Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

 Our traditional family picture before Christmas Eve mass...

And once we got home, we let them open ONE PRESENT, which this year were new jammies, another tradition!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Our Year in Review - 2011

Wow! As we find ourselves at the end of another year, I have been reminiscing about the past year and all that happened. It was a GREAT year! I think it would best be described as The Year of Education for The 4 B's... We learned SO MUCH! We grew as a family and learned things that will help us immensely in our journey through this life.

One of the most significant lessons we learned is who we can depend on and who we can't. Surprisingly, it isn't always family who is "there for you" when the chips are down. Sometimes family members are the ones who hurt you the most, and learning this lesson was a painful one that required a lot of self-reflection, a lot of letting go and also a lot of growing. "Growing pains," I call them, because growing as a person is truly a hard thing to do. But grow we did, and I'm so thankful for the friends we grew with, new and old alike, silver and gold all the way!

Gosh, we had so much FUN this year! I still can't believe Brady and I made it through the Butte-to-Butte - at this point, I doubt if I'll ever be able to "run" it again... I've come to learn that some people are runners, and some people aren't, and I fall into the latter category, even though I try so hard not to. In any case, WE DID IT, and the best part was seeing our little B's with The Lamberts sitting on the street corner holding signs that said "Go Big Mama" and "Go Big Daddy!" I had to fight hard to suck those tears down, which isn't an easy thing to do when you are trying to suck air, too.

We had so much fun as a family, enjoying rodeo after rodeo - Sublimity and Ross Coleman's PBR were our favorites, although the Eugene PBR was right up there, too. And Corvallis! I'll never forget my "reading" by the psychic, and this was the first year we let our little B's enjoy the "BIG" rides at the carnival. Corvallis always has a great carnival... OH - and Eric Church! How could I forget him?! Brady and I had the best time ever at his concert right here in Lane County, and I swear we are his biggest fans... Although maybe not - Brady asked a girl at the parade in Heppner if she knew who Eric Church was, and she said, "KNOW him! I'm going to MARRY him!" She must have been about 13 or 14 years old. And speaking of Heppner, that was another fantastic rodeo, and the only one Brady and I attended by ourselves - the kids went camping with my folks and had their own fun.

As I think back over all the birthdays and celebrations and good times, and there are just too many to incorporate into this little blog post! Our yard sale, getting our yard IN, spending time with my parents and the Lamberts and the Hartleys, Uncle Frank coming from Texas to stay with us and showing him Autzen Stadium, the infamous Barn Sale, both kids performing at La Fiesta, swim lessons in the rain in a heated pool, football and volleyball, our 10th wedding anniversary (eleven years together, ten married!), Britt's first reconciliation with all four of us participating, performances by the little B's special for Brady and I...

Of course there was drama, too - we started January with a bang. Brady was gone for the entire month at "school." Thank goodness for our beloved friends and my parents, or I may not have survived. Yes, I am tougher than nails, but taking care of this place by myself wasn't easy, even for someone as rough and tough as me, ranch-raised girl that I am... The emotional strain on my B's was nearly more than I could bear. But bear it we did! Then Brailey's ripped ligaments at the beginning of the summer along with a trip to the ER, which ironically began the summer and then ended it, as well, when we thought she had meningitis in August, but thank goodness she didn't. And then all her ailments, including her allergic reaction to codeine from a pulled baby tooth that had attached to her jaw bone, tonsillitis, a horrible flu bug, x-rays for her back and all the missed activities from the bum leg in between. And while she had to endure the worst of it, Britt had to learn how to have fun without his best friend and playmate, and that was a big adjustment for him. Even though he still got to enjoy all his activities, he missed his sister enjoying them with him. And his football season nearly did us all in, with the huge commitment it entailed and the problems we faced this year. But the best part is that we learned from ALL of these things, and we are stronger and better for having gone through them. Like the saying goes, what doesn't kill you will make you stronger. So true!

And now we are ready to embark on a new year, filled with more hope and love than we've ever had before. We already have a couple of snags - my dad's cancer and Brady has some issues with his mouth AND just yesterday he fell at work while getting the chop saw out of the van and broke his ribs, sprained his fingers and whacked his head... Needless to say, he is one sore feller, but he's back at work today, pushing through like the trooper he is. He and my dad have their surgeries on the same day, January 3rd - any and all prayers are welcome! Brady won't like it that I've shared this about him, but a priest told my mom you can never have too many prayers, so what can he say about that, right?

We are looking forward to Britt's first communion in the spring and hope to have a wonderful celebration with family and friends, my oldest niece and oldest Godson are graduating from high school, and who knows what other marvelous things will occur? Usually, even numbered years are the best for me, and last year, an odd-numbered year, was great, so this year? I think it is going to be UNBELIEVABLE! Welcome, 2012!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Twas the Day After Christmas...

‘Twas the day after Christmas,
And all through the house,
Not a thing was in place,
Not even Big Mama’s computer mouse.

Toys were strewn from here to there.
Amongst paper and ribbons and Rosin’s dog hair.
The stockings were thrown on the floor with abandon,
The contents spread all around like a fountain.

And Big Mama and Big Daddy surveyed the wild scene,
The beautiful sight of The 4 B’s glee.
Brailey and Britt’s faces shining with love,
And laughter and joy like two turtle doves.

Big Mama said “Now we must clean up this mess,”  
Her voice carrying some leftover Christmas stress.
Big Daddy and the The Little B’s responded right quickly,
Not wanting to risk Big Mama turning sickly.

And with all the debris neatly stashed in a bag,
Big Mama relaxed and kept free from her nag.
This left them all able to put things together,
Things Santa had brought through the icy cold weather.

