Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nickname Fun

Have you ever noticed how names are used for many different purposes? Well, I have.

When I was growing up, my brother couldn't say my name, and so he would say something close to "Bo." I remember this really irritated me at the time, because everyone thought he was SO CUTE and he wasn't even saying my name right! I told you I was a jealous sibling... The thoughts of a four year old! Anyway, that became my name, and nearly everyone I know from my "former life" (that one I mentioned back in Harney County?) call me that today. I love that nickname, and I miss it. Ironic, don't you think? Considering that I hated it in the beginning and now I'm mourning the decline of its usage?

When I moved to the valley, I became "Bobbi Jo" full time. Brady really likes my name, and since that is how he introduced me to everyone, that is who I became. Bobbi Jo. My real middle name is not Jo - it is Josepha. You say it like this: Jo-SEF-ah. I love, love, love my middle name! What I do not like, though, is being called Bobbi. I am not Bobbi.

When I was little, if I were in trouble, my dad would call me Josepha. "JOSEPHA!" he would boom, and that meant I was really close to some serious discipline. Believe it or not, Brady still uses this principle today. He never calls me by my name. It is always "babe" or "honey." You know how it is when you are married. Whenever we are having an argument and he is getting super mad, though, he calls me "Bobbi Jo." And that is how I know he is getting more irritated than normal. And it annoys me when he calls my by my name, because I know he is doing it on purpose.

Brady doesn't really have any nicknames, other than Big Brady, I guess, or Uncle Brady. One of his best friends named his son after Brady, and so we all called him Little Brady and then my Brady was Big Brady, just to keep them straight. Now Little Brady is bigger than Big Brady, though. But we still call them Big Brady and Little Brady - how else can we keep them straight?

One thing Brady does that I love is put an "ee" on the end of most people's names. So if you are Kim, he'll call you Kimmie. Or if you are Nicole, you'll become Nicoley. He also changes people's names from what they are. Like our friend Suzanne he calls Susan. And sometimes he will just call someone a completely different name. It is hilarious! Like Britt's classmate Makenna he calls MaKibbon.

We call Brailey Shaye "Shaye Shaye" and Britt is "Brittster Man." He gave himself the nickname "Britt-Britt" and then started calling Brailey "Bray-Bray." Brailey is the one who started calling Britt "Brittster Man," because when he was born, I called him Mister Man, which was funny, because although I had never heard this before, it is what my mom called my brother when he was little. So long story short, Brailey changed it to Brittster Man. Brady sometimes calls Britt "Bruiser," too, because he is such a big Bruiser. And "Little Man," too. And then he calls Brailey "Cakes" or Brailey Cakes.

We make up all kinds of names around here! Nicknames are a term of endearment, and just like the people they refelct, we love them.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Favorite Mother

Whenever I need advice about pretty much anything or just somone to vent to, I call the one person I don't mind spending hours on the phone with - my mother. I swear on a stack of bibles, my mom can solve anything! I have always been so proud of the mom I have, and I remember when I was growing up everyone always wanted to "have" her for their own mother, which I thought was pretty cool. She has always been the kindest, most giving, best cookin' and coolest lookin' mom I know. And this is a fact - without her, my kids would not be half as wonderful as they are, because not only did I learn from the best, I have best resource out there in her advice. Truly, were it not for her, I would still be arguing with Britt and not even realize it, admid a myriad of other things. Thank God for my mother! I thank Him every day for her, as a matter of fact.

Yesterday she had her second major eye surgery, which happened to land on her birthday. She had the other eye done back in the beginning of December, and it is has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs and zigzags and every possible emotion under the sun since then. She is a trooper, that's for sure! She had just gotten to the point of feeling somewhat back to normal, and now she is back to square one. Only there is a bigger light at the end of the tunnel, this time, and the added benefit of actually being able to see out of her newly healed eye. Last time, she couldn't see out of either one, so it was a scary time for her to say the least, to be as close to blind as it is possible to be without actually being blind. Unfortunately, the eye is one of the slowest organs to heal, so it is a frustrating process to endure. She has a rare eye disease called Fuchs Dystrophy, which she could write a book about, but I can only tell you causes the pumps in each of her eyes to be unable to pump the liquid out, which causes her vision to feel like she is viewing the world through the dirtiest shower glass you can imagine.

In any case, I am so, so, so glad these surgeries are over, and I pray she can get her life back to what it used to be. She does have to have one more cataract removed in a few weeks, and we do have to worry about her eyes rejecting the new corneas, but after that, God willing and a few other folks don't mind, her eyes should continue to mend. And hopefully, her two-going-on-three year struggle will be over.

The sad part of all this for me (yes, there is a sadness - you didn't see that coming, did you?) is that in a couple of months, now that her major eye surgeries are over, she and my dad are moving back to Harney County to "retire." (Tears!) I can barely stand the thought of it... I haven't been able to see her nearly as often as I would like to as it is - we've been trying to keep all the germs away from her so she wouldn't get sick before her surgeries. Now, with them living an even greater distance away, I am sure our visits will be even more infrequent. The simple fact of the matter is that my parents are getting older, and I don't like to think of them in that light. I want them to be forever in their late 50's, early 60's - indefinitely. Forever and ever, Amen. I, afterall, have been holding steady at 29 for years, so why can't they?

Whatever the situation, I am going to miss them like crazy, to say the very least. A little over a decade ago, I had a whole different life in Harney County that I don't even remember half of (I blocked it out, somehow - weird, huh?), and so I am feeling sentimental and meloncholy today about the fact my parents are going to live so far away from me and my 3 B's. Thank God for the telephone! I don't enjoy talking on the phone at all, except to my mother (and Brady, but he's like me - keep it short and sweet!). When my mom and I get on the phone with each other, we solve all the world's problems, including a lot of my own. The bottom line is that God blessed me beyond words when He gave me my mother, and I am thankful to my toes for her.

