Down, but not out

QUICKIE:  Yesterday Vincenzo asked me, “How long, Mommy?”  I asked him, “How long until what?”  “How long until I’m done being Abbey?”


I’m sick and I HATE being sick.  The worst part is when I’m sick I hate coffee, and I really HATE hating coffee.  I spend all day trying to eat or drink something that will make me feel all sparkly on the inside like coffee does and nothing works.  Not to mention that being physically incapable of breathing is, at times, kind of scary.


But all is not lost!  Though my body is down, my mind is still fight-ready.  Check out this conversation that happened at Little Gym today.  It was after Vincenzo had run up to every single adult in the room, forced them into full eye contact, and yelled, “I have a car in my book that goes OUCH!”  On the second or third round, their eyes achieved the same, glazed-over look that mine have had since Vincenzo began yelling about the “Ouch Car” to me one million hours ago.  Anyway, the conversation.


Seemingly docile Mom: So your son likes car books?
Me: Yup.
SDM: I’ve got 3 boys at home, and it’s scary how much I know about cars and trucks.  I think I could tell you how to build a bulldozer.
Me:  I know.  Sometimes I dream about side-loading dump trucks.
SDM: Ha, ha, and mobile cranes.
Me: Why yes, and don’t forget about giant excavators.
SDM: [narrowing eyes] Grain harvester.
Me: [showing claws] Skid steer.
SDM: Combine Machine.
Me: Pneumatic Lift Truck.
SDM: Military Motor Grader!
Me: Scissor Lift, Material Handler, and Bananamobile!
SDM: [sticks tail between legs and skitters off sideways, whimpering]


Anyone else want a piece of this?


Smoked Salmon Toasts
Tra Vigne Garlic Roasted Crab
High Roast Hot Pepper Salmon Fillet
Summer Garden Shrimp Salad
Spicy Clams
Halibut with Red Pepper Cream
Grilled Ginger Tuna with Arugula and Oranges


(No, I’m not being fascetious!  It’s cooking class at Bon Vivant tonight, and all I want to do is have a bowl of broth and go to bed.  *whine*)

Hello? Hello?

QUICKIE: Yesterday Vincenzo was testing what level of hand-sucking might be appropriate.  He licked the back of his hand and said, “Can I do this?”  I answered, “No.”  He countered with, “But Clydey does it!”  What does it mean when your 3-year-old consistently out-argues you?


Cafeteria milk-carton flashback.  I didn’t know there was an “open” side to milk cartons until like the fourth grade, and even then this would always happen.



As a side note, I also didn’t know underwear had a front and a back until around then either.  So I was the kid wearing her underwear backwards drinking milk from a carton that it looked like rats had opened.  And look at me now!!  (i.e. at least my underwear is on right.  I think.  Photo not available.)


I’m kind of obsessed with how many hits my blog gets each day, especially since NO ONE COMMENTS on my blog (please ignore, Mandy and Casey.  I love you two!)  I was excited when my hits started going up recently and I now spend a lot of time analyzing  numbers like !C48DB47FC79COC2C!171/?ViewType=4&searchtype=5&index=7&handle=cns!C48DB47FC79C0C2C!177 and trying to imagine what face is connected to what hands that clicked on that number.  Are you more of a red wine person or white?  Cheerleader or emo?  Lucky Charms or Fruit Loops?  Granny undies or…well…are there other options?


Anyway, I guess it doesn’t matter as long as the hits counter keeps ticking.  And thanks for tuning in, whoever you are.



Leftovers plus Green Beans in Balsamic Vinaigrette


QUICKIE:  Yesterday, I asked Vincenzo if he had just tooted but he said no; that’s just a sound his body makes.  (5 second pause)  I had to ask, “And is that just a smell your body makes?”


Lately, anyone who’s seen Vincenzo has most likely seen him like this:



It’s G-R-O-S-S.  A few weeks ago he put his hands in his mouth for the first time and I immediately jumped on him for it.  He redoubled his efforts.  I tried teasing him about it and he went all defensive on me.  I tried ignoring it.  He sucked and sucked until he got blisters on multiple fingers and probably a lifetime commitment to the oral phase.  It’s bad.  I used to love to bury my nose in his hair and breathe in my baby’s scent, but now I’m enveloped in an old, sour, spit cloud that could probably be used in chemical warfare.


