Monday, August 30, 2010

Oh Where, Oh Where Has Our Dodge Neon Gone...

(Dan & Baby Ryan with our car 6 years ago on 8/31/04)

I interrupt my ridiculously long winded and slow in coming Utah trip postings to bring you the sad & frustrating news that OUR CAR WAS STOLEN! Our nice & reliable Dodge Neon is currently being enjoyed by somebody else!

Friday morning, Dan drove to the transit center, parked his car, and rode the bus into Portland. Like he has almost every day for the 18 months that we've lived in Vancouver. I happened to drive by the transit center that afternoon around 1:30 or 2, and pointed out Daddy's car to the children. Sometime between then and 6:12 that evening, somebody decided to take it!

We bought this car brand new when we were pregnant with David, 8 years ago. While we have seen the stupidity in throwing away money on a brand new car, at least we got a really reliable automobile. In 8 years we have NEVER had ANY problem with it. We've filled it with gas, gotten (not all that frequent) oil changes, done our safety & emissions as needed...and that's all the money we've had to put into it besides the original cost.

So at this point, I think the chance that we get our perfectly reliable car back is pretty slim. There's probably a fairly good chance it will be found, but with some level of damage. Or we won't ever get it back. We had pretty minimal insurance on it, so that'll be just money out of our pocket. Good thing we didn't decide to pay for central air last weekend!

I have to say, I am SHOCKED at how many people have had this happen to them. It seems like the vast majority of people have a similar story involving either themselves or a member of their immediate family! Ridiculous! Who is raising all these children that grow up to take someone else's car?!? What am incredibly selfish thing to do!!!

So for now (while we wait out the week in which they supposedly find most stolen cars), we are a 1 car family. Dan drove my car today (and he drove into the city so had to pay for parking...he just couldn't park in that same lot again yet), so the kids & I are stranded. I said that was fine since I have no plans to go anywhere, but I still hate the idea that I can't change my mind. Our only other option at this point is for us to wake everyone up and drive him at 7 a.m. Which will result in crankiness for everyone and extra nausea for me. Fun.

I thought that the first picture was of baby David, and when I couldn't find it I started looking for a more recent picture. I found this one (5/11/08), which shows off where I turned too close to the curb and lost the pretty silver thing. Sorry Dan.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Utah trip day 3 - BYU, Fuddruckers, and Auntie Jen's House

Thursday was the day we planned on lots of Morrill family time. But it turned out that 2 of the Tolen cousins had concerts that late morning/early afternoon, and we weren't feeling like dealing with the try-to-keep-the-kids-quiet thing. So we went and wandered BYU a little! Really, we only made it to the Wilkinson Center and the HFAC, but that's where we spent most of our time anyway. We went to the bookstore and bought everyone t-shirts (the $5 ones for the upcoming football season!). We went down and saw the hall where we met. Awwww. Then we went upstairs to see if either of our instrument teachers were available (they weren't). Then the kids got antsy and I got tired, so we left. We were almost to the car when I remembered that we should take a picture, so here we are in the parking lot. Hey, at least we got the Y in the background!

From there we went to the Creamery and got ice cream cones (I got Bishop's Bash, which was what I usually got back when Dan worked there before we got married). It would've been a more enjoyable experience had there been somewhere to sit out of the sun. We all ended up standing right next to the building in order to use the shade.

So then we went back to Nadine's house to do some laundry and pack up. It took a long time. That was one of the biggest problems with our staying at several different places, it was always a pain to unpack and repack the car.

Finally at dinner time we met up with the Morrill clan at Fuddruckers! The kids had a good time playing with the arcade games, mostly without even using money.

Ryan and his cousin Ciel had a good time playing together. It was cute.

Katy & David played on the non-working machines. That probably doesn't say much about their smarts, come to think of it...

Dan started giving investment advice to the older cousins, who were actually quite interested. Which surprised me, because I'm usually not. :-P

And here we have the whole group. Gary Spencer Ryan David Tony Zach Dan Katy Ciel Maddie Grant Tayler Becky Brie and Kathleen. Wait, where'd Jacob go? Okay, we have almost everyone. And obviously I'm the photographer. Hey, I was already in one picture that day!

