Monday, April 30, 2012

Lanie's Senior Project - The Eugene Half-Marathon 2012

Well, she did it! Of course we all knew she would, but she was understandably very nervous and worried she wouldn't. My beloved niece, Lanie, completed her senior project yesterday, which was to run a half-marathon, and it was a great success! She has been training and preparing for this event all school year long, and I think it is something she will always remember and she can certainly look back on this memory with pride. I, myself could not be prouder of her!
The night before the race, we took a series of pictures of her getting ready. Isn't it cool how they have her name on the number sheet? I love it! (And I also love that shirt, which I tried to get her to give to me, but darned if she doesn't like it, too! What's an aunt gonna do?)
We arrived on campus bright and early (the Worry-Wart - that would be me- woke up at 4:AM, thinking about getting her there on time and in tact) - hoping to find parking, and we managed to locate the perfect, close spot, which was a huge relief. While we were waiting for my wonderful friend Kristin to get there, we took the opportunity to take pictures and to conduct an interview for the senior project portion of the run.
Below you see her adorable friend Anna, who is also a runner. She managed to navigate us all over town in our quest to find Lanie en route! She is a lovely, lovely girl, and Lanie is blessed to have this wonderful friend in her life. Next year, they will both be running the race! Lanie couldn't have asked for a more supportive friend, and the 4 B's were thrilled to make her acquaintance.

My beloved friend Kristin was kind enough to act as a mentor for Lanie and took her under her wing for the start of the race. She built up Lanie's confidence, told her the secrets of the race and then showed her where to go for the start. And Kristin herself did a fantastic job, and it was just as much fun to watch her and her "Running Betties" (that what her running group calls themselves) as it was to watch my Lanie-girl.  I even saw a few other people I knew running the race, which was super fun. The more people you have to cheer on, the more exciting it is!
Ready to run! This was our last sight of her before she lined up in the crowd and we lost her. We didn't see her again until the end of the race.
My B's got to see the Oregon Duck perform some of his tricks - he was very entertaining while we waited for Lanie to come whizzing by us.                       
After the race, we stood in the stands at Hayward Field, wondering how we were going to meet up with her. A kind stranger took this fun picture of Lanie's Fan Club. And I will admit it - I cried as she crossed the finish line! And I cried again when we finally found her after the race. And then again as I told my mom about the race on the phone... It is very emotional to feel so much love and pride at the same time!

See what a wonderful friend she has in Anna? Her legs and back were killing her, and so Anna carried Lanie to the pickup. Who wouldn't want a friend like that?! We took the two of them out to our favorite breakfast restaurant afterwards for a delicious feast - there's no place like IHOP! And now both girls are inspired to come back to Eugene for next year's race, and maybe even this 4th of July for the Butte to Butte. It was a wonderful experience for all of us, and we couldn't be prouder of our Lanie. She did it! Oh yes she did!

Monday, April 23, 2012

First Communion Blessing for Britt

Two years ago, Britt watched while Brailey Shaye went through her First Communion classes and received her blessing, and now, at long last, it is his turn. And he is ready! He is so excited to celebrate his First Communion in June, he can hardly stand it. He loves his classes and is taking mass more seriously than ever, and Brady and I are so proud of him. Brady is taking the classes with him, this time around. I truly love the education, but I felt like it would be something special for Brady and Britt to do together - male bonding time... And it has actually been wonderful for Brailey and I to hang out together while the boys are gone, as well. In any case, Britt has been blessed, and we welcome any prayers you want to send his way during his special time of learning.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Changing our Frequency

Yes, the 4 B's in Coburg are working a new program. We are working hard to "change our frequencies," which essentially means changing the way we think and turning negative into positive. I hadn't planned on doing this as a family. Originally, I was only doing if for myself - I always have some sort of self-improvement book I'm reading, and most recently it was The Secret. The book was so fascinating to me, I couldn't help myself from sharing tidbits of it with Brady, and he loved the concepts so much he is now reading it himself! Although I read all the time (I can't even fall asleep unless I read!), Brady isn't much if a reader at all, so the fact that he is embracing this book means a lot to me.

