Happy rescue

I think if Mario had to choose between me and Jon’s mom, Patty, to live with for the next ten years, I’d be pushed to the side. The boy loves him some Grandma time. And thank goodness she loves her some Mario time because she rescued us yet again when we were juggling teacher-in-service days and work. 

Patty got home from Florida on Wednesday evening and barely had time to get her bags before she headed 30 minutes up north with me to Lazer Craze. The kids were there for an evening of laser tag and pizza and games. Patty rescued us from pulling our hair out on Thursday – trying to juggle Jon out of town, Sarah in town, and me having to attend a mandatory meeting.  She sat up at Lazer Craze with me for an hour watching the kids play and listening to the loud music. I am sure she was exhausted from her trip but she did not complain one time. She let Ri and Mario drag her from game to game to watch them play. 

 It really is amazing that this woman in her mid-70’s can go as hard and as strong as women in their 30’s. She is always up for a wrestling session with Mario and water volleyball with Ri. Jon and I woke up on Thursday morning to a text from Patty – it contained two pictures of Mario in his pjs fishing at her pond. 7am and they are outside fishing. That ranks in and of itself in the “way too cool” annals for grandparents.

She watched his crazy you tube videos with him, let him play restaurant and serve her at her bar table, took him to Lazer Craze again to play, and made him cinnamon rolls every morning. Seriously?!

No wonder when he has to come home, he pouts! I can’t recall a day when I asked Mario if he wanted to go to Grandma Ionno’s house and he replied “no.” It is always an ecstatic “yes”! That says a ton right there. And when Patty spends the night at our house, both kids beg to sleep downstairs with her. And although we say no, somehow Mario inevitably ends up cuddled by her side in the morning.❤️

Wing kids

The kids have returned from a weekend with Grandma Ionno. At age 75, this lady takes her 4 grand kids for more than 48 hours and complains not one bit. God love her – more than I can say about me after 24 entire hours.
We took Grandma to Matt the Miller’s for brunch. All Mario likes these days are ritz crackers and chicken legs. Yea, don’t ask me. He is an enigma. He ate an entire sleeve of crackers when he stepped into the house; and when we went to brunch he asked for chicken legs. They had chicken leg wings, thank goodness, and Mario was pleased. Ri couldn’t pass up the wings either because the waiter confirmed they had ranch dressing to which she could dip her wings. That girl knows how to live.

Mario isn’t quite as seasoned as Ri on the wing front. He doesn’t dip them in anything and only ate two before he was full (may have had to do a bit with the sleeve of Ritz crackers…).

Wings have never tempted me and never will. They look and feel gross. I stuck with a turkey club and sweet potato fries – yum. But as always, the best part of the meal was the dessert – Greater’s buckeye blitz and chocolate chip ice cream. If only I could live on that for every meal. The kids have inherited my love for Greater’s as well taking down scoops of chocolate chip with me. Needless to say, I can’t take a picture of us all post-feast because we are sprawled out on the couch with our pants’ buttons undone. Happy post T-Day!>

Geese, Brownies and Grandma time

Mario rather enjoyed the geese out front of his day care last Friday. At first he tried to pet them but when they moved away he decided to chase after them. They were not amused.


Mario continued to have a word with one goose as he crossed the lot. The poor fellow was all the way across the lot just watching for big bad Mario when I left.

Mario was happy to go to school that day because he knew that Grandma and Grandpa Ionno were picking him up before lunch. He got an entire weekend with them since Jon was at a conference and Ri and I had her Girl Scout Campout. Patty also picked up Giovanni and kept both boys at her house. She is, as I always say, a machine. A full weekend with those two boys would be considered a major punishment to most but to her, it’s delightful. She is so good with them and stands her ground when they go off course. I was talking to her and she had to tell them to settle down and her voice got fierce. All of a sudden I didn’t hear boys’ screaming anymore.

She described to me Mario’s negotiation, or rather, swindling techniques when it came to money. He told Patty he had money to buy a web shooter if she’d take him but when they got there he said “oops, I forgot it.” Then he proceeded to finagle her into buying that and something else. The boy loves money and loves to spend it. When a commercial comes on that deals with saving money (“buy this insurance and save!”) or getting money (“we’ll give you $2000 for your old car…”), his ears perk up and he’s glued to the tv.

The boys built a “tent city” throughout Patty’s and Joe’s condo and begged not to have to leave one another on Sunday. It’s so wonderful that they are at an age where they enjoy one another’s company.


Meanwhile, Ri and I were freezing our tails off in 35 degree weather at the Girl Scout Campout. Ri was so excited about the camp out and literally hopped in my arms when I met her at school to take her out to it. It was a little rough at first but ended well. Ri does not play with a lot of the girls in scouts, probably for numerous reasons. They have stay-at-home moms who arrange after-school play dates. Some of the moms hang out together a lot so their kids do, too. It could also be that Ri does not have the typical silly, antic-oriented playful style that most 8 year-old girls have. I look at her and Alana and there is such a difference in style. Alana would have been running around loony with those girls. Maria is more contemplative and seems to work better when she’s one-on-one with people. At one point, I could tell she felt awkward and she admitted that she was disappointed that no one was really including her. So of course I jumped in the girl mix with her and got her playing with the girls. She had her moments of just sitting back (the girls put on a talent show and each little clique did a different act; Maria held the flashlight because she didn’t want to perform) and I told myself to let her be. I sat back and bit my lip, and all was fine in the end. She did have a blast staying up until 11 pm with one of her girlfriends. They kept flashing lights on us and running around the lodge. She also loved making s’mores (as did I)!




As we drove home on Saturday, she told me she had a good time. Looking back, I did too. I’ve got to let my crap go in those situations and just let her work through it. If she needs me, she’ll get me. She and I had a blast at my work and getting hot cocoa and coffee at Stauf’s that afternoon. We laughed together and had her friend Ceylone over. We both crashed that night by 8:30 and slept until 7:30 the next morning we were so tired from the cot sleeping the night before.

On Sunday we took a run/bike ride, hit hot yoga, and ate bagels at Stauf’s while I read the Times and Ri wrote poems. Here is one to Sarah for graduation:

So much depend
You getting there
So much depend

Not only a budding environmentalist but a budding poet? I just want to eat her up.

While we were camping out and building tents, Jon was getting legs wrapped around him on the dance floor and jammin’ to Gangum Style with his buds. I told him he owes me a night out on the town like that (something about Barthel and Loeshner brings out the tiger in him).

When Mario got home from Grandma’s and Grandpa’s, Jon bought KFC and we got out our tray tables and turned on Duck Dynasty for some quality family time. The immediate family is back together again!