After dinner we headed to Auntie Jen's new house. And when I say new, I really mean new, as in recently finished being built. Her future neighbor's house is currently a giant pile of dirt, which provided lots of entertainment for the children! Poor Katy hadn't been allowed to yet since we don't trust her outside on her own, so I spent a little while out with her. And of course I took pictures.

Tried to get a nice group shot. Shouldn't these kids be old enough to smile nicely? We've got David looking good, Ryan looking like he's in pain, and Katy, well, I guess Katy IS smiling, but not looking at the camera.

Suddenly they're much more obedient when I tell them to stick their tongues out!

Seriously, giant pile of dirt.

Then I needed to go sit down (this pregnancy has made me wimpy! I have no endurance for anything!), so Katy got to come play in Auntie Jen's "backyard." She made a fun game out of trying to jump over the weeds. Is it wrong that I find most everything she does so very adorable?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Utah trip day 2: Thanksgiving Point Farm Country & Tucanos

It's been almost a week since posting about the first day. I'm really lacking motivation to accomplish anything lately. The pregnancy is responsible for most of it, then the heat just takes whatever is left. Blah. So, I'm trying to be a good girl and do this, at least it doesn't require movement.

When we lived Utah we had a membership to Thanksgiving Point two different years. The farm was a really fun thing for us to do, and we would go fairly often. Well, either the boys got sick of it and maintained that feeling for two years, or they've just outgrown it. They weren't all that interested in taking their time and enjoying the animals. Katy was much more interested and probably would've happily stayed longer without cranky brothers. Well, and it was hot, so we were all kind of cranky. Weeeeee...

Katy liked letting this little goat lick her finger. Luckily she didn't learn that goats often bite!

Aunt Nadine was able to have a free day off work the week of our visit (because her birthday had been on Sunday, and her boss usually gives birthdays off), so she & Brady came with us to the farm. Brady liked the animals a lot!

You gotta have a "kids in jail" picture. It is the rule of Thanksgiving Point. I have a lot of these scattered among my picture folders.

Brady wasn't willing to conform to the "rule." I never got a good one of all 4 kids together.

Ah, the highlight of Farm Country, the pony ride. They give a ticket to everyone who pays admission, and they can use it either for a pony ride or a hay ride. Which is an irritating way of trying to get more money, because the only way to go on a hay ride as a family is to either skip the pony ride or buy more tickets. So we skipped the hay ride, leaving 6 tickets (since Brady was free) for the 4 kids. Thought that was going to be a problem. Then, in a very grown up move, David volunteered to only go once and let Ryan & Katy go twice! It was very sweet. :-)

David likes to give Katy piggy back rides. She likes to get them. If only sibling relationship were always so smooth...

Ryan got to ride the big one on his second turn. This made him very happy.

And Katy got to ride the black one, which was a big deal to her! I meant to crop the picture so you can see her face better, but I'm just too lazy at the moment. Believe me, she looks very happy!

After the second pony rides, 5 very hot Morrills left to visit with the Mecham family for a little while. We stopped and got everyone drinks to avoid dying of dehydration. The gas station cashier gave Katy a sucker because she is really cute and was being sad (for no apparent reason). Poor boys. We try not to give preferential treatment, then perfect strangers do it instead!

After a nice visit with Gayelinn & her family, we drove back to Provo to have dinner at one of our all time favorite restaurants, Tucanos!

It was convenient that Ryan had had a birthday that month, and for some reason they still send us the free meal birthday cards. He even got sang to & some ice cream, which was a fun treat with it being almost 2 weeks past his birthday!

