There’s No Place Like…

November 24, 2015

I have always hated dusting.  I just don’t get it.  It is the least satisfying of all household chores: you run a cloth along the tops of picture frames and under vases and in the end the entire room looks exactly as it did before.  Even a cleaning a toilet leaves me some satisfaction because there is definitely a transformation when I clean the toilets that my three boys have all taken their best aim at over the week.

Lately, though, dusting has become my favorite thing in the whole world.  I’d be dusting right now, if I weren’t sitting here baking cookies and blogging while Leo naps.  This week I am dusting the “old” part of the house, the part that didn’t get remodeled, which is about 75% of the house and which is covered in dust that would probably be best measured in pounds.  I swipe and the dresser top actually changes color from gray to white.  I have to change rags all the time, they get so dirty, and I feel like I am making a difference.  I am a difference maker!

More than the actual dusting itself is the thought that with each room I dust, I am one hour closer to moving back home.  This one radio station has already started playing Christmas music, and I nearly peed myself when they played “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” 

Folks, I’m going home for the holidays.  Home sweet home.  Home, where the heart is.  Home, man’s castle.  Home, where you hang your hat.  Home, where you scratch where it itches.  Home, the place where clichés are made but the beds never are.

But you can bet your best dish rag that my home, at least for a week, will be dusted.

Rotisserie chicken
Wild rice and butternut squash salad
Plain old peas
Chocolate cupcakes with mocha Swiss meringue buttercream frosting


Kind of, Almost, Not Really Home

November 19, 2015

The remodel is almost done!!  Which means, of course, that it feels like forever until it’s going to be done.

You know when you go on a road trip and you drive eight hours back home, and you finally make it to the cities where you do your shopping, run your errands, where you visit friends, where you spend 90% of your time, and your heart gives a little “Woop woop!” because you are home, HOME!…and then you are still sitting in the car for another half hour through city streets and stoplights and side roads, and that last half hour seems as long as all the other eight hours because you weren’t actually home home yet?

Yeah, that’s how I’m feeling.  There are just a few days of work left on the interior.  Two days, in fact.  All that’s left is some tiling, hanging a couple chandeliers, and installing the appliances.  It’s such a puny amount of time compared to the four months since it all started, but it still feels like an eternity before we’ll get to move back in.

We have a ton of cleaning to do.  There is dust EVERYWHERE.  When I touch anything in the basement my hands get coated in a sticky, gray dust that covers everything.  Blech.  I went into the attic to get some hand-me-downs the other day and even the attic is covered in sawdust.  Don’t even get me started on the garage, where most of the sawing has taken place; I think we just need to toss the garage out along with all the other remodel junk and buy a new one.

Still, we’re almost home.   Dorothy really said it best, didn’t she?  Now bring me my ruby slippers—I’ve got some heel clicking to do!

Homemade mac ‘n cheese
Roasted asparagus
Chocolate brownies with orange frosting


Eye of the Hurricane

November 14, 2015

I have never been in a hurricane before, but I can tell you I know what the eye of it feels like.  It feels like this morning, the first morning in three months when we have not had one or two soccer games to attend, no birthday parties to host or go to, no social engagements of any kind, no meetings about the remodel, no furniture shopping to do.  Nothing.

So what’s it like in the eye of the hurricane? 

Well, we all rolled out of bed whenever our bodies told us to and grabbed the closest available blanket to walk around in.  We sprawled around a deck of cards and played a game of war, cracking up at Leo’s overexcitement each time he won a round.

Kevin helped me put together a playlist of our favorite 80s songs and we are playing that now while our boys clean up their rooms and fight a little bit, reliving our own childhoods for us before our eyes while we drink coffee and turn up the volume to Wham.

Leo put on his sunglasses and chased Kevin around the house with a sword until Kevin finally turned around and clobbered him with his yoga mat.  (Whenever Leo puts on his sunglasses he feels entitled to do and say absolutely anything he feels like.)



We sat around the table eating thick slabs of homemade bread, all of us together (!!).

I gathered all the boys in my bed to read our latest read aloud (The Wheel on the School, an old Newbery winner and one of the sweetest books I’ve ever read).  Vincenzo looked at my nightstand and started giggling and giggling, noticing that I had hijacked his soccer trophy and made it my own.


(It now indicates that “Mamba” (that’s me!) won an award for “Most Hugs Scored 2015.”)

