Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stay-At-Home Soapbox

My friends Kelly, Kimmy and I all have many things in common, but I think the most important thing we share is a deep love of our children and the way we prioritize them. Like myself, Kelly and Kim both put their kids first, and everything in their lives revolves around their childrens' schedules. Taking it a step farther, we also have one other thing in common - all three of our husbands think we should work more! Can you believe that? As if being a stay-at-home mother isn't a job? Give me a break! AND a Kit Kat bar!

Now don't get the wrong impression, because we all three have very nice husbands, and I certainly wouldn't trade mine for anything in the world (except Pat Monahan from Train). However, as someone who works part-time, I do find it irritating that most men in the United States feel women should be "pulling their own weight" financially. What happened to the men who LIKED taking care of their women? Yes, I am grateful to the women's libbers who made it possible for me to be able to vote, but I think the men are carrying it too far, now.

Kelly actually had a great idea - she said the government should pay stay-at-home mothers, and I agree! It is a good thing we stay-at-home moms are trying to do - take care of our own kids. And people can say whatever they want to say about kids in daycare being more cognitively developed and social - I disagree. And when it comes right down to it, I think most of our problems in the world today are because of daycare - we are dealing with a bunch of overgrown adult-babies who grew up feeling like nobody cared about them because they grew up in daycares where, truthfully, nobody did care for them! Not the way a mother can care. There is no one who can love my babies the way I love them, and since I am the one who brought them into the world, I want to be the one who has the privilege of taking care of them. And that is what it is, for me - a great privilege and honor to take care of my B's.

This issue causes me so much anger and passion, it is hard to get it all out in words. The fact of the matter is, though, the moms who want to should be at home with their kids, taking care of them, without being penalized by society and even their own husbands. I have to admit I was a little shocked when Kelly said she thought the government should pay us, but then I thought about it, and I realized how brilliant she is to think that! After all, the government takes care of all the lowlifes in the country who don't even try to be a productive member of society. Why not help the moms who are trying to raise their kids to be good citizens? In other words, isn't it a crying shame that moms today have to essentially be penalized for taking care of their kids? Or, on the other side of the coin, to feel guilty because they have to work?

Brady and I have a good friend, Clay, who is a stay-at-home dad, and he and I talk almost every day while we wait for our kids to come out of the school. Clay will tell you straight up that staying home with the kids is a lot of work. He said it was a much easier to go to work and then come home! He and I were talking the other day about all the jerk dads who go to the bar after work and brag about leaving the "old lady" at home with the kids. Why aren't they home playing baseball or basketball or doing homework or working around the place? How can they possibly think they deserve to be so selfish, just because they "worked" all day. Moms work just as hard, if not harder, with no relief! No breaks or set hours - just nonstop work.

I realize I might sound redneck to some people. I don't mean to offend anyone. I grew up on a cattle ranch with a mom and dad who were both there for me, and they both worked their tails off to make a living for our family, but best of all? We were all together in everything we did. I never spent a single day in daycare. And I am still close to my parents today and hold almost every single value they held when I was a kid. I am proud of where I came from. They say you are a product of your parents, and while I might be a little crazy, I am also a good mom. That is the one thing I know to be true about myself, and I know there is nobody on this planet who can love my babies the way I do. Why would I want to get a full-time job and give all my money to someone else to raise my precious little B's?

And by the way? I have good kids! People tell me this all the time - I'm not just saying it because I'm blinded by my love for them. They truly are good kids, and they know I have high expectations of them. They know they are loved and important to me and their dad. And that is what I find lacking in so many adults today - they are still searching for someone to love them. Obviously I can't predict the future, and I'm sure I will have trials and tribulations with my children as they grow, but I'm betting the struggle to be able to drop them off and pick them up from school and to take them here and there and to go without some of the fun things we'd like to do because it is too expensive will all be worth it. We have our children with us for such a short time - why do people give them up so easily?

I know some moms have to work, and I don't judge them, I truly don't. All I'm saying is that being a stay-at-home mom is worth something, and Kelly is right. The government should reward the moms who make their children the priority and who stay home to take care of them. It takes a good mom to make a good kid, and wouldn't America be a bettter place if there were nicer, less selfish people in it? Yes. Yes it would. God bless the stay-at-home moms of the world!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

People In Your Life

The only people you need in your life are the people who need you in theirs.

