, and said, "Mom, I have to tell you something."

"Okay," I said. "Whatcha got?"

"Well, I just wanted to say that I regret the Mother's Day gift I gave you," he said.

"What do you mean?" I asked. "You wish you hadn't given me the necklace?"

"No, no, no," Biscuit said. "Not that. What I mean is, you know, when I ... you know ... said 'Happy Mother's Day, blech!' 'Happy Mother's Day, blech!'" And he was making throwing up motions.

"Well, I'm just glad you're feeling better now," I said. "And I do love my necklace."

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A long trip with good company

Where did last week go?! Biscuit's illness (and fever) carried on through Monday and finally went away late Tuesday evening. And lucky Jeff picked it up late Sunday evening.

I worked from home Monday so I could take care of my boys. On Tuesday, I left them home on their own.

I got news Tuesday that my uncle had died. He had a stroke 17 years ago, and my aunt has been taking care of him since then. I can't imagine the strength and patience it has taken for her to be a 24/7 caretaker.

I didn't want Biscuit to miss anymore school. And I didn't want Jeff to miss anymore work, either. So I called my brother to see what he was planning to do. It's 2 1/2 hours from my house to my brother's. Then it's another 5 1/2 hours to my aunt's house.

The funeral home visitation was from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, and the funeral was at 2 p.m. Thursday. After we talked about it, my brother and I decided to drive down for the visitation Wednesday evening, then drive back Thursday.

It was an exhausting journey, but it was good to see our family.

I have to admit though, my favorite part was getting to spend that much time with my brother. Ever since we got married and had children, we don't have much opportunity to hang out together. So this trip gave us 10-plus hours in the car together.

We ate lunch on the way down, and arrived just in time to get our clothes changed and head to the funeral home. We were planning to get a hotel room, but our uncle said we could stay at his house. We saved money and got to spend time with more family.

We didn't have time to eat dinner before the visitation, so we got some breakfast food after. I was chowing down on a waffle, and I said, "When's the last time you and I had two meals alone together in one day?"

He immediately answered, "When Aunt Joyce died."

"You answered that pretty quickly," I said.

"I was just sitting here thinking the same thing," he said.

I laughed and said, "So what you're telling me is that somebody has to die for us to get to spend some time together?!"

We're not ones to say mushy things to each other, so when I texted him to say I had made it back to my house, he texted back, "I hate somebody died, but I had fun."

"Me, too," I texted back to him.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

On Mother's Day, I got to sleep late. That would've been present enough, but when I came out of the bedroom, Biscuit was sitting at the kitchen table grinning.

"Are you ready, Mom?" Biscuit asked.

"What's this?" I asked him.

"Happy Mother's Day!" he said.

Biscuit made me a bookmark at school, and he filled out a paper about what he thinks about me. It was very sweet. 

Jeff had taken him shopping, and Biscuit picked out a Mom necklace for me.

Biscuit took this picture of me (in my pajamas) to show off my gifts. I was pretty groggy from getting to sleep late, so it might be good that the picture was a bit blurry!

Then Jeff surprised me with French toast. He's very good at French toast. And you can see that I hated it!

They asked me if I wanted to go somewhere or do something, but I told them I was perfectly content to stay home and hang out with them.

And it was a good thing because about an hour later, as we were chilling in the living room, Biscuit stood up and projectile vomited onto the living room carpet, on my rocking chair and on ME!

Throw in a fever, and that was the rest of my Sunday. 

Jeff went out and got some food for our dinner, and by the time he got back, I could tell he wasn't feeling well, either. And sure enough, he had a fever and belly problems, too.

Oh joy!

I worked from home today to kept Biscuit home from school and Jeff recover. Hopefully, I will stay healthy, and they'll get well soon.

I hope all you other Moms had a better day!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Good service

Jeff and I ended up eating out twice last Tuesday. And both times, we got really good service.

For lunch, Jeff said he'd like a hamburger, and since we needed to drop some stuff in the mail, we went to a burger place right beside the post office. They have peanuts you can eat while you wait on your food, and they have good hamburgers that you can customize to your liking. The fries are really good, too. They have a white board at the counter where they write the town and state that the potatoes came from. Jeff and I usually share a small order. They fill up a cup and put it in the bag. Then it's like they grab an extra handful and toss them in there, too.

Jeff went to the bathroom, so I opened up the tin foil around the burgers and divvied up the fries. On his way back to the table, Jeff grabbed a bottle of vinegar.

"Eeew," I said. "No kisses for you!"

