Wednesday, June 30, 2010

House (not so) Beautiful

Here is a true story about my house.

Before Brailey Shaye's party, I cleaned like a madwoman. I mean I cleaned everything! Even the cobwebs and outsides of the windows and everything I could think of to clean in the house. And outside, too, actually, but the inside of the house was as spotless as it could be, even though I always feel like it could be cleaner... I even got creative in keeping it clean and taped the guest toilet shut after I cleaned it and put a sign on it that said, "STOP! Dearest 3 B's, This toilet is out of order until Saturday. Love, Big Mama XO XO XO" and then on the sink I taped a sign that said, "Same as the toilet... Out of order until Saturday. Love you! Big Mama." I laughed like crazy when I heard my two little B's come into the house after playing outside, and discovering my crazy signs. They read it out loud and were so confused. "What?! This toilet isn't out of order! What?! It's taped shut!" It was hysterical to listen to them, let me tell you. The next day, Britt said to me, "Mom, you're not a normal mom, because normal moms don't do that." We both laughed and I said, "I know..."

So the house was clean, if not spotless, for Brailey Shaye's First Communion reception, and guess what? Not even ONE PERSON came into the house! Nobody used the spotless, clean-as-a-whistle, pristine bathroom that I know of. Can you believe that?

But, I let things go after the party, of course. You know how there is always a little let down after a big event that you have worked so hard for and waited for and built up anticipation for... And so there are toys and books here and there, dirty clothes on the floor, laundry waiting to be folded in the rocking chair, pillows and blankets from the couch strewn about, unmade beds... You know what I'm talking about, I'm sure. It now looks the way a house looks when you don't keep after it.

And wouldn't you know, three days after the big party and the spic-and-span house, we had a surprise guest pop in on us last night, and since he had never seen our new house before, he wanted a tour.

Isn't that just the way life goes? I of course told him the house was clean just a couple of days ago, but that I'd let it go after the party. He assured me he didn't care... But I was still embarrassed to be found looking not only less than perfect, but downright hillbilly messy.

I guess the moral of the story is to always keep your house clean, because you never know when someone will be coming by. But after so much hard work the weeks prior to the big shindig, I felt like we deserved a break, and so I let things slide... The real moral of the story is just like everything else in life - be consistent. But damn it! Sometimes I'm just too tired to keep it all together. And just for the record? The stalls (which had been neglected during the house cleaning frenzy) are cleaner than clean this week.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Brailey Shaye's First Communion

This was a very special weekend for our family, and most especially for Brailey Shaye, as she received her First Holy Communion. It was a wonderful mass, and she was the only one receiving her First Communion, which was special in itself. We were announced at the beginning of mass and then we brought up the gifts, which is something I have never done, and Father Steve said some powerful things to her at the end. I had to choke down the tears the entire time! I didn't expect it to be so emotional, but as spiritual and precious as Brailey is, I should have realized it would be like that. It was more splendid than we could have dreamed, because all of her dearest friends were there for her. Nicholas and Jonah were there with their families, and they had received their First Communion the weekend before on Father's Day, so this was their second communion. Brailey's Godmother came with her son (my Godson), my parents made the five hour drive from Harney County, and our dear friends the Lamberts came, marking their first time at mass ever. And Brady's Godfather and his wife came, which was wonderful, because Anne is the one who made Brailey's beautiful veil... It was so lovely, words can't describe it. We had a reception at our house afterwards, and it was so much fun, Britt said it was the best day of his life! He was thrilled to have made some new friends. The weather was even perfect! It was the most special of occasions.
I caught her doing this in her dress and veil, and I think she was looking at her shadow, which looks like an angel. Coicidence? I think not...

The Lamberts, having a family photo taken. Are they a beautiful family or what?!

Brailey's Godmother, Nikki, who is the most perfect Godmother she could ever, ever ask for. I love this picture.

And the two besties afterwards at our house... I love their friendship - they are so good to each other and a joy to be around. This is a perfect example of beauty inside and out. It was truly a blessed occasion, and I thank God for every second of it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Vacation Begins

Here are my B's on the last day of school. They each had a field day, which I stayed for at Britt's school and hung out with my Twin, and then Britt and I went to Brailey's school and picked her up a little early. I couldn't wait any longer...! Thus, our summer vacation began.

