Monday, December 25, 2006

The Christmas fun is over. The children are nestled all snug in their beds, exhausted from their busy day. I've cleaned up most of the clutter and hauled 10 loads of recycling to the curb. Now I'm looking to head to bed myself to make up for the whole 2 hours of sleep I got last night, but I wanted to post a little about our day.

Chase was the first up. I told them that they could come to our room no earlier than 6am, so at 6:01am Chase was waking me up. He told me that he has been up since 4am and tried going back to sleep but couldn't. Too excited -- I remember those years from my childhood. Tristan was up quickly after Chase and Brian returned home from work at 6:10am. We had to wake Carissa up at 6:15 because the boys were just so excited. The kids got their gifts from Santa, MP3's and I-pets to go along with them. They had stockings filled with little toys and candies too. Then we started on the presents from Brian & I in the torturous way we do them -- one at a time, starting with the youngest. The kids got lots of little toys and tidbits that they'd asked for.

My favorite presents are the ones the kids make at school for Brian and I. Chase made a clay birdhouse, all painted and fired and stating "cat free zone". Tristan made us a clay bread warmer using his fingerprints and a piece of Christmas tree branch to impress on it. Carissa made us a handprint sign with a cute little poem on it.

At about 8:30 Dad and Linda came over and we started the process over again. We all talked to Jimmy and Virginia in Italy for a bit and ate some cinnamon rolls. Brian headed to bed but the rest of us chatted for a while, then surprised Linda with her Cricut (scrapbooking die-cut tool). All too soon they had to go for their other visits, but Mom and Jim were next on the list.

Present process starts over yet again. Tristan got one of his favorite gifts of the day - a Stitch pillow they picked up last month while in Florida. My Mom got me a spritzer machine, which I was surprised and pleased about. We used to make spritzer cookies every year for Christmas as children but I haven't ever had a machine and made them with my kids. So guess what we're doing next Christmas (or maybe sooner! LOL) ... making spritzers. Mom and Jim stayed for a lunch of take-and-bake pizza that they brought and we all played with toys and relaxed for a bit.

Last on the list was Brian's parents. They came over about 2pm and by then I was dragging. In fact, Carissa and I had just fallen asleep on the couch about 15 minutes before Mom & Dad arrived. They toted everything into the house and I woke Brian up. We started our final present process for the day. The boys were THRILLED to get Nintendo DS's from Brian's parents. Carissa got lots of fun stuff too. I got clothes, a scrapbook tool and a telephoto lens for my camera. Brian got tons of much-need stuff for his new job -- Under Armor t-shirts, duty suspenders, patrol gloves, etc. We stuffed ourselves with ham, rolls, potatos (instant since someone forgot to bring real potatos over like she planned *cough, cough, mom, cough*) and pineapple (my must-have for a ham dinner). They all enjoyed some banana cream pie.

My house was thoroughly trashed. There were pieces of toys and boxes and bows and wrapping paper and every little twist tie and plastic piece possible. But despite the after-math, we all enjoyed another wonderful Christmas day.

Merry Christmas!

All us little elves want to wish our friends and family a happy holiday season. For those nearby- we can't wait to see you. For those far away- we miss you, we love you and are we're thinking of you this holiday season.

Lots of love,

The Pixley's

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Preparations for Christmas are complete. The presents are under the tree, the house is clean, the Santa sign is put up in the yard. Tonight we'll make cookies for Santa and I'll make the banana cream pies for tomorrow, but all the required preparations for Christmas are complete. The most exciting part:

Yes, those are 3 handmade, cross-stitch Christmas stockings. I FINALLY FINISHED CARISSA'S!!!! It was a stretch, let me tell you. Finished stitching it yesterday, washed it and laid it to dry. This morning I fused and sewed and now it's happily hanging on the wall along with her brothers stockings. I'm SO glad that project is finished. Now Christmas preparations truly are complete.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I have been obsessed with scrapbooking since Becky introduced me to it in 2002. As soon as I picked up scrapbook supplies I let all other crafts and hobbies go. But this year I am determined to return to my roots and finish my cross-stitch.

You see, this cross-stitch is special. It's the final piece in a very special 3-piece collection. It's Carissa's Christmas stocking.

I started this before she was born over 6 years ago and figured it would take me a year or two to finish it. I had done it with the boys stockings, working on them in my spare time. Yet since 2002 all my spare time has gone to scrapbooking and the stocking continues to go unfinished.

