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...

Monday, September 26, 2011

NPRA Finals Weekend in Pretty Prineville

We were able to extend our summer fun for a bit longer and spent the weekend in beautiful, beautiful Prineville, Oregon. Brady was fortunate to be voted in as the flagger for the NPRA (Northwest Professional Rodeo Association) Finals, and so we packed up the trailer for one last weekend of rodeo bliss! We left Thursday night after football practice, which made for a 12:30 AM arrival, and after two days of gorgeous sunshine, shopping and socializing, we made it home at 2:00 AM on Sunday morning. It felt great to sleep in our own beds and to relax until it was time to go to Britt's football game. The weather was unbelievable! It was so perfectly warm and sunny all weekend long, and the warmness even lasted into the evening hours. I was able to go without a jacket all night long - can you believe that? I was prepared for chilly, high desert weather in the evenings, but I shouldn't have worried a bit. I am still surprised at just how pleasant it was. Ahhhhhh...! I love the sun so much, and it just felt like heaven on earth! Anyway, here are a few of my favorite shots from Prineville...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Story of the Breaker Who Got Broken

One of the things I love most about my bestie, Little Mama, is her love for children. She and I have very high (and when I say "very high," I mean extremely high) expectations of our own children. We expect them to behave like perfect angels at all times. Okay, maybe that is a bit dramatic, but hopefully you understand the point - we love our babies more than most mothers dream about loving their babies... Again, a bit dramatic, especially considering almost every mother feels this way, but you get the point, right?

Anyway, during our football practices, we've met a little girl who is not only dying for a friend, but for attention and love. Due to the fact there aren't any kids her own age at the practices (she's only 3 or 4), she's really taken to the three "big" girls. At first they were sweet to her, but it quickly became apparent she was more of a nuisance than fun, and they started devising ways to nicely get away from her. This little firecracker is not one to be gotten away from, though - she has latched on the older girls with a vengeance, and it is clear she isn't leaving them to their own devices anytime soon. And so our girls have been doing their best to include her, despite the age gap and her utter lack of tact.

Enter Little Mama into the picture... Due to the fact the little dumpling comes to practice with her dad, she is often unkempt and seems to crave the attention of a mother. And so when she says outrageous things like "There are two bad people here on this blanket," and "I don't want to play with so-and-so," Little Mama lets her know it is inappropriate to say such things. And so of course the Little Girly has taken to Little Mama...

It bothers Little Mama greatly that Little Girly is neglected and lacking in manners and basic etiquette. And so one day, after explaining something to Little Girly about playing nicely, Little Mama said to me, "I'm going to break that girl before this season is over." Meaning, she's going to teach Little Girly how to play and act appropriately around other children.

Well, fast forward to last weekend at our boys' football game, whereupon Little Mama's intentions become emotionally entangled, and the Breaker became the Broken... After running amok for most of the game, completely detached from her mother and father, who were both at the game, Little Girly got "in trouble" with her mom, who promptly took her to her dad, who held her for a few minutes while she screamed and kicked at him as he watched his son play football. Shortly after this occurrence, here comes Little Girly, tears on her face, and plops down beside Little Mama. Of course Little Mama comforted her and asked her what was wrong, and eventually Little Girly said she just wanted to lay down, and so she did, on Little Mama's purse, and more crocodile tears slid down her chubby little cheeks. And that's all it took for Little Mama's heart to break, and now she is smitten with and worried about and well on her way to becoming emotionally attached to Little Girly...

And me, I had to laugh over the entire situation, because I know Little Mama so well, which means I know how much she loves children and what a good mother she is and how deeply she cares about the world in general, even if she doesn't realize it about herself. I laughed not to be mean, but because of the way this little girl snuck her way into Little Mama's world. And even though the two of us say "How could you let your kid run around like this and not know where she is every second? This is how children get stolen!" and "What is wrong with her mother to see her baby girl crying and not even comfort her?" and "Why do people who don't want to take care of their kids have them?" I know Little Girly is going to be better off than she ever has, and she has found an emotional refuge, at least for the time being, in Little Mama. In all of us, really, because we all think she's cute, even if she is a bit annoying to the older girls.

Little Mama's the one she got to, though, and I can't wait to see how the rest of this story plays out as our season progresses. Indeed, the Breaker became the Broken... Hearted, that is.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Importance of Looking "Right"

Okay, I admit it - looks are important to me. I try to always look at least somewhat presentable, and although I told myself I could drop the kiddos off at school this year without doing my hair and makeup and instead show up in my workout clothes, I just can't do it. Even though I see lots of other moms doing it, and even though I want to get my workouts in during the morning. Maybe it is part of my natural resistance to developing a new habit, but mostly I think it is my own sense of vanity. Yes! I even admit that - I'm vain...!

