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.