Christmas ‘17, Now in Technicolor

Here they are, the funny, the pretty, and the obscene:

Waiting for the Christmas Eve festivities to officially start:


(Yes, he’s reading in there too.)

Our beautiful neighbors—no party ever really starts until these guys show up:


Sweet Baby Cal with the former Sweet Baby Vincenzo…


And behind the scenes:


(Get it?  Behind the scenes?  I kill me!)

The party was too much for Baby George, so his parents laid him on the hardwoods, right next to a super soft blanket for a long winter’s nap:




Wait-what?  Ewwwww!

I have never been more afraid of my BIL than now:


Gitchy goo time!


As the day wore on, we headed to church where things got pretty precise:


And finally…Christmas morning!  And miracle of miracles, it SNOWED on Christmas, which never happens here!  (Please ignore the smiling child and his gigantic Lego set in the foreground—the true magic in this picture is that white stuff outside the windows.)


Just as exciting, the Beef Stick Fairy came!


Leo got a Picachu that talks when you push its tummy.  Leo screams when we refer to it as “Speakachu.”  That only spurs us on.


Here is Vincenzo putting his sweaty pre-teen palms to work on a hand boiler:


Then we headed to my parents’ house for the day, which was a blur of present opening, prime rib eating, child tormenting, snowball throwing, and general merriment and jollyhood.  I was too busy annihilating the children with any and all forms of snow weaponry I could make, so I didn’t get many pictures of the day.  I did manage to get a picture of the kids after our epic snowball fight though.


Er…did I say after?


Hope you all had the merriest of Christmases yourselves.  I miss it so!

Conveyer belt sushi (I don’t actually have a conveyer belt in my kitchen—we went out)

Christmas x Five

Leo on Christmas:

He didn’t know what he wanted for Christmas this year.  In his letter to Santa, all he asked for was a cotton candy maker for his friends, Ian and Harley, because they didn’t have one and he did.  I apparently missed the mark by getting him a pair of Seahawks sweatpants for Christmas.  He opened the box then looked up at me.  “Why did you give me clothes?!”

His brothers seemed to know him better than anyone, though, and they got him a Hatchimal.  I had never heard of them before.

They came in an egg, which Leo got to hatch himself, and the look on his face as he was hatching his babies was worth every cent.  And there are many, many cents in a Hatchimal.  (7,000 of them, not including all the tax cents.)  I kid you not, watching him hatch his babies gave me a taste of what it’s like to actually become a grandparent.  The love and tenderness on Leo’s face, the joy when his baby hatched?  I actually teared up a bit when the egg cracked open.


And it was twins!  I looked up at Kevin and said emotionally, “Our first grand dragons!” 

And now that I have written the words “grand” and “dragon” right next to each other like that on the Internet I’m sure I have been put on some list somewhere, but does it help to include pictures of my grand dragons?


Leo promptly named them Joe and Shane.  Shane is the pink one.

Rocco on Christmas:

He woke up many times on Christmas Eve night, much to his older brother’s chagrin.  Vincenzo said once Rocco woke him up to sing “Silver Bells to him,” once to tell him it was still snowing, and twice to check to see if Santa had come.  (He had.  Was the second check really necessary?)  Kevin found him building one of his Christmas Eve Lego sets at 2AM.

All the kid wanted for Christmas was Legos, and when he unwrapped a pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve, he tried to act happy but I could tell he was disappointed.  Ironically, it has now been three days since he has taken off said pajamas.

Santa Claus delivered, though, with the number one Lego set Rocco wanted: the white house.  As he sat building it that morning, he said, “I can’t believe I’m actually doing this!”  He said he had been dreaming of that set for so long, it felt unreal.

Even though we were gone all of Christmas Day, somehow Rocco had built all of this by 9AM the day after Christmas.  Kevin nailed it when he said that Rocco is chainsmoking Lego sets.


Well, they say to smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, and Rocco smoked ‘em all.  (Now the poor guy is all out and keeps eyeing his brothers’ unopened Lego sets.)

Vincenzo on Christmas:

This guy is impossible to buy for.  He always says he doesn’t know what he wants, and he’s right.  He doesn’t know.  Actually, in his Santa letter he said he wanted less for Christmas this year—less homework, less chores, less arguing with his brothers.  Instead, he got a pair of headphones. 


And he gets to use them less than he wants to.

The relatives didn’t know what to do with Vincenzo, and even though I told all of them to get him sweatshirts since he goes through them like single-use items, instead he ended up with this: 


So here is Vincenzo, playing with all his Christmas toys.


(Yes, that is Leo in the background wearing his new pink unicorn pajama pants and night vision spy goggles.)

Kevin on Christmas:

Kevin had asked for a coat for Christmas, and one day in December he noticed that I had written “coat for K” on my to-do list.  When I looked at my to-do list later that day, I saw that he had changed the “c” in “coat” to a “g.”  So he got this for Christmas.


I never knew someone could rock a goat shirt the way he can! 

Also, we had gone shopping for his first set of business-casual clothes earlier in the year and both he and the sales guy nearly made me leave the store for suggesting a shirt that had little owls on it.  So who can blame me?


I really had no choice.  He also had asked for a flask, why I have no idea, but I found the perfect one.

81St2I Lg L._SL1500_

It even came with a note about how this flask is for “winners.”  It’s a small concession I made, after having cut Kevin’s Make America Great Again shirt in half the day Trump got elected.

