Old Man Winter

These days grow longer and longer. It is flippin’ freezing outside; you know it’s been a rough ride when you see the temperature will be 16 degrees and you are excited.  I can’t drag the kids outside with me in the evening to walk Rocco because I would be accused of child endangerment.  I can barely head out there with Rocco for more than fifteen minutes.  My poor toes have steadily remained purple through the days.  All I can say is that sweet Spring cannot get here soon enough.  I will embrace it and not let go.  I will not complain when we have 90 degree, humid weather this Summer.  Just get me out of this frozen tundra.

There have been some highlights to the last few weeks – thank goodness for these kids and their activities; they force us to get out when we would be hibernating.

On February 11, Maria had her first play.  She played Susan B. Anthony and had IMG_0601a whoppin’ three lines.  But she rocked it – she was one of the few kids who you could hear (thanks, Heile family).  She got on line and found a colonial costume to wear for the show and a hilarious white wig.  Grandma Ionno, Grandma Lolo and Aunt Sarah, Jorge and Elena showed up to see her in action.  She did not seem nervous as she waited for the IMG_0606play to begin; rather, she ran around with her friends and laughed.  She was annoyed with me and Grandma trying to get pictures of her.  She was nervous about one thing – that Elena would start wailing during the performance.  Elena tried to do that but Sarah swopped her out the back doors before she could get a good one out.  We cheered hard IMG_0617 IMG_0615 IMG_0623for her after the performance; she shot us a quick glance but focused all her energy on Luka (Bethany brought him to see the show).  Afterwards, we took the actress to Barley’s for her much loved ribs and beans.

On February 13, the kids celebrated Valentine’s Day at their schools.  Ri took in tattoos and Mario took in Sponge Bob.  I had bought them mustaches on a stick that said “I mustahce you as a Valentine.”  They were adorable.  Both Maria and Mario were appalled at the the thought of giving IMG_0647 IMG_0651them to the respective opposite sex.  “That would be so embarrassing mom!”  So back to Target we went for the tattoos and SpongeBob cards.  Boring.  Ri got ice cream sundaes at her party; she did not care that I did not come.  On the other hand, Mario begged me to attend his, which I happily did.  You can’t walk away from those parties with a sour attitude.  The kids are too dang cute and so excited about making heart-shaped towers and paper flowers.

On February 14, Ri had a pool party for her friend Janira at Westerville pool.  IMG_0669 IMG_0677 IMG_0683They stayed there from 12:30 until 5.  She got pizza and ice cream and cake and non-stop pool action.  When I came to get them at 4 pm, they begged to stay for another hour.  They all tried to jump in an inner tube together without tipping over, which failed every time.  But they had a blast and it was great to be in a heated pool area and see bathing suits!

On February 17, Ri had her skate party with 10 friends.  Mario got to attend, also IMG_0713 IMG_0716 IMG_0719 IMG_0730 IMG_0732(Ri let him use one of her friend passes for one of his friends).  The moms may have had more fun than the kids….  I was happy to see many of the moms head out on the rink with me.  The girls all did a great job skating and falling.  No broken bones.  Ri greeted all of the girls as they trickled in at different times – she is a good host.  Mario tried to help Rohan skate but it was not easy.  So the two of them ended up playing games the entire time.  Mario was not disappointed about that.

On February 19 and 20, the kids got off school due to the extremely cold temperatures.  Bums.  They were so psyched up.  On Thursday, Bethany took them to Galaxy Games and Golf from 3 pm until 9 pm.  They played tag and hide-n-seek and Mario won 1000 tickets.  He was so pumped up.  On Friday, Mario feigned illness to stay home with Jon and Bethany and Ri went to COSI.  Not bad for two days off of school.

