Geeking Out Party

Vincenzo is turning eleven this week, and the older he’s gotten the fewer opinions he’s been able to form.  When I started asking him about what kind of birthday party he wanted, it went like this:

Me: So, what kind of a party do you want this year?
V: Hm, I don’t know…
Me: Do you want a slumber party?
V: I don’t know…
Me: Do you want to go somewhere or stay home for it?
V: I don’t know.  I don’t really care.
Me: Well then let’s think about who you want to invite and maybe that will help us.  What friends do you want to come?
V: I don’t know…who do you think I should invite?

Eventually Kevin got tired of listening to me try to get information out of Vincenzo and just planned the party for him.  It is a party for a computer nerd planned by his computer nerd of a father: two hours at a place called Game Clucks that has a bunch of computers with games on them and a carpet that really knows how to party.

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I would have tossed a banana onto it for scale, but I was afraid the carpet would eat the banana.

We got kind of excited when we drove up and saw this sign on the door.

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It made us feel official and so important!

I didn’t bring decorations, but once we went inside I saw it was unnecessary—the place was already decorated!  Pinterest is going to explode when I upload this!

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Kevin took one glance at the set up and said excitedly, “Is that a Klingon sword?!!”  Sometimes I wonder how we ever ended up together.

I was surprised the whole place didn’t smell like B.O. and Mountain Dew, but there was a nice breeze going through so it was actually pretty odorless.  It was a pleasant surprise.

The minute the party guests showed up, they knew just what to do:

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In a nutshell: kill things.  I walked by some kid’s computer and he was viewing an alternate world through a KILL CAM.

The only thing I had done to get ready for the party was send out an E-vite (CRAZY for a paper-cutter lover like myself) and then stop at Costco for giant bags of beef sticks.  Oh, plus there was a trip to a candy store to pick up a bunch of Vincenzo’s favorite candy:

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If you want to know what it tastes like but don’t want to go out and buy any, you can have someone vomit in your mouth and then stick a lifesaver in there.  Or just check out these Toxic Waste Faces.

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The longer we were at the party, the more Kevin started looking and feeling the part.

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While Kevin and the boys were perfectly at home with their beef sticks and head sets, I had no idea what to do with myself.  I tried playing Super Smash Bros Melee for a bit and got really excited about all the points I was getting.  I was a natural!  Then one of the kids told me that this particular game is like golf—the more points you get the worse you’re doing.  So I handed over my controller and went to the back room to take pictures of the cake instead.  These are just some of the many.

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As much as I used to love planning over-the-top parties, I have to admit that as of late, I instead have that amount of love for just-show-up parties.

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It was a no-stress, all-fun, kill-for-thrills, beef stick kind of afternoon, and even if Vincenzo had absolutely no opinions going into the party, I think he came out of it with the opinion that it was pretty awesome.

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Just like him.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Stuffed peppers (Greek and Italian)
Fresh pasta
Roasted acorn squash with brown sugar & cinnamon
Green beans with mint and lemon
Lemony cheesecake

Trying Something New…

Hey guys, it’s me!  I thought it would be fun to update my blog because I want tabs.  I want tabs in the worst way.  So I took the reigns in my hands, I started making some changes, and within two minutes I screwed everything up and can’t go back to how I used to be and also, if you didn’t notice, I still don’t have tabs.

But I do have this super crappy blog post that explains why my blog looks particularly crappy today.  You can thank me later.

That makes my blog the seventh major thing I broke recently.  I broke my laptop, my I-Phone screen, my glasses (technically lost, not broken), my car when I backed out of the garage with the trunk open, my brand new Canon 80D camera, plus I broke out in a very persistent rash.

At the rate I’m going, I might just break the whole bloody Internet.  Kim Kardashian couldn’t do it, but MrsMouthy probably can.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Pizza.  4 out of our 6 meals this weekend were pizza, in fact.  We go to way too many birthday parties.

*Good news!  Camera wasn’t broken; just in video mode. 

Leo, Age 4 and 6/12

I’m not sure what to do with this kid anymore.  I told him to smile for a picture and he did this:

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He sometimes stands like this and asks, “Mom, are my feet on backwards?”

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I looked up from the book I was reading aloud to the kids the other day to see this looking back at me:

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He wore this to his first day of preschool this week:

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He still pretends to be animals for a good chunk of each day and talks about himself in the third person when he is in animal form.  “Hoo, hoo, the owl is hatching an egg.”

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Whenever Kevin is home, he asks, “Can we ‘ttack on the bed?”  Then he grabs a sword, a mask, and lets loose on his dad, making his own sound effects all the while.

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He found a pair of sunglasses in his room last week and spent a day walking around like this.

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Leo is so obsessed with eyewear he is either going to grow up to be an optometrist or a supervillain.

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I’m not joking!

