Three Plus Two

We’ve got a couple extra boys staying us this week while their parents are on vacation, meaning I am outnumbered six to one in the whole boys vs. girls thing.  It is kind of awesome, kind of crazy, and all kinds of fun.

It changes things, raising five kids instead of raising three.  It changes everything!  I get to cook a ton—pasta dishes, cornbread taco bakes, twice baked potatoes, peach cobblers and cake pops, pans of scones, loaves of bread and batches of caramel corn.  I love it, even though I’m still not cooking quite as much as I’d like.

There is no point in putting the dishes away anymore.  We just open the dishwasher, put everything on the table, then put everything back in the dishwasher and hope it finishes before the boys are hungry again.

When the kids come home there is an hour of me trying to get the kids to put away their shoes, signing school papers, checking planners, helping with homework, getting snacks, giving up and putting the shoes away myself, and consoling Leo, who is, of course, having a meltdown.  I try to check in with each of the boys and hear about their days, but then I go to bed and my eyes pop open, realizing I never asked Vincenzo how National Backpack Awareness Day was.  (Not being sarcastic.  It’s a big deal at his school.)

Someone is always at soccer practice.

Some days I don’t know how everyone is going to get everywhere they need to be until the day is over and somehow, everyone got everywhere they needed to be.  Or at least almost everywhere, which is good enough this week.

But these boys’ friends are so sweet and respectful, and also so independent compared to my kids.  My boys watched open-mouthed as their friends went to the fridge, got out a carton of milk, and poured their own glasses of chocolate milk yesterday.  It blew my boys’ little minds, probably like when our ancestors made fire for the first time.

I look back at my childhood now and have no idea how my parents did it, raising five of us. 

Actually, that’s not true.  Now I look back and understand exactly how they did it–why we didn’t go out to eat much, why we bought shoes at the same store we bought bananas, why we were slaves to a chore chart, and why the entire family did not show up to watch my fourth grade basketball games.  It all makes sense now, and Mom and Dad—wow.  Just wow.

I am glad to have had this week where every night is a slumber party and where food is flying out of the house, where the boys are wrestling happily, then reading to each other, then making forts in the basement.  We’re still not sure how that flashlight got in the fish tank, though.

Next week, when the boys to back to their home, three is going to feel like the loneliest number.  But I wouldn’t be completely honest if I didn’t say how much I love the number three.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Fish sticks
Tater tots
Roasted butternut squash
Peach cobbler

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Oh, Time.

sWow, so it’s been one week since all the boys have been in school and so far I’ve gotten elctroacupuncture, had head therapy, gotten boys to the dentist, speech therapy, and the orthodontist, went for a bike ride, hiked a mountain, vacuumed the car, baked a triple layer peanut butter chocolate macaron cake, planned our spring break vacation, made a set of birthday cards, scrapbooked for hours on end, and finally pulled that giant weed that was growing on my garden path all summer.

Of course, that means that I haven’t done about 90% of the things on my list.  I’m kind of panicking a little.  But thanks to the head therapy, not too much.  I’m actually having way more fun than I thought I would, minus the guilt I feel at not having written a novel yet.  I was actually sad when the weekend rolled around and I had to stop getting so much done.

An update on the boys:

Leo came home on his second day of school very excited.
Leo: Today I got to go to PE!!!
Me:  How fun!  What did you do at PE?
Leo: Oh, mostly we sang songs.  One of the songs was about colors.

(He thought music was that magical class his brothers always talked about–PE.)

Rocco came home with his own interesting news.

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He has such an adventurous palate.

And Vincenzo came home with his very first F.  He is currently failing LA/SS.  I looked on-line and saw it’s because he didn’t turn in the assignment I watched him complete the night before

Here’s me not being surprised at all.

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WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Twice baked potatoes (ham/cheddar and bacon/broccoli)
Salad (my usual)
Peanut butter chocolate macaron cake

More First Day Stuff

And now for a fashionably late post of First Day photos.

V posing with the neighbor girls and also trying to make it look like he’s not making a move on them:

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I didn’t tell him how to pose or anything; Vincenzo is just so much a first-born.

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His brothers, on the other hand:

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It’s so weird for me to have a picture with just four feet in it instead of six!

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Rocco was so excited to be the older brother this time around:

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Here’s Leo at school, already cheating off his neighbor’s paper:

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Someday he’s going to miss the day his school assignments looked like this.

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When he got off the bus, Leo told me kindergarten was fun but it was soooo long, and, to make matters worse, “There were only two snacks and three recesses!”

