Monday, July 26, 2010

Long Beach 2010

(Brailey pointed out to me this said Murrays with an "s," not Murray...)
(The little artist drew a horse shoe above "Murrays.")
Every year in July, for the past six years, now, The 4 B's pack up and head to Long Beach WA for the rodeo. We love this rodeo because of its location. The beach! Actually, the longest beach in the world, they claim... We had a wonderful time this year, because the rodeo entries were down, and so we had more time for fun, and we enjoyed every second of it! We found a new spot on the beach where we were able to drive our pickup, right on the ocean sand, and that was truly exciting! It was pretty chilly up there, so we had to bundle up, but the sun burnt threw the cloud cover eventually on Saturday afternoon, and we woke up to sunshine on Sunday morning. It was awesome, as always, and our little mini-vacay, as we call it. Splendid!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Handwritten Memories

The past few days I spent some time doing what has needed to be done for a good, long time - I organized the boxes of "mementos" I have accumulated over the years and even went through my old filing cabinet and dumped a bunch of files that I no longer need to keep. Ahhhhhh! It feels so good to have it all in one place, organized by container. Ahhhhh! I can barely stand the thought of going through it again to really organize it...

I have to admit it was fun to take a little stroll down memory lane, though. The little B's were thrilled to look at their baby books (which still need to be finished, of course), which they had never seen before. They were so funny to listen to as they looked at their pictures and asked me random questions about what they were seeeing. And I got rid of a bunch of junk, like all the Christmas cards I had saved. Can you believe I actually saved those? But I did - I had intentions of using the fronts of the cards for gift tags on Christmas presents, which I did do a few times over the years, but not nearly enough to warrant keeping all those old cards. So I saved the special ones and tossed all the rest. And my friend Nikki gave me the courage to get rid of all the crazy documents I've had in a filing cabinet for years upon years. From now on, I'm only keeping what I need, and the rest is getting shredded.

My mom contributed to the stack of boxes holding special things - when she moved back to Burns, she went through all her mementos, and gave what was mine to me. Boxes and boxes of it! I found my senior high school yearbook in there, and even my college yearbooks, one of which I was the Assistant Editor of. That was fun to see! I read a few of the articles I wrote in the college one, and looked at the pictures in the high school annual. It made me sad to look at the high school book, to tell you the truth... Everyone looks so happy in their senior pictures, and for some reason, I chose what I must have thought was a serious pose, but seeing it now, it just looks really sad. My friend Nikki, on the other hand, looked amazing! I love her senior picture.. If  I could live my high school years over again, I would do so many things differently! I wish I knew then what I know now, because unlike people who just say that for the sake of saying it, I really could have benefited from the skills I've picked up over the years. But that's another blog post for another day, perhaps.

I realized something as I was going through all the cards and letters and special papers - the handwritten word is powerful and wonderful. I'm so glad I saved all those things! While I did toss the high school announcements and old Christmas cards, I kept the other cards and letters I had saved over the years, and in this day and age of technology and email and texting, they are treasures! And it gave credence to my belief in handwritten thank you cards and birthday cards and notes for all occasions.

I made Brailey Shaye write somewhat elaborate (considering her age) thank you cards for both her birthday and her First Commuinon, this year. I helped her write them, and then she copied them onto a card and we corrected most of them for spelling errors. I make Britt do the same thing on a different level, but as the years go by, I am going to expect the same level of work from him as I do from Brailey. My hope is that it will instill in them the importance of not only thanking people, but thanking them in a heartfelt way that truly expresses their gratitude. There is nothing more irritating to me than receiving a thank you card that say, "Thank you for the gift." Really? Are you kidding me?! I would rather not be thanked at all, frankly. If it isn't from the heart, then I'm not interested.

Allison reinforced this concept for me with the beautiful cards she gave to each of my B's for her wedding last weekend. She handmade beautiful cards and then wrote a special, heartfelt message in each of them. I'm sure she did this for every single person in her wedding, and now everyone has a little piece of her heart. And that means something to me... That's the power of words, written the old-fashioned way, on paper. I have every card she has ever written to Brailey, from the time Brailey was three years old.

