Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

We had a lovely Christmas Day. With Christmas being on Sunday this year, it made for a little bit different schedule than usual but it was a very nice day. I got the boys up early--at least they thought so--although not nearly as early as they used to get us up when they were younger. I made breakfast for everyone and then we opened our gifts. I had come across hot chocolate with CWU, Clark and Army labels on them so I couldn't resist getting them for the boys for this photo op. They advertised them as red, blue and gold on the labels but I didn't truly believe it until I opened one to make some. It really was gold hot chocolate.

I got Chris another Clark College sweatshirt, a book by Kissinger that he wanted, and the big gift was a ride along with the Vancouver Police Department that I had purchased at an auction. I'm not sure it is a good idea but Chris does have an interest in law enforcement so a friend recommended that he do a ride along. A few days later, they had one for auction at the Rotary Gala. It was perfect timing and I was as excited to buy it for him as he was to get it.

Tom and I are going clothes shopping today for his Christmas gift from us. But he got a beautiful Aaron Rodgers Super Bowl jersey from Maddy and he has been wanting a cookbook that Grandma Bev has for cooking some meals at school--so that is what he got to open yesterday.

After we opened gifts, we went to church with Grandma Beverly. It was a fun service with the focus of the service being on the children and the children's story. They played a great video of "The Christmas Story" as told by some pre-schoolers from Portland a few years ago. It was hysterical. And the kids in church were pretty funny with what came out of their mouths as well.

When we got home, Chris took off in search of a homeless person. The youth group at church purchased items and put things together to give to the homeless. Chris spent about $70 on various things like food, socks, hats, gloves, handwarmers, etc. He found a man named Michael to give his gift to and they prayed together.

Tom gave us "The King's Speech" as a family gift. It was a wonderful movie to share with Grandma Beverly to watch together in the afternoon. Then we had a lovely lamb dinner and watched the Packers beat the Bears.

It was a wonderful day to be together. This Christmas reminded me that it won't be long before we won't all be together for Christmas. I suspect Tom will probably be able to come home for Christmas while he is in Pensacola next year--but probably not much after that. I must try to remember to cherish all my time together with him over the next few months before he goes off into the Air Force. While seeing him infrequently while he is at school has eased me into it, I am going to miss having him only a few hours away.

Hoping you all had as nice of a Christmas as we did.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Big Horn Brass Concert and After Party

The past two years our friends, Steve and Jeannie, have recommended that we see the Big Horn Brass Christmas concert and have invited us to the party that they give after the concert. It is always close to the time Jeannie has her birthday so it is sort of a combination birthday and Christmas celebration. Last night was actually her birthday. The concert was very good with a lot of Christmas music--two hours worth plus a half hour intermission. There was a vocalist by the name of Karla Harris that really rocked the house on the four songs that she sang with them. We even sang Happy Birthday to Jeannie after the intermission.

They wanted me to take pictures of their trees and of them in front of their tree so I happily obliged. Their tree is actually three trees all together in the same corner and it was amazing with huge bulbs and lots of lights. It was definitely a stunning tree display. It was so tall I couldn't take a picture of the whole tree from the front--not enough room to backup and get the whole tree in the picture. The only way I could get a decent picture was going upstairs and taking a picture looking down at it.

Last year they had the Dickens Carolers sing and I was so disappointed that I didn't have my camera. I wanted to make sure I had it this year to take pictures. They were there again this year and sang three different sets of music. After they were done, three doctors got together with the piano, a bass and a trumpet and played more music. So it was fantastic listening to three different groups play music all in one night.

We had a wonderful time!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Reason for the Season

The Grotto in Portland has held a Festival of Lights for many years. I have always thought it would be a fun holiday thing to do but have never gotten around to going to it. This year we decided not to go to the CAA holiday party and just spend the evening on our own for a real date. So I asked Bill to take me to the Grotto to see the lights.

