Little funnies

August 19, 2016

1. Leo: Dad?
Me: Daddy’s downstairs.
Leo: Ugh!  I wasn’t asking you!


Leo, from the backseat of the car: ATAT phone home!

(He perfectly mixed up two classic 80s movies there.)

3.  A text Kevin sent me from the boys’ gym:


We made too many jokes about buying a new Leo, though, and now our current Leo gets really mad when we talk about it—even though we could have had a Mondor Brand Leo.

4. Rocco, coming home after a weekend at his grandparents’: Why is it so clean here?

5. A text I sent to Kevin when I was baking bread, with the caption Thinking of you…


6. Rocco, on a walk outside, bent down to pick this up:


Rocco: Here’s a silk flower I found on the ground for you, Mom!
Me, taking it: Oh, it’s beautiful.  Thank you so much!
Rocco: It had a little slug on it but I wiped it off for you.

Sorry for the lack of representation from Vincenzo here but he has been gone at camp for a week.  We talk about him like he’s dead.  “Vincenzo would have really loved the steak tonight…” or, “Remember how Vincenzo used to always dig holes for you at the beach?”

Sticky finger beef kabobs
Purple and white mashed potatoes
Roasted asparagus
Peaches and ice cream


40 Again

August 16, 2016

Kevin threw me a 40th birthday party last weekend.  Well, technically it was my 40 and 1/3 birthday, as I turned 40 in April, but close enough.  I had asked for an 80s theme, so Kevin sent an E-vite to my closest friends inviting them to a party called Rachel is Halfway to her 80s party.  RUDE.

He said he wanted to go all out like I do for my parties, only this time I would not be allowed to help at all.  That’s fine, I said, then asked, “Do you think the four-piece cover band should set up in the front yard or on the back patio?”  He gave me a look, so I decided not to ask if he thought we should arrange to have the guests picked up in DeLoreans or Camaros.

The party was on Saturday morning and there were no decorations, of course, because Kevin’s idea of going “all out” is kind of the opposite of going “all out.”  He did make a trip to the grocery store an hour before the party, saying, “I guess I should get some paper plates or something…”

No worries, though; I still had Rocco’s birthday banner hanging up:


I just needed to fix it up a little to apply to my party, and so…


As laid back as my husband is about most things, he completely surprised me with am over-the-top cake.


So that’s why he had asked for a picture of me in my costume two weeks ago!


When it was time to cut the cake everyone started chanting, speech, speech!  Kevin talked about what an amazing job the cake makers had done and how they had made the figurine so realistic—in fact, they even got that stick in just the right place…


I told Kevin he could have his stick back now; I was done with it.  Then I thanked my friends for walking, driving, and/or flying to my birthday party and for also either getting babysitters for their kids or leaving their babies unattended at home. Don’t worry about the unattended baby part; it was our neighbor’s baby and we all checked in on him on the video monitor every fifteen minutes or so.


Yep, still baby bunny cute.

For food we had everyone bring a dish from the 80s.  I spent about 15 minutes of my afternoon making a tuna noodle casserole, jell-o shots, and cottage cheese salad.  Some of my favorite 80s icons showed up to help me make dinner.


I don’t know what was the bigger star of the party, the guests in their costumes or the food.  I’ll leave it to you to decide for yourselves.

The food:

(I thought I took pictures of everything everyone brought, but I was a few cocktails in by the time the last guest arrived.  I had to steal some pictures from the internet to fill in.)


(I thought this is called ambrosia, because it seriously tastes like food of the gods.  Turns out it’s just cottage cheese salad.)


Doesn’t the picture above look straight from a Better Homes and Gardens, circa 1984?


The last picture is broccoli smothered in Velveeta and my friend who is a wonderful cook purposely overcooked the broccoli until it was mush.  I think it was the only dish that got completely devoured, too!

And now…the costumes!


This picture is even better if you see how my sister usually dresses—in fact, I don’t think she’s worn any of the colors in the rainbow since 1989!


Please note his American flag fanny pack that my hunk of a husband stocked with small liquor bottles.  I know because I checked.



We tried smiling for some pictures, too, but for some reason it didn’t look very 80s. 


Remember double polo shirts?!


I’ve got to find out what Tom Cruise’s skin care routine is.  It looks like he is reverse aging!


His daughters could not get over the gold earring.


That peach dress is vintage 80s—in fact, my friend actually made it with her mom and wore it to her 8th grade dance!  It led to some spontaneous slow-dancing later in the evening.


