Something has to be done!

Okay, I need to stress about Rocco’s name again even though I’ve said it all before and none of it really matters anyway.  Chalk it up to my OCD.  (After this I’ll go wash my hands a few times, too).

When we told people Vincenzo’s name, our biggest reaction was: “Vin-sen-zio?  Am I saying that right?”  We’d explain that no, they weren’t, and they probably never would be able to because they just didn’t have the mental capacity to do so.  His name itself is a sort of preliminary IQ screening test for any potential friends or neighbors.

But when I tell people Rocco’s name, I get a different reaction: “Oh…I know someone who just named their boy ‘Rocco,’ too!”  I hate that.  It’s not that we named him Rocco solely to be unique…it’s Kevin’s middle name, and he was named very significantly after someone dear to his father’s heart named Rocky (you know…the one from the movies?). 

(His sister was named after Wendy from Peter Pan.) 

(His Dad really, really likes TV.) 

But uniqueness was definitely a factor in deciding our second son’s name.  I mean, you can’t exactly introduce your sons “Vincenzo” and “Joe” and still feel good about yourself.  Anyway, I’m worried that by the time Rocco gets to kindergarten he’ll have to be called “Rocco B.” or worse still, “Rocco T.B.,” which makes it sound like he’s the Rocco with “an often deadly infectious disease caused by mycobacteria.”

So let’s review what I know:

1.  Madonna’s son is named Rocco (this I already knew; I’m just hoping it goes unnoticed in the shadow of Lourdes’ name)
2.  There is another baby named Rocco at Rocco’s own pediatrician’s office (Kevin keeps trying to convince me the “other baby” is actually our own Rocco)
3.  Just yesterday I found out that the son of the cousin of the lady in the Starbucks’ parking lot was also recently named Rocco

See?  EVERYONE is naming their sons Rocco!  People, I need your help.  If you know of anyone considering naming their child or their dog after my son,  I beg you  TALK THEM OUT OF IT.  Tell them of Rocco the Porn Star, but not Rocco the saint, for example.  Tell them their son will spend his whole life being rhymed with “taco.”   Tell them it’s spelled with a silent G at the beginning.  Just do something!

And for heaven’s sake, delete this blog post after reading it.  I’ve said too much already .

All things Idahoan

QUICKIE: Search engine traffic term of the week: “naked pregnant large stomach.”  Thank you, whoever found me that way.
Kevin went on a business trip this week–to Idaho, the lucky bastard.  (It’s the only place he ever gets to go.)  He came back bearing gifts, as always.

For himself, this pink, huckleberry-scented t-shirt:


For Vincenzo, this almost-pink t-shirt and two packages of honey roasted peanuts:


And for his lovely wife, who spent most of the time he was gone puking in the bathroom while still lovingly tending to their son:


I mean, throw me a friggin’ bone already!  My son got a t-shirt and two, read that as TWO, packages of peanuts!

But he should know by now, I always get the last laugh.

2 packages of peanuts

Bad Bunny!


QUICKIE: Vincenzo, with me in the bathroom: “Mommy, your potty sounds like music.”
This year for Easter I was so proud of myself.  In the past I’ve bought the big bags of Easter candy, put one handful of each kind into Easter eggs for Vincenzo, then been stuck with several pounds of chocolate/jelly beans/weird coconut egg-shaped things to eat on my own.  Every solitary M&M I ate raised cardinal sin amounts of guilt, as I am one of those people always trying to lose those “last five pounds.”

This year, though, my plan was so brilliant I almost wrote myself in to Parents magazine.  Instead of buying eight big bags of candy I bought eight little handfuls from the bulk bins at the grocery store.  I filled all the eggs on Easter eve and tucked them away, nary a stray jellybean to be had.  I went to bed dreaming of carrots and lettuce and other happinesses Easter bunnies dream of.

The problem arose on Easter morning.  I woke up at 5, excited that the Easter bunny had come in the middle of the night, and I ran out to see what kind of foil-wrapped goodness lay snuggled in the Easter basket.  Of course, there was nothing.  Not even a stray friggin’ jellybean.

