Monday, January 30, 2012

My Gorgeous Niece, My First Baby, My Lanie

We had a wonderful surprise this weekend - my beloved niece, Lanie, came all the way from Harney County with her teammates from Burns High School to participate in a dance competition at Sheldon High School. She texted me the good news on Friday, and we could hardly stand the wait until we were able to see her on Saturday afternoon! The last time we saw her was over four years ago. Much, much too long... Unfortunately, I forgot to get a picture of her without her costume on, but you can still see how pretty she is - definitely the prettiest wolf I've ever seen!

She was the most popular dancer at the competition! Everyone wanted a picture with her... Can you blame them? She's always been a celebrity to me... I'm glad other people recognize how cool she is. Fun!

I hate to post this picture of myself, as I am looking rather haggard, but I think you can see how much I adore this girl. Brady and I worked all morning long and then rushed to Sheldon to see her perform. What can we say? It was worth the mad dash! And we were thrilled to be able to take her out to dinner afterwards - we had the best time ever catching up and just being with her! I told a few stories about her from when she was little, and on the way home, my little B's asked me to tell them even more. They know how much I love her, and in fact, it made them a bit insecure - Britt wanted to clarify if I loved THEM more than her and that THEY were my "real" babies... So cute! And Brailey said, "I don't know why I'm so weird. I couldn't wait to see her, and then when I did, I couldn't think of anything to say!" Sadly, life has dictated that they haven't spent much time with their cousin, but they know how important she is to me, and they love her, as well. And even more exciting, she is coming back to Eugene in April to run the Half-Marathon! She has been training all year long to run the race for her Senior Project. The 4 B's can't wait to cheer her on! She is an amazing girl, and always has been, from the moment she was born. She was a beautiful baby, the most adorable little girl, and now she is a gorgeous young lady... Where have the last seventeen-almost-eighteen years gone?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Britt's First Poem - "Love"

On Monday, Britt told me NOT to look on his desk, because he was working on something. So I didn't  peek, even though I really wanted to. A little while later, here he came with his drawing book, and on it he had written a poem. His first poem! It's called, "Love."

The love grows bigger and bigger.
It grows when you are mad or sad.
Love is being happy or sad.
Love is everything.

Doesn't that just melt your heart?! Of course he had some words spelled a little differently, but those are the words he read out loud to me. Not bad for a 2nd grader! He is so sweet... And he understands he is loved every second of the day, no matter how he feels. AMAZING!

They are studying poetry in his class, but it is all in Spanish, and I don't think his teacher has had them write any poems on their own, yet. So what can we say? As his mother, I'm impressed! And Brady is, too. And for that matter, so is Brailey. We are in LOVE with Britt and his love poem! (I'm so excited - I think my Mama's Boy is going to be a writer!)

Friday, January 20, 2012

From "That" to "This"

Brady is SO HANDY! On Monday, he had to stay home from work due to the snow (can't drive that big two-wheel drive van around in the snow and ice!), and so he whipped this sled out in about ten minutes. Can you believe it? He thought of it and made it in just a few minutes, and even though we didn't have very much snow, he was able to pull the little B's around , which delighted them to no end!
So we had "that," meaning the snow.

And yesterday, after the torrential down pouring of rain, we had "this," lots of flooding! This is the road to our house, but thankfully, where we live was fine. We always wish we had some flat ground, but right now we are thankful to live on a hill! I took these pictures from our pickup on my way to get the kids from school. It was actually higher in the morning, and my little Estelle wouldn't have made it through. In fact, a little CRX got carried away by the running water and ended up in the ditch. Thank goodness for our Silver Bullet (dodge pickup)!
See those little white dots (in the middle) at the base of the hill? That's our place. So it was big excitement around here, going from "that" to "this!"

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The End of the Frog

Remember back in October when I shared about all the creepy crawlies we kept running in to? Mainly, the frog that ended up in the house and scared the absolute bejeezus right out of me on more than one occasion? Sadly, we never did find that frog. ALIVE, that is… The story does have an ending, though.

The week before Christmas, I had the little B’s clean their rooms. You know, to prepare for all the Christmas giftage that was sure to come. Meanwhile, I made a trip out to the shop to drop off wrapping paper or some such thing. At the exact moment I came back into the house, Brailey came running out of her room, screaming down the hall.

