Saturday, December 31, 2016

Lexi's Basketball Game in Salem

I have been wanting to see my niece Lexi play basketball since she was a freshman in high school. Now she is a senior, and lucky for me, her team traveled to Salem this past week to participate in an invitational basketball tournament. I was so happy to have the opportunity to see her play! It was fun to watch, and I was so incredibly proud of her. She is an amazing player and she had a great game. I told her coach she is a rock star! Brailey and Britt had never been to a game like this, and they were both surprised at how fun it is to cheer for someone you know when they are playing. In fact, we all had a blast! Brady and Britt dropped Brailey and I off to go to a card shop before the game, and when they got to the game, Lexi was playing. I told Brady, "She's been playing so good!" And Brady said, "I figured she was - I could hear you yelling for her all the way out in the hall way." Ironically, her game was held at Willamette University - we knew exactly where to go, thanks to a previous volleyball tournament held there when Brailey played a few years ago. We didn't get to see much of Lexi, but we loved every second of watching her play. And we all had a seriously big time cheering for her, loud and proud! Our only regret was that we didn't think to bring a sign with her name on it. That would have been extra fun! Britt was especially impressed with her basketball skills - he didn't realize she was so good. She is a BEAST on that court! I'm really grateful we got to see her play. Below are some fun pictures I got of her. Because that's what aunts do, right? Take pictures and cheer. Go Lexi! YAH!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Home Sweet Home for the Holidays

My blogging has certainly taken a backseat to real life, this year. I had a goal to post more, but ended up posting less. And this week is no exception - I usually publish quite a few things in December, but not this year! Between the December Ice Storm and no power and the holiday rush, I simply didn't get around to blogging. The good news is that we have been having a wonderful Christmas Vacation at home, and our Christmas was especially wonderful this year. We stayed home once again, our favorite place to be, and we were sent a whole lot of love from near and far alike. The envelope above is one I will always treasure. I love things like this that take extra time and thought. Seriously, isn't that envelope fun and sweet? Our "neighbor" is in his 60's, and as you can see, he has a great sense of humor. He drives truck for a living, and everything he got us had something with a "Murray" on it. He spent a lot of time looking for each item, and we appreciated each and every one of them.
On Christmas Eve, we took a trip around town and looked at all the amazing lights. Our first stop was the Coburg park, where Brailey and Britt were happy to pose and take pictures, despite the freezing temperature. I think it is easy to see they were in a very joyful and triumphant mood. These pictures will forever make my heart smile.
However, amidst all the fun, they did pause for a moment of prayer and reflection.
When they were little, these two put on more plays and skits for me than I can count, and it was fun to see they still have a little of that playfulness in them. Can you see the acting that is being done here?
Back at home, true to tradition, they opened their ornament and pajamas. I am thrilled that they still look forward to this tradition! And for once, finding their ornaments, which I try to commemorate something about their year with, was easy! In fact, I went a little crazy - they each got three!
Traditional pajama by the Christmas tree picture.
And that brings us to Christmas Day. We did things a little differently, this year, and it worked out perfectly. They opened their stockings first thing, we had our traditional Christmas Rolls (Grandma's special recipe), we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus, and then we got ready for Christmas mass. In the past, we have always gone to the Christmas Eve mass, but last year we went to mass on Christmas Day, and we liked that mass so much, we decided to go again this year.
These, our traditional Christmas Mass pictures.
After mass, Brailey and Brady went for a ride while I cooked a nice Christmas lunch.
And then, after a late lunch, we finally opened presents. Britt was so proud of his gift for Brady! He wrapped it himself in this box, and it had to be the biggest box he could find. Because, after all, it was a very small present - a Charles Barkley rookie card! Brady has been asking for this card for a long time, and Britt couldn't wait to give it to him. Brady was thrilled! And he even appreciated the nice wrap job.
I thought this had to be documented forever and ever - Britt's gift to Brailey. I love how he highlighted his name. Classic boy, right?
Another one of Britt's packages, this one for me. Bows upon bows and even a ribbon!
This may not look like much to the average person, but it is a very special makeup palette, called War Paint. She was thrilled to get this! Makeup is Brailey's favorite thing, and she was dying for this particular set.
This, however, was a surprise gift for Brailey. Back in the fall, Montana Silversmiths had a buckle designing contest. Brailey wanted to enter this contest so badly! She spent an entire afternoon working on her design, hoping against hope she could enter it. But of course she couldn't, considering Brady's relationship with the company as a Sales Rep. So we had the buckle she designed made for her, and she was so surprised and happy - she absolutely loves it, and it turned out so perfectly! Turns out she is actually very talented at designing buckles. It must be the artist in her!
Britt wanted cards, cards and more cards. So we got him a few. He was more than happy!
Admiring her buckle some more... She just couldn't' believe it!
And the cards being sorted.
It was a truly special Christmas, even though it was only the four of us. But we had a wonderful day and ended it at the movie theater, which seems to be a popular time for families to watch movies. The movie we picked was packed to the gills! Christmas is fun when kids are little, but it is also more stressful with the timing and the hiding and Santa, and it was really nice to take the whole day to enjoy such a special time. Christmas felt a little bit more special, this year - we said Merry Christmas to everyone we saw, and everyone said it back with as much spirit as we gave to them, and there seemed to be a wonderful, magical feeling in the air. A Merry, Blessed Christmas it was!

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Few of Our Favorites

Over Thanksgiving weekend, in between all the rain, rain, and rain, our dear friend Terra Jacobsen-Barnes took a few family photos for us (thank you so much, Terra - you are the best and nobody else could put up with our crazy ways!). We've actually never had family pictures like these done, and it was fun! Even Brady and Britt enjoyed it. I'm glad we have these memories and faces captured in time. The kids are growing up right before our eyes - it is unbelievable! When they get their braces off, we'll have to do this again. There are so many pictures that I love, but I don't want to be too narcissistic, so I kept the number of pictures I am sharing down to a reasonable number. In any case, behold my beautiful family, my B's, the ones I live and breathe for every second of every day... Hope you enjoy! 
We like to have fun. Britt may be silly, but he is the best Mama's Boy I know. And Brailey and I with our fun "big hats!"
 This is the only picture that turned out from the hay barn. These two are such an amazing pair... Heart melters!
And there you have it - the 4 B's in living color. We are wild, crazy, happy, conservative, loving country people living and loving our lives like there is no tomorrow! 

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...