Sunday, May 31, 2015

Change Has Arrived

Change has arrived! Club volleyball has ended. Britt has moved up in his swimming. All of this has resulted in a new schedule. So far? We have adjusted well!

It seems like we have been working hard to adjust and adapt to our schedules ever since the kiddos started their sports. The older they get, the tougher it has been, and the more complicated. And I will admit it - change is usually hard for me. Change is hard for everyone, I think. Reflecting on it, I can't believe the changes we have, all at once!

For one, Britt is done with elementary school and will be joining Brailey at middle school this fall. Yes, they will be on the same schedule! I'm thrilled! This will be such a luxury. For one whole school year! I will actually gain a couple of hours in my day. It will be like the "good old days," when they were little. One school!

We've had two schools and two sports for a couple of years, now. After all the hectic planning, things have almost seemed too easy, lately. How crazy is that?! We have been able to come home straight from school quite a few times in the last couple of weeks. Sometimes, we don't know what to do with ourselves! Not really - we always have plenty of things to do around our place. But it is a little "weird," to actually have a bit of extra time to get things done and for the little B's to have some actual "down time." For me, the timing could not be better, as I have just been given the fantastic opportunity to be the Sales Manager for Ali Dee Collection, the clothing line I love and live and breathe. Absolutely perfect timing!

When it comes down to it, the sports schedules are what causes the scheduling stress. And the fact that we don't live in town. But this is the only time Brailey and Britt will have to do it, and I am so grateful for the opportunities they have. They are growing up so fast! Over the past couple of years, however, I have sometimes wished we had an apartment in town just for the sole purpose of having somewhere to hang out after school and in between practices. But life has a funny way of working out, and we have done just fine. In fact, that is part of life, isn't it? We adjust to life.

And yet... Right? Yes, "and yet." I will miss having that special time with Britt, where he and I talked about his day after picking him up from his school while we waited for Brailey at her school. I will miss watching him play with his buddies while we wait. I will miss talking to Brailey in the mornings on our way to her school after dropping Britt off at his, just her and I. But then again, I relish the opportunity to have my B's together again, likely for the last year, because who knows what will happen in high school? Brailey might be driving them, by then... YIKES! And I won't have them held captive in my car. That is a frightening prospect to think about. In the meantime? I'm going to enjoy the change that has arrived and relish the freedom we have right now. Because, these are the days!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Last Volleyball Tournament with Webfoot 13 Silver

And so after a late night from Fiesta, we got up early Saturday morning for Brailey's last volleyball tournament of the year with her 13 Silver Webfoot team. It was held on OSU's campus, and we were a little nervous about finding our way to where we needed to be, because we didn't have Brady with us, and there were several locations that they played in. But our GPS took us right where we needed to go (for once!), we found excellent parking, and both days were fun. Saturday, we had two waves of play - morning and afternoon. They played well in this tournament, and came away with five wins out of seven games. Not bad!
The first building we were in for the morning wave of play was very old and the whistles were SO LOUD, my ears rang the rest of the day. Britt put his headphones on his ears while he was reading, just to try to help block out the sound. It was a relief to get out of that building!
We had a great lunch with two of her teammates and one of their moms and one of their dads. We followed the dad's nose, and he led us straight to Panda Express, one of Brailey's favorite places to eat! They each had a fortune cookie which had fun fortunes that were ironically applicable to volleyball, so I suggested they put the little papers in their bras for good luck in the next games, which they thought was hysterical, but they happily did. It was hilarious how each fortune was perfect for volleyball! This made them giggle and smile several times in the afternoon, which is just exactly what these sweethearts needed.
For the afternoon wave, we were in Gil Coliseum, and look who appeared?! Even though we are die hard Duck fans, it was fun to get pictures with the Beaver. After all, when is that ever going to happen again? Probably NEVER! Plus, the girls had their Duck colors on, so it was all great fun. Britt wanted to wear his Duck shirt the next day, but I told him not to because it is a bit disrespectful to wear a Duck shirt on the Beaver campus. I'm still big on sportsmanship, even though I have been sorely tested by many unsportsmanlike Beavers over the years. Hopefully my message of sportsmanship and respect will come through.
It was fun to be higher than the court and looking down onto the play.
On Sunday, it was an even earlier wake up call and arrival time, and it was all about pink for Mother's Day! Our Team Mom made all the girls adorable pink ribbons for their hair. Brailey was thrilled! Above, you see her checking her ribbon out.
We were in the Truax building on this day, and look who found Britt? I was working for a couple of hours in the morning, doing garbage duty with another team parent, and so a couple of dads from our team were in charge of Britt while I was busy. These are Megan's brothers - you might remember them from the Regionals pictures. I was on the other side of the court from Britt when I saw them, and they must have been looking for him, because they spied him clear across the court and made a beeline straight for him! It was so cute! They played together for most of the morning and had a big time. And the two dads helping me keep an eye on Britt made sure they knew exactly where they were playing, which was a huge relief to me, considering the three of them went missing for a brief time up in Portland at the Regionals tournament the weekend prior to this (another cute story with a thankfully happy ending!).
The final game... It was the best of the season! They won the first set, barely lost the second set and were losing the third set by a landslide. They were two points away from losing, and they made this incredible comeback and WON! These girls needed that win badly, and they fought for it and they got it. It was FANTASTIC! I can't think of a better way to end the season.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Viva La Fiesta 2015 - The Last of Seven