Basically, The Secret is the the law of attraction - like attracts like. And if you are on a bad frequency, then you are having negative thoughts, which you then need to change into positive ones. You can tell what frequency you are on by the way you feel. If you feel good, then you are on a good frequency. Likewise, every thought you send out into the Universe comes back to you. This has been the hardest part for me. I tend to be very hard and critical on myself. In other words, it is hard for me to believe in myself.

I wish I would have read this book years ago! But I'm really glad Brady and I are trying to live The Secret, now, and I'm grateful to have the opportunity to teach it to our kids. After I read the book, I started thinking about my life and certain things that had happened, and it all made perfect sense! For example, when I used to run barrels, I was always nervous. The more I ran them, the better my nerves became, but I never believed in myself. Even the last horse I ran, I thought to myself, "he's going to cut in on that first barrel," and guess what happened? He cut in on the first barrel. I wish I had thought more positively and believed in myself, which is what winners do. People who win just know they are going to do well, and guess what happens? They win!

More recently, I have had to apply this to my little side business, Queen B's Western Design. You may remember my Big Barn Sale back in November. I invited my best friend to sell her knitting products at the sale, because I knew what great stuff she knitted. She is a master knitter, and although she has knitted her entire life, over the past couple of years, she's really spread her wings and ventured in to knitting new things. I believe in her, and she believes in herself. Now myself, on the other hand - I make lamps and canisters and utensil holders and all kinds of one-of-a-kind items that are nice. However, I didn't believe in myself. Even though I was having the sale to kick start my business, I didn't think anyone would like my stuff, even though I tried to tell myself they would. So guess what happened? After the sale, my bestie's knitting business took off like gang busters, and not one piece of my work sold. In fact, nobody even looked a lamp or a canister or anything I had worked so hard to make! Now a lot of this is due to staging - I needed my mother's experience in placing items for sale. But the major reason I failed and my friend succeeded is because I sent it out into the Universe, and it came back to me. Like attracts like. Damn it!

So once again, I'm a work in progress. We all are, of course, but I am working really hard to live The Secret. And let me tell you, what you put out to the world really does come back to you. My little B's are the perfect example of this - if I say something negative about myself, this is what I hear from them: "Don't put yourself down, Mom." "Now you've sent it out into the Universe and it is going to come back to you!" "Remember to be positive, Mom." I love it! That is exactly what I say to them, and it certainly has come back to me.

On a more serious note, though, I really do believe it is important for my kiddos to learn these lessons. One day, after Brailey had received some good news, Britt was not happy. And he said to me, "How come whenever Brailey's happy, I'm sad, and whenever I'm happy, Brailey's sad?" I told him it was because he was on a bad frequency called jealousy, and that he should work hard to change his way of thinking and to be happy for Brailey, because those bad feelings of jealousy were just coming right back to him and making him feel bad. And guess what? He did work hard at changing his thinking, and a couple of days later, he said he felt happy for Brailey and that what I had told him worked! I hope they will be able to use this skill their whole life long, and I wish I had known The Secret years ago, myself.

I have to admit I've had some interesting things happen since I've read the book and started "working the program." Needless to say, I'm a big believer, and so are my 3 B's. It isn't something that can be learned overnight, but we are all trying, and as long as we're trying, our hard work will come back to us. Because, like attracts like.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Brady's Birthday and Easter Fun 2012

For Brady's birthday this year, he wanted to go to Cabela's - my parents gave him an extremely generous Cabela's gift card, and he couldn't wait to spend it! Not my favorite place to shop by any stretch of the imagination, but it wasn't my birthday, after all, and I actually did manage to have fun. Imagine that! And the reason for my fun? Well, unbeknownst to me, my the two little B's LOVE Cabela's. We had a great time checking out all the stuffed game and pretending to camp. Sadly, their mother is not a fan of camping, but it looks like I am going to have to do it for the sake of their having happy childhood memories at some point...

