Let’s Zelebrate!!!

QUICKIE: We read a book about ninjas this week, so now Vincenzo runs around with a sword saying he is a ninja turtle.  He also eats an insane amount of pizza.  I told him that if he had put all that together 30 years ago, he’d be a millionaire by  now.
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O frabjous day!  Callooh!  Callay!  The ABC activities are OVER!!!!  I feel bad being so excited because it really was fun until we hit U week, when Vincenzo started responding to any ABC-related questions with “mew-mews” and also started thinking of anything art-related as being the devil’s work.

For Z week we went to the zoo.  I know, I know, who would have thunk?  My favorite part was when Vincenzo played “vet” with Abby in the indoor area.  (They’re not supposed to play doctor yet, but vet is okay, right?)  Vincenzo  held a stuffed gorilla baby, put the stethoscope on its chest, then looked up at me worriedly.  “I don’t hear anything Mom!”  After I assured him that’s perfectly normal for stuffed animals, he decided the gorilla was hungry so he fed it a bottle.  Never mind that he applied the bottle directly to the top of the gorilla’s head–his previous interactions with dolls all involved him throwing the doll off the top bunk of his bed and yelling, “SWIM, scoopa diver, SWIM!”  I was thrilled, of course!  I didn’t know Vincenzo would be able to babysit Mbungo so soon!

Here’s our Z craft.  The zipper really works, and now Vincenzo is also now trained to tell people to “X-Y-Z” and start cracking up when their zipper is in the down position.  It’s really charming.

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WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Beef tenderloin with figs in a cream brandy sauce
Grilled asparagus with basil sauce
Carrot cheesecake

Y oh Y am I still trying?

QUICKIE: Vincenzo, watching my bath water drain out: “MOMMY!  PART OF YOUR BOOBY IS WASHING DOWN THE DRAIN!”
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I had fun learning all about the letter Y this week.  Really–I would eat entirely yellow meals, watch yak videos on YouTube, and shout “yahoo” at everyone I saw even if I didn’t have a completely disinterested child to do it all for.

I catered the art project to Vincenzo this week, who loves taking pictures of things.  So I gave him the camera and told him to go around the house taking pictures of yellow things.  “No thanks!” he said.  It reminded me of when he was a baby and I hid creamed peas below the yogurt on his spoon.  He fell for that exactly one time and after that, he wouldn’t eat creamed peas OR yogurt.  It’s the same with art projects.  No matter how I package it and no matter how much yogurt I stick it under, he spits it out before even biting.

Anyway, I refused to quit the ABC activities so close to the end so I went around the house taking pictures of yellow things.  When I popped them up on the computer screen, you know what Vincenzo did?  He asked for the camera.  I gave it to him and he snapped a picture of all the yellow photos on the computer screen.  “There!” he said.  “I took one picture and it has LOTS of yellow things in it!” 

The stinker.  When did he turn 13?

Here’s the final project.  But people, this is bad.  I’m already doing my son’s homework for him, and his teacher totally knows it!  I just hope it doesn’t affect my–er, his–grade.

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WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Vesuvio chicken
Mushroom and rice noodle salad

Blimey, that’s an Epic Fail!

QUICKIE: This morning I told Vincenzo he needed to put some pants on because his friends were coming over.  He asked, “But don’t you want them to see my cute little legs?”
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I love St. Patrick’s Day.  I love it because I don’t feel guilty for not staying up three hours past my bedtime like I do on New Year’s; I don’t feel depressed because I was not surprised with a box of chocolates and a helicopter ride to Tiffany’s like on Valentine’s Day; I am not confused about how to celebrate it like I am on President’s Day.  We don’t have to decide which side of the family we’re spending it with this year or thaw anything in the fridge for 52 hours ahead of time.  It’s a holiday that just quietly shows up, expects nothing, and when it leaves no one is in the hospital with their faces blown off.

We started our Patty’s Day festivities with a leprechaun hunt today.  After eating a green lunch, Vincenzo and a couple friends found a poem from a leprechaun* that told them there were some gold coins hidden in the house.  All they had to do was find the shamrocks with their clues, and the first clue was under their own chairs!  The kids eagerly climbed under their chairs and within seconds one of them cried, “I FOUND IT!”  He came up brandishing a piece of his green bagel from lunch, which he promptly ate.  The kids seemed satisfied that their search was over and hence dispersed.

Once we refocused the group, they found the shamrock under the chair with this picture taped to it:

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“What is it?”  I asked.  “Where are you supposed to look next?”  Their answers were, respectively:  “It’s a fire truck,” “It’s a butterfly,” and “I don’t know,” the latter being my son’s answer.  My son who sits on this couch every day. 

