Blimey, that’s an Epic Fail!

QUICKIE: This morning I told Vincenzo he needed to put some pants on because his friends were coming over.  He asked, “But don’t you want them to see my cute little legs?”
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I love St. Patrick’s Day.  I love it because I don’t feel guilty for not staying up three hours past my bedtime like I do on New Year’s; I don’t feel depressed because I was not surprised with a box of chocolates and a helicopter ride to Tiffany’s like on Valentine’s Day; I am not confused about how to celebrate it like I am on President’s Day.  We don’t have to decide which side of the family we’re spending it with this year or thaw anything in the fridge for 52 hours ahead of time.  It’s a holiday that just quietly shows up, expects nothing, and when it leaves no one is in the hospital with their faces blown off.

We started our Patty’s Day festivities with a leprechaun hunt today.  After eating a green lunch, Vincenzo and a couple friends found a poem from a leprechaun* that told them there were some gold coins hidden in the house.  All they had to do was find the shamrocks with their clues, and the first clue was under their own chairs!  The kids eagerly climbed under their chairs and within seconds one of them cried, “I FOUND IT!”  He came up brandishing a piece of his green bagel from lunch, which he promptly ate.  The kids seemed satisfied that their search was over and hence dispersed.

Once we refocused the group, they found the shamrock under the chair with this picture taped to it:

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“What is it?”  I asked.  “Where are you supposed to look next?”  Their answers were, respectively:  “It’s a fire truck,” “It’s a butterfly,” and “I don’t know,” the latter being my son’s answer.  My son who sits on this couch every day. 

Anyway, the next clue brought them downstairs to the piano.  The kids squealed and ran downstairs, and the hunt was on.  But by the time I made it downstairs myself I found each of them in a different section of the room, playing quietly with a toy.  I read all their thought bubbles and didn’t see a single mention of either piano or leprechaun hunt.

Eventually the hunt was finished and the gold coins found and the boys went back to playing the game they really wanted to play: Two Dads and a Baby.  Which is really much more of a Greek tradition than an Irish one. 

(Cue Kevin to leave his favorite joke in the comments section.)

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Pulled pork sandwiches
Classic Mac ‘n Cheese
Steamed asparagus

*If you want to do a leprechaun hunt of your own and want to use my poem, send me your e-mail address.  The poem is too embarrassing for an snooty English major such as myself to publicly admit to having written.

Does this look Great to you?

QUICKIE: Today I had a conversation with Vincenzo about how whining, “Ehhhh!  Ehhhh!  Ehhhh!” when he wants something isn’t effective because “ehhhh” means different things at different times.  He said, “Okay.  How about I say ‘Ehhhh!’ again but this time it means ‘I want more milk.'”
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We spent this weekend at the Great Wolf Lodge, which is this totally awesome indoor waterpark/hotel for kids.  Here are a few of its totally awesome features:

Lobby with fireplace and a talking animal show:

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Children’s play room:

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Kiddie pool:

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Indoor water slide/water dumping area:

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Wave pool:

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Fear Factor style obstacle course

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Unfortunately, we didn’t see the talking animal shows or play in the kid’s room or float in the wave pool because unfortunately there is also an arcade and unfortunately we spent 11 of Vincenzo’s 12 waking hours doing this:

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Riding the motorcycle game.  The upside is that it was a cheap 11 hours as my son cannot yet read the words “INSERT COIN.”  The downside is that now my crotch hurts.  (Don’t panic–I know I lost a lot of your trust when I posted a picture of my son’s poop, but I do have my limits.  I will not post a picture of my sore crotch.)  (At least not in this post–all bets are off once I deliver Mbungo.)

So…if anyone has been to the Great Wolf Lodge and can tell me how it is, please do so in the comments.  I’m sure it’s a really fun place!

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Things I scrounge from Vincenzo’s bed

P.S. Oh, and Casey?  Please stop stealing all our cat tranquilizers when we go away for vacation.  Your personal gain is our cat’s loss.

There should be two s’s in desert because I want more!

Here are just a few more shots from AZ, and then maybe I’ll leave you alone about it.  But I probably won’t.

A potato I ordered for dinner with “all the fixin’s.”

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A “3 Dudes Quilting” store (now open!)

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Vincenzo and “Gops”
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A donkey (no, I’m not talking out my a**…there really is an ass among the cows.  See it?  Look for the ears!)

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Taking a potty break after lunch

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A family portrait in which one of us was being stubborn and wouldn’t turn around.  Either that, or two of us and the cameraman were being stubborn and wouldn’t turn around.

