Tuesday, December 31, 2013

every kid hates their parents sometimes...

Grant was not happy at miles 2 and 4 but the family conquered our goal of a 6 mile run yesterday. It's tough to get out in this cold (40 damp degrees) but we've found sitting in the apartment on vacation has it's own challenges. You might as well brave the elements once in a while.

Monday, December 30, 2013

forest days

- a favorite winter photo of mine -

Although you don't see faces, I do. And I hear laughter. 
I remember those trails with my kids. Other newts and slugs and deer.
And I feel…family.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

photo fail

I'm salvaging a few photos from Christmas but obviously I can't juggle house guests, two kids, presents, breakfast, and fast action photography.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

merry christmas 2013

Tonight we started what, I hope, will be a new tradition in our house. We baked Jesus a birthday cake and Christmas will be the one day a year the children get to eat cake for breakfast….because too many Christian traditions are unnecessarily boring.

to our friends and family who follow us here.

Thank you for giving us your love and support all year around - in Reno or Portland or wherever you are! Blessings to you this season - ♥

Saturday, December 21, 2013

hold them close

You know when tragedy happens and everyone says, "Hold your babies close"…

That doesn't work for me.

Calli will wiggle out of my arms with a vengeance, yelling, "no mom no!!!"

So I just take pictures and look at them.

At least I can still cuddle Grant. He's pretty much given up fighting. 

I just bribed some cuddling out of Calli with a bowl of green olives. 

The power of the olives!!!!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

in the running news

The wonderful, awesome, super helpful Portland Running Co. donated 10 pairs of returned shoes last week. (this is in addition to boxes of tech shirts and sweatshirts earlier this year) These shoes are SO BEAUTIFUL! The women at Shepherd's Door looking to add exercise into their lives will be so blessed by these! New shoes prevent injury and give confidence and encouragement to hit the road. Oh I am so happy!!!

You can probably tell.

When I dropped them off the two gals working donations recognized me as the running coach and asked if they could join the group. I LOVE that a running team was so foreign 6 months ago and now every time I go a new girl pulls me aside to get details. 

And in the corner of the cafeteria one of my runners last season was doing math homework with a tutor. I interrupted of course, because hugs are better then math.

She told me with a grin that she lost 2 pant sizes. She's still in the program, working hard. Walking often.

As I leave she hollers across the cafeteria - Love you! Merry Christmas! 

It's hard to make contact often since I live across town, but I miss that place. Looking forward to more runs in the new year!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

did i ever tell you?

Did I ever tell you about my friend Carroll?

I noticed him at drop-in volleyball after living here for about 4 months. We count off to make teams and I landed on his, and then on his left side in the line up. This means I have the awkward responsibility to rush over close and jump to block with him. I say awkward because I'm terrible at blocking with strangers of all kinds but especially this time, because Carroll looks like this (guy on the right):

from Men in Black
But by the second night on his team we swapped names and by the 4th we were friends. I'm now on his co-ed indoor team and most Wednesdays (practice night) you will find us laughing and chatting until the last second a serve will whip over the net.

Yes, he is quite different from me, but he's kind and he's wise and he hits lefty if you're setting him.

I've been playing a lot more volleyball the last 4 years of my life. Sometimes I think it might be a waste of time. Sometimes I think others think it's a waste of time. But I can't stop. Besides the fact that I finally learned how to spike correctly, I take so much from so many people on the court. Volleyball is a mini sphere of life. It puts on the pressure, but it also doesn't really matter if you fail. And you get to see the insides of people rather quickly. You know me - straight to the point is always best.

I've learned a lot of lessons from a lot of people. Sometimes I've learned what not to do. Sometimes I've seen examples of who I want to look like in the future.

If I didn't play so much I wouldn't have known Cara - she died unexpectedly this year - she had a fire to go after every ball and made you feel you would never fail by her side.

And without two summers of grass ball in Reno I wouldn't have known Cessie, a lover and encourager that welcomes all, nothing forced, all real.

I remember only one or two wins/loses over the past few years but I remember a lot of people and interactions. And I hope I've touched my favorite people as much as they've touched me. I used to want to be kind on the court so that people would see that I am a Christian, but I am starting to see that this isn't working. It's not working because those friends without Jesus are typically kinder than I am. And I guess it makes sense since becoming a Christian didn't make me a shiny perfect person, it just gave me grace! And they don't need to be any better. They are great - beautiful - loved.

But the grace of Jesus is a gold mine.

