Christmas 2014

The kids get two weeks off for Christmas break every year.  Every year I find myself frantically calling my dad and stepmom or Jon’s mom or our sitter to see if they can take the kids certain days. You’d think I would learn with each year and plan a bit in advance but it is a lesson I will never learn.  Probably because I get away with it every year – finding family and friends to watch the kids on the days Jon and I have to work.  The year it doesn’t work out and I can’t attend the boss’s meeting is the year that will make me change my ways.

The kids counted down the days prior to their two-week break with increasing joy until finally on the Friday of the last day of school, Mario exclaimed “no more school after today!”  I guess two weeks feels like a lifetime to a kid.  We had our usual holiday trek to Cincinnati on Christmas Eve.  We hit mom’s house first and madly opened presents.  The kids always want to dig in as soon as we open the door and mom obliges.  IMG_2526

Susie hosted Christmas Eve at her house for the first time since I was little, and it was really enjoyable.  She had gingerbread houses for the kids to decorate (Mario was way too cool to decorate his for more than a minute), and a movie for them to watch (never got to that but good thought). IMG_2554 IMG_2555 IMG_2557

I wondered if I’d feel at all saddened by having it at Susie’s since I had spent my life going to Grandma Heile’s house for Christmas Eve. But I didn’t because all that mattered was that I had my Heile posse with me for the evening.  Ri joined right in the crowd as she always has since she was little. She fits right in with her 20 something cousins.IMG_2568 IMG_2570

Mario, on the other hand, is a bit more intolerant of the noise and chaos and constant hugging! Emily came up to hug him and he pushed her away. I took him upstairs to tell him that was rude, and he looked me in the eye and cried “doesn’t she know that I don’t like to be hugged?”  Spoken just like his father. I calmed him down and we went back downstairs only to have Cy accidentally hit him in the tongue and mouth with his head as they were playing horsey.  Back upstairs he stomped – angry and hurt.  Then, he suffered a third incident 30 minutes later when Robert picked him up by his feet and dropped him on his head. Lovely.  Poor kid couldn’t catch a break. But then he scored a Nerf gun from Aunt Jane and all was good.

Ri helped me play the white elephant game this year.  We took home the horrible clown that everyone hates to get each year.  Actually, we didn’t even win it – Cy’s girlfriend did – but she was so scared of it that Maria took it from her to be nice.    Ri could play those games all night long with her cousins; she loves it.

We left Susie’s around 7:30, which was nice. We arrived home at a reasonable hour versus the 10:30 or 11 pm times in years’ past.  The kids knocked off soon after we left (Ri first as always and then Mario shortly thereafter).IMG_2590

We did not arrive home to luminaries up and down the street, which was a bit disappointing.  Our street has always had about a 90% turnout rate on luminaries and it is magical to turn the corner and see the soft glow of lights lining the entire street.  But it was raining softly when we arrived home, and the lights would have gotten burnt out upon lighting.  Patty had wrapped some of the kids’ gifts for me while we were gone, which was such a blessing.  I came home to nothing to do (in years’ past, I ran around frantically wrapping and getting things under the tree).  Jon and I went straight to bed knowing the two goofs would be up at the crack of dawn.

They woke up at 6:30 am and we heard them outside of our door whispering and excited.  They lasted until about 6:50 am (we had asked for 7 am) before busting open the door and yelling “Come on! Let’s open presents!”  Jon and I rose from the bed, hair in every direction, and got pulled down the stairs by each kid.  It took approximately two minutes for the kids to open all 7 of their presents.  Seriously.  Next year we are going to have to take more time.  It was 7:05 am and Christmas was over.  But they were both happy campers.  Ri got her phone she wanted and Mario got his Nintendo.  They immediately unwrapped those items and started playing with them.  Jon and I got each other comforters without having any idea we were both getting each other one.  Two peas in a pod.IMG_2601 IMG_2595

