Tornado hits Cincy

I planned a trip to Cincinnati with the kids for the entire weekend because Jon was heading to England Saturday morning. However, his trip got delayed so he informed me he’d be home all weekend. Lucky dog, I thought. But he really wanted me and the kids to stick around so I compromised and took the kids to Cincy after Mario’s game on Saturday and decided we’d come back Saturday night.

Mario is doing better and better with football. I think the key is to have Jon present; he likes impressing his dad and routinely looks over to Jon after a play and gives a “thumbs up” to him. He’s been running after the other players more and even dodged another player while running with the ball for his team. I must agree with one parent who mentioned to me “he will be really good next year with this practice.”

After the game, we headed down south with our popcorn, cheese pretzels, and powerades. Oh, and with National Geographic’s Wild Kratts show. Mario has been waiting patiently for it to arrive from another library and it was worth the wait. It had the Alaskan bears that Mario asked about every time a new show came on tv. Very cool.

Our trip to Cincy was like most other day trips down there. My mom and her husband describe it as a tornado coming through the house. Pretty accurate. My Aunt Julie, who lives across the driveway in the condo complex would likely describe it the same. The kids jump out of the cars, surprise mom and Rod, play with Lou and run over to Julie’s to say hi to her and Gracie and Liz and Maggie. It’s a cousin-fest! We break out the chips and candies and play with toys and make lots of noise. We tickle Gracie and pounce on Liz and Mag and act crazy. After that gets old, we head outside and show off our bike riding and toss the bouncey ball. Within a few minutes, we are ready for the park. Gracie gets in the stroller, Maria and Mario get on their bikes and we head north to the park where cousin Laura meets up with us. She swings Maria and Grace while I play with Mario and mom walks Lou. The kids put on a show for us that I want to kick myself for not recording. Of course, Maria emcees it and Mario and Grace do funny dances and songs.

After the play, we moved onto the main playground where Maria decided to take an eight foot fall off the slide. I knew she was hurt when I picked her up and she cried incessantly. She brushes off most falls but this one hurt. We carried her to the “ambulance” (Laura’s car) and transported her back to my mom’s. The only thing that would help calm Ri’s pain was Larosa’s spaghetti and meatballs so we ordered from there. I devoured a veggie pizza, and the kids ate garlic bread, pizza and spaghetti. We had worked up an appetite.

After Larosa’s, we hit the outdoors again for some cheer leading lessons from Ri who may be the world’s strictest coach ever. She showed me a cheer and then I tried it. She looked at me with sheer disgust. “Oh, Mary, that was not good….” So much for a gentle touch! Meanwhile, Mario and Laura threw the ball up on the carport roof and watched it bounce down. Mario thought it was the coolest activity ever but he could not get it up to the roof like Laura. It would bounce under the carport and over the small fence behind the cars and we’d spend ten minutes looking for it acting like it was lost treasure when we found it! Mario finally bounced it up to the roof and his smile was as wide as it was long when he turned to me. “I did it,Mom!”


Laura took off for Oktoberfest and we headed inside for baths. The water looked like the Olentangy when the bath ended. The kids both wore goggles and laid parallel to one another to see who could hold their breath the longest. What a sight to behold. Two white round butts in the air attached to two tanned still bodies trying to beat each other in under water breath holding. Mom and I stood over them in awe and joy. They’d come a long way since the nights of bottles and binkies and crying at 2 am.

We ended the night with ice cream and the Dog Whisperer. Maria sat mesmerized by the show while Mario concentrated on making letters with marbles. We looked down and he had spelled “Rex.” He is a Ben Ten fanatic.
We dragged ourselves out to the car, got situated with a movie, and started our journey back home to Jon.

The tornado struck Cincy again but the destruction was well worth it, as always.

Mario, the Romantic

It’s just me and Mario tonight since Maria is at her grandma’s house and Jon is partying with his buddies in Baltimore (he is actually working but heading out to awesome dinners in the evening so I discount his time away as play!).

Mario and I took a bike ride to the library to pick up two Wild Kratts DVDs on hold for us from another library. Mario’s been asking for these for a month and he was so charged to hear they were finally waiting for us. He biked like a mad man to the library in order to pick up the DVDs (however, he did take the time to climb off his bike at certain uneven driveways and cross walks to ensure that he did not tumble over on his bike – the daredevil has his limits, I guess).

After picking up the movies, we headed up north to Dick’s Sporting Goods to purchase his mouthpiece and cleats for flag football. He chose some rockin’ white and black Under Armour cleats and a red and white mouthpiece. He keeps asking when Wednesday night will be here. He’s just a tad bit excited.

On the way home, Ri called to say hi. A few minutes before she called, Mario had lamented to me how much he missed Ria. When she called and I told him it was Ria on the phone, he held up his right hand and said “Don’t say her name, it makes me miss her more and I can’t stand it.” That will make Ri’s day.

When we arrived home, Mario asked me if I knew how many girls he liked. I told him I didn’t know and probably didn’t want to know. He told me he had 20 girls he had a crush on and his number one crush was Jillian, a girl at his school. He continued to show me his love for her…

“I like her so much that one day when I had to fart, I scooted over to the couch and held a pillow to my butt so she wouldn’t hear it.”

How incredibly sweet, heh? If only more men were so considerate?!


Sunday stroller bliss

Since Maria wouldn’t come home on Saturday night with me (no hard feelings, really – I loved listening to my own music and having an hour and a half of alone time!), I got to take a run with Mario in the stroller on Sunday morning.

I was able to crank out about 4 miles before we headed to Tim Horton’s for Sunday morning donuts. And it was another stroller ride where Mario never asked for the iPad but instead talked with his mama the entire time. Beautiful. We played the animal guessing game for most of the trip. He always guesses pig, frog, and monkey when he is guessing my animal because they are my favorite. He’s getting better about asking actual questions to figure out the contemplated animal after he runs through “mama’s favorite list.” He asks if they live in a jungle or farm, if they have fur, if they are fast. His animals I have to guess about are typically from Wild Kratts and obscure as can be. The honey badger, blue morpho butterfly, scorpion…. He’s so proud when I need help in guessing it.

The Wild Kratts show is a nice little educational tool that Grandma Ionno found. Mario gives me more insight into the animal planet from watching that show than I could find on my own (did you know the orangutan has sore arms from swinging and picks off aloe from trees to massage into his arms? Brilliant (both Mario and the orangutan))!

When we arrive at Tim Horton’s we are greeted by a flock of geese protective of their little ones. Mario jumped out of the stroller and began following them. He knows the wrath of the mama goose if he gets too close so he kept far enough away not to receive her treatment.


After the donut store we decided to head to the river to collect more rocks. The lack of rain created a rocky bank for Mario to step onto and the amount of mussels and clams amazed us. We could have been on Cape Cod (ok, I exaggerate a tad). We must have played on that bank for 45 minutes and it felt like 10. I love those times with Mario where we just chill – throwing rocks and staring at the water to wait to see a jumping fish. He does good for my need to be more calm.

On our way back to the stroller,a passing runner told us there was a turtle a few 100 feet back on the trail. We were all over it. We found “Cutie” (as Mario named it) off the trail soaked in mud. We caressed its shell but stayed away from its mouth to avoid a possible finger crunch.


On the way off the trail, we picked a few wildflowers to take home for Maggie’s party. I put them in the seat next to Mario in the stroller and he kept getting irked by the flowers falling on him. I said “flowers, you better stop falling on Mario, do you hear me?!” Mario loved that exchange and began to play the role of the flowers saying “we won’t listen to you” so that I would “have a talk with the flowers” again. This exchange lasted the entire way home.