Keepin’ it real

Vincenzo: What does “m…e…upside-down-u” spell?

Vincenzo: I came in third, Dad!  Like, threeth place!

Me to Rocco: We missed you when we were gone, Rocco!
Vincenzo: I didn’t!

Me to Rocco: You have chocolate and boogers all over your face.  Are you enjoying those chocolate-covered boogers?
Rocco: NOM!NOM!


Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain

Why is it when my friends go on winter vacations they come back with tales of sledding and snowmobiling, of roasting S’mores ‘round a fire in the snow, of lazy mornings with chocolate-filled croissants and shaved chocolate hot cocoa, of sing-alongs and winter wonderlands, but when I go on winter vacations I come back with stories of…well, read on.

Kevin and I ditched the baby this weekend (we love you, Rocco!) to take Vincenzo up to Suncadia.  It was stressful packing for everyone but I somehow remembered all the details: winter socks, winter boots, backup boots, hats, gloves, scarves, chapstick, sunglasses, sunblock, instant hand warmers.  Only when we were ten minutes from our mountaintop destination did it occur to me that while I had remembered all the details, I had forgotten something fairly major: Vincenzo’s coat.

Fortunately the local town (a.k.a. street) had a Farm & Home, whatever that’s supposed to mean, and they had jackets for only $11.90 (!!) so I made the best of the situation and bought V a size 6 jacket.  Next year’s winter coat buying: done.

We also found this mountain necessity, for only $2 less than the jacket:


“Say Good-bye to Chafed Thighs!”  You pat this powder on your thighs where they rub together to have a friction-free walking experience.  Or you can just add some water to it and have a nice thickener for soup, as its main ingredient is cornstarch.  I bought the Anti Monkey Butt powder specially for one specific, incredibly lucky person who reads my blog and would truly recognize this gift for the rare and precious gem it is.  You know who you are.

We made it to the lodge and, in trying to remove the tags from Vincenzo’s new $11.90 jacket, I promptly ripped the zipper right off of it.  Oh woe was us, woe was us.  No jacket…and all this beautiful snowy snow to play in…


It seems disastrous until—here, let me zoom out that picture of a snowy field.


That’s right.  We had visions of this:

And we got instead one patch of snow and a whole lot of rain.  There was no snowmobiling, no sledding, no ice skating, no snowshoeing, no wintry wonderland.


Fortunately there was a pool and both indoor and outdoor hot tubs, so fun was had.  We stuffed ourselves silly at the lodge’s restaurant then laid around the hotel room watching football and SpongeBob until bedtime.


I was so looking forward to a full night of sleep without any Rocco wake-ups.  How was I to know that someone before us had set the alarm to go off at 11PM?  It took me three hours to fall back asleep.  I was awoken three hours later by Vincenzo standing directly over me, saying, “MOM I’M HUNGRY.”  When he and Kevin officially woke up an hour later, they left the hotel room so I could sleep.  I have no idea how it happened, but an half hour after they left, that demon alarm clock went off again.  I gave up.

One of my friend’s grandmas is quoted as saying, “You can have nice things or you can have kids.”  I think the same goes for sleep.  With kids, it’s an either-or kind of thing.  At least it is with my kids.

Am I still writing this post?  Where’s the friggin’ editor?!

Anyway, on the way home we found some snow to play in, and even if it was just in a parking lot on the side of the road, Vincenzo couldn’t have cared less.





Despite the soggy weather, I can’t wait for our next trip to Suncadia.  The restaurant there rocks, the people were awesome, the drive is beautiful, and when all else fails there is the pool. 

Where else can you get all that, and Anti-Monkey Butt powder too?

Taggliatelli with crab
Stir-fried asparagus
Brown sugar cookies and ice cream

My kid is 5 years old and he cannot read.

I went to Vincenzo’s kindergarten orientation a couple weeks ago.  People asked all sorts of questions, like, “How much time a day to the students spend doing math?” and, “My child is already proficient at reading.  How are you going to make sure she isn’t bored?”

I, meanwhile, raised my hand and asked how much time the kids spend at recess each day.  If I had asked a second question, it would have been, “My child is proficient at pointing at people and going, ‘Pshew! Pshew!’  How are you going to make sure he isn’t bored?” 

Still, I was feeling like Vincenzo is really ready for kindergarten…until I had to fill out the paperwork.  Does he know his ABCs?  Check!  Can he count to twenty?  Um…check?  Can he write his name using only one capital letter?  Can he button?  Does he know his phone number?  Address?  Birthday?  Does your child know his full name? 


We have been working on his full name this week.

I know I make fun of his blatant boyishness, his tendencies toward violence, his nonstop energy, his disinterest in doing anything that resembles learning no matter how much chocolate I dip it in or how many sprinkles I pour on it.  But I’m serious about recess.  These kids are five.  FIVE.  They still hold our hands in the parking lot.  They think their stuffed animals are real.  When we kiss their bumps and bruises they believe they’re magically healed.  They have temper tantrums.  Because they are five.

In Denmark, one of the most literate countries in the world, children are not taught reading until age seven.  When reading instruction begins, it’s in a relaxed environment.  In America, if your child isn’t reading before he enters kindergarten you start worrying that he isn’t gifted.  If he isn’t reading by the end of kindergarten, you start worrying that he is special needs. 

And we all want gifted kids.

When I came home from orientation and told Vincenzo I had visited the classroom he’ll be in next year, he asked just one question.  Twice.  “Did you see kids playing, Mom?  Were they playing there?”

I think we’ll move to Denmark.

Pork and pink bean soup
Corn bread


1. To my bloggy friend at Living in my Integrity, here’s the sunset you missed last Thursday:



Neiner neiner.

2.  To my bloggy friend at My Soccer Habit, thank you for running an Expose with MrsMouthy.  Readers, feel free to click here if you want to learn the answer to questions like, “Why does your son rarely wear pants?” and, “What is your biggest insecurity?”

3.  To my bloggy friend I’m going to visit this spring: I Bing’d your city for tourism and this is the first thing that came up.

“Waste Management Phoenix Open Annually sporting the largest crowds on the PGA TOUR…”

Just sayin’, it makes a big difference where you choose to capitalize and not.  Waste Management Phoenix Open (a golfing event) is quite different from Waste Management Phoenix Open Annually (which is a scary and disgusting thought).  If the capitalization is correct as written, I just really hope our visit coincides with the annual opening of waste management because after giving birth to three babies, I just can’t hold it like I used to.

Leftovers plus an apple gallette

You say “Quit It,” I say, “Make me!”

Kevin has been encouraging me to delete some of our one million pictures and videos from the computer lately, starting with the earliest ones first.  It’s a fun way to do some spring cleaning while sitting on the couch watching Kendra, and it’s oddly satisfying to delete virtual files that don’t actually take up physical space. 

But readers, I need your help with deciding whether to keep or delete this video from my and Kevin’s (mine and Kevin’s?  Kevin and mine’s?)—anyway, from our first road trip to Glacier, MO.  We had been dating for four months and we had about 30 hours in the car to kill.

Warning: this 2-minute video contains only 30 seconds of funny.

So…keep or cut?

Leftover falafels and spanakopita (restaurant-made)