And their hearts all swelled with more love and delight,
As they enjoyed every second of their Christmas flight.
And oh yes, don’t you fret, they do know the real reason,
For the beautiful holiday and the whole Christmas season.

Hence their singing of the Happy Birthday song,
For the true King of the World, for whom so many long.
“Happy Birthday to Jesus,” The 4 B’s sang with their might,
“A blessed day to you all, and to all a good night.”

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The "Cookie Lady"

She's not me, if that is what you were thinking. But she IS a funny story...

So the Cookie Lady came about this fall during football season/practice... She was a single mom who had a kid on our team and a very nice boyfriend. Along about the middle of our season, she started bringing the kids cookies that she had baked. It was a very nice thing for her to do, and the kids loved them. I didn't try them at this point, but my three B's seemed to enjoy them.

Not long after, she brought cookies a second time, and I have to admit my hackles were raised just a bit. First of all, isn't there a rule against bringing home-baked food to organized kids' events? Second of all, I really didn't need my kids eating a bunch of sugar right before dinner AND bedtime. And third, she brought a bag of cookies over to me to send home for Brady and as she handed me the bag she said "These are special for Brady - he'll kill me if I don't give him some of my cookies."

Really? Okay... Little Mama just happened to be right next to me during this exchange, and her hackles were raised a bit, too. This made me feel better, because it validated how I was feeling. Which was a little suspicious... It was after this remark about her cookies and Brady followed by her detailed explanation of what a fabulous baker she was that we dubbed her Cookie Lady.

Along goes time, and it soon became apparent to us that she had a bit of a crush on Brady. Granted, EVERYONE loves Brady, because really, what's not to love? He is certainly the most likable man I'VE ever met. And he is oblivious when it comes to flirty women and makes friends with every person he meets.

One night I didn't make it to practice, but Little Mama was there, and she found herself feeling a little jealous of Cookie Lady. It seems Cookie Lady dominated Brady for the entire practice! Of course Little Mama relayed this information to me, and we started watching Cookie Lady like a hawk, and sure enough, every time she had an opportunity, she was on Brady like flies on horse poo.

It soon became a big joke between the three of us (Big Daddy, Big Mama and Little Mama). But it did turn a bit serious one night when Cookie Lady AGAIN brought her stupid cookies for everyone. And Brady actually had the nerve to compliment her gesture TO ME, and that is when I became somewhat irritated... You see, I had tried one of her famous cookies, just to see if they WERE in fact tasty, and frankly, they were disgusting! They were harder than a rock and completely tasteless. After my sample, all the cookies from Cookie Lady went straight into the garbage. They were GROSS!

Now here's an important piece of the puzzle for you to know - while I don't like cooking, I am one hell of a baker, and I make the best cookies you will EVER eat. Period. Exclamation point! And so when Brady had the bad taste (pun intended!) to compliment Cookie Lady on her cookies, knowing how Little Mama and I felt about her, my dander was raised. It just so happens Brady and I discussed this over dinner, after practice, and I shared with Brady that my cookies were twenty TIMES better than Cookie Lady's and if she wanted to have a bake-off, I would WIN, hands down! 

I am making this sound quite serious, but truthfully, Brady and I were bantering back and forth all in good fun. He was teasing me, and I was teasing him, but there WAS a tiny element of seriousness to it. And all of a sudden, my little B's jumped to my defense and said, "Dad, it's true! Mom can make WAY better cookies than that lady can." "Mom really does make better cookies, Dad." And "Mom WOULD win if they had a contest, Dad, SHE WOULD!" Needless to say, Brady and I had a big laugh over my little B's defending me, and it added fuel to the Cookie Lady fire for the rest of the season.

If you wonder why I brought this story up, it's because I was just reminded of it yesterday. Our wonderful neighbor lady brought us some Christmas goodies. She's a terrific baker, and after lunch, I let both of my B's have some dessert. Britt chose one of her cookies, and after having just one bite, he said, "Mmmmmmmmmmmmm, these are GOOD!" Then he looked at me and said, "Well, not as good as YOURS are, Mom, but they are good. But yours are WAY better!"

Tell me, is there anything more precious than having your children defend you? Besides my cookies, that is...

You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fabulous Letter to the Editor in the Register Guard

Here is the letter to the editor I referenced yesterday (that I totally agree with!).

 

LETTERS IN THE EDITOR’S MAILBAG

Published: (Saturday, Dec 10, 2011 05:00AM)Midnight, Dec 10
Bring back ‘Merry Christmas’
It is ludicrous that people must say “Happy Holidays” in place of “Merry Christmas” during Christmas time. The First Amendment clearly prohibits interfering with “the free exercise of religion,” so why do we have stores and many public facilities being pressured into saying “Happy Holidays” instead? It’s because pressure has been put on them to say “Happy Holidays” so as to not offend anyone.
Christmas is technically a federal holiday in the United States. People who say “Merry Christmas” are supporting a federal holiday, not a Christian one.
Christmas has Christian roots, but it has been adopted by America and molded into our culture to create a national holiday. It’s so much a part of our culture that there are Christmas trees in the White House, a government building, as well as in the Hult Center, also a government building.
When people say the phrase “Merry Christmas” is promoting Jesus they are wrong, because it is promoting the federal holiday. I’m sure there are people out there who say companies should not promote the federal government either, but then it comes down to what offends the least number of people.
In today’s society there are more people who would rather hear “Merry Christmas” than “Happy Holidays,” so why not bring it back?
ANDREW DUYCK
Eugene

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Spirit

If you know me at all, then you know it takes me a while to get into the Christmas spirit... Frankly, I'm not the biggest fan of the commercialism and pressure that goes hand-in-hand with the "holiday" season. I barely have time to do the things I need to do on a normal day, let alone do all the things I need to do to prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas! The days are never long enough, are they? It doesn't help that the retail world starts promoting Christmas before Halloween even occurs, making me feel like I'm behind from the get-go. And then the whole Black Friday thing makes me feel like I am so far behind in my shopping I'll never catch up (I don't "do" Black Friday). Pressure, pressure, pressure!