This is Britt with two of his best buddies from Kindergarten, Brody and Coleman. Aren't they adorable?! The entire Kindergarten class made tie-dye shirts and decorated hats the week before, and then they all wore them on the last day's celebration. Britt wasn't too thrilled about the style of hat, and he said to me in the car on the way to his school, "Mom, I'm really not crazy about the hat Miss Julie picked out. Do I have to wear it?" And I told him yes, he did, because it would be rude not to. And so he wore it all morning - such a good boy! And he loves the shirt he "made." Brailey has one from when she was in Kindergarten, also, so that is a nice tradition we experienced. And the hat? Britt gave his to Brailey as soon as we got home...

And the little B's and the little Lamberts eaned their rewards for getting more Stars than Marks - a sleepover! This was the first one for my kiddos. So off Britt went to Griffin's house, where he had the time of his life playing Star Wars, and Jaden came to our house, where she and Brailey did everything under the sun. Here you can see they dressed up and put on a "concert" for Brady and I. They did each other's makeup and had a big time singing Hannah Montana's karaoke.

This was Jaden's second time ever on a horse, and her first time bareback. Pictures like this are classic, aren't they? Adorable!

The morning after the big sleepovers, our two families met at the park for a big Safety Rodeo, where each kid got a free bike helmut and a free life jacket. They made us earn the jacket by going to all the different stations to get a "stamp" after they educated the kids on different safety factors, such as what to do in a fire, how to wear the the life jacket, etc. It was a wonderful educational experience and nice to be there with another family.

JJ and Shaye-Shaye posing for the camera. And Jaden said to Kimmy and I, "You guys can put this on your blogs!" Does that girl know us or what?

The adorable "little" brothers... I wish Britt's eyes were open in this picture, but it is still cute. And he was tired - he had to take a nap when we got home!

I snuck this picture through the window the other afternoon. There is nothing Brailey loves more than putting makeup on someone. She had an especially good time making Indian marks on Chief Britt. We have been loving every second of this nice weather. Summer vacation is finally here, and we are thrilled!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dad's Side of the Family

My dad, that is... Here is the family picture from all of us who went to Grandma Bert's celebration. It was a little windy out, but a beautiful day! She looks happy, doesn't she? I hope the day was everything she wanted it to be, and I know she will love this picture. (Thanks for sending it to me, Aunt Sharon!)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hillside Seranade

Last night while I made my trek up the hill, Brady took the B's for a ride on the quad. Next thing I know, as I'm huffing and puffing, here they come! They zoomed up ahead of me, and as I got to the top, there they were, sitting on the 4-wheeler, singing me one of my beloved Train songs.

In the melody of  "Hey Soul Sister," they all three sang to me, "Moooom, Moooooooooooooooooom, Mooooooooooooooooooom. Your lipstick stains, on the front lobe of my left side brain," etc. They do know the whole song, after all, since they've heard it a few thousand times...

Now that is what I call a meaningful seranade! I wish I could have filmed it, because it really was precious, but it is a memory I will always hold in my heart. I felt like the most loved person on the planet! I'm so lucky to have my B's, and "I don't want to miss a single thing [they] do..."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Britt's Thought on My Knitting

This is what Britt said to me last night as he checked out the scarf I am in the process of knitting...

"Wow mom! This is really good. You knit better than old ladies!"

Is that sweet or what?! Especially when you consider most "old ladies" are wonderful knitters. Little Mama upped my skill level and taught me how to do the TWIST, so I am still learning more about knitting, but I just love it. The one I'm knitting at present is an Oregon Duck green scarf  with yarn I found at Goodwill. It is the perfect color and was an extra large, brand new skeen! My mother thinks learning how to knit has been very therapeutic for me... I think she's right.

So THANK YOU, Kimmy!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Weekend in Harney County

Can you believe how big this slide is? It is in the Hines City Park, and I think my own mother may have slid on it when she was a kid. I know I did! The kids were thrilled with it, as you can imagine. It was BIG fun!

At the top of the slide... Happy as can "B!"

