Monday, February 28, 2011

Wacky Wednesday (Am I the only one Wacky?)

My job is really fun most of the time. The kids are great and I really enjoy teaching them. One activity we do every year is Wacky Wednesday. It's based off of the Dr. Seuss book of the same name. On this day we instruct the kids to dress up in their wackiest looks and we have wacky activities. For instance, we painted on paper taped to the wall and painted with toy cars, blocks, potato smashers, etc. Then we have a wacky snack... this year it was worms in dirt (gummy worms in pudding with smashed chocoalte graham crackers on top). Usually it's a really fun day... unless everyone forgets about it. And this year they did. It was in the monthly newsletter but by the middle of the month most parents had forgotten. So the only ones in our class dressed up for Wacky Wednesday were the teachers. So I looked rather ridiculous all on my own, dressed in pants with shorts on top of them, mis-matched socks, crazy hat and gloves and socks pinned all over my shirt. LOL Oh well, maybe next year it'll be wackier...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Having a hoot with her friends

I finally got off my duff and found a project for Carissa's birthday party with her friends. She invited a group of girls over for a crafting birthday party. They made these cute bottlecap necklaces to start out with, the moved on to our big project - these adorable little owls!

The girls worked really hard on their owls. They chose their fabrics then sewed the bellies and wings on. Next were the pupils and beaks, then the eyes. This took the girls a good amount of time, as it was the first big sewing project many of them had done.

Then they brought them to me and I sewed the edges together while they munched on cupcakes and cookies & cream ice cream. Finally it was time to stuff them and sew up the final edge. In the end, they left with these adorable little owls, each just a little different.
While several girls didn't show up for the party, the ones that did seemed to have a good time. I was so thankful for my mother, who stayed to help with the party. I couldn't have done it without her. Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Double Digits

Holy moly, I can't believe my baby is 10!

Carissa celebrated her birthday with family. That meant lots of pink, foofy girl wrapping. She got lots of craft kits, some of her favorite things right now, clothes and money for riding lessons and boots. She was happy to be the adorable little center of attention.

And had lots of fun with everyone. She chose nachos for dinner (though the rest of us had tacos) and enjoyed a bit of double-decker marble cake with chocolate frosting. All in all, a pretty great birthday for her... until she came down the flu the next day. Oops! Sorry for sharing the germs guys!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Back in the Saddle

Carissa has loved horses since she was little. She's not in the least bit afraid of them and took riding lessons when she was just a little tyke of 4 or 5.

She hasn't really ridden much since then but it's not for lack of trying. She has been asking and asking for a horse for years. Once she realized that wasn't going to happen she started asking and asking for riding lessons. I hoped it would pass, though I had a feeling that maybe it wouldn't (being a horse-crazy girl myself, I understand. I still love horses and want one of my own too).

When Christmas rolled around you know what she asked for... riding lessons. I figured it was about time she got them and Santa delivered, bring her some lessons. She got more lessons for her birthday and now rides twice a month and attends one horsemanship class a month.

First off is the prep work. Grooming, picking hooves and saddling up. She's working on it all but still needs help, especially with getting that saddle up on the horses back.

Then it was leading out to the arena for her ride.

Let me tell you, this girl is in heaven! When it's riding day she reminds me and reminds me and reminds me. I do have to say that I love the instructor and I love the horses and I love the smell of the barn and I love their soft little horse noses. But more than anything I love the smile on Carissa's face when she's riding.

That was the look on her face despite the fact that it was freezing cold outside (literally, it was freezing... it was maybe 30 degrees as a high this day). She rode on the lunge line for a bit, to get a feel for the horse again, and then started solo doing things like starting, stopping and weaving through cones.

Then it was on to the trot.

She is just thrilled to be back riding. I'm not sure how long she'll be able to do it, but she's definitely having fun while it lasts.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Crossing Over

Chase had an opportunity to participate in his second Crossing Over event, a ceremony in which Cub Scouts are officially transitioned over to Boy Scouts. The first time Chase himself was crossing over into Boy Scouts. The time, Chase was part of the ceremony.

To be part of the Crossing Over ceremony, you have to be a member of the Order of the Arrow. It's called the "honor society" of the Boy Scouts, but it's designed to help the older boys give more service to Scouting and to participate in activities aimed at the older boys. Chase was inducted into the Order of the Arrow last spring so this was his first year being eligible to help out at the ceremony.

Just a few weeks before Chase had gone to a special Order of the Arrow campout to start making the pieces of his Native American costume. He made the ribbon shirt, belt and medicine man bag and purchased the moccasins. The headpieces the boys used are all owned by the troop.

Chase served as the medicine man for the ceremony, beating the drum and keeping the time as they entered the gym.

He started the ceremony with a few words and then the other two boys seen here

began parading the boys around the room then up to Chase, where he drew the Arrow of Light on their forehead (this is something the boys earn as Cub Scouts before advancing to Boy Scouts).

Once the boys get their Arrow of Light they cross over a bridge and are welcomed by the Boy Scout troop. It was a great ceremony and a lot of fun to Chase on the other side of this. Giving back and being part of the magical ceremony that all Cub Scouts look forward to one day participating in.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Carissa has danced for the last few years, but this year she left her Dance 4 Fun class and instead chose to join Next Step, the new youth dance team in Scappoose. She had her first competition in January. It was quite a day.

We woke up bright and early (5:30am... *snore*) and rushed right to the local high school. Miss Riss had slept in her curlers all night, so she'd have curly hair to dance in. All morning long she looked like this...