Careless whispers…

Kevin had bought some Nintendo controllers and downloaded every Nintendo game ever made for the party.  All the Nintendo games ever made took up 1.5 gigs of memory space, which is about the equivalent storage space a single Spongebob movie would take up on your computer today.  Yes, the 80s were a simpler time.


But for most of the party we just sat around the table telling stories and finding out each other’s most hilarious secrets, occasionally asking questions from the 80s Trivial Pursuit game, and by the time we knew it it was 12:30 and four hours past Kevin’s bedtime.  We grudgingly admitted we were tired and the guests headed out, but you know me.  I couldn’t let them go home empty-handed, even if I didn’t plan the party. 


Kevin: That sign is hideous.
Me: I know.  Isn’t it perfect?!

Pitas with a smorgasbord of toppings: baba ganoush, hummus, cilantro pesto chicken, cucumbers, tomatoes, pepitas, Feta
Greek salad
Corn off the cob


Overnight Camp Gifts

August 10, 2016

I’m sending V off to overnight camp for his first time next Saturday, but I can’t let him go seven days without being messed with and/or spoiled by his mom a little.  I packed up a few gifts for him, one to open each day.  I remember my mom tucking little presents into our luggage when we went to camp and it just felt like a hug to open each one, and no matter how much fun camp was, I always needed that little hug from Mom.

So here they are, seven hugs from me to Vincenzo—some fun, some silly, some embarrassing, and all given with love.


And inside…


I stuck a note in with the gift telling him to ask the Magic 8 Ball if his brothers missed him yet.


The card explains that sorry, I ran out of teal wrapping paper (which was true), and I did have blue but for some reason I wrapped it in pink.  And when he unwraps it…


And underneath that layer…


Vincenzo actually saw this gift last week in the pile of gifts that I had carelessly left on the counter and had asked me what it was and could he play it?  I put a kitchen towel over the stack of gifts and told him he had never seen it.


4 packs of these bad boys, for sharing:




Open it up and…


Unfortunately, the pairs of underwear I bought are plain old plaid because that’s what Fred Meyer had, but I totally would have gotten something like this if I had the time.  There is also a pair of socks and a note reminding him to change his socks and undies every day, plus a note from me saying I envision his cabinmates gathered around him as he unwraps a set of underwear and him totally embarrassed.  Knowing V, he’ll probably just quietly open it in his bed one morning in a completely non-embarrassing way, but a Mom can dream, can’t she?




I bought a set of these from Oriental Trading years ago and since then they have been baked into popovers, dropped into glasses of milk, snuck into sandwiches in the kids’ lunches, hidden on pillows, placed on shoulders…these bugs are our go-to practical joke.  Everyone with young children should have their own set of plastic bugs!




(Air not included)



I hope this one is legal; we’re not supposed to send food with the campers, but as long as they don’t swallow it, it’s not food.  Right?

I had so much fun plotting and planning for all this.  The wrapping and messaging took a lot longer than I thought it would and left me wondering if it was fun to do once but now I’ll feel obligated to do it every year and come to totally dread it.*

Maybe.  But isn’t that how pretty much how everything goes when you’re raising kids?

Leftover smorgasbord, including…
Spaghetti & meatballs
Chicken noodle soup
Freshly baked bread
Roasted asparagus
Rootbeer floats

*Of course, I can cut two hours out of the planning process by not blogging about it, but then what would be the point?!


Rocco, Age 7

August 2, 2016

About two years ago Rocco declared he only likes nonfiction.  He spent his first weeks of this summer reading a book called, “1,000 Amazing Facts About the World” or something like that, and so it is only appropriate that for his 7th birthday blog post, I stick to the facts and nothing but the facts, thank you ma’am.  So here it is, Rocco Age 7, in a list that is as nonfiction as MrsMouthy is able to get.


1. The month before his birthday, when people asked his age Rocco would say, “6 and 11/12.”

2. The week before his birthday, he’d try to tell people he was “6 and 51/52” but it always came out wrong, like “six and fifty-three fifty-oneths?”

3. The first thing he wanted to do when he woke up on his birthday was to get measured.


4. He knows what 12×12 is.

5. He wants to marry his best friend, Cole.

6. Fortunately for Rocco, we live in Washington State, so that is perfectly legal.

7. Unfortunately for Rocco, I’m pretty sure he’s straight.

8.  Then again, he and Cole do have brunch together an awful a lot so…



9. He puts his R2D2 pajamas on backwards every night. “Rocco, your shirt is on backwards.” “Oh!” or, “Rocco, your pants are on backwards.” “Oh!” or, “Bad news, Rocco. Both your shirt and your pants are on backwards.” “Oh!”