Here we all are at dinner. Except for me, taking the picture. Should've asked a waiter. Oh well.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Utah trip day 1 - Clark Planetarium & Discovery Gateway Children's Museum

One of the things I wanted to do while we were in Utah was visit some of the places we used to enjoy when we lived there. And since we have a (somewhat sneaky) membership to the Boonshoft Museum that gets us into members of the ASTC (science & technology centers) & AZA (zoos), we got to visit the Discovery Gateway Children's Museum and see a movie at the Clark Planetarium for FREE!
We watched a movie about space pirates. It was silly, but the kids enjoyed it, and there was plenty of learning squeezed in. Also, I don't know when David started doing thumbs up in pictures, but you'll see it a lot in the coming days.

The Morrill children on the moon. You gotta take a picture on the moon. We have the same picture from almost 2 years ago when we went right before moving. Although it didn't have the same girl walking on the footprints in the background...

And here they are on Mars. See Ryan looking like he's gonna snap? I think this is the last picture I have of him smiling all day. In fact, I have a couple pictures of his back from him spotting me and running away.

After the movie and a brief look around the planetarium we made our way over to the children's museum. Here we, once again, were reminded that gender differences are natural and very real. Katy spent a lot of time playing with the housekeeping, while the boys built with giant foam blocks. None of this I bothered getting a picture of, you'll just have to believe me. Then we went over to another area, and David climbed the rock wall...

...while Katy went "shopping"...

...and Ryan worked as a cashier.

Then we went upstairs and outside to check out the helicopter. Tried to get a cute picture of Ryan. He did this instead. Lovely.

We found a way to keep David contained! Unfortunately, it was uncomfortably hot out on that deck, so we couldn't use it long.

Then we went back inside and played with these cool magnet shapes. Dan built this cool helmet, but David was the only willing model. Katy was busy playing, and Ryan was, well, you know.

So, that took up most of our first full day in Utah. It was kind of silly to not spend the time with family, but the boating activity the big cousins desperately wanted seemed unlikely to be fun with the forecasted thunder storms. Then it ended up being hot & sunny all day. Oh well, we had a fun day. And most of the Morrill family grownups went out to dinner that night, so we got to spend some quality time there. And our kids got to hang out with Aunt Nadine & co., which they really enjoyed. So all in all, a pretty good day.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


So remember how I couldn't find my camera charger for the week we were visiting Grandma & Grandpa Smith? Well, I just sat down to start blogging about our trip to Utah, and I found the one and only picture I took with our camera while we were in Kent before the battery died. It deserves a post. If the battery had survived a few days, we would've had many, many pictures like this one. Can you see what's on Ryan's arm? It's a frog that he & David had caught all by themselves! This was a skill that they practiced repeatedly all week. I think by the end of the week they'd figured out how to do it without having to get in the pond, since ewwwwww they shouldn't be in that water!

Also, notice Katy's interesting attire? She discovered the dress up clothes - mostly my sisters' & my former dance outfits - and wore them all the time! Those same bins of dress up clothes have been in the rec room since the rec room was made 12ish years ago. And I don't think the boys have ever shown any interest in them. Our little girl has certainly not lacked for girliness because of having only brothers!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Grandpa's Boat

We did several fun activities the week we were in Kent, in the afternoons after Dance Camp. However, because of the missing camera battery charger, I don't have pictures of our fun outings to the Pacific Science Center or the Woodland Park Zoo. But I did get some pictures on my phone of the day Grandpa came home early to take us on a boat!

Everyone had to try on their life jackets while Grandpa was getting everything ready to go. Katy looked especially cute in hers! I found a picture of Aunt Miriam wearing this life jacket on 7/9/91. I thought it would be cute to put it here. But apparently the scanner part of our printer isn't set up or something, so you'll have to take my word for it!

It was hard to get the kids to take a nice picture because it was so sunny they wouldn't look at me. I kept switching everyone around, and finally we got most of their eyes open...

Aunt Hannah came with us for a little while before needing to leave for dance. She took Katy on the tube with her! Katy was quite upset about the whole thing. I made her try for a little while, but when it became clear she wasn't going to start enjoying it, I let her stop. See, I'm a reasonable person!

