Where in the World is MrsMouthy, ed. 4

On Saturday Kevin was feeling a little antsy so I took him to the mall.  (I’m not joking—we have to base our trips partly on how close our hotel is to the nearest mall so that my husband doesn’t complain that, “It feels too much like camping.”)

While the mall was therapeutic for Kevin, though, I could feel myself physically shriveling up being inside a windowless building on a 70-degree day, so after two hours we headed out in the sun for lunch.  Kevin had his heart set on the Heart Attack Grill, which is a difficult place to explain.  Probably the best way is: if you are over 350 pounds you eat for free there, and their spokesperson died two weeks ago at 572 pounds.  He was 29.

The only entrée on the menu is hamburgers, and the only difference in the four different hamburgers is the amount of meat on them.  “Double bypass” is the smallest burger, at a mere two patties. 

For sides you can get:

ice tea
coke (regular only)

So we sat around in our appropriated hospital gowns, served by waitresses whose nurse outfits could only be purchased in the very back of a costume store, eating the worst burgers we’ve ever eaten and occasionally commenting on the tingly sensation we were getting in our left arms.  I decided it was time to leave when Kevin broke out into the meat sweats and felt the need to tell everyone on Facebook.

Our last night in Phoenix, I got to cook for Renee’s husband’s parents (and Renee and her husband, too, of course).  They had offered to cook for us, but I control-freaked that one back to me.  All we really knew about them was that they were Mormon, so we weren’t sure if we should a) bring wine and b) wear garments.  We settled on bringing sparkling cider and going commando.  We were somewhat relieved, then, when the first question we were asked when we got to their house was, “Red or white?”  After that, it was just a matter of remembering to sit cross-legged all night.

My friend’s-husband’s-parent’s house was beautiful, their garden was beautiful, and the people we ate with were all beautiful.  Kevin and I did our usual thing where we get other people’s kids into a riled-up, foaming-at-the-mouth frenzy at 8PM then we bid farewell and skipped merrily away.

Karma is really going to get us one day.  (Judging from how our own kids act, it seems it already has…)

Scallops with vegetables and orange-hoisin sauce
Rice noodles with garlic and herbs
Fudge brownie tassies 

Where in the World is MrsMouthy, ed. 3

For our second day in Phoenix Kevin and I went to the Botanical Gardens, which is about the only time during the trip I whipped out the camera.  Normally, standing on a trail staring at a cactus wouldn’t do much for Kevin, but it was 70 degrees and sunny, so we would have stood outside looking for hours at a single blade of grass and still loved it.

The cacti had all kinds of cute names, like “Organ Cactus” and “Powder Puff” but the only name we found truly fitting was a cactus called “Ankle Thrasher.”  Kevin said if he ever gets the chance to name a cactus he’ll name it “Bloody Footprints.”









Kevin made me spend about five minutes getting this next picture just right.


For dinner that night we went out for Mexican food with Renee and a mutual friend (Keiko of Keeping up with the Dilbecks), plus our prospective husbands. We drove through south Phoenix to get there and I kept forgetting I was in the U.S.  It really looks like Mexico, and it also really looks like it could use a good hug. 

Kevin told me on the way down he was excited for dinner because we would now have enough people for our human centipede.  He cinched the MVP of the Trip award with that one.

If the food at Dos Molinos had been any closer to “real” Mexican food, we would have actually been eating a Mexican, so we were pleased.  Keiko is just as fun as Renee, though everyone at the table was so much younger than me and Kevin that we couldn’t follow the conversation at times.  They mainly just kept quoting from Justin Bieber songs. 

After dinner we tucked them all in bed, read them a story, and went back to our hotel room before they could even ask for a cup of water.

More tomorrow…

Take out?

Where in the World is MrsMouthy ed. 2

We met Renee at her house on Friday.  I personally would have been a little freaked out if I were her, letting a couple people she met on the Internet come to her house.  She especially should have been freaked out considering some of the conversations Kevin and I had that morning–like when we were leaving the hotel.

Me: *yawn* I’m sooooooooo tired.  I slept horribly.
K: It’s all right.  You can probably take a nap in Renee’s bed.  You know…after we murder her and her children.

Or, as we got closer to her house:

Me: Let’s stop at Target.  I don’t want the first thing out of my mouth to be, “Hi, Renee.  My name is Rachel.  Can I use your bathroom?”
Kevin:  Good idea.  We should totally buy some ski masks and baseball bats while we’re there.