Then I heard sounds of my son stirring in his bedroom so thinking quickly, I dashed to his bedroom.  I told him the Easter bunny hadn’t come yet and is probably on her way at this very moment and if Vincenzo didn’t get back in bed she may never ever come to our house ever EVER again.  He jumped in bed and fell asleep faster than you could say “Mommy’s not up to anything at all.”

With Vincenzo safely sequestered away, I had the living room to myself.  I quietly went around finding the eggs I had hidden, opening each one, and taking out half a handful of whatever was inside.  Then I ate it all.  I *may* have even gone overboard on an egg or two and had to refill them with Grape Nuts and Wheaties.  And I learned something very important that I will share with all of you: The thrill of stealing candy from a toddler overrides the guilt of eating chocolate!! 

But don’t take my word for it; try it yourselves.  I don’t even think it needs to be your own toddler.

Going out!

P.S.  This all happened yesterday morning.  Do you think I should tell Vincenzo it’s safe to come out of his room now?

Regular ol’ Tuesday

A conversation between my son and husband:

V: Dad, we should go bowling.  We haven’t been in a looooong time.
K: Yeah, like you mean 12 hours?
V: No, like–Daddy, what’s the biggest number?
K: Infinity.
V: That’s not a number!
K: Well, technically it’s an irrational number…
V: Let’s make 10 the biggest number.  Dad, we should go bowling.  We haven’t been bowling in, like, TEN!

In other news, I’ve been growing some things from seed/bulb inside.  Today my mom stopped by, and her being a certified Master Gardener and all, I asked her to take a look at my begonias which hadn’t sprouted a thing.  She poked around for a bit then pulled up a bulb to show me its perfectly formed, if not anemic, stems and leaves.  Growing upside-down in the dirt.  Because that’s how I planted it.

Guess how she responded:
a) “Not to worry–we’ve all done that at least once in our lives!”
b) “Anyone could make that mistake, honey.”

That’s right, folks, she laughed me out of my own house.  I’m sure she’s called all her master gardening friends by now, and probably Cisco too.  But guess what?  I happen to know that A CERTAIN SOMEONE planted begonias right side up at her house last month and they haven’t grown even one spindly branch.  So who’s laughing now, Mom?  WHO?!


Teriyaki pork tenderloin
Vesuvio vegetables
Lemon cookies a la mode

Truly the Worst Xmas Gift Ever

QUICKIE:  I just wanted to thank Andrea for posting a picture of her fridge in response to last week’s post.  It confirms what I thought about my readers: you’re a bunch of smarta**es like me.

And now for the Humor Bloggers’ best/worst Christmas gift ever.  My worst gift ever comes to you straight from last week and involves a large box, some very tiny berries, and about $1,200.

This year, Kevin’s gift was going to blow all other gifts out of the holy water.  He had heard about something called Miracle Fruit that, when eaten, makes anything you eat afterwards taste sweet, no matter its natural flavor.  Well I happened to find a web site that sold them and I purchased a box of 30 fruit for $35.  Su-weet!  A $35 miracle!

My first clue that something was up happened when a $90 bill showed up on the credit card for a company called Miracle Fruits Exchange.  I spent the next few days trying to open the receipt they sent me via e-mail, to no avail.  Meanwhile, the box was delivered.  I took its picture next to a quarter so you can see the general size of it.  Not too shabby, eh?


And inside that box was another box.


And inside that box lay a packet of miracle fruit.


There it is!  A miracle!  My quarter grew eight times in size!

Well, actually, my quarter didn’t change size at all.  You are looking at a $90 packet of 30 very small berries, people.  I felt like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, when he finally receives the Little Orphan Annie decoder pin, only to find out the secret message is an ad about Ovaltine.

Meanwhile, our bank kept calling about recent credit card activity.  They do this often so we didn’t panick at all.  But when we tried to use our credit card and found out the account had been blocked, we panicked a little bit.  Turns out SOMEONE had gotten our credit card info and ordered over $1,000 in cash advances and other purchases to be sent to Romania.  It felt creepy.