On February 21, we got seven inches of snow!  The world turned white and Rocco couldn’t get enough of it.  I am surprised his nose did not freeze off as much as he dug into the snow with it.  Ri and I took him on a walk up to IMG_0747Grandview Grind and he leapt with joy, literally, throughout the entire walk. We visited Ri’s friend and their new pup and Rocco found a playmate.  They played great together.  Ri ended up staying at Anna’s house while I walked Rocco home.  The neighbors were making a giant snowman in the front yard.  I walked in the door and told Mario we had to go sledding.  There is a small hill by his school that I knew was open.  He shook his head no and told me he didn’t feel like it.  I kept prodding him until he finally got on his jeans and sweatshirt.  He had to wear his Cabella’s overalls and coat since we don’t have any snow pants that fit him.  He was all stressed out about how he would look.

“No one else will be wearing this, mom.  I will look stupid!”

IMG_0774This boy is more concerned about his looks than I ever have been.  Jon and I reassured him that he would be fine.  If someone laughed, he should ignore them.  Each person is unique.  I don’t think he so much agreed with us than he just wanted to shut us up so he threw on his boots and headed to the car.  It was IMG_0779 IMG_0775 IMG_0767funny because Ri showed up with her friend, Anna to sled an hour after we arrived and she had on a huge pair of brown bib overalls that did not fit her at all but she could have cared less. They all had a blast going down the hill, engaging in a massive snow ball fight, and making a ramp to jump over.

It was so beautiful today because although we had seven inches of snow it was 33 degrees so you could go outside without your face freezing off.  Tomorrow the high is 23 degrees and I think it starts to plummet even worse Monday on.  I keep telling the kiddos to have dreams about Spring flowers and birds chirping and open windows with a warm breeze wafting in, and maybe that will help move old Man Winter along.

But we’d be amiss if we did not thank Old Man Winter for giving us the snow to play in today.






Weekend wrap-up

Big Mario, as we affectionally call our Italian cousin, celebrated his 60th birthday last night with a surprise party at a restaurant near his home in Dover. Jon, the kids and I drove to Dover yesterday at 3 pm in order to be there by 5 and avoid ruining the surprise by pulling in at 5:30 with Big Mario. I was feeling a little “puny” (as Patty calls it) on the way out but the birthday sheet cake boosted my spirits. Ri enjoyed dipping her fried chicken in ranch dressing. Mario enjoyed crooning with Larry, Mario’s friend and the singer for the evening.



Mario was truly surprised and grateful. He went around hugging family and friends. All of his kids made it to the party, which I’m sure meant a lot to him. Jon and I always crack up at Big Mario and how much he wants his kids to stay around him. He would have them all live in his house with him and Vickie if he had his way. On the other hand, Jon and I are dreaming of the day M&M go off to college…. Ha.

Mario was fascinated with Larry’s singing set-up and just stood next to him most of the party. Larry let him sing at one point and Mario chose “Gangum Style.” A little different than Moon River. Maria sat with some older women and listened to them gossip. Her favorite activity at these events. I can just see her gabbing away when she’s 60 years old as she sips her coffee and eats her pie.

We got home at 9:30 and I went straight to bed with M&M. Usually I can sleep off these funks. I felt a tad better this morning. We stayed in and made pancakes and eggs. Ri and I had to improvise on the chocolate chips for the pancakes since Mario ate the rest of the baking chips. We cut up Hershey Kisses into small pieces and added them. Not bad.

Mario saw a dinosaur exhibit at the Convention Center on tv so we decided to give that a whirl. They advertised bouncey houses and dino digs and mining areas. It was $16 admission but I figured we’d be there a good chunk of the day. Maria brought Janira so $50+ dollars later we were looking at mechanical dinosaurs. And that’s all we were doing. It was the biggest rip-off. They had a quarter of the area cornered off with mechanical dinos and the rest was a few bouncey houses and dino digs. The problem was that you had to pay another $20 per kid to play in those areas. Unfrickenbelievable. I was so irritated. So, in the end, I paid over $50 to see ten dinosaurs. We were there less than 30 minutes.

