Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sunshine on our Shoulders

Two peas in a pod, right here... Both the horses and the riders. We managed to take some time out from all the "busy"-ness of our crazy, filled-to-the-brim-and-overflowing schedules on Sunday to enjoy the beautiful sunshine and our beloved old horses. These two old guys have been together for almost their entire lives! They are the exact same age, and I think they met when they were three, which seems like yesterday. Horses age so fast... One day they're seven, the perfect age, and then you turn around and they're suddenly "old," seemingly overnight. These two are absolutely PRICELESS - there is no better feeling of security than riding a broke horse.

Even Britt enjoyed some time on Alvin - Brady's leg can only take a little bit of riding. Alvin, who is a hot rod, takes such perfect care of Britt, it is mind-boggling. Below, you see the two B's having a "jowsting" contest. After several runs of this, they switched to an "Indian" contest and proceeded to whoop and holler their best Indian calls. In years past, this would have taken Alvin higher than a kite, but he just plodded around like it was nothing, with Britt carrying on for several minutes at a time in his "calls." Brady and I just shake our heads in wonder and appreciation... We are so grateful for these horses and for times like these. These are the days!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

CEVA President's Day Volleyball Tournament 2015

Phew! This past weekend was a three dayer, and our first at the President's Day Volleyball Tournament, which was luckily very close to home for us. Still, it required early mornings, so no sleeping in. But thankfully, it was only during the first half of the day, and we were able to come home for most of the afternoon. The first day of the tournament was on Valentine's Day, and they wore their pink shirts, at Brailey's suggestion (she was so cute about telling me this and very proud). I think nearly every Webfoot team in attendance wore their pink jerseys - what better choice?
This was a super tough tournament. They did well on the first day, which was a curse and a blessing, because it put them in a super tough pool for the second day of play. They were playing against teams ranked much higher than them. But they played well and did the best they could, and it is always better to "play up," so in the long run, it was great experience, and that is what it is all about. Below, Brailey and her coach, Chelsea.
First thing in the morning on the second day, the CEVA lady grabbed Nikki and Brailey for an "interview." This was to practice for the future, and it was supposed to be put on the CEVA Facebook page - I haven't seen it up there yet, but maybe it will appear. They did really well! Brailey interviewed Nikki and asked the questions, and Nikki had some really good answers. It was adorable! They played together on their Oregon Volleyball Club team last year. This experience was great for their confidence and made them feel special - in other words, it was fun, even if it didn't get put on Facebook like they were promised. If it magically appears, I will of COURSE share it...!
The Girl with the Long Hair.
The Super Volleyball Dad. He let Brailey get a new sweatshirt, which she loves. She hasn't taken it off since she got it - she picked the design herself, which is ALWAYS fun!
By Day Three, they were a bit tired, and didn't play well in their first game of the day. But they rallied and came to life in their second game, and looked good! Braiey's arms and legs were a little sore from all the action, but she is a trooper! She was so happy there was no practice on Monday night, because she didn't have to miss her favorite show, WWE Monday Night RAW. She works really hard and is always focused and tries her best in every game. Best of all, she is kind to everyone. She makes us proud! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Eleven - Britt's Golden Birthday

Eleven on the 11th - that made this Britt's "Golden Birthday." He was so excited, I'm not sure if he got a single wink of sleep the night before! I could hear him tossing around on his squeaky bed, and then he got up a couple of times to use the bathroom. The first time, he saw the balloons with lights in them, so he went back to bed without using the bathroom (which is next to where the balloons were), but then he got up again and used our master bathroom. He heard me decorating the night before, so he knew there would be a special surprise in the morning. Thus, we got up extra early so he could open all his presents before school. We had a long day ahead of us, and knew we wouldn't be home until about 8 in the evening - the anticipation of his presents sitting there all day long would have killed him!
He had a few "extra" presents, this year, because we are redoing his room. So he wasn't exactly thrilled with all of them, but he was very gracious and kind about it. The biggest box was a new comforter set - we can't wait to paint his room and fix it up WWE style!
The WWE belt was the hit of all the presents, and it was a last minute one we just happened to find that was really cool (most WWE belts are pretty chintzy). It was so cute, because he really, really loved it, but had always acted like he didn't want one when he saw them in stores. Brady and I figured he would at least be able to use this one for decoration, if nothing else. Our hunch was correct, and he was thrilled. In fact, he's been sporting it around the house ever since he got it! I love fun presents that work out like that.
Brailey thought the ribbon would make a nice hair extension - I agree, don't you?
I took a few treats to his classroom for the kiddos to take home after school - it was a cute bag of two small Air Heads to symbolize "11," and then a tiny pack of gum and an inspirational magnet with "Be _____" and an inspiring word, like Unique, Spectacular, Amazing, etc. The "Be" was for Britt and the oh-so-important "B" in our family. The kids seemed to enjoy my explanation. After school, he skipped yoga and I took him for a Sonic Slushy with Nerds and he got to go to two stores - one to exchange a WWE action figure for a different one and another to spend his one of his gift cards on a new series of cards he is into. He was thrilled! At swim practice, he was celebrated with the famous Birthday Swim, where the kids lined the lane with kick boards and splashed him as he swam while they sang to him. And then, on to volleyball practice - lucky Britt! But when we got home - we had some delicious ice cream birthday cake, which turned out so cute (I love Dairy Queen!), and then this weekend, once Brady got home, we took him out for his birthday lunch (after a full morning of volleyball), where he played the Batman Arcade nonstop. He barely ate his pizza! But he had a great birthday, and his fifth grade year is going well. It was a celebration of "lasts," in many ways - his last chance to bring a class birthday treat, his last birthday swim at practice (he will be moving to a new coach, soon, due to aging up), his last year in grade school. He is growing up too fast! But we are very excited to see where his eleventh year takes us. No matter what, it is sure to be an adventure! A few days before his birthday, he was looking at a picture of himself and Brailey on our fridge from several years ago, and he said, "I've grown so much! I've gone from a cute little boy to a boy going through puberty." Yup! Ain't that the truth?!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Last DQ Free Mini Meet - Aging Up!

