Leo @ Five

Leo woke up on his fifth birthday very excited to show me what he can do now that he’s five.  I came running over, camera at the ready. 20170210_151048231_iOS20170210_151055564_iOS

That’s it.  Very understated.  Very art nouveau.  No?

Then he opened a present and saw a new pair of Batman pajamas.  “Ooo!” he squealed.  “Hand-me-downs!!!”  Poor guy.  It’s all he’s ever known before.

He does love clothes, though I don’t always “get” his look, like this one that I posted earlier on my blog.

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Yeah…you kinda lost me there, buddy.

Some days we’re more on the same page.

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He was way beyond reach of my social class that day.

Leo is completely out of control of his emotions, and he has been for several years now.  His two favorite temper-tantrum styles are the “Teenage Girl” and the “I’ve Been Shot!” ones.  The Teenage Girl one plays out like this:

Vincenzo, sweetly: Leo, did you get a birthday crown at school today? 
Leo: Ugh!  VinCENzo!  Why did you SAY that?

The other one goes more like this:

Me: Are you hungry for lunch?
Leo: [falls to the floor and arches his back, rolls around like he’s being gassed]
Kevin: It curled up! 
Leo: [sounds of jackelope screaming]

But he loves books.  He loves, loves, loves to sit on the couch and lean over until he’s melted into me while I read chapter after chapter of his brothers’ books to him.  He is as addicted to these reading marathons as I am, though they leave us both wishing there were more hours in the day. 

Leo is a candy horse.  We don’t call him “Sweet Leo” for nothing—75% of his body weight has been put there by cookies, candy, and cake.  But as much as he loves candy, he doesn’t think twice about sharing it all with everyone.  He loves seeing other people enjoy a piece of his candy almost as much as he loves eating it himself, and that is something I just love about him.  He’s a candy philanthropist.  Or maybe more like a drug dealer, trying to get everyone else hooked.  He’s a drug dealer with philanthropist tendencies.

He shares other things, too, like his bike.  With fifth graders.

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He asked for the weirdest toy every for Christmas, which he named Snappy Snap Skittles.  (He names all his animals after candy.)  Each night he puts Snappy outside his door to guard it, even though we know that the most terrible thing of all is actually inside the room and looks astonishingly like a peaceful, sleeping young boy.

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Every morning, he tucks Snappy into bed, turns off the light, and closes the door so Snappy can be well rested for the next night.

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It’s kinda sweet how he takes care of Snappy, but it’s also kinda cruel, how he makes Snappy work when the other stuffed animals get to lounge around in their money suits all day.

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Leo thinks Rocco is the devil.  I’m hoping this seemingly endless phase will pass soon because I used up all my patience in conflict management between these two years ago.  Instead of navigating them through troubled water these days, I just yell, “BEDROOMS!  NOW!”

With both boys spending so much time in their bedrooms, maybe Rocco is what Snappy is guarding Leo’s bedroom door from?

Leo has some dear friends at school who love capes as much as he does.

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These two begged so much for a sleepover, we finally let them have one.  At four years old.  That seems crazy to me, but then Leo is no stranger to crazy.

He’s crazy for candy, he’s crazy for books, he’s crazy for video games and capes and anything he can wear on his face.  He’s crazy when he’s in a bad mood, he’s crazy when he’s in a good mood.

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But no matter what, Leo is my kind of crazy.

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And he’d like you to know that he is five.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Crepes (cheese, berry, or Nutella)
Parmesan broccoli

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Alternative Photo Facts

You guys, my Photoshop skills are starting to scare me.  I’m beginning to lose grip of what’s real and what’s not anymore.

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Did I Photoshop Kevin’s arm out of the photo to make it look like Leo was flying…or did I Photoshop Kevin’s arm into the picture so as to not freak everyone out that Leo was actually flying?  I can’t remember anymore!

I think I’m going to go apply for a job at the Trump administration…

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Grilled kielbasa
Lemon garlic linguini
Random other stuff

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today I was a bit of a wreck.  It’s a long, boring story; basically I thought I could do way more things than I am able to, which resulted in me royally screwing up every one of those things, from refilling my conditioner bottle with shampoo to forgetting to bring the music for musical chairs to my son’s Valentine’s party.

But, like Amelia Bedelia, the one thing I just don’t screw up is my lemon meringue pie, or in tonight’s case, the chocolate buttermilk cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting.

I even remembered to inscribe a couple specifically to Kevin.

