Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Just Another Successful Saturday

Another weekend come and gone, and one more gaming show under Brailey's belt. Britt is always thrilled to go to an event of Brailey's, and in fact he was the one who was upset she wasn't doing volleyball any longer, because that is the only time he gets to spend an extended period on his Kindle. So after his swim lesson in the morning, he and I brought lunch to the show, and he passed some time on his device. It was a fun show and great to hang out with Patsy and her husband and another kid who travels with her and boards at her barn, Jaden. He is super supportive to Brailey. Below, the great Dad and Daughter Dynamic Duo.
And then, Brailey and The Best Trainer in the World, Patsy. We are so lucky to have her helping Bray! She has come leaps and bounds from where she was. We call Patsy Brailey's Barrel Racing Mom, because she takes such perfect care of her, putting on her rubber bands, holding her jacket, checking in with her before and after every run.
She hates her helmet, but we make her wear one. It is a catch 22 for us, because we don't wear one ourselves, but we just can't take the risk with Brailey.
Above, you can see Patsy and Jaden with Brailey before her event. Jaden is giving lessons to the girl on the paint horse and red helmet, and this was her first show. She did great!
This would have been her best pole run ever, and we would love to know what her time ended up being, but at the second pole from the finish line, Tex ducked in and tried to turn it. Brailey nearly fell off, but she didn't, thank goodness! Everyone wants to buy Tex, because he is such a nice horse, but they would be surprised at how hard he is to ride. He is an excellent teacher, because you can never stop riding him for even one second! Next time, Brailey will be ready.  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Friday Night Lights

We were so lucky the past two Fridays at the local high school football game - no rain! But it was quite chilly... It was also a lot of FUN! Brailey and her Dance Team got to perform at halftime, and so we experienced the feel of Friday night lights at Sheldon High School. Brailey and her team were on fire - they were a huge hit, and it was so fun to hear everyone cheering them on. They are a great little dance team, no doubt about it.
Brailey and one of her new dance team buddies, Megan.  
Here she is watching the high school team. Do you spy her? I love that happy, sweet look on her face. Beautiful. There's just nothing prettier than a happy girl!
I know these pictures are kind of far away, but I have to get a new lens for my new camera to get close-ups, which I haven't done, yet. Still, I think you will be able to find Brailey in them and see her enjoyment and the little bit of flair she has. Britt heard some girls behind him say, "Is that Brailey?! She's really good!" This made her so happy to hear!
This was the next morning up in Portland at the competition. These are the only flicks I got, other than the ones on my phone, because I filmed her, but she was super happy and loved every second of watching the high school teams compete. Her future is looking happy and bright!

The game last night was much warmer, but way busier - due to a reschedule of a school event, we had to rush straight from the performance to the pool for the Dive-In Movie the WEB Crew put on for all the sixth graders. This is after we had already rushed down from school for her riding lesson with Patsy and rushed back to the school for her to practice with the team. It was a busy-busy-busy, long day and night, but we did it! They had to wear red lipstick last night. As you can see, Brailey's movie star lips look fabulous!
Britt was super excited, because he got to pick up his best friend Daniel before the Dive-In movie, and they hung out at the game, eating suckers and having a blast. It is so fun to watch all the middle school kiddos run around at the game. They are spreading their wings a little, no doubt about it!
I think it is safe to say our girl loves to dance. Seriously, is there anything prettier than a happy girl?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Gratitude and Discovery

If there is one thing I believe to my core, it is that gratitude is the secret to life. Being grateful is the most important thing a person can be, because if someone is truly grateful and truly understands what gratitude is, then they are humble, faithful and true. Still, gratitude is a tough concept. It sounds simple, but it isn't. In fact, I sometimes feel resentful when I am not thanked. I struggle with this. A lot. A truly good person does and gives without expecting thanks, but doing that is a tough one for me. A little gratitude goes a long way.

I was going to participate in the "30 Days of Gratitude" - I was inspired on Instagram and thought to myself, "FUN! This will be so easy for me!" And it would be. But then I didn't get many "likes" on the couple of posts I did, and I felt resentful about that, and then I realized how narcissistic I was being. I mean, who really cares what I am grateful for? There are a million things I am grateful for, true, and limiting it to just 30 would be difficult for me, but I guess I needed that little reality-check - I'm not that important in the social media world or the real world or just the world. And that's okay. Why do I need to be?

