Sunday, December 27, 2015

christmas magic

Tim and I made a little magic on Christmas Eve this year. After tucking in kids and wrapping the last presents we set up our tiny tree in front of the paper cupboard with a star of equal size hung from the ceiling. Calli got a glimpse of Santa at the mall a few weeks ago (+ we watched Santa Buddies together) so she was all about Santa this year. The first thing she said as she burst into the room was, "I love Jesus and Santa and my Family!!" So the "real" tree magic was worth it.


Calli's first present had gold writing - To Calli | From Santa. When she saw it she screamed and ran around the house, "My very first present from Santa!!" But she also asked why Santa used our wrapping paper, to which I replied, he was out and needed to borrow some. 
Air tight case.

We made Calli smile like a normal person after this shot but it turns out I like this one the best. Unprompted joy can be scarce in a world with a 5 year old. (Well I guess all the presents were sort of a prompt but you can't even count on that!)

   ♥  ♥ ♥

And then there was a fabulous Christmas dinner at Dallas and Kelly's house. 



Best presents: A pencil set for me, a $2 snow globe ornament for Calli, a Black Friday Special iPad, and a nice watch for Dad.

Video of the morning: Calli had 4 presents left and Grant was out so we gave her a speed round and one of her favorite presents was included. Enjoy!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

merry christmas

We had a cousin swap this week and it was my job to drive across town thru the dark rain with two boys and a nerf gun in the back seat of the car. At the time, I have to admit, I was slightly annoyed that there was not one break in the funny voices, jokes, and laughing fits. It's like the two shared one brain as one would start a sentence and the other would continue it through to the punch line...and then another punch line...and then another. But looking back at it now it's one of my favorite memories of the Holidays - because you just don't forget a funny story where all the kids get rabies for Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

monsters are a menace

Running with Grant today, talking about Minecraft of course, he said,

     Monsters are a menace, but they're also a prize because you can use them.*
     But Silverfish are just a menace.

It made me think of trials in our lives. I don't totally know why bad things happen, but in my experience I've been noticing more and more that some struggles bring forth a prize. New wisdom, new connections, new pain that can be used for good. And then there are other struggles that are pretty worthless, besides maybe being a reminder that we are not home yet.

My prayer is that we would be able to distinguish what we must slay (Monsters) and what we must wade through (Silverfish).

"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14

*from what I've gathered, this includes zombies and skeletons who you plunder and kill to use their bones for bows and arrows, etc. 

Friday, December 04, 2015


We watched a bunch of home video clips tonight and laughed and laughed! I have not done a good job keeping up lately but I'll post the few movies I have. From me to my kids (in the future). I promise to try harder next year to capture your hilariousness.


Thursday, December 03, 2015

will you run with me

She bursts through the door
angry and tired of fleeing 
She sees me and shouts across the room
"Will you run with me?"

And things aren't fair
And things aren't right
And why the torture God? Why?
We aren't sure

But I see myself in her
She isn't perfect
But she is good
And even in her goodness she falls

She suffers
She weeps
She laughs
We run

What a blessing it is 
to be invited
to be asked
"Will you run with me?"

- My reflection on being a mentor at Shepherd's Door

Thursday, November 26, 2015

turkey day 2015

This year's Turkey Day run was a 2 mile trip to the store for sour cream! Inspired by cheesecake baking with missing ingredients.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

an hour of dinner

Our family often eats together. But sometimes we're only together at the table for 5 to 10 food scarfing minutes. Tonight we went out to Wendy's (fancy!) and sat together for a whole hour. Here's what I learned.

Grant told us he was soccer captain at recess today. He picked both the goalies. He said the other team had trouble protecting their goal.

Oh good grief we all busted up!

Calli took the Talented and Gifted test this week...we think...
She said 8 kids took a test given by someone she didn't know. She said it was easy. One of the questions had people in it. She said she named one Calli and one Ailey (her best friend) and then that equaled Mom and she colored me with pink eyes.
And 10 plus 10 equals 20 and the sphere is a ball and a cube is like dice.