And then on to Easter eggs! We were a little late with our coloring and didn't get them done until Friday, but they still turned out beautifully. Brady decided not to color his own, this year. The little B's enjoyed every second of their egg coloring time.

Although Brady's birthday was on Thursday, I didn't have time to make his cake until Friday. Then, we didn't have time to sing Happy Birthday and eat the cake until Saturday - thank goodness we were all patient! Every year, I make his favorite kind of cake, German Chocolate, and if I do say so myself, it was worth the wait. We spent the afternoon prior to our birthday cake fest at a Celebration of Life for Sue Fodge, a longtime rodeo friend, and after witnessing the heartache that comes with the loss of a loved one face-to-face, we felt extra grateful for all of us to be together to celebrate another year of life.

Shortly after we put the kiddos to bed on Saturday night, Brailey came out to me and said she had to pull a tooth, that very instant. It was driving her crazy, she said! Apparently, she had popped it loose earlier in the day, and when she laying in her bed trying to go to sleep, she decided she'd had enough of the dang thing hurting, and so out she popped it! She's the toughest kid I've ever seen when it comes to pulling teeth. I was such a wimp when I was her age, but she just bears down and pulls them out. So, to make a long story short (now that I've already made it long!), both the Tooth Fairy AND the Easter Bunny came to our house on the same night!

We opted to go to the 8 o'clock mass, even though it meant getting up extra early and missing the episode of Stompin' Ground that I was on, and we're so glad we did. It was a wonderful mass, and we had a great time with our friends the Whites afterwards in the Parish Hall, where we visited and devoured delicious donuts and Easter treats. Here you see the two besties, Britt and Daniel.
Once we got home, we worked our tails off for the rest of the day, which was a luxury for us. We loved every second of blessed sunshine and got tons of stuff done! Nothing makes us feel better than getting things taken care of around our little ranch. Even though it flew by, it was a great week and the best Easter I can remember in years. A little sun always makes life seem better, doesn't it?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Addendum to Harney County Spring Break Trip

In all my excitement writing about our trip to Harney County, I forgot to mention a couple of fun details...

One, even after getting up at 4 in the morning and working until 2:30 in the afternoon (hard, physical labor, too!), my mom came home on Friday afternoon and made my favorite dessert, especially for me - Chocolate Delight! And it was T-A-S-T-Y! And now my B's know why I love that dessert so much. Nobody cooks like my mom - she is the best cook ever, and she really goes the extra mile and spoils us all when we are with her.

Two, right before mass on Sunday, I got to see one of my friends from Crane, Debbie Bentz, whom I haven't seen in about twelve years! She looked even more beautiful than I remembered her, and it was really nice to chat with her for a few minutes and to introduce her to Brady. I also got to see one of my friends from high school and my best friend from grade school's aunt - did you follow that? My best friend in grade school was Clayton King, and I got to see his Aunt Connie - I can't even remember the last time I saw her! She's a very special lady...

Three, we got to see the Hank, Evelyn and Dan Zurflew at the Diamond Play, which was really fun, because their ranch is the one my dad has been working on, and so now Brady and the kids can put a face to their names.

Four, my parents gave us a bunch of hay, which we hauled home in my dad's horse trailer. My Godson, Riley, helped Dad and Brady load it up. And we are so thankful for the free hay, because it is more expensive than gold over here! My parents are always generous and good to us, and we are grateful, grateful, grateful!

