Sunday, October 31

Halloween Richardson Style

Once Upon A Time, there was a Halloween day that could only be started one way, with Goblin Green Monster Chip Pancakes. Sticking closely by her handsome Knight, the Princess had enough love filled looks that even won the heart of the fierce dragon....

The Princess was BEAUTIFUL, the Dragon charming, and the Knight the protector of them all...

They Feasted on the finest of Halloween Cuisine, with an atmosphere to match....But the Dragon was still unsatisfied and ROARS rang from the Mountain side, scaring the small town below.....

The Knight lead the way in convincing the locals that the Dragon was easily tamed by their candy treats and the Dragon was then warmly accepted into their homes!

And they all lived, Happily Ever After.....

The End!

Friday, October 29

Trauma and a Two year old

My poor baby boy Calvin.
Yesterday was a tough day for the old chap. He loves sweets and would do anything for a piece of candy, cookie, or anything else that would fallow under the "sweet tooth" category. I know this about him and often use it to my advantage. A distraction for when I see him heading down the road of public display of a tantrum, bribery to eat a few extra bites of breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or as a reward for using the potty.
He probably asks for a piece of candy on average, ever 14.8 minutes of the day

Saturday we have a Halloween Party we are going to at the local Rec. department and I offered to make the cupcakes. I love Halloween and making theme related cupcakes (because I can't bake anything successful other then cupcakes). Doing anything in this household is a day long process. I takes me all day to put the dishes away from the dishwasher, so it would be no different with mixing, making, baking and decorating these cupcakes.... HAD I KNOWN that Calvin being surrounded by cupcakes, that he was unable to eat, would cause as much of a traumatic day as it did, I would have willing stayed up throughout the night to accomplish this task.
He was obsessed with the cupcakes and even while outside playing he kept talking about them. While his imagination was running wild with bubble wand in one hand and beach shovel in the other, cupcakes took up a large part of the one man conversation.
After Diego educated Calvin on the antlers of a White Tailed Deer, Calvin educated Diego on the cupcakes in the kitchen.
At one point in the day he was so overwhelmed by being surrounded by "Calvin no touch cupcakes" that he didn't no what else to do but run around our island while crying and screaming (naked of course) "CUPCAKE!!! CUPCAKE!!!"
Now I know what you (mom & dad) are thinking.. "Just give the kid a damn cupcake" and I did... But I didn't wanted to feed into his crazed behavior or reward his fits of cupcake rage. So he did get one after supper, but him and I were both exhausted by the end of the day.

Waking up this morning I felt pretty good about today being a more positive day for both Calvin and I. It was Friday, we had a fun fill weekend ahead with Halloween Activities, and WHAT could really trump my withholding cupcakes that could make today any worse then yesterday?

Flushing your last beloved Pacifier down the toilet is WHAT could happen to trump yesterday!
It took me a good 10 minutes to figure out why exactly why Calvin was out of control. Again, running around the island naked, snot, tears, and drool spewing out of his face, while yelling "BAAAH, AAAH, BAAAAH". He couldn't get a handle on himself and any attempt on my part to calm him down was rejected.

Had he not been my deep brown eyed, 2 year old stark naked son,  I would have considered this the ideal situation where you could get away with slapping someone to bring them back to reality.

He was crying so hard he started that gasping hiccuping thing you do after a good hard cry and I was able to make sense of the last 6 minutes of mayhem.
C: *gasp hiccup*"MUMMA" *gasp hiccup* "get it" *soft sob*"sassy" *hard swallow*"flushed" *gasp hiccup* "GET IT!!!" *continued uncontrolled sobbing*

I did the best I could to explain it was gone and it wasn't coming back, but also used this opportunity to ditch the back up pacifier I had hidden above the stove in case of an emergency.

So, I was wrong, today looks to be EVEN MORE traumatic than yesterday for my poor little baby boy, maybe I should try and comfort him with a cupcake?

Tuesday, October 26


As you can see...
Cutting out naps and potty training with clothes on is going well

Sunday, October 24

Sleepy Tooth Fairy...