Poor guy.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him what lies ahead.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Grilled NY steak
Cheesy polenta
Salad with tomatoes and shaved parmesan
Chocolate chunk brownies

Since My Baby Left Me

In case anyone was wondering how Leo felt about going to kindergarten for his first time ever…

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I had to tell him to smile a little less–not all of us felt like we won the lottery when we woke up this morning.

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I cried when the bus doors closed and this big-eyed, golden-haired, happy boy wasn’t standing by my side, holding my hand anymore.

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I’ve never cried when I put a kid on a bus before.  I have traditionally skipped home, turned on the 80s tunes, busted out the Oreos, pulled out all my crafting supplies, and hosted a Party for One in my basement. 

Today I didn’t feel like skipping.  Instead I came home, moved the sprinkler and then started crying, thinking how when I turned the sprinkler on earlier that morning I still had a preschooler at home with me, and now I have a big time elementary schooler who is very much not at home with me.

Then I remembered how I stood in that same garden twelve years ago, crying, the day Kevin came home and I told him I was pregnant and life as I knew it was over. 

Life can be so poetic.

I’m going to sit at home today, garden a bit, blog a bit, glance at my craft supplies, nurse this sad little heart of mine, and remember that the last time I thought life was over, it had just begun.

But oh, those last twelve years.

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WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Chicken parmesan
Roasted broccoli
Watermelon
Something oozing chocolate

And They’re Off!

I think I have lost my status as mom because I did not post back-to-school pictures of my boys on Tuesday.  It’s just that this year, it’s—well, it’s complicated.

Vincenzo leaves for the bus now at 7:15, before his brothers wake up.  This has given Leo the impression I sent his older brother off to boarding school.  Rocco leaves at 8:15 and Leo will too, only kindergarteners start a week later for reasons only God or the devil understand, so he hasn’t even had his first day of school yet.

Leo did have a meeting with his teacher this week, and I love that his first act at kindergarten was one of great sarcasm.

Ms. J: Okay, Leo, right here where it says “name” you’re going to write your name, okay?  Write your name.
Leo:

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(He wrote “name.”)

Of course, he might be doing a little better than Rocco, who woke up on his first day like this:

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Fortunately, he got himself straightened out and ready to go, accessories and all.

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And that’s more than I can say for Leo.

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It’s going to be an interesting year, to say the least.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Japchae
Pan-fried tofu
Edamame
Fresh fruit
Phyllo apple pie a la mode

Summered

Summer is over and guys—it was a total bust.

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Those white spaces will haunt me the rest of the days of my life.

But not to worry—fall is almost here, and there’s always the fall list!

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WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Whatever’s cooking at the block party

Harvest Time

So you know how Kevin donated bone marrow several years back?  I always knew my husband was very easy to get along with, and it’s true right to the middle of his bones—he has been the match for not one, not two, not three, but four people in need so far.  The first one he donated via PBSC; the second and third did not opt for a transplant in the end; the fourth did—or more accurately is, and Kevin is scheduled to donate in October.

The brochure mentions that just because you are on the donor list doesn’t mean you have to donate.  Of course, it casually explains, the person in need will die if you don’t.  The recipient this time is a 13-year-old boy, so…

Because the patient is a child this time, Kevin can’t do the PBSC procedure; he’s got to do the ol’ “crack your hip open” way.  It’s not really like that; they just stick a needle into his hip, but he likes to say they’re going to crack his hip open.  Actually, after looking at the picture he prefers to say they’re going to stick a needle into his “upper butt” area.  I think he is the reason the donors are kept anonymous.

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I read that if Kevin doesn’t get put under general anesthesia for the procedure, he’ll get a spinal or an epidural.  I helpfully offered to lend him my hypnobabies CD’s instead, in case he wants to try without an epidural for a more natural, drug-free bone marrow extraction experience.

All joking aside, I am in awe of my husband, who has donated over 5 gallons of blood in his life; who was in quite a lot of pain the first time he donated bone marrow; who donated plasma last year and got so sick I almost took him to urgent care; who didn’t hesitate to say yes again to discomfort, pain, and the unknown in order to save another life.

Also, he wants to be called Captain Awesome on my blog from now on, and even though it will cause me my own discomfort and pain to do so, I’m going to say he earned it.  Captain Awesome, thanks for being so damn compatible.

And now I invite you to all reread the title of this post and appreciate its ingenuity.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Spaghetti & meatballs
Fruits & vegetables
Blackberry pie with the burned parts of the crust picked off in disgust