Brady discovered a new treat that he loves and I quite like myself - Charleston Chews. They are delicious! He was giving my dad moral support while he worked on his beloved old red pickup. We call it "Old Red." It has been sitting in Hines for six years while my parents lived in Sisters and rented their place in Hines, and now Old Red is up and running! You should have seen the smile on my dad's face when it started up - still runs like a sewing machine! Just needed a little fine tuning to get it going.

Thanks to a little imagination, which I think comes from not having video games in our lives, Britt managed to entertain himself by rolling this tire down the hill several times at my mom and dad's place. We all got a good laugh when his dad told him to go farther up the hill to have it roll farther down the hill, and Britt said, "Nooooo... Okay! Go ahead, but if you roll it, you have to go get it!" It was so cute to us, because that is what we told him - however far you roll it, you have to go get it. See? I told you he was a smart boy.

My dad's older brother, Uncle Walt, came up for a surprise visit after the big Pioneer Day Celebration. It was fun to listen to him talk - he's quite the entertaining fellow. I told Brady he reminds me of the comedian Ron White, for some reason. I thought this was a cute picture of them talking while Dad worked on Old Red.

And here are the two lovelies and two of my favorite people in the entire world, my mom and my baby girl. My mom has such a knack for decorating and yard work, and although she was heartbroken over the state the renters left her house and yard in, she has rallied her strengths and worked her tail off to make it all look great! I was expecting to see the place in shambles when we arrived, but it looks really good, and I love all the things she has done to her yard. She's always loved to work in her yard, so it has actually been nice for her to be back home so she can do what she loves - she couldn't do anything to the yard in Sisters, because they had landscapers come in. So that has been a plus for her, for sure. And her eyes are still not great, but they are healing slowly, and maybe once she gets some glasses, they will be okay. We'll have to wait and see (no pun intendend). In the meantime, she has her yard work to keep her occupied, which is a wonderful thing.

Britt picked this bunch of wildflowers for Brailey Shaye on one of his trips down the hill to get the tire, and as you can tell from her face, she was thrilled! What can we say? The girl adores flowers!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Presenting the Queen Mother

Here is my little Brittster Man, being such a good boy at my grandmother's big celebration. I think he drank an entire bowl of punch - see the mustache? The celebration was almost 4 hours long, and both of my children were perfect angels the entire time! I was such a proud mom. And they were the only little kids there, too. It was wonderful for people from "home" to be able to see my precious babies, some for the first time...

And here she is! The Queen Mother, Alberta Creamer, better known as "Grandma Bert" to us. She posed with Brailey Shaye for this picture. 87 years old! Isn't she pretty? She's the one who actually came up with our nickname, "The 4 B's." The Queen Mother is something she's always dreamed of being, and this was a wonderful celebration for her. Every year, Harney County picks a Queen Mother and a President for their Pioneer Days Celebration, and this year, they picked Grandma Bert. We were all so proud!

This is the presentation, where her three kids walked her up to her special chair or "throne," if you will, and presented her with a corsage and her tiara. The oldest is my Uncle Walt, who is in the black, then my dad in the green is the middle child and my Aunt Sharon is the baby of the family and the only girl. This was a special moment for Grandma Bert and something she will never forget, I'm sure...

Here you see Grandma Bert with my dad and her daughter, my Aunt Sharon. Each one of her kids said something about her life, and Uncle Walt was speaking when I took this picture. Aunt Sharon and Dad were really nervous to speak in front of so many people, but they did a wonderful job - in fact, all three of her kids did well! It brought a tear to my eye to hear my dad - I share his fear of public speaking, so it was a proud moment for me to see him get through his speech so well.

Here she is... The Queen Mother of Harney County 2010, Alberta Creamer. See her beautiful crown?

Brailey Shaye got a "real digital camera" for her birthday this year, and she love-love-loves to take pictures. Hence, there is actually a picture of Big Mama! And I have to say, she is already a good photographer. She's got the eye, if you know what I'm sayin'...

