Maybe five’s not that big after all

I got to go to school with Vincenzo for his birthday yesterday.  He had chosen to be a hawk when he woke up that morning, so during circle time all he would say to the teacher’s questions was “caw” (yes) or “caw caw” (no) or “caw caw caw caw caw caw caw caw caw caw” (thank you). 

In fact, all the students were cawing in response to her questions.  The teacher either didn’t notice or didn’t mind, so I just sat there smiling, not sure whether I should apologize or translate.


Then during playtime one of Vincenzo’s buddies pretended to saw my head off with his hand.  Vincenzo yelled, “No!  Don’t saw her head off!  She gives me chocolate milk!”  I felt so…hm.  Loved isn’t quite the right word.  I felt so…utile?

Vincenzo got to bring in a treat for snack time and the class sang happy birthday to him.  He didn’t hear most of the kids’ singing because he was too busy reporting to the teacher that one student in particular was not singing happy birthday to him.  Vote Vincenzo for hall monitor!!


In the car on the way home Vincenzo informed me that it might “smell a little funky in here.”  That’s because he tooted.

He spent the afternoon attempting various tasks that have previously alluded him, like unwrapping a lollipop and washing his hands without standing on a stool, and then he’d look up at me like he had just seen a double rainbow* or something and yell, “Mom!  Look!  I can do it now!”


Later in the afternoon I heard banging and yelling from the bathroom because he had closed the door all the way and couldn’t open it.

At Chuck E. Cheese that night our friend asked Vincenzo if it feels any different to be five.  “Yes,” he answered.  “I’m bigger, I’m stronger, and I can do more.”  Then he proved his point with a ferocious display of his new five-year-old karate kicks.

It’s going to be one wild and crazy year.


Leftover Chuck E. Cheese pizza.  Double mmmmmmblech.


*Seriously, if you don’t know what I mean when I say “double rainbow,” click the link.

Five is the world’s biggest number

Five years ago yesterday I went to my dad’s graduation from work party*. I remember standing in the parking lot afterwards, telling my mom how I had a backache, which was weird because I never got backaches. “Huh,” we both said.

That night I couldn’t sleep, which wasn’t weird because I’m a horrible sleeper, so I started watching “The Wedding Singer.” At about 10:00 I was thrown off the couch with a knife-in-the-back stabbing pain all across my lower back. Five minutes later: another stab. Five minutes after that another, and another. I crawled to our bedroom.

“Kevin, can you stay up with me a bit? I think I’m in labor.” He consented. Then he fell promptly back to sleep, leaving me on all fours, rocking back and forth.

A couple hours later I made the call. “It’s time.” I said a tearful goodbye to our cat, Rocky, whose life would never be the same and how could we be so cruel as to bring a baby home when we already had a furry black baby of our own?  We were such jerks.


Thirteen hours, four failed epidurals, a little Lamaze breathing, and a lot of screaming later, Kevin and I were looking at each other, saying, “We’re parents!” and cracking up like it was the world’s biggest joke.


And then we fell in love.  How could we not?


It’s been five years. A full five years, one hour, and 51 minutes later.  52 minutes.

And we’re still cracking up.









Happy birthday, baby boy.

Chuck E. Cheese pizza.   Mmmmmmmblech

*Yes, most people call it “retirement,” but my dad is not “most people.”

Down in flames

So Vincenzo turns five this week and I will spare you the I-can’t-believe-he’s-a-whole-hand-sob-sob saga and cut right to the chase: the party this coming weekend.  I should tell you you’re not invited because party things come in packs of eight and while I personally think eight kids is too small of a party, thinking about having sixteen kids here makes me start itching all over.  And I think you know my family enough by now to know I’m not going to buy sixteen party blowers unless every last one of those bleepin’ blowers gets blown.  So eight it is.

You are also not invited because the invitations had to be hand delivered.


As you can see, ABBY was invited because she lives within driving distance.

The invitations call on Vincenzo’s loyal colleagues to find and return seven eggs to the nest of FlameFright the dragon before he wreaks havoc on our peaceful village and turns everyone into shish kabobs.  Happy birthday to you.

