Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Reconnection

I love the reconnection to my B's the summer brings. I always feel close to my kiddos, but when they are in school, I think there are so many distractions and demands from activities, homework and people, we lose a bit of our emotional capacity to stay truly connected. Sadly, it is hard to recognize when that tiny bit of disconnect happens. Now that we are home for the summer and together all the time, I think we all feel more at peace and relaxed. I have always felt my B's played better together during the summer than at any other time, but I never realized the school year affected my own relationship with them, as well.

Talking with them in the car on our way to swim lessons is what brought this to mind. They asked me if there were actual camps where they take their lessons, and I said yes, but I didn't want to enroll them, because then they would be gone all day and I wanted to be with them over their vacation. Britt piped up and said, "Yah, you already have to throw us away when we go to school!" I got a kick out of this... I always say I feel like I am "throwing them to the wolves" when school is in session, meaning other kids and people in general. There's a little truth to what Britt said, though - quite often I do feel like I have to "throw them away," because truth be told? I would much rather keep them right next to me, safe and secure and 100% loved. Lucky for the little B's, Brady and and I don't believe in Home School. If we didn't think Home School produced such socially awkward kids/adults, though, we would so keep them home!

Anyway, we've just been hanging out a lot, so far this summer. Brailey said to me, "Mom, I really like it when you come down to the park (this is what we call our play structure) and talk to us." And that is what summertime is really all about, isn't it? Having the time to really listen and talk about nothing important at all without the distraction school life brings. Ironically, we seem to talk a lot about things that happened over the school year. But like Dr. Phil says, you have to talk about the little things in order to talk about the big things.

So even though the weather hasn't been as nice as we'd hoped for, we've still been enjoying every second of our summer. I'm grateful to have this time for reconnection. And I'm betting a lot of other people are experiencing the same thing. Blessed be summer vacation!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Britt's (very special!) First Communion

What an amazing weekend we had... We've been looking forward to Britt's First Communion for months, and it definitely lived up to our expectations. Grandma and Papa came over on Friday, and then Grandma spent all Saturday morning making dip and fixing the fruit tray and helping with the flowers and decorations while Papa held our horses for the horse shoer - we never have a dull moment around here. Truly! We were all worried about the weather, because it poured down rain on Friday and Saturday morning and even during mass, but come celebration time, it was the most perfect weather we could ask for - not too hot, not too cold and not a single raindrop. It was ideal for roasting hot dogs and enjoying the comfort of a fire! Britt received the most wonderful gifts, and he was so happy to finally recieve his First Holy Communion. He was nervous and excited and happy all at once. We all feel so blessed with the friends we have in our lives  - without them, it wouldn't have been nearly as special. We are so lucky to be loved by such good people, and we send our love right back at our beloved friends and Grandma and Papa!
One of the gifts from Grandma and Papa was this wonderful bible...

Before leaving the house for mass.

 After mass, Father David signed Britt's new First Communion Bible and gave Britt his First Communion certificate. Father told Britt, "You know, this is actually some really good reading... There are some fun stories in here!" We love Father David...!


I forgot that I don't have a wine opener... I used to have one, but I don't drink wine, and so I think I gave it away, thinking I would never need it. So Brady had to finagle the cork out of this bottle.

 The Root Beer Float Lady, my mom - aka Grandma!
He got the cork out! These are the glasses of wine Brady poured for two of my favorite ladies, Renee and Kristin - aren't they beautiful? Now that was some wine!
Brady's Godfather, Andy (who brought me a beautiful bouquet of floweres!) and his wife Anne and son Sam.
 Enjoying the fire...
Brailey's Godmother Nikki and my her son Nolan (my Godson) came down for mass, and they would have partied with us, but her husband Bobbie injured himself in a game of golf, so she had to hurry back home to Albany to take care of him. We were thrilled to see them at mass, though, and really appreciate their presence during Britt's special time. We love all our friends and family who came, and we send our most heartfelt  thanks to all of you! If not for you, it wouldn't have been nearly as special. Thank you, and may God bless every one of  you!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Britt's Star of the Week Letters

I have been meaning to post this for a while (truth be told, since October!), but time got away from me. Britt enjoyed every second of being The Star of the Week in his second grade class. He was really looking forward to it, due to his sister's experience in the same classroom, and he couldn't wait for his turn! Here are the letters we sent to him that were read out loud to his class...

