Good parent, bad parent?

So the other day I lifted Vincenzo out of the tub and set him near the dry towels while I went to nurse Rocco.  The entire time I was nursing, Vincenzo whined and cried because he was wet and cold.  I kept trying to walk him through the steps of drying himself off in a towel, to no avail.  Crycrywhinewhinecry.  By the time I made it down to help him he had air-dried so the towels were no longer an issue, but by then Vincenzo seemed to be sixty seconds away from actually starving to death.  So hungry was he that he claimed he couldn’t even walk to the kitchen table and demanded I carry him.

Momma don’t play that.

Mean Mommy: You’re telling me you’re too weak to walk ten steps to the table for food.
Poor starving child:: Yeeeeeeeeeesssss.
MM: Even if there were a popsicle sitting at the table, you’d be too weak to get to it.
PSC: [considers]  Yes.  I’m too weeeeeeeheeeeeeeeak.
MM: [considers]  Well let’s put that to the test.  I’ll go put a popsicle at the table and we’ll see if you end up making it there to eat it before it melts.  If you don’t make it, we’ll know you were that weak from hunger and from then on I will always carry you to the table whenever you’re too weak to walk.  If you do make it to the table and eat the popsicle, we’ll know it was all just in your head.

About ten seconds later, Vincenzo was at the table chowing down his popsicle while his mother sat beside him, gloating.

A bit controversial?  Perhaps.

Effective?  Definitely.

Venezuelan empanadas
Orange cream brownies

Clouds, clouds, go away

Does anyone else’s weather forecast look like this and has it looked like this for the past six weeks?*   Note that the temperature showing is the high of the day, not the low.


Partly Cloudy/71°


Mostly Cloudy/72°




CloudyAM Clouds / PM Sun
AM Clouds / PM Sun/63°


Few Showers


Partly Cloudy/64°


Partly Cloudy/65°





Yes, showers on Sunday, The Fourth of July.  Fireworks?  Bah, humbug.  We’ve got raindrops!!!


*The original icons showed “partly sunny” as a sun peeking behind the clouds but as the sun has not done any peeking for quite some time, I added some accuracy into the weather report.

And for our next act…

I don’t know if I’ve written before about Vincenzo’s grandpa being a juggler.  We joined him this week and despite the rings, clubs, and balls laying around, my dad went for something a little more flammable.  Specifically, fire.

Look at him—cool as a cucumber, catching twirling-burning torches while reciting the periodic table backwards.


“Look, I even still have my eyebrows!”


“Or…er…had my eyebrows.”


“Maybe I’ll try something less dangerous.”


“Look!  I still even have both my arms!”




Vincenzo went straight for the rings.  He started with one…


advanced quickly to two…


and here he is with three rings.  But only literally.


Even Rocco got into the rings!  Also literally.


But he quickly moved on.


I wonder what Poppy will juggle next week.  Maybe hand grenades?  Or arsenic?  I’ll keep you posted.


Going out

He gets so emotional, baby

It has GOT to be hard to be a baby.  All these pictures were taken in about 20 seconds, in this order, and what an emotional roller coaster those 20 seconds were for my 10-month-old.  I’ll try to label them but honestly I don’t think there are names for quite all of the emotions demonstrated here.





Stressed (“I know you’re taking pictures of me so why am I still hungry?”)






Never mind—this one’s pissed.  The last one was kind of cheerful next to this one.



Cool, confident.  (Me?  Upset?  Naaaaaah.)



OMG did I just see a boob?! 

(Yes, that’s an official, certified emotion.) 
(Just take your shirt off in front of your husband if you don’t believe me.)


Blackened red snapper
Beans and bacon in cider vinaigrette

Parenting low


This picture represents a new parenting low. 

In the middle you notice a dark spot.  That’s an ant.  It’s the ant that almost made us miss our flight home from Chicago last week.  And it totally wasn’t the ant’s fault.