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WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Kevin’s ribs*
Salad with two kinds of beans and shaved parmesan
Farfalle with mushrooms and asparagus
Skillet fruit cobbler

*We’re not actually eating the ribs from Kevin’s body, but rather a ribs recipe he made

More of what you missed

Today I will give you one laugh, one learning, and one let-down from our trip to AZ.  Let’s start with laughs.  I was on a ROLL down there, and here is just one sampling of the high quality of humor everyone in my party enjoyed round-the-clock, no extra charge:

Question: What do they call crosswalks in the dessert?

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Answer: Crossrocks.  Hahahahahahahaha!

Once you’ve stopped laughing, you can go on to read this learning.  The ranchers had just corraled a bunch of wild cows that they breed/sell.  This brown-and-white one looking at the camera is a steer, which is a castrated bull.  Know why this one got castrated instead of spreading its seed throughout the Arizona desert?  Because it’s ugly.  The cowboy who told me this didn’t look like the kind of cowboy to joke about harvesting rocky mountain oysters, either.  And he was looking straight at Kevin when he said it.

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And now, the let-down.  We stayed at a beautiful hotel called the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass, and being a horse fanatic myself, I couldn’t wait to see the wild horses.  We took a van ride to the corral where they had a few tamed horses in cages and LOOK!  THERE IT IS!  IT’S ONE OF THE WILD STALLIONS!  QUICK, QUICK COME QUICK EVERYONE!

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(The wild stallion is the white one on the right that wanted more than anything to be on the inside of the corral.  We would have gotten more pictures but he had an appointment back at the spa for an aloe and green tea body wrap followed by a hoof-icure that afternoon.)

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Balsamic blue cheese burgers
Salad with 3 beans and a boiled egg

I’m baaaaaaack! (Did you notice I was gone?)

QUICKIE: Vincenzo, noticing my disapproving look as he dipped his finger in honey and licked it off at dinner: “It’s okay, Mommy; I’m just going to get messier and messier.”
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Sorry about being MIA the past few days–we went to the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass in AZ and I developed a new paranoia about blogging when on vacation.  I’m pretty sure at least one of you reading this right now is whacking your forehead at missing the chance to rob us blind when we were gone.  (BTW we have a house alarm and lots of loyal neighbors with shotguns.)  (We also have a neighbor named Thor, though I’m not positive that’s relevant.)

The vacation was perfect in every way–especially in the sunny, 75 degrees kind of way.  I won’t rub it in just yet though; I first need to prove that my sun-kissed, sand-tossed, wind-blown self hasn’t forgotten who she is.

So…you all know I love Vincenzo, right?  But traveling with Vincenzo?  A whole ‘nother story.  I believe it was Bernie Mac who said that kids are terrorists and he doesn’t negotiate with terrorists.  My guess is he never spent three consecutive nights sleeping in the same hotel room as his kids because trust me you do anything they tell you when you’re being held hostage by an irrational, unreasonable, unrelenting three-year-old.

It took a long time to get V down that first night, what with all the pleas for another gumdrop please, another gumdrop please, another gumdrop please, DAD DID YOU HEAR ME ANOTHER GUMDROP PLEASE!  PLEASE!  PLEASE!  DAD I SAID PLEASE!  NOW YOU HAVE TO GIVE ME ONE!  Any attempts to pretend to be asleep are futile because your child does not understand that parents require sleep.  After all, they’ve been on hand all the other times he’s woken up in the wee hours to fetch him crackers and water or at least to yell, “GO BACK TO SLEEP!” several times before fetching the crackers and water.

Eventually the kid did fall asleep, only to awaken at 1AM screaming, “NO, I DON’T WANT TO!” and hitting everything that came near him.  We could hear the people in the room next door arguing about whether to call 911 or CPS as our son slapped us across the face.  (I should point out that the people in the next room were Kevin’s parents.)

So that first night we watched TV, played games, and snacked until 3AM when I suggested everyone choose an animal and pretend to sleep like that animal for the rest of the night.  Vincenzo chose turtle; I chose snake; Kevin chose spoon.  Though if you ask me, his spoon felt a bit more like snake.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Wendy’s

What pwoblem?

QUICKIE: Just an update: we’re down to 25 seconds for the milk-warming!
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I decided to wevamp the ABC activities this week and go cwazy with the awt pwoject. 

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Did you guess it?  It’s a Water-colored, Winking Whale.  (At least, that’s what we told Vincenzo.  The twuth is we wan out of googly eyes and took advantage of Vincenzo’s naive, twusting spiwit to convince him that the whale’s other eye is wide open.)  Anyway, for my weaders following along at home, I had Vincenzo paint an entire page, then I cut out a winking whale shape.  And…Woila!