It was a very nice experience. It truly is one of those Christmas displays that are about the true reason for the season--Jesus' birth. The lights were beautiful and many portrayed the Christmas story. In the Grotto itself, they had a life size nativity scene. We listened to an amazing girls choir in the chapel.

Afterward, we went out for a bite to eat and some drinks to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our church wedding. Between the Army-Navy game, the Grotto and Applebees--we had a very nice day together.

Army Navy Game Party

Bill and I made our usual appearance at the Army-Navy game party this year. It was held at Big Al's in Beaverton for the second year in a row. Usually we go with our friends, Jeff and Julie, but they were out of town so we went on our own. As usual, Army lost again--tenth year in a row. But at least it was a closer game than usual. Hopefully they can win next year.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Gala

Bill and I went to the Festival of Trees Gala tonight. It was a fun evening. The economy must be doing at least a little bit better this year. The last few years have been very painful trying to get people to raise their bids. This year they were able to raise a lot of money. Several trees even sold for close to $2000 or more. I was so excited to get one of Christopher's Christmas gifts in the silent auction. It is something that he really wants right now so it will be hard to keep it a secret until Christmas. Bill arranged to have Ken Daswani donate a suit to the auction so he had a lot of fun all week planning what to do with the mannequin. He photoshopped a bunch of guys' heads to put on it through out the evening. I was able to get a few pictures of them with their mannequin pictures. I loved when Nancy went to give "Eric" a kiss. And as always--the trees are beautiful.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Festival of Trees

One of our Thanksgiving holiday traditions is going to the Festival of Trees. Bill is a member of Rotary and everyone participates in it in some form or fashion. Bill has been in charge of judging the last several years and has played Santa as well. This year his participation included his usual judging responsibilities, making a video advertisement and presenting the video contest submissions on Sunday afternoon. He also was Santa for a photo shoot done in August to help advertise the event which is what the Santa in the airplane pictures were for.

As usual the trees are beautiful. They do a nice job of nestling the trees among the vintage aircraft at the Pearson Air Museum. Next Saturday, we will be going to the gala where they will sell them.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


We had a nice day. Chuck arrived Tuesday night. Tom got here last night. He had a little bit of a challenge getting home. He and Maddy were stuck on I-90 for about 3 hours Tuesday night waiting for the freeway to open over Snoqualmie Pass due to the snow. He came from Seattle to Portland on the bus yesterday.

I had to work last night and then Tom and I visited until the wee hours of the morning so it was a little bit hard getting up this morning but I didn't want to miss the Packer-Lion game. And thankfully they won and are 11-0 now. Yippee! Bill and Chuck did a little hiking in the rain while we watched the game.

Chuck and I teamed up to make the turkey dinner. All and all it was a nice day but exhausting. Ready to go to bed now. Night all!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Senior Vigil

Tom participated in his fourth Veterans Day parade in Ellensburg this year. But as a senior, he also participated in the Senior Vigil--a 24 hour vigil over a POW/MIA display. Nine out of the twelve seniors participated. They took turns in 15 minute shifts so they basically had to do one 15 minute shift every hour. So he was up the whole 24 hours plus. And the display was outside so it was cold.

They started right after the parade on Veterans Day--at noon--and went until noon the next day. They had a lot of visitors. Tom happened to be on at 11 p.m. on 11-11-11 shift. An Air Force veteran stopped by and gave Tom and another cadet his second lieutenant bars. Tom said that a Vietnam veteran broke down in front of the display for quite awhile.

So proud of Tom and his classmates for honoring our veterans and our war veterans in particular in this way.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Annual Veterans Day Celebration

We were invited to the Canby Pub and Grill for our annual Veterans Day celebration with Jeff and Julie. There were about 18 of us at dinner last night. Jeff and Julie wore their vintage uniforms as they always do. Jeff wore a new uniform to his collection--a 1922 Navy dress uniform. Julie wore a Navy WAVE uniform from World War II. We had a very nice time getting together with them and their other veteran friends.