10. His voice is always cranked up to 11.

11. That came in handy when a crowd of us was playing BINGO with Great Grandpa and Rocco was calling the numbers out. No matter how loud we all got, we could still always hear the numbers. BINGO calling may be Rocco’s true calling.

12. He’s a Lego maniac.


13. He loves his mama and is always bringing me things he’s made. His latest gift was this “dipper thing for when you serve food.” I call it Ladle.


14. He wants to be a boat builder when he grows up. He told me to write that in the kids’ journal in case he forgets.

15. He builds a giant boat out of Legos, then comes to us, wonky boat in hand, and says, “I feel a little dirty. I think I should take a bath,” which is code for, “I really want to see if this boat floats, the only way for me to do this is to get naked and get in the tub with it for a couple hours.” Then he sits in the tub for a couple hours with his boat.


16. If he gets hurt so badly that he cries, within seconds he finds something to laugh about and he turns the cry into a cry-laugh and then into a laugh-laugh.

17. He has not been bored for even a second of his life. Rocco is always busy thinking of ideas and then making his ideas come to life.

18. He wants to end homelessness by having us all share our houses with the homeless.

19. He is one of the most forgiving, generous, curious, persistent, kind, and confident people I have ever known.

20. He rarely accepts “no” for an answer outright, which can be very frustrating for his parents at times, so they have to be firm with him.

21. Because of this, I make sure to tell him I am so proud of him and his beautiful, inquisitive, problem-solving mind.

22. He wants to know what “inquisitive” means.

23. I tell him it means I love him.


I never know what he’s going to do next but I know it is going to be surprising, creative, imaginative, messy, and above all, loud. 

That’s just how the Taco Man rolls.


He’s such an independent and strong-willed sucker, it’s hard to imagine there was ever a time he was tiny and helpless, but here is some nonfiction proof that he was.


Rocco Taco, I love you to the moon and back, and because I know what your next question is going to be, I’ll tell you it’s 477,710 miles. 

But I was speaking hypothetically.

(Going out for dinner, but I had some girlfriends over for lunch)
Southwestern Chicken Salad
Cheese/cracker plate
Fruit platter
Double chocolate zucchini cake
Chocolate pizelles
Pear blackberry tart
Iced youthberry tea
Iced tea with lemon


MrsMouthy Has Some Work Done

July 31, 2016

I sent the boys to my parents’ house on Wednesday night because Thursday was a big day for me.  I had a 9:15 appointment to get prepped for my implants.

When I told my girlfriends I was getting implants the day before, they broke out into applause.  I was a little less enthusiastic, being the one that was going under the knife and all, but I was looking forward to being put to sleep for a couple hours.

My surgeon is actually a very close friend of the family and one of the best surgeons probably in the world.  I know because I have seen his silverware drawer.  If you ever saw his silverware drawer, you’d know he’s the guy you would want operating on you, too.  We had him over for dinner a week before the surgery and Kevin finally got to ask the question he had been wanting to ask:

“So, how big are my wife’s implants going to be?” 

He laughed and said, “48 millimeters.”

Oh—did I forget to mention that these are dental implants?  If you’re anything like my friends, you have stopped applauding now and are looking at me with empathy and disappointment.  Sorry guys.  I didn’t realize how much everyone wanted to see me with a giant pair of knockers.

The reason I needed two new teeth is long and boring.  All you need to know is that it started 20 years ago with a root canal, me holding off for insurance to start up, a piece of bread chewed on the wrong side of my mouth, a dental bridge, 20 years, and a second rotten tooth.

Thursday was honestly one of the best days I’ve had this summer.  Kevin and I woke up to an otherwise empty house and, not having any fights to break up, breakfasts to make, or butts to wipe, we watched a movie while refraining from eating or drinking anything before my surgery.  At the doctor’s office I was given a pink drink that made my worries go away, then nitrous oxide that made me sleepier than usual, and then I vaguely heard someone say, “Here comes the IV.”  It felt like a gentle hug with so many drugs in my system.  From another planet I heard Dr. Reed asked if I know what a bear without teeth is called.  I told him I didn’t.  He said, “A gummy bear!”  And with that, I was out.*

I have no memories of a tooth being pulled out of my mouth, or of two screws being drilled into my jaw or of the stitches that were sewn through my gums afterward.  I am happy to go through life having no recollection of that particular hour of my life.

After the surgery I was moved to a room to sleep off the rest of the meds, and when the nurse came to tell me it was time to go home I said, “Can I have just five more minutes please?”  At least, that’s what I’m told I said.  I really don’t remember much of the afternoon, except asking Kevin if he knows what a bear without teeth is called and then telling him I didn’t know either. 

