Monday, November 29, 2010

RELEASE

Have I mentioned that I have the coolest mother on the planet? I really do. I have always felt blessed to have the mom I have, and growing up, all my friends always wanted to have her for their mother, too. (I had to share her, once, with a girl my parents "sponsored," and I didn't like it one bit, jealous soul that I am...) So I wanted to share with you the incredible gift she is giving to me from something she "found." I think it might be a book, but I don't yet know... In any case, it is possibly the most special thing she's ever done for me, and I am so glad I have her to help me in my quest to become completely healthy and balanced in my life.

First, I had to read a handwritten note from her, which explained to me what she was doing. She is a wonderful artist, and now that her eyes have healed, she is drawing me a picture to go with the words, which she plans to send to me over time.

Here are the first words...

Let go of anything that ties you up or holds you down. Like apron strings that hold your children too close for too long. Let go of those suitcases and backpacks crammed full of old hurts, unhealed wounds, unspoken words, unlived moments, and unfulfilled dreams. Just loosen your grasp and watch them float off into a shimmering sky. Release yourself from the walls that you've built between yourself and others, between you and yourself. The walls you created to protect your tender heart, fragile soul. Make a list of others' rules and shoulds and have-tos, then tear up the list and write your own! Release any fears. The fear of being the wrong kind of mother, the fear of losing control, the fear of judgment, ridicule, or scorn. Release any fears and replace them now with love. Hold aloft a feathery bouquet of dandelions and release them to the wind. See how easily they scatter in all directions when you loosen your grip. When you loosen your grip and let go.

So that is what I am trying to do. I am trying to release my control on life so that I might let go of what doesn't matter and hold onto what truly does matter. I so love my mother...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Bits and Pieces

My little B's have been having the time of their life this Thanksgiving holiday, spending time with their grandparents and parents... It has been such a joy to have my mom and dad stay with us, from the perfect, relaxed, delicious dinner to the Ducks winning their football game to the Broncos shocking us by losing theirs and all the fun stuff in between, like the little B's...

When Grammy and Papa arrived, a commercial came on the television for KISS, and Papa changed the channel because they were so "disgusting." And Britt, who is totally fascinated with KISS, got a big charge out of Papa's attitude toward them, and immediately ran to his room to dig out his KISS tee shirt. He then told Papa, "I'm going to be KISS for Halloween next year!" Of course my dad made a big deal out of it and teased Britt and Britt teased him back, and Papa said, "Where did you find a shirt like that?!" And Britt said, proudly, "Mom gave it to me!"

That was Wednesday... Thursday, for Thanksgiving, Britt wore the KISS shirt, just to tease Papa. And of course he got the big raise he was looking for as Papa teased him about wearing such a despicable shirt.

Friday, the story had changed.

Britt loves and worships his Papa, and after bonding with him over football, he would do anything to have Papa's approval. So wouldn't you know, after spending the afternoon with his dad and Papa and sister while my mom and I went shopping, even more bonding took place. Fast forward to the evening, whereupon another commercial for KISS and Cherry Dr. Pepper comes on the tv...

Britt: "Do you like those guys, Papa?"

Papa: "No!"

Britt: "Me neither."

Papa: "Yah, but you have that SHIRT..."

Britt: "I know. My mom gave it to me, but I don't really like it."

Little-Proud-Mama's-Boy-Say-WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!

My mom and I got the biggest laugh out of that transformation. Isn't it funny how little boys will do anything to become a MAN and win the approval of the ones they love? He went from loving the band and the shirt and teasing Papa to despising it just because he knows that will make his Papa happy... It is almost scary the influence important people have on little lives...

And then, later on, as we were sitting around the television, after the Ducks had won their game and we could all TRULY relax, Brady started asking my dad about the Vietnam War. He asked him all sorts of questions about what it was like. Brailey, who had been parading around the living room for the past three nights in different dress-up ensembles she had created, all of a sudden asked Papa a question of her own.

"Hey Papa, what sort outfits did you wear?"

My mom and I couldn't help but laugh... Only my sweet little daughter would want to know what "outfits" they wore in the war. My dad answered her, of course. "Well, black boots, green pants and a green shirt."

