Thursday, May 27, 2010

Disappointing Playdate

Poor Britt... He was all excited for his big playdate yesterday. He couldn't wait to ride the bus after Kindergarten let out to his friend's house and to play. Well. It turns out the best part of the playdate was the bus ride. Why? Because he didn't actually get to play with his friend. Rather, his friend played a video game while Britt watched him. The whole, entire time. Is that sad or what?! And Britt did not enjoy it one bit, which made me sad for Britt, but it also made me glad he likes to play for real instead of playing video games.

Brady and I don't believe in letting our kids have video games. Therefore, they don't! Have any video games, that is... That's why we live out in the country, after all, so our kids can go out and play and create adventures for themselves. Britt's favorite thing to do these days is to play cowboy in the barn. He loves to climb hay bales and fences and run around pretending to be some character from his imagination, partaking in a gunfight or a swordfight. Some people might find this inappropriate, but I'd rather have him making his own games than sitting down in front of a screen. He'll get plenty of screen time throughout his life, I'm sure. At least when he's playing, he's getting a little exercise and fresh air.

To be honest, I was a little shocked that Britt was disappointed. I thought he would be thrilled with the opportunity to play a video game. But watching someone play and playing it yourself are two different things, for sure.

I have to admit it is nice to have our beliefs validated. Frankly, I think parents use their kids' video games as babysitters. Is it any wonder there are so many children who have short attention spans and grow up feeling uncared for? No. No it is not. Between television and computers and video games, where is there time for human interaction? Even without video games, I feel like I barely spend one-on-one time with my B's. However, my kids are with me, talking to me, most of the time I am with them, whether I'm folding laundry, cleaning stalls or unloading the dishwasher or driving in the car, and that's something they wouldn't do if they were parked in front of a screen.

I had a parent tell me once that their kid "needed" a DS so they wouldn't be left out when they went to a friend's house. I thought it was complete crap when I heard it then, and I still think it is possibly one of the biggest jokes I've ever heard. Frankly, my kids can just feel left out if it comes to that, because what they should be doing when they go to a friend's house is playing for real. Isn't that rude? To go somewhere to spend time with someone and they end up giving their attention to a screen? Ridiculous! Which is actually exactly what happened yesterday, isn't it?

So my kids will just have to continue to be deprived in this way. Because in other ways, they are spoiled rotten. They each have a horse, they have room to roam, and they have each other. Who needs a video game? Not the 4 B's, that is for sure!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Let the World Know You

"Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?" ~Fanny Brice

Nervous Nellie

Last Wednesday, I woke up nervous. Sick-to-my-stomach nervous, the kind that usually only happens to me when I have a barrel race in front of me. Which means it was the kind of nervous I haven't felt in a very long time, since I haven't been to a barrel race in almost four years. And strangely enough, it really hasn't gone away...

I thought maybe it was because Wednesday is the day my Mom and Dad packed up the house in Sisters and moved back to their home in Hines. It was a hard move for my mom, and I have been worried sick about her. She just had major eye surgery on both eyes, and is still recovering from that. And I know Harney County (as we all call the area) is not where she wants to be. And I know she is going to be alone a lot while my dad is out working, and farther away from me (6 hours!). Not to mention Harney County holds a part of my life I try to forget as much as possible.
But now my mom is doing better. She's depressed about her situation, yes - the renters destroyed their place, as renters do, and she still has a long road of recovery ahead of her with her eyes, which are the slowest healing organ on the body. I heard more of a spark in her voice the last time I talked to her, though, and that made me realize she'll be okay living there. As the world turns, she'll adjust, one day at a time.

So that leaves me to pinpoint where else my nerves might be coming from, and I really don't know. Isn't that weird? As if I'm not weird enough, for pity's sake...! I think the weather has been a factor. I know it could be worse, of course, but it is just so hard to take this rain day after day after day.

And then there is my calendar, which is booked solid until the first day of schools starts in the fall. And I think that is bothering me, as well. Because that means this precious time I have been looking forward to since last September is going to fly by, and then my babies will be another grade older. And my baby-B is going to be in school all day long, just like his sister, and the mere thought just slays me. I had a terrible time with Brailey Shaye going into first grade - her teacher told me she had seen a lot of kids cry, but never a mother... I couldn't help it! Her school was so new to me and I was worried sick about my baby girl. It was a tough transistion, going from her Kindergarten class where she knew every kid to a class where she not only didn't know a soul, but was in a language she didn't understand. Luckily for Britt, he won't have to endure the same level of trauma his big sister did. But now I, Big Mama, am going to be left all alone without my little compadre, and it does wear on my heart.

