Rocco didn’t believe it was his birthday last Wednesday.  I told him he looked older, he looked bigger, but he said he still felt like he was three, and it couldn’t be his birthday yet.  I told him that I knew how to tell if it was his birthday—go to the table and look for presents!  He found them, he opened them, and then I asked how old he was.  He counted it out for me:




He said it might be his birthday, but he wouldn’t turn four until he ate his birthday cake.  So later I took him to the store and let him pick out a cake.  In the car on the way home he asked, “How long until we get home?  I can’t wait another inch!”


So we ate the cake and Rocco told me that now he is four.  Proof:


The day after his birthday he woke up and asked, “Where is the shirt Grandma got me that’s too big?”  I found it for him and he put it on, then came out holding a pair of his shorts.  “I put on my shirt, but the only shorts I can find are these ones I used to wear when I was three!”

I already love the four-year-old him.


Vegas, the picture version

Here is a picture of our hotel room (we stayed at a new place called SCREAM!):


Vincenzo riding a gondola and/or possibly taking a dump on a gondola:


A couple Italians hanging out at the Venetian:


The lovely Aunt Sharon carrying a toddler who thinks he’s still a baby:


Vincenzo, being told to smile for the camera:


Leo, being told to smile for the camera:


The lovely Great Great Aunt Helen


Rocco, climbing onto the windowsill to watch the airplanes:


Leo, climbing onto the windowsill because Rocco made it look so cool:


Vincenzo, is asking me if he got any chocolate on his face


And finally, the exact moment we knew it was time to go back home:


Thank you Sharon, Aunt Helen, and my MIL/FIL for giving me a week’s worth of blog posts and and an even bigger cache of Vegas memories.

Vegas, as in More Of

Maybe I should have put this in the question/answer post this week, but here it is:

Question: What do you do when you have an hour to yourselves in a hotel room on a Saturday morning?

Answer: You watch an episode of Full House!  Duh.

You know you’re old when you watch an episode of Full House and you tell your spouse, “Man, look at them—they’re just kids!” and you’re talking about John Stamos, Bob Saget, and that other guy.  You feel even older when the particular episode you watch is celebrating John Stamos’ 26th birthday and everyone keeps commenting about how old he is.

Anyway, on Saturday we took the kids on a gondola ride at the Venetian and our gondolier, Beppi, talked the whole time about all the movies he had been in, like The Tourist.*  You probably recognize him from his picture:


He really was Italian—in fact the only real Italian gondolier in the whole operation, he told us, but somehow when we stopped to get ice cream on the way back to our hotel I felt like Rocco, who is only 1/8 Italian, just seemed just a little bit more Italian.


Not seeing it?  How’s this:


Someone should definitely uninstall Photoshop from my computer.  I’m starting to get creepy.  But not as creepy at the Italian guy with a baby face picture above…


*We looked it up and didn’t see his name in the credits, but a big star like him probably has a stage name.


So one reason we went to Vegas was to celebrate our tenth anniversary (again—and we’re going to do it again, so DEAL with it).  On Friday evening with left the kids with Kevin’s parents and went out to a Cirque du Soleil show.  I slipped into this super expensive $15 dress I found at Ross and Kevin slipped into a shirt that had at least one button on it, thus passing the “going out clothes” test.

If you’ll remember back to Monday’s post about how many shoes you should bring on a three day trip to Las Vegas (five), you’ll notice Kevin did not pack correctly.  He is wearing the one and only pair of shoes he brought on the trip.  And as for pants…pffft.


It is a good thing that, after ten years of marriage, our relationship has evolved to the point where I am competent enough on Photoshop to fix this picture.


But unfortunately our relationship has not evolved far enough that I do not take great pleasure in making fun of my husband and finding new ways to teach him to NEVER MAKE THIS MISTAKE AGAIN.


In fact, I might even use this picture for our Christmas Card this year.


Although I have to admit, this last one here is my favorite.  (Probably his too.)


I am embarrassed to say how much time I spent deleting Kevin’s legs from this picture and then searching the interwebs for other legs I could swap in for his.  I have seen some STUFF, people.  Legs are a scary thing to search for.  Don’t do it.  I think next time I’ll just save myself the trouble and fix his pantsless, flip-floppy legs this way:


The things we do for the ones we love.

What happens in Vegas….

…is likely to end up on MrsMouthy’s blog—if, that is, she has traveled there recently, which happens to be the case today.  To make up for my summer blog slacking I’ll stretch Vegas out over this whole week, starting with today’s Q and A post.

Question: How many pairs of shoes does one bring to Vegas for a two-day, three-night stay?



They are, from right to left: flip-flops, flats, running shoes, heels that are okay for walking, and heels that are horrendous for walking or even standing in but which make your legs the length God truly meant them to be


Q: Which pair of shoes do you wear on the plane?

A: Flats. (Your feet might get cold on in flip-flops; ONLY wear running shoes when you are exercising; heels on the plane are in the same class as snakes on a plane)


Q: Which pair of shoes do you not wear at all?

A: The heels okay for walking (Too ambiguous—in Vegas you can never predict if you will be out and walking for the maximum amount of comfortable time those shoes allow, so you choose the flats instead)


Q: Which pair of shoes do you wear for a 2-mile walk?

A: The 5” heels (Because you decide to walk home from a Cirque du Soleil show at the opposite end of the strip and because it probably makes God feel less badly about making your legs 5 inches too short)


And that’s enough for today, class.  More Vegas tomorrow!

