Wednesday, August 12, 2015

First Day of School!

Seriously, it feels so wrong to say that in the middle of August!  Oh well.  6 more weeks until Fall break.

Our traditional first day of school picture- 3rd grade, 6th grade, 8th grade and 11th grade

To compare, here they are in Pre-k, 2nd grade,  4th grade and 6th grade

 Everyone's new shoes!

 Zach is in 11th grade--an upper classman!  Clearly an upper classman is way too cool to have his picture taken outside where people may actually see the event.  Whatev.

 Joey is in 8th grade this year, big man on Bret Harte campus.

 Vinny is in 6th grade in his first year of middle school.  I figured he would want to walk to school with Joey, but he wanted to ride by himself.  Bret Harte is not going to know what hit them with this kid.

 And finally Christopher.  He is in 3rd grade, my lone child at Graystone.  I think he is thrilled to finally have the school to his self.  Hopefully he will no longer be called "Mini Vinny" anymore.

He has Mrs. Cho this year.  None of my other boys have had her for a full teacher, but Vinny had her for math only in third grade.  This is the teacher that sent Vinny home with a red slip for "dancing in class" (it was Gangam Style).    We had Chris practice some dance moves for her.  Lol

He was pretty mopey getting out of the car, but was happy as can be to see 2 of his good buddies in class.

Have a good first day everyone!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

And the Tony goes to...


This past weekend was show weekend for Vinny and he did amazing!

He was the lead Troy Bolton, in High School Musical.  This was a huge jump after being Munchkin #2 in The Wiz a few months ago.  But he worked hard, singing High School Musical songs non stop around the house (I still can't get them out of my head!)

May I present Vinny Contini as Troy Bolton!

The entire show was fantastic!!  I admit I was so nervous the first half of his first show that it was hard to enjoy.  I was actually sick to my stomach for him.  He had so many people rooting for him in the audience--what if he sucked??  I knew he could sing at home, but that is very different than singing on stage, while dancing, in front of 150 people.  But he killed it!

From the right- Ally who played Kelsi, Kristina who played Jacki Scott, Vinny, and Aiden who was Troy in the other cast

Above is Vinny with the 3 other kids in our carpool-- a total blast driving these kids to theater.  One night Pete drove for me--shortly after I received a text from him- "Omg.  They all 4 talk non stop and sing with every song on the radio- it's like having a carload of Vinny's!"  I cracked up-- Yep, Vinny is a theater kid!

Vinny with Bella, his Gabriella.  She was a total doll and had an amazing voice!  These two really hit it off and clearly were having a blast together up on the stage.

Vinny was supported by an enormous following!  Below is just a portion of the friends and family who came out to support him:

Aunt Fran and Nani

Cousin Analisa (and her boyfriend Christian!)

 His kindergarten teacher- the fabulous Gretchen Jung.  Vinny's first taste of theater was the Mother Day Mice play in her kindergarten class!

Vinny, age 6 years old, in Mothers Day Mice

Vinny with 3 of the boys from his baseball team-Franky, Wills, and Evan (and of course Christopher)

The Healy and Case families
Grandma Liz and Aunt Gina came from Southern California

Many other cousins (and aunts!)

And the list goes on- The Landines, our nanny Mona and her grandkids and Aunt Lisa.  Vinny was so excited to see all the support.

I made the gift bags above for our carpool kids-- a bag of brownies with the HSM school logo on it.

For my own star I did something different- an idea I borrowed from my lovely friend Suzie.  I bought a fake bouquet of flowers from the Dollar Store, glued mini pieces of candy in the roses, then wrapped it in red and white ribbon. Vinny loves Starburst and Hersheys so I went with that.

A clip of his singing:

Vinny, you are a star!!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Teen number 2 !

We have another teenager in the Contini house (there goes our grocery bill...)  Joey turned 13 yesterday!   For a couple of weeks I kept meaning to look at the calendar and figure out a date that would work for him to have some friends over to hang out and stay the night.  So yesterday as I was looking at the calendar I realized that that night was actually the bext option for the forseeable future.  The next few weekends were so booked it was going to get pushed into May.  Shoot.

The pool was NOT heated-- in the mid 60's!  That didn't stop the
 kids fromjumping in.  Brrr...

So I texted Joey at lunch suggesting we do it that night, and named a few friends I thought he would like to have over, and asked him if there was anyone else.  He got back to me with a total of 8 names.  8?  I figured on 5 hours notice several wouldn't be able to make it, so said sure.

All 8 came!!  A couple had to come over later, a couple couldn't stay the entire night, but all 8 made it at some point.  In retrospect I am not surprised.  Joey is one of those kids that everyone likes- he has tons of friends.  He is nice to everyone ( I honestly have never heard him say a mean thing about anyone.  Except his brothers.  But that doesn't count, right?)  and people just like being around him.  Or maybe his friends lead boring lives and no one really had anything better to do.  (just kidding!!)

OMG.  Look at his ribs.  I swear we feed him daily.
The cupcakes were already made since it was his actual birthday and we were planning on eating some that night.  After work I ran and bought a bunch of pizzas, Pete heated up the hot tub, and voila' we had a birthday party!  Maybe it is their age, or maybe it is his group of friends (who are all really nice kids) but they were easy.  They swam, played some video games, and watched a (only mildly inappropriate) movie.

In the morning I whipped up some breakfast- donuts, scrambled eggs and bacon.  Yum!

So what did nine 12 and 13 year old boys consume?  6 large pizzas, 2 bags of chips, 12 donuts, a dozen eggs and 2 pounds of bacon!  Not to mention cupcakes and ice cream.  It was impressive.

Hope your day was awesome Joey!

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.