So now I am in this negative, nervous funk, and I'm not sure when it is going to end? I have so much to be thankful for, and believe me, I am grateful to my toes for all the blessings I've been given. Yet I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I don't know why it's there. What do you think? Does anyone have any ideas? Whatever the reason, the nerves are there. I know they will go away one of these days. Maybe I just need the sun to leach some vitamin D into my bones so I can relax and stop worrying. Let's all pray for sun...

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Train/Pat Monahan Obsession Continues

Truly, my obsession with Pat Monahan of Train (see March "Addicted to Train" for more) is quite entertaining seen through the eyes of my little B's. Especially Britt! Just this morning, he was sitting on my lap before we left for school, and we were talking about how cute he (Britt) is, and he said, "Am I cuter than that Train guy that you love?" Hmmmmm... That was a tough call! But of course I said yes.

Last Sunday Brailey Shaye and Britt put on a "performance" for Brady, Gramma Diggy and myself, down at the play structure. It started out as a circus, but turned into a concert. Brailey sang "Soul Sister" for us, which she introduced by saying, "This is the song that Mom loves by that man from Train that she has a crush on." My mother-in-law thought that was an interesting thing for a child to say in front of her father...

What can I say? They know it isn't a serious crush and that I love their dad more than anything in the world. We talked about it one morning on our drive to school. Britt said, "Do you still like Keith Urban?" And I said yes, I did, but not at much as I used to. And Brailey said, "Yah, now you have a crush on Train." And I agreed that yes, I did indeed. And Britt said, "Yah, you used to love Keith Urban, but now you love Train. Why do you love him?" And I explained that I didn't really "love" Pat Monahan the way I love their dad, but that I had a celebrity crush, which just meant that I liked their music and whatnot... And I finished it up by saying "He's just such a hottie!" And do you know what my precious son said? He said, "No, Mom. You're the hottie!" Is that music to a mother's ears or what?! Like father like son, charmers incarnate.

Anyway, I do think Pat Monahan is a total hottie, but I also love his music. I've never heard so many songs I can relate with so well and a singer who has such an amazing voice that is never tiresome to listen to. I mean truly, I love every single Train song! Usually there is always one or two songs on a cd that I won't like. I now have all the Train cds and even a concert dvd that my Nicoley got for me and then Pat Monahan's single cd, as well. I'm one of those old-fashioned people (just like my Nicoley, speaking of her) that has to have the original cd. And I never get tired of listening to them - they are timeless and brilliant!

So yes, I am still obsessed with Train. That's my nature, you know, to be obsessed. A girl's gotta dream, right? Someday, I am going to see them in concert, and maybe, just maybe, they'll pick me to come up on stage... They could totally "save the day" (look up the lyrics to Save the Day) for me, any day! OH yah...!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fiesta Cultural 2010

Here she is! Our star performer with her supportive little brother... All dressed up in her "poodle skirt" and ready to perform La Bamba with her classmates! Each class had a theme dance they performed for all the parents. This is an annual spring concert. At Buena Vista, it is called "Fiesta," and it is truly amazing! I have no idea how the kids remember all those dance steps, but they do, and every kid is truly a star!

We had our 50's inspired pony tail and curls - she wasn't too thrilled that we curled it like this, but she got a million compliments on her hair, and so that made all the difference, and she was glad we fixed it this way, in the end. I always tell her, "looks are everything, honey, no matter the pain you go through to get there..." Sarcastically, of course, but there is some truth to it. Beauty does cost at least a little pain, somewhere along the line. What can we say? The truth hurts, sometimes literally!

Here she is after the dance for the group photo with her partner Nicholas, who is one of her "bestest" friends in the world. They were SO CUTE together! Too cute for words! Brailey also had a speaking part, which was precious. She spoke into a microphone in front of hundreds of people, introducing the dance. There aren't words to describe how proud we are of her!

And this is Brailey Shaye with her amazing teacher, the lovely Bea Downes, who has been the best teacher we could ever ask for. Not only has Brailey learned a great deal academically from her, she has also been exposed to other wonderful things, like poetry and music and art. Senora Downes is definitely an A+ teacher, and we are so blessed with her teaching skills. She is one of those special teachers that is stunningly beautiful, inside and out, and we are thrilled to know her!

