Monday, April 28, 2008

We Have Roll Over!

Yes, Sophia rolled over today. I didn't actually witness the miraculous event because I was frantically emailing while she was happily trying to eat her activity spider that was dangling precariously above her on the baby gym. I heard some angry roars that I tried to ignore as I was pushing lots of 'send' buttons. When I got to her she had shifted about 180degrees and was on her tummy. Yowza!

Maybe that's why she's back on newborn hours at night. Last night she woke up every hour. I think partly she can't breathe because of a cold, but other than that, spoiled rotten is the diagnosis. We ignored a few of her pleas out of sheer exhaustion and the knowledge that she wouldn't start to death if she didn't eat something every hour.

Well, she's screaching once again. Gotta go. Maybe when she's five I can write more than a couple of paragraphs and maybe even proof read before I publish my posts.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Oh Rats!

Literally. Yes, now I can smartly add 'clean rat poop' to my list of chores. Since the kids lost their small furries before we went to Indonesia, we agreed we'd get new pets. We waited a respectable amount of time after the passing of Sandy the guinea pig. We looked at snakes, lizards and other rodents, finally deciding on....rats.

Yesterday we went to a local pet store and purchased three month old rat babies. "What are they for, snakes or lizards?" Tony thevstore owner asked.

"Err,...they ar efor pets." I confess.

"Oh, right!" He says. "They make great pets!" Tony thinks we are insane I'm sure.

By buying the cage set up, the rats are thrown in for free, what a bargain.

Rob refuses to ever let me go to a pet store unaccompanied again, as I've agreed to buy two girls and a boy and Tony says he'll take the babies (not for snakes or lizards, I'm sure,.. ) What better way to teach the boys about life? Anyway, we have Zach's boy Skittles FunDip, Kyle's girl Daisy and Jared's girl Peak. What fun.

Daisy and Skittles.

Proud rat owners.

Max wanting to taste a little rat.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Vacation or Bust

The nice thing about working overseas in 'tough' (read: non-American standard) places of the world means you are forced into vacations. Egypt we were paid to take a vacation somewhere in the world at the six month mark of each year. Our yearly anniversary meant the company shipped us back to our home country to decompress. This is to offset the stress of living in a foreign country and working six days a week. Now, if we had lived in Switzerland, I doubt we would have been shipped anywhere. I don't feel bad for my colleagues in Europe - most of the time, while I've made the one hour trek to Newport Beach for the day, they are 'sunning on the French Riviera.' I'm not complaining - while in Egypt we barely rested our heels as we embarked on journeys to Petra, Jordan, Israel, Malta, London, Italy and South Africa. Not to mention our extended weekend getaways all around Egypt to Alexandria, Sharm El Sheik and Luxur/Aswan. Simply amazing hubby constructed anything in the three and half years we were there.

The Philippines was a bit more stressful - we lived five hours out of Manila in the jungle. Which meant we lived on a camp. Although I deemed the camp 'Club San Roque' (the name of the city we were nearest) because we had a cafeteria (led by a German man and his Filipine cohort - interesting food I don't think you've seen even on Top Chef), a three hole golf course, swimming pool, gym and bar, it did start to get very Ground Hog Dayish (the movie with Bill Murray) ; same routine, same people all in an enclosed space. There we were kicked out every three months. We did high tail it to Australia, but then spent our other vacations at resorts spots in the Philippines - Cebu and Borakay - vacation spots all by themselves. We were only in the country for a year (we meaning me and the kids); and there wasn't much opportunity for a white girl and her babies to jaunt anywhere. Kidnappers and terrorists abound. We were escorted with an armed security guard on our weekly shopping trips to the closests city with any sort of shops and that was 40 miles away.

In Banda again we were allowed to leave every three months. While many of our more adventurous friends would spend their holidays camping around Vietnam, we just wanted hot running water and a bathtub. Our first journey led us back to Australia, then to Bali twice. Vacations get tougher the more kids you have.

Now that we are back stateside, there is no boss dictating us to 'take a holiday.' Americans are horrible about taking time off - I think we are up there in the country that works the most hours. Try getting anything done in the Wintertime with Europe - everyone I kow is skiing the Alps drinking shnapps. Maybe it's the company I keep,...

