Organic love

Kevin and I celebrated our six-year anniversary last weekend.  We got married on 7-11 because my husband has this thing for Slurpees, so not only will he never forget the date but it is also always Free Slurpee Day on our anniversary.  The specialness is built right in.

This year we spent the weekend in my college down of Bellingham, which is surrounded by ocean, mountains, and forests, and organic wholesomeness…which meant the only gas stations in town were attended by this type of duuuuuuude:

They probably don’t sell real gas and they definitely don’t sell real Slurpees.  Bellinghammers would never go for a drink where the plastic straws come individually wrapped in plastic.

Bellingham is a town where you sit down for breakfast and the menu boasts, “Same day service!”  Then you open it up to order a burger and this is the selection:

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Like, where’s the beef?!  You decide to steer a different direction and have brunch instead.  The waitress asks, “Would you like 2% or soy with that?”  You ask for skim, causing a major commotion in the kitchen and a meltdown in the town’s organic cookie factory. 

As you finish eating, you notice a guy sitting alone at a table across from you, talking to himself.  You tell your husband that if you were in an airport you’d be freaking out if that guy were at your boarding gate, and just as you finish whispering the guy invites you to sit with him.  You do, because you’ve been married six years and have virtually nothing left to talk about.  The guy begins mumbling in a Russian accent that neither of you understand.  He orders coffee, tea, and wine for himself.  During the next half hour you understand the words “grandma,” “Al Capone,” “communism,” and one full sentence: “Will you pay my bill?”  You make some excuse about having to stop in at the store called The Hempest across the street, then you book over there and buy a pair of soda bottle recycled capris, just in case the KGB was listening.

It felt great to be back in “The ‘Ham,” though, even if there wasn’t a scrap of ultra-processed ham to be found.  We’d rather laugh than make puppy-dog eyes at each other over dinner, anyway.  Happy anniversary, Kev!

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WHAT’S COOKIN ‘2NITE:
Leftover chowdah
Biscuits with honey butter
Green beans with balsamic vinaigrette and shaved parmesan
Key lime something-or-other fancy French pastry (bought, not made)

Oh, Canada

QUICKIE: Vincenzo: “Mom!  Canada has a swimming pool!”
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Now here’s a question for you: If you’re vacationing in Canada and a seagull lands outside of your hotel room window, what should you do?  If you’re from my husband’s family, the answer is a no-brainer: you feed it.  (And to answer your next question: dark chocolate glazed raspberry granola bars.)

Coincidentally, this exact situation occurred just this last weekend when we took a little jaunt to Victoria, BC.  At breakfast the next day, Vincenzo decided to draw a picture of the seagull.

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Let me interpret the drawing, as dictated by the artist himself:

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And that, my friends, is you to draw a picture of a Canadian seagull.  Pretty swell, eh?

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Still not up to me!

What has two lips and goes "enh enh?"**

QUICKIE: Vincenzo’s pirate class is really paying off.  He now refers to a certain rectangular, hard candy as “Jolly Rogers.”
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We went to the tulip festival about an hour away this weekend.  I loved it; Kevin hated it; Vincenzo thought it was a total bust.  It’s not entirely the Tulip Festival’s fault.  On the way up there, Vincenzo asked, “So are we going to see lots of tools at the Tool Festival?”  We had to have a discussion about the meaning of “major letdown” for the second time this week.*

Oh, there was one bright spot in the day that Vincenzo perked up for.  It was the one segment of the day when he was not saying either “I want to go home now!” or “ENNH!  ENNH!  ENNH!”

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What you don’t see is the small crowd of people who stopped short of my camera’s view so that they wouldn’t ruin my picture of the honeybucket truck.

Being the terribly misguided parent that I am, I thought it would be nice to get a nice picture of my son with the tulips.  Vincenzo acted like his soul was being stolen.  I tried to fake him out by telling him I was taking pictures of the flowers, but his soul could sense what was happening and he took preventative measures:

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Oh well; at least it’s a nice picture of my husband’s crotch.  What gets me is that I saw tons of other families and kids there, and their kids were all standing among the tulips, smiling and frolicking.  What gives?

Anyway, at least the tulips don’t harbor the same levels of resentment and anger toward me that will later show up in relationship problems and unhealthy methods of self-medication.

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WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Out to Thai Ginger

*The first discussion came after we asked Vincenzo if he wanted to walk through the forest near our house.  He was giddy with excitement, and I was so happy that he was showing some interest in the outdoors.  All the way there he kept talking about rollercoasters, and 100 yards into the forest it was obvious this was not what he signed up for.  Turns out he was thinking we were going to an amusement park called Enchanted Forest that’s about an hour from our house and which we pointed out to him once, a year ago.

**Please tell me you get the title now?  It took a lot out of me to think of that.

Does this look Great to you?