Friday, November 11, 2011

An Evening with John and Caprial

I have to admit--until recently I had never heard of John and Caprial Pence. That probably shocks those people who love to watch cooking shows. But I never had seen their show. One of my co-workers has gone to several of their classes and has talked about them a lot. It has surprised me how many people actually know who they are because I had never heard of them.

But they live here in the Portland area and used to have a restaurant here. Alex invited the nursing informatics team to go with them to the class last night-an Italian celebration dinner. Laura and her husband came with us as well. It was fun to watch them cook and explain how to make your own pasta and ricotta cheese and everything else that they were making. They had lots of tips for making radicchio less bitter, making less lump sauces and things like that as well. The dishes were fabulous. But so rich. I was so so full for hours after we left.

It was fun to have a little brush with celebrities for an evening.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Veterans Parade

One of the things that I love about Vancouver is how much they value the contributions of our veterans. We have had a big Veterans Parade here in Vancouver for the past 25 years. In years past, we have also had big hangar dances in the evening. That portion of the celebration has gone by the wayside in the past few years but the parade continues to be as big a deal as ever. Reenactment groups like the 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry and the Buffalo soldiers, various veterans groups, car clubs, bands, and just about every Girl Scout and Boy Scout troop in the County participate.

Every year it is either rainy and/or cold but there are always more than 100 units in the parade with about 2500 people marching in it. It last about two hours. So it is a long time to stand in the cold and the rain. But the fact that so many people march in it and come to view the parade is such a tribute to this community and I am proud that it supports our soldiers and veterans in this way.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall Flowers and Pumpkin Carving

Just out looking for something interesting to take photos of. Went to Fort Vancouver and saw that the flowers in the gardens were still in bloom.

Sunday afternoon and evening we were invited to Jim and Cindy's home for a pumpkin carving party with their family. We got to eat a delicious chili dinner as well. Great to see friends and enjoyed seeing them work on their creations. I kept my hands clean and just took pictures.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Cold Dip in the Ocean

Chris went on a youth group retreat last weekend. The highlight of his weekend was swimming in the ocean. That would not have been my choice--in the summer the water is way too cold much less in the fall. I got a kick out of the getup the pastor and another youth leader got into to lead the charge into the ocean.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Sherrill had her retirement ceremony at a hotel on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on Setpember 22, 2011. Her official retirement date was the end of September. She went on active duty in 1985 after graduating from UW-Eau Claire. She was on active duty for several years before transitioning to the reserves. She attained the rank of a full bird colonel in 2007. She received her second oak leaf cluster Meritorious Service Medal and a flag that was flown in honor of her retirement in a C-17A Globemaster from the 89th Airlift Squadron of the 445th Reserve Wing at Wright-Patterson. Dad and Shirley went to be with her for her ceremony as well as Jeff's parents.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Meeting Miss America

Bill and I went to the Vancouver Symphony yesterday to hear Katie Harman-the 2002 Miss America-perform. She did three arias in Italian, German and Czech as well as some Gershwin and Kern tunes. She did a beautiful job. The second half of the concert was Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 Op. 47.

Last night, we were invited to the home of some friends for a sitdown dinner for 30 to meet Katie. She is just as beautiful inside as she is outside. She was so cordial and gracious to everyone at the party. Dinner was fabulous. It was an Italian theme with a shrimp appetizer, chicken cattiatore, polenta and green beans for the main course, a green salad, and tiramisu for dessert. I got to meet some new people and had wonderful conversations over dinner. And we got to enjoy another mini-concert by some of the symphony members after dinner. It was a very nice afternoon and evening to enjoy music, fine dining and warm conversation.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Birthday Celebration

I was a little worried about how my day started. I had such a bad headache all night and spent the morning feeling miserable and nauseated. Luckily by mid-morning things started to turn around and I started feeling better.

I got lots of cards from family and friends. I got a bottle of wine from my friend, Annette. My friend, Jill, bought me lunch. I had treats on my desk and then dinner out with my family and cake at home. I turned out to be a much better day than I anticipated.

