Rocco Taco

1. Rocco: My nose isn’t snotty, Mom.  It just has a lot of boogers coming out at the same time.

2. Rocco: Mom, can you tell me what age my shoes are?

3. Rocco: How many boys do you have, Mom?
Me: I have three boys.
R: No!  You have two boys and a baby!
Me: Baby Leo is a boy too…he’s a baby boy.
R, laughing: Baby Boy is a cat!

(Sometimes it can be confusing when the grandparents call their cat “Baby Boy.”)

Fish tacos
Buttery green beans
Strawberry shortbread cookies

Nothin’ doin’

I just don’t have much to blog about lately.  Maybe I only had four years of funny in me, and the rest is all just repeat?  If I were going to blog, I would probably mention how I have to schedule it into Kevin’s phone calendar if I would like to do a number two before he leaves for work because if I wait until after there is lots of crying and screaming, and he often leaves for work before I’ve gone.

Or I would write about how I really don’t have much wrong with me physically, except for carpal tunnel, radial tunnel, cysts in my wrists, hemorrhoids, Factor V Leiden, and a pulled calf muscle.  Nothing big enough to complain about, but enough to prove I’m not 25 anymore.

I could write about Leo, and how he learned a bunch of sign language like the words for water, milk, bird, light, hat, help, more, up, down, rain, and outside, but decided it easier to just sign “hat” to mean all of those and went around hitting his head whenever he wanted to say something.  When we kept thinking he meant “hat” instead of water, milk, bird, light, help, more, up, down, rain, and outside, he realized we were all idiots and gave up signing altogether.

I’d write about how Rocco likes to wear pajamas all day, and then at night he changes into clothes to sleep (here’s a picture of him all ready for bed):


But probably all you’d want to hear about is the time Kevin said he felt like my brother, so I started calling him my “brother-with-benefits,” and then when he’d try to spoon with me at night I’d whisper, “I’m telling Mom!”  In the morning I’d say, “Goodbye, Brother Husband,” and he’d turn around and say, “Goodbye, Nephew Sons!” to the kids.

Yup. That’s what I’d blog about, if only I had something to blog about.

Angelo’s Day

A letter from me to my angel baby on today, his fifth birthday:

Hey Angelo. Just wanted to say I still love and miss you and hold your memory dear. It has changed over the years; the wound that your death caused has turned into an old (but not too old) scar—a tattoo on my heart that I run my fingers over when I need a little comfort in my day. You are a reminder of the time in my life when I knew that the most important thing in the world was love. The time when my only job was to care for a baby that I would never truly meet or know–who would never look me in the eye or smile at me or call me Mama.

A mother gives so much to her children, but she also asks so much from them—love and affection, success, happiness, thoughtfulness, gratitude. You are the one son who I never asked anything of. It was my job to love you unconditionally, with no expectations. And somehow, without asking for anything from you, Angelo, you gave me the greatest gift of all. You gave me the gift of selfless love.

I go on loving you but somehow, Angelo, but I don’t ache anymore. Like a child who is given the gift of their dreams and she plays with it and loves it and it is real to her, but over the years the toy itself is not needed anymore and one day she looks back fondly at that gift and remembers it, and that alone rekindles her feelings of joy and tenderness and love and specialness, and the memory doesn’t make her wish she still had the gift to play with; it makes her happy that she ever had it in the first place.  She knows her childhood would have been so barren without it.

That is how it is with you, Angelo.

I love you, Angel Baby.  Happy birthday.

DSC_0379-1_edited-3 copy

(Angelo in utero—how I knew him best.  The picture was taken at a spot in my backyard where we built a garden for Angelo; behind is the lake where we scattered his ashes.)

The rocket science of packing lunches

I had a dentist appointment last week at 7, which meant Kevin stuck around a bit to get the kids off to school.  I was going to have him pack the boys’ lunches, since I wouldn’t have time to do it in the morning but when I started writing him a couple notes about what to pack, I realized this was an incredibly complicated and precise system that he was highly unqualified for. I ended up packing the lunches the night before, but for the sake of my blog (and for future dentist appointments), I have written out the instructions here.

Make both boys a cheese sandwich (Rocco’s school doesn’t allow nut products).  Don’t put a pickle on Vincenzo’s, but do on Rocco’s, as it is often the only part of his lunch that he actually eats. 

We only have oranges left for fruit, so peel one and slice it into rounds (Rocco doesn’t like oranges to have their peel on and Vincenzo doesn’t like unpeeled oranges when they’re in the wedge shape, so this is the one way they’ll both eat them).

Give each boys a cookie.  Either make sure they each get one they decorated themselves or prepare to die.  Your choice.

