Sunday, January 25, 2009

So Tired of That Grandparent Guilt

Just  kidding.  Here are some pictures from the B's big 3 birthday party, in no particular order, because I can't figure out to move stuff in Safari on the big, bright Apple Santa left us for Christmas (And I'm not talking the Braeburn variety).

So, the first is Sabrina dressed in all her finery as Princess of the Party. (note the fab shoes with maraboa, now maybe she won't destroy my closet looking for all my sparkly party shoes.)
I think her siblings had more fun playing with her birthday toys than even she did,..

Kyle finds it's tough to please everyone all the time. 

The fifth child has to make do with the Hallmark sticker from the birthday card. Poor Fifi,..

And an empty cup.

Daddy has to see if the fisher price heart monitor really works, it's that engineer in him, he just can't turn it off.

I don't think this one really works,. however,..

The B is at the height of her 'me do it' phase and insisted on reading the card from Grandma Z HERSELF, dang nab it. it whatever language that was.

Really, does it get any better than watching the excitement of a preschooler opening presents? This is the apex. We're enjoying it!

The major loot!

Fifi enjoying her cake.

Jared enjoying using the Barbie plate and cup,. what are sisters for, anyway?

The cake! I went easy on myself and shamelessly bought decorations for the Dora cake. We'll try next year for word's ugliest birthday cake.

The big THREE year old. 

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hooters Raises Its Ugly Head

Yep, in the la la land of SoCal, I found out that my biggest kid's best buddy was the one who had the Hooters party last year for his ELEVENTH birthday. To which I said, no, thanks, you can't go.

Then, this year, I was informed he was turning another year older, and once again considering the Hooters party. It's amazing what you will do (or almost do) for your kids because you love them and you want them to have a happy life. I started to justify things. I started to think, "I trust this eldest kid,' 'Oh his buddy is such a good boy',.. blah blah blah. In the end I had a smack down with my insecure people pleasing side and just like many ask themselves, "WWJD?" I asked myself, "WWMMTOFMN?" You haven't heard that one? It's 'What Would My Mother Think of Me Now?" It's the reason if I became an actual published author I could never write a sex scene. I can't ever get a tattoo or a boob job (how would she explain this to her friends?) You know, that sort of thing that keeps you on the straight and narrow. So, I explained to oldest boy - "How in the world would I be able to explain to your Grandmother that I let her 12 year old grandson go to a birthday party at HOOTERS?"

The thing that makes me think I need my glasses checked is discussing this with various and sundry people last year, the people who live in this little enclave didn't see my big stink about this. Because, you see, the daddies take their sons there on the way to the dirt bike track, or whatever. ?!#(*)?

As a red-blooded woman who thinks of myself as a little more than body parts in tight fitting clothing, I am appalled. I want my son to grow up and open doors for others, respect women as having a brain and being a true partner in his life, not someone they think can adorn their arm as eye candy.

So, my husband ran into one of the parent's of the buddy and explained that we weren't into the Hooters scene. And, thankfully, being actually very nice people I am glad to know, they decided to change the venue to someplace a little more 'Karen is a prude' accomodating. Phew.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Joining the band on the wagon

Well, I'm back on the eating healthy band wagon (for today). And the exercise band wagon (for today). But every day is a new day and a new opportunity for me to mess up something that seems so incredibly easy, like what I put in my mouth or how I move my body, it seems amazing I could get it wrong. Well, whatever.

Sometimes, I just have to give myself credit for attempting any of it. For not licking the cupcake batter bowl. For exercising with two small children and two large dogs. My strength training to hold osteoperosis at bay? Well, the right side of the upper body means hefting 20+ of child around for probably eight hours a day on average. The left side? Wrestling two german shepherds to heel holding the leashes in my left hand while pushing the jogging stroller around the neighborhood. (you know how it is - you get so used to doing stuff with one hand or the other, you can't change it - like where you hold your purse. Or your manpurse. Whatever)

Agility? Trying not to trip on the puppy, who doesn't really know what the heck is going on accept he doesn't want to get run over again by the double jogging stroller as he ping pongs around finding his own space. Because, we are six beings slowly trekking our way around the 'hood. Occupying a small space so we don't get hit by errant scootering children, squelched by SUV drivers who are texting, or making a snack out of the posse of small pooches walked in large droves by the elderly people who live in the trailer park near me.