Then I had the rest of the day off to watch a movie that I have no recollection of watching, take pills when Kevin handed them to me, and sleep whenever I wanted.  In the evening I felt myself again so I went out for an early girls’ night and then a late date night with Kevin afterwards.  We woke up early the next morning because we have forgotten how to sleep in, so we walked down to the local coffee shop (i.e. Starbucks), walked home on the trail, and then Kevin went to work while I spent the morning catching up on housework and paperwork.  It all felt like a a dream—a slow and lovely dream, and that’s only partly the drugs talking. 

In conclusion, I highly recommend oral surgery for anyone who is in need of a good night’s sleep or who really needs a break from the kids or who is too cheap to rent movies and wants to save money by watching the same one over and over again.  It’s really the perfect solution.

Just take my advice and go to the guy with the best silverware drawer.

Baked halibut with chimichurri
Green beans with dill
Purple potatoes with bacon and caramelized onion
Fresh blueberry pie

*Actually, I wasn’t.  I believe I asked back, “What is a chima character’s favorite lunch?”  Dr. Reed didn’t know, so I answered, “Mac ‘n chi!”  Then I was out.


Boat Birthday Party

July 27, 2016

Here’s the pretty version of yesterday’s post because screw the fluorescent lighting, I’ve got Photoshop!  (And also, I set up the whole party buffet at my house the weekend before the party to take pictures because, like I mentioned yesterday, there’s no stopping the crazy when I’ve got a party coming up.)


Rocco has decided he wants to be a boat builder when he grows up so I made boarding passes for his party at trampoline jumpy place. 

The invitations:


Get it?  Jump aboard?  On the trampolines?!  I just kill me.

The place we were at didn’t allow food, so things are a little minimal, but I found a loophole: you can bring all the cake and candy you want.  Bwahahaha!


Rocco’s cake (orange chocolate chip snack cake):


Mrs. Mouthy’s cake (strawberry poppyseed with Swiss meringue buttercream frosting):



The candy:



The illegal non-sugary consumables I snuck in:


The also illegal non-sugary beverages I brought:


And the favors—each child got a wooden paddle boat to take home.


And that’s all there was to it!  I’m not forgetting anything, am I?  Slap a few anchors on water bottles, tie some life savers to packages, decorate a couple cakes, and you have a party.

Oh wait—there’s one more thing.

The birthday boy!




Rocco’s 7th Bday

July 26, 2016

So Rocco, the little stinker, went and turned 7 on me.  He did it in his sleep, like it was no big deal—just woke up and blamo, he was seven.

Kevin disallowed me to have an at-home birthday—something about our marriage not strong enough to survive another one—so I booked Rocco’s seventh birthday at a trampoline place.  The good part is that the planning was very miniscule compared to an at-home party.  The bad part is that for each of my kids’ birthdays I get a certain amount of party planning energy, and this time the energy had nowhere to go so I was a crazy lady anyway for the month leading up to Rocco’s birthday. 

But maybe a shade less crazy as I usually get.

The other bad part of having it at a trampoline warehousey type place: pictures.  I mean, you try your best but…


Anyone who’s been on Pinterest for more than 5 minutes knows this is totally unacceptable—the too-small background, the fluorescent lighting, the lack of giant glass jars full of color-coordinated candy.

That’s not the worst of the pictures, though.  There’s also this…




and this.


Sigh.  I’m learning the hard way that a party shouldn’t be judged by its photos, because despite the crappy quality of these pictures, the kids had an incredibly non-crappy time.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Rocco had picked out this cake to make from the Internet.


Simple and beautiful.  We can manage that!  I decided to let Rocco do all the decorating, even though it felt like giving my favorite doll over to the kid in the sandbox who is hitting things with a shovel with one hand while cramming sand into his mouth with the other.  But turns out I had nothing to fear.  Check out the skill!


Doh!  Spoke too soon.


I did stop Rocco when he started unwrapping a whole Snickers bar to stick on there.  I told him we didn’t want it to look like someone had squatted down and laid a fresh one on the cake.

At the party, there was bouncing (see above pictures.)

There was pegging.


There were party blowers.


There were many kids lost forever in here.


I’ll post some pretty pictures of the party tomorrow, followed by a sappy post about my baby growing up sometime after that.  Until then, enjoy this picture of a seven-year-old who, at least when he’s blowing out candles on his cake, can still bring back those kiss-me-squeeze-me squish-me big baby cheeks.


Mango salsa and chips
Sticky-finger ribs
Salmon in orange tamarind sauce
Green and yellow beans with dill
Potato and corn salad
Blackberry peach tart with oatmeal streusel


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