And she didn't turn it in.
I asked if she threw it away and she said, "no! I recycled it! It's PAPER!"
We were laughing SO HARD.

Almost gifted....except for the recycling of the test.

And no, I don't believe anything she said tonight. I think the test might actually be tomorrow.
But it was worth every minute!

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

the mud puddle

With my free time lately I've been thinking, reading, talking, remembering. I'm seeking peace and I'm coming up with fistfuls of...not peace. I'm learning not to compare and not to draw lines that don't need to be drawn. I'm encouraging myself to continue to be brave and put myself out there. It's like I've been standing in a mud puddle for the last few weeks - but in that same amount of time I've found a lot of people standing very close to me, in their own little mud puddle. Once again my pain is not wasted. As it grows so does my compassion. So does my hope in God. So does my connection with others. 

It's hard not being understood. It's hard not reaching your vision. It's hard to be slighted and put in a corner. It's hard to stay open after a mistake or a challenge makes you want to just plug your ears and run. I like distance from conflict. LIKE FAR FAR AWAY BEHIND LOCKED DOORS DISTANCE. But I'm trying not to run. I'm trying to live my own advice and I'm taking advise from those I admire around me.

I am not perfect - but I am valuable - and a little muddy. 
And I might not feel approval from others - but God loves me, so whom then shall I fear?

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you
something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

a new chapter

I'm sitting, alone, in the quiet. Yes, I've had moments like this before in the past but I'm about to have a lot more of these moments. The last 9 years of my life I have spent helping someone go potty, wiping noses, picking up, listening to tantrums, trying to find something fun to do so my children won't die of the boredom, and countless other motherly things. We have snuggled, we have swam, there were days we had donuts for lunch. And I'll still get to do all of those things - but not between 8:00 and 3:30 Monday thru Friday.

Calli won't be my cute shopping buddy, or my nightmare shopping buddy. She'll be a cute nightmare in kindergarten (and I mean that in the nicest possible way). Her life just got much more exciting and I am happy for her even though I'm also sad to let go. All I can hope is that I gave her enough skills to succeed in her new world. I forget sometimes that God did not give my kids to me, for my personal enjoyment or gain (although I get a lot out of it). God gave me to my kids. To watch out for them. To teach them. To love them unconditionally. And when it's time to leave the nest, it's not my place to hold them back or to be greedy for more time. "This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad!"

I wish I had been wiser and braver and more loving the last 9 years (particularly yesterday when Calli wouldn't put on pants) - but I think God has covered those mistakes I've made. And in that belief I rest, this morning, I will be satisfied. I will be proud of all those hours I took care of my babies in the nest. I will be thankful that I had a part in their amazing little lives. And I pray for my Calli who sits in class right now. I pray that she absolutely rocks it today.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

last day of summer 2015

Our last day of summer was not warm enough for a pool day so we biked and ran the Banks trail. Although it was a rough first mile we made it 4 miles in total and enjoyed our traditional last-day-of-summer cake as our reward.

The passers by all heard me yelling - "Calli stop going so FAST!!" and "DO NOT push her again Dad!" I may have looked like the bad guy to some, but this is, in fact, the only way we can get Calli the slug to move at all. She knows I'm kidding and every time she hears it her little legs speed up and she giggles in just the cutest way.  ZOOM, off she goes, and Tim and I can jog in peace for another 5 minutes behind the kids. She may be a stubborn mule - but she's MY stubborn mule.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

being an aunt

I did not post about my visit to Reno a few months ago but Grant and I went for a quick trip for a good friend's wedding. My favorite memory I wanted to record was an afternoon at Dollar Tree and Stake & Shake with Caleb and Luke. We played competitive seek and find. I am the official champion although Luke thinks I just got the easy pages.

And then there was Wild Island day. With Aunt Abby in charge they only suffered mild sun burns. Grant went on the "toilet bowl" and Fire & Ice with his older cousins' encouragement. 