The other parents walking out with me were just as pissed. And I felt for a lot of them who told me they saved up to come only to have their money wasted on nothing. I complained to the people taking money about the false advertising but that was like talking to air. Whatever, I made myself let it go but those dino promoters will get theirs someday.

Ri and Janira had begged to sit in the massage chairs prior to the dino exhibit and I had said no. When we left, that was our only saving grace. Mario treated the girls to a massage ($1 each) and they were in heaven thanking him over and over again.


So, what to do at noon on a winter Sunday? I tried to get them to head to Barnes and Noble but they wanted a bouncey house. The only place I could think of was Galaxy Games and Golf. They were game. I think half of Columbus was there with us and it didn’t help my headache at all but the kids did expend some serious energy. Somehow that still doesn’t tend to equate with an early bed time, however.



And now, a pizza, cookie and coke later, we are heading home for some relaxation and some Spa Science in the tub. I’m hoping that Ri can create an elixir to take all my winter cold aches away, and make my stomach feel better after that delicious meal at Galaxy Games and Golf.

It’s a boy party!

Mario got his first invitation to a boy friend’s birthday party this week. He got invitations when he was 2 and 3 years old but he is at an age now where he actually opens the invitation and mulls over whether to go or not. He’s gotten a few invitations from girls and declined but he jumped on this one from the neighborhood boy, Quinn.

He held the invitation behind his back and asked me “Mom, do you think I will ever get invited to a boy’s birthday party?” I knew what he was doing – he wanted me to say no so that he could surprise me and say that he finally got one. I obliged him with a “no” and he sprung the invite in my face and shouted “I got invited to Quinn’s and it’s at Galaxy Games and Golf! I can’t wait for a boy party!”

And boy he lapped that party up on Wednesday night. He was upset at first because he found out Maria was coming. “It’s a boy party, mom!” Then I explained how many parties of Maria’s that he came to and he surprisingly let it go without a fight. It didn’t matter that Maria was there anyway because he was off and running with the boys as soon as we stepped foot in the door. Luckily, Maria had a girlfriend at the party since her little brother was there, too (even though Ri could have showed those boys a few things!).

Mario loves loves loves playing with the boys. He loved football because he got to hang with the boys and wrestle and tackle and run. He loved Galaxy Games and Golf for the same reason – all of the boys ran and jumped and tackled each other. Like small jungle creatures. They’d stop for a quick drink and go back at it full speed.

Mario can go all day with just water. When they all gathered in the party room, Mario barely ate pizza and kept asking when they could go back on the playground. I forced him to eat a piece if he wanted cake and he grudgingly agreed. I can still use the “your muscles only get bigger if you eat” line on him to get him to eat because he is still into those muscles of his.


After pizza, they got to take their tokens and play games. Ri and Mario love to play games. Mario loves skeeball. Ri tries everything. Mario holds his tickets close to his side and won’t let me touch them. Ri gladly hands them to me to hold. Every time Mario won tickets, he’d run to me to show me and then run away scolding me not to follow him (can we say independent stage?!).



After 45 minutes of running around to fifteen different games in a space the size of your kitchen, we cashed in our tickets. Mario had 98. You gotta be kidding, I thought. Luckily for Galaxy Games’s sake, they round up so Mario got credit for 100. Ri got 150 due to my superb coin placing skills which I used to place a token into a 100 ticket slot. Of course, my magnanimous girl looked for things she could buy Mario with her 150 tickets but he was only interested in a plastic hammer for 100 tickets.

He proceeded to use it to bonk all of his boy friends. And they did it back to him. Ahh, sweet boys.

Maria got gel. Not sure it’s purpose but I don’t think it was for cooling seven-year old eyes.


When I first got the invite, I complained to friends about the party being at 5:30 to 7:30 on a weeknight. But by the end of the party, I realized what a good idea it was to have it at that time: 1. You don’t ruin weekend plans; 2. You don’t have to cook dinner; and 3. You have exhausted kids by 8 pm! Of course my two are insane night owls but at least the party got them to a point where they wanted to read a book and not jump on the bed all night.