Sunday, September 18, 2011

Family Vacation

After 9 months of working WAY too much, Doug finally got some extended vacation time! It has been such a blessing to have him home this past week, and none of us are looking forward to him heading back to work tomorrow!!

The big thing we did was take our first ever "family of 4" vacation to the beach! I can't begin to tell you how much fun we had. God orchestrated an absolutely amazing time together (including practically perfect weather!), "unplugged" and having no plans but to play in the sand.

We stayed in Lincoln City and on our way there we decided to go through Tillamook and hit the Cheese Factory to look around and get lunch. It was a hit with both the kids!

Watching cheese!

My silly kids!


We stayed at the D Sands Motel in central Lincoln City. It was perfect for our family, with a separate bedroom for the kids, full kitchen and RIGHT on the ocean!

We're here!! (ok.. is it me or does she look really grown up in this picture? sigh..)

Matthew was excited too.. about the rocks! :)

Our room wasn't quite ready when we got there, so we walked around for a bit. There were TONS of seagulls swarming around this car that was throwing potato chip at them. The kids thought it was the funniest thing. Then the people in the car had to leave so they handed us the bag of chips. Then the birds started swarming US!! Both Evelyn and Matthew laughed and laughed. It was a great way to kill time and to have fun!

We got settled into our room and then hit the beach for just a little bit before dinner! Matthew has never been, so we were curious what his reaction would be.

He LOVED it from the moment he got his feet in the sand!

If I had one complaint about the trip, it was that neither of my kids slept great. I ended up sleeping with one or the other every night! The first night was rough, but we got thru is and awoke to lightly cloudy skies and kids who were ready to hit the sand!

My big boy enjoying breakfast with a big boy fork and plate. He is growing up so fast!!

Making her first sand castle of our trip!

The kids played so well together, too!

Matthew's face is priceless!

Sand wrestling!

We took breaks everyday for naps. For all of us. The fresh air and running around in the sand wore us out! SO nice to nap and not worry about what I am NOT getting done! :)

Post-nap snuggle time!

Evelyn had one request for our vacation: that we have a "picnic". So Friday after naps we headed south to Gleneden Beach to play and have a beach picnic. Needless to say, Ev was super excited.
The weather was glorious, too... bonus!

My girl rockin' the Tinkerbell sunglasses!

It was just a stunning afternoon on this beautiful beach!

Matthew and daddy solving the world's problems!

Evelyn proud of her sand work!

"Come back, birdie, come back...." He could have chased birds all day!

I've got one cute boy, don't I?

Daddy and Evelyn heading up to the picnic area

My stunning baby girl....

You know what phase of life you are in when you carry fire wood around in a diaper box! haha

Daddy showing Matthew how to start a good fire...

... and helping Evelyn roast her hot dog.

Hot dogs, beans, and chips... the perfect meal!

If my sunglasses weren't all crazy this would be a really cute photo! :)

We then ended our picnic with roasting marshmallows. The kids had never had one before. The verdict?

Matthew liked them, but they were too hard for him to handle so he didn't like that.

Ya think she liked 'em? :)

My tired by happy kids before bed.

This amazing sunset topped off our pretty much perfect day!

Saturday was a bit cloudy so we went swimming in the morning, hoping it would clear up. Evelyn and I had a super time splashing around. Matthew really was not into it. At all. Fussed the entire time and Doug pretty much sat on the steps of the pool with Matthew on his lap the whole time we were there. Oh, well.. at least one of the kids enjoyed it!

The rain then began to fall, so we decided to go into Taft and have lunch at Mo's. One of my favorite beach stops ever.

We had lots of leftovers and already had dinner plans so we went to the dock and fed the birds with our french fries and chicken strips. The kids had a blast, even in the rain!
She is always posing...

I'm gonna get you, birdie....

Time to head back.. the rain was coming down pretty good!

It was cold but not raining after naps so we went onto the beach. It didn't take long before all of us were too cold and had to go back to the room, but we had fun for a little while.

A boy with his diggers. Its a beautiful thing.I happen to think he is pretty amazing!

Evelyn burying my feet.

After we got back to the room the kids started playing hide and seek. Matthew really got into it! Even after we were done playing he would mysteriously disappear and go hide, waiting for us to find him! He cracks us up!

He WAS hiding his head in Doug's sweatshirt counting right before I took this!

Saturday night we got a pizza and had movie night. It was a great way to end our time at the beach!

We came home Sunday morning, grateful for such a special time together. I am looking forward to many more fun adventures for the "Morris 4"!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I Knew This Day Would Come

This morning, during breakfast, Evelyn happened to notice something in the newspaper I was reading.