QUICKIE: Today I had a conversation with Vincenzo about how whining, “Ehhhh!  Ehhhh!  Ehhhh!” when he wants something isn’t effective because “ehhhh” means different things at different times.  He said, “Okay.  How about I say ‘Ehhhh!’ again but this time it means ‘I want more milk.'”
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We spent this weekend at the Great Wolf Lodge, which is this totally awesome indoor waterpark/hotel for kids.  Here are a few of its totally awesome features:

Lobby with fireplace and a talking animal show:

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Children’s play room:

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Kiddie pool:

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Indoor water slide/water dumping area:

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Wave pool:

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Fear Factor style obstacle course

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Unfortunately, we didn’t see the talking animal shows or play in the kid’s room or float in the wave pool because unfortunately there is also an arcade and unfortunately we spent 11 of Vincenzo’s 12 waking hours doing this:

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Riding the motorcycle game.  The upside is that it was a cheap 11 hours as my son cannot yet read the words “INSERT COIN.”  The downside is that now my crotch hurts.  (Don’t panic–I know I lost a lot of your trust when I posted a picture of my son’s poop, but I do have my limits.  I will not post a picture of my sore crotch.)  (At least not in this post–all bets are off once I deliver Mbungo.)

So…if anyone has been to the Great Wolf Lodge and can tell me how it is, please do so in the comments.  I’m sure it’s a really fun place!

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Things I scrounge from Vincenzo’s bed

P.S. Oh, and Casey?  Please stop stealing all our cat tranquilizers when we go away for vacation.  Your personal gain is our cat’s loss.

More of what you missed

Today I will give you one laugh, one learning, and one let-down from our trip to AZ.  Let’s start with laughs.  I was on a ROLL down there, and here is just one sampling of the high quality of humor everyone in my party enjoyed round-the-clock, no extra charge:

Question: What do they call crosswalks in the dessert?

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Answer: Crossrocks.  Hahahahahahahaha!

Once you’ve stopped laughing, you can go on to read this learning.  The ranchers had just corraled a bunch of wild cows that they breed/sell.  This brown-and-white one looking at the camera is a steer, which is a castrated bull.  Know why this one got castrated instead of spreading its seed throughout the Arizona desert?  Because it’s ugly.  The cowboy who told me this didn’t look like the kind of cowboy to joke about harvesting rocky mountain oysters, either.  And he was looking straight at Kevin when he said it.

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And now, the let-down.  We stayed at a beautiful hotel called the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass, and being a horse fanatic myself, I couldn’t wait to see the wild horses.  We took a van ride to the corral where they had a few tamed horses in cages and LOOK!  THERE IT IS!  IT’S ONE OF THE WILD STALLIONS!  QUICK, QUICK COME QUICK EVERYONE!

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(The wild stallion is the white one on the right that wanted more than anything to be on the inside of the corral.  We would have gotten more pictures but he had an appointment back at the spa for an aloe and green tea body wrap followed by a hoof-icure that afternoon.)

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Balsamic blue cheese burgers
Salad with 3 beans and a boiled egg

I’m baaaaaaack! (Did you notice I was gone?)

QUICKIE: Vincenzo, noticing my disapproving look as he dipped his finger in honey and licked it off at dinner: “It’s okay, Mommy; I’m just going to get messier and messier.”
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Sorry about being MIA the past few days–we went to the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass in AZ and I developed a new paranoia about blogging when on vacation.  I’m pretty sure at least one of you reading this right now is whacking your forehead at missing the chance to rob us blind when we were gone.  (BTW we have a house alarm and lots of loyal neighbors with shotguns.)  (We also have a neighbor named Thor, though I’m not positive that’s relevant.)

The vacation was perfect in every way–especially in the sunny, 75 degrees kind of way.  I won’t rub it in just yet though; I first need to prove that my sun-kissed, sand-tossed, wind-blown self hasn’t forgotten who she is.

So…you all know I love Vincenzo, right?  But traveling with Vincenzo?  A whole ‘nother story.  I believe it was Bernie Mac who said that kids are terrorists and he doesn’t negotiate with terrorists.  My guess is he never spent three consecutive nights sleeping in the same hotel room as his kids because trust me you do anything they tell you when you’re being held hostage by an irrational, unreasonable, unrelenting three-year-old.

It took a long time to get V down that first night, what with all the pleas for another gumdrop please, another gumdrop please, another gumdrop please, DAD DID YOU HEAR ME ANOTHER GUMDROP PLEASE!  PLEASE!  PLEASE!  DAD I SAID PLEASE!  NOW YOU HAVE TO GIVE ME ONE!  Any attempts to pretend to be asleep are futile because your child does not understand that parents require sleep.  After all, they’ve been on hand all the other times he’s woken up in the wee hours to fetch him crackers and water or at least to yell, “GO BACK TO SLEEP!” several times before fetching the crackers and water.

Eventually the kid did fall asleep, only to awaken at 1AM screaming, “NO, I DON’T WANT TO!” and hitting everything that came near him.  We could hear the people in the room next door arguing about whether to call 911 or CPS as our son slapped us across the face.  (I should point out that the people in the next room were Kevin’s parents.)

So that first night we watched TV, played games, and snacked until 3AM when I suggested everyone choose an animal and pretend to sleep like that animal for the rest of the night.  Vincenzo chose turtle; I chose snake; Kevin chose spoon.  Though if you ask me, his spoon felt a bit more like snake.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Wendy’s