Thank You Lakewood Dollar Tree!

I am proud to announce that the Lakewood Dollar Tree brought in over 3,600 toys with the Operation Homefront Toy Drive! Pictured above from left to right: Assistant Manager Amanda Jutte, Santa's helper Natasha (my niece), myself and Head Manager Sandra Froehlig. Way to go Lakewood staff and customers!Thank you for making a difference in the lives of our military children!

My job was to deliver these toys to our military children at McChord Air Force Base. What a joy it was to see the end product of the generous donations of the Lakewood Dollar Tree customers - the priceless smile of a military child receiving a gift from Santa (see below)!

Merry Christmas to our Military Families!

Santa handing out toys to military children of McChord Air Force Base. These toys were provided by Dollar Tree customers wanting to make a difference in the lives of our military children by donating a toy to Operation Homefront's Toy Drive.
The beautiful Brandon family enjoying their unit's family Christmas party with Santa at McChord Air Force Base. Izabella (8), Noah (5) and Mischa (2) enjoying their Christmas gifts from Santa!

What an honor it was to be Santa's helper in helping to make this party a memorable event by making sure Santa's sleigh was full of toys! Our children of the military are "little troopers" themselves and deserve to be appreciated as well. They are definitely on Santa's nice list!

What pretty elves Santa has with the 62nd Aerial Support Squadron! Left to Right: Jennifer Vargas, Crystal Hatch, and Tonja Phillips. Thank you for your service ladies - not only as Santa's helpers but also as Military Wives! We appreciate you!

Our military families are amazing! Shown above is the beautiful Phillips Family: Will Sr., Tonja, Will Jr., and little Lauren. Thank you for your service!

Noah showing off his new toy from Santa. It was so much fun to see our military families celebrating and enjoying the Christmas Season with one another. Thank you and Merry Christmas to our military families!

Honoring Lakewood's Fallen Heroes

My son's school Lakeview Hope Academy showed their support to Our Fallen Lakewood Police Officers Sgt. Mark Renninger and Officers Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold and Greg Richards during the 3 1/2 procession from McChord A.F.B. to the Tacoma Dome where services were held honoring these four Heroes In Uniform. It was truly an unforgettable experience.

There were almost 3,000 first responder vehicles which participated in the procession.

My sons and I visited the Lakewood Police Department Memorial Site to pay our respects to Our Fallen Heroes.

Visitors taking part in prayer and vigil at the Lakewood Police Department Memorial site. What an amazing show of support and love for our Lakewood Officers. I am so proud and honored to be a resident of Lakewood!
The American Flag flying half-staff at the Lakewood Police Department in honor of Our Fallen Lakewood Police Officers.

Dollar Tree Sponsoring Operation Homefront Toy Drive

Lakewood Dollar Tree Staff and my little elves (my sons Kenny and Cody, and Kenny's friend Michael) helping to make a difference in the lives of military children. We are picking up our third shipment of toys to deliver to McChord Air Force Base! Thanks Lakewood Dollar Tree! You are doing an amazing job!
If you would like to give back to our military families for their dedicated service to our country, please stop by your local Dollar Tree and purchase a toy which will given to a local military child in appreciation for his or her sacrifice as well. As a volunteer with Operation Homefront Washington, I am so thankful for our military families!

Here is a picture of my son Kenny helping collect toys at our local Dollar Tree in efforts to help make a difference in the lives of our military children. As a military child himself, Kenny knows all to well the sacrifices made by these children especially during war time where children are often left without a Mommy or Daddy during long deployments. God bless our military families!

Veterans Day Ceremony 2009

Cub Scout Pack 53 was invited to perform the flag ceremony for Trinity Lutheran's annual Veterans Day program. What an honor it was to serve in this way giving thanks to our American Heroes. Pictured above are my Cubbies standing along the side of Veterans who were honored during the ceremony.

As Lakewood's Pack 53 Cub Master, I am giving instruction and reminders to my Cubbies before the ceremony begins. Not always an easy task, but it is sure rewarding! Our pack is up to 55 boys now!

Cub Scout Pack 53 Color Guard preparing to present the colors.

Here is a picture of me and my youngest son Cody. As well as being the Cub Master, I also serve as Cody's Wolf Den Leader. I am so proud of my boy!