Kevin checked out the Miracle Fruits Exchange site, which now looked completely different from anything I remember seeing, and which also sold miracle fruit for $90 not $35, and which also bought their security license the day after I ordered my miracle fruit.

We haven’t tried any of the miracle fruit yet but I’m pretty sure after everything I went through to get it, it’s just going make everything taste bitter.  Next year I think I’ll just get Kevin a tie.

All I want for Christmas is my reputation

QUICKIE: Vincenzo: “Mom, let’s pretend you’re a person.”
Humor Bloggers is doing a “best/worst Christmas present ever” bash tomorrow, and I was going to post the following until this year’s present came.  I will thus spend today writing about false advertising and Internet crime , but in the meantime, here is the present formerly known as my worst Christmas present ever.  Enjoy.

My husband is a notoriously bad present hider.  He usually sticks my present somewhere like in my son’s closet, right next to the wet wipes I use every day.  Or there will be a very large charge to the WWE on our credit card that I couldn’t possibly overlook and that he didn’t warn me about but that earned me the title of “snoop” for years afterwards.  Kevin’s strategy has improved over the years, but only slightly.  For example, I am currently not allowed to dig too deep in my son’s 6″ deep underwear drawer because apparently there’s a little something for me in there.  (Anyone want to bet against me that it’s a toddler-sized turd?)  To regain my noble, non-snoopy reputation, I have kept my son in the same pair of underwear for two weeks now.

Last year’s Christmas present’s hiding place was classic.  A couple days before Christmas we ran out of TP upstairs.  Naturally, I headed to the garage to tap into our Y2K supply of TP and there, in plain sight, was a set of tiered serving platters in a brand-new box.  I quickly grabbed the rubber mallet off Kevin’s workbench and whammed myself in the head repeatedly so I might forget the Christmas present and NOT be accused of being a snoop for Christmas, but alas, the tiered serving platters were burned into my retinas.

You can imagine my delight on Christmas morn’ when I was presented a beautifully wrapped box–a box the size of, oh, a set of tiered serving platters, not to pigeon-hole it or anything.  I opened it up and pulled out…our own, batter-splashed hand-mixer.  Then our stained kitchen towels.  Then a pair of my husband’s briefs and some half-used candles.  I looked up at him questioningly, but he had already headed to the basement, yelling, “I give up.  SNOOP!”

Now why he thinks I had anything to do with the box’s content it is beyond me.  Why would I sabotage my own Christmas gift?  Me, who LOVES surprises almost as much as I love MYSELF!?

And just because I managed to come across a brand-new set of tiered serving platters for appetizers later that day doesn’t prove anything.

I bring you…CHRISTMAS!

QUICKIE: (reading the nutrition facts on his juice box): “Hoo-eee! This juice is expensive!”
You know the fable of the Little Red Hen?  She grows the wheat, she waters it, she harvests it, she grinds it, she bakes it into bread, and then in the end when everyone wants to share the bread she’s all, “I don’t THINK so!”  Does anyone else feel that way about Christmas?  I decorated the house; I  baked the cookies; I  chose the tree; I  made and wrote and sent the Christmas letters; I  slipped egg nog into everything we ate all month.  Come Christmas day, when someone looks at the tree and says, “Wow, what a beautiful tree.  I could sit here all day and look at it,” I’ll be all, “Oh no you don’t!  I decorated that tree and I  will be the one to enjoy it.”  Then I’ll have no choice but to give them a roundhouse kick to the face. 

I just hope Vincenzo isn’t the first one to make that mistake.  It would ruin all our Christmas pictures.

While I single-handedly make Christmas happen, there is one thing I need help with: the outdoor lights.  I always love to have a couple trees plastered with some of the one bazillion white lights left over from our wedding.  Unfortunately, I got put on light restriction after our first year living here when some of the neighbors tattled to Kevin that his young bride was climbing a tree with a string of plugged-in lights in her mouth.  Kevin didn’t actually believe them until he went to take them down in January and physically couldn’t reach the lights, even when standing on the NEVER EVER EVER EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES STAND ON THIS RUNG of the ladder.