Happy Belated Birthday, Mom, and Happy Recovery, as well. I love you! Truly, you are the best!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Break Fun

Britt was lucky to get a private batting lesson early in the week from our friend Clay Howard. He is an amazing coach! Here you see Britt and Clay's son Kellen listening to him.

The two cutest boys in the world! Brittster Man and Griffy Boy at Skate World - Griffin is showing his medallion from Disney World, Pirates of the Caribbean. These two were hysterical to watch, swinging pretend swords and light sabers and playing the video games without any quarters. They had a blast!

How do they grow up so fast? Britt, Brailey Shaye, Jaden and Griffin. These mustaches were a hit, to say the least!

The two beautiful besties with their new "Best Friends" necklace. Aren't they something? And the most special thing about them? Their sweet little happy hearts.

At Ehlers Construction (that's what the hats say), we start them young! This is Britt building his first bird house, which turned into a pirate house for his little toy pirates. Brady gave him the scraps, and started the nails for Britt to finish. Brailey was wonderful moral support and even drove a few nails in herself. It turned out really nice!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Watching TV with The 4 B's

This winter, the kids and I started watching the sitcom Reba every night at 5 o'clock. There are two episodes on, back-to-back, and when Reba is on, the rest of the world stops for us. Brady enjoys the show, also, but not nearly as much as the kids and I do, and it has been a real adjustment for us to not watch it now that the days are longer and the weather is getting nicer. On the few occasions Brady did sit down with us to watch it, he laughed his ass off, just like the little B's and I. And now my kiddos actually "play" Reba. They pretend to be different characters from the show and make up their own lines. And because Brady says I am just like Reba, my three B's have been calling me by her name. To tell you the truth, Reba and I are a lot alike! We believe in discipline and family means more than anything in the world to us - those down-home country roots, baby! Now I don't know how Reba is in real life, but on the show, she is a whole lotta Big Mama. If you've never seen the show, I highly recommend it...

The other show we 4 B's have taken to watching is Pawn Stars. My kids love this show, and so do Brady and I. Brady started watching it first, because he is the history buff in the family. It is such a cool show to watch! I first heard about it on the radio, because the dj from KDUK was interviewing Rick, the owner of the shop, and talking about the show. If you don't know what it is about, it is a Pawn Shop down in Las Vegas run by a grandpa, son and then his son, so three men altogether, and their friend Chumley. The things people bring into the shop are amazing! And they have experts come in to determine if they are real and if they are worth anything, and then a deal is made or not made. The knowledge they have about all the different things that get brought in is incredible. Frankly, I think it is quite educational! And now Britt has a "blue diamond" he wants to take to Rick, the owner, to see what it is worth. Apparently there is a line wrapping the block every day to get in to this shop. It's a popular show!

Other than bull riding and a little RFDTV, this is about all we watch on tv in the evenings. I would love to watch American Idol and Dancing with the Stars, but I just can't stay up that late. I go to bed right after the kids, and Brady watches whatever he wants while I read my book. Of course we do watch Hannah Montana and a few select Disney shows on the weekends, but that is about it! And we still watch more television than we should. At least two of the shows are good family fun, though, and remind me of when I was a kid watching Little House on the Prairie and Grizzly Adams with my family. See? Even TV has some redeaming qualities. It just has to be used in moderation.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Break Skate Date

Here they are - the four sweetest children on the planet! (I'm the mom, remember? My blog? I'm allowed to be conceited in this regard...) We met Jaden and Griffin on Tuesday for a fun little skate date. They skated for two and a half hours! It was fantastic - Kim (Little Mama, remember?) and I talked about everything under the sun and then some! Brady called us and said his ears were burning, but we never even got to the subject of him. Ha! It was a great afternoon, and the kids had a blast. We wanted to head to the park this afternoon, but it is raining, so we are trying to come up with a Plan B or C or D...

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Closeness of Age

One of my favorite things to do is to listen to my little B's playing together. I usually do it while I'm working or cleaning. It is what I enjoy most about vacations from school. They are so funny and sweet and wonderful to hear! One day, I heard them in Britt's room, and Brailey Shaye was singing, and Britt said, "There'll be no singing in this room! This is a No Singing Room." To which Brailey replied, "Britt! If you don't sing, God will take your talent away." Needless to say, I got a charge out of this.

My kiddos are extremely close to each other, and I think they get along better than most kids do, for which I am eternally thankful. My brother and I did not and do not get along. I think it has something to do with age... This is my theory: if kids are less than two years apart, they get along. If they are more than two years apart, they fight with each other. I think this is because when you are older than two and a new person comes into the family, it causes you to be jealous and resentful, because you are starting to have a memory, and you know how it was to be the big cheese. However, before memory develops, which is ususally prior to two years of age, you don't have all the same jealousies and insecurities, which translates into more affection between one another. I came up with this theory through interviewing every parent I know on how their kids get along and what the age differences are. Me and my brother? We are three, almost four years apart. See what I mean?

Whatever the case may be, I am so thankful for the friendship my kids have with one another. And it hurts my heart when school is in session and I see them losing their closeness. It doesn't take long for them to reconnect, but it still makes me sad when they lose even a shred of their connection with each other. Which is one of the reasons I live for summers and days off from school.

I think this is such a big deal to me because of the fact that my brother and I don't get along. And when I say "don't get along,"I mean my brother absolutely despises me. I know, huh? Can you believe it? Someone who doesn't like me? Well, it's okay. It took me years to accept the fact that he truly could not stand me and to move on from the pain in my heart it caused, but I've finally come to a place where I can accept it. Not easy, but doable if you are tougher than nails, such as I. (Yes, I really am that tough.)

In any event, I am always touched when my B's have fun together and just play with one another. One day this winter, they got on a phone kick. Britt does not like to talk on the phone at all, but Brailey Shaye loves it. So she called him on Brady's mobile phone one day after the two of them were on their way home from her ice skating practice. Britt and I were fixing dinner, wating for them. I was shocked, because Britt won't talk to Brady or I either one, but he was thrilled to be talking to his sister, and they just talked and talked and talked until Brady and Brailey were home! They giggled and called each other back and forth and had a wonderful time.