Pack a healthy snack for Vincenzo.  Store it in the outside pocket of his backpack.  If you put it anywhere else in the backpack he comes home cranky and hungry and accuses you of forgetting to pack a snack for him–only since I’m the one who usually packs the snack he will be mad at me, which will make me mad at you, and having me mad at you on the same day I went to the dentist is something you really don’t want to face.

Give each boys a water bottle.  Fill Rocco’s up so it’s ready for him at lunch.  Don’t fill up Vincenzo’s unless you enjoy listening to him whine all the way up to the bus stop about how heavy his backpack is.

Put Rocco’s lunch in the three-part Tupperware, then put it in the small blue insulated lunch bag with the rectangular squishy ice gel pack.  (This is the only Tupperware that fits in the small blue lunch bag, and the squishy ice gel pack is the only one that fits in the small blue lunch bag.)

Put Vincenzo’s lunch in various small Tupperwares, then place in the black insulated lunch bag with the bigger ice pack.  Separate the ice pack from his lunch with a wash cloth or it will freeze his sandwich.

And voila!  Lunches are made.

As you can see, I was totally that person in grade school who you might not have wanted to be friends with but you definitely wanted to be in your group for a team project.  Tomorrow I have another early morning dentist appointment.  What do you think…should I put the instructions to the test?

And if you have a minute, try writing out lunch instructions for your own husbands…then tell me how it goes.  😉

Pasta primavera
Fresh pineapple
Creamsicle cake pops

Dating MrsMouthy

Anyone wondering what it’s like to date after ten years of marriage and three kids later?  Good.  Then read on.

We go to the movie and mall because they are 1) close to us and 2) do not require us to make conversation.

We spend most of the time buying clothes for the kids.  Then we split up to maximize time, and I tell Kevin I’m going to Aveda but sneak into Victoria’s Secret instead.  I find a pink lingerie that I don’t love but is acceptable, so I stand there debating about what size to get because I’m a B now but when I’m done nursing in a couple months I’ll be an almost-A.  Do I live in the moment and buy the B?  Or should I be practical and buy the A?  Then I think about how ridiculous it is to wear lingerie when you’re an A cup, and how I won’t even be able to fill it out, and also how Kevin is probably at the other store waiting for me, so I hang the lingerie up and decide it’s probably best to just describe the lingerie to Kevin and call it good.

I find Kevin at Aveda.

Kevin: Where were you?
Me: At Victoria’s Secret.  I almost bought some lingerie, but I didn’t.
Kevin: Oh!  What was it like?
Me: It was pink.

And then we go to the movie.

We sit down at the movie (The Great and Powerful Oz) and see in front of us my friend McStreamy’s husband with—wait!  With another GUY.  At the end of the movie, I decide it is my duty to inform McStreamy:

Me: We just saw your husband making out with some guy at a Disney movie.
Me: Sorry to tell you in a text.
McStreamy: I asked him to throw something at you.  Did he fail at that too?
Me: He was too busy kissing.

We need to pick up the baby at this point, so we stop at Tully’s for a sandwich and coffee, i.e. enjoy a romantic dinner together.  The barrista asks us how our day is going and I say, “Great!  We’re on a date.”  The barrista says that’s sweet, so I tell her it’s our first date.  Then I flash her my wedding ring and whisper, “And I’m married!!”  She doesn’t laugh.

Next we step onto a jam-packed elevator to go to our car.  There are like 50 people in it, and the button for every floor is lit up.  I lean toward to the lady closest to the buttons and ask, “Can you please press floors 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 for us?”  She does not laugh.  I am giggling hysterically.  I see she thinks that I am drunk, and she has three kids with her who also think something is up.  I tell them I’m just joking, but I stutter and then it really sounds like I am drunk.  It was a long ride down to level 5.

We get to the grandparents’ house and I pick up Leo, who looks me straight in the eye and signs, “MILK MILK MILK MILK MILK MILK” with both hands.  I nurse him and he drinks so much that I would have fit that A cup lingerie no problem.

Then we go home and I notice that the neighbor’s house is on fire so I send Kevin to investigate.  He comes back a minute later to tell me they’re just doing laundry, and do I want him to call 911 or will I?

Thus the date ends, and we go back to watching TV and blaming our farts on each other.

I’m not sure if all this is why we don’t date very often, or because we don’t date very often, but I can say that it is the most fun we’ve had in a long time. 

Aquarium trip

Kevin took the day off work yesterday to go to the aquarium with the fam.  On the way down, we had this conversation:

Me: If you could have any pet, real or imaginary, what would it be?
Vincenzo: I’d have a fish.
Me: Out of all the animals in the universe, you’d choose a fish?
V: Yes, because then I could teach it tricks.
Me: Ah yes, fish are well-known for their trainability.
Rocco: I’d choose a starfish.
V, laughing: That would be too hard to feed, Rocco.  They eat things that float down to them, so you’d have to eat all your meals above its tank!
Kevin:  I’d choose a starfish, too, so my starfish could be friends with Rocco’s starfish.
Me: I’d choose a bouquet of kittens.  I saw one on Reddit today.  And my kittens would never turn into cats.
V: Wait, I’d choose a fish that never dies!
Kevin: An invincible fish?
V: No…one that never dies!
Rocco: Hey everyone, I just invented a color!  It’s…SILVER!  And it comes from my body!