Never fear, though. I always manage to somehow rally myself and pull my Christmas spirit out the closet. I do this for the sake of my family. Of COURSE I don't want my babies to grow up without experiencing the magic of Christmas. And I must be doing an okay job of it, because they both still believe in Santa, utterly and completely. Brailey is nine years old, now, but she still believes. I love this! We decorate and we sing Christmas songs in the car on our way to and from school - our favorite cd is from Jim Carrey's movie, The Grinch, which is also our favorite Christmas movie, and furthermore one of our sacred family traditions is to watch this movie on Christmas Eve after we attend mass. And yes, let me tell you, I totally relate with The Grinch!

Which brings us to the true meaning of Christmas and two of my pet peeves...

First of all, yes, my kids know the "reason for the season." Christmas is a celebration of Jesus' birthday, and I am proud to say they carry this in their hearts. I was SO proud of Britt the other day... Someone at school told him Christmas was about "giving." And he said, "I told them 'No, it's not. It's about Jesus' birthday.'" And it upset him a bit that his classmate didn't understand that Christmas is about giving AND Jesus, which is how I even know about his conversation, because he told me all about it on the way home from school. I'm glad he stuck up for Jesus!

Secondly, my two pet peeves at Christmas... I absolutely cannot STAND IT when people put an "X" in from of -mas. REALLY?! You can't even write the word "Christ?" I love the signs you see in people's yards that say "Keep Christ in Christmas." If find it insulting and frankly, LAZY to see the word scandalized in this manner. I shared my feelings on this issue just this past weekend, as we saw a sign in our little town advertising their Christmas trees. Guess how they spelled "Christmas?" Yup, with the "X," and so I got on my soap box and shared with my family how disrespectful I find that word to be. My little B's were intrigued and agreed with me it is wrong for people to do that. (Never mind that we live in a free country where people can write what they want to - this is my pet peeve!)

My other peeve is the fact that we have to cater to the two people in the entire world that don't celebrate Christmas and thus we mustn't say "Merry Christmas." We must say "Happy Holidays." I don't understand how every business in town worries about offending the minority of people who don't "believe," yet all their merchandise is targeted to those of us who DO believe. I read the other day in the newspaper a letter to the editor from a person who feels the same way I do, and this person said the holiday is actually a FEDERAL HOLIDAY, and it is called CHRISTMAS, and thus we should have CHRISTMAS parties and cards that say MERRY CHRISTMAS. Maybe I'll try to find the letter online and post it... It was good! Brad Paisley also has a song on his Christmas cd that makes fun of the fact that we can't say "Merry Christmas." See if you can't look it up - it's pretty darned funny, but it makes clear the point of how ridiculous this "Happy Holidays" thing has become. And it brought up for me a conversation with my kids about how people aren't supposed to say "Merry Christmas," so as not to offend anyone. Sadly, my kids will never have a Christmas tree in their classrooms and get to draw a name of a classmate to buy a gift for. I feel fortunate that I was able to experience this in my childhood. Trust me, it was a great way to foster the spirit of giving, and our society would benefit more from kids doing this than simply having a class party where they get a ton of stuff given to them.

On a side note, Britt's class made "giving bags" during his "Winter Holiday" party. They did this last year, also. They put a bunch of stuff together into a bag to give to someone they see who is in need. They decorate the bag to put the stuff in, and the kids love this project. And it makes them feel good when they give this bag away. Great concept!

Anyway... I'm thankful my kids know the true meaning of Christmas. And I admit I am a bit of a hypocrite, because I love to give my children presents. In fact, I love to give EVERYONE presents - if I were rich, I wouldn't be that way for long, because I would spend it all on the people I love. I've changed a lot over the past couple of years, though, and our celebration is truly about Jesus and being together.

So, Merry Christmas, everyone! May your Christmas season truly be merry and bright and full of the wonder of the season. And may God bless you and yours!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Volleyball Season 2011 - Short and Sweet!

video
Short and sweet indeed! In many ways, it is far too short of a season - it seems like we just get started and into the heart of improvement and then it is over. In other ways, the season comes at a busy time of year, and frankly, we are happy to be free of sports obligations for a while! This is a cute video of Brailey serving in warmups. You can hear Britt talking to me in the background... Below I included a couple of fun shots. Next year? She'll be serving overhand, baby! She actually WAS serving overhand at the beginning of the summer, but the ripped ligaments in her ankle put the kibosh on volleyball for quite a while. In fact, she was lucky to be able to play this season, and fortunately, she's tough. It is amazing how much every girl improves over the course of the few week of volleyball, and next year is going to be even more exciting. We can't wait!
Listening to her coach...
With one of her besties, Sydney. This was their second year of playing together, and someday? They are going to be WICKED good! They'll be able to read each other's minds...
Brady watching the action.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Barn Sale of the Century

Have you been wondering how The Barn Sale of the Century was? Well, then. Allow me tell you...

It was GREAT! And when I say "great," I mean G-R-E-A-T! Not only did we have a steady of stream of people all day long, we sold a GREAT variety of stuff, met some wonderful people AND, I think best of all? We learned a lot!