The fact of the matter is, Wesley doesn't like to wiggle his teeth when they are loose... He would rather eat from the side of his mouth for 3 months, cry during brushing his teeth, and avoid any bribes that Nathan and I give him to allow us to have "just one pull".
He doesn't give into the temptation of tying it to a door knob with dental floss and slamming the door or even better, tying it from tooth to Buffett's tail and throwing a ball for the dog to then chase (which I thought would be pretty awesome myself!)

So three days ago Wesley's mouth was filled with 4 loose teeth.

Thursday morning while brushing his teeth before school I offered him $1.00, for one chance to pull his bottom tooth. Being that he is saving up for a replacement Nintendo DS he accepted the monetary offer. Half a pull later (how it hadn't fallen out already is a mystery) we have tooth in hand, pocket's a dollar richer, and a tardy slip from the school because I was willing to allow him to be late for the sake of pulling this stupid tooth!

That day was busy, a lot to do, a lot of running around and an overall exhausted mother. After settling Joey back into slumber at 4:00 am, I was just dozing off myself when I shot up out of bed realizing the Tooth Fairy had failed to make an appearance and reward him for this tooth it had taken so long to get out of his mouth. After searching high and low for $1.00 to replace the tooth with, I successfully snuck into the boy's room and up to the top bunk where Wesley lays sleeping. Spotting the convenient "tooth pillow" with it's personal "tooth pocket" I dug my finger in to retrieve the lost tooth...... nothing.... realizing Wesley probably went old school when it came to prime tooth placement (rather then the foolishness of having a special Tooth Pillow)  I steadily reached my hand under the pillow he was nestled into. Wesley not only stirs but lifts his head up, looks me in the eyes and throws his arm around my neck only to lay his head back down returning to his slumber.

Now I was trapped under him and realizing there was no tooth under his pillow. Looking around the bed I see 2 other possible tooth covering pillow suspects. Smoothly escaping from under his arms I continue my search for this tooth, growing more and more impatient. Pillow #3............nothing......... Pillow #4.... NOTHING... Throwing my hands up in the air in a "I give up" gesture I scale down the ladder to make my exit, leaving the dollar under pillow #2.

As my hand swings by my side, brushing my leg, I knock something that is stuck to my PJ's to the floor... THE TOOTH!! But it's dark and I don't know where it went.

So here I am.. using the dull shine of the night light as my guide to find a tooth, on all fours, on the floor, that is covered with toys that at any moment could erupt with Dinosaur roars or never ending Thomas the Train Choo-Choo's, panicked with the thought of how I would explain this if all of a sudden I heard Wesley ask what I was doing.

Finally the tooth was found by the bottom of my bare foot after giving up and exited their room.

Saturday, Wesley lost another tooth, so tonight I'm faced once again with a visit from the Tooth Fairy. But I stayed up much too late last night and had another day on the go today and exhaustion is causing my head to spin.

But as tired as I am, is taking the risk of ruining Wesley's childhood because his Mother has the inability to be able to provide him with a competent Tooth Fairy, something I'm willing to live with for the rest of my LIFE!?!?!?

Thank God for DVR!

Thursday, October 21

Master Of The Marinara

Delicious Marinara Sauce? CHECK!
(James A. Berry please make note of the pot I am using!!)

3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1.5 chopped onions
5 whole cloves garlic
2 cans whole tomatoes
3 Tbs Basil Paste
2 Tbs Sugar (maybe a little less?)
-Saute onions & garlic in oil until tender
-Stir in basil paste & salt
-Add tomatoes & simmer for 3 hours or until tomatoes are broken down completely
-Add the sugar 
-Salt until bitterness is out
-Use immersion blender til smooth (potato smasher would work fine too, but will be chunky)


Monday, October 18

Welcome To.... Oh.... It's YOUR Family

It's not something I'm all together proud of, but it's reality. We are "that" family when it comes to going into a restaurant. But because Nate and I are aware of this, but aren't eating at McDonald's all weekend long, we avoid places that aren't "family friendly".