Anyway, the next clue brought them downstairs to the piano.  The kids squealed and ran downstairs, and the hunt was on.  But by the time I made it downstairs myself I found each of them in a different section of the room, playing quietly with a toy.  I read all their thought bubbles and didn’t see a single mention of either piano or leprechaun hunt.

Eventually the hunt was finished and the gold coins found and the boys went back to playing the game they really wanted to play: Two Dads and a Baby.  Which is really much more of a Greek tradition than an Irish one. 

(Cue Kevin to leave his favorite joke in the comments section.)

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Pulled pork sandwiches
Classic Mac ‘n Cheese
Steamed asparagus

*If you want to do a leprechaun hunt of your own and want to use my poem, send me your e-mail address.  The poem is too embarrassing for an snooty English major such as myself to publicly admit to having written.

What pwoblem?

QUICKIE: Just an update: we’re down to 25 seconds for the milk-warming!
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I decided to wevamp the ABC activities this week and go cwazy with the awt pwoject. 

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Did you guess it?  It’s a Water-colored, Winking Whale.  (At least, that’s what we told Vincenzo.  The twuth is we wan out of googly eyes and took advantage of Vincenzo’s naive, twusting spiwit to convince him that the whale’s other eye is wide open.)  Anyway, for my weaders following along at home, I had Vincenzo paint an entire page, then I cut out a winking whale shape.  And…Woila!

Oh, we also might have made fun of Vincenzo’s inability to pronounce the letter “R” all week.  He might not have wealized.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Westauwant cuisine

Velociraptors would have been cooler

QUICKIE: Our friend Jim started rollerblading recently.  His coworker asked him what the hardest part of rollerblading was.  “I don’t know,” Jim answered.  The coworker answered for him: “Telling your parents you’re gay.”
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I don’t know if I’ve just run out of steam on the ABC activities or if the last six letters of the alphabet are just inherently lame (no offense to all the Yolandas and Ulysseses that read this blog), but once again V week felt flat.  Everyone told me I could have fun just doing everything Vincenzo wanted since he himself is a V word, but if that’s the case then it’s been V week for 3-1/2 years.  So we settled for vegetable prints.

Vincenzo’s:

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The translation:

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Anyway, here’s a little shout-out to Mbungo.  He’s 17 weeks old today!!

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(Yes, I know there are two growing bumps.  Mbungo is the one in the white shirt.  The one in the green pants is my butt, which also thinks it’s carrying a baby.)

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Slow-cooker potato cheese soup
Sloppy Joes
Peas with thyme

*A couple times a year I try to make it through a week with only buying 1 or 2 things from the store.  This week I bought ground beef, lettuce, and chives, so my menus might look a little different.  It’s fun!  You should try it sometime!

S.O.S.

QUICKIE: Kevin donated blood last weekend.  When he came back home, Vincenzo asked, “Daddy, is your blood all gone now?”
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U week was extremely uneventful.  Pretty much all we did was make these umbrellas, and Vincenzo neither did nor said anything blog-worthy the entire time.

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Even though I’m feeling considerably better, I’m still nauseous 24-7 and a little blasé about some of my hobbies.  We spend a lot more time at home than usual, and I have to admit it’s incredibly boring at times.  For some reason–and I’m not saying this to be funny but because it’s the honest truth–I find it more intellectually stimulating to sit on the couch doing absolutely nothing than to play with my son.

This morning I came downstairs and Vincenzo was singing “Dead or Alive” into the Rock Band microphone.  Our house rule is no X-Box during the week, but there aren’t any rules about pretending to play X-Box.  Vincenzo set me up with a guitar, which he kept calling a “cantar,” and then he found one of those little blue people from the game of Life.  He ordered me to play my cantar with one hand and help the blue guy play another cantar.  To put it in perspective, the arrow is pointing to the Very Important Tiny Blue Cantar Player.

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Every few seconds, Vincenzo looked over to make sure I was strumming fast enough and the blue guy was still being included.  He himself moved onto drums.  But soon that wasn’t enough.  I was ordered to be the notes for his drum line.  He deemed me “orange” and instructed me to walk back and forth in front of the drums, just like the notes on real Rock Band.  Every time he hit the orange drum I was to explode, also as the notes do on Rock Band.  Sound funny to you?  Try it.  Then try it 100 more times.  And find someone to yell at you if you slow down or don’t explode explosively enough.

I’m not sure if this hour of my life was better or worse than the hour Vincenzo made me spend pretending to be an arrow that he shot off all over the yard.  Or the hour I had to pretend to be a fire he was putting out.  Tell me, is there more to life than this?