Now when I say “screaming," I mean she was TERRIFIED screaming! Tears were pouring out of her eyes, she was shaking, and she was screaming like I've never heard her scream in her life. This gave me a mild heart attack and a slight stroke, too, and of course I thought the worst. I thought our pug Rosin had died or someone was in the house or something truly awful had happened - my mind was keeping pace with her screaming, I assure you. Britt, of course, came out of his room, as well, trailing his frantic sister to the couch, where I managed to set her on my lap and calm her down a tiny bit. It took another few minutes to be able to understand what the problem actually was - I couldn't understand what she was saying with her sobbing and carrying on like she was...

Turns out, back in the corner of her room where she keeps all her Barbies, under the princess tent that hangs from the ceiling to "hide" said Barbies, was the Mystery Frog, deader than dead. "HE'SALLBLACKANDMOLDYANDHISEYESWERELOOKINGRIGHTATMEANDHEWASSCARYANDINMYROOMTHISWHOLETIMEANDIDIDN'TEVENKNOWIT!"
See what I mean? Very difficult to understand.

In any case, Brady happened to be working just down the road, and the frog was discovered right before lunch, so Big Daddy was able to come home on his lunch break and dispose of the nasty, creepy, DEAD frog. Britt wanted to take care of it for us, but I didn't want him touching it after Brailey's description, and I didn't dare look at it myself, considering Brailey's description and yes, I'm just as freaked out about things of this nature as my darling daughter (where does she get it from? I really can't imagine!).

Once we were all calmed and collected, I told my B's the story of my great-grandmother and her frog, which she felt on the face in the middle of the night and promptly threw to the wall, which killed it and she found on the floor the next morning. GROSS! We decided it was good that Brailey didn't have THAT happen to her, at least.

So now we know the frog is no longer lingering in the house. Too bad the darned thing wouldn't have stayed in the bowl I had him under - he'd be outside chirping up a storm instead of black and moldy and dead... The end, indeed! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Life Lesson Lived and Learned

It doesn't always happen this way, but every now and then, Brady and I actually live what we preach. A couple of weeks ago on a Thursday, Brailey hopped into Estelle after school, and I asked her the same thing I ask both of my B's every school day. "How was your day?" Usually they will tell me it was "good" or "great" or "okay." On this Thursday, however, Brailey said, "HORRIBLE!" And she promptly burst into tears, great sobbing gulps and wailing, which lasted the entire twenty minute drive home and then off-and-on until bedtime... She was UPSET!

The drama revolved around a "competition" at school. The problem is that the kids are encouraged to form their own teams for the competition of either four or five kids. I have stayed out the formation of Brailey's team from Day 1, and I am proud to report even through all the drama, I stayed out of it until the end. But you can imagine how it is for kids to form their own teams... A challenge, to say the least.

So Brailey was upset because the other members of her team let another member join whom she did not want on their team. She has always been afraid of this kid. I think she was afraid, too, that this newest member would get them all in trouble. However, the other members of the team weren't afraid, and they all agreed it would be fine.

Lesson One: I asked Brailey if she spoke up and voiced her feelings. She said "no." Now what you need to know about this situation is that Brailey, bless her sweet heart, has always had trouble sticking up for herself. Since she was in preschool! In fact, she was bullied for most of her Kindergarten year before we realized it, and she is naturally a very kind-hearted person, very non-aggressive. And while Brady and I are so proud of her for being such a good girl, it also causes her problems. Like this team formation... And so we talked about it actually being part of her fault for not saying how she felt and how that was a natural consequence. However, I do understand that she was afraid of this kid and terrified there would be even worse repercussions if she spoke up. We all know kids can be mean... So really, I understand why she didn't speak up, and it was actually quite astute of her, really. But I had to at least make the point that if you don't like something, you need to speak up about it, and if you don't speak up, then you have to accept it the way it is.

