Wednesday, October 31, 2007

South to drop off, Moron

I drove Sammy to school today (usually Geana's job) and I accidentally came down the drop off street the wrong way. Let me tell you - people were really upset. Like, way more than they should have been. I understand I did it wrong but it was an honest mistake. Mind you - I didn't do anything illegal. Let me explain...

The street where the school is located is a two-way street, with cars going in either direction. Not a busy street, but on school mornings, significantly congested. I just happened to pull up with the school on my left, not on my right like you're supposed to. I was getting dirty looks from minivan to minivan to minivan, and one woman actually screamed at me incoherently. I was doing what any logical, well thinking parent would do and strategically pulled up to the school with my child's door closest to the curb. This way he wouldn't have to get out in traffic and then walk around the car. I particularly wouldn't want him to have to do that with all of these lunatic moms beeping their horns at his father. I pulled up with the curb on the left hand side of the car, facing the wrong way, and in doing so apparently cut in front of about 10 other cars (9 of them minivans) that were patiently waiting to drop their children off, who came up the street in the conventional manner. Yo - oops!

What complicates matters is that today is Halloween, so all of the children are taking their costumes, cookies, candy, etc. to school as well as their school materials because today is the big Halloween party that is happening at noon in the school yard. So instead of dealing with a couple of half asleep mom's who are doing their normal routine - I was dealing with a bunch of aggravated mom's who were running late because they had to get a million extra things ready this morning and had to scream at their kids to get them out the door for school and had no help from their husbands. That last line is key - at least I'm doing my part... albeit incorrectly.

Monday, October 29, 2007

"Trunk" or Treat

Kids today have it GREAT! I'm serious. Where were these "Trunk or Treat" events when I was a child?

For those of you who don't know, "Trunk" or Treat is an event where a school, church, etc. opens up it's parking lot, charges $10 per car, and then lets everyone park their cars in the parking lot. Then - all of the kids go car to car (or trunk to trunk) collecting candy. It's phenomenal! It's like an assembly line of kids gathering candy. No more does a child have to actually WALK from house to house and EARN his candy. No. Now they can simply skate down the line-up of cars on a pair of roller blades (which I saw several intuitive kids doing). We brought 300 pieces of candy and ran out.

Each of our kids got about 5 lbs. of candy. Meaning that we took home 25 lbs. of joy from this thing. TWENTY FIVE POUNDS OF CANDY! Stop and think about that for a minute. How does one go about devouring 25 lbs. of candy? (I can tell you how I started... I opened with the Reese Cups and then moved onto the Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish, followed closely by the Mallow Cups, and washed it all down with a fistful of Jolly Ranchers and a Diet Coke (I drink Diet because I'm a Diabetic)... but I barely made a dent.) To top it all off, we still have to go "Trick or Treating" on Wednesday. Plus the kids have a Halloween Party at school on Tuesday.
Good thing their school has a "wellness" lunch program. At least the schools are teaching them some kind of health regiment, because God knows we're not.

Happy Halloween... let the deluge begin!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Is it too early for Christmas??

I have always thought that you can't even begin to think about Christmas until after Thanksgiving. I have a feeling that the holidays have arrived for our family...

James is dressing as Santa for Halloween this year and is planning on bringing presents to all of the houses he visits (in exchange for candy, of course). He asked us to put on Christmas music in the van tonight, and we did. I have to tell ya - it was nice hearing the Christmas tunes and having he kids sing along. Anna, Ella, Robby, and Sammy all fell asleep on our way home, but not James. He was wide awake, his eyes glimmering with the thoughts of Santa Claus and Christmas Eve. The excitement was palpable. He can't wait.

