Oh. Christmas Tree.

I always panic the day after Thanksgiving.  In one instant—one tick of the clock—days go from being cozy and lazy, relax while that pot of chili cooks…to SHOP! MAKE LISTS! DECORATE! BAKE! DELIVER! MAIL! BE MERRY! SHOP MORE!  PLAN! INVITE!  CAROL! WRAP! HIDE THINGS!  LOOK PRETTY!  And if I have not bought all my Christmas gifts, plus a tree, and taken my kids to see lights at the Botanical Gardens and Snowflake Lane, plus a matinee of the Nutcracker, and hosted a neighborhood dessert party that ends with local birds draping our Christmas tree with red ribbons and popcorn strings by the end of that day after Thanksgiving…then I panic.

So.  I always panic.

We didn’t do everything on my list, but we did get a tree last weekend.  Here’s Vincenzo, all geared up for our tromp through the “Christmas tree patch,” as Rocco called it.


And then we pan out…


We let him dress himself this day, and here he is, demonstrating the true reason behind my Christmas season panic: I’m afraid I’m going to remember everything on all my 100 lists except something incredibly vital.  Like, you know.  Pants.

Rocco, for his part, was wearing pants.  But he kept telling us these weren’t Christmas trees—they were just ordinary trees.  Then he got distracted by a “school of birds” flying overhead and by trying to get Vincenzo to say “ordament,” not “ordament.”  It’s complicated.


We asked him to smile for a picture and got this:


Everything Rocco does is loud.

Now look at these two boys drinking hot chocolate and try to tell me one of them doesn’t look like he might have some evil tendencies:


For just a few seconds, all the boys were standing next to me so I asked Kevin to get a picture.


Well, two out of three ain’t bad.  (Rocco is standing just to Vincenzo’s right, smiling his loud smile.  You can probably hear it.)  I think Kevin does things like this on purpose so that right from the beginning I can’t have “the perfect Christmas,” so I can just stop obsessing about it already and just have fun.  A lot of pants-less Christmas fun. 

That’s his hope, anyway.

Chicken Pot Pie
Maple yams
Salad with blue cheese, apple, and candied pecans

Goodbye, Holly

My dear, dear friend Holly Reed passed away this weekend, after a long battle with cancer.  Many people in her life never even knew she was sick until the last couple months; even I only knew she was sick for a handful of months, though she had lived with cancer for six years. That’s how much bigger than cancer Holly was.  She didn’t just live every day to its fullest, she lived every minute, and every space between every minute to the fullest.  I only knew Holly for three years, but I will spend the rest of my life remembering and missing her. 

I miss my friend who could turn a room full of strangers into a room full of friends; who made everything in life more fun; who was never afraid of trying something new.


I miss my friend who could pack more into a day than most people can in a week; who was never in a hurry; who couldn’t stand to throw away Ziploc bags; who would host a raucous New Year’s party and then gather up the confetti to use again next year.


I miss my friend who noticed and remembered all the details about you that you might have forgotten yourself; who was as comfortable in her own beautiful home as she was sleeping on a cot in her backyard; who still believed in Santa Claus; who loved to start a good book but could never finish reading it.


I miss my friend who played along with the kids on their play dates.


And who was Rocco’s best friend.


And who was everyone’s number one fan.


Holly, I miss you.  I am your number one fan. 

Me and a thousand other people.

And because you never would have said it yourself, I’ll say it for you: It’s not fair.

The Epic Adventure of Rocco’s Underwear

For those who missed, yesterday I began a colorful journey (the color yellow, that is) through potty adventures with boys.  I continue.

When Rocco goes potty he has to take his undies and pants all the way off or his little legs can’t spread apart enough for his boy parts to face downwards, and we end up with another one of these:

get naked

Lately he has found it hilarious to do this with his underwear, seemingly oblivious to the fact that Mom is not laughing.

undies toss

It is especially hilarious if the undies land here:

undies towels

or here:

undies toy bin

(In the toy bin outside the bathroom.)

I made the huge mistake of not explaining any of this to my dear MIL, who took the boys on a trip downtown to the market.  Inevitably, at some point Rocco looked up at her and said, “I have to go to the bafroom.”

