Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Special Treatment

Check out these sweet notes I've been getting under my pillow almost every night for the past few weeks. All from Britt, my sweet Mama's Boy. See? I told you he was the sweetest boy in the world! I asked him why he's been giving me so many wonderful notes, and he said "Because! You're getting the Special Treatment." Well I have to say, I dearly love the "Special Treatment." Although not nearly as much as I love my Brittster Man! Although I have to admit I am getting spoiled, and sometimes, when he forgets to leave me a note, I feel a little pinch of sad. My favorite part is the arrow he draws, which he leaves out from under the pillow, pointing to the rest of the note that is under the pillow. Makes me smile every time! Someday, he is going to make one incredible husband. People can make fun of Mama's Boys all they want - I couldn't be prouder of mine! Oh, and just so you know? These are only a handful of the notes I've been getting. Am I a lucky, blessed mama or what? Blessed, I tell you! Blessed.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

OMSI Experience - Mummies of the World and More!

Brady and I have always wanted to take the little B's to OMSI. And our entire family loves history and science (okay, not our entire family loves science, just history - I personally do not love science like the rest of the B's). When we saw the "Mummies of the World" ad on TV, we knew we had to make it happen. We loaded up on Saturday and made our way to Portland and had a wonderful time! Poor Brady had just been down that same freeway the day before, but he was a trooper, and I think he enjoyed the OMSI experience as much as our kiddos did. We timed it perfectly, although we didn't try to, and we only had to wait in line for a few minutes. By the time we were done, the line was ten times longer - thank goodness for small favors! Anyway, it was a great day and well worth the few minutes spent standing in line. If you can go before it is over (September 8th), you should! Mummies are incredibly interesting, and so is OMSI. Another great summer adventure for The 4 B's! (By the way, you can't take pictures of the mummies, so that is why there aren't pictures from that part of our visit.)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Which Goes Faster - The Beginning or The End?

Watching the gold fish after cleaning the horse trough. Job well done! And they did it all on their own. 

Which goes faster? The beginning or the end? Of summer, that is... I was thinking about this the other day. I always find myself trying really hard not to think about school starting, even though it is inevitable, during this time of the summer, which is near the end. It just zips by so quickly! But which one comes faster? The beginning, or the end? I think the end... The beginning comes in a flurry of anticipation and end-of-school-year activities that makes that last push toward summer come quickly, but to tell you the truth, summer can never come fast enough for me. If I could figure out a way to hold on to summer forever, I would do it in a heartbeat! As I was contemplating which part of the summer flies by the fastest, I found myself feeling a bit jealous of people who don't have to dread September. Then I gave myself a good mental shake, because thank God my kids are still young enough that I can dread it! Thank God they are still here with us to take care of, unlike those poor families in Newtown, Connecticut who have a much bigger pain than mine to deal with (not even comparable, in fact). I thank God for my babies every day.

It's been a wonderful summer for us. I don't ever remember having a "bad" summer, truthfully. But this year, we took the time to do what we 4 B's wanted to do. We made ourselves and our time a priority. And it felt good! Except now it is coming to an end, and my heart is hurting already, as I listen to my B's build with their Legos and talk back and forth to each other, and I think about how quiet it is going to be without that endless, happy chatter that is pure music to my ears.

This year I am more anxious than usual, due to the fact that Brailey will be starting Middle School. Even though her teacher last year assured me she is more than ready for Middle School. And even though Brailey herself is confident and excited to be in sixth grade. I heard an ad for homeschooling on the radio just this morning, and I wished for a brief second that I could be one of those moms that could keep my kids home and go that route. But ultimately, Brailey is my shy one, and she needs the social interaction and the challenge of pushing herself to participate in group settings. And Britt is such a social butterfly, I don't think he would thrive without his companions.

The other factor causing a bit more anxiety than normal is the scheduling between the two different schools this year. It was such a blessing for the past three years to have both kiddos at the same school and on the same schedule! Now, Britt will be starting almost an hour ahead of Brailey, and he will also be getting out an hour earlier. With swim practice and volleyball and riding, I am worried about how we will manage to get everything done. Not to mention homework, stall cleaning and my job - when are we going to work all this in? Living out of town like we do makes time even more precious, to say the least. We spend more time in our car than the average family, that's a fact.

Whatever the case, it will happen just how it is meant to happen, and although I am nervous, I know it will all be okay. We'll find a rhythm, just like other families do, and everything will get done. Priorities will be made and rearranged to meet our needs. And some things just might have to go by the wayside. We'll just take it one day at a time. In the meantime, we will keep trying to hold on to the end of summer as it slips through our fingers like sand held too tightly. Looking back, we have some wonderful memories to carry us through to next summer, and we even have some tricks up our sleeves for the vacation we have left to enjoy.

