Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Answer to 'Why the Fifth?'

What fun would life be without a sister?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Grandma is Here!

Which means I can cook things besides crockpot wonders and frozen chicken nuggets!

Here are a couple goodies I found this past week:

Chicken Sate A La Sophie - Meaning you can mix the sauce and marinate the chicken in the time it takes Sophia to get tired of whatever non human device is holding her at the moment:

Saté: 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 8 strips 1 tablespoon light brown sugar 2 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce 2 teaspoons bottled ground fresh ginger (such as Spice World) 1 teaspoon grated lime rind 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper 2 garlic cloves, minced

Sauce: 1 tablespoon light brown sugar 1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 2 tablespoons natural-style, reduced-fat creamy peanut butter (such as Smucker's) 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1 garlic clove, minced Remaining ingredient: Cooking spray

Prepare grill.
To prepare saté, combine chicken and next 6 ingredients (through 2 garlic cloves) in a medium bowl. Let stand 10 minutes.
To prepare sauce, combine 1 tablespoon brown sugar and the next 5 ingredients (through 1 garlic clove) in a medium bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Thread chicken strips onto each of 8 (8-inch) skewers. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Serve chicken with sauce.

4 servings (serving size: 2 skewers and 1 tablespoon sauce)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 205(20% from fat); FAT 4.5g (sat 1g,mono 0.4g,poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 29.3g; CHOLESTEROL 66mg; CALCIUM 26mg; SODIUM 672mg; FIBER 0.8g; IRON 1.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 11.2g
Alison Lewis ,
Cooking Light, JULY 2005

THREE BROTHERS BANANA BREAD (Actually should be Two Brothers because one of 'em doesn't like it. But he doesn't like anything.)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008



The motley crew at the Easter table.

Pretty fun for a two year old.

And an eight year old.

Is she happy about the activity spider? It looks as big as she is,...

Yay! We love that bunny!

More Easter Babies

Kyle sampling the easter booty.

Zach post egg hunt, wearing his HALLOWEEN shirt, how very appropriate for Easter. This is what I get for whining at kids who had toothpaste on their shirts, were wearing the sweatpants from their night's slumber,.. "you look like orphans!" I yelled. "Go change!" But alas, I did not specify "don't wear your halloween shirt, no matter how cool you think it is.

Sophie. Maybe next year we'll unleash her with the other locusts who grabbed 5,000 eggs in about 15 seconds flat. I kid you not.

Post egg hunt fun at the park on the walk home.

Oh no pictures of Jared? Oh yeah, he's TOO OLD to take part in the Easter egg hunt,.. can you believe I have a kid who is too old for community park easter egg hunts and eating off of some restaurants' kids' menus? Egads.

Easter B

Ready for the hunt,... or so she thinks,..

Too much stress, having to wrestle all those other 2 and 3 year olds for plastic eggs,.. or was it the angst over being the only child who's mother made her take a lame paper bag? Where's that kid's easter basket??

Thank goodness big brother is there to help her figure out the mysteries of the egg hunt,..

Tasting the bounty,..

Yay! It was worth it!

Easter Recap

Letter to the Easter Bunny:

Dear Easter Bunny,
Happy Easter! We woudl like a picture of you again this year. Why do you go to houses without being seen? Could you ever set off an alarm and go to jail? Has anyone ever seen you before? Where do you live? How do you know where we live all the time? I know it's a lot of questions, but I would like it if you answered them all.

Jared, Zach, Kyle

ps. Wake us up when you come.

Letter from the Easter Bunny:

Hoppity, hop, hop, hop! Happy Easter Richardson family! It's good to see you back in the U.S.! I hope that you're happy to be back! Hop, hop, hop! So you have a few questions, well, it's better that I'm not seen because it would take me a year to get to all the houses because everyone would wnat to talk, have a snack, take picture, and so on. I'm so fast that alarm sensors don't pick me up. No one has ever seen me, but, I shouldn't tell you this, but your dad came real close once, but I hopped out of sight just in time! Hop, hop, hop! I live in a secret place that nobody knows about. I know where everyone lives becasue that's my job. Well, you guys have a fun Easter and I'll see you again next year!