Anyway, I have decided it is up to me to continue to give hubby a break and make life fun. So what if I have 15 more boxes to unpack and we don't have window coverings on the second floor? We are escapting to Las Vegas to see one of Rob's brothers and his wife this coming month and then the kids and I are going to land on Grandma in Washington for a few weeks this summer. We are trying to figure out a fun way to drive back down to California with hubby for about two weeks, then the rigamorol of school and sports starts again.

I had fantasies of going on a nice holiday and looked up the resort Beaches, an all inclusive resort located in Jamaica - they have kid's club for infants and Elmo will have breakfast with your toddler - after inputting all of my information, the vacation modeler spit out my perfect holiday - to the tune of $19,000. For a week. Without airfare.

I have since realized that I have reproduced myself not only out of fancy sports cars, but relaxing pampering holidays as well.

As I told Grandma on the phone, the only inclusive holiday we will have is whatever is included in the cooler we lug to the woods and can be cooked on a stick over a fire pit.

Then one of my bosses at work told me about her fantastic holiday cruisin' the Pacific down to Mexico and back. That sounds more reasonable; you pack and shlep once and hang out. The boat has waterslides and movies for kids. You may not actually see your children for the entire time, but they can't escape since they are on a boat. With high railings, she was sure to point out to me.

But all I can think about are the news stories of cruiseships full of people who fell ill because of the tainted water supply, or people who mysteriously 'vanished at sea' never to be seen again.

Oh well. For the next couple of months, all I have to do is pack the diaper bag and wander down to the local baseball fields for my mini vacations of all day Saturdays basking in the sun getting a racoon tan on my face and eating gobbstoppers while the boys play baseball. Anything that takes me away from mopping the floor is a holiday to me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


When you were a kid, didn't you think being an adult would kind of be like this; you know, the world is your oyster? Or in this case, your 'beers-of-the-world refrigerator?

Only to grow up and realize that adult life is more like this?

Not that I'm complaining. Really.

10 hours and counting,..

That's how long Sophie has been sleeping. I know, I can't believe it either. This is the second time she's slept through the night. And yes, alter ego who is completely neurotic, she is still breathing.
Our little insomniac,..
Yummy, B feeding her baby,...
Evidence that I can be a fun mommy - strawberry shortcake for breakfast,...
Tonight is Zach's game. So this is what we'll be doing,...

Monday, April 21, 2008

I Like Kyle Because,..

My little kindergartner was star student last week,.. yes, of course everyone was star student, but you can't forget the power of being line leader and office messenger and all that,.. what an exciting five days.

The most fun is seeing how excited he is to read the notes his classmates give him. He came home with a little book entitled 'I Like Kyle Because,..'

I had my favorites,.. there was I like Kyle because 'He plas with me. me;' the 'I LIKE KYLE' (like there needs to be an explanation when you are five,.. come on adults. Clue in, duh,..) and his prowess on the monkey bars was written about quite a few times, as well as the fact that he plays 'sokr' and then there was 'I like Kyle od yalp yoh my at because he comes wr we houm mr wes'. ... and also 'I like Kyle because he like goon the monky or su.' and the one I like the best,.. 'I like Kyle because hes my faveret guy.'

I couldn't have said it better myself. : )

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Do Tarsier's Like Rice Cereal?

Because our little one doesn't. Tarsiers, for those of you who are not second graders who have just completed a report on rain forest creatures, are tiny little things with huge eyeballs, much like our little Sophie.

Our little rainforest creature.

Much like a typical wild Tarsier, our Sophie dwells in the upper canopy, not going to the forest floor unless really, really necessary.

Dr. Doolittle and his diarama

Sophie in the canopy. Doesn't really matter what the name of the 'tree' she is in, as long as it is a living, breathing, moving thing.

We are trying to domesticate our little tropical woodland creature, but so far she has the reigns to this pony and isn't letting go soon.

Not only does she not think eating is to-die-for yet, she has decided she doesn't like her bottles either. Friday when I went to work, she drank a whole three ounces of bottle. For those of you without young uns to feed, that isn't a whole heck of a lot. We're still working on the rice cereal, but we're doing it hap hazardly, whenever I can remember and it's convenient. Gotta like that in a baby. Which isn't a problem because the expression on her face looks like I've just given her a big ol' spoonful of hot tar.


