Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Power of Dyson

We finally made an investment in a new vacuum cleaner last weekend. We went over to Bed, Bath and Beyond with our 20% coupon in hand and tried out a couple of models. We were sold on the Dyson Absolute DC17 Animal. One shopper in the store stopped by to tell us she got one for Christmas and absolutely loves it. Since Walt does most of the vacuuming at our house, I let him make the final decision.
We came home and gave it a test-drive … what a difference it has made in our carpet. It’s like every fiber is standing at attention : ) It has amazing suction.
Not only will we have cleaner carpets but this model has been approved for allergy sufferers as well. Here’s to technology for a cleaner home environment!

Scrapbooking Sketch Link

Just found a link posted on for a lengthly list of sites featuring scrapbooking sketches -- more than 50 sites/blogs filled with layout sketches and ideas. Check it out at:

This should help with an occasional creative block! I am looking forward to using this resource ... I need to get out of Wallowa 2004 and on to our Disney vacation. AND ... I need to get Colin's birth scrapbooked before his sister arrives in May. I have tomorrow off and hope to make some progress on my album.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


For some reason Colin has linked me with the computer game Zuma. I can't figure it out because it's actually one of Grandpa's favorite games and believe me ... I am terrible at playing it!

But here we are enjoying an evening playing his favorite ... ZUMA!

Birthday at Bishop's Close

This evening we had the pleasure of joining others at Bishop’s Close to celebrate Fran’s 60th birthday. I’ve lived in the Portland area my entire life and have never visited this beautiful landmark.
The Elk Rock Gardens / Bishop's Close is the name that was given to the Peter Kerr estate when it was given to the Diocese of Oregon in 1959. Located in the Dunthorpe area the estate consists of thirteen acres on a high bluff on the western bank of the Willamette River and includes approximately six acres of cultivated English-style gardens.
The term "close" as it is used in this instance derives from British usage where it describes an enclosed area around a church or other sacred space, which provides a place for quietude and meditation.
One beautiful day in spring, I would like to go back with my camera and take pictures of Mt. Hood and the gardens in bloom. A great place to take out of town guests!
The house, located at 11800 SW Military Lane, is now the office of the Bishop of the Diocese of Oregon. The gardens are open to the public from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, seven day a week.
Happy birthday, Fran and we wish you many blessings on your birthday and in the coming year!

Beautiful News

Friday night Walt gave me a card and gift before heading over to the men’s conference at Rolling Hills … something to keep me company while he was gone ….
Matt Redman’s new CD, Beautiful News.
Matt Redman is a UK worship leader and songwriter including such songs as, "Blessed Be Your Name" (which garnered him a 2005 Gospel Music Association award for Worship Song of the Year), "The Heart of Worship," and "Better Is One Day” – many songs we sing at church.
Tuesday our Bible study focused on worship and the end of the chapter mentioned the story behind a song Matt Redman wrote, “Heart of Worship.” Check out his site: to read the story behind the song.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Artist Within

One bonus of working in an elementary school is seeing things through children's eyes. The walls in the Kindergarten wing display colorful artwork of each season ... painted cut-out pumpkins, snowmen, flowers. I love how they view their world. Their perspective and artistic talent cannot be duplicated by adult hands. For many "grown ups," the freedom in artistic expression seems to be buried under the tyranny of the urgent ... just keeping up with our busy lives.
As we have been organizing and downsizing the things from our attic, I came across a picture I drew in Mrs. Stanley's room in second grade at Kennedy Grade School -- now a McMenamins. It's a picture of my family and a pretty good likeness through the eyes of an 8-year-old, I might add.
In case you haven't figured it out ... that's a big bowl of spaghetti on the center of the table : )
I think this is the only piece of artwork I have left from my grade school years and finding it brought much joy. For me, it's a reminder to make time for "play" in each day -- be creative!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

New Year's Eve

We usually have a traditional date for this evening each year with the Petersons but at the last minute we had changes ... Don had to work.
After a leisurely after-church-lunch at Applebee's we decided to go to a movie in the evening. We saw "Holidays" in a packed theater. I always like movies produced by Nancy Meyers.
Following the movie we decided to stop for a bite to eat with the Gears. Finding most restaurants closed at that time of night, we ended up at Shari's. At one point we were the only customers! We made our own "party" there and rang in the new year with much laughter, pie and dear friends.
Many blessings to you in 2007 ...

Love to Read

I love getting wrapped up in a good book. It is so enjoyable to meet new people as I travel through the pages getting caught up in the plot from cover to cover. Reading has always been a favorite pastime and it is such a joy to find myself surrounded by books all day long in our school library. I love to unbox the new shipments at work and see the new titles and the fun illustrations. Some of my favorite books read in 2006 were from our school library.
Over the years I have recorded the books I've read on a spreadsheet and later started using a computer library program and Library Thing. I like to include the date I read the book, how many pages and a brief description (mostly for my memory!)
At the end of the year I was happy to see that I had read 41 books in 2006. If you'd like to see what I've been reading, click the Library Thing link on my site. It's a great site if you like books.
This morning I started a book new to our school library, "Listening for Lions," by Gloria Whelan. It's about a 13-year old girl left an orphan after influenza takes the lives of her missionary parents in British East Africa. It captured my interest immediately.
If you have a book suggestion, please feel free to leave a comment. I always enjoy finding a new author or series.
Happy Reading .....