I know that part of his excitement is for Halloween. He hasn't stopped talking about Santa for the past several weeks. He's been asking questions, making plans, and getting all of his ducks in a row so that he is completely prepared for the big day. In essence - he's making a list and checking it twice. I feel like Halloween is a trial run for him to play the part of Santa so that he can see what it is like from Santa's perspective. That way he knows how the big man thinks, what he expects, and how he does it. If successful, he can use that knowledge for his benefit come 12/25. Maybe he's sucking up to Santa. Maybe he thinks that if he dresses up as Santa then he is more likely to get better stuff than his 4 siblings.

Whatever the motive, he's been as cute as can be. It's going to be a fun Christmas over here in Morrisville.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bear with me, folks

I'm trying to play with changing my template, but I've never done it before and I seem to have deleted some stuff that I didn't want to delete. UGH...

I guess I know what I'm doing tonight.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ho hum.

Is anyone watching the Rockies play the Red Sox? If so... do you really care about this series? I don't and let me tell you why...

The Red Sox are the new Yankees and I can no longer stand them. The days of them being the lovable underdog are gone. Their starting line-up and rotation has a payroll that teams like the Pirates can only dream of. I mean - they paid the "Japanese Giants" $51m just to talk to Dice-K. The Pirates ENTIRE payroll is $38m (USA TODAY MLB PAYROLL DATABASE). That's why I hate the Red Sox.

I can pull for the Rockies but I really don't like the guys on their team. Jeff Francis... Brian Fuentes... Yorvit Torrealba... Matt Holiday... blah.

I am just not interested.

Case in point... Geana just came up and asked if we could change the channel. I hesitated for a second (I mean - it is the World Series), I look at the score (10-1 Boston), and say sure. Now I'm watching Friends and laughing, instead of watching baseball and falling asleep.

Not to mention, laying in bed with Geana which is always nice.

Ooo - Family Guy is coming on... gotta run!

Break out your ribbons!

It seems that every "cause" has a month these days. As if the magnetic ribbon on the bumper of your SUV wasn't enough - now you have a whole month, too!! Come to think of it, which came first - The Ribbon or The Month?

Anyway - November happens to be Prematurity Awareness Month, a cause that hits very close to home with the Morris Family. I wanted to point you towards this really cool thing that The March of Dimes is doing in honor of Prematurity Awareness Month. (keep reading it's lots of fun!) You can go to their website: where they have a link called, "Every Baby Has a Story." That link takes you to a virtual "workshop" where you can create a scrapbook of pictures, videos, etc. of your child and you also write a short "story of their life" to accompany the multi media stuff featuring your kid. When I posted Anna's page, there were about 150 stories. I expect that number to grow rapidly as the word gets out about this fun exercise. As of now there is 270.

Check it out... it's lots of fun!

Some of the stories are really touching. Take a minute to read about the other kids that have pulled through some really tough times, largely because of the research done by the March of Dimes. Enjoy!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Tough Times

I don't play the "quadruplet card" very often but I'm going to play it tonight. I've had a rough day...

Our life is tough.

Really tough. I'm not talking about the really tough stuff like successfully raising five children to be contributing members of society - I'm talking about the little stuff that people take for granted. I'm talking about the battles, not the overall war. It's generally stupid stuff that shouldn't be an issue, but is for us because of sheer volume:

Putting on coats - for instance. I have to put on FIVE coats when I go outside. FIVE... and that doesn't even include MY COAT!

Putting on shoes. I have to put on 10 shoes when I go outside. TEN... and that doesn't even include MY SHOES!

Laundry. I have wash, fold, match up, and put away laundry for 5 people - and again - that doesn't even include... you get the idea. (btw - Sunday & Monday Night Football make for a great time to do laundry... come to think of it - that statement pisses me off, too.)

Brushing teeth. I have to brush (and occasionally floss) 5 people's teeth - THAT ARE EVENTUALLY GOING TO FALL OUT ANYWAY! As if the actual task isn't difficult enough, there is the constant temptation to just not do it this time. What's one night without the brushing of the teeth?? (shhh - don't tell Geana)

Baths. Washing up 5 kids in the bathtub does a wonder on your back, let me tell you. Thankfully the people we bought the house from carpeted the bathroom before we moved in. I hate carpeted bathrooms, but in this instance it is a blessing sent from God.