Oh, we also might have made fun of Vincenzo’s inability to pronounce the letter “R” all week.  He might not have wealized.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Westauwant cuisine

Thursdays with MrsMouthy

Conversations with Vincenzo today:

V: (Puts suction cup in his mouth and says “Goo goo goo ga ga ga ga…”)  Mom, can you do that?
Me: Yes but I don’t want to.
V: Why not?
Me: Because somewhere along the way I lost my youthful giddiness.
V: Well you could always look for it.  Have you found it yet?  Are you even looking, Mom?

(This one happened after he saw a bit of coverage about the gay marriage court hearing when we stopped for donuts at QFC.)
V: Mom, what’s “game marriage?”
Me: It’s gay marriage.
V: But what IS game marriage?
Me: GAY, Vincenzo.  GAYYYY, GAYYYYY.
       *gives friendly wave to interested passers-by*
V: But what is it?
Me: It’s when a man marries a man or a woman marries a woman.
V: Well the man could just marry a tree!

(Warning: this one gets graphic)
V: MOMMY, COME LOOK AT MY POOP!
Kevin: Mom’s busy, Vincenzo, but I’ll come see it.  *pause*  Oh yeah, that’s a nice deuce you dropped in there.  Can I flush it now?
V: No; Mommy has to see it.
Kevin: Mom can’t come right now.
V: IIIIII WAAAAAAANT MOOOOOMMMMMMMMYYY!
    *insert comic strip square where father and son are staring heatedly at each other*
Kevin: How about I take a picture and show Mommy later?
V: Okay!

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Seriously, guys, you didn’t see that coming?

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Chicken chili cornbread bake (for him)
Mashed potatoes with creamed eggs (for her)
Glazed carrots (for both)

Do you smell something, or is it just me?

QUICKIE: Vincenzo, in the bath, pouring water into his “lap” area: “Look Dad, I’m pouring water into my drain!”
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So last weekend we went to a birthday party at a local bar/restaurant.  I kept smelling hops but everyone said no, this bar doesn’t brew their own beer; I must be going crazy.  Until one friend remembered that about five years ago this restaurant was a different bar and that yes, they did brew their beer, and in fact they brewed it in the very room I was standing in.

Pregnancy.  It really F’s you up.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE
Chicken cornbread taco bake
Home-canned peaches
Homemade ricotta with honey and raisins

Creamy polenta with blue cheese

This recipe is borrowed from Giada deLaurentiis, though I did change gorgonzola to blue cheese, and legally you only need to change a recipe in 1 way to claim it as your own.  I also added the sentence “It’s AWESOME!!!!!!” to the end, so I technically changed it in 2 ways.)

BASIC POLENTA:
6 cups water
2 tsp salt
1-3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3T unsalted butter, cut into pieces

In a large, heavy saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add the salt then gradually whisk in the cornmeal.  Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in butter.

CREAMY POLENTA WITH BLUE CHEESE
3/4 cup heavy cream
3oz blue cheese, cut into pieces
1/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Basic Polenta, freshly made and hot

Add the cream, gorgonzola, and 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper to the freshly made polenta while it is still in the saucepan and stir until cheese melts.  Season polenta with more salt and pepper to taste.  It’s AWESOME!!!!!!

Velociraptors would have been cooler

QUICKIE: Our friend Jim started rollerblading recently.  His coworker asked him what the hardest part of rollerblading was.  “I don’t know,” Jim answered.  The coworker answered for him: “Telling your parents you’re gay.”
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I don’t know if I’ve just run out of steam on the ABC activities or if the last six letters of the alphabet are just inherently lame (no offense to all the Yolandas and Ulysseses that read this blog), but once again V week felt flat.  Everyone told me I could have fun just doing everything Vincenzo wanted since he himself is a V word, but if that’s the case then it’s been V week for 3-1/2 years.  So we settled for vegetable prints.

Vincenzo’s:

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The translation:

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Anyway, here’s a little shout-out to Mbungo.  He’s 17 weeks old today!!

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(Yes, I know there are two growing bumps.  Mbungo is the one in the white shirt.  The one in the green pants is my butt, which also thinks it’s carrying a baby.)

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Slow-cooker potato cheese soup
Sloppy Joes
Peas with thyme

*A couple times a year I try to make it through a week with only buying 1 or 2 things from the store.  This week I bought ground beef, lettuce, and chives, so my menus might look a little different.  It’s fun!  You should try it sometime!