Tuesday, January 27, 2015

YMCA State Championships Swim Meet 2015 Weekend Fun

Well, it may have been Britt's Swim Meet, but it was Brailey's as well. She loved every second of this particular meet, because some of her good friends were there. In fact, she didn't want to leave on the first day, because she was having so much fun socializing! Above, she is with one of her really, really good friends, Ellie, who is on TEAM Eugene. Below, she is with another buddy, Sophia, who is also on TEAM Eugene and is a year older than Brai and Ellie. They are all such sweet girls!
Britt had a great time, as well! He socialized with his buddies, swam some great races and received a ton of compliments on how well he is swimming. He got to be on the "A" team for one relay race, and they won the gold medal! That was super fun and exciting for Britt. His coach told me she is really excited about how he is doing and that he is going to start blooming in the next couple of years. She also praised his work ethic and positive, kind demeanor. As hard as he works and as much as he loves swimming, this was music to Brady's and my ears!
It was a truly gorgeous day on Saturday, and after we got home from the meet, we took a small siesta, cleaned our stalls, did a few chores and then Brailey and Brady went for a little ride. It is time to let her stirrups out again. It was so relaxing and fun to ride on such a beautiful afternoon. It felt like spring!
This was the first time Brady has ridden Alvin in years - I think the last time was before Alvin broke his foot. It was also the first time Brady's ridden since we lost his Mag-Doll. It was bittersweet. Alvin is the absolute kindest horse on the planet and has a heart of gold, but he's a fire ball, too. I even rode him for a bit. Alvin takes good care of all of us.
And then the next day, there we were, back at the pool, bright and early. Brailey is going to try out for the school play again, and so is her friend Ellie. So while Ellie was warming up, Brailey studied the script (even though she has the entire thing memorized already!). She and Ellie spent a lot of time reading parts together. Below, she and Brady watching the action.
Our little super star swimmer!
And then, another one of Brailey's friends showed up, who also has a sibling on TEAM Eugene. Rachel and Brai were on the same Kidsports volleyball team this fall (remember The Dream Team?), and they had a big time catching up with one another. They chatted and laughed and cheered their siblings on - it was adorable to watch them, because they enjoy each other's company so much. 
But then, someone accidentally elbowed poor Brai right below her eye! It was swollen, so we got some ice. Thankfully, it is fine and was just a weensy puffy on Monday. Poor girl!
The two amigos... They are in a group of four girls at school that are inseparable. It was really nice for them to be able to just hang out all day in between races.
Yep! A social butterfly...!
Britt and his buddy Bryce and their matching sweatshirts. Bryce is quite the designer! He got his made right before Britt, and he added quite a few things onto it - the front wasn't enough. I couldn't figure out why Britt needed artwork added to the sleeves and his name on the back, too. Once I "got it," I was happy to accommodate. They turned out so cute, didn't they? Bryce is a fun kid, and he and Britt have a big time hanging out together. He is only a year younger than Britt, believe it or not. Mutt and Jeff, right? And who says boys don't care about fashion?
Just before his last race of the meet. I was thrilled to catch this good luck hug!
Anyway, another swim meet in the books. Britt swam really well, considering his practice schedule has been a bit off, lately, due to Brady's and my travel. He swam against kids who swim 2-3 times more a week than he does, and held his own, so we are excited to see how he does once he starts practicing more. His strokes look excellent, so he has a good foundation to build on. We love the way he loves to swim - his passion for the sport makes all the time and money worth every second and cent! GO BRITTSTER MAN! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Denver Market 2015 with Ali Dee Collection

