Friday, December 23, 2011

Zoo Lights

Brian's parents got us a zoo membership last Christmas and purchased the upgraded version, which comes with tickets to ZooLights.  We hadn't been to ZooLights since the kids were really tiny.  I remember strollers and babies, so it was a really long time ago.  Now that we had free tickets I thought it was time to visited again.

I did my research and visited the zoo website for information.  The website said that the parking lot usually fills up by 5:30pm on busy nights.  We were going a Thursday night, so I wasn't worried about it being too busy.  We left the house at 4:15, figuring we'd be at the zoo by 5:00.  Well, by the time we reached the zoo at 5:09, the parking lot was closed and full.  Oh joy.  We looked for a spot anyways, but it was 20 minutes wasted wandering around those lots.  We finally went to the alternate parking a mile away and found a spot, then waited in line for the bus.  By the time we finally got to the gate of the zoo it was 6:00. 

The one bright spot of the whole endeavor is that our upgraded zoo membership gave us a super short line and we didn't have to wait in the really, really, really long line at the ticket counters. 

The first thing we enountered was this big penguin.  Carissa saw it and wanted a photo with it, so here she is....

We then walked down into the zoo, where I made the kids pose for more photos...

We then just wandered the zoo, looking at all the lights and the beautiful displays.  Here's a few of my favorites...

It was a pretty cold night, so we stopped and got hot cocoas to share.  We saw almost all the lights, though had to skip the train ride around the zoo, as the line was 1 1/2 hour long!

We spent about an hour at the zoo and then left, snapping a photo of the sign on our way out.

The shuttle bus driver informed us that it is this busy every night of ZooLights, so I think that may mean it's out for us for a while.  It's definitely not Brian's cup of tea, but I'm happy that we were able to go and enjoy a festive evening together.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


Yes, I've been absent from my blog for some time now.  There are many excuses but it really comes down to life getting in the way.  The blog just isn't my priority when I've got all those other things going on, but I'm going to keep plugging away at it, even if it's more sporadic than I'd like.

The big news, for me at least, is that I got a new computer!  My old one kept crashing on me and one day it just ceased to work.  Thank goodness for my good friend Melinda and her husband, who suggested getting a hard drive with a daily backup.  I am so thankful for that backup!  The only thing I lost in the crash was my email contacts, and that I can live with.

Here's the other big news...

That is Chase with his new drivers permit!  He's pretty excited about it.  I, on the other hand, drove with him yesterday for the first time and am less excited about it.  Teaching a kid to drive is scary!  Here's hoping I love through it all! LOL

Friday, November 04, 2011


In our house you stop getting Halloween costumes once you reach middle school, after which you need to use your own ingenuity to make a costume from what we have.  Tristan did just that, using his clothes and assorted props (with the help of an old t-shirt, which I cut and sewed into his little hat) and became Shadow Link.  Some sort of Legend of Zelda character... don't ask me for more information because I have no idea!

You may remember seeing similar photos of him, only in green, last spring on the blog, when he dressed up as original Link for character day at school.

Chase had some friends stop by so he decided to throw on a quick outfit and head out with them.  I have no photographic proof of it, but he went as Shadow... I think another Legend of Zelda character.  Yes, it's popular in our house right now.

With Tristan's advent to middle school, we had only one costume to buy this year.  Carissa decided early on that she wanted to be Red Riding Hood, but she was pretty specific on what she liked and didn't like.  I offered to make her a tulle skirt to go with this, but she adamately refused, saying that she doesn't like tulle skirts anymore.  She was also insistent on having a long cape, not the short cape found with most Red Riding Hood Costumes.  So in the end we pieced this together.  The cape was for an adult but I cut it down to size for her.  The skirt was hers already (score!) and the button up collared shirt was a thrift store find.  I made the apron for her and bought her the boots (which she now wears to school and horse riding lessons as well).  In the end, she was beautiful and unique.  It really was just the perfect costume for her!

Oh, and not to be forgotten... here are our Jack-O-Lanterns this year.  Chase made the funny face, Carissa made the evil cat and Tristan made the ghost and flames.  Oh, the little Mickey head pumpkin was Carissa's too.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

In this moment...

