Monday, July 18, 2011

Katy turned 4!

In keeping with my new quest to blog about things I missed without stressing myself out about doing them in order, I'm jumping back a month and a half to June 3rd - Katy's birthday! Now, Katy is my one and only girl, and that alone often makes me spent extra time, attention, energy, and money on her. Add on the fact that she is truly adorable, and that she really enjoys dressing up and being doted upon, and, well, we have a lot of fun together! A little while before her birthday we went dress shopping. As in "pick out a bunch of dresses that we like and try them on to decide which one to get" dress shopping. We both had a lot of fun! It's not that I wouldn't take the boys clothes shopping, but they would do just about anything to avoid it! And, while there ARE cute boy clothes, the kinds of clothes my boys would choose are not them. So it was fun for me to have a mother-daughter dress shopping experience. :-) Even better, I got a free $10 Kohl's card in the mail, and the dress Katy chose was on sale, so I got a $24 dress for $2.16! Win!

On Katy's birthday she got to wear her pretty new dress! And new hair clips. And birthday girl ribbon. She sure felt special!

So we went out front and took some pictures of the beautiful birthday girl. It helped that it was such a gorgeous day!

How come it's cloudy and rainy now at the middle of July?

One of the reasons this was the chosen dress was because it was good for twirling!

I wish I got that much joy out of spinning in circles!

See? So much happiness!

Then it was time to look at the plants. :-)

One of Katy's favorite things to do is to go have lunch with Daddy in Portland. So on her birthday we went and picked him up and went to Red Robin with him! Yum!

Too bad Katy didn't like the ice cream... :-P

And of course she got a balloon, which also caused much happiness.

After lunch, Katy, Nathan, and I stopped by the OMSI for a short visit. Then we hurried home to be there before the boys got home from school. Then after dinner (chicken noodle soup at Katy's request) we went to the school for the "Family Fun Night." A bunch of little games, a couple inflatable toys, and some cotton candy. I don't have any pictures from that. Odd.

After Family Fun Night we came home and opened presents. Katy was ridiculously spoiled this year, for several reasons. First of all, Katy is happy to get things for presents that the boys wouldn't, as seen here:

That is not the face the boys' would make if they opened up a birthday present to find shoes!

Also, several of her presents were really, really good deals. I found some Littlest Pet Shop sets at Toys R Us that were not only on sale, but had 2 sets stuck together for that sale price. So what was normally $12.99 for one set was $8.99 for 2 sets. And I got her 2 tutus, a pair of wings, and the hair bows using a $40 gift card I bought for $20. Grandma & Grandpa Smith got her the set of Disney Princess dolls when they were almost half off. So we sure stretched the birthday budget this year!

And finally, Grandma & Grandpa Morrill just flat out spoiled her! I called to recommend a particular DS game, and instead Katy got a DS, DS case, pack of multi colored styluses (styli? What is the plural of stylus?), and 3 games. Thanks, Grandma & Grandpa!

That reminds me, I should have Katy send thank you notes. Every time I or one of my children has a birthday I intend on writing thank yous, and keep forgetting until eventually I decide not to do it because it's been so long. How rude of me!

Katy immediately got in her new jammies, put on a tutu & wings, and started playing her DS! Too bad it was already so late because of Family Fun Night!

Then it was cake time! Now, I've made ice cream cakes forever, the same way my mom made them when I was growing up: ice cream smashed into a pan. This time I finally tried doing an ice cream cake with cake in it, and it was so yummy! I have a set of 8, 9, and 10 inch springform pans, so I baked cakes in the 8 & 10 inch ones. After they cooled I wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer. Then I put plastic wrap in the same size pans (two long pieces making a cross), smashed the ice cream into them, and wrapped the ends of the plastic wrap over the top. After everything was frozen I built the cake by doing the 10" cake, 10" ice cream, 8" cake, then 8" ice cream. Then I made some whipped cream, died it bright pink, and frosted the cake with it. It wasn't the prettiest thing ever but it was delicious! I'm excited to play around with different flavor combinations of ice cream & cake (and I could even do different flavored whipped cream)!

Katy sure had a wonderful birthday! We are so happy to have her as part of our family!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

4th of July!