And then at lunch:

Me: What’s the most interesting fact you’ve learned today?  Mine was that every grain of sand in the ocean has been in the mouth of a sea cucumber at one point.
Vincenzo: Mine is that fish can live to be 140 years old.
Kevin: Mine is that Rocco invented the color silver.
Rocco: My fact is: FISH.

It is really such a pity that Kevin has to be at work all the other days of the year to fund our trips to the aquarium that he usually doesn’t get to go on.  He misses out!

  But at least I know what I can get him for his next birthday:


Too bad I’ll have to wait another year for this:



Yes!  I’m still blogging!  Daily life has just been busy lately, and now that gardening season has hit I spend a lot of time in the dirt.  Dirt is hard to blog about.  So here are a couple random things, just to prove I still exist and to keep you from completely starving to death:

1. Rocco asked me if I would play a long game with him.  He is a very literal child:


2.  Here’s a picture of an April Fool’s prank I pulled on Vincenzo—I poured him a bowl of cereal/milk the night before, stuck a spoon in it, and froze it. 


3.  Overheard conversation by the Lego box:

Carson: Vincenzo, remember when we used to have all those ideas about big ships we wanted to build?
Vincenzo: Yeah.
Carson: I miss those days.

Filet mignon with gorgonzola butter
Wild rice cakes
Plain old peas
Chocolate cake with raspberry ice cream

Happy birthday to me

I don’t usually blog about my birthdays because I’m kind of shy about telling other people when my birthday is.  I’m not a birthday-hater; on the contrary I love having a birthday.  I just don’t expect anything for my birthday.  No, not in that selfless, cool, have-it-all-already way; more in Jewish mother kind of way.

I think it started going this way the first year I celebrated my birthday with Kevin.  He asked what I wanted for a gift; I asked him to cook dinner for me.  He said, “No problem!” and told me to show up at six on my birthday.  I showed up at six, and his apartment did not smell like dinner.  There were no dirty pots or dishes, no table set.  In fact, there were no signs of food anywhere.  And I was hungry.  I looked at him questioningly and he said, “Hop in the car.  We’re going to the grocery store!” 

I still kind of thought he had a plan until we got to the store and had this conversation:

K: So what do you want for dinner?
R: You mean you didn’t plan anything??
K: Of course I did!  I planned for us to go to the store together, pick out some food, then go back and cook it.
R: So your idea of cooking me dinner on my birthday is to have me decide a menu, me shop for the food, then me go back and cook it?

I think I chose something really passive-aggressive, like Lunchables or something.

This is how birthdays go when an over-planner marries an under-planner.  It’s not that Kevin doesn’t acknowledge my birthday; he is very sweet and thoughtful, but it’s very spur-of-the-minute.  In his defense, and at the risk of being incredibly cheesy, I will say that being married to Kevin is like having a birthday every single day of the year.  Except for a small percentage of his day (specifically, the percentage spent in the bathroom), nearly everything else Kevin does in his day is for me.  I won’t go into details because you will not like me anymore, and I really want you to like me.

The only problem with every day feeling like a birthday is that birthdays don’t feel all that special anymore.

On my birthday this year Kevin treated me to my favorite latte and donuts for breakfast, then he headed to the basement to take down the bookshelves and skim coat for the rest of the morning.  I was pretty sure the donut thing completed Kevin’s birthday check-off list for me, so I piled the kids into the car and had them secretly pick out a cake mix right in front of me, then pay for it and get it bagged without me seeing.  They were sweet about it, even though I’m sure the people watching the surveillance cameras had their eyes on the kid who was hiding a cake mix in his oversized winter jacket.

I let the kids choose Lunchables for lunch, just for old time’s sake.  Lunchables with drinks and dessert.  It was my birthday after all.

Then I took the boys to the toy store, let them each fall in love with a toy, and then when they asked me if I would pleeeeeeease buy it pleeeeeeease, I said, “Sure!  Anything else you want?” 

And after we checked out with our arms full of new toys I told them, “Awww, you shouldn’t have.  It’s too much, really!”  The cashiers looked at me funny.

Back at home I put the cake mix in Kevin’s hands and said I was going to take a nap.  I hoped he knew what to do.

He did.  I woke up to the smell of freshly baked chocolate cake and a couple excited boys.  We went out for dinner then came back to cake and everyone helped me blow out the candles.  Leo just kept blowing on all our pieces of cake and laughing while we ate.

Perfect birthday?  Maybe not.  But there were definitely some perfect moments.