Each year when Christmas rolls around Brian's Dad gives me a hard time about his poor Carissa who has to have a DOG stocking instead of a beautiful handmade one like her brothers. And each year I make a minor token effort to work on it for about a week or two. But it never gets finished. As a matter of fact, this is what my wall looks like right now.

But this year is different. This year I am committed to getting it done so I've spent every spare waking moment stitching this stocking. I put in at least 4 hours a day on it. Yesterday I spent nearly 2 hours doing nothing but french knots and another 4 1/2 stitching. My fingers hurt so badly that by 11pm I couldn't stitch anymore. And I've only sat at my scrap desk once in the last month, when I had broken my last stitching needle and the stores were already closed for the day. But it's all worth it. Slowly, over the last 5 or 6 weeks, I am seeing it begin to reach completion. It's not done yet. I still have a small corner left to stitch and then the sewing of the stocking to do. But the goal is so close.

This year Carissa will have stocking. She will not be left with a dog stocking while her brothers have their own beautiful cross-stitched stockings. She will have HER stocking, hand stitched with love.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Brrrr ...

It's been cold here and looks to be cold for the next few days. Nothing like a nice winters chill to get me in the holiday spirit. Now, if it would just snow ...

Maybe one of these years I'll have a white Christmas.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Meet Mia

I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our family - Mia.

I have been resisting Brian's suggestion of a playmate for Tucker -- I just wasn't convinced that I wanted another dog. But then I got a call from Becky about this sweet 10 month old chocolate lab who needed a home. Her current owners realized that they didn't have the time or space to devote to a large dog and were looking to place her with a loving family. After a quick discussion with Brian (why I even had to discuss it with him I don't know, as he immediately said yes) we met her and brought her into our home where she's been happily residing ever since.

Tucker is in turns thrilled and annoyed by her. He's the ripe old age of 3 now and doesn't have the same energetic view as Mia. But he does enjoy playing with her often and is not afraid to growl at her to let her know when he's had enough.

Mia does have some adorable little quirks. The first thing she did when we brought her home was to jump into the dog pool in the back yard. She stood there and drank and drank, then laid down for a moment. Nevermind that it was only 40degrees outside, she loved the water. And she loves to eat her toys. Yes, eat them. She chews on them and chews on them until she gets a piece off and then proceeds to eat it. All too soon she may realize that this isn't great for the digestive system, but for now it's just another one of her little quirks.

Mia has been doing well with the transition. We kept her closed in our bedroom with us the first few nights, not sure how she would do having run of the house (especially since she has made a couple of visits to Carissa's stuffed animal bin, much to Carissa's chagrin). But she did well those nights and in the subsequent days so she has had run of the house since then.

Naming her has been an issue. She was named Poppy when we got her, yet none of us liked that name. And since she didn't seem to recognize the name as hers we thought it approproiate to change it. We have a tradition of using Disney names for our animals so we knew exactly where to turn. Therein lies the problem. All the names we would have considered were already taken by other animals ... Belle (our favorite!) is my Dad's dog, Jasmine and Boo are late cats. We considered Lady, Minnie, Winnie and Carissa's favorite, Tinkerbell, but none of those seemed quite right. We had started calling her Mia, after a character in the Princess Diaries but soon realized that it was awfully close to our cat, Mira. But after much discussion we decided that she should be Mia. After all, Mira the cat doesn't like anyone except for me so it's not like anyone will be calling her often. Now, I'm not saying that we're 100% sold on this name but since we haven't found a good alternative I think that's what her name will stay.

And so is the story of Mia, our new dog. She now has a family she can be a part of and a brother dog that enjoys and detests her at the same time.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Brian has left for his first night on the road. All last week was spent in training so tonight is his first real night on patrol.

I must say that this milestone has left me with a variety of feelings. True, I'm extremely proud of him and I'm happy that he's been able to fulfill his dream of being a police officer. And, of course, I love seeing him all spiffed up and handsome in his new uniform. But underneath that uniform is a bullet-proof vest, reminding me of the other side of the coin -- this job is riskier than the one he held before. He could get hurt, he could be killed. I'm not overwhelmed by these fears, but they are there in the back of my mind. So I'm doing my part to think good thoughts and hope that he comes home safe to us at the end of each day.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

This one is for Jimmy ...