Wiped out! The only bad thing about the Fiesta this year is that it was on a school night. Last year it was held on a Friday night, which was much better, because this year we didn't get home until way past our bedtime, but it was worth it! Next year we will have two Fiesta performers, because Britt will be a first grader. Stay tuned for next year's pictures, because I'm sure there will be an abundance - twice the fun!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Meet Amalie Claire

Our niece Spuddie (Ashley) with her husband Chad and their beautiful 5 month old baby girl Amalie. Is that the cutest hair bow you've ever seen in your life or what? Of course, the beauty that's wearing it makes the bow even cuter, in my opinion. Isn't she PRECIOUS?!

Look at that smile on Amalie's face... She was looking at her Nana, because she is such a smart baby. She is blessed with the most adoring parents she could ever ask for - they love this baby so much, and it is obvious she is the apple of their eye. Which is just the way it is supposed to be!

Great Uncle Brady put his hat on his little great-niece - see the bow sticking through the hat? She was checking him out, and it was so cute!

And I get to be a great aunti, too, right? Aunti Bo loves babies! I may have came into the family late, but I love Spuddie more than words can say, and this baby made her way into my heart the instant I laid my eyes upon her sweet face.

I didn't want to give this little angel up! She never cried once while we were there, and she let me hold her the entire time! Great Aunti Bo is in love with Amalie! I'm so happy for Spuddie and Chad to have such a wonderful baby girl, and it was wonderful to finally meet her and to see how well they are doing as a family. Spud and Chad are both working and going to school full time and still manage to take perfect care of their baby. I wish we lived closer to them, because I would be stealing that baby every now and then... OH yah! It was a wonderful little visit, short and sweet, and we are grateful we got to meet the little punkin'. Babies make the world go 'round, don't they? There's just nothing like them to make a family smile...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fun At The Farm!

On Sunday, we took Brady's mom out to his brother's new farm, Lone Pine Farms, and we had the best time ever! Boone (Brady's brother) took us on a tour of the entire farm, and we all had so much fun, it will be a memory we treasure forever. He picked us up in this John Deere Gator, and The 4 B's piled into the back while Gramma Diggy sat next to Boone, and it was just a hoot! So these are some of the pictures I took from my spot in the Gator. The little B's love this farm as much as the adults, because it is so amazing and fun - they got to find gemstones from bags of sand, feed and pet the goats and play on the newly restored merry-go-round. The produce is absolutely gorgeous, and the place is so clean you could eat off the floor. Boone is a talent beyond words, and we are all so proud of him! Thanks for the fun, Uncle Boone - we love you!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Poetry Slam

Brailey's teacher arranged this wonderful event last week called a "Poetry Slam" where all the kids recited Spanish poems they learned and memorized. IT WAS AMAZING! They performed in groups, and then every single kid recited a poem they had written. Brailey wrote hers about the horse, of course. It was adorable! The classroom was packed to the gills, and every single kid did a great job. They had covered the desks with table cloths and had a beautiful arrangement of flowers on every "table," they had refreshements and it was even a beautiful evening weather-wise. I really, really, really like Brailey's teacher, and I'm grateful Brailey had the opportunity to experience something like this. They all wore black and white, which was also wonderful. Amazing, I'm telling you, amazing! (Proud Big Mama!)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Stars and Stripes

So apparently this is the week of discoveries for me. Here is another new discovery my twin and I learned this week - every parent thinks they're an expert at discipline, even if they admit to having problems handling their children. So when do they get to the point of throwing their pride out the door and trying something new that will work? That's what I'd like to know...

Kimmy and I have been doing what we feel is a GENIUS program that I just made up one day, and between the two of us we feel the possibilities are endless! We call it "Stars and Stripes." Frankly, I thought I would make my fortune off of this because it has been so sucessful for Kim and I. But we do have the best behaved kids on the planet, so maybe that's why it has worked so well for us. In other words, we're already such fantastical mothers, Stars and Stripes was just the icing on the cake. HA! Well, we are good moms, and we do love our babies above and beyond the norm...

In any case, we've shared the "program," as we call it, with a couple of other parents, three total, and not one of them was receptive to it. And they all three have discipline problems! Children who are out of control, children who misbehave, children who are brats. Yet these parents just keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, which we all know is the definition of insanity.