The neat thing about saving all these things is the story they tell. I found a number of cards I had written to Brady back in the beginning of our relationship. Eventually, I'm going to organize them all by date and put them in a book. This will be our Love Story. As I was reading them, it brought back to me the depth of emotion and love I have for Brady. And I was surprised to find that while I still love him as much as ever, the words I write to him have changed with the addition of our two B's. My friend Kim has all the love letters she and her husband wrote to each other before they were married, and she put them into a special book for her children. When she told me about this, I thought it was a great idea, and I wished I had something like that for my kids, not realizing I did have it. I didn't remember all those cards I had saved until I found them.

Yes, I've saved every note, card and letter from my mother and Brady's mother. I've saved every card and letter from anyone that's special to me. I'm even saving all the cards and pictures Brailey gets from her special friend Jaden, because I know it will be wonderful for them to see someday. Kimmy is doing the same thing with the stuff Brailey has given to Jaden. I can't wait until the day they go through it all together... (Kim! Maybe we should coordinate on making these books...!?)

Anyway, the point being, never underestimate the power of the written word, even in today's world of Facebook and Twitter and texting and email. Go ahead - take the time and write to someone special in your life today. Tell your story, one card/letter at a time...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Wedding

Well, I think it is easy to see the story in the pictures above. It was a GORGEOUS wedding... And what made it so pretty was the wonderful atmosphere of love and happiness. Britt actually got to carry THE RINGS on a plate, tied on by a ribbon. He took his job very seriously, and never once did he set it down until the rings were safely placed on the fingers of the bride and groom. He must have had them in his care for at least two hours. Brailey Shaye made new friends - actually all four of the kiddos in the wedding did, but Brailey and Annison hit it off especially well. Lilly, the youngest flower girl, was a hoot and kept her mother, who was also in the wedding, hopping, from retying the bow in the front of her dress a zillion times to fixing her hair piece that kept getting pulled out to wiping dog poo off her little feet... I may be one of the mothers, but all four of the children were darling! I didn't get nearly as many pictures as I would have liked. Everything happened so quickly from the time we got to the Rose Garden for pictures until the ceremony, and I felt like I took a thousand pictures, but I still didn't get one of Allison with the two B's, other than the one from the night before. Oh well... What can we say? That's the way weddings go, right? It was so special for my babies to be a part of this wedding, and I felt like they were truly appreciated and loved and it was a wonderful representation of the relationship they have with Allison. Brailey feels like Allison is her sister, and if you know the story of our family, you will know what a blessing it is for us to have Allison in our lives. She's been in our lives since Brailey was three years old - they bonded on the ice. Allison is Brailey's ice skating coach, and a whole lot more. Britt was actually not happy that Jay came in and swept Allison away, because he considered Allison his girlfriend until she became engaged last summer, and it took him quite a while to decide that it was okay for her to marry Jay. Ahhhhhhhhh... What a wedding it was! It was love and hope and everything wonderful!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Rehearsal

Aren't we tricky? We took this picture ourselves with the self-timer feature. All dressed up and ready to rehearse!
Britt was posing for me with some fancy moves... Pirate or Star Wars, I think?
Brailey Shaye brought her camera along, and since the wedding was held at the rose garden, she was in heaven, because she love-love-LOVES roses and she also loves to take pictures of them. This is another quality she got from her Aunti Nicoley, because I'm not one to take pictures of flowers. But they both have that artistic eye that sees what others can't. I love it!
We had to do a lot of waiting, and Britt got a bit tired... Being "King of the Rings" was hard work!
Here you see the beautiful (inside and out!) bride, Allison, with her dad.
I loved Allison's dress so much! She looked just like something out of Carrie Bradshaw's wardrobe from Sex and the City. She looked FABULOUS!
Brailey got to stand next to Livia, one of the ice skating coaches from the rink. Everyone looked so beautiful!
Britt standing with the big boys. I love my handsome boy!
Allison was the best bride I've ever seen! After the rehearsal dinner at North Bank, she took all the kids swimming, which consisted of her three flower girls, the ring boy and her little five year old boy cousin from Texas. They had a BIG time in the pool! Allison was exhausted after a day of preparations for the wedding, a wine tour, rehearsal and all the thousands of last minute things a bride has to do, but she made time for the kiddos, and I think that tells the story of her character. No Bridezilla, here - she was the perfect bride! You can see how tall she really is without those famous heels she always wears on her feet in this picture. Don't you love that dress?! My kids love this lady more than words can say... Actually, all 4 B's love her dearly! One the way home from swimming, the kids read the heartfelt thank you cards she wrote to them, and she thanked Britt for being her "first true love," which he was quite proud of. He said, "Well, we did date." And Brailey said, "I can't believe you went on dates as a four year old!" It was so cute... After a few seconds of silence, Brailey said, "I love Allison so much!" It melted my heart. Allison is the only bride who has ever brought me to tears. (If you don't know me, Big Mama doesn't cry. Ever.)