The weather was super cold, but Brady, bless his heart, set up the propane heater for us. If not for that heater, I think we would have frozen plumb to death! Brady was such a big help to me with this sale, and really, the little B's were, too. I put my blood, sweat and tears (literally, people!) into this sale, and I think my family felt neglected, at times. Yet they were right there for me when I needed them. And my bestie, Little Mama, was so worried she wouldn't sell a thing, the silly woman. Not only did she sell nearly all she had, she even got orders for MORE! She was such a Godsend to me all day long, ringing everyone up and giving me the moral support I needed. Again, I have no idea what I would do without Kim in my life - she is one amazing woman! And MY best friend, which I am so proud of...

The most difficult part of the sale (besides the setup and organization, which was quite an undertaking) was selling merchandise to our friends. Both Kimmy and I struggled with this - I would love to give my friends everything I have, frankly! But everyone who came was so generous and supportive and sweet and wonderful and made us feel like the blessed gals we are.

I did end up with a lot of leftover merchandise, so if you are in need of a one-of-a-kind work of western art, like a lamp, utensil holder, pencil holder, soap dispenser or a decorative vase, just let me know! I have plenty in stock, that's for sure! I need to send it all down to Texas where it would really sell, but I know the perfect homes will come along in good time for my "babies." I have a quite a few bracelets and earrings left, also. And sunglasses. And saddle blankets and reins. I have so much stuff leftover it is hard to believe we sold as much as we did!

In any case, next year is going to be even more spectacular, and this time I have an entire year to plan it. And NOW, my little B's are so happy, because we can finally "deck the halls" of the The 4 B's Ranch and live it up this Christmas season. Ho! Ho! Ho! (And a bottle of rum...!)

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Little B's Funny Pages


Here is what I heard the other day from my funny little B’s as they were playing together…
Brailey: Britt, would you please stop? (I have no idea what he was doing…)
Brailey: Britt, stop it!
Brailey: What part of stop don’t you understand?
Britt: The s, the t, the o and and the p.
For some reason, this totally cracked me up! I was in the kitchen listening to them, and I had to laugh out loud when I heard this!

And then, while we were in the doctor’s office a couple of weeks ago, trying to determine why Brailey’s back was hurting and if she had fallen or somehow injured it, I asked her, “Are you sure you didn’t fall or hurt yourself in P.E. this week?” And she said, “Nooooooooooo, just my feelings were the only thing that got hurt.” I thought that was both sweet and funny.

Last but not least, one of my friends has the last name Yakovich, and we really, really like her. So one day in the car, we were talking about her family and what nice people they are. And Britt said, “I kind of hate to say their last name, though, don’t you?” I didn’t follow his train of thought, and so I said, “No, why?” And Britt said, “You know, Yak-o-blank-ich? Isn’t that a cuss word? I can’t believe they have a cuss word in their name!” I laughed and explained that is wasn’t the b-word, but rather a v-word. When I shared the story with my friend, she said it happens all the time – how come I never thought about it that way before? Anyway, it gave me a smile to hear Britt’s concern…

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Trying To See The Future

This past summer, I did something a little out of the ordinary. And actually, it turned out to be something extraordinary for me. The reason I did it was for fun, and also because I’d always wanted to do it. But until this particular summer day, I had never had the courage. Or maybe the opportunity never arose for me. Who knows? Probably the psychic I saw…

Yes! I admit it! I saw a psychic, and it was an experience I will never forget! And it opened my mind up to a whole new realm of thinking.

I know, I know! I’m a Catholic, and I shouldn’t be doing things like that. Before you judge me, let me tell you how it all unfolded…

So it happened at a rodeo, one that had a fair with it. And there were actually two psychics at this venue - they were set up right across from one another. They each had their own booth with their own paraphernalia displayed. The one I ended up going to also happened to be sitting right next to the toy booth. I was waiting for Brady and Britt to get done looking at the toy guns – Brailey wasn’t with me, because she was spending the day with her teacher, who lives near the town we were in. So anyway, the psychic saw me looking at her booth, and she invited me to come in for a reading. I said, “No, I can’t. I’m Catholic.” And she said, “So am I.” I have to say, this did take me by surprise. So then I got honest, and I said, “Well, I’m too scared.” And she said, “No, no, no – there’s nothing to be scared of. You have really good energy around you, a LOT of positive energy, and I see good things happening for you.” This, of course, intrigued me. She went on to say that my husband did as well. She said, “The two of you really have a lot of energy, but it’s all positive, so don’t worry.” I told her I would think about it.

I did think about it. Brady encouraged me to do it, and I figured, why not? It was something I’d always wanted to do, and it would be fun. So later on, when I had Brailey back with me, she and I went to the psychic, and the psychic did a reading for me. Britt stayed with Brady, so it was just Brailey and I. And it was way cool!

I won’t go into all the details of what she said, but I will share a couple of things with you. One of the first things she talked about was Brady - she told me he is my soul mate. This made me feel good, because I have always said and felt this about him. We just celebrated our ten year anniversary  – albeit our celebration was at Britt’s end-of-year football party, but still, we made it! We’ve been together for eleven years, now, married for ten.

The other thing she talked about was my career. She said, “Hmmmm, what is going on with your career? You’re very unhappy with your work right now… But that’s changing. You’re going to be doing something new that’s in the same line of work, but different, and you’re going to be very happy with it.” Well, guess what? I was unhappy with my work, and my job has changed in the past month, and things are going great! It is, like she said it would be, the same, but different! And I am feeling much happier with my new work life.

