Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Soles For Souls Shoe Drive

soles for souls donation box

One of the Airmen who works for me at the 3rd Weather Squadron, here at Fort Hood, found out about this charity called Soles for Souls, that donates shoes to people in need. They take everything from brand new shoes, to even those that have been worn for a while. About 3 weeks ago, SrA Wagner put a box in our break room, and made a couple of announcements during Thursday training. I'm not sure, but I think she's taken one box away, and even if she didn't, looking at the picture above, it appears as though we've collected at least a few pairs of nice running shoes.

It's quite possible that many people in our squadron are procrastinators like me, and know they have some shoes/boots that don't get worn any more, but just haven't gotten around to bringing them in to work yet. That's my excuse any way. :-)

I'll definitely be brining a few pairs in to work tomorrow or Thursday.

Even if you're not here at Fort Hood with us, you can still get involved, and help if you want ... just check out the Soles for Souls webpage for options.

lol .. and I hope you liked my picture of the day.

Til next time ...

[todd-sig]
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Things You Can Do When You're Two

playing in the backyard pool

Of the many things that you can pretty much only get away with when you're a toddler, running around naked in the back yard probably ranks pretty high. And as you can see, in todays picture of the day, Jaiden is taking full advantage of the privilege. She mainly gets away with this when I'm around, as mom's a party pooper and makes her wear clothes. ;-)

I think this desire to run around naked probably comes from my side of the family anyway. Not that I personally have any desire to run around without clothes on ... wouldn't want to scare the neighbors or anything. But thinking back, my other kids also had a bit of a phobia about staying dressed when they were this age. Starting with my oldest ...

When Justin was about 2 years old, we lived in Opp Alabama. During that first spring/summer there, Justin would go out in the back yard pretty much every day. He'd go out the sliding back door, head directly over to the other porch, shed all of his clothes, and proceed to run around and play in the back yard, buck naked for the next 2-3 hours.

It did have a funny side effect too ...

Our next door neighbor worked at a clothes factory, and used to bring us bags of shorts, shirts and sweats all the time. We thought she was just being a really nice neighbor .. which was the truth .. but a few months later, once we'd gotten to know her a bit better, we found out that the real reason she was bringing us the clothes, is because she thought we were too poor to afford any ... since they rarely saw Justin dressed.

One of my other daughters, Jordan, wasn't much better. When she was this age, we lived in Hawaii .. which was fortunate, since the ONLY type of clothes that Jordan would wear was a bikini. Again, it was an entirely appropriate outfit for the setting ... until she started insisting on taking off the top all the time ... then when she started swinging around the pole of the car cover in our driveway, one night during a neighborhood cookout/beer drinking events ... after we all stopped laughing ... let's just say it was decided right then and there that we'd probably needed to monitor this one's taste in clothing (or lack thereof) as she grew older.

I'm happy to report that both Jordan and Justin have grown up to be well adjusted (and fully clothed) teenagers, so you'll probably understand when I tell you that I'm not too worried when Jaiden or Joey decide they'd "prefer not to have tan lines" on their little baby butts ... they'll grow out of it.

Actually, that might be a question to end this post with ...

At what age do you think kids are too old to run around without any clothes on?

[todd-sig]
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Giddy Up Cowgirl

image

The picture today speaks for itself.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Soccer Mom's Daughters

2 year old Jaiden watching the soccer game

Our 2 year old daughter Jaiden, watching her 8 year old sister playing soccer, is my Saturday picture of the day.

Ever since I found out that Jasmine was going to be playing soccer this year, I've been wanting to get out there to take some pictures. Today was the last game of the season, so I made it just in time. I've actually been out there one time before, but it was really hot, and the two younger girls were with me, so we ended up going back to the van after half the game ... and as a result I didn't get many pictures.