No, I couldn't get a tree to you in Italy. I would if I could, really I would. But it's just not possible. Now, the kids thought it would be great to send you a branch that we cut off the bottom of our tree, so you'd have your own Charlie Brown tree, but I wasn't sure they'd let plant-life through customs. So here's what you get ... pictures.

We went to Marquart tree farm to get our tree, the same place we've gone every year since we moved to Scappoose. We searched and searched for a nice Noble fir but they were all too puny for our tastes, so we headed to the Grand firs and found this beauty.

We wavered back and forth on this tree because it wasn't quite *perfect*. The "fat little fir" we called it, as it was fatter on one side than the other. But it was nice and full and we came to love the fact that it was not quite perfect.

Brian hauled the tree out with some help from Chase, a little bit of help from Tristan and pretty much no help from Carissa (us girls sure do know how to get out of doing the dirty work!).

We took it home and set it up. Brian and I did the lights, icicle garland and the all-important angel (who has been with us every Christmas since Brian and I were married 12 years ago and who still flaps her wings and moves her arms ... she's my favorite part, can't you tell?!?). The kids added the bulbs and glittery snowflakes.

And this is what we have ... a perfect fat little fir tree spreading holiday cheer. I love Christmas!!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It snowed on Monday. It was snowing big flakes, but didn't stick. Nonetheless, the kids were thrilled to see it snowing. It got me thinking about the one bout of snow we got last year and the layout I recently did of Chase in last years snow. Here it is:

Now, it's supposed to be freezing rain tonight. Not quite the same excitement in that, however. But we might luck out with a late start at school if it gets bad enough.

Besides the weather, not much is happening. Brian is enjoying the training he's getting this week at his new job, but he's excited for next week when he gets to hit the road with his FTO.

I'v been busy with all my things and just haven't had time to do much of anything, even scrapbooking. But since the new month starts tomorrow, I'll share with you the layouts I did (using old 2005 pictures) with the kits that will go on sale December 1st at The Christmas one is "Cloudy with a Chance of Flurries" and the Halloween one is "Halloween Spooktacular". Enjoy!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Today was a glorious day ...

It was *THE DAY* - Brian's swearing in. He has been so on edge the last few days as the reality of ending his job and starting a new one really hit him. But today was nothing short of wonderful. Mom, Dad, my Mom, her husband Jim, my friend Tammy, me and the kids all went to the swearing in ceremony in support of Brian.

It was a short ceremony, just a few short words to swear in Brian and the other new Officer, Sean.

I was called up to pin Brian's badge on his shirt and (thankfully) succeeded in neither sticking him with the pin (no small feat, I assure you as those pins are HUGE and dull and getting them through the shirt was difficult) or dropping the badge (as the other wife did ... oops!).

We stayed for a while and schmoozed , watched Brian sign his swearing in documents and then let him go start his new career.

Words can't even describe how proud of him I am. And how happy and proud he is of himself. We couldn't have done it without the support of all of those in our life. Your encouragement and support have not gone unnoticed. So thank you so much for helping us make this dream happen. We love you.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Going away party

For three days I've been holding the secret. For three days I've known that the people at his work were organizing a surprise going away party for Brian. And for three days it's all I think about when I look at him.

Yes, part of it is the secret. Brian and I just don't keep secrets, even good ones. We share everything and have troubles even saving gifts for one another. So for me to hold onto this for three days was agony for me.

The other part of it is the reality of it all. It hit me today while Brian and I were hanging out on the couch together - this is it. Tomorrow he's no longer a Deputy Sheriff. Monday he starts a new chapter of life. Something that we've hoped and worked towards for the last year is finally happening and it seems surreal. It's just such a huge change and it's almost unbelievable that it's finally happening.

The party itself went great. The kids were supposed to pop out of the closet and say "surprise" but they just sort of sauntered out and gave him a hug instead. Several co-workers came in on their day off or stayed 1 or 2 hours after getting off a 12 hour shift just to wish him luck and tell him how much they would miss him. We filled ourselves with pizza, cream puffs and fudge. They gave him this wonderful cake (it was SOOO yummy with super sweet frosting -- my fave!) poking a little fun at his new department.

But more than anything this party succeeded in making Brian feel important. He will go away from the Sheriffs Department knowing that he did his job, he did it well, and he made friends who will miss him when he's gone.