Meg, Dad, Sarah, Jorge and Elena arrived around 9 am for our second round of fun.  Ms. Elena’s first Christmas!  We ate yummy quiche made by Meg-pie and cinnamon rolls and then skyped with Uncle Jack and Sofia.  It was great seeing the dude-man on Christmas day; he never ceases to make me belly laugh. He seems to be enjoying the Nordic life sporting a sweet wool sweater during our talk.  Elena let Ri and I hold her while we opened presents.  She loved the mega-blinged out baby walker we bought her with all sorts of sounds and lights on it.  As we sat around together watching Elena, I was reminded of all the years that Jon and I would head to Meg and Dad’s house for Christmas morning.  Jack and Sarah were in grade school and high school, and just as excited as Ri and Mario about present opening.  We’d get a call at the apartment at 7 am telling us to head over.IMG_2615 IMG_2625 IMG_2633

 

We hung out until around 12:30 and then they left to head back to the farm.

Bring in round three!

Patty and Patrick and crew and Chris and Connie and Frances came over around 1:00 to spend the rest of the day with us.  The kids loved hanging out together all day long. Chris told his jokes like he used to when Jon and I were dating.  Patrick and Jon talked about all the things they got into when Patty took them to work with her.  It was a good reminiscing session; their stories never cease to impress me.  Boys. We opened gifts after dinner.  Patrick and Carrie gave me the best gift I have ever gotten.  A shirt box full of chocolates.  There were probably 100 of the chocolate squares overfilling the box.  IMG_2640Pure heaven!

We missed Joe’s presence.  Patty teared up a few times thinking about him.  Mario also talked about how much he missed him.  And Ri cried at school before break because she was working on a tribute to Joe and sadness overcame her.  There is no doubt he felt the love soaring up to him this holiday.IMG_2639

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The girls went home with Patty on Christmas night like they have in past years.  They look so forward to that time with her.  She took them to play volleyball at the Y the next morning and all of her friends enjoyed their humor.  Mario and Gio spent the night at Gio’s house one night and our house the next.  They played video games and laughed about farts and butts and all things that make boys chuckle.  I am so happy that they still enjoy one another and get to spend time together.  Patty is a machine with them.  She takes them to the Y, to the arcade, to the movies, to McDonald’s.  She plays with them at the condo.  Her energy really needs to be bottled up and sold; we’d make millions.20140207-142722.jpg

We ended the holidays with a visit from Bill and Jean and Kerry and Kevin and kids.  Meg and Dad and Sarah joined in the afternoon fun. We made it easy and ordered City Barbecue and Bill made his awesome chocolate desserts.  Maria and Mario do not get to see Ben and Annaliese that often but they still find ways to connect.  Ben and Mario connect over the iPad; Maria and Annaliese connect over her American Girl doll and barbies.  I remember when Kerry and I were young and both possessing much different interests but we’d get together two times a year and catch up.  There was a connection between us even with the months apart and our different pursuits.  I am a strong believer in staying close to your roots. I am quite sure that Grandma Menkedick was smiling down on us all day.IMG_0011 IMG_0019 IMG_0032

After that crew left on the Sunday before New Year’s, we had the house to ourselves.  What to do without the commotion, present-opening, running around, and chaos?

Put on the pj’s, eat some of Bill’s chocolate cake, and read Vela.

 

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Watching Ms. Elena

God bless it’s hard to watch a six month old baby! I forgot what those days were like with Ri and Mario – where they need pretty much constant attention and cry like banchees when their mama leaves. I was whooped after an hour and breathed a sigh of relief when I heard the front door open. Ri gave up after about 20 minutes and played video games with Mario. Smart girl. That actually helped me because Elena appreciated the quiet and sat with me for 20 minutes chowing on her sweet potatoes! But holy cow, it took my undivided attention to keep her happy.

