I never want this week to end!  The minute Halloween is over I’m automatically one month behind in preparing for Christmas.  Plus I love everything Halloween.  Sigh.  Here’s our last dance with pumpkins this week.






(I think he’s going to be a boob man.)




Need UR help

My mom is watching both boys for an overnight tomorrow so Kevin threw out some date ideas.  I can’t decide!  They all sound good!!  Which one would you pick?

Option 1: “Dirty” date – weather is supposed to be nice so we can work in the garden together, just like old times

Option 2: Painting date – our bathroom remodel begins tomorrow so we could paint it this weekend before all the fancy stuff gets in there and makes us nervous about painting

Option 3: Rock Band date – throw back a few drinks in the basement and rock out with the new Rock Band III keyboard

Option 4: Opulent date – dinner at a fancy restaurant in Seattle; I wear something shiny

Option 5: Funny date – hit up a comedy club (although seriously, what are the chances we could find someone funnier than me?!)

Option 6: Music – we can find some live music to go to

Option 7: Host our own scrapbooking festival


Almost funny

1.  For Kevin’s birthday party we decked Vincenzo’s stuffed animals out in party hats and had them yell “SURPRISE!” when Kevin came home.  I noticed V put two of the animals in the dark bathroom instead of the bedroom with the other animals.  He pointed out that those animals had hats made out of paper that sparkled in the light and he didn’t want the other animals would get jealous.  Awwwww.

2. Vincenzo, in the car: “It’s not fair that kids’ windows don’t get windshield wipers.  What we drove by something really cool, like Chuck E. Cheese, and we couldn’t see it?  That would be horrible!  When I grow up I’m going to sit in the back of the car and look out the back window because it has its own windshield wiper.”

3. Vincenzo, pointing finger laser at me: PSHEW!
Me, pointing back: PSHEW!
V: Ha HA!  Personal bubble all around me.
Me: [brandishing pinky finger] Needle.
V: Rebuild personal bubble
Me: Steal personal bubble!  Run away with personal bubble!

Salmon chowder
Flaky biscuits
Roasted asparagus
Mint chocolate chip cookies


*“Doing nothing” includes not batting an eye when he bought Rock Band III and called it his birthday present, then followed it up with not one but two $500 tickets for the front row of a WWE event.  So “doing nothing” is actually a really good gift.

I’ll go stand in the corner now.

We discourage Vincenzo from using potty talk outside of telling us he needs to go to the bathroom or that he needs help wiping or that Rocco was left naked in the nursery, pooped on the floor, and is eating it. * That sort of thing.  He’s actually pretty good about not going to crazy with the poop and potty talk.  In fact, I’m beginning to realize it’s me and Kevin who need the lecture, as was made evident from this bout of pretend play last night.

CHARACTERS: RACHEL as DRAGON, an immature and despicable creature; KEVIN as FOOTBALL BEAR, an even more immature and despicable creature, and VINCENZO as HIMSELF, a child whose gets his kicks by handing each of his parents a stuffed animal and then sitting back.

SCENE: Vincenzo is wearing FOOTBALL BEAR’S helmet; FOOTBALL BEAR is looking for it; DRAGON is conspicuous by his absence

FB BEAR: Hey.  Has anyone seen my helmet?
VINCENZO: [Wearing helmet] No.
FB BEAR grabs helmet; struggle ensues; FB Bear reclaims helmet and puts it on head.
VINCENZO: [Angry, IRL]  HEY!  That’s not FAIR.  I was wearing that helmet.
DRAGON: Psst, hey Vincenzo.  You’ll never guess what I did this morning.
DRAGON: I POOPED in bear’s helmet!
VINCENZO washes hair
FB BEAR: I am hereby and henceforth changing all poop everywhere in the world into… FUDGE!
FB BEAR removes helmet and begins eating from it
VINCENZO: That looks yummy!
FB BEAR shares “fudge” with VINCENZO.  DRAGON excuses himself to make his own batch of fudge and returns, eating it.
FB BEAR: Hey Dragon, I heard what you did in my helmet.  You know what I think about it?
FB BEAR pees on dragon.
DRAGON: [Looks momentarily disgusted, then is struck by an ingenious thought] I’m hereby and henceforth changing all pee everywhere to…LEMONADE!
VINCENZO: Lemonade?  I love lemonade!
DRAGON: [holding out arm] Here, have a lick.  It’s really good!  Hey FB Bear, what do you think of that!
FB BEAR removes football pants, pees into cup.
FB BEAR: Lemonade for sale!  Get your fresh, warm lemonade here!  Lemonade for sale…


Miso-marinated salmon
Parmesan risotto
Salad with blue cheese, roasted walnuts, and cranberry vinaigrette
Fudge and lemonade

*I do not deserve to have kids.