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Monkey or man, limpet or owl, there’s only one thing that’s for certain:

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It’s good to be a Leo.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Roasted vegetable pizza
Tomato & red pepper soup
Lemon asparagus
Gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting

Itchy and Scratchy

It has not been a banner week for me.  The kids went back to school, that part was okay (no overly soppy, tearful me for once), but I have been dealing with an itchy rash covering my stomach, back, and neck, and which is starting to creep down each of my limbs.  The rash showed up last Thursday and neither two nurses I talked to on the phone nor the entire Internet had anything helpful to say, other than hm, that’s weird.

I will spare you the pictures because yes, I have taken pictures, but will also tell you that if you’d like to see pictures of rashes, the Internet is overly ready to help out with that one.

Then I went for a run yesterday and had to pull over twice for explosive you-know-what.  Twice!  Fortunately, my run took me past several public facilities placed there just for such moments in life.  (Don’t forget to support your public library!)

I was standing at the bus stop yesterday, waiting for my neighbor to show up so I could unload all this on somebody else, and when she came up I said, “Hey, do you smell dog poop?”  We looked down to see that I was standing in a colossal, I meal colossal pile of dog poop.  Like, my entire shoe was like a hot dog nestled in a dog poop bun.

It’s just a shi**y week, I guess.

I came home desperate for a shower, feeling so dirty and disgusted by myself and all dog owners everywhere, and the minute the water hit my rashy torso, I could no longer resist the urge to scratch.  I stood in the shower for ten  minutes and scratched and scratched and scratched and came out feeling cleaner but looking like a giant hunk of wet ground beef.  That’s me.  Bringin’ sexy back.

I did make to do an IRL doctor today who took one look at my “trunk,” which is the least sexy way to describe your mid section, but that’s the word he used, and said, “Oh…I see.  I bet nothing you’ve done has made this rash feel better, right?”

“Right!” I said, glad someone finally knew something about what has been plaguing my “trunk” this past week and glad I would finally figure out how to get some relief from all this itching.

“You’ve got pityriasis rosea.  There’s nothing you can do for it.  It should clear up anywhere between 6 weeks and 3 months.”

Ba-dum-dum. 

That is the worst punch line I’ve ever heard. 

But look on the bright side!  It’s not contagious, swim suit season ended the day the rash showed up, and it probably won’t spread to my face.  Plus, now I have just 5 to 11 weeks left to wait out this virus that starts with the word “pity.”   You know, as in it’s a pity there’s not a DAMN THING I CAN DO ABOUT IT.

And now my face is itchy.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Gnocchi with browned butter sauce
Salad with grilled shrimp, orange, and fennel
Roasted vegetables

Obligatory First Day Pix

I got the boys all posed for their first day of school picture this morning.

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Me: Come on, boys, smile!  What is this—the first day of school or a funeral?

Them:

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Me: Well, if that’s how you’re going to be then go ahead and frown.  I can still get a good picture.

Them:

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Me: Are you forgetting that one of you gets to stay home and bake chocolate chip cookies with me?

Them:

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Sigh.  I guess that’s what I get for waking them up an extra half hour early to get the *perfect* back-to-school picture because I can’t just take one picture on my phone and call it good enough.  Have I ever called anything I’ve done “good enough” before?

I got the older boys to come close to almost smiling, or at least almost thinking about almost smiling, for one shot.

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They’re actually all excited to go back to school; I think that just is their happy face.

But wait—no!  These are their happy faces!

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Awwww.

Me: How about one last chance at a group shot?

Them:

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Mama’s boys.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Cornbread taco bake
Carrots a la orange
Applesauce cake

Dear Summer, Don’t Go

It’s our last week before school starts, and I know that as the mom of three boys I’m supposed to be desperately excited for that but I’m not.  Something must be wrong with me!  Summer and the boys have not made me crazy this year, except for making me half-seriously consider home schooling for the rest of the boys’ lives, so I guess, yeah, I’m crazy.

I’m going to miss mornings of watching Vincenzo make waffles and messing up all the steps (and all the kitchen).  I’m going to miss staying up way too late because the boys don’t want me to stop reading to them.  I’m going to miss our weekly schedule of beach dates, park dates, play dates, and museum dates.  I’m going to miss weekends free enough to actually even go on date dates.  I’m going to miss the nights I realize I accidentally cooked for 20 people instead of 5 and inviting friends or neighbors over at the last minute.  During the school year, every minute feels like a “last minute,” and all of them are already full.

In an attempt to hang onto summer a little bit and beg it to stay longer or at least to leave me with an old sweater to remember it by, here are some scenes from our summer 2016.

We spent a fair amount of the summer at our favorite beach, digging holes and making islands, carving canals and doing some basic civil engineering.

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The boys spent five minutes at the Science Center standing at still as this, trying to get a butterfly to land on them.

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Then my friend casually walked past them and…

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Of course, the boys fought a bit.