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Yes, the selfies actually helped. She likes looking at herself in the mirror. My only goal was to not have her crying when Sarah got home. I had to prove I was a worthy babysitter! Mission accomplished. Once Sarah walked in the door though she was a much happier camper.
And Ri was back in full-on mode following Sarah and Elena everywhere. Sar asked if Ri wanted to hold her in the Ergo Baby and Ri jumped at the chance. Did that work out good or what?!
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She walked around with her for 25 minutes straight; Elena’s eyes fixated on the Christmas lights and objects throughout the house. And, of course, on her awesome older cousin. Now I know the magic bullet when we babysit her next time….
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Gratitude to the core

I find myself feeling grateful so very often these days. The gratitude
is down in the core of my being – entrenched and unmovable. I find myself getting worried about losing the feeling because that would suck, I think to myself when I get caught in my “what can I worry about today phase.” I can’t remember a time in my past that this sense of gratitude was as strong, and I want it to stay. It makes me calmer and more content and more compassionate.
The kids and I went to Cincy on Friday to visit my mom over the holiday weekend. I had memories of Ri as an infant and me heading down on a Friday after work to sleep for an entire night while mom got up with Ri every two hours. And memories of Ri and Mario playing in the Timbers pool while Grandmas Heile and Menkedick sat on the side of the pool belly laughing at their antics.
We brought Rocco with us which ended up being great. He played nicely with Lou. We were going to leave him with Jon but when we went to load up the car, he ran out and hopped in the trunk and refused to budge. We even yelled “Treat!” but to no avail. He did great in the car. Just stared our the window and laid down. Stared and laid down.
We hit Blue Ash pool even though it was freezing. Mario and Ri loved the slide. They showed off their swim strokes to Grandma Lolo. Then we headed to the baby pool for old times sake. Besides, it was 20 degrees warmer. Aunt Julie came to swim with us and revved things up with her energy. She grabbed Ri and I to go off the diving boards. She got everyone in line – from old to young – to play follow the leader. We were doing splits, touching toes, you name it. Hysterical. Ri watched her aunt in amazement. Julie even went down the slide with her. TMF – Julie’s signature letters for “too much fun!”

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As we headed to the car, Julie announced “I’m sitting in the way back!” Ri and Mario pleaded to sit with her for the half mile way home. Hysterical.
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When we got home, Grace was back so the kids played downstairs while Liz and I caught up. That lasted a while but then they begged to go to the park. I love Blue Ash park so it was not hard to convince me. Plus Grace-bug is irresistible.
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We arrived home to pizza and a little Walking Dead for Mario and Grandma Lolo. It was just like old times (minus the Walking Dead!).
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I drove home with two happy kids in the back seat, an exhausted pup in the hatch, and the contentment of a day well spent.
We woke up on Saturday morning and headed right back out again. This time Jon drove. He dropped us off at Riesbecks and headed to big Mario’s to do farm chores. The kids and I went to the farm to visit baby girl Elena. She is growing like a weed at 9 pounds. Her face has changed from a newborn face to an infant face in the matter of two weeks. I could not believe it. And her little thighs had some meat on ’em! M&M were so happy to hold her and love on her.
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Elena even opened her eyes for a while and took us crazy Menkedick Ionnos in full force. It’s precious to hear her cooing and sighing and breathing on you. She is vocal – there is no doubt she will voice her opinions just like us Menkedick gals.
Ri begged to stay out on the farm. She wanted Mario to stay, too, but he wanted to come home with Jon and I. Ri was not swayed; she had no issues waving goodbye to us.
Jon drove Mario and me home. Mario watched Willy Wonka and I read some Vela. Every few miles I’d glance over at Jon and a smile would form on my face. And the awesome feeling of gratitude swelled through my core.>

Whoppin’ weekend

It started with a rompin’ tee-ball game on Friday night. Mario was his goofy self diving after balls and making silly faces while standing on the plate. He and his buddy, Ben wrestled each other for the ball and wrestled each other while waiting to bat. Tee-ball is organized chaos but the coaches are dedicated and patient with the kids – much more than I could be.