A picture of the new Tribute Tower in New York. Next to it was a picture of a the second plane going into the World Trade Center with a huge fireball. 10 years ago tomorrow.

"That's a really tall building, momma!", she said about the new tower.

"Yes, isn't it pretty?", I asked, knowing exactly what the next question out of her mouth would be. My daughter is smart. She is observant. She doesn't miss much.

E:"Mommy.. why did that plane crash into that other building?"

I knew I couldn't just make up something. She is still only 4 and I didn't want to go into too much detail, but I am not going to lie to her, either.

Doug is gone for the morning, helping friends move. He's so much better at this kinda thing than me. Drat! It's all me. Here we go..... (silently praying as I begin. Lord, help me!)

"Well, sweetie, some bad men flew that plane into that building and the building fell down. It was a very bad thing to do and it was a very sad time. The pretty new building is to honor the people who died and remember what happened." (Of course, in true Stephanie fashion, I start to cry while I am talking to her!)

E: "Oh. That is not good!"

"It was a very bad thing that happened. But do you remember the verse you learned at church camp?" (it just finished last week)

E: "Yes.".. and she recites Romans 8:28, "For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, those who are called according to His purpose." (NIV)

"Yes. God took the bad stuff, the plane crash and the building falling, turned it into good stuff. People of the United States became stronger and started to love each other better. We fought back against those bad people and won."

"Another good thing that happened was that I got to spend time with aunt Michelle. She had taken a plane to visit aunt Carolyn, but she got really sick and needed to go home. No planes could fly after this (pointing to the plane-into-tower photo) so daddy and I drove up to Aunt Carolyn's and drove her, Mr. Jim, and baby Curtis home. We got to stay at their house and help Aunt Michelle get better!"

(I didn't go into the fact that my sister was sick from the side effects of treatment of her salivary gland cancer, a battle she fought while pregnant with my miracle niece Abby.)

*long pause as she is looking at the pictures again*

E: "I bet God doesn't love those bad guys."

Oh. Boy.

"God loves all of us, Evelyn. Even those bad men. It is our choice to love Him back and ask Jesus into our hearts, like you did earlier this year! With Jesus in our hearts, we can ask Him to help us do the right thing and help us be good people."

E:"And not do bad things."


Just then Matthew walked into the kitchen, smelling like he had just filled his pants. Not only had he filled his pants, but it was climbing up his back. Seriously.. the biggest poo he has had since he was an infant. Evelyn thought it was hilarious and we immediately headed to his room to take care of the situation.

The September 11th conversation was now over and we had moved on. Thanks, Mr. Dude for filling your pants at the PERFECT time!

I am curious how much she will remember about our conversation.

I pray I didn't create fear in her or make her question her God.

I pray I did okay.

Wow.. that was tough.

Never Forget....

Friday, September 9, 2011

Green Thumb, Burgerville Style

I am not known for my horticultural abilities. Even tho I really enjoy taking care of my BFF's garden when she is out of town (and have even nursed a plant or two back to health!), I have a hard time keeping things alive at my own place. Sounds crazy, but its true. That's why I don't have any living plants in my house. They would surely die.

In May..yes, May... we went to Burgerville for lunch. In the kids meal the "toy" was.. get this.. a tomato plant!! The package of seeds came with a small plastic pot to start them growing and a little book on healthy eating. What a great idea!! Evelyn was SO excited to go home and plant it and have tomatoes "just like Jody!" (my BFF).

I got nervous. Like I said, I kill plants. I didn't want to kill Evelyn's sweet little heart, too!!

We got home and planted them and put them on the window sill in the kitchen, where I would see it every day and hopefully remember to water it. Thankfully I did, and the window sill acted like a little greenhouse. Low and behold, in few weeks, we had little sprouts!! Evelyn was overjoyed... but not as much as me! Phew!!

That little plant grew and grew, and I did my best (with help from Ev and Doug) to water it and care for it. We repotted it when it got bigger and moved it outside. We had to nurse it back to health a few times, but it kept chugging' along and growing. Evelyn enjoyed watching it get bigger.

And, finally, last month, we. Got. Tomatoes. A total of 12 of them!! Those little green balls were a beautiful sight to this momma's eyes, for sure!!

I didn't kill it. And they are the best tomatoes I have ever tasted! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pink Bunnies are NOT for Boys!

When Evelyn was 2, we thought it was time to buy her a trike and have her start the road to bike riding excellence. Because I am a nurse, and a safety nazi, we of course got her a helmet. A cute pink one with bunnies on it.

