Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bullies Beware

I wrote this a couple of months ago. I wasn't going to post it, because it is very, very personal. Most of the time, writing is my therapy. Many blog posts sit in the que, never to be shared. But then a friend of mine posted on her blog about her son being bullied, and I realized how rampant it is in today's society, and I decided to share my own post. The summer has gone a long way toward healing our hearts from what we experienced this year, and if this post makes even one person think differently about bullying, then it is worth it.

Bullying. There is such an extreme amount of it today. Just look at the news. Frankly, I think it has always been around. But the truth is, today, there is so much of it going on, it boggles the mind. Especially with girls. Girls are the worst, aren't they? Of course boys are bullies, too, but they are usually more obvious about it. Girls are sneaky and conniving and unforgiving. Girls can pretend to be sweet when they aren't. Either way, girl or boy, I cannot stand bullies.

To the girl who bullied my daughter this year, know this:

Know that my daughter isn't a victim. She's stronger than you, smarter than you and frankly, much nicer than you. She purposely didn't engage in your twisted little game. She didn't stick up for herself. She isn't the kind of girl to participate in the drama of tit for tat and who was right or wrong. In other words, you just weren't worth her time. You didn't matter that much.

But know that I saw you hurting her. Yes. I personally witnessed an incident. And it took everything I had not to go after you and ask you what you thought you were doing. But I restrained myself, knowing how innocent you portray yourself to be. You aren't one to be trusted. You are dishonest, which makes you dangerous.

Know that your lies will catch up to you someday.

And to the girls who jumped on your bandwagon without getting the real story, know this:

Know there are two sides to every story. Did you really believe the lies degrading my daughter's character? Did you truly think it was like her to do the things that were being said? Or were you just so jealous of her that you eagerly believed such garbage? Why would you turn your back on a friend based on someone else's testimony? How could you forget what a good friend my daughter has been to you?

Know that there will be a next time, because bullying isn't exclusive to high school, and you will come across this exact scenario again. Next time, you should investigate. Don't always take one person's word over another person's without talking to both parties. Draw your own conclusions. Research. Seek the truth. Don't be so quick to judge.

Know that you were the victims in this charade of friendship. You fell prey to a controlling, conniving personality. And you lost out on a great, loyal, mature, sweet, fun friend. You are under a bully's control. And you are a bully in a group of bullies.

To all of you, to the group of bullies, know this:

Know when it comes to my daughter? She's okay. She's more than okay. But you did hurt her. You hurt her deeply. If that was your intention, then pat yourself on the back. Yay you! You succeeded. But she's stronger because of your treatment of her. You taught her one of life's biggest lessons - the only people you can really trust in life are immediate family. Friendship is fickle, and true friends are hard to come by.

Know you missed out on a great friend, someone who was true and who was always good to you. And now you are stuck with your same old comfortable tribe. Good luck with that. And thank you for showing your true colors. Better to learn sooner than later you aren't to be trusted.

Oh, and one more thing. When someone bullies my kids? I take it personally. You are bullying me, too. I wanted to tell your parents, but I knew you would lie about it.

To all the parents out there, I say this:

For the love of God, check in with your kids. If you think something is strange, ask them about it. Investigate. Don't always assume your kid is perfect and right. Don't think your kid doesn't need advice. If something seems strange in their story, don't always believe they are telling the truth. Help them come to the real truth. Human brains are not done growing until the age of 25. Don't bury your head in the sand. Talk, really talk, to your kids. Check in with them. DAILY. Bug them. And if you think something weird is going on, look into it. Life is tricky, and none of us are perfect. But bullying is preventable. A little parental guidance goes a long way.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