However - having quads isn't all bad. How many people can take a picture like this one...

and this one...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Shameless Plug!

Geana will be in Swarthmore this Saturday selling Bags & Bows. Please come if you are able! I hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Houston & Anna

I just got back from Houston where I stayed in the stuffiest hotel this side of George Bush's asshole. Don't get me wrong - it was very nice - but OMG was it full of rich, white Texans. I'm also not into the spa thing all that much and this place is a spa resort.

The trip was work related so I didn't get to see much of the city. Also, it was raining the entire time so it wouldn't have been much fun to walk around Houston anyway. I did have some great food that was supplied by the hotel (I think) for the conference and a lunch at Smith & Wolensky that was incredible.

On a very serious note Geana told me, as I was getting ready to board the plane for Philly, that the physical therapist thinks that Anna has Cerebral Palsy and that we should probably see a neurologist. Anna has fallen pretty far behind the others, physically, in the past few months - so we just recently started sending her back to Theraplay (a physical therapist near us). To give you an idea - she kind of walks like Fred Sanford and also has trouble going up and down the steps (she can do it, although she tries to get away with being carried up). She's always been clumsy and we thought that this may just be an outgrowth of that clumsiness. Her clumsiness has always been "cute" in our eyes until recently when it seemed to start having a real effect on her. I can relate - I've always been a klutz, too. The therapist noticed that she was favoring her right side and really using her left arm/leg for everything. The combination of Anna's premature birth and the fact that the issues seem to be on one side of the body are symptoms of Cerebral Palsy, from what I've read online. We'll have to wait and see what the neurologist says next week.

Anna is sharp as a tack. She is always amazing me with the thoughts that come out of her mind and some of the stuff that she does. The other day we were at a restaurant and she had the children's menu and some crayons. She colored one kid on the children's menu blue and the other kid on the menu red, all while staying in the lines. She said, "That's the blue boy and that's the red girl." It is something that we hadn't seen the other kids do, yet, and made us so proud of her. She's already starting with addition and subtraction with food on her plate, too. She's extremely gifted and I hate to see her going through any physical hardship like this.

I guess I shouldn't put on the gloom and doom before we've seen the doctor, but there is clearly something going on with her, physically. I'll be sure to update you more as time goes on...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Yard Sale!

Wow! It's been a week? Where does the time go?

We had a yard sale today at the Morris household. Let me tell you - I'm exhausted. We sold so much crap... er... stuff that I can't believe it...

(We have to say stuff now because at one point during the day Robby was mad at some unsuspecting child who was looking at some toys and said, clear as day, "Dad - He can't be in our crap!" Then to the boy, "That's MY CRAP!")

Anyway - we sold everything except for the kids today. You can finally see the floor in our basement, which is a HUGE accomplishment... next step - going out and buying MORE stuff to cover up the floor again.

I have a theory - men feel a sense of accomplishment after yard sales. After all - look at all of that crap... stuff... that we were able to clear out of our house! Not to mention - I'm the one who carried it all up and out from the basement. Nothing says manly like carrying out 2 cribs, 5 pack and plays, 3 high chairs, 2 double strollers, 1 single stroller, a glider chair, enough clothes to clothe Utah, and toys in a magnitude to make Geoffrey the Giraffe jealous, up from the basement and out to the driveway. (Annoying point #1 - I had to set up the cribs and pack & plays, only to take them apart when someone bought them... ugh.)

Women on the other hand have a sense of longing for the past and for the years that have escaped us. I'll never get it. Geana looks at an old plastic iron and starts to tear up as another baby walks away with it. She can't sell her ceramic little knick-knacks from her baby shower because they mean so much to her. (Annoying point #2 - I carried the knick-knacks back down to the basement before the sale, again wrapped in newspaper and packed in a box and I will bring them up again 2 years from now when we have our next sale without us looking at one of them subsequent to today.)