Have truer words ever been spoken? Well maybe so, but I still love this saying. I found it on Twitter and I think it is genius!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Catholic Classes

Now that Brailey Shaye is in second grade (okay, who am I kidding!? She's almost a third grader, darn it!), she is preparing for one of the seven Catholic sacraments. She has already received two sacraments - baptism and reconciliation. Reconciliation is also known as confession, and she had her first confession this past fall. Now she is preparing to receive her first communion, or the sacrament of eucharist.

The super cool thing about her going through this special preparation is that she is taking a class every Monday evening at our church. And even cooler is the fact that her two favorite boys from her class at school are also Catholics and taking the same church class! So it is nice for them to have each other in those classes, because most of the other kids go to the private Catholic school and know each other. The program is wonderful, because there are fantastic teachers who come to these sessions and teach the children about the sacrament they are going to receive. They broke the sacraments up into two sessions. The first session was held in the fall, as I mentioned, and was reconciliation. And now we are into the spring session of Eucharist.

Now I have to tell you the other neat thing about these classes....

While the kids are in their class, there is another room with a parent class held at the same time. So we have "concurrent sessions!" This is so we parents can refresh ourselves on our religion and help our children. We have a truly amazing teacher -she is a wealth of knowledge and has the gift of being able to teach it perfectly. Every time Brady and I walk away from the class, we are amazed at how much we were taught. And how fascinating the Catholic religion is!

And now I must confess to you one of my sins regarding these classes... I was irritated at having to take them, back when they started in the fall. I felt like they were too late at night, because our bedtime is always 8:00 PM, and Brailey goes to a tough school where she needs to be alert and rested (I know, this is the same thing every parent thinks about their kid's school, but remember Brailey's is Spanish Immersion). Now, I am ashamed at my attitude, because while Brailey Shaye loves her Monday evening class, I love the parent class even more! I cannot tell you how nice it is to go and learn the reasons behind what we do, the history of the bible and the Catholic church, which has always meant so much to me. The reason I love being a Catholic is because I know it was the first church - it is truly the Lord's church, started by Jesus Himself. Now do not misunderstand me here, because I do not judge other religions. But I do find a lot of comfort in the fact that Catholics go all the way back to the beginning. That means something to me...

So now I look forward to Monday nights! This Sunday Brailey Shaye will be blessed at mass, and then she will have her first communion sometime in June, for which we will hold a special celebration. Brady's Godfather's wife offered to make her a special veil to wear, which is so thoughtful and special. I pray it will be a day in her life that she never forgets.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thank You, My People!

Thank you so much for the comments and "votes," my friends. Makes me feel loved! Every comment is like a miniature peanut butter cup for my soul! If I could round up some more "followers," this blog might get noticed by the Big Dogs in the blog publishing world and I could be a world famous author... Yes - that is my dream. And everyone needs to have a dream, right? So please feel free to become a "follower," and I will stop whining and being so needy.


(If you've read my prior posts, you know the inside joke here, and truth be told? I have been trying to take my own inventory the past few weeks, and I think I AM somewhat needy and a tad bit know-it-all-ish. Yikes! Now I'm working on THOSE issues of me... Dear Lord!)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Story of the Disappearing Mustache

Brailey Shaye and Brady at one of Britt's tee ball games... (Note mustache on Brady's face.)

Cowboy Britt with his mustache.

Brady in Oregon City on our way to Yakima WA - (note handsome mustache on his face).

Brady's brother, the little Bs' "Uncle Boone," with his precious five month old grandbaby, Amalie Claire. (Note Boone's mustacheless face.)