Man, I'm on a roll lately with blogging(hopefully acknowledging it doesn't ruin it)! I have plenty of stuff I can/should blog about from the past couple, well, years really. So please forgive me if I jump around date-wise. I'm going to just post what I feel like rather than impose restrictions on myself ("I have to post in order, I can't post that until I do all these other things first) that serve no purpose other than stress me out.

Quick question while I'm thinking of it, has anyone found a way that works for them to have a "hard copy" of their blog? As long as I'm doing this, I really should have something printed out, but I don't know about using so much colored ink. And I don't know that I'd want to just do it in black & white. Any suggestions?

So anyhow, we had a pretty fun, exhausting 4th of July here at the Morrills' house. We had a bit of a leisurely morning, then were on the go most of the rest of the day!

Our first stop was to buy fireworks. I figured all stands were pretty much the same price, so we might as well go to the one put on by the local high school band. On the way there I looked at an ad for a different stand. Started walking around the band one, noticed the prices were often 3-4x what I'd seen in the ad, so we bought a few little ones and went in search of more bang (literally, ha!) for our buck. We found the one from the ad and got some really good stuff! We usually spend around $100, and I think we did a much better job this year of choosing what to get with that money. We've had too many fountains in years past, this year we made sure we had a good variety.

After a quick stop at home to drop off our fireworks, we headed to Fort Vancouver for their 4th of July celebration. It wasn't quite as much fun as I'd hoped. They advertised "traditional family fun games and entertainment all day!" and it was a little lacking, but we had a pretty good time nonetheless.

One of the activities was a children's parade! They gave out the necklaces, glasses, headbands, and stickers, and we got to walk in the little parade through the park.

Now, we would have been ready to leave about a half hour before the parade, but stuck around because Katy & Ryan especially wanted to do it. Well, it didn't take long for Ryan to change his mind. Nice, Ryan.

When I took this picture and looked at it on the camera I thought Ryan had decided to be nice and do thumbs up. Then I saw it on the computer and thought he was making fists at me. Then I noticed the headband in his hands. He's still got grumpy face, but at least he isn't making fists at the camera!

Near the end we spotted some inflatable toys off to the side, so I decided that was as good a place as any to quit being in the parade and watch instead. The entire parade consisted of a band, a bunch of kids, a pipe band, some horses, and a bunch of convertibles. Really, it was nice that we got to do the parade thing without it being a major ordeal. We do wish they had thrown candy though. :-) Nathan was really interested in watching the parade, especially the cool shiny cars!

Poor baby boy in a pink & purple stroller. I'm tempted to get a manly one since they're pretty cheap, but just can't justify buying a new one when this one works fine. He doesn't mind (yet)!

After the parade we went to the inflatable toys. Nathan decided he was hungry, so I sat in the shade and fed him while the kids did these over and over again. Despite the expression on David's face, they all loved it!

Even cranky Ryan perked up!

And beautiful Katy was thrilled to get to go so many times!

Baby's hungry, gotta wrap this up. After that we hiked back to the car and headed home. We had some down time, grilled some burgers and hot dogs, watched a bit of a movie, then did fireworks. Fun was had by all. The end.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jump! Jump!

My family got a trampoline a really long time ago. I have a picture of me with baby Hannah on it, and she's 17 now, so it's been around a while! It is amazing how much use we have gotten out of that thing! And since the youngest member of my generation (Hannah) is only 8 1/2 years older than the oldest member of the next (David), it's been used constantly the entire time. My kids spend a LOT of time on it whenever we visit. I wondered if that would change since we got our own last Christmas, but it doesn't appear to have lessened its appeal at all! When we visited last month I don't think the kids even went inside before running over to jump!

I also must say that digital photography is wonderful. I'm just old enough to really remember having film cameras and all the stress of balancing trying to get a good shot with not wasting pictures. I frequently feel grateful that I can just snap away and delete later!

When I saw Uncle Danny out jumping with the big kids, I ran out and took a bunch of pictures. I love trampoline pictures. They're often quite entertaining! Of the pictures I took, here are my 7 favorites, and the reasons I like them:

Katy's arms, and everyone in the air at once

Ryan's height! That's some serious air!

