Scrappin’

Hey everybody!  I just finished my scrapbook for last year and while I am too shy to put it in your hands if you walk through my front door, I am not too shy to shove it in your face here, on my blog.  At least 2 of you will be into it (you know who you are, A and C!).

I apologize that a couple of these pictures are so blurry they will make your eyes bleed.

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WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Ceviche halibut tacos
Rice
Steamed broccoli
White chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies

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The Funnies

1. Rocco, coloring a picture for his book report: “Good thing I got my sharpie out.  I forgot to do her boobs.”

(At least that’s what I heard.  When I went to inspect the picture later, I realized he had said boots, not boobs.  But I like boobs better.)

2. I made halibut cheeks for the first time the other night.  Vincenzo stopped with his fork halfway to his mouth to ask, “Wait—what end of the halibut are these cheeks from?”

3. I was volunteering in kindergarten and was given this game to play with the kindies:

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I’m sure my mom won’t know what’s funny about these “nonsense words,” but some of you will, and you will appreciate it when I call this game “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”

After hearing all the sweet kindergarten voices reading that first word over and over again, I’m going to need an extra therapy session this week.

P.S. Mom, DO NOT LOOK IT UP.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Ceviche halibut tacos
Rice
Chocolate chip cookies

Christmas, Final Thoughts

This Christmas was a little more special than usual because it was the last one we’ll spend at my parents’ house.  It’s the house they built and moved into 48 years ago, when my brother was just months old.

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As we stood in the kitchen for the dinner prayer, my mom got choked up and then all the rest of us got choked up.  The kitchen was so crammed with all of us “kids” and our own kids, and in a flash, I saw myself when I was Vincenzo’s size and Rocco’s size and Leo’s size, standing in the kitchen saying a prayer together before a big meal, celebrating whatever holiday was on hand.  I all our past selves there in a mash-up of 70s, 80s, and 90s, and I saw us all standing there in real time.  The kitchen was suddenly even more packed than it actually was, our past and present selves all linking hands and saying a prayer to bless every minute that brought us to this current one.  It is so hard to think of leaving these walls that held us all together, then let us go—this house that gracefully welcomes us back home whenever we turn up the drive, whether we’ve been gone for an hour or a year.

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This house we are leaving heard so much over the years.  It listened to our arguments, to our family game nights, to our clumsy clanking on the piano.  It listened to babies crying and giggling and to the bleep blurp of 80s video games.  It heard us say I love you and I hate you. It heard us whisper our prayers to its ceilings at night, and it heard the secrets we told our friends behind closed doors.  It patiently listened to long phone conversations about nothing at all.  It heard us sing happy birthday again and again until we disappeared one by one, and then it listened as we returned with little babies of our own, adding their own cries and giggles to the mix, adding even more rounds of happy birthday to its soundtrack.

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I’m sure this blog post isn’t doing anything to help my parents handle their emotions as they prepare to say goodbye, but our little house deserves its place on this blog.  My childhood was beautiful and the scent of homemade bread followed me everywhere, but my childhood was also challenging and sometimes I had to escape from it.  But home was always home, and there was always love to be found.

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My parents will be moving to another house they have built (or have had built, more accurately) in the same town.  They will fill it with the same photos, the same china dishes, the same people, and the same smell of baking bread.  We will say our prayer in a different kitchen of this different house, and we will be amazed at how similar it all feels.

But we will always feel a loyalty and love for the house that helped us to become the family we are today.

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I have to say, I did not start out planning to write about this today.  But it’s here now so it must have needed to be here.  Maybe after all these years of being listened to, I have finally learned to listen, and today our house needed to be heard.

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Goodbye, big little house.  And thank you.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Pan-fried chicken
Stuffing
Baked potatoes
Green beans with lemon and garlic
Chocolate chip cake with passion fruit filling, chocolate espresso crumb, and mocha frosting

Christmas ‘17, Now in Technicolor

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

Waiting for the Christmas Eve festivities to officially start:

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(Yes, he’s reading in there too.)

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

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Sweet Baby Cal with the former Sweet Baby Vincenzo…

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And behind the scenes:

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(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:

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Awwwww.

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Wait-what?  Ewwwww!

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

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Gitchy goo time!

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

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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.)

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Just as exciting, the Beef Stick Fairy came!

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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.

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

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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.

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Er…did I say after?

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

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Conveyer belt sushi (I don’t actually have a conveyer belt in my kitchen—we went out)

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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. 

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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: 

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

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(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.

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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?

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

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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:

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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.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Breakfast for dinner:
Hash browns
Sausages
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:

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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.)

4.

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.

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

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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.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Smoked salmon alfredo
Lemon garlic beans
Christmas cookies