2nd Anniversary Gift: Cotton

If you remember a couple months back I mentioned that this year Kevin and I are getting each other the traditional yearly anniversary gifts that we, like most couples, have completely ignored for all ten years of marriage.

It was my turn to buy, and the gift was cotton.  How’d I do?


Yes, that is a throw blanket embroidered with us that I ordered on-line, thanks for asking..  I have never been more in love with the Internet than I am at this moment.

Final (final) ((final)) anniversary celebration

Kevin and I spent last weekend celebrating our anniversary again, this time by spending two nights at the lodge where we got married.


The big event of our weekend was dinner at The Herbfarm, ten yards away from Willows Lodge.  Not just dinner, though…six hours of dinner.  Quite a change from the average 4.2 minutes that we usually spend eating dinner in between helping all our boys eat their dinners.

Now if there’s one thing that Kevin and I have learned after ten years of marriage, it’s that we could not possibly survive a six hour dinner together.  We have become much more practical over the years.  So we called in reinforcements:


Husbands came too, but as they wore neither dresses nor make-up, they are not pictured here.

The evening was made even more poignant by the fact that two of these people recently learned they will be moving two states away.  *sniff*


But we’ll still have these two to kick around, and for that we feel very lucky.


We met these couples through baby classes with our first-borns, so we have known them for the equivalent of all our life.

A few days before our date Kevin said, “Hey, I should probably get my hair cut for this weekend, right?”  I agreed and sent him to the barber.  He came back looking like he enlisted.


But if you remember back to our Vegas anniversary celebration and how I saved his bare, hairy legs from ruining a picture, you’ll know I won’t let his I-just-had-lice look ruin these pictures, either.


Okay, wow.  On second thought, I think I’ll just take the buzz cut.

As for me, I splurged and got my hair and makeup done for the night.  The last time I bought any make-up (other than a few tubes of lip gloss) was for my wedding, ten years ago.  There was more make-up on my eyes for this anniversary than there had been on my entire face for all of the ten years between my wedding and now.  I didn’t let myself blink the whole night because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to open my eyelids once they closed.  All that eye make up, just to get me the “natural look” I asked for.


But still, I loved the look and loved not stressing about how I was going to do my makeup and hair, as I never do my makeup or hair and hate trying to do either. 

We loved every minute of our six-hour dinner.  The only thing we did more than eat was drink, and the only thing we did more than drink was talk, and the only thing we did more than talk was laugh.  And while I don’t remember much of the conversation on account of all the drinking, I do know that I will remember the evening forever.  It was epic.

And now, for those of you who include “looking at pictures of Mr. and Mrs. Mouthy on their anniversaries” among your favorite hobbies, I offer this next round of pictures:





Thank you, Kristen, for taking all these pictures, and thank you to all the friends, grandparents, aunts and uncles who hung out with our kids so we could feel like newlyweds for a weekend.  We love you, Everyone!

MrsMouthy’s Family Vacation

Some things are just too good to blog about.  Our family vacation in Chelan last week was one of those times, which has left me with fairly little material to blog about this week.  But pictures—those I have!

Leo.  This kid is such a poser when the camera is out.


Vincenzo, channeling Han Solo.  Right?!


The kids got hungry while waiting for their dad at a store (okay, I’ll fess up—it was Wal-Mart), so we tailgated our pb&j lunch.  I have so many memories of eating lunch like this on vacation when I was a kid and was totally tripping to be the mom instead of the kid in this situation, so I just had to capture the moment.  This wasn’t exactly the picture I was going for…but at least I could count on Leo.


I am a bad person for taking this picture, and a terrible person for posting it on my blog.  But only because my lighting setting was adjusted incorrectly—otherwise I have no regrets.


Vincenzo spent hours on the beach collecting rocks and/or lost in thought, just like he is here.  (Or maybe he’s just old and wise enough to know never to turn his backside to Mom’s camera.  See above picture.)


This is my absolute favorite picture of the trip.  I call it: Life with Rocco.


The kids didn’t know what we found so funny about their balloon “mask.”


We lost Rocco’s cute little blue bunny helmet briefly, so he upgraded to steam punk.  It was the next logical step.


The next three pictures I call “Captionless.”  Is that bad?



Rocco was low on sleep all week from hanging with the big kids.  It didn’t stop him from going in the pool/hot tub, but we had to keep a close eye on him.  Case in point:


Leo brought this bat everywhere he went in Chelan and people kept calling him Bam Bam.  My favorite was in the morning, when I’d hear the pit-a-pat pit-a-pat of his bare feet, along with a scraaaaaape, like a super creepy, cute baby psychopath running down the hall.


Hug time!


On the way over there we talked about taking the Rocky Reach Dam Tour, mostly because we wanted the kids to talk about the Dam Tour as much as possible.  All we got out of Rocco, though, was, “I don’t want to take the Dam Tour!  I want to take the train tour!”  We kept telling him there wasn’t any train tour.  Then on our way back home we saw a sign for “free train rides,” and lo and behold Rocco ended up with his train tour after all, proving that if you whine long and loudly enough, you will most definitely get what you want.


Anyway, not bad for a week that I started out by saying I couldn’t blog about, eh?  I might even follow it up with an encore…

Every friggin’ summer

Hey everyone!  To answer the question everyone has been asking, yes!  I’m still here!  And now I have a question for you.  First observe these pictures.


