Monday, March 28, 2011

Another Spring Break, Come and Gone

Once again, time has passed me by... Truly, it is as if we were standing still and the week just swooped by in a blur. We didn't do anything too exciting, but for me, spending time with my little B's is always comforting and exciting. We worked on a special craft for a couple of days that Brailey found in this super cool library book she brought home - birthday presents for Grandma! We met our beloved Lamberts at Skate World one afternoon, which is always fun. On Friday I took them to see the new Diary of A Wimpy Kid movie, which is hilarious! (I ended up watching the first Diary movie last Sunday with them, because it just happened to be on, and if you haven't seen these movies, which are based on a series of kid books, I highly recommend that you do. They are super funny!)

We also managed to get some work done that's been needing to be done for quite some time, now. We worked in the yard (okay, the very small part that is actually considered a yard) one morning, pulling weeds, raking leaves and moving dirt. We picked up broken branches out in the horse pasture on another day. And we got their play area in the shop all organized and cleaned and cleared out. We are planning on holding a yard sale in May, and I was so proud of the B's for getting rid of a bunch of their "stuff." They worked so hard on every single task! I didn't realize how much they have matured over the past few months. I mean! They did real work, without complaining, and went and about it happily. I was so thrilled with them! And Brady was shocked when he saw all that we had done - he was very impressed. And actually, it inspired him to organize and clean some of his stuff. How cool is that? If you know me, then you know how truly happy it makes me when things are in order...

And now, after having the B's to myself for a week, I have to give them back. Again... Just when we have our hearts knitted back nice and tight, just how I like them, off they go to school. But not until tomorrow, thank the good Lord. I am so happy to have this extra day with them! One last day for them to sleep in and hang out in their pajamas and maybe even watch a little PBS Kids... One last day for me to cherish their presence with me and to observe their interaction with each other. One last day to listen to them play. Until summer comes around... And the reality of it is, summer vacation will be here before we even blink, because that's how time goes. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

True Texas Comes to Oregon

Can you guess where we are and who we're with? Uncle Frank, Brady's brother-in-law (his older sister's husband), flew all the way from Weatherford, Texas to judge a horse show in Eugene. We were so thrilled to see him! He had only seen Brailey once, when she was a year old and the flower girl in his oldest daughter's wedding, and it was his first time meeting Britt. Needless to say, we had a big time with him! It was only a short time that we were able to see him, but we enjoyed every single second.

Have you figured out where we were, yet? Did the pictures provide enough clues for you? Amazingly, Brady got us into Autzen Stadium, the famous field of the Oregon Ducks. It was so cool! Of course Frank said it was because of him being from Texas and all, since Brady did say, "He's from Texas." I think it was just one of those magical moments. The sun was even out! We had the entire stadium to ourselves, and the kids were in heaven. Britt was running all over the field, pretending to play football, and then he just couldn't help himself and tackled Brailey. Brailey ran to the center of the field, directly in the middle of the big "O," and danced herself silly. Honestly, I don't know who was more impressed - Uncle Frank or The 4 B's... It was awesome!
We stopped by the horse show for just a second to see Uncle Frank, and here he is in his judging seat, doing his "thing." We hope he gets to come back to judge it next year, and somehow we will get Aunt Cindy and Gramma Diggy up here, too, and it will be a mini family vacay/reunion! Truly, it was so much fun to be around Frank, because he is "our kind of people." He is family-oriented and funny and so easy to be around. Brady keeps telling me we we are going to move to Texas, someday, and after spending time with Frank, I can see that it would work... So who knows? Only time will tell. In the meantime, we enjoyed having Texas come to us. And he's not one of those phony-baloney Texans that just moved there and tries to have an accent - he was born there! And he doesn't even have an accent - so how about that?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Karate Kids

I can't believe I'm going to disclose this, but not disclosing it is giving power to someone and something that doesn't deserve power (over me, that is), so I'm going to let the cat out of the bag...

All of a sudden, out of the blue, and against my initial reservations, The 4 B's are all about karate. Yes, KARATE! I've personally never been a fan of it, but something really cool happened back in February, and now I love karate and everything it stands for.

So do you want to know what happened back in February? Well, my bestie, Little Mama, told me about a karate class they were having at Coburg Elementary every Monday afternoon, and the fee for the class was dirt cheap. And so I immediately signed Britt up, and now he and his cousin Griffin (Little Mama's son) are in the class together. They absolutely LOVE that class! They look so cute with their little "white belts" on...! This is the first sport, other than football, that I've really seen Britt take an interest in. When we ask him to show us a karate move, he lights up like a shining star (which he is, you know).