I actually started out my birthday celebrations on Sunday by going out to lunch with my friend, Colleen, and going to see "Bridesmaids" with her. It was quite a movie. A lot more raunchy than I thought it would be but very funny.

So now--one more year til the big one. I'll have to enjoy my 40's while I can.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Getting Ready to Join the Penguin Nation

We celebrated Chris's 19th birthday today. He made his cake--confetti--and requested Chinese for dinner so that is what we did. I gave him a photo album of his pictures from middle school and high school and a Penguin sweatshirt. I was pleased that he liked it so well. He also worked on a job application all day. They are offering a college internship position to work with the youth group at church. Hoping he can get that. I think it would be a good experience for him.

So in less than a month, he will be starting school at Clark College. Our friend, Bob Knight, who is the president of the college coined the phrase "Penguin Nation". So Chris will be joining Oswald and the rest of the Penguin Nation soon. He got signed up for classes in July. Yesterday we went to take care of paying tuition, getting an ID card, bus pass and books. So he should be pretty well set. He'll be taking English 101, Sociology 101, a career exploration class and fencing. So it should be a pretty good schedule to ease into college life.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Silver Wedding Anniversary

It is hard to believe that I have been married 25 years. Bill and I had a lovely weekend. We struggled for a long time trying to figure out how we were going to celebrate this milestone. We've talked about doing an Alaska cruise but never got around to planning it. We talked about Friday Harbor but I looked at lodging there and it has gotten to be so expensive to go there. We've never been to Vegas. I even joked that we could renew our vows at some wedding chapel there but going this time of year isn't very appealing--way too hot. Plus with having to take care of Beverly, we couldn't do anything really far away or long. So we finally settled on an overnight trip to Walla Walla. We were last there five years ago on a three day marathon winetasting tour. So we decided to go back and maybe try to see a few other things.

I booked a room at the Marcus Whitman Hotel-a lovely old historic hotel that was built in 1928. I figured that we may as well go for the best place in town for our anniversary. And it was actually very reasonable compared to our trip to Chelan. We flew over yesterday morning and arrived just in time to eat at the restaurant at the airport. There are a whole bunch of wineries located right on the airport and we figured we had better eat before we start doing any winetasting. After lunch we went to Le Chateau and Tamarack and bought a couple of bottles of wine. It had already gotten pretty hot there though so walking around the airport wasn't fun anymore and we decided to call the hotel shuttle to pick us up. We were there too early to get into our room so we explored downtown a little bit but again--it was so hot that we ducked into a wine bar and had a glass of wine while we waited for our room to be ready.

After laboring long and hard to try to find some place to eat based on the recommendations we were getting, we finally decided to eat at the hotel restaurant. It was a little expensive but was so good. Everything we ordered from martinis, appetizers, entries and desserts was absolutely wonderful. If you are interesting in seeing what the hotel looks like (I didn't get very good pictures), here is the website Marcus Whitman Hotel.

After breakfast this morning, we headed back home but had to make a detour because the weather was so bad here at home. We landed in Hood River with very high winds. Luckily, the airport FBO had a courtesy car so we went to downtown Hood River to walk around and have lunch while we waited for the weather to improve. Three and a half hours after we landed, we were finally able to take off again and things had improved enough that we were able to land in Vancouver without problems.

So we had a lovely weekend to celebrate our landmark anniversary.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Love-Today, Tomorrow, Forever

Went to our friend Cindy's wedding yesterday at her new home with her husband, Jim. Cindy is a long time friend of Bill's from when he was at West Point. Her dad was the officer/instructor assigned as the sponsor for the fencing team so he knew her whole family and spent a lot of time in their home. Cindy was about 15 years old at the time but she would practice fencing with the team and they considered her their little sister.