I am a sucker for a bargain. I love shopping sales and clearance, using coupons and feeling like I got the best deal possible on what I was buying. And I love the excitement of it all too, going into a store knowing that there are great deals and hoping I'm in time to get them. So Black Friday sales are right up my alley.

I'm at an advantage here because we're such a small community and have only one store to shop at. Cooincidentally that one store is the one I love to shop year after year, not only for their great deals but also because it's not flooded with shoppers. This year was no exception.

I got up bright and early at 4:50 so that I could be there when the store opened at 5:00. Zipped in and got a gift for Brian's mom at 1/2 price, some of the buy-1-get-1-free board games for Chase and his cousin Aaron, 40% off on a gift for my niece Ashley, $$ off on a gift for my nephew Josh, some decorative light-up snowflakes for the house at 50% off, 50% off flannel sheets for Carissa and piles and piles of my absolute favorite Black Friday item - 50% off socks.

I did this all at a liesurely pace, no running or shoving or unkind words from other shoppers. Walked right up to a register, no waiting. Was in and out within an hour with a much lighter wallet but bags of wonderful deals.

I LOVE Black Friday!!!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

This Necklace

This necklace wasn't always a necklace. It started out as a pair of earrings. Beautiful cultured pearl earrings purchased in China in 1959 by my Grandpa Imlah. He brought them home to Grandma who loved them and wore them. Years later she lost one of the earrings shopping in a department store in Salem. She had the remaining earring turned into this necklace. A simple pearl necklace, beautiful and elegant. And today she passed that necklace on to me. But more importantly she passed the story on to me, a story that means more than any piece of jewelry. A story of the journey of this pearl, of the love that caused it to be given to her, of the memories it carries. A story that one day I will add on to, with my own story of wearing this necklace at a memorable moment. And one day this necklace, and the stories attached to it, will be passed on to one of my children. Hopefully they will appreciate this gift as much as I do.

Happy Turkey Day!

Gobble, Gobble
Hope you don't wobble
Cause all the food that you ate

Now that it's done
We start all the fun
Of walking that turkey away

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

An Amazing Experience

As a Cub Scout activity one of our leaders organized a tour of a local design studio. I've lived in Scappoose for 4 years and didn't know anything about this studio. I'd never heard of it, barely even knew where the building was. But as soon as I arrived there I knew I'd been missing out.

The first thing I see when I walk into Michael Curry Designs was this:

I looked at it and said "Wow", and then I realized that it was Scar from the Lion King. I did a double take after that because I saw this:

Do you see it too? Do you see that thing under Scar's head? It's an EMMY!

I began the tour a little star struck by being in the midst of such greatness, but soon that turned into utter awe as I saw item after item.

It was then that they started explaining to us what they do. The make puppets - this I knew - but when you say puppets I expect little sock looking things that go on your hands. No way, this place makes PUPPETS. As in, all the puppets and characters for Disney. As in puppets and special effects for Broadway shows. As in theme parks and Vegas shows and people in China and other far away places. They come to Michael Curry when they need unique, highly artistic pieces for their shows or decor. It was unbelieveable!

My personal faves were all of the Disney items. Disney-freak that I am, I was even more struck to see it all in person. At the moment they were working on characters for the Lion King stage show at Disneyworld, including this Pumba. Someone sits inside the Pumba and can make his head turn, his nose move, his eyelids move, his mouth open, his tail twitch, his body to move forwards or backwards, to spin, etc. Everything you could possible imagine this Pumba would do. Along with Pumba was this giant Giraffe for the show. Again, someone sits inside and controls it all. We found these two in the mechanical department getting fine tuned before they are meticulously decorated and sent to their new destination.

I was surprised by how hands-on they allowed these scouts to be. They got to try maneuvering a few characters. Here's a picture of Tristan being baby Simba. This exact Simba (he head fur and feet once! LOL) was used in over 8,000 Broadway shows of "The Lion King" and they let the kids move his head and squeeze the triggers to make his mouth and eyes open and close.

After the tour of their main warehouse they took us into the secondary warehouse, which stores some of their older puppets. This one immediately caught my eye:

Cooincidentally, this is the puppet that won Michael Curry the Emmy award. It was used in the ceremonies of the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.

There were so many other wonderful puppets to see and I was awed by the talent and ingenuity. Such a wonderful, unique experience that I hope the kids will remember and cherish.