Now tell me, what do these pictures represent?  Is it…

a) an abnormal amount of jams and sauces for one person to have canned
b) an abnormal amount of pictures for one person to take of the jams and sauces that said person canned
c) a cry for help

If you answered b), then this one’s for you:


Technically, one person didn’t can all these…my MIL helped.  This year’s canning included blueberry jam, blackberry jam, plum sauce, cardamom plum sauce, and plum jam.  I couldn’t help it.  The blueberries came free from my mom; the blackberries were just sitting there behind my house, calling for me to pick and jam them; and we picked as many plums as we could carry home from a house we rented at the lake last week.

So if you stop by my house this month there is a good chance you will walk home with something in a jar.

If, that is, I don’t pluck you off of my doorstep and turn you into a nice batch of jam firsts…

Missing the point

I was telling Vincenzo the other day about how his Poppy—my dad—owned anywhere between 8 and 10 cars at a time when I was growing up.  “Wow, he must have been RICH!” Vincenzo said, until I explained about the condition each car was in.  One of the cars I drove, for example, had a padlock on the door handle because the actual lock didn’t work.  Its passenger side door didn’t open at all and it was a two-door car, so everyone had to climb in through the driver’s seat.  The radio didn’t work.  It had a slow oil leak so that I never had to actually get the oil changed; I just dumped a gallon of oil into it every other month.  There was a huge donut-shaped rust stain taking up the entire hood.

Still, I was grateful to have a car to drive and was kind of proud when I won “Best Beater Car” in my high school yearbook, following in my sister’s steps before me.  (She won the title with a different one of Dad’s cars.)

Then I told Vincenzo about the time Poppy actually bought a decent looking car, without rust stains, with a working radio that actually played FM, and all the doors and windows opened and closed the way they were supposed to.  And he let me drive it!.  Which I did, until one day I missed a stop sign and T-boned a van driving perpendicular to me and totaled Poppy’s car. 

I told Vincenzo that when I called up Poppy to tell him the news I was so worried about how mad he’d be about the car, but all he said was, “The car doesn’t matter at all.  All that matters is that you are all right.”

I sat back, done with my story and having taught Vincenzo an important lesson about his mother’s roots, his grandfather’s personality, material goods, and the value life.  I asked Vincenzo what he thought of the story.

He answered, “Of course Poppy cared more about you than the car.  That car wasn’t worth very much money!”

And that’s what you call missing the point.

He did miss the point, didn’t he?  Right, Dad? 


1. Rocco: Try these Pop Rocks, Mom! They make your mouth feel shiny!

2. Vincenzo: The last packet of Skittles I had was king size.  Next time I’m going to get government size!

3. Rocco: It was too loud in here so I had to put my sunglasses on.


4. Vincenzo: I know someone who makes $1,666 a year by going to meetings.
Me: Yeah?
Vincenzo: Yeah.  I’m planning on taking a year off of school so I can be rich too.
Me: Oh.  And how are you going to make your money?
Vincenzo: By going to meetings.


5. Rocco, watching the baseball game at Red Robin: Mom!  We’re watching a movie about baseball!

6. Leo, all day, every day:


And every once in awhile:


Beach Party

“I’m going simple for Rocco’s birthday,” she said.  “I’m just going to give the kids peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the beach,” she said.  “Really!” she said. 

And while she meant what she said, she could not do as she meant.

So I present to you, Rocco’s birthday beach party:

beach party

I tried so hard to go simple.  I knew I wanted to make the castle cake I saw on spoonful.com.  The invitations I designed using the sandpaper sand castle idea also from spoonful.com (if you use sandpaper on your cards, Elmer’s glue does work but you have to weight the cards down while the glue is drying or the sandpaper curls up.)


I ordered beach buckets for the kids from orientaltrading.com and decorated them, then stuffed them with blow-up beach balls, squirt guns, tornado makers, leis, and a lunch that did include the simple peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, only they had morphed into peanut butter and jelly fish sandwiches.


And since the guest list was a bit on the large side, I decided to make a set of cupcakes—there are tons of variations of these on the Internet.  Vincenzo had a lot of fun setting up the scenes on each one!


My MIL agreed to make a beach ball fruit platter that turned out beautifully.


And that’s all I planned, I swear

But the day before the party we went to Costco to pick up food for the adults and came across the croissant platter and I remembered seeing a picture of crab croissant sandwiches and so this happened…


And then I started worrying that we might not have enough dessert for everyone, so I bing’d some more beach desserts and just HAD to make these oyster cookies (I used sugar cookies and pearlized sixlets):


No sooner did I add the eyeballs to the last oyster cookie when I realized I had already made a batch of Snickerdoodles the day before, and I had seen some sand dollar cookies on one of my beach party searches, and so…


Things did, I admit, start to feel like they got a little out of control at that point.

But as for activities, I planned none!  So it was a simple party after all!

The kids got tons of relaxed, happy beach time and especially enjoyed testing their new squirt guns on the cupcakes:


It took me and an entire crew of grandparents, husbands, and uncles to carry box after box of grass skirts, beach buckets, drinks, food, desserts, toys, etc. etc. ETC. to the beach…and then two hours later to carry them all back from the beach.

After the party I smiled up at Kevin and said, “Aren’t you proud of me?  I did so little this time!”  He just shook his head and went to fetch the 12×12 squares of corkboard I had ordered him to “make stand up” at 10 the night before.  I, meanwhile, have been eating the crusts of 16 peanut butter and jelly fish sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as a self-inflicted punishment for not just giving the kids rectangular peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

And now, in the name of simplicity, I present to you a bunch of random party pictures in completely random order.

IMG_4466IMG_4474_MG_4490_MG_4498_MG_4500_MG_4528_MG_4456IMG_4478IMG_4479_MG_4487photo 3

Happy birthday, dear Rocco.  (Who is not the kid pictured here.  Damn you, Simplicity!)