And of course you know I can't resist posting a picture of my two little B's. There was a big family picture taken that I am hoping to get from my Aunt Sharon that I will post. People traveled from afar to be there for Grandma Bert. The 4 B's traveled the farthest distance, then my Uncle Walt, who lives in Fernley, Nevada. His son Lloyd brought his family from Christmas Valley, and Aunt Sharon's son, wife and grandson came from Central Oregon. My brother was there with his wife, and of course my parents, and they all live in Harney County, so not much traveling for them, nor for Aunt Sharon and her husband, who also live there. The point being, though, she had a wonderful showing of family and friends, and I hope it is a memory she will always treasure.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

On Strike!

Okay, people - where are you?! Where's the love?!

No more posts from Big Mama until I know at least ONE person is reading them. And I have SO MUCH to say... So many profound thoughts in my head to share! Not to mention I have some wonderful pictures from our weekend in Harney County that I would love to show you.

But I just can't write with a broken heart. (See? I really am needy and conceited and dramatic...) What can I say? I am what I am, and right now (or should I say "write?"), I'm on blogger strike.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

End of School Year Emotions

The end of the school year always finds me emotionally confused... One, I am estatic to be done with the school schedules and routines and most importantly, to have my babies all to myself! OH YAH! Two, I am sad for them to be leaving behind one grade and moving up to another. And a little added twist to my emotions concerning Brailey's school is that I really miss her teachers...

Last year I couldn't wait to pick her up on the last day, and all of a sudden I found myself choking back the tears as I watched her beloved first grade teacher wave goodbye. The good news is that we have remained connected with her even over this school year. And speaking of this school year, it will be just as hard if not harder than last year, because every single step of this school year has been amazing for our Brailey. I am so attached to her second grade teacher, I've already started mourning the loss, even knowing the next teachers are wonderful, also, and that Britt may be lucky enough to have her when he is a second grader. What can we say? Change is always hard.

Britt has actually been struggling with that a little the past few days, because his sister is growing up on him, and she has become more interested in other things besides playing with him all the time. For her birthday, we got her a digital camera, and she has spent every afternoon this week taking pictures. More of history repeating itself, for sure, because I have had to look at every single one of those pictures, which is exactly what I do to my own mother, still, to this day. In fact, I even did it to Brailey's teacher a couple of weeks ago after I took some class pictures. And now I have my "payback" in the form of my little angel-girl doing to me what I do to others. My mother thinks this is funny... Can you believe that?

Brailey calls her photography "capturing moments." She'll say to me, "Oh my gosh, Mom! You will not believe the moment I just captured!" Or, "I'm going to go capture some more moments!" I don't care who you are - that's cute!

Except to Britt, that is, who doesn't think it is cute at all. The other day while she was capturing her moments (and quite of few of them were his moments, by the way, because he was posing for her), he was sitting by a big rock looking sad. So I said to him, "Why are you so blue?" And he said he was sad because all Brailey wanted to do was take pictures, every single day, and he really wanted to play with her. It's only fun to pose for pictures for a little while, afterall.

It will be interesting to see if they regain their unique closeness over the summer or if Brailey is growing up on him. I don't know what will happen... She is getting older and likes to spend time doing things she likes to do on her own, but once she and Britt are together for a couple of days straight, they begin to play together like the blessed days of no school, back when they were itty bitty. I think after so much social interaction at school, Brailey just needs some time to herself every day when she gets home. But because Britt gets out of school earlier, he is ready to play when he sees his big sister. It will be interesting to see if he needs some alone time when he gets home from a full day of school this fall.

The bottom line is that they are growing and changing every day, and I am so happy to have them to myself for a couple of months. It is going to be a the best summer ever, I just know it! But darn it, why do they have to grow up so fast?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Great Birthday Number 8!

See how happy this girl is? Well let me tell you why... You may notice she is wrapped in a gorgeous afghan, which was made for her by my twin, Little Mama, for her birthday. And she LOVES IT! As soon as we got home, she spread it out on the floor and rolled around in it, like a dog or a cat does to their bed. It matches her room perfectly, and is now proudly displayed on her bed. She has been sleeping with it every night, and Brady and I thought it might actually replace Starry and Lamby, but so far it has just been a loving addition to her nightly comforts. Jaden (Kim's daughter and Brailey's bestie) was so cute when Brailey opened this present, because she said about her mom, "She worked on it for weeks and weeks!" Which Kimmy denied, but that's just because she is so talented and we all know it did take a lot of time and effort, and it is now one of Brailey's most treasured possessions.

