Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Vinny's birthday party V2.0

 Vinny's birthday party with his friends was a couple of weeks ago.  For MONTHS (maybe even for a year) he has talked about wanting to do Go Karting for his party.  I looked into it, but the party packages seemed a bit much and had a minumum of 8 kids.  I envisioned something smaller.  Just a handful of kids so we could drive everyone to the party ourselves (the place is over 20 min away-- I didn't want parents to have to drive their kids there)  My idea was to have a few kids, go do a couple of races, then go out for lunch, then home for cake and ice cream.  K1 Speed didn't allow reservations (unless you did the entire party package thing) so we planned on getting there right at opening time so we wouldn't have a wait.

What a disaster.  We got there less than 10 minutes after opening, but a group of 12 just beat us.  Between that, and scheduled parties they had, the next available time to race was 4 hours later.  What??  I almost lost it.  Standing there, with 5 kids and no party. I begged and pleaded.  Nothing.  It broke our heart to have to tell Vinny.  He was upset, and even a little teary but he took it like a man.  Thankfully there was an indoor trampoline place right across the street so we ran over there.

Sure they could take us-- but they weren't open for another 45 minutes.  Ugh.  The kids hung out in the van, watching a movie, while Pete and I frantically got a hold of all the moms so they could get online and fill out new waivers (because God forbid we take kids on a trampoline without a waiver)  One mom we could not get a hold of, so that kid is now known as Tyler Contini as far as Sky High is concerned.

Because we opened the place, it was pretty empty.  I admit, the kids all took the change in plans in stride, and really seemed to have a good time.  I, on the other hand burst into tears-- I guess the stress and guilt over ruining my kid's day just got to me.

After jumping we picked up Five Guys on the way home.

And celebrated with cupcakes!

But I still felt awful.  We promised Vinny Go Karting, and damnit, we were going Go Karting.

May I present Party number 2!

I called the place and scheduled a full party, since that was the only way to reserve a time.   Since it was the winter break, I was afraid his friends would be out of town.  Not only were they able to come, but the 2 who weren't available for the last party were able to come to this one.  Throw in a big brother and one of his friends and we had our 8.

The kids had a blast.  I have to admit, it looked like a lot of fun-- I would love to try it one of these days!

As a party, they had the track to themselves for their races.

The top 3 racers received medals, and all the kids got a t-shirt.

We went home for ice cream (I was not making more cupcakes!) and called it a day.

Lesson learned--whatever it takes, for something like a party you need a reservation.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Happy 11th Vin-man!!

Today has been all about Vinny--because it's his birthday!!

The traditional belgium waffles and ice cream birthday boy breakfast!

What can I say about Vinny?  I think Zach summed it up best tonight at dinner when he said "Vinny brings energy to a room when he is in it".

Brothers and cousins sking ofr his autograph after his play
Whether it is his singing, acting, joke telling, or his silly sense of humor, things are always interesting and loads of fun when he is around.

Vinny in The Wiz
Scanning through pictures over the last year I was hard pressed to find one of Vinny smiling normal, or not laying the bunny ears on someone.

at a Giants game

Showing me the golden egg from the Easter egg hunt

Guess who won "Most Dramatic" at Drama camp?

Static cling in the trampoline!
Vinny, you make our life interesting and exciting!!  May your 11th year be your best one ever!!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Deer Valley 2014

While it feels like forever ago already, our yearly Deer Valley ski trip came to an end about a week ago-- the craziness of our daily life has a way of making that happen I suppose.

This year we went with my sister in law Lisa, and her family.  We stayed in a condo that was walking distance to the lifts on the top half of the mountain.  The place was great!

There was room to hang out in the family room in front of the fire...
...and a loft that most of the kids were able to sleep up in.

It snowed almost non stop for 2 straight days, making for awesome ski conditions!!

The kids (mostly Zach) put a lot of time into building a sled course.  It was pretty impressive!

 For the first day the kids all did a day of ski school.  The ski school at Deer Valley is fantastic, and the reason my kids are now officially all better skiers than I am.

The one and only picture of me on the slopes.
 Day 2 we all hit the slopes together, ready to ski as a family.  Nothing brrings me greater joy than to see what amazing skiers they have all turned into.  We always have a blast together, and Vinny and Christopher rarely even fight!
And then it happened--only 2 runs into our first day skiing as a family.  We were on a simple, relatively flat run through the trees.  The 4 boys were in front of me, and had just popped back out onto the groomed run.  Not sure what exactly happened--Pete thinks my ski hit a branch or root.  Suddenly I was going down, twisting on the way.  My right ski was stuck, not budging an inch.  I could feel my knee twisting and twisting, until my binding finally gave and my ski popped off.  I landed in a tree hole.  Pete also went down behind me.  I knew it was bad, my week likely over.  I got pulled out of the hole, and then accessed the damage.  It hurt, but I guess I was still in denial and didn't want to call the ski patrol.  My knee was clearly unstable when I stood up,  but I gritted my teeth against the pain, and (very slowly) skied to the bottom.  I was crying, knowing my week was done.  Joey was crying because he said it was his fault for choosing the run (of course I reassured him it was not).  Home I hobbled.

