Sunday, September 02, 2012

Stage 2 - Delayed

Woke up this morning and got the kids all ready to go. We ate a hearty breakfast of Coffee, Honey Combs and Chocolate Dyno Bites. I loaded the bikes up on the rack again... and it started to rain. We're currently sitting in a rain delay while the boys play Minecraft downstairs and the girls watch Edgar & Ellen on Netflix. Here is a picture of James cleaning his bike on Friday night, preparing for the weekend:

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Stage 1 - Ridley Creek Park

This morning we loaded up the car and headed to Ridley Creek State Park.

Some may think this is obnoxious but it is simply how we have to travel when we bring friends along with us. I'm just glad it worked. Sammy's friend, Matt, came along with us.

Ella was a champ. She was cruising down hills when we first got there. I actually had to tell her to slow down - which is something I've never had to say to her before. Then she crashed.

I was quite surprised, actually. She normally moves at a snails pace and if she topples over she quits. She did neither today. She was upset for a bit, understandably, but got right back on and was cruising at top speeds by the end of the day.

That's a picture of the girls walking up a huge hill. I knew it was there but didn't realize just how big it was. Once over the top it was a 3.5 mile gradual downhill the rest of the way.

The start:

The end:

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Tour de Five Kids (and friends)

This Labor Day weekend we will be having a bike extravaganza at the Morris household. (I really have one singular purpose - which is to get Ella off her damn training wheels before the summer is officially over.) But it also will be a fun filled, ride packed weekend with various destinations including Ridley Creek State Park, Pennypack Park, Forbidden Drive and possibly Valley Forge. (The kids, i.e. Ella, may kill me by the end of the weekend - OR she will be forever grateful to be able to finally ride on two wheels. We will see.)

Tonight will be spent cleaning bikes, filling tires, getting bike racks on the car (yes plural), and maybe taking a quick spin to the neighborhood cemetery before turning in for the night.

Truth be told - I think that the kids are going to have a blast this weekend if we keep it fun, easy, and explore some fun places. Look for posts (and pics) all weekend long...

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Greetings from Camp Sombrero - Day 1

We aren't actually staying at Camp Sombrero, but after seeing this sign, that's what I'm calling our place now. The real Camp Sombrero is a mile or two down the street. We have not met anyone from Camp Sombrero but it is on the to do list. It is just past the shooting range... also on the to do list.

I got the bike yesterday from Brian at Cactus Adventures. It's going to be a fun week. The roads are beautiful here and they are generally flat. When there is a climb it's pretty steady and consistent.

The views are stunning.

Now we are off to figure out what game to see today!

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Location:W Capistrano Ave,Phoenix,United States

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Space Traveler

I'm heading to Phoenix tomorrow with a few friends for some biking, spring training games, and March Madness watching (on tv by the pool).

On Thursday, Ella was all teary-eyed and said, "Dad - have fun on your vacation. But can you please be careful when you are on Venus?"

I think the poor girl had been stressing for days that Daddy was going to outer space and she wasn't quite sure how to handle that. Poor kid. I will bring her a Space Cactus back to put her at ease. :)

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Valuable Lessons

I learned today that my recent hobby is, inevitably, going to kill me - or at least kick my ass. I'm clumsy by nature, those who know me will attest to this fact. Those who know me will also testify as to my propensity for bad luck. Particularly recently. (I was just in the ER earlier this month with fractured ribs from falling off of my bike.) I'm also notorious for putting myself in bad situations - like hiking though Hyde Park in Chicago in my highlighter pink polo shirt. But hey - this is me. This is what I do.

So today - I was meeting an old friend for lunch at a great little restaurant in Chinatown. I decided to bike it from the office (I rode in today - it was 60 degrees in February). I got to the restaurant with no problems. It was when I was getting ready to lock up the bike, and I was trying to jar my lock from its holder, that I ran into trouble.

As I was yanking with all of my might - the lock broke free from the holder and my hand swiftly thrusted downward, meeting the greasy teeth of the chainring. I think that's what it's called. It's the round metal thing with the sharp pointy teeth and grit and grime all over it that holds your bike chain. Yeah. My hand hit that thing... and my hand lost.

A swift trip to the most ghetto hospital ever created was in order. It was turning out to be quiet a fun day - and was about to get even better. I dropped my bike at the office (scarfed down the Beef Chow Fun take out that I wisely ordered) and headed to Hanehman Hospital just North of City Hall in Philly.