Kevin taught me how to navigate to Renee’s house using my new I-phone.  Here’s an approximation of what the route looked like on my I-map:


And here’s an approximation of how I translated that to Kevin:


So when Renee suggested we go to lunch at Joe’s Farm Grill (featured on Food Network) we thought it would probably be better to let the legally blind lady sit in the front and give directions using the guess-and-check method than to let me navigate using a GPS again.  We were right, too.

We enjoyed our afternoon under a sky Renee told us was the color “ungray.”  There was only one moment of pandemonium when Kevin misread a sign outside the restaurant as:


We made a very big deal about this and I’m sure neither of Renee’s kids will never feel comfortable around a tree again.  We probably saved their lives, and they are welcome.  (We later noticed the sign actually read STAY OFF TREES: DANGER OF FALLING AND SCORPIONS.” 

My favorite moment came after lunch, though, when I told Renee that a bee had landed on the straw of her soda.  She set the cup on the ground and for a second I thought she was going to smash the bee into a pulp with her cane.  I think I started chanting, “CANE!  CANE!  CANE!”  She didn’t, but just knowing she could have makes her pretty badass.

Renee was, I believe the word is, “lovely.”  She was also snarky, sweet, and quick with the racist jokes.  I did my best to keep up.

On the ride back to her house, Renee’s daughter, Lennon, drew a picture of a sleigh being pulled by reindeer in front of a moon, over a small building with the word POST on it and asked me to guess what it was.  I guessed it was a picture of Santa riding over a post office on Christmas Eve.  Nope.  It was a picture of Greenland.  The snarkism runs deep in this family.

Renee’s son, Harrison, isn’t that into talking yet but he’d whisper things to me and I even though I know I usually got it wrong, he’d always tell me I got it right.  He let me hold his hand while he carefully walked across all the sidewalk ledges around the parking lot.  I have a major crush on him.

Back at the hotel my brain did that thing it always does where it analyzes every word I said earlier to make sure I had been sarcastic, not mean; funny, not annoying; self-deprecating, not depressed.  I came to the conclusion that Renee probably walked away from the day thinking we’re swingers because I ended our afternoon by saying, “I fell in love with you two years ago and I’ve loved you ever since.”  I say things like that sometimes.  I mean them, too. 

Just not in a “Next on Oprah!” kind of way.

Maybe (probably?) potato pierogi
Tomato soup with cornbread croutons
Cranberry date bars with white chocolate

Where in the World is MrsMouthy, ed. 1

So Kevin and I went to AZ last week to meet a fellow blogger, Renee of mommyblogyay (the “yay” is silent).  It was pretty much the equivalent of going on a blind date with Ree Drummond.  For Renee, anyway.

Renee, for those who don’t know, has two children and is legally blind.  I feel weird writing that in the same way I’d feel weird describing a friend by saying she “has two children and is black.”  It’s not the blindness that defines Renee, but if I didn’t point it out and then one day you met her you’d be kind of surprised I hadn’t mentioned it before.  So now you know.  She is blind, but she is not black.

Our plane to Phoenix, as all planes I have ever been on, nearly crashed about seven different times.  No one seemed to notice but me.  I spent much of the flight worrying that someone had loosened all the bolts on the outside of the plane and, because no one checks all the bolts before take off, at any minute we were about to break into 1,000 pieces and rain down on the desert at any moment.  The only thing that prevented this from happening was my hyperventilating, which somehow held everything together. 

Kevin spent the plane ride playing Angry Birds.

As we stood in the line at Budget car rentals, I told Kevin I’m all right with Budget Car but if a Budget Airlines ever pops up, I think I’ll just walk.

About halfway through dinner at the hotel that night we realized we had left the kids at home.   There was much rejoicing.  (We love them so much but they have really been kicking our butts lately.)  We spent the rest of dinner talking about all the things we could do on vacation without the kids, then went back to the hotel room and started doing them right away. 

My favorite:

Letting cords hang temptingly off the counter.

Our hotel room was beautiful—here’s the view from our sliding door:


My only complaint was there were too many mirrors around the place.  This one, for example, gives you a clear shot of yourself going to the bathroom.


I had never before known what I look like when I wipe.

I miss the old days.

Okay, I’ve already written enough that you’ve had to scroll down and I haven’t even gotten to the Meeting of Renee yet.  I’m going to milk this thing for awhile, though, so check back tomorrow.

Taco soup

Run like a bird

Can I just take a minute here to talk about quails?  You’ve all seen one, right?  The males are those little bluish birds with a body like a British nanny and an en vogue version of the roman helmet crest sticking off the tops of their heads? 