So I'm cherishing every second of this spring vacation, listening to them play with one another. First they'll play army, then they'll play High School Musical, then they'll play Reba, then they'll play dress-up, then Brailey will be Britt's teacher (he tells her she's the best teacher he's ever had and calls her "Teach"), and the fun just goes on and on and on. I hope it never ends.

To Clean or Not to Clean?

Most of the first day of Spring Break 2010 was spent cleaning at The 4 B's ranch. Which brings up all kinds of issues... Like the fact that when you have kids, no matter how diligent you are (and I'm actually not), no matter how hard you try (I've given up trying as much), no matter what, your house is never-ever truly clean. In fact, most of what I do gets undone before I even finish doing it. But that's okay - I'm learning to roll with the punches when it comes to how things "look."

I used to be a neat freak of the worst kind. In fact, when Brady and I bought our first house together, I remember my parents came down for a visit shortly after, and my dad, who is notorious for the way he checks everything out, looked in my cupboards to find all my canned foods lined up perfectly, and he said, "Yep! This is Bo's house! I can tell by the way she has her cans." Little did I know, those days were numbered, because before I knew it, Brailey Shaye was born, and there went my clean house. The next thing I knew, we had a playpen in the living room, baby paraphernalia scattered everywhere, and the sweetest baby you ever met in your life running the show.

I remember before I was a mother I would go to people's houses who had kids, and I would say to myself, "When I have kids, I will never let my house look this messy!" I would see their tubs filled with Barbies and rubber ducks and toys scattered all over the house and yard. Nope, that would never be me... And it wasn't, for a long time, because the good Lord took His sweet time before blessing me with motherhood. Ha! So much for those words - talk about having to eat crow!

I have been blessed with the absolute messiest boy on the entire planet, I swear on a stack of bibles. And no matter how much I have tried to teach him to be nice and tidy, he just doesn't have it in him. My mother-in-law says it is wonderful, because he actually enjoys every single toy he owns, and he plays with every single one of them. This is true, I have to agree. The problem is that he brings them out into the living room, and no matter how many times I have told him to put the toy he is playing with away before getting something else out, he can't seem to do it. Anger doesn't work with him, nor does threatening to take everything he leaves out to Goodwill. I learned my lesson with that right away - I'll be damned if I am going to create more work for myself by boxing everything up and taking it out to the shop when I have no intention of actually taking it to Goodwill, especially when I know how much everything cost in the first place. However, I have to admit that since Britt turned 6, he has been making more of an effort to keep his room clean. I thank God for this, because it has really helped my sanity issues.

He's not the only messy person in this household, either. Brady and Brailey Shaye are right up there. I told you about Brailey Shaye's room - how it looks clean on the outside, but is a disaster on the inside... And I won't even get started on telling you about my loving-but-messy husband and how every morning I come into a dirty kitchen that was spotless before I went to bed... Yes, I find evidence of his late night snacking all over my counters. But let's not go there! The simple fact of the matter is three of the 4 B's are just not neat freaks.

And quite frankly, I have stopped being such a fanatic about everything being spotless all the time, myself. Not necessarily by choice, but because I would be even more of a raging maniac than I already am if I tried to keep up with this place! It just isn't as important to me, anymore. Although I will admit that I don't find fingerprints on my windows to be "angel kisses" like some people do - those really do bug me. But it is only because I know how much time it takes to clean, and I'd rather be spending it on something else far more enjoyable. Like playing with the angels who made the kisses in the first place.

My mother-in-law said something to me last spring that made me realize I put too much stock in what other people think about our place. We were talking about our deck, which Brady and I were working on. Our patio ended up being too small, and so we added on a wooden deck around it, and I said to her, "I'm sure some people will probably think this looks really weird." And she said, "Who cares what anyone else thinks if you like it?" And I realized she is exactly right - why do I care what anyone else thinks, as long as we are happy with it? And we are thrilled with our new deck! It is very unique.

I've learned over the years to let some things slide... I try to keep on top of them as much as possible, but sometimes I just don't have the energy. Which is why the laundry sits in the dining room rocking chair for days at a time waiting to be folded, or already folded, ends up sitting on the table waiting to be put away. And why the stalls don't get cleaned every single day, or the shop can be messy for months at a time before I get to it. See? I'm getting better! I'm learning to worry about the things that really matter, letting the small stuff go... What can I say? Some days are better than others! But overall? I think I am a reformed clean freak. I'll settle for tidy.

Addicted to Train

Big Mama has a new addiction. Do you wonder what it is? I'll tell you what it is, or rather who - PAT MONAHAN, the front man of Train. How ridiculous is it that I have loved his songs forever and not even known it was him I was listening to? Dear Lord, people! This man is the best singer I have ever heard in my LIFE! Where have I been?

If you know me at all, it will shock you to "hear" this, because I am a major-big-superfreak fan of Keith Urban. I have loved that man since I first saw him come on the scene many moons ago. There is not a song Keith Urban has sung that I do not love. He is so the total package, in his voice, looks and playing abilities, and I would give anything to see him in concert. Except that I am spoiled, and unless I can meet the man, I really don't want to sit in the nosebleeds to watch him. I want to be front and center and then get a picture with him, you know? Actually, I guess I wouldn't give anything to see him, because I once gave up front row tickets to see him in Bend, Oregon, back when he was really coming on the scene. I had just given birth to Britt, and Brady got me the tickets for Mother's Day. However, I couldn't bear to leave my family while they went to a rodeo on that particular weekend, so I traveled to Long Beach, Washington with my 3 B's and missed the concert. And I highly doubt I will ever meet the blue eyed blondie boy...