All in all - it was a successful day but I'm ready for bed.

Thanks to Mark and Mom for helping us with the kids today!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Back to Poop

Not to belabor the talk about poop, but we spent the day at Linvilla Orchards today with 6 kids (Justin was with us again) - 3 of them had diarea. I'm not sure what we were thinking...

Of course - nobody had to go when we asked before we left the house. Once we got into the van, though, the story changed. We stopped once at Aunt Lisa's house, on our way to the orchard, so that Anna could poop. She went up to the bathroom and couldn't go - so we continued on our way. A few minutes later, we were forced to pull into a Sunoco but someone else seemed to have the same problem as Anna and was occupying the only restroom for 10 minutes - before we finally gave up and left...

We got to Linvilla and took everyone to the crapper. Mind you - it was 85+ degrees out, humid, and it was the busiest weekend of the year. The makeshift bathrooms at the farm were... ripe, to say the least.

Anna pooped. James peed and convinced us that he didn't have to poop. Robby told me that he'll poop tomorrow. All other kids were in and out with no issues.

About 15 minutes later we were at the playground and Robby, on the very top of a slide, gave me a look that seemed to say - WHAT JUST HAPPENED - THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A FART!? I climbed up the slide, picked him up, and shuffled him to the bathroom. BTW - I'm sorry to all of the little children that I pushed away in an effort to get my kid.

Poop ran down his leg as we waited in line to use one of the 2 stalls at the bathroom.

Once we got in there, we decided that his underwear was unsalvageable and tossed that in the trash can. (The place smelled atrocious already so I didn't feel badly about contributing to the stench.) I cleaned his shorts as best I could and we put them back on and went on our way... commando.

As we were vacating the bathroom we ran into Mommy who was in line for the ladies outhouse. That line was much longer than the men's so I took James into the same stall that I just left with Robby. (Everyone in the bathroom who just saw me leave assumed I was coming back for more with the same kid and let me through to the front of the line - little did they know that this was James... NOT Robby... hehe.) James unloaded into the porcelain trough below and is the success story for the day. We left in under 60 seconds flat.

Back to the playground.

Robby - in the bowels of a large wooden pirate ship at this point (with lots of other little children who are wondering where that fowl odor is coming from) is having the time of his life. He's back to normal - playing and living the dream.

All of a sudden he looks over at me with a look of questioning in his eye. It isn't the same look as earlier. It was if he had learned that sometimes a fart isn't just a fart and he was trying to determine what to do. I asked him if he had to go and he said, "I think so." We rushed to the bathroom, in time for this one, and had another bout of the runs for the next 15 minutes.

After this - we left. I had enough and wanted to get to more familiar and friendly ground. Geana agreed. We went to Aunt Lisa's and didn't poop once in the 2 or 3 hours that we were there... go figure.

As far as the public restrooms count goes I'm up to about 30 of the public restrooms in Philly with only about 330,202 left to go.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Letter to Sammy

Dear Sammy,

I don't know what has happened in the past 5 or 6 months, but all of a sudden you seem to be taking an interest in sports. Your mother and I have even talked about it (yes - we talk about you behind your back). You ask to wear your Phillies clothes, you ask to watch the baseball playoffs, and then you actually follow along for a couple of innings before you get bored.

This is so cool to me!!

Getting up on Saturday's to go to soccer isn't a chore like some of your former activities used to be for you. You seem to really want to go and are excited to be playing. Now - don't get me wrong - I'm not going to be one of those Dads who forces sports on you. I mean - I did theatre in high school and college and actually pursued it as a career for awhile. I am a big sports fan, but I understand that there are other things in life, too. Which is why I LOVE it that you've really taken to playing the piano, too. Dude - this is so awesome! I guess what I'm trying to say is that - more and more - I see myself in you and it is a really weird, and cool thing. Watching you grow up is fun, especially when I can directly associate with what you are doing and are interested in. Your interests may change as the years pass - and that's okay. Every parent says that watching their kids grow up is cool - but until you experience it, I don't think you truly appreciate it.

