Week in Review

I just have time for a few snapshots of my week—it’s crunch time for me, as Leo’s last day of school is tomorrow so I need to get everything that I can’t do with kids around done by tomorrow at noon.  It’s mostly me just knocking back the booze and taking naps, but man does it take a lot of time!

So this week I…

…played cards and ate donuts with Great Grandpa (we do it every Sunday):


…saw Leo’s new “magic trick” at dinner:


…let Rocco label our napkins for dinner and realized he  thinks everyone’s middle name is “Thomas”:


…took our neighbor’s senior photos:


…baked with Leo


…saw this very confusing ad in our city’s summer events brochure:


…hung out with Leo at Target:


…saw this sticking out of the back window of my car in the school pick-up line:


…played 1,000 games of war:


…got a new camera and practiced using it on my garden:


…and did a lot of whatever this is:


…and of course, there was all the drinking and napping.  How do I do it all?!

Mock Thanksgiving dinner–
Chicken with stuffing
Orange cranberry sauce
Mashed potatoes
Orange pecan sweet potatoes
Dill green beans
Strawberry rhubarb pie a la mode

Feeling Campy

The squirrel humor turned into rabies humor over the past few days.  I wasn’t worried about anything until then my mom mentioned a tetanus shot and then my sister said squirrels aren’t a concern for rabies but bats are, and then I remembered all the bats we see flying around outside our window in the evenings and then I started thinking about the rabid bat that most definitely bit the squirrel who then fell out of the tree onto my head and scratched my ear.

Kevin came up to give me a kiss in the kitchen this morning and I turned and savagely hissed at him, my claws at the ready.  He keeps asking me how my jaw is feeling and I turn around and look at him, jaw completely frozen in place and say, “Ih hiiiiiiiy.”  He says, “Well, at least it locked up in the open position.”

Anyway, rabies really is not funny at all but at some point I realized that I would have had a DTaP shot in my third trimester with Leo, so any lockjaw I’m experiencing now is purely stress related from all this worrying I’ve been doing about having rabies.

Moving right along…a couple weekends ago we went to family camp to preview the camp Vincenzo will spend a week at this summer.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but my city slicker of a husband is not a camper.  He promised me one camping trip a year when we got married, and by my count he now owes me 13 camping trips.  Kevin, however, counts it as camping if we stay at a hotel that doesn’t have cable, WiFi, and a mall within walking distance, so he feels he’s put in his time.

It didn’t make Kevin feel any better when I typed in directions for “Camp Orkila” (or-KAI-la) and my phone repeated back, “Finding route to Camp or-KILL-a…”  But we already had our ferry reservations by then, and we were going.

Here are the boys waiting for the ferry.  Pretty, isn’t it?!


Settling into camp, both Leo and Buzz Light Year were super excited about sleeping in an open-air cabin:


(Buzz was a little less excited when morning came and he was soaked with potty that had grown cold in the night.)

(Leo was still just as excited.)

We played a long game of giant Jenga which we decided must be pronounced “Lenga” (zoom in on the writing to decide for yourself):


We threw some pottery:


I felt that the ceramic hands Rocco made were very realistic:


Vincenzo climbed the tower that he’ll be able to zip line from in the summer:


The boys logged a ton of hours playing some game called “Gaga ball” that looks like this:


Later we came up with as many jokes like these as we could think of:

Q: What do you call a bunch of girls playing gaga ball?
A: Lady Gaga!

Q: What do you call a bunch of babies playing gaga ball?
A: Goo goo ga ga!

Q: What is it called when the band Queen plays gaga ball?
A: Radio Gaga!

And those were the good ones.

We realized Rocco needs to wear a belt with these pants:


We walked on the beach:


And Leo made it through the whole weekend without taking a nap.

Well, almost.


There was so much more that we did and didn’t do—check out the salmon in the environmental ed house, ride dirt bikes around a big course, make bows and arrows out of sticks we found, climb up and caribeen down the climbing towers, join in the campfire skits, completely lose Rocco in the woods for a half hour, shoot rifles, take out a canoe, jump in the pool, eat copious amounts of pasta and brownies.  The kids loved camp food so much, they are still talking about it, in fact.  Now when I cook something and they tell me they like it, I ask, “It’s good…but is it camp food good?”