It really all starts in the van.... Like all good mothers, I drive as far as I can yelling back "OK! OK! Next Exit we will eat!" but continue to pass exit after exit, until their belly aching becomes too much for anyone to handle.... Yesterday, the 99 restaurant in Topsham was the latest victim of the Richardson Family.

The boys jump out of the van with a full level of energy from having just napped for the last 3 hours of driving. As I pull Joey from her seat I realize that she has been a busy girl and there is a rather large mess spread up her back, down her legs, and soaking threw her clothes. Of course her clothes are in the bottom of the suitcase, in the bottom stack of things thrown into the back of the van in a hasty "lets just shut the door quickly" packing job hours before.

While I dig everything out of the back and spread it across the parking lot, Nate does his best to hold Joser at a safe distance from him body while making sure the boys don't dart into the road.

Clothes found, we head for the restaurant.

Keeping Joey a full arms length away from myself, I enter quickly bipass the "seating person lady" and head right for the bathroom... 45 wipes later, Joey is cleaned and in new clothes, we join the boys at our table.

We have to get a booth so that we are able to corner the kids between us and the wall... this however is a catch 22 because booth's are always back to back with other booths. Giving the perfect opportunity for Calvin to throw his fork, food, napkins (and even once a salt shaker) into the booth seat of the other table. Wesley crawls from one side of the table to the other (under the table of course) always hitting his head on the way up which results in spilt drinks and Calvin taking a break from disturbing the other table to follow suit.

Nate is focused on the 34 TV's surrounding our table and is always 3 levels too loud with his disappointment or excitement, while half out of his seat, on which ever sporting event is being played.

And I sit, with a baby happily bouncing on my lap, yelling at the boys to stop doing whatever it is they are doing, being judged by the old ladies who have come for their early Sunday dinner, drinking my beer.

Finally the food comes and things start to settle... at least settle to Calvin "RAAAAR"ing at everyone who walks by, Wesley encouraging him by being the look out, Nate causing everyone to jump and the plates to rattle by hitting the table when the Patriots throw an incomplete pass and Joser enjoying the acoustics the restaurant give her high pitched squeals of delight.

Fortunately for others, we don't eat out very often! On the upside my hips say 'thank you' to them for never offering for us to stay for dessert.

Thursday, October 14

Forget About It!

So this weekend we are finally heading to Massachusetts to visit Miss Madelyn (YAY!) who would be Nate's sister's new baby girl! There is a lot to do before we go and a lot to do while we're gone, but still, I sit here blogging about all I need to do, with out doing it. Because it's so much easier for me to write about what's got to get done, then actually get it done... I work better in crunch time anyways.

Every time I pack, I always forget something... always... and usually this "something" isn't just anything you can live without for a few days... One time when we went to a wedding in Massachusetts (*clears throat* Amy Heath's) and I was so focused on NOT forgetting the things the boys would need (who were in it), that I totally forgot my whole suitcase on my bed at home and only had the clothes I was going to wear to the Wedding with me and the clothes on my back (that I ending up having to jump in the hot tub with to save Wesley from drowning, but that's another story all together).  Fortunately there was a TJ Maxx that allowed me to purchase some items, while wearing choline smelling clothes that I had to dry hung over the shower rod with the hotel's curtsy hair drier, across the street.

When we went to fly to California to visit some of our friends we got halfway to Bangor before Nate asked for me to put the cash we were going to use on the trip into his book bag. Just then I remembered it was still in the exact same spot on my counter where it would be impossible to forget to take it (I blame that time on still being in shock from taking a pregnancy test "just because" that morning and 9 month later, here's Joey!)

Once we got into our Atlanta Hotel for a True Value Show, I realized I didn't pack either of us any underwear.

Nate had to run BACK down to Greenville last February because once again, I forgot a suitcase on the bed where I had been packing it.

And most recently, on my trip to Houlton I made sure NOT to forget to bring a change of clothes this time for Joser. And thank god I didn't, because when she filled her diaper so much it shot right up her back those change of clothes came in really handy, but remembering to throw some diapers into the bag would have been helpful as well.