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We headed to Doris and Kim’s house to catch the Grandview bike races. The kids were in heaven with all of the partying along our old street, 2nd Avenue. Bounce houses, lemonade stands, soccer balls. Mario wrestled with his buddies on the curb for most of the evening – they are lucky they didn’t roll into the street and get pummeled by the bikers.
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Meanwhile, Ri and her girlfriends played barbies at one of her friend’s house and were content staying out of the chaos for the rest of the evening. I left around 9:30 to go make party bags for my softball gals. Jon partied hard with the kids and pulled up to the house around 10:45 with both kids still wide awake.
We got a visit from the Overbeck crew on Saturday morning. They partied hard at ComFest on Friday night and visited us before heading back to Cincy. Mario loved having Robert and Cy watch him throw baseballs and Ri ran to Aunt Laura when she arrived. Ahh, the love.
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Ri’s last softball game of the regular season was at 3 pm Saturday – right in the thick heat of the day. The girls kicked it up a notch and won 11-2. I was so proud of them.
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Ri rocked it at bat – had two hard hits down the third base line. She is a muscle up at bat – little compact thing. After the game, we had root beer floats and I gave the girls each a gift bag with a picture frame and picture of the team, a card, and candy and sunflower seeds (their favorite during games). I had so much fun coaching them and watching them come together as a team.
Jack and Sofia came to watch Ri play and she was pumped. Then they took her to Noodles with them to grab dinner. She talked the entire dinner telling them stories about the family and asking them questions about themselves. At one point, Ri burped. She looked a little embarrassed and Jack chimed right in saying “it’s ok girl I just let one out myself.” She smiled and giggled. That’s my bro, always making us laugh. Next they played Wii. Ri and Mario made Mii characters of Jack and Sofia, which was hilarious. Then they played baseball with Jack. More hilarity. Then we had to hit Jeni’s so Sofia could experience the goodness.
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A huge downpour occurred as we ate outside. Everyone was scrambling towards the indoors or under the awnings but not Ri and Mario. They ran right out into it and got soaked. That’s my babes.
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On Sunday, I woke up with a killer migraine. I knew exactly what it was from. Dehydration. I had ran, lifted, biked, done hot yoga, mowed the grass, weeded, and stood in the heat for two hours. I wonder why I was dehydrated…. Jon took Mario to Big Mario’s and Ri stayed to nurse me. She got out pictures for us to look at and rubbed my feet. Then she asked “do you want me to go to Sofie’s house so you can sleep?” I knew what that meant – she was bored to death. And so she went and I slept the entire afternoon. I finally woke to somewhat less of a headache. I drank more water. I rested. I was finally able to take a walk with Rocco and the girls at 5:30. I hate wasting a Sunday like that but I now will gulp water all day. Ri and Sofie enjoyed Stauf’s bagels and acting like they were guzzling wine (Stauf’s syrups).
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Meanwhile, Mario was not playing around. He was dead serious as he shot his beebee gun at his target. Jon said he stood in the rain for a half hour shooting. It’s his nirvana. He loves heading out to Mario’s with Jon and Jon loves taking him. It is their bonding experience now and I’m sure for years to come. Mario absolutely is smitten when Jon tells him they are going.
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Jon rang the doorbell at 9:45 pm with a sleeping boy in his arms. He transported him to me and I took him to his room. He looked like a sleeping cub. I checked on Ri and she was sprawled out like a starfish. Love.>

Whirlwind

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind.  I signed up to coach Ri’s softball team and had to participate in “the draft” and practices for the last two weeks.  The kids had their last week of school prior to the Memorial Day weekend (yes, they get out way too early), which consisted of school parties and fretting about presents for teachers.  Oh yea, and Jon was out of town all week.  But we persevered with just a few rough spots (really rough).  The kids biked (Mario) and scootered (Maria) to school every day during the last week of school, which was a god-send since it allowed me to start my day with some fresh air.
The last week of school was nuts.  Maria had an end-of-the-year party at McKinley Park all day on Thursday.  They wore bathing suits and took down tennis rackets and water guns.  Ri was not happy about the fact that they had to walk to the park from school – she begged to take her scooter.  By the time I made it down at noon, she was playing “family” with Riley and Anna and hanging close to Mrs. Pharion in the shade (she likes hanging with adults and listening to the conversation).