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Family Timeline

As with any new year, it's always time to think about goals for the coming year. Something we've always talked about over the last few years and finally set a goal to do ... create a family timeline.
We wanted to document our family vacations, accomplishments, activities, and people who have been a part of our lives over the years. We decided to start from the time we were born and move forward throughout our 33 years of marriage. We found many resources in the attic ... old calendars, scrapbooks, pictures and letters. I was amazed at the detailed record I had of my high school years. So, one Christmas Break morning I gathered everything together and spent the day around my kitchen table recording bits and pieces of time on our journey.
Each year when the boys were young we had a wall calendar attached to our kitchen pocket door. I felt like "air traffic control" directing everyone to their daily destinations. The calendar squares were tightly filled with activities involving church, sports, family and friends. I sometimes wonder how I had the energy to keep up with all of it.
I am so thankful to have saved these rolled up and somewhat tattered calendars after all these years, as they have been a great resource for our project. I was amazed as I looked over year after year of events how many details I had forgotten, the people who have come and gone crossing paths with our family, times of joy and sorrow, and those who have come alongside in friendship and support. It made me realize how blessed I am and to not take people or things for granted.
Another area needing an investment of my time and energy -- my scrapbooking room. I started scrapbooking in 1999 and I now realize how valuable our albums are to our family history. They include not only pictures but journaling detailing a wealth of information that just doesn't fit on a calendar square. Even though I struggle to stay current in the events of our lives and always feel like I'm falling behind, I am encouraged all the more to stick with it. One of my New Year's goals is to get things in order and I've been spending time organizing my scrapbooking room and supplies making it easier to stay on task in recording our family history. I received a gift subscription to a scrapbooking magazine that will give me a creative boost and inspiration.
Our timeline project will probably take most of the year to complete as I only had time to record about 18 years of events during the Christmas break but it has brought a lot of pleasure to stroll down "memory lane."
May you enjoy considering your goals and dreams for 2007!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Christmas Day

Christmas breakfast at our house has always been a tradition since the kids were young. The only change over the years has been that we now eat much later in the morning and since the teen years, we have nearly had to drag the guys out of bed to join us at the table! We don't open presents until a leisurely meal and then it's one person/one present at a time. It can take hours to open all the packages ... not due to over-gifting, but it seems like each gift has a story behind the bows, ribbon and gift wrap. Also, a great time for new family "-isms."

I wish I would have recorded the year mom and I first bought each other the same calendar. Now it's a gifting tradition. Each year we open them at the same time ... the shape of the packaging giving obvious clues to its contents. We always have a good laugh and a "kodak" moment.

Each year since the kids were small we have purchased an ornament that represented something about their year. When Brian and Michelle decorated their first tree, they opened the box to find mostly sports-related ornaments. Sorry Michelle! I wish I had been a bit more creative in our ornament choices over the years. This year we photographed these "treasures" -- for scrapbooking reasons.
We always finish the day with a "build-your-own-sub-sandwich" meal and games/movies ... but more than that it's a time for building special family memories. Much JOY on the journey!

Christmas Eve Traditions

We are a family of strong traditions and one thing we always include in our Christmas Eve plans is a trip downtown hanging out until the stores close. This is something we started with the Peterson family decades ago when our kids were small. In the last few years we have altered a few of our destinations in order to accommodate Colin's schedule ... good changes!
This year with the changes at the Meier & Frank building we gravitated over to Nordstrom's for Colin's visit with Santa. I couldn't believe how comfortable he was during his long chat with Mr. Claus. No tears or fears for this little guy.

A trip to Starbuck's and our annual family pictures -- with the Pioneer Courthouse Square tree in the background -- is a requirement for our holiday season. We also made time to tour the stores at Pioneer Place with the guys heading over to the Apple Store and the girls checking out the PINK baby selection at The Children's Place. We worked up quite an appetite for dining at Rock Bottom. Our last stop was at Finnegan's Toy Store, which is one tradition that has been a "must" since our kids were small. Such a wonderful place to find something fun and unusual.

This year we hung out at home and watched a Christmas video while waiting for the 11:00 p.m. Candlelight service at church, abandoning the traditional theater movie. The TCC service is always an awesome "homecoming." Seems like no matter where people's paths have taken them over the years ... those who have been a part our church family, students in college etc. ... the reunion is always a joy! The service is amazing with soft candlelight, the pews are packed and the songs and message continue to remind us of the Reason for the Season. The closing chapter on a wonderful family day.