It was a bummer, but Pete and the boys had a blast hanging on the slopes the rest of the week.

 I had to laugh becasue he said that without me there, no one knew where to go or what lift to hit next.  I didn't realize how much I always took charge in that realm and dictated our days.  Itw as good for them though.

 They sent me fun and cool pictures, and because we were so close to the slopes, they came home every day for lunch.

It was cold, much colder than we were used to.  One day was so cold in the morning (-11!) that no one even left until after lunch.

I waffled from being grateful that I only had a knee injury and nothing something more serious, like a head or neck injury to having a pity party about the fact that I was injured on the couch and everyone else was outside having fun.  I then ended up sick with a fever--really??  Like a jacked knee wasn't enough?? The last day was absolutely gorgeous- clear as a bell and sunny.  My view from the couch was of the above runs.

Despite my bad luck, it was still a great family trip.  The kids had fun, and we had lots of time as a family to just be together.  And I really was and am grateful that I wasn't hurt more.

As for my knee, the final verdict came in on Friday with my MRI results-- an MCL that is partially torn off my tibia and a medial meniscus with tears in 2 places, partially extruding out of the joint.  The MCL will heal on it's own, the meniscus will not.  Looks like I will be spending our February break recovering from knee surgery.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A very merry Contini Christmas!!

Pete and I dressed up for a party at our Crossfit gym

 The Christmas Season just flew by!  Our October and November were completely crazy with work (our office implemented an electronic health record) and other things so I vowed to make things simple this year.  I felt like I did a pretty good job sticking with that, while at the same time still enjoying a lot of the traditions we have as a family.

 We got to watch Chris in his class Winter recital.

 I wasn't planning on the gingerbread house this year, figuring the kids were getting old and probably didn't want to anyway.  Much to my surprise they asked and all had a blast decorating it.

 Every year we hit the Fantasy of Lights in Vasona.  Took us forever to come up with a night when we all 6 of us were available.  We finally had a night, and were getting ready to go when Zach got a better offer--a movie with some friends.  I was bummed he wasn't with us, but also understand he would rather be with friends.

Because it was so close to Christmas, and a Saturday, we had to wait much longer than usual- 1 hr 10 minutes!!
It was fun and we were glad we stuck it out.

 This year we hosted the annual "Little Cousins" gift exchange (yes, there are so many cousins in Pete's family that we have to divide them up--Zach on up comprise the "older cousin" set).  We played the white elephant gift game, and everyone was pretty happy with their gifts.

 Christmas Eve we had a great dinner and evening at my sister in law's house (and I forgot my camera-Boo to that).
Christmas 2014

 Every year the kids get matching Xmas jammies (which I usually give to them on Thanksgiving), and I take a photo on the fireplace.  This year I sort of forgot about the pajamas until the last minute.  I ran to the mall on December 23rd to find some.  Nope.  No pajamas to be found--Old Navy did not have a single pair of men's or boy's pj's.

Christmas 2013
Luckily Contini boys don't grow very fast so they wore last years jammies!

 The tree on Christmas morning, waiting for the boys to wake up.

 Holding their gifts from Santa-- what could it be?

 Looks like Santa ran by the Apple store on the way to the Contini house!!

Our turn!

And the aftermath...

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday surrounded by family and friends!

And Zachary got his driver license today!  Way to go Zach!!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Happy 16th Zach!!

 16 years ago today, the most amazing thing happened to us--Zachary was born and I became a mom!

Zach with his girlfriend Helya, at Homecoming

Today was all about Zachary--pancakes and bacon for breakfast and his favorite, home made mac and cheese for dinner.   Per family tradition, the discussion at the dinner table was all about Zach.  Chris said that Zach makes yummy food for him (he must mean Kraft mac n cheese which is what he usually makes them if he is baby sitting).  Vinny said that Zach was  nice and did things with him when he asked.

The cupcakes Helya made for him today

 Joey likes how Zach will lend him good books to read (currently Joey is reading Zach's Tesla book).  We talked about how as the oldest, Zach helps pave the way for his little brothers, and how special being the oldest is.
Zach and I had some great mother and son time last weekend at
the Dickens Fair in San Francisco- an enjoyable afternoon.

And we could not have asked for a better oldest son-Zach is responsible, loyal, honest, kind and has grown into a young man that I am proud to call son.

Welcome to 16 Zach!