Hmm,.. what else,..

Have you noticed the grocery bills inching up there? I don't think it's becuase I've got seven mouths to feed here, I think it's an effect of the gas prices. We went to Coldstone for a treat - it was 'glutton Saturday' you see. We had a pizza party at the local pizza parlor for kindergartner's t-ball team and decided that wasn't enough saturated fats, so we had ice cream too. The 'Like It' size was $5, I kid you not! I don't think it was that much a couple months ago, was it???? Yikes. So, today we've broken out our ice cream maker and tried our hand at chocolate. I can make six quarts of ice cream for a fraction of what our bill was last night at Coldstone. Egads. Although I have to admit, I won't put gummy worms in any of my creations, so maybe it isn't the deal I think it is. Or the boys don't anyway.

And I thought I'd break out of my chicken rut and make salmon for dinner. When I unveiled it at the table I was greeted with TWO boys who said they didn't like salmon anymore. WHAT? How can you be my kid and not like salmon? Hush,.. don't tell any of the Western Washington relatives because that is SINFUL. Western Washingtonians know their salmon like uhm,.. Western Washingtonians know their beer and their fancy coffee.

There is no such thing as 'salmon.' and if you go to a restaurant that tries to sell just salmon to a WWer, well, be prepared to answer a slew of questions. What kind? Farm or wild? Fresh or frozen?

WWer's even know all sorts of salmon and will only eat the upper echelon of salmondom. King? Absolutely. Sockeye? Okay, if there isn't any King. Coho? Yes, fine. The kobe beef of the salmon world is Copper River Salmon, something I don't think anyone is allowed to eat unless they are in Washington state, or show their valid Wa. state driver's license. It only runs a few weeks out of the whole year, so it is coveted, and if you are a true salmon lover, you will stock up on it and eat it like you do strawberries or cherries when they are in season - until you swear you will never eat another one again because you are so SICK of it.

Pink salmon? Never. Not even fit for the cat. Atlantic? Get serious. Farmed salmon? Doesn't that stuff kill you?

And canned? If you thought it was gross before, just have a pleasant conversation with someone who drove a forklift in an Alaskan salmon cannery two summers in a row, like Hubby, and you too will never buy that again.

We even have the high falootin' cedar board to cook our salmon on. We used to go to Home Depot and buy a big ol' fence plank and sand that puppy down, but I bought a food grade one, which means someone in some third world country sanded it down for you.

When we first moved to So. Cal. about 12 years ago we went to a highly respected restaurant in Huntington Beach. Hubby ordered the salmon which came with,.. tartar sauce. The horror.

Well, I can't believe the last time I blogged was Tuesday. But at least my house is clean and I've caught up on the laundry!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I got 'nuthin'.

Except that I am a helpless freak when my husband is at home. The dishwasher drain started spewing a three foot high line of sudsy water all over the kitchen this evening (why can't it do that BEFORE I break out the mop so I don't waste my time cleaning the floor?), to which I scrambled up the stairs screaming, "Rob! Help! The dishwasher is exploding,.. or something!"

He came back laughing (I'm sure it was the shock of realizing the woman he married had no brain.) "Did you think to maybe turn off the dishwasher before you came screaming for me?"

Well, no,... duh. I just assume you'll fix it. Helloooooo,...

I made my monthly pilgrimage to Costco. Scary when the check out clerk looked at my rebate check and wiggled her eyebrows at me saying, "you didn't do to bad last year." Yes, if you have stcck in Costco, you can thank me whenever you see me shlepping 50 lb. boxes of trail mix, diapers, sirloin burgeres, organic veggies or unsweetened applesauce around town.

Then exclaimed, "Only $315 for all that?" Gulp. Yeah, I'm a real coupon shopper, obviously.

If you want to call me, please use the cell phone. I guess the hot, sudsy water shorted out the home phone box. Do I call my phone/Internet/Cable company and 'fess up to the idiocy of my ways? Or do I wait to let th ebox dry out first?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday Ramblings

Cutie, eh? This is Tyler, Shawna and Kermit's son. He got to go home yesterday so we heard. Yay!

