Summer Check-In

It’s mid summer and I am equal parts blissed out and worn out.  It never goes quite like I imagined it; there are not long afternoons where we sit around looking at each other, swinging lazily in the hammocks and wondering what to do.  There are fewer sleepovers and no spontaneous road trips because our schedule is like one of those toy baby bottles that just seems to fill itself up when you shake it a bit, you have no idea how.

Here’s the condensed version of the past few weeks, which feel like they’ve gone by as quickly as this blog post.  Together and/or collectively, the family has…

Visited the oddest looking puffins ever:


Dug fancy holes:


Got this guy glasses:


Told this guy no.


Almost ate this little pet my sister sent over in a head of lettuce:


Had one day with five minutes of down time:


Wallowed in the ocean:


Wallowed in the sand:


Wallowed in a gravel lot:


Bought a floppy hat:


Killed the ZomBoss:


Killed the ZomBoss some more:


Found Waldo:


Forgot to shower:


Invented a cookie recipe:


Wrote down said cookie recipe, you’re welcome:


Got wet:


Got arrested:


Perfected our poolside look:


Went on a hike:


Didn’t fall:


And climbed anything that would stand still long enough for us to climb it:


How can I tell summer I don’t ever want it to end when I know it’s summer that has ground me down to a little nub?

Grilled fish tacos
Black beans
Lemon asparagus
Nanaimo ice cream bars

14th Anniversary

Today is our 14th wedding anniversary.  I think the 14th one is bee themed because today this showed up out of the blue:


It’s times like this that I am more thankful than ever that I am still married.  As much as I’m for gender equality, spraying the hornet’s nest is definitely a man’s job.

We’re not all that bad off, though—we did spend the weekend celebrating. This year, instead of having someone come watch the kids while we went out, we sent the kids away so we could stay at home and do nothing.  It’s been an exhausting 14 years and frankly, we’re worn out.

For a weekend staying of at home doing nothing, though, we weren’t home very much.  We spend Friday doing something for Kevin and Saturday doing something for me.  Kevin’s choice:



Shopping, eating, and drinking.

My choice:



Some girl took that picture of us and spent awhile getting into just the right position to get it right.  I complimented her skillz and she shrugged and said, “It’s the younger generation—we know how to take Selfies.”

So maybe this anniversary is the Snarky Millenials anniversary.

Also, this just in:


Who knew??!

Oh wow.  I just looked up what the 14th anniversary gift actually is, and you’ll never guess.  It’s ivory. 

Does anyone know when elephant hunting season begins?

Orange-tamarind chicken
Brown rice
The Cooke a la mode

Mah Boys

Summer brain drain in full effect.  Whole sentences hard.  Only pretty pictures today.




Happy boys.  Happy me.

Kalbi flank steak
Purple potatoes with caramelized onions, and shiitake mushrooms
Buttered green beans
Cherry charlottes

First Week of Summer

One week in, and school feels like an eternity ago.  All the bigness of Vincenzo’s promotion and Leo finishing preschool seem like a tiny blip on life’s radar.  Here are some highlights from our first week:

We kicked off summer with a weekend at the beach with McStreamy & Co. 


We almost got chased off the beach by this four-armed sea monster with backwards legs and a foot coming out of its butt.


The things the tide can wash up!  The boys ran around the beach, picking up any creatures they dared to pick up and trying to find sink holes.




After a whole day of that, the boys decided they needed a nap.


Just kidding!  Nap time actually looked like this:


Kidding again.  Naptime was just a mythical concept for us that weekend.

On the way home from the beach we stopped at another beach. 

Me: Leo, take your hand away from your mouth so I can get a good picture of you.




But I always win, so here’s an actual good picture of Leo.


Later in the week we hit up the terracotta warriors at the PSC.


They got photobombed by that  terracotta warrior behind them.  He totally stole the spotlight, too.

While at the PSC the boys and their auntie spent a lot of time and energy on the exercise bike where you pedal until you have burned off all the calories in a soda.  That made the kids thirsty, so we went to the cafe.


Something tells me he missed the point.

This week Rocco also completed his entire library reading chart


Then he made a new one with his own prizes listed and had me photocopy it, just in case.


In between all that there were hot dog roasts, swim lessons, Farmer’s Market, dinner on the beach, sleepovers, jam-making, video game playing, play dates, a whole day spent at the beach, card games, a trip to the zoo, doctor’s appointments, speech therapy, and a ton of other things that aren’t even on the summer list, which is hard to believe when you see my summer list.


And my other summer list.


And my third summer list.


We might just have to take next year off of school.

