Thursday, August 30, 2007

Come Home Soon Daddy!

I'm growing up fast!

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary! We had to celibrate without daddy. 14 years - and this is what we have to show for it! Daddy sent two dozen roses and mommy splurged and bought the cake at Costco. Then proceded to leave it in the bottom of the shopping cart, but thank goodness the nice Costco employee stopped her and put it in the front seat of the Suburban before we peeled out of the parking lot.

Let us tell ya, that was some good cake!!!

The Tower of Brothers

Kind of like the Tower of Terror at Disneyland, but the after effects last longer,...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Trip Down Memory Lane

Happy Anniversary! July 2004 on our way to So Cal from Boise, Idaho. This is July 4th at your parents' house. Yes, when Jared was young enough to wear tie-die.

This is the kid who is going to drive me to smoke or drink bourbon. One or the other. Very soon.

Are you ready for another one? Only 13 more weeks,...

See how much Max has grown? Our little rescue pup is now a seasoned world traveller!

I bought a ridiculously HUGE and expensive chocolate cake for hubby and my 14th anniversary that I will share with my boys tonight after the Kindergarten picnic and Jared's football practice. How romantic. : )

Farm Boys

Helping Grandma tear up the backyard so we can put in a deck. (That picture coming soon!) Well, not us, but the amazing Tim-the-Handyman.

Amazing what the dangling of allowance will do. And the chance to drive the tractor. We had every tool we could find out there - hoe, horse pooper scooper, snow shovel.

Even daddy had to help. (cut our time in half having him there actually.)

So Sabrina and did what we Richardson women do very well; supervise. We went for a walk and came back and those lazy boys STILL weren't finished.

Happy with the results. And so was Jo Jo the Clown.

Fear Factor Part II

Oi vey. When we were in Banda Aceh we started what I called 'Fear Factor Aceh Style' to get the poor little kiddies to take their anti-malarial medicine. (This before the baby got it ANYWAY so we stopped that ridiculous killing of our livers,..) I'd cut my pills up and grind them down with spoons and then carefully put them in a small amount of pop (electric melon flavored fanta perhaps.. or sour green apple. Soursop flavor wasn't too big in our house.) We'd have oreo chasers since even THAT couldn't disguise the awful bitter taste of those little pills.

So now here we are in the states and they actually MAKE Fear Factor popsicles. Some are black (see above tongues) and some have gumball eyeballs embedded in them. Fantastic!

Untuk 'Pa

Okay, sorry. Daddy asked for pictures of his brood, so here goes. I am catching up. These are from the six year old' s birthday this past beginning of August. We had a race car theme. We have created a weird little ritual with him where he requests his fav food of the year and I work it in somehow. Last year it was candy corn. This year bean sprouts. Go figure.

Check out that dynomite cake! My mom helped, so she broke my streak of ugliest birthday cakes known to man. I was trying for a Guiness Book record. Maybe next year,..

Now, THAT is a smile that says, this is a GREAT party!

Games! Must of the cuz's came and we played a car race game, pop the balloon with yer butt and find the bubblegum under the whipped cream only using your face. I don't know if the kids had more fun or the adults who got to watch all this silly behavior!

And of course the loot. Kyle was very happy as he got everything he wished for. It's easy to shop for your kids when all their toys have been left behind in Indonesia. Try it sometime!

You Go, Girl!

A HA! I am NOT ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE! This awesome link brought to my attention from my lovely friend who is about to pop her forth (thanks Teri!) And yes, I'm jealous. I want 100,000 hits on my blog and book publishers calling me. And, yes, Wendy, I am working,.. promise,...

EBay listing a bid for moms everywhere

Diapers No More!

One of the front page articles on Yahoo News talks about 'Parents begin potty training at birth.' This was also practiced in Indonesia for you skeptical parents out there! Yes, I'll admit that I am a little too Americanized to take my babies to a tree in the back yard and make hissing or grunting noises to make my kid go to the bathroom.

Let's be honest; I have enough trouble reminding intelligent potty trained boys that they need to LIFT THE SEAT and AIM PROPERLY. Light saber wars with urine over the toilet, trying to spell with the stream or a basic 'hands off' approach to the whole procedure will warrant mommy finding you with antibacterial Lysol and paper towels in hand.