Kevin and I decided this week that the hand-sucking NEEDS to STOP, so we turned to a trusty source: the Internets (I figured one of the three has to have something).  But alas, apparently I am the only parent whose child is a hand-sucker in a world of thumbsuckers.  The only website that gave any kind of handsucking reference at all was this one of an ADORABLE English Bulldog with a hand fetish, and it don’t look like he’s stopping anytime soon, either.      


If Vincenzo were a straight-up thumb sucker, we could buy a cute little device to stick on his hands—one that absolutely no one would make fun of.  Ever.  Even if he wore it to school, as some of the parents suggested. 





But alas, they don’t sell five-fingered thumbusters and Vincenzo screams if I try to stick Rubbermaid gloves on his hands (probably because he can’t suck them anymore).  Looks like we’re going to solve this one on our own.  Team Beto, ACTIVATE!



1. Buy a dog’s “chastity belt” and attach to Vincenzo’s head
2. File his teeth to sharp points (they’re just baby teeth, anyway)
3. Rub his hands with jalapeno peppers every morning
4. Amputation (maybe we can make a double appt when I get my wrists amputated)
5. Electric shock
6. Lobotamy


We will now begin our efforts, starting at the bottom of the list and working our way up.  And I can rest assured that now there is at least one mention of hand-sucking on the Internet that is actually helpful.


Salmon Chowdah
Cheesy Focaccia Bread
Salad with Pears and Gorgonzola

Feeding the Elephant

QUICKIE: As we pulled away from the ferry dock on Saturday, Vincenzo kept freaking out that the DOCK was MOVING!!
I might actually write today’s blog from the heart instead of from the butt for once. I prefer funny writing but there’s this huge elephant in my bloggin’ closet that REALLY wants a peanut. (Totally unrelated to last week’s peanut blog.) So here. Here’s your peanut.

Not all of you know that last April I gave birth to a stillborn boy named Angelo David who died of a condition called Trisomy 13. We had known about it early on and were fortunate to do most of our mourning before Angelo’s birth so that we were able to just hold his sweet, peaceful body when he was born. The room was full of happiness and joy instead of fear and confusion.

Since Angelo’s birth I have actually been happier than I have in a long time. I think it’s mainly because I’m sick the entire 9 months of pregnancy, and just feeling good again makes me run back into the world with pigtails a-flappin’. But I have this whole set of worries now that never occurred to me to worry about before—and I’ve always been a worrier by nature. We are waiting for the green light to start trying again, and pregnancy is what I think about in between all the things I say or write aloud. Usually I feel it will be okay, but often I feel like I just don’t know. Being pregnant guarantees me nausea, heartburn, uncertainty, fear, and depression. What it does not guarantee me is a baby. Kevin and I have agreed that we can’t bury our heads in the sand, though, and while we don’t know what will happen next in our lives, we have to admit that we’ve never known what will happen next. Plus, so many other people’s stories end with, “and then we had 3 more healthy children.” I love those stories. (Kevin prefers the ones that end with 1 more healthy child).

Just today’s thoughts, and every day’s thoughts, for that matter. But I can’t leave you all misty-eyed, so here’s a related conversation I had with Vincenzo before bed last night. We had just prayed to Angelo to be with us over these next few months as we get ready for another pregnancy.

Me: Vincenzo, do you remember what I’m like when I’m pregnant?
V: No.
Me: What part of me will grow when I’m pregnant?
V: Your hair!
Me: Touché, smarty pants. But how do I look when I’m pregnant?
V: You look good, Mommy.

Let it be noted that my name is #1 on the list of people Vincenzo has won over by sweet talk. I am so totally in love with my son.

Junk food (Dad’s out so we’re partying!)

To the RESCUE!!!

QUICKIE: Vincenzo said he wants to ride a motorcycle when he grows up, but one that has doors on it so he can be safe.


And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, and the reason we have eaten salad at every meal for the past two weeks.  I present to you…




Protecting against soggy lettuce, store bought dressing, and crouton shortages.


Owning these tongs makes me feel like a hero myself.