And here we have a beautiful bouquet of roses from her favorite aunti, Nicoley! She had them delivered to our door on Friday, and Brailey got to arrange them herself, which is one of her most favorite things in the world to do - see the happiness and pride in her face? She was thrilled with this gift, and she has taken time every single day to smell her special roses - that's one of Brailey's most wonderful qualities, always taking the time to notice and appreciate the little things.

And here is the "Little" Brother, whom she looks taller than in this picture because of the super fun high heeled flip flops Grammy sent to her, which she loves! She wanted to go to Uncle Boone's farm to pet the goats, and so we did. Britt took two of his own quarters to buy food for Brailey since it was "her special day." (Direct quote from Britt himself, quotation mark gesture included.) They had a big time, feeding the goats, petting them and then Uncle Boone gave them each a free ice cream cone for Britt's two home runs that he hit at his last baseball game on Saturday - REAL homeruns, too, not just tee ball ones. Needless to say, his dad was prouder than proud!

Little Miss Cooker Girl! My friend Kelly made this apron, and Brailey absolutely loves it! I bought three aprons from Kelly, because they are so adorable, and as I suspected, Brailey was thrilled with hers. She is very excited to try out the new cookbook she is holding, so Big Mama needs to get with the program, for sure, on teaching her how to cook. Isn't that the cutest apron you have ever seen in your life? You should see the other ones! Let me know if you want one, and I'll send you Kelly's way...

MMMMMMMMMMMM! CHEESECAKE! From Costco! This is her favorite kind of cake, and so that is what she wanted for her birthday cake. And then we took Mini Cinnabons to her class at school, and those were a hit, too. It was a wonderful birthday, for sure, and we still have to go to Chuck E. Cheese's! We skipped it on her birthday, because after all the shopping and running around, we were exhausted. Brailey is so mature and sweet, she agreed it would be more fun to go another day when it would be less crowded. Brailey is truly a dream-come-true when it comes to daughters, and our family is more blessed than words can say to have her in it. We love this girl!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Busy B's!

We started off the week with a visit to Uncle Boone's farm, where we got THESE GYNORMOUS APPLES... Seriously, can you even believe they are apples? Aren't they gorgeous?! Uncle Boone saved them for the two little B's, and they were thrilled. I had to ask what they were when I first saw them. And then I wouldn't let the kiddos eat them until I got a picture of the beauties. The verdict is that they were the most delicious apples ever eaten!

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of chaperoning Brailey's class and the other second grade class on a trip to the Hispanic community in Woodburn. Here you see my little darlin' in one of the hats at the "boot" store, which looked a lot like a western store back when I was a kid, only the boots, hats, belts and clothes were all Mexican, of course.

I was so blessed to be with Gustavo (Alexandra's dad, but he isn't pictured) as the Spanish leader (there was a Spanish speaking leader and an English speaking co-leader for every group of kids). This was his 9th trip to Woodburn, because he is so good at it! Here you see our group, which was Group A, in front of the water fountain at the plaza. They were a perfectly behaved group of los ninos!

Here is another picture of Brailey at the boot store with her pal Gracie. Aren't they SO CUTE?!

And the day after the field trip to Woodburn, one of Britt's friends had a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's, and my Godson Nolan and his mom (my Nikki - remember me writing about her on her birthday back on April 21st?) came down from Albany to see us while the kiddos played. Here you see the three Catholic Cuties with Chuck... They had a blast, and it was wonderful to see them. AND, by the way, my friend Kelly, who gave the party for her son who is one of Britt's BFF's, made the absolute most delicous birthday cake I have ever eaten! It was decorated like a pro and tasted far better than any bakery cake I've eaten. I wonder if she could make another one for just me...? Ha! (I'd be better off just sitting in it, because that is where it would all end up, anyway - on my saddlebag ass. But truly, it was an extra delicous cake!)
Needless to say, my B's were tired when we got home on Friday evening. Before the Chuck E. Cheese birthday party, Britt and I escorted the group of second graders that earned a trip to Papa's Pizza for earning over $101 for the Jog-A-Thon, and of course Brailey was one of the kiddos. I got to do this with one of my most favorite mothers in the world, Renee, and it was super fun, but tiring for the kiddos. All that walking, you know. So you can see what a busy week it was last week, and then we had a bridal shower on Saturday, Britt's last tee ball game, the Function in Junction car show and on Sunday, it was Brailey Shaye's 8th birthday...
Stay tuned for pictures from that unforgettable day - coming soon to a blog near you - The Life and Times of the 4 B's!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Best Kids in the World

