Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Williamsport = The Best Place on Earth.

The game was won in the final inning by the team from Georgia. One kid on the team from Washington State had the worst day of his young life, I suspect. We'll call him Brad Lidge. He was called on to relieve the starter in the final inning of the game. The starter, we'll call him Cliff Lee, had pitched incredibly - giving up one run through 5 and scattering about 6 hits. Little Lee opened the 6th inning with a walk and the manager immediately called for his closer. In comes the twelve year old Brad Lidge. He has a one run lead. The score is Washington 2, Georgia 1. There is a runner on first. Nobody is out. His job is to preserve the lead... and the win for his team. Lidge proceeds to throw three consecutive wild pitches - advancing the runner from first to second... second to third... and lastly third to home. Tie game. There were some intermittent hits and walks after this and, frankly, I can't remember how the go ahead run came in but the top of the 6th ended with Washington being down 3-2, having given up the lead, with only one more set of at bats to try to win the game... or go home. Young Lidge, for all intents and purposes, had lost the final elimination game for his team. He was visibly upset. But there was hope...

In the bottom of the 6th, Georgia brought in their closer - we'll call him Lee Smith. The kid was GIGANTIC! Like - I wouldn't be able to make contact off of this little leaguer. Anyway, in true baseball fashion, Lidge was given the opportunity to redeem himself in the bottom of the inning. There were two outs, the tying run on third - the winning run in scoring position on second base. This was when mighty Lidge comes to the plate. Redemption time. After several blistering fastballs, the count runs to 3-2 and the brave young kid fouls off, what seems like, 20 pitches. At this point Lee Smith is bringing nothing but heat. It's sheer power vs. skill. Lidge keeps fouling off pitches... he's staying alive. Battling. Finally - Smith reaches back for something special and blows a high hard one right past a swinging Lidge. The Georgia team erupts in celebration while young Lidge throws his bat and helmet and cowers into the dugout - where his coach embraces him and tells him, surely, not to cry for they have had a great season.

My dad, the boys, and I all piled into the car yesterday to venture 3 hours into the mountains in order to catch a glimpse of the Little League World Series - happening in Williamsport, PA.


Well, it's official. The LLWS has officially topped my list of fun things to do with the kids. If you like baseball, if you like free and fun places to take the kids, and if you like climbing up to the top of a hillside only to slide down headfirst on a cardboard box - then this event is for you. (The one draw back is that beer is not permitted. I know... I know... you CAN watch baseball without drinking beer - but it isn't quite the same.)

video

After exiting Interstate 80, the drive to Williamsport winds you through the Appalachain Mountains and, at moments, looks down upon the Susquehanna river below. We passed several card shops and fresh produce stands along the scenic drive. This is little town America through and through. Upon arrival, there are two stadiums - Volunteer Stadium and Lamade Stadium - that are connected by an awesome concourse including food stands, picnic tables, souvenir shops, and sunflower seed stands (SWEET!). Games were scheduled at 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, and 8pm.

We got there just after the 2pm game started. We peered through the gate, hoping to find five vacant seats in the packed Volunteer Stadium to no avail. As we were standing there gawking at the Latin American team taking on Japan, Orel Hershiser breezed by us. It happened so quickly that I barely had a chance to tell the kids who he was. "HOLY CRAP! THAT WAS OREL HERSHISER, KIDS," I told them. "Who?" "You have so much to learn, children." Orel had just grabbed a hot dog, it appeared, and was heading back into the Press Box. So cool.

We finally settled in on the hills beyond the right field fence at Lamade Stadium. We figured that we could grab a drink, find some cardboard (for the hill), and wait for the 4pm game to start. The best way to describe the atmosphere there is like a folk festival. Lawn chairs littered the hillsides beyond the outfield fence and the smell of grilled hot dogs and hamburgers filled the air. The kids behind us stretched out a blanket and displayed their impressive collection of baseball pins that they had diligently collected throughout the week here in Williamsport.