My facebook post with this pic: 
"Thirty minutes, three instructional videos and bam - Grandma's got a new brake light.... And an extra piece that fell out."

 Yes, I still miss Reno.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

the morton family photo

2 creative chicks, 18 trips to the clothing store, and 14 Mortons in the same place at the same time.

Thank you Amanda for being our amateur photographer and thank you Photoshop for helping me switch a lot of body parts. If we got a kid to finally smile, 2 adults were looking off into space. That was a challenging project!

Love to my Morton family.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Grant turned nine while during the Morton family reunion here in Portland. We started with a party on the Sunday before at Out of this World Pizza, then a birthday breakfast on the 15th at IHOP (his favorite), and finally a sleep over at cousin Gabe's to finish off the week long celebration. He now has Chima & Avenger Legos and Pikman 2 & Smash Brothers Brawl. He smiled a lot. 

I love this kid!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

a day in the waves

She was Elsa and I am Anna and we were brave in the face of the ocean waves. I could barely pull her out of the surf to go home. 

I'm thinking about buying her a body board.  

Sunday, June 28, 2015

chrome claw

We went to Pets-mart hunting for some new aquarium life.

Grant - OOOHHH I want this crab.
Me - What about a little frog?
Grant - No! I want the CRAB!!
Me - Are you sure? This frog looks nice.
       - Okay, let's get the ugly crab that looks like a giant spider.

( 2 hours later - Crab is cozy in tank )

Grant - That crab is creepy. I kinda want a frog.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

the roller birthday

We went out to Oaks Amusement Park for Reese's birthday today. This was Grant and Calli's first experience roller skating! I followed Calli around the carpet making her first 20 falls like she was landing on a cloud. And then later I let her fall super hard while I was talking to Grant…but I was next to a gum ball machine and I bought myself out of the situation.

We are so thankful to hang out with our Portland family! Happy Birthday beautiful Reese girl!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

we did it!

We finished! We started 6 years ago when Tim was laid off of his job and had the heart to start a new career path. He started back at school and made a path for a doctorate in Pharmacy. We've gone from owning a home to renting. From two cars down to one. From Reno to Portland. From normal life to year-round school life.

…and Tim poured his life into his studies, and then would come home and give more to me and the kids, and then he'd go back to school to study. We all made some sacrifices but he lead in the journey, giving selflessly and tirelessly.

One day he told me there was a guy at school that said, "Man, you're so lucky you have kids. If I had kids I would go home and study but I don't so I stay out late with my friends."

Yes. He said that.

And Tim rarely went out with friends so that I could go out and play with mine or so he could make us all dinner and tuck the kids on bed.

If you talk to me about our future, you'll see I have a lot of confidence in my husband. Just so you know, I'm not making it up. He's proven his competence and faithfulness. That's why I gave him a hand drawn certificate at the Pacific University award ceremony. (also because I lacked the planning ahead) I gave him the "Family Service Award" - because he made a conscious choice not to be the leader of his class so he could lead his family at home. I know it. He knows it. And now you know it too, even though you'd never heard it from him.

He also graduated with high honors along with 16 others (out of 100). This meant he passed every exam the first time. And the reason he worked so hard to do this? Not really for the honors. When you pass an exam the first time you get a weekend off, instead of studying to take it again on Monday. He earned every other week off for two years so that he could put away the books and be with his family for two free days.

And when I say "be with his family" - half of that was working for my wedding business so we could have money for food.

With the Lord's help we made it. And we're stronger and smarter and we run a lot faster than we did 6 years ago too!

We finished the Rock n Roll half, the day after graduation, in record time. Tim got 1:48 and I hit 2:00 on the nose. I was not prepared for that race, or these last 6 years, but I went out brave and God provided the way.

Monday, May 11, 2015

i blacked out for a second - part 1

In the back of my mind I've been taking photos and gathering stories for the blog…except then I worked so hard I blacked all that out. Mavora had it's biggest month ever in April, and that's no small accomplishment considering the last biggest-month-ever was the MAX we could do! …but then we did a bunch more. To tell you the truth, I'm tired now. The super $$$ orders flowing in was exciting. And I am very thankful we could catch up on some bills. We have a lot of bills. But now I want to slow down! Not sure if I can…but I want to. Praise the Lord for Kateri who can print TWO THOUSAND bags in a week in addition to invites. That's insane!