And here we have Big Daddy, mustache-free. Yup! Brady shaved his mustache off a couple of nights ago. YIKES! It has been quite the dramatic "thing" around here, let me tell you. He has been wanting to shave his stache for quite a while, now. I don't know why... Even his own mother likes his mustache. A few years ago when he shaved it off, she was up visiting, and she said, "Brady, why don't you grow your mustache back? You look so handsome with it." Irregardless of what anyone else thinks, the other night in the shower he and Britt shaved it off! Britt "helped" him do it. Brailey Shaye and I were in my office, and we didn't know he had shaved it. After their shower, I saw Britt standing in the doorway in his towel looking kind of forlorn, but I didn't really think anything about it. Then Brady called Brailey into the bedroom, and she said something like, "That looks bad..." I thought she meant his pajamas or something. Shortly after, with Britt still standing in the doorway looking pitiful, Brady came into my office to show me what he had done, and I said, "OH MY GOSH! WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!" I don't like surprises like this... So anyway, Brady went into the living room, and then Britt, who was still standing in the doorway, perhaps in shock, burst into tears and said, "I think Dad looks really creepy!" And then he dived onto my lap and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed over the shaved mustache. Apparently, he had helped Brady shave it off because he wanted to see how he would look without one, and once it was gone, he said, "Okay, now put it back." Which, of course, he was shocked to find isn't possible. So then Britt said Brady needed to put on a fake mustache until one grew in (see picture above of Britt). There were more tears the next morning, believe it or not. Both kids were not happy with the mustache, which Brady is already growing back, thank goodness. It turned out to be quite comical for me, though, because they decided to start calling him "Uncle Boone," who doesn't have a mustache, because they think he looks more like him. So all evening long, they were saying things like, "I love you, Uncle Boone. And Uncle Boone, too!" "What, Uncle Boone?" "Sure, Uncle Boone!" "Uncle Boone?" Brady did not seem to find the humor in this the way I did. I say it serves him right - I love his mustache! I think it makes him more handsome and rugged and cowboy. I held up a picture of Pat Monahan (Remember him? The Train guy I have a thing for?) next to Brady and had him pose the same way, and he didn't look as much like Pat as I thought he would... But the upper lip IS the same on both of them. I don't think Pat Monahan would look very good with at mustache, though. So anyway, that's the story of the disappearing mustache, which will hopefully reappear soon, because I have a feeling "Uncle Boone" is going to get tired of being teased by his little B's. Ha!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nikki, Godmother and Friend Extraordinaire

Today is the birthday of one of my dearest and most treasured friends, Nikki Garrett. Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday, Nik!

Nikki and I first met when we were sophomores in high school. She moved from one of our biggest rival schools. Ironically, both schools were the Mustangs (school mascot). Is that funny? Two small country schools trying to be "number one!" I think what attracted us to one another was our desire to be different from the norm, although this is somewhat of an oxymoron, because in trying to be different, what we really wanted was to be just like everyone else, only slightly better. You know, part of the popular crowd, which I think she was far more successfull with than I ever was. I was always on the edge of the circle, pretending to fit in, but never really making it all the way. Nikki was one of those special people that could mix with everyone because she was such a good friend and person to us all - and she still is today. Furthermore, I think it is because of Nikki that our school started befriending other schools. She showed us that the kids from the rival school were just like us, and we started becoming friends with all the different schools in our district. And it changed right after we left, so how could it not have been Nikki's influence?

The two of us really bonded during our senior year of high school. We had been cheerleaders for the past two years, but gave it up for our passions that last year - hers being volleyball and mine being basketball. I could tell you so many stories about us... I don't know when we were crazier - then or now! Nikki is the friend in my life I have had the longest that I can trust with everything there is in my life. She is always there for me and no matter how much time has passed since our last visit, we can always pick right back up where we left off.

Shortly after we graduated from high school, she and I made a bet. We shook hands and the whole nine yards. I bet that she would have kids, and she said she never would. We bet a thousand bucks! I'm happy to say I won the bet, and I although we weren't really serious about the money part, she truly believed at that time that she would never have a baby. I'm proud to tell you she has an adorable boy just two months younger than Brailey Shaye, and I am blessed to be his Godmother.

Nikki is an amazing story of success, because she went to school and worked full time to pay for it 100% on her own! She has earned every single thing she has ever had (which is quite a lot, by the way - you should see her house!) by way of her own hard work - nobody helped her through any of it. Just she, herself, and her. Can you imagine the strength that took? It might have taken a little longer than the average student, but she persevered and she now has a top position in a wonderful job she excels in. Furthermore, she is a fabulous decorater and gardener and the best mom her son could ever ask for, as well as a beautiful fiance to a wonderful man. She is also Brailey's Godmother, and I am eternally grateful to her for being such an important part of my daughter's life.

I could go on and on and on and even ON about Nikki, but the important thing for you to know about her is that she is the most loyal, loving, true and faithful friend I could ever ask for. When Brady was on life support, there she was, right there by my side, praying with me and for me and Brady and my entire family. She became a Catholic a few years after we graduated from high school, and she is a great example of a giving, loving, productive member of society. I so love this girl...