Tell me, though - which is it for you? Is it the beginning or the end that goes by the fastest? I wish it didn't have to go by at all. I wish summer would just come and stay.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Newport Excursion

Last week, we found ourselves tagging along with Brady as he visited his dealers on the coast. So while he was busy working, we went and had fun! Our first stop was Nye Beach in Newport. The weather was perfect! No wind, no cold and just a weensy bit of light mist. The B's tried telling me the water was even warmish, but I didn't trust their story... Good thing, too, because after wading in it for a while, they eventually fessed up that the water was pretty chilly! 
And then, we found a candy shop! They really wanted to find one, too, so this was a big thrill for them. Their Aunti Nicoley introduced them to one in Coos Bay, so I guess they think all coast towns have candy shops? What can we say - it was their lucky day!
From the candy shop to the Wax Museum, to Ripley's Believe It Or Not, and then we ended our "tour" with The Undersea Gardens. It was all super cool, and they loved every second of it! It was a great summer adventure and an awesome day. We can't wait to go back!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mr. Montana in Action at the Coastal Clothing Fair

The little B's and I got to see Brady in action at Coastal's Clothing Fair last week. He was amazing! We helped him decorate his table the day before, which Brailey Shaye was thrilled to do - she loves to decorate! Unfortunately, his box of giveaways didn't get delivered to our house until the day of the show, but the silver lining (pun intended!) is that we got to see him shine (pun intended again!). We zipped up the freeway to deliver the goods to him, which the Coastal employees were very happy to receive, and I snapped a few pictures and a video, which you can see below. He is such a rock star! He is an amazing public speaker, and we were super proud of him. And the best thing of all? The lady in charge of the event said his table was the nicest one there, and he set the bar for all future Clothing Fairs! All her employees were really impressed with the table and Brady and Montana Silversmiths in general, so that was nice to hear and made Brady happy (which made him appreciate the pain of putting up with Brailey and I decorating his table the day before - ha!). I have always known what a star Brady is, but to see him up close and in person was still impressive, even if only for a few minutes. Way to go, Big Daddy!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Lost Art of Being Grateful

Yes, the lost art of  being grateful - I say "art," because lately, it is so rare to find true, heartfelt gratitude, it is more of an art than a regular behavior! I think being grateful is the secret to life, and I am trying hard to teach this to my little B's. Hence, they find themselves writing many thank you cards.

Just the other day, I made Britt write a thank you card to each of his swim coaches. There were some parents collecting money for a "group" gift, but I don't think it teaches kids anything if parents simply give money to a gift card cause. We got the coaches gift cards, also, but I wanted Britt to be the one to say "THANK YOU" and to actually give the cards to his coaches. Sure, I could have saved myself some grief, because it isn't always fun to insist on hand written thank yous. But you know what? It is a useful skill for the future of my little B's. And a little handwriting practice is never a bad thing. Brailey herself had to write two thank you cards today - one to our neighbor, who gave her a bag of her granddaughter's clothes, and one to our vet for his extra help with her horse.

Here are my pet peeves and what I do not consider proper thank yous (you know, in case you were wondering):

Parents saying thank you for their kid's gift. Please, have the kid do the thanking. This is a skill he/she will "thank" you for later.

Facebook thank yous. One word - lazy.

Text message thank yous. Two words - even lazier.

A one-liner thank you card. Why even bother? At least say why you are thankful and what the gift means to you.

No thank you at all. Very offensive behavior.

Brady and I recently donated items to an auction, and we have yet to be thanked for donating the items by the person the auction benefited. We were more than happy to help out, but we won't be helping that cause in the future, because that organization needs to learn how to say a proper thank you. What we did receive is a thank you via Facebook from the event coordinator. Needless to say, we did not find this satisfactory.

Am I being a hard ass? Am I being negative? Am I being judgmental? You can think that if you want to, but being grateful is not a difficult skill to master. So my answer to those questions is "no, not at all." Saying thank you is positive and helpful in many, many ways. It benefits the person getting thanked and the person doing the thanking. Positive, happy feelings both ways! Win-win.

I am really sick and tired of people not being grateful. And the reason is simple - it hurts my feelings! Yes, I am sensitive. But Brady and I are in complete agreement when it comes to gratitude. In fact, Brady is the one who taught me to say, "Thank you for the good service!" to waiters/waitresses, baristas, gas station attendants, checkers... Anyone who is kind to us, we thank.

And by the way? Thank you for reading this blog!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - SUMMER!