Katy holding hands with Uncle Danny, and Ryan's arms - what the heck is he doing?

Uncle Danny about to touch the ground!

David looking like he's about to land on the others and Ryan booking it out of the way

Again with the air, Ryan!

Everyone in the air at once, and Uncle Danny holding Katy. She was just over a year when he left on his mission and didn't see him for two years, and has only seen him a couple times since he got back. It's nice that she isn't taking any time to bond with him!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Last night I uploaded these pictures, then totally forgot about it. Losing my mind! Anyhow, I figured that since the big kids had had their pictures taken outside, I should take some of Nathan as well. He gets his picture taken ALL the time, of course. But I wanted some outside to coordinate with the siblings, in case I ever get around to printing some(Ha!)

Poor Nathan. He really only has two positions for now: flat on his back and on his tummy. I knew that I prefer tummy time pictures, so I took a couple with him on his back and flipped him over...

This could have been so cute! If only Little Man would stop freaking out about the grass and push his face up instead of into it!


Look at that face! He's totally saying "Mom, I don't like this! I'm trying, but I hate this stuff!" Nice try, little one. I guess we'll do the "on his tummy on the grass" shot in a couple months!

Friday, July 8, 2011

trying to get a picture in which all 4 children simultaneously look nice

After my somewhat successful "photo shoots" with the 3 big kids individually, we went to the park. Then we came home (to Grandma & Grandpa's house) and had dinner. Then I tried to get one of all 4 together. It had been enough time that the kids weren't antsy from their individuals, but MAN ALIVE was it hard! Here are the most noteworthy:

We start off with Molly in the way, which the kids think is hilarious. Good, now just get the dog out of the way and capture those nice smiles!

Well, the big kids are all smiling pretty nicely. But the posing isn't great (is it just me or does Ryan look huge?), and Nathan is looking the wrong way.

It mostly went downhill from there. Not 1 person looks great here. Although I do love the expression on Nathan's face!

Really nice of Ryan & David, Katy smiling but in the wrong direction...and I finally notice the girl on the trampoline who has been there for a few shots (Aunt Hannah was babysitting at the house).

So I switch directions, and now Ryan is extra huge! Gotta rearrange...

Nah, let's try moving somewhere else...

Whoa, that's quite the fake smile Katy!

As I'm going through these I'm really enjoying Nathan's expressions. He needs some thought bubbles or something. You can just see him thinking "Sigh...I sure wish these crazy people would leave me alone."

Nom on those fists, buddy!

Finally, a fairly decent one. All 4 children looking at the camera, and the 3 big kids with fairly nice smiles. Well, I'll try again sometime. That's the great thing about digital pictures, I can just keep trying til I get something nice!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Katy was the next one I took pictures of. By the tree again. Clearly I am very imaginative in my choice of background. Hey, find something that works and stick with it! So, at this point the kids were starting to rebel ("I thought we were going to the park!") and I didn't want to waste too much of Nathan's nap time before leaving, so I only took a few of Katy. Also, she is really pretty so they turned out nicely without having to take lots!

I'm so jealous of her hair. Mine doesn't curl even when I put effort into it, hers dries this way!

Like I said, in a hurry. Perhaps if I want to have home shots substitute for professional ones I should learn a bit about posing!

My sweet, sweet little girl. How everyone does love you!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Next up in my spontaneous, unprofessional "photo shoot" was David. That kid has a weird assortment of teeth right now. Two permanent teeth halfway through in the middle, a space on one side, and a dangler on the other. I don't know about you, but it draws my attention every time I look at him or a picture of him! Love you, David!

So we started off in the bright red Old Navy shirt. At least it matches Ryan.

See what I mean about the teeth?

Okay, now I'm 80% sure that Ryan spontaneously posed with his arm up on the tree and I liked it so I recommended David do something similar. But in execution...this picture sure makes me giggle! Looks like he's sayin' "Heeeyyyyy ladies..."!

Caught a decent smile

Then this one is my favorite of his face. Not the best composition ever with the tree right there like that, but at least he looks pretty good. Also, I just noticed that he's wearing an Old Navy shirt in this picture, too. We really don't shop there very much, I swear!