Monday, October 29, 2012

Mr. Montana and His Montana B's

Most kids get to relax or do something super exciting on their days off from school. Especially a four day weekend. Our kids? They get to go to work! What can we say? They are certainly the most well-traveled kids I know and spent three their four days off from school in the pickup, traveling with their mom and dad down the road. They were thrilled to help Brady set out all his samples for a client he met with last Thursday. They showed her every single piece and loved every second of it, and the client thought it was the neatest thing ever that Brady brought his family with him. We were blessed with a warmer day and sunshine, too, which made showing the silver even better. I'm not sure who loves this Montana Silversmiths business more - Brady or his little B's?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Country Bumpkins

Country Bumpkins sitting by the pumpkins.
The Three Besties - Little Gaga, Jack and Rose.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Last Nice Day of the Year Hike

Last week, I took the little B's on a hike up the hill behind our house - we are blessed to be able to walk on this private road, and I've taken them with me a few times since school started, letting them pick blackberries along the way. It is a strenuous hike, because it is pretty steep, but we always have a good time. This particular time, I remembered to bring my camera along, and I'm so glad I did! When the rain comes, it is hard to remember how the sunshine ever looked... Thank goodness I have these reminders!
Right off the bat, we found a furry caterpillar.
Halfway there, at the "switchback."
Of COURSE Brailey was fascinated with the beautiful leaves, and she had to gather them all up and make a lovely bouquet. She was thrilled with all these gorgeous, big leaves!
Halfway back down...
The idea here was for me to take a picture so it looked like they were climbing the branches of this tree. Can you see it? They are so creative!
On the way up, they put the caterpillar in this little bunch of grass. Now, on the return trip, they are trying to see if they can find him. Sadly, he was gone!
You probably can't see him with all the camo, right? I love the sun sparkling on the leaves in the background. And that charming face... It was great walk I will always remember with my beautiful baby B's!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Politics - We All Hate In Others What We Do Ourselves

If there is one thing I don't talk about with certain people, it is politics. And yet, that is always the very thing some of those certain people want to discuss. Ironic, isn't it? I make it a rule to only talk politics with people who have the same opinion as mine, though. Hey - that's my prerogative, right? Or, in political speak, my right. Whatever. To tell you the truth, I just can't take the heat! I can't stand to argue with people and let my blood pressure rise to the boiling point over simple opinions.

Brady hasn't made up his mind which presidential candidate he likes, yet. I have known for quite some time who I like. However, Brady has been a bit irritated with me, because he thinks I am being close-minded and not open to the candidate I don't support. You see, I can't even stand the sight of one of the candidates, and it will be a truly bitter pill for me to swallow if that candidate wins the election.

So this got me thinking about myself and politics, because the last thing I want to be is close-minded. And the conclusion I came to is that I am basically doing what most other Americans are doing, and what we Americans cannot fathom the House and Senate doing. While we would all like for our elected politicians to find some common ground and work together for the greater good, they don't - they stand their ground to the bitter end, and become totally unbendable in their thinking. I have wondered many times why they don't try to work together more. I have to admit, though, that is the very thing I have been doing, and I think most of America does it, as well.

Remember I read that article in O Magazine a few years ago? I have mentioned it many times in this blog - it said what we don't like in other people we are likely doing ourselves. Once again, I can see this principle in action. I have been unbending, in my political views, which is what I can't stand about our elected Democrats and Republicans.

And it all makes me wonder, why are we so afraid to change our way of thinking? What are we scared of? And more than that, what would happen if everyone was more willing to bend and look at the other side of the coin? Like Dr. Phil says, as flat as a pancake is, there are always two sides to it. Frankly, what it all boils down to, is that most of us are too damned judgemental and selfish, myself included, much as I wish it weren't so. My mother-in-law says if you have any religious notions at all, then you shouldn't be judgemental. I agree with her completely, but it is so much easier said than done, isn't it? Then add in politics, where you are basically supposed to "judge" the candidates, and you've really got a mess! Mainly, a mess full of hatred.

Perhaps that is why I am absolutely sick and tired to death of everyone getting so riled up on Facebook and posting their political beliefs. It just doesn't feel good. In fact, it feels hateful. Sure, it is our "right" to share our opinions, but I find it overwhelming and negative and sad. Why do we feel the need to shout our beliefs to the rooftops? And why is it so hard to see the other side of an issue? Why do we behave in ways that we can't tolerate in other people? It has to be said - a lot of Americans are close-minded. Me included. However, I have found myself being more open after analyzing this particular "political" thought.