So you see, it has been quite the fun time, just relaxing and spending time together visiting and watching television. With the little B's around, we have all the entertainment we need.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Still Breathing...

Turns out all I needed to get caught up was a "day off." I kept both B's home from school, yesterday, and took them to the doctor instead to see if they had Strep, and thankfully they don't - praise God! Just a nasty virus which entails a sore throat, headache, neckache and swollen lymph nodes, but no fever. So I got my stalls cleaned without being under the gun, and although we had to miss volleyball practice, we got our reading in without being stressed out about it (amazing how much better they can read when they aren't exhausted), and the kiddos had a fantastic day just hanging out with each other while I worked and cleaned my office. It was great! And Brady, who had meetings after work, brought us PRESENTS home from a gift card he was given for participating in a special study. So it was a great day! Now me? I'm the practical one - I would have saved the gift card to buy groceries or Christmas presents. But Brady is a giver, and he loves to spoil the ones he loves, and it was wonderful to see the joy on his face as he watched his babies open their toys, which ironically were from Toy Story 3. And I got a super cool Duck sweatshirt. Our 9th anniversary was on Wednesday, so it was sort of a belated celebration, considering we opted not to do anything for it. In any case, my office is cleaned, I finished a scarf and all the crap that was piled by the door has been moved to the shop, where it will eventually (sooner than later, I hope!) be moved to a new home. Today, it's back-to-the-grindstone, of course, but it is truly amazing what a little rest and recuperation will do for a soul. I feel normal, again - back to my normal, crazy self, ready to take on the world - what more could I ask for? I mean, really, when we get right down to it, "normal" is the biggest blessing we could ask for - no drama, no fuss, no muss. Those are the days we don't have to think about breathing, after all, because it just comes naturally.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just Breathe...

It is truly amazing how much my twin Little Mama and I are alike... Just the other day, I pulled into dance class with my window cracked just a bit. It was a balmy day, and I was enjoying the fresh air. Not 5 minutes later, here came Kimmy in her Cherry with her little darlings, and can you guess what else? Yep! Her window was cracked, just a smidge, exactly like mine had been! Is that weird or what? So last night at basketball practice, I was telling her about my new mantra, which is to JUST BREATHE, and that I planned to write about it in my blog, and unbelievably, or maybe not so unbelievably considering how connected we are, she had already written about that very thing in HER blog! It is wonderful to have such a fun connection like that with someone you love so much, and going back to the "there are no coincidences" thing, it just reminds me of how God is working in our lives, every single second of the day.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... Just breathe. Just breathe...

Things have been busier than ever for the 4 B's, and it has been a struggle to cope, I have to admit. I mistakenly thought things would slow down after football season, but we went straight to volleyball and basketball, and now we have a practice every single night and games on the weekends, both Saturdays and Sundays. Not to mention Brady is working his two jobs seven days a week, I started another part-time/temporary job and of course I'm helping Brady with his second job when I can while also trying to keep the horses' stalls cleaned, the house cleaned, groceries bought and the 4 B's ranch in order while still finding time for homework and laundry and the thousands of things a mother is required to do every single day and did I mention the holidays are here? So yah. I'm struggling to keep up.

Last week, I made the B's clean their rooms, from top to bottom - they had Thursday and Friday off from school, so it was the perfect time to get it done. My mother says this is my way of maintaining control over something when I feel like everything else in my life is out of control. She's always right. Damn it! (I hope I get to do this to Brailey, someday.) Practically every second of every day is planned, and this is not something I enjoy. I've come to realize I'm either more of a free spirit than I realized or spoiled rotten. Whatever the case, this is the very reason I miss summer... I cherish those carefree days with my B's close by, no daily schedules other than what we truly want to do. However, I wouldn't take their volleyball or basketball away from them for anything in the world! They deserve it, and if they don't start out now, figuring out what they want to "do" when it comes to sports, they'll be behind in today's world. Sad, but true...