One day after school, this week, he was showing Brailey some karate moves. He was was her "sensei," which means "teacher." The reason he was teaching her his "moves" is because she is writing a script for a movie or a play, based on the Karate Kid movies. Because she has cast herself as the Karate Kid, she needed some guidance in how to portray the character correctly. Britt was thrilled to lend his expertise, and I was amazed to hear and see all that he has learned. My son is a good student! And he is also a good teacher - not only did he show her how to do the moves, he praised her when she did them correctly and gently corrected her when she did them wrong. I wish I would have filmed the entire thing, because it was one of those precious afternoons full of sibling magic.

Since I'm making deep confessions, here, I'll share one more. A few Saturdays ago we did something we've never done before. We watched all three Karate Kid movies in a row! They were on HBO, which we have for free, right now, and we were so taken with the first one, and then the second, that we had to watch the third. And after the third one was over, we went to mass, and then we went to our favorite Chinese restaurant for dinner, and then we rented the NEW Karate Kid with Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, and we watched it when we got home. Yes, FOUR Karate Kid movies, in chronological order, all in one day! And actually, we were able to catch The New Karate Kid movie a couple of weekends later (the one with the girl), so we've seen all of them! I am so in love with "Mr. Miyagi..." It breaks my heart that he died so young - he was only 73. Us B's have never done anything like this before - Brady and I have a hard time "taking it easy." But it was really fun for all four of us, and we learned so much about life and the heart and soul of karate.

The reason I haven't ever been pro-karate is because Brady's ex-wife is into it. When I first met Brady, she was a karate instructor. So, for all the reasons you can imagine and probably even more, I didn't really want my family to be "into" karate. That was before I realized how amazing and wonderful it is, though, and the fact of the matter is, Brady's ex-wife doesn't "own" karate. And with that, I think it is safe to say I have let go of that ridiculous notion, and now us B's are benefiting because of it.

All this being said, we are really, really, really lucky they are having this class at Coburg Elementary at such an amazing price. If it weren't for that, I doubt if we would have taken that leap of faith into the sport. I told Britt he needs to tell his Aunti Kim "thank you" every time he sees her for letting us know about the class. If it weren't for her, we would still be clueless about this wonderful sport, and we wouldn't have experienced that special Saturday full of Karate Kid movies.

I'll let you know how Brailey's "movie script" turns out, and when Britt gets his karate uniform, you know I will post a picture of him in it. For the record, he told me the other night he knows what he wants to be when he grows up, now. "A Karate Teacher!" Brady told him he can use our shop for his dojo...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sucked Back Into It

No, not Facebook! Is that what you were thinking when you saw the title? (Or did you even read the title?)

Either way, I haven't watched "it" for a while, now. I think the last year was when Chris Daughtry was on - his surprise elimination did me in for a while. Thank goodness he made it big, anyway! His elimination and the fact that the show airs way past my bedtime disillusioned me for a few years (think I don't hold grudges or have resentments? Ha!). Do you know what show I am talking about?

American Idol, of course!

For some reason, I started watching it here and there over the past few weeks, and last night I found myself watching a full episode, and now, to my surprise, I'm back into it! Usually, there is at least one singer in the Top 12 that I cannot stand. But this year, I think they are all good! Holy moly! I wonder why this is? Is it because of the new judges? I love the new judges, by the way. I didn't think the show would last without Simon Cowell, but I must have thought wrong, because so far, it is just as good without Simon as it was with him. And I heard him say in an interview the other day he felt this season is a better show than last season, so how about that?

I remember when Constantine was on there, years ago, my mom and I would discuss the show in great detail. We were fanatical! It nearly broke me when Constantine was voted off - I thought he would win the whole thing. I had to force myself to keep watching the rest of that season, but it was so close to the end, I had to... And then when the same thing happened to Chris Daughtry, it really jaded me. I've heard people say they think the producers of the show rig the voting and those big surprises are set up. I don't know if that is true or not, but I have to say it is a wonderful surprise for me to be back into the spirit of the show. And the biggest surprise of all is that I don't have a favorite. I like them all!

And, I even love the judges. Three is the perfect number, and I think they are spot on! I've always been a big Jennifer Lopez fan. She is gorgeous and sweet and fun and downright divaliscious. I've always been a big Aerosmith/Steven Tyler fan, too, and his infectious personality is as entertaining as Simon's remarks were on previous seasons. And Randy? Well, he's never been my favorite judge, but I feel like he's doing a better job, this year. I think the other two judges helped him rise to the occasion.

Have you watched this season? Do you have a favorite? Best season of singers ever? Best judges? Is anybody with me?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ash Wednesday Ashes

Here they are, ready for bed after the evening Ash Wednesday mass, with ashes on their foreheads, which lasted the entire next day! Britt showcased his during his "sharing" time at school. Brailey's was fairly light, so she was disappointed that nobody from her class noticed. I was proud of both of them for being proud to "wear" their crosses. They both wanted to keep them on as long as possible, because that is what Father Steve challenged everyone to do at mass. And now we are off and running for another season of Lent!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Jodi Picoult Meets Her Biggest Fans!

