Friday, May 31, 2013

Britt's First Mini Swim Meet

Britt has been working so hard in his swimming practices! He has been playing a little "catch-up" for his age and swim group, but he's made great strides and still loves to swim. His first "Mini Meet" was on Wednesday, and he and I were both nervous. Neither one of us knew what was going to happen or how things were going to go. And I had to leave him on his own! I'm used to being right with my kiddos to help them with whatever need be, so it was a little tough on me, but so good for Britt. And he made it just fine! He was a super star! He wrote his events on his arm, just like his coach told him to. Once we got to the meet, we discovered we also need to have the "event number" and the "heat number" on there, as well. So we added that, and he was good to go!
 I was all the way up on the balcony, taking these pictures. (I really need to get a new camera - the lens on this one has had it!) He smiled for me - such a sweet boy!
 Here you can see a few nerves...
Ready to go! He made it to every single event on time and ready to roll. We are so proud of him it is hard to express! He won his first heat, which was the backstroke, and was second in his heat of the breaststroke. Freestyle didn't go as well, but he still did an amazing job, and he is thrilled with himself, and that is all that matters!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wood Cutting Expedition

The reason Papa wasn't so excited about going out to the Titus Ranch (see previous post below) is because he wanted to go wood cutting. So we had to teach him a bit about the art of compromise, and we talked him into going to the forest the next day, which wasn't as nice weather-wise, but we did get two pickup loads full of wood, and even better, we had a fabulous time, rain and all! A little rain doesn't bother us "valley rats." After driving for what seemed like miles upon miles, we found my dad's "ideal" spot for cutting wood. He and my mom had been up there a couple of weeks ago and spent some time camping and, can you guess? Cutting wood! Although their wood shed is now near to bursting with wood, my dad thinks they need just "one more load of wood" to get them through the winter. In case you haven't guessed it, cutting wood is my dad's idea of a good time - he loves the forest and he loves being in it and working - he is so dang fit and healthy it is amazing!  
 Britt spent most of the day building this fort. He did a great job and had a ton of fun! 
Hot dog roast! There's just no better way to cook a hot dog than over a fire, is there?
  A bear took this picture for us... Ha-ha-ha! (My handy-dandy tripod!)
Note the camera in Brailey's hand. She spent most of her day taking pictures - some cool ones, too!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mag-Doll and Boomer - From the Titus Ranch to Home-Sweet-Home

Maggie and Boomer have been getting some training for the past few weeks (months, for Boomer), and we were so excited to see what they learned and to pick them up this weekend, which we did! Todd Titus and Brady are old friends, and it has been really special for them to rekindle their friendship. They used to rodeo and work together, and then Todd moved to Harney County, where he has been training and shoeing horses ever since. We had a big time spending the day with him on his ranch just outside of Crane!
 Todd is giving Britt a mini-lesson (picture above) on how to use his legs with Maggie. 
Watching the action from the pickup. Papa didn't want to come with us, but we forced him and Grandma to come along! After all, who wouldn't want to spend a day with The 4 B's, right?
 The World Famous Todd Titus, horse trainer extraordinaire. 
 Brailey got a turn on Mag-Doll, as well, and had a great time loping her around the arena. Before long, she was practicing her "Queen Wave." Oh yah... She has designs on a future courtship!
 Big Daddy and Britt riding double on Maggie. I think my mom or Brailey must have taken this picture, because I didn't. I was in the barn riding the steed you see below, Boom-Boom!
 Same guy, different horse.
 And after a long ride home, here they are, enjoying belly-deep green grass! I wonder if Boomer has ever been in a pasture like this before? 
 And Mag-Doll is happy to be home! She is actually walking in the picture above - the grass is that tall!  Below, she and Boomer are across the fence from each other, but I thought it was a fun picture. They became fast friends in the trailer on the ride home. Can you tell who is who?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend 2013 - First Cemetery Visit

We had perfect weather and probably the best time anyone has ever had decorating graves for Memorial Day. The little B's had never been to a cemetery before in their young lives. They were a little apprehensive to begin with, but once they understood the concept, they were thrilled to help clean and decorate my grandparents' and uncle's graves. We took before and after pictures, and then made our way around the cemetery to decorate and visit other graves. Brailey didn't want to leave! She loved seeing all her "relatives!" She couldn't believe she was related to so many people. Like my mom said, it is lucky they haven't had to experience a cemetery any other way, because if they had, it wouldn't have been quite as much fun. As it was, they really enjoyed themselves, and frankly, so did my mom and I!
Cleaning and preparing the graves for decoration. This grave (Maupin) is for my mom's parents, and it sits next to their son, my Uncle Bud. 
Britt was trying to see if he could hear anything "down there." 

This is my dad's father, "Papa Pud" as we called him. 
This is  the Catholic priest who baptized and gave first communion to my mom, brother and I. He was the first priest  I ever met, and we all loved him. He was Irish and all I remember about him is how special he made me feel and how much I loved him. He used to come and stay with us on the ranch. I remember when he passed away, my mom and Aunt Renee were devastated. We all were. His grave is at the head of the Catholic section in the Burns Cemetery, now. It was nice to see that he was ordained on June 6th, a special day in our family, since it is Brailey's birthday!
The alter at the top of the Catholic section of the cemetery.
This precious grave is for my cousin Robin, whom I never got to meet. Brailey found a spare flower to lay next to it. I remember my dad carried a picture in his wallet of her for years and years, until he lost his entire wallet one day. That picture of her was what he was most upset about losing. We searched the Willamette Valley over, but it still hasn't turned up. Brailey and Britt were especially touched by this grave.  
Brailey did not want to leave! She truly loved looking at all the graves and seeing what the names were. "I found another Mace!" she cried with joy at one point. 
I'm so thankful we were able to help my mom decorate at the cemetary this Memorial Day and to experience such a special time doing it. It is a beautiful memory that will be with us always.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fifth Grade Talent Show - Brailey

So many exciting things are happening at the end of the fifth grade. For starters, this week, they had orientation at Monroe Middle School for parents - last week was for the kids, and Brailey is very excited to be in middle school next year. I wasn't able to attend, because Brailey and I had a mandatory 4-H Record Book Check that we had to be at in Albany. But of course I picked up my packet from the office at the school, and although I held it together while I was inside the building, as soon as I got to my car, the tears came! Yes, I know, Big Mama doesn't cry. Hardly ever! But I can hardly bear the thought of her going to such a big school and not being at Buena Vista any longer. It took me the rest of the day and night to get over my sadness. 
On a much happier note, though, they had the Fifth Grade Talent Show, and Brailey demonstrated her roping skills, which she has been working very hard on. It was a big hit and she caught the roping dummy all three times! Then she asked the principal, Sr. Cuadros, to come up and try it. She did this to prove that it isn't as easy as it looks. All the fifth graders who participated in the show did  a great job, and it was a lot of fun! It isn't easy to get up in front of parents and siblings and classmates to perform! Brady and I were super, super proud of our Shaye-Shaye, especially Brady, who has been working with her and helping her perfect her loop. Next is learning how to do it on her horse and roping a live animal - she's ready! I was thrilled we all got to be there (even Britt, who we pulled out of class and who was more proud than even Brady and I were)! Brady busted his chops to get from his stores to the show, but he made it! And a good time was had by all... 
Fifth Graders who participated in the Talent Show

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Brailey's 5th Grade Track Meet

A week ago today, Brailey participated in the 5th Grade Track Meet, which was held at Sheldon High School's Track, this year - a nice short walk for Buena Vista kiddos! Although it had been raining all morning (poor fourth graders had their track meet first), it cleared up in the afternoon and was the perfect temperature for running and jumping and throwing. Brailey had a big time and was thrilled when she won her heat of the 50 Yard Dash. She also ran the 100 Yard Dash, the 400 and then a 4 x 100 Relay for fun. In between that, she did the standing long jump. Tough work for those long legs of hers! She came home with lots of ribbons and a smile on her face for the rest of the day. Here are some pictures of her and her buddies, all having a fabulous time and loving every second of the track meet. 
Brailey and her teacher, Sra. Bradley. Brailey has loved being in her classroom this year and  Sra. Bradley shared with me that Brailey is ready for middle school. YIKES! She also told me she has enjoyed having Brailey very much and that she is a wonderful example to other kids, always saying  PLEASE and THANK YOU. Good job, Brailey Shaye!

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...