It’s understandable if you haven’t seen one because usually you look for birds in the sky or in trees, and while quails are capable of flying, they prefer forming into an orderly line and walking.  Their life is just one big parade.  Then, when something big and scary and possibly hungry for quail comes along, they’re all, “RUN!  EVERYONE!  RUN!”

I mean, at what point did evolution say to the quail, “Wings?  What good are wings for?  Let’s work on getting rid of those—they make you look fat.  Now, about your forehead…” 

Seriously. It’s right up there with men having nipples and the existence of weiner dogs.  Who knew evolution was gay?  And if that doesn’t convince you, maybe this recipe from Epicurious will:

Roast Quail with Grapes and Chestnuts

Lamb meatballs (maybe)
Smoked salmon and chive roll-ups
Baked rigatoni in bechamel sauce
Garlicky asparagus
Salad with apples, craisins, and candied pecans
Truffle cakes with ice cream

Thoughtless Thursday: Safeco Field tour


To my credit, I tried to post this on Thursday but the Interweb gods were angry.  I made up for it by adding captions.

Watching sprinklers and lawnmowers on a baseball field is actually more exciting than watching a baseball game.


Including disembodied hands in your pictures is a really advanced photography skill.  I has it.


Nanobots on top of Safeco field…who knew?  (No worries, these two preschoolers are clearing the area.)


Rocco was all about the airplanes flying overhead, though from this picture it appears Grammy was all about the airplanes flying overhead. 

_MG_7250(Side note: Isn’t my mom beautiful?)

Cropping disembodied hands out of your pictures is a highly advanced photography skill.  I has it, but the foot in the bottom left of the picture…it stays.  Tour guides are such spotlight stealers.


I really don’t know what’s going on in this picture, but ten bucks says it involves the nanobots.


Going out!

Queen Mouthy

I’ve been thinking about fame in general a lot lately and how awesome it must be.  If you’re famous, people buy clothes for you, fix your hair, make your bed.  There are multiple chances a year to wear sequins.  You can hire someone just to teach you how to stand so you look good in pictures.  Adoring fans want to know what you’re doing and what you’re wearing so they can go do and wear the same things.  You never have to complain that there’s nothing on TV because chances are, you’re on.  You would thus never find yourself watching Jersey Shore at 2AM unless, of course, you’re on Jersey Shore.

I’ve also been thinking about fame in general and how much it must suck.  If a photographer snaps a picture of you mid-blink, suddenly you are on the cover of a magazine facing a DISASTROUS MARRIAGE CRISIS!  Your kids are pictured in these magazines next to other famous kids under the title, “WHICH CELEBRITY CHILD IS BEST DRESSED?”  You need to apply full-on movie make-up to take out the garbage.  You have to decide between having Botox to keep you looking young or skipping it to keep you looking human.  Then one day oops, you wear a patterned dress to the Grammys and suddenly, WHAMO, out you go.  Adios amigo.  Don’t come back.

But I’ve found a loophole—the perfect way to be famous.  Forever.  All you have to do is: marry British royalty. 

Think about it.  You don’t have to be talented at anything—you just need a charming personality.  (Or if you’re his cousin, I think that works too.)  Instead of spending years as the impoverished aspiring actor, you are courted and doted on by a prince.  You get to live in a castle and you can wear a tiara or crown any day of the week.  You develop a killer accent.  No matter how old and wrinkled you get, you’ll still be famous.  And since the British royalty has essentially no political power or responsibilities, the whole point of your public appearances is just to show off the fruits of your most recent shopping spree.  

I told all this to Kevin and he, ever the gentlemen, responded by doing some research on “most eligible princes.”  The best he came up with was His Imperial and Royal Highness Georg Friedrich Ferdinand, whose personality is described as “punctual.” 

Coincidentally, I asked Kevin what he thought about this blog post and he responded, “Punctual.”

Well, “punctual” would at least be an upgrade from “smartass.”

Taco soup
Squash with butter and brown sugar
Hazelnut chocolate cookies

Three things with zero connection to each other

1.  I have begun watching American Idol for my first time ever this year.  Holy monkey balls, this show is AWESOME!  Why did nobody ever tell me how good it was?  Now I’ve gone and wasted the past ten years of my life not watching it.  I’m holding all of you responsible.