Another successful Easter! By the skin of our teeth, I tell ya. Thank goodness our friend Jim suggested a picnic; the boys looved it. I brought the ham and everyone brought too much to eat again as usual. Everyone else in the area had the same idea, so Forrest Falls, where we wanted to go, was packed. We found the last picnic table at an area on the way up the hill and hunkered down for the afternoon. It was awesome and even better when my friend Beth broke out the Christmas paper plates for Easter dinner. Makes me feel so much better that we didn't even color eggs until Easter morning. I had left eggs boiling on the stove the night before and forgot about them as I went to the store. Came back to cracked eggs and the house smelling 'eggy'. Lovely. They are edible, if not a little green around the yolks.

That crazy rabbit hid what seemed like hundreds of eggs around the house and the kids had a great time hunting. They were up from 5:30 a.m. Thankfully, Jared is a stickler for the rules and wouldn't let anyone peek until 7.

Unfortunately, I developed pink eye throughout the day. Thankfully I could wear dark glasses all day long. No one saw franken-face until we got home. Hubby had to come home early on Monday so I could hightail it to the doctor for medication. I would rather loose an eye ball than drag five kids to the doctor.

My most horrible thought was that I would have BOTH eyes swollen shut, red and weepy while my kids went wild on spring break and I woudn't be able to see any of it. Even the eyes in the back of my head seem to be infected.

All is better now, although I'm not gyming it or going to work. No reason to infect anyone who's last name isn't Richardson.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The good news is,..

Sabrina is potty training. The bad news is, Sabrina is potty training.

Not necessarily bad news, but there is nothing like the time suck of a two year old who is fascinated with the whole bathroom business. She'll be out of diapers in no time, with no thanks to her parents, who try to ignore her pleas in the middle of dinner, when the baby is screaming, when in the middle of an important job,.. we sound like horrible people, eh? She's doing great.

I have reached a new milestone in my life - I rejoined a gym. Yes, me, the quintessential gym class rat is back in the game. Yesterday I dropped of the girls and they survived an hour in the gym day care center. I walked in with another mother of five - who was only 26! And of course perfect in everyway.

Monday I had escaped in the evening and did a half hour Killer Abs workout, which worked, my abs are absolutely killing me. And then an hours worth of jumping around and swinging around a long bar with weights on it. Yesterday was 'sculpting.' I honestly can't breathe without pain today, but it feels nice is a masochistic kind of way.

Babe is awake (when isn't she?!?) Gotta run,...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Yes, it' s Sophie's first day facing frontwards in the baby carrier and boy, was she SO much happier. Should have done it sooner, but there's the angst over the lolling head,... She sure liked looking at the world. Doing email with mommy on her PDA? Not so much.

I was invited to the Spirit Assembly at RidgeView Elementary where Jared received a 'Terrific Kid' award. Something to do with good citizenship,.. a couple kids in each class got it, so that was very nice. The 5th graders had an optional overnight field trip to Dana Point to the Ocean Observatory which he did and had a blast.The kids were told not to bring personal devices which I think sent them all into a tailspin. They were informed that they could call their mommies and daddies at certain points on their cell phones, of which Jared doesn't have one. And I heard all about it for weeks before hand, believe me. I told him if he lost a limb or was bleeding profusely, the teachers would call.

More 'Only in California' happenings? Although the kids were told to not bring any electronics, one of the chaperone daddies I was told, brought a TV and a gaming device. Truly, people. Get over it.

I've only seen Zach's report card, which was awesome. I'll start to worry about the other school goers on Thursday.