Aerobic activity? Well, yelling at the top of my lungs, stomping around the house flaring my nostrils loosing my cool with five kids over a four day weekend really tends to raise the heart rate more than most people think.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I am not alone,...

Love this. And I think it qualifies as a post, even though I didn't put any thought into it,.. right? If you provide a link to a post, does it qualify for a post? If a tree falls in the forest,...? And I have to mention that I found this wonderful post by visiting my usual 'I've worked 20 minutes, time to take a blog reading break!' pad.

And I love this making dinner post because I'm tired of seeing that everyone else but me has over 500 friends on facebook, has written some damn book, looks like their highschool weight in all their profile pictures, has funny yet poignant things to say about ALL their children,... Phew. Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Posting,.. Finally

Should I make it a habit? Perhaps. I've fallen out of it just like I've fallen out of exercise. Juggling the five kids, the job, and all the orbiting commitments I hate to admit, is oozing into my 'me time' like the Blob.

Then there were those two birthdays a week apart. I don't have the courage these days to have big kid parties (the bain of my existence, actually) so we had a quiet 'have-a-friend-spend-the-night' then go to Magic Mountain. Which was great. And you want to know a secret? Go there on a Sunday during the winter off season and you will have the whole, run down, but still fantastic rollercoastered fun park all to yourself. Disneyland may be the happiest place on earth, but if I can go on any rollercoaster I want without waiting in a line? Six flags. They even have a crazy little kid park 'Bugs Bunny World' that was just right for Sabrina. Of course, she had to get her courage up, so that meant I had to fold my six foot frame into a few little rides; the choo choo train, the airplane, the bus,.. I drew the line at the Tweety Bird Cage. She did that fine all by herself.

My secret to keeping my sanity at big theme parks like this when I'm with my kids who are on the cusp of riding or not riding a rollercoaster? Make daddy go on with them first. If everyone survives - no puking, terror stricken screaming, etc,.. then I will accompany them for the second time. I'm a mom and I'm supposed to be protective by nature, right?

That was all for Jared's big 12 year-old birthday.

The B turned THREE this past Saturday, which meant a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. CEC on a Saturday evening is not recommended. It's great for people watching, lemme tell you. And the CEC in San Bernardino is great for that. I'll leave my comments there for this public forum.

The B had a great time, of course and is the perfect age for ripping open presents. There really is nothing better than the glee of a preschooler recieving a present. I'll post pictures as soon as I find my missing (as always) USB cable to the camera. (Found the camera! Yay for me!)

Otherwise, I've been doing a little work.

And actually reading a book! I didn't even read a book for the entirety of the year last year. I'm ashamed to admit it, but there wasn't any time. This book was very interesting and easy to read in the five minutes I get now and again (travelling 1000 miles in an SUV for Christmas break helps find some time to read.)
So, that's it in a nutshell. I'll get better at doing this regularly, I promise.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Where Was I?

Oh yeah, Christmas Eve projectile vomitting.

But let's start at the beginning. The fam made the long trekk from So Cal to Washington State, over the Grapvine, through the salad bowl, even through Portland in the white-out.

We stayed at my mom's house which, just in time for Christmas, included five acres of virgin snow. This meant new snow boots (alas, the Cali boys have flip flops, but no fur lined anything for the feet), and new sleds (a pretty penny by the time hubby found the very last two in Walmart. Kind of like trying to find a dang slip n'slide when the clouds part in the sky in that region and you have 15 minutes of warm sunshine - impossible).