Jeff was going to turn his food around so the fries (and icky vinegar) would be away from me. But in the process, he spilled about half his fries.

There was an employee sweeping up the dining room. "Excuse me," I said to her. "He has made a mess. Can we use your broom?"

"Of course not!" she said, and she started sweeping up the fries.

I looked at Jeff and said (like I was talking to a little kid), "Now you tell her thank you and don't let that happen again."

She laughed and went on about her cleaning.

A few minutes later, she walked over to our table with a cup of french fries for Jeff. We thanked her and enjoyed the rest of our meal.

Biscuit has piano lessons on Tuesday. If he behaves himself and does well at his lessons, he gets to pick a restaurant for dinner. He chose Mexican. Biscuit's Spanish teacher has been teaching them about food words and how to order in restaurants. So Biscuit asked for his dinner in Spanish. And the server immediately launched into a whole Spanish conversation. And Biscuit just stared at him.

"I only know a little bit," Biscuit said.

He ordered a quesadilla with black beans, and since it was 99-cent taco night, I told him he could add on a taco. 

So the server said, "So you had a quesadilla and a taco for dinner? It was good?"

"No," Biscuit said. "I haven't HAD dinner yet. I WANT a quesadilla and a taco."

I don't know if Biscuit is hitting a growth spurt or what, but he asked me to put some of the black beans on his quesadilla and ate every bite of it. Then he ate his taco. Then he used some of the chips to scoop up the leftover black beans.

When the server came back to check on us, he saw Biscuit's plate and said, "You cleaned your plate."

As Biscuit grabbed a chip and scooped up the last five or six black beans on his plate, he looked up at the server and said, "NOW, I've cleaned my plate."

I asked for a box to take home the food I couldn't eat, and when the server came back, he had a box and a bag of chips and salsa for us to take home. Then when he came back to leave the bill, he brought Biscuit a sopapilla (a fried tortilla with cinnamon and honey). It was decorated with whipped cream, sprinkles and chocolate syrup. And he shared a few bites with Jeff and me.

Let's discuss Biscuit's shirt. You can't tell by looking at it from this angle, but it's actually the "Jaws" theme song and has a big ol' shark at the bottom. It's very funny, and of course, Jeff picked it out.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The drama king

It's probably in bad parenting form to laugh at your child's pain, but sometimes they're just so dang dramatic that you can't help it!

Biscuit has guided reading at school. It's basically reading comprehension, but you know they have the change the names of everything every few years. 

They get either "books," which are photocopies stapled together, or what they call passages, which are just one sheet front and back with a story or non-fiction information. The levels are lettered so they can keep up with where the kids are in their reading. Biscuit is supposed to be at the letter N by the end of the school year. Right now, he's already at R, so he's doing really well. But he puts a lot of pressure on himself.

It's hard because I want to push him and encourage him to do the best he can, but I don't want him getting all stressed out about it. He has this weird mix of being a perfectionist but also wanting to be done with his work more than wanting to be right. So he hurries through things and is then upset when he doesn't do as well as he wanted to do.

So, on to the part where I wanted to laugh ...

When they get their books or passages, they also get sheets with four reading comprehension questions. In addition to the reading and questions, they also have math homework every night. So the idea is for the kids to answer one question each night, making it all more manageable.

Biscuit has piano lessons on Tuesday evenings, so he usually does two questions on Monday or Wednesday. This week was kind of crazy, then Biscuit picked up a nasty cold and had to miss school Wednesday. And somehow, he ended up with three questions to answer Thursday evening.

He does his homework at the kitchen table, and if I sit there with him, he'll ask me a thousand questions and will depend on me too much to help. So I stay in the living room, then when he's done, he brings his answers to me and we go over them.

I was in my rocking chair when Biscuit rounded the corner crying.

"What's wrong?" I asked him.

"I ... I ... I'm doomed," Biscuit said with full drama!

"You're doomed?" I asked him. "Why do you say that?"

"Um, because I can't find my guided reading booooook," he said with more tears falling. "It's no use. I'm going to flunk second grade. I just can't flunk second grade, Mom."

It had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing. I shouldn't admit it because he was so upset, but he was just SO dramatic. But he was completely serious. He was that worried about losing his book. And remember, this so-called book is some photocopies stapled together.

He had the question sheet, so I said, "You've read the passage several times. See if you can remember enough to answer the questions."

I sat with him at the kitchen table, and sure enough, he remembered enough to give decent decent answers to two of the questions.

