rules to live by.

When I was growing up my parents were.... strict. Once my brother hit college they became more lax and then Matt came around and brought with him his inappropriate sense of humor and all bets were off. I thought it could be kind of funny to go back into time a bit with some of the rules we lived by. You know other than the obvious no sex, drugs, and rock and roll. 

- no nail polish unless it was clear. My aunt got married when I was in sixth grade and I remember her asking my father permission in order to paint my nails the lightest shade of baby pink. I was sitting at my Grandma's kitchen table practically bouncing up and down with anticipation. He reneged. 

- no makeup. My first piece of makeup was mascara, and it was clear. It came to me in my Easter basket and I was in high school. I learned how to apply the rest of my makeup from friends before going to dances and have literally not changed it since. This, to me, is a downfall on my part. Teen Beat makeup should never be every day make up.

- no popular radio until you were 13. And this was before some of the more wonderful songs have graced popular radio. Meredith Brooks man... You ruined it for us. 13 was also the magic number in that it opened the doors to MTV. I waited so long to be able to watch My So Called Life and Daria. Well worth the wait. And along the same lines as television and what we could and couldn't watch.... No Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. No Butthead either, MTV allowances or not.

- no R rated movies. No movies about witches for that matter regardless of rating system. I went to a Halloween themed sleepover when I was in middle school where The Craft would be viewed. I, ever the honest daughter, informed my mother. In order to be allowed to go I had to promise not only to not watch, but to not listen. I brought my Walkman and magazines and turned my back during the movie. I still haven't seen it. Devil's work that one. 

- no two piece bathing suits. When I was 14 I was asked to go to The Outerbanks with my girlfriend and I desperately wanted to wear a two piece and be a big girl. My mother told me she would "talk to my father" and that she would need to approve the final purchase. I came home with a sports bra and a pair of shorts. Thattttttttt was my first two piece. 

- no pierced ears until you were ten. I think it was ten anyways. I was a real jerk and made my sister wait until she was ten too even though my parents no longer cared. I really revolted against this as soon as I could. I fooled those OCMD Boardwalk people, I sure did. When all was said and done I had 17 holes in my ears. That one backfired didn't it parents? Remember when John pierced his ears and he was forbidden to have them in when dad was in the house? And I used to have to re-pierce his poor ears every time he left? Blood? Everywhere? Yup. That.

- church every Sunday. If the roads of Maine were impassable we held church in the formal living room, with me botching up a version of Christ the Lord Has Risen Today on the piano and my dad reading from The Daily Bread. 

- eat all your peas. Okay this rule I never ever abided by come hell or high water. And you knew that wretched thing kids say? "When I'm a mommy I'll never make my daughter eat her peas!" Well folks. I don't. Nor will I ever. I hate those foul creatures. I would rather sit in the dark sobbing into my plate of cold peas and warm milk than suffer that horribleness. Or I would rather receive a spanking times three than eat just one offensive bean. To bed with no dessert? Sign this stubborn girl up. And for the record yes Letty takes after me. 

Sometimes we tease them, my parents. When the discussion around the dinner table hasn't left bathroom humor or sexual puns for an hour someone sighs and says look how far we've fallen. When my dad pours me a glass of wine that he has purchased himself (always Matt's favorite kind too). When all of us have a tattoo here or there. They were strict, yes... But they were perfect and I wouldn't change a thing. 

Except maybe the earrings thing. 

So instead of "I'm All About That Bass" I'll teach my three all about The Beatles or Jay and The Americans, followed by a side of Neil Diamond. 

Oh and might I add two of my own rules kids of mine??
- no Stephen King books until you can drive, at least. 
- you are never ever I mean never allowed to date your brother's best friend. Ever. 

The end.


letty cam returns

My daughter has an iPad. As do both boys (because most certainly an infant requires an iPad), thanks to a very generous set of grandparents.  She has been known to take a lot of photos in her time, some quite humorous. And well lately she has become quite the photographer, chasing around family members and machine gun firing the shutter with gusto. So out of the 1,111 photos on her iPad, (57 of which were of her wellies) here are a few of my favorites.

The Happy Daddy:
The Peekaboo Mommy:
The Blurry Aunt Ashley:

 The Sneak Attack on Uncle T and Uncle Colton:

The Nonna as Seen From Below:

The Beautiful Hair of Miss Sadie (or as she likes to call it, The Best Side of Me):

 The Silly Uncle Robbie:

 The Hi Pop!:

 The I'm Annoying Aunt Beth by Taking 23 Pictures of Her:

 The A Normal Day in the Van:

 The Gorgeous Views in Ephrata:

 The Unsure Lena:

The I Made My Brother March and March Until He Collapsed All While Mommy Nursed and Begged To Not Be Photographed:

 The Toys:

 The E at Rockwell's:

And approximately 312 of these:
The girl will perfect the selfie I am sure of it.