So, what can we say? Moving on to greener pastures! Yes, we're back to Pat Monahan. And Pat Monahan has personality galore, he can sing the pants off of anything he wants to, AND he is oh-so-handsome! I think he is so attractive to me because he reminds me of Brady. He has those thick eyebrows and then his upper lip is a lot like Brady's. Brady has a mustache, of course, and I love his mustache. It is so COWBOY! He shaved it off a few years ago, and even his own mother wanted him to grow it back. But after seeing how hot Pat Monahan's bare lip is, I told Brady I was thinking about letting him shave his off. And Brady is so thrilled! He leaves the decision all up to me, if you can believe it. But I can't decide! I mean, he is so handsome with the stache, and it takes me so long to get used to him without it. I just don't know... The kids say NO WAY, but I think if I look at him in a Pat Monahan light, I might be able to handle it... (Hey! I already told you I was crazy!)

In any case, Pat Monahan lives just up the road with my own soul sister, ("Soul Sister" is the name of Train's latest hit song) Nicoley, in SEATTLE, and I just know I'm going to meet him someday! He actually brings people up on the stage to sing and dance with him at concerts - would that be fun or what?! Although I would most likely die of embarrassment, as self-concious as I am... I love all the fun songs he writes, and it is apparent the man understands women better than most men do. His wife is one lucky lady, yah?

I have always thought I would make a good wife for a super star singer, because after all the rodeos I've traveled to over the years, I already know how to live life on the road. Especially in a cushy tour bus! Going down the road in a pickup and living quarters horse trailer (full of horses, mind you!) from one town to the next as fast as possible all over the Northwest can't be that different from touring the nation in a big old bus. Can't you just see me on a tour bus?! Maybe in my next life, yah? For now I'll just hang with my 3 B's, and love every second of it, right here in one spot, home-sweet-home. Afterall, I've got my Train cd's and You Tube to keep my imagination running wild - OH yah!

Friday, March 19, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Fun

Here are my two little Leprechauns! I thought it was pretty cute they both wore camo as part of their green for St. Patty's Day. This picture is especially darling if you are their mother, because I know all the details - like the fact that Britt loves to grab his sister and hug her and how she doesn't love that and tries to push him away. He also loves to tease her with his kisses by trying to lay a big one on her, which she does not appreciate at all. And what makes it even funnier is the fact that Britt has become the stronger of the two of them. I only hope he continues to give his "love" to just Brailey Shaye and I, though.

And here I am, Big Mama, the "Queen B," with my two little skater B's. Brailey Shaye's ice coach, Alli Jo, took this picture for us. Brailey Shaye was skating circles around me, trying to have me do all her moves. Britt and I just skate around the rink and watch her do her tricks. He has learned how to skate pretty darn well over the past couple of months. I'm so proud of both of them - gee...! I bet you didn't know that, did you?

Britt has learned from his sister, and he decided we needed to have a St. Patrick's Day party. So the second we got home, they made decorations, got these dessert plates together and planned activities for us to enjoy. The daffodils are more from the neighbor's yard that she let Brailey pick (and these particular ones smell so delicious!).

And one those aforementioned special activities was a "Karaoke Contest," which only Brailey and I participated in. Brady sat there as long as he could, but as you can see, he was not feeling well at all. He was sick for most of the week, the poor guy. But you can tell how much fun Brailey Shaye was having. Britt enjoyed it, as well, by doing the "limbo" underneath the microphone cord while we were singing.

And here is the little Leprechaun Party Planner himself, with his plate of goodies he had his sister prepare. And yes, we did have dessert before we had dinner, and then we had dessert after dinner, as well. I mean, come on! It was a PARTY! St. Patrick's Day, 4 B's style. OH yah!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pinching Issues

Yesterday on St. Patrick's Day when I picked Britt up from school, I gave him a light, gentle, cute, little "love pinch." And he said I shouldn't have, because he had green on, so he pinched me back for real. OUCH! So when we got home, he said hi to Brady, who was parked on the couch watching tv, still sicker than a dog, and they started talking about pinching and why didn't Brady have any green on? And then THIS conversation happened, which I think is hysterical!

Brady: Whatever you do, Britt, don't ever pinch a fat girl on the bottom.

Britt: Why?

Brady: Because, that's disgusting.

Britt: Too late, I already did.

Brady: Who?!

Britt: Well, Mom's fat and I pinched her on the bottom.

Brady: No she's not!

Britt: Well she says she is!

Brady: I know, and she shouldn't say that. But whatever you do, don't be pinching those fat girls.

Me? I was standing in the kitchen, laughing my "fat ass" off! Now that's funny, I don't care who you are!

My Twin, "Little Mama"

Little Mama and Big Mama, twins of the heart!
About a year ago, I discovered I have a twin. Not a long lost blood-related twin, mind you, so don't start thinking on that tangent. My twin looks nothing like me. She is half Chinese, so she has gorgeous black hair, the kindest brown eyes you've ever seen, and a slender frame. In looks, I guess you could say we are polar opposites. She is tiny, I am big. She has brown eyes, I have blue. She has her natural hair color, I have "colored" hair. She has a light smattering of adorable freckles, I have a few scattered moles (one of which I claim as my "beauty mark" - ha!). But looks are where the differences end. Because when it comes to matters of the heart? We are so the same! I first met Kim when my daughter started preschool. Like me, she has a daughter and a son, and her daughter is the oldest of the two. You may have read about her daughter in previous blog posts, because she is one of Brailey's besties - "Jaden." Kim and I knew they would love each other before they even met one another, and (once again!) we were right. They were able to play with each other last spring while their little brothers played tee ball, which is how, when, where and why Kim disovered we are twins... Kim and I bonded over our mutual adoration for our babies, our wild use of profanity (which we are both trying to stop using), our love of reading the same kinds of books (currently Jodi Picoult), the way we live for summertime and time spent at home with our families and so many more things I can't even list them all. Kim is the friend I've been searching for since moving to the valley ten years ago. I found my "soul sister" shortly after moving here, at the UO Law School. Nicoley was the sister I had always, always wanted, and I am so blessed to have found her, as well. But she moved away to Seattle, and I didn't even realize how much I missed having a friend around to see and talk to and complain about the little things in life with. So lucky for me, I have two great blessings in their friendships, and I am grateful beyond telling. I'll write about Nicoley in another post (you can also see her in previous ones, "Seattle Adventure" and "My First Nephew") so you can meet her, too. So Kim and I, we were so excited for baseball season to start this year, because we signed up to be on the same team so our two little girlies could spend time with one another. They go to different schools, so that makes it hard for them so see each other. Kimmie and I, we were going to walk the track during their practices and just love every second of watching our sweet babies play baseball. She is teaching me how to knit, so we were going to work on that, too. Not to mention the discussions we love to have about these Jodi Picoult books we are addicted to reading. Oh the plans we had! And then they started unraveling... Long story short, our kiddos ended up on two completely different baseball teams. So that was that - our great plans squashed. Which is a real bummer for so many reasons! But God works in mysterious ways, as they say, and I believe everything happens for a reason. Until we come up with our next big plan, we'll just have to continue to have our chat fests in front of the school each morning (Britt goes to kindergarten where her kids go to school). And we'll find other ways to spend time together, for the sake of our kids and even our husbands. It is rare to find an entire family that you can bond with. Yes, we will find other ways, even though time is one of our biggest enemies, because we never have enough of it. If there's a will, there's a way, though, and right now I'm just thankful for last tee ball season, because Kimmie and I? We found each other! And I'm so glad she's "mine." Not that I'm possessive or anything like that, so don't take your mind down that tangent, either. I just don't trust many people (hardly any!), and I would trust Kim with my life. Even more? I would trust her with my kids' lives. Yes, she is that amazing...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Early March 2010 Candids

