Eat this!

QUICKIE:  Vincenzo, pointing to some mylar balloons: “What are those for, Mommy?”  Me: “You would buy those on a holiday or birthday or maybe if you wanted to show someone how much you loved them.”  Vincenzo: “You love me a whole lot, Mommy!!”  Yup.  He got one.
I hate all of you!  I totally gave you the opportunity to choose to eat poo on my blog this week and NO ONE took the bait.  I at least have respect for those who chose an option (yes, A was the Cocoa Puff), but everyone else?  This is for you:

(The fun really starts around 27 seconds.  The commentary at the end is priceless, too.)


Bready-crumby, lemony, shrimpy thing
Baked penne with prosciutto
Asparagus with fried sage

Feeling poopy

QUICKIE: Vincenzo, after a session on the toilet: “That’s a big poop.”  Me: *sounds of agreement*  Vincenzo: “That’s a mommy-sized poop!”
So my cat has this problem with dingleberries.  A week ago I found what looked like another cat dingle on my floor, but upon tasting it found it to be, in fact, a Cocoa Puff.  It was quite a pleasant surprise.

Here’s the challenge for you, readers: which one of these would you eat and which one would you toss?

Option A:


Option B:


P.S. It frightens me that I’ve actually opened a picture of cat poo in my photo editing program so that I could adjust the lighting and shadows.

Out again!

What has two lips and goes "enh enh?"**

QUICKIE: Vincenzo’s pirate class is really paying off.  He now refers to a certain rectangular, hard candy as “Jolly Rogers.”
We went to the tulip festival about an hour away this weekend.  I loved it; Kevin hated it; Vincenzo thought it was a total bust.  It’s not entirely the Tulip Festival’s fault.  On the way up there, Vincenzo asked, “So are we going to see lots of tools at the Tool Festival?”  We had to have a discussion about the meaning of “major letdown” for the second time this week.*

Oh, there was one bright spot in the day that Vincenzo perked up for.  It was the one segment of the day when he was not saying either “I want to go home now!” or “ENNH!  ENNH!  ENNH!”


What you don’t see is the small crowd of people who stopped short of my camera’s view so that they wouldn’t ruin my picture of the honeybucket truck.

Being the terribly misguided parent that I am, I thought it would be nice to get a nice picture of my son with the tulips.  Vincenzo acted like his soul was being stolen.  I tried to fake him out by telling him I was taking pictures of the flowers, but his soul could sense what was happening and he took preventative measures:


Oh well; at least it’s a nice picture of my husband’s crotch.  What gets me is that I saw tons of other families and kids there, and their kids were all standing among the tulips, smiling and frolicking.  What gives?

Anyway, at least the tulips don’t harbor the same levels of resentment and anger toward me that will later show up in relationship problems and unhealthy methods of self-medication.



Out to Thai Ginger

*The first discussion came after we asked Vincenzo if he wanted to walk through the forest near our house.  He was giddy with excitement, and I was so happy that he was showing some interest in the outdoors.  All the way there he kept talking about rollercoasters, and 100 yards into the forest it was obvious this was not what he signed up for.  Turns out he was thinking we were going to an amusement park called Enchanted Forest that’s about an hour from our house and which we pointed out to him once, a year ago.

**Please tell me you get the title now?  It took a lot out of me to think of that.

It’s Saturday. You can go home now.

I always feel bad for the 26 people who read my blog on the weekend, as I rarely post on Saturday/Sunday, so here are a few pictures from the past month.  Not funny, but at least you feel like you got something for logging on today.  Consider it the prize in your cereal box.






I know I make fun of Vincenzo a lot on this blog, so now at least there is some proof that I do take a few pictures of him without the intent to embarrass.  🙂

Got milk?

QUICKIE: When the babysitter came over this week, I saw Vincenzo hold out an imaginary piece of paper and tell him, “Here are the directions on how to play the turtle game.”
Thank you all for your warm sentiments yesterday.  I had been expecting it to be a fun, cheerful day of celebration because that’s how things usually go with Angelo, so I was surprised when I kept busting into tears throughout the day.  I have no problem with crying so it didn’t bother me.  It actually felt good to know that I’m still in touch enough with my baby I can recall all the emotions of his life and death along with the events of them.

After Angelo was born, I forewent pain killers in order to pump and donate milk to a lactation center.  They later sent me this lovely thank-you gift:


And I thought I had a warped sense of humor!  It reminds me of Vincenzo’s first birthday, themed “Vincenzo’s favorites.”  As he was a boob junkie at the time, I made a tres leches cake for dessert–and I didn’t tell a soul was the third milk was.

Teriyaki chicken with peanut dipping sauce
Lemony angel food cake with berry compote

Happy birthday, angel baby!

Today is Angelo’s first birthday.  We’re celebrating it with an angel hair frittata and angel food cake, and will go to the tulip festival this weekend.  We were gifted with so many white tulips when he was born that I can’t help but think of him when I see tulips!  I wasn’t a blogger a year ago, so I’ll help you understand what it was like to give birth to a stillborn baby by sharing some journal entries from a year ago.