I believe Stars and Stripes works so well because it is simple and it takes all the drama out of discipline. My kids love Stars and Stripes! And the possibilities are so endless with it because you can change the program to fit your needs. Kimmy just added an element to her Stars and Stripes that has refined the program for her daughter to be even more effective.

Are you wondering what it is? Are you wondering why I'm not writing about it? Well, I want to see if your curiousity is up, first. Do you have discipline problems? Do you need some help with raising your kiddos? Or are you someone who knows it all? Well, when you finally get desperate for some help, let me know, and for just $19.99, you can have the answers. HA! Just kidding! If you want to try it, just ask me and I'll tell you all about it. But don't ask me just because you want to know what it is - ask me because you want to make a difference in your children's lives.

Kids crave discipline to know they are loved, and I am a firm believer in teaching children respect and manners. However, I have learned there are many people who are not like me, which is fine, but just know this - that's why their kids are brats and mine and Kimmy's are not brats.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Reba Epiphany

Isn't it funny how sometimes the things that are obvious to us really aren't obvious until we have an epiphany-like moment? Yes, I had one of these yesterday... About the show, "Reba." If you've read this blog before, then you know how much this family love-love-LOVES that show! Did I mention we really, really like it? OH yah!

Well yesterday, my beloved mother-in-law and I were talking about it. She is staying with us for a couple of weeks, and we are so happy to see her! We always have a wonderful time whenever she comes to Oregon (she lives in Sacramento), and it has been great to have her here after so long between visits - we haven't seen her since last August!

Well, long story short, I was telling her about Reba and how much we enjoy it and why. What started us off on this was talking about Pawn Stars and how we both love that show, too, and how she asked her friend Bill if he watched it and he thought she said "Porn" Stars... That's how our conversations go - we have a big time just discussing everything we can think of.

ANYWAY. We also talked about a couple of family things... You know, like all families do. And then later on, as I was driving in to pick up Brailey from school, it hit me. I love the show Reba so much because it is an example of how we should all be, and how I wish part of my family was! They all get along, no matter that the circumstances are less than perfect. And that is what I wish for, of course. Because deep down, I'm just like Barbara Jean, even though I act more like Reba, and I just want everyone to accept me.

I could get deep here, but I won't. The point being, everyone should strive to be more like Reba's family. We should all take care of each other and try to get along instead of being mean and hateful and distant. Ex-wives and new wives CAN get along, if they want to. Teenage parents SHOULD live with their parents until they get on their feet. Kids from broken homes SHOULD feel comfortable around everyone in their family - every single person.

Frankly, though, the only place I've ever seen it work is on Reba. We're all too judgmental and selfish to do it in real life, not to mention competitive. Which is why I've worked so hard in the last year to eliminate some of the most toxic elements (another word for people, in this instance) from my life. Remember my new mantra: the only people we need in our lives are the ones who need us in theirs. And God bless the Barbara Jeans and Rebas of the world!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Jog-A-Thon at Buena Vista

Brailey Shaye with two of her classmates, lined up and ready to start jogging! Each class jogged and walked on the Sheldon track for 45 minutes. This was Brailey's second year doing it, so she knew what to expect, and she was ready!

Here they are, all the kids in this group - they separate the classes into groups so there aren't all of them out there at once. Aren't those balloons fun and festive? The kiddos loved them!

And she's off! They all start out great guns, and then then run out of gas quickly - they're like Quarter Horse race horses! Really fast for a short distance - it's adorable! I told Brailey to try to job slowly, and she would be able to go farther, but that is a hard thing for a kid to understand, I think. And she did great anyway, so I should have kept my wonderful motherly advice to myself.

She and her buddy Henry were down to a brisk walk, at this point, but still going strong!

