Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thank God for Moms - Especially Mine!

Yes, once again, my mother came to our rescue! Last week, I was able to drive Brady to his stores because my wonderful mom made the trip from Harney County to Coburg to stay with the B's. This was the first trip she has made by herself since her eye transplants, so it was actually a momentous occasion! We were so grateful! While Brady and I were enjoying the lovely traffic in the Seattle and Portland areas (NOT!), my mom and the B's held the fort down. But the great thing about my mom is that she not only held the fort down, she CLEANED IT! It was so wonderful to come home to a cleaner house! I have barely been able to keep up with the bare minimums of cleaning - I'll admit it! I actually CAN'T do it all... I have to let some things go. This year, it has been my yard and my house. They aren't terribly neglected, but certainly not up to my normal "standard," right? Anyway, my beloved mother cleaned things that have been needing to be cleaned for a LONG TIME! Even my poor, pitiful houseplants have been revived! Who knew taking off the dead stems would make them look so healthy?! She even managed to get Britt to swim practice, although she thought it was far too rigorous a practice for her grandson - Britt got a big kick out of this. Above is a picture of her and Britt from the great camping trip he went on with them after his swim meet in June, which I will post about next, because she just gave me a CD full of picture from it, which I love! Anyway, I could go on and on about my mom, because as far as moms go, she is the best, and I love her dearly, and as anyone who knows her knows, she's a huge blessing to this world with a heart of gold. Thanks, Mom - I love you more than words can say!

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Most Beautiful, Perfect Wedding Ever - Joe and Bailey Vardanega

Let me just say, I have been to a few weddings, and I know a good one when I see one. Believe it or not, I once aspired to be a wedding coordinator. Thank goodness this never came to pass - can you imagine the poor wedding folks under my direction?! In any case, I do love a good wedding, and we were blessed to attend Joe and Bailey Vardanega's this past Saturday in Grizzly, Oregon. But first, let's take some selfies... 
We had to document the occasion of all four of us being dolled up in our wedding finery. The owner of the hotel took the one above for us. She was not comfortable taking the picture, and so one is all she took. We were lucky to get it, so we'll take the funky light spots. 
We had a bit of trouble finding the place. It was on a ranch in Grizzly, Oregon, but our GPS took us to Madras. So we had to backtrack, and we were nearly late. But thankfully, we made it just in the nick of time, and we weren't the only ones who had trouble finding it. We are so grateful to Randy Amis for giving us verbal directions and standing by on his cell phone to guide us!
The beautiful bride with her first love, her beloved father, the legend himself, Clint Corey.
This wedding was SO BEAUTIFUL! It was the most perfect, gorgeous setting ever, and these pictures don't even begin to do it justice. I felt like it should have been on TV on some reality show. It reminded me of when Miss Kay and Papa Phil got remarried on Duck Dynasty, only MORE BEAUTIFUL! The food was delicious, the guests were all thrilled and the families of the bride and groom could not have been happier for them. Joe and Bailey are one of those special couples you know were meant to be together. Bailey lost her mom to cancer just over a year ago, and you could feel Dianna's love in the air.
Bailey's brother Zane is the boy in the middle - twelve years old, and he's growing up!
Bailey was the epitome of a radiant and beautiful bride. STUNNINGLY GORGEOUS!
Brady got to see some friends he hasn't see for quite a while. Above, Charlie and AnnaMae Johnson, and below, our good friends Jack and Kerri Jo Talburt. Uncle Frank (Craighead) met the Talburts during the horse show at the Brasada Ranch the week before last (see the two previous blog posts for more about this visit). It was so great to sit with them and to catch up!
We even met a volleyball superstar! KC Loper sat right across from us, and once we discovered our common love for volleyball, we became fast friends! She will be playing in Eugene this fall, and we can't wait to go watch her.
Best of all was Brady and Clint getting to see each other. These two are such good friends and they were so happy to see each other! They call each other "Clinton" and "Murphy." Now that Clint lives in Colorado, we don't get to see him very often. We are looking forward to his wedding and induction into the Pendleton Hall of Fame during Roundup in September - we can't wait!
Me and my boy - he wasn't thrilled to be going to a wedding, but he ended up having a great time! He played on this bridge all evening long and, as usual, made fast friends with lots of kids!
Isn't this cool? I can't even begin to tell you how cool and country chic this wedding was. Lights all around... Rustic... Delicious food... And best of all, love from both sides of the family. It was so refreshing to see two families come together so beautifully. Clint's brothers took the entire week off to come down and help get the place set up.
Brady and one of his old rodeo traveling partners, Scott Corey, who is one of Clint's older brothers. He and his wife worked with Joe's family all week long to get the ranch ready for the wedding. There were so many details, and they all came together in spectacular form!
I wish I would have gotten more pictures like the one below. There were lights all around us, the weather was perfect, there weren't any bugs or mosquitoes, the music was amazing - they had a live band and recorded music both (and perfect song choices, by the way), and just an amazing feeling of love and happiness in the air. It was a blessed occasion, and truly them most beautiful, perfect wedding ever!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Brailey's Trip of a Lifetime - Family Texas Style

