That’s Leo

The world according to Leo is a little different than it is for the rest of us.  This, for example, is a Chinese froyo:

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And this is his favorite blanklit:

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This is his favorite hat:

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And this is how I found him before bedtime last night:

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(Weird picture, right?!)

When he counts to 20, he always remembers to say both the fourteens (12…14…14…15…16…). 

He has not eaten dinner for two months now.  I don’t know what dinner ever did to him, but he is not anywhere near forgiving it.

He sometimes pretends to be an owl or a cat or a fly or a turtle, and when he does he refers to himself in the third person, in a voice even higher and squeakier than his everyday high and squeaky voice.  “The turtle doesn’t want to eat dinner tonight.” 

He most often pretends to be one of these animals during clean-up time.  He insists he is a roly poly and doesn’t have arms and therefore he cannot  carry that battle ax upstairs to his room.

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Fortunately, he is still afraid of the number three so all I have to do is say one…two…and like magic, the roly poly somehow gets that battle ax to its room.

This is Leo undoubtedly beating his Great Grandpa at a game of War (the kid has an unhealthy amount of luck when it comes to War):

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This is how he looks when we put him in the pool:

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These are his skilts:

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These are protons.  He eats them by the bucket.  But not if they’re for dinner:

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Leo is one wacky and whacky kid.  One wild, imaginative, never bored, unapologetic kid who will bite your head off then cry because it made him angry that your head came off, and you will end up hugging him and telling him it’s okay, you didn’t really even need your head all that much, and besides, you love him anyway. 

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He’ll tell you he loves you anyway, too.

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WHAT’S FOR DINNER:
Going out tonight, so I’ll tell you some of the things I baked this week instead:

2 lemon meringue pies
1 batch of chocolate salted caramel cupcakes
Chocolate-dipped granola bars (Pioneer Woman’s recipe)
Chocolate chip cookies
PB&J breakfast muffins (sooooo good)

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Treasure!!

When the stores started filling their aisles last April with squirt guns, beach balls, sidewalk chalk, and popsicle molds I couldn’t resist the temptation to fill my cart with their rainbow of colors.  Then as I was checking out I remembered this old treasure box I had given my sister, and I knew that I had to bury this cartload of summer toys in the backyard and the boys were going to have to dig it up.

And so, that first full day of summer, my boys were playing in the backyard when they stumbled on…

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The conversation that followed went exactly how I had been picturing it.

Kid A: What is it?
Kid B: It’s a map!
Kid C: It’s a treasure map!
Kid D:  LET’S FOLLOW IT!

The map led them first to the Pew Pew tree, very ripe with its crop of squirt guns:

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Then they trooped into the front yard to harvest the fruit of Ye Ole’ Gum Tree:

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Next they marched down Smuggler’s Cover for pirate swords.

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Then the most dangerous part of the journey—they had to cross Falling Squirrel Landing.  Lacking helmets, they improvised.

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And finally, X marked the spot!

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(Fortunately, the boys were too excited about finding the treasure to realize this is the spot they always pee on when they don’t want to come inside to go to the bathroom.)

And there it was—the Solstice Treasure.

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The rest of the day was filled with squirt gun fights, making popsicles, silly string wars, bubbles outside, and the chewing of gum.

It was an AWESOME first day of summer.

Now, about the second day of summer…

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Pasta bake with random things from fridge/pantry
Corn with chili lime salt and cilantro

I Hate Endings

The kids brought home one zillion papers from school this week.  There were the usual “Class Memories” books, “Remember Me” books, “My Classmates” books, etc.  Among all the paper I found some gems (and I’m not talking about the safety patrol paper I filled out for Vincenzo that came home in the big mess, clearly not turned in).

Here’s a page from a book Rocco made with his Big Buddy.  I got the impression throughout the year that his Big Buddy might not have been the brightest Big Buddy in the box.

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Rocco, in fact, had to stop his Big Buddy from using a gold crayon to color the gold that they supposedly made using their red crayon.

This came off of one of Vincenzo’s papers—I have no idea what it has to do with metaphor, but I love how he so coolly decimates Abraham Lincoln in the hypothetical reading competition:

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(Let’s just hope Abe Lincoln doesn’t challenge him to a spelling competition next.)

Vincenzo also wrote an essay about how to survive fourth grade, and I thought it had some good advice in it.  His three pieces of advice were:

1. Never jump off equipment because the teachers don’t like it.
2. Always tie your shoes.
3. Never push your friends, no matter how tempting it is.

Good advice for fourth grade and for life.

I’m feeling overly sentimental about my babies moving on up to the next grades.  Next year Vincenzo will be the oldest in the school and I just feel like bringing him home from the hospital and starting all over again.  I know it’s only fifth grade, but it feels like his senior year to me, and I don’t care if he’s ready for it…I’m not!