Once he got those answers down, I could tell he was calming down. So then I lit in with the responsibility / keeping-up-with-your-stuff lecture.

"Your best course of action is to go straight to the teacher and tell her what's going on," I told Biscuit.

"Okay," he said, and I could tell he was dreading it.

I wrote his teacher an email to tell her what was going on and how upset he was about it.

She wrote back later and said that as soon as Biscuit walked in the classroom, he went straight to her desk and stuttered and stumbled all over himself and told her he lost his book.

"Okay, let's problem solve," she told him. "Pick up another book and go do your last question right now."

And that's all he needed to hear. She said he got his last question done in no time.

And it's safe to say that he won't flunk second grade!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Baseball Biscuit

Okay, so here are the real baseball photos!

Biscuit won't be a pro baseball player, but he's gotten a lot better, and he seems to enjoy it. He got two good hits Saturday, and he made a really nice out at third base.

When the Angels are in the field, the coach asks them in between batters how many outs there are and where the play is (in other words, which base to throw it to for an out). Last seasons, it took Biscuit a few seconds to figure it out. But this season, he's one of the first kids to answer. 

And he has the same coach this year, so there's been some continuity in his learning.

The season is only eight games, and it seems like just as we're getting into a routine with practice and games, it's over. We only have three games left.

The kids will get to run onto the field with our local minor league baseball team again this year - sometime later in May, I think - so the kids are excited about that.

So here's my Angel Biscuit (sorry, I had to say it):

Monday, May 1, 2017

Baseball faces

Biscuit will probably want to kill me for this, but as I looked through the pictures I took at last Saturday's baseball game, I kept noticing his odd and funny faces. So I'll post the whole pictures later, but you need to see these faces and have a good laugh at my boy.

Fake smiling for the group photo. He doesn't like to show his teeth when he smiles because he's still missing some.

Not exactly a face, but still pretty funny. See the dirt flying behind him?

Baseball is serious business.

He swung hard, and he hit it pretty far.

"I can hit the ball that far?" he's asking himself.

"Now I have to start running," he's thinking.

I have no idea what the pointing or the face is about.

Swinging hard again.

"I'm hitting it! I'm hitting it!"

"Whoa! I gotta run!"

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sweet thank yous

I went to Biscuit's school a couple of weeks ago for Career Day. I didn't really talk about newspapers as much as writing, editing and having a wide range of knowledge.

I hit a home run with the teachers when I said to the kids, "Raise your hand if you've ever written an answer for a guided reading question then put it in your folder without reading what you wrote."

When most of the kids started to look sheepish, I asked them how they would feel if they saw their names in a newspaper or book or on a website. They didn't like that, so I told them that was why it was important to be your own editor and that they should always read what they write. Almost every teacher smiled and/or nodded when I said that.

Yesterday, I was putting a permission slip in Biscuit's homework folder, and I saw an envelope with my name on it. It was full of hand-drawn thank you cards from the kids I spoke to for Career Day.

Here are some of my favorites:

I made the front page!

I love her honesty. And the fact that she proved herself true by misspelling editing and using the wrong "too."

I also got a rose that will never die.

I'm not sure why she added the snowman, especially since they made these cards this past week. But hey, she likes my ideas and my thinking! Even though she did call me Mrs. Milis.

I think this is supposed to be someone reading the paper at a desk, but it looks like someone reading the paper in bed. And I'm not sure who's knocking on the door.

I work at a noospaper.

This one was my favorite. What more could anyone ask of you than for you to do your things?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently: 

Your choice, but not really: Biscuit has a series of books called "The A to Z Mysteries." There are 26 books with about 100 pages each, and each one uses the letter in the title. Like the A book is "The Absent Author." I got a really good deal on the whole set by buying it used, and they're in really good shape.

We read them to him first. Then he read them himself. And he's read several of them a couple of times since then.

So as I was tucking him in one night, I asked him if he would like for me to read to him.

"Yes, please," he said. "Can you read one of the 'A to Z Mysteries' books?"

"Sure," I said. "Which one?"

"Um, you pick," he said.

"Okay, let me see," I said as I perused the titles.

"Of course, if I was going to pick," he said, "I'd pick G for Griffin. But you can pick whichever one you want."

I'll just cut to the chase and say that I read two chapters in the G book!

Getting technical: "Mom, what does 2-D stand for?" Biscuit asked. "You know, the scientifical words for it."

Things aren't always what they seem: 
Biscuit's class did a study on 2-D and 3-D shapes (that's two-dimensional and three-dimensional, since I didn't answer the question above!), and the teacher asked the parents to send in snacks that represent some of the shapes.

