Thursday, September 27, 2012

Train Comes to the Cuthbert in Eugene - Queen B's Dream Come True

Way back in April or May ((I can't even remember, now!) Brady and I bought tickets to see Train. A VIP package! I was so excited I could hardly stand it! After we bought them, Brailey said, "Well Mom, you can cross THAT off your bucket list." She knew it was my dream to see and meet Train, my most favorite band in the world. To tell you the truth, though, as the date for the concert got nearer, I actually felt stressed out about it. This has been one of the busiest weeks we've ever had, and it was a school night and I haven't been sleeping for some crazy reason and I just didn't feel excited the way I thought I would. Until we got to the concert, that is. And then everything fell into place and I had the time of my life! It was so great to have Brady there with me the whole time, and we met some really cool people from Idaho (two aunts who surprised their freshman niece with a VIP Meet and Greet while taking her to the U of O). Sadly, Pat Monahan woke up without a voice, and he couldn't talk to us, so the Meet and Greet part was kind of sad, because he looked so worn out and I felt bad for him, and then I rushed through what I wanted to tell them and sounded like a complete idiot, but hopefully they got the gist of what I was trying to say, which is that I love their music, EVERY SINGLE SONG, and his voice and the lyrics and music speak to my soul and have given me so much comfort in some of my darkest days. It makes me want to cry (just like in the song Bruises!) even thinking about it. What I love about Train is their SPIRIT, because it is so obvious what great, good men they are. And the best part of the concert is that Brady got to see that generous spirit in action - he was blown away with how giving they were. Pat took pictures with people's phones, gave away tons of t-shirts, brought little girls up on the stage to be "mermaids" (they all got signed t-shirts, too!), gave a little boy in the front row a signed guitar, threw out Train California 37 beach balls to the crowd (we got one!) and then stayed after the concert to sign more stuff. They are SPECIAL people, that Train band, and I'm so glad Brady and I experienced it together. The only thing that would have made it better is if all four of the B's were there together, but they spent the evening celebrating their cousin JJ's birthday, so they had their own fun.
 My new sweatshirt! I was going to get a shirt, and Brady talked me into this sweatshirt, and I'm so glad he did - I love it!
Train had the most amazing light show with 3D effects and for a medley of songs from the past, they put up the album covers, which I tried to capture. Remember "Meet Virginia?" One of my favorites!
 And for ME, it's Train!
The wonderful, handsome, amazing Pat Monahan. I was so worried he wasn't going to be able to perform after meeting him backstage, because it was obvious he didn't feel well, but he couldn't have been more energetic or "on." He is somethin' special, that's for sure. Now run to the store and buy their California 37 CD - you won't be sorry! With Train, you can't go wrong. They are such a class act. A true class act. And now I love them all the more!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"They Call Him Mr. Montana..."

Or rather, we call him Mr. Montana, ever since he got his new position with Montana Silversmiths! The little B's and the Queen B are so excited for and proud of Brady for embarking on this new journey in life! Congratulations, Mr. Montana!
 Mr. Montana and all his samples, which his little helpers set out for him. Afterwards, they arranged them into his cases.
 Mr. Montana, Jr.
 Miss Montana
Mr. Montana himself, the handsome and happy Brady Murray!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

No Pop Warner Football for Britt

Or any other kind of football, for that matter. Most likely, never again. After a stellar season of playing when he was a first grader, we were gung ho for his second season, which was last year. We couldn't wait! Sadly, it ended up being one of the most hair raising experiences of our parenting career.

Everything happens for a reason, though, and the good news is that we don't miss it a bit, and after we made our decision, we started seeing all the new information about head injuries and the damage concussions do and how most coaches and NFL players don't even let their own boys play tackle football. It's been a blessing to us not to have to rush home and rush back to practice for two hours and to schedule every Sunday around games. Actually, not having a football schedule running our life has been a HUGE relief!

Britt had such a tough season last year because he was one of the only well-behaved, nice boys on the team. Fact is, he is far too sensitive to play football. Just when he was "getting it," midway through the season, some of his teammates started yelling and screaming at him to do a better job, and that was the beginning of the end, for Britt. I learned a big lesson as a parent, last season - whatever you do, DON'T TALK TO THE COACHES, because they will punish your kid for it. I also learned that if you really want your kid to excel and to do well, then BE one of the coaches. Truly! In a perfect world, things would not be this way, but in today's world, they are.

Brady and I had no idea the pressure we were putting Britt under with regard to football until we asked him if he wanted to play again last spring before registration. He said, "Nooooooo?" He didn't want to disappoint us. And we said, "Okay, you don't have to play." And do you know what he did? He started crying tears of relief. He was trying NOT to cry, but he was so relieved, he couldn't help it, and he said "THANK YOU." His reaction broke our hearts and opened our eyes to the pressure aspect. From our perspective, pressure isn't healthy. Plus, due to Britt's lack of "mean," we were afraid he was going to be seriously hurt in a game where you have to possess that killer instinct. Like my dad said after coming to watch him play last fall, "That boy doesn't have a mean bone in his body!"