Seriously - the lobby looked like a homeless shelter. I shit you not. Everybody was dirty and passed out. I was almost ready to leave, but before I could, the lovely cross-eyed woman from behind the bullet proof glass at the registration desk called me over using her microphone from 1992, "ccsshhhh - Mister Morris - cccssshhhh." I immediately stepped out of the soup line and walked over to her window to move the process forward. I told her that the glass wasn't necessary - and that I had left my gun with my bicycle.

Triage was great. The nurse was pleasant and clearly she was enjoying her day. This may sound sarcastic - but I assure you it is not intended to be. She took my blood pressure, asked about medical history, and we laughed about my day's mishap - all with a smile on her face. This was the most pleasant triage nurse I had ever met. (ER triage is a field where I may be considered an expert in some parts of the country). I even told her about the great Chinese take out I had eaten. I felt like we became instant BFFs. It was about this time that I realized why she was so happy. She walked back to the ER and actually said to me, "We don't get many 'normal' patients here. So the residents are gonna fight over you." After that - I over heard her telling them that she took my blood sugar reading and that it was high.  THEN - I actually had, AND TOOK, some insulin. This was revolutionary for these folks, apparently.

Fast forward to the end result because this post is getting a bit long and there was nothing funny or particularly interesting about getting the stitches. Here is what they looked like...

Glue and steri strips for the middle finger. Three stitches on the ring. One on the pinky. No matter how much they tried - the grease wouldn't come off.

So I guess I've learned several things today.

1. Biking is gonna kill me or contribute, in some way, to my inevitable death.

2. Avoid North Philly trauma hospitals, if possible.

3. Beef Chow Fun from Sang Kee Duck house on 9th & Vine is absolutely incredible.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Beautiful Day Riding

I took the kids to FDR Park today to ride our bikes in the beautiful weather.  I quickly learned that Ella still has some work to do on the whole "enjoying" part of riding our bikes together.

It's so hard because, at times, she loves it.  However - if she falls once then she freaks out and biking is something that was created by the devil.  She will have nothing to do with it.  Then that snowballs into the other kids.  See - if Ella refuses to get on her bike then none of us are going anywhere - and the other kids know it. Fortunately peer pressure usually wins out and Ella climbs on her bike and woefully trudges ahead until she forgets all about the bad parts and is loving it again... for the moment.

We stopped by the skate park at FDR park at about 1:00 and it was early enough that there were some other kids there that were our age.  We mainly watched from the sidelines but Robby was particularly intrigued.

I think that the awesomest thing about today was Sammy - and how he helped out his little sister.  As I mentioned, Ella doesn't like riding bikes.  Sammy knows this and immediately volunteered to stay with her all day.  "Dad - you can ride up with Robby and James and make sure that they don't go too far ahead.  I'll stay back with Ella."  I thought he was full of it, but other than a few minutes at the skate park he was, literally, at her side all day long.  When she fell a few times, he helped her up.  He helped her walk her bike across the road at one point.  He guided her through some puddles.  He really impressed me today.  He's a great kid...

James and Anna both agreed, I think, that lunch was the best part of their day.  They both ride well, and enjoy riding, but when got our Cheesesteaks from Tony Luke's the smiles lit up their little faces.  I don't have any pics of them devouring the steaks because I was doing the same thing to my steak at that time.

It isn't easy getting out with all of the kids, their bikes, and my bike too - but we did it.  This was the first time that we were able to get all of the bikes on the rack and also my bike broken down and put into the back of the SUV.  Now that we've done it once... I think we're in trouble because I know I can do it over and over again, now.  Woo hoo!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tomorrow... Bike Adventure With The Kiddos

Stay tuned...

(since I wasn't posting - I will try to throw some recent pics up that I've taken.)

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Winter Cycling... Part 1?

As I've alluded to, I recently started biking a lot. I picked it up again late in the summer and haven't stopped since. I biked quite a bit in college until my bike was stolen - and I had better stuff to do than get a new one. Finding myself with more "free time" these days, I figured now was a good time to pick it up again (and - hey - there are worse vices to have, right?) One day with nothing to do, I borrowed my Dad's bike, and went off for a ride and fell in love again. So fifteen years later I start riding again, the bike hasn't been stolen yet, and so here we are.

It's been an extremely mild winter in Philadelphia which has proven pretty awesome for the bike riding habit. However, I have not really had the opportunity to bike in the snow. Until today...

I'm in Pittsburgh this weekend and brought my bike, knowing that some snow was expected. Dude - biking in the snow is freakin' tough. I mean, the roads are okay but I went biking on the Yough Trail (part of the Great Allegheny Passage.) Who knew that cutting through unpacked snow is significantly tougher than riding on a paved street? So I abandoned the trail pretty quickly and hit the roads. Guess what - the hills in Pittsburgh are no joke either. I had a couple of tough climbs (none on the linked map, though) and then got to ride the downhill, completely terrified of crashing on the slushy and icy country roads. Pure perfection. All said, I didn't really go too far today - but I tried it. I need some new gear to cover my frosted feet, but other than that I think it's something I can tackle.