Thanks for being and meaning so much to me, Nikki. You are a blessing! I hope you have the happiest of birthdays and I wish you every good thing. Celebrate yourself, because you are amazing and worth celebrating!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yakima PBR Weekend

What a wonderful weekend! It started early for us, acutally, because Brailey Shaye ended up being home from school on Thursday, and then there was no school on Friday. And guess what? Can you tell by the tone of my voice there has been SUNSHINE?! OH yah! It was gorgeous from Thursday up until today, which was supposed to be rainy and cold but so far is just warm and overcast.

So my parents came over on Friday evening to stay with the two little B's while the two big B's went to Yakima, WA. Brady judged the PBR up there on Saturday night, which was great! Being a PBR judge (Professional Bull Riding, if you are wondering what PBR stands for) is Brady's passion, and he was in his element, judging with his favorite co-judge, Clint Corey. The bulls were BUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK-ERS! They were awesome! If you've never been to a PBR, you should try to go - you'll be hooked on the sport instantly. My cousin who lives in Seattle with her husband came to watch the show, because they are complete PBR addicts, and we got to spend time with them over breakfast yesterday morning.

It was great to see Cindy and John after all these years and to hear about my Aunt Mary (Cindy's mom) who lives up in Seattle next to them. She just had a brush with colon cancer, but is all better now and sounds really happy. I'm so glad she lives next to Cindy and John, because they are taking excellent care of her. When we go to Seattle later on this year to see our Nicoley, we are going to make time to go to Cindy's, too. I actually really like Seattle, now, after having seen it back in December on my adventure with the kiddos to Nicoley's. I want to bring my mom along, too, because I think she would enjoy it, as well. We are going to go to the zoo, which is apparently next to a gorgeous rose garden, and I know my Shaye-Shaye and mom will love that!

Anyway, my mom and dad took great care of everything, including getting Britt to his tee ball game. They planted some bushes that the kids and I picked up on Friday for me, and they look perfect! My dad got some rocks moved for me at the edge of our yard, also, so we are ready for dirt, if we ever find any we can afford... (I don't know where the phrase "dirt cheap" came from, because it sure as hell isn't cheap over here. It costs an arm and a leg! I said this the other day in the car with my B's, and Britt said, "What does that mean? An arm and a leg?" Cracked me up!)

Anyway, it was one of those weekends that we will always remember. It was great for Brady and I to get away with just the two of us, and also really good for the kids to spend time with their grandparents. I didn't realize it, but the last time they stayed with them was when Brady was in the hospital on life support, and that is why Brailey ended up staying home on Thursday - her stomach was killing her because she was so worried about us leaving. Yes, she is just like her mother! Worry, worry, worry. But like my mom said, it is important for them to stay with other people every now and then. I was shocked to realize it had been that long since they had been away from us. I guess I was keeping them close to me subconsciously or something? Brady's near-death experience had more of an effect on the kids and I than Brady will ever comprehend.

In any event, the kids, my parents and Brady and I had a great weekend! Good weather, good times and good livin'. Isn't that what it's all about?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Introducing Quickity Split

Here you see Britt with his new horse, Quickity Split! We picked this horse up for a song and a dance on Sunday, much to Britt's surprise, and he couldn't be more thrilled. A friend of ours was saving this horse through the winter for us, and he bugged Brady endlessly to come and check him out for Britt, to which I kept saying "NO-NO-NO-NO-WAY-JOSE." Well, wouldn't you know, Big Mama was wrong (Can you believe that? First time ever, I think...), and Quickity Split turned out to be the perfect horse for Britt! Brailey has had her horse Tex since before she was born, and Britt never really showed an interest in learning how to ride until this spring. All of a sudden though, about three weeks ago, he started "dressing up" as a cowboy. And now he has a routine - every day, he comes running into his room after he gets home from Kindergarten and gets into one of his "rodeo" shirts, then puts on his gun belt and gun and cowboy hat. As soon as we unloaded Quickity from the trailer, he said, "So! Can you get my saddle on him, Mom?" And I said, "Right now?" And he said "Yah!" So after we curried and saddled him, we went up to our little riding pen, and Brady started leading him around, and then Britt said, "Why can't I have the controls?" By "controls" he meant "reins." But that is an accurate description, for sure, and that is what I used to tell people back when I worked on a dude ranch and gave lessons to city slickers. "Your reins are your main control, so whatever you do, don't drop them!" So Brady tied the halter lead rope around Quickity's neck, and Britt had a marvelous time riding him around. He told me later that night, "I love my new horse, Mom." It makes me so happy, because this is the horse we have been trying to find for him. We bought a nice horse for Britt last year, but he wasn't what Britt needed, and so we ended up selling him, of course. It is truly fun to see Britt enjoy being a cowboy, though. I've told him it isn't really a costume, but he still thinks in those terms. More precious memories... I am anxious to see what the summer will bring! Britt's new horse has renewed Brailey Shaye's interest in her own horse, and I think the two of them are going to have a ball riding together. I would love to see the cowboy and cowgirl they would have been if we lived on a cattle ranch, but that is a true luxury in today's world, and I realize I am blessed to have experienced it the way I did. Still, I'm thankful they can have a little piece of country in their childhood, because I know it is something they can enjoy for the rest of their lives.