To the Wonderful SeƱora Downes and Her Spectacular Second Grade Class…

Greetings from Britt’s mom! I am going to tell you everything you need to know about my son, Britt Robert Faulkner Murray, who happens to be my most favorite boy in the entire world. You might be wondering why he has two middle names. Well, let me tell you… Britt was named after my grandpa, George Robert Maupin, and also after Britt’s dad’s dad, Edwin Faulkner. So his two middle names are a tribute to his two grandfathers, which makes it a very special name, and that’s just perfect, because Britt is a very special boy. Would you like to hear more about Britt?

I always say Britt saved our family. He’s been a superhero since the day he was born! First, he saved me, his mother, from working full time at a job I did not like one single bit. This in turn saved his sister, who happens to be one of Britt’s best friends, from having to be in daycare all day long so I could work at that horrible job I didn’t like at all. And he also saved his dad from only having girls, because Britt is his only son. So you can see how right off the bat, from birth, Britt has been a superhero to our family.

Britt is an amazing kid. For starters, he is the only boy in our entire family on both sides! You might think this is sad, but it’s actually super cool, because Britt is one rough, tough cowboy, but he’s also a sweet, kind Mama’s Boy, and he’s a boy who knows how to play with girls or boys either one. In other words, he’s a real gentleman. He gives the absolute best hugs ever, and he’s an awesome little snuggle-bug.

One of the most exciting things about Britt is that he’s a pirate. He’s loved pirates since he was old enough to say ARRRRRRRGH! He’s been a pirate for Halloween three times, his room is decorated in a pirate theme, and he even has a real metal sword. He has more pirate toys than any other toy in his room. And guess what else? He even has Viking blood in him, according to his Grandma Diggy. So he was born a pirate! But a nice one, not a mean, stinky one…

Another fun thing about Britt is that he’s a cowboy. A real, genuine cowboy. And he comes from a long, long line of cowboys! Cowboys can be traced back as far as cowboys go in Britt’s family tree, all the way to the very first ones. He first learned to ride on his horse, Quickity Split, when he was in Kindergarten. He outgrew Quickity and is now sharing his sister’s horse, Tex. But he just got a new horse this fall named Maggie, and someday soon he will be riding her. When he gets bigger, he’s going to be a team roper and a bull dogger and maybe even a bronc rider! But he promised me he won’t be a bull rider – phew! Britt goes to a lot of rodeos, because his dad is a rodeo judge, and because of this, Britt has met a lot of famous cowboys. One of the big stars of the Professional Bull Riding, Cody Ford, gave Britt his first buckle when he was only a year old. Britt still wears this buckle today, and will keep on wearing it until he wins one himself.

Another cool thing about Britt is that he’s an athlete. For starters, he's an excellent swimmer. We think he might even be in the Olympics someday, he’s so good at swimming! We call him our little fish. I’m sure you know he plays Pop Warner tackle football, also. He won his first MVP (this stands for Most Valuable Player) just last weekend, and we were all very proud of him. He gets to wear his football jersey every Friday in honor of all his hard work in practice during the week. So far, his papa owes him four hot fudge sundaes for tackles he’s made in games. And last but not least, he participates in Karate, and has already earned several belts. He is our very own Karate Kid!

Some of the things Britt loves are Star Wars, playing in the dirt, building with legos and watching pirate movies (mostly the Pirates of the Caribbean series, which you might have guessed on your own). He loves Halloween as much as he loves Christmas, and he totally digs kettle corn, drawing, reading, superheroes, The Looney Toons and did I mention pirates?