Join a Support Group!

The Tourette Syndrome Support Group of Washington State has been such a blessing to our family! If you have a special needs child, I encourage you to join a support group. I have learned so much from each participant. Tonight my son Kenny joined the group and got a chance to participate in the discussions as well. He was given the opportunity to express the challenges he faces everyday with others who truly understand. It was a magical moment for me as his Mother to sit back and see healing at work.

Mrs. Oregon Amercia 2010 Pageant

Me and some of my pageant sisters before the pageant. In order from left to right: Mrs. Watcom County - Laura Hunter, Mrs. Washington America - Elizabeth Larsen, Mrs. Issaquah - Lisa Quast, Mrs. Pierce County - Carla Richards and Mrs. Seattle - Tamara Deporter.

Mrs. Oregon America 2009 - Joelle Rankins-Goodwin

Mrs. Washington contestants taking a picture with Mrs. Oregon 2009 - Joelle Rankins-Goodwin, Mrs. Washington 2009 - Elizabeth Larsen and the newly crowned Mrs. Oregon America 2010 - Joy Hutson. Congratulations Joy!

Mrs. Oregon's America Pageant Director - Libby Crawford.
She did a fantastic job! The pageant was so enjoyable and well produced.

Metropolitan Ballet of Tacoma Auction

The artistic director for Metropolitan Ballet of Tacoma, Damaris Caughlan, was so gracious to have me to be their live auction model for the dance company's yearly auction.
My favorite item to auction item to model - a Seahawks football helmet autographed by Line Backer Lofa Tatupu and Linebacker Aaron Curry. Go Seahawks!

Here are a few of the company's dancers performing a dance number from their upcoming "Celebrate His Birth" performance.

Kansas City Chiefs Flag Football

For the past three years my husband and I have coached NFL Youth Sports Alliance Flag Football with Tacoma Metro Parks. It is so much fun to see these boys develop not only their playing skills but their social skills as they learn about the camaraderie of a team sport. I just love these boys!!!

2009 Cubscout Popcorn Kickoff

My cubbies are kicking off the year with our annual popcorn fundraiser to help pay for awards, activities and camps for each boy. At this meeting, I also was officially appointed the position of Cubmaster for the Pack. Since then, we have now recruited another 20 or so boys and still counting. It looks as though we will have at least 50 cubbies in our pack this year!

September 11th Patriots Day Flag Ceremony

Photos Coming Soon!
My Cub Scout Pack (Lakewood Pack 53) conducted the September 11th Flag Ceremony at Idlewild Elementary School to remember and honor not only those who lost their lives in the September 11th Terrorist Attacks, but also our first responders and military personnel who put their lives on the line every day coming to our nations rescue and defending our freedoms as citizens of the United State of America!

Making Time for Family Fun!

It is so important to take time out as a family to have fun and create memories that will last a lifetime - especially for families struggling with challenges and demands of raising children with special needs. In August, my boys and I flew down to Florida to join Daddy for the rest of summer while he attended Military Officer Maintenance School with the Navy. This picture of our family was taken at Shades of Green Military Resort in Orlando Florida.

Collecting School Supplies for our Wounded Warrior Military Families

My boys are busy helping collect and gather school supplies at our local Dollar Tree for the Wounded Soldier's Families stationed at Madigan Hospital of Fort Lewis Army Base. As a volunteer for Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors, I am blessed to have two loving boys who are always willing to lend Mommy a hand when it comes to helping our military families. They know firsthand the challenges and sacrifices children face being a dependent of a Military Soldier. We collected approximately 1,000 school supplies. I am such a proud Mommy!

Speaker at Gig Harbor Republican Womens Club

I was honored to be a guest speaker at the Gig Harbor Women's Republican Club advocating for our military families. As a volunteer for Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors, I am able to help make a difference by promoting support for our wonded soldiers and their families.

Receiving the 2009 Washington State PTA Golden Acorn Award

Our Idlewild Auction Guru - Kimberly Holmes - presented me the prestigious 2009 Washington State PTA Golden Acorn Award in recognition of outstanding dedication and service to children. I am now an official "Idlewild Diva" with my name written in my son's school hall of fame! What a huge honor and very humbling to be recognized along the side of such dedicated PTA volunteers.