Tee Ball Nostalgia

Are these the most precious pictures you've ever seen in your life or what? I know, huh?! They are DARLING! One of the little cutie tee ball player's mom took these. As you can see, she is a "real" photographer. You can see Britt in the middle of the back row in the team picture, smiling his adorable smile. He is standing next to his best friend, Brody, who is the other adorable smiler on Britt's left (move your eyes right from Britt). I love the picture of them on the bench even more... Britt is the second from the end... As if the whole tee ball situation isn't nostolgic enough, these pictures really captured the essence of this time in their lives. They are growing up too fast! Truly, can there ever be this level of cuteness again? Tee ballers are the epitomy of beginners. Hey, we all have to start somewhere, right? The other cute thing about this team is that they are all boys... And boy are they cute!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Are you ready?

Okay, so I got some responses from my last post - whining is apparently still "somewhat effective," even as an adult. Ha! So I think I do have more than just three readers, thank goodness. Thank you, people! What can we say? The "neediness" in me carries on. OH yah!

Exciting family updates include the following items: Stars and Stripes, Quickity Split, Tee Ball, First Communion Classes and the Yakima PBR. If you are wondering what any of these mean, you'll have to check back. See? That was like a commercial... A preview of what is to come. Are you ready?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Comments? Anyone? Please?

Seriously, I love writing this blog. It has become an addiction, and is even therapeutic in many ways for me. However, I think I am writing it for three people, because those are the only ones who ever mention anything about my posts to me on a regular basis. Yep - my mom, my sister and my twin. That's it - my whole blog crew!

Someone told me a while back I am a "needy" person, and I have to have a lot of praise and attention. I didn't put too much stock into it, since the person who said it is possibly the most attention-seeking person I know (I mean, really. Can you imaginge having someone who has fake boobs on full display practically to the nipple at all times criticize you? Seriously. Give me a break!)

However, as I think about my blog, which can certainly be considered attention-seeking, I realize there may be a grain of truth to the matter. Perhaps I am needy. Perhaps I do need a lot of attention. And when I think about it further, I think that is all I have ever wanted my entire life... To be acknowledged and noticed as a person worthy of being someone special. And really, isn't that what we all want?

My mom sent me an article a while back about kids wanting you to "watch" them all the time. "Hey Mom, watch this!" and "Mom, look at this!" and on and on. And we grow up doing this, and it never really stops, does it? When you are in high school, you want your friends and family to come and watch you play your sports games or to see your concerts or plays. And even as adults, if you are into something, you still want someone special in the crowd who is there just to watch you. What is a sport, after all, if there is nobody to watch it? Why do little girls dream of growing up to marry Prince Charming in a dream wedding? Because they want people to see how special they are, that's why. We all want to be a "star" in our own little worlds, don't we?

The point being, I think it is natural for me to want people to read my blog. I mean, I am writing it for a bigger audience than my beloved mother, sister and bestie. I have rediscovered how much I adore writing through this blog. And I also love to share, share, share - I'm not a private person, so here it all is, my needy soul bared for the world to see...

So if you do read my blog, please feel free to comment. Or to become a follower. Or even to mark what you think of the post - cool, interesting, whatever! I check my posts every day to see if there are any comments. And sadly, there rarely are. Comments are like a present to me - manna from heaven, I'm telling you! So please, if you read this blog, let me know... You don't have to, of course, but I would love to hear your thoughts about my thoughts. Love and hugs from my needy soul to yours!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

There is NO WAY!

Brady and I have been joking back and forth about something we saw on tv that relates to us... It all started when we were watching CMT's Blue Collar Comedy Reunion shortly before spring break. I never stay up late to watch television (I just cannot go without my beauty rest, people!), but I love the Blue Collar Comedians so much I made an exception. Larry the Cable Guy is the one who started Brady and I on our little sideshow.