I loved everything about the weekend—the smells of the woods and the campfire, the sounds of the ocean and the birds in the morning, my cold nose warming up over a cup of coffee, the kids not able to eat enough to make up for all the gaga ball they played that day, the camp counselors laying grounds for their summer flings with each other, Kevin’s eyes red and swollen from the grass, pollen, campfire smoke, and other campy things they had taken in.  I loved not deciding when and what we’d eat and I loved not squeezing things into the schedule.  I loved all the memories of my own days as a camper and a camp counselor being gently shaken awake and filling my head with some of my very favorite “Remember Whens.”  It was a weekend in heaven.

I do have one complaint to file about the weekend, however: I do not like the fact  that Vincenzo is the one who gets to go there this summer and not me.  It’s not faaaaaaiiir.

Potato leek soup
Homemade whole wheat bread and butter
Spinach salad

More Surprises

Okay, I thought yesterday had a fair share of surprises in it, but today had it topped already by 8AM.  I had gone for a bike ride on the trail behind my house and was bringing my bike up the ravine that is our backyard.  I stopped to see what kind of damage the deer have done to my plants lately and as I stood there I felt and heard a big THWAP right square on top of my head.  I yelled, “OW!” and looked up to see which kid had thrown a brick at me, but there were no kids.  In the same split second I wondered if the tree had just dropped a branch on my head. 

But no, those things make sense, and what I saw when I looked down made much less sense.

It was a squirrel, staring up at me with liquidy black “OH CRAP” eyes, and in a flash it ran up the tree it had just fallen out of.

I couldn’t get a picture of the squirrel in that millisecond, but I found a picture on the Internet of about how that squirrel looked:


I keep thanking my lucky acorns I hadn’t taken off my bike helmet yet because if I had, that squirrel would have knocked me completely out and eventually someone would have found me sprawled out on the patio with a slightly bloody ear and no one would ever have correctly guessed what had happened.  Because honestly, how could they?


(Right in the tree above me was a squirrel, licking my blood off its little paws and wondering how it was ever going to blog about this.)

It’s been a fun day, needless to say.  I sent the boys to school saying, “Stay safe—there are a lot of squirrels out there today!”  When they came home from school and I suggested they put their helmets on and go play in the back yard.  I sat next to Kevin on the couch then got up again, saying, “I just can’t sit here right now.  I’m feeling a bit squirrely.”  I am looking into getting one of these signs printed for our house:


If this blog post sounds a little nuts to you, it probably is. 

I’ve just never been the same since I got hit in the head by a squirrel.

Top sirloin steak with peperonata
Roasted potatoes
Chocolate pudding cake

One of those days

You know those mornings where you have a routine dentist appointment and you walk in and the hygienist says, “It will be a nice quick one and we’ll get you on your way,” and then while she’s cleaning one of your teeth a filling falls out and so next thing you know you are getting numbed up to have said filling replaced and then while the filling is getting replaced your bridge falls out and the dentist starts sweating a bit and saying, “Wow, that’s a lot of decay in there,” and then by the end of the appointment you are signed up to return and get two teeth implants and a crown, and when you text your husband that your bridge fell out and now you need implants, instead of being sympathetic all he texts back is an overly excited, “What size implants u thinking?!”

Yeah, me too.

I hate surprise filling days.

Orange tamarind salmon
Teriyaki chicken
Brown rice
Salad (my usual)
Roasted asparagus with dill
Banana cream pie
Chocolate pie

Mother’s Day Swag

Like I didn’t think he would, Kevin totally pulled off the perfect Mother’s Day for me.  He started by making me a recipe from the “Posh Toast” book my MIL got me for my birthday (thanks, MIL!).


I’m not even sure what all was on it—some kind of tahini paste he made, avocado, roasted chickpeas, onion, and edible flowers—I ate every crumb!