And last but not least, we had some real April Fool's Day fun... While Brady, Brailey, Dad and I were at Lauri's house, my mom and Britt SHORT SHEETED my bed! And so when we got home late Saturday night, after the play, I tried to crawl into bed only to discover I COULDN'T! It was the first time I've ever had that done to me. And it was hilarious! We all had a big, big laugh over that one. In fact, we laughed all weekend long. It was the most wonderful trip to Harney County I can remember, and I loved every second of it. Special memories...!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring Break in Harney County 2012

We were pretty quiet the first part of spring break, laying low at home and getting a few little projects done here and there, but we ended the week with a bang! We had BIG FUN in Harney County, the land from which I come, in Southeast Oregon. We started our journey on Friday morning, amidst the torrential downpour of rain, and didn't get out of the rain until we hit Brothers, a tiny blip on the road between Bend and Burns. And as we got closer to Burns, we hit wind, but we made it and despite the weather, we managed to have a rip-roaring good time! It is always wonderful to see my parents, but I love the way my mom takes care of everything and pampers me whenever we are at their house.  
After a delicious breakfast cooked by my mom, who is the best cook in the world, we spent Saturday morning in Crane at Britt's Godmother's place, where we experienced wind like we've never felt before. The morning started out peaceful, and Britt and Papa enjoyed the sun as they sat together on the patio, but by 10, the wind had kicked up, and it truly felt like we were in a tornado! We still managed to have a good time, though, and it is always wonderful to spend time with the people you love. After coming back home to my parents' house and recuperating from the wind a bit, we readied ourselves for an evening of theatre. The picture above was taken seconds before we headed out the door. We picked up my nieces, who live in Lawen, on our way to Diamond, where we watched a community play. A long-standing tradition in their beautiful ranching community, the people of Diamond produce a play every two years. They had an amazing turnout of people, and believe it or not, it was the first time I had ever been to one, aside from when I was a baby. The tradition has been around for so long, my own parents have been in previous plays! It was also fun for me to see some folks I haven't seen for years and to introduce my B's to them. I would have stayed longer, if I could have, to see even more old friends, but it was late, and my crew was hungry, and so we headed back to my parents' place. The play itself was hilarious and fun and a great thing for my little B's to experience. I'm sure we'll be seeing scenes from it reenacted in our own house in the future, as they both love to dress up and put on shows for Brady and I. It was also wonderful to spend a little time with my precious nieces, Lanie and Lexi, and to hear them tell me stories about things in their lives. I miss them so much!
Palm Sunday, I woke up early and took this picture from my parents' back porch, through the window screen. Can you see the snow flakes? There was a light dusting of snow falling and sunshine together - it was beautiful. We went to mass, where my beloved Godson Riley met us (his mom ended up being sick, and so she and her daughter Baylee stayed home). I made the two Godsons pose... Even though there is a big age-gap between them, it is amazing how much they have in common - they both love bacon and history, they have beautiful blue eyes, they are handsome, they're built nice and sturdy, they have the most sensitive hearts in the world, and on top of all that, they are MAMA'S BOYS! I love them both, and I am so proud of Riley for coming to mass with us. He also went to breakfast with us afterwards and then helped load hay and fix trailer lights. He makes my heart swell with pride!

After breakfast on Sunday, we visited my Grandma Bert, whom we haven't seen since we went to Harney County for her Pioneer Days Celebration two years ago (she was the Queen Mother!). She was thrilled to see us, and we were thrilled to see her, as well. Amidst all the hugs and love, we managed to take a couple of pictures and to visit for a bit before we had to leave so she could eat her lunch.

And the fun continued into Sunday evening! My beloved Aunt Sharon (my dad's sister) and Uncle Jim treated us to dinner at The Hilander, where we all had a wonderful time! Truly, it was so much fun, and we all laughed and told stories and hugged and high-fived our way through delicious Chinese cuisine. We also saw some friends I hadn't seen in years and years, including my teacher from the sixth grade. The most exiting part of our time together was watching a lady in a wheelchair and her black cat, though - shortly after we arrived at the restaurant, they stopped traffic on the street as they crossed it. Later, we noticed the black cat was back on the other side of the street, and a few minutes later, here came his lady in the wheelchair, and together they ambled up the street. We were all amazed at how the cat was such a fine escort for his owner.
Here you see my little B's and I with my mom and Aunt Sharon. Can you see the happiness? We are looking forward to our next trip to Harney County in June. In the meantime, we have some really special memories to tide us over. It was a great end to a great spring break!

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...