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They all looked so tired – teachers and kids – and I knew softball practice would be dreadful that evening.
I got to Mario’s room at 1:45. The moms told me he had been looking for me the last ten minutes. He glanced over as they told me and ran over to give me a big hug. We worked on postcards and decorating frames. The boys ran around like nuts while the girls sat in place. Why is that?! Mrs. Page passed out “candy” awards to each kid. Mario got a peppermint patty award because “he is a burst of energy every day!” Who does that sound like?!

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Friday was clearly going to be a free-for-all day for both teachers and students after Thursday’s insanity. Ri got to watch a movie and Mario got playground time most of the day. I picked them up with Patty at 2:50 and they were charged up. School was officially out! Grandma took them to get DQ and they played with Sophie and Quinn. Mario declared “It’s summer, we don’t have to do anything!” So he wishes….
Friday was a much better ride-to-school day than Thursday. The kids goofed around together and gave me a sweet picture to remember their last day of third grade and kindergarten.

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Thursday was not quite as sweet. Mario woke up on the wrong side of the bed and was pissy the entire ride. I asked for a picture of him and Ri and he refused to look at me. After the third time asking, I said “fine, be that way, Mario.” The inflection in my voice told him I was disappointed. This creates quite a conflict in him. He wants to stay pissy but he doesn’t want to disappoint me. He stopped his bike and told me I could take a picture. When I went to take it though, he wouldn’t smile. So I said “forget it” and kept walking. He started crying and telling me he was just about to smile. He then flew past me on his bike mad as heck. We got to the school and he waited for me. I knew he wanted me to ask for another picture. He plays these games when he’s mad. Instead, we dropped Ri off at her classroom and went to his room. I said goodbye. He ran out as I left and said sorry and begged for a picture with Ri. This kid. Of course I did it (even though he still didn’t smile big) even though I probably should have told him too late to teach him a lesson that he couldn’t get his way all the time.
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And just like that, no more bike rides to school for two and a half more months. Now the bike rides are to Stauf’s for Black Russian bagels – yum.

On Saturday, Ri and I walked in the Memorial Day parade for our Reds softball team. I love this parade in Grandview. It has such a small town feel with everyone lining the streets and waving at you. We bought bags and bags of candy for the girls to throw and we still managed to run out blocks before the end. The girls chanted “We are the Reds” throughout the parade. It was a blast.
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Patty and Jon took Mario, Gio and Alana to watch the parade and scream for Ri. They got three full Kroger’s bags of candy. They were very happy campers. It was insanity when we got to the field. The kids were all hoarse from screaming the entire parade route. I was exhausted from working out at 7 am and then sheparding the girls for two hours. Parents were everywhere looking for their kids. Kids were begging for water. Craziness! But opening ceremony was awesome with the Star-Spangled Banner and old plane overhead and Ri by my side and all the kids ready to play ball. I’m a sucker for that stuff. We headed directly into our game at noon. There was confusion about who was home team so Jon jumped in to do the concession stand. Mario loved helping him. When the game ended, Jon pronounced he never wanted to see a hot dog again.
The girls were a little shell-shocked their first game. They didn’t look comfortable on the field and the pitchers were nervous. The girls didn’t bat as strong as I would have liked either. But I think it was first game nerves. The good news is that we came back from a 6-1 deficit to make it 6-5 in the end.
We were all popped afterwards. Jon’s feet hurt, my back ached, Ri was hot. So Jon and Patty and I sat on the deck and chilled (after I mowed the grass!). The kids played on the computer and ate parade candy.
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On Sunday, we found out the pool was open so we flung on our suits and headed down.

