I went to hang up a jacket today and found this:


Then I went to clear the breakfast dishes and found this:


I was putting away the boys’ clothes and opened the closet to find this:


I looked out at the deck to see this:


And after I took the laundry out of the dryer there was this:


People, I think we’ve got a squirrel with a nut problem.

Or we’ve got two boys with a squirrel problem.

But when you live in a house with four boys, that’s one thing you have a lot of: nuts.

And now Kevin keeps asking me if I want to see his stash.


*I think they’re technically acorns, but I just don’t have as much acorn humor in my arsenal as I do nut humor.


I went to Vincenzo’s curriculum night last night and I think I might have gotten a little out of control.

First I signed up to be on the party planning committee because I love parties.

Then I signed up to be the art docent who plans and teaches art to the class twice a month because I really love (and miss) teaching.

Then I saw an opening for “class photographer” and since I’m already taking pictures all the time anyway, I signed up.

Then a sheet came around for unspecified volunteering and that sounded intriguing so I signed up for once a week.

At Rocco’s school I am the unofficial class photographer and I am volunteering to help with the cooking lessons and also I signed up to bake cakes and cookies a couple times a month for the 60 kids at the alternative high school at the church there.  Then I noticed a kid in his class afraid to go to school there so I invited him over so he could make friends with Rocco and be less afraid.  Then I invited a new bus stop kid and his family to dinner at our house.  And I invited a girl from Rocco’s school over for a play date simply because she has one of my favorite girl names.  I invited one of Vincenzo’s best friends and his family over for dinner tonight.

I think I might be overcommitting. 

Part of me wants to do it all, to meet everyone, to bring people together, to create a tight-knit group of parents and kids for my sons to go through school with.

And part of me wants to just hang out in the backyard at home, playing with my boys on the swing set and watching Kevin move heavy objects around the yard at my whim.

And part of me wants to send the kids away for a weekend so I can garden and scrapbook, clean the house, build another tier to the vegetable garden, paint Leo’s growth chart, go for a long run, wash all the windows, spend an entire day watching football and eating guy food with Kevin on the couch.

When I get like, all tightly wound and anxious about tomorrow and wanting to do one thing while simultaneously wanting to do the thing’s opposite, my husband tells me it’s time for an appointment with my therapist. 

But when I get like this, the last thing I have is time for an appointment with my therapist!

In which case…does anyone else want to come over for dinner tonight?

Thoughtless Thursday

Sweet Baby Leo is 7 months old now and I keep telling him I couldn’t possibly love him an ounce more, but then I go to pick him up and I realize I love him even more than I did a minute ago.  When he’s not sleeping (and he sleeps a lot), he’s laughing; when he gets really tired he gets crazy giggly.  My wish for him is that he goes through life with this ability of his to laugh at it all.  My baby doll.








Smile, damn it!

Today was Rocco’s first day of preschool.  I challenge you to find a kid who is more difficult to take pictures of.  Case in point:


Yikes.  Let’s try again.


Maybe one more time.


One more time?


Okay, last time, really.


Hmmm..maybe you just need a different location?


That didn’t work.  More shade?


Nope.  Here, stand by your brother—he’ll get you to smile!


Okay, wow.  Seriously, just friggin’ SMILE damn it!  And look at the camera!


Good!  There.  We did it. 

Now Vincenzo, can I get a picture of just you?


Ouch.  I think I just won my own challenge.

Bad Babies

Here is a sequence of events I happened to capture at a party yesterday.  Leo is the 7-month-old on the right and his cousin is the 16-month-old on the left; see if you can follow the story line.


And so a young villain is exposed.

I missed the photo of an extremely frowny Cousin that followed the last shot, but I captured the moment directly following that one:


And so a young Super Villain is created.

Sorry ‘bout that.

2 Days Down…

Oh my word, people I just discovered there is this place you can take your kids when they’re old enough and leave them for seven hours for FREE and they come back worn out and also a bit smarter.

It’s called SCHOOL [skool].  It is seriously the greatest invention ever!

Kevin asked me what I did today while Vincenzo was at school.  I told him that I came home from the bus stop, put Leo down for his 3-hour nap, played with Rocco until he forgot about me, then worked on a scrap book page.  Leo woke up at lunch time so I took the boys for a walk along the train tracks and we had a picnic.  Then I went home and put both boys down for a nap and they looked so happy sleeping that I myself took a nap on the deck.  We woke up in time to pick up Vincenzo, who came home and played with his brothers while I cooked dinner.

This is quite a change from summer when we’d look up from the gigantic moat we were digging on the beach and realize it was 6:30 and wasn’t somebody supposed to cook dinner?  It was a fun way to live for two months, but exhausting.  Also we were all hungry.

So now we have dinner conversations where Kevin asks me if I got such-and-such done during the day, like call the bank back, and I say I was too busy raising his children, and he points out that I just said I took a long nap, and I explain that taking naps takes TIME, damn it, I can’t just get that done in a couple minutes.  Who does he think I am?

Then I place before him a  steak salad with blue cheese crumbles, a heaping scoop of gratin dauphinoise, and a big bowl of pasta with au poivre sauce and he forgets his question and we both eat our dinner, happy that the end of summer wasn’t the end of the world I thought it was going to be.


I just hope I don’t miss this guy too much.

Why are First Days so Hard?!

I know, I know, everyone else already posted and tweeted and Facebooked about their kids’ first days of school.  Our district didn’t start until today, though, which makes me look ORIGINAL.  I’m not.

After a summer of waking up whenever,* planning beach dates and field trips around Leo’s schedule, staying out late to eat up every last ray of sun at parks, then stopping for ice cream when the kids should have been in bed an hour ago, the thought of getting up and putting on clothes that are not swim trunks and packing a lunch that does not largely consist of Capri Sun and Cheetos and trying to find a comb because surely we must own a comb—all that seems like work. 

I didn’t want Kevin to leave me this morning. I followed him around, wondering aloud: What if I miss the bus with the kids?  What about Leo’s two-hour morning nap?  What if Vincenzo’s lunch isn’t big enough?  Or his new jeans aren’t cool enough?  What if he notices that everyone else got the same shoes as him?  What if he gets abducted?  What if his best friend finds a new best friend this year?  What if I don’t take the perfect picture of his first day?  What lens should I use?  What if I can’t decide which lens to use?!  What if I forget to lock the house on the way to the bus and someone comes in and steals all our Ikea furniture and Hot Wheels tracks?  What if I want to have another baaaayyy-beeeee?!

Kevin left somewhere in the middle of all that, mentioning that in Syria a mother was probably hearing this and weeping real tears.  (I assumed he meant for me.)

Then the kids woke up and I had to be all, “Yay!  School!  I’m so excited for you and not at all neurotic about it!”




And no, none of these is the perfect shot but at least no one stole the Hot Wheels tracks.


*”Whenever” happened to be no later than 6:30, but still.  It was our 6:30