My Jugs

QUICKIE: Vincenzo, in an elevator: “Mom, isn’t this music pretty?”
A week ago Friday I got an idea for an activity using milk jugs, so I started saving the used ones in our house.  Now, it’s true I’m prone to exaggerating and/or completely making things up for the sake of my blog, but I tell you what you’re about to see/read is the truth.

Fact: Kevin has not had a single glass of milk in the past week
Fact: I have not had a single glass of milk in the past week
Fact: Vincenzo is responsible for every empty jug in the following picture


This picture was taken 7 days after I began collecting.  Let’s see…7 days in the week divided by 4 gallons equals…CHRIST IN A SIDECAR!!*  Why did I ever wean him off breast milk?  It’s too expensive to buy 4 gallons of organic milk a week so we buy the regular, but now I’m conflicted because my son seems to be fueled solely by hormone rbST.  (Though that explains why he snaps into violent rages when we run out of bendy straws and why his belly button is beginning to resemble an udder.)

My other issue with Vincenzo’s milk drinking is that he demands his milk warmed up.  I do not like warming milk up, especially since he only drinks out of sippy cups that cannot be put in the microwave.  At the end of every day the dishwasher has no room for real dishes for all the coffee mugs/sippy cups in it, and Mbungo has already developed a twitch from all the time I spend absorbing radioactive waves or whatever it is you absorb when standing in front of the microwave. So I made a plan.

We always warm the milk for 30 seconds.  Tomorrow I’m going to warm it for 29 seconds.  Monday for 28 seconds.  And so on.  Exactly one month from now my son will be drinking cold milk straight from the fridge and we can go back to washing other things like plates in the dishwasher.  If, that is, the experiment doesn’t send Vincenzo into a hormone-induced rage in which he destroys the entire family and all the plates too.

*”Christ in a sidecar” expletive borrowed from Mindy Roberts

Ham and swiss quiche
Tater tots (left over from T week)
Grilled potatoes with blue cheese


Breakfast for dinner

My sensitive side

Today I noticed that Vincenzo’s metal detector has the sweetest little button on its side.


You’re all thinking what I’m thinking, right?


(I’m smiling because I’m imagining that my husband just gave me an UNSIGNED VALENTINE’S CARD AND ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE for Valentine’s Day but it doesn’t matter because my knob is turned to zero.)

Balsamic glazed pork chops
Creamy blue cheese polenta
Cuke salad

*I don’t know if it’s just the pregnancy talking, but this is one of the BEST dinners I’ve ever made!  I don’t even like pork chops, but balsamic vinegar was the maid of honor at my wedding and THIS is the perfect marriage!

Sappy is as sappy does

QUICKIE: Vincenzo, looking down at his hands after a long bath: “MOM, WHEN ARE THESE THINGS GOING TO COME OFF MY FINGERS??!!”
Thank you all for the reality check yesterday.  A few of you mentioned how even though my days feel like Gitmo sometimes, they really are some of the best days of my life.  I need those reminders. 

When it starts to drive me crazy that our living room is cluttered with everything from a basketball hoop to a cardboard box turtle house, I picture my house in 20 years–everything all matchy matchy and with vacuum lines on all the carpets–and it makes me kind of sad. 

Or when I’m trying to take five minutes for myself and do a crossword when I hear, “MOMMY, COME LOOK AT MY POOP!” my first reaction is to wonder WHEN my child will stop being so *#$@*!% NEEDY, until I remind myself that the answer is way too soon.

And when we’re in a parking lots and it’s raining sideways and Vincenzo wants to play in the puddles instead of sprint for the store, I make myself stop pulling his arm and I join the puddle jumping with him.  Because I don’t know how many more years it will be until Vincenzo stops noticing puddles too.

So while I still may not be happy about spending hours sitting in the Panic Room instead of writing novels, or tripping over a fire truck while trying to stir a beurre blanc, or pretending not to be freaked out when Vincenzo puts a worm in my hand, these reminders help me at least smile through it all.  It’s what separates me from the rest of Gitmo.

Lime cilantro hamburgers
Cucumber salad


QUICKIE: Kevin donated blood last weekend.  When he came back home, Vincenzo asked, “Daddy, is your blood all gone now?”
U week was extremely uneventful.  Pretty much all we did was make these umbrellas, and Vincenzo neither did nor said anything blog-worthy the entire time.


Even though I’m feeling considerably better, I’m still nauseous 24-7 and a little blasé about some of my hobbies.  We spend a lot more time at home than usual, and I have to admit it’s incredibly boring at times.  For some reason–and I’m not saying this to be funny but because it’s the honest truth–I find it more intellectually stimulating to sit on the couch doing absolutely nothing than to play with my son.

This morning I came downstairs and Vincenzo was singing “Dead or Alive” into the Rock Band microphone.  Our house rule is no X-Box during the week, but there aren’t any rules about pretending to play X-Box.  Vincenzo set me up with a guitar, which he kept calling a “cantar,” and then he found one of those little blue people from the game of Life.  He ordered me to play my cantar with one hand and help the blue guy play another cantar.  To put it in perspective, the arrow is pointing to the Very Important Tiny Blue Cantar Player.


Every few seconds, Vincenzo looked over to make sure I was strumming fast enough and the blue guy was still being included.  He himself moved onto drums.  But soon that wasn’t enough.  I was ordered to be the notes for his drum line.  He deemed me “orange” and instructed me to walk back and forth in front of the drums, just like the notes on real Rock Band.  Every time he hit the orange drum I was to explode, also as the notes do on Rock Band.  Sound funny to you?  Try it.  Then try it 100 more times.  And find someone to yell at you if you slow down or don’t explode explosively enough.

