Friday, February 26, 2010

Scenes From The Back Porch

I'm considering letting you draw your own conclusions about what caused the state of my back porch. 
You should know that my kitchen was the original setting for this "event".
I managed to get everyone outside before things got too out of hand.
What makes me smile is hard-working Joe, doing his best to sweep the porch. Of course he played a major role in creating the mess.
As did she. (Just look at my girl poppin' a wheelie!)
But look at what a great job Joe did cleaning up!
And no, I didn't even ask him to do it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Project 52: The Monkey Date

Here are the second and third installments of Project 52 from the past two weeks:
Date Night #2: Games
I kept it simple because we already had a few events lined up for the weekend.  We watched the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics, played games, and dove into Billy's Valentine's Day stash:
Ah, the perks of being married to a teacher.
Date Night #3: Monkeys
I wanted to do something a little more creative this time and what's more fun than monkeys?  The truth is, I had a couple ideas for this date percolating in my mind but nothing certain until I went to Target.  I scoped out basically the entire store looking for inspiration and didn't find it.  So then I wandered over to the food area and stumbled upon a Monkey Bread mix.  The proverbial light bulb flashed on (I really don't see much of it these days...) and Monkey Date Night was born.  Now that I had a focus it was pretty simple to throw the rest of the date together.
Here's the breakdown of the date:
1. We made Caramel Monkey Bread together. Scrumptious!
2. While the bread was baking, we wrote acrostic poems for each other using the word "MONKEY".  I know, acrostics are supposed to describe the word being used but I didn't think writing poems about monkeys was that romantic. Maybe for some people, but not me. I think this was Billy's favorite part of the date.  He just brims with creativity - both in writing and drawing so this was right up his alley.  We also decorated the poems with monkey stickers.
3. We played Barrel of Monkeys. Billy won. He's a monkey-linking-fool!
This was probably my favorite date yet.  The cost was around $12 which isn't bad considering the first two dates were free and now we have a Barrel of Monkeys game for our family to enjoy for years to come!(Special thanks to Target for their plethora of inspiring monkey products.) Also, having a few activities to do together prevented one of us from falling asleep prematurely, which may or may not have happened on our first date . . .

Monday, February 22, 2010

500 Babies Take A Nature Walk

Want to know what I think are the best toys for kids?  Rocks and sticks and leaves!

On the one day last week when our backyard was finally dry enough to go outside, the kiddos spent the majority of their time playing with rocks, sticks, and leaves. What I love is that using their imaginations to play with these materials comes so naturally to children.
So with the gorgeous weather we had yesterday, I knew we just had to troop out for a little walk and experience a little more of the natural world.  The dynamics you see below stayed the same for the entire walk: Daniel always ran ahead, Joe dutifully stayed in the middle, and Mikea lagged behind always finding something that grabbed  her attention.  At one point we came across the outline of a circle on the path.  Mikea noticed it right away and when I asked her how she thought it got there she answered, "A woodpecker."
Of course the kids found lots of rocks.  Joe said, "Look at this beautiful rock, Mommy."
Sticks were also a big hit.
Dan always had a stick in each hand and every few steps he'd squat down to scrape them on the ground.
Enjoying the glories of nature. . .
There were also thornbushes everywhere.  Even the trees had thorns.
And because a certain child or two couldn't stop from wildly running off the path and "Deal With Puncture Wounds" wasn't on my wish list for the day, we had to cut our walk short.  But we can't wait for the next time!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Little Mama

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Adoption Update

The first permanency hearing for Baby A. is set for May 10.  His caseworker is recommending termination of parental rights and if the judge agrees, we can move forward with adoption.  We'd still have to wait 90 days after termination to see if any family members step up to claim him, but I'm hopeful we'll be clear to finalize by September.  This time around I'm going to do everything I can to keep the process moving.  With Mikea we had delay after delay, some of which could have been avoided, and the process took 6 months longer than it should have.  But in any event, we are thrilled to be one step closer to making Baby A. a Morrison for life!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Love Multiplied

In just two-and-a-half years dinner for two has become dinner for six.  Yet by some sweet miracle the love in our house has not divided, but multiplied.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Parent of the Year

So the other night we were watching Supernanny.  We watch the show for two reasons:  1. To learn Jo's techniques (don't you just love how she says "techniques"?) and 2. To be thankful that our kids aren't as out of control as "those other people's kids".  It was the episode with the family of a 5-year-old and 3-year-old triplets, and Billy and I found ourselves nodding our heads in agreement as we related to the parents' frustrations with dealing with so many little ones.  But then the program showed the dad taking all four kids on an outing, and he wasn't holding anyone's hands!  Even when they were about to cross a street.  We were saying, "Dude, what are you thinking?  Parenting 101.  Get a clue!".
The next day I was still thinking about how ridiculous it was for the father to not be holding the kids' hands.  (And congratulating myself for having more sense than he did.)  Not two minutes later I discovered this:
My child.  Playing with matches.
So I guess the lesson is I shouldn't worry so much about other parents' lack of skills and work on my own instead.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

1, 2, 8, 11, or "Weird Things My Kids Say and Do"

Having a houseful of babies and toddlers is taxing.  But it's also decidedly funny.  Here are a few examples of the weirdness going on in our home right now:

1.  Counting.  For some unknown reason, when the kids count out loud they say, "1, 2, 8, 11".   From time to time they get the numbers correct, but inevitably it all comes back to 1, 2, 8, 11. We'll even be out somewhere and Daniel will randomly blurt out, "1, 2, 8, 11!".  Always 1, 2, 8, 11.