He was talking about some of the things his "girlfriend" has asked him to do. Like go into a Victoria's Secret store, which he said there was no way in hell he would ever be caught dead in. So he's in there, shopping around, and his girlfrend wants him to try on a pair of sexy underwear, which he absolutley refuses to do. While he's in there trying them on, she decides he needs to "shave" his "area," which he said would happen over his dead body... So he's in the bathroom with the razor, shaving said area - you see where we're going? And so Brady and were laughing hysterically, because that is US!

For example, a couple of weeks ago, we had a stray dog show up (I'll write about that in one of my next posts). It was an adorable little chihuahua, and Little Miss Mother Hen Brailey Shaye Murray had him in the house before I knew it. So we had to pick Brady up from Dari Mart, and on the way home in the car, as we're telling him about this dog, he says, "That dog had better not be in the house! We do not need another dog." The kids and I just kind of looked at him. So fast forward to the evening, after he's spent some time with the dog, and we're trying to determine how to find his owner, and Brady says, "I wouldn't even try to find the owner - I think he has a good home right here." Ha!

I saw an interview with Pat Monahan (you know, the hottie from Train that I love?) the other day on YouTube and I think this issue must be a common denominator among a lot of couples. He said when he met his current wife, he told her there were three things she needed to know about him: 1) he would never live in Seattle, 2) he would never get married again and 3) he did not want to have any more children. He then went on to say he is married to her, living in Seattle and for all he knew she had a bun in the oven as he spoke! (I think he should write a song about this... He's talented enough he could pull it off.)

So now Brady and I make our own scenarios up. He'll say "no" just to be able to say "yes." We were joking about my parents moving on our drive home from Sisters the other day. Brady said "I told my wife there is no way in hell I was going to help her parents move back to Burns. Twenty loads later, I'm driving the Uhaul back to Eugene..." See? We're real standups, now!

Even if no one else thinks we're funny, we get a kick out of ourselves, which is always a good thing. Oh, and in case you didn't notice, the other good thing is that it is always the man who does the bending. I'm really glad Brady is learning the importance of being flexible, even if it is a bit of a joke. After all, what is life if you can't laugh at it?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Weather Depression

I'm having issues with my personality again... And this time I'm blaming it on the weather. It has been the most miserable weather we've had all winter long, which would be fine and perfectly acceptable with my brain but for one problem - IT'S NOT WINTER ANY MORE! It is SPRING, and when my calendar flips past March 20th, I automatically go into spring mode and expect warmer temperatures. I can even handle the rain if the temperature is at least 60 degrees...

Normally I can attribute my cranky days and grumpy attitude to my blessed "time of the month." Can't every woman? I've read that men have periods, too, but I just don't see it in my man the way I see it in myself every single month. Basically, what it boils down to, is that I have two good weeks every month, three if I am lucky. Can you believe that?! Why do hormones have to be so controlling and rule a woman's world? I know I am not alone in my monthly bitchiness, but I truly detest PMS and everything that goes with it, like cravings for chocolate and bloating and no energy and cramps.

This time, though, it is more than my "time," and even more than the weather. Every now and then, a couple times a year (maybe more if you ask Brady, but we're not asking him), I get serious. About everything. There is just no joy in any part of my personality! This is not to say that I don't love my family or enjoy my children - that isn't it. I just become serious, serious, serious. I have a tendancy to be serious on a normal, happy, Type A day, but the past few days I have been serious in the extreme. My doctor, when I went to him the last time this happened, said I was depressed. Depressed! Yes, depression happens to me. I said to him, "No, I'm not depressed - I have the best kids and husband in the world and I love my life!" And he explained to me that depression doesn't always have a reason. Sometimes it just is.

I don't know why I become depressed every now and then, but for the first time in my life, I realized it all on my own, so I think that must be progress, right? Except that I don't know how to "lighten up." I'm just not feeling "light" right now, spiritually or physically. I do think a big part of my dilemma is a reflection of the weather - I am someone who relys on the sunshine in order to have a "sunny" disposition. And after the relatively mild winter we experienced, I wasn't prepared for stark-raving-mad cold and dreariness and BLAH.

Whatever the deal with me is, it is seriously irritating, and I'm ready for a change! Seriously, I am.