So I think it would be safe to draw the conclusion that I don't actually work better in "crunch time" as I claim, and might want to take this little post as reasoning why I should get my "Do It Now" list started............ but....... the sun is out... and the weather if fine.......and the kids will have to sleep at some point tonight..... so... I'll just do it then!

Tuesday, October 12

Luck!... or is it??

Like every (almost every) other Mother I know, there are a lot of balls I'm juggling and doing the best I can to keep them all in the air right now, but there is one that I always find myself taking out of the rotation. Unfortunately that one ball is the one I do for myself. 

I know what some of you are thinking... uh oh... Sea Dog's stock is about to tank.... No need to call your broker yet Dad, it's not the drinking beer ball... I look at my beer intake more as a gift to my family... So lets see it more as a "Keep Sam Sane", you're welcome!!

This often set aside 'ball' I'm rarely seen with out him, I could talk hours about him, my heart would break if every he were hurt, and with such complicated layers he always keeps me guessing, he completes me in a way I would feel nothing but lost in a world with out him....OK... maybe that's a little overdramatic.... but you get the point... WHOOO is Duncan you ask?... Duncan is my Camera... the Camera I  just named Duncan moments ago to add a layer of complete confusion to this posting.....(wait... did any of you think I was talking about Nate? Oh, you poor things!)     

Though I'm working away at unmasking those layers, I feel that I get to a point of where I am starting to grasp the relationship of the manual settings for them to play nice with each other, but have to throw it back into Auto so that I don't miss "the moments" I NEEEEEED to have captured before they are lost.

The only time I get to have quality Me/Duncan time is when the daily day's work is done and kids are in bed... Calvin likes to stay up late and Joey gets up early... unfortunately this causes days, even weeks to go by, before Duncan and I can be alone together again, but even then we spend most of the time refreshing myself on ground we have already covered.

BUT YESTERDAY an 'ah-ha' moment while vacuuming the floor came and I feel like I made some real strides in being able to set my camera manually to the appropriate settings in a reasonable amount of time!! (I'm not trying to brag, but I even got a complement on one of the photos from a....oh I don't know....TRUE lIFE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER!!)

Now was this luck or did I actually have a legit, it's clicked 'ah-ha' moment.... time will tell and you all will be the victim of my temper tantrum when I discover once again I have no idea what I'm doing... (consider this your warning)...

But until then, I'm riding high on this cloud of self satisfaction and feel like it might be time to throw that ball back into the mix simple because the reward of accomplishment is worth the extra effort it will take to keep on juggling!

No I don't feel like these pictures are "professional quality" but the excitement of getting to this level of more then just a Point and Shoot is gratifying... prepare yourself for seeing my kids faces thrown in your face! Hopefully I will continue to not only grow, but reach a level of consistency.

For now... quietly talk amongst yourselves and feel free to enjoy the pictures of my beautiful children

Sunday, October 10

Save 'em

Winter Recipe Showdown

I've decided that this winter I'm going to find the best of the best recipes. This is going to be a bigger challenge then some may think, because I have a small problem following a recipe. I always use recipes more as a reference then anything else and it drive Nate crazy because he says he never has the same thing twice. Which would explain why I suck at baking... apparently you can't just "guesstimate" how much baking soda or baking powder you need when making cookies. Whatever.

So I'm starting out with some basics of baking bread. I've rarely attempted bread because I find the outcome so disappointing... when you fall at bread, it really sticks with you.... You put so much time and energy into kneading and rising, rising and kneading and when it comes out of the oven burnt on the bottom, raw in the middle, or has heavy as a water logged mattress, it's hard to recover.

This recipe is the best I've had yet...  OK...I will admit.... I did tweak the original a little (I couldn't help myself!) but I follow THIS recipe the same every time...although I'm going to experiment with the density part of it a little more... when I've got enough confidence to easily bounce back in case it goes wrong.
But everyone loves it here, especially fresh from the toaster then saturated with Houlton Farms Butter , or crisped to golden perfection in the frying pan loaded with fresh tomatoes and ooey-gooey melted cheese...