2.  Naked Running.  Ok, so the parents mom started this one.  But it's part of our Bedtime Routine and I'm not touching it.  Our kids go to bed very easily without crying, and I'm sure Naked Running has something to do with it.  The routine is: get undressed, run naked through the house, put pj's on, stories, prayers, and bed.  You leave out the Naked Running and everything else falls apart.  (Clarification:  No adults have ever, or ever will, run naked through our house.  The KIDS do the naked running!)

3.  Spicy Shoes.  Last Sunday on the way to church Joe informed us he had his "Spicy Shoes" on.  Then everyone had to have their "Spicy Shoes" on.  Still trying to figure that one out.

4.  Mommy, ask question.  Joe started this as a delay tactic at naptime.  He'd try to ask as many questions as possible so I had to start limiting it to one.  Not really too strange, until Dan picked up on it and Dan doesn't get what a question is.  So he'll say, "Mommy, ask question."  Then he pauses for a few seconds and looks around trying to think of something to say.  Then he just states a random fact such as "Like screwdrivers" or "Diego over" when we haven't even been watching TV. 

Look for "Weird Things My Kids Say and Do, Part II" in the near future . . . !

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Project 52: Date Nights - THE FIRST DATE

I can't tell you how thrilled I was to discover Project 52: Date Nights over at Simply Modern Mom.  Right away I knew it was just what Billy and I needed to purposefully make time for each other each week.  The keys are intentionality and simplicity.  You can check out more details here, but the gist is that you dedicate a regular time each week to spend on a "date" and take turns planning a month's worth of dates.  For us, the majority of these dates will be at home - we hate asking people to watch our kids because, well, we have 500 of them and anyone who babysits Baby A. has to have a clear background check on file.  (So, that pretty much eliminates all of our friends and family... ha ha just kidding!)  Anyway, on to the date!

I wanted to keep things exceptionally simple for our first date so that the bar wouldn't be set too high.  We chose Friday nights from 9:00-10:00 or whenever Baby A. falls asleep. We drank flavored coffee and ate chocolate chip pumpkin muffins while we discussed our Goals for 2010 using these questions.  (I know, I know, we were supposed to set these goals in January, but we're always, like, a month behind around here.)  We discussed our goals for our marriage, family, finances, and health.  Having the questions kept us focused.  That is, until I fell asleep.  Oops.  (But Billy's used to that because I used to fall asleep at the movies all the time when we were dating.)

Overall it was an undeniable success.  Taking the time for simple details (candlelight, music, the "no frumpy clothes" rule) set it apart as a date and not just another Friday night of watching TV by default. I can't wait to start planning Date #2!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

500 Babies Go to the Rodeo

An outing to the rodeo is one of the best ways to spend an early February afternoon.  But it's not always easy.  This is the 500 Babies' Guide to Surviving the Rodeo:
Step 1:  Your mom will probably want to take a picture of you in your cute rodeo outfits before you leave. (By "cute rodeo outfits", we don't mean cowboy boots and cowboy hats.  "Cute rodeo outfits" in our house mean plaid shirts.)  Anyway, back to that photo.  Please make sure she doesn't force you to stand in the blinding light of the sun, like this:

Suggest the OTHER side of the house, in the shade, like this:

Much better! (You can still squint if you want too.  It makes you look cool and aloof.)

Step 2:  Once you get to the rodeo grounds, you will be assaulted by the tempting aromas of all sorts of rodeo food: Turkey Legs, Funnel Cakes, Chicken Fried Bacon, and Fried PB&J Sandwiches.  Unfortunately, to feed the 500 Babies at the rodeo would cost and entire week's worth of grocery money.  So tell your mom to make tuna sandwiches and you'll be fine.  Remember to pray before you eat:
Then dig in!
Step 3:  All that eatin' will surely make you thirsty.  Hopefully your mom packed juice bags as a treat.  Make sure you drink every last drop!

(Some of us just love juice so much, we get a little upset when it's all gone.)
Step 4:  Please wipe your hands and face when you are finished eating. 
Cleanliness is important.  Especially when you're sitting on a bench with a message from your friendly local government instructing you on how to sneeze! :)
Step 5:  Of course the main reason we're at the rodeo is to see the animals!  So have fun and don't stick your finger in the pens. 
And don't let your mom take a picture of you in front of a sign that says "TURKEYS".  (She thinks she's soooo funny.)
Finally, we all know the real reason some of us guys go to the rodeo is to meet CHICKS!

But if you want to look cool for the ladies, make sure your mom dresses you in pants that actually fit.  It doesn't look too smooth to be holding up your pants everywhere you go!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Naptime Readers

A few minutes after I put the kids down for afternoon naps, I usually sneak back upstairs to spy on them.  This is what I saw today:
Oh how I love it!
Even Mikea appeared to have been reading. (Not that she doesn't like books, it's just that lately she's been sneaking all kinds of toys into her bed during naptime.)
But then I noticed something curled up in her hand:
Not loving that.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Monday, February 1, 2010

500 Babies Go to the Arcade

Is there even such thing as a video game arcade anymore??  Anyway, the kiddos had their first go at video games over the weekend, old-school style. My nephew "collects" and refurbishes old arcade games.  Pretty cool hobby, don't you think?
Joe tried out Frogger while Mikea and Daniel were happy to just keep putting quarter after quarter into the slots.  Unfortunately, this experience will give them a false impression of how arcade games work in the real world because usually you aren't given a bowl of quarters to use for unlimited playing!