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And guess who jumped off the high dive without flinching?


Last year, he’d climb up a few steps and stand there terrified, and I would have to help him down. Amazing what a year will do. Ri continued her high dive jumps – this year doing mid-air splits. She was so proud of her little bro after he jumped off and told everyone we ran into afterwards.
On Monday, we traveled down to Cincinnati for the long-awaited pool party at Aunt Susie’s and Uncle Kenny’s house. Oh, how the kids were dying for this party. They love having a private pool to play around in with Jon and me and the cousins. We brought Rocco down with us after Susie invited him (she is the consummate dog lover). The kids and I threw on our suits and jumped in without five minutes passing from stepping into the yard. Guess who joined us? Yep, Mr. Rocco. He loved the pool, and refused to get out. I tried to pull him out to take a breather after 20 minutes and he hopped right back in when I turned my back.

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Mario and I suffered serious cuts from Rocco’s nails as he swam by us but it was a joy to see him in his element. We had to pull him out for the spectacular pool volleyball game. The Heiles against the Non-Heiles! The Heiles dominated, and Jon joined me for some post-game fun.
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And it remained all fun-n-games until one of the many dogs playing at Susie’s house decided to let loose on Rocco. Rocco was engaging in his friendly antics, sniffing butts, when one of the dogs attacked him. His ear was sliced and face gashed and blood was everywhere. It seriously was like a murder scene. Jon and I had specks everywhere on us. Mario was mesmerized with all the blood and Ri was scared too death about Rocco. My mom and Rod and Mario and I jumped in the car and headed to the emergency vet at 5 pm. We ended up there until 9 (par for the course on a Memorial Day). Luckily, they were able to glue Rocco’s ear. He also got to leave with a cone.
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Yep, it’s not a party until someone leaves in a cone. At least mom and I got some quality time together. And Mario learned how to make some killer Keurig coffee and tea.
Rocco keeps us laughing with his inability to maneuver around objects with his cone head. Ya gotta laugh at this crazy life or else you’re screw–, no I mean, you’re coned.

Surviving Winter

This Winter is absolutely killin’ me. I think they said we’ve had over 29 inches of snow and a ridiculous number of days at 15 degrees or below. I can’t stand not being able to get up in the morning and take a run. I actually drove to the gym this morning, which already irritates me because I can’t stand having to drive to a gym (when I got home and Ri saw that I drove she gasped “Mary Menkedick Ionno DROVE to the gym?!”). Once there, I can’t stand to run on a treadmill so I hit the weights. I will look like the Hulk by springtime.
At least the kiddos have gotten out here and there to play. It’s great having Rocco around because he’s always in a playful spirit. The kids immediately latch onto it and join right in with him.

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Last weekend, Grandma Ionno came down to stay with us. Alana and Gio came over, too. It was a whoopin’ good time. We took the kids to Galaxy Games and Golf on Saturday afternoon. They climbed up and down the gym set for 45 minutes. I joined them for 20 minutes and was exhausted when I went to sit down. All of them were actually sweating when they came out. Love it.

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It wouldn’t be such a hit in the pocket if we left after the gym. But the kids are addicted to the video games, or moreover, the tickets generated from playing the video games. It floors me how a kid can spend over $20 to get 100 tickets and then have a choice of a plastic alien, a bag of sweet-tarts, or a balloon. But, I’m the idiot that keeps buying tokens….

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It’s worth it to see the smiles on their faces. Patty hung right in there with me amidst the insanity of people running all over the place (kids and adults). She can hang really well. No wonder she can still take all four grand kids for days on end. She is the energizer bunny.