The kids met new friends, slid down the hills, and talked about pins and baseball cards, while my dad and I sat back and enjoyed America's pastime being played by twelve year old boys from all over the world on a field in rural Pennsylvania - where 15 thousand baseball fans flocked to see them, cheered, and ate grilled hot dogs while they watched... and longed for a cold beer.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Robby's Prayer

...as dictated to Bridget, our babysitter.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rain... it breaks stuff

My parents and I took the boys to the Harrisburg Senators game on Thursday while Geana took Ella and Anna to a doctor's appointment and then got their nails done.


There are two things that I enjoy photographing more than anything else... the kids... and baseball. When the two things intersect, I thoroughly enjoy the task of snapping away photo after photo. I took this picture as we got there and uploaded it to twitpic right away... good thing I did.

When we got to the ballpark it was about 85 degrees, and rising, with 99.9% humidity. By the third inning we had spilled one large Sprite, realized that we forgot our sunblock, and went to the potty 3 separate times. (As an aside - Metro Bank Park still uses old school urinals. The last time I saw these were in Cleveland's Municipal Stadium in 1988. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about - instead of individual white porcelain urinals - they have a single stainless steel trough that runs the length of the bathroom wall. Guys have to claim their spot, unzip, and just let her rip. No privacy. No shame. No nonsense. The boys thought this was great! Upon seeing the trough, James said, "Dad - what is this? Do you take a bath in there?" Ummmm.... no.)

The kids were miserable... like "end of the world" kind of miserable. At one point we went to the ATM machine, which was in a small air conditioned kiosk, and James said, "Dad - this is the best part of the whole trip so far!" We stayed in the kiosk until an old lady came up behind us and we had to vacate the premises. I think she thought we were robbing the machine.

Then... the skies opened up in the 7th inning. It poured. And poured. And poured. Then it let up for a second... and then it poured again. We were soaked. Before the rain started, it was up to 90 degrees and the rain was a welcome relief. I've never stayed in my seats during that type of rain at a ballgame. They were still playing and we were the only people in the seats. The first baseman for the Curve, Jason Delaney, felt sorry for us and gave us their warm-up ball after they were done and starting the bottom of the 7th. Here is Sammy and my Dad in the rain with the ball. The large streaks in the picture are the rain drops pelting down from the sky.

Eventually the umps delayed the game and we left. I took a hundred awesome pics - most before the rain came. When I went to upload them to the computer, it didn't work. Likely because the rain got the camera wet. The pictures above came from my phone that I sent to facebook or twitpic. My phone died, too. As we speak it is sitting in a bag of rice - still trying to dry out. Please keep my phone in your thoughts and prayers... UGH. I learned a valuable lesson this week - STOP TAKING PICTURES WHEN IT RAINS, MORON!

Other than the phone breaking (the camera works again), we had an awesome time. Minor League baseball with the kids is so much fun! I recommend it for anyone with kids. It's actually more entertaining than the big leagues, because of the close proximity to the players and the fun games in between innings. Sammy caught a t-shirt, too.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Distracted...

First of all - I'm posting this while trying to watch the three boys and keep their excitement contained for our trip today. We are leaving for Harrisburg to see the Senators play the Altoona Curve in about a half an hour. It should be fun!

Yesterday, at the Morris house, we had a little kid's party for the quadruplets. There were twelve kids here - five of them were ours. We played on the water slide and sang happy birthday... all of the usual stuff. I think that I could get used to this staying home stuff. (I took off W-F of this week).