The boys got distracted in their cleaning up and are now playing Legos together, creating storylines and modifying their creations together.  And for once, it doesn’t matter that they are distracted by Legos—they have 48 hours to get their room cleaned instead of a tight little window, rush rush.

And now they are fighting about Legos.  I’ll just turn Meatloaf up a little louder…

And now they are playing video games and not fighting, and I am sitting here blogging and enjoying the fact that we are all doing some of the things that make us happiest right now.

In two weeks, basketball starts up and we will be going through the other side of that hurricane, scheduling and squeezing things in, splitting up for various games and naptimes, eating dinner at 4 because the kids won’t be back again until bedtime, inevitably messing the schedule up a time or two and feeling very wind-whipped.

And I love it. I do!  I wouldn’t have life any other way.  The boys are so happy, our life is so full of family and friends, and we are brimming with laughter.

But man, it is so nice to have a little break from normal for just a weekend or two.

Crab cakes
Roasted asparagus
Israeli couscous with roasted vegetables and feta
Chocolate mint sandwich cookies



November 9, 2015

Full disclosure: the title is the funniest part of this whole post.

What did I used to blog about so much, people?  I used to have to much to say and now…I’m not sure what to say!

I’ve gotten a little political lately, which isn’t fun to blog about.  Like, I got a little interested in the race for a school board director and actually attended a PTSA meeting to hear the candidates speak.  Want a recap?  No.  You don’t.

I’m rallying people in my city to stop the city council from putting buses on our trail.  Want to hear more about the plan to put BRT on the CKC via the ST3?  No.  You don’t want to hear about that either.

The kids haven’t even been doing anything funny lately, unless you think it’s funny when Leo bites Rocco, which I DEFINITELY do not think is funny.  NO BITING.  NO!!

Seriously, the funniest thing that’s happened around here is when Vincenzo went to put brown sugar in his oatmeal and he packed it down on the spoon first because he knows that you always pack brown sugar down when you are baking cookies. 

See?  Even the funny stuff isn’t that funny.

Oh Lord, I am blogging about oatmeal now.  I told you!  I’m out of ideas!  Quick, let me put a picture in.  Surely I have a funny picture or two?


Dear God, that’s a picture of a cheap rug I might buy for under the table.  That’s not funny at all!

A jacket I might buy my kid.  These are not funny!


The dimensions of my new stove??  Come on, MrsMouthy.  Get your game on!


You are waiting for me to drop that one line now that is funnier than all my blogs put together.  You are thinking this was all just a big setup so that I could BAM make you laugh your pants off.

Nope.  Not a setup, just another a picture of some paint chips (yes, that is whipped mint, for those who have been following).


So go home now.  I’ve still got nothing, and now you’ve got nothing, too.  Neiner neiner.

Shrimp scampi
Fresh fruit
Vegetables & hummus
Gingerbread cake (thanks, McStreamy)


BOO! (hoo hoo, Halloween’s over)

November 2, 2015

Scenes from Halloween.  Oh, how I miss you, Halloween!

Halloween breakfast:


Eggs “funny side up,” as the egg mold proclaimed.

The jack-o-lanterns:


A funny face for Leo, a dragon for Vincenzo, and Steve/Herobrine from Minecraft for Rocco.

Halloween cookies, please note their were no shortage of eyes this year:


Then somehow the boys got the idea of hiding candy under the frosting and all the rest of the cookies looked like this:


Awww, look at the cute little cookie is all dressed up for Halloween in its pile of poo costume!

And now for the best part… costumes!

They were convincing…


they were ridiculous…


they were terrifying!


(Leo had decided to be a skeleton because it’s the scariest thing he could think of, and figured if he was the scariest thing on Halloween then nothing else could scare him.)

Oh yes, we can’t forget Kevin’s costume.  It’s obvious what it is.


Right?  You all looked at that and said, “Sweet Marshawn Pinch costume, Kevin!” 

Go ahead and groan.  He is the punch line to some joke that hasn’t yet been told. 

We went to a Halloween party and a friend of ours said, “Well, at least it trumps the last thing I saw him wearing,” which was this:


I went as myself, only I curled my hair and put on eyeliner for once and when people asked me what I was I told them I was dressed up as a supermodel. 