Most of the pictures today were also from the 1st half of the game, but Jasmine was pretty involved, and I actually captured several shots of her kicking the ball. I put together a gallery of quickly edited pictures below. I'll probably go back later to see which ones her mom likes best, then do a more thorough processing, print and frame.

[gallery]

After the game, we hit Cici's Pizza for the team trophy presentation.

All in all this has been a pretty good Saturday.

[todd-sig]
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Family Movie Night

Chronicles of Narnia title screen

No long blog post this evening, as I've just spent the past couple of hours watching a movie with Ana and the kids. Jasmine sat with me through the whole thing. Jaiden might have as well, but she fell asleep around 9:30.

We watched the newest Chronicles of Narnia.

I'm not really a religious kind of guy, but I have to say that I definitely enjoy these movies, and I appreciate the messages that the stories convey.

And on that note, it's off to bed for Mr. Morris.

Til next time ..

[todd-sig]
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

All Of Our Flags

puerto rico, panama and US flags

While I was gone in Florida, Ana decided to get all proud of her heritage, and go out and get some flags. We currently have three flags flying out in front of our house ...

Ana's Panamanian and Puerto Rican flags.

And the Stars and Stripes for me.

I suppose if we really wanted to get technical, we could probably also pop up a Union Jack for Justin .. since he does have a British birth certificate.

I'm cool with it either way.

I never thought I'd be a "flag person". But I suppose they're kind of cool.

... and it did give me a quick and easy subject for my picture of the day.

[todd-sig]
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Know Goldfish Don't Live Very Long ...

goldfish in a bowl

But, you'd think we'd at least get it home from the store.

Jaiden has been bugging us to get a fish for months now. So today, when they were at Walmart, Ana finally gave in and bought her a $.38 gold fish. She also picked up a small bowl, water conditioner, and some food.

Because they had a few more stops to make, she put the little container with the fish in the cup holder between the seats, so that Jaiden could admire her new prize. As they're driving along, Jaiden is going on and on about her new fish. At one point she suggested that it would be really fun to bring the fish in the bath with her. Of course mommy explained to her why that wouldn't be a good idea .. because the fish would probably die.

Fast forward about 10-15 minutes later ...

The fish was floating at the top of the cup. It died anyway .. with no help from a bathing toddler.

So, it was then time for a bit of "daddy to the rescue".

I got on the Internet, and found a "real" pet store in Copperas Cove: Fins & Flowers Pet Shop

Gave them a quick call to make sure they were open, and headed that way after work.

The lady who works there was real helpful. She even picked out a fish that she thought a 2 years old girl might like the best. It only cost $.20 for the fish .. but I also got some anti-chlorine drops ... mainly so I wouldn't feel guilty about using my debit card (I never have cash).

My picture of the day above, is of Jaiden, and our neighbor Cooper admiring the newly released goldfish #2.

He/She doesn't have an actually name yet, but the way things are going, that might not be a bad thing. If this one survives until morning, we can always name it then. ;-)

[todd-sig]
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Magnetic Signs For My Car

magnetic car signs

About a week and a half ago, I saw a good deal on VistaPrint; so decided to get magnetic signs for both Ana's van, and my car; to help spread the word about our home business. I've had magnetic signs on my car in the past .. and they worked well.

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure why we haven't put them back on sooner.

But they're there now. Here's the funny thing about using magnetic car signs to advertise a home based business ... even though I put a phone number and URL on the signs, I really Don't expect some random stranger driving down the road to actually remember our website address and look it up when they get home; or even whip out their cell phone, and give us a call right then (although either could happen).

No, the real value of these signs is as ...


A CONVERSATION STARTER


See, we don't believe in "hitting people over the head" with the fact that we have a home business. However, at the same time, it's also one of my mottos that it should Never be a Secret to anyone who knows us, that we have something that they just might want.

Signs on our car, wearing t-shirts or hats with the company logo, and even setting up a candle table when we do a weekend yard sale, have proven to be effective, yet "low threat", ways of letting people know that our store is open (so to speak).