I've said this before, but I truly believe I have been blessed with the sweetest girl in the entire universe as my daughter. I have always had this suspicion, and it is a scary thing to put out there, because of course everyone always thinks you're "prejudiced" when it comes to talking about your children. However, this is my blog, so I can say whatever I want about my little darlings, right? And in recent weeks, I have had several people come up to me and tell me how much they love my daughter, and how kind and caring and sweet she is. And it is so wonderful to hear those things about her, because it means that she is being the best version of herself that she can be, even when I'm not there to monitor her behavior, and that's a big deal. She is a treasure from the heavens, and has been from the very moment I found out I was pregnant with her. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time to redo parts of my parenting with her, because I know I have been too hard on her at times. Truly, she is everything I ever dreamed of having in a daughter, and I hope she always stays true to her selfless nature. If she never changes, it will be a blessing to the world, believe me.

Both of my children are treasures, and Britt is just as sweet and kind, only in a more masculine way. My mom and I were talking about my B's the other day, and she said she is so glad they are compassionate toward others. And truly, they do care about other people, which is a skill most adults don't possess.

Allow me to share a couple of examples of their compassion for others...

A couple of weeks ago, Brailey noticed her friend Henry was crying at school because he never gets a bouncy ball to play with at recess, and so she gave him her bouncy ball. She said to me, "It was hard for me to give it to him, because I really wanted to play with it, too, but it made me feel good to do it, and Henry was happy." She got a star for that simple kindness...

Britt and I were having snuggle time after school one day last week, and I said to him, "I love you so much! You are just the best kid in the whole wide world!" And then I corrected myself, and said, "Well, I mean the best boy in the whole world..." And Britt said, "Yah, I know. You can't say "kid," because that would be leaving Brailey out, and that wouldn't be nice, because she's the best girl in the world." I said, "Yes, exactly right! But you are the best boy." And he agreed, "Yah, I am." I love that moment...

When we were getting ready for Brailey's Fiesta concert, I said to both of my kiddos, "You guys are so special! Thanks for being so good." And Brailey said, "Well, we aren't good all the time." And then Britt said, "Yah, but Mom does think we're the best kids in the world!"

I'm glad they know how much I think of them, because they deserve to know they are special. I won't get on my soap box again about how I think people are lacking real love and attention (which is why so many people are complete asses), but I do believe it is important to let children know how special they are. I think that is what we all crave - to know that at least one person on this planet thinks we hung the moon and stars. When we feel cared for, it gives us the confidence to care for others. Now it sounds like I'm taking all the credit for my kiddos' giving spirits, but I'm really not - I deserve part of the credit, sure. But the glory of their personalities goes to God, because they were born precious. I'm just trying to nuture their sweet spirits by making them my number one priority. Let's hope they stay as sweet and wonderful as they are now their whole life through...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Blast in the Past - PBR 2007

This was taken in August of 2007 in Eugene at the one and only PBR they held. You can see us 4 B's with the wonderful grandparents, Brady's mom (Gramma Diggy) and my mom (Grammy) and dad (Papa). We all had a such big time on this night! We got to eat in the VIP with the cowboys (one of the judge's perks), which is always fun, and then later on we enjoyed the best Elephant Ears that have ever been made - we scarfed them down! Truly, there were to die for! Look how little Britt and Braily Shaye are in this picture. It was a special night to have our parents together with us, and we were all so proud of Brady for being one of the judges. I just found this picture today on one of my picture websites, and I thought it would be fun to share. Another stroll down Memory Lane...

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...