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After Galaxy, we headed home to chill for a while. The kids played the rest of the day and evening (they got a sleepover!). It is a beautiful thing to have a niece and nephew practically the same age as my kids. And to have them at an age where they get along well and get excited at the prospect of a sleepover is all the better. Weekend trips to hang with my aunts (who were only a couple years older than me) make me appreciate the importance of routine cousin get-togethers.
On Sunday morning, the kids begged to head to DK Diner for breakfast. Ri and Mario had been filling Alana’s and Gio’s heads with stories of their incredible, gargantuan donuts. We made it before the big rush and promptly segregated ourselves to a girl table and boy table. Mario had to sit at the bar where he and Jon sit every Saturday morning (and Ri when she goes). Mario interacts with a cook named Mario. The cook Mario hooks little Mario up with some serious scrambled eggs. Then Mario adds a big chocolate long john to the mix. Gio copied Mario’s order, and they both sat staring at SpongeBob on the tv.

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Meanwhile, us ladies sat at a table and talked about fractions and our favorite music and our crushes. Alana got a cinnamon roll the size of her head and Ri switched it up with a chocolate croissant. They both decided on Mickey Mouse pancakes and devoured them.

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I wish Patty and I could have taken a walk but the cold and snow kept us inside. The kids loved having us all together though (all the kids slept with Patty on the floor in the family room Saturday night). Alana and Gio had to leave us on Sunday evening to get ready for school but Patty stayed to watch the first half of the Super Bowl. We made chili and got chips and dip. The kids wrestled with me and jumped all around with glee in having Grandma around. Mario wanted us all to root for Denver but Grandma was adamant that she wanted Seattle. She must have had that grandma intuition…!

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Weekend Round up

I was a single parent this weekend with Jon heading out to the Bucks game with his best friend Paul on Saturday and heading out to hunt on Sunday. So what did I decide to do? How about have over five other kids all day long to play with M&M? That wouldn’t lead to a massive headache or a few outbursts, would it?
But it’s all about the kiddies and they wanted to see their cousins badly. The three next door neighbor kids happened to decide they wanted to play, too after seeing Ri and Mario running around with Alana and Gio. At first, it was all good fun. The boys played zombie killers and ran around the house with their bows and guns and swords. After a while, I started to get claustrophobic with all the running and screaming so I bundled them up and we headed to the woods with Rocco. The boys were hilarious finding zombie trails and troll hideouts and dens. They acted like Rocco was sniffing out zombies. It is always quite an adventure heading out with 6 year old boys.

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Meanwhile, the girls were back at the house chillin’ with a game of Sequence. They had played enough of the regular game so they made up their own with Monopoly pieces.

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After we came home, the chaos slowly rose. Rocco had rolled in raccoon poop (I’m assuming it was raccoon poop but how do I know?!) when we were in the woods. Mario had pointed out some dirt on his side when we were leaving but I just blew him off with an “ugh-huh” because I was freezing and wanted to get home. Luckily I smelled it on him before he rubbed himself everywhere. But the bath was quite a chore between Rocco jumping out three times, the shampoo spilling everywhere and the kids running all around the house with a sopping wet dog following them.
Then the boys got even more wild and crazy running around the house. And yelling. And hurting each other. I started to get the crazed look in my eyes and Ri spotted it.
“My mom’s about to unleash the monster!” Maria whispered loudly to Alana and Sophie. She knows me way too well.
I tried not to scream too loud but I did have a few words with those boys. After a while, I had to send the neighbor kids home in order to cut the kid to mom ratio to 4 to 1. I felt better then and helped Alana and Ri with Alana’s new Barbie house and helped Gio and Mario with their Legos. We stayed up until 11 but then I called it a night. I couldn’t hang any longer. The kids obligingly went in their rooms and I do believe I was asleep before any of them.
On Sunday, we hit the new turkey movie, Free Birds. Lame. Even Ri thought it was pretty bad. Mario liked a few parts (when the male turkeys would fight) but was not too impressed either. But hey, it didn’t ruin our Thanksgiving spirit and we got a ton of popcorn and candy (we scored free refills on popcorn which I usually never take advantage of but it felt good to get a refill on a $8 bag of popcorn!).
Now, to a short work week and lots of gratitude!

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