The boys, along with cousins and my bro, made a 9 ft. snowman. Alas, his face fell off in the impending warmth before we could stick some button eyes and a corncob nose on him, but he was a masterpeice, I'm telling you.

Hubby made a luge run (complete with hosing it down to make perfectly graded ice banks - have to love the engineer in him!) on the long and winding driveway and we stayed out until 10pm sledding down the hill with only a flashlight to let any oncoming traffic know there was a human torpedo about to gain entry to the community's road. We live on the edge. One of the best memories will be of the boys scampering in the house exclaiming, "MOM! Grandma's sledding!"

We surprised Rob's side of the family by attending Grandma Nonnie's 87 birthday party at a local restaurant. That was fun watching Grandpa count the grandkids' heads and trying to figure out why there were five more than expected.

The next day was Christmas Eve and we attended Mass with Rob's family. Fifi was a real nightmare, more than usual. She was also extremely grumpy at the family house afterwards and wouldn't you know it, after getting four kids' plates fixed, trying to feed her (she wouldn't eat), and finally sitting down with my own plate on the floor with her in my lap; she threw up all over me. Hubby was out and about rescuing people from ice and snow pack as they tried to drive their cars down the long driveway. Back at my halloween post I mention how we can't seem to celebrate a major hoiday without some sort of standout illness; this year was Fifi's turn.

After taking off my sweater and bagging it, we finally got the gift opening parts and had a great time. Then, Christmas, the baby seemed fine. More gifts, family, sledding, and fun.

Unfortunately, this illness snaked through all the kids by the end of our week. I felt pretty crudy for a couple of days, but wasn't sure whether to attribute it to too much holiday cheer or a virus. (Washington makes some really good beers, you know).

One of the other highlights of our time was seeing good friends up in Seattle, who also happen to be the godparents of two of our children. We had such a great time visiting, eating and shopping. Zach's godparents are the kind of couple every family needs as mentors. As well as I think I know them now, having met them when hubby and I were just dating, I still get nervous, wondering if I'll say something stupid or act like an idiot and make them wonder what hubby saw in me in the first place. They are such wonderful people, you hope some of their goodness will just rub off on you in their presence.

Then, to see Kyle's godparents, who we met in Egypt and have just moved out to the area about a year and a half ago. There is nothing better than visiting with friends you haven't seen in a while and falling comfortably together, like putting on a worn pair of boots - they fit and feel good. Our kids got along great and we were just so happy again, to be able to call these amazing people friends of ours.

Hubby and I had date night (yay! four in one year!) and then actually stayed up until midnight on New Year's Eve with the cousins. Very fun, but for a mom of a one year old, midnight feels like I've been up for about three years in a row. I think I'm still making up for it.

I packed my running shoes, but only ran once and walk/ran/slipped a couple more times since we had dogs and they needed to get out. Too much snow for me to risk injury to my old body that has achey knees and a foot that needs to be coddled. And I'm just really a fair weather exerciser right now. 30 degrees? Brrr,.. I'm staying in.

I've only been running once since getting home because of a crazy work schedule and kid activities at night. I'll get back in the groove. I've modified my diet, kind of a 'body for life' thing, but with special compensation for beer once and a while and birthday cake (I've got five kids - they don't want birthday asparagus, trust me. And you only live once).

Our trip back was uneventful (which is a good thing). We made it in two days again, the house didn't spontaneously combust because of the very dead Christmas tree and our packages were taken care of by our aweseom neighbors.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My humble apologies,..

Okay, my peeps (all 2 1/2 of you) so sorry to go all stealth and all on you. But I had to, you see, we were on a mission to surprise one side of the extended family up in Washington with a VISIT IN PERSON (I know, how exciting, eh? Chortle,..) with us, the racous Richardson clan. Which means,..

Driving in a car.
With five children.
And two german shepherds.
From Southern California to Washington state.
In a snowstorm.

And even through all of this, the light of Christmas shone forth and we had a jolly good time.