Past Letty Cams here.


a lego table from target

The problem of the Legos and the storage of the Legos. Totally not awesome. Pinterest has about a zillion and a half ideas, Legos has tons of merchandise you can buy with the toys in order to store them should you be willing to give up your right arm to pay for it. I was going to have Matt make something but we found this table on clearance at Target and just couldn't pass that up. Matt couldn't have made a table for less than that. It has space for six storage cubbies and it is the perfect height for little kids. So much easier than building from scratch.

The table assembled:

He searched eBay for the cheapest Lego plates and I searched the rest of the interwebs for the cheapest fabric bins (Target, found here) and it just makes my OCD heart so very happy. 

Thankfully I am not the only mother creating Lego table like spaces for their kids. Katie just recently created this wonder and I'm so glad she gave the little tip of attaching all the plates with Legos first, prior to using the wood glue.... have to have the spacing right, otherwise - yikes!

I put all of the instruction manuals into ziploc baggies for now, one with Letty's sets and another for David's. The Legos themselves are all currently separated into his and her sides of the table but we all know that won't last long, much to Letteria's chagrin.

I know that the Lego War has only just begun. I know that for years to come they will be getting these sets and now that there is plenty of room for them in the basement I say bring them on! The best part might be the table's location. Out of sight. Out of mind.


chuggington live!

My boy's first show! Okay, so he has seen stage shows at Disney and the small ones they put on at Dutch Wonderland, and he saw a Disney on Ice thing for a bit last Spring but! An actual show. As in within an actual theater. All big boy style. It was all quite exciting and new. 

Middle children get the short end of the stick, or so I hear. When Letty was David's age she got invited by her uncle to go see his school's production of Beauty and the Beast. She wore her very best Belle dress and brought her very best Belle doll and it has sort of become an annual thing. But David. He always seems younger somehow than his counterpart at no fault of his own, it's just he's younger than she is now. Could he handle an actual show? We wondered...

A few weeks ago Chuggington Live! came to a theater near us and my father took it upon himself to treat Matt and David to a showing, since Letty and I got to go to Frozen on Ice after all. I packed a backpack full of treats and trains for Matt to use as distractions if anything went awry and sent them on their merry way. And yes his shirt isn't buttoned properly. How he will function in the real world with a mother like me is just beyond comprehension.

They had fantastic seats in a fairly packed show. From my understanding David was quite quiet and shy, taking it all in. He sat on Matt's lap the entire time eating his snacks and watching his show. During intermission he played with his choo choos until ready to resume watching again. When he came home he said immediately: I had fun at Chuggington!!! He was remiss to discuss any further.

So can he handle a show? Why yes if that show has trains and includes a never ending supply of chocolate cheerios I think it's safe to say he can. Thank you to Nonna and Poppop for treating the guys!




A photo of each of my brood, once a week, every week, of 2015.

Dominic, aged 10 weeks: He is just bursting out of his three month onesies and pajamas. I'm really dragging my feet about packing them up and moving on up to the next size. He is my baby after all.

David, aged 2 years: A few weeks ago I made the mistake of cutting his hair. And it was just horrible. Horrible awful no good very bad. He looked like an Amish Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber. I thought it would improve as it grew out.... but could take it no more. My good friend Rhonda finally rescued us all.

Letteria, aged 4 years: Being the eldest means you get to do all sorts of fun things. Like go out and play in the snow whilst your father is snow blowing. Also? She sees the camera come out and is all like "cheese" "cheese" Mommy! "cheese!"

Past weekly shots here.


our valentines

Oh the Tale of Our Two Valentine's....

The first of which was, as always, with our neighbor loves, the Fitzs. They bring the salad, desserts and wine, and Chef Matteo takes care of the rest. Children be loud, wine be drunk, sweatpants be worn. That sort of thing. The success of the entire evening hinging on the exact shade of purple on Mark's lips. We had steak, shrimp skewers, and garlic mashed potatoes, all made from start to finish my moi. I mean Matt. And those children of ours? They were by far the most well-behaved bunch I ever did see. Remove that jaw from the floor, I tell no lies. The playroom has seen better days but those kids played so nicely that my cold frigid heart warmed up a degree or two.


The next day was the actual day of The Valentine and not one to sit around by our fivesome, we invited over my brother and his wife and baby and my sister and her husband and their baby. Nothing says love and romance like siblings and cousins and lots of noise. The menu included ribs, scalloped potatoes and sweet corn from our summer harvest, as well as a delicious strawberry heart pie (also from our summer harvest) by Beth and some of Steph's left over strawberry vanilla bean cupcake goodness.

The natural progression of the evening of course lead to posing the babies for festive holiday shoots. Lots of that happening.

So now! On to the next holiday! And as Italians we are huge into St. Patrick's Day. Don't pinch me.

Last year's Valentine's Day here.