Her dad's last duty station was here in Vancouver so her parents retired here. We even lived just around the corner from them for awhile but didn't know it until after they had already moved. Somehow, Jonathan found out that we lived here and contacted us when Cindy and her children came up to visit from Honduras several years ago. We reconnected again about four years ago after Cindy moved here with her children in the process of divorcing her husband. Bill has really enjoyed reconnecting with her and I have enjoyed becoming closer friends with her as well over the past few years. Hearing her stories about her twenty years living in Honduras are fascinating to me. It is such a different world than we live in.

She is legally blind and has struggled to find her way--trying to find a job for over three years and trying to sort through dealing with her blindness, some cancer issues and her divorce and custody issues. But things have finally started to come together for her. She went to Lion's World in Little Rock, Arkansas about a year ago to get training to work as a blind person for the IRS. She really lucked out by getting an assignment in Portland so that she could come back here to live again. She has known Jim for several years now and they have fallen in love and decided to get married.

The marriage ceremony took place in their backyard. Cindy looked beautiful in her blue dress and it was a very nice ceremony. We haven't seen much of her or Andrea and Daniel in the last year so it was fun seeing them again. And I have seen Laura once but have never really met her so it was nice to talk to her for a little bit as well. Louise enjoyed telling our boys stories about their dad and the other cadets from when she knew him as well as some other Army life stories.

Our best wishes go out to Jim and Cindy as they start their married life together.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Old Firehouse

They had a fireman theme at the fair this year. That is why there are fireman pictures on the layout of Chris from the barn. They had a really cool exhibit of vintage fire wagons and trucks--over 40 in all. I loved seeing all the old fire wagons from the 1800's and the shiny well restored trucks. There was even a brand new 2011 truck. The display was to honor all firemen but especially those that lost their lives on 9/11.

Last Year at Fair

Now that Chris has graduated from high school, this was his and Ranger's last year at the fair. His heart wasn't really in it this year. But he stuck with it. He debated whether he even wanted to go to fair or not but I convinced him that he might regret it someday if he didn't. He didn't do quite as well this year because of it. Plus they had a really tough judge that didn't give as many blue ribbons. Chris had already decided he wasn't going to go to state fair this year anyway but it was still a little disappointing to me that he ended on a less than good showing. So now Ranger just gets to be our pet and doesn't have to endure poking and prodding and having to sit still (not that he ever did anyway) on the fitting and showing table. I'm glad we got to experience 4H as an organization. We learned a lot more about rabbits and it was a good experience over all.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A New Beginning

Bill and I went to Kristin Guest's wedding last night. Her mother, Colleen, and I have been friends for over 15 years and during those early years, we spent time with the children as well. The last several years have consisted of being limited to just going out to dinner on our birthdays. So while I haven't known Kristin more recently, I knew her as a little girl and vicariously through my conversations with her mother. I wish her and David all the luck in the world for their future happiness.

It was nice to see Colleen. She was very happy. She and Michael looked very nice all dressed up for the occasion. Colleen is my friend that had a stroke in January. I keep hoping that she will regain more use of her right arm and to be able to have conversations with her again some day like old times.

The wedding sort of reminded me of my own wedding 25 years ago. It was a relatively small gathering-maybe a little bigger than ours, the groom is in the army and they had their reception in a community center like we did. Only a few more weeks until our anniversary. While this is a picture take in May--it is appropriate for our anniversary. We are still in "Luv in the Couv".

Monday, August 1, 2011

Waste Your Life

I have to admit. I don't understand why the youth group chose "Waste Your Life" as the theme for their mission trip this year. It made no sense to me. It is based on Mark 8:35-"For whoever wants to hold on tightly to their life will lose it, but whoever gives their life away for me and for the good news will find it." The idea is that Christ gave so much of his love that he could waste it on us and that we should give of ourselves to the point that our love is wasted as well.