Oi veh, my weekends are more nuts than my week days. This weekend I was determined to get more done than the usual fifty loads of laundry and mopping the eternally dirty floor. Like my triend Teri has smartly said, I didn't want the weekend to just happen to me.

I was all ready to get a couple more things done. I was going to go through the girls' clothes and take out all the small ones. Then, I was going to clean my room. It's the dumping ground and always the last thing I ever get to.

And then, there is the large pile of shoes in my closet. Sabrina likes shoes and especially likes to try on mine when she's in my room. (It's genetic, isn't it?) So, they have toppled out of the shoe rack, oozed out of the baskets, and are now forming a lava flow of size 12's into the bathroom. (Yes, I have large feet. So, the shoes are kind of hard to miss.)

Maybe, I figured, I'd unpack another box or two. I keep unearthing pictures and seeing things I own and assume are still in a box in the garage. I hope they are in a box in the garage. But if they aren't, one less thing to dust, right?

Then, Thursday, kindergarten teacher catches me after class, "Mrs. Richardson! I wanted to make sure you knew Kyle is star student next week. I saw that the memo is still in his backpack and I wanted to make sure you knew about it in time since it requires some work on your part."

Great, there goes the unpacking any boxes, I have to make a poster.

Then hubby came home. "I need to do taxes this weekend."

"Huh?" I say. "I thought we'd just do the usual filing of the extension, then live the high life for a couple more months, freaking out and pulling an all nighter right before that deadline."

There went the untangling of the shoes.

Then hubby called on this way home from work. "I have some work to do this weekend."

Lovely. I'll be lucky to even get the usual laundry done. No hope of accomplishing anything else.

Saturday was baseball extravaganza. Kindergartner rocked the t-ball field. He had team mates yelling at him as he went up to bat, "Kyle, hit another home run!" So cute to watch him try very hard not to smile when he was so proud of himself. Nice to see, since I'm sure his brothers don't always do positive things to his self esteem.

8 year old had a harder time; he struck out all during the game. Not hard to do when it's your first season with a pitching machine. But, he's my sensitive one and took it really hard. His coach is a smart man and gave him the game ball for his sportsmanship, but like any red blooded boy, he would have rather earned that ball with a grand slam.

11 year old had a banner game - he started at pitcher - he didn't walk anyone, the only hits were on errors, he struck out one, the second out was a grounder he dove for and threw to first, and the third out was a strike out. Do I sound like I know what I'm talking about? Hubby is dictating.

The great thing about all that is to watch him work so hard to improve himself. He really wanted to pitch this season and the coach told him he had to practice. We got him a practice net (all the while hubby grumbling about spoiling him) and that kid has been in the yard practicing morning, noon and night. This is typical of his sports seasons.

He starts out tentatively, figures out what he needs to do and goes for it. It's really impressive and I feel assured he can accomplish a lot in life from what he's learning on the ball field. At least, I'm assured he'll be able to move out of my house someday. One down, four to go,....

I've done a few things on my own; grocery shopping, showering and I made a cool little slide show using slideroll software (it is supposed to allow you to publish slide shows to your blog), but for the life of me, I don't really know where on the Internet it ended up. It sure ain't here. You'd think I'd be able to figure this stuff out, since I do work for a software company. I used to demonstrate software, for heaven's sake. Now I can barely type.

If I gave myself some time before calling it quits, I might not leave snippets of unfinished business all over the Internet. It's tough with a baby and fifty loads of laundry. I did hit the 'publish' button on the slide show and all of a sudden I had a few comments about it, and a message telling me my little show had 41,000 views. What?!? Good grief. All I can glean from this is to be careful what you do out there on the Web, dear friends.