Next year we'll go to some more Phillies games together and maybe even some Eagles games (if the Steelers have a bye week).

Ok - I'm leaving work now so that you can play me some tunes on the piano before we get ready for bed. Heck - it's Friday - maybe you can stay up and watch the NLDS game with me if you want to. We'll have to ask Mommy... but don't worry - I'll sneak you my XM radio to listen to the game in bed if she says no.



Wednesday, October 03, 2007

My most memorable trips to the ballyard.

The way I see it there are two criteria to be used for determining a great baseball game... or rather what makes that baseball game memorable. They are: The Experience Surrounding The Game and Actual Game Quality. Let me explain.

The Experience Surrounding the Game could also be looked at as "hype." Game 7 in the 2004 ALCS between the Yanks and Sox has an overwhelming amount "hype" surrounding it before it even begins and, regardless of what happens in the game, that game will be a memorable one for the person who attended - simply because of the circumstances.

The Actual Game Quality is just that. Was it a good game? A 9-0 blow out would rank low on this criteria, however an extra inning, 1-1 game, lasting until the 14th inning would rank very high on this scale.

Either one of these aspects could cause the game to be memorable and, using this criteria, I have compiled a list of the most memorable games that I've attended. It is the rare occasion when "Hype" and "Game Quality" intersect that makes the games simply amazing. Counting down - they are:

13. 1st game at PNC Park. While ranking high on the "hype" criteria, this game wasn't very memorable - except that The Buccos played the Reds and that Sean Casey hit the first HR at PNC Park. If memory serves - The Pirates lost... if not - at least that's a good guess.

12. Last game at The Vet. A similar placement on the "hype" scale as the 1st game at PNC Park and also a similar place on the "game quality" level. While I don't even remember who the Phils played, it receives a slightly higher ranking than Game 1 @ PNC on the overall list because of the history associated with The Vet. I think that last games at ballparks are higher on the "hype" level than first games at new parks - simply because of the history that is there. I remember reflecting back to my childhood at Three Rivers Stadium as I sat in the nose bleed seats in LF that day... speaking of...

11. Doug Drabek takes No-Hitter into the 9th - i.e. "The Best Mother's Day Ever". This Mother's Day in Pittsburgh was like no other. Drabek took a no-no into the ninth, forcing every father/son combo in attendance to postpone going home to celebrate with their Mothers on Mother's Day. If memory serves, this was in 1988.

10. Ripken's 3000th (and next to last) game. HUGE "hype" level here. The O's could have been playing the Annapolis Little League team that day - it wouldn't have mattered. The game belonged to Cal. The tickets we originally had were scheduled for a game that was canceled as a result of the of 9/11 attacks and then was played at the end of the season. I got to go with Geana in a celebration of our first date together that was also at Camden Yards a year earlier, see # 5 on the list.

9. Sammy's first real baseball game. I'm not talking about when he was a baby - I'm talking about him as a kid, able to enjoy and remember the experience. We went to a Pirates vs. Phils game earlier this year and Sammy actually had a blast. I think that it was more fun for me than him - but this ranks up there on MY "hype" scale - even though it was just a routine game against the Buccos for everyone else in attendance.

8. Bucco playoff games in the early 1990's. Now - all of these games were up there in "hype" but they all seem to melt together in my mind. Perhaps it is because as I grow older, I forget which game was which, but really - I honestly think that it was because the Pirates lost each of those series (and most of the games I was at) and I was devastated at the losses and therefore blocked out the specifics. Regardless, the memories of those games will forever be with me - the atmosphere of the ballpark, the sounds of the fans in the stands, rooting for my team - even if I can't differentiate all of the games from one another.

