Thursday, December 30, 2010


The most recent installment from my mother... I decided to throw this one in between all the Christmas updates. And now, here it is almost New Year's Eve! Time does fly... If only time could be balanced, but then again, that's the real trick, isn't it? Balance...

Face it! Mothering is one never-ending balancing act, performed under the bright lights in the center ring. Work. Play. Self. Others. Give. Receive. All. Nothing. In all things, find your center. In all ways, find the balance. Woman. Mother. Daughter. Wife. Inner. Outer. When you tip too far in one direction, find your center. Find your balance. When the teeter starts to totter, plant both feet firmly on the ground and find balance within. Too much. Not enough. Too strict. Too laid-back. Too loud. Invisible. Over-aggressive. A doormat. In between the extremes, find the place you call balance. When the swing settles down, feel the balance begin. The moment you feel you're losing your balance, slow down, unclench your jaw, then seek balance again.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Making of Houses - Foam Gingerbread, that is...

I found this cute little foam sticker gingerbread craft project at Walmart, and the B's had a GREAT time working on them! Oddly enough, I didn't micro-manage the decorating of them one bit. I'm very proud of myself for that - see? That's progress! As you can see from the picures, it was quite serious work. They sat side-by-side and worked on them until they were done, chattering away with each other. I sat on the couch and read a book to keep myself occupied and out of their creative genius. And wah-lah! The little houses turned out super cute! I don't know how well the foam will stay stuck together over the course of time, but for now, they are muy perfecto!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Children's Gospel Drama 2010

Every year on Christmas Eve, our church allows parish children to act out the Gospel Reading, calling it the Childrens Gospel Drama. The church is always packed for this particular mass, and this year, my little B's wanted to partake in it. (They actually acted the entire thing out earlier this summer - over five minutes worth of film!) It was a wonderful opportunity for them to try out their acting skills, and they absolutely loved every second of it. My angel-girl was, of course, an angel, and Britt was a handsome, serious shepherd. The pictures above these words are from us trying the costumes on at home last weekend before dress rehearsal (hence the bedhead and pj's). The picture below is from the "real mccoy" on Christmas Eve. The little lamby next to Britt is Daniel, one of his best friends from school. And coincidentally, one of Brailey's very dearest friends, Jonah, is Daniel's older brother, and he and Brailey are in the same grade, as well. All the children were adorable, and it was wonderful and a true delight to watch them participate in this year's Gospel Drama. Stay tuned for more posts regarding our celebration of Jesus' birthday...

Thursday, December 23, 2010


In the spirit of being the Queen B of The 4 B's... I adore this one! Although I have to say, it is a difficult concept to carry out. Sometimes I don't care what people think, and then I think I should. And sometimes, I care too much what people think and wish I didn't. Why is it so hard to just be me?

Be yourself first, a woman second, and a mother third. Be every bit of who you are. Be serious, be focused, be reliable. Be silly, be carefree, be wildly unpredictable. Be all you've ever believed yourself to be-----and then be more. Be willing to be a lot more than you ever thought you could be. Be more creative, more expressive, more loving, more sexual. Be happy. Be sad. Be angry and rageful and sometimes, yes, be afraid. Be the mother you always wished you had. Be the mother you always know you were destined to be. Be punctual or be late. Be ready to be disorganized. Be there or be square. Allow yourself to be your authentic self; let your spirit be all it can be. Show your kids what it's like to be a full-grown human being. Model for them how real life can be. Then be quiet, be still, and let them be.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Remember who you are and stand in the place that is yours. Remember what you stand for and how you came to stand for it and make certain that others understand. Stand up to the bully who has the mistaken belief that he has power over you. Stand in your own place of power and you'll never have to step on another's toes. Stand firm when you know you are right. Stand tall when you know truth is yours. Stand up for your children, especially when they are in danger of standing alone. Stand in protection, in support, in solidarity. Stand beside your teenager in court. Stand up in front of the entire school board if you must. Stand alongside your partner when the show of support matters most. Stand your ground no matter what is huffing and puffing and trying to blow you off course. Sometimes a tree needs to bend in the wind, but the strongest are always left STANDING.

Hmmmmm... I think this is one that I actually do pretty well. I have no problem taking a stand. And I can bend when I need to. For example, after being treated, how shall we say... unfairly? Rudely? With contempt? Undeservedly? By certain people who were in my life, that is, I made a stand and I have left them out of the circle of my love. I made the decision to not be treated that way and to stand up for myself. People have put me down my entire life, since I was in the first grade and one of my classmates hated me because I had long, pretty hair and wore an adorable outfit my mother made for me with my name on it. So I've learned how to stand over the years, for sure. The trick for me has been in learning how to bend. If people who have hurt me come around and do their own bending, I always forgive. However, it's a fine line, isn't it? Taking a stand, yet bending when the wind blows... Because blow it will.