My heart has been hurting for a friend of mine who has a boy playing football this year, though, because he is like Britt - very kind and sweet and a super good kid. Wouldn't you know he's already had his feelings hurt this year from bullies playing football on his team? He may not be my kid, but I'm quite fond of him and I know what a good  boy he is, and I have to tell you, I feel a boiling wrath towards the boys who are hurting him. I think I feel this anger because I am reminded of how frustrated I was last season watching so many knotheaded, disrespectul, unruly brats run rampant on the practice and playing field. I just cannot tolerate disrepect, and I wish more parents would worry about teaching their kids to be kind and good people than worry about them being the star athletes of the world.

Hey - I'll admit it - Britt's a big boy, and I had dreams of him being a football superstar when he was younger, but I now realize that was my dream, not his, and he's a truly amazing swimmer - swimming is his "thing." I used to think Brailey would be a basketball player when she was younger, too, but I soon changed my mind when I realized how aggressive and hateful the girls playing basketball are, today. Brailey, like Britt, doesn't have a mean bone in her body. Basketball girls were pretty mean when I played, back in the day, but they're way meaner, today. That's why I'm encouraging her to try volleyball, which so far, she loves. I may even have Britt try volleyball out for a season. Who knows? It's such a fun game, and there isn't the same level of danger football holds. We're thinking of trying a dance class, also. Or we may just stay home and do our own thing. Like ride our horses!

Anyway, say a prayer for my friend's boy, if you don't mind - pray that he finds a way to cope with all the football jerks on his team (not all of them are cruel, but the handful that are can ruin it, you know?) and that he will find a place inside himself that shines. Pray for his parents, also, because it hurts them just as much as it hurts him. Pray for the bullies to change their ways, while you're at it, because they're the ones Jesus wants us to pray for, right? And frankly, I see Jesus' point - the nice kids are already winners. The bullies need all the prayers they can get.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Falling (Kicking and Screaming) Into Fall

Why must the summer end? Why must the seasons change? Why can't we just have summer weather all year long? Yah, yah, yah. Blah, blah, blah. I know we have season's for a reason and I know we need rain and yada, yada, yada.

For some people, fall is their favorite time of year. My own beloved husband and mother are two of those (crazy?!) people. For me, fall is witnessing a slow death of the season I live for - that's SUMMER, in case you haven't guessed by now. So while Brady welcomes the crisp, cool mornings, I do not.

Here are all the things I despise about fall (sorry if you were hoping to read something positive - my frequency just isn't good when it comes to fall):

  • Leaves - falling from the trees, leaving them naked and making another mess for me to clean up. Bare trees make me sad.
  • Cold mornings - sometimes complete with fog which hangs around nearly all day long, even though there is sunshine up above it, thereby making me feel resentful and depressed. I also resent how freezing cold my vehicle is in the mornings - brrrr!
  • Back-to-school - if you read this blog or know me at all, then you know I hate sending my babies to school.
  • Deer - after keeping them at bay for most of the summer, they always come and destroy my yard every fall. I loathe the deer!
  • Shorter days - I really wish the days could stay long, and I dread the time change in October. If it were up to me, we would stay on the time we're on right now year round and forget Daylight Savings was ever invented.
  • Storing all the summer equipment - like our new patio table, patio chairs, certain planters, the hammock. Again, if we had summer all year long, we wouldn't have to put these away. We could enjoy our summer furniture and planters every day of the year!
  • Winter clothes - even though I wear my flip flops as long into the fall weather as I possibly can,  it makes me sad to start thinking about having to wear jeans and long-sleeved shirts and jackets and hats and gloves. It is so hard to get used to wearing winter clothes after living in comfortable summer shorts and tee-shirts. And FLIP FLOPS!
  • Heat changes - I love the feel of the sun on my skin! I swear I can feel the Vitamin D seeping into my pores. Likewise, I can feel the difference between the early summer sun and the late summer sun. In other words, I can tell the sun is getting higher in the sky in the fall, which means less warmth. Nothing warms me up like the sun. Yes, I am a sun worshiper. Ya think? Next to my family, nothing makes me happier than a bright, sunny day. And I really miss it when it is gone. A lot.
Well there. I feel better after venting that out. The length of my list even surprised me - no wonder I dread the fall months! By the time winter comes around, I am used to the rain and winter clothes and have newfound hope in my heart for summer's arrival. Fall just isn't for me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My My, Miss American Pie