Ahhhhhhhh.... Just breathe. Life is still good in the midst of all this craziness, and I know this particular grueling schedule will be over before long, which is a sadness in itself, because my babies' childhoods are already passing us by far too quickly. So I'm trying to remain calm, and to remind myself to breathe. Just breathe... The problem is the tight schedules and pressure make me bitchy and not the kind of mom, wife, friend, daughter, person I want to be. I'm not perfect on a normal day, so when I feel all this stress, it makes me extremely uptight, which is not the path I want to be taking. And the bitchier I am, the more stress I feel, so isn't that just wonderful to add to the pile?

Whatever, we'll all survive, for better or worse, and there is a silver lining next week - my parents are coming for Thanksgiving! And not only do they not care one lick if the house is a mess or if it is spotless, my mother is the best cook on the planet, so I'm going to turn most of the cooking over to her and let myself be taken care of. After all, that's what mothers are for, right? To take care of everything. And to just breathe...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Another Busy Weekend...!

Brady took this picture of Big Mama and Little Mama at the boys' basketball practice. It has been so nice to get to see her for more than just once a week! We used to see each other every single day last year when we would drop the kiddos off (Britt went to Kindergarten were her babies go to school), but this year my B's go to the same school, so I never get to see my twin! Thank goodness for dance class and basketball season, or I would never see her... And that would be SAD! Because I need my bestie and my twin like the desert needs the rain!
Britt had his football party on Veteran's Day and got his beautiful trophy... It is super cool and even has his name on it, and he is very proud of it. He loves the trophy almost as much as he loves the medal. And he pulled his other front tooth, so he's our Toothless Wonder, at this point, and looks just like his horse, Quickity, who is also missing both his front incisors. I need to get a picture of them together - wouldn't that be hysterical?
And our Brailey Shaye played in her first volleyball game! I love her little shape... Those long legs of her are just too cool, aren't they? She did awesome in her games, and her coach is not only a wondeful person and coach, but she also helped Brady learn how to walk back when he was in the hospital. I thought she seemed familiar, and when Brady saw her, he remembered... Small world, huh?
And the boys had their first basketball games. They were adorable! Totally lost and confused and just hysterical to watch. Brian (Little Mama's husband and Griffy Boy's dad) told them to stay under the basket while he was out there with them reffing, meaning when they were on that end. But they listened, those boys of ours, and they stayed right there until he told them they could leave, even when the ball was on the other end of the court! We laughed about that the rest of the night - it was too funny! Brady reffed the first game, and then Brian reffed the second. It has to be said - Kimmy and I are truly blessed to have such cool, fun, handsome husbands!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tiny Mite Bowl Day

Our little football superstar, number 7, BRITT MURRAY! I took this picture of him right before we left the house for his last game of the season. One of a handful of brief glimpses of sunshine we had all day... Isn't he just so damn cute?! His team played a "real game" with flags and markers and quarters and the "whole nine yards," and it was super cool. The only fly in the ointment was the weather... Thank goodness the spectators were under cover, because it poured down rain almost the entire game! Britt made some fantastic blocks, though, and even though he was an ice cube, he was thrilled with himself afterwards.
Big sister Shaye-Shaye helping him carry his helmut to the game - I swear, they are the cutest, closest siblings on the PLANET!
Brailey wanted to pose on this lion outside the field - obviously we played the "Lions."
This is one of Britt's favorite coaches, Coach Micah. He was so good to Britt all season long, and very inspirational to the entire team. He has a lot of enthusiasm for life and his happiness is contagious. He served our county for years and was last stationed in Iraq, but injury sent him home. We are grateful to Micah for all he did for us as Americans and as Eagles!
And this is Britt's Head Coach, Jeremy, who was truly phenomenal. He was a fantastic head coach, and we are hopeful Britt will be placed on his team next year!
I've taken many pictures of Britt sitting on ice cold bleachers in the ice rink, waiting for his sister to skate, and now here is Brailey Shaye, sitting with Big Daddy on ice cold bleachers watching her little bro play football.
All the players were presented with medals after the game, which was so cool for them, except for the fact that they were all freezing and had to stand in the pouring down rain while all their names and numbers were called... What can we say? The weather did NOT cooperate!
And my little frozen boy with this medal, just after we got home and right before he got in the shower. He was soaked all the way to his bones! But oh-so-proud of that medal... It was a fabulous season, and we're so proud of Britt for all he learned and accomplished, and now we can't wait for next football season! There's just nothing like football, is there? In the meantime, we've already started basketball and volleyball. It's busy times for the 4 B's!