It's only day one of the new signs, so I have no dramatic results to report just yet. But, I did grab a half dozen catalogs, and a Hot Apple Pie jar candle before I left this morning ...

Just in case someone asks about my new signs. ;-)

[todd-sig]
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Monday, May 16, 2011

Helping Jasmine Make A Parrot Habitat

parrot habitat in a box

One of my major "dad" jobs is helping the kids with school projects. This afternoon, Jasmine and I made a parrot habitat. I'm pretty sure this was her final project for the year. She was excited about it .. it's all she's talked about for the past 3 or 4 days. So finally, this afternoon when I got home from work, we put it together.

We started with a shoe box.

Then she had to decide what sort of creature she wanted to make: A Parrot

What kind of Habitat does it live in: A Forest

What does it eat: Seeds

Here's how we made the "masterpiece" above:

We went to the side of the house, under a bush, and dug up a little rectangle of grass for the forest floor.

Then we walked over to the woods behind our house, to find a couple of "trees".

Then we had to make the Parrot ...

Which thanks to the multi colored play dough that our neighbor Mary K let us borrow, and a few strategically placed tooth picks, really wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be.

We made the head, body, wings and tail separately, then used the toothpicks to join the parts together.

After we placed the bird in the box ... along with a couple of eggs to sit on ... all that was left was a little saran wrap around the bottom of the box to help ensure that the "floor" doesn't fall out, all over our floor. :-)

With that, Jasmine's project is ready to bring to to school.

And, I have my picture of the day.

til next time ..

[todd-sig]
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Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Three Girls

3 girls eating fruitloops

A typical weekend morning in the Morris household.

Three little girls, sitting at the table, eating fruit loops.

And dad, continuing to experiment with the camera on his Nexus S, taking their picture.

I kind of like the way this one came out.

So, it's my picture of the day.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to experience, and record, these little every day memories.

[todd-sig]
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Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Pawn Shop Is Expensive


action pawn killeen texas

So I stopped into the Action Pawn on South Fort Hood street, here in Killeen, the other day. This was the first time I've been inside a pawn shop in years. Maybe I just had unrealistic expectations or something, but as I was browsing the aisles of merchandise, one thought stuck in my mind ...


Dang, this stuff is way more expensive than I thought it would be.


Don't get me wrong, I didn't think it would be like a yard sale or something. I understand that it's a business, who's goal is to turn a profit. But seriously, most of the camera equipement I saw was nearly as expensive as the brand new version. Same thing with the lawn mowers .. I saw one, that was a "self propelled" .. but the self propel part didn't work .. and it was still $150!

It's probably a good thing that I wasn't actually planning to buy anything. I went in more out of curiosity than anything else. I suppose it was a productive visit in one sense though ... now I know not to put the pawn shop on my list of places to hunt for a bargain next time I do need something.



My curiosity may not be totally quelled yet though. For my next experiment, I may have to bring in something to try to sell. Just to see what kind of a mark-up they really have. Then again, I can probably think of 20 better things right off the top of my head to spend my time on.

Oh well, as least I got my picture of the day out of the way ;-)

Keep havin FuN!
Todd
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Friday, May 13, 2011

It's Never Too Soon For Potty Training

image

Potty training can be a stressful time .. for the toddlers trying to learn about "pee pee on the potty!" .. and for the parents who have to clean up after the inevitable accidents. At the moment, the Morris household has about "1 3/8" kids in diapers ...

Jaiden, at two and a half, is pretty quickly getting to the point where she really only needs a diaper at night; although, see does still occasionally ask for one during the day too. And I'd also be fibbing a bit if I didn't tell you that we have to wash several pairs of little panties every day, for those times when she doesn't quite get there. But, for the most part, she's become very good about making it to one of the two little potties in the house (one upstairs, one down).