I'm searching for stuff to write as I'm telling Robby and James to let Sammy go to the bathroom in peace... so I'll just leave you with this picture from yesterday. I'll be posting more pics of our baseball trip today to my twitter account. Follow me if you haven't done so already... a link is on the right side of this page. BYE!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Beat It

One of my fondest memories as a child was dancing to Michael Jackson's Thriller Album at one of my childhood birthday parties (probably about age 6 or 7) at my old house in Pleasant Hills. It was barely dusk. We'd been partying all day and Thiller must have been a recent release. (Playing with my cousins on the weekends still sits as the BEST thing about my childhood - particularly during football season. This event happened to be in the summertime... but I digress.) Anyway - our backyard had a patio that sat right near the house and looked upward to a hillside, sloping gradually up to a plateau at about five feet. On that evening, my cousins and I decided to use that plateau as a stage and do crazy monster dances to Thriller, Billy Jean, and Beat It.

Last night Geana and I took all of the kids to Glenolden's fireworks display. They had been postponed from earlier in the year and this was the make-up date. While we were waiting for it to get dark, the DJ was playing a lot of songs from the Thriller Album and MJ's Beat It came on. I caught myself thinking back to my childhood where - at about this same age - at about the same time of night - at about the same time of year, 24 years ago, - I was doing crazy dances to this very song with the children closest to me in my life. I don't really know what took me there - it just kinda happened. I watched the kids dancing and couldn't help but think of them in 24 years. What would they be doing? Who would they be with? Would Michael Jackson still be played at events like this?

After a bit of reflection, I immediately pulled out my camera and started to capture the kids dancing and laughing together. This was the video of Ella, James, and Robby that I got... once again Robby steals the show.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"Bow Chika Wow Wow"


Aunt Melissa & Uncle Justin got the quadruplets and Mommy Roku for their birthdays. I can already tell you that this thing is going to change our lives - especially when it gets too cold to go outdoors. It's a device that connects to Amazon.com's video rentals and to Netflix. You just log on through Roku and virtually any video that you want shows up on your TV within seconds. It's phenominal!

We started the day at Sammy's Gailic Football tournament but left after his first game because of the unbearable heat. After briefly stopping at home base, we were going to head out to the pool - but it quickly turned into a lazy day where we cleaned the house and played in the backyard instead. After playing in the sprinkler for about 30 seconds and having a mega fight about it, we decided to watch a movie with the new device. Cool A/C was the solution to today's heat.

We've decided that, until we watch our first 4 movies, we will rotate the movie selection process through the Morris Quadruplets until we've all picked one. Today was James' turn to pick the movie. After about a half an hour of browsing through movies online, he chose "Bow Chika Wow Wow" - or as most people call the movie "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." (Gotta love my kids!)

James and Robby didn't make it through the first 30 minutes without climbing all over everyone and decided that "Bow Chika Wow Wow" wasn't really that great of a movie afterall. I was asleep after about 20 minutes b/c, I too, have never really enjoyed this classic flick.

Although our first attempt at watching a family movie together via Roku failed (somewhat - Mommy, Anna, Ella, & Sammy are still watching) I'm sure that we'll be watching many more movies in the future.

Any movie suggestions for tomorrow?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Birthday Presents

Today is the quads birthday - and it's also Geana's birthday. She wrote this earlier in the week and I thought I'd share it with you today. Happy Birthday to my lovely wife... and to my four crazy quadruplets.

By Geana Morris:

OMG – were you freaking out when they told you, you were having QUADRUPLETS!?

Do you want the real answer? Or, the answer I give people on the street because I know it is what they want to hear?

Street: OMG, YES. I was totally freaking out. I was like, OH MY GAWD - WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?

Real: No. Strangely enough, this weird sort of calm came over me. Anyone who knew me pre-quadruplets could tell you I am not a calm sort of person. But, when faced with the overwhelming truth of something incomprehensible, my body went into this calming mode that even I can’t explain.

As my four are turning five, it is causing a nostalgic moment in which I look back and ponder wistfully at the last five years of my life. Where did the time go? The last time I looked, I had 4 babies and now I have 4 soon-to-be kindergarteners. What’s the deal with that?