Poor Zach was told he had to go to Saturday school because he had an unexcused absence. I guess he lost the note. I'll go resolve it, but in the meantime, we are all having a fun time telling him every time the doorbell or telephone rings that it is the SSC (Saturday School Cops) coming to take him away.
Jared's eye infection is just a bacterial infection and not the herpes infection I was dreading. I was able to chase down the Opthamologist we saw three years ago when he had a really bad outbreak, so that was a relief to go to someone who had Jared's history and had battled this problem succesfully before. Jared was ready to go back to school the next day, after watching plenty of Yo Gabba Gabba, Winnie the Pooh and Backyardigans on TV, along with reading books to Sabrina. Hee hee hee. I loooved having him home. Can't wait til next time.
We had the Little League pancake breakfast this past Saturday. The pancake breakfast is kind of like a rain dance for snow here. Saturday night? Snow. Today? low to mid 70's. Go figure.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

This was going to be a realy cute picture of all the kids in their green to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. I was going to do it even though Sabrina took a tumble at Jared's baseball scrimmage on Thursday and still has a scab on her cheek. Then Jared woke up with a swollen eye. I debated taking the picture anyway, but thought I'd better call the doctor now to get in sometime today. And getting a human being to answer on the appointment line on a Monday at the clinic takes a loooong time. Then I had to clean the bathroom floor because someone - who shall remain nameless - peed on the floor. Right in front of the toilet. Why? 'Because I REALLY had to go." A teeny weeny half a second more and the kid could have made it into the bowl. So, there went my time before walking the kindergartner to class.
Happy St Patrick's Day anyway. Please have a green beer for me.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sophie Is 3 Months Old!

Okay, three months and six days,.. but at least I got it up there this month,.. : ) She is cute isn't she? That is definitely by design so mother's don't eat their young. She certainly is a handful. Lucky she was number 5,... : )

Thursday, March 13, 2008

GIS Used in the San Diego Fires

No byline, but this PR got picked up by a big fire safety ezine and it discusses how the software my company makes was used during those horrific San Diego Fires.

That's the nice thing about working for this company, even if I'm in what could be considered a 'shallow' profession (not writing, I'm talking about marketing). ESRI makes stuff that makes the world a better place for people. I can live with that.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Okay, so last week, as usual I'm attempting to work and get side tracked (so easy for me). I decide to email a friend of ours who was slated to visit the 'left' coast from New York in March. Thought I'd see when he was coming and what the schedule is - he's a Passionist Priest and has written three very good books and gives great spiritual retreats; that's how we met him. It's always great to rub shoulders with people who inspire you, and being the selfish person I am, I wanted to make sure we get on his dance card.

He wrote back that he was coming into town in the next week, so I ping ponged the email to hubby, the dude of the house for the two of them to figure out the when and the where. By the time I get back to my email, I find out that we are doing dinner in Bel Air,.. with all five kids. Okaaaay,... That's an hour and a half drive to a place where they expect children to be sort of refined when they are out in public.

Then, I click on the link to the restaurant they've picked and first I'm slapped by the picture of a very nice dining room,.. with fine linens and crystal on all the tightly packed tables. Fine linen and crystal encumbered restaurants is the reason we either ate a picnic on our beds in the hotel room or dined in pubs during our vacation in London with only two kids.

After getting through the initial shock of what two adult men think is 'kid friendly', I peruse the online menu and find nice comfort food,.. mac and cheese (with truffle oil), meatloaf (with saffron infused mashed sweet potatoes), spaghetti bolognaise (with veal),.. you know, the average fare I whip up for my kids every week night. Ack.

Well, fine. I've spent countless hours on claustrophobic airplanes and sweaty third world countries with children; I can handle Bel Air.

We invite our other inspiring friend who happens to be a priest as well. Hubby and I handle three baseball practices and I get the car washed, almost missing my hair appointment that is two months (that is about 3 inches of really dark roots on the skanky California blond color I chose back in early December when I was still a mother of four.) past due. I only make it to the appointment because I basically met hubby at a street corner and hurled small bodies at him from a stalled car.

I go get freshly blond and have a 'revelation' (read: stupid idea from lack of sleep for almost three months) that I want to put a little pinkish color as a highlight. It seems to be the cool thing to do up here in Yucaipa. And when I was a teenager (read: younger than I am now) I would color my hair with Crayola markers because my 'I'll-realize-how-smart-you-really-are-when-I'm-almost-30 parents threatened to disown me if I did anything permanent to any part of my body while living in their house.

