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.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The beach

Okay, let me show you what our beach trip actually looked like!

This was my perch for a good part of our trip.

And this is when you look left.

And this is when you look right.

Jeff spent a lot of time behind those binoculars. There were birds and dolphins and all sorts of things to look at.

The place we stayed wasn't a chain. It's owned by a family. It wasn't fancy, but it was clean, oceanfront and had a balcony. And those were our requirements! And one of the best things? They had real, live keys! 

Sunrise over the ocean. Even though it was just Jeff and me and we weren't on a schedule, I still woke up at my regular time. So I peeked out the sliding glass door and saw that the sun was just about to come up. So I grabbed my camera, took a few pictures and sat on the balcony until I got cold. Then I went back in, put my camera away and crawled back in bed!

We had some really good food, including, as I described it to my Mama, "wads of cream corn battered and fried." They were decadent and so, so good!

My nieces and nephew gave me one of those selfie sticks. I normally hate those things, but they made a good point. They said they gave it to me because when I take selfies of Jeff, Biscuit and me on vacation, we take up the whole frame, and they can't see where we are. So I promised them I would use the stick at least a couple of times on each of our trips.

We teased Biscuit when we got home. I said, "Dude! I didn't know you had a beach house named after your middle name!" Sometimes, he takes things so literally, he'll just tell me that he's just a kid and can't have his own beach house. But that day, he played along. "I didn't know I had a beach house, either," he said. "When can we go visit it?"

It was nice to get away. And it was nice that Jeff was well and could leave the room, unlike his pneumonia beach trip back in October!

Next up, I'll show you what Biscuit was doing on his spring break.

Friday, April 14, 2017

A quick trip

Jeff and I used to take a weeklong vacation in early May to celebrate our anniversary. But then Biscuit started school. School ruins everything!

Since Biscuit is with my parents for spring break, I decided that we should take an abbreviated trip.

So here's where we're at. Don't be too jealous!

NOTE: The cell service isn't great here, and I'm having trouble getting a photo posted. So in the meantime, just picture and old rocking chair sitting on a private balcony, overlooking the ocean with bright blue skies!


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spring break

Biscuit is with my parents for Spring Break, and Jeff and I don't know what to do with ourselves!

For starters, I haven't cooked in a few days. We've eaten out or scrounged around for leftovers or whatever we find.

We've also slept until 8:30 both work days this week. Seeing as we're usually up at 6, that's down right luxurious for us.

I called to talk to Biscuit yesterday, and I could tell there were lots of things he'd rather be doing than talking to me on the phone.

He's really hit or miss about talking on the phone. Some days, you can't shut him up, and some days, he just can't be bothered. And when he wants to end a phone conversation, he'll say, "Well, it's been nice talking to you." And then he finished the conversation with "Love you, bye."

So when I talked to him yesterday, we were chatting about what he had been doing, and he said, "Well, it's been nice talking to ..." 

And before he could finish his sentence, I said, "No, no, no. We're not done talking yet."

And he replied (with no enthusiasm at all!), "Oh, okay."

So I asked him a bunch of questions about what he'd been doing, and he told me. Then I asked him questions about what he'd been eating, and he told me. 

And then I heard the voice and realized why he didn't want to talk to me anymore. My nephew was there. And there is nobody in the world to Biscuit like my nephew. So I let Biscuit off the hook and told him I'd talk to him later.

And he said, "It was nice talking to you. I love you. Bye." And that was that.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A night at the symphony

Jeff covered a baseball game last night, so Biscuit and I got fancy and went to the symphony. 

I'm the editor of our entertainment section, so I know about so many things that I wish we could go to. One of the local theaters is doing "Peter Pan" soon, and I'm hoping to take Biscuit to that. It's hard, though, because tickets are expensive!

Anyway, when I was writing about the symphony's performance for the entertainment section, I got very interested in the guest performer.

A young French male pianist taught himself to play jazz when he was a kid and into his teens. He got a job at a grocery store in Paris, then somehow, he became associated with a big-deal piano teacher. He took professional lessons for four years, then placed fourth in an international competition that is a really deal in the piano world.

I went to his website to check out some videos of him playing, and I decided that I had to take Biscuit to see him.

The concert started at 8 p.m., and Biscuit's bedtime is 8:30 p.m., so I was worried about how long he'd be able to stay awake. A friend of mine who goes to the performances quite often said that she's seen lots of parents take kids out during intermission. So I told Biscuit that we'd stay until intermission and then we'd decide whether to stay or not.

The first thing the orchestra played was by Schumann, then the pianist joined and they played a Beethoven concerto. It was really good, and I enjoyed it a lot.