Brailey Shaye came home from school sick on Wednesday. So Britt made his way outside to play by himself. He told me he was out front, so I knew where he was. I didn't know what he was doing until he came in, though, and mentioned that it was going to be great when he and Brody "dug up that treasure." And somehow, I decifered that he had actually buried the money jar he got for his birthday from Aunt Nicoley last year, which has quite a bit of actual hard cash and coins in it. So I made him go back out and get his money out of the chest. Later on, I was shocked to see just how serious he was about burying his treasure. Dear Lord! He meant business! I took this picture of the evidence, because I think it is priceless! Reminds me of the time my cousin Max and I dug a "swimming pool" in front of my grandparents front door while my grandpa was watching us. He was shocked at the size of the hole we dug - actually, so were our parents and grandma when they came home!

Our wonderful neighbor lady told Brailey she could pick all the daffodils she wants, this spring. There is nothing my Shaye-Shaye loves to do more than pick flowers, so it was a wonderful activity for her, which she enjoyed immensely. She gets this flower picking trait from my grandmother on my mom's side. My mom and I both like to leave the flowers in the yard, but my grandma love-love-loved to pick them, and so does Brailey. She also gets this from her Aunti Nicoley, with whom she shares a lot of personality traits. No blood relation, but I think it passed to her through my stomach, because they are a lot alike! More about that later...

The two skater girls posing for Big Mama! Nice foot action, eh? Truly, these two are ADORABLE!

And here are the three of them... Britt insisted on being in the middle, or he would not be in the picture. Brailey and Coral wanted to be together, but he wouldn't have it. I realized he is a little jealous of his sister's friendship during this photo shoot. Or maybe he is possessive? It was fun for me to watch, that's for sure. Coral said, "Britt, if Brailey was your best friend, wouldn't you want to be next to her in the picture?" And I thought to myself, "Yes, that is exactly why he wants to be next to her." Still, it is a precious picture, and I love it, and you can see what happy, fun, darling ice skaters the three of them are. (I swear I'm not barn blind!)

How do you like my makeup? I look like I got beat up! Which is ironic, because that is how I was feeling inside... Ha! I had an emotional "situation" occur near the end of the week, and my intuitive little B's wanted to make me feel better on Friday night. So they secretly got into their swim suits (which is why Britt has no shirt on in this picture) and turned the bathroom into "Hawaii" so they could "take me away from my stress." Brailey gave me a foot massage to "take my nerves away." And then, I had my makeup done... Brailey said it didn't quite turn out how she wanted it to. She wanted my skin to look "tanned." Britt performed musical numbers for us while Brailey worked her "magic" on me. Truly, I have the sweetest children in the world, and they are caring souls, to say the least. I am blessed!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Big Mama, Still

YES! I admit it! I am still struggling with the weight, and it is so frustrating. I think I am the only person on the planet who can exercise and GAIN POUNDS! My mother will think "muscle weighs more than fat" as she is reading this. And I know that is true. But damn it! I want to LOSE pounds, not GAIN them. Isn't that the point of working so hard?

I've never been skinny a day in my life. Well, except for when I was a first grader and had to have my tonsils removed - I was thin back then. I have to admit, though, that when I look back on myself a few years ago, like even three, I think, dear Lord! I wish I looked like that now. Believe it or not, when I was the thinnest I have ever been, I ate only one thing. It was a good 15 years ago during the summertime. I was working in my yard, riding my horse daily, jogging a little, and rodeoing all over the country. And all I ate was this: frozen M & M's. That's it! And I did get thin, but I looked haggard and weak and it didn't last for long. As much as I love them, I just couldn't live on M & M's for the rest of my life, you know?

I told Brady my troubles started back in the 8th grade. I've always been "muscular," if you will, since birth, I think. And I always knew I was more on the healthy side than some of my friends when I was growing up. But I've never been obese, really. In the 8th grade, though, I had a major seizure while I was on a school trip in Portland. It was right in the gutter of a Portland street. Right before I went into the seizure, I remember feeling very dizzy and I told my friend Clayton that I felt that way. The last thing I remember is grabbing on to his arm, and the next thing I know, I'm waking up in an ambulance, crying, and my mother is jumping into the ambulance. Apparenlty I was awake the entire time, but I wasn't fully concious, so I don't remember the actual seizure. I do remember that I had on a brand new shirt and pair of pants, which were ruined by the street grime. So, off to the hospital we went, and then I had to come home from Portland while the rest of my class stayed and had a high old time. Thank goodness my mom was one of the chaperones! Long story short, I hadn't been eating properly on the trip - for the first time in my life I got to eat junk food, and that morning, we actually had Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast, which was a wonderful novelty for a bunch of country bumpkins like us. So that triggered my seizure. And thankfully, it was the only one I've ever had.