He also loves his family. He is the absolute best son his dad and I could ever ask for. He is the best brother his sister could ever ask for. He is the best friend anyone could ever ask for. He’s always kind, sweet, considerate and tries his best to do the right thing. He has the heart of a champion, and I can’t wait to see all the amazing things he’s going to do in his life. I’m so glad to have my very own Mama’s Boy (did you know Mama’s Boys grow up to be the nicest men?).

There’s only one more thing I need to tell you about Britt. It is actually a secret, so don’t tell anyone, okay? Before he was born, I was scared to have a boy. I didn’t know what I would do with a boy! Remember I told you he is the only boy in our family? But I’m so thankful to have Britt, and I wouldn’t trade him for any boy or girl in the world! He’s taught me so many things about being a mom, and I know he’ll always be my special boy, no matter how old he is. I tell him when he is 47 and I’m 89, he can still sit on my lap and be my Mama’s Boy. He’s the very best boy I know, and I hope you all get to know him this year, because one thing is for sure – if you know Britt, then you’re going to like him.

I hope you enjoyed hearing all about Britt, and if you have any questions about him, please be sure to ask me. I can tell you anything you want to know about my precious Mama’s Boy… Because I love him all the way to heaven and back a million times and more – and that’s a lot of love!

Big Mama

Dear Britt,

What I think is so cool about you is how helpful you are to everyone. You are also very kind to everyone. You have your own way of doing things and you are able to figure out what you want to do and then do it.

With all the girls in our family, you handle yourself very well. The try you have is something special.

You are my favorite son.

Love you lots,


Dear Class,

  Britt is the best brother in the world! He is a good play pal, too. What I like is his personality, creativity, his love for pirates, and I could go on forever! But what I love most is his love for everyone! And that’s just the beginning.

Love Brailey Murray

Monday, June 18, 2012

Nursery Lamp for Anna Rae

I made this for our friends Rikki and David's new baby girl (well, her room, really) and I think it turned out super cute! Not as cute as Anna Rae, but pretty darn cool, don't you think? Let me know if you need a lamp for a "new baby gift" in your life, and I'll be more than happy to whip one up!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Karate Testing in Creswell

We ended the school year with Karate Testing down at their Sensei's Dojo in Creswell. They did great! Rikki is such an awesome teacher, and she has first class helpers. It was Brailey's first time testing, and she was super nervous, but she earned her first belt! And Britt is excited to finally be able to "spar!" They both love karate, and we are very fortunate their Sensei keeps it affordable for us. Thank you, Rikki - you are the best!
 The drive down, in "the van," which I will tell you about in a future post... You won't want to miss it!
 Before testing...
 After testing, with their Sensei and new belts!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Crafty Attempt for Sra. Downes

I never know what to do for teachers for end-of-the-year gifts. We usually do a gift card, but Sra. Downes is so special to us, I wanted to get her something to go along with the gift card she would love year after year. So I asked one of my most treasured friends, who was my idol when I was growing up, and is now a school administrator herself (thanks Elisa!) what teachers "really" liked. She gave me this idea, which is much easier said than done, truth be told, but super fun and cute! I think it turned out okay, especially considering I'm not all that patient or crafty. I hope "Bea" will "be" reminded of my little "B's" whenever she sees it - The 4 B's love her so much! In fact, Britt was a bit sad all day long yesterday, his last day of school with her, because he is going to miss her so much come third grade this fall. As soon as I woke him up yesterday morning, I said, "Ohhhhhh, I don't want you to be a third grader!" And Britt said, "Me neither! I won't have Sra. Downes." She is the first teacher he's had that he really fell in love with. He said he actually "felt like crying" when he left her classroom yesterday. Both he and Brailey had the time of their lives in her class, and they learned so much! She is absolutely an amazing teacher, and we feel so blessed to have had her for both Brailey and Britt's second grade years. "B," for Bea, for Best Teacher in the World and for The 4 B's!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Graduation Trip to Harney County

We made our way to Harney County on Thursday - here are pictures of just a handful of highlights from our trip...
Look who pulled into the Bend Mall parking lot the same time we did? World Champion Calf Roper Tuf Cooper. He has a hella-cool rig, complete with a basketball hoop on the back of his trailer. It was Sisters Rodeo Slack that day, which is why he was in town. We got a charge out of seeing this fancy ride!
Friday morning, the little B's and I helped my mom with her bulletin board at the Senior Center - she does an awesome job designing these! This one is not quite finished, but we got a good start on it and helped her with the paper and border, which was the hardest part.