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And there were days when they got a little wound up.*

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So we got their energy out at a bunch of parks.

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On rainy days the kids played inside.

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Then I’d tell them to clean it all up—put everything in a box!  They took me quite seriously.

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Just to teach them a lesson, I’d make them wash the windows.

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For cheap thrills I’d stick the boys on the deck with a bucket of water, a little soap, and three straws.

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On other days we climbed trees.

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We also hugged trees (these particular ones were at a Lego art exhibit).

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The chickens felt left out, so…

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Leo missed a lot of naptimes, driving brothers to camps or driving home from museums. 

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Or maybe he didn’t miss a lot of naps.

We did science.

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We practiced “safe touching” at the aquarium’s touching pool.

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Some days we just  fit in.

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Some days we didn’t.

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The boys had 6 weeks of swim lessons and still managed to look awkward in the pool.

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We went to the zoo with my new neighbor and realized her little monkey was born this exact day as this other little monkey (okay, technically an ape in the left photo and a monkey on the right):

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We loved watching the birds enjoy our new bird feeder:

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We said goodbye to Vincenzo’s Korean friend, who moved back home.  (His Korean friend is the one on the right—I know it’s hard to tell in this picture.)

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We harvested enough from our garden to make an entire side dish!

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We juggled with Poppy in the park.

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We blew a few things up.

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And we celebrated my parents’ 50th anniversary. 

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It feels weird to throw this in as just one picture at the end of my post, but I don’t feel like asking 70 of my parents’ closest friends/family for permission to post their pictures on my blog.  Just know that it was a wonderful afternoon of catching up with our grade school friends’ parents, former teachers, and relatives we often only see at Christmas; seeing my parents so happy and comfortable among their lifelong friends; hearing stories retold from their wedding day; and trying to avoid that one crazy family member who always shows up at these things.

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Doh!

So, Summer, thank you for being just what you were this year.  A little of this, a lot of that, and never too much of anything.  See you next June!

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Beef bulgogi in lettuce wraps
Brown rice
Green beans in ginger and soy sauce
Strawberry rhubarb crisp

*After these spin-outs the kids always sit or walk around holding their stomachs, saying they feel sick.  This year one kid took it a step further and puked all over the patio.  It was awesome!!

The Fair!!!!

It was Fair Day for MrsMouthy’s family on Thursday, yay! 

I used to look forward to Fair Day more than Christmas, but that was before we had to miss nap time and stay up past bedtime and wait through three different emergency poops that inevitably have to happen during the four hours we are at the fair.  That was back when a kid would want a bag of cotton candy so you’d get him one but he could only eat a couple bites before he was too full, no harm done, throw the rest away when he’s not looking.  Now that kid eats the entire bag and asks for a bottle of Coke to wash it down.  It has been many years since the fair has not ended with one or more parents football-carrying a screaming child to the car and struggling to buckle the screaming football into its car seat. 

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the fair.  I’d say I look forward to it more than Thanksgiving but not as much as Christmas, so it’s still good!

Anyway, I planned on taking a ton of pictures at the fair but got stopped by this sign on the way in:

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I almost turned around and went home right then but I had to go in because that’s where the scones are.

First stop: the chickens. 

Hey, pssst, wanna see a rated R chicken?

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(See the R rating on the green card there?  Ha!  What’d you think this was going to be a picture of?!)

The next chicken is a little special, too–the best we can make out is that its name is Buttflame Cora.

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We had a special amount of respect for this next chicken once we saw what it got a deduction for.

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After the chickens we took the crew over to the bleachers to see the goat show.

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I don’t think they really understood how bleachers work.

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By then everyone was hungry.  It was a happy night, as all of my boys got their favorite foods for dinner.  Leo:

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(Us: Do you want a hamburger or something to go with your fries?  Leo: No.  Just fwies.”

Rocco:

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And Vincenzo.  I forgot to take a picture of his caramel apple before he ate it, but here’s all that was left of it by the time he was done:

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After dinner (and the third poop stop), the kids got to go on a few rides.  I wasn’t sure if Leo was going to like rides, but…

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I wish I had taken more photos, like of Leo shooting a basket and winning his first fair prize, and of the poo hats they were selling, and of the fish that jumped out of the water and covered some serious ground before getting captured.  But that’s all I got, probably because I spent most of the time in rapid-fire conversation with my twice-a-year-friend, Angie,* while Kevin tried to find the missing kid.  There was always a missing kid.

Truthfully, no one kicked or screamed or cried on the way to the car and one kid even fell asleep on the way home, so the fair is on its way back to replacing Christmas as my favorite day of the year.

Sigh, miss you already, Fair!

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WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Leftovers from the food truck

*Angie and I have two built-in dates a year: gingerbread houses and the fair, and if we squeeze in more get-togethers through the year we consider the year a huge win.  In my perfect world we would be neighbors or conjoined twins or something.