Join Your Local PTA!

Here I am with my PTA family made up of the most talented and dedicated women I have ever had to pleasure to work with. Not to mention the wonderful friendships I have made while making a difference in our children's lives. If you are a parent - I encourage you to join your child's PTA and be blessed!

Special Olympics Track Meet

What a priceless day I had with my son Cody and his classmates at the annual Clover Park School District's Special Olympics Track Meet.

Collecting School Supplies for Iraqi Children

As a volunteer for Operation Homefront Washington, I collected and delivered over 1,000 school supplies for an Iraqi School sponsored by the 14th Combat Engineer Battalion of Fort Lewis Army Base.

Mrs. Washington America 2009 Pageant

Mrs. Washington 2009 America Top 5 - 4th runner-up Mrs. Issaquah, Lisa Quast, 1st runner-up Mrs. Snohomish County, Jessica Riggs, Mrs. Washington America 2009 - Mrs. Snohomish, Elizabeth Larsen, 2nd runner-up Mrs. Pierce County, Carla Richards, and 4th runner-up Mrs. Thurston County, Dionne Tarter

Mrs. Washington America 2009 Top Eight
I also was honored to receive the 2009 Community Service Award and the 2009 Ambassador of Music Education Award for my efforts in collecting signatures and donations to help keep music and arts in our schools

Pageant Director Pamela Curnel - the lady who makes this all possible along with her devoted husband Dr. David Curnel. She is truly an amazing woman!
The Richards Family
(My hubby looks so handsome in his uniform :)!)

My very own cheer squad! This is a picture of a
few of my family members - I am so blessed.

Moses Lake Memorial Day Parade

Being a Military Wife, this is my favorite pageant event of the year as we take time to remember and honor those that have served defending our great nation. My pageant sisters and I are anxiously waiting for the parade to start. It is so much fun seeing all the adorable children along the route. What a great time!

Volunteering in the Classroom

My son Cody attends a functional academic class for children with special needs. As their room parent, I am touched by what makes these children so "special". What you see is what you get with these children - they have such an sweet spirit and innocence about them - and they say exactly what is on their mind. It is refreshing and humorous to say the least!

Scouting is a Family Affair

Scouting is a family affair for the Richards family! Being involved in Cub Scouts has been such a blessing for both of our boys with special needs. It has given them an avenue to feel successful and practice leadership skills when other areas of their life seem to be so challenging - especially academically. Scouting has provided them with self confidence and social skills that will last them a lifetime.
After 5 years of Scouting for the Richards family, our son Kenny graduated with his Den to Boy Scouts and received his Arrow of Light Award - the highest award to be earned in Cub Scouts. We are so proud!

Birthday Party Food Drive

I just had to post this! My son Kenny decided to ask his friends to bring food instead of gifts to his 11th Birthday Party. We invited 30 of his friends to his Lazer Tag Party and collected over 250 food items! This is a picture of us dropping off the full basket of food to our local food bank. I am so proud of my boy!

Guest Speaker for Lakwood Rotary

I was a guest speaker for Lakewood Rotary rallying signature support of MENC (National Association for Music Education) petitions in order keep music and art in our schools.

Crowning Little Miss Idlewild

In May, I hosted the crowning of Little Miss Idlewild by Mrs. Washington America 2008 Marikay Coyer. This was one of the highest bidding live auction item for the Idlewild Elementary Annual School Auction - it went for $600.00!

Tourette Syndrome Support Group

My husband and I belong to a support group for families affected by Tourettes Syndrome. By being a member of this support group we are able to better equip ourselves to being the best advocates possible for our son Kenny who has been diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome.

Idlewild Elementary School Auction

As my son's room parent, I helped the class build, stain, decorate and collect books for their classroom auction project to raise money for school programs. Our project was the highest bidding classroom project at the annual Idlewild School Auction and went for $550.00!

Putting the final touches on the Live Auction Table before the auction begins!

Mrs. Washington 2008 Marikay Coyer, Auctioneer Mike Randall, and Mrs. Pierce County Carla Richards - We raised almost $20,000.00 this night helping to pay for programs, supplies, and field trips for children attending Idlewild Elementary School.