To say Brailey had a good time in Texas is possibly the understatement of a LIFETIME! She not only had fun, she met family she had been waiting to meet her whole life, and the bonds they formed will never be broken, I am sure. It couldn't have been more special! Texas hospitality is in a class all its own, and they showed Brailey a truly fabulous time! Above, her first ride on an airplane. She flew down with Gramma Diggy, and they had a great flight. These are pictures she took - she did way more than she could even manage to get pictures of! Like she rode a REAL cutting horse and worked the flag AND live cattle! She went shopping. She learned some delicious new recipes. She enjoyed several world class snow cones and lots of delicious ice cream. She went to a beauty pageant. She saw a movie at the Omni Theatre. She experienced her first 4th of July away from home! Below, the gorgeous sign welcoming people to the ranch. Frank is Brady's oldest sister's husband, and he is a living legend! As far as horsemen go, according to Diana Murray (Brady's mom), there are only a handful of people as handy as Frank Craighead. He is our hero!
Brailey's oldest cousin, Codie, is the mother of the adorable little girl in the picture above - her name is Preslie, and she was attached at the hip with Brailey the entire time. They had a big time together! She is six, going on seven in August.
The World Famous Chris Cox lives just down the road from the Craigheads. Brady's sister, Cindy, decorated his bunkhouses. She is an amazing decorator! She and her daughter Candice have an amazing mobile booth they take to different shows and sell some really incredible merchandise out of. Brailey was in heaven learning all about it!
Snow cone tongue... And blue teeth, too! They were from The Funky Munky, and according to Brailey, they were the most delicious snow cones ever to be invented on Planet Earth!
One of the main highlights was a trip to Billy Bob's to see Merle Haggard in concert. Brailey was so thrilled to see him! Brady is a huge fan, and so we listen to a lot of The Hag. Brailey was thrilled to see him and the entire Billy Bob's establishment!
She is her Daddy's Girl all the way, posing by the Montana Silversmiths case and then sending this picture to Brady - he loved it!
On another day, they went to Splash Kingdom and Six Flags. Brailey experienced her first sunburn ever on this day, and even peeled! She applied sunscreen twice and still burned, but guess what? She's still a brown little bear! Her cousin Candice, pictured above, took her and Preslie on these adventures.
On yet another day, they went to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. This was a huge hit, as well! The giraffes were super friendly. Diana loves them, and it was mesmerizing for her to have them eating right out of her hand! One of the highlights of this particular adventure was when one of the animals drooled on Codie's lap! Apparently, the animals stick their heads right inside the cars. FUN!
They drink a lot of sweet tea in Texas! Uncle Frank has a special ice tea maker, and he is the head sweet tea brewer. However, sweet tea from Sonic is the favorite, and several trips were made there in order to get their special sweet tea blend. Brailey tried three different kinds, but didn't fancy them. I think they were in a fun place with fake food...?
The beautiful Candice, above, and below, appliance shopping with Codie! She is the lady behind Diana in the hat and coral colored shirt. Codie and her husband Casey just bought a new ranch, and so they were fixing the house up and moving into it while Brailey was there. And buying appliances!
The gorgeous Candice - she was so sweet to Brailey (as was EVERYONE!) and shared her room. They slept together every night, which was really fun for Brailey.
Another exciting occurrence was Codie's birthday! Brailey was so happy to be there to help celebrate with delicious cake and ice cream. She's never been able to celebrate any of her cousin's birthdays, so it was very special for Brailey to experience. She loves Codie and Candice both and was so happy to be with them!
Near the end of the trip, they went to the horse races! Brailey took more pictures of this than anything - she loved seeing these race horses run! They ran on both grass and dirt.
Aunt Cindy and Candice's Lucky Ranch Style trailer and some of the goods to be loaded into it. Brailey came home more inspired to craft and make things than it is possible for her family to keep up with! After spending time with Aunt Cindy, she has a million things she wants to make. 
Codie took this picture of Diana and one of their babies. I think it needs to be entered in a contest! I LOVE this picture! Diana looks so beautiful, the baby is adorable and you can see the mare in the background... I love it so much - GORGEOUS! Some of the other babies below. Brailey came home wanting to find a job so she can buy a baby horse!
Three weeks flew by, and she was on her way home. Below, Brady and Britt anxiously awaiting her arrival in baggage claim. We barely made it on time, due to some bad traffic, but we got there with five minutes to spare. 
And there she was! Home, safe and sound with her beloved and favorite uncle, Frank. He is such a gentleman, he walked her to baggage claim, even though he had to go through security to catch his next flight to Redmond. It was a bumpy flight from Texas, and Brailey was glad Uncle Frank was with her!
And we were thrilled to see Uncle Frank and to spend some time with him on Thursday when we delivered a case to Big R in Redmond! We got to hear even MORE stories, which was super fun to listen to. Brailey didn't come home with a twang, but she did pick up a new habit her dad and I are loving - every question we ask her is now answered, "Yes Sir." or "No Sir." or "Yes Ma'am" or "No Ma'am." Texas hospitality and manners - like no other place on earth! OH! And while she was there, she didn't get homesick even one time! Can you believe it?! Her family in Oregon, however, was very Braileysick. In fact, she loved it down there so much, she found a ranch for us to buy so we can move down there! Ha! She also designed her own room in Aunt Cindy's house, including a closet. I think it is safe to say that this was the first of many trips for Brailey to Texas. She loved every single second she was there! The best part of the trip was the love that was given - they may live in Texas, but the bonds of family love are stronger than ever, and we love them all! The fact she was able to go with Gramma Diggy was the icing on the cake. It was the trip of a lifetime, no doubt about it!

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...