Bugles for cones, Tootsie Rolls for cylinders, Ritz crackers for circles, saltines for squares, blocks of cheese for cubes and others.

One thing on the list was oyster crackers. It didn't say what shape these would represent, but I remember when I was a kid that we used to get oyster crackers shaped like hexagons with six sides. So I assumed that's what she was looking for. But when I went to the store to get some, I found that all the major namebrands had gone to a round shape.

But as I was looking down the cracker aisle, I came across these. And apparently they were a hit.

Image result for annie's saltines

I was planning to make some chili, so I went ahead and got some oyster crackers anyway.

The next night for dinner, I dipped up the chili and put shredded cheese and the oyster crackers on the table. Biscuit helped himself to cheese, but not crackers.

"Aren't you going to eat some crackers?" I asked him.

"Um, Mom," Biscuit said. "I don't like oysters."

"First of all," I said, "you've never tried oysters. And second of all, these crackers aren't made OF oysters, goofball. A lot of people put them in oyster stew."

"So you're saying that they're just regular crackers?" Biscuit asked.

"Yes," I said. "They taste almost exactly like regular saltine crackers."

"I'll just take your word for it, Mom," Biscuit said. And he didn't eat a single cracker!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Baseball Biscuit

Biscuit is playing for the Angels this year. He's in the same age level as last year, so it's coach-pitch. The coach throws four balls for them to hit, and if they don't hit one, they set the ball up a tee.

Some of the kids have never played before, so when they hit the ball, you have to yell for them to run to first base! But they are pretty cute in their uniforms. And sometimes when a kid stops the ball on the field, they have no idea what to do with it.

Like in this picture. The third baseman stopped the ball and Biscuit and one of the helpers were both pointing to first base yelling for the third baseman to throw it over there.

When Jeff and Biscuit practice in the backyard, Biscuit hits the snot out of the ball. But when he gets to practice and the games, he holds back. I'm not sure why. We've tried to tell him to hit it at the games like he hits it at home, but he's not quite there yet. He's gotten hits at every game, but I think if he would let loose, he could be doing even better.

He does have a good level swing, though, so that's good.

Biscuit is not the best player out there, but he enjoys playing, and it gives him and Jeff something to bond over. And I enjoy watching him, too!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Country boy Biscuit

Biscuit spent spring break at my parents' house ... in the woods.

Jeff, Biscuit and I live in town, so we have a fenced-in backyard that limits Biscuit's activities. We don't have trees for him to climb or creeks for him to play in or fun vehicles for him to ride on and drive. But he has all that stuff at Grandmama and Papa's house. And he has cousins - in particular, a 14-year-old boy cousin that he looks up to and wants to be like.

Ever since Biscuit started school, his spring break has been the week after Easter weekend, and his cousins have been out the week before Easter. But for some reason this year, their spring break weeks lined up. So he got to spend his whole week riding four-wheelers, playing in the creek, going fishing, riding the dune buggy and other fun stuff.

Even if it's only a few weeks a year, I love that Biscuit gets a taste of what my childhood was like.

Here are some pictures that were texted to me throughout the week:

Biscuit, his cousin and Papa went fishing. They pulled in a pretty good haul.

I asked Biscuit if he caught any.

"Mom!" he said. "I caught two catfish that were as long as my arm!"

Daddy cleaned them, and Mama cooked them. Of course, Mr. Picky Eater wouldn't try them, but Daddy and my brother said they were really good.

Biscuit has shown no interest in learning to ride his bike. That's such an odd concept to me because my brother and I rode our bikes for miles and miles and miles. We sent Biscuit's bike with him and asked his cousin to help him out. He made a ton of progress. Jeff and I just have to make sure we keep working with him.

Biscuit and his cousins made and decorated cookies. He brought Jeff a bird and an apple (for the Big Apple, even though Jeff isn't from NYC). And he brought me a music note and an angel because he said I was so sweet to him.

My brother and I used to love to look for crawdads and frogs. One time, we saw an otter down there. That was pretty cool!

That tiling runs under the road. And as soon as I saw this picture, I knew what Biscuit was planning to do.

Yep. He crawled into the tiling. Of course, he called it a tunnel. Mama asked my nephew, "Did you look inside before he went in there to make sure there weren't any snakes or anything?" And he looked at her sort of bewildered, which meant no, he didn't check it out first. 

Luckily, there was nothing in there, and Biscuit had a great adventure.