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In case he was wondering.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
New York Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
Sesame Seared Scallops
Lemon Garlic Linguini
Gooseberries
Crudites (only on Valentine’s would I call sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes “crudites”)
Valentine Cupcakes

Superhero Party: Of Capes and Cakes

Kevin has forbid me to overplan birthday parties after several dozen years (okay, over a decade’s worth) of them.  I promised him I would not go overboard.  I promised I would just plan a simple get-together with a few sandwiches.  Maybe I’d even buy a birthday cake this year.

Then I spent a month completely occupied with absolutely, definitely NOT planning the party.  All that not planning and not prepping consumed all my spare time and some of my non spare time these past few weeks.  It was downright exhausting, not planning this party.

The day before Leo’s party, I got a bit nervous.  He took a bath at noon, got into his pajamas, and at three told me he was tired and was just going to sleep a little bit.

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In my experience, there is only one reason my boys ever, ever put themselves to bed, and it always involves a lot of vomit followed by a manic sanitizing of the house.  With some effort, I woke Leo up for dinner, but he wasn’t hungry.  Then he excused himself from the table and when we went to look for him after dinner, we found him asleep in bed.

I got kind of panicky.  I kept thinking of all the hours I spent NOT making capes, NOT sewing masks, NOT cutting out decorations and baking cakes.

But the birthday gods smiled upon me, and it turns out Leo was not sick after all, just really, really tired. 

And now, for pictures of a simple, bare-bones Heroes and Villains Party only No One Wanted to be Villains so it’s Really just a Superheroes Party, MrsMouthy style.

The invitations, with opening cape covers.  Basically just as easy as filing out an E-vite, right?

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For a photo op, I turned our fireplace into a superhero cityscape. 

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Once we got it up I realized the buildings were too small and were placed too high and kids were going to look like they were in extreme foreground for pictures.  But!  In the spirit of not overdoing the party, I did not rip it down and make a properly proportioned city.

The table decorations—not even homemade.  Look at me go!

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The spread.  You know, “a few sandwiches.”

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See, I even included some non-thematic food because that’s what people serve when they don’t overplan parties!

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But then my sister held up a water bottle, decked out in a darling blue felt cape, and gave me a look.  This look.

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And I knew my game was up.

Because that wasn’t the only water bottle wearing a cape.

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And downstairs, kids were busily decorating their own capes and masks that my sister and I had sewn during the weeks before the party.  She can’t judge me too much, having been a collaborator.  She is such an enabler.

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Also, there was a bouncy house.

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And funny napkins.

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And a hilarious game of “Hero, Hero, Villain,” a.k.a. “Duck, Duck, Goose.”  (Photo not available because I was too busy kicking all their little butts instead of taking pictures of the game.  Turns out I’m SUPER fast.)

Side note: Superhero parties are also a great chance to repurpose your super sexy Wonder Woman costume from the 90s…

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Now for my favorite part of every party…the cake!!!

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(Special thanks to Kathy from merrimentdesign.com, who created the cake toppers and sent me my own personalized copy for free.  Who does that kind of thing?!)

And since we’ve admitted that I did go a teensy bit overboard on the party, Ima gonna go ahead and Photoshop that one cherry sour ball on the leftish side that is out of place on the above picture.  It’s driving me bonkers.

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And since I’ve got Photoshop open, let’s go ahead and fix that frosting job.

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I have to admit, that felt good.  That felt real good.

This next picture you really hear rather than see.  It’s the madness that happens between yelling out “CAKE TIME!” and actually getting the cake into the hands of the party-goers.

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My favorite-ever pictures of candles being blown out.  I can’t even write captions for these pictures—they say it all.

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Seriously.  Brothers.

Here’s Leo eating the smoke from his birthday candles.

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*sniff* They grow up so fast.

Then there were presents.  Everyone picked such good ones, LOL!

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I loved that the party was slowed down enough by this point that Leo would open a present, then he and his friends would all play with it before moving onto the next one.  I wish every party went that way, but this is the first time ever I’ve seen that happen!

Here is the gallery of Superheroes who look a little too far from the city to actually be of any help.

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The above picture before editing:

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So now my littlest baby is five.  In case you don’t believe it either, here’s proof:

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It’s official: Leo is a handful.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Heart-shaped pizzas
Roasted broccoli 
Roasted cauliflower with Asian marinade 
Valentine Sundaes

Crappy Knock-Knockers

Any of you who have kids know that they are the WORST at coming up with knock-knock jokes.  This is something all kids everywhere are terrible at, and yet they somehow think they are comedic geniuses, like anything that begins with “knock knock” ends in uproarious laughter. 