We sent the invitations out before we really had a plan for the party, but Grandma Beto came through by sending out a few months’ worth of Enquirer magazines and so I began to work on making paper mache dragon eggs out of SITUATION’S FIERCE GAY SECRET and KELSEY GRAMMAR BABY TERROR.

But I still had about 20 magazines left over so I decided to make a paper mache rock.


Then a few more.


Then a whole quarry.


Which led to my husband creating the rule that there will be no paper mache-ing between the hours of midnight and 5AM in our house.  But he didn’t say anything about painting dragons between those hours, so…


Once that was done I still had about a month before Vincenzo’s party would begin so I made placemats…


and added flames to the favor boxes…


and the windows…


and a half dozen apples…


The party goes down in a week and I am completely restless.  What am I supposed to do?  Make the cake a week early?  Tattoo individual dragon scales all over my body?  Actually set fire to the front of our house so our place looks more authentic? 

Kevin thinks I should spend it making some appointments with my therapist.  Something about “issues with anxiety.”  That, or he thinks I should maybe get a j-o-b.

But nah.  I’ll probably spend it trying to keep Rocco from ripping all the flames off the windows.  That and figuring out a way to incorporate two dozen paper mache rocks into the party. 


Penne a la vodka sauce
Caprese salad
Country bread
Steamed broccoli

Double Dippin’: The Fair

We’re lucky enough to live within driving distance of not one but TWO big fairs, so we indulged.  This time around, Vincenzo and his friend got the true NW fair experience:

The rain.


The foot massage.  Or is this one called a hand massage?  Confusing.


The chamois.

(Seriously, it was weird.  The boys walked by this chamois lady and it was like one of those motion-sensor things that you put by your door that starts ribbiting when anyone opens the door.  She just started going and we had to listen to the whole spiel and wax her car.)


The moment of Truth.



The rides.



Here they are stopping to ask for directions.  Notice from Vincenzo’s body language that it clearly wasn’t his idea to stop and ask.


Rocco didn’t mind the rain at all.  He saw it as an opportunity to show off his argyle Baby Legs.

(Is there any mom out there who can resist buying Baby Legs for her baby boy?  And is there any father who doesn’t worry they’re going to make his son gay?)  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that…)

Goodbye, sweet fair.  ‘Til we meet again.



Azteca or Costco.  Choices, choices.

Thoughtful Thursday

It’s hard to take photos of your kids when seeing Mom with a camera makes them violently angry.  Here I am with my first SLR and my two favorite subjects ever to photograph, and I get screamed at (or, more accurately, angrily “gocked” at, as Vincenzo is now a penguin and walks around saying, “gock”) for even picking up the camera.  Irony can be such a dipwad.  I decided to just take the punishment, though, and managed to get a few photos of them yesterday.*

Like this photo of my baby toddler BOY that must be photo shopped because there’s no way my baby’s toddler’s BOY’S legs are actually that long?!


And this one where you can tell Rocco is grinning ear to ear even though you can’t see his face (or he might be screaming ear to ear):


And this one that makes me want to go get Rocco out of his crib right now to cover those cheeks with kisses.


File these ones under that same category:




And this photo where my boy look like all the five years that he is, but also looks like the baby he also still is:


And, of course, the photo that tells us we’re all done.  (When Rocco’s really tired, he puts his head on the ground like this and then crawls around using his own head like the wheel of a wheelbarrow.)



Minestrone soup
Homemade wheat bread
Deep dish apple pie

*Casey, I apologize if Eric’s out of town.  Just in case he is: PCOWR,RELT’AHE

Emergency Letter II

I don’t think anything can beat my last year’s letter to Vincenzo that the teachers will read in case of emergency, but this year’s isn’t half bad itself.*

Dear Vincenzo

Hi! It’s Mom, Dad, and Rocco. We can only assume that the reason your teacher is reading you this letter is because the zombies have attacked. Do not worry about us—we have likely carried out our Zombie Infestation Plan and are now at the hardware store, getting some hot dogs and helping ourselves to the arsenal of zombie attack weapons that can be found there.