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Our freezing little number 7...

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Jumping up and down in the rain to stay warm...

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While receiving his Tiny Mite Bowl medal.  A moment in time that would be special on an ordinary day, but is extraordinatory given Mother Nature's contribution.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Blockage

I've been having a bit of writer's block, lately, and I was thinking about this as I was loading the washing machine and dryer, this morning, and I thought of what I wanted to write, but it wasn't very positive, so I decided not to write it, but then I changed my mind and decided if I DID write about what I wanted to write about, maybe it would be healthy and would unblock my mind for more positive thinking and writing...

Mind you, things have been going well for The 4 B's. We are all happy and healthy and feeling good about life. I am more thankful than I can say for this! However, that being said, I still woke up feeling extremely pissy and grumpy today. What is up with that?! For some reason, I just don't feel like myself, and I am irritable and negative and just plain grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. So in the spirit of unblocking my writer's block and getting rid of all the negativeness, I'm making a list of the things I detest right now. Consider this post my "therapy journal," if you will...

Here is what I can't stand, at least at this moment in time...

1) Know-it-alls. Especially certain ones who will remain nameless on this blog, but if you know me, then you certainly know who I'm talking about. SO ANNOYING!

2) Phony people. They're usually the know-it-alls.

3) Snotty women. They're ususally the know-it-alls and phonies.

4) Poor customer service. What is so hard about being nice and doing a good job?! Get a personality, people, or get a different job!

5) Smokers. And you know what it is that most bugs me about them? It isn't even the smoke! It is their thoughtless behavior and the way they throw their butts wherever they want to. GROSS! I feel a bubble of rage every time I see a cigarette butt on the ground... OR smell their smoke in an area that is supposed to be smoke free.

6) Facebook. I think it is for people who need a lot of attention, and unfortunately, I used to BE one of those people. But now I'm not (on Facebook - I do seem to need a lot of attention, though, so how ironic is it that I write this?), thank the good Lord above and my Nicoley for encouraging me to get OFF. And I think the reason it is so popular is because we are a society dying to have someone care about us, and none of us feel like we matter. Thus, Facebook gives us that dose of being someone "special" that we all desire to be. All this being said, if you are ON Facebook, it doesn't mean I don't like you or think you are this way, just that I think a good share of people that are on Facebook are. There's always good with bad, you know. And I KNOW my Twinsie is not this way, so NOT YOU, TWIN! But a lot of people? They are. And furthermore, considering the fact Facebook has actually been used as a WEAPON against me, I really, really hate it.

7) Texting and cell phones. I only have a mobile for emergencies, and I despise texting. I would much rather talk or email... And it makes me sick to think of my babies growing up in a world that texts more than it talks.

8) Cleaning stalls, but there's nothing to be done about this one, is there? At least until my kids are old enough to do it.

9) The holidays. I think this is part of my grrrr-ness, today, actually. I have some stressful memories, and perhaps some post-traumatic-stress-disorder from my 20's... Nothing to do with my parents, just to be clear. And even though I have toned our holidays down and try to keep them simple, simple, simple, I suddenly feel STRESSED OUT about Christmas. And I want to be a happy, holly-jolly mom who makes wonderful holiday memories for my children, so that freaks me out, a little, too. Because I don't feel that way. YIKES! Let's hope I get there. Soon!

10) Messes. I hate, hate, hate, hate, HATE messes! I have tried to learn how to live with messiness in my life, but truly? Clutter breeds chaos, and even though it is a sign that you have a wonderful, happy family, I despise messes. They make my blood pressure rise more than anything else. And no matter how many times I try to stay organized, there is always another mess to clean up.

BIG SIGH... Well, I do think I feel better, now. The sad thing is, I read once that the things we don't like in OTHERS are the same things we ourselves DO. So keep in mind that I do not for one second think I am perfect. Far from it! On a NORMAL day, I am the most positive of the positive. Hopefully today will take a turn for the normal.