There were other amazing things she told me, which are too personal to share, and I try to keep what she said in perspective, because, after all, I am a Catholic girl. I have to say, though, it was a wonderful experience for me, and sometimes I think about doing it again. And I do feel like my mind is much more open to the spiritual world. So, who knows if I'll ever do it again or what the future holds? Besides God and Jesus and a few psychics, that is…

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 4 B's Style

It’s been said that I am one who needs a lot of attention… In all reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I try to live my life incognito as much as possible, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that the person who said this is the one who needs a lot of attention. In any case, it is all water under the bridge, right? The reason I am bringing it up again is because I want to point out something I don’t need a lot of attention for – cooking.

I am happy to give the glory of cooking to the ones who truly enjoy doing it. Thankfully, my family doesn’t hold this against me, and we had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner without a bird. Instead? We had pork chops, which Brady barbecued to perfection, and I fixed several side dishes to go with them. It was a perfect feast for The 4 B’s! However, I can see that my kids are getting to the age where they are going to start appreciating a bigger, more traditional feast.

The reason Brady and I decided on pork this year is because we didn’t want to waste a big old turkey on the four of us. We didn’t have any family to share the vittles with this year, and so we decided to save it for a time when we do have people to enjoy it. To be honest, we were thrilled to have a low-key day at home with just our little family. We have been so busy this past summer and fall and we are on the road so often, it is truly a luxury for us to stay at home and chill. On the rare occasion when we are at home, we rarely chill. We are always busy doing something. If I’m being totally honest, we didn’t even spend all day Thanksgiving Day relaxing. But for us? It was as close as we could get. We had planned on going to a movie, today, but Brailey came down with an ear infection, a sore spine and a rash on her tummy and back that look suspiciously like strep throat a couple of days ago, and so she is on antibiotics and has been ordered by her doctor to lay low.

Ironically, we watched a show called Swampsgiving. It showcases the families from Swamp People catching their Thanksgiving meals and then preparing them. Guess what they had? One family ate a wild hog, one family had rabbit and turtle stew with potato salad, one family had two wild turkeys with a million different side dishes, and family one had a rare fish called "gar" and frog legs. So I guess our little deviation from tradition wasn’t such a novel idea after all. What can we say? A feast is a feast, no matter what it is.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fictional Characters I'd Like to Have Lunch With

My friend Kristin turned me on to her sister's blog, (melissablanco.com) and her post about having lunch with a fictional character. I've never thought about his before, so it is requiring some deep on-the-spot thinking... I usually think of celebrities, to be honest, and there are a million famous folks I'd love to have lunch with. Maybe I'll save that for my next post. In the meantime...

Captain Jack Sparrow. And Captain Barbossa, too. I'd love to hear about all their fascinating pirate adventures! I would ply them with lots of rum and good food and draw out every secret I could possibly get. Then I would share their stories with my own pirate, Captain Brittster Man.

Daffy Duck. The new one, that is. I love how self-absorbed he is and how much he has in common with so many people in the world today. Everything he says makes me laugh, so it would be great to have lunch with someone who would keep me in stitches the entire time.

Hannah Montana, A.K.A. Miley Stewart. And her dad, Robbie Ray Stewart. Yah! I still like her! I would love to sit and talk with her about the pressures of being famous and yet incognito and how she picks out all those rockin' outfits. And I would definitely bring my own rock star daughter along for the lunch, too. I love how they were grounded and famous at the same time in the show, and I love their father/daughter relationship. That show made me cry more than once!

Peter from Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes, my most favorite Jodi Picoult book. I've always had a soft spot for the underdog and picked upon kids in the world, and I would let him know he's okay and that life will  get better for him down the road if he just hangs in there a little longer...

Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City, because I love her hair and her sense of fashion and her New York lifestyle, which is so different from my own background. Plus, she's a writer and she MADE IT! I would ask her all about Big and Aiden and try to talk her in to having a kid, because I think the woman needs to be a mother. It would be good for her!

Samantha from Bewitched. I would ask her all about being a good witch and her spells and if one can  become a good witch, and if not if she could help me cast some spells...

Now it's your turn - what fictional characters would you like to have lunch with?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Facebook Reactivated

Well, I did it. I'm "back on!" Facebook, that is... Can you believe it? I didn't see this day coming until my kids got their own accounts -  in the way-far-far-FAR distant future (damn sure after they are 13 - more like 15 or 16, if I can help it). Alas! Here I am, back in the land of Facebook!

Man, it has gone through some changes since I was last on! All good changes, though. It took me a good six months to actually come to terms with the idea of getting back on Facebook. What really helped my decision was having to be on Facebook for my job, which was, believe it or not, a big step for me. I was surprised with how little I cared - I didn't jump back into my unhealthy habits of looking for this and that and the other. Believe it or not, I didn't even care! And so far, I still don't. And THAT, my friends, is how I know I'm in a much healthier place today than I was before. So YAY ME!

You might be wondering why I make such a big deal out of Facebook and what all the drama and fuss is about... While I can't go into the details, I can tell you that when I look back on the situation, it is clear to me that I was bullied. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - Facebook can be used as a weapon. And this is what happened to me. I'm not trying to play the victim or to feel sorry for myself - those days are over. However, what happened to me was devastating at the time, and there are still repercussions today from the whole mess. Most importantly, though, I learned a big lesson, and it helped me grow, so believe it or not, I'm actually grateful for the entire experience. I'm a better person today because of it.

