These family pictures almost didn't happen. They were "this close" to never materializing. But happen they did, and I am so grateful, because I love them. And I think it may be a new family tradition, because pictures are truly important, and we need them. Isn't it magical that of all the moments that come and go in our lives, a few of them can be captured to help the memories live on? Originally, I scheduled the pictures to commemorate our 16th anniversary. Brady and I didn't have a big splashy wedding with a professional photographer, and our wedding pictures aren't very impressive. Digital photography wasn't mainstream back when we got married. So I thought it would be nice for the kiddos to have a good picture of us for when they move out and have their own places, someday. I did my research, and I was so happy to finally find a professional photographer whose work I loved, Whitney Lily Photography. The first hiccup came in scheduling her. I had envisioned pictures at our house in the sunshine, the end of summer. However, she was booked solid all the way into October. I was super disappointed, because I am not a fan of fall. At all. Leaves are not my thing. Plus, I was worried the rain would come, but what could I do but pick a day and hope for sunshine? Well wouldn't you know, the weather was beautiful all the way up until a couple of days before our pictures. And then, unrelenting rain! I was devastated. And mere days before, I developed a humongous blemish on my face. However, at this point, it was the ONLY DAY we had to get this done. Everything else had been scheduled around this appointment. It was a do or die situation. I had just decided to scrap the entire thing, and yes I will admit I shed a tear over the situation, when our sweet photographer saved the day and messaged me with a solution. She knew the perfect place to go that had the light of the outdoors, but cover from the rain. And so we kept the date, and if you can believe it, it rained all morning, but quit during our session, and then came back after our pictures were over. So I guess these pictures were meant to be, after all. Even if they were in the leaves! So ironic. To tell you the truth, it all worked out perfectly, and we had such a good time! Brady was hilarious and he had us all laughing from start to finish. We aren't exactly model material, so I am sure we were unlike any family she has ever photographed. And we didn't make her page or Instagram, so we must not have been too impressive. But we had an absolute blast during our session. Brady had more fun than anyone! Britt didn't want to have pictures done at all, but he ended up having a great time, too. There are a couple of shots I wish we had thought to get, but for the most part, I love the pictures. And if we do make it a tradition and do them next year, both kids will be out of braces and we will all look older and wiser, I'm sure. I feel vainglorious in sharing so many of these, but the ones I picked are some of my favorites, and I just couldn't resist. Hope you enjoy!
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Actually, back when I started blogging, it was a form of therapy for me. Writing has always felt therapeutic to me. It still does. The good news is, I am in a healthier place today than I was when I first started blogging. My family and I have been through some incredible journeys, and although we will still continue to grow and learn and change, we are all healthy and happy (knock on wood, right?!). As I look back over the years, I used to blog nearly every day. Then my posts got fewer and fewer every year. And although I have a zillion things I could write about, I frankly don't feel like using my very valuable time to post it.
So a couple more posts, and I'm going to wrap it up, at least for a while. Perfect for Christmas, right? (See how I used that little pun, there? I love a good pun!) I have this post and one more fun one, and then on to different things, like selling silver and being the best mom and wife I can possibly be. One of the transitions of life, I suppose.
Here is what has been going on in my head, as a sort of farewell to the end of a blogging era...
First of all, my desk has become piled with more things than I ever dreamed it could. I have piles and piles and piles of things all over it. This means I either need a bigger desk or I need to get better organized. My piles have even spread to the chairs in front of my desk and onto the floor. To be fair, part of this is from Christmas. But I can no longer deny that this has become the norm instead of the unusual. I am actually grateful to have this problem, but it is my goal to get my office in order this year. A New Year's Resolution already, if you will.
I experienced my first flat tire on the road last week. I was having a great trip, zipping from store to store, cleaning cases and merchandising them, meeting the wonderful workers who take care of them, and on my last stop, I came up with a flat. Did I panic? Yes, of course I did! I frantically called Brady, who was a little panicky himself. Then I calmed myself down and figured out what to do. Actually, I am embarrassed to admit that what I did was call Les Schwab. Years ago, when I was in high school, I will never forget the time my grandpa watched me change a flat tire in front of his house. He watched me from the window in the kitchen. I did it, no problem. After I was done, he said, "I wanted to help you, but I wanted to make sure you knew how to do it in case you ever need to do it when I'm not here." He was proud to see that I was able to do it. So when my tire came up flat the other day, I was ashamed that I no longer knew how to change my own tire. But I was so lucky in where my flat tire occurred - one mile from Les Schwab! I called them, they sent the most wonderful young man down to put the donut on my car and then I followed him to the shop where he set me up with the perfect used tire to match my other tires. Oh, and if you are curious? I ran over a spark plug, and it was still in the tire! (See pictures below.) It made a humongous hole in my tire, though, so they weren't able to repair it. But the kid was so professional and kind and he had me back on the road in about an hour. At first, I wanted to cry, but as I got back on the road, I realized how very lucky I was to have been so close to Les Schwab and that it happened when it did and not on the freeway. And now Brady has decided to give us all a lesson on how to change a tire, if we need to. Just for the record, there are special covers that go on all the lug nuts that have to be taken off with a certain tool, so I am up for the lesson, believe me.
