Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Football and Family Fun

Last weekend was a very special weekend for our family. For the first time since they were babies, all four cousins were together! And it was a fun-filled time full of love and laughter and whole lot of Oregon Duck football. We started off with hamburgers barbecued by Brady. Brady loves to BBQ! He doesn't get to do it as often as he would like, since he is on the road all the time and we are rarely home on the weekends. Lanie gave his delicious burgers a 9, and Shawn gave them an 8. These were very high rankings, and Brady was proud.
After lunch, we made sure to have a picture taking session with several cameras. It is important to document such momentous and fun occasions. Below, Britt stole Brady's new Oregon Duck shoes. On a side note, Britt wears the same size as Brady, now. All of a sudden, his feet grew this summer! If he grows into his feet, he will be very tall, indeed. We are keeping our fingers crossed for some good height. Britt didn't go to the game this time - it was Shawn and the girls who got to go. But in true Duck form, Britt still dressed the part and looked like the authentic Duck fan he is.
It has been a good long time since these two sisters have been able to spend some time together. Lanie lives in Nevada, now, and is all grown up! She is a full-fledged adult, and as beautiful as ever. She got a kick out of "the twins," Brailey and Lexi. They made sure to dress alike, which required Britt letting Lexi borrow his special hat and sunglasses. He was happy to oblige, of course. Aren't they so cute?!
Uncle Shawn and his Goddaughter, Brailey Shaye. And Materbug photobombing in the background.

We all squished in the pickup so we could deliver them to Autzen Stadium. The traffic was easy peasy on the way there. These three cousins are so cute and beautiful. Happy girls are the prettiest!
Brailey had these two pictures on her phone. The one above is so special to us, because it is of our good friend, David. We seriously love this guy and he is one of our favorite people in the world! He works with the players and can be found on the sidelines of every Duck game, right on the 25 yard line. It was a great surprise to get this picture from Brailey. And below, she got a picture of "our guy," Brady Aiello on the jumbo-tron. We met him in the spring, and Brady just ran into him a couple of weeks ago. He is a super nice kid and does a fantastic job for the Ducks. We love having a player we can cheer for that we know - it makes it even more fun!
Meanwhile, at home, Brady and Britt watched the game on TV. It was intense, especially at the end. Sadly, we didn't get the win, but it was still a good game and the weather was beautiful. 
On the field, after the game. Twinsies!
This is a special picture. I think this is one of the first times my brother has been able to do something like this with his girls. His life has gone through a lot of change in the last year. I am so thankful he is in the place he's in. He's had to make some really tough decisions and his character has been completely assassinated in the process, but he is doing better than he has in years. The real Shawn, the person we always knew was in there somewhere, found his way back to his family, and we welcome him with open arms! People can speculate and judge and talk all they want - our family knows the truth of the situation. We also know how destructive and toxic compulsive liars are, and we are grateful to our toes Shawn was able to eliminate this from his life ("this" being a particular person who almost ruined our family, but didn't quite manage to get it done). The only thing that matters is that we have our family back, and family is everything!
After the game, we had a hot dog roast. The weather was so perfect! I wish I could have gotten better pictures, but I have yet to learn about that setting on my camera.
The "twins" above, posting on Instagram. And an array of hats, below. Lexi almost wore the Boise State hat - that is her team, and they were playing the Beavers just up the road in Corvallis (they won!). I'm glad she and Brailey decided to be twins, instead. They got to sit together, all by themselves, at Autzen, and Shawn and Lanie were a couple of sections over. They were close enough they could see each other, so that was cool for all of them and made Shawn feel better. At one point, there was a big commotion, because a drunk Duck fan punched the Colorado mascot. Brailey said she had so much fun watching everything that was going on, she hardly watched the game. I am so happy she and Lexi got to spend this time together!
The next morning, I cooked a big breakfast, and then the girls went for a little trail ride.
Lexi rode ole Texi-Man, and Lanie rode Alvin. Brady made sure everyone's stirrups were just right.
More picture opportunities!
Shawn wanted them all to make an "O," but Alvin and Mater were too distracted by the green grass under their noses. Still, it was a fun idea and another memory.
Lanie picked Shawn a couple of apples from the apple tree before they left.
Blue skies for days! They had a great ride, and we got lots of pictures.
We didn't want them to leave! Thankfully, we got a fun picture of all four cousins, with the oldest on top and the youngest on the bottom. Shortest to tallest, as Britt likes to point out. He is pretty proud to be taller than the girls. It was an amazing weekend, and we are all looking forward to more fun times like this. These are the days, right here. These are the blessed days!  

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