And I already have trouble reining in the typical boy behavior of peeing in the great outdoors. Hearing the tale of my three and their cousin in the front yard in front of the neighbors peeing on an anthill as a form of war on nature did not sit well with my civilized sensibilities. Maybe because I'm a girl and the whole squat process involves me not thinking about "hmmm,.. what shall I write in the snow today?" but more like "I am NOT going to pee on my shoes this time,.."

And don't get me started about the whole hiking in the woods, digging holes and burning your used toilet paper. GADS. Spa me for goodness sake; isn't this why I had boys? So my husband can go camping in the woods with the kids and leave me alone?

But okay, already. I feel bad that I have a land fill in my name because I've had four babies all using disposable diapers. Yes, shame on me. So, I did purchase the cloth diapers and the diaper cover. I've consulted my college friend Craig, who will always be a better domestic goddess than me.

I've been 'circling the wagons' so to speak for a couple weeks now, not really sure I'm ready to do the whole cloth diaper for eliminating thing. But I opened the package and stuck B into one yesterday and it worked! No leaks! The diaper cover is HUGE however, and if she didn't have my big butt before, boy does 'baby got back' now. Good thing most of her pants are long, as she'll need those couple of inches to cover that nice bustle she has grown with the plastic pants.

I have realized that I need more than one diaper cover. Duh. I've tossed the soiled diaper into the vat of cleaning solution, but have done nothing more than peer at it. I did take the easy way out and put her back into a disposable for night time, but I'll make sure that soiled diaper gets company today if for no other reason I make friends for it so I can clean it in the washing machine without too much guilt. Typical of me to go from personal landfill to excessive wasting of water to clean the one soiled diaper I can muster per day. Why isn't anything just EASY?

So the more I think about it,.. this house does have five acres.... and an awful lot of trees.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Conversations with Long Lost Husband

Okay, we are pretty pathetic. Rob and I talk every day, sometimes twice a day. Unlike most techies (which I guess I'm not) I hate Skype. So, instead of being disconnected 20 times during a conversation, we usually use the traditional phone and calling from Banda Aceh, Indonesia to Olympia, Washington, boy do we have the phone bill to prove it. You'd think we were love struck teen agers instead of old married farts celebrating 14 years this coming Tuesday. (This is your last hint, hubby!)

It takes me back to our engaged years when, for one and a half years, I lived in Washington and he lived in California. We bought SouthWest airline tickets in bulk, drove to meet each other in Oregon, used lots of stamps, and had enourmous phone bills. Rob took on a second job as a personal trainer at a gym and scraped his pennies together to eat at Del Taco. I stopped in whatever locale he was living in at the moment on my way to and from sales jobs and trade shows in the contiguous U.S. Nothing like having my luggage lost on my way from St. Louis in January where it was 30 degrees, to in Sacremento where it was 90 degrees and I had to wear a sweater and jeans.

And for the many times we've been apart like this when living over in Egypt, we have this same silly behavior. Which is good, because it is hard to hold onto a marriage if you don't communicate. We've gotten good at this, but it's never very fun. On my end, it's a little less taxing because the kids are bigger and don't require super human attention all the time any longer, and I can rely on them for help. That has been the biggest change this time around. It' s amazing the power an allowance wields in this house. It's gotten little boys to change diapers, dress the baby, take out the garbage and the recycling, make beds, put clothes away, dust, vaccuum, pick up outside toys and get the mail. Although the last time the six year old got the mail, we found it scatter over five acres of lawn for the next few days.

At the end of our conversations we sign off and I hand the phone to the littlest gal who is 19 months old and loooooves the phone already. She uses everything as a phone; tv remote, building blocks, spoon, you name it. Anyway, we give her the phone and she wanders around the house saying gobbledy gook until Rob hangs up and the phone starts beeping at her because we haven't replaced the receiver yet.

Typical conversation:

Rob: So, on my way out to one of the job sites there was a dead crocodile and a dead goat in the road. A bunch of us went to Sigi's house in the jungle and ate wild boar that a local friend of his shot with a bow and arrow.

Me: Uhm,.. we went to Red Lobster??!

So, when I was recounting this conversation to my mother she must have seen that twinkle in my eye. The one that always yearns to be doing something adventurous (not that raising 4 1/2 kids isn't adventurous; trust me). So, she slammed her hand down on the arm of the chair and said to me, "If you go back over there I swear I will check myself into a mental institution." Okay, mom, I promise to stay put,.. for a while longer anyway. : )