Well, to tell you the truth, it was a dream come true for me to attend my first Denver Mart. Call me crazy, but I had heard so much about it from Brady, I was absolutely thrilled to my toes when Ali Dee Collection got in! We actually didn't find out until a couple of weeks into December, because we were put on a waiting list. So I was excited and nervous and happy! As life would have it, I was thrown a couple of curve balls right off the bat, but if everything had gone smoothly, it wouldn't have been as good of a story, right? So the two weeks before Denver, we were crazy busy, even a little more so than usual. After all, getting ready is the hardest part - all that preparation! So Brady's flight was an early one, and after a full day of volleyball the day before, we got up at 3 in the morning to get him to the airport. No, I didn't go to bed when I got back home. The next night, when I could have slept like a log, I came down with a horrendously sore throat. I couldn't believe it! I barely slept. The next night, the night before my own early morning flight, after arriving home at about 8 in the evening, I discovered a problem in our barn which required some repair - just what I wanted to do in the dark the night before my big trip. But thanks to Brailey's help, I was able to get the situation under control. And I am thanking our lucky stars the horses were not injured. Phew! However, I was so nervous and excited and worried about the fog canceling my flight early the next morning, I couldn't sleep! I finally gave up trying at 2:AM and just got up. I was the first one to the airport! All was well and good, despite my rattled nerves, until the airline announced they had overbooked the flight and needed three, THREE, people to give up their tickets or some people might not be able to get on the plane - they would tell us at the gate. My heart was pounding! I HAD to get on that plane! After looking it up, I discovered the practice of airline overbooking is completely legal. What could I do but pray? I was so relieved to be on the plane, I burst into tears the second the very nice flight attendant asked me how I was. I was a wreck! I missed my babies already. (And the tears flow like a river since we lost Maggie - I just can't control them like I used to. MORTIFYING!) However, I arrived in Denver safe and sound, saw JB Mauney as I was getting on the tram, saw Miss Rodeo America as I was getting my cab, and made it to the Mart easy peasy. I was so happy to meet Ali and Devon, and they were super sweet to me and we got the booth up in a flash! Then, I had the rest of the day to mingle with Montana Silversmiths - it was great! EXCEPT... I was really, really, really tired. And I didn't realize it, but I had a touch of altitude sickness. When you fly into Denver, you are supposed to drink a gallon of water immediately - I didn't know this. My head ached, I felt slightly queasy and lightheaded and, frankly, a little high. I now know it was the lack of oxygen, after talking to other folks who suffered the same problem. Plus, I had a weensy bit of a bug I was fighting. After a good night's rest, though, I felt good as new, and the real fun began, as you will see below in the pictures. In case I haven't mentioned it, Denver Market was FUN, FUN, FUN!
Devon, above and Ali Dee, below, making the final preparations to the booth. Devon is an artist, and she can do these amazing loopy hearts. They were trying out their new chalk markers, which are super cool, once you figure out how to use them.
Brady was so sweet and caring the entire time I was there, making sure I was fed and hydrated, and he brought down several people to our booth. Above, he is with one of the rising Montana Silversmiths stars you may have seen in my previous post, CJ. He is the sweetest gentleman you will ever find! No surprise, he's from Texas.
PICTURE TIME! I was so happy to meet these girls (my bosses!), and it was an occasion that definitely called for pictures. Lots of them! I admit it - I was absolutely star struck! I have loved Ali Dee since I saw her on Texas Women, so it was super fun to meet her. It felt like I had known her forever!
Brady even brought down his first boss from Montana, Steve Miller, to our booth. The day before, Montana Silversmiths fed us Ali Dee Collection girls lunch, and Steve had a lively conversation with us about football, Texas real estate and rodeo clowns. Oh! And my favorite rodeo clown and friend, JJ Harrison, stopped by while we were there, and we got to catch up with him. It was super fun and cool!
And then another dream of mine came true - I got to meet our Social Media Director and fellow Sales Rep, Laurin! We bonded over motherhood, volleyball and our love for Ali Dee Collection, and so it felt like I already knew her, and I couldn't wait to meet her! She lives about two hours from Denver, so she left her sweet hubby with their three kids, including their little 6 month old baby boy. I could spend HOURS with Laurin - the day flew by way too fast, but I loved every single second of being with her. She is a rock star, and I am madly in love with her. She is a SWEETHEART!
These girls were so fun and cute! The CPRA, Central Plains Rodeo Association. The tall one was so excited about our Blaze Your Own Trail shirt, because her name is Blaze. Adorable!
My new friend Mike from Detros Western Store in Riverside WA. He was awesome! We talked Facebook, Instagram and team roping. He is good friends with Brady and has a great store! 
Laurin had a fantastic day with her territories - it was so perfect! This was a mom and daughter duo, and aren't they CUTE?!
The Gypsy Soule girls stopped by to see Ali Dee, but she was in Tennessee. So what else could I do but snap a picture with the Ali Dee sign? They are the absolute coolest!
As I was walking down the hall one evening, there was Martha Josey, a living legend! I said, "Hey Martha Josey!" And she not only said hello, she gave me a big hug and said, "Let me get a picture with you!" Ha! That was a first...! She is the sweetest lady ever and it was an honor to meet her.
I got to have a photo with two of Montana's super stars after breakfast at the hotel on my last day. Above, Scott, who I think looks like John Rich, and below, Jake, who was sweeter than sugar to me. Brady works with some really, really nice people!
On my last day there, Kaci Riggs stopped by our booth in one of our shirts! It was awesome! She looked amazing, and it was fun to meet her. Too cute! And just for the record, it's true - Ladies Love Outlaws.
And then the rhinestone lady stopped by! It was a great day, because we had people from Canada, England and Australia come by, and I said to Devon, "All we need is Germany!" Next thing I know, here comes Germany! True story. I got a lot more pictures on my phone, but I don't have them downloaded to my computer, yet. They are on Instagram and Facebook, though, so you've likely already seen them. I wish I could post them on here, but I think you get the idea. I had a wonderful time working with Devon, and we bonded over our mutual love for WWE - she's a fan, too! It was really fun visiting with her for four days and watching her in action - she is amazing! I was able to hitch a ride to the airport with some Montana folks, most notably David, Montana's jewelry designer who is a REAL ROOOOOOOOOCK STARRRRR! He treated me to coffee and a pretzel and we had a great time visiting while we waited for our flights. I had a perfect flight home - I met the Wrangler Rep on the plane, which was cool, because he lives in Eugene, as well. Once I got home, I was greeted by my precious B's that I had missed so badly, and my Dad, who was still up with them, watching tv. My parents were so sweet to come over from Harney County to take care of my babies and the horses, cats and dog while I was gone. It was such a relief to me knowing everything was in good hands, and everyone had a great time hanging out, making more memories. I didn't get to see my parents for long enough the next morning before they left, but I'll take what I can get - nothing is more important than spending time with the ones you love! And that is what made my trip to Denver all the more special. I got to bond with my Ali Dee Collection team and I got to be with my best friend and enjoy all the accolades and camaraderie of his Montana folks. I felt like part of the Montana Silversmiths family! Denver Market was really, really fun and successful, and I am already looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Denver Market 2015 with Montana Silversmiths and the 2014 Sales Person of the Year