So, thanksgiving is coming. It's just 2 days away, yet I'm finding it hard to get in the spirit. It could be that Brian is working 12 hours and it's just not the same without him. It could be that celebrating thanksgiving on the Sunday after it just doesn't seem as festive. It could be the worry about money and healthcare and all of those things that are unknown with a new job. It could be the busy days that keep me from having time to think and plan. But whatever the reason, thanksgiving is almost here and I'm having a hard time finding the excitement for it.

Despite all this, however, I am thankful for many things.

I'm thankful for my family. We are happy, we are healthy, we love and support one another. They are the cornerstone of my life and I am thankful every day for them.

I'm thankful for Brian's new job. Yes, despite the money issues and the unknown about benefits, new coworkers, etc., I'm so thankful that he got this job. He has such an excitement about going to the road, about a new, well-equipped, family-friendly department, about being a police officer out on the street and serving our community. I know he'll be great at it and I'm thankful that he's found the position he has searched for.

I'm thankful for what we do have. It may not always be a lot, it may not always be everything we want, but it's everything we need. Family and friends and love and support and this wonderful house of our own and our pets and a safe neighborhood and great teachers.

There are so many reasons why our lives are wonderful and so many reasons to be thankful this thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Disney on Ice

What's as close to Disneyland as we're going to get for now? Disney on Ice - The Incredibles Visit Disneyland.

We took the kids to see the show and it was great! A couple of times there I got teary eyed with missing Disneyland, especially when the parade started. But it was fun to see the rides depicted on Ice and the kids enjoyed the storyline.

It was a great time and a good show, despite the fact that I got busted for taking photos (no photos allowed, though they didn't stop me until after I'd shot about 20 pictures, including those show here) and that the little boy one seat over from Brian decided to puke all over about 1/2 way through the show (ewwww ... it was gross and stinky). But it was a fun surprise for the kids and a nice evening for our family.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Joyous Moment

In the excitement of Brian's new job, I forgot to mention my little joyous moment. One of my friends had been in the metro area at stopped at a "Craft Warehouse" store. It's a chain of craft stores, similar to Michael's or Hobby Lobby. Well she was wandering the scrap aisles and what does she see - my layout staring back at her (the layout has my daughter, her daughter and 2 other preschool girls in it). Apparentely Craft Warehouse decided to take the page out of the idea book it was in and post it in their store. Not sure what made them do it, but it was certainly a surprise. I had to make a trip to the store to see it for myself and to get a few pictures. Of course, Carissa wanted in too since she was in the layout. Always the center of attention ... LOL.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Life has been a cycle of busy days. One after another they come and are filled with phone calls and meetings and activities. We're now in full swing with school and scouts and all the other things that entail. So life is busy. That's not an excuse for not posting, it's just the way it is. I haven't even sat at my scrap desk for 6 days. That's a huge lapse for me.

Yesterday we decided to take some family time and went to see "Santa Claus 3- The Escape Clause". We are huge fans of this series anyways, as I'm a sucker for Christmas movies and watch this several times each holiday season. This movie was another wonderful one, even better than the 2nd in my opinion (though none will be better than the first). We enjoyed all the Christmas scenery and music and happily munched popcorn and Halloween candy together. It was a great break from all the chaos.

There's really nothing new to report. School, Cub Scouts and Campfire (for Carissa) have taken over our life. Chase starts Basketball next month in a very relaxed, learning-oriented league. And, of course, Brian's new job looms over us all.

Conferences were last week and they went well.

Chase currently has all A's except for a B in handwriting. It's his first year getting real letter grades and he's very excited about it. So he's working hard to keep his grades up until the term ends. Doesn't hurt that he gets a mondo reward if he gets straight A's. He's aiming for that!

Tristan is doing well also. In advanced reading and enjoying that. Working hard on his handwriting too, though he's really improved on that a lot. He's making friends and really enjoys learning. He's a little organizationally challenged, as were I and Chase when we were his age, but he and his teacher have developed a "plan" to help with that and he's very dedicated to making it work. I must say that he's impressing me this year - he's so dedicated to doing his best. I love that.

Carissa is in Kindergarten so I don't know why I expect much when I go to her conferences, but I'm always disappointed by the lack of information I receive there. They don't do testing until next month so they don't even know where she's at. All I got was a "she seems to be doing well" and a comment about my daughter being emotional (gee, wonder where she gets that?!?). But *I* know that she's doing well and is reading easy words alone so I'm not worried. And the emotional thing ... she's the baby and has her brothers SOOOO buffaloed into doing what *she* wants and she just can't imagine why all the kids at school don't let her do that! LOL OK, seriously she's not that bad but I guess the teacher had to say something to me and that's what she chose.