Yes, it's the hap-happiest time of the year! If only summer could last all year long, we would be happy, happy, happy all the time (can you tell we are HUGE Duck Dynasty fans?). Last week was full of a variety of activities. Something new every day! Above, you see Britt with his ribbons from the Mini Swim Meet. We love ribbons! Below, Britt's swim team had a fun day at Chuck E. Cheese's, instead of practice. So both of the little B's had a big time. We forgot how much fun it is to go there - now we want to go again!
These two... It was hot for a couple of days, so they got up in the rafters of the barn (without their mother's knowledge, or she would have helped them!) and drug this old thing down. They still fit it in! Barely... Hey, what can we say? It worked! They had a great time, and they got cooled off in the process. Nothing like a kiddie pool full of water to create some fun in the sun.
 Can you see the heart?
(Hint - it is in the picture above.)
And to continue the swim team fun, they had a Last Day Fun Day, as they called it, which was held at Amazon. We brought the Lamberts along with us - we even picked them up in the Roughie to make the adventure more exciting. Unfortunately, they didn't get to swim for very long, because they had an award ceremony at the beginning of the time slot they were allowed. But it was wonderful to have the Lamberts there with us to celebrate Britt's award, which was the "Hard Worker Award!" He was so proud and excited to get this, and we are thrilled that his hard work was noticed. He has awesome coaches! And the little Lamberts and the little B's still managed to have a great time together, short though it was. We never feel like we have enough time with the Lamberts.
 BEST-best friends, cousins, brothers and sisters... These four kiddos are as close as they come! And damn good looking, too. Not to mention happy! They love being together. I love them...
Brailey Shaye and Big Daddy were able to go for a ride on Saturday evening. Maggie got her stitches/staples out on Friday, and her poor pumpkin nose is healing nicely! Our vet said she was a "model patient" getting them removed. The pink stuff on her face is medicine she has to have on for a couple of weeks, and then she should be good as new.
Summertime... It goes by so quickly, but we always have great ones! This summer has been different from any other, which makes me realize every summer is a new adventure. Some of my most favorite memories are from the summer. Ahhhhh, summertime. Truly the most wonderful time of the year!

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Wilsons Come to the Valley

Last week we were able to see my Aunt Sharon and Uncle Jim, and not in Harney County - they came to the valley! We got to see them right before they played a round of golf at the Shadow Hills Golf Club in Junction City. They were in a golf tournament in Salem for the weekend, and stopped in Junction City to play 18 holes before they made their way farther north. So the little B's and I jetted out to see them, and as luck would have it, we caught them just before they started their play. Even though it was a short visit, it was full of love and laughter and lots of hugs - Aunt Sharon gives the best hugs! And Uncle Jim even had his Oregon Ducks hat on, which went perfectly with Britt's Oregon Ducks Shady Peeps. Sometimes it is moments like this that will last a lifetime. If I knew more about golf, we would have gotten there sooner and had more time with them, but I'm still thankful we saw them for the time we did. Next time we plan on going with them to watch them play, and Brailey wants to learn how to drive Aunt Sharon's golf cart. I hope they had a great time in Salem and that they won their tournament. They looked great, and we were thrilled to see them!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

It's A Competitive World Out There

Life is not a competition, but then again, life is a competition. You know what I mean? Have truer words ever been written? Well yes, of course they have, but still, it is a good point, yes? Everyone I know is competitive on some level. And like everything else, competition is good in moderation. I mean, realistically, we have to be a bit competitive just to survive in this world. However, it seems to me society has gotten a bit whacked in keeping the notion of competition and competitive vices healthy. Otherwise, why would we have a zillion athletes taking performance enhancing drugs and then lying about it, right?

I feel competition from so many forces on an almost daily basis. I feel other people comparing my kids to theirs. Whose kids are better? Smarter? More athletic? Prettier and more handsome? Better behaved? Nicer? (The answer to this question, if you are wondering, is mine, of course! Ha! Just ask my mother-in-law, and she will tell you all about how wonderful they are...!) There is the kind of competition that involves the all important WIN. Crazy amount of pressure, that. Who doesn't like to win? And of course the most famous of them all, the "who is busier" competition? Who has a bigger load to handle, more stress to contend with? Who is a better mother? Who works harder? Who is thinner? Who drives the best car? Who has the best job? Life, it would seem, is indeed a competition. It is a competition to see who is the best, plain and simple. Who is the best, the best, the best...?

And really, aren't we all just trying to be and do our best? Why do we compare ourselves with other people? And this is where it gets sticky for me - I KNOW THAT I COMPETE, TOO! It goes back to that bit of wisdom I picked up from O Magazine years ago, the wisdom that says if you don't like something you see in other people, you are more than likely doing it yourself! Oh my...

I will say that I try very hard not compete with the world at large, but I do find myself competing on occasion, despite my best intentions. I'm working on it. And I am glad that I'm aware of it. Sometimes it is actually important to be competitive, right? And sometimes, competition takes all the fun out of life. I'm so glad life isn't a competition! But then again, life is a competition.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Britt's 2nd Mini Meet - The Breaststroke - DQ Free!

Winner, Winner, Super Star Swimmer!

Britt had his second Mini Meet at the end of last week, and he did so well! He won his first two heats and placed second in his third heat! And most importantly, he was "DQ Free!" That means he did his strokes perfectly and didn't disqualify himself. He swam so hard! He won his backstroke and breaststroke, and then placed second in the freestyle. He improved his times in all three! We are so happy he loves swimming and takes it seriously. He is our super star swimmer!
Serious game face, here...
Practicing his strokes before the race. Brady said he had a little bull rider in him - he was jumping around, getting loose, mentally preparing himself. I think he did this all on his own. As far as I know, no one told him to do that. Whatever the case, it was super cute!

His awesome trophy! It was a great meet for him, and now he is ready for his next season of swimming and entering a "real" swim meet. We can't wait to see what his future holds!

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...