I added that usually I wear some kind of a costume for Halloween but everyone always guesses supermodel no matter what I’m wearing, so I decided to just go with it this year.

Next time I’m going to wear the same thing and say I’m going as Laziness.

Crisped brown rice with beef and eggs
Green beans in cider vinaigrette
”NemNem cookies”*

*Leo collected as many “nem-nems” as he could on Halloween night and as soon as he got home he gathered them all up and brought them to the kitchen, insisting we make “nem-nem cookies.” 


How could I say no?!


Another Remodel Update

October 27, 2015

So the walls got painted. I picked a color called “Whipped Mint” that is a very soft, subtle, whisper of teal.  Very elegant, very luxe, very grown-up.  And then…



The camera really doesn’t show the shocking intensity of standing in a house covered in Whipped Mint.  It looks more like this IRL:

Nursery decor for baby boy with bright blue themed color

Yes, we have transformed our great room into a giant baby boy’s nursery.

I stood there kind of laughing and kind of crying at the same time and called Kevin.

Kevin: Rach?
Rachel: Kevin, the house got painted. It looks like a Taco del Mar in here!

Once he figured out I was not making a comment about the ethnicity of our painters but was, in fact, making fun of the paint color he tried to calm me down.  It’s okay…we can repaint…it’s not like choosing a husband, you can change it…no, we shouldn’t call off the remodel…

I keep going to the house to check it out and come up with new ways to describe the paint.  I’ve come up with new names for it, like Overly Aggressive Mint or Screamin’ Teal, or Pepto Blue, or At Least It’s Not Pink.

My mom says, “That’s the same color our bathroom used to be!”  You know, in 1986.

But then I went to the house one too many times or something and now I’m starting to kind of like the color.  Our GC tells me to stick with it.  He thinks the color looks “hot” and once we get everything in we’re going to love it.

In the meantime, I have had way too many restless nights of dreams where I am choosing between shades of light teal and then at the end of the dreams I somehow end up drowning.

I feel if you dug right into the heart of first world problems you would end up at me, standing in my living room with a handful of paint chips and a tall glass of water that I am probably about to accidentally drown in.

But hey, at least it’s not pink!

Delfino’s pizza (take out)
Vanilla ice cream with amarena cherries and pistachios


Pumpkin Farm Love

October 26, 2015

It was pumpkin farm weekend, which means I dusted off the ol’ camera and got to say a bunch of times, “Stop baring your teeth and just smile naturally, damn it!”

I have to say, they’re getting pretty good.




Well, two out of three ain’t bad.  Besides, I can always count on Leo’s “good side” to give me a winning shot.


There was a new feature at the farm this year: using old-fashioned water pumps to get a rubber duckie down a pipe.  The boys couldn’t get enough.




We got lost in the corn maze and every time we’d bump into another group we’d ask them, “We’ve gotten a bit lost…is it still Saturday?” (It was Sunday.) 


To pass some time I told the boys the story of Hansel and Gretel and apologized every few minutes for how much more inappropriate a story got as I told it, and I wasn’t even embellishing—just telling the story as it is.  It is an awful, horrid story of parents not loving their children, an old woman keeping one child as a slave and trying to eat the other one, and children ultimately burning an old lady to death.  Sleep tight, children!


I’ve got three boys and yet I still don’t have a full house? 


It doesn’t matter; it’s clear I’m not playing with a full deck.  You want me to keep going?  I will!  I can be such a card!  You like these jokes?  Awww, you’re making me flush.  Okay, I’ll stop now.  I don’t have any ace left in the hole.


This is where I go when someone tells me to go to my happy place.


Of course, Halloween isn’t just about treats, it’s also about tricks, and this was the worst one of the day:



Totally NOT restrooms.  All five of us went into separate outhouses and as the boys each got out they yelled, “I’m first!”  “I’m second!” and so on.  From inside mine I yelled, “I’m not going for speed…I’m going for quantity!”  Then I told them to come back in 10 minutes and we’ll see who’s first then.

I only took about 25% of the photo ops I could have, so even though some of these shots are nice all I keep thinking about are the other shots we could have gotten if only we hadn’t wasted so much time going through the corn maze and pumping water and riding tractors and flinging apples at targets and choosing our stinkin’ pumpkins.

But you know, life’s all about choices, ain’t it?




And in the end, I know we all made a good one.

Tofu and bok choy stir fry


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