OK, that's as much of an update as I have for now. Take care all.

Monday, October 30, 2006


Yes, it's the reveal of our big news. Brian has a new job! He will be working as an Officer for the Scappoose Police Department.

This has been a long process for us. He interviewed a while ago and finally got a call from the Chief on Oct. 10, when I posted the excited but vague message here. Since then he's gone through a background interview and investigation, and medical and psychological evaluations. We have stressed over the entire process, worrying that something would go wrong along the way, but today the Chief called to let him know that he passed and was good to go.

He has a public swearing-in ceremony on Nov. 27, which we are all excited to attend. He'll work with a Field Training Officer (FTO) until he leaves for the Academy in (probably) January. He'll be gone there for 16 weeks, though he will get to come home on weekends. He'll finish work with his FTO after returning from the Academy, but by next summer he will be patroling the streets on his own.

This is such an exciting move for Brian. He gets to abandon his dirt-brown uniforms and star badge in favor of Scappoose PD's black uniformas and shield badges. Plus, his current job as a Deputy with the Sheriffs Department just wasn't cutting it. He needed more than the mundane day-to-day life of the jail. So this is his chance to be on the road and making a difference in his community. And it doesn't hurt that he knows and likes the other Officers with the Scappoose PD.

So, thank you all for your patience. And thanks to those of you who knew and offered your support along the way. We truly appreciate it!
This weeks blog challenge: Tell about handed-down talents. What specific talents or hobbies did you learn from your parents, grandparents, etc.

I can think of a few things from childhood that I learned. I remember whistling with cut-grass, how you picked just the right piece and held it just right between your thumbs before carefully blowing into it. And by carefully I mean doing it *without* cutting your lip on the grass! LOL

I remember trying to learn rock skipping from Dad. We used to go innertubing, camping and fishing along nearby rivers during the summer months and my Dad was great at skipping rocks. I remember trying and trying and finally, after a while, I was able to skip rocks a few times over the river.

My Mom taught me to sew and to cross-stitch, as were the style at the time. She used to make me school clothes and I still have a teddy bear that I sewed when I was young. I don't sew much anymore (does sewing on scrapbook pages count?) but I could probably figure it out if I ever wanted to do it again.

We also canned as children. I remember peeling peaches and pears to can. And we made applesauce and canned apricots and other things too and then ate them all year long. I'm sure it seemed like a chore then but now it just seems like a neat little thing that we used to do together.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky

So, I decided to sneak a few of my projects from the November ScrapAddict kits. No reason why, just felt like sharing. And since I still can't share our exciting news yet (but it's in the works ... we're getting closer) I thought I'd share these layouts. Enjoy.

From the "Life's A Beach" altered kit.

From the "Out on a Limb" kit.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

In response to Linda M. ...

... who wanted to know when and where I've been published/will be published recently here is a list. I've had a total of 23 published/to be published layouts but I've only listed everything from this August forward. Here's the most recent stuff:

Scrapbooks Etc. – April 2007
“Rat Responsibility”

Scrapbook Trends – December 2006
“A Cherished Tradition”

Memory Makers Idea Book “Scrapbook Idea Gallery 7” – October 2006
“The Shelter of Good Friends”

Memory Makers Magazine – August 2006
“The Cyclone of Scrapping”

Simple Scrapbooks – July/August 2006
“My Peaceful Spot”

Memory Makers Idea Book “The Amazing Page” – June 2006
“The Path” (in book and on cover)

Monday, October 23, 2006


I've broken the Scrapbooks Etc. barrier! YEAH!!!

They called today and wanted a layout I'd made of Chase and his rat. Scrapbooks Etc. is one of 2 scrapbook magazines I haven't been in yet and my goal is to accomplish each magazine at least once. So watch out CK, you're next!

