Making messes: Creating memories with pillows

September 2012 Posted in People

By Kristine ThomasFeathers fly in a 75-person celebration of summer.

Silverton resident Laura Pemble has hosted parties where her guests have thrown tomatoes at one another and battled with feather pillows.

She admits cleaning up after pillow and tomato fights has its challenges – such as what to do with six leaf bags filled with feathers – but her justification for such messes is that they create lasting memories while teaching her four children priceless lessons.

“People have told me I would dread having teenagers,” Laura said. “I don’t know what they are talking about. We have so much fun together. We do a lot of crazy stuff together and with their friends. I would rather make a mess and make a memory because my kids will remember that forever.”

Laura and Brett Pemble are the parents of Brittany, 17; Megan, 16; Carson, 14; and Josh, 8. Her children attend Willamette Valley Christian School in Brooks, where she is a pre-school teacher.

Lara Pemble and her sister Tina Brown.Laura enjoys planning events at her home on 16-acres near the Abiqua River because she wants to show her children they don’t have to go to parties or drink to have fun.

“I want them to know they can do things that are a little mischievous but good, clean fun,” she said.

In August, the Pembles invited 75 people to a pillow fight, resulting in a flurry of feathers flying, making her backyard look like it had been blanketed by snow. There were rules, Laura said, like no hitting above the shoulders and anyone with a foam pillow had to battle likewise opponents. After the pillow fight, the Pembles’ guests could try donning a sumo wrestler suit and hitting the mat, watching a movie or enjoying root beer floats and popcorn.

The pillow fight evolved after two years of having tomato fights using 300 pounds of tomatoes, Laura explained.

“My sister, Tina Brown, has always wanted to go to Spain for its tomato fight but wasn’t able to so that’s why we decided to have one at our house,” she said.

Always eager to try something new, she’s already brainstorming for next year’s battle.

Preparing for 75 guests takes every family member doing his or her share to get their home ready, Laura said, adding they sewed together nine comforters; did yard work; made signs and even had some trial pillow fights so they would know what size to slit holes in the pillows.

Pillow fight partners Emily Mae Read and Brittany Pemble.

“It takes teamwork to do something like this,” she said, adding her children plan, work and clean together for the events.

“The whole process is great for my kids to see that things just don’t happen, you have to make it happen and a lot of time that means some work,” Laura said.

Megan Pemble said the hard work is worth it when she sees her friends and family members “get out of their bubbles, go crazy and smile.”

Laura credits her four children for being her inspiration and her role models. Megan recently encouraged 20 of her high school friends to go to Portland to help the homeless for her 16th birthday.

“That was out of my comfort zone,” Laura said, “but when she asked if anyone wanted to go we had 20 students, which is all our vehicles could hold, within hours of asking and I thought ‘Wow! You hear about all of the trouble making kids on the news, but these are the kids that are going to change our world for the better!’ ”

They worked with Bridgetown Ministries to help homeless men and women.

When someone in her family asks, “Can we do…,” Laura admits her first thought is “no way.”

Then, she stops and thinks. She asks herself four questions: Is it dangerous? Is it illegal? Is it expensive? Will it bother anyone?

“If the answer is no to all four, I ask myself will it make someone smile? And if the answer is yes, we usually do it,” Laura said.

A few of the things she and her children have recently done include buying a dozen roses and giving them to strangers in Silverton; taking her children’s high school friends to a drive-in movie in Dallas; blowing bubbles out of the car window as they drove through Silverton; driving to Redding, Calif., to watch the solar eclipse with welding glasses on and pulling over and running through the sprinklers of a business in the middle of night.

“I don’t mind if we have no towels and the car seats are dripping wet or that there are feathers floating into my house still today. The point is that you do something fun, spontaneous, perhaps a little crazy that is safe to you and others,” Laura said. “My kids know that you need to respect others, their property, authority and laws, at all times.”

Both Megan and Brittany enjoy spending time with their parents and encourage other teens to do the same.

“The memories will be something you won’t forget,” Megan said. “And it doesn’t have to be planned. It can be something like eating on the roof and having shopping cart races.”

A key to understanding her children is listening to what they have to say and being an example of what she wants them to be. In both her marriage and as a parent, she finds activities her husband or her children want to do and that they will enjoy together.

“Don’t forward the ‘Live life to the fullest’ and ‘Have no regrets’ posts on Facebook if you are not really going to go out and do that,” Laura said. “Get out there and do something! Of course, the thing anyone would say when asked how to be a good role model is to be a good example and I agree that is of utmost importance. I’m fun but I’m also responsible, safe and law abiding and I see those traits in my kids already, which makes a mom very proud.”

Brittany Pemble said her parents set a good example and provide a great foundation on how to live life in a fun way.

“My friends admire my parents for being different,” Brittany said. “We have taken friends to the movie sing-a-longs at the Grand Theatre in Salem. We threw a cream pie at my mom’s face, duct taped her to a wall, and made mud masks from dirt in the yard with my mom.”

Megan Pemble said her parents are her role models because her dad works hard and taught her the meaning of perseverance and her mom is fun, spontaneous, and accepts who she and her siblings are and who they want to become as well as their friends.

“A role model is someone you look up to who has new ideas and thoughts and you want to be like them,” Megan said. “My mom includes everyone even if they are different. She accepts and loves my friends; she is like a mother to all of them. My dad’s a geek and my mom’s a fruit loop but I love them and I wouldn’t want them any other way.”

A few years ago, Laura read eight words that have become her mission — “To be remembered, you must do something memorable.”

“I started thinking about how true that was and decided I would purposefully create memories for my family, friends and others,” she said.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.