And I hope I do it justice in the world.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

don't ask why

When someone asks me how I'm doing I say, "Good, I'm excited for Christmas to come!" To which most reply, "why?"

Um. Is the word Christmas not self-explanatory? Do you know what Christmas is??

- My parents are coming to play with me and my kids.
- I finally get a green light to buy my kids toys.
- My 3 year old is ADORABLE when she gets everything she wants.
- I get all my favorite snacks and snuggle with my husband in our pajamas.
- Christmas movies!!!
- The one day a year I let my children doggie pile me in bed for a wake up call (grant's favorite tradition).
- And as a person who dislikes skiing and never seeing the sun - I could use a fun winter day.

So to you who ask why, I say, "Duh".

Thursday, December 12, 2013

this week at our house

verb: un-parent; 3rd person present: past participle:unparented; gerund or present participle: unparenting
to interject your opposing opinion once your partner has already begun or finished the act of parenting. usually done from an adjacent room, seated position, or having not known the whole story. 
"unparenting will now be called as foul in the Morton house going forth"
synonyms: interrupter, couch parent, sucking

noun: unparent; no plural form
  1. 1. a father or mother who continually interjects unhelpful parenting opinions after they are needed.

    "don't sit there and be an unparent all day"

Saturday, December 07, 2013

decorating day

Tim finished his 3rd semester in Pharmacy school yesterday! Today the plan was to decorate for the holiday and enjoy some time all together.

Enter children.

We are all together. We are decorating. But we take long breaks to follow Calli around with a pink barf bucket, scrub the carpets, and cover the furniture. It would help if she wouldn't dance around the whole house while she's sick!

Tim had a special  moment wiping down the carpets to "Oh Holy Night".

As disgusting as it is, I still want to remember this day.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

first thanksgiving

We celebrated our first Thanksgiving at our place this year. Sister Kateri and volleyball partner Eric were invited and we totally pulled it off! BBQ turkey by Tim, sweet and twice baked potatoes by me, the best apple pie ever by Kateri, and fresh cranberries by Eric. Tim and I agreed this could be the tastiest Thanksgiving we have ever had! (Sorry Mom)

This year I also passed on my running tradition to my neighbor Analise. I entered her in her first race ever! She trained for almost two months. We had a (freezing) fun time.

Monday, November 18, 2013

swim cap

Being a swim mom does not come naturally to me. I barely swim. I hate cold locker rooms, strange showers and prune hands, but my kids happen to love it.

Today we conquered the swim cap for the first time. To distract from the hair pulling I was yelling "stretch it!!!". There were a few screams and a LOT of laughing. Before swim lessons she likes to stand on the bench and check herself out in the mirror. Another tiny victory!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

do not be afraid

Wild berries and glitter nail polish in her bag.
Daring energy in her slender frame.
Independence in her heart.
She puts her head down and grits her teeth.
She pedals as fast as her legs can go.
Down she zooms.
Down the hill that used to scare her.
Goodbye to you hill.
She goes beyond you.
She will not be afraid.

Monday, November 04, 2013

laugh at yourself

During Trick-or-Treating this year we went by a spooky house full of cob webs and smoke. Up from the lawn, in front of Grant, rose a guy dressed as a ghoulish pirate. With a hook for one hand, running and jumping, hunched over, he went straight towards Grant. Immediately the skinny Darth Vader dropped his sack of candy and fled the scene. I got him to stop after he had crossed the street and another house at top speed. 

He was upset that he had gotten so scared - and he was still too scared to pass the house again. In his defense however, it was really really really really REALLY scary. 

But later that night he started telling the story. He told our neighbor and made her laugh. The next day I heard him tell his friends and they laughed. I was proud that he was able to laugh at himself and share his embarrassment with others. That's my kid right there. 

Sunday, November 03, 2013


She writes her name for the first time.


Saturday, November 02, 2013

october photo bomb

It seems I've taken one million photos in October...two if you count my business file. So I'm taking the easy way out and just pasting them all over this post...in no particular order. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

SD run team: race day

You may have heard already that I am coaching a womens running (and walking) team at Shepherd's Door. If you haven't, you can catch up here. (and maybe here too)

We have been training for about 5 months, meeting 3 saturdays a month. Sometimes my girls showed up, sometimes they didn't. Sometimes I walked in to learn a girl (or 2) had left the recovery program altogether, most likely to go back to the streets, back to using drugs, and/or back to a toxic relationship. Once I drove out to the house and (stood up) I ran all by myself in the basement. And once twice I led a devotional with a kid running around the table screaming.