Lately, Vincenzo has gotten very attached to little things in nature and to garbage.  He collects leaves, sticks, rocks, shells, feathers, potato bugs, et al.  So far so normal.  He’s a four-year-old boy.

But is it normal for a boy to throw an hour-long temper tantrum because Mom and Dad wouldn’t drive back downtown to get a leaf he had seen in the middle of the road?  An HOUR of screaming.  Is it normal for that boy to sit in the bathtub screaming for another hour one morning because he wanted Dad to come home from work RIGHT THEN to see a specific bubble?  An HOUR.  Is it normal for a boy to spend an entire bath rescuing pieces of the sticker from his soap bottle that had flaked into the water and storing them in a tupperware?  Most of which were no bigger than a pencil dot?

Back to the ant.  In Chicago Vincenzo had started a collection of slugs and potato bugs, and as we were loading up the car to return home he spied this ant.  He couldn’t catch it.  He asked us to catch it.  We wouldn’t.  He started in on one of his raging temper tantrums and, in desperation to make it to the airport in time, I ended up taking a picture of the ant that I then walked back to the potato bug home to hold up to the potato bugs so they could see the ant that could have joined them.

I nearly plucked my own eyeballs out.  And Vincenzo skipped merrily to the car. 

Fortunately, thanks to the wondrous miracle of DVDs and Cheetos, we had a nice plane ride home,

…until we debarked the airplane and he spied a mud puddle outside that he fell irreversibly in love with and there was much screaming and rending of clothes because his parents were not willing to spend the night at boarding gate A8 so that our son could gaze lovingly at Puddle.  Call me Cruella.

We have an old camera and an old Flip we let Vincenzo use so he can take pictures of all these things he falls in love with.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes he’ll be videotaping the clouds and ask us to take over for him so he can play.  (We say no.)  Sometimes he still cries because it’s not the same having a picture of a particular water formation on the bottom of his bathtub as actually having it IRL.

Should I mention now or later that *certain* family members (ahem*not me*ahem) seem to have some OCD tendencies and a stubborn streak that would put a herd of wild mules to shame?  And that I have box after box of every note and letter anyone has ever sent me from the seventh grade on?

Who knows?!

Shooting Rocco (it’s not what you think)

This kind of shooting does not involve the usual array of lasers, sticks, squirt guns, and variety of imagined shooters that Vincenzo has in his arsenal.  My BIL let me play around with his equipment (get your mind out of the gutter, Casey) in his studio.  In fact, there’s a good chance he actually took all these pictures.  But I was standing right next to him when he did!







And, as promised, here is a link to the pictures from my SIL’s wedding.  This is the “mini slideshow” the photographer sent out.


Steaks in mole sauce
Spaghettini with garlicky lemon sauce
Green beans
Chocolate pie

Great grandparents are GREAT!


Great Grandma and Great Grandpa are just as sweet and charming as they look in this picture.  My MIL describes G.Grandma as Raymond’s mother in the show Everyone Loves Raymond.  She is a feeder, if you couldn’t tell by looking at her and G.Grandpa.  When you’ve eaten until you think you can’t eat anymore she pushes the tip of your nose and if it’s squishy at all it means you’re not full yet.  It’s always squishy.  Noses are made of cartilage.

G.Grandma has this thing for Dunkin’ Donuts.  We never visit Chicago without her showing up with a dozen.  Or two.  Or three dozen.  For the eight of us.


We saw Grandma’s car pull into the driveway on Sunday at 7:15 in the morning.  I was just coming out of the bedroom and I saw my FIL clearly panicking, running into the living room with a bag of bagels he had bought for breakfast that morning that he now had to hide before G.Grandma saw them.  It was as if the Nazis had shown up and we needed to get those Jewish bagels to the hidden room—STAT!