Well, the color I got was purple. Pretty darned purple. But she styled it great and the blond looked good. Two out of three is a good thing in my book these days, just read my whiny blogs if you don't understand.

So, I race home, get kids dressed, whip on some clothes, our friend comes over and we hit the road. Our friend has decided we will play games in the car and has a bag of goodies as prizes for the kids. The boys play games like find the most trucks, motorcycles, etc,.. until we get to different freeways and have a great time. They especially have a great time because the goodie bag is filled with candy. Not just little 'fun' size pieces of candy. We are talking full size candy bars! Ack.

I frantically make sure the boys only eat enough to make themselves feel like puking a little bit. They start to hyperventilate because of the massive amounts of sugar they have just consumed. Eyes are rolling back in their heads. Right before attending Catholic Mass. In BelAir.

We get lost (of course). This always happens when you have a deadline and small kids freaking out in the car. The last time we went near LA with other friends (smartly sans children) we were so late getting to our dinner and a show that my friend Wendy was running to the theatre with her piece of salmon in the palm of her hand.

We get lost in an interesting part of LA I will refer to as 'Little Tijuana.' The kid games change to 'you win if you find a block without a pawn shop' and 'the first person to find a sign in english wins.'

We make it out and to Mass. A half hour late. Right when our friend is giving the homily, which means it is very quiet. We are trying to sneak in the back or even go hunker down in the cry room when the other cantankerous priest we brought whips open the heavy door and saunters down the isle. The rest of us scurry in and find our places in the pew.

Mass goes fine, it always does when you miss half of it. It's not until the end that I find out our cantankerous friend told the boys he switched his phone to 'stun gun' (vibrate) and the boys have been begging him to taser me all during the Mass. Fine, I'll just eat all their hershey bars.

We get to the restaurant and park next to a Bentley. Good thing I got the ol' Suburban washed,.. We go into the restaurant and it is very nice and LOUD. I thank my lucky stars, although between the two of us, hubby and I take little children out of the dining area three times so as not become 'those people' who let their children scream in public settings. Sabrina hits her Shirley Temple with her very large menu and I catch it all in my lap. The baby nurses to be quiet and I'm afraid to move her once she stops for fear of waking the screaming meemie. Dinner is like riding a very big wave - a swell of sheer terror followed by peace and quiet, kind of like being in the eye of a hurricane. One boy eats all the salad off our cantakerous friend's plate. The picky kid hates his mac n' cheese. I can barely digest my gnocchi due to such a hormonal rollercoaster dining with the kids in high society.

At the end of the meal, we are greeted by no less than four other tables bestowing their pleasure at having dined with our brood; they are all so beautiful and well behaved they exclaim. (You have to wonder how many glasses of wine these people have had, but I take any compliment I can get these days.)

Thank you Lord, maybe I should take priests dining in public all the time.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Week Already?

Good grief, where does a week go? I promise to post something semi fun in the next few days, I'm just trying to get to the little things in life, ... feeding, bathing, playing with kids, mopping the floor before someone sticks to it like a giant spider web and I have to chisel them off,... trying to remember who goes to what practice when,...

I am also trying valiantly to recover from my weekend, very fun, but wow, shoving that much living in 48 hours should be against the law. It consisted of mac n cheese with truffle oil, walking my five kids dangerously close to a Bentley, a Tower of Terror, an even more terrifying dinner in a hoitie toitie restaurant (we brought two priests with us for some divine intervention, and guess what? Besides the spilled Shirley Temple, it worked! I highly recommend it,...) and a nice little tour of south central LA. And purple hair.

But anyways,.. read this post by my neighbor's mom. It is so beautiful and wise.

And if you dare, check this out - (page 26ish) yes, it's true, I really do work for a living,... once in a while, .. just to get a break from the kids and that sticky floor,...

I'll post pictures and talk more leter. Cheers.