And since the last update - oh you will not believe this - Aunt SARAH and Charlie came to visit us! We had a very good time. Calli was in dog heaven and Grant (who dislikes dogs great and small) was rubbing Charlie's belly by the second day.

Also I've been on a Run Streak since my birthday. I decided, Lord willing, I would run everyday of this year (at least one mile). I'm on day No. 67 after persevering thru a killer heat rash. To keep my feet cool, I ran one day completely barefoot. That was the day my last 5 years of running with Vibrams was preparing me for! I can actually run barefoot if I want to! Except, please don't make me do it again. I felt like the stupidest person in the entire city on that run. I would double back to avoid passing strangers and I could not hold back fits of laughter as I ran along a busy street. I could feel their eyes and their questions - why would that girl be running without shoes?!! HEAT RASH I screamed inside my head, HEAT RASH!
...Or possibly, no one noticed at all.

Here are a few other photos of the family fun we've had in the last two months. The kids are growing fast and becoming more and more fun - because peeing in your pants and screaming in the store is just not fun for me. But I've made it through those special-insane-difficult first years. This Mother's Day I didn't even run away from the house screaming, "Mommy needs a break!" We all just hung out...
 except when we went shopping in the evening and the Best Buy employee heard me call out on the sidewalk to a whimpering child following me, "No Calli, go with Dad now!" So, okay, I didn't make it the whole day with them. 

i blacked out for a second - part 2

It looks like I also didn't get to Calli's Birthday post while I was working two peoples' jobs. While I catch up, Tim is cleaning his "desk" which is just a giant pile of papers, clothing, and bills as far as I can tell.

It was a very good BIG-5 with the grandparents, the beach, and a Disney Frozen cake. All by her request. There is no stopping this child. She is my secret treasure!

She enjoys short walks with invisible pets, pasta with butter and cheese, and gathering tiny piles of beads like a squirrel preparing for winter.

If you ask her, she'll tell you her name is Grace and her phone number is 856-3456823-5492. And she will always answer her phone (which is a pink flip mirror) if you call. 

Friday, March 06, 2015

thirty five

I had a parent-fail moment over a ponytail & ballet class, then I went for a run in the neighborhood around the community center. I found a pile of decorated rocks by #abbilove at my turn-around point. The sign said to take one and share one, so, with a rock in each hand, I ran back dedicating this year to taking in God's love and also giving His love away to others. 
Because, after all, "Love covers every wrong" - Proverbs 10:12

A giant bee hit me in the face later but I didn't know what that sign meant, so I just stuck with the love thing. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

4 year old fashion

Don't say anything to Calli - but I think I have successfully separated her from her house dress. This is ALL she would wear around the house for the last 3 months. Within 60 seconds of walking in the door her shoes, socks, and clothing are off and the little blue dress in on. If it's in the wash she asks every 5 minutes, "is it clean yet?"And if she's playing outside there might be an entire outfit layered on top of this dress. Just like her mom, and her mom before her, she likes to be comfortable! Two weeks ago I mentioned it may be getting too old and I'd have to get rid of it. She cried in her bed for 30 minutes. Oops. My bad.

But this weekend I purchased some new things and got a few things out of the hand-me-down bin as I quietly hid the stretched out blue dress with it's marker streaks and holes. She is embracing her love for fashion this week and wearing real clothes ALL DAY! I know this little blue dress shouldn't drive me crazy but it kind of did. I'm proud I kept cool for 3 months and now I want it to be over! 

I may need to give credit to the 3 Barbie movies she rented from the Library. She walks around saying things like, "oh yeah, I'm a fashion rock star." In Del Taco, "He's got purple hair, he's a rock star!".

Calli before ballet class.
Keep rocking it girl!