Here’s what I wrote the day before I gave birth:

April 22, 2008

I’m not sure when Angelo’s kicks actually started slowing down. I might have felt him move a couple times on Saturday, then nothing on Sunday. We went to the doctor on Monday and I started crying before the ultrasound even popped up on the screen. I knew my baby was gone. It was so quiet in that room, and even though an ultrasound doesn’t usually make any noise anyway it was quieter than it had ever been. On all the past appointments the ultrasoundist always laughed at how squirmy Angelo was and half the pictures would turn out blurry. Now there was just a baby floating, hand and foot up by his head. I think his face looked different—before I had always seen the hint of a smile or a joke on his lips, I swear, but yesterday he was expressionless.

The next afternoon I went to the OB’s to get induced.  I had this conversation with Vincenzo:

V: You’re going to the doctor’s so they can build Angelo, right?
Me: Honey, the doctors can’t fix Angelo.
V: [giving a yelp] But they need to fix him because he died!
Me: Baby, even doctors can’t fix someone who dies.
V: [hugging me] Then being dead is a very, very bad thing.
Me: Vincenzo, if you died then yes it would be very sad.  But you were meant to live for a long, long time.  This was exactly how Angelo’s life was supposed to be.  It’s right for him.

And the journal from the following day:

Our nurse wrapped Angelo in a blanket and gave him to me and he was so warm, so precious. And so skinny!  He did look like a T13 baby, with the wide nose and flat ears. His sixth fingers and toes were kind of crazy—and precious all the same. His fingers tapered to delicate ends, each with a perfect fingernail on it. At one point his tiny fist was resting on his face in a way that turned the corner of his mouth upward and I saw what a beautiful smile he would have had. The tiniest bit mischievous, like his older brother’s. We never saw his eyes but I know they were blue like Kevin’s and mine.

Dad and Wendy showed up first and Wendy was so genuine, exclaiming over and over again, “He’s so beautiful.” Michelle and Mom came next. Mom was the perfect Grammy, speaking softly to him, and she kissed his forehead—something I hadn’t brought myself to do yet. When she gave Angelo back to me I kissed him over and over again. I kept my hand cradled around his head to remember the size of it, the realness of it, and to give him back some of my warmth. The mood of the whole room was bright and cheery, as it should be at any birth. Dad came last and commented, “He looks just like an angel.”

Our last half hour with Angelo’s body was intensely precious. The family and nurses left while I held Angelo, and Kevin and I cried a lifetime of tears without saying anything. I told our boy what a big deal he was and what a difference he had made in the world. I told him he made Vincenzo into a big brother, and he will always have that. I said we did our best to care for him while he was alive and now that he is dead we will do our best to care for his memory.

And finally we were ready. The nurse set Angelo’s body in a bassinet and covered him gently with blankets. I said, “I love you baby. I love you so, so much,” and she wheeled him away from us. I have done my best not to think of his body beyond that point. I think of him only in my arms.

Thank you all for helping me keep Angelo’s memory alive.  He had such a special, unique place in this world and he definitely left it a changed place.



*When we found out about Angelo’s T13, we were told of a website called “Now I Lay me Down to Sleep”  that hooks up professional photographers with people in our situation.  We ended up with Jennifer of Bella’s Image Photography, who is an amazing photographer and also now a friend of the family.  Thanks again, Jen!

A picture is worth 1,000 posts

QUICKIE: Vincenzo, after I tossed a pair of his undies on his head: “Mom, we don’t throw my undies on people’s heads because my poopy bottom has been in them all day.”

I somehow accidentally zoomed in my computer screen so everything looks like this now.  The Internet seems like an elementary school primer and I am confused by the lack of rhyme and customary set of multiple choice questions that should come at the end of everything I read.  If you or your friends (Dick and Jane, I presume) know how to fix this problem, please send help.  K thx bye.

We now return to our normal blog posting.  Here are a few shots from around the house this past week; hopefully one or two will make you smile.

Vincenzo, pointing his shooter at the TV during a Muppets pirate movie.  He stood there for about 1/2 an hour, then slowly backed his way to the couch, only to jump up and resume position during the next sword fight.


Vincenzo’s new snail watering can.  Something about it seems not right, but I can’t quite figure it out…

I asked Vincenzo to help me make a chore list on Monday.  He had two suggestions…can you tell which ones?


Kevin’s new mouthwash claims to have “6 Benefits in One!” but I’m claiming that because it’s purple, it’s just 6 kinds of wrong.


This is from our trip to the zoo.  I like it because it appears some kid is beating the peacock with a stick.


Vincenzo, missing the mark in trying to look cool.  (They’re upside-down.)

Breakfast for dinner!!

MrsMouthy, MrsMouthy, HOW does your garden grow?