Here we are! After waiting for over a year, Little Mama and I got to meet our favorite author, the amazing Jodi Picoult! (See previous post Hooked on Picoult for more on this subject.) After a busy Saturday morning, the two of us hit the road in Blackberry (Kimmy's new car) and drove to Portland. The picture above is right after we got there on 12th Street in Portland.
This is the organ inside the church where the event was held - I've never seen an organ this big in my life! Isn't it amazing?! It was beautiful...
And here we are! Her two biggest fans, anxiously awaiting her arrival! We have been planning this since last year when I asked Jodi via Twitter when she would be in Oregon, and she tweeted me back (which was SO COOL!) and said in March 2011. Kim and I knew we had to go - we have read every single one of her books, and we still talk about the characters as if they are REAL PEOPLE - that's how they feel to us. It has been so much fun for us to talk about all the different things that happen in the books and to learn about new things, like humpback whales, a bone disease, bullying, heart transplants, Asperberger's and autism and even more! The two of us have truly bonded over these books, and it was a real thrill to see her in person and to hear her speak.
I wish I would have gotten a better picture, but I was afraid it was rude and distracting, so I only ended up with this one, but HERE SHE IS! She's just a tiny little thing, and so funny and delightful to listen to. She is brilliant! Listening to her was such a treat - I could have listened to her for hours on end. God blessed her with her writing and speaking abilities, and she is using those talents well.  
Little Mama and Jodi
The resolution was not good, so I had to leave these pictures small... But look how happy my twin is!
The lady in the red and white stripes is one of Jodi's best friends, and she is on tour with Jodi because she is part of her new book, Sing You Home. There is a cd in this book, and Jodi's friend, who is a music teacher, is the singer and composer of the melodies on the cd - Jodi wrote the lyrics and her friend put them to music. How cool is that?! We got to hear her perform three of the songs, and she has a beautiful voice, so it was wonderful to experience live. What a treat!
And here am I, with the beautiful Jodi. Kim and I had meeting her envisioned a little differently in our heads. We both thought we would tell her how much we adore her and that we are her biggest fans and how we wanted to bring all of our books for her to sign but only brought our two most favorite (Nineteen Minutes and Harvesting the Heart), but the signing part was kind of rushed, because there were so many people there to see her, and we didn't get so say as much as we wanted. We had wanted her to sign both of the books to both of us, but she only personalizes the new ones, which we didn't buy, because we don't like hardback copies. Still, I think she knew how happy we were to see her and that we truly are her biggest fans, and I bet you we were the only ones who drove two hours to see her. We had the absolute best time ever, and I hope she comes to Oregon on her next book tour, also, because Little Mama and Big Mama will SO BE THERE! 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Lesson In Appreciation

Well, I had another "great" realization, last night... I need to appreciate my babies more! I thought I was the "mother of all appreciation" when it came to that, but I had a wave of epiphany hit me, and I realize I am getting to be one of those other parents that I always judge...

Which is actually how it all started. Me being judged, that is. Us 4 B's were in our chiropractor's office a few days ago. We signed in, sat down to wait our turn, and I started to read the magazine on the coffee table in front of me (even though I worried about the germs as I picked it up). So one of the B's wanted to sit on my lap, and I said, "No honey, I'm reading." So they promptly went to Brady, who was also reading, but he put his material down and let the B sit on his lap. There was an older lady sitting next to me, and she said, "That's right. Take it while you can get it. They won't be doing that for long." Ouch! Her criticism definitely stung my pride. But only for a second, and then I thought, "She's right! Why did I do that?"

And so that brings us to my great epiphany, which occurred while I was reading in bed last night, whereupon I read about a lady whose son died from a tragic accident when he was twelve... Which made me think about my crankiness with my B's earlier in the evening... Which made me want to run into their rooms and hold them and hug them and kiss them and never let go!

I've already felt irritation this morning, and we haven't even left for school. So I stopped myself and those negative thoughts, and I made myself remember how fleeting their childhoods are and how lucky I am to be their mother. Because they are the most beautiful children I could have ever ask for, and because I am truly grateful to have them in my life, and because we don't know what this life will hold for us. And with that, I say a prayer to God to keep my babies safe.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Watching PBS Kids

This is what I found, one afternoon after school on a rainy day, and I thought it was so adorable, I captured it on film to remember forever and ever and ever... See what good buddies they are? The two B's and all their "friends," enjoying a little t.v. time.