Once Aunt Hannah was gone, the boys got to go. It had been several years since we got to go out on Grandpa's boat, but they took to it immediately! The LOVED it! One time we stopped and started pulling them in to see if they were done, and before we even asked they said "Do we HAVE to stop?" So I taught them thumbs up & down for faster & slower, and kill it for, well, kill it. They went out together for a while longer, then each took a turn by himself. It was fun to see them enjoy it so much! Oh, and their favorite part? The bumps! Once we learned that, Grandpa did all sorts of fancy driving to get them some big ones, and they loved it!
Hey, the picture I found with Miriam wearing the yellow & polka dot life jacket has Danny wearing the one with a seagull & clouds, and me wearing the blue one! First of all, why is Danny wearing the bigger one than Miriam? Second, how have these three life jackets survived for 19+ years?

Here's a funny story - when Ryan was getting pulled in from his solo ride, he asked if he could just jump in and swim. Sure, that's fine. I wish I had a picture of his face when he did that! It was a little colder than he expected! It was really funny!

Oh, and after the boys were done I finally decided I'd take a turn. I wanted Katy to go with me, and she bravely came over to me while whimpering/crying a little bit. Grandpa took us for a nice, slow, uneventful ride (once I figured out how to position myself so we wouldn't fall in when he started going!), and she decided it was okay after all! I was very proud of her for going again even though she was scared! She even told me later that she had fun when she went with me. Big girl!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dance Camp!

Man, I have gotten be-HIND! It's only been a few weeks, but they've been busy ones! Ryan's birthday was July 16th, the next day was the stake activity (I was in charge of face painting, that could be blog worthy), the next day we went to Grandma & Grandpa Smith's for a week, then the day after that we went to Utah for a week! Whew, I was ex-HAUST-ed by the time all that was done! Now that I've had a week to recover, I guess I should get around to documenting our exciting experiences!

Today, I'm starting with the reason for our week in Kent - Barefoot Ballroom Dance Camp! The ballroom dance studio my sister Hannah is actively involved with has a class for 5-7 year olds. When we were living with them a year and a half ago, the teacher offered to let me put the boys in for half price. But I didn't feel like committing to something like that when we were hoping to sell our house and move any day. Then when we went to Hannah's concert a couple months ago I saw that they were doing a week long dance camp! The teacher said she would do buy-one-get-one for us since there were so many girls and only one boy signed up already!

I thought this would be a fun thing for the boys, I really, really did. I've watched a few scattered seasons of Dancing with the Stars, and they tend to like watching with me and grooving along (remember this?). Turns out that didn't carry over. And while Ryan was mostly well mannered and adorable, David made everyone's life a lot harder. He'd be grumpy and refuse to participate, and occasionally be rude to people. The teacher ended up making me stay part of the time (class was 3 hours long, I thought I was going to get a nice break, take Katy shopping, and have fun!), and even pick him up halfway through one day for fighting with Ryan. Now, having been a mom to boys for almost 8 years, I think the teacher (who has 3 girls) should've handled the situation differently. It sounded to me like when he got into a mood they spent too much time & energy trying to get him to participate, rather than just giving him some space. Were it an ongoing class, I would've talked to her about it, but it was so short we just tried to get through it.

Okay, that was sad to just pass over Ryan with half a sentence. He was really, really cute dancing. He occasionally got bored, but he was very good at staying on task and learning the moves. It was very adorable to watch! David is funny to watch - half cute, half awkward.

So, my camera battery charger went missing that week, so I took a bunch of pictures of the kids dancing...on my dad's camera. I'll have to get those from him eventually. For now, I have a few movies I took with my phone. These are from the day I got to stay the whole time - Wednesday. They were reviewing the 4 dances they'd learned so far. Ryan's in his new red Bakugan shirt (which he was quite mad at me for getting "too big!"), and David is in a white shirt & jean shorts. You'll notice in one of them Ryan is dancing with Adam, the male assistant. Apparently girls fighting over who gets to dance with the boys comes at a later age. :-)