Seven Fiestas in seven years... Finally, we watched our final one. It was a whirlwind day - we rushed home from school, ate a quick bit of pizza on the way home in the car, got ready in less than an hour, and rushed back to The Hult Center. Right before we left, we took the traditional Fiesta pictures, which turned out extra cute, I think. I was reminded of Brailey's first Fiesta when she was a first grader - the weather was beautiful on that day, also. There's nothing like sunshine and green leaves and grass to make a picture that much better, is there? This year in Britt's class, they danced to "Shake It Off," the Spanish version, of course. And so they were dressed in an 80's theme, complete with shades for the boys and bright colors for the girls. The boys also had hearts on their arms with "mom" on the inside, which was so cute! Brailey did Britt's for him. He was a great model for me - I think these pictures turned out really well!
Brailey was very excited for Fiesta, because she got to sit with her friends. They went up to the second level and had a big time watching by themselves. She is so responsible, though, she got to Britt before Brady and I could, and was there waiting for us after the show. 
Luckily, we ran into one of his teachers, Mr. Billington before the show, so I was able to get a fun picture. I tried to get a picture of him and Maestra Bradley afterwards when Britt gave her flowers, but there were too many people and it happened too quickly. So we are grateful for at least one "traditional" teacher picture from Fiesta.
The official photo stop.
To start the show, the entire school sang "Firefly," by Owl City. It is much more meaningful to hear kids singing those lyrics... Beautiful! The fifth graders and kindergartners were on the stage, and all the other classes were in front of the stage, facing the audience. It was absolutely darling!
And then, their dance. IT WAS SO AMAZING! Britt is right under the "0" in the 2015. He had a "starring role" and thanks to the dance coordinator, was able to do the "John Cena hands in front of his face" movement. It was so cute! And much to my surprise, this dance made me cry. I couldn't believe it! Here I was, filming away, and tears start leaking out of my eyes. I was actually thankful to be done sitting through such a long show, because seven Fiestas is plenty, but it still made me sentimental. And I was just so proud of them. My friend Kristin choreographed their dance, and she did an incredibile job. It was absolutely perfect, and I don't think it could have been any cuter!
Here he is waiting for dismissal, after it was over, in between his two very best friends in the world, Daniel and Nicholas. These are the days!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

CEVA Regionals 2015 - Sunday

Ahhhhhhhhh... Brailey was so thrilled to get to relax in the hot tub. She decided not to swim so she could conserve her energy for playing, but she enjoyed every second of soaking her sore body in the hot tub.
After a really fun lunch at Red Robin, which, lucky for us was not far from the Convention Center, we made our way to the tournament. You can see the sphere's from the Convention Center in the background.
Our pretty girl with the pretty flowers. Lucky number 7!
Saturday, she wanted to get her nails done at the Nike booth, but when she finally had time to get them done, they were closed for the day. So the first thing she did when we arrived on Sunday was head to the Nike area to get them done. And luckily, a few of her teammates were there! They had a great time getting them put on, and they look great! They are like the Jamberry nails and just stick on.
Of COURSE Brady had to get one of his done, as well. He is Nike's biggest and best fan!
Showing Grandma and Papa how cool they look and, below, posing for a picture.
The Nike booth had this SUPER COOL magnetic board with all these awesome magnets for people to hold up. The picture I took on my mom's camera has her eyes open, dang it, but not from my camera. Still, you can see how cute it was! These two ARE very "creative," no doubt about it!
Just a fun picture that looks like she is holding a ball up, but as you probably know, she's not.
 Bray and Nik, posing away...
And then a few with some of the other girls who were there getting their nails done, as well. I would have loved to get a picture like this of the entire team, but our schedule didn't allow for any down time - if they weren't reffing, they were playing and vice versa, and by the time they were done, we all scattered so we could get home. I'm thankful I at least got these.
Bray and her FAM Club! And me, I was the FAM Club photographer capturing it all, or as I like to refer to myself, the "Papparazzi!" Grandma was also good at capturing pictures on her new camera and got some really good ones. You can never have too many pictures!
See? Never far from her grandparents' sides...
Remember "Legs" from Saturday? She looked us up again on Sunday - she took a real liking to Brailey and kept coming over to talk with her. She was a character, and it really tickled me to see Brailey and her talking, even though they had never met before and were on opposing teams. Of course she would be attracted to Brailey's personality - who wouldn't? She is sweeter than sugar! I loved that they befriended one another. That is how it should be, right?
Brady is very proud of his Nike nail.
Warming up with Nikki. These two have gotten so good at peppering and playing with each other!
And that's a wrap on the weekend! We didn't make it home until nearly midnight, and they didn't do as well as they would have liked, but they actually did better than the end result reflected and every single set was tight, point by point. Brailey was a true rock star! She played better than she ever has, and it was apparent that she has not only improved, but overcome several obstacles and adversity. She made us all SOOOOOOOOOO proud! Another parent from a different team came over to her to tell her she played really well, which was nice and downright cool. She had the biggest fan club there and lots of support from many kind parents. It was great experience for them, and they still have one more tournament to go, believe it or not. And then we can put this season to rest and move on into the bright, sunny future! The very best part of the weekend was having my parents with us to experience it all, and we are incredibly grateful to them for being there. I was so worried we had worn them out and overdone it, but they said they enjoyed it and would do it all again, so I can lay those worries to rest. It wouldn't have been as special without them there, and Brailey really did appreciate their support. And of course Britt was thrilled to be so impressive with his swimming - he and Papa joked about how they can go fishing in a lake, now, because if they capsize, Britt can just swim Papa to shore. Ahhhhhh... So much love in our family - these are the days!

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...