And she made it! TEN LAPS! Yes, she jogged/walked two and a half miles in 45 minutes. Pretty good for a seven year old kid, huh? Ten laps was the maximum they could do, actually, and she made it just before the time was up. They all got popsicles to enjoy on their walk back to the classrooms. Thankfully, the weather was absolutely perfect for them! This is one of the school's biggest fundraisers and helps to pay for the music and P.E. teachers, so I hope it was successful! Brailey's goal was to raise $101.00, and I think she actually topped that with all those laps... We shall see! Yay Brailey!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Big Mama's Knitting

So here it is! My first knitted project! I don't know if I shared with you that I am learning how to knit, but my bestie Kimmy is teaching me, and let me tell you, IT AIN'T EASY! Of course Kimmy tells me it IS, but it isn't. So since January, I have been trying to master my knitting needles, and finally, I think I have it down. So my first project was a scarf for Brailey Shaye - she picked out the yarn for me, and then Kim had to get me started AND finished, but I did everything in between. I am proud of myself - OH YAH! I have to say, I thought it would be a lot easier to learn, but it was hard for me. I wanted to stick with it to show my kids that I practice what I preach, though, which is "nothing good comes easy" and "you have to work hard to learn something new" and "everyone has to start somewhere." So they have witnessed my struggle to learn this craft, and I think it has been good for them to see me persevere. Now I am working on three projects at once! Knitting is actually quite addictive, and I just love it! So yesterday I learned how to "start" a project, and I started two on my own, which was a proud personal moment, let me tell you. Kimmy got me started on my first patterned scarf, so I am excited to see my own (I'm making myself one, now) scarf coming along. I'm making Britt a "booty bag" for his pirate treasures... He didn't want a scarf. Brady wants a vest and a scarf both, neither of which he will ever wear, but I think it is cute he wants me to knit something for him. Probably everyone who knows me will end up with a scarf at some point in time. Ha! Brailey really wants to learn how to do it, also, so we went to Goodwill yesterday and got some crochet hooks and a few more knitting needles. I showed her the pitiful amount of crocheting I retained from my Grandma's efforts at teaching me. Praise the Lord for Kim, because she is going to teach Brailey how to do both of them. Exciting times at The 4 B's Homestead! Thank you, Kimmy - see what you started? A new obsession - OH yah!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Baseball and First Communion Blessing

Look at that great form! Brittster Man hit it out of the ball park on Saturday! He really likes to bat, now that he knows how to hit it hard, thanks to our friend Clay, Brady, Brailey Shaye and I. We've been "working with him," you know... It was wonderful to see his confidence rise at this game. He also snagged a really fast grounder while he was on third - it was his best game ever! Needless to say, Brady and I were proud parents at the tee ball game.

Here he is, our little slugger after one of his monster hits. See the happiness in his face? OH yah!

And Brailey Shaye had her First Communion Blessing on Sunday morning. I got her a special pair of shoes to go with her dress, her first "high heels!" She adores them and practiced wearing them all over the house.

And here she is with some tulips that one of Brady's boss' wives gave to her after mass - so sweet! She was thrilled about that, of course.

Here she is with two of her best friends, Nicholas and Jonah, who are in her classroom at her school. They are all three going through the First Communion class together, which has been super nice, since they don't really know any of the other kids from the private Catholic school, St. Paul. Aren't they cute?! They all three really enjoy each other, and I really, really like their moms! It has been a wonderful experience to go through these classes for all of us. Thank you, God!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Family Fiddler

I was so proud of Britt yesterday! His school was really fortunate to have an "Artist in Residence" who was a fiddler. And so he spent two weeks at the school, about an hour in each classroom, and he was amazing! Every single kid got to play the fiddle. The focus for the Kinders was "short-short-long," which is how fidlers play the instrument (see how Britt does it in the video? Short-short-looooooooooong, short-short-looooooooong). The instructor (that's him playing the guitar) is from New Orleans, and he told the kids all kinds of stories about frogs and crawfish and related it to the music they were playing. It was great! Britt loved every second of playing the fiddle, and now we are on the hunt for a cheap one to buy, because the kid is more musical than Brady and I realized. I was thinking guitar lessons, but maybe the fiddle would be more fun for him. He wore his cowboy hat because the Fiddle Man said that was the difference between a violinist and a fiddler - fiddlers wear a cowboy hat. It was a really cool recital, and it was obvious this artist loves what he does, and also a wonderful take on the word "artist," I think, because music truly is art, and every kid got to experience something they might never have been given the opportunity to experience, otherwise. I stayed to watch the first graders, too, because Kimmy came to the Kinders with me, and I got to see her Griffin play his song, and he was absolutely wonderful! He was the best one in his class, and totally had the beat and everything. He takes guitar lessons, and he is doing super well. So cool! I love music... From beginners to masters, it is always a pleasure to watch.

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...