The Club

Almost two months ago I got an e-mail from a friend-of-a-friend.  She had just lost her baby girl within days of her due date, and she didn’t know of anyone else who had experienced such a loss.  I have done my best to help her understand something I have recently been through even though I’m the first to admit I don’t understand it either.  Empathy?  I have that.  Advice?  I’ve got tons.  Understanding life and death, dead babies, understanding why us?  I honestly don’t have a clue.

MB is still in the stage where grief feels raw, where uncertainty rules, and where life seems unfair.  She has done so much to remember her baby Reese by already and she is doing an amazing job helping her baby put goodness and love into the world when a different person would only be able to give sadness.

We are both part of the same club now.  A club you would never sign up for on your own, but once you meet the qualifications you grab hands with everyone in there and  you hold on tight.  We share the burden of keeping our babies alive long after their time has passed.  And yes, it does feel like a burden at times.  It is such a responsibility, keeping a memory alive when you are the only person who ever came close to knowing the baby and when some others are made uncomfortable by the mention of your baby because all they can remember is his death and not his life.

It is up to me to plan events to remember Angelo on his birthday.  If I don’t, his birthdate just becomes another Wednesday or Thursday to the family.  I am the one who reminds my son to give a little shout-out to his baby brother in heaven every once in awhile.  I am the one who has to decide what to say when people ask me how many kids I have.  I sometimes say “two,” then guiltily send an apology in the general direction of the sky.  I sometimes say “three,” then see the shock cross the other person’s face because I forget that the thought of a baby dying is so far removed from their lives that it’s like a Taser to the conversation.  The next minutes are spent reassuring them that it’s okay and it will never happen to them.  Like, our baby died but we knew about it ahead of time, so no biggie.  Or: our baby died but if he had lived he would have been a vegetable so what a blessing, really.

When the shock value has worn off their faces then I ask if they saw The Office this week and you can tell they’re glad I asked.

So when MB posted this picture on Facebook last week for Pregnancy and Infant Loss day (October 15) I felt so understood.  MB, who is still in the throes of grief, has the grace to take care of others around her. 

I’ve always hated exclusive clubs but I am so so grateful to be a part of this one. 

Thank you, MB, for sharing…everything.

If you want to see more of Reese’s story, you can check out the blog MB started.

Baked rigatoni with bechamel sauce and prosciutto
Butternut squash soup
Salad with roasted pears and cranberry vinaigrette
Biscuit quince pie

This picture cost me two gummy worms

Vincenzo recently learned to buckle himself into the car.  It was kind of a shock one day when I told him we were about to head out to the store and then he completely disappeared; it took me a couple minute to realize he had opened the car door, hopped in the car seat, and buckled himself in.  Halleluiah!  Life is SO much easier this way.

The only problem is Vincenzo notoriously forgets to put his shoes on first, and I don’t think to look at his feet before starting up the car to leave.  He has shown up to the doctor’s office, to restaurants, even to school field trips in completely bare feet.

So I guess I was..proud of him when we drove to a friend’s house for dinner last night, unbuckled our five-year-old from his car seat, and he hopped out of the car wearing this:


Yes, I am the mother who puts the keys in the ignition then has to ask, “Is everyone’s seatbelt buckled?” then follow it up with, “And does everyone have pants on?”

Baby steps.  Baby steps.

Apricot glazed chicken
Pasta with pesto sauce
Asparagus of some sort

Top 10 Reasons my Younger Sister is a Better Person than Me

10. She went on vacation and taught herself to cable knit, then came home and made a cable knit sweater.  I went on vacation and taught myself how to sit in the hot tub with my hands up in the air so my fresh manicure wouldn’t get messed up.

9. She spent a summer siphoning out water from her baths to water the yard.  I spent a summer letting Vincenzo play with the hose for hours every day while I read US Weekly.