And on to my niece Lanie's graduation from high school Friday night. Here we all are, sitting in a row, waiting for the ceremony to start (Grandma, Brailey, Britt, Papa and Brady - me not pictured, as I was the picture-taker). I got to see one of my friends from high school - her son was graduating, as well, and I wish I would have thought to have my mom take our picture. (So good to see you, Cinnamon!) And I saw another friend I adore from afar, but I didn't get to make contact with her in all the chaos of people. (Next time, Melody!)

Here she is! This is a cool picture, because I was just testing my camera to see if it was on the right setting, and I randomly caught Lanie! Isn't that wild?!

Grandma and Lanie... She was absolutely everything to us when she was born. We'd never seen such an amazing, precious, perfect, wonderful child, and both my mom and I lived to spend time with her. And now she is eighteen and a high school graduate!
Such a beautiful graduate...
Of course the one and only picture I have of her and I is blurry...
Grandma and Papa with their first born grandchild, the high school graduate.
 Lanie and her dad (my brother Shawn).

On Sunday we visited my 89 year old grandmother, affectionately known as Grandma Bert. The picture below shows four generations! It was a great visit - she was in good form and funny and happy to see us. When I left I said, "I love you." And she said, "I love you, too! I love ALL of you!" It was sweet... She didn't remember our last visit in March, sadly. She lives in a respite home, and she said, "If I'd known you were coming, I'd have baked you a cake or cookies or something!" Even though she has no oven... Bless her heart!
Unfortunately, I didn't get pictures of everything. We got to see one of our favorite families, The Otleys, on Saturday. My Godson Riley also spent the day with us Saturday. We enjoyed every morsel of my mom's delicious meals, and Brady even got in some much needed nap time with my dad. What more could we ask for in a mini-vacay from the big city in the wide open country?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Brailey Shaye - A Decade Old!

Yes, our first born, Brailey Shaye, is now TEN YEARS OLD! Can you believe it?! I find it hard to believe myself... It is painful to have them grow up so fast and yet she is more amazing every day of her precious life. Our Brailey Shaye-Shaye has been a blessing to everyone she meets from the day she was born. She had a great birthday, and the celebration spanned over two days - her actual birthday, which was Wednesday, and then the next day we drove to Burns where Gramma and Papa had a small birthday party for her with Aunt Sharon, Uncle Jim and Uncle Walt. The pictures tell most of the story. She is a happy, lucky, loved, blessed child! And TEN!
Birthday Outfit - it is traditional for her to wear a special dress on her birthday.
 A  Birthday Kiss from her sweet baby brother!
She could not WAIT to eat her special cake pops from our favorite Renee - are these adorable or what?! 

She has been saving her money and begging us for an iPop Touch for months and months. I really didn't want her to have one. But she is such a good kid and very mature for her age, and so we decided to let her spend her birthday money on one, and she was THRILLED! (Thanks Aunti Nicoley for adding to the stash!) Now we have to learn how to run it... We need Uncle Brian's help, big time!
And the day after her birthday, we arrived in Harney County! The vase of flowers has a picture of her on it I made for my mom years ago (about eight - I think she was two?). So cute!
The Three Stooges? Nah... But it is sort of funny how my dad and his siblings sat on these stools, in birth order! Uncle Walt, my dad (Wess) and Aunt Sharon. It was so sweet of them to come and celebrate with us and to see them and spend time together. And they very kindly added even MORE to Brailey's cash stash, which she now has to replenish.
 Floating butterfly candles...
 The feast! My mom is SO the best cook I know!

 This is a special ice cream cake my mom made that ended up being a bit of a challenge, but she did it, and it tasted amazing! So it was worth all the pain of creating it. The things Grandmas do for their grandkids! 

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...