In the meantime, though, I got put on heavy anti-seizure medications, which made me oh-so-tired! And my active lifestyle changed. I wasn't allowed to ride my horse, I couldn't drive, which included haying equipment. So I became the family cook while my mom essentially took my place in the field, and I got chunky. Thus, you can probably figure out that the combination of medication and lack of activity changed my body. And the struggle has been there ever since. Yikes!

Nowadays, every winter I manage to "winter well." That's how ranchers say it. Of course they are referring to their cattle and horses. Which ironically is how I feel - like a fat cow! I'm sure the fact that I grew up on a ranch makes me think this way... But it is how I feel. Blub-blub-blub...

Today the blame for my fatness rests squarely on the shoulders of my family. Yes! Afterall, it is their fault I have to cook so much. And I can't help but have a nibble of what I cook, for crying out loud - I'm not a saint, you know. (Actually, if you've read this blog for any length of time, you probably do know I'm not a saint...) If it weren't for Dr. Phil's book on how to have a "phenomenal family," which means eating meals together, which requires me having to cook for my 3 B's, I know I wouldn't be so chunky. But I probably wouldn't be nearly as happy, either.

Okay, okay! I admit it! Maybe I do eat a tad bit too much chocolate and drink a tad bit too much fizz, as well. I guess it can't all be blamed on my past and my family obligations... Still, I'm just sayin'! Cooking takes a toll on Big Mama's behind.

What works for me is to eat pretty much what I want up until lunch, and then after that, shut the food supply off. That's the only way I've ever been able to lose weight. Well, that and to not eat anything but M & M's. I can't seem to "do" that anymore, though. And then there is the problem of my metabolism, which has never been a fast one. I have the slowest of slows when it comes to metabs. And the older I get, the slower it becomes. Isn't that just great?And this is what my doctor said when I asked him about it. "Don't eat so much." He, afterall, has a very slow metablolism, too, and can only eat one meal a day. Whatever...

So, I just keep trying. And for some reason, I am continually optimistic, and I think every single day, "today is the day I'll lose some weight!" Or, "this is the week I am going to get below (blank) pounds!" Sometimes I consider trying diet pills, but I took those back in my younger days, as well, and all they did was make me nervous and unable to sleep. And we all know Big Mama needs her sleep. Who knows? Maybe I will finally get enough willpower together one of these days to not give in to my weaknesses. Weight has a variety of issues that go with it, like self-esteem, control, indulgence and addiction. What can I say? It is still a "weighty issue."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My First Nephew!

Here he is! My (pretend) nephew! He is the only one I have, so that makes him even more special... Isn't this the most darling picture ever?! He is the healthiest looking newborn baby I have ever seen. He weighed almost 9 pounds, though, so what can we say? And he was born without the help of any kind of painrelieving drugs - ALL NATURAL! I can't even believe how tough my Nicoley Jo is - amazing! His name is Jason Brooks Klein, and this is the picture from his birth announcement. Nicoley is a phenomenal photographer (the artist in her!), and so he is going to have zillions of precious pictures to document his life. I told her she should enter them into a baby contest, because as adorable as he is and as good as she is at taking pictures, she would win them all! She's a winner, anyway, though - I mean, look at that precious little man! When she and I first met each other, she talked about someday having four boys... We shall see! She and her husband do make beautiful babies, though, so why not? The four B's are excited to meet the cutie-pie - she is going to come and stay with us at the end of this month, and we can't wait! In the meantime, we are enjoying every single picture we see of him. ISN'T HE PRECIOUS? OH yah!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Critical Life

Have you ever thought about how cricical this world has become? I, for one, cannot believe the horrible defamation our Presidents (yes, plural) of the United States have to endure. I mean, truly! A normal person would slit their wrists if they had to go through the amount of criticism our Presidents and certain celebrities have heaped upon them, day after day.

I mentioned in my last post that I used to wish I was a famous singer. Doesn't everyone have that dream? To be famous, at least? But in the last couple of years, I have never been so thankful to be "nobody." Because I would not be able to handle the slander and downright meanness that comes hand-in-hand with fame and fortune...

Truly, this concept is hysterical coming from me. I mean, quite frankly, I am one of the most critical people I know! I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut about certain things. And I do tend to notice when someone has a panty line or outdated clothes or cartoon hair. But the other thing about me is this - I am also a positive person, and I generally always think the best about people. Until they prove me otherwise. Which, in some instances, can be seconds after I meet them. Yes, I have been blessed with that intuitive gift of knowing someone's true personality right after meeting them. And let me tell you this, too - any time in my life I have ever doubted myself and tried to ignore that inner intuition telling me I do not want to be around this person, I have always, always, always regretted it! I cannot think of a single person I have misjudged upon meeting them. Yes, a real gift I have, eh?

Well, whatever. Whether I'm judgmental or not, I still don't know how President Barrack Obama manages to function on a day-to-day basis with all the hate he receives. And how about other celebrities? Good gracious! What did they ever do to deserve so much crap from people? For example, yesterday I heard a DJ on the radio complaining about Miley Cyrus' posture at the Academy Awards. Dear LORD! Is that truly worth worrying about? Give me a break! Usually bad posture is a sign of a low self-esteem. I suffer from it, myself. Makes sense, doesn't it? Poor Miley...

I wish people would worry about the things that really need worrying about. Like their kids, instead of themselves. Or how to help the people who are suffering right here in this nation we call the US of A. It is little wonder the world is so nutso - it is full of selfish, critical, mean people! What ever happened to being nice? And not for some sort of payment - just because it is the right thing to do?

