Kevin’s stocking

Ahh!  So Christmas happened and I forgot I have a blog.

Here are the major components of Kevin’s stocking this year.  Can anyone guess the theme?


Brussels sprouts
Teriyaki sticks
Pads that make your farts smell good
Far loading t-shirt
Unicorn stickers
Rainbow tape

Guesses?  Anyone?

Of Christmas Parties and Furniture Stores

Microsoft’s Christmas parties have changed over the years.  Here’s a picture of the first one we went to together, 12 years ago:


It was at the Convention Center in Seattle, huge, with the latest video games set up to test out, seven different International sections of food and activities to sample, and a giant Space Needle made out of balloons.  Everyone wore their prom dresses because that’s what we had.

That was followed by a couple years of parties at the Quest Field (now the Clink), the Space Needle, Safeco Field, the Space Needle, the Space Needle again…

When the Christmas party e-mail got sent out each November I had gotten to the point where I’d pray as I opened it, “Please not the Space Needle…” 

I had to ask myself: Am I growing old…or just snobby?

I guess you should be careful what you wish for because this year when I clicked on the Christmas party e-mail I saw that it was being held at a furniture gallery.  A furniture gallery!

My first thought was, “Thank goodness we don’t have to go into Seattle this year,” which answered my question of old versus snobby.  (Old.)

Here’s a picture of this year’s Christmas party. 


We are all wearing slacks because that’s what we have.

We started our date early to squeeze in some Christmas shopping and, as husband, my Bah Humbug of a husband told me after a couple of hours that if I wanted to change my mind and just go home to go to bed early instead of going to the party he’d be perfectly okay with that.

But lo!  The furniture gallery provided the perfect solution!


And I have to say that my major complaint of company Christmas parties in the past has been a lack of seating.  There are usually three cocktail tables with three barstools each and 1,000 attendees.  That leaves 991 adults in cocktail dresses and suits, sitting on the floor eating shrimp out of their laps.

The furniture gallery fixed all that.  There were chairs!  And couches!  An actual dining room table you could eat at!  And while all of these luxuries had price tags attached to them, it was decidedly much better than having no chairs with no price tags on them.

I’m not sure what the lesson to be learned here is.  I started out thinking that this was going to be a “be careful what you wish for” kind of post but we had such a good time at the furniture gallery party that now I’m thinking we should complain even louder to see if something even better comes up next year.

Seriously, guys.  How awesome would it be to have a party at a car dealership?  Or a mattress warehouse?  OMG, Costco!  Cash ‘n Carry!  THE DOLLAR STORE!

2014, you’re going to be a good year.

(And our party just might be at Good Year!)

Crafty Claus

It’s December, if you haven’t noticed, and I CAN’T STOP CRAFTING!  A lot of the crafts I can’t post because they’re Christmas presents, but here are a few I can.  I was going to take pictures and write up some how-to’s on these but after taking exactly one picture—this one:


…I thought to myself, “This is ridiculous,” and I just made the crafts sans pictures or directions.  If you really want to know how to make one let me know and I’ll see if I can find it deep within myself to accommodate you.

First up: Santa Claus hot cocoas for Rocco’s class:


Next: thank-you cards made with oil pastels:


And my favorite this year: beaded sets of serving spoons/forks for teacher gifts.  The boys loved making these so much we just might cover our entire set of silverware with beads!


Anyway, happy crafting…or if it’s not your thing, enjoy your much neater and less anxiety-driven weekend.


*Ideas stolen from: my sister, my mom, and my SIL, respectively.  Thanks for letting me steal!

Snow Train

We rode the snow train to Leavenworth last weekend.  The trip sounds miserable on paper: six hours up there in a train, three hours in 9 degree weather, another six hours home by train.

But somehow, magically, inexplicably, the boys never once got bored and we never once turned on any kind of electronic device for them.  I am still sitting at home waiting for the other five signs of Armageddon to start unfolding.  Or I could be more of an optimist and just say it was a Christmas miracle.