It was epic.  Grandma was just getting over the surprise of having Rocco strip down to almost-naked, when…


undies kick (1)

Yes, not only did his undies almost poetically sail over two stalls, they happened to land in the second stall over.  IN THE TOILET. Where someone else was doing their business.  Which resulted in this:


undies recovery

Like I said.  Epic.

When bloggers dream, this is the kind of stuff their dreams are made of.

My Boys Pee Sitting Down

I’m assuming by the 2,000 comments she gets on them, you’ve all seen the potty posts over at Crappy Pictures.  I, like Mrs. Crappy, am surrounded by penises all day and have much to offer on the subject of urine.

This will be a blogging mini series.  It will make up for my two weeks of absenteeism.

Penises are long-toted as being more convenient than lady parts for the disposal of human waste.  I guess in some instances they are.  That semi-open flap on the front side of boys’ underwear?  It’s there for a reason.  I suppose.

I’ve seen girl moms at the park, rushing to the trunk of their car to pull out a mini, portable toilet, assembling it quicker than you can say, “Cross your legs!” and sitting their girls on it just in time.  Boys are different and make going to the park so much easier.  Like this:



And this scene from our backyard:


Before I had boys, I was afraid of having boys because my memories of playing at little boys’ houses involved bathrooms that smelled like potty.  Now I am the mom of three boys and my bathroom does not smell like potty.  It REEKS of it.

The problem is this: my little guy has outgrown the training toilet.  I know most guys pee standing up, but…

prob 1

So Rocco does it sitting down, which looks like this:


or sometimes this

prob4 (1)

(If the yellow isn’t showing up, be assured that it is leaking out from underneath the toilet seat.)

Still, neither of those explains things I see in the bathroom like this:


And this:

more potty

I don’t know what it is like when little girls use the toilet.  I imagine it is something like this:

girl bathroom (1)

3 minutes later…

girl bathroom2

Feel free to set me straight if I’ve gotten anything wrong here.  I’ll be in the kids’ bathroom, scrubbing potty out of the grout with one of their toothbrushes.

Tune in tomorrow…

The Dungeon

Sorry I’ve been AWOL all week.  I can’t even think of a funny excuse because all my brain power has been wasted this week, staring at the walls of our dungeon basement and coming up with 273 different plans of how we can do the mantle/shelves.

Here’s what we’ve got so far:


One beautiful gas insert that makes the basement warm and fuzzy instead of cold and prickly, plus one “Big A TV,” as it was labeled in the carpenter’s design plan.  Kevin tells me the Big A TV is staying because I can cover the walls with scented, floral wallpaper if I want, but it is his man cave and Big A stays.

I will not bother you 272 of the designs we have come up with but will just ask for your honest opinion on design number 273, which is the one I have almost-but-not-quite said “yes” to.

First of all, I should show you my dream room.  Whenever someone suggests an idea, I point to this picture and ask, “Will it make the room look like this?”


So.  We are thinking of moving Big A to the shelf area now, on a swivel arm.  We’ll keep the seating area closer to the fire, but it will actually be able to see Big A from a distance and from a lower position.  I will be losing six shelves, which makes me have a mini stroke each time I think about it, but I think it might be the right thing to do.  (Maybe that’s because I’ve had about 20 mini strokes today, though.)


Then we’ll go all white, as much as we can, hang a sconce on each side of the mantle (one where the dart board is now and one and the other side) and some art above the fireplace.  We’ll paint the shelves white for now, with the long term plan to do this to them, cabinets and all:


Only it will look more like this, of course:


And lose the dog.  We’re cat people.


Chicken and stuffing
White wine gravy
Mashed potatoes
Glazed carrots
Sugar cookies

Thoughtless Thursday

If only all my boys were as easy to photograph as my little lion:



But no.  The older boys are much more difficult.  Here is my best attempt to get the other two in their Halloween costumes—seriously, my best attempt. 


I’m not sure if the ninja is getting photobombed by Batman or Batman is getting photobombed by a ninja.  I’m just sure I’m not going to enter this picture in this year’s state fair.