The kids practiced once on the big gym floor and then loaded the bus for the ride to the competition. I went along as a chaperone and team Mom, but rode with my good friend Melinda.
Once we arrived the chaos was on. First up was practice on the competition floor. We got a whole 8 minutes per team. Scappoose has two teams, one for the younger elementary kids and one for the older. This is the adorable little kiddos of the Mini Makers team during their practice time.

After practice we headed back to our team rooms and grabbed some snacks to eat. After snacks it was time to start glamming these girls up. First was fitting costumes, which had just arrived and which hadn't yet been fitted to the girls. Then it was time for hair abd makeup. The girls did a good job of keeping themselves entertained while all us team Moms worked to get them all outfitted and ready to perform.
Next up was the makeup, and wowee, did we do it all! Carissa has hardly ever worn makeup, even at her dance recitals. A little bit of lipstick and blush, but that's about it. Well this was the full meal deal - everything from foundation and eyeliner, to bright eye color, glitter, lipstick and lots of blush. The first thing I told Carissa that this is NOT how we actually put on makeup. Can you imagine her looking like this every day? LOL

We took a break for lunch then came back to finish getting the girls ready. As soon as they were all done I snuck Carissa out into the hallway to get some photos of her all glammed up and ready to go.

All too soon it was time for the competition to start. The girls all sat down in the bleachers with the other teams to watch everyone perform.

The little teams went first but then came the division for Carissa's age. She was so excited to be out there and put on her best smile. She danced her little heart out!

Grandma Imlah and Grandma & Grandpa Pixley came to watch her dance, so she got to say hi to them both and later got back to our team room and found balloons, a t-shirt and some jewelry sent to her by them. She loved it! (Grandpa Imlah filled in for me at home today and spent it with Tristan playing video and board games and taking him to his basketball game. Thanks Dad!)

After their dance was over it was back to the bleachers to watch all the other teams dance. It was a long day of dancing, but they toughed it out.

In the end her team came in 6th (out of 6) in their division, but they had a great time and it was a good start for their fledgling team. After the competition was over I gathered them all together for this fun group pic.

We finally returned home at about 5:30pm. It was a long and grueling day but also a lot of fun!

Thursday, February 03, 2011


Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - Brian had just been transferred to the marine division and was scheduled to have the day off. In the end, however, he had a court case and then stayed at work for a jet ski training class that would never happen. I was at work myself, then came home around lunchtime.

A few hours later I got a call from a good friend. She asked if I had heard from Brian. Those words sent a chill down my spine, as her husband is in law enforcement and we both know that that question can't mean good things. I told her I hadn't and she asked if I'd heard what was happening in Rainier. It was then that I learned that Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter had been shot and killed in the line of duty.

I admit that I was numb for a while. I talked to her on the phone for a few minutes more and then got off. I sat around for a bit as the news sank in. I tried to give Brian some time, knowing that since he was on duty he was probably there on the scene. I eventually gave in and texted him, just wanting to hear from him that he was alright. He called back a little later to tell me that he was indeed alright physically, though you could tell that emotionally he was not. Brian truly liked and respected Chief Painter and to have to deal with his death was a heartwrenching and horrible thing.

In the end, I was very thankful that Brian was okay, but we were both entirely saddened by the horrific loss of such a wonderful man and public servant. It was a very difficult time for a while. We both came to face with the reality that someday that could be Brian, that his life could be lost in duty and that, despite the quiet county we live in, the life of a cop is a dangerous one.

10 days later I rode with Brian in the procession for Chief Painter. The procession took 20 - 30 minutes to pass and stretched at least 10 or 15 miles long. There were hundreds of officers and fire fighter there to pay their respects to Ralph.

The outpouring of support from people in all the communities we rode through was just awesome. On nearly every sign in every city were messages of rememberance for Chief Painter.
Schoolchildren from across the county came out from class and stood on the roadside in respect. Boy Scouts from Chase's school dressed in their uniforms and formed an honor guard, holding an American flag and standing at attnetion for the length of the whole procession. What got me most were the little kids with their hands over their hearts and the big men in hard hats, holding them over the hearts with tears in their eyes. It was touching to know that Chief Painters sacrifice was appreciated and respected so much in the eyes of the community.

The procession started just outside of Rainier but ended at the University of Portland. Just before entering the University we passed under and American flag strung between two firetruck ladders.

Portland firetrucks were posted along the road, all firefighters standing at attention

and the Patriot Guard, lining both sides of the street with flags.
The memorial was was filled with the solemness of the occasion. Family photos were especially difficult for me, partly because there were pictures of some of his grandkids, who were in my preschool class a few years ago, but also because of his love of Disney and all the happy photos from there. The bagpipes truly tugged at my heartstrings. Hearing them play Amazing Grace broke my heart. But it was the final call out that really got me - when the radio calls out the Chiefs call number, gets no response, calls again, still no response, and then calls out his end of watch. Even now thinking of it brings me to tears. I never want to have to hear the last call out for my own husband.
I've got to admit, I've been TERRIBLE about posting on the blog lately. It's now basketball season and I've got 2 boys playing with seven total practices a week and three total games a week. Then there's Carissa's dance team, riding lessons, Taekwondo for all three and Boy Scouts. Needless to say, it's been difficult just to find enough time at home to do the laundry or the dishes.

I don't have much to share in the way of pictures right now, so I'll share layouts instead! Over Christmas break I rekindled my spark with scrapbooking. I've already done 12 pages this year. Wahoo! Anyways, here's some of my recent work. Thanks for looking.