As a biological defense mechanism (I suppose) my body has forgotten some of the story re: pre-birth and birth of my quadruplets. Fortunately, I have a Discovery Health show from which my most vivid recollections come. I do remember bits, like feeding time when I would line the kids up and use my homemade bowl contraption to feed them sort of like an assembly line and singing (to the tune of Down by the Station),

Up in the bedroom, early in the morning
See the little babies all in a row.
See the little Mommy feed the little babies
Chug, chug, toot, toot, off we go

I didn’t know what to expect. I knew I would need 4 cribs, lots of bottles, formula, diapers, etc. But other than that, there really wasn’t anything to prepare for prior to bringing them home. I was fortunate to find an organization called Mothers of SuperTwins (MOST). There I joined a group specifically for Quads, Quints and Sextuplet parents. The group and reading lots of books, gave me some sense of what I would need and some decisions I would need to make along the way. Like, RSV – I had no idea what that was prior to having premature babies. But I was ready for the visitors when my babies came home.

In addition to MOST, I found Mainline MOMs. The only group of people who don’t refer to me as “the quad mom” – well, most of the time. It’s a place I could go to and be Geana Morris. I am a mother to quadruplets, therefore I get the adjective. But there, I was just a mother like the rest who had too many kids and not enough hands. Albeit, I had 8 (10 really) hands, but who’s counting. This group of women didn’t let me drown alone. They forced themselves on me because they knew if they didn’t I would’ve tried to go it alone. No – they didn’t force help like bombarding and taking over babies, etc. They forced me to get out, laugh, talk, and think about other things at a time when I could’ve just vanished into a haze of babies and all of their stuff.

Oh, and the baby nurse, Rye. I had no idea who she was. Really, an online friend gave me her info and in a desperate moment when the quads were 6 months old, I called her. She came over, took pity on me and within two weeks scheduled the babies and forced me to get dressed EVERY day. That was a hard task – not the scheduling, she had that under control in ONE day. It was the dressing thing… I had no clothes! Rye saved me and my marriage. The quads still got to bed at 7:30 every night. Everyone says “Oh…. You must have gotten no sleep for the past 4 years” I definitely play into it when it will get me some sympathy, but truthfully, from 6 months old the quads slept from 7:30pm to 7:30am EVERY NIGHT. We got more sleep then singleton parents who rock their babies to sleep and refuse to put them in bed awake letting them fall asleep on their own. Suckers! (jk – not suckers, just ill advised)

Between then and now, it is all a blur. In fact, I often come to tears when looking at photos from the last 4-5 years. I have a vivid memory of Robby pushing himself up to sit and turning around to look at me (is it a true memory or Memorex – I’ll have to go watch the shows to figure it out). I especially love the clip of Ella trying to walk at Theraplay and falling back on her bum (thanks D.H. for thinking that was worth seeing). Otherwise, my heart breaks at the memories that couldn’t be stored in this over-worked brain of mine.

I do remember lots of hugs and kisses. Sheesh – I can’t get out the door without hugging and kissing everyone. I will need to remember that and plan accordingly once I start working again. I know my kids yell, because I yell. I am trying to work on that. I do as well with not yelling as I do with dieting. Every morning I wake up and it is going to be the day I do everything right…. Usually by 10am I’ve yelled and eaten the wrong things! Some day. Some day.

I’m gearing up for the first day of Kindergarten. I can’t tell if I will be emotional or not – you know, it’s been a long five years. Will I fill up at the thought of my babies growing up? Or, at the thought of how the heck did I just do what I did? Remember, in the beginning I had no idea – I still don’t. I was looking at my sister’s 14-year old twins tonight and thinking – HOLY GOD, what am I going to do with 4 of those!? No, I think I will be filling up because they survived me. Regardless of how I messed up or yelled or wanted to be anywhere but here at times, they survived. I don’t know about you, but I know there were days when the sun came up and I thought “how can I do this again?” Thinking, this cycle never stops – day after day, after day – this is hard and I’m tired – this isn’t glamorous and if one more person rushes over wide-eyed and gushing I will scream. They survived homework and tantrums. Meetings. Boredom. Because sheesh – there were times when I was bored to death. I love them and all, but hey I loved working in town and going out to lunch and taking showers and buying clothes and talking to people too. Yea… they survived me.