I can see how kids all over the world are killing themselves over the bullying they are forced to endure on Facebook and through social media in general - I wasn't to that point, myself, but it was absolutely devastating to be treated with such malice. My biggest fear today is for my children, and if I could keep them off the Internet and Facebook and cell phones forever, I would... It is far too easy for people to use social media as a weapon, and as a mother, of course I never want that to happen to my little B's.

In any case, I'm grateful to everyone who has "friended" me, and I'm excited to learn that I don't feel the same way I did. Which means I've grown! And that means I'm healthier! And that means I'm making progress. So YAY ME again! And HELLO, FACEBOOK WORLD - it's good to see you again.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Aut-zen Stad-i-um! Aut-zen Stad-i-um! (Written In Chant)

Oh yes! Saturday found us at the world famous (one of Brady's favorite phrases) Autzen Stadium, bright and early in the morning! 6:50 AM bright and early, as a matter of fact. But guess what? The weather was perfect - it wasn't unbearably cold and it didn't rain. What more could we ask for? The boys had a great time playing their final game, and they were thrilled with the Pop Warner Football medals they received afterwards. And the parents were thrilled to hear their boy's names called on the loudspeaker as they ran from the tunnel onto the field. It was super  cool!
Hanging outside the gates before the game.
Look at my Mama's Boy, smiling at his mother with her camera...
 Their coach said, "Goofy Smile!" Our boys were the CUTEST, of course! (Hey - my blog, remember?)
Brady got to be part of the "Chain Gang," and so he was down on the field with Britt. As you can see, he took his job very seriously. So cute!
 After the game with their medals. So proud!
 Little Mama and her superstar Mama's Boy!
 Big Mama and her sweet Mama's Boy!
Head Coach Jeremy with the two Mama's Boys, who were, by the way, the absolute BEST LISTENERS on the team. OH yah!

 Final poses from Brittster Man.

 And NOW, we are on to VOLLEYBALL! YAY BRAILEY SHAYE! She has been pretty darn sick, and she was still puny on this day, but she rallied and made it through her two games in the afternoon. This after getting up BEFORE the crack of dawn to attend her brother's game at Autzen. She only had one practice going into these games, but by the end of the second game, she had her "bump on." She did great!

Britt with his teammate Isaac, who is also the brother of one of Brailey's teammates. They were thrilled with themselves!
And this is Britt's Yosemite Sam turkey we decorated for his class project. What do you think? Does it look like "Sippity Sam" to you?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veteran's Day 11.11.11

Words cannot even begin to express the amount of gratitude I feel for our Veteran's... My dad served in Vietnam, and it is only recently that he has felt comfortable enough to tell us some of the stories from his time spent in the hell of his station there. He is the only surviving member of his platoon - his supervisor noticed my dad was sitting down a lot on one of his watches, and knowing that my dad never sat down and was always on the move, the Sergeant or Major or whatever he was had my dad checked out by the medics. Turns out he had malaria, and consequently he was sent home. That same day, his entire platoon was killed, including that wonderful boss that had noticed my dad was ill. Yes, all of them. And my dad would have been killed right along with them, had he not come down with malaria and had he not had that guardian angel watching over him. Thanks to that man, I'm here today, along with my own babies.

I know my dad is haunted by what he went through in Vietnam. I can't even imagine the horror of what he saw and lived through. Yet my dad is a rare success - it is a miracle he isn't an alcoholic or drug addict, which is sadly what happens to so many of our Veterans as they try to hide from that emotional pain. My dad could have easily fallen into those traps of despair, but thankfully, he didn't. He's been married for over 40 years to the same woman (my beloved mother, of course), he provided and raised for his family (two kids, me being the oldest), and he was able to push all those memories out of his head and live his life as a cattle rancher. What my dad did do was become a workaholic, which he still is today. So really, he succumbed to the same disease, but a different "drug of choice." For my dad, work is his comfort.

And now, my dad has prostate cancer. We found out about three weeks ago. Thankfully, they caught it early, and his chances of recovery and survival are really good. As far as cancers go, prostate cancer is apparently one of the better ones to have, whatever that means... He is like all the Vietnam Veterans who were exposed to that awful Agent Orange. I guess almost every single Vietnam Veteran has some form of cancer from this awful chemical. And I've heard all our Desert Storm troops are dealing with the same thing, because Saddam Hussein sprayed them with the same chemical. What a horrible act of evil...!

In any case, I am so proud of my dad for what he's done with his life, for what he's been through and for how he's survived. He's always been the underdog, and he's always done his best. Thanks to him, I have a college degree - he took an enormous amount of pride in paying for every cent of my higher education. So I dedicate this blog post to my dad, who has always been there for me and who is the greatest example of a survivor I know. He likes to make fun of himself and say he was always "the angel of the family." Yes, he was a classic middle child and more rowdy than he perhaps should have been. Truth be told, though, he was an angel to countless Americans, and to his family, as well. My dad and every single Veteran is an angel, and I hope they can somehow find the appreciation they so deserve for everything they've done for America, the greatest nation on God's green earth.