Whatever the case, I will be glad when this election is over and we can all move on and deal with the cards we are dealt, whoever that may mean in the way of a Commander-in-Chief. No matter if I like the winner of this presidential election or not, I will support our president. I just really, really hope it's the candidate I vote for.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Story of How the Sumo Dude Broke His Leg By Guest Blogger Britt Murray

And the stories just keep on coming! Here is the latest one from Britt. He wrote this in about five minutes on a Sunday evening.

The Story of How the Sumo Dude Broke His Leg
By Britt Murray

Oh no! A baby is on the roof! Bob knew he had to do something, so he started climbing the gutter. But it broke. Well, because he was a sumo dude! But he grabbed on to the telephone wire and...

Got to the top of the building! He realized it was really a crow that kept antagonizing him, then he lost his balance and fell off and landed on an inflatable bed of Ace Ventura.

Then when he went to his checkup, he slipped and broke his leg. The End.

Warning: Do not try this at home!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Alien Sighting and Lights in the Sky by Guest Blogger Brailey Murray

Brailey wrote these two short stories at school one day - I love them! Thank you, Doug Blancero (The Man from New York Who ISN'T My Boss) for giving us the great idea of posting their stories. I think they may have earned their own blog!

Alien Sighting
By Brailey Murray (Newpaper Reporter for the St. Marcus Newspaper)

There has been a UFO spotted at Max Brown's corn field! He said, "I was changing my hose when I saw it. I went to the spot and saw 1,000 dollars worth of corn gone!"

No one knows if it is real and what they wanted with the corn. Who knows?

And another one she wrote in the same packet of school work. The first paragraph was written for her, and she had to finish the story.

Lights in the Sky
By Brailey Murray

[One night while I was doing homework in my room, I heard strange noises outside. I ran out to find a large disk with flashing lights hovering over my house! It was going to land right in my backyard!]

I ran and told Mom and Dad and they looked at it! Mom immediately called 911 and we all took pictures of it, even Britt, my brother. 911 came and said we must have been seeing things. We showed them the pictures, but they were all gone! The camera said, "NO MEMORY" on it!

So all left and I finished my homework. It was sunset and I was feeling gloomy and sick. I went to school the next day and everyone knew about my incident. It was embarrassing!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Introducing ButaBinButaBoom, AKA Boomer

Isn't he beautiful?! This is the latest addition to our family, Boomer, given to us by Brady's sister, Suezy. She gave him to us when we were in Sacramento last month, and it has been a nightmare trying to find a way to get him home. But everything happens for a reason, and there are many things about Boomer that are, to quote Suezy, poetic. First of all, we needed another horse like we needed another cat, but what can we say? It was written in the stars. His name is Butabinbutaboom, but you may have noticed I capitalized the B's in the title of this post. I did this to point out the fact he has FOUR B's in his name. As if that weren't meaning enough, he came to Suezy and her boyfriend, Doug, on the 8th of October in 2010. Sadly, Doug passed away last year on the 8th of October. Here's where it gets even more interesting... Our dear, beloved, good friends, Robert and Stacy Hartley just happened to be going to Las Vegas last week  - they were hauling horses to a horse show there. On their way home from Vegas, they stopped for us in Lodi and picked Boomer up and brought him to us - on the 8th day of October. I kid you not. Suezy had him fixed up so cute - see the ribbon in his hair? His tail was braided and he looked like a diamond in the dust! I can't tell you what a relief it was to us to have the Hartley's haul him for us - I doubt if I will ever be able to convey to them how much it meant to us. Suezy had his papers in a special file with a personal note to me telling me about the 8th of October, which is a date we will always treasure, given the meaning surrounding it. The note made me cry (yes, and you know I don't cry!), because it was filled with beautiful words, and I have to say I feel a real connection with Suezy - she is a real person, and I feel like I can be myself with her. Robert said she and I have a lot in common - we both talk a lot. I took it as a compliment! And so we begin a new chapter in our equine world. My confidence has been lower than a snake since I had a crazy barrel horse and another horse buck me off a couple of years ago. I already feel a connection to Boomer, though, and ironically he looks like the first horse I ever barrel raced on, Herman. Boomer is a race horse, though, and the first thoroughbred we've ever owned, so it is going to be interesting to see what we can do. I think we are going to be great friends, and if I can make him a finished barrel horse for Brailey Shaye by the time she is in high school, we'll all be thrilled. If not, at least all four of us can ride together. Another blessing? He already looks like he is at "home." He had a few nerves to begin with, but by the end of his first day here, he was relaxed and happy. After a few "words" between him and the other horses, they are all settled in, which is a relief to me, because I worry so about such things. Please say a prayer that good things will come for us with Boomer, if you have time. I'm already head over heels in love with him!
 Meeting of the minds?
See his pretty ribbon? He and Maggie, Brady's mare, quickly became best friends. Texi-Man, Brailey's horse, has been devastated, because she used to be "his." But on his second day here, as Tex nickered and trotted up to see her, she trotted right on by to see Boomer, who had also nickered. Fickle female...
My other baby, Alvin. He has been a bit jealous of the attention Boomer's been getting.
Brailey checking on Boom-Boom. She loves him, too! She told me today he is her second favorite horse. After Tex, of course.
Everyone one fed and happy, each in their separate pastures. Another day in paradise!