The youth group from Columbia Presbyterian Church took 51 youth and adults to New Orleans to work on houses destroyed by Hurricane Katrina as part of Project Homecoming. They were in New Orleans during the heat of the summer--July 16-23. Chris decided to go on this trip awhile ago. He worked at the fundraising auction that helped with the cost of the trip and had to come up with some money on his own for the rest of the cost.

They went to the Garden District their first night there to have Creole cuisine at Frankie and Johnny's. Chris said he got the alligator nuggets there and enjoyed them. They got to experience two different kinds of churches--a Presbyterian church and a gospel Methodist church on Sunday. And the warm Southern hospitality of both those congregations. They also went to the French Quarter a couple of different times to go to Cafe du Monde for coffee and beignets, see St. Louis Cathedral and shop. One night they went to a bayou near where they were staying and got to see an alligator.

The main purpose of their trip was to work on houses. Chris worked on a house in the Lower Ninth Ward that was nearly finished. Some groups also worked at getting a school ready by painting and moving books, worked with some children, and at a food bank in addition to working on houses. The devastation is still pretty significant. There are many houses that are completely gone. Some that are finished by groups like Project Homecoming and Habitat for Humanity. One can question God's plan when seeing that kind of devastation but Christopher did see the good that came out of it. How people come together when bad things happen. So he felt it was a worthwhile trip and also enjoyed getting to know some of the kids in the youth group better.

If you are interested in a more in depth review of what they did, the minister and a mom wrote a blog while they were down there-Waste Your Life.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The New Library

I took Beverly to see the new library today. Bill and I got a glimpse of it a few months ago at a Chamber of Commerce event before they started putting bookshelves, computers and artwork in and I was impressed with it then. Seeing it completed was even more impressive.

The first floor includes a big community meeting room, a computer classroom, lots of computers to use for looking for books or the internet, a teen center with that includes video games, youth books and computers, and will have a coffee shop. The third floor is the children's floor and includes a really cool children's museum/play area and a children's activity room. The fourth floor is the non-fiction floor and the fifth floor is fiction and biographies. There are also meeting rooms on the fourth floor and a large reading room with a fireplace on the fifth floor. The best part is the large patio deck on the fifth floor that has views of downtown Vancouver, the Columbia River and beyond.

My only complaint is that the fifth floor has doors that aren't wheelchair compatible. None of the other floors have them so I don't know why they put them on the fifth floor. But now that I have a handicapped person to haul around with me, those things mean a lot to me. And there isn't near enough parking for the number of people that are going to end up using it.

But all in all it is a beautiful and well planned building. Quite an asset to our community.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Basque Dinner

Bill and I went to a Basque dinner last night. We bought seats to it at the Rotary Christmas auction. I was a little worried. We woke up to pouring down rain so I hoped we would be eating inside. Luckily, the rain quit by dinnertime and we also ate inside.

We have been to Basque dinners and restaurants in Nevada before so we were really looking forward to it. The Basque people come from northern Spain and part of France and were primary sheepherders. They migrated to Idaho and Nevada for the most part because it was like home.

Julia Anderson from Rotary hosted the dinner on her property. It was about a 40 mile drive for us out past Woodland, Cedar Creek Grist Mill and the Green Mountain School. She has 20 acres of property out there and the part that she lives on is very wooded. She is originally from Idaho and although she isn't Basque, she "adopted" the Basque food for serving her dinner.

The dinners that we have been to before were several courses of things like a stew and T-bone steak. It has been awhile for me so I can't remember what all was served. So last night's dinner was slightly different than I expected but it was excellent. They cooked the lamb over a spit for about 5 hours. So the pictures are of the cooking and carving of the lamb. They also served a wonderful salad with apples and cheese in it, green beans, and a bread kind of like a crescent but it was stuffed with seasoned potatoes (and that was so good that I had three of them--such a pig). Dessert was a chocolate pie with chocolate graham cracker crust, whipped cream and espresso beans. Everything was wonderful and we had wonderful dinner companions as well.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Samurai-The Birthday Guy

Tom turned 22 this week. We celebrated as a family Monday night before he had his wisdom teeth taken out on Tuesday morning. He did his usual routine of taking the biggest knife out of the butcher block to cut his cake--which always sets Grandma Bev off. He loves to get a rise out of her about it every year on his birthday. A friend said we should do it with a real Japanese sword next time. Chris has one but I have never thought of it. But that definitely would give her something to protest about.