The conductor was pretty lively, and I was glad because Biscuit loves conductors. Biscuit had his hand near his lap and was waving along with the conductor. I felt so bad for him because he got so sleepy toward the end of the Schumann piece. Picture him doing small conducting movements with his hand while he eyes were getting droopier and droopier, and his head even bobbed a couple of times. It was so cute that he was still moving his hand.

But when the pianist came onstage, Biscuit was wide awake.

When it came time for the intermission, Biscuit and I slipped out a side door. As we were walking to the car, we were behind an older couple. The woman turned around and started chatting with Biscuit.

"Did you enjoy the music?" she asked.

"Yes, yes I did," Biscuit said.

"Which did you like better, the Schumann or Beethoven?" she asked.

"Oh, I don't think I could choose," Biscuit said.

He told her that he was taking piano lessons, and that he thought it was cool that the orchestra played a Schumann piece, and he's learning a different Schumann piece. Biscuit and the lady talked about that all the way to the car.

Just as the lady got into her car, Biscuit said, "Mom? I didn't tell that lady which music was my favorite because I couldn't remember which one was the Schumann and which was the Beethoven."

"Then you gave her the perfect answer," I told him.

Then I wanted to drive home one thing about the pianist.

"Did you notice anything about that guy's face when he was playing?" I asked Biscuit.

"Yes, I did," he said. "He smiled a lot while he was playing. He looked excited about playing."

"That's why I wanted you to see him," I told Biscuit. "Some musicians are so serious when they play. It seems like they treat it more like a job than something they enjoy. But the guy tonight, he was enjoying what he was doing. And even when the orchestra was playing, and he was waiting his turn to play, he was moving his head along with the music and smiling."

"I'm gonna be like that, too, Mom," Biscuit said. "I'm quite the jokester, you know. And I want to have fun no matter what I'm doing."

"That is a great way to be," I told him. And I was glad we went.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

On course: Last summer, Biscuit attended a summer camp that offered golf lessons. He had gotten a set of clubs for Christmas, so he was excited to learn some skills for the course.

Every day that Biscuit had a lesson, I'd ask him on the way home, "How was golf?"

His answer every day was, "Good."

To which I replied, "What did you do?"

And he would say, "Well, we worked on putting and chipping, then we did some free hitting."

After several weeks, I was wondering if adding the golf lessons had been worth it.

"So have you learned anything so far at your golf lessons?" I asked Biscuit.

"Yes, yes I have," Biscuit said.

"Let me guess," I said. "You've learned putting and chipping and free hitting."

"Well yes, but I've learned more than that," he said.

"Like what?" I asked. I was expecting him to give me his usual answer with maybe a detail or two added.

"Well, actually," Biscuit said, "today, we talked about loft. That has to do with how high or low the ball goes because of the way the clubs are slanted."

So he's getting golf lessons again this summer!

Dad's turn: When we found out Jeff was going to have surgery, we realized that we needed to tell Biscuit before he overheard us talking about it.

Biscuit is usually really good about taking things in stride as long as we give him plenty of details. He wants to know step-by-step what's going to happen. And after we explain that, he's usually fine.

So the three of us were riding in the car together on the way to do some shopping, and I said, "Remember when Dad had pneumonia, and he told us he had to get an x-ray of his chest?"

"Yes," Biscuit said.

"Well, when the doctor looked at the x-ray, he saw some weird-looking bumps on Dad's thyroid. That's a butterfly-shaped thing right here in your neck." And I pointed to the spot. "They did some tests on Dad, and the doctor decided that he needed to do surgery to take out his thyroid. They'll give Dad medicine to make him go to sleep, and he won't feel anything they're doing. He'll be in the hospital for one night, then he'll be out of work for two weeks."

"Do you have any questions?" Jeff asked.

"Um ... not yet," Biscuit said.

I told Jeff we should just get Biscuit an appointment with the surgeon so he could ask all the questions he wanted!

I had my appendix out in September 2015, and because it was an emergency situation, there wasn't much time to explain things to Biscuit.

So after I had my surgery, Jeff asked Biscuit if he'd like to go see me.

"Um, no," Biscuit said. "I don't want to see that."

"What do you think you're going to see?" Jeff asked.

"Mom's surgery!" Biscuit said. He thought that I would be in surgery from the time I got to the hospital until the time I left. And he didn't want any part of that!

So after Jeff and I had talked to him about the whole thyroid situation, I asked him, "So how do you feel about this?"

I wish I had a video of him answering. He sat there for a minute. He had a very serious look on his face, and he held his hand out toward Jeff and me.

"Guys, I had to face something like this with Mom's appendix, so I think I'll be okay."

Jeff and I were glad Biscuit was going to be able to "face" another surgical situation.