Monday, December 20, 2010


I think this installment is the most powerful, thus far.

Remember, my mom is getting these from a BOOK - she isn't writing them herself. She is sending them to me with her fun artwork to ensure that I will actually read them, and read them I DO!

When it comes to this concept, I have to admit it - I am one of those mothers who says, "DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO." Especially considering my sailor mouth and lack of patience with people... But this has really made me stop and think about that trashy attitude. I want to be a good example for my children, truly I do. Which means I am going to have to watch myself a little better...

Watch what you're doing. Little eyes are watching more than you know. So be mindful of all that you model. No matter what you say or how often you say it, what matters is where your feet go walking. Walking your talk means aligning your words with your actions. Saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Showing up the same whether you're kicking back with the kids or kicking butt at the town hall meeting. Keep an eye on how you speak about others, lest little voices echo everything they hear. For all the times you tell them to watch their language, make sure that you're watching yours. Are you watching along while they're watching too much tv? Watching over their shoulders after you tell them you trust them? Nobody says that a mom has to be a paragon of virtue. Nobody says you can't slip. Just watch your step. Little feet are following closely behind you.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More Decking of the Halls!

This is what I found when I went into Britt's room last night. He and Brailey made all these "puppets" from what we had leftover after his class party, and I noticed quite a few of them were missing from the pile earlier in the evening... Not to mention little pieces of white paper littering the floor. And the reason why he needed to borrow my tape (thank goodness is was scotch!) soon became clear. It made me smile when I saw it - what a little decorator I have on my hands! Needless to say, his halls are super decked! And frankly, I think he did a darned good job for a 6 year old. Don't you?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I received my package of "installments" from my mother yesterday... I love these so much! I swear it is the most meaningful gift I have ever received... Please, enjoy.

Now and then, it's good to bare your soul. You can spill your guts and strip away the excess and get to the bones of the matter. Once in a while, it's good to get back to the bare essentials. To trim away the excess that's starting to smother you, and start over with a bare piece of ground and a song in your heart. Childhood is the time to run around bare naked in the back, so let them have their fun----with bare feet, to boot. Let your little girl go bare breasted while the only thing that's round and soft is her tummy. Put your foot down when her older sister wants to parade around in a bikini that's barely there. After your hair falls out, buy beautiful scarves to wear. Later, when you're ready, be brave, and go bare. Watch out when a handful of hungry teenage boys drop by for dinner. When the party is over, your cupboards will be... B A R E.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mid-December Happenings

 Britt made this paper wreath all on his own and put it on his door all by himself, as well. He got it from school and brought it home, where he immediately got to work on coloring, cutting and glueing. Then he told me, "Mom, my halls are decked now, too. I put my wreath on my door."

My angel girl and angel dog, Brailey and Rosin, were snuggling on the couch this weekend... Brailey is always so sweet to Rozzy-girl. Rosin was lapping it up!

We made it through to the end! Volleyball was SO MUCH FUN! Here you see Brailey Shaye with her two awesome, wonderful, perfect coaches, Stephanie and Jonna. They were AMAZING! So encouraging and positive and their daughters are sweet little girls just like Brailey, so it was a great team for Brailey to be on. She learned a LOT about volleyball and made some good friends. Brady discovered he loves volleyball, and it actually turned out to be something our whole family enjoyed playing. Britt got to participate in Brailey's practices, and Brady and I got to scrimmage against the girls (parents vs. kids), so it was a blast for all of us! We are going to keep on working on volleyball, no doubt about it.

And guess what else? Brailey's team WON THEIR TOURNAMENT! After losing every game all season long, they CAME ALIVE in the tournament on Saturday and won gold! It was a real nail biter of a game at the end (I don't know what I'm going to do when my kids are in high school - I have to be up by 50 in order to feel comfortable with my team, whoever they may be). It was a great experience for the girls and for us parents, too. Needless to say, we were all THRILLED when they won the tourney!

My silly boys, Brittster Man and Griffy Boy - they had their last games this weekend, too, and to celebrate, their entire basketball team went to Dairy Queen for a "treat and trophy." Notice they have matching shoes? They were the cutest boys on the team - just ask their mothers/aunties!

 Britt with his trophy and basekball at home afterwards.

After relaxing at home and watching a Christmas movie, we loaded back up and went to town for the Coburg Christmas Light Parade. It was awesome, and the little B's got a TON of candy - just what we need, but that's how it goes, right? We also got a really cool stuffed bumble bee - it is huge! How ironic is that?