Lake Chelan Flyout

CAA put on a flyout to Lake Chelan and Bill decided he wanted to go. It is really beautiful there so it definitely wasn't a hardship. The flight going over was a little rough so I was very happy to get on the ground.

On Friday, we went winetasting at four of the wineries on the Manson side of the lake. They each had their own unique personality and charm which made them fun places to go. I loved the spectacular view from the Benson Vineyards. And we had a very nice lunch at Vin du Lac.

On Saturday, we most just hung out in our room to work and read but we did go down to the lake to see a few of our friends go up in these little trike planes which are essentially ultralights on floats. They had a little trouble getting started in the morning because the water was so rough and it was so windy but they eventually got people up in the air. We took the trolley into town to have lunch and walk around a little bit. And then in the evening we took a two hour dinner cruise up the lake a few miles.

We came back on Sunday morning and had a very nice day to fly. We took a route between Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens that we had never taken before. It was great being able to get so close to Mt. St. Helens.

It was a very nice relaxing weekend and it was great to get away for a bit.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sing 4th

The only real 4th of July activity I went to was the Sing 4th competition. It is a vocal competition for Clark County high school students to compete for prizes and scholarships and this year's scholarships and prizes were very generous. I have gone the past four years and I have to say that it is my favorite part about the 4th of July--even better than the fireworks and we have a pretty awesome fireworks show and other musical entertainment available all day long at Fort Vancouver. The kids are so talented. It seem like most years there are two gals that end up singing the same song and that was no exception this year. Both the winner-Lydia Moynihan--and the third place winner sang "The Girl in 14G" and both were very impressive. I had never heard the song before but it is wonderfully funny. Kristin Chenowith sings it in this YouTube video but I think even Lydia did a better job at it--The Girl in 14G. And I always love hearing Kyra Smith--the cohost--perform. She is only 18 but she has been a professional singer and celebrity in this area for over nine years with Disney radio.

The rest of our fourth was spent taking care of Beverly and then trying to sleep in our typical war zone of fireworks by almost all our neighbors all at once. After three hours of non-stop booms, pops, whistles and whatever other noises fireworks make, it was bliss to finally have some quiet after midnight. I know a lot of people get into it but I dread the whole week of 4th of July having to listen to it every night. It is really causes problems for animals unless you sedate them all week.

So anyway--that was our 4th. Hope you all had a wonderful one.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Long Road Home

Beverly had her open heart surgery more than six weeks ago on May 18th. The hope was to be home about a week later and resume a normal life six weeks later. But when she woke up from her surgery, we realized that she had had a stroke during her surgery that affected the left side of her body. She spent about two weeks in ICU and stepdown ICU--even making a one day stay in inpatient rehab before having to return to stepdown ICU because her heart was acting up. Eventually she was ready to go back to rehab again even though she was having some issues with her heart there too. They just decided to keep her there and keep an eye on it. She had four weeks of intense occupational, physical and speech therapy--at least three hours a day. The goal was to get her to a point that she could go home.