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Location:West Newton, PA

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tales from the First Ever Valentine's Dance

The build up was incredible. Imagine the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl and multiply that by 10. That was the hype generated in the Morris house for this year's first annual Father Daughter Valentine's Dance. Ella, in particular, has been talking about it for weeks.,

"Dad - do you think we can go? What if it's Mommy's weekend?!?!"

"What on earth are we gonna wear?"

"What if they don't let you bring BOTH daughters as dates? Will you pick me?"

The questions clearly swirled through their youthful minds with thoughts of princess dresses and thirty of their bffs screaming and dancing to Justin Beiber.

After we got the go ahead from Mommy (it was her weekend) we started planning. The girls had picked out Christmas dresses that they weren't able to wear at Christmas time - and they were perfect. Red. All we needed now were some accoutrements to make them look glamorous. Mommy let us borrow some dress shoes and tights and the outfits were set.

We put on some of Grandma's make up (thanks mom) and we were ready to roll. (I wore a red dress shirt, pink satin tie, and a black suit - no picture - sorry guys.) We were off...

The evening started with waiting in line for pictures before we could dance... ... ...

Ella pointed out, EVERYONE is inside but us...

After a brutal 15 minute wait we were in. They danced like fools, ignored their dad, and had an awesome time. I appreciated the hummus and pita and the Italian hoagies. A fun night was had by all...

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Live Blog From Valentines Dance!!

Here is my attempt at a live blog...

Justin Beiber and Maroon 5 ROCK!!!!

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Why I Am The Luckiest Guy On Earth

So tomorrow night I'm taking the girls to the school's first ever "Father Daughter Valentine's Dance." Now listen - I was never a fan of school dances when I was younger. I was always the awkward goofy kid trying to show off but really making a total ass out of myself... But I'm super psyched for this one. Here is why:

1. I have two dates.

2. I'm the dad, so I have the freedom to be a total dork. (I'm wearing a bright red dress shirt, black suit, and a pink satin tie.)

3. There need not be any more items on this list. Numbers 1 and 2 are sufficiently awesome.

Pictures will follow tomorrow, I'm sure. Hey - I may even live blog from the dance... if only to show off and make a total ass of myself.

Monday, February 06, 2012

A New Hobby

We started biking.

Ok... I started biking and have encouraged (forced) the kids to follow suit. We started in the summer and all but "the skinch" has taken to riding so far. (At autumn's end she was so close to coming off of the training wheels but stubbornly refused. It's a confidence thing - not an inability to do it.) I'm hoping that she makes it off the training wheels by May so that we have the whole summer to ride together. We shall see...

In October, the boys and I went on a 10 mile organized ride called the Camphill Challenge. It was on some quiet roads out in Chester county. I'd be lying if I told you that there were no complaints from them. At about mile 6 we had a HUGE hill to climb and, as we walked our bikes to the top of the hill, I was sure that I was going to get lynched by the crew. To their credit - they plowed ahead after some water and snacks and finished the ride. They were also the youngest participants in attendance, by far. When we finally finished the ride - you could see the sense of accomplishment on the boys' faces. That was the moment that I knew that this was just the first of many future biking adventures for us. I can't wait for spring!!

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Sunday, February 05, 2012

I'm Back...

I took some time off from this blog and I'm a bit regretful that I have.   See - it has been difficult for me to post anything for the past two years or so because I tend to write about whatever I'm thinking or feeling.   I didn't feel like this was a forum that I wanted to use...

Geana & I separated in March of 2011 and are currently working through the process of a divorce.  It is sad.  It's not how I wanted my children to grow up - being carted from here to there and then back again.  It's sad but it's also what is best for the two of us and, ultimately, our children.  In a lot of ways I feel like I'm simply becoming a statistic, adding to the high divorce rate of parents of high-order multiples.

I've been grappling with what to do with regards to this blog.  Should I shut it down?  Should I just never post again?  What?  I was reflecting the other day and realized that I created this blog to be a catalogue, or diary, of my thoughts and experiences with my kids.  This is for them and, ultimately, will be a gift to them that they can read through whenever they like.  Because of that I'm going to continue to post.  However - before I can do that, I feel like I have to acknowledge this huge change to our lives before I can put into context any of our future adventures.

We'll see how frequently that happens.  My intent is to catalogue our time together - whatever mischief we come across...