July 22, 2015

1. And here we see Leo, ready to go out for the day.  It was 90 degrees.


2. We went to my parents’ for Father’s Day and my mom had family pictures playing on her photo frame.  She said, “I know you—don’t sit there trying to count how many pictures there are of you and your siblings’ families.  I didn’t try to make it even, I just put in some random pictures.”  I told her with a gasp that I would never do such a thing.  Then I saw this picture board in her office that had a picture representing each of her kids’ families…except mine.  I took the liberty:


Please note the tear that is leaking from my eye as I stand there bravely smiling.

3. I keep telling Vincenzo not to use random objects for bookmarks, but yet he persists.  I find books laying around the house with things like spoons in them.  He finds books laying around like this:


4.  Usually when I go to the beach I feel very self-conscious about my short, athletic-looking legs in this city where it seems everyone is built like Taylor Swift.  The other day, however, I caught a glimpse of myself and thought, “Finally!”


5.  Vincenzo’s attempt to write down his friend’s gamer tag, which is spelled correctly but capitalized and spaced unfortunately:  WP_20150713_16_50_12_Pro

Wood-fired pizza at the farmer’s market, most likely


Moving Day

July 16, 2015

Guys, we did it!  We moved out of our house!  The remodel-that-will-never-happen is now the remodel-that-is-happening!

People keep saying, “I bet you are so excited for it to be done!”  I answer, “I’m just excited for it to begin!”  I’m sure I’ll be excited for it to be done at some point, but for now the beginning is enough to make me feel a little like a bride again.

We’re not adding much square footage to the house—just a total of about 30 feet that will buy us a foyer.  A small foyer, but a foyer nonetheless.  Now when someone sits down to put on their shoes, another person will also be able go up and down the stairs!  Or open the front door!  Maybe even both!!

No, the reason for our remodel is purely aesthetic.  We have a view of the lake but friends will visit us for a whole year before they say one day, “Hey, you have a view of the lake!”


See?  You didn’t even notice it, did you?

We are one day into our remodel, and it’s amazing the difference in the view already!

View before remodel:


View at end of day one:


Okay, okay, that’s a different view.  It’s actually the view from the condo where we’re staying, so technically it is our view at the end of day two.  I kind of feel like a jerk when people ask me if we’ll be moving into the basement for the remodel, washing our dishes in the bathroom sink, and I tell them that no, we are moving into my in-law’s vacant but fully furnished condo right on the lake, just a mile away from home and within walking distance to the boys’ school.

See?  I’m a jerk.

If it makes you feel better, I fell out of love with packing for the move by the end of our move.  We found out on Monday that we needed to be out by Wednesday, so my boxes went from being labeled by room and cupboard and drawer and spatula to, “RANDOM SH**!!!” 

I gave each of my boys a box and told them they could bring as many toys and books as they could fit in it.







He’s a bit of a minimalist.  Either that or is favorite activity is making his older brothers scream and he figured the best strategy was to bring no toys so he could take theirs instead to induce the screaming.

I did feel a tug on my heart to notice that Rocco’s box didn’t include a single train, or even a spare piece of railroad track.  *sniff*

Our general contractor brought vests and hard hats for the boys today and let them take the first crack at the wall.*  I was sorry we never found the time to paint, “TEAR DOWN THE WALL” on it, but still, it had the same feeling of liberation to it.


Vincenzo decided he needed some eye protection, so he went to the swim bag and…


Those goggles are like bad Chinese food.  They just keep coming back.

Anyway, by the end of day one…


The east and west sides of our house have been reunited, at long last!

It’s incredible how much happened in a day. In fact, I think the estimate of three months for the remodel is way off base.  At this rate, it looks like our remodel should be done in about two weeks!

I’ll start packing…

Mixed green salad with chicken, blue cheese, pecans, and raspberries
Whatever this is called:


I want to say…terrine?

*Written yesterday, published today


The Kids Are Being Quiet…

July 7, 2015

…so I’ll take a couple minutes to dump a bunch of pictures here, from the Fourth.

Killing time before the parade:


From the parade…seems legit:


The Seafair Pirates:


I personally felt they would be more believable if they ran around stealing all the kids’ stashes of parade candy.


I sent Kevin to the store to buy some goggles for the kids.  Now my kids look like this at the beach…


…and Kevin’s shopping privileges have been revoked.

Killing time before the fireworks show:


Killing more time before the fireworks show (it doesn’t get dark here until 10PM):


The unphotoshopped version of that last pic:


Me and my boo:


One for the scrapbooks:


Catch y’all later!

French dip sandwiches
Salad with apples, pecans, and blue cheese
Bull’s eye cheesecake


Everyone Loves Ponies

July 5, 2015

I love our town’s Fourth of July parade.  It’s the only time I call our town a “town.”  All the other days of the year it’s a city, but on the Fourth, as our family bumps into friends and teachers, grocery store cashiers and grandparents, all elbow-to-elbow along the street for the parade…it’s a town, and it’s a town that we all love together.

Okay enough of that.  So there we were, sitting at this year’s parade on the sidewalk, eating our sammiches when  this group that a banner announced as “Pony Party” started advancing down the street.  Before I could even ask the kids if they wanted a pony for Christmas this year, one of those ponies, it partied! In fact, it partied right in front of our very own group!  And by partied, I mean that it pooped.

This voice in my head started up:

Not to worry, folks, the pooper scooper is right on it…here he comes now…the scooper is in position…and…OHHHH!  Oh dear!  The poop did not scoop!  No, no!  Instead, in its place there is now a skid mark the size of…it’s the exact size of MrsMouthy’s family!  Right there on the road!  Well this sure adds some interest to our—oh my, the gymansts are coming now, and this year they are walking the entire parade route on their hands!