Friday, December 10, 2010

GO DUCKS! Oh yah, we've got the spirit! And Britt got...

an autograph from LaMichael James, number 21, super star player of the potential National Title team, the Oregon Ducks! Can I get a big WA-HOO? OH yah! I've been temping at the UO Law School for the past few weeks, and guess who came by the Faculty Reception desk? You guessed it! I was so thrilled at the opportunity to meet the star of the team! I have to admit I was surprised at how short he is, which is shorter than me, although I'm not short, but I expected him to be taller than me, you know? Which just goes to show how determined and athletic he is. I was able to get 3 autographs from him - one for Britt, one for Brady's boss Max and one for the receptionist who was out to lunch when he arrived. Brailey was a little bummed I didn't get an autograph for her, but she already has one from world champion barrel racer Charmayne James (courtesy of her beloved Aunt Cindy in Texas), so I just reminded her of that and pointed out that she didn't play football like her brother did. If I had been thinking, I would have had him make it out to "The 4 B's," but I didn't think of it in my excitement. In any case, Britt was thrilled, Brady's boss was thrilled, and I was thrilled to have met him and that I was able to experience the sensation of a celebrity up close and personal. If only it had been Pat Monahan or Keith Urban... Can you imagine? As is is, though, Britt has something for "sharing" at school and a little keepsake to inspire him in his coming years of football. GO DUCKS!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

We've Decked the Halls!

We were so nervous for the Civil War game last Saturday, we couldn't sit still! So we decided to get our tree... Every year, we go to one of Brady's dearest friends' place to get our Christmas tree. Tom and Janey planted over 800 Christmas trees the year I moved to the valley with Brady (10 years ago), and they are the most beautiful trees ever! It was a big business for the first few years they sold them, but now they have dwindled down, and the pickings were pretty slim. We still managed to find a darling tree, though, and the little B's loved riding on the trailer behind Tom as he drove the tree to our pickup. We didn't actually plan on getting the tree up, but the game was so nerve wracking, we just kept ourselves busy, and it was a WIN-WIN situation! The Ducks won and our Christmas decorating is done!
It was Brailey's year to put the angel on top of the tree. My Aunt Mary made this angel for me years ago, and she is so precious to me! Her face is porcelin, which Aunt Mary poured, fired and painted herself, and the dress is handmade out of lace and ribbon. Next year will be Britt's turn to put the angel on the tree.
My little decorators! They love, love, LOVE putting ornaments on the tree! Of course they put them all in one spot on the very end of the branch, so I have to come behind them and move things around, but they don't care. They just love to look at all the ornaments and hang them up, wherever they can. I give them a new ornament every year, and we also exchange ornaments with their Godparents, so there is a lot of meaning behind every single ornament. A lot of them are from one of my special friends who did that for me throughout the years, and I think of her every time I see one of the ornaments. I wish I could have recorded the process of my B's decorating the tree, but being the control freak I am, I had to micro-manage the hanging of the ornaments. Britt loves it every bit as much as Brailey, and he said, "Man! We are really decking our halls!" And after we were all done decorating everything, he said, "Our halls are decked!" So that is the big thing around here, now - we have "decked halls!"
 Pretending to be asleep under the blessed tree...
And a fun shot without the flash. My camera was doing something weird, this day, so the pictures didn't come out very clear. At least the memories are somewhat captured, though. Now everyone is bugging Big Mama to get some presents under there... (If only I had the time!) I'll get to it one of these days, though, and then our halls AND our tree will be "decked!"

Monday, December 6, 2010


I actually got two installments in the same envelope, this time. I love this one... I'm trying so hard to keep these words in my head at all times!

What you believe is what your life will be. So believe that which you truly desire. Believe that this phase will pass and so will every one that follows. Believe your instincts. When your heart tells you your child must go to a particular school or a particular doctor, trust the wisdom of your heart against all else. If they tell you everything is fine and you feel otherwise, believe your intuition and ask others to believe it, too. Believe the truth, even when it is hard or painful or nearly impossible to believe. When your child says he is scared, believe him. When she says she does not feel good, believe it. When your teenager swears she was not at the party, believe her because she is who you believe her to be. What you choose to believe is the life you create. Choose carefully what you BELIEVE.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


The latest installment from my mom and her special book... She is sending them to me this way because she knows I will actually read them - how well she knows me! This is a such a special gift, and I can't remember one I've needed or enjoyed more!

A mother's journey is to heal. From the moment you begin to contemplate life with children, you will come face to face with your thorniest unresolved issues. You will uncover ancient hurts around your own childhood and the mothering that was given you (or not). Embrace this singular opportunity for healing. Remain open to a flood of emotions, and flow with them until you find a healing peace. Give yourself room to heal and know that you heal for those who came before you and those who now follow. Create new endings to old, tired stores of loss and betrayal. Inspire your children with new legacies and new, life-affirming ways. Take bold steps to change painful patterns passed down through generations. Seek out the medicine that strengthens you and take authority for your own healing. Every mother who heals herself, heals her children, too.

I don't know which one means more to me - HEALING or RELEASE? They are both powerful, and so applicable to my life. I wish I could keep them inside my head all day long...

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...