Then Kevin sent me on a treasure hunt to find the chocolates he and Leo hid.  I found lots of chocolate in the house (like in the boys’ Halloween stashes, in the pantry, in the chocolate chips container) but none of it was the right chocolate.  I became convinced it was in Leo’s room but just didn’t have a clue where to start looking…


My favorite gift of the day was that Kevin had each of my boys call me on Mother’s Day, since he knows I worry that once they move out of the house they will completely forget to call me on Mother’s Day because, I’m told, guys just don’t think of stuff like that.  Vincenzo called me from my bedroom while I was eating breakfast, Rocco called me from my parents’ yard while I was helping cook dinner, and Leo called me from his bedroom after lights out.  I loved it.

Onto the funnier of the gifts: Rocco brought home a whole packet of Mother’s Day swag for me.  I learned that this is how smart he thinks I am:


Translation: My Mother is as smart as an ape.  It’s killing me that “mother” is capitalized, but what do apes with master’s degrees like me know about grammar?

The next page:


Translation: My Mother is as cool as One Direction (the picture Rocco drew shows he clearly has no idea what One Direction is.  Maybe…is it the black box they look for when an airplane crashes?).

Rocco also gave me a coupon book with coupons like this inside:


I am thinking of saving this and then cashing it in at a really awkward time, like at his middle school graduation or his wedding.  Watch me–I’ll do it!

This sheet was also in his packet, and he tried to take it back saying it was his but I was determined to get all the sounds right first. 


I did pretty well for someone as smart as an ape.

He also made me a coloring sheet.


I think it’s a boat with sleeping quarters on either end, or it might be the bust of a greyhound dog wearing a diamond necklace with a very big clasp on it.

And then the “big gift” was inside this box.  I guessed it was Chinese food.


It wasn’t, but I am looking forward to eating Mongolian beef out of my new pinch pot sometime in the near future.


Rocco also gave me a book about why he loves me.  I got to the last page and he showed me how all the planets were there, and here is the asteroid belt, and here is the continent of Washington, and here is Hurricane Wilma.  I checked; they’re all there!


And then I read the writing and realized I don’t think I need to worry about my boys forgetting me on Mother’s Day.  I think they know what I need more than I do.

Leftovers (again!)
Ham and swiss quiche
Ceviche fish tacos
Fresh pasta
Potato salad
Asian broccoli
Strawberry layer cake

I Am Not A Snoop!

Kevin and I had to split up with the boys on Friday night as part of the ongoing craziness off last week—it started with me taking the three boys straight from school to drop Vincenzo off at a birthday party, then taking the other two to their swim lessons where we met Kevin and did the car seat shuffle so he could take Leo to dinner and to pick up Vincenzo from the party while I took Rocco to family dance night.  Ugh.  Craziness. 

One of my friends actually asked me last month, “Are you and Kevin doing okay?  I never see you together anymore…”  I told her we are doing great; we just have come down a very bad case of Having Three Kids that we can’t seem to shake.

Anyway, that’s not why I’m here blogging today.  Here’s why I’m here:

As I tucked Leo into bed that night, I asked him if he had fun hanging out with Daddy for the evening.

Leo: Yes!
Me: What did you do?
Leo: We went to Old McDonald’s and I picked out a table with two spinny chairs and then we hid some chocolate and then I went to bed!
Me: Wait—you hid some chocolate?  Who did you hide chocolate from?
Leo: We hid it from you, Mommy!

It’s just the worst.  I always find Kevin’s presents to me no matter what the holiday (click on it…do it…)—and I swear I am never looking–but it seems really suspicious to Kevin that I just happen to stumble on his stupidly hidden presents and he accuses me of snooping, which is exactly the conclusion he came to yet again.

The moral is: Don’t ask your children too many questions around Mother’s Day weekend.

And the moral for Kevin is: Seriously.  You suck at surprises.  But you are very good at remembering it is Mother’s Day two days before Mother’s Day happens and then making up for having almost forgotten it once again.