Sunday, October 22, 2006


This weeks blog challenge is this: Tell us what keeps you sane, what helps you relax, what relieves your stress. For me it's this:

My MP3. This tiny little thing keeps me sane. I secretly call it my Personal Sanity Device because at times that's what it is. When I'm having a bad day, when the kids get on my nerves, when I'm upset or sad, when I'm worried, I turn my music on and forget about it for a while. I drown out the kids bickering, I drown out the issues that have me stressed or the reasons that I'm sad and I just listen. And after a while listening turns into singing. And then singing turns into belting it out. And when I've reached that point I know that all is well with the world again.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Final Ride

Tuesday was Carissa's last riding lesson, at least for now. The choice came about for two reasons -- Carissa wanted to take a break and winter was upon us and her instructor doesn't have a covered arena. So this is her final ride.

I must admit that I was sort of sad about it all, especially after this lesson. It had all just kicked in for her. She had really gotten the rhythm and movements and was posting well on the lunge line. And she had just learned how to gather and ask for the trot on the wall. She was doing these things so well this last lesson and I hate for that progress to be lost.

But I respect Carissa's decision. Maybe one day, when she's a little older and more able to dedicate herself to something, she'll choose to ride again.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Descriptive Lists, Part 2

OK, here's the kids lists about themselves. Sometimes they are similar to mine, sometimes not. Now, I'm not sure that Carissa got what I was asking her to do, and Tristan had a pretty hard time with it. But they tried. Chase on the other had threw out 6 words really quickly and could have described himself in 100 words if I would have let him keep going! LOL

OK, here they are.

Likes Animals

Lazy (?!?)

Super Speller

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Descriptive Lists, Part 1

So, I decided to do another Blog Challenge on ScrapAddict. This one is to describe your children in 5 words and then to have them describe themselves in 5 words. Since the kiddos are all at school I'll do my part now and post their part later on.

Here's my descriptive lists for the kids.

Intense about things he loves

Mischievous (but in a fun way)


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

New pictures

I don't know why, but I'm sort of crazy about taking pictures of myself. I don't like others taking photos of me and rarely turn the camera over to Brian. So when I need photos for my Book of Me album I find a spot in the house and do self-portraits using the remote control for my camera. Anyways, thought it was time for me to do that again so I did. Here's the only 2 good photos from yesterday.

Holy Spelling List Batman

There's no denying that Chase is one smart cookie. This kid has always enjoyed school and found it very easy. And we finally found a teacher who encourages him to try harder and who gives him things that aren't too easy for him. She talked to me last week about giving Chase harder spelling lists that were more to his ability level. Here's some of the words on the list that came home yesterday:

proboscis (I'd never even heard this one and had to look it up to pronounce it! LOL)

Now keep in mind, Chase is in 4th grade. He's only 10 years old. These are some HARD words! But he soaked it all up like the smart little sponge that he is.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I know my message below was very cryptic, but I'm still not ready to share yet. I want to make sure it's a "sure thing" before I do. It's looking positive but not 100% yet so I'm going to hold off on the public announcement. Some of you already know what it's about but for those who don't rest assured I'll post it as soon as it's final.

In other news, we have no news. Our life is consumed with the discussion and worry about the item above. The kids are doing fine in school and all is going well around here.

Since I don't have much to say I think I'll post a few of my recent LO's.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My, how time has flown ...

And I'm not talking about the kids now. At least not my kids. I'm talking about these kids:

I was digging through photos today to use with the new "Cloudy with a Chance of Flurries" kit from ScrapAddict and came upon this beauty. Yes, that's me and my brother and sister back in 1979. I was 5 1/2, my sister Wendy was 8 1/2 and Jimmy had just turned 3. Weren't we cute? And check out those fashions and haircuts. Oh, and Jimmy's adorable boots. Love it! I can't believe this photo was taken 27 years ago! My, how time has flown ...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. Just when you think you've got life all figured out it throws you for a loop.

No details now, will share them if it all pans out.

And no, I'm not pregnant so don't even think it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Toothless Girl

It's happened, Carissa lost her first tooth!

Only last week we noticed that she had a wiggly tooth. She had taken a bite of Cloissine's apple and complained that it hurt her tooth. We looked at it then and noticed that it was wiggly.

This week she's been wiggling it a bit and it was getting more and more loose. And this evening Brian pulled it out! He said she was very brave and didn't cry or scream.

This left me with a little quandry. I always make the kids a "tooth pillow" when they get their first wiggly. Carissa and I had been to Wal-Mart just this afternoon to buy the material but I hadn't had time to make it. Yet here she was, 8pm and a tooth out of her mouth. So I set to work on it and had it made before bedtime. It was a bit of a rush but it turned out adorable and she loves it.