Cover to How the Witch Robbed the Bank

Britt drew this cover to go with his story from yesterday. Note the hat...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How the Witch Robbed the Bank by Guest Blogger Britt Murray

Britt woke up Monday morning with a terrible, terrible case of Poison Oak. It was bound to happen, and so of course it did, but it is still a miserable experience. Every morning he has woken up with even MORE. We tried sending him to school on Monday (Brady said YES, I said NO), but they sent him home. I called the doctor to get a prescription for him to have some immediate relief, and wouldn't you know they, and several surrounding pharmacies, were out of that particular medicine. Finally, we got the medicine yesterday, and he has taken two doses. However, we still haven't seen much relief from itching an spreading. Send a prayer our way for it to go away soon!
There is a tiny sliver of silver lining, though, because Britt wrote an amazing story yesterday morning, while he sat in the pickup, running errands with Brady. So read on to see his creativity - I know you will enjoy it! (I did change the spelling from what he had, but the words are all his!)

How the Witch Robbed the Bank
By Britt Murray (8 years old)

Once upon a crime there was a witch that hated children. She hated children so bad that she took the risk of going in their house to do something to them. She had every potion imaginable and wore an Abraham Lincoln hat. She had a scary nose and she was really hubba-hubba.

Once day she decided to make a potion that would make her skinny. And if she got tired of being skinny, she made a potion to you-know-what.

She lived in a cave in the woods of Mala Maroo. She lived there so she could collect DoDo Bird eggs and go vampire hunting for Dracula. But what she really liked was GOLD. She mined it and mined it and mined it. Not because she wanted to be rich. Oh no. Because she could put spells on it and give it to children. But then she discovered money and bank robbing.

So she rode her broom to the bank and loaded her pistol and broke in the bank. But little did she know about cops. When the cops surrounded her she didn't know what to do, so she shot her grafeling hook to escape. But the cops started shooting tranquilizer needles at her so she threw an explosive at the cops and robbed the bank. But she couldn't get out, so she just blew up the bank and lived happily ever after. The End!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Funny Pages by The Little B's

The humor of my B's:

This summer, I tried to explain to Britt about having "try." I wanted him to understand about having heart and trying his best and if I recall, it had something to do with the Olympics and how those athletes work so hard and never give up and did Britt know he could be anything he wants to be, as long as he has some try and never gives up. I think he got it. This is what I heard one day when he and Brailey were playing with Legos in his room:

Britt: "See, I had some try and I found it." (Telling Brailey how he found a certain Lego.) Later on, after she asked if he knew where one of the Legos she needed was, he told her "You're going to have to have some try. And then you'll find it."

A month or so later, after Brailey had won an award at the school assembly and the teacher said it was for "always trying her best," Britt said to me, "When I heard the teacher say that, I was so proud, because I thought to myself, 'I taught her that!'" Apparently, he thinks he taught her how to "try" from their Lego conversation.

While Brady was back in the Nebraska a couple of weeks ago, the little B's went up and gathered a bunch of nuts under our "Wilbert" Tree. And they then put the "wilberts" in a pretty jar for Brady as a surprise for when he got home. Filbert, Wilbert - it's all the same, right? It makes me smile every time I hear them talk about our Wilbert Tree. The picture below is what they set on the counter for him (the "wilberts" are in the jar under the "DAD" napkin, tied with a pretty red piece of yarn). Pretty sweet kiddos, huh? They did this all on their own.
And just the other day, Brailey was telling me how much she despises Justin Beiber. His latest song came on the radio and she shared with me just how much she doesn't like him. She said, "I mean, I even like Luke Bryant (a country singer) better than Justin Beiber. And I can't stand Luke Bryant!"