Party food at someone else’s house


Ever have one of those weeks that can best be summed up with the word AAAAAAAAHH!  Yeah, me too.  You work so hard to make life a good balance of work, play, and downtime, but sometimes the balance gets thrown off and even though you see it coming, you can’t do anything about it.

This week, every day is quadruple or quintuple booked and I am all amped up, hopping from foot to foot in my corner of the boxing ring, ready to face The Schedule, looking menacing and unnaturally beefed up in the other corner. 

Take today, for example.  It’s “bike to school” day for Vincenzo and Rocco, and they really wanted to do it but I’ve also got to get Leo to school five miles away at the exact same time and then somehow get back to the older boys’ school to volunteer 15 minutes after that.  Not to mention that the boys’ school requires that you have locks on bikes when they’re at school and I wasn’t about to go buy locks for their bikes for this one day even if I did have the extra 20 minutes in my schedule to do so, which I absolutely do not.  Today is a Wednesday, which is booked with volunteering, speech therapy after school, soccer after that, and at some point it became clear I had to buy espresso beans sometime during the day and forget about trying to exercise at all. 

But!  After several nights laying in bed not sleeping, (every day of the week is just like today, only with different problems) I realized that volunteering is canceled this week and that I could bike to school with V and R, Kevin could drive there with Leo to take the bikes home and to take Leo to school, and I could carry on down the trail on my own bike to Trader Joe’s, four miles away, to buy espresso beans and get my work-out in.  BOOM.  Not looking so menacing now, are you “The Schedule?!!”  BAM! 

Then tomorrow comes and it’s another fierce day of fighting, falling down, getting up, trying to look less beat up than I feel.

I don’t sleep anymore.  I just lay in bed, quivering a little, waiting for it to be a normal enough time to get out of bed.  Behind my closed eyes I feel like I’m trying to open one of those Japanese puzzle boxes, like if I just mentally push on this thing over here, it will all make sense, right?

As fight-ready as The Schedule is this week, next week gets even worse.  Oh, next week.  It’s teacher appreciation week, which I absolutely hate.  Am I the only one?  Teacher appreciation day would be great, but a whole week?  A whole week of remembering that one kid has  to bring in a flower on Monday, one kid on Wednesday, and one kid on Thursday; that I need to bake cinnamon rolls on Sunday and bring them in on Monday; that one kid has to wear yellow/green on Tuesday; that one kid has to bring a card on Friday; that I need to bake a quiche on Tuesday and deliver it one school Wednesday; that I need to bake cookies on Thursday and bring them to the other school Friday;  and also don’t forget to send in snacks for the boys’ classes on various days because it’s also state testing week.  Aaaaaah!

When I break it down, it’s actually not that bad.  Teacher appreciation week is an excuse to bake, and I love baking.  Biking to school was fun, and I even go to catch up with some other parents.  I love going to soccer practices and games, to swim lessons with the boys, to science fairs and school plays and family dance nights.  I love having the boys’ friends over and watch them turn the entire house into one gigantic pillow fort.  I love field trip Thursdays with Leo and errand Tuesdays.  I love volunteering at the boys’ schools.

I always get stressed about how we’re going to find time to make/eat dinner on these crazy days, but then I realize the lasagna can be made in the slow-cooker since we’ll be gone until 6 or the tamarind sauce from last night can just be thrown on some salmon for dinner tomorrow, and in the end when my family is all sitting around the dinner table, whether it’s 4PM or 8PM, I know that I made it all happen, and I went for a bike ride.  It’s a good feeling.

That’s what I’m thinking as I dish up dinner.  Then one of my boys pipes up, “I don’t like lasagna”–the same lasagna that took a sleepless hour of planning for and 6 hours to cook–and I just come unhinged and I CLOBBER him.

Well, you can please some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time, but you can’t please all the people all the time…unless you serve them plain buttered noodles for dinner every night.   Then they will be very, very pleased.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE (Please note the lack of plain buttered noodles and imagine the amount of clobbering that is about to take place):
Leftovers, including…
Slow cooker lasagna
Chicken with orange tamarind glaze and rice
Pad See Ew
Green beans in cider vinaigrette with bacon
White chocolate macadamia nut cookies