We discovered a new television station this winter, which is a pretty big deal, because I don't let my little B's have very much screen time at all. But since coming across the Eugene PBS Kids station, I have realized we can all be happy with their shows. And the best part is, they are educational! My B's actually learn about reading and science and animals and biographies and all sorts of awesome stuff. We're hooked! My personal favorite is Word Girl, because I like her song... "Word up, it's Word Girl!" And I also love The Electric Company. And The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot... And Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman is so fun - both B's want to be on that show, one day. Actually, truth be told, I like all of the shows!

So anyway, every now and then, I let them sit and watch the shows and I don't feel guilty, because I know they are learning something fun. A win-win situation all around, don't you think?

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Couple of Cuties

Oh the choices! Brailey has taken to having her nails done, ever since she stayed with her Aunti Kim. Kimmy totally pampered her with a manicure and a pedicure. So NOW, we have to keep up on those nails. But it is OH-SO-HARD to choose from all the colors...! And I'm wondering, how in the WORLD did we ever end up with so many bottles of nail polish?
Last Wednesday, Britt's class celebrated the 100th day of school,which just happened to fall on Dr. Seuss' birthday. So of COURSE I had to get a picture of him in his fancy hat and glasses, which he made at school in celebration of the occasions. I love his artwork on the glasses - very creative for a first grade boy, don't you think?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Snow Much Fun!

Last week we had a "snow day" at home, where they cancelled school due to the snow and ice. Ironically, it turned out to be a beautiful day, with the sun even making an appearance in the afternoon. But that night, it snowed at our house even more, and we just knew there wouldn't be school again... But there was! Because guess what? There was no snow in town! The snow stopped at the McKenzie River, and it was colder than you-know-what, but there wasn't a flake of snow to be found anywhere in Eugene. Which is obviously why they didn't cancel school... The B's went out and tromped around in the snow we had at our house before they left for school, but it was so cold they froze in just minutes. And sadly, even though it was a super cold day, by the time we got home, all the snow was gone. Snow much for the snow in Coburg - it was short-lived, but oh-so-appreciated while it was here!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Secrets of Life

These are the "secrets" I have been sharing with my B's about life. That's what I tell them they are, "the secrets of life." It is probably all way over their heads, but then again, kids are so much smarter than we give them credit for. Hopefully my "great wisdom" will help them to deal with the curve balls life is going to throw at them. One of the benefits of sharing it with them is that it reminds me, which is what I think we all need - constant reminders of healthy, positive thinking. Anyway, I'm sure I'll come up with some more, but here is what I have been telling my little B's about life...

Life isn't fair.
(I tell them to never-ever-ever expect things to be fair, because if you live life that way, you are setting yourself up for constant disappointment. Yes - I speak from experience.)

Life is hard. And it will never be easy.

Turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts.
(This was actually a hard one for me, the first few times I tried it, because I found that I actually LIKED being upset and drama-ridden. But once I got the hang of changing my thought process, which is an ongoing process, it feels so much better!)

Take responsibility for your own actions - don't blame other people.

Always say you're sorry when you hurt someone or do something wrong.
(I am especially trying to emphasize this with Britt, because I don't want him to grow up to be a man that can't say he's sorry or admit when he's wrong.)

Nobody's perfect. And that means everyone!
(We actually sing the Hannah Montana song when we need a reminder that we aren't perfect and it is OKAY TO MAKE MISTAKES. They happen. Nobody's perfect, you live and you learn it...)

Always be respectful. To everyone.

Don't be selfish. You get what you give.

Always do your best.

Never lie - always tell the truth.

Treat people how you want to be treated.

And the latest and greatest secret for my own self, of course, has been to not expect anything from anyone. I'm trying to make this my new mantra (expectations are premeditated resentments) in the hopes it will help me to "work acceptance" into my life, which has always been a battle for me. (And look at me! Back into the spirit of blogging...!)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Time Marches On


Man, I do not know how time could go by any faster than it does. In some ways, I am glad - only two and a half more weeks until I get to have my babies at home with me for Spring Break! And then there are only a few more months until summer vacation. So I guess that's the positive way of looking at the fast passage of time. On the flip side, I just can't wrap my mind around how fast the world spins.

So I decided to keep "blogging" away, for a while. Who cares if nobody reads it? At least is is therapeutic for me, and that is all that really matters, right? And it does sort of document my little B's childhoods. It will also be good practice for me to let go of "expecting" things (like comments) from people, also. Which is a hard habit to break after all these years! But there is also no time like the present to learn healthy thinking.

I think what has been bothering me about the blog is the fact that my family is going through something uber personal that I can't share online for the whole world to see. And that has been a little hard for me, because I usually write about my life. And I like to share, share, share, you know... (The 4 B's are fine, so don't jump to any conclusions, because you could never guess what is going on.)

You know what, though? Maybe this will be a good exercise for my brain. Maybe I need to broaden my comfort zone in writing and dig a little deeper into myself. After all, there truly are no coincidences. So here we go, marching into the whirlwind of time, with spring and lent on the horizon...

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...