This is my FIRST EVER apple pie, made back in August after my little B's harvested all the apples from our little apple tree. Remember the one we trimmed back in February (First Week In February Fun)? It was actually quite delicious! The only flaw is that it was a just a tad bit runny, but as luck would have it, an apple pie making expert just happened to stop by, and she told me the secret (add a bit of flour)! I come from a long line of Pie Making Goddesses (my mother, her mother and probably my grandmother's mother!). It was a little more time consuming than I prefer for cooking, but we ate every bite of it, and since we used the apples my B's had picked themselves, totally organic, right? The only fly in the ointment was the mess it made in my oven, which I tried to avoid by cooking the pie on a cookie sheet. Unfortunately, the cookie sheet was flat, without any edges, so it still ran over and made a certifiable disaster area in my oven. All in all, though, I'd have to say my Miss American Apple Pie was a success! The best part was that my little B's were super proud of me, and that's all the praise I needed.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Day of Third Grade and Fifth Grade

Once again, I've had to throw my darling B's to the wolves... Big sigh. Did I cry today after dropping them off? Absolutely. Does the house feel like an empty tomb without them here? Pretty much. Were they excited for the first day of the school year? No - they were nervous. (To tell you the truth, so was I - Brady got up this morning and said, "Is everyone excited for today? I know Mom is. She's so excited she was up all night!" It's true - I couldn't sleep, thinking about today.) Do we welcome the daily routine and schedule the way most people do? Nope. We don't. The silver lining is they both have wonderful teachers I am so grateful they were placed with. Plus I love their school program and believe in their bilingual education. And I know the school year goes by quickly. I told them it will be summer again before we know it and to remember how fast the year goes. We had such a special, wonderful, fantastic, totally awesome summer, and it is hard to say good bye to all that fun, but I keep reminding myself every single day of our lives is fun. Just some days are more fun than others... With that, we bid summer adieu and welcome fall and school and schedules and a different kind of fun!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

California Dreamin'

The 4 B's finished the summer with a bang, oh did we EVER! Remember I told you we had one last trick up our sleeve? We went on a mini-vacation to Sacramento, where we spent two glorious days with our beloved Grandma Diggy (Brady's mother, aka Diana), and we all had the absolute time of our lives! The pictures tell most of the story... We spent the first day at the Raging Waters water park, which exceeded our expectations on the fun front. Even Grandma Diggy couldn't resist The Lazy River! The weather couldn't have been more perfect - it was cooler than usual, and so there weren't as many people at the park, which meant NO LINES! It was truly wonderful! And the next day, we hit Grandma Diggy's two favorite Goodwills (where she knows everyone by name who works there) in the morning, and then we got to meet Aunt Suezy for the first time! Grandpa Dick treated everyone to lunch at a super fun restaurant, The Golden Corral, which had a chocolate fountain for dipping treats in, and we spent almost two hours talking and eating delicious food. Later, we met Diana's dear friends Rich and Sheena from Reno, who brought a trunk they had been storing for Diana that Brady had made in the ninth grade. After a short rest, we then headed down the freeway to Lodi where we visited Grandpa Dick and Aunt Suezy. They loaded us up with all kinds of fun treasures - a real sword for Britt and a gorgeous beaded hat band for Brailey! It was truly a special visit, and we are all very happy to finally know who Aunt Suezy is. The entire trip was super cool - the drive down was gorgeous and although we did hit some bad smoke on the way home, the journey back was just as nice. And while we are glad to be home with one final day to rest up before school starts, we had the best trip we could have ever imagined, full of love and happiness. The pictures can fill in the details for you  - enjoy!
 Grandma Diggy checking out the pictures the little B's made for her shortly after our arrival.
 Thanks to Diana's friend Mary, we were all able to have a place to sleep! We first met Mary when she came to Oregon with Diana a few years ago, and it feels like we've known her forever. We love Mary! First thing Saturday morning, she showed up at Diana's door with this scooter, which she then let the B's drive around the back yard. They loved it! She and her granddaughter also babysat our pug for us while we went to the water park. Mary is a special lady, and a lot of fun, too!
 Raging Waters!
 Grandma Diggy is a gamer, that's for sure! After watching us float by her several time on the Lazy River, which wrapped around our Cabana, she asked Brady to find her some scissors so we could shorten her pants to capris, and she hopped right in with us! We had more fun than I could ever describe floating around the loop of the Lazy River. It has an actual current and takes you on quite a long route, with water pouring overhead underneath bridges, where Britt made sure we got soaked! Brady saved me from plunging underwater, at one point, when I fell off my tube. We all held on to each other's tubes so we could float together, and it was a blast!
We looked like drowned rats after Britt ran us under the water!
And here we have the famous Aunt Suezy! (You can see her best friend Joanne and Grandpa Dick in the background.)
 Giving Grandpa Dick a hug while posing for a picture. I love how Britt's hand is inside his...
Joanne took this picture for us after we finished eating and gabbing. We are all stuffed to the gills in this shot!
 Grandpa Dick giving Brailey the beaded hat band, which she adores!
 Visiting with Grandpa Dick in the shop office.
 Boomer and I! This is Suezy's race horse, and he is a doll! More on him later...
The great Taco Chef! Grandma Diggy makes the best tacos in the world, and we loved every morsel of them. Doesn't she look cute cooking her taco shells? We had the best time you can ever imagine, and it was the perfect way to end our amazing summer.

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...