Our boys have been going through a particularly vicious bout of knock-knockitis lately, despite that we constantly tell them they’re not funny.  They are seriously the worst jokes we’ve ever heard.

Leo: Knock knock!
Me: Who’s there?
Leo: Spaghetti!
Me: Spaghetti who?
Leo: Bowl of spaghetti!  Was that funny?
Me: No.

I go on to explain that generally if you have to ask if something was funny, it’s not funny.  You can tell if something is funny because people are laughing. 

Rocco: Knock knock!
Me: Do we have to do this again?
Rocco: You’re supposed to say who’s there.  Say “who’s there,” Mom.
Me: Who’s there?
Rocco: Pillow!
Me: Pillow who?
Rocco: Pillow blah blah blah!  Is that funny?  Pillow blah blah blah, Mom!  Pillow blah blah blah, Leo! 

I explain that repeating something several times does not make that something funny.  We would have laughed the first time if it were funny; we’re not just waiting for you to say it the exact right amount of times to start laughing.

Leo: Knock knock!
Me: Seriously, I cannot do this one more time.  Kevin?  Kevin, are you home?
Kevin:  I’m here—I’ve got this one.  Who’s there?
Leo: Couch!
Kevin: Couch who?
Leo: Spaghetti and couch!  Was that funny?  Get it?  Spaghetti and couch?  Was that funny, Mom?!

I try to teach them by example.  I tell them a knock-knock joke needs to be clever, needs to include a play-on-words or be surprising, and by all means, needs to make some kind of sense.  Here, I say, like this one:

Me: Knock knock!
Rocco: Who’s there?
Me: Ima!
Rocco: Ima who?
Me: Ima gonna slap the next person who tells me a knock-knock joke!

They laugh.  I point out that this is how you tell if a joke is funny.  The laughter thing.

The other night I was reading from a book that had some knock-knock jokes in it.  Real ones like about interrupting cows.  I finished reading and set the book down, and Leo couldn’t resist.

Leo: Knock knock!
Me: Who’s there?
Leo: Fanks!
Me: Fanks who?
Leo: Fanks for reading the knock-knock jokes!

It wasn’t good.  It definitely wasn’t a good joke.  But at least it was a step in the right direction.

I leave you with another knock-knock attempt by my youngest.

Leo: Knock knock!
Me: Who’s there?
Leo: Banana!
Me: Banana who?
Leo: Knock knock?
Me: Who’s there?
Leo: Banana!
Me: Banana who?
Leo: Knock knock!
Me: Who’s there?
Leo: Banana!
Me: Banana who?
Leo: Knock knock!
Me: Who’s there?
Leo: Orange!
Me: Orange who?
Leo: Orange you glad I didn’t say “orange?”

And actually, he messed that one up so royally, I actually did laugh.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Homemade mac ‘n cheese
Mango
Buttered broccoli
Cherry pudding cake with vanilla ice cream

Oh, MrsMouthy

My mom hasn’t left anything remarkably funny at my house lately, and without my favorite person to make fun of giving me material, I guess I’ll have to make fun of myself instead.

So my sister, Jnet, gave me this beautiful knitted gift for Christmas.

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Sadly, these leg warmers didn’t fit me.  I tried and I tried, but I could not get the things over my feet.  I so wanted to wear those around, sticking up precociously from a pair of boots, but it wasn’t going to happen.  I figured Jnet had sized them on her own petite self, forgetting that her older sister is more of the she-gladiator type than the delicate waif type.  The next time Jnet came over, I handed them back to her.

“What?” she asked.  “Don’t you like the hand warmers I knitted for you?”

Doh! 

Suddenly it all made sense.

Those little protrusions there are not big toe holes, for example, but rather thumb holes.

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It also explained this little tag covered with words that was hanging off of them.

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Well,since Jnet was so helpful with the my “leg warmer” problem, that evening I sent her a picture of a pair of gloves I am hoping she can help me fix up.

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I can’t find anywhere for my fingers to go!

(She said yes, she’d love to help me with my gloves and while she’s over she’ll fix up my bathroom signs—all the lettering is backwards on them!)

Aren’t sisters the TSEB?

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Chicken coconut curry
Fish sticks
Crusty bread
Failed macarons (I’m trying to teach myself to make them.  It is a frustrating yet delicious process.)