Monday, July 12, 2010

First Week of July Fun

I finally went through all the boxes my mother sent home with me from when she was packing up to move from Sisters (there were several), and low and behold! There was a ton of stuff for the kiddos, of course, including a gynormous bag of jewelry. As you can see, it was just like a bag of pirate loot for Britt, and he was thrilled to try the more manly stuff on.

My two B's in their little wading pool, splashing about on a hot summer day. It may not be a big pool, but it does manage to cool a body off when it is hot. What more do we need?! Although as you can see, they are almost growing out of it. This may be the last year for the little wader - they may have to graduate to a sprinkler next summer...

And mid-week we traveled to Sweet Home, where Brady judged the rodeo. Here, the kiddos got to ride their horses while Brady set up for slack the next morning. It was so good for them! Quickity Split (Britt's horse) has turned out to be a real gem. It was a great place for them to ride and worth taking them along ("them" being the horses). We came home after the rodeo Friday night, and then Brady headed back on Saturday for the rest of the weekend while the kids and I partook in our special lady Allison's wedding festivities. Stay tuned for pictures - coming soon to this blog!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Favorite Train Lyrics

Guess who's going to a TRAIN CONCERT in Seattle in September with her soul sister? OH yah! Big Mama! Nicoley found us awesome tickets, and we are going to have so much fun!

So! In honor of that upcoming event, here are just a few of my favorite Train/Pat Monahan lyrics...

New York snow this time of year
There's nothing more beautiful to me
Except for you

Give Myself to You 
When I find out who I am
I'm gonna know just what to do
When I pull myself together again
I'm gonna give myself to you

I'm About to Come Alive
Maybe I'm not but you're all I got left to believe in
Don't give up on me
I'm about to come alive
And I know that it's been hard
And it's been a long time coming
Don't give up on me
I'm about to come alive

Her Eyes
She's beautiful, so beautiful
And sometimes I think she's truly crazy
And I love it

My Private Nation
Why you gonna step on shoes
When you don't know whose been in 'em

Get to Me
Well an airplane's faster than a Cadillac
And a whole lot smoother than a camel's back
But I don't care how you get to me
Just get to me
Parasail or first class mail
Get on the back of a Nightingale
Just get to me I don't care just get to me
Prokeds, mopeds take a limousine instead
They ain't cheap but they're easy to find
Get on the highway point yourself my way
Take a roller coaster that comes in sideways
Just get to me - yeah

Go on hitch a ride on the back
Of a butterfly
There's no better way to fly
To get to me
I look around at what I got
And without you, it ain't a lot
But I got every, with you, everything

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is just a small sample my favorite word play by Train.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

4th of July Celebration 2010

Little Mama and our favorite kiddos in the world... We talked the Lamberts into going to the Firecracker Bull Riding with us on the 4th of July, since Brady got to judge it, and we had the best time ever! Brailey and Britt were so happy to have their friends there with them, and I have to say, the action was better than ever. We got there early just to see the motorcycle jumpers (Metal Militia), and they were AMAZING! Back when they first performed, a few years ago, the big grand finale was a 360 flip - now they do them all the time and even do tricks in the midst of them! There is just nothing quite like it, that's for sure. It was the best 4th of July I can remember in a long time, maybe the best ever! And you know the 4th is my favorite holiday, so it was beyond wonderful to have a special family there with us.