... these two get along.  It doesn't last very long... in another breath it's all over and they are annoying each other once again.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Summer Wrap Up

Yes, I know summer is long gone.  I have been absolutely jammed with back-to-school, work and photography.  I am thankful that it's all working out and I truly love doing it all, but it's been hard to juggle the needs and wants of my family, my work and my photography.  I'm hanging in there though and feel good that I'm currently caught up on it all.  YEAH!

Now comes the time for a bit of a close to summer by posting some photos left over from our summer fun. 

In no particular order...

Carissa and the boys were all cast in a movie called "Pageant Girl" that was filmed here in Scappoose this summer.  It's definitely not a Hollywood Blockbuster - it will be lucky to make it to a film festival somewhere.  They didn't allow us to film on set so I got nothing of the boys, who both spent about 6 hours on set as extras.  Carissa, however, was part of the pageant scenes, which called for paparazzi - thus I was allowed to take photos.  Here's a shot of her and a friend from the neighborhood, Jami, while they were waiting to go on set as well as one of her on set with all the other pageant girls.

 The boys went to Camp Parson's this year for their Boy Scout summer camp.  I wasn't needed as a chaperone so I didn't go, however I did snag a CD with photos on it that someone else had taken.  There's another set that I'm looking for that show the boys bouldering and rock climbing, but this set has a few that I kept for their scrapbooks.  Parson's is up on Hoods Canal in Washington and is one of the premier scout camps.  It was quite a wonderful week for them!
 Tristan is in the grey sweatshirt above.

Chase has the opportunity to go on the Boy Scout 50-miler this summer, however because the snow still hadn't melted all the way they couldn't make the 50-mile trail.  Instead they did 30 miles of backpacking through the wilderness and had a pretty great time.

Here they are just ready to take off. 

And here they are along the trail.

 One of the motorcycle club events this summer was a family picnic at the Indigo Ranch, an animal rescue organization that the club has done fundraisers for.  The kids really liked the alpacas and got to feed them, even though they were a bit timid.
 We went to Pacific City and stayed at the cabins this summer.  We didn't have a chance to go last summer and missed it, so we made a point to do it this year.  On the way we finally decided to stop at the falls... unfortunately I can't remember the name of the falls right now!  We always see the sign when we're driving 101 south of Tillamook and this time we just decided to go for it.  It was a great little hidden place with a short trail to the falls.  The kids ran ahead...
 When we got to the falls we took all sorts of photos...
 Then I set the camera on a fencepost and put the timer on.  I love this camera!  I set the timer so it would take a series of photos about 10 seconds apart.  We got some good smiling ones, but this silly one was my favorite.
 Then we turned around and headed back to the van.  The kids went at a run.  I, however, did not! LOL
 While at Pacific City we had our traditional dune climbing race.  Little Miss Rissa has been the victor for the first 3 years we held it, as she could scramble up the dune faster than her brothers.  This year there was a new winner... Tristan!
 After the dune climb we all go to the west side of the dune and climb up along the side of the ocean.  We ignore the signs (which apparently many others decide to "correct" by peeling off the extra word)...
 ... and g0t a little closer to the water.  I didn't climb down there with them but stayed at the top to take photos.
 After that adventure we went down to the beach and looked at the tidepools (which were mostly covered with water, as it wasn't low tide).  Chase decided to climb atop one of the rock formations there.  I love this picture of him!
 While we were in Pacific City, it was Tristan's birthday.  He awoke to a little birthday banner, a breakfast of donuts and ...

... an early morning Twinkie birthday cake!
 One of his presents started making noise and when he opened it he found out why... it was a cell phone!  He was so excited! 
 We made the requisite stops at the Tillamook Cheese Factory while in the area (twice!).  I go for the cheesecurds (yummy!), Brian goes for the ice cream (double scoop of Caramel Toffee Crunch in a waffle cone) and the kids go for it all!  We watched them make and package the cheese and then went back downstairs for ice cream.  Since it was Tristan's birthday, he got his unrestricted choice of cones and scoops.  He went for his favorite, Grandma's Cake Batter, in a chocolate dipped, peanut sprinkled waffle cone. 
 Before we left I made the kids pose for me for some cheesy tourist photos...

 That's it in a nutshell.  Summer is over and I'm already lamenting the loss of warm and sunny. But you know what comes next... CHRISTMAS!!!