Leavenworth is a tiny alpine town, more of a street, really, with German-looking stores that sell Christmas ornaments year-round.  The town is brimming with brats, beer, carolers, and in the winter you can actually buy a cup of chestnuts that are roasting on a friggin’ open fire.  But I think people only make that mistake once.  (Have you ever eaten a chestnut?)

The boys weren’t interested in any of that of course.  All they wanted to do was sled down the sledding hill.


You may be thinking, “But there’s no snow on the sledding hill.”  SHHH!  Don’t tell the boys!

This cute little girl in a lumberjack hat kept hanging around us.


Scratch that—turns out it was actually a cute little boy in pink snow pants.


(He picked these out for himself last year.  Poor Leo—hand-me-downs can be a b****.)  (Also: Until this shot, I didn’t know it was possible to photobomb your own picture.)

You’ll have to excuse City Boy here—where he comes from they call hills like these “mountains.”


Then again, where he comes from they also call a 9-degree winter day with no wind chill factor “spring.”

Vincenzo can’t help but look like this in his pictures. 


If Master Pokemon Guru Champion doesn’t work out as a career choice for him, at least he can fall back on modeling.  It’s always good to have a back-up plan.

During our three hours in Leavenworth chestnuts were eaten, hot chocolate was drank, carols were sang to us and accordioned to us, crooned to us and once even spooned to us, Santa’s lap was sat upon, hill was sledded on, and Christmas tree was lit. 


The entire Christmas season packaged neatly into one day.  Plus, as a bonus the boys received new nicknames of “Spanky and Sparky” by a magician on the train  Guess there’s only one good way to end this day:


Sleep tight, little Spanky. 

Rock Star Baby

When you wake up looking like this first thing in the morning…


…there’s only one place you can go:


Introducing: Sweet Baby Leo, Rock Star Extraordinaire.  Cool glasses: check.  Bling: Check.  Eccentric pet: check.  Malicious grin: check!

He wore this to the mall the other night and acted the part very well.  Here he is waving to his throngs of fans:


Redecorating the tree to his tastes, just because he can:


Giving Macy’s some free publicity (ironically, of course).


Pretending he doesn’t know everyone is staring:


And finally, being followed to his car by the paparazzi:


But as big and famous and tough as this rock star has gotten, his mom can still embarrass him with a baby photo or two.



Word to your motha’.

Red wine beef stew over rice

Christmas card outtakes

So I took about 1,000 photos of my boys this fall tying to get The One for our Christmas card.  I never did get The One I was looking for, but here are some of my honest-to-goodness real attempts at getting a Christmas card photo of my boys.



(Okay, I knew this one wouldn’t go on the card but it did happen during a photo shoot.)

Here I finally got a good one of V and R…but no Leo.


This is about the best one I got of Leo that day:


So I thought, “Hmmm…”


Yeah, no.

And while I kept getting great shots of this guy…



…this other guy kept holding various objects and refusing to let go for pictures:

A brush (and also it looks like his brothers are going to eat his brains here):


A granola bar (and also now it looks like Leo wants to eat your brains):


Gummi worms (though let’s be real, that’s not the main reason this photo got eliminated):


And my favorite, a broom:*


I got a bunch of “almost…” shots where at least you could see I had a vision:




Anyway, getting a good shot of all three boys was my obsession for all of September and I am so glad that’s over.  Now I can go back to obsessing about other things like my new gray hairs and if the amount my husband farts is normal, and whether or not the two are related.

I’ll save the pretty pictures for another day.  I don’t want to undermine the authenticity of these pictures with a few shots I got of them accidentally looking at the camera and smiling!

*Look, Mom!  We finally own a broom!

The Christmasing Begins…

I think my kids have been hanging around me too much.  These are the potential Christmas trees they picked out at the u-cut farm this weekend:

(No, Leo has not had a crazy growth spurt this month—the littlest one there the boys’ cousin.)



So we got the tree home and decorated it and, as always, it is crooked and lopsided so if you have OCD you’ll want to avoid our living room for the next four weeks.  In fact, invite me over for a bit—I can’t stop twitching now.


Rocco put the angel on top and voila!  The Christmas Tree was done!


Except then Kevin decided the angel was missing something so he went down to the craft center and then returned to fix her up.


Googly eyes.

Christmas is RUINED.