I finally got to see what all the "fuss" is about when it comes to Denver Market (officially known as Denver Mart or WESA). I was able to attend as a Rep for Ali Dee Collection and work the booth, but I was also able to meet all the wonderful, upstanding, fine and good people from Brady's company, Montana Silversmiths. The timing couldn't have been more perfect, as he won Sales Person of the Year - the B's and I are so proud of him! I took a ton of pictures of the activity to give you a bit of perspective on the good time that Market is. Yes, there are a lot of pictures, but I promise you will enjoy every single one of them! Above, Brady and another Montana Rep, Jake. He was so sweet and drove us back and forth from the Market to the hotel and is a rising star in the industry.
Part of the jewelry to choose from... I promise you, there is something for everyone!
Montana has a permanent booth in the building, and it is super cool, as you can see from the pictures.
Although the shot is a bit blurry, I did manage to catch Travis and Chris fist bumping one another on a great day.
You may recognize Brad from the pictures of Clint Corey's wedding. He and Brady are the best of buddies. A day doesn't go by that they don't talk on the phone to one another. 
 Another room hosted the Rock 47 line of Montana Silversmiths  jewelry. Super, super cool stuff!
My sweet husband, waiting for me to get my pass to get in, looking handsome and dapper!
Miss Rodeo America... Self-explanatory.
Above, Brady with his first boss at Montana, Steve, and below with the Vice President, Judy. Brady brought them down to the Ali Dee Collection booth. It was so sweet of them to come!
Mornings were spent in the motel having a quick breakfast. Jamie above, Travis below.
CJ from Texas above... Another rising star!
And John Rich... No, not really! You can't see it as well in the picture, but Scott really does look like John Rich. He's a cool cat from the east coast!
Brady, Scott and Jake. They were all so good about posing for me!
One of our Canadian Reps, Daryl. He's a sweetheart!

 Daryl, Don and Brady.
Susan and Brady.
Don and Judy.
And back down at the Ali Dee Collection booth again, Brady and Bobby. It was such a fun time! It is exhausting work, for sure, and although I tried to capture everyone, I missed a lot of folks. Montana treated me like a queen, and I am so grateful to them! They are all a class act. More than anything, I am so proud of my husband for winning the coveted title of Sales Person of the Year - it was a storybook ending to a wild year, and the beginning of another wonderful tale!

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...