These pictures are from a new store in Philomath that Brady and I met with last week. This store is going to be so super cool! Out West Farm and Ranch. Opening soon! Below, we all had leopard print on. Is that so funny?!
As I said, the move to Harrisburg has been beyond our wildest expectations. We feel like we found the perfect school for our kids and they both got rave reviews during Parent Teacher Conferences. Both Brady and I were able to go, and he said it was a Top Ten moment in his life to hear how appreciated our kids are and to learn they are doing well academically and socially. Every teacher took time to speak with us about how they were doing - there was no time limit. When we changed schools, we were most worried about Britt, as he didn't want to change schools at all. It was great to learn he fits right in with everyone and is doing well. He is looking forward to the middle school basketball season starting after Christmas and he is also on a winter club team with a great coach. Ironically, he was put on the Marist team with mostly all Catholics, so that has been a great fit for him. We are grateful he has one more year to develop his skills and to get caught up before high school.
Britt and I went to our first Blazer game last weekend, which was a lot of fun. His own team had a tournament in Portland and so the coach planned for the team to go to the Blazer game, as well. Brady was in Las Vegas working at the NFR, so I took Britt and Brailey stayed home by herself overnight for the first time (and loved every second of it!). I was nervous about getting to and from the game, but our hotel was right by a station for the MAX, and so we asked for help and figured out how to ride it. It was great! The Blazer game had a lot of entertainment besides the actual playing - it was so fun! Both of us enjoyed the ride on the MAX, and I think I could ride that thing anywhere, now. We took the Red Line, in case you were wondering. And Brailey worked on a very special trash can and enjoyed having the TV all to herself - she watched the Young Guns movies and loved them. She wasn't scared one bit and did a great job holding the fort down.
While we were at the game working concessions, Britt was at the middle school running the clock for the middle school girls basketball games. He was asked to do this by one of his favorite teachers, who happens to be one of the high school football coaches. Britt must have done a good job, because they asked him to do it again this past Monday, and Britt was thrilled to accommodate them. When I picked him up, he said, "Well, I did my service work." And he enjoyed it, which I was happy to see. The next day, he was rewarded for his work with a gift card to Dutch Bros. Have I mentioned how much we love the Harrisburg School District?
Brady had a great time working at the NFR and he sold a zillion pairs of boots. He loves what he does, and it shows, no doubt about it. He met some fun people, including one of Brailey's favorites, Dale Brisby. We called Brady Sunday, and he was with Dale and boy did Brailey get the surprise of her life when Dale came on the phone! She was elated at the fact that her dad got a picture with him, but when he came on the phone, she was nearly speechless. It was on our car phone, so it was fun to listen to. He told her, "Remember, an apple a day keeps everyone way, if you throw it hard enough." He is hilarious, for sure!
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Saturday was all about basketball for Britt. And there is nothing he loves more than basketball! Every year, when the Harlem Globetrotters come to town, we miss out, and I kick myself and wonder why I didn't buy tickets to go see them. I remember watching their cartoon as a kid myself, and I saw them when I was in college at Gonzaga. I admit it - I have always been impressed with their tricks and I love the comedy. This year, I made an executive family decision and bought the tickets. I did it all on the spur of the moment. You may think that Britt was excited to see them upon learning we were going to see the Globetrotters - he was not. However, let your heart not be troubled by that news, because he didn't know what he was missing out on, and after we got to the show, he was enthralled and we all had a great time!
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
It was a project ten years in the making, but finally, it's done. And we are thrilled with how it turned out! We always wanted to put in a riding arena on our place, but something would come up to postpone the project another year. In the end, it worked out perfectly, because we talked to enough people and did enough research that it all came together in the best possible way. And finally, Brailey has a place to ride her horses at home! These are just a few fun pictures to show you the journey from the beginning to the end. We had the best excavator we could ever ask for - Brian Way of Way to go Construction. He has done a lot of work for us over the years, and he knew what he was getting into from previous projects. We have so many rocks and boulders, we were worried we might come across one too big to move, which would have shut the whole thing down, but the hillside and ground surprised us all - the rocks were perfect for the base and there weren't any too big to move. In fact, the job ended up being easier than expected, which was a great bonus. We couldn't be happier with how beautiful it looks. It greatly surpassed our expectations! Below is a Before picture, and the transformation goes on from there. Enjoy!
In case you are wondering what Britt is doing, he is digging a rock out.
Last Saturday was the most beautiful day of the fall. The weather was so, so perfect! My beloved niece Lanie and her boyfriend came to the Oregon Ducks football game, and they stopped by. Nate helped them dig one of the post holes before they headed off to the game. We got a lot of work done on this day thanks to the delightful sunshine.
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