Mr. and Mrs. Mouthy

Mine and Kevin’s anniversary was last Thursday, (ten years) and while we’re actually celebrating it in August, we got talked into dropping the kids off at his parents’ house the evening of our actual anniversary* and walking down to a French restaurant on the water.  Not bad for a back-up plan, eh?  We shared a couple drinks but somehow Kevin ended up way more tipsy than me.  He said it’s because he took a drink every time he said something witty.  Then he rolled his eyes because after ten years of marriage, we not only finish each other’s sentences, we also finish each other’s body language.

In the ten years we’ve been married, we’ve gone from this…


to this.


From this…


to this.


From this…


to this.

(Kevin wanted the chance to show off the elegant nape of his neck, for once.)

And from this…


to this.


A couple weeks ago I decided it was a shame that we never did the traditional anniversary gifts for each other each year.  We are people who love to mess with the rules on that kind of stuff and we could have had a lot of fun with it.

Then I decided it’s not too late to start now.  So on the eleventh of each month this year, we are getting each other the appropriate anniversary gift for each of our ten years together.  We’ll take turns instead of both buying each month.  That means Kevin got to give me the gift of paper on July 11.  He went with an original poem. I know it’s an original poem because it says so right on it: The Dove’s Coo, Original Poem by Kevin

For those who don’t feel like squinting, the poem sounds an awful lot like one of Shakespeare’s most famous love poems, Sonnet 130, only slightly different.  Like instead of “her breasts are dun,” it reads, “her breasts are off-limits.”  Most of the other stuff on there is built up from ten years of inside jokes, so I won’t bother to explain.


It feels really good to be doing something for each other at this time in our lives, when we are busier and tired-er and less focused on each other than we’ve ever been.  Even if it involves a little plagiarism.

Sparkler Cookies

Here’s a second post today, so that if I get run over by the Mermaid Hair Extensions float at the parade this year, the last word I write on my blog will not be “B****.”

Look!  Sprinkler cookies!  I am especially proud because for once I did not steal my idea from the Interwebs but made it up myself.  That being said, I’m sure somebody else has already thought of this idea and executed it and definitely photographed it better than me.



1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour

1 bag white candy melts

1.  Cream the first three ingredients.  Add flour and mix until just incorporated.
2.  Roll dough 1/2” thick and cut into star shapes.  Place shapes on a baking sheet and insert a dowel or long lollipop stick into each one, trying to get the stick in the middle of the dough
3.  Bake at 300 degrees for 12 minutes; cool completely
4.  Melt the candy melts in a double boiler over just-simmering water.  Use a knife to spread a solid layer over each star cookie, then add red, white, or blue sprinkles.  Lay flat on waxed paper until solid.

*The cookies are a bit fragile, so it doesn’t work to dip them entirely.

Happy fourth of July!!

Happy Fourth!

I bought the kids some gel window clings that spelled CELEBRATE, along with a package of stars.  Rocco grabbed the packages and ran off.  When I went into my room later that afternoon, I found this:


And so, from our house to yours: Happy Fourth, B****!


Kevin, for those of you who don’t know him, is an in-doorsy sort of guy.  As soon as the weather hits about 70 degrees, he starts asking if he can take the kids to a movie, while I am lathering them up with sunblock for a day at the beach.

I never feel more successful as a parent than when my kids are playing outside.  I told Kevin I want our kids to have adventures.  I want them to be enriched.  I want their childhoods to read like Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book, minus the endings where you die.  So when Kevin asks to take them to a movie on a sunny day he might as well ask to take them to an Ozzy Osbourne concert to watch him eat the head off another bat.

Last weekend I spent the morning gardening in the sun, glorious sun, while the kids played video games inside with Kevin.  When I came in and gave my husband The Look, he said, “What?  I tried to get them outside but they didn’t want to.”

I told him to watch and learn. 

“Hey boys, want to go run a couple miles for the marathon?”  Within minutes, the boys were clothed, shod, and standing in the driveway, foaming at the mouths, waiting for me to catch up.

See, I know the trick: my kids are very chart-driven and very competitive.  I made these marathon charts and for each mile the kids run, they earn a bead for their marathon necklaces*  The love earning beads and they love filling in their charts.

Vincenzo’s marathon chart—every lap around our neighborhood is 1/2 mile, hence the 52 blocks.

So that Saturday afternoon the older boys and I went for a run then headed to the local pool and finished the night with dinner on the beach.  It was adventurous.  It was fun!  And nobody died!

The next morning when I woke up, Kevin was in the living room with the boys.  “Does anyone want to go get Adventure Bagels with me?”  The kids looked at him quizzically then went back to what they were doing.  Kevin disappeared for a minute, then came back with this:


He showed the kids their Adventure Bagel Charts and said the only way to fill out a square was to come with him.  Before I could even open my mouth to say this doesn’t count for an adventure, I could hear the minivan’s tires squealing as Kevin and the boys left for the bagel shop.

When they came back, he gave them a “STAR +” for a grade which, I pointed out, ISN’T EVEN A GRADE.  So then Kevin got out the “agro beads” and gave me one.


I think this is the first time in all ten years of marriage I’ve said this, so listen up: Congratulations, Kevin, you win this round.


*The idea isn’t mine—Vincenzo’s school does a marathon in the spring.