G.Grandma came into the house carrying that bag of donuts like an ER Medic carrying a medical bag.  “I’VE GOT THE DUNKERS.  I’VE GOT THE DUNKIN’ DONUTS.  EVERYONE SIT DOWN.  I’VE BROUGHT THE DONUTS!!”  Like if she had shown up at 7:16 instead of 7:15 (or 10:00 as was the agreed upon time), it would have been too late—we would have already eaten fresh fruit and granola and fallen dead instantaneously from lack of unsaturated fat.*

I had heard Dunkin’ Donut stories like this from Kevin’s parents, like the time G.Grandma brought Kevin and Wendy a whole box of marshmallow-filled ice cream cones and as soon as she left my MIL scattered them on the lawn for the squirrels.  Unfortunately, she didn’t count on G.Grandma forgetting her purse at the house and pulling back into the driveway, to the sight of a dozen squirrels running around the yard with pink, purple and orange marshmallows hanging out of their mouths.

Or the time my MIL had put her foot down and told G.Grandma to NOT under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES bring donuts to a party because there was going to be cake and ice cream and cookies.  She felt relieved when G.Grandma showed up empty-handed, but the relief was short-lived when she noticed G.Grandpa being suspiciously overly social with her.  Turns out the great grandparents were working in cahoots to get the kids their Dunkin’ Donut fix: G.Grandpa was distracting my MIL so that G.Grandma could feed them pieces of donuts out of her purse.

So we ate more than our fill of Dunkers under G.Grandma’s watchful eye, then ate lunch at 10:00 because that’s how they roll, and when it was time to go I opened the closet to get G.Grandpa’s coat and there in the corner was that bag of terrified Jewish bagels, huddling in the corner.  I felt like a hero, closing that door then turning around blank-faced and casually telling the G.Grandparents goodbye.

So that’s Kevin’s grandparents in a nutshell.  A pink-frostinged, sprinkle-laden, cholesterol-packed nutshell.  We love them to pieces.

Rigatoni with roasted vegetables and fresh garlic
Salad with grapes, buttermilk blue cheese, and candied almonds

*G.Grandma proudly pointed out that the Dunkin’ boxes read “No saturated fat!” and told us all that means the donuts are fat free so they’re actually good for us.

A frown is just a smile upside-down. Or maybe it’s still a frown.

We just got back from our legendary week in Chicago.  I didn’t take any pictures of the wedding but will post the photographer’s wedding photos when they’re ready.  I did get lots of pictures of the rest of the week, though.  This one of my boys with their great grandparents has to be one of my all-time favorites:


It makes more sense when you see the three pictures that were taken previous to it:




…that will bring us back to:


I guess Rocco was so tired of getting his own cheeks pinched that he decided to take matters into his own hands.  Literally.

More on the great grandparents tomorrow.  They are a hoot and a half!

Chicken enchiladas
Roasted squash with brown sugar and butter
Corn on the cob

Dr. Husband

For those of you who didn’t attend my SIL’s wedding and hang out with our new friends, The Entire Blackhawk Team, I should tell you that my husband actually performed the ceremony.  That’s right.  On Friday night, my husband married his sister.

Previous to the wedding my SIL filled out all the paperwork to make Kevin a minister.  Kevin said he was sitting at work one day when suddenly he felt a great light shining down upon his head and then an e-mail appeared in his in-box, proclaiming, “YOU HAVE BECOME A MEMBER OF THE PRESTIGIOUS CLERGY. You have earned a title worthy of admiration and respect.”

Some of the many, many titles that are now attached to my husband’s name include:

Doctor of Metaphysics
Master of Wicca
Jedi Knight

Kevin now introduces himself as Doctor, and since I have a master’s degree, we are now asking people to refer to us as “The Doctor and his Master.”  Please follow suit. 

Kevin also has the Internet seal of approval to refer to himself as Reverend, Minister, Healer, and/or Educator.  He can perform marriages and baptisms and has the authority to start his own church.

God help us all.

The Universal Life Church that ordained Kevin leaves us with these parting words:  St. John 15:16 states that God chose you, not the other way around. Your ordination is of God from before the foundation of the earth.

In a back-pat of reassurance, it then adds, “You are not required to believe this.”

So start your swooning, ladies.  My husband is a Jedi Knight.  Believe it.

Or not.