Please do everything your teacher tells you to—unless she wants to eat your brains, in which case you should attack her with the Teacher Scissors. Don’t waste your time with the safety scissors. You could also chop her head off in the paper cutter or stuff her mouth with play dough and run like hell for the nearest mall (it’s generally safe and you could also grab some McDonald’s there).

We will be there as soon as we can to pick you up. Or, in the event that we ourselves have become zombies, we will be there soon to EAT YOUR BRAINS.


Mom, Dad, and Baby Rocco

Chicken with mustard cream sauce
Garlicky campanelle with roasted cherry tomatoes

*When I was halfway through with this letter, Kevin sat down beside me and started reading this letter.  He said, “I don’t know if we should actually tell Vincenzo to stab his teacher with scissors…”  So Mom, you’re not the only one who will need my reassurance that no, this is not the actual letter I sent in.

Don’t tell my ninth grade English teacher…

…but the subtopics in this post are COMPLETELY UNRELATED.  And I love starting sentences with the word “and.”

The cat has been peeing in the house lately.

The cat is, once again, up for sale.  Anyone?  Anyone?

In the car yesterday Vincenzo told me his sense of smell was so good he could smell around the world.  I asked him what various places smelled like and he gave me an answer for each one.  The only one I think he got right though was when I asked him what it smelled like at our house and he answered tiredly, “Same as always—cat pee, cat pee, cat pee.”

And now for the multiple choice component of my post.  Please circle the letter that indicates my Spanish students’ crowning glory of yesterday:

a).  Student A forgetting her homework.  Again.
b).  Student A’s excuse being that she didn’t know she had homework because at our previous class she had shown up without a book, binder, or note cards because she LOST EVERYTHING and…did one of us maybe know where it was?
c).  Me calling Student B at 1:11 to ask if she was coming to class at 1:00.
d).  Student B saying yes she is planning on coming at 1:00.  Oh…what?  Shit.  [Insert excuse about a slow clock here] 
e).  Students A and B reciting in perfect Spanish that today is “Thursday, the 60th of September”

But pobody’s nerfect, and here’s my own moment of imperfection from the week.  It’s been a loooooooong time since I’ve been near Capri Suns, and isn’t there a fail blog or something I’m supposed to send this to?


“Mom, this juice box is empty!  Nothing’s coming out!”


BEHIND the musician

One of the many things my son refuses to learn from me is how to play the piano.  At least, I assume he refuses to learn because he’s refused to learn everything else I’ve tried to teach him so I’ve stopped offering to teach things in hopes that if I don’t mention something at all in any way, shape, or form, he might decide to learn it on his own.

So you can imagine my joy when he independently sat down at the piano with a friend and played this duet they made up together.  I call it Vincenzo’s KickAss Concert.

The song ends seconds later when Vincenzo’s delicate derriere gets pinched in between two keys.  He is just a beginner, after all.

Roasted vegetable pizza with goat cheese
Peanut butter Rice Krispie treats

And the winner is…

The results are in for my competition on making sense out of these letters:


The response was OVERWHELMING, which is why it’s taken me so long to decide the winner.  Every single contestant (and by “single contestant,” I mean the only person who even bothered to try, thanks all you other LOSERS) really gave it her all.  Still, it was hard to decide because two of Casey’s answers made such complete sense.  The first being: WINDOW GO HERE (the apostrophe being an arrow). 

But, as logical as it is for someone to leave a message for the window installers next to a gaping hole in their house, I have to go with her answer I’D GO HOME MERN, spelled out by the same housewife as mentioned in the original post, who is now warning Mern that Gordon is home.  This housewife was not only clever but also thrifty, as she only needed to make one set of letters to spell both messages, thus proving this must be the true meaning of these letters.  If there’s one thing you learned from that last post about Whidbey it’s that our family is thrifty.  These letters have probably been in our family for years.

So.  As promised, my wedding ring is in the mail, Casey.  Congrats—you earned it.

Probably mashed potatoes with creamed eggs (husband is getting some dental work done today)