So, instead of all that, I give the street answer:

OMG, YES. I was totally freaking out. I was like, OH MY GAWD - WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?

Happy 5th birthday to Robby, James, Anna & Ella – the best birthday presents ever!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

New Statue

Sorry I haven't posted recently - most of my free time has been dedicated to sculpting a new statue for the front lawn...

Sunday, August 02, 2009

1 Year Ago


Exactly one year ago, yesterday, was the worst day of my life. If you are new to this blog, our family endured emergency brain surgery to Sammy (our oldest) at about 6:15 in the evening, followed by a devastating house fire at about 9:15pm - from which our friend and Geana's sister safely evacuated all four of our three year-old quadruplets as well as their own two children (cousin Justin is in the pic above). Sammy was hospitalized for a week and we were out of our house for about 4 months as it was cleaned and rebuilt. As I reflect back on those memories, I can't help but be grateful for each member of my wonderful family. We could have easily lost all of our children on August 1, 2008.

Sammy:
Thank you for being so sensitive. I know that I get on you at times for not being "tough" enough and for not sticking up to your little brothers when they gang up on you. I know you can do it and just choose not to. When I really sit back and think about it... I'm glad that you are so caring of the others around you. That deep rooted quality within your being will set you apart from almost everyone else as you grow up. I urge you to not let go of that piece of you as you get older and to let it be the foundation of who you become and share it with everyone who gets close to you. It makes you incredibly special. I love you. Thank you, also, for you increased interest in baseball this past year.

James:
You're always trying to make people laugh around you and I see the delight in your eyes when you achieve your goal. Sometimes you cr
oss the line to inappropriateness (is that a word), but as you get older and learn how to navigate that line and make people laugh without talking about poop and butts (sometimes it still works), you'll become even more funny and make me laugh even more as time passes. Thank you, also, for allowing me to link back to a poop joke in this post.

Robby:
You're brilliant. Your mother and I know it. Sometimes, though, your brilliance is lost in your strives to gain our attention. I'm sorry for that. Please know that we can see past your misbe
havior and occasional craziness into the bright, smart, and intelligent little boy that you have become. I will strive to give you the attention that you need in order to help bring out the incredible little boy that lives within you. Thank you, also, for all of your help while I've been in my cast. You've done everything that I ask of you - even taking out the trash at the ripe old age of four years old.

Anna:
You are so caring of your brothers and sister as well as your Mom and Dad. You constantly are doing things to make your siblings laugh -
usually so that they stop crying. You're wonderfully wacky and I can see the creativity that bubbles within you. You're also hot and cold, my dear. When someone crosses you (even if it's me) you aren't afraid to show me how you feel. But then your crooked smile lights up my eyes and your dimples pierce my heart. You are my grandmother - Gram Morris - through and through. Thank you for living up to the nickname, "Drama" that I gave you when you were a weeeee little baby.


Ella:
You may have the smallest body in the family but you have the biggest mouth. I can hear you as I walk up the street, walking home from work. You're usually yelling at Robby and James or calling for your Mommy. Fortunately for those around you, your hugs are as big as your mouth. Honestly - I've never felt a hug from someone that is so strong and complete as when you give me a hug. Your fake kisses, as you lick my cheek, are wonderful, too! You fill my heart and every one's who comes around you. Than
k you, also, for learning to snore so loudly that you wake me up in the morning when you come into Mommy & Daddy's bed.

Geana:
We've been through a lot this year and, though it all, we've remained together. Sometimes that's simply enough when the stress gets so great that you don't know what to do and don't know where you can turn. I'm looking forward to a new year with a little less brain surgery, some fewer house fires, and a little more time for the two of us... together. Oh yeah - and congratulations on your Master's Degree that you just finished in July. You did it - despite all of the stress and craziness!