I was still taken by surprise this summer, though, when Britt came home from his football camp one night and told me another kid had made fun of his shorts. I am one of the lucky mothers that is still able to dress her children, and so I was extremely shocked that anyone would dare to belittle my son based on his attire... Really?! Upon further examination of the situation, I learned the kid made fun of Britt because his shorts were too short. What?!

Now personally, I don't like the long, baggy shorts the boys today wear. Frankly, they look like dresses to me! Or capris. But the fact of the matter is, even though he was color coordinated and I thought he looked absolutely perfect, his shorts were a bit on the short side... And because of that kid making fun of Britt, he is now extremely diligent about wearing shorts that are only long enough to be considered fashionable.

Of course it broke my heart that someone would make fun of my child and make him feel inferior, but it's bound to happen again. That's human nature, isn't it? Now me, I do all my criticism behind people's back... At least the kid was brave enough to be up front with Britt about his opinion, right? Still, I find it in very poor taste for a kid to think it is okay to poke fun at another kid, and I wonder about his parents, of course.

Since there was nothing I could do other than dress Britt in length-appropriate shorts, I told him this: "The next time someone makes fun of you for how you're dressed, you just tell them to go talk to your Big Mama, because she's the one who dresses you, and if they'd like to take it up with her, they are more than welcome to." I relish the chance to take on some punk kid who dares to belittle my precious mama's boy...!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Football and Horses

Britt just loves to be with the girls... This is him during one of his water breaks at practice.
During a scrimmage with the other Mitey Mite team.
Brailey and Brady were able to go for another trail ride this weekend. This was my camera zoomed in as far as it would go, hence the fuzziness. But look at that horse flesh - NICE!
And Britt got to go on a little trail ride, too. His first one riding all by himself in the field. He was all "ducked out" for the game.
All ready for the first games of the season - the Pop Warner Football Jamboree!
This is Brady with one of the friends we made last year in Pop Warner, but he's on the other team this year, because there were too many kids. So he's coaching this year. We miss him! AND his beautiful family! Football dads are so funny! Football is serious business, you know...
Brailey and Sydney made up a cheer for the Sheldon Eagles - it was super cute, and I filmed it. This is the end pose...

Britt loves kettle corn more than anything in the world! So he was ecstatic to have this big bag to enjoy (well, not ALL of it, but some) - his reward for all his hard work!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Brailey Shaye's Summer of Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Honest to Pete, you won't find a sweeter girl than my Brailey Shaye-Shaye... She is always such a good little girl and tries to do the right thing, whatever the situation may be. Her spirit was tested this summer, but her happiness and positive attitude prevailed. What could have been a stellar summer was less than spectacular for her, but when we think about it, she still had some good times. We just had to alter things a bit...

For starters, the first week after school was out, she fell and ripped the ligaments in her ankle. This resulted in a trip to the Emergency Room and crutches and a cast, which meant no swimming lessons. It was hard the first day to watch Britt enjoy his swim lessons while she had to sit on the sidelines. But before long, she was taking pictures of him and reading her Boxcar Children books and keeping an eye on her little brother. After her cast came off and she was promoted to a walking boot, she was able to participate in swim lessons for three weeks, and I know I've said it before, but she was truly the happiest kid in the pool! She enjoyed every single second of her time in the water and worked hard to learn how to swim. She wasn't able to climb the rock wall or play in the ocean water or ride her horse with the boot on, and it was hard for her to lug it around all the rodeos and places we went this summer, but she did it all with a smile, even though it wasn't always ideal.

During the last week of her swim lessons, she had to have a baby tooth pulled. She had a molar growing up instead of down, and it was partially attached to her jaw bone, and becoming more attached by the day. As  a kid who has never even had a cavity, she had to experience the needles in her gums for deadening for the first time. The appointment went well, but the codeine made her extremely loopy, and she had to miss another swim lesson - very poor planning on her mother's part. So along we went, and about two days later, she came down with hives and a rash all over her body. Can you guess what the problem was? She is allergic to codeine! Turns out Brady is, as well. Let me tell you - she had bumps and itchies everywhere...

The following week, we found ourselves in the Emergency Room AGAIN. This time, her symptoms mimicked meningitis. She had every single symptom, and she was down like she had never been down before. She just wilted and was sicker than sick instantly, which is not like her. Turns out it wasn't, thank goodness, meningitis. It was tonsillitis! Which she has never in her life had. The unfortunate part of this diagnosis is that she and Britt were going to my parents house for the week for a big camping trip. We had to delay the trip a day, and she wasn't totally healthy, but the antibiotics got her going well enough to go, and she had a wonderful time fishing and picking wildflowers and shooting the BB gun and spending time with her grandparents. Britt came down with a much milder case during this time, but he bounced back super quick and without antibiotics. We think Brailey's immune system must be a bit compromised from the stress of her foot and pulled tooth...