But I get ahead of myself.

So, we started the shenanigans on Saturday, December 21st or something. (I have no idea what day it is now,.. I've been waylayed by five tons of laundry and a dead Christmas tree. It's 2009, right?) That was the day I had to clean the house, pack up five kids, attend the B's first ever ballet pageant, and make way for the boys to be gone two hours under the semblance of "basketball practice."

So, the boys are gone, the babe is in bed for the morning snooze and I'm doing the best I can with a ballet bun for the B's hair. (Big accomplishment, I forget which side of the comb is the hair side sometimes). I let the dogs out to do their doggie duties (which usually happen inside, but that's another shameful story that will be swept under the rug. Or the closet. But what do I care, I'm not running for polictical office.) Then, I go to let the doggies in, and they are covered in MUD. Yes, we do have mud in southern California, although I admit, it is man made mud from the sprinklers. But man made mud is every bit as dirty and annoying as real natural mud. So. Dogs are showered indivoidually,.. in Rob's shower. (Mine is upstairs, and who would want mud on those stairs, right?)

Get dogs showered, get the baby up and dressed, get the B prettied in her head-to-toe pink ballet outfit. Me? I smell like a wet dog. I haven't had time to shower. Squirt on some perfume and swipe on mascara. Off we go to the local retirement community for a little 'Let It Snow' ballerina jig.

Meet the boys there. Sabrina does her best impression of an extremely pissed off tree stump as the other ballerinas frolick around her. 12 minutes later we are done (gotta love these preschool performances for their efficient productions!) and back to the house to clean and pack.

Leave Sunday at 5:30 am. We wanted to leave around, oh, 4am, but whatever. Ride is uneventful. Dogs are in the WAAAY back on top of boxes. We are wedged in so tight we all have to breathe in unison. All the travellers are great, especially thanks to all that brain rotting electronic gear we have accumulated throughout the years; PSPs, Nintendo DSs, Gameboys, iPods, Personal DVD players, my Internet connection on my phone,.. it's a shocker we don't glow at night or my fillings don't do a moonlight job radioing for SETI with all the microwaves passing through that mobile tin can.

We make it to Mt. Shasta to the most AWESOME hotel ever invented - a hotel that actually, yes, ENJOYS dogs and kids. At the same time. In massive quantities. And they have an indoor pool and hot tub. And it's snowing. The boys think it is already Christmas. I think it was the Best Western Treehouse - I'll find out and do a link - they were that very awesome. And travelling with five kids usually means two separate rooms, but we lucked out with a suite, so hubby and I could actually SLEEP TOGETHER on the road. I know, the scandal of it all.

We eat Grandma's home cookin' at the Black Bear Diner that night. At least we think we do, until we see about six more Black Bear Diners on our way up the I-5 corridor. It was still very yummy. Which made me kind of guilty for not cooking more these past days. And a little freaked out that the biggest kid's tastes have changed so much that he ordered the tri tip instead of the corn dog.

The next day it takes us about two hours to get to the fireeway (potty stops, the dogs ate all the baby snacks while we were at lunch at McD's, let's get chains just in case, oh, woops, how far do you think we will actually get when the mileage meter says range: 33 miles,.. )

Great drive. Until we hit Salem, Oregon. Then, it is white. Everywhere. Including the freeway which means 25 miles an hour for the next 90 miles = too many hours for me to think about now without another shot of scotch. Find out later that even the national guard was called in to help with snow removal! Now I'm not so mad at the entire Taco Bell chain for being closed throughout Portland, as I was craving, something, ANYTHING besides a hamburger.

Like the Southern Californians we have morphed in to be, the boys made some yellow snow in the parking lot of one fine establishment.

Stop for a sit down dinner to calm our nerves and finally get to Grandma Z's house at 11pm at ngiht. Only four hours after we thought.

Gotta hit the sack, folks. Tune in next time to hear all about Christmas Eve projectile vomitting.