And if you are wondering about my own tendancies to criticize, well yes! It is another one of those things I am working on. More acceptance and less complaining. Overall, though? I do tend to think the best of people. And I could care less if Miley Cyrus had bad posture at the Academy Awards. Because I think it is amazing that she had the wherewithal to walk down the red carpet in the first place.

I know, who cares, right? Probably just me. I am tired of people constantly putting someone else down, be it a celebrity, the President of the United States of America or their own family. I wish people could remember that they are still people, and a person's a person, no matter how famous or normal.

The Best of Both Worlds

If there is one thing I love, it is being a stay-at-home mom. And to make the pot even sweeter, I have loved working from home. Call me Hannah Montana or Big Mama either one, because for the past three years, I truly have had the best of both worlds. Being at home with my babies and bringing in a little bit of money. I've been a lucky girl!

Truth be told, though, I have always known I would have to find something more substantial down the road. I didn't consider that it might come time for a change before I was ready, though, and that has been a real zinger for me, which has thrown off a lot of my "best laid" plans. Like Lent. And not worrying about things. And being a calm and collected being.

So now that I've sort of started looking at what's out there for careers, I've started thinking about what it is I really want to do with my life. Because, after all, we spend most of our lives at our work, so it may as well be something I love, right? I told Brady the other night that I just realized I don't know what I want to be anymore, because really, all my dreams have come true! For the longest time, I wanted to be a mother, and now I am, and I really don't think there is anything else in this world that will ever top being a mom. There is just nothing that compares with the joy my little B's give to me every single day, even when they drive me crazy.

My friends Kim and Kelly know what they want to do - they are both going to Beauty School so they can learn how to cut and color hair. And I am so proud of them! They are both the most amazing women, and they will be wonderful hair dressers. And how lucky will I be to have my own Twin to fix my hair? I envy them knowing what they want to do with their lives, though. They are both wonderful mothers, and they know what they want their future to hold.

Me, I have a B.S. in Communications Management from the University of Portland, for goodness gracious sakes, and communicating is something I am a complete failure at. I truly struggle with communicating. Personally, I sometimes come on too strong or too directly - I don't have that "smooth" that Brady has when it comes to people skills. Professionally, I hyperventilate if I have to speak in front of a group of people. Literally, I cannot breathe, and my heart beats so fast I feel like I am going to have a heart attack. Yes, me! Who used to dream of being a singer, back in my teenage years. Dear Lord! Now that would have been a sight to see, I'm sure! The Simon Cowells of the music industry would have ripped what little bit of self-esteem I ever possessed into shreds, that is for sure!

But last night, as I was climbing into bed with my latest Jodi Picoult book, it hit me. What I love to do more than anything, really, is write! I love writing this blog, which has been a life-changing experience for me. I love to write letters. I love to write, period. The problem is, I don't know how to write a book, and I'm not sure if I could do it. I don't have the most vivid of imaginations, which I'm pretty sure authors need. And I don't like to write articles about a certain something. I just like to write about my life. And where's that going to get me? Well, not richer, that's for sure!

In other words, I'm still searching for the next phase of my career. I know God never closes one door without opening a window and la-la-la, but it is up to me to do the work to actually find the window, right? Not to mention the Great Unknown factor that totally freaks me out. And then you add in my lack of patience, and there you have it. Me, in my crazy form of limbo.

Lucky for me, I still have the best of both worlds while I find my way...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Messy Room Pranksting

Britt and I played a fun trick on Brailey Shaye, this past Friday. It was hilarious! I rearranged her room, which I have been wanting to do for a while, now, but putting on the backburner, because I knew it would be a big project. This caused a big mess, of course, because while my little girl may give off the illusion that she is neat and tidy, it is definitely just that - an illusion. You can't believe the things I found under her bed! Not to mention the disaster her armoire had turned into... Everything looks like it is put away. Until you open a door or closet or look under her bed. She has done this for as long as I can remember. Anyway, I got as much of it cleaned up as I could before it was time for Britt and I to leave and pick Brailey Cakes up from school, which to be honest, wasn't very much.

In any case, we always have ice skating after school on Fridays, and meet up with Brailey's friend Coral and her mom Suzanne. Suzanne and I even donned our skates and partook in the skating, this time! It was so much fun... I used to just drop Brailey off with Suzanne and Coral and then Brady would pick her up. But now, Britt likes skating so much, he skates on Fridays as well as Wednesdays, which is our other day for Brailey's skating lesson. Which means I stay on Fridays, now. We only have two more Fridays until the rink closes, so we are skating while the skatin's good, if you know what I mean.

Back to the little joke we played on Brailey Shaye, though...

So Britt and I decided that we wouldn't say a word to Brailey about what "we" had done. He was my moral support, more than anything. While I moved and cleaned things, he, of course, talked my ear off about a million different things and was just happy as he could be to roll around on Brailey's bed, watching me. And talking. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk...

By the time we got home from skating, it was nearly six o'clock. So we ate by candlelight, just like we always do on Friday nights, and then the two little B's and I came into my office, which is right next to Brailey's room, Britt and I looking at each other and hoping she would go into her room. But she didn't! She didn't even seem to notice the mess in the hallway, which was her stuff! So I had to say, "Okay, time for pajamas!" I winked at Britt, and he smiled at me but never said a word, and we waited together while Brailey went into her room, and then we got our reaction.

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! What did you do to my room?!"

At this point, Britt and I were laughing hysterically, which made her a little angry. But then we got right to work on cleaning it up, and did as much as we could until it was time for bed. We finished cleaning and organizing it the next day, and then last night, Brady and I built a cute little set of shelves, which completely finished it off. Her room looks darling!

Finally, just this morning as we were getting ready for school, Brailey said, "You know, that was a funny joke you and Britt pulled on me." And we laughed!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Memory Lane

My nieces, Lanie and Lexi with my little B's at the Oregon coast. This was taken three years ago, I think? Maybe four! I can't remember... It was a special day, though, and we all had a good time.