Lesson Two: So along goes our afternoon of crying, and Brailey says she is going to quit the team. That's it, she's done! Despite the fact that she's been doing the necessary work to be on this team since the beginning of the school year. I said no way - you have to be on the team. Period. This set off another round of tears... Yes! It did break my heart, and yes! I did want to let her quit! And YES! I really wanted to fix all of this for her. I even called my mother for advice on how to handle it, and she told me to do all the things I had already done... And you know it would have been really easy for me to "take care" of the mess for Brailey and to get involved, but I learned my own lesson during Britt's football season, and sometimes you just have to sit back and let things play out how they will.

Lesson Three: Enter Brady's part of the story... Brady and I were both on the same page and told Brailey she couldn't quit, and it might actually turn out to be better than she thought it would. Basically, the whole "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" spiel. We told her she just had to ACCEPT the situation, because there was nothing to be done about it, now. "You have to work acceptance," we said. Ironically, acceptance is one of the things we as adults struggle with on a daily basis, yet there we were, spouting off this wisdom to our darling girl.

Well the next day, lo and behold, Brady literally had to practice what we preached. He came home from work and said to Brailey, "Guess what? I have to work with someone I can barely tolerate on Monday. I'm in the same boat as you, Brailey! So instead of feeling sorry for myself, I'm going to do what I told you to do, and just accept it and try to make the best of it."

In the meantime, in a strange twist of fate, Brailey came home from school the next day, the very day after all the tears and fears and worry, happy as a lark! She said "I think I may have been wrong about" blank. I said, "REALLY? So you're not scared, anymore?" And she said, no, she wasn't and went on to explain that she felt perfectly fine with everything, now, and she thought they had a good team and la-la-la-di-da... And the next week proved to be even more promising - a new friendship was forged and all the heartache has been forgotten and life is going on! And Brady came home from work and said to Brailey, "Well Cakes, I did what I told you to do, and I had a good day. I just accepted this person and it really helped me get through the day with him."

So there you have it, the story of a life lesson, lived and learned!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Queen B's Big Birthday

 Yes, that's me, The Queen B, with my babies on my birthday... And OH what a birthday it was!
My mom sent a box with "40" things in it, and this scarf and hat were two of those items. They looked adorable on Brailey, so she wore them to the pizza party.
And boxes are always fun  to play in, even when you are "seven years old and the size of a ten year old!" Or nine years old - after Britt was done, Brailey had her fun, too.

So yah, it was a great birthday! I've made some changes in my thinking about birthdays, or at least mine in particular, and I think the change has done me good. I generally don't like to share my birthday with anyone - this goes all the way back to high school being forgotten by my friends (poor, pitiful me!), and so naturally I have built a wall up to protect myself. The hard thing about my birthday is the time of year that it falls in - when January 10th rolls around, everyone is sick and tired to death of celebrating!

After last year's birthday, though, and the joy I saw in my children as they celebrated, I decided to turn over a new leaf, and just EMBRACE my day. Yes! MY SPECIAL DAY! Which meant letting Brady and the little B's go shopping for me and buy whatever they wanted, and letting them plan a small party. Granted, I do not plan on allowing them to hold any birthday parties for me in the future, but I'm really glad I was able to bend and let them have their fun with this one. Even if it meant that I myself had to make sure the details were seen to...

My little B's SO HAPPY! Oh my GOODNESS they were thrilled! They wrapped their gifts ever-so-carefully and made homemade cards on Sunday and then made me swear not to even LOOK at them. Britt had his wrapped in about ten seconds, but Brailey wrapped hers AND Brady's, and she made sure to put ribbons on them and to make them look extra special, just like she is - extra special.

On Monday, when I picked them up from school, Britt had a big grin on his face as he climbed into Estelle, and he said, "Mom, I love you SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much, I stayed in from recess and made you a birthday card! THAT'S how much I love you!" Indeed, this was a big deal, because my Brittster Man LIVES for recess. And he had already made me a card at home, so this was "extra."

First thing Tuesday morning, they both woke up saying "Happy Birthday!" And then Britt gave me the card he made at school with $6.00 of his own dollars inside it - HOW SWEET IS THAT?! I told him I couldn't accept it, and he said, "No-no-no! I KNEW you would say that - please, take it! Besides, I can just get more on my birthday." I negotiated him down to keeping the dollar bill for myself and then he kept the five. Melted my heart!