8. She wanted to make a piece of art using recycled household items and spray paint but decided not to because she didn’t have enough spray paint on hand and didn’t want to buy new ones because of the environmental impact.  I used eight cans of spray paint on paper mache rocks and eggs for Vincenzo’s birthday and sold the remaining, half-used cans to the neighborhood kids.*

7. She is a vegetarian because of the inhumane treatment of animals and the environmental impact of raising animals for food.  I eat meat because flavor is more important to me than those things.

6. She used to volunteer at Paws.  I used to volunteer at Baskin Robbins.  (And demand a paycheck twice a month.)

5. When she wants a new pair of shoes she simply paints—PAINTS—an old pair of boots she has.  As for me, I think I’ve posted enough pictures of my shoes/shoes I plan on buying for you to know I’ve never painted a pair of shoes in my life.

4. When her 1990 Saturn got banged up  years ago she duct taped one entire side of it back together and is still driving it.  I don’t even have anything from my life to compare this one to.

3. She saved my parents a lot of money by dropping out of high school, then marrying money.  I made my parents pay for my college education before marrying money—and I went to college for five full years instead of just four.  Hey, they were paying after all!

2. Last time she was over, she asked if she could collect pine needles from my yard to weave into a basket.  My neighbor and I keep talking about cutting down that tree because its friggin’ pine needles keep messing up our yards.

…And the number one reason my sister is more a better person than than me is:

1.  The only thing she asked for for her birthday, the only thing, was a 20 pound bag of organic brown rice.

I think just to feel like a better person, I might ask for a 19 pound bag of organic brown rice for mine.

Poulet vichy
Roasted asparagus
Cheesecake with blueberry sauce

*I feel it necessary to add that I’m JUST KIDDING.  I just huffed that stuff myself.**


Seriously? This is what a day is like here?

A random day this week:

Vincenzo started the morning with a bath.  When I told him it was time to get out he whined that he wanted to stay in loooooonggggerrrrrrrr.  I told him he had to go to school and he said, “Yeah mom, but sometimes kids are missing in school.”  I had to gently explain that the reason kids miss school is not so they can take 2-1/2 hour long baths.  It’s so they can play video games.

After the bath Rocco crawled into the office, spied the cat food, said, “NOMS!” and headed straight for it.

When I picked V up from school I told him I was making a pot roast for dinner.  ‘”Pot roast?  You mean we’re eating pot for dinner?!”

Grammy came over that day and was holding a cranky Rocco, so she walked into the nursery with him and said, “Now where can we find a binky?”  He got all excited, squirmed out of her arms to the ground, sprint-crawled under the crib and came out with a binky in his mouth and one in each hand.  (And yet he stares at me blankly when I say firmly, “No stove!?”)  (Or do I write “No stove!”?  How do you punctuate such a sentence?)

While I was making dinner Rocco was in the living room, whining in the I-want-Mommy’s-attention kind of way.  I kept giving him sympathetic looks and saying, “I know, baby.”  Apparently I didn’t “know” enough because next thing I knew he had taken his diaper off and pooped on the carpet.  Yup.  He has learned very early that actions speak louder than words.  Or more accurately, “Movements speak louder than words.”

Ten minutes later I checked my e-mail and my friend had sent me this picture from www.shitmykidsruined.com.  It’s called Poop Hands.


Vincenzo wanted us to be animals after dinner so Kevin chose to be a peacock.  He kept throwing his arms straight up to be his tail, which he’d display whenever he saw me.  WHENEVER he saw me.  He’d also make this creepy purring/cooing sound when he was looking at me and follow me around like that.  


I just hope Vincenzo doesn’t ask his friends to play peacock with him at school.  I’d really like him to continue being able to go there.

During our peacock game we noticed a marked absence of noise from the hallway where Rocco had been playing.  We looked down the hallway but the doors to all the not-baby-safe rooms were closed.  Kevin went into Vincenzo’s room and there was the baby, on top of the fire truck bed.  On TOP.  As in, up this ladder:


So the baby still can’t walk but apparently he can climb.  And not only was Rocco four feet in the air but he was also playing with the marbles from Hungry Hungry Hippo, as we have piled the top of the fire truck bed high with every choking hazard imaginable to keep them out of the baby’s reach.