2.  Is it just me, ladies, or the first time you use a new razor on your legs does it burn a little and leave you with tiny red bumps on your legs afterwards?  One of these days I’m going to open a business called “Once-Used Razors” to eliminate that problem.  The senoritas in that sweat shop might have red, burning legs, but they’ll never have a hair on them.  And I’m going to be a millionaire.

3.  Why does my neighbor’s heather look like this…


and mine look like this?


Breakfast for dinner, WOOT WOOT!

Vest is Best

Two significant things happened this week.  The first is that Vincenzo changed his nickname from “V” to “Vest.”  We’re not exactly sure why—something to do with an astronaut vest at school—but it has inspired us to choose new nicknames for ourselves.  I’ve chosen Scarf, or, on formal occasions, Scarf Ace.  *groan*  Kevin snatched up Chaps McGruff, and Rocco will henceforth be referred to as Rocco Polo.

So there you have it.  Please begin calling us our new names immediately.

And the second significant thing…


Yes, the losing of the first tooth.

I have always said that when Vincenzo gets his first loose tooth we’re sending him to boarding school until his last baby tooth falls out of his mouth, and then we’ll take him back again.  I am squeamish about many things, and wiggling teeth is pretty near the top—somewhere below falling into a pit of snakes and somewhere above surviving off of slugs and earwigs for a week.

I thought we’d have more time with him before the whole boarding school thing, though.  I personally had to wait until the second grade to lose my first tooth (which was equally as demoralizing as having to wait until the ninth grade to get my first period).  Yet here Vincenzo is, not even in kindergarten, losing his teeth and probably also growing pubic hair.  I should probably check. 

Anyway, since Vincenzo has been born I’ve been wondering what he’s going to be best at.  He’s poo-poo’d reading, writing, art-ing, riding a bike, swimming, tying shoelaces, playing piano concertos, and countless other activities I’ve seen his friends take to.  And sometimes he forgets to wear underwear.*

Well now I finally have something to brag about.  My son is AWESOME at losing teeth.  I can’t wait for next year’s Christmas letter.

But I have to admit, I’m really going to miss him.

Going out, sans kids.  Who cares what’s cooking?!

*Disclaimer: For the future Vincenzo who might read this blog, and for any readers who are worried that I’ve just ruined all my son’s chances for a healthy self-esteem: I sometimes write things on my blog just to be funny.  True, Vincenzo hasn’t been all that interested in those activities I listed, and true I sometimes worry about it, but one thing my son has taught me is that it’s not what you do that matters…it’s who you are.  Vincenzo is the light of our lives and I never knew what love and pride were until the day I met him.**

**Rocco, too.

Of leprechauns and poopy things

Last night after Vincenzo went to bed I hid a bag of gold coins in the couch cushions then placed clues for it all over the house.  (For clues I took pictures of various places in the house and paper-clipped them to shamrocks.)

Today shortly after Vincenzo woke up, the phone rang.  It was a leprechaun calling to tell him, in a very General American accent that some leprechauns have, that Vincenzo would never find the pot o’ gold left in his house.  Actually, the conversation went more like this:

*ring ring*
Vincenzo: Hello?
Leprechaun: Hi!
V: Hi.
*long pause*
L: Hello?
V: Hello
L: Hi.
V: Dad?
Leprechaun (in much higher voice): Hi!

Sometimes, I have to do all the work around here.  Once I got it out there about the pot o’ gold hidden in the house, the leprechaun refused to tell us where it was.  Vincenzo then threatened the leprechaun with poopy diaper duty until he leaked the first clue.  And so the hunt began.

And if the leprechaun sent Vincenzo to the TV console but forgot to hide a clue in there, and if he hid the final clue to find the pot o’ gold with the gold itself, it didn’t make Mom look dumb.  It just made the leprechaun look all the more smarter.  (And all the more smarter sounding too!)

After our pot o’ gold search I showed Vincenzo the carton of milk, still white, then let him watch as I  poured it in his empty cup where it magically turned green.  Mind…blown.

We spent the rest of the day touring Safeco field, and when I came home and opened the door to the house, I reeled back.  “Something smells like poop in here!  Watch your step, everyone…”

Not poop, after all; just the corned beef and cabbage simmering away upstairs.  I forget that every year around this time when I decide it would be the perfect thing to make for St. Patrick’s Day.  Why couldn’t the Irish just have invented pizza?

Corned beef & cabbage
Potatoes with all the fixin’s
Salad (thanks M)
Bailey’s cheesecake (that I didn’t have any Bailey’s for so now it’s a white chocolate cheesecake)