A Beard by Any Other Name…

We got some family pictures taken last weekend, which was very sad for one member of our family: Kevin’s Playoff Beard.  It was not invited.  Can you blame me?


(That’s a picture of Kevin holding up a picture Rocco made of him last year.  I don’t know which is scarier.)

The only way Kevin would agree to shaving his beard was if I wrote a letter of apology to him, his dad, our BIL, and the Blackhawk team.  And here it is, for your own entertainment: my letter of apology.

April 23, 2014

Dear Kevin, Kevin’s Beard, Kevin’s Dad, Kevin’s BIL, and Kevin’s favorite hockey team, The Hawks. (I don’t really watch hockey so I’m not familiar with The Hawks…I assume they’re some kind of Seahawk or something?):

I regret to inform you that I have issued the termination of Kevin’s Beard, as it is in due conflict with a pre-scheduled family photo shoot this coming weekend. I understand the great ripples this will cause throughout our family, friends, and the world of hockey. It was the unmatched power of Kevin’s Beard alone that led The Hawks to win the Stanley Cup last year, even though when they won the Stanley Cup four years previously Kevin’s Chin was as bare as a baby’s bottom.

I would also like to apologize to everyone on behalf of Kevin’s Beard for looking so ugly and for my slip of judgment in letting it grow to the point of a circus act before intervening. Last year some people in our community were truly frightened by it and I have noticed an increase in “For Sale” signs in our neighborhood as of recent times. Rest assured, community of Kirkland, things will not get to that point this year.

I don’t exactly know why I am apologizing to Kevin’s Dad, as he never grows a playoff beard anyway and is probably on my side in this whole issue. In fact, Kevin’s Dad’s Chin has had more influence in helping The Hawks win, as it was hairless through not one, not two, but three Stanley Cup wins.

I do want to apologize specifically to Kevin’s BIL’s Beard, who is losing a dear and trusted friend this weekend. I know you two beards were there through thick and thin, and you helped each other through all the hairy patches of life. Remember that one close shave you had together last May? They were rough times but you two beards kept your chins up and kept your upper lips stiff. That helps with the shaving, I’m told.

I leave you today with a few quotes. I have taken the liberty to alter some of the wording to be appropriate for the event surrounding this letter of apology.

“Only a beard grown for others is a beard worthwhile.” –Albert Einstein

“Show me a beard and I will write you a tragedy.” –F. Scott Fitzerald

“Truly, truly I say to you, whoever grows a beard has eternal life.” John 6:47

“A beard by any other name would smell as sweet” -William Shakespeare

“We can grow no great beards, only small beards with love.” -Mother Teresa

My deepest and utmost sincerest ever ever EVER apology,


Cool Kid

This kid here is too cool for you.


This kid is so cool he sucked all the toothpaste out of its tube for breakfast this morning.

This kid is so cool that he punched his big brother today just so that he himself could have a time out.

This kid is so cool he makes this other cool kid look like the one you would take lunch money from:


This kid is so cool he helps his big brother use the baby toys instead of the other way around.


This kid is so cool that this is how he dyes Easter eggs:


Yup, this is one cool “dig doy” kid (whose b’s haven’t come in just yet).

San Diego: The Final Post (or is it?)

Is it just traveling in general or is it traveling with kids specifically that makes you start acting like a bag lady?  You start hoarding things like plastic bags and paper cups, handfuls of straws.  They are treasures that you might need—something to wrap a diaper in or build sand castles with at the beach or something to give your child when he refuses to drink milk straight from the glass like the rest of the world.  You start a treasure trove of these items in your hotel room.  Then you pack to go and suddenly you see your treasures for what they are: garbage.  So with one swoop, you throw your week’s savings away and go home to your land of mystical Diaper Genies, plastic sand toys, and sippy cups.