Breakfast for Dinner!  (my favorite, every time)

My son has a blinkin’ problem

QUICKIE: Today Vincenzo stuck a mini muffin on each of his eyes and yelled in a panicky voice, “I CAN’T BLINK!  I CAN’T BLINK!”


Vincenzo and I spent the weekend at my brother’s house in Silverdale celebrating Whaling Days.  Why whales?  Why not!  There were fireworks last night, a race this morning, and a never-ending parade in the afternoon.  The parade was waaaaayy better than the 4th of July one I went to (read description here).  It had huge, whale-shaped balloons and giant Mickey Mouses riding Harleys.  Pirate ships, crepe-paper floats, and more tiaras than I knew were in production.  And there was this one lady walking down the parade with her shorts zipper all the way down, revealing her rainbow-striped undies!  Oh-yeah-that-was-me.  [Fortunately, someone jumped out of her chair to tell me, and I managed to zip up just as I walked in front of the judges’ table.  Prize, please!]


Vincenzo ran a 25-yard-dash this morning and came in one place before dead last.  He was so excited that he WON!  Let’s just hope he has the endurance for distance running.  He spent the rest of the weekend wearing a helmet, creating a compulsion in me to explain to every other adult that he doesn’t need a helmet; he’s just choosing to wear one.  They offered me patronizing “Uh-huh”s.  It didn’t help Vincenzo’s image that he kept telling everyone his name was Abbey and he was 16 years old.  It also didn’t help that he’s developed a blinking problem lately where he can only do these hard, whole-face blinks instead of normal ones.  But who cares about image when you just “WON” your first 25-yard-dash?!


On the ride home, I noticed in my US magazine that Ingo Rademacher (who?) named his son Peanut Kai, explaining, “It puts a smile on everyone’s face.”  I know one person who will NOT be smiling, and his name happens to be PEANUT KAI.  I so hope he’s a big, Harley-riding dude.  I also hope he changes his name before his wedding day so no one has to witness the union of Peanut and Butter or whatever other unfortunately named bride he’ll be able to snag.


Just as I finished the article, my mom handed me a newspaper article that got even crazier.  Some judge made a girl a ward of the court so that her name could be changed.  I can’t blame him.  Her name was Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii.  I am SO not making this up.  He also cited a list of unfortunate names, rejecting Fish and Chips; Yeah Detroit; and Sex Fruit.  But he allowed Number 16 Bus Shelter and Violence, for obvious reasons.  It’s enough to make anyone change their name to Peanut.


Please feel free to come up with all the Peanut name jokes you can in the comments section.  Cashew later!



Teriyaki Madness (the madness is right there in the name!)

Doing my duty

QUICKIE: The other day I gave Vincenzo a popsicle.  He handed it back and said, “You will hold it and I will lick it.”  So we did.


I am married to a twelve-year-old boy.  Here’s proof.


Me:  Kevin, you’re on kitchen duty tonight.
Kevin: Heh heh heh.  You said “doody.”
Me: *audible eye roll*  We used paper plates, so it shouldn’t be too hard.
Kevin:  Hard!  Tehehehe [echoing down the gutter]
Me: Oh, give it up already!
Kevin: Okay.
Kevin: Can I touch your boobies?
Me: *Sounds of blowing up mattress for self in guest bedroom*


Now I will take a moment to reflect on some of the more tender moments in our relationship.   Like the time when we were dating and nearing engagement, and for Valentine’s Day he handed me a Tiffany’s bag with a small, you-know-the-size, box in it.  “Do you want to take a guess on what’s in it?” he asked.   I shyly declined.  He persisted.  I said, “Well, there’s a chance…” and my face broke into a huge grin.  I opened the box and Kevin started cracking up as I pulled out a cheap necklace.  


So I cornered him that spring and asked for a ring for my birthday.  He presented me with a much bigger box–containing an O-ring of the nature that one places a toilet upon.


Then there was Valentine’s Day of last year, when Kevin told me to dress up BIG TIME for a mystery date, which I did.  He spent months building anticipation, making

sure I made a manicure appointment, asking if I had accessories for my dress, etc.  Surprise, surprise.  The big date turned out to be a WWE event, and girls, nothing says romance quite like Smackdown.*


All pre-adolescence aside, I have to note that Kevin was the one who drove back to my sister’s place when I realized I left my glasses there last weekend.  And he spent his day off this week installing a fence for me in the backyard.  And when I dressed up for our anniversary, he just about melted and said, “You still take my breath away every time.”