I signed the two oldest boys up for football which starts July 28 !?!?!? There goes my summer. Grandma, we have to move up the Washington visit a bit. The good news is, I will be far, far away from you when I troll for babysitters in August so I can attend my company's user conference in August. : )

So, here are a few pics I was going to post on the slideshow, I'll old school it until I can remember my user name and password to try again:

This is Kyle asleep in the car after San Diego. You'd have to be pretty tired to hold this position as long as he did,...
Beauty and the Beach,.,..
Can't you just see her flicking her hair back?
The pic that prompted one of our friends to ask when Rob's baby was due, to which he responded, 'any minute, the head's already out.. Hardee har har.
Speaking of baby, we have given her rice cereal twice now. She has no idea what in the heck she's supposed to do with it, it's pretty funny. We'll keep scooping a few tiny spoonfuls into her at dinner for a few more weeks before we get more adventurous. Of course, everyone had to have a chance to feed her. She likes it if for no other reason, all eyes are on her.
Well, gotta get to bed. I've got baby gifts to get, a workout to try and make, a start student poster to deliver to school, and two baseball games tomorrow.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Welcome to the World Tyler Wayne Lawrence!

Rob's sister Shawna had her second baby yesterday - a little boy! Yay! Now, if I could figure out how to get that sms picture off my phone, I'd show you all a picture. Anyway, he was born yesterday in Tacoma, Washington and weighed 7 lbs., 10 oz. and was 19 1/2 inches long. (As if you can really get an accurate measure on that little curled up person, you know?)

Yesterday was also Sophie's four month birthday, and let me tell ya, she is a new person. Who knew four months could be so mature. It's as if she has suddenly realized that there is a world beyond her scope. She is happy being put down to play with her toys (which consist of colorful things dangling above her). She likes to talk - she's a girl, I guess - so she spends the whole time vocalizing. She eats, then she goes to sleep. Did you read that? To sleep! Yay for me. It has seriously been four of the toughest months I can remember having.

Last night was the second night in a row hubby and I could put the kids to bed and hang out BY OURSELVES. So, I finally had the opportunity to watch 300, and let me tell ya, nothing makes you wish you hadn't had that stolen Cadbury creme egg after dinner like watching those people in Blueray format. Sheesh. The men had eight packs and the women looked great in nothing but gauze and a little gold belt. As if.

So, I supposed I'll go to the gym this morning. Then, we have a free baby massage class to attend. Sabrina will bring her baby doll and learn too.

This is after I drop off all the kids at school. Zach had a project to do over the spring break on a rain forest animal. He chose a tarsier. During spring break he did a great job researching his animal and making a model of it out of pipe cleaners, pompon balls and googly eyes. (It took me 20 minutes to find the googly eyes in Michael's. I hate buying things only sporadically because you can never, ever find them easily. Like trying to find those Durkee french fried onions during Thanksgiving. Impossible.).

He wrote his report and went a little crazy making a diorama of his tarsier with a stick, some glued leaves and paint on a piece of cardboard. I'll download the pics sometime soon. So, we will drop him off right outside his classroom for fear the whole thing implodes before grading time.

We finally also got 11 year old's report card,which was fantabulous. He's readying at almost an 8th grade level and got a 96% in math. Not to mention his school report on slavery that earned him a 6 out of 5, which the teach said was only the second time she's graded that high. Which means he came home with a letter requesting he be tested for the gifted and talented program. We had him tested when he was a kindergartner in Washington, but unfortunately there were a lot of money questions. For a kid just getting back from Egypt and the Philippines, American coinage really had no significance and needless to say, he didn't test into the program.

I have a brief meeting with kindergartner's teacher after school to check his progress. He seems to be doing well and 'working towards' his goals. We read books every day and he is doing better and better with word recognition and sounding out things phonetically. Sigh. How is it possible to have such a dichotomy of kids - one being tested for GATE and the other with an IEP? It sure taxes the child rearing brain.

Enough for now. Gotta get on with the day and the forty loads of laundry. I have about 24 hours to find every peice of three baseball uniforms. Wish me well.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Easter pics

B's first picnic.

The great outdoors.

Yes, Kyle just loves a holiday meal.

I'm the king of the world! No, I am! No, I am!

Mommy and Ia.

Easter Redux

Here are pictures from our awesome Easter picnic brought to you by request! (Kind of like a radio station playing your favorite songs, ain't it?) Hint, hint; the boys would love to go into nature again!

6 adults, 7 kids, 3 dogs and a ham. The story of a great Easter picnic.

Aunt Wendy and Ia.

B hanging on it in the woods.

Beth and Ia.