              Half Whole Wheat Bread

1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
  • Combine first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; stir.
  •  Add flours and yeast, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
  • Punch dough down; knead for a few minutes until smooth and then form into a loaf. Place in greased loaf pan and cover. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. If loaf starts browning too soon, put tin foil over top
  • Remove bread from oven and allow to rest in pan for a few minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cover with a cloth.                                        

If you try it, good luck and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!!

Wednesday, October 6

I Had My Suspicions

A few weeks back, the bottom pull handle on our bottom freezer drawn was mysteriously found laying on the ground in front of the refrigerator.

Calvin, my take matters into his own hands child, asked for a Crush Cup while I was folding the laundry. I told him I would be glad to get him this Crush Cup after I finished the same laundry I have been trying to finish folding for the last 3 hour....

Well, once again, Calvin took matter into his own hands....
And I'm pretty sure the case can now be closed on not only WHO, but HOW!

Tuesday, October 5

Their Advice, My Reality

As soon as I became a parent, everyone (whether they are a parents or not) is lending me their advice on raising children. Being on baby #3, people still feel the need to guide me on the Do's & Don't's and I always find it funny how quickly these people are to point out what I'm "doing wrong" as a Mother. (in their opinion of course)
I'm not saying I've never given any parenting advice because I have, when asked, but I completely understand that taking your child's Fisher Price lawn mower he keeps driving into the back of your heels while you're trying to cook supper and throwing it out the open door of your house on the front lawn and threatening to run over it with the real lawn if he doesn't stop, isn't the approach that most parent's would consider taking.
I get parenting advice ALL THE TIME...(wait... maybe there is a reason people feel obligated to give it to me.....huh *shrug*)...But here are my favorite 'tips'

Their Advice: "Don't let your kid's sleep with you in bed"
My Reality: I need sleep... and I would prefer A LOT of it... but I don't get it... so if having one, two, and sometime three children beside me in bed, gets me any sleep at all... I'm taking it! I understand that putting the effort into settling them back into their own bed will pay off eventually, but that's effort during the night that I need the next day to be able to tolerate these same kids.. I will put the work into getting them in and staying in their own bed when they are old enough to understand bribes and threats logically why their bed is a better place for them to sleep.

Their Advice: "You need to learn to let them just cry it out, they will learn to settle themselves down"
My Reality: You're right, they will eventually settle themselves down, but you're not the one who has to put up with the screaming and guilty anxiety until they do. When the "Crying it Out" method is in effect in my household it's usually myself being the one crying it out.  For now, I'm willing to respond to the crying and do what I can to pacify it.

Their Advice: "When they bite you, you just need to bite them back"
My Reality: Uhm... No...

Their Advice: "You shouldn't keep your TV on ALL the time!!"
My Reality: Why? I prefer to function with noise and am finding my kids do too... Yes, Wesley will sit and watch TV until his eyeballs fall out of his head, but that doesn't mean I let him. But the TV remains on... at all time... It help drown out the sound of fighting, distracts me from being left with my own thoughts, and I find the Housewives great examples of  what type of women my son's should try to avoid dating.

Their Advice: "Nap when the kids nap"
My Reality: Wouldn't that be nice, but if I did that how would I catch up on my DVR'd shows, check Facebook, or now write on my Blog? I also get a little burst of energy when I hear the first sounds of someone waking up and realize I haven't done anything productive during their nap which gives me enough adrenaline to race around the house to start the less importantly things such as the laundry, dishes, and general everyday cleaning. 

Their Advice: "You're not a short order cook, My kids eat what I made or they didn't eat at all"
My Reality: I have sooooo many other battles through out my day, dinner time is the one time of the day that I enjoy the most. I cook, what I cook, the kids can eat it if they want... if not... I'm definitely not cooking a separate meal, but if it's leftovers, can be poured in a bowl, or thrown in the toaster.... have... at... it!!