Rocco was a baby when I brought him to his first day of kindergarten and now he is this sophisticated little man, reading chapter books and begging for sleepovers and befriending anyone who looks lonely on the playground.  Sometimes it feels like that kid was born with a briefcase in his hand and an extra lollipop in his back pocket.

Next year is my last year with Leo at home for half the day.  My last year spending the afternoon reading picture books in front of the fire and eating grilled cheese sandwiches, then snuggling up in the fire truck bed for an afternoon nap.  I mean, I could still do that when he goes off to kindergarten but I think it would be a bit weird, right?  Or maybe just sad.

I know the time goes fast.  I am painfully aware of how fast it goes.  Knowing that doesn’t make it slow down anymore; it just makes some days harder, like the days when you can actually see time whizzing by you.

Thursday will come and summer will be here and we will be partying in full force and playing Cake by the Ocean on repeat, usually at the ocean, too.  Thursday will be awesome.

But before Thursday I have to get through Wednesday and the kindergarten graduation and the moving-up assembly and the whole “party’s over” feeling that the end of the school year always brings. 

Cue the funeral music.  My kids made it to the next grade.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Went out for Vietnamese food

(The kids are in swim lessons in the evening so we are spending a couple fun but expensive weeks exploring all the restaurants around town.)

Beached

We spent last weekend at McStreamy’s cabin on the coast and even though my kids have been to the beach at least 100 times before, they could not stop talking about this trip.  It was kind of wild—their cabin is right near the beach and when the tide is in, the water comes right up to the bottom of their stairs that go down to the beach, then when it’s low tide it goes out for maybe half a mile.  It does all this in about two hours, so we got to walk on sand that was under 30 feet of water just hours before.  We saw so many kinds of creatures we never knew existed.

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(Some of these sea creatures, like this guy here, were having a very bad day.)

I’m not much for picking up crawly and/or slimy things, especially when the crawly and/or slimy things have claws and especially especially when McStreamy tells me, “If this one were full grown, it could chop your finger off with one of its claws.”   These finger-chopping crabs and whatnots would emerge from the kelp beds that we had to walk through to get to the ocean.  No one else seemed to mind that they might step on one at any minute, but I went straight into “Hail Mary” mode when I was walking through the kelp.  Every step felt like a dare.  I made it through the weekend with all 20 toes, so I’d like to give a shout out to the Blessed Virgin.

Fortunately for me and my kids, the McStreamys are fine with picking up sea creatures and they taught the kids how to do so as well.  The boys loved flipping a crab over and telling if it was a boy or a girl, and when they went to school the next day apparently they taught all their friends how to sex crabs.

(What?!  That’s what it’s called!)

There was this little river on the shore that started up as the tide went out, and all sorts of sea things would spend a few hours crawling out of the kelp beds and floating down the stream to the ocean.  The boys started collecting empty clam shells, then catching the crabs and racing them down to the ocean in their “boats.”

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Rocco spent hours doing this and imagining his tiny crabs on their shell boats, partying far out in the ocean, until Spawn of McStreamy (who will henceforth be known as Fruit Bat) showed him where all the shells had crash landed ten feet before making it to the ocean.  Rocco was too disheartened to race them after that.

Vincenzo organized a work crew to build a dam to try to stop the river from making it to the ocean.  It doesn’t look like much, but the picture below represents two solid hours of work!

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Anyway, the weekend was a crazy fun and I’m glad I have friends with such good connections to the sea and such little regard for their own fingers and toes.  (Seriously, Mr. McStreamy got bitten by a shark he was trying to catch during a past visit to the ocean.)

And now, more pix!

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WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
We’re going out, and we’re going Greek!

Baby C Photoshoot

I got my hands on a baby this week and I am one of those people who knows exactly to do with a baby when one gets with in range.  I shoot it.

With my camera people, with my camera!  What did you think I meant?!

I met Baby C’s mom the day before she delivered him and I promise you, that’s not the reason I introduced myself to her.  Really, it’s not!  She is just one of those people you instantly pour your heart out to, and she shares hers back with you, and even though our friendship is as brand new as this perfect baby of hers, it is also growing just as fast and it, too, feels like a precious gift.  How did I get so lucky?

But you’re really here to see baby pix, right?  I have to say, Baby C’s older brother was quite a ham, on and off the camera, so he gets a fair share of the airspace today.

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(I did get a nice smiling shot of the family, too, but this one trumped it.)

While you’re here, I want to point out the amazing incredibleness of my younger sister, who knit the hat, diaper cover, and “baby condom” (her term, not mine) seen above in the pictures.  I sent her a picture at 9AM on Friday, asking if she could make something and she showed up at my house a couple hours later with a prototype.  She might be crazier than me!

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Clean-out-the-fridge night, starring…
Biscuits & gravy
Greek salad
Corn on the cob
3 pieces of bacon
Mango
11 pounds of strawberries (we went strawberry picking today and I went a little overboard.)

(Guess I’m still the crazy one.)