I sent Kevin out to do the lights this year and I forgot to take a picture, but here is the basic idea:

bad xmas lts 

Needless to say, there was a slight mismatch between his vision and mine:

good xmas lights

So I sent him out again and out of defiance he did something like this:

medium xmas lights
(Picture a Soccer Mom Minivan in place of Beetle)

Not to worry; I have a plan.  Every day during Vincenzo’s nap I go out and move exactly one strand of lights.  Kevin wouldn’t notice just one strand, would he?  Slowly, slowly, my vision comes into play.  And by March, anyone who drives through the neighborhood will have to stop at our house and exclaim, “Now THAT’S a light display!”

In which case, I’ll have to give them a roundhouse kick to the head.

Peas with mint and parsley
Quick buttermilk bread

I Tivo’d last Christmas for you!

QUICKIE: Vincenzo, getting up in the middle of the night: “Meow…meow…meow…I’m meowing because it’s time for my kitty breakfast.”
SITS is hosting a SITSmas extravaganza and the grand prize is a $200 Target gift card!!1!  If you’re a blogger then join my army of one and check them out, then post your Christmas letter too!

That being said, I have not gotten around to writing a Christmas card for this year and am so occupied with trying to write one that I don’t have time to blog today even though it would be totally helpful as I’m supposed to post a Christmas card today.  But I do have this for you: last year’s Christmas card.


TIRED MOM and WELL-MEANING DAD are gathered around potty chair where WIDE AWAKE CHILD (Vincenzo, a.k.a “D”) tosses his tighty whities above his head and attempts to catch them for the third time.

TIRED MOM: D, what are you doing?

WIDE AWAKE CHILD: Making pizza!

TIRED MOM: That’s great. Now let’s make some poo-poo. Turning to husband. How was your day?

WELL-MEANING DAD: Great, Huggy Bear! Microsoft Office SharePoint PerformancePoint Server 2015 is on schedule to ship with Wave 14. The KPI’s, Scorecards, and Analytic Views (blah blah blah).

TIRED MOM: Hm. Don’t call me Huggy Bear. And I was really just interested in what flavor you put in your Slurpee machine today.

WIDE AWAKE CHILD: Standing and stomping feet. No poo-poo, no poo-poo, no-ho-ho! Tired Mom removes him from potty chair; he runs off.

WELL-MEANING DAD: How are you feeling, Snookums?

TIRED MOM: Like I just won a hot-dog eating contest then went on all the upside-down rides at the fair, then got mugged.

WELL-MEANING DAD: So…pretty good?

TIRED MOM: Glaring. The doctor said the baby’s due June 11.

WELL-MEANING DAD: That’s great! Let’s tell D! Hey, D!
Parents find half-naked son jumping on chairs in living room,

WIDE AWAKE CHILD: Don’t call me that!

WELL-MEANING DAD: Okay, what do you want me to call you?


WELL-MEANING DAD: Okay, then, Q. Mom’s having a baby! Do you hope we have a girl like Mommy or a boy like Daddy?

WIDE AWAKE CHILD: Girl like Daddy.

TIRED MOM: Laughs.

WELL-MEANING DAD: Jumping back suddenly. 1-2-3- not it!
Tired Mom notices pile of poo on floor next to red chair.

WELL-MEANING DAD: Ha ha, who’s laughing now? Sweeps up D, a.k.a Q, and disappears while pregnant wife hunts down a plastic bag to clean up another pile of poo while humming softly “What Child is This?”

Wishing you lots of laughs this holiday season.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

QUICKIE: [outside the room where Kevin was sleeping] Me: “Vincenzo let’s whisper so Daddy doesn’t wake up.”  V: “Okay.”  Me: “Wanna go downstairs?”  V: “Yeah.  MOMMY WASN’T THAT FUNNY THAT WE WERE WHISPERING??!!”
I know not everyone is a green bean casserole fan but I am, and I am the proud member of a family that makes it for Thanksgiving every year.  The problem is that it’s only every once in a great while that we actually have Thanksgiving at the house of the green bean casserole.  But this was the year and I was sooooooooo excited to see the cans of cream-of-mushroom soup on the counter at my aunt’s house when we showed up.