Happy Veteran's Day, 11.11.11, Dad. Thanks for everything you've done for me and for our great nation. I love you.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sheldon Eagles Mitey Mite Bowl Game 2011

I asked the boys to give me a "mean" look, and this is what they gave me...
Then I asked them to put their helmets together, thinking I would get a nice cheek-to-cheek shot, and THIS is what they gave me...
The entire team got to run through this awesome sign the coach's wife made and bust it wide open - great fun!
Little Mama with her girlies...
 Big Daddy with his girlies (minus me, since I took the picture)...
 Coach Dad and Coach Uncle Brian with his boys...
The two nicest Mitey Mite boys on the team...
And my handsome boy, trying to smile through the pain. I didn't realize he had been injured in the last play of the game... He has a huge goose-egg and missing skin from his shin bone. He tried so hard not to cry (unlike some of the other boys on this team who were total crybabies all season long!). I let him take a nice, hot bath with Epsom salt when we got home, and that seemed to take most of the soreness right out. They didn't win their game, but they still got these super cool medals, and now Britt is ready for another season - just so he can earn another medal! It was an early morning game, but we totally lucked out on the weather and didn't even get so much as a drop of rain on our heads. Next weekend? We head to the famous Autzen Stadium for our last game! And guess what else starts this week? Volleyball!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Big Barn Sale Details

{Big Barn Sale{

Saturday – December 3rd



Featuring TONS of AFFORDABLE MERCHANDISE, including…

    {New and Used Tack – Clothes – Boots – Plants  Blankets – Jewelry - Knitted Scarves/Hats/Glovies

Western Home Décor – Christmas – And much, much more!

    {Pet and/or brush a live horse!

    {The first 50 people get an autographed picture of Oregon’s very own PBR superstar, Cody Ford!

    {Enjoy a nice cup of FREE coffee and a treat while you shop for Christmas gifts or splurge on yourself!

    {Don’t miss out – there will definitely be something fun for everyone. This is a BIG, FUN, COOL SALE!
 


[LOCATED 4 MILES NORTH OF THE TOWN OF COBURG

OFF NORTH COBURG ROAD]
 

¾Time: 8:00AM – 4:00 PM º

Date: Saturday, December 3rd - The First Saturday in December

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NOT "The Best Halloween Ever" Like Last Year, But Good Enough

No, it wasn't the best Halloween ever, like last year, but it was still okay. We've just been too busy, this year, and it seems like the more we try to slow things down, the faster they go! We were late with everything this year, from getting our costumes to carving our pumpkins to getting out the door to trick-or-treat. And sadly, Britt came down with a fever and chills an hour before we left for trick-or-treating. But we persevered, and we still had a great time going to the different houses (one man lost his hand - he said "they cut it off!" and another funny guy offered them carrots OR candy - can you guess what they chose?). The weather was perfect, so that was a major plus, and we got some really delicious candy, so even though it wasn't the "best" Halloween, it was more than adequate.
These are the little puggly-wugglies... My mom's pug, Bucky, is in the pumpkin costume, and our pug, Rosin, is the Bee. They weren't too impressed, but we got a big charge out of dressing them up!
My parents came down for the weekend, just to watch Britt play football. It rained on us, but it was such a light, misty rain, it wasn't cold. We went out for hot fudge sundaes afterwards - Papa's reward to Britt for making tackles!


The Mad Hatter... (with her pumpkin)
The Joker... (with his pumpkin)
The Cutest Kids on the Block!
They always come trick-or-treating to my house, first. Brady takes them from the back door to the front, and they ring the doorbell. Our Halloween tradition!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Creepy Crawlies - Ewwww!

This has been the month for creepy creatures I DO NOT LIKE, that's for sure! Is that because it is October, or what? So strange and weird... But!

First off, our friend James brought down off of our hill a HUGE lizard he found. He thought Britt would get a kick out of it, and since it was a cold day, the scaly little creature was not moving too fast, James said. I didn't give Britt the opportunity to relish such a disgusting bit of nature, though. NO WAY! I screamed, of course, upon seeing the thing, and after both B's were able to get a good look at it, James took it away for me. GROSS!

Secondly, about a week after the lizard incident, we came out of an Applebee's restaurant where we had stopped for lunch. I think we were in Corvallis... Anyway, guess what was laying at the end of our pickup on the pavement? A SNAKE! And Brady, being crazy like he is, actually tried to TOUCH him, and the snake quickly coiled up and hissed at us which caused Brailey to start screaming and nearly crying in fear. I was pretty much in the same state as her, and Britt was watching the snake with a little boy's cautious curiosity. The kids and I could not BELIEVE Brady did that! It was strange to see a snake on a colder day, so late in the season, but alas, there he was. I'm not really sure if he was a bull snake, a rattlesnake or some other kind - I didn't get close enough to really see... (If you know me at all, then you know I am TERRIFIED of snakes!)

And last but not least, we have the visiting frog. We seem to have a lot of frogs around our house, and sometimes they even wake Britt up with their loud croaking. I thought they would leave once we got the grass in, but they are still around. So, this past Monday night, I had Brady bring in my two beautiful geranium plants. They were quite heavy, because they're in some bigger pots, so it was a bit of a strain on his back. One of my friends told me to bring them in before it freezes, though, in order to save them for next year, and so I did. Well. BAD DECISION. First of all, I awoke at 3 that morning, because one of our fire alarms started beeping once very minute. Dead battery. Grrrrrrrrrrr... So as I was out in the kitchen, rummaging around for a new battery, guess what I hear? A very, very, very loud croak. YIKES! There was obviously a frog in the damn geraniums! So I had to wake Brady up to move the aforementioned "quite heavy" geraniums back outside, freezing temps or not. This didn't go over too well, but Brady did accommodate my request. Whew! Frog problem solved. Except this morning, as I was rounding the corner with my coffee, which I promptly spilled, what do you think I ran in to? Yup! The frog! I quickly captured him with a bowl for Brady to take outside. Except the rotten little turd escaped! And there he was, right as I turned to put something into the garbage. And THIS time, I wasn't able to capture him. And so NOW, we have a live frog, somewhere in our house. EWWWWWWWWWWWWW! Is that disgusting or WHAT?!