All these other pictures are from three or four years ago, as well. My mom took all of these! Brady bought me a new camera over the weekend, and I was downloading some pictures with it onto my computer last night, and wah-lah! I found a folder of pictures I had completely forgotten about! It was a wonderful surprise... In these pictures, we were celebrating Brailey Shaye's birthday with my parents. We met them at the Blue River park, which we used to do quite often. It is a perfect meeting spot, and has a swing set, play structure, basketball court and a couple of picnic tables. And it is never in use! When I looked at these pictures, it made me sort of sad, though... Look at how CUTE my babies were! And I thought, "Oh my gosh! Did I appreciate them enough at the time?" I really try to do that, every single day, but looking back at these pictures, I just can't believe how much they have grown, and those wonderful school-free days are over. Brailey had ran to us and tripped on something which caused her to fall right on the corner of the picnic bench, which is why her chin is all red. And look at little Brittster Man, looking at a pirate book that my mom had brought to him. Yes, he has been obsessed with pirates for as long as I can remember! Those chubby little arms are so adorable, aren't they? And Brailey Shaye with her bouquets of wildflowers she found. She's always loved picking flowers... Anyway, I thought these would be fun to share. Time is just going so fast, maybe for one moment I can make it slow down, via a trip down Memory Lane. Seriously, weren't they the cutest babies EVER?!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Crazy Compliment

On Sunday, Brady paid me a nice compliment. We were talking about crazy people, and how it feels like the world is getting crazier and crazier every single day. And I said, "Well at least I know I'm crazy!" And this is where Brady paid me the compliment. He said, "That's why I married you. When I first met you, that is what was different about you. You knew you were crazy, and I thought, 'this girl is the real deal.' It's the ones who don't think there's anything wrong with them that you have to watch out for." And I was so thrilled to hear this! I said, "Really? You actually thought that about me?" And Brady said, "Yes, you knew you had some issues but you wanted to work on them, and that's a big deal."

I love this. It is truly one of the most wonderful things Brady has ever said to me. Because that is exactly how I feel! It goes back to the Know-It-All-Phonies of the world that I have such a hard time dealing with (see previous posts). I shouldn't be so smug about it, though, I suppose. Because after all, just because I realize my shortcomings and admit to them, it doesn't make me "better" than anyone else. And this is not what I'm trying to say. But I do wonder, why do some people live in such an oblivious state that they never even realize how self-righteous they are? How can some people always think they are right, no matter what? What makes a person turn out to never be able to admit to being wrong? What is that? And how does it happen to some people?

Well, what can we say? It is what it is. They are what they are. There's nothing I can do about these kinds of people. Except to stay away.

I do believe that is the healthy thing to do - avoid the crazies who think they are perfect. An author I like, who happens to be Catholic and writes about the Catholic religion, wrote in an email newsletter that I recieve about the quality of people around us determining our quality of life. He believes God's dream for us is to be the best version of ourselves we can be. I like this. He also believes that sometimes, being the best version of ourselves means surrounding ourselves with other people who are striving to be the best versions of themselves. Which can sometimes, not always, but sometimes, mean excluding people who aren't striving to be the best version of themselves they can be.

In any case, I'm just glad Brady realized I was crazy before he married me. And yes, "lucky, lucky" Brady, I'm still working on myself, every single day...

More February 2010 Pictures

I do truly love this little poser... He always gets in the perfect "stance," and then after I take the picture, he'll say, "How 'bout this?" "Now this!"

Brailey Shaye's ashes from Ash Wednesday. My little spiritual angel-girl...

My 3 wonderful B's, at top of our hill walk. You can tell it was a beautiful day. I think my B's make sun shine even brighter!

Now this cracks me up! Jingles, the white kitty, is one of the kittens Santa brought to Brailey Shaye for Christmas. He sleeps in the bathroom with Rosin, our adorable pug, every night. He has his own bed, the green one next to the one he is in, but he prefers to sleep with Rosin. And Rosin is so sweet, she goes along with it. Pretty cute, huh?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gift Card Fun

All 4 B's have a cold. We've been so lucky this winter! Of course, I have been meticulous about not touching door handles, wiping down our shopping carts and using hand sanitizer, and I think it helped for most of the winter. We kind of let our guards down the last couple of weeks, though, and WHAM! We are all hit with a little bug. But nothing too horrible, thank goodness.

We still managed to have a wonderful weekend in the beautiful sunshine. On Saturday I felt my worst, and Brady had to work all day, so the kids and I headed to town for Britt to spend his ToysRUs gift card from my parents. The boy does NOT need any more toys... Seriously, he doesn't! But a gift card is a gift card, and so I told him we could go. He loves to build with his lincoln logs, so I told him he could get more lincoln logs, and that was it for toys. We'd have to find something he needed for baseball for the rest of the amount. And this is what he said. "Okay! Sure! And Brailey, you can pick something out, too. I don't want you to feel bad." Can you believe that?! Six years old, and he did it all on his own! Brailey was thrilled, and she picked out a little pretend hampster that she adores. So after that, I left Britt go ahead and use the rest of his gift card on another small toy for himself. And they were happy as clams for the rest of day! Which allowed me to park on the couch and finish another Jodi Picoult book.

Britt had gift cards to Target, too, and Brady went with us to Target yesterday. Since baseball is about to start, we had him use his money from the gift cards and then his ten bucks that Uncle Boone and Aunt Cindy gave him for new baseball cleats and a new batting helmut and some practice balls. Britt was happy to use his money for this - I was proud of him.

Brailey got her new cleats for baseball, too, so the little B's are all set for the season to begin. Big Mama, on the other hand, is not quite ready for the hustle and bustle of practice and games, but as long they are both on the same team, it shouldn't be too crazy. Also, the ice rink will be shut down from the end of March until August, so we won't have those trips to add into the mix, which should be helpful.

In any case, we truly are all set for the ball games to begin! Now if we can just get over these nasty colds...

April - Here and Gone in the Blink of an Eye

It seems crazy to think Easter Sunday was on April Fool's Day this year, but it totally was. We started our Easter at mass with our fa...