Not one single meeting in 5 months went according to my plans. Not one.

I started to be happy those mornings when Basho the dog didn't corner me and my co-leader in the hallway growling.

That's how well it was going.

But there were also encouraging times. I did love talking with the girls. I loved to see them succeed - even though that was not every week. And we found a volunteer for childcare - oh that was a glorious thing!

And in the midst of the chaos that swept in and out of our team, I prayed.
"Lord, I need you to move a mountain. I need you to get us across the finish line." 
And I just kept praying it - until I walked into the house this morning and found childcare and transportation sorted and three girls, ready to go. All was well - except for Basho, who stood between me and the bathroom. I decided I could hold it for a few minutes, and as I backed into the cafeteria I suddenly heard the music playing:
"Savior, He can move the mountains,
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save."

I can't show pictures of the girls here but 2 quarter marathoners and a half marathoner from Shepherd's door made it across the finish line. The Gorge Marathon was a tough course but also over the top beautiful. It was the first race any of them had ever finished.

When one of the girls heard she would get a medal this morning her mouth hung in an open smile and she grew quiet and looked out the van window for a minute. She turned back around and said softly, " I can't believe we get medals." And this is a woman who I have never heard speak softly. 

So I have to say, there were a lot of ups and downs during this journey, but, as I lay it all in God's hands I am happy with it. I can see a lot more finish lines in the future for each girl, whether they ever run again or not. And I learned so much training them and hearing their stories. This was the most rewarding half marathon I've run so far (number 4) and that's not even including the fabulous taco bar at the finish line. 

trainers - Amanda and I before the race
rainbow start
beautiful climb
somewhere in the middle - and then it super rained and my hand chilled to the shape of a claw so I stopped taking photos and texting

Thursday, October 24, 2013

tiny swimmer

I just love it! She is close to passing level one at THPRD. She can jump into the deep end and pop up with a perfect back float. She can roll from her back float to a front float. She can grab a dive ring off the bottom of the 2.5 foot pool. Hard core!

Friday, October 18, 2013

still got it

Tim and I had TWO dates this week. That doesn't happen! AND it was even a very bad, no good, test week. On Wednesday I dropped my work and met him in Hillsboro for lunch. Tonight we ran to dinner together. Yes, we ran to dinner...or around dinner... and then sat down at dinner. And I was still surprised I over-ordered. I really thought dinner at 7:00 after a three mile run meant I could eat three plates of food...I failed...but it was a fabulous date! I love my husband.

Monday, October 14, 2013

new things

This weekend we all rode our bikes to Grant's school to play. Grant crossed the monkey bars for the first time. It's good to conquer new things!

Saturday, October 05, 2013


Sometimes I see her face and I am in awe...

waiting for a stop light on her bike
wrapped in a towel at swim lessons
eating a tiny muffin with me at the store
reading her a book in bed
laying next to me when we nap together

not to be outdone by his sister....

I have to pull his little frame close to mine when we walk
I can't stop smiling when I'm close enough to see his freckles
making him laugh is oh so fun
a little squish hug is all I need to keep me going

They are mine & I am blessed.

Friday, October 04, 2013

not so lazy friday

When I woke up today I told myself - "it's Friday, take it easy, just ship your orders and watch TV with Calli today". Surprise, surprise, that plan failed. 

I answered some e-mails and new purchases and got off on a rabbit trail trying to find new wax lined bags for Mavora, all the while I'm also feeling bad I'm not playing with Calli. When you work from home sometimes you are good at work and sometimes you are good at being a parent but you're pretty screwed if you want to do both at the same time.

But anyway....it's 3:00 now. As I write I'm printing envelopes for an unfinished order (not really unfinished, it wasn't even started yet this morning and it ships today - oops) and I still need to buy postage and pack the other orders. (So everything that started on my list is still on my list). What the heck happened?

I remember I was drinking coffee....

I was thinking how I was supposed to run today and Calli was begging to ride her bike. So I went with a plan I thought up last week, except I had never really finalized the details....

We parked on 185th and I ran and Calli rode her bike (with no training wheels it is possible for her to keep up a pretty good pace). We headed in the direction of Pirate Park. I had not been there before nor did I check any milage estimates. According to my map reading skills it was just "right over there".

So I made a three year old bike three miles round trip... to play at a park... during lunch time... without any food... on my "lazy day". And did I mention Calli's bike pedals fly off every .75 miles?

