We hosted our first Thanksgiving this year. Rosalie was warrior-like in her diligence and loyalty to the food. She was up at 6 pullin' out guts. We really don't have any Chachiesque stories from the day to share. Things went really smoothly. And we were able to have both of our families together for the entire night, which was rare and great. The Italians and the Irish. And the Lithuanian. The menu? Fairly traditional with some unusual twists. Sure, I'll run it down for you. Glad you asked.

Cheese, crackers, grapes and assorted light hors d'oeuvres Turkey (free range), stuffing from the bird, stuffing not from the bird, candied sweet potatoes (to which Kate referred to as, "These are like delicious candy!"), onion pudding (Sounds weird, right? It's silly good), brussels sprouts, vermouth mushrooms, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes (with and without turnips), pumpkin bread, homemade rolls, eggplant parmesan, baked ziti, chocolate tart w/ pomegranate, pumpkin pie, apple pie, chocolate pecan pie & caramel cupcakes.

I know it sounds like an obscene amount for 16 people but believe me, it will all get eaten over the next week (if it didn't last night).

Notes on the videos: First we have Vincent's Thanksgiving greeting that the censorship committee almost nixed because of Uncle George's closing comment. Kate petitioned the committee to post it anyway.

And second we have Peter preparing a Thanksgiving turkey while his jabbering father encourages him.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.


Photos of the Moment

I can't take credit for most of these. Aunt Ellen sent them after she and Brianna spent an afternoon with Rose, the boys and the leaves.What can I say? The kid is technologically adavanced. This isn't a prop, either. He spends long periods of time just listening to music on headphones. Just typing those words makes my heart flutter inside my chest.Fun game - spot the Brianna amongst the duvet and the infant carrier. If you can, you win...a bunch of leaves.
The cliche is true. Everything is a toy. Even an awesome leaf funnel.One child is freezing, the other about to be submerged in foliage. Which one is which?


My Leaf Harem

You might remember my discussion a couple of weeks back about the amount of leaves in our yard. As you can imagine, the amount has grown.

Let me make a brief aside here. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. I love this season and I love that it represents itself thousands of times a day all over my property. Honestly. I only keep writing about this because it’s topical and kind of fun (crazy?).

With that, let’s get back to the present. Rosalie saw an ad in our community newspaper for free leaf cleanups. FREE LEAF CLEANUPS. A local university was dispatching a crew to do good deeds and hopefully solicit donations. We jumped at the chance and scheduled a time for the following weekend.

Rose had to work that Saturday so I was home alone with the boys when they arrived. And boy did they arrive. A giant blue van pulled up in front of our house filled with 15 or so college girls. All. Girls. So I walk down the driveway and an older woman shakes my hand an introduces herself as “Sister Katherine” (real name withheld to protect the innocent). It’s at this point that I remember that the University is both Catholic and almost entirely female.

So yeah. 15 girls and a nun were ready to clean up my leaves. For free.

You can imagine what this did to my as yet unformed reputation in the neighborhood (like I care. Kind of.). Getting young women and the vocationed to do my yard work for me.

And boy did they work. They filled 20 giant yard waste bags in like 20 minutes and could’ve filled 20 more. I couldn’t believe it. In reality, Vincent and I were out there helping most of the time (until Peter woke up – then it was all over) so at least we chipped in. I think I even said, “I hope this isn’t just for the elderly because I’d feel really bad to have taken your time.” Sister Katherine assured me that it was for “anyone and everyone that needed the help. And wimps like you, Jim.”
After 45 minutes, they were on their way with a donation check in their hands and the image of Vincent and Peter waving goodbye to them. Since then, more and more leaves have fallen and you can bet your ass I’m going to clean them up myself.

Unless… hey, maybe I can get Vincent’s school friends and a Franciscan monk to come over.

P.S.: We left 48 bags of leaves for the township pickup day yesterday. During this past week, Rosalie bagged 20 of them herself during the days she didn't have to go into work. So that makes 20 bags filled by the college girls + nun, 20 by Rosalie and 8 for me.

It's good to be the emasculated king.



Our man Pete is growing by the minute. He's taken to language really quickly and speaks constantly, throughout the day. Nearly every action is followed by a verbal description of that action. Some fun examples for you to translate:

"Titshyoo. Boogies."

Me: "Who did you see today, buddy?" Peter: "Elllaaah."

Me: "Do you see the bunnies out there!?" Peter: "CAR!"





"Big! Lilul."

Put yer thinkin' cap on and comment with guesses. Answers will be posted at a later date.

Oh yeah - the video. He loves when we take the cushions off the couch so he can jump or put on a little show. In the video above you'll see him demonstrate dexterity with an empty flushable wipes container, a toy syringe and finally, the TV remote. My videographer duties are cut short by the pending destruction of said remote. So yeah, he still throws everything he can get his hands on. FYI.


Kids in Costumes

I'm guessing a few of you have been checking in to see what the boys were for Halloween. I'm also guessing a few of you non-Phillies fans (cough...Joe V.) could stand to see a new photo.

Well your wait is over, friends. Witness the Cowardly Lion. This is one of the few seconds he could actually stand to have the head portion on. Otherwise, it was soft and cozy. The perfect costume for a chilly night of going house to house saying, "MORE" and "DANKYOO" to the neighbors.

Vincent went complex this year and rocked dual costumes. He went with the Tin Man for his school parade...

Then the scarecrow for trick or treating.

Pretty awesome, right? It was a great night other than Rosalie's unfortunate ankle sprain. She actually tripped on a pumpkin stem. I shit you not. How's that for the ultimate trick?