Look at the transformation! And it happened on Tuesday, also - truly a Transformation Tuesday! If you wonder what I'm comparing the picture above to, check out my previous blog post, and you will see The Boy Who Didn't Want to Be There. But just look! The same person, only The Happy Boy Who Loves to Swim! What a difference attitude and a smile can make! For his sister, too - wait until you see Brailey's picture below... In any case, it was Britt's last DQ Free Mini Meet as a 10 and Under. Next week, he "ages up," and he will now be swimming with the older kiddos. He did well! Instead of videoing him like I usually do, I tried to get some good pictures. But again, action pictures are hard to capture, unless you are a professional or have an expensive camera. What can I say? I did the best I could with the ability and camera I have. And so did Britt - he swam some great races! In his 100 Free, he told me he focused as hard as he could on keeping his head still. I am proud that he sets these standards for himself and continues to work hard.
This is his 100 Free, where he was working on his head being still. Looks great to me - I just don't know how he BREATHES!  
Above, the fabulous trophies each swimmer earns if they don't get DQ'd, which was the entire point of the meet. Britt will find out if he earned his later this week. We couldn't stay to find out, because all of a sudden, Brailey came down with a bug and wasn't feeling well. Actually she had a transformation, as well, from The Girl Who Had A Great Day to The Girl Who Wanted to Be Home. Britt and I met her at the pool, because she had play tryouts after school and then went home with one of her besties afterwards, who later dropped her by the pool. (We are so thankful for friends like this who help us out - we are blessed!) Whatever the bug is, it hit her fast. (And now I am praying it didn't spread to our friends who were so kind to help us, but she wasn't showing symptoms, then, of course. DANG IT!) One of her teammates was sick on Saturday, so she likely got whatever that bug was. So you will have to stay tuned to see if Britt earned his trophy or not... I think he did, but he's very concerned about it. That backstroke is a tricky one on the turn. However, he was extremely gracious and understanding about Brailey not feeling well, and didn't even complain that we needed to leave before the trophies were handed out. The Happy Boy Who Loves to Swim is a joy to be around, and I love him so!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Volleyball in Beaverton

Are you tired of all the volleyball posts and pictures, yet? So is Britt, so you're in good company. Ha! I tired to capture some more fun pictures this past tournament. Action shots are so hard to get, because you never know when your kid is going to get the ball, and if you watch through your camera, you miss the live show. What a dilemma to have! I think I managed to get some cool pictures, though, and they still tell a story... Which is what I have realized I am all about. Telling "The Story," whatever the context may be. This particular story began very early in the morning - 4:30 AM. We are still learning about these tournaments - the process is ongoing, no doubt. I realized at the last one that she needed a soft blanket, and so wah-lah! I found this one for SIX BUCKS, if you can believe it, and it is perfect, and she loves it. Below, The Boy Who Didn't Want to Be There. Funny thing - he just loves swim meets, but loathes volleyball tournaments. Interesting, hmmm? That's life, though, isn't it? So as Brady and I are trying to teach him, he may as well make it an enjoyable experience, whether he wants to be there or not. This, too, is a learning process. Our Britt has a bit of a stubborn streak - we have no idea where it came from (MY DAD! BRADY! ME!).
Brady, Britt and I took a walk in between Brailey's games, which was, ironically, near the Murray Business Center on Murray Blvd. It was a beautiful day, and so nice to get out of the noise of the building.
Brailey is starting to feel more comfortable with her team. She was getting fired up, which is really fun to see. Their first game of the morning went to 31 points! They won it by two, and then had to go another two sets. They won! Every game went to three sets, this day. They held their own, but didn't come up with the W's in the rest of the games. However, they still ended up 2nd in their pool - not bad! Because the games went so long, the last game didn't even start until 6:30. Yes, it was a very long day, but it was full of playing time, and that is what it is all about - experience! We certainly got our money's worth on this day.
I know I'm her mother and probably barn blind, but is that the sweetest face you've ever seen?! Her spirit is so precious. Below, her serves are getting more powerful. She has a lot of refining to do, but as you can see, they are nearly a jump serve, and a couple of them were so powerful they hit the back wall! This is a big improvement over last year, when she was still underhand serving.  
During a small break, she took the opportunity to enjoy Brady's World Famous Volleyball Chair. It may be heavy, but it is definitely comfortable, and Brady refuses to attend a tournament without it. Britt, as you can see, is enjoying the action immensely!
The next day was Super Bowl Sunday, and Britt was in heaven playing up on his hill. This is his favorite place in the world. It is so fun to look outside and see him acting out scenes by himself, complete with talking and sword fighting and shooting pretend guns that are actually sticks. Another fabulous weekend in the books! And now we are in to FEBRUARY, already! Next week? Britt's birthday! I'm sure he will look much happier in those pictures. Stay tuned! 

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...