BSM Kustom Kanz - Expanding into New Territory

Brailey has been having so much fun with her custom painting business. She has some orders she needs to complete, but she wanted to spread her wings a little and do some designs of her own. So, we checked out the local St. Vinny's and found a couple of pairs of shoes. These moccasins, I will admit, I spied myself. For some reason, I knew they would fit Grandma Diggy so perfectly. And so Brailey painted them with these darling bucking horses and we shipped them to Sacramento, where they have been reported to fit like they were made for Grandma Diggy's feet! Diana (Brady's mother, aka Grandma Diggy) was so thrilled to get them! It was a wonderful surprise for her. She said she had always wanted a pair of moccasins, and although she thought they would be too narrow when she first saw them, they fit her feet like they were custom made just for her. She never imagined a pair of moccasins with bucking horses on them, but she is awfully fond of bucking horses, she said. Brailey was very happy they made her beloved grandmother so happy.
We also found these super cute wedges! The tag says they are an 8.5. Brailey tried them on in the store, and they seemed to fit fine, but after putting them on at home, it is apparent they are sized incorrectly. They are more like a 7, or a 7.5. In any case, she has decided to sell these. So if you want a pair of wedge heels that are one-of-a-kind, here you go! They are a quality brand, also, Soda. Please let us know if you are interested. We can ship these easily! 
A couple of months ago, we recycled these tins and she had a big time painting them. These are also for sale. They would be perfect for jewelry or trinkets or whatever you have in mind.
These are little key chains she painted up one morning. I don't think these are for sale. She is very attached to them! They are a piece of leather from a latigo she recycled. But if you would like one, just let us know and she can paint one special for you.
This is my own personal order. The milk can she painted for our friend Darlene turned out so cute, it inspired me to repaint my own milk can and to have Brailey fancy it up. The pictures don't do this one justice! You can't see the detail in them. In person, it is so cute it is unbelievable, and I love it!
Before she left for rodoe bible camp, she painted a bunch of hat feathers. She loved this one so much she kept it, and it looks amazingly cute! She paired it with another feather, which adds a certain flair. She has quite a few different designs, all on her Instagram page, BSM.Kustom.Kanz. Check them out and let her know if you are interested in one she has done or if you have a design you would like her to paint for you. She would be happy to!
This is the milk can that inspired me to have her paint my own. This turned out so well and is her favorite thing she has ever painted. 
And this little custom sign for a store's dressing room turned out really cute, as well.
Anyway, her designs are improving more all the time and she is having a great time doing it. Last summer, she was so strapped for time, it became a huge burden to her. But this summer, she has a lot more free time, and she has learned how to be more efficient with her painting, which also helps. If you would like something painted, let us know! She can pretty much paint anything you want to have done. I am so proud of her entrepreneurial adventure!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Bittersweet End of an Era

The end of this school year has been bittersweet. We are so happy to be done, after such a long year! The extra week to make up for the snow days has been brutal. But there has also been a bit of sadness, as there is every year. It is always a painful reminder to me that my kids are one step closer to being on their own. The melancholy was deepened this year by the fact that we are ending a chapter on a significant part of our lives. I have been alluding to a big announcement for a few weeks. Here it is... After being part of Spanish Immersion since they were in first grade, we are changing schools. Next year, they will be attending school in the Harrisburg School District. Hooray!

Trust me when I say it was not a decision we made lightly. But once we started the ball rolling in that direction, everything seemed to fall into place. The hardest part of the decision was letting go of the Spanish piece of their education. And then the next hardest part for Brailey was letting go of being on the high school dance team. But once we got past those two factors, there just weren't any reasons not to change schools.

Once we made up our minds, I called Harrisburg High School to see how to start the transfer, and I was stunned to learn it is such a popular school. In fact, they limit their enrollment. My heart was panicked! We had went through a gut wrenching decision process only to find out it wasn't possible!? But as fate would have it, there was one spot available in Brailey's class. One. It was the final confirmation that this was the right decision. It was truly meant to be!

To backtrack a little, this has been a very difficult year for Brailey. Being a freshman was nothing like she thought it would be. She loved middle school so much and had anticipated high school being a similar kind of fun. At first, we chalked it up to it just being a rough year. Then I started to notice that every morning on the way to school, she would become absolutely silent and stoic. Not only could I see the sadness, I could feel it. In retrospect, I know she used the time in the car to mentally prepare herself to deal with the day, donning her armor. As a mother, I cannot tell you how hard this was to see. Yes, I know there are far worse things in the world, but seeing your child in a state of mental distress is difficult, to say the least. After school, by the time we got home, she would magically turn back into the happy girl we know. By the weekend, she was her wonderful and happy self. And then, like clockwork, as soon as the school day appeared on Monday, she was sad beyond belief for the next five days. She started developing migraines. We discovered her hair system had gone into shock from the stress (same thing that happened to me), and she lost a severe amount of hair. She was in emotional turmoil, and it killed Brady and I to see her this way.