It was a frightening and anxiety producing event for all of us but especially for her. She is so frightened of falling. She is unsteady enough that it is a real concern for all of us. And the thought of how much care she needs can be a little overwhelming at times even though she has made great strides in the time that she was in rehab. She needs 24 hour a day care so Chris is living with her and we spend a lot of time there helping her, cooking meals, etc. We did get an agency to come in one hour every morning to help her get bathed and dressed in the morning so that Chris doesn't have to do it. It is a big undertaking but hopefully she will continue to improve over the summer with more outpatient therapy so that she can get to the point that she doesn't need someone to be with her all the time. So it has been a long road for her just to get home and it will continue to be a long road to continue to improve but at the moment, she is just happy to be back in her own home.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Moulton Falls Park

We took advantage of the beautiful day last Sunday to take a family hike out to Moulton Falls Park. With Grandma still in the hospital but getting out soon, it was nice that we could do it as a family before we start having to take turns being with her at all times. Bill and I went last November but the boys had never been there. Much of the hike is along the Lewis River with rapids and a few waterfalls to look at. I took my time and took pictures so I didn't do the whole trail. The boys went on ahead and did their thing together and Bill hiked by himself. So it wasn't a totally family togetherness kind of hike but it was enjoyable.

I did this layout with Polka Dot Pixels and Baers Garten Designs collaboration kit called Child's Play. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chili Cookoff

Our flying club had a chili cookoff last night so we went and took the boys with us. There were five different chilis to sample and we got to vote on the hottest and the favorite. The Amardillo Road Kill chili won the favorite contest. They had a lot of marketing put into their entry and it paid off. They had signs, decorations, costumes, a slideshow and a lot of different condiments to throw into their chili. The Dennis boys won the hottest chili with their All Men's Chili entry. We hadn't taken the boys to the club in a few years so everyone was happy to see them. They got a lot of "you're not 8 and 5 anymore". It was a fun night.

Friday, June 24, 2011

On the Pot

Today was one of those days that something not so great happened but you just have to laugh about it. I've been putting off trying to look for the equipment that we need to get before Beverly comes home. A friend from work mentioned that a place that collects donations around town sometimes has commodes to give away so I finally got around to calling them today and they said they had a couple that I could look at. Much to my amazement, they actually had one that had never been used before--still had the tag on it. Score! And right next to them were the walkers that people had donated. I found one like Beverly has been using in rehab but in better condition. Score again! I was so happy to get two of the pieces of equipment that we needed for free. I got out to the parking lot and struggled trying to get the commode in the trunk of Bev's car so I dropped the keys in the trunk, took the commode out and slammed the trunk. Only when I tried to open the car door to try to get it in the backseat did I realize that I had locked my keys in the trunk. Argh! I tried to call Tom and Bill. Neither of them answered their phones. I finally got a hold of Chris and found out that he and Tom were way out east of town eating lunch. So I sat on the commode in the middle of a parking lot for over a half an hour waiting for them to find the extra set of keys at Grandma's house and come rescue me. While I was waiting in the parking lot, I called my co-worker and she insisted that I take a picture. So here it is. Sitting on the pot in the middle of a parking lot. LOL.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Military Ball

This is actually an older picture but Tom just gave it to me this week. Tom and Maddy went to the Air Force ROTC Military Ball in April. They had a great time and one of the ROTC cadre took professional pictures for them. So this is theirs.

Made this using Polka Dot Pixels Celebration kit.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Christopher's Walk in Faith

Christopher has had a busy couple of weeks. Today was the last big event for awhile. Today was Senior Sunday at Columbian Presbyterian. As a graduating senior, he helped lead the service. He was also recognized for graduation and presented a gift and was confirmed into the church.

He and Tom started going to church with Grandma Beverly whenever they spent Saturday nights with her. Over the past few years, Chris decided that he preferred to go to Columbia Presbyterian instead of the Methodist church with me. I have admired his commitment to going to church with Grandma almost every Sunday and how much he enjoyed that time with her. This past year, he has decided to become more active. He started going to youth group, has decided to go on a mission trip with the youth to New Orleans to help rebuild some of the houses destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, and attended confirmation classes so that he could join the church.

I am so proud of him and hope that his walk in faith continues to grow throughout his life.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Final Concert

I love this picture of Chris from his last band concert. He looked terrific in his tuxedo with his boutonniere. And he looked so happy. Counting down those last few days of school.

(This layout was made with Polka Dot Pixels Bad News Papers and an Amalgamation frame.)