7. Erstad robs Yankees in bottom of 9th with great catch and then wins it with HR in extra innings. We're getting to the place where "Hype" and "Quality" start to intersect. This was my first game at hallowed Yankee Stadium, so it was up there in my personal "hype" criteria and then the game followed suit with the late heroics and the Yankee's losing. The game took place in 2000 on the baseball trip that I took with my Dad. He got me an Erstad Jersey that Christmas.

6. Another trip to Yankee Stadium is on the list because it was another GREAT game at Yankee Stadium. It was the game against the Jays earlier this season that was rain delayed for 90 minutes and then the game lasted 5 1/2 hours - going into extra innings. We had to leave early because we were afraid of missing our 10:45 pm connecting train in Trenton to get back to Philly. It was a scheduled 1pm game that kept us in Yankee Stadium for 7 hours. Yankees won.

5. 2000 - first date with Geana. Game @ Camden Yards. I don't remember anything about this game, particularly, except that we sat out in LF. I do, however, remember getting ice cream before the game, me spilling it on myself, and Geana laughing at me. We went to a restaurant after the game, then drove home and went to Penn's Landing because neither one of us wanted the day to end. She let me drive her Mustang home from Baltimore, I kissed her, and we ended up getting married. Fun times...

4. 1991 - Pirates clinch Division at home against the Phillies. Again - this fits into the early 1990's blurs of my childhood, but I remember some specific aspects of this game very vividly. Firstly - Drabek piched a complete game. The man was amazing. Secondly - I remember Drabek striking out Charlie Hayes to end the game and the team (and crowd) going nuts. We weren't sitting in the normal seats that we had for the Bucco games. My dad bought tickets in an attempt to see the Bucs clinch that day. We sat up the 3B line, under an overhang, in a higher up section. I sometimes wonder if I'll have that feeling again...

3. 2007 - Phillies playoff game #1 of the NLDS. This was today's game so it is pretty memorable right now. I forgot to mention the "In Recent Memory" factor when evaluating games. The atmosphere was electric at the ballpark today. This town is longing for a winner and the fans came out in DROVES to see their Phils play the Rockies. The Phillies were on the losing end of a 4-2 game, but the back-to-back jacks by Rowand and Burrell will live in my mind forever. We had seats up the LF line and Burrell's HR cleared the wall right in front of us. This game may fade as time moves on, but for now I'll keep it at #3. Hopefully we'll add some more this October to this list.

2. Millwood's No Hitter. This game is, pretty much, as high up there as you can get in "Game Quality." It was a no hitter, I kept score, and it was a really close game - involving Barry Bonds. What makes this game special for me (in addition to Bond's going 0-fer) was that it was following the March of Dimes Walk that we attend every year and I attended the Phillies game as a spur of the moment decision after the walk with my 6 year old Neice and Nephew. It was their first trip to the ballpark. We went because it was the Phanatic's Birthday. Following the game they were told, "You'll probably never experience this again - I know you don't understand this now, but remember this moment." They still talk about the day their uncle took them to the ballpark and got tears in his eyes.

1. 2000 Deciding Game 5 of the World Series - Yanks vs. Mets @ Shea. This one is - hands down - the best game I've ever been to. I got IMed at 2pm, in Philly, the day of the game by a friend who had an extra ticket, in NY. I left work, hopped on a train, and was in NY by 6pm. Our tickets were Players Union seats (I went with Donald Fehr's son ) so they were only a few rows behind 3B. Spike Lee, Kim Katrell, and Richard Dreyfus were in my section. And - oh yeah - Al Leiter pitched his ass off in a losing effort to the Yankees in one of the most memorable pitching outings I've ever seen. The Yanks won the series and I got to watch it in person. One may think that would make for a bad time for me (because I hate the Yanks) but it was a once in a lifetime experience that I'll never forget. On the subway after the game, fans were taking all of the "Subway Series" signs on the #7 train. It was incredible.

What are some of your best memories at the ballpark??