Now that 1 year old Joey is mobile, she's often present for our little "after potty celebrations"; and takes great pleasure at joining in on the clapping and cheering ... although, I'm quite sure she has no idea why it's such a big deal that sister "made a poop". Even so, she knows that Jaiden sits on the little potty, and then we flush it down the big one. I know that she knows, because if we ever forget to close the door, she's almost certain to be in there "testing the water".

So anyhow, this afternoon, when I again found her in the bathroom; instead of just shooing her out, and closing the door, I decided to see if I could get her to sit still on the potty ... at least long enough for me to take a picture.

I think she did surprisingly well. Although I'm under no illusions at all that she's anywhere close to ready for actual potty training, I figured it's never too early to start introducing her to the little pink pot in the corner ... and cheering for the fact that she sat down.

lol .. one day in the (hopefully not too distant) future, I expect we'll have more to really cheer about ... and be that much closer to not having to visit the diaper aisle at the PX.

Keep havin FuN!
[todd-sig]

p.s. no promises, because I've had starts and stops with this a few times this year, but I'm thinking of making this the start of another "picture a day" project ... with the "catch" being that all the pictures would be taken with my Nexus S phone, and processed with the PicSayPro app. I guess we'll know tomorrow whether I decided to to do it ;-)
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Who Wants To Borrow A Candle?

We love introducing new people to our cleaner burning scented candles.

Normally, we do this in one of two ways:


  1. We just sell the candles to people .. whether on our website, at a booth, during one of our carport yard sales, or even straight out of the trunk of our car.


  2. We give candles away .. usually votives, but sometimes a bag of melts, or occasionally a 16oz jar



Recently I was alerted to a third way ...

And it's so obvious, I can't believe we weren't already doing it.

Instead of simply giving the candles away, we're going to start letting people "borrow" them for 3 or 4 days ... maybe we could even call it "taking your scent for a test burn".

Basically, we'll let people choose a candle, or a bag of melts from our shelf. Then arrange to meet with them again in 3 days .. at which point they'll have a couple of choices:


  1. Return the candle to us, with no obligation. (we burn plenty of candles ourselves, so no biggie)

  2. Pay for the candle, and keep enjoying it



It's a win / win for both of us.

Everybody likes the idea of a money back guarantee.

This is even better than "money back".

You only have to buy it if you like it. ;-)

Looking forward to opening up my "loan closet".

[todd-sig]
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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saving Money On My T-Mobile Bill




Wow, that was easy!

So I've been a t-mobile customer for a little over 6 years now. And even more amazingly, I think I've had the same 1000 minute family plan for almost that entire time. Recently, I decided it was time to make a few changes to the communications set-up here in the Morris household.

Ironically, this decision was driven primarily by a dramatic rise in my monthly Time Warner Cable bill .. not really anything to do with my T-Mobile phone service. We started out with one of those bundles, that give you TV/Internet/Phone for one low price .. and of course you don't pay attention to the fine print that tells you what the monthly charge will really be once the promotion ends.

The gist of it is, I decided to ditch the VOIP phone service from the cable company; so I needed to look into increasing the amount of shared minutes on our family cell phone plan.

This morning, (after I cleaned up the house a bit .. being mother's day and all) I pulled out my trusty Nexus S, dialed 611, and about 3 minutes later was speaking to David about a few of the plans that I had just been looking at on the T-Mobile website. Originally, I was thinking that we'd go with an unlimited plan. However, I found one that seemed even more intriguing. 3000 minutes, plus unlimited texting, for what appeared to be less than I was currently paying. This is why I called .. to be sure.

It turned out to be even better than that ...


Not only do I now have three times as many minutes, still with unlimited family texting; but I was also able to add unlimited Internet to my daughter Haley's phone, plus still keep it on mine, Ana's and my son Justin's phones.

And in total, it's going to cost me ...

About $25 LESS than what I've currently been paying.

Goes to prove the old axiom that sometimes It Just Doesn't Hurt to Ask!.