There were several reasons for her stress and sadness. Of course I'm not going to go into details. Someday, I may write a post about it. But for now, we will save that story for another time.

It is amazing how once we were able to think outside our comfort zone, all of a sudden, our eyes were opened to the real possibility of making a change. One by one, the positives began to add up for Harrisburg. We would say, "We're 70% sure we're going to move." The next day it was 75%. Then it went up to 82%. Next thing you know, we were at 98%. And then that fateful phone call to look in to transferring her, and we were 110% sure!

For Britt, it was a tougher decision. In fact, we are still waiting on final confirmation that he will be able to transfer. We'll know by the middle of July. The odds are high that he will. After Brailey was accepted, we considered letting Britt finish his middle school years at Monroe. But that would mean Brailey would have to take a bus, and having two kids going in two different directions on two different school schedules doesn't seem smart - it certainly wouldn't make life easier. Also, Britt doesn't enjoy Spanish like Brailey does. Then, we thought about high school for him. Wouldn't it be better if he knew the kids he would be going to high school with? Yes. And surprisingly, Britt didn't freak out or panic. He calmly accepted our decision they both transfer to Harrisburg. Brady and I think he knows it will be good for him.

We have driven by the schools several times since making our decision, and they are both excited and fearful at the same time. Change is hard, of course. But there is so much to look forward to! It is a smaller school, closer to home, with not a single stop light to drive through. In one year, Brailey will be driving - this will be a much safer route for her to travel. The colors are the same as Burns High School's colors, where both of my nieces graduated from - purple and gold. They have a closed campus. The best part? They have a four day school week! Brailey will have more time with her horses, and she will also be able to have lunch with her friends from Sheldon on Fridays. She is really looking forward to that!

Still, in these last few weeks, as she has shared the news, it has been hard for Brailey. She had to tell her best friend, which was very sad. They have lunch together almost every day, and Brailey is going to miss her time with Nikki. She told two of her closest friends in her Spanish Immersion program, and they were so sad, and that made Brailey sad. She took cookies to her last dance class and said her good byes and then promptly burst into tears as soon as she got in the car. Letting go of being a Colleen was really, really hard. She has asked everyone who mattered to her to sign her yearbook. People wrote the sweetest things to her! She asked for pictures in one of her Spanish Immersion classes, and the teacher took some great ones. She realized she was more loved and liked than she thought. She has made some wonderful friends! Thankfully, they will all be able to keep in touch. But at the end of the day, she is ready for a new adventure in a new school.

Britt is only telling his friends the news this week. We wanted to talk to his basketball coach before he heard it through the grapevine. We are praying he can still play with his same team. If he can have just one more year with them, he will be able to maintain his friendships with those very special kids and learn even more from the amazing coaches. Our fingers are crossed. Britt would rather stay at Monroe, of course, but he knows Harrisburg will be good for him. He is worried about whether or not he will fit in. I am sure he will - the country boy in him will find his way back to the surface, perhaps. And who doesn't love a four day school week?

As a mother, my heart hurts for both my B's in different ways as we end this era. I know for a fact we made the right decision, but saying good bye to all the wonderful friends we've made and to the comfort of familiarity is not easy. If you feel so inclined, please say a prayer for my kiddos as they embark on their new journeys - we are always grateful for prayers. And we are also looking forward to keeping in touch with everyone and to coming to all the games and events we possibly can to see our beloved people. Thankfully, we aren't moving, just changing schools. A new adventure awaits us, and as always, I will share it with you every step of the way.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Father's Day Fun

Father's Day was Brady's Day, and it was a beautiful, sunny one! He was so excited to load all our golf gear in the back of the pickup and to hit the town. Our first stop, of course, was our new favorite place for special occasions, Texas Roadhouse. And it did not disappoint! It was so delicