Thursday, February 28, 2013

OBOB - Oregon Battle of the Books 2013: A Year of Great Success!

Here they are, the Oregon Battle of the Books (affectionately known as "O-bob") Champions of Buena Vista, "Third Time's A Charm!" One of their team members was sick on the day of the Final Battle, so there are actually five of them, but these four pulled out a strong win and earned the top spot. We are so proud of them! They are five of the nicest kids in the entire school, and I'm not the only one to think so. They are so sweet and smart and yes - CHARMING! Their parents could not be more proud of them nor more excited for them to go on to the Regional OBOB Meet in a couple of weeks. I'll keep you posted on how it goes...
We could see their nerves as they walked in - while us parents were telling them good luck, I said, "Let's say a quick prayer." And so we circled around and Kristin, Jonah's sweet mom, said a wonderful prayer for them. It was such a a special moment and it brought tears to all the mother's eyes. I will never forget that space in time. And it might just be me who thought this, I don't know... But after the prayer, they seemed to calm down and breathe and focus and it was just a magical moment. Four of them are basically Catholic and one is Mormon, so they all know a thing or two about prayer. And nobody knew we did it except for us - to the rest of the school, it likely looked like a quick pep talk. It was.
Here you see Brady and Chris, Jonah's Dad, as they watched. Chris kept score for us, which was very helpful for our nerves as we saw the progression of points. They did so well! We all got a kick out of Brailey's facial expressions as she battled - she was precious. Just naturally animated - we could tell if the team knew the answer or not based on her face. It was darling!
 Here you see their teacher taking their picture after they had just won. Very happy kids! 
And the two supporting brothers, Daniel and Britt, who also happen to be best friends. They were allowed to watch the entire battle, since their siblings were in it. And they were part of their own team that did very well for their first year of competition! I believe they ended up third or fourth in the entire school, so that is excellent, and we are super proud of them, as well! Both teams have been working hard on reading these books since last June, with their summer book clubs. That's dedication!
 Third Time's A Charm - Buena Vista OBOB Champions
 Brailey and her best friend, Carrie. These two are kindred spirits and adorable together. 
 Book Breathing Dragons
I finally managed to capture a picture of the Book Breathing Dragons, Britt's OBOB team, after their Hawaiian recital. They are a smart, wonderful group of boys, and now that they have experienced OBOB for themselves (vs. just hearing about it from their older siblings), they are greatly inspired, and I look for great things from them during next year's Oregon Battle of the Books.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Our Crafty Valentines

No, I'm not the "craftiest" person when it comes to making things, but we did manage to make some pretty cute homemade Valentines, this year. See what you think and let me know by leaving a comment below... Brady was worried the kids at school wouldn't like them, but there is always so much candy and so many store bought Valentines, the little B's and I thought it would be fun to do something different. What can we say? We tried something new!
Happy Anniversary to my parents, a.k.a. Grandma and Papa! 
For Grandma Diggy...
 For school.
And these are their Valentine Shirts from Grandma and Papa, which they wore today for their class parties.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ash Wednesday Ashes

You can barely see Brady's ashes, but they are on there! We enjoyed a wonderful mass, last night, and we are already enjoying our Lenten Journey, which we will share with you along the way. Brady gave up fizz (pop), I gave up peanuts, Britt gave up candy and Brailey is giving three compliments to three different people every day. We are also making a fun banner about our acts of kindness. And we are even looking forward to going to confession sometime in the next 40 days. What can we say? We truly love being Catholic!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Germs, Germs and More Germs

I'm Bo, and I'm a Germ-A-Phobic, and I've been this way since shortly after my children were born... Yes! I admit it! Germs FREAK ME OUT! And guess what? They are EVERYWHERE! Ironically, I used to think a lady I worked with back in college who was a bigger Germ Phobic than me was kind of strange. Okay, fine - I even made fun of her with my friends, and yes, I regret it, and no it wasn't nice. My only excuse is that I was young and dumb. Still, it was wrong, and now I admire her persistence in being careful. She did all the things I find myself doing, now, such as using her sleeve to touch elevator buttons and to open doors - not only do I do this, I cringe when one of my B's just grabs the handle bare handed. THE GERMS!

I found myself getting even crazier about germs when Brailey was sick last week. I sprayed the areas of the house she had contaminated with Lysol. I did what I could, you know? And I wasn't as diligent as I could have been, but I found myself being filled with anger at people who send their kids to school before they are well. I don't understand why people do this? Brailey's teacher was so sweet about her being gone, and she said parents keep sending their kids back before they are well, and not only does this SPREAD THE VIRUS TO EVERYONE ELSE, it makes it harder for those kiddos to get well themselves.

I get that it is inconvenient when a kid is sick. It throws off your schedule, and causes stress and worry. I know I am lucky I can be home with my babies when they are ill - that is a blessing! But I still find it downright repulsive when people send kids to school before they are well.

My poor Brailey Shaye was sicker than she has ever been, and she's been through pneumonia, tonsillitis and a couple of other bouts with the flu over the years. This time, her temperature made it all the way up to 104.8, and kept climbing back up there after the fever reducers wore off. She lost her voice, her throat was on fire, she vomited, and then it turned into constant sneezing and snot, which made her entire nose and upper lip a mess of raw flesh. Seven days of misery until she even started feeling better!

So in my germ-infested household, I found myself becoming even more terrified of germs than usual. For example, I saw Britt's LIBRARY BOOK on the counter by the toilet, and I thought, "I wonder how many kids read their library book while they do their business on the toilet?" DISGUSTING! I bet a lot... And then they wipe, and do they wash their hands or go straight back to the book? AHHHHHHHHHHHH! And I have long warned my children to NEVER-EVER-EVER-UNDER-ANY-CIRCUMSTANCES, even if they are DYING of thirst, use a drinking fountain. Think of how many kids go to the bathroom and spread their poo and pee right onto the handle? Which lead me to caution Britt on the monkey bars - same thing, right? He LOVES the monkey bars, but what about all those GERMS?! And the days of running barefoot and carefree through the grass? Forget about that - how many dogs and cats have pooed and peed there? DISGUSTING!

I try to keep my phobia in check, but it is hard. My family knows I am a little crazy about it, and I think it is wearing off on them, also. Which makes me happy! I'm so glad Britt has issues with toilets away from home, because I really don't want him using the ones at school. And I have trained Brailey to always put paper down when she has to go the bathroom at school. Oh, and porta pottys? We NEVER use them, unless it is an absolute EMERGENCY situation. The mere thought of a porta potty makes me cringe... Total and complete filth!

Anyway, the point being, if everyone were more careful of germs, and stayed home when they were sick, and had better hygiene, perhaps there wouldn't be so much sickness running rampant though society. Although sometimes, I think ignorance is bliss, because if you don't think about germs the way I do, they don't bother you. Still, wouldn't it be nice if everyone kept their germs to themselves?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Brittster Man Turns (Gulp!) Nine

Here he is, still as an eight-year-old, going off on his first traveling adventure with his dad, all by himself! What was supposed to be a fun pre-birthday weekend full of swimming and fun in Yakima WA (for the PBR) with all 4 B's ended up being just the two of them, due to Brailey being super sick. So there was some sadness, for all of us. Brailey because she was so sick and couldn't go swimming, Britt because he really wanted to go swimming with his best friend, Brailey, and he is a Mama's Boy, me because Britt has never been on a trip like this without me to take care of him (clothes, Bluey, teeth, sleep), and Brady because he is like me, and likes it when we are all together. And although I think we all felt like crying (well, maybe not Brady) when they left, it was time for Britt to go in this new direction and he is so lucky he was able to go with Brady on a "manly" journey. Lord knows he spends enough time with girls - he's got the sensitive down, now for the "tough" of being a man, right? A new stage for him. And even though it was hard for me to let my baby boy go, I knew it would be good for the two of them, and it was. They had a blast together! The pool was the warmest pool they've ever been in, they said, and they even managed to score a brand new Nerf gun along their way at a yard sale. And Britt was so happy to see us when he got home! It warmed my heart to watch him as he tore through his bag, clothes flying in every direction, to show Brailey his new toy. The two of them talked and talked and talked all afternoon long. By evening, he was back in his spot by my side, snuggling as we watched Ax Men on TV.
And then he woke up as a nine-year-old!
He opened his gifts from Grandma and Papa first thing, so he would know what to pick out when he went shopping after school. That is one of our traditions - we don't buy birthday presents beforehand. We give a certain amount of money and let them shop, which they love and look forward to. We do this instead of parties - we learned it from our beloved Lambert family, and it is a wonderful tradition, if you are looking for one. Instead of spending money on a party, which can get quite expensive, we put that money towards a shopping spree. So it was nice for him to have some presents to open, too, from Grandma and Papa, and a great way to start the day. They spoiled him, big time!
I brought treats to his classroom, and he was so happy to hand them out, along with a cool pencil and monkey eraser, which was a big hit with all his classmates. His teacher remarked how kind it was of him to give them presents on his birthday. The class sang Happy Birthday to him in Spanish, of course, and I learned later that the entire lunch room also sang to him, because his big sister let the cafeteria know it was his special day. He said he had butterflies in his stomach as he had to walk up in front of everyone, but he loved every second of it.
And here he is, finally back at home after running to three different stores and Dairy Queen to pick up the cake. Another tradition of ours is to go out for a Birthday Dinner, but Britt decided he wanted Little Ceasar's pizza at home, because he would have more time to play with his new toys. Smart boy! So Brady grabbed the pizzas on his way home, and we feasted on pizza and A&W root beer and later on, ice cream cake!
I think this is the cutest cake he's ever had! I love this...! Perfect for our Lego theme. And of course you can't go wrong with an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. It was delicious!
And here is the big sister, finally getting back to good health. She was down for 7 days with the flu - it is the sickest she has ever been, but she's a tough little cowgirl, and she is bouncing back from it all. She and Britt had to battle it out in OBOB on his birthday, which I will write more about later, and her team is in the final battle next week! We are so proud of her team and Britt's as well.

The only fly in the ointment on Britt's birthday was the end, which he had a hard time coping with. He didn't want to stop building with this new Legos, and he didn't want the day to end. We talked about how hard it is to feel this way, and how it is normal. Birthdays are a big deal in this family, and we celebrate them as big as we can, but it is always sad when they are over. The letdown is tough. Fortunately, Valentine's Day is around the corner!

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Millenium Trilogy

I'm sure you've heard of them - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, by Stieg Larsson, the Swedish author who tragically died of a heart attack shortly after turning in the manuscripts that became a huge best selling series of books. I waited to read them, because everyone I talked to who had read them raved about how good they were, and I didn't want to have to wait in between books. And I'm so glad I made that decision! And my friends didn't steer me wrong, either - the books are fantastic!

I highly recommend reading them all in a row, if you haven't yet, because they are actually one big story. One leads right into the next. What makes them so fascinating, though, are the stories within the story itself. I read online there is actually the beginning of a fourth novel. However, because Stieg didn't marry his girlfriend of many years, his estate (including his book rights) went to his dad and brother, and although the girlfriend would like to finish and release the fourth book, she refuses to unless the dad and brother relinquish rights to the books, which they won't. Apparently, she helped Stieg write the Millennium Series, so it is a real shame the dad and brother won't bend. It is likely all about the money, isn't it? One would think they have enough by now, but they want more. Greed... Ironically, this is one of the themes of the series.

I loved the main character, Lisbeth Salander, so much I wish I could be even a tenth as amazing and tough as she is. I hate to admit this, but I had to force myself to put these books down. They brought new meaning to the word "gripping," for me. I shared a little bit of the story with my B's, of course, and even they were fascinated. Lisbeth is something special, that's for sure. And of course Mikael Blomkvist, the other main character, was extra cool for me, because I was able to picture him as Daniel Craig in my mind, because that is who played him in the Dragon Tattoo movie. My James Bond, remember? I do love him...

So if you haven't read the books, and you are looking for some stimulating reading material, pick these up. As my friends told me, it is a bit tough in the beginning, because there is a lot of Swedish mumbo jumbo, but it is all useful information, and before you realize it, you will be hooked!

And now, I am dying to see the movie, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, although I am disappointed from the previews, because they made Lisbeth incredibly ugly, and she isn't like that in the book. Why did they do that? I heard it kind of ruined the movie, but for me, I still have to see it, because I know the story, so it won't matter as much to me how she looks, (theoretically, right?). Lisbeth will always be a hero, living in my head as characters from my favorite books do. She ranks right up there with Elphaba (from the Wicked Series, by Gregory Maguire), TullyandKate (from Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah and yes, the names are supposed to be squished together like that) and all the characters from Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. Reading... I love it!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Finding Your Nazareth

During his homily one Saturday evening mass, Father David talked about "finding your Nazareth." He talked about how he would soon be visiting his hometown in Nebraska, where he grew up, and he was excited to say a mass for the first time in the church where he grew up. This place is his "Nazareth." He was referring to when Jesus came back home to Nazareth after being gone for many years, and he ended his homily asking us where our Nazareth was. Interesting question, isn't it? In other words, where is your base? Where do you think of as "home?"

Interestingly enough, as Brady and I talked about this later, we both came to the same conclusion - our Nazareth is not a place. For us, it is our family, The 4 B's. And I would have to add in my parents to the mix, as well, because they are always there for me when I need them. But isn't it interesting that both Brady and I would choose people over a place?

The moral of the story (or this blog post, at least) is that for Brady and I, home is where the heart is, and we are so grateful to have found each other at this stage of our lives, and we feel more blessed than words can say to have our two precious B's.

However, I do hope that our little B's will grow up with a bit of both people and place in their "Nazareth." I hope our little homestead will always be a place they want to return to. And I hope they will always turn to us when they need parental love or guidance as they face the inevitable hardships life will throw at them.

As I think about this, I think God would be proud of us for putting people over a place. Because when you get right down to it, nothing matters more than the love of your immediate family. And to take it a step farther, I think Father David was referring to people, as well. His family is in Nebraska, and he grew up in a very small town where everyone knew everyone and everyone's business (I can relate). To take it even one more step, if you look at people who have lost their way, people who are unhappy and mean and arrogant, they have lost their Nazareth. And we all need a Nazareth - we all need a place to turn when the chips are down.

You've heard it said "the family that prays together stays together." I believe this. I believe in having faith and I depend on faith - being Catholic is part of my Nazareth, as well. I find a lot of comfort in my religion. And I believe God's love is the world's Nazareth. Hmmmmmm... This is a bit deep, isn't it? Perhaps it requires more thought. What is your Nazareth?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Eugene PBR 2013

 My darling little B's, ready to shine at the Eugene PBR. 
 Dressed for success - note all the Montana Silversmiths jewelry... You can't believe how much fun it is to wear such beautiful silver!
 At the World Famous Matthew Knight Arena - this is such a nice venue! We are so lucky to have this kind of facility in town. What a perfect place for a PBR!
 Having fun in the stands...
I thought it was cool how these two bulls have similar marking on their backs and were standing right next to each other. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Longer Days - I Can See the Light!

Although I am depressed when the time changes in the fall, I am always thrilled when Winter Solstice hits, because I know what it means... The shortest days are OVER and the longer days are on their way! Already, the days are longer, and it is staying light outside longer. I love this! Frankly, I don't understand the philosophy behind the time change in the fall, but I do understand one thing - longer days mean summer is coming, and that is something I live for. I LOVE THE SUN! And sunshine and long, hot, sunny days. Can I get a "whoop-whoop" for summer? It is coming soon, to a life near you!

So Far, So Good

The first two weeks of school are under our belts, we are well into the third already and so far, so good! Honestly, I wasn't sure wha...