That's motherhood for you.

Praise the Lord for the caterpillar, the puppy caterpillar (a super fluffy, brown & black, SPRINTING caterpillar), and the snake that cheered us along the path.

My envelopes are almost finished now.... maybe I'll have a lazy evening after the post office closes... if I start making better decisions.

Monday, September 30, 2013

sun break

For the last four days we have been living underwater... I do not remember being in such a long and intense rain storm in Portland.

But in a strange turn of events, I went out for a run in the rain and found myself caught in a 15 minute sun shower! I stripped off all of my layers and walked like a zombie so my arms could soak in the rays.

And as if an egg timer rang, the clouds closed in as quickly as they had opened. Buckets poured from the sky for the rest of the day.

I was not prepared for a September winter. Not prepared at all.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

the free life

I went for a 6 mile run yesterday with one of the gals on my Shepherd's Door Running Team. I'll call her Rose for this post. I've been running with Rose since she entered the program 2 months ago. She had only two choices: stay in prison or live at Shepherd's Door and work on her drug recovery. Every time I see this girl I am amazed at her growth. She is the exact opposite of me really - or at least her lot in life is. She was handed captivity growing up. Taught to be a slave of drugs. She described her life as being tied down with a chain. She "could pull and fight but she could not break free". Over the last two months Jesus has been shinning light into her soul at Shepherd's Door and I can see her chains falling off. She never goes a whole run without telling me how she wants to help others to know Jesus.

I have many choices in my life. Unlike Rose, I was given the tools to live a very wonderful American life, but having choices is not the same thing as having freedom. Last week I caught myself in the middle of a project, a project where I was building myself up to be better (or at least equal) to the rest. I was packing in work and slighting the things that were important to my daughter. I was grieving over insignificant dents in my pride. I was wishing to get back moments where I could have "done better". I was hunting for loved ones to compliment me and assure me that they needed me. (I have worked on this project off and on all my life.)

Every time I find myself working on this project, I start to feel enslaved. I cannot climb high enough up the ladder most of the time...and those few times I do, I find practically nothing at the top. Leaping from praise to praise I do not find freedom; I grow weary.

Rose reminded me by her testimony that Jesus is the one who breaks the chains. If you feel constricted by your religion, your addictions, or the world around you - there is more out there. It's God.

I created a graphic this week after listening to one of my brother's sermons. This concept breaks my chains.

You could probably boil down my Christian life to a million little moments where I have two choices. Exalt myself or exalt God. And Jesus has shown me, when He is on top of the ladder there is just enough room under Him where I am sheltered....I am free. So I climb back down and breathe.

Monday, September 23, 2013

sunriver 2013

My parents invited us to Sunriver, OR again this year and we squeezed in a short weekend trip. Sunriver has always been all about family, swimming, and bicycles. It's a little resort town with paths winding everywhere you want to go. We always use the house bikes and I get a couple of runs in as well. With the date fast approaching I kicked Calli's bike training into full gear. She was recently getting very good at her balance bike so I had Tim put the pedals back on and I just let her go! It's always freaky the first time you let go of a child's bike. She made it 12 feet to Dad who caught her. With one more week left before the trip Calli and I practiced two or three times a day. Her motivation: in a few days she would ride bikes with Beba and Papa and Reese and Gabe and Grant and Daddy. Plus the short term goal: hitting the bottom of the Apartment driveway meant a trip to McDonald's! 

I skipped some work and some runs, I got a giant knot in my back, and had a trip to the doctor with an infected petal wound, but oh the joy I got from her success. She is amazing! Here she is reaping her rewards with Papa, Beba, and the gang. 

Bike loving Dad is so proud!

Swimming at the SHARC. All three went down the tube slide too!

Reading Strawberry Shortcake with Papa.

We missed Dawson and his family this year but I'm happy they didn't have to drive all that way for a long weekend. We barely made it the four hour drive. That's about our family max for car time right now. We did see some amazing forests and rainbows though! Calli said, "That's where the unicorns live that we can ride on!" Traveling on Unicorns sounds WAY better then the Honda.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Calli LOVED her visit from the Grandparents. We were very thankful they were able to come all the way across the country to visit us. Having Kateri already here was just icing on the cake! We love having her in our lives! She wisely made us all go to Multnomah Falls. It was time.

There were a few moments we ate, swam, and hiked without clicking pictures that weekend...but not many. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Is this what everyone does at family reunions, or just us? I'll have more photos of the Grandparents' visit soon!