Here you see Brian (Daddy Lambert) grinning in the background while the girls enjoy the Elephant Ears he bought them. He totally stole my thunder, since I told all four of the kiddos that I was going to buy them each their own, but that's okay. He INSISTED on buying them, and the kids were naturally thrilled. It was so sweet of him, and I couldn't win the argument, but great minds think alike, right? I was so looking forward to those elephant ears, because like I told Kimmy, I have been to a lot of rodeos, and Eugene has the absolute best Elephant Ears... Thank goodness Brailey Shaye couldn't eat all of hers. Ha! Of course she wanted it later on, after it was too late. She wasn't mad, though - she knows her mother is a pig! 

 I don't think anybody enjoyed their Elephant Ear as much as Brittster Man did. He is totally a boy after my own heart. We definitely share a love of sugar...! Look at Griffy Boy posing for me - he's already used to my camera. Now that's funny!

The drill team girls threw out tons and tons of red, white and blue Mardi Gras beads into the crowd, and we were lucky enough to snag a few. Actually, Britt only got a broken one a girl gave to him, but the other three shared what they caught with him, and there was plenty of loot for everyone. It took Griffin a while to actually wear his, which was hysterical in itself, but he finally did, once he saw other boys and even men wearing them. The girls were thrilled to have matching red, white and blue necklaces, and Britt ended up putting his in his pocket, which he said were his diamonds. It was a simple idea that was a blast for everyone in the crowd! I'm telling you, the 4th of July is F-U-N!

Brailey loves Jaden SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much! She was happy as a clam to have her sitting on her lap for a few minutes. Kim was worried she was too heavy, but Brailey couldn't have been happier with JJ sitting on her. It was an amazing night, and before it was over, we got to meet the clown, Charlie Too Tall, and see some awesome fireworks. I don't know how we will ever beat this 4th, because it was just amazing, but I think when you are with people you love, it makes everything better. Ain't love grand? Yup! Even in friendships, love makes the world go 'round.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Fun!

Our new renter has a little boy who is 9, and the B's have had a great time playing with him. And you'll never believe what his name is... BRADY! So now, when he's here and I am trying to find "my" Brady, guess who comes running? In this picture, you see them enjoying s'mores. So far, we've really used our fire pit this summer, and it has been great fun!

We met the Lambert kiddos at Splash! the other day and used the fabulous free life jackets we got from the Safefy Rodeo we attended earlier in the month. They worked great! And you can't even believe how much fun these cuties had swimming in the wave pool, going down the water slide and just hanging out under the water umbrella. They were T-I-R-E-D after so much swimming, but it was super good for them. However, Kimmy and I were both hoarse when we got out of the building, because it was quite loud with so many kids, and that was our talking time. We couldn't just sit there and not visit, so we shouted. And nearly lost our voices! But it was so worth it... I'd do it again in a heartbeat! Next time, we're going to go later in the day, in hopes other people will be having din-din with their families.  

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy Trails at Home

Finally, the little B's got to do some riding last week! Of course I have a million pictures from these excursions, but I thought these were the most interesting. They were posing for me... In the first one, you can see they have no idea of depth perception with the camera - they were both thrilled to be in the picture. Then Brailey said, "Mom! Get one of me doing this!" Hence, the funky arms. And I had to hold the boys while I sat on the fence for a minute while they drew lines in the dirt to ride around, and I love the excitement you can see in their equine eyes. And yes, I let the kiddos ride in shorts, even though I know it isn't "proper" attire. It doesn't bother us, so why should we care what other people think? Frankly, I think it is quite cute. Now if they lived on a cattle ranch and we were moving cows or branding or roping? Then yes, I would make them wear the appropriate clothes. Anyway, they had a good time, and we are looking forward to the field in front of our house getting cut so we can go for nice, long rides in it. This will be Britt's first year on his own horse by himself - last year we ponied him on a horse, and when we sold the horse, he rode on the back of my horse with me. Hopefully, we won't have to wait much longer. Until then, it's happy trails in our little pen!

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...