I remember before going to San Diego, how I was so tired of my busy routine of packing lunches, packing snacks, packing dinner to eat on the go, buckling the kids into the car, unbuckling them, loading and unloading the car with kids and toys and food and stuff, stuff, STUFF. 

But after a week of eating out and living in a hotel room it felt so good to pack my kids a healthy school lunch.  A lunch that was not deep-fried.  A lunch proportionally sized for a toddler.  A lunch where the biggest thing is a sandwich rather than a torso-sized bowl of Jell-o.

I hummed happily my first morning back, packing lunches, scheduling play dates and appointments, zipping up backpacks.  I hummed when the kids went to school, putting things away in the places they go because at home everything has a place.  I hummed as I put our clothes into the washing machine and thought about how we don’t have to ration our clean underwear anymore.

Of course, that night after a day of packing lunches/snacks three different times, loading and unloading the car just as many times, helping with homework, entertaining two kids on a freezing soccer field while they waited for the third kid to finish practice, eating dinner an hour past bedtime, and being yelled at for things like offering my two-year-old a hug, I wasn’t humming anymore.  I stubbed my toe on the way to kiss the boys goodnight and Kevin found me sobbing outside their room, saying, “It’s too hard!  There’s just too much to do!”

I didn’t want to be anywhere else because I had just done that, and it was hard.  I didn’t want to be home either because I had also just done that, and it was hard too.

And then Rocco came out to see if I was okay and ask me if I wanted to go “extrasize” since he knows that makes me feel better, and Vincenzo came out because he was worried I was having a heart attack.

So I kissed the boys goodnight and we all laughed about how I stubbed my toe and thought the world was ending and I closed the door to their room and I climbed back on the horse and continued on this wild, bumpy, non-stop, unpredictable, loud, breath-taking ride called Every Day Life with Kids.  ‘’

And you know?  I’ve been happy.  Dog-tired and happy.

Mo’ mo’ San Diego

One of the rare moments Leo was looking up, instead of looking down at the Orange Fish:


Four kids watching the dolphins and one looking for the orange fish:


These sucker fish swarm your hand and glom onto you with their (toothless) sucker mouths.  It’s a creepy feeling, having 100 of them feeding on your hand, and even creepier when you think that these fish have evolved to live off of sun block and hand lotion:


Looking for orange fish some more:


At the zoo, pretending to be koalas outside the koala exhibit: can you tell which one is the real koala?




Outside the USS Midway, trying to show how big it is (“Sooooo big!):



Kevin, right after the moment he was able to say, “I peed on an aircraft carrier!”


A picture of Leo at Legoland that makes it look like he’s having an allergic reaction to Legos and his hands are swelling up:


We were a little uneasy watching Vincenzo was dig a man-sized hole on the beach, so we all breathed a sigh of relief when we saw who it was for:


Another family picture, or one that is close enough:


Mama’s boys:


I have 200 more pictures, so I might have to change the name of this blog to MrsMouthy Went to San Diego Once and just keeping going with it…or maybe one of these days I’ll move on.

San Diego in Numbers

1. Number of square meals my kids ate on vacation: 0

2. Number of individual sunblock applications: 45+

3. Number of broken Q-tips I had to remove from my husband’s ear: 2*

4. Number of explanations given for #3: 0

5. Number of naps Leo missed: Don’t ask—I’m still stressing out about it!

6. Number of times I lost something important (including, but not limited to my phone, both the room keys, my glasses, everyone’s sunglasses, my wedding ring, Kevin’s credit card): lost count on second day

7. Number of days it took me to walk from the lobby to our room without making a wrong turn: 4

8. Number of times Vincenzo asked us if he could go to the hotel’s arcade: GAH!

9. Number of times Kevin had to tell me, “Relax! We’re on vacation!” 5 days x 20 times = 100ish

10. Number of honey badgers spotted not caring: 1

11. Number of panda stuffies bought for our 3 boys: 2

12. Number of fights that caused: 222

13: Number of memories made: Countless!