So I’ll love him like it’s my duty, even though it might be hard, but no, Kevin, you still can’t touch my boobies.


*This story actually has a happy ending as I caught wind of the big “surprise” ahead of time and ripped off my gown after dinner to reveal a WWE t-shirt.  I also smugly produced a huge sign that proclaimed, “HE TOLD ME WE WERE GOING TO THE OPERA!”  The sign made it on national television that night.  Red heart

Zeke’s Pizza

Nuclear Medicine Part II

Okay, turns out I should have been afraid of the needles.  Dr. Curly, I’ll call him, was fresh out of med school (or maybe not quite yet).  One glance at his baby face and I understood why parents used to hold their children closer when they saw me standing in the front of the classroom, looking like a 14-year-old teacher.  Dr. Curly positioned me in a chair with my arms on a machine and then crouched on his hands and knees, angling his head under the machine, to attempt a foot IV.  For my wrist problems.  Sadly, it didn’t take.  More sadly, my vision got all spotty and my face went numb and my stomach flipped and I uttered meekly, “Going…pass out.”  I spent the next 20 minutes with my head down, bringing it up only long enough to whisper the same sentence and think how lovely Earth was when I was still on it.  When I was ready again, Dr. Curly apologized as he stuck an IV in my arm and, seeing my face lose all color, kindly brought me a garbage can, “just in case.”  Aw, Curly.  You shouldn’t have.


I was right to bring Mom with me, even though it became apparent she only scored one point higher than me on the Placement Test for the Directionally Dumb.  Still, she yelled appropriately when I almost went through a stop sign, inches away from a biker.  We both made a lot of wrong turns once out of the car but finally made it to the elevator.  We pressed the down button, waited patiently, got in, and pressed floor two.  The doors promptly opened, letting us know we were already on floor two.  “Idiots,” it said as it closed went off to do loftier things, I suppose.


Can’t wait for tonight…we’re inviting the neighbors over to watch me glow in the dark.



Nuclear Medicine



My mom is spending the day taking me to doctor’s appointments for my wrists today.  Yes, I know I’m a 30-Something and I should be taking my mother to her doctor’s appointments instead of the other way around.  I’m just freaked out about the appointments.  It’s not the NUCLEAR MEDICINE or needles that scare me—in delivering two babies, I got five epidurals without so much as a flinch (and only one of them kind of worked).  What I’m terrified of is: driving in Seattle.


Based on past driving-in-Seattle experiences, there’s a 20% chance I’ll total my car, a 50% chance I’ll get so lost I’ll have to abort plans and come home; a 20% chance I’ll actually find my way home, and a 10% chance I’ll accidentally stumble upon set destination.


Stay tuned for updates today…


Breaded Prawns
Grilled Chicken with Tarragon Sauce
Fusilli Carbonara with Fines Herbes

Rage against the machine

QUICKIE: Vincenzo to Dad tonight: “What are you doing to my penis?”


The babysitter just came up and asked, “So…is Shiny Dumptruck a girl?”  “Yes,” I answered without hesitation.  “All Vincenzo’s toys and animals are girls.”


It’s true.  Anytime anything comes in the house and becomes an object of endearment, be it a football-clad bear or an army tank, I deem it a “she.”  It’s always bothered me when we go to the zoo and all the parents are all, “Look at the gorilla/hippopotamus/komodo dragon.  Isn’t HE funny/big/scary?”  Just because something is ugly or hairy or rude doesn’t mean it’s automatically male.  (No offense, males.  Or no offense females?)  And what’s up with calling cows and chickens “he?”  Show me a man who can make milk or eggs and I will change my whole stance and call everything a he from here on out.  The she-man who just had a baby doesn’t count, btw.


I know I’m just one person out of a billion.  But unless an animal or a dump truck has either a mane or very prominent anatomy, we’re going to keep on with our little charade.  Yes, I know I’m also wrong 50% of the time, but in my world, two wrongs sometimes do make a right.  At least when it’s me making the wrongs.


P.S.  To make my pronoun war complete, ladybugs are always “he.”


Fridge Raid!