All day long I received birthday wishes, and it was wonderful! Brady came home early, just as I was going out the door to clean stalls, and cleaned them for me - BIG present, there. Thank you Brady!And my mom and dad sent a big box with forty, yes FORTY, presents inside. My mom had been working on this idea for a long time, and they made sure to send it before they left for my dad's surgery, so that made it all the more special. The little B's and I had a big time going through all of the gifts. We ended the day with pizza at the local pizza joint in Coburg, who truly has delicious pizza, even though it is crazy-expensive, and two of my favorite families were there to help us celebrate - hence, the "party." Cheesecake from Coscto finished the day, which I LOVE, and of course everyone sang to me. I filmed it... (I'll try to upload the video later for your viewing pleasure.)

Anyway, the lesson I learned in all of this hoopla and celebration is that it is OKAY to be celebrated. Even though it is a bit uncomfortable for me to be in the spotlight (I'd rather shine the spotlight on other people ANY DAY!), it made my husband and my babies happy, and THAT, my friends, was the biggest gift of all!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Couple of Cone Heads

My silly little Cone Heads - the two B's. Nothing like a pillow on your head for a hat!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Years Tears

Yes, the New Year has already brought a couple of tears to my eyes! This is a very rare occurrence, if you know me at all... I try to save my tears for the really important stuff. And so far this year, I've had a couple of emotionally charged instances worthy of my eyes leaking.

Yesterday, January 3rd, my dad underwent his surgery for prostate cancer. Even though I've been telling myself for two months now that everything would be okay and putting up a brave front for my kids and parents, I was worried sick he would have the incurable kind of cancer in his lymph nodes, which they were unable to determine until they actually "opened him up," as they say. The night before his surgery, we 4 B's turned off all our lights, lit a candle and prayed the rosary for my dad. It was beautiful, and it nearly made me shed a tear. It also gave me enough comfort to make it through the night and into the morning until my mother's phone call came with the news we had been waiting so long to hear. And although the doctor nearly gave up hope himself (the lab took an extra long time, which isn't a good sign, I guess), the lab work came back as negative, and although we won't know the final results for two more weeks, at this point, my dad doesn't the incurable cancer we feared he might have. Thank you God! They did have to take more than they anticipated in his surgery, though, and they also had to reconstruct his bladder, and he did lose a large amount of blood (800 millimeters, apparently), but he's on the road to recovery, and for that, I had to let the tears come out.

To be honest, this wasn't the first time they came...  A couple of days beforehand, as I was calling my parents to wish them luck before they left on their journey to Boise, I had a few tears take me by surprise. And then later that same day, Brailey heard Brady ask me about the "really bad cancer," and when we would know. Once it was just her and I alone, she asked me what the bad cancer meant, and much to my surprise, the tears threatened to spill out again. Brailey is very attuned to other people's emotions, and she quickly said, "Oh it's okay, Mom, you don't have to talk about it." After a moment, I was able to explain it to her, tear free.

Getting the news yesterday was more than I could take, though, and the tears of relief and joy came pouring out. And while I was sniffling, Brailey explained to Britt they were tears of happiness, and then Britt shared that he had "had a tear in the middle of the night for Papa, too." He said he woke up and thought of Papa and then he had a tear, so he started practicing his Hail Mary prayer... This made me cry a little more.

And now, today, I am still emotional. I'm not quite ready to trust the news of the cancer, for one thing. In two weeks, we will know for sure, and then I will believe. Also, it is the first day back to school after Christmas vacation, and I am oh-so-lonely for my little B's! They were so fun and precious over the break, playing with each other and being their happy little selves, and now my house is stark raving quiet, save for the snore of our pug Rosin. I can't think of a single fight they had the entire break - they played everything from Barbies to Pirates to Legos and beyond. They even planned a party on the day of the Rose Bowl to celebrate the game, complete with a game they made up, "Duck, Duck, Chip Kelly!" And once again, I had to send them off to school, which always makes me feel like I am throwing them to the wolves. I have to admit they lose a bit of their closeness when school is in session - I think this is from the stimulation they have from their schedules, learning, other kids and the stress. Oh how I cherish their time together with just the two of them...

So yah, an emotional start to the new year, but that's okay. Sometimes emotions are meant to be embraced, and that's what I'm doing. Embracing my emotions, and just rolling with them. Happy 2012!

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...