We sat down to eat and as a side note, how did I get stuck at the kids’ table again?  Somewhere in my 20s I got promoted to the adult table but now that I have a toddler I have found myself once again relegated to the wobbly kids’ table that everyone bumps into when they walk by and no one ever passes the gravy to.  I was not going to complain though, as I took a teeny helping of potatoes and a teeny helping of turkey and a teeny bit of salad to save room for a great big gooey glob of green bean casserole. 

When finally the casserole was set in front of me, steaming its goodness into my unopened pores, I took the spoon and aimed it straight for the crispy onions on top.  And just as I did so, my aunt sitting next to me said, “I hope you save room for the beans I made tonight.  They’re a little overdone but unlike this casserole they have only 25 calories per serving.”  I looked at her and I looked at the casserole spoon and I looked at her again and she said, “I just hope someone eats them since I went to all that trouble…”  It took every ounce of self control I had to scoop out a teeny bit of green bean casserole and lay it next to my teeny bits of other food in order to leave room for a heaping mound of the 25 calorie, cream-of-nothing beans that had nary a wayward crispy onion.

Good grief, Charlie Brown!  Now I know how it feels every time Lucy snatched that football up just as you were about to punt.

Ah, well.  There’s always next year.

In-laws’ choice (and I’m hoping they choose green bean casserole!!)


QUICKIE: Me to Vincenzo: “Next week is J Week!  We’re going to do a lot of jumping and juggling!” Vincenzo: “Okay.  I will do all the jumping and you will do all the juggling.”

Kevin and I escaped to a small German town in the mountains called Leavenworth for the weekend, sans spawn.  The six hours we spent in the car was worth every gallon of gas, as I am finally caught up on all the latest summer fashions from my July Glamour magazine.  We arrived at 11ish and went to check into our hotel, “right in the heart of Leavenworth!”  I’m going to play a little game of “Fortunately/Unfortunately” with you to walk you through the rest of the weekend.

Fortunately, we found the address right away.

Unfortunately, the address was for a truffle shop that was closed, and unfortunately there didn’t appear to be any truffle beds with truffle nightstands and complimentary truffle toiletries inside.

Fortunately, just when we were beginning to think we had been Internet scammed, we saw it.  The sign for our Alps Romance Suites!


(No; it’s not one of those easily sightable signs you’re probably looking at.  Here, let me walk so that I’m standing at just the right angle and the sun is peeking through a keyhole from the Bratwurst kiosk across the street at 1PM EST on November 15, 2008.  There.)


Unfortunately, it turns out the suites weren’t in this building at all, but we had to DRIVE ACROSS THE FREEWAY to get to our “in the heart of Leavenworth” location.  Also unfortunately, this is someone’s idea of a “romance suite.”


Fortunately, I knew I could photoshop some romance into it.


Unfortunately, once inside we felt like we were visiting some cheap-ass college kid’s room.

Fortunately, we remembered there were hot tubs in each room!

Unfortunately, they weren’t actually in each room.

Fortunately they were romantically landscaped!

Unfortunately, I’m just kidding.  They were surrounded by a trench and a muddy yard.  (It was VERY hard for me to look sexy in these circumstances, but I think I managed.  I at least did better than Kevin in the duplex pictures, no?)


Fortunately, back in our cheap-ass college kid’s duplex room, the blankets were heated!

Unfortunately, the next morning I noticed an unmistakable poo mark on the sheet, and unfortunately Kevin said he noticed it the night before but decided not to say anything.


Fortunately, it was on his side of the bed!  Just when I had begun to think chivalry was dead.

And fortunately, we didn’t spend much time in the romance suites but rather strolling and shopping and laughing and eating rich food, and fortunately we both said we’d do it the same way in a heartbeat.  Because fortunately we share the same sick, warped sense of humor and we don’t mind a little sh** in the bed.


Chili @ Friend’s