QUICKIE: Vincenzo, after asking for and receiving a second piece of candy, but before eating it: “Mom?  It takes a long time for your teeth to fall out, right?”
This weekend was a perfect one for gardening, so we spent almost all of it outdoors.  Usually when I weed it’s meditative and mindless.  When I weed with Kevin, it’s a bit different.  About every 20 minutes he comes up to me and says, “You know, I was thinking…” then presents some charming but grossly under-informed new method for pulling weeds.  “What if we just cut them back instead of doing all this digging, and if they came back we’d cut them again, and we’d keep doing that until some other disease got them?”  I’d love to see him out there, cutting the tops off of the 10,000 weeds no taller than my pinky nail like he was pruning 10,000 itty bitty roses.  I also love that he’s spent a total of two days of his life weeding and he’s pretty sure he has an idea that no one has tried in the thousands of years humans have spent gardening.  Isn’t he precious?

Last year, when I first started blogging, I wrote about how I had one lofty goal for the year, and that was to wind up the hose whenever I used it.  (Sorry you can’t read it–I never transferred all my posts from my old blog site.)  I hit that goal with about 80% accuracy (there was some gray area about whether or not I had to wind it up after someone else used it).  This year I have a new goal, and it is to stake my plants before they have buckled under their own weight and/or sheer neglect.  If I don’t pull another weed this year; if I don’t water even once this summer; if I let the stinky groundcover I accidentally planted make a comeback; if I do all or none of that, it doesn’t matter.  I may have low ambitions, but you have to admit it–I’ve got high stakes.  (Or at least I will have them.)

Orecchiete with sausage and broccoli rabe
Gado Gado salad
Lemon poke cake

Pee wee pirates

QUICKIE: Me to V: “Please close the door after you come in.”  V: “Okay Mom, but why do you make me do all this work around here?”
Our city is the greatest.  I feel badly for once making fun of the classes it offers.  This spring, Vincenzo is actually signed up for “Pee-wee Pirates” class.  I love it!  He loves it!  Last week they got to choose a pirate name, make pirate hats, and yell “ARRRRR” at each other.  Vincenzo was distracted enough to DECORATE his OWN pirate hat!!!  That’s an ART PROJECT, folks!  Then the pirate kids captured all the parents and tied them to chairs.  Naturally.

When he’s not at pirates class, Vincenzo says things like: “Mommy, I don’t think pirates use pillows when they sleep.  Their hooks would poke holes in them.”  He sets up Noah (as in Noah’s ark Noah) as head pirate in the paper boat he made at class this week, then Noah and his invisible pirates relentlessly encroach on my own ship (a popcorn car driven by Big Bird).  When my evasive maneuvers prove futile, Big Bird invites all the pirates aboard for a surprise birthday party.  There is much rejoicing.

The only problem is that there happen to be some real pirates in Somalia who keep capturing crews and either plundering their countries for money or killing the crew members.  For real.  It feels kind of wrong to be teaching our kids how to play pirates.  It makes me worried that the city’s summer catalog is going to unveil a “Tiny Terrorists” class next.  Or “Rambunctious Racists” or something.

We just might have to take summer quarter off.  Unless, of course, if the Tiny Terrorists class offered art projects…

Chicken salad pitas
Tomato and roasted red pepper soup
Fruited rice

Feeding your addiction

QUICKIE: Vincenzo: “Mommy, are you my mommy?”  Me: “Yes, I’m you’re mommy!”  Vincenzo: “Oh.  I forgot.”
I have a policy to not blog when I don’t have anything to write about, but I’m torn today.  I know some of you have an unhealthy addiction to my blog and I’d hate making you go two days in a row without a hit…but I still don’t have anything to blog about.  Nor I have no real drugs to offer in my place.  I don’t even have any knock-knock jokes.  So I guess I’ll just write about REAL stuff?

I’m five months pregnant now and, as you know, still feeling sick all the time.  Blah.  my stomach has also started feeling like a balloon that has been blown up too much so I’m trying to avoid sharp, pointy objects lest something pops it.  Baby Mbungo moves around quite a bit, though last Friday he decided to take the day off and be completely still.  I was trying to be okay with it and remind myself some pregnant women can’t even feel the baby kick at 23 weeks, but by 3:00 I was laying on my living room floor, bawling.  My OB had told me to come in if I ever need to hear the heartbeat–come in every day if I need to!–so I woke Vincenzo up from his nap (now you know how serious it was) and headed for my doctor’s.  It took them about two seconds to find Mbungo’s heartbeat and I haven’t worried a smidge since then.  I consequently have a crush on everyone who works at my OB’s office.

Here’s something crazy: I just talked to my friend who I used to teach with, and the district is actually laying people off next year.  It’s a district that is one of the wealthiest in the state!  They’re looking for other ways to cut spending, too.  Teachers recently had to fill out a survey where they rated the feasibility of options such as:

*charging students $300 to ride the bus for the year
*charging student athletes $500 to play a sport
*cutting out all custodians–teachers would just maintain the classroom/buildings on their own
*cutting special needs classes within buildings

I’m shocked.  Which one would you choose, if you had to choose one?  I don’t think I could.

Lime cilantro burgers
Broccoli salad
Pound cake with almond whip cream and strawberries