14.  Number of memories made I’d like to forget: Less than the answer to #13, which is all that matters

15.  Number of pictures I am including in this post: 4




Leo on Vacation

The vacation started out with me trying to monitor Leo so that he didn’t pick all the marshmallows out of the bag of S’mores goldfish.  By the end of the vacation I was not only picking the marshmallows out of the bag for him, I was also actively helping him prevent his brothers from having any.  Baby Putin can be very assertive and very convincing.

Our hotel had lots of pools with fish in them and for some reason this orange fish became VERY important to Leo. 


He could not leave the hotel room without seeing the “IYNTS HISS” (always in all caps like that), and he could not return to our hotel room without seeing it.  He spent all day at Sea World among whales, dolphins, sting rays–all of it looking for an orange fish.  He acted rather blasé about everything there, and the minute we got back to the hotel…”IYNTS HISS!!!”  Sea World is so overrated.

I’ve posted before about how you can measure Leo’s tiredness by his hair.  This is the level he reached on day two of vacation:


Seriously, any time he got near the crib at the hotel room he’d make a lunge for it.  The first time we hit the beach, he dug a hole for himself, demanded me to mound up a pillow, and tried to go to sleep on it.


No joke—this really happened!

As the trip progressed and Leo’s Putinization became more and more complete, we wanted to get him a shirt that read “Crimea or Bust.”  But we didn’t want all our bags to get searched on the plane ride home, so we had to settle for some post-trip photo shopping.


Before our trip Leo had been using the potty seat like a pro at home, but at the hotel he screamed when we tried to sit him on the portable potty seat we brought, and screamed even louder when we tried to put him on regular toilet.  We are no strangers to kids screaming (in fact we don’t feel completely comfortable unless at least one of them is screaming) but this was a whole different level of terrified, so we had to just let the potty thing go.  It drove me crazy. 

The afternoon we got home Leo went potty on the potty seat thirteen times in a single afternoon so all my worrying was for naught.  Although on second thought, maybe if I hadn’t worried so much he wouldn’t have gone potty thirteen times when he got home, so I guess it’s a good thing I stressed out about it after all?!

Okay, now I’ve made you scroll down at least once and I haven’t even finished about Leo yet.  I’ll just sign off for now and promise you that there is yet more to come…

California here we came…

I just flew back from San Diego and boy are my arms tired!  The good news is now I have some stuff to blog about, but it’s kind of overwhelming.  I’ll start with the easiest and most obvious: making fun of ourselves.  We are unusually easy targets.

We met up with another family of friends in San Diego, and they have two girls.  We are not used to being around girls but within minutes of arriving we started getting the hang of it:


For the record, I did not tell him to pose that way.  He was just following his instincts. 

I won a minion at Legoland shooting hoops.


It became immediately clear that either Leo or the minion would fit on the plane ride home but not both, so we found a nice childless couple and let them take their pick.


They chose wisely.  Very wisely, as you’ll see in my Leo post.

Just an eagle watching the Beluga whales passing by…


At SeaWorld every time we passed the flamingoes I lost track of Kevin:


Forgot to take a family photo the whole trip—the closest we got was four out of five.


I wanted to photoshop myself into his picture but realized that, in fact, I am not in a single picture from this vacation—so I had to go to my archives for a picture of myself.


Something doesn’t look quite right about that picture.  Let me adjust it a bit…


There!  Now that’s a nice family photo!

Today I leave you with Vincenzo, summing up the vacation from his parents’ point of view:


More on San Diego tomorrow!

Funnyman Leo

Ever since his stubby little arms were long enough to reach his head, Leo has played with his hair when he is tired.  Here are a few pictures that show just how tired Leo has been lately:

Dreadlock tired:


Single knot deadlock tired:


And the most tired of all: double loop dreadlock tired.


In completely unrelated news, I gave Leo my phone in the car the other day and he managed to take a monumental selfie:


Who knew our car seat had such a nice a**?