Lo and behold, just when we got her healthy, she came down with a flu bug that was horrendous! Yes, the flu in summer! And during her last week of summer vacation... She was fine one minute, and the next she couldn't hold anything down nor get off the toilet. It was AWFUL! We are blaming the flu bug on the antibiotics killing all her good bugs...

Now, she is in school, still wearing her ankle sleeve, which is supposed to protect her foot from rolling over again as it continues to heal. We've been pouring the Activia down her, trying to get some good bugs in her system. And she is looking happy and healthy, at this point. To be honest, I had to talk myself down from hysteria, a couple of times, because with all her sickness, I started thinking the worst. All the cases are unrelated, even though they are sort of related, so that put my mind at ease. It is horribly frustrating when your kid is sick, though, and I feel so much empathy for parents whose children are truly sick. Put in perspective, Brailey is lucky!

So we started and finished our summer at the ER, and all's well that ends well, right? We still managed to have fun, even if it meant altering our plans a bit. But really, that's what life is all about, isn't it? Learning to roll with the punches. Being flexible and willing to go with the flow. Making the most of a less than ideal situation. Turning lemons into lemonade...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Day of Second and Fourth Grades

A sad day for Big Mama... I don't remember crying last year, but this year, for some reason, I couldn't hold them in. Tears leaked out, much to my chagrin... Brady started laughing at me, and then hugging me. What can we say? I just love my two little B's SO MUCH, and they are such a source of comfort and joy for me, and I can hardly stand to be without them. My kids are so much fun for me to be with and to listen to and just wonderful kids to be around. Truly, I cannot imagine being one those moms that is actually "happy" for school to start and the routines to return. NO WAY! Not me. And frankly, were it not detrimental to their upbringing, I SO would homeschool them... I feel like I am throwing them to wolves, but they have to learn how to deal with all the crazies in the world somehow, right? Oh well! Onward and upward into another year of school. Ready or not, here we go!
 This was last night before Britt's football practice started... The two bestie siblings!

 In front of the brand spanking new school sign!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Summer 2011, Final Chapter

Wow... Another summer come and gone. And this was a wild one! We had planned to have a nice, easy, slow summer, but it ended up being busier than ever. What can we say? Sometimes you just have to roll with it, right? Which is what we did, and although school starts tomorrow and I am sad, I am also telling myself the rest of the year is special, too. Because otherwise, that's only two months out of the year that we're happy, and that isn't acceptable at all! And despite it all, we had a really wonderful summer full of memorable moments. I actually meant to get a Summer 2011, Chapter Three and maybe even Four and Five posted, but things got too busy, and so it all comes down to The Final Chapter...
Britt and Griffin started their Pop Warner Football season a couple of weeks ago... Here they are on the line next to each other - Britt is in the tie-dye, and Griffy is on his right. This was their first scrimmage!

Brailey finally, finally, FINALLY got to go riding with Hope. Her foot is still bothering her, and she's had a whole slew of other obstacles to overcome (I'll post more about her summer later), but she is able to ride, now, and that was a lot of fun for both girls. Hope is only four, but they are great buddies!
On our way in to The Enchanted Forest! We have been trying to make time to go there for over three years, and we finally managed to sneak it into our schedule. We had a BLAST - it was worth every single penny.

Brady and Brailey got to go on a trail ride together, at long last! They had a big time - the weather was perfect and it was worth the wait.
And much to our surprise, this is what we came home to the other night. Eight stray goats! They came running up to our pickup as we pulled up. Unfortunately, they shredded most of my flowers, which doesn't make me like them very much. But the kids had a big time herding them up the hill, and after a little research, we found their owners. What can we say? There's always something exciting going on at The 4 B's Ranch!

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Other Stars of the PBR - The Bulls

Brailey Shaye has become quite the photographer this summer... She takes pictures of EVERYTHING! Even herself, which is hysterical to see... And a lot of Britt, which are just as funny. When we were at the Ross Coleman PBR last week, though, she had the time of her life taking pictures of the bulls. I thought it would be fun to share some of her better flicks. What do you think? Does she have "the eye," or what?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Looney Tunes Discovery

Yes, my B's just discovered Looney Tunes! We haven't watched much tv at all this summer, but Brailey has been sick this week, and so I relented a little and let them watch a couple of shows, and they were so happy! All day long yesterday, they talked to me about what happened in the episodes they saw. And much to my surprise and enjoyment, there is a NEW Looney Tunes cartoon on at night, which I let Brailey watch while Britt was at football practice. Okay, okay - I admit it... I actually sat down to watch one episode myself. And it was great! The voices are a little different than the originals, but there's just nothing like a Looney Tune, is there? But what I really wanted to share with you is the names my B's call the characters... More of my documentation of their wonderful humor, which they don't even know is funny! They have been calling the characters "Sibbity Sam," "Elmer Fudge," and "Laffy Duck." I love it! Somehow, the names they use make the cartoon characters that much funnier for me...

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...