Okay, the gymnasts weren’t right behind the Pony Party, but poo was definitely an unwanted addition to many people’s parade floats this year.  As the parade continued, our side of the parade switched from waving and yelling, “Woo-hoo!” at the floats to wincing and groaning, “Ooooooh!” each time someone’s path lined up exactly with the skid mark.

There was also a lot of *click* *click* as I tried to get the perfect picture of someone stepping in pony poo.


Of course, right after that pony did its thang, the wind picked up, blowing east off the lake right to where we sat, so we watched the rest of the parade from inside a virtual fart bubble.

The parade had a lot of other memorable entries: WWII vets, Vietnam vets, POWs and MIAs, an Injured Veteran Golfing Club, the Dolorean Club, the Seafair Pirates firing off their canon, even some midwest high school band that the Grand Marshall flew in just for our parade.  Did I take any pictures of them?  Did I write more than two sentences about them?


It’s times like this that I really miss teaching junior high.

Hot dogs on the fire pit
Fresh fruit
Quinoa salad


Week In Review

July 4, 2015

Okay, it’s really a couple weeks, but here’s a little taste of what summer has been like for the Mouthies:

Went glamping with friends:


Harvested purple beans:


Beat up some kid in the park:


Sat on Gabe:


Rescued a baby bird


Rocked a surfer cut (hairstyle):


Lifted weights:


Built a house:


Burned things:


Rocked the surfer cut again:


Found time to just hang out…


(Their cousin did, anyway!)

…and also to just sit around:


And found more time to hang out.


Add about twenty things in, multiply by one million and you have the first two weeks of summer.

Happy Fourth, everyone!

Whatever “The Gomps” cooks up!


Sunblock, Funblock

June 29, 2015

It’s day 12 of summer vacation and all our play dough has gone missing.  There are empty canisters strewn everywhere.

Also, I have discovered I really like packing.  I like it a stupid amount! I love finding something that I never use and watching the bags to give to Goodwill fill up.  I like taking a bunch of mismatched junk, wrapping it in paper, sticking it in a box, and in the end having a perfect cube of kitchen stuff, neatly labeled and stacked.  Wall-E, I get you!  I like knowing that every box I pack now is going to make it easier to move once we get the green light from our GC.

But that’s not what I really want to blog about today.  What I really want to blog about today is putting sunblock on kids.  I’ve written you a user’s guide with nine easy, illustrated steps.

Step one: Summon optimism


Step two: Look behind you


Step three: Get rid of the scrunch

(I am not talented enough to draw this—all my attempts looked like racist renditions of Native Americans–but it involves Rocco scrunching up his face so tightly that I can’t put the sunblock on it.)

Step four: Grow extendable arms


Optional: Wonder how your child ends up facing away from you every.single.time.

Step five: Reach extendable arms downward


(I didn’t mean to make Rocco look like a perv down there, but I am really crappy at drawing.  He’s probably just looking at some crumbs on the floor or something.)

Step seven: Brace yourself for whining, tell your kid no he can’t just stay inside all day, and also: skin cancer.

*Picture not available.  Just run your fingers down a chalkboard for a simulation.

Step eight: Oops!


Step nine: Gain a new understanding of artwork


I mean, I guess it’s better than a few years back when all six steps involved either me, my child, or both of us crying.

And now I have managed to spend my morning drawing pictures on and taking photos of sticky notes.

Oh well.  At least I didn’t spend my morning looking at pictures of sticky notes that someone else took photos of.


Quinoa with black beans, corn, cilantro, lime, tomatoes, and avocado
Fresh fruit


Stop it, Summer!

June 26, 2015

Every year I am excited for summer to come to give us a break from the rat race of the school year.  Then summer hits and I am knocked off my feet because somehow it makes the school year seem like a leisurely walk around the block compared to summer’s pace.  I mean, holy popsicle sticks, Batman!  Somebody needs to do something.

The day starts like this:

Me: Okay, boys, we have a much more relaxing day today.  All we have is swim lessons at 12 and speech therapy at 2.
Leo: Your phone just went “bing bing,” Mom.

I go to my phone and find a message from Vincenzo’s friend’s mom asking for a play date.  As I’m texting back, another bing bing and another, “Your phone just went ‘bing bing,’ Mom.”  It’s another playdate request.  I start to respond to that one when, bing bing…and so on.

My phone then goes “bing bing” all day long as Vincenzo and Rocco get invited to the pool, to people’s houses, to the beach, to the park, to a different pool, to sleepovers, to other people’s houses.  I spend my day texting back that we can come, or we can’t come but maybe the other kid could come here, or we can’t come now but we can come at 3:15, or we can’t come but maybe your kid could meet us at this other kid’s house, or not today but maybe Wednesday, and somehow no matter how I work it, I end up with eight kids sleeping in the basement that night.

I have to admit, I love it…but it is also driving me insane.

Each morning starts with me cleaning up last night’s dishes that didn’t fit in the dishwasher, making breakfast, cleaning up breakfast, making lunches, filling up water bottles and packing backpacks for our day out, lathering sunblock on kids, packing swimsuits and towels, loading stuff and kids in the car, and texting the boys’ friends’ moms.

Each evening ends with me cleaning up the day’s dishes, cleaning and putting away the lunch containers, emptying waterbottles, emptying backpacks, showering the kids to get the sunblock off, hanging swimsuits and towels to dry, unloading the car, and texting the boys’ friends’ moms.

I told Vincenzo I feel like his personal secretary this summer, and then I asked him if I could have a day off.  But before he could answer…bing bing!

It is a fun, frantic, laughter-filled, busy, exhausting summer…and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Here’s hoping I have a tight enough grip to hang on until September!

Heading to the boys’ friends’ house for dinner—I’m bringing a strawberry raspberry Jell-o pie.


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