My little B's are so funny and sweet! They're funny and they don't even know it, much like every other kid in the world. But of course, to me, my B's are the funniest!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Post Train Concert Blues

Yes, I've been feeling sorry for myself. Well, not really, but kind of. (I know, don't you love how I never make sense but yet I do?) The Train concert was such a thrill - it couldn't have been a better show! Well, it could have, if it was in the summer and the weather was hotter and the two little B's were there with us to experience it all, and I got to come on stage and have them sing Superman to me or some other awesome song. But other than THAT, it was perfect! Brady and I had the time time of our lives and enjoyed every single second. So what is there to be blue about, you wonder?

Well, for one thing, I think it is like Christmas or anything else you've been looking forward to - you wait and wait and wait and have so much anticipation and excitement, and then it is over, and you're left with the aftermath. You're left with "the end," which is always a little bittersweet. It's like the end of a book you can't put down because it is so good. Or like a listening to a new CD for the first time, and you make through all the songs and then you feel this slight sadness because there aren't any new ones and you know you'll have to wait another couple of years for more. Or the end of a great movie, or an awesome football season. You see what I'm saying? The "letdown" of an experience I waited for for years, truth be told.

I actually had FRONT ROW tickets to see Train a couple of years ago in Seattle with my Nicoley. We were so excited! But the timing wasn't good, and it just didn't feel right, and as the time for the concert got closer, I realized I needed to sell my tickets, which Nicoley graciously agreed with. It was heartbreaking to let go of such an important opportunity, but as soon as I did, my anxiety about it went away. I promised myself I would see them someday...

Fast forward to last week, September 2012, and I was able to realize one of my dreams. And it was worth the wait in so many ways! One, the fact that Brady was there with me was incredibly special. It was the first Date Night we've had in over a year. Two, it was in our own town, Eugene, and the Cuthbert was an amazing stage and venue. Three, our little B's were so happy for us to go, and didn't display even an ounce of jealousy over the fact that they didn't get to see Train. Four, we met some really nice people in the VIP Meet and Greet area, which not only helped to pass the time waiting, but helped to pass the time pleasantly.

The fly in the ointment (a phrase I steal from my mother-in-law) was the Meet and Greet itself. After standing and waiting at the gate for over two hours, we were led in and then told Pat Monahan wasn't feeling well. And let me tell you, when he walked out with Scott and Jimmy, it was obvious he really wasn't himself. He looked worn out and absolutely beat. And Brady and I felt sorry for him, because there he was, still trying to "be there" for his fans. Like Brady said, "I can relate with how he is feeling." Before Brady became Mr. Montana, he was wore out all the time. So there was this sort of sadness in the atmosphere at the Meet and Greet, which led to a slight feeling of disappointment, and then shame at feeling disappointed.

More than feeling bad for Pat for feeling bad and still having to be "on," though, I realize I am disappointed because meeting a celebrity can never live up to your expectations, whether they are happy and healthy or not. Train has meant so much to me, and I've related and depended on their music so much, I wanted them to understand my gratitude towards them. That's the funny thing about celebrities, though, isn't it? When they touch you, you want to touch them back and matter to them as much as they matter to you. Not only is that not realistic, it's ridiculous and selfish and pompous of me. Still, I believe it is human nature to want to matter in this world. And maybe it is human nature to want to matter to people you are touched by.

In a perfect setting, I would sit down with Train and Brady and Brailey and Britt and ask them about life on the road and do they know how cool it is when we are at a rodeo or a PBR and one of their songs is played, how it sounds a hundred times better than the radio or home stereo and it is almost like they are RIGHT THERE singing it? I would share with them that I always thought I would make a good rock star wife (were Brady a rock star!), because I know how it is to travel from town to town and to get there and do your thing and move on to the next rodeo and do it all over again and isn't it cool how there are so many similarities between the life of a rodeo cowboy/girl and a musician on tour? I would talk to them about religion and spirituality and how do they think of those lyrics and riffs and what's it like to never have privacy in today's world of the Internet and paparazzi? And I would brag on Brady and my little B's and how our family is made up of B's, which makes me the Queen B and when we hear that line about the bee throne in their song, we always smile. And after meeting us and spending a little bit of time with us, we would matter to them and they would think, "That's a cool bunch of B's."

You didn't know I was such a dreamer, did you? Don't ever (unless you want to) get me started on what I would say to Steven Tyler. Aerosmith is my next favorite band, under Train, and I just know Steven Tyler would love Brady and I and we could have the best conversation in the world!

So now life goes on, just like it always does, whatever the circumstance. And I'm so happy to have met Train, if you can call it that, and to at least have a picture of them with Brady and I. It is a memory I will always cherish! Once I get over these post concert blues, that is.

Monday, October 1, 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...