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzz-bzzzz!

I had to add a better picture of Rosin in her Bee costume for my Nicoley - I know she will love it more than anyone. Can you see the ninja below? He is HIDING...!

Monday, November 1, 2010

"The Best Halloween Ever!"

 The 4 B's had another fabulous weekend, and a long one, too! We attended Parent Teacher Conferences on Wednesday, and then had Thursday and Friday off from school, which was SO NICE! We went to work with Brady on Friday, and we found this fun car for Brady to pose in. Still handsome after all these years...! The car too, but I was referring to Brady. (Gotcha!)

On Saturday, we were fortunate to be invited to our FIRST HALLOWEEN PARTY EVER, and it was the most wonderful Halloween party you could ever IMAGINE. We had a BLAST! It was truly a special time, and we enjoyed every single second. Afterwards, we went to mass and the little B's were in their costumes, along with our other Catholic friends who attended the party.
Brailey was a bumble bee, or, as the costume is called, "Little Honey." So perfect for her, because she IS such a little honey. SO sweet...!
And Brittster Man was a skull ninja... He started determining what he would be for Halloween months ago - this is his favorite holiday (just like his Aunti Nicoley!).
This is Brailey with one of her dearest, bestest friends in the world, Jonah. They are GREAT buddies and although they didn't get placed in the same classroom this year, they play together every day at the lunch recess. He is the NICEST BOY EVER, and Brady and I are so thrilled Brailey has him to look out for her. After I took this picture, I said, "Man, Jonah, you are growing tall!" And he said, "No, I just have these cowboy boots on today," and proceeded to show them to me. It makes me smile to remember it as I am writing this...
There were crafts, games and food galore at the party, but the biggest hit was Boo Bingo, and I was cracking up at how serious all the kiddos were. It was hilarious to listen to! It reminded me of older people playing it... Truly, this was hysterical to observe.
This year, we carved our best pumpkins ever! We carved them yesterday morning, which started off our "best Halloween ever." Brady has the perfect pumpkin carving tools, and the kids were very creative this year, and look at the masterpieces we produced! Britt's is a Frankenstein, and Brailey's is a kitty cat.
See that smile full of pride? That's because Britt made his FIRST TACKLE  IN A GAME! It was so awesome, and he was so thrilled! He is figuring out how to use his size and strength, and it was so special to see how happy he was after he made his tackle in the game. He was thrilled that it all happened on Halloween, which of course added to it being "the best Halloween ever." He called Papa to tell him, and Papa is buying him another hot fudge sundae after Thanksgiving to celebrate the accomplishment. This made Brailey Shaye very happy, as well, of course, because nobody loves a hot fudge sundae like she does.

We picked up this little bee costume for Rosin last year on clearance, and since Brailey was a bee, we had a little theme going on and took Rozzy-dog trick-or-treating for the first time. Not only did Rosin enjoy it, so did everyone who saw her. It was fun!
 Here I am with my babies! I am SO the luckiest mother on the planet - I love these three babies!
This was the funniest part of the day, because this house always gets into the spirit of Halloween and does fun things like this... They had a little tent they made out of black plastic with loud Halloween music, and they stood out front and waved people to come in. It was hilarious! Britt could not WAIT to go to this house. Until right when he was going in! Brailey went in with Brady, and Britt hightailed it the other direction. Something about it got his goose, and he was terrified! So we had a big time teasing him about it the rest of the night - he is always our brave child, so we were stunned. Brady told him he's been eating too much chicken, and I told him I knew what he could be for Halloween next year, a Chicken Ninja. Britt didn't think it was too funny, but the rest of us B's howled with laughter, and Britt had to laugh at himself. After this, he was too scared to go to any other houses - thank goodness we had saved the spooky one for the end, or he would have been candyless. On the way to school this morning, he was quizzing Brailey about what was inside there...
Our adorable jack-o-lanterns... Truly, the little B's are right. It was the best Halloween ever!

Bullies Beware

I wrote this a couple of months ago. I wasn't going to post it, because it is very, very personal. Most of the time, writing is my th...