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
3 Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes
Edamame (which spell check would like me to change to “edema”)
Salad with the Usuals

Terrific Ts

QUICKIE: Just a note from the tulips on my mantel:

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Valentine’s Day is over.

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Last week was T week and while I had Tons of ideas for activities, all we did was make train sponge paintings and explain over and over that no, arcade does not start with R it starts with A and no, A does not come right after T.  (Seriously, he kept asking both questions.)

Anyway, for the art project I cut sponges into rectangles, circles, and smokestack shapes, then I drew tracks on a paper Vincenzo did the rest.  These are the pictures with his explanations.

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Train with smoke coming out of smokestack

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Train with broken smokestack and tires flying out of it

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Semi-truck in a bad accident

Edumacation.  Do you has it?

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Leftovers

S is (also for) Slackers

QUICKIE: Vincenzo to Abby: “Do you have a panic room in your house?  If you don’t, you should.”
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Anyone who lives within 50 miles of us has us to thank for the sun last week, as we willed it out by studying the letter S.  (But the sleet on Saturday and the snow on Sunday?  TOTALLY not us.)

We used yellow food coloring, coffee filters, and an eye dropper to make these suns.

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Then we decided to make sock puppets, but as I find activities involving a needle and thread somewhere between frustrating and infuriating, we outsourced to my sister.  I don’t have any pictures to post because Vincenzo traded Piggy Puppet for a shiny, gold pom-pom and shortly after that Snake-Pretending-to-be-Turtle Puppet disappeared.  Probably out of embarrassment.

We also took advantage of our warm weather to plant these seeds!

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The packages say it takes 8-10 days to sprout, but as my seeds sprouted in 4 days I am now under the belief that I am some kind of miracle worker who makes things grow faster.  Which makes me incredibly excited about this one other seed I’m growing. 

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What do you think–do I look like someone who might deliver a fully cooked baby in a month and a half?

I’ll announce the 80s bridesmaid winner tomorrow, so vote if you haven’t yet!

All things O

QUICKIE: Vincenzo, after drinking 2 glasses of milk in 1 hour, asked for a third.  I told him he could have water instead.  He cried, “But I’ve forgotten what milk tastes like!”
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We spent most of O week eating O shaped foods.  As you can see from this picture, it is not advisable to eat only O shaped foods for any given period of time, as they seem to be made largely of hydrogenated fats, high fructose corn syrup, and yellow dye #5.  (I have NO idea how a bag of Oreos made it into the mix–they’re not O shaped!)

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We also made five separate donut runs throughout the week.  Vincenzo ate the sprinkles off the top of the donuts and I ate the slightly chewed, spit-soggy bottoms of the donuts, thus ending the debate of, “What’s grosser than gross?”  (Moms are.)

I cut out some shapes to make owls but Vincenzo was SOOO not into the art project…again.  It’s hard to tell, but his is the second one.

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Next week I think we’ll just skip the art project and instead pull his fingernails off one by one.  It would save us both a lot of pain.

M Week: not just for kids.

QUICKIE:  Me to V: “Do you want some crackers?” V: “Yes.  I want lots of crackers.  Like FIVE crackers.  A whole town of crackers!”
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We just finished M week, and for those following along at home I will tell you there are so many things that start with M that you don’t really even need to plan it.  Just every once in awhile say to your child, “Hey, you’re drinking MILK!” or, “Look, we’re at the MALL!”  or “Because I’m you’re MOM and I told you to clean up this MESS.”  No extra teaching required; just say the M words louder than all the rest.  Oh, and be sure to stock up on marshmallows because once your child hears that they start with M there will be many heavy demands placed on you to keep the supply coming.  No worries, because R is for Rehab week is just around the corner.

Other secondary M themes we touched on were moody (although that one was really all Vincenzo); money (specifically the concepts of recession and the importance of consumer spending in times of economic downfall); and his mother, a MILF (hey, his friends were going to tell him if I didn’t).

The art project was our only real struggle.  The kid just won’t art anymore, and Kevin’s belts can’t hold up through many more lashings.  Kevin and I eked this monster painting out of Vincenzo, i.e. we made this project in front of him and pretended like it was the most fun thing we’ve ever done together.  Well–second most fun.

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I squirted four blobs of paint on a piece of finger paint paper, stuck another paper on top, and squished the blobs around.  I lifted off the top sheet to dry then found a bunch of eyes/mouths in clip art that I printed and cut.  I glued them on and–TA DA!!  Monsters that look like a three-year-old made them!

While M week was rough in patches, for the first time ever Vincenzo answered one of his Week in Review questions correctly.

Me: Vincenzo, what letter did we study this week?
V: Meow.
Me: I’ll just tell you.  It was M.  Do you know any words that start with M?
V: Meow.

My son.  He’s so smrt.