Musical pasta: Biscuit's piano lessons are at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. Jeff and I decided when he first started that we would go out to eat after the lessons. That makes it a whole lot easier on me. And if Biscuit's does well and behaves during his lesson, he gets to pick the restaurant.

He picked a steakhouse this past Tuesday, and Jeff and I were looking over the menu while Biscuit did a maze on his kids' menu.

One of the "signature" sides (which means you pay an extra $1) you can get with your meal is macaroni and cheese. But not just ANY mac and cheese. Steakhouse Mac & Cheese. It has the corkscrew noodles with several kinds of cheese and herb-flavored bread crumbs on top.

So Jeff and I were talking about macaroni and cheeses that we like, and Jeff said, "I shouldn't admit it, but I still like box mac and cheese."

All of a sudden, Biscuit looked up with a bewildered look on his face.

"What did you say?" Biscuit asked.

"I was saying that I like box mac and cheese," Jeff said.

"Bach's mac and cheese?" Biscuit asked. "Like the composer?"

Jeff and I got a good laugh. Looks like he was definitely paying attention at his piano lesson.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Class of 2027

Biscuit brought a picture home the other day that was a little unexpected.

It said that Biscuit would be a member of the Class of 2027 (which I had never counted up before), and that his preferred profession was to be an inventor.

I knew about the inventor part, but just knowing the year he'll graduate high school was a little unnerving. I had a hard enough time sending the boy off to kindergarten, much less thinking about him graduating high school!

So here's "the hat" Biscuit wants to wear when he's a grownup:

I had Biscuit describe everything on his hat. I love my son, and he's really smart, but his art skills are a bit ... let's just say lacking.

So he explained that the black and blue things on top of the hat are special lasers that can be used for all sorts of things. The black thing on top of the hat in the middle is a wrench that can also turn into other tools, including other types of wrenches and tweezers. 

The thing sticking out the right side of the hat is a hammer. It can turn into any size or type hammer you need. The things that look like glasses in the middle are goggles. The orange thing is a test tube because every inventor needs test tubes. The big round circle on the brim is a button that when pushed, shuts down his whole lab. It's for emergencies only.

The things that look sort of like cars are his first invention - hover cars. He said he got the idea for hover cars when he saw people in wheelchairs near stairs. The thought about making a hover wheelchair so if there's not a ramp, the just put their wheelchairs in "hover mode" and just float right up the stairs. And I guess it wasn't a long jump from hover wheelchair to hover car.

And by the way, I asked Biscuit about the black rectangle on the hat band.

"What is this black rectangle for?" I asked Biscuit.

He looked at me like I was crazy and said, "It's decoration, Mom. It just makes it look like a hat."

Well, silly me!

I asked Biscuit if he had other inventions in mind.

"Yes, yes I do," Biscuit said. "I would like to invent a solar car that will provide you with a snack and a drink."

"That sounds really good," I told him. "Can you pick the snacks and drinks?"

"Of course," Biscuit said. "I would also like to invent a car that is automatic AND stick shift."

I didn't have the heart to tell him that invention is already out there.

"But Mom, there's one problem," Biscuit said. "You won't be able to park your car in the garage because it won't get enough sunlight for power."

"What if we put solar panels on the roof and lead the energy down to the car?" I asked Biscuit.

"That's perfect, Mom!" Biscuit said. "So it looks like you'll get to be my assistant."

I guess I've got 10 years to learn to be an inventor's assistant.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April Fool's!

I told Jeff this morning that we needed to play an April Fool's Day joke on Biscuit. And since today was his first baseball game of the season, we had a perfect opportunity.

Biscuit's game was at 2 p.m. this afternoon, but at about 10:20 a.m., Biscuit and I were in the living room and Jeff was in the kitchen.

"Hey, Jeff," I hollered. "What time is his baseball game today?"

"I don't know," Jeff said. "Let me check the schedule."

So Jeff grabbed his phone to check the schedule, but then he got a worried look on his face.

"Dude!" Jeff said. "Coach sent a message that your game was changed to 10 a.m.!"

"What time is it now?" Biscuit asked, starting to get a bit anxious.

"It's 10:20!" Jeff said.

"Oh no!" Biscuit said, and he jumped up from playing and basically started almost running in circles.

"Quick!" Jeff said. "Let's get upstairs and get you dressed."

"But I'm already missing the game," Biscuit said.

So Jeff and Biscuit hurried up the stairs, and Biscuit stripped off his clothes.

Jeff started opening drawers like he was looking for Biscuit's baseball clothes, and then he stopped and said, "Dude, what day is it?"

"What?" Biscuit asked.

"Look at your calendar," I hollered.

"You have GOT to be kidding me," Biscuit yelled.

We all had a good laugh, and thankfully, Biscuit is old enough now to be in on the joke and even appreciate our efforts.