I’m not sure if this hour of my life was better or worse than the hour Vincenzo made me spend pretending to be an arrow that he shot off all over the yard.  Or the hour I had to pretend to be a fire he was putting out.  Tell me, is there more to life than this?

3 Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes
Edamame (which spell check would like me to change to “edema”)
Salad with the Usuals

This is your brain on staying at home

QUICKIE: Yesterday I asked Vincenzo why he always takes his shoes off when he comes in the house.  He answered, “So they won’t get dirty on the carpet.”
I’ve been so sporadic about posting lately.  I think it’s because my week was full of these things that deserve an explanation but which I cannot explain.  Cases in point:






And I didn’t even get a photograph of the bear eating the Lego skateboard park people through his butt then pooping them out (also through his butt) and playing with them before deciding once again that the Lego skateboard park people smelled delicious.

Any questions?

Risotto with peas and mushrooms
Salad with candied almonds, apple, and gorgonzola


We have this room in our house under the stairs.  We call it the Panic Room because both of our cats, in times of dire emergency, have fled there and not come out for days.  They had never previously set foot in the room.  The Panic Room door is about a foot wide and four feet high, as demonstrated by this turtle.


Once on the inside, you may notice a series of carpet staples poking out of the ceiling.


Or the unprotected water and sewage pipes…


the “cotton candy”…


and of course the bare light bulb right at forehead level:


Oh, and a sprinkling of these.


But imagine if you discovered there was this room in your house where your toddler will disappear for an hour of time and play independently and even if he starts yelling, “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” at worst it just sounds like doves cooing.  Wouldn’t you at least be tempted?  Just a little?

Ahhhh, there’s nothing like writing a blog post to the cooing of doves in the background.

Terrific Ts

QUICKIE: Just a note from the tulips on my mantel:

Valentine’s Day is over.

Last week was T week and while I had Tons of ideas for activities, all we did was make train sponge paintings and explain over and over that no, arcade does not start with R it starts with A and no, A does not come right after T.  (Seriously, he kept asking both questions.)

Anyway, for the art project I cut sponges into rectangles, circles, and smokestack shapes, then I drew tracks on a paper Vincenzo did the rest.  These are the pictures with his explanations.

Train with smoke coming out of smokestack

Train with broken smokestack and tires flying out of it

Semi-truck in a bad accident

Edumacation.  Do you has it?


We all can has funny!

QUICKIE: Mom, can I have a milk?  ALL turtles love milk.
So we’ve been working on the cannibal and other home-brewed jokes this weekend.  Kevin and I challenged each other to come up with a joke using Vincenzo’s favorite word, “BANG!”  Here’s what Kevin came up with:

Q: What did the cannibal say when he was eating an arm?
A: Could I have a hand with this?  BANG!

He claimed it was funny because I thought the original joke was funny, and if he added the word BANG to it the joke would still be funny.  Plus, he pointed out, I laughed.  I immediately disqualified it and told him the joke I thought of:

Q: Why did the fire cracker blow up at the end of his opera performance?
A: Because he wanted to go out with a BANG!  Hahahahahahaha.

Vincenzo really took the cake on this one though.  He followed our jokes with one of his own.  There’s some extra dialogue because that’s how jokes go when you’re three.

V’s Q: What did the elephant say when it was BANGING the fireplace?
Me: I don’t know…what?
V: You have to tell me.
Me: Um…this chafes?
V: YES!!!!!  Hahahahahaha!

Chicken Marsala (dinner can’t come soon enough!)
Crab cakes a la Bill
Cucumber Salad
Chocolate Torte a la Michelle



For the potatoes:
1 cup small red potatoes
Olive oil
Coarse Salt

Preheat outdoor barbecue on a medium-high setting.  Halve or quarter potatoes so that they are generally the same size.  Toss with olive oil and coarse salt.  Wrap in heavy-duty foil and grill over medium-high heat, turning packet occasionally,  until tender–about 20-25 minutes.  Remove from heat and vent packet.  You can cool the potatoes or use them warm for a wilted salad.

For the salad:
1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
1 shallot, chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup feta or blue cheese
1 bag mixed salad greens

Combine vinegar, shallot, and mustard in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Mix in cheese. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.  Toss salad with potatoes and vinaigrette and enjoy!  Other good mix-ins are roasted red peppers, garbanzo beans, and grated mozzarella cheese.

Pollyanna, my good friend

QUICKIE: Grammy asked Vincenzo what he wants to do when he’s big like Daddy and he answered, “Watch bad TV.”
I just realized something this week and I thought I’d share it with you all: I’M NOT DEPRESSED ANYMORE!!!  In a week’s time my depression went to a bad case of the blues to a bad mood to occasional and unpredictable crabbiness, which is, of course, my natural state of being.  I’m back to being completely infatuated with everything Vincenzo; I’ve started doing the dishes and laundry again; I got a pedicure; I made fun of McStreamy; I planned a trip to a wild horse ranch in AZ.  Oh!  And I’ve been COOKING!  Well, grilling anyway.  We’ve had beef with balsamic marinade, mahi mahi with citrus glaze, blue cheese potato salad, and cheesy corn bread, to name a few.  It’s like my days have color again.  And flavor!

I’m still nauseous all the time but the vomity feeling went away, and for the first time in three pregnancies my heartburn has taken a hiatus.  At this point, nausea feels like an old friend.  Welcome back, plain old nausea.  I missed you!

Salad with grilled potatoes and feta
Chicken tortilla casserole a la Mom
Plain old peas