But it does go right along with the creepy crawly theme, and it is almost Halloween, so what can we say? Creepies happen. And in the meantime, I'm looking everywhere I go for that damn frog to appear. I may be tougher than nails when it comes to emotion issues, but when it comes to creepy crawlies, I'm the biggest sissy-baby you've ever seen. Lord help me! PLEASE!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Playing - Catch-up, Football and The Magic Bracelet

So if you've been wondering where I've BEEN the past couple of weeks (all three readers that I have - ha!), let me tell you... My computer completely DIED. And you cannot even begin to imagine the havoc a dead computer can wreak on your life. I wasn't able to email, I wasn't able to blog, I wasn't able to work and I wasn't even able to determine how much money we had in the bank! It was traumatic, I'm telling you! TRAUMATIC. So last week, I bought a new laptop, and I've been getting reconnected and updated and trying to get used to a new system for the past week, waiting for my files to be restored. In other words, playing catch up! And in the midst of all this hoopla, I'm getting ready for the Big Barn Sale, which you may have read about a couple of days ago. I've been building my inventory, and I think this is going to be the most spectacular sale in the history of barn sales, but it all takes time and energy and effort, and I finally had to just step back and let a couple of things ago. Like attending Britt's football practice... I went for one night last week, but I stayed home with Brailey the other two nights in an attempt to get caught up. It helped! But I did feel guilty - I hate to ever let my Mama's Boy down, you know... In any case, life goes on, and changes are inevitable, and even though I find change hard, I'm doing my best to keep up and adapt.
In other news, Britt was chosen as the MVP last week after his football game. This meant a LOT to him, and he was super proud. And we were all proud of him, of course! He works so hard in practice, and in fact, at one of the ones I missed last week, he was the only kid to run the proper route during their warm up time, and so all the other players had to follow him around for another lap. I told him I was so proud of him for being a true leader, because that's what leaders do - they do the right thing even when everyone else is doing the wrong thing. So he's been playing hard at playing football, and we've been enjoying the growth we see in him, as a person and as a player.
And since I have this "playing" theme going on, here is a picture I took of Kimmy and all her little girlies one night at football practice. This was the last nice day of weather we had, and so we brought along our friend Hope to play with Kimmy's Little Girly, and near the end of practice, they all circled around Kim and she came up with a Magic Bracelet game they all enjoyed. Every single girl loved it, no matter what their age - they each chose a special bead to put on the bracelet, and when it was done, we each tried it on, and it magically made every single one of us smile! Magical, I tell you, magical... It it always magical to watch Kim with kids, because she has such a way with them and they love her so much. Special times! Every day holds something new, that's for sure, and even though I feel like I'm behind, I'm going to work harder at playing. Because let's face it - I'm never going to be caught up!

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Lawn, Finished Product

This is the "Coupe de Grace" of our summer flowers... The only place the deer couldn't get to! Brady and I planted this little jewel together and unbelievably, it made it through all our summer rodeo trips. Many times I thought it dead, but water magically brought it back to life, and now look at it! And after nurturing and watering and weed and feeding all summer long, our lawn also turned out to be beautiful, and we are ever so grateful for our glorious green grass and delightfully proud of how wonderful it turned out. Never under estimate the power of a yard - it is the heart and soul of the exterior of a place, right underneath the people who enjoy it's glory. Blessed be the lawns of the world!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Big Barn Sale!

Yes, I'm having a major, huge, awesomely-cool, fabulous, wonderful, totally exciting Barn Sale in December! I'm calling it my Big Barn Sale. And it is taking up all my time...! My computer died a couple of weeks ago, also, and I just got my new one going. My new one isn't as fancy as my last one, but it will hopefully get me by until I get another nice one, right? Hence, the reason for my blogging absence. So that's that, but, BACK TO THE SALE!

I'm very excited to announce my new obsession. It is going to be held right here at our place on December 3rd, the first weekend in December. I CAN'T WAIT! I'm going to give away free pictures signed by Cody Ford, have free coffee and treats for people to enjoy, Brady is going to start a nice fire for everyone to enjoy and the kids are going to assist people with petting or brushing a couple of our prize horses. And there is going to be more merchandise than you can even begin to comprehend! Did I mention this sale is going to be fabulous? It really is!

So please feel free to tell one and all about it - SPREAD THE WORD (and my blog, while your at it, how about?)! It will be from 8-4 on the 3rd of December, and there is going to be new and used tack, boots, clothes, plants, blankets, jewelry, knitted scarves/hats/glovies, western home decor and a whole lot more! Can you imagine?! Isn't it exciting? Yes, for me it is. If you know me at all, then you know how much I love to plan events, and this is going to be my biggest one yet. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

4, 56

Last Sunday's Mitey Mite football game was a tough one... We played Marist, and those Catholic boys were tough and onery! And also all third graders. Our team, on the other hand is almost entirely second graders. (If I sound like I'm making excuses, OF COURSE I AM! Isn't that what mothers do?) Anyway, our boys, Brittster Man and Griffy Boy, did just fine. They never left each other's side almost the entire game - every time Kim and I looked over, there they were, together, which was actually a delight for Kim and I to watch. I'm sure no one else even noticed, but she and I were thrilled to see the comfort they get from one another's presence, on and off the field. And then I started thinking about their numbers, and how even though they are different, they go right in a row! 4-5-6... How cool is that? Super cool, if you ask me! Anyway, it was adorable and I thought it was a fun way to share some Pop Warner football pictures. Enjoy!
 With Brian, Griffin's dad, who is one of the coaches (he is one awesome coach, too! Coach Dad and Coach Uncle Brian...).
 Before the game, they were chosen to be Team Captains.


Working the line together, side by side...

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...