Crab cakes
Prawns & bay shrimp
Pasta salad with tomatoes, cukes, and perline mozzarella
Greek rice with Feta
Fresh fruit

Over My Weekend…

Rocco brought home his “Over My Weekend” journal from school, and it was full of cute and shocking revelations about what he did on his weekends in the first grade.  In Rocco’s world, we are neighbors with Magon and Lew, he plays Mincraft with his frinds, and our Christmas tree is decorated with butful ornaments.

In this journal entry, he even gives the town of “Coupeville” a new name:


There was this entry that made me smile:


It’s even funnier when you realize it’s his baby brother he’s talking about here, not his older one.

There was his first grader’s re-wording of play titles into simpler terminology:


I imagine “The Boy Said ‘Wolf’” is just like “The Boy Who Cried ‘”Wolf,’” only without any of the drama or plot.  A boy just walks onto the stage, says, “Wolf,” walks off the stage, and the play is over.  The audience applauds wildly.

There was the story he titled “Rocco the Gingerbread Man” where you could see the mental struggle he went through at the end, whether to kill of the main character when the main character is himself…or not:


There was the story of the parrot who had no friends, so he made friends with a butterfly and in the next sentence…


Don’t you love a story with a happy ending?

It was enlightening to see what Rocco thinks of my cooking, taken from his entry on Mother’s Day weekend:


I became concerned with Rocco’s morals at some point, as this entry was all about how much he loves stealing from good people:


But that was nothing compared to what he did one weekend in December.


I can’t end on such a shocking note, so instead I will distract you with a picture of an epic game of “solatare.”


Hot dogs
Lemony pasta salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and feta
Pea, cheddar, and bacon salad

Promotion Finale

I feel kind of weird blogging about Vincenzo three times in a row without even mentioning my other sons, but unapologetically, I move forward.

First of all, I would like to present Vincenzo Steven Beto, Fifth Grade Graduate!


Guys, guys, a little less applause, okay?  Sheesh, it’s just the fifth grade.

His class had a little ceremony on Thursday morning.  You know how they always stick the weird, tall kids in the back row?


A lot of real weirdos in the bunch.

No, really, those are life-sized cut-outs the kids made of themselves to decorate the gym.  Vincenzo’s was very realistic—it’s the one in the blue suit coat, gold Converse, and khaki shorts, hung a little lower than the others. 


I jest, I jest.  His is the anemic looking one to his left that doesn’t have any hair or lips.


Well, you can’t always have it all.

During the ceremony, kids got up and read a paragraph they wrote predicting their life twenty five years from now.  Let me just say, there are going to be a lot of disappointed young adults in 2031 who find themselves not playing in the NBA, not playing for the Sounders, not performing brain surgery, not starring in movies, and not “chillin in their mansions in LA” with their maltese puppies named Coco.

Vincenzo’s speech made me proud.  Mostly it made me laugh, but that’s probably why it made me proud.  If you have 30 seconds to spare, you can watch it here:

Like I said, there are going to be a lot of disappointed young adults in 25 years.

Teriyaki chicken
Fresh fruit
Salad of some sort

Feeling Phoney

After years of being begged to, whined at, cajoled, and finally beaten down, Kevin and I finally decided to get Vincenzo a phone. His argument of “Every single other fifth grader in the world has a phone but me” was the one that finally convinced us.

We the fifth grade promotion as an excuse to get him one, but you know me.  I couldn’t just give Vincenzo a phone-sized wrapped gift and call it good; I had to take him on an emotional journey to get his phone.  So I bought a personal fan, emptied out the box, stuck the phone in, and wrapped it up


Then I wrote this message in his card:

For your gift, we thought it was time to get you a personal electronic device.  I’m sure it will make summer even better, and it will definitely increase your “cool” factor.  You’re welcome!  Love—Your Biggest Fans

Then I wrapped the box in paper covered with giant question marks and thought about how excited Vincenzo would be when he read the card, then how crushed he would be to find out the personal electronic device was a fan, but how he’d try to must some excitement about being the owner of a personal fan, then how his hope would rise when we told him he should open the box and take the fan out right away, and finally how he’d break through the atmosphere into space when he discovered the phone inside.

(A+ for transition words, Mrs. Mouthy!)

So here’s Vincenzo, opening a gift that he really hopes is this one thing he’s been asking for his entire life but is afraid to say out loud in case it’s not:


And here he is one second later.


What??!  Where’s the disappointment?!  I have clearly been messing with my boys too often and for too long.  Vincenzo skipped right over the Disappointed and the Recovery stages.  Instead, he went straight to the This is Definitely Not a Fan  phase–which isn’t even one of the phases!

Vincenzo did make me feel a little better when he pulled out the phone and said he couldn’t believe how small his new personal fan was.

And now, it’s official: every fifth grader in the entire world has a phone. 

They say money can’t buy happiness, but money can buy phones and phones, well…


You know.  They don’t keep you cool, but I guess they’re okay.

Going out again.  Must be summer!