Cutie pie (no this blondie is actually not my child!) Emma and Uncle Jim. Jim, don't tax yourself, you've got software to write in the morning,...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Murphy, You've Been Blogged

Congratulations to Rob's cousin Deanne and her partner Christa, Monday they adopted a beautiful little boy. He was born at 3:14pm, 6 lbs., 2 oz. and 18" long. Welcome to the world, Murphy Niko Richardson!

Keep the new family in your hearts; Murph needs to stay in the hospital a little while for a little while because of methadone in his system. Good luck De and Christa; it is so wonderful to know that this little guy has will have a loving family to care and protect him. He will be joined soon by Shawna and Kermit's little guy on Thursday (ack! that's tomorrow!!!) and Sarah and Paul's little guy this July. Good thing my little Sophie has three brothers, so she'll know how to roll with the dudes.

De and Murphy

Christa and Murphy

Little Murphy

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tales from the T-Ball Field

Gee, can you tell which kid is ours? That's Kyle a whole head above everyone else. And he's so ready to play farm, but t-ball is where he has to go because of his age. Tough for the third boy who has spent his entire life trying to keep up with his big brothers. But great on the other hand, because he really shines! He hits great, last night he had a homerun. He pay lots of attention on the field, but at the same time, shares the ball. You won't find him in a pig pile of little bodies fighting over the hit. He plays every position, but loves pitcher and first base from what I can tell. Yesterday, the hitter smacked the ball right at him in the chest - he reacted quickly and caught the ball! It was awesome. He's really doing well!

Mr. Intensity. He's going on the world Tball hall of fame, taking no prisoners.

He got a run, too bad for the catcher,..

Waiting his turn on bat. Don't you wish carpet squares would work in other areas of our lives? I think I need them in every room of the house,..

Getting ready to run,...

I'll try and get pictures of the other boys this week. Obviously Sophie was with her father during this game so I had a couple of free hands,...

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Last Hurrah

Well, it's finally the end of the two longest weeks of my life. Yes, I'm talking about spring break. What to do to commemorate not shipping any of my children to someone else for raising? Go to San Diego, of course.

The Crew Classic was taking place down in Mission Bay this weekend, so we decided to go down and catch the varsity races for the University of Washington on Sunday. (Go Dawgs!) Those crew boys and girls like to get up really early and race, so in order to catch these , we had to leave our house around 6amish.

Brings memories of dating hubby; as a rip roaring sorority bimbo, I would stay out and play with my friends waaaay past my bedtime. Dating hubby meant being deposited back at the ol' sorority house at a reasonable hour, leaving most of my housemates to see me and ask , "why are you home so early? Are you sick?"

But, that was about 18ish years ago,.. yes, I'm old. Nothing makes you feel old like going down and see a bunch of svelte college kids running around like they haven't a care in the world.

It was a fantastic day. We met up with Chief and Olga, two highly respected people who, although they know our family intimately, still choose to hang out with us : ) and a couple of Rob's crew mates and a wife, who we hadn't seen in about a decade. It is always so nice to meet up with people you have such great memories with and sink back into a great conversation. So, thanks Flip and Shep and Kim. What a great day.

The kids weren't too excited about the whole deal. When hubby was explaining we were going to see some fast boats, 8 year old asked, "You mean drag racing???!?!?!"

To which hubby responded, "Well, yes, fast like drag racing. Except with people rowing with oars."

I've never seen little faces sink so quickly.

But they met up with kids their age and took off to frolick in the sand and sea and had a blast. Washington won. The sun broke through the clouds. Perfect.

Real men wear pink babies.

Just hangin' out at the beach. I'm sorry, what did you say the weather was like in Washington????

The kiddos. And one kidnapped puppy. Not only did we kidnap a puppy, but we made the puppy's owner take our picture. The audacity of some folks.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

More Shameless Bragging

Just a couple other articles for you to peruse:

Again, another on the same company (I'm all for taking the easy way out and exploiting my interviewees as much as possible; that's one of the major tenets of marketing anyway, repeat, repeat, repeat!): Sanborn and the Times Atlas.

And, the picture(s) of the day:

Aren't we cute?

I'm sorry, what's the temperature up in the Puget Sound area again? : )