She headed to bed with her tiny bottom tooth safe in the pocket of her tooth pillow. She was thrilled when she woke up to a $5 bill from the tooth fairy.

Now she sports this little toothy grin just in time for Halloween.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Where has time gone?

It's flying by right now. I can't believe it's the end of Sept. already. School has been going for nearly a month. The boys birthdays have come and gone. Scouts has started for the boys and Campfire is starting next week for Carissa. We're fully immersed in the hustle and bustle of life.

After some ambivelance about where Brian's career was heading, we've come to a decision and that's made looking ahead to the future easier. I'm already starting to plan for what is next.

October is Halloween and I took the kids to get their costumes already. Chase will be Dr. Toxic (crazy scientist) complete with radiation green hair and eyebrows! LOL Tristan is a ghost with rattling chains and a scary mask. Carissa is going to be Aleta from Barbie Fairytopia. They're all adorable and so fitting for each child.

November is Thanksgiving. Brian's working 12 hours that day so, of course, no plans for that day. Nothing to plan for, nothing to do. *sigh* We'll probably celebrate early or late with a turkey dinner. Or maybe do a little one here in the 2 hours we get to see him before he heads to work.

December is Christmas and I've begun working on that too. Have jammies, books and a few toys for the kids. And I'm watching the sales ... I'm such a sale shopper and I LOVE shopping for all these Christmas gifties.

But besides holidays there is also the kids activities. Chase wants to try basketball this year and that starts in January. Tristan has been asking and asking to start martial arts so we may look into that for him. And Carissa is trying to decide between ballet, hula and gymnastics.

More activities, more plans, so much more life ahead of us. And while I may be overwhelmed with it at times I am truly loving the life I live.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Girl time rules!!!

Bek and I have returned from our scrap retreat. We had a GREAT time. We went with a group of 12 ladies, most of whom we didn't know, and stayed in a resort home in Sunriver. What a BEAUTIFUL place. The homes were gorgeous, the weather was nice, Sunriver was absolutely charming and it was just a great weekend.

We arrived Friday afternoon and did a little last-minute grocery (aka: chocolate and other munchies) shopping before heading to the house we were staying it. Bek and I were first to arrive and spent the first 1/2 hour in awe walking around this beautiful home. It was a 5 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath home, beautifully decorated and just absolutely perfect. We set up our tables and spread out our piles and piles of supplies and got to work. About an hour in we remembered that we hadn't picked up any alcohol. What's a girls weekend without a bit of girly drinks? So we headed to the store again for some alcohol. While buying our Mike's hard cranberry lemonade (yum) Bek and I got hit on by some toothless fellow, which made our day... or not. Apparently they aren't used to seeing too many girls or something because all the hunters there were gawking at us. And it isn't because we are such striking beauties either. It was just W I E R D. But we scored our alcohol and headed back to scrap the night away. We took a break to soak in the hot tub for a while. It was so relaxing and beautiful. 20 degrees outside but warm in the hot tub, absolutely clear skies and just filled with stars.

We headed to bed about 3:30 and sat up talking until 4am. Bek and I shared a room and I got to sleep in a bunk bed for the first time since I was 10 years old. Good thing it was sturdy! LOLSaturday morning we got up at 8:30 then decided to try to find the Sunriver Mall. Apparently the GPS was playing tricks on us because it kept making us go down a road, turn around, go down another road, turn around, go down another road, turn around, etc, etc, etc. But we finally made it to the mall to look around. We had coffee (or a vanilla steamer in my case, since I don't like coffee) at quite possibly the worst place ever. It was in a bakery with great pastaries but the man making coffee had NO idea what he was doing! Afterwards we went shopping at the used book sale, the little booths put up in the commons area and some of the nearby stores. I got a leather jacket for me and little red leather purse for Carissa. After shopping for a while we headed back to the house to scrap. We scrapped on and off through the day, enjoyed a few blenders full of frozen raspberry margaritas (so yummy!) and took another late night dip in the hot tub. We cleaned all of our stuff up before going to bed at 2:30 am.

We were up at 7am this morning and took off by 8:30am. We were both ready to get going but could have happily stayed one more day to scrap. We stopped by Trillium Lake (so beautiful!) near Mt. Hood and got a few great pictures there. Then we came home to our hubbies and kids. It was a great time and so relaxing and wonderful. I'm glad I went and had Becky there with me. Girl time rules!!!