More Baby J and Brady's Birthday

Look at that! Only 7 weeks old and he's already able to roll from side to side, not to mention hold his head up all by himself. He's amazing! So smart and handsome and just a real darling little baby boy who love-love-loves his mommy (that would be Nicoley, remember?)! He looks up at her with sheer adoration and wonder when she talks to him. He is growing so fast! They made a quick pit stop for feeding on their way home from Coos Bay yesterday afternoon, so we got to see them both, and it was wonderful! We love them so much...

And it was Brady's 54th birthday yesterday, as well! We made him his favorite German Chocolate cupcakes and sang him "Happy Birthday," of course. He looks good for his age, don't you think? He loves his family more than anything in the world - especially the two little B's sitting on his lap. He tells me every day how much he loves all of us - we are so lucky to have him here with us! After his near-death experience a year and a half ago, we have a new appreciation for him.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sledding with Papa

Easter Weekend

Presenting our beautiful sparkle and camo Easter eggs! This is the first year we did something a little "extra" (you know, besides the normal coloring process) and they turned out great. I love the pride and artistry that went in to each and every egg.
Yes! Snow on Easter weekend! We decided to brave the weather and the dreaded pass and drove to Sisters to be with my parents on Saturday afternoon. And it was perfect timing! The pass had bare pavement almost the entire way, and we all had a wonderful time together. Here you can see them making a snow fort, which they stock piled with snowballs and then "invited" their dad to come out and see - boy did he have a big surprise when he was bombarded with snowballs. They tried it out on Papa the next day, and it was hilarious to watch. Needless to say, my dad gets in to his snowball fighting...

Beacause the ground was covered with snow, the Easter Bunny hid the eggs in the barn, which was perfect! He dropped their baskets off at the front door, and even knew to find my two B's in Sisters. Britt swears he saw the Easter Bunny - he "really did!" As he stepped out to see if their baskets had arrived, he saw his "white head and blue eyes." He told us it was really cool that he was the "first person in our family to ever see the Easter Bunny."

And here you can see they are bundled up and ready to go sledding! Britt was not happy to have to wear Grandma's hat, but it was that or no sledding, so he sucked it up and wore the darn thing, which I think looked adorable. Papa took them up on the hill and we had a little sledding session. (I'll post a short video of that later.) My mom was even able to go and watch the activity from the front seat of the Explorer, which my dad drove right out into the forest so we could find the best sledding spot. Brailey Shaye said, "Okay, I'm ready to go like the wind!" We decided after it was all over that we'll always remember the Easter Sunday we went sledding, and when we tell the story in the future, no one will believe us. But it's oh-so-true!

My mom, bless her heart, surprised Brady with a birthday cake she got for him. His little dumplings were thrilled! His birthday is actually today, but we had our cake (yes, ate it, too!) a day early. It was a special Easter weekend, and my B's are completely worn out. On the way to school this morning, neither one of them said a word, which is how I know they are still tired from all the excitement, even after a good night's sleep. Memories, memories, memories... It is the last Easter we will ever spend in Sisters, so it is only right that it was so special to all of us.

Friday, April 2, 2010

More of Nicoley and Precious Baby Boy

I love this picture... Isn't he so alert and cute and handsome?! Look at those beautiful eyes... He is strong, too - he can roll from side-to-side at only 6 weeks - OH yah!

This was right after she fed him in the car... I thought is was so cute! Satisfaction, baby, satisfaction.

Okay, first of all, it was really hard for me to post these pictures after I saw how HORRIBLE and RIDICULOUS and UGLY my hair looked. However, rather than be too vain to post the pictures, I am putting them on here for all to see... What can I say? I was so enthralled with the baby, I forgot to look in the mirror. (I have actually been hating my hair for a while, now, and after seeing these pictures, I realize it is time for a CHANGE!) WHATEVER - enough about my disgusting hair. We are at the Law School with Karen, one of our good friends from our days of working there. She is the most caring, sweet, nice, beautiful person you will ever meet, and I miss her...

And here we are with our Debbie, the lady who hired us both and helped to reconnect when we lost touch for a brief spell. If it weren't for Debbie, I would never have found Nicoley! I miss her and the entire Law School - those were special times. She let me bring Brailey Shaye with me to work for almost an entire month after my maternity leave ended. Yes, you read that right - I just tucked Brailey down on the floor next to my desk and strolled her around when I needed to go somewhere. Debbie was like my Mom-Away-from-Home to me, and she will always have a special place in my heart. Her and the entire Law School!