Me on Christmas:

Kevin was super busy this year, so I did him a favor and bought my own gifts.  He will not stop making fun of me for it.  But man, did I score some nice stuff.  And so much of it, too!  Sweatshirts, shoes, pajamas—all the things my boys hated getting for Christmas.  I can’t figure out a way to take a funny picture of them, so instead, here’s a picture with another favorite Christmas gift:


His and hers saliva collection kits! Wow, I really want to make a crass comment about spit vs. swallow, but my blog is too classy for that.

Breakfast for dinner:
Hash browns
Fried eggs

The Day After

Me, the day after Christmas: So boys, what do you want to start with?  Magic sand, play dough, window markers, board games, parachute guys, gliders, make-your-own erasers, science kits, crystal growing kits, building the dragon roller coaster, fingerprinting kit, or a puzzle?

The boys:


More on Christmas later.  I have a sectional to save.

What’s Cookin’ Tonight:
Omelet-wrapped qesadillas
Carrots a la orange

Da Kids

1. Leo has a Christmas joke for you.

Leo: What’s the difference between an alphabet and a Christmas alphabet?
You: I don’t know, what?
Leo: The Christmas alphabet has no E!  Get it?!

(He means no L.)

2. I was talking to the boys about an upcoming funeral and this conversation happened:

Me: Leo, were you at Mrs. C’s funeral with us last year?
Leo: I think so.  Was that the one with the glow sticks?

3. Rocco: Mom, I don’t feel comfortable in the classroom because the humility level is too high. 

(He meant humidity.)


The other night I asked the boys to clear the table after dinner.  They took care of their plates then said they were done. 

Me: Boys, what about all the other dishes?
Rocco: We didn’t put that stuff there.

5. I’m always making charts for the boys when their behavior dips below acceptable levels—for everything from following directions to wiping their butts after they poop.  Not joking; we actually do need a wiping chart for one of our kids, and he’s not the first one to have that chart.  Anyway, I found this on the fridge the other day.


It’s a chart to keep me from leaving my computer on the floor.


Oh, I’m sorry—this appears to be a computer shart, not chart. 

Ironic, considering I’m not the one who has to have my underwear checked for poo stains each night.

So that’s a slice of daily life in our house.  Kevin has forced me to take a two week break from writing, since I am full time momming for the next two weeks, and I have to say, it’s kind of nice.  I don’t have to hate what I did at the end of each day!  Except I accidentally wrote picture book today. 

Well, nobody’s perfect.

Smoked salmon alfredo
Lemon garlic beans
Christmas cookies

Christmas Party

Kevin and I had his company party a couple weekends ago.  I was dreading going because Microsoft parties had gotten to be so miserably miserable, but wow, Google throws a different kind of party.  Google put the A’s in PAR-TAY.  There was silent disco, a whole floor dedicated to Bollywood, henna tents, naan tents, caricature tents, photo booths, and people whose sole purpose was to make sure we were being fed a constant stream of macarons.  We only got three pictures from the night, but here they are.  Please note Kevin is holding his own “HUNK” sign in the first shot, not me.  (Or maybe it’s in reference to me?  I’m confused.)


We had 7 seconds to get props in between each photo; I didn’t even know Kevin was wearing a horse head in the last one until we looked at the pictures at the end.

It’s a slippery slope between photo booth fun and beastiality, people.  A slippery slope.

P.S.  I call him Whinny.

Chicken noodle soup
Biscuits and blackberry jam
Christmas cookies


Wow, I am sorry guys—I just don’t have much to blog about!  I’ve been writing so much, it just seems hard to think of more words to put here. 

Well, there is one thing that is big on my mind but it’s actually incredibly sad, and I don’t usually put incredibly sad stuff on my blog.  It’s too big to ignore, though, so I am going to write about it anyway.  Proceed with caution.

The sad news is that one of Rocco’s classmates died over Thanksgiving weekend—a perfectly healthy seeming second-grade girl.  I don’t want to say much about it to protect the family’s privacy, but it hit us all hard, students, teachers, and parents alike.  It was the third tragic funeral I’ve attended in the past six months: a child’s teacher, a friend’s husband, and a little girl.  And it’s all made me think about how much all of us have lost, and how the holidays, as lovely as they are, can also bring that loss front and center again, like the angel atop a Christmas tree.  So I will share with you the letter I wrote this family who is grieving the loss of their little girl this Christmas and always.  I share this here for all of those who have loved and lost.

I want you to know how much we are all hurting along with you. I wish that by sharing your grief we could somehow lessen your own grief, but nothing can lessen the heartache of parents who have lost a child. Nine years ago, my husband and I said goodbye to our stillborn baby boy, and laying him to rest tore the hearts right out of our bodies. But through our whole ordeal, there was also so much beauty and love and yes, even laughter. Baby Angelo has been gone for nine years, and yet we still see the beautiful ripples he made when he touched down on Earth, reaching out and still doing good in this world. Your daughter’s light and joy will carry on, making the world a brighter place, even though she is gone. She will continue to spread beauty farther than you’ll probably even know. You will always know how deeply you are loved by friends and family and how many people are there to put you back on your feet when you fall down. You will always feel your daughter living inside your heart, doing her beautiful work from there. You will always be looking for signs that her light is still shining. And you will always find them.

So here I am, sending a big hug to all of you who have someone you are missing this Christmas season.

Seared halibut with beurre blanc
Asparagus with hollaindaise sauce
Fresh bread
Candyshop pizza