Our rule is that if you are on a bike (or trike, or scooter) you have a helmet on. No helmet, no riding. Period.

If you know my daughter, you know that from birth she has NOT liked hats. Still doesn't. The bike helmet was no exception. You can imagine how often the trike was ridden. (That would be hardly. at. all.)

Therefore, I think the photo below is one of 5 pictures I have of her in the pink bunny helmet. 3 of those are blurry.

Look how little she is!!

Thankfully, although she still isn't a fan of wearing a helmet, she loves her "big girl" princess bike that she got last year and is riding well. With a helmet on at all times, of course. Cuz I am a safety nazi.

Fast forward to Matthew. My on-the-go-all-the-time guy. He has been hopping on and off of the trike (that ironically Evelyn still calls "hers". Go figure!) since he was 18 months old and wants to ride. We hadn't gotten him a helmet.. we didn't know when he was gonna start getting interested in it. We did have the pink bunny one, tho. Doug (somewhat jokingly) protested at first, saying he didn't want Matthew to be permanently emotionally damaged by wearing a girly helmet. Better his ego damaged than his brain, however... so we were going to let him wear it until we found him a more "manly"one.

And, like his sister, he completely protested the helmet. Completely. But, unlike Evelyn, he can ride the trike well and we want to encourage that! We needed to decided what to do, and I admit that we let him ride helmet-free for a while (I know. The horror!). It wasn't many times, tho. I swear!

We have been looking at helmets for him but really don't want to spend a bunch on one he will outgrow in a year. Then my amazingly smart husband said he could just paint the pink one. He had a can of blue rattle can paint. He prepped the helmet very carefully and painted it. And it. Looks. Fantastic.

And wouldn't ya know, the boy child LOVES it, too, and wore it proudly for most of the evening. At bedtime he kept patting his head and telling us, with his "words", how much he likes it.

Apparently the pink bunnies were NOT okay with my sweet boy! Good call, son. Good call.

My blue helmeted big boy:

My husband rocks. My son is adorable. And this crazy safety nazi nurse momma is happy tonight.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Great Day

Doug and I both admit we need to get away more with the kids. Not big vacations, but just day trips to places around this beautiful part of the country where we call home. Due to this and that we just don't do it, and its a shame. After today, we made a commitment to change that!

We decided to head to the gorge and to Multnomah Falls. We knew Matthew would need to nap so we went early hoping to eat lunch somewhere near there and have him nap on the way home. It was the perfect plan, and it was the perfect day!!

We got there and it was SO windy. Evelyn wasn't a huge fan. I am glad Doug encouraged me to bring jackets for the kids.. they both used them!

So pretty!

"Can we dive off the top and into the lake, mom?" Um.. no.! Crazy girl! She thought the falls were the coolest and prettiest thing ever!

Matthew just wanted to climb the fence. Lovely.

My little hiker. He walked the entire way to the first big bride. About 1/4 mile.. that's a lot for his little legs!

My sweet family at the first bridge.

Me and my girl. Her and I were hiking buddies.

Matthew could have stayed at the bridge all day. Of course, he really wanted to lean over between the openings in the bridge and look at the water. Yeah.. I am glad Doug was his hiking buddy and not me. I just didn't watch.. and prayed he would be okay! ;)

There's a little cave up from the bridge that Evelyn LOVED. She crawled around in it and just laughed and laughed.

This is where my boy spent the rest of the hike!

Evelyn REALLY wanted to go all the way to the top. I knew she didn't realize just how far it was, but I was proud of her determination and excitement. We decided to walk on until she got tired, which wasn't until the 3rd switchback after the bridge. Pretty good for her! We headed back down and were almost to the bottom and kersplat! She tripped and fell in front of me, then I tripped and fell over her. Not the best way to end our fun trek at all. We both were scrapped up (me more than her, thankfully) and she was pretty upset, but we got thru it and made it back to the car.

We headed to Cascade Locks and ate at the Char Burger. Such a cool place! The kids loved looking out at the river from their seats.

No high chair for him today.. he wanted to sit in the booth like sissy and look at the "wa wa"! :)

They both enjoyed the cool old machinery outside the restaurant.

Evelyn and I are reading the "Little House" series. We told her that this wagon was probably similar to the one the Ingalls' had. She thought that was the coolest!!

Heading home... notice Matthew peeking? :)

Bad forest fires burning up near Mt. Hood made for a pretty, yet sad sky.

He was asleep in moments!!

As was she!

We truly had a super day!