I wish I could report things went just as well with Time Warner (who I've been with for 10 years).

I signed into their website, and couldn't for the life of me figure out how much I'm even paying now for each individual service .. let alone figure out if they have any newer promotions that I might be able to take advantage of. No problem, they've got a "live chat" button, so I initiated a chat with Anthony ...

He verified some details with me, such as my zip code.

Then suggested that I "look at the website" to see if there were any deals ... you know, that same website that contained the chat button I had to click to talk to him ... ugh.

After a bit more back and forth, he told me that I'll have to physically go in to the local Time Warner office if I want to find out about discounts or promotions.

Something tells me that I'm also going to be stopping at the Century Link (Internet) and Direct TV stores tomorrow too.

update: In fairness to Time Warner ... today when I called the local office and told them that I was thinking about switching to Century Link and Direct TV because my bill had gone up so much in the last couple of months, the guy put me on hold for about 10 minutes, then came back to tell me that he could knock us back down to the $99 promotional rate that we started with 2 years ago. In all honesty, I probably still don't need the home phone ... but as long as I'm not really paying "extra" for it, it's no big deal.


Oh well, back to the good stuff ...

I'm very pleased with myself for the cell phone thing. And I will continue to recommend T-mobile to anyone who's interested (mainly because of the great customer service). Not sure what's going to happen if the AT&T deal goes through. But for now, they can count me as a Very Happy Customer.

update: So the score for 2 phone calls that took in total about 25 minutes of my time, is I'll be saving somewhere between $60-$90 on my communications/entertainment services ... while getting more ... not a bad use of my time, if I do say so myself. :-)



Keep havin FuN!
Todd
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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Not Driving Drunk

It was a night of good decisions in the Morris household.

My 18 year old son Justin and a couple of his friends decided at the last minute that they really were gonna go to prom. So they got dressed up in their fancy duds, figured out how they were getting there, posed for the obligatory picture, and off they went.

Earlier in the day, Justin had gotten my standard "dad speech" that he's been hearing with an increasing degree of frequency lately ...

Don't get in any of your friend's cars if they've been drinking. Call me, I'll come get you, blah, blah, blah, more useless dad advice, etc,..


So at about 2:45am, I get a phone call from Justin telling me that his friend who drove might have had a few beers, and wouldn't listen to them when they said he shouldn't drive. So Justin and one of his other friends, were at McDonalds by the school, and could I please come pick them up?

Holy Crap! .. the boy actually does listen to me from time to time ;-)

I tell him "no problem, let me throw on some clothes and I'll be on my way".

As I'm downstairs looking for my wallet and keys, I suddenly realized that I myself, had consumed about 4-5 beers while sitting out front with the neighbors, after Joey's big 1st birthday bash. I started to do the math in my head ... it's been 4 hours since I stopped drinking, and I drank 5 beers in about an hour and half .. what's that formula again? ... oh heck, it's only a couple of miles up the road, I'll probably make it with no problem.

Then, fortunately, I recalled another one of my "speeches" ... this one normally given to Airmen who work for me:

I've been in the military for over 20 years now. During that time I've known a few people who have been caught for DUI. I've yet to meet a single one who told me that they knew they were hammered and decided to drive anyway. Nope, every single one of them told some version of the following two sentences:

  1. I only had a few drinks

  2. I felt like I was OK to drive



Every single one of them ...


It was then my turn to emulate my son, and make a good decision. Instead of going out to my car, I hung up my keys, put down my wallet and fired up the computer so that I could google the number for Cove Taxi.

About 20 minutes later, Justin and his friend were home ... alive and safe.

I was out $16.38 after I paid their fare.

But man, I gotta tell ya, that's one of the best investments I've made in a long time. 8-)

[todd-sig]

p.s. the other friend, made it through the gate, and home safely as well ... but he was just lucky, Not smart.
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