Brailey Shaye playing peek-a-boo with Jason - she loves this baby!

Baby Jayce and Nicoley

Our first look at Jason Brooks! Isn't he the cutest baby ever? He looks a lot like his mom, so how could he not be adorable (she's a knockout beauty!)?I do see his dad in that precious little face, too, though. My little B's love-love-love him! They were fascinated! This was Nicoley's first trip with him - he is only six weeks old, so they are still getting things figured out. He is so lucky to have such a wonderful, loving, fun, sweet, perfect mother - she is doing a great job with this New-Mommy gig, let me tell you, and I am so proud of her!

Brailey Shaye could not wait to hold him! I was terribly selfish with him and sort of hogged all the "holding time" until Brailey asked me very nicely if I thought she might be able to hold him. So first thing in the morning before school, she got her wish. They kiddos picked his outfit for the day out...

And here is Brittster Man holding him, with Rosin in her normal position on the couch. Rosin turned out the be the jealous one! I realized she's never seen me with a baby before. She was very sweet to him and didn't bark or bite or even growl, but she was quite worried and anxious. Curious about that little bundle, I guess? Anyway, we talked Britt into holding him, and it did cause a couple of squaks from Jason, but it was worth it!

And here they are with their favorite Aunti and new little cousin! They love Nicoley so-so-so much! After we dropped the kiddos off at school, we headed to the Law School, where we first met each other while working there. When I got home, there was a message on my voicemail from Brailey Shaye - she was crying and said she felt homesick... Turns out she was sad because she didn't get to spend enough time with Nicoley (and here I was, thinking she missed me!) She is so much like Nicole, it mind boggling... Here is a list of what they have in common: a deep love for lambs and goats, sleeping with their heads covered by a baby blanket, drawing and being artistic, picking flowers, loving flowers, anything to do with flowers and then their sweet, caring personalities. Nicoley held Brailey and Britt both before I did, so she is definitely an important part of our family, to say the least. And now she has a baby of her very own!

We are pretending this picture doesn't exist so it doesn't hurt Brailey Shaye's feelings - at least that's what we said when we took it. It is hard to be in school all day when your brother only has to go a half day... Hence the phone call from school feeling homesick and probably left out. In any case, Britt loves Nicoley as much as Brailey Shaye does, and he was perfect with the baby. We are keeping our fingers crossed they will need a place to stop on the way back to Seattle on Monday... I'm going to post pictures from the Law School next. Hope you enjoy this adventure!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pee Wee Rodeo Lesson

Last spring, I decided to enter my kids into the Pee Wee rodeos over in Central Oregon. I did this for two reasons - one, because I thought they would have fun with the other kids and learn to ride better, and two, I thought it would be a wonderful way for my family so spend time together, since my parents live in Sisters and my brother's girls were doing the Pee Wee rodeos, too.

However, it did not turn out to be the happy affair I had anticipated. For one thing, it brought up a lot of personal issues for me, which I told myself I could handle, but in fact made me one big bundle of nerves. Secondly, I had no idea how competitive Pee Wee Rodeo was. The vision I had of the kids riding around with other kids and having a high old time was nothing like the reality of the event. It is serious business, people! As serious as a heart attack, and I felt like I was going to have a heart attack from all the tension in the air. Needless to say, we didn't do too well. I had to walk with Brailey and Britt through their events because their horse was a turd and Brady was mortified to be there because he didn't feel like they were ready in the first place. And he was right! In fact, none of us were ready. It was one of the most devastating experiences of my life.

It isn't easy to admit you were "wrong," and that is what I had to do. I was so disappointed, because I had envioned the cousins all having fun together and a great family adventure with every rodeo. It wasn't what we needed, though, that's for sure. We just aren't the kind of people to be out for blood at this stage of childhood. And we aren't as experienced at riding, either.

So we've moved on to local horse shows around here, and Brady's mother made Brailey Shaye the most gorgeous pair of show chaps (you say it like this: SHAPS, not chaps like you city slickers say) you've ever seen in your life. Brailey and I are going to start riding at the neighbor's new barn next week while Brady and Britt are at tee ball practice, and I'm really looking forward to it. I think we have a great summer ahead of us, and I'm going to love every second of it, starting right now, in the spring. And I think the plans I have for this spring will pan out a whole lot better than my pee wee rodeo plans did last spring. Live and learn, baby, live and learn!

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...