This summer, I had an experience that made me realize how insecure I (still) am. Here I am, in my early 40's (very early, mind you!), and I still don't feel "good enough." I still don't feel "important." I still don't feel like I'm "someone." I also realized how accommodating I am to other people. I will always be the one to put myself last or in a position of lesser power. I thought this is because I am humble, but after reflecting on the circumstances and my feelings, I realized it all comes down to insecurity and the fear of not being "liked." And a little bit of narcissism wants to creep out.

This has been mulling around in my head for months, now. It's interesting how the whole gratitude thing brought it into perspective for me. I work hard not to be narcissistic. I'm hard on myself. I'm way too hard on myself. But I think I come across as snotty. The protective walls I have are actually my inability to be phony. Sometimes I wish I would have been born with the "phony" gene so many people have. I just can't do it. I feel things much too intensely, and I can't pretend to be something or feel something I don't. These walls have caused me so many problems over the years - you would think I would have them fixed by now. But I haven't. I can't stand the people who fool everything into thinking they are so amazing and wonderful when I have witnessed them doing wrong. And being phony. Oh yes - I forgot to mention that part. I'm judgmental, too! Yah - me and you both, right? Everyone is judgmental. The world is one big cesspool of judgment.

But somehow, I am going to have to stop this madness with myself. I'm going to stop judging myself so harshly and start liking myself. Someone gave me a compliment the other day, and I was so embarrassed, I could hardly stand it. This person said, "Why is it so hard for you to take compliments?" And I didn't know. But I thought about it later, and then the gratitude thing brought it into perspective for me. It is hard for me to accept compliments because I don't BELIEVE them. I think they are just trying to be nice. Because I am too hard on myself to believe them, too scared to believe them.

So long story short, I've changed my mind. I'm not going to participate in 30 Days of Gratitude, after all. I am grateful, however, that it inspired me to be a little kinder to myself and to find a bit of clarity. And one thing remains - if there is one thing I strongly believe in, it is in being grateful.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Halloween 2015 and Costume Recap

My annual "Halloween Post..." Ta Da! This year was a different Halloween from previous years, that is for sure. Although Halloween was on Saturday, the kiddos were allowed to dress up on Friday for school. This was a fun day for Britt, but ended up being very sad for Brailey. You may have seen in our Facebook post that she was asked to remove her headdress, because it was deemed "culturally unacceptable." She was absolutely devastated! It was a very difficult day for her. She has been dealing with some insensitivity issues with some of her friends, as well, so when she was asked to remove her beautiful feathers, it was the straw that broke the camel's back. To give you an update on the costume decision her school made without getting in to details, it wasn't done in malice. On Monday, Brady and I met with the school officials who were involved, and it turns out they felt terrible about the entire situation, and although their intentions were to protect her from racism, unfortunately, it brought negative attention to what should have been positive. In fact, the entire costume issue is a larger problem than we knew, and Universities across the nation are dealing with it. Apparently, an article listing "inappropriate costumes" was listed in The New York Times recently, and Pocahontas was the number one "offender." Frankly, it is so infuriating to me what this nation has become and the ridiculous things people worry about, I can't even write about it. So much for freedom of speech. In any case, both Brady and I feel better now, and the school officials talked to Brailey on Monday and apologized to her, explained their reasoning and the bottom line is they made her feel better and reassured her she did nothing wrong, and that is all Brady and I wanted. In fact, they gave both Brailey and Britt several compliments while we were in our meeting, and I am grateful they know and understand we are raising good kids. We're probably just a little too country for Eugene, I guess. But back to Halloween... 
Britt started his Halloween with a swim meet, where he swam really well! He and I had a big time hanging out together. It was a short, small meet, which we both enjoyed. We wish they were all like that!
And while Britt was swimming, Brailey was at a gaming show with Brady. The first class was a Costume Contest, and guess what? She won! She was so happy, her trainer Patsy told me she was absolutely beaming. That is the difference between city and country people, I guess? I'm so proud to be country! She had a great day and performed really well. Brady took the picture below, which is why it is a bit blurry, but I think it still shows how happy she was. It truly was a darling costume! 
So by the time everyone got home, we were a little tired. We went to mass, came home, and carved pumpkins! This is the first year we didn't trick-or-treat. Britt feels a weensy bit gypped, I think, but he was good about it and enjoyed every second of carving his pumpkin. His pumpkin is the Lebron James logo, and Bray's is a Texas Longhorn. They turned out super cute! When we got out of mass, it was pouring down rain, so it wouldn't have been the best trick-or-treating, anyway. The theme of this year's Halloween seems to be change. Times are changing, faster than we can keep up with. Frankly, I don't mind my little B's growing up, but the world worries about things it doesn't need to, gives weight where none is needed, and then completely ignores what really matters! Yep - the world's gone crazy!

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...