Listen... it's not news to me that chances are pretty good that everyday I secure the job of some psychologist who will be having weekly appointment's with my children simple for them having lived through me being their parent, but I can pretty much guarantee I'll make their sessions much more interesting then them being traumatized by being bitten back by their mother.

Monday, October 4

Dueling Saucers

Not sure Joser is too thrilled about having to share one of her saucers, but as for myself.... Calvin's contained for at least a little bit .... I'll take what I can get!

Sunday, October 3

In The End, they always win me back!

Attempting to cut out Calvin's nap + a 7 year old with mouthy comebacks - enough sleep +  boys who enjoy antagonizing each other until the other cries = a Mother who wants to pull her hair out!

This was my day the other day. It was raining outside, the house was a mess no matter how much I picked up, and the boys had been fighting all day. I couldn't take it anymore. It was one of those times I thought to myself "Get a job outside of the house Sam, you're a masochist, PAY someone to deal with them, no one should willingly put themselves through this!" Joey only contributed to my stress when she realized she was tired, but I wasn't going to allow her to take a nap only 2 hours away from her bed time.

Knowing my Pumpkinhead would be my reward at the end of the day, I struggled through making, then getting the kids to eat supper, getting them in the bath, and Joey down for the night. 

Wesley had school work that he didn't want to do, Calvin had to go to the bathroom, but refused to use the 'big boy toilet', and I refused to give in and put him in a diaper. After Calvin peed on my couch pillow in a clear way of showing his defiance and Wesley validating him by laughing and giving him a high-five, I had had enough and was done..... D.O.N.E!!

I.freaked.out.... the way only a stressed out, pushed to her limits mother can... Screaming like a psychotic women who'd just escaped from the extra crazy ward, throwing my hands in the air and having incomprehensible sentences spewing from my mouth, I chased them into their room and slammed the door behind them (of course they were giggling as they retreated, which only infused my frustrations).

Dramatically, I grabbed my Pumpkinhead from the fridge and lofted myself onto the couch. I allowed myself to sit there and calm down. Half was through my beer, I noticed the boy's room was quiet.

Instantly suspicious, I walked over and put my ear against the door. Silence. I felt my jaw tighten and was more then ready for round two. Slowly and quietly I opened the door prepared to catch them red handed, in whatever nonesense they were getting themselves into now.....

This is what I found. Wesley reading to his brother in the top bunk bed.

INSTANTLY I felt like an ass guilty for what could be considered my over exaggerated response to kids being kids. It was as my SAHM reset button had been pushed and despite that day, I am glad my inability to handle days like this are few and far between!

Saturday, October 2

Open Mouth, now where is that foot

With my parents graciously offering to watch our kids, Nate and I were able to sneak away last night for a dinner at The Vault. The meal was delicious as always and conversation was kid free from interruption.

As we were sitting their enjoying our appetizer of scrumptious BBQ Chicken Nachos, in walks fellow diners. Seated behind us, was a family celebrating a birthday.  The Birthday Girl and I, having no favorable interest in each other, usually only exchange polite formalities due to sharing mutual friends.

Tonight was no different, I was to say my well wishes, acknowledge everyone at the table, and gladly return to increasingly growing cold Nachos and unattended, warming beer.

I, myself, would prefer to skip the 'milestone' birthday such as *clears throat* 30 and go right to 31.

As the Birthday Girl was declaring this a weekend long celebration of her big day she excitedly said, "I'm turning 40!"

"Oh No!!" was my uncontrolled response. As soon as I said it, I regretted it. A noncommittal "wow!" would have been a more suitable response, by satisfying her excitement (and my terror) on the subject matter.

Knowing my explanation of why I had responded the way I did would only make the already awkward silence that had fallen across the table worse, so I did the best I could do with a "Well, Happy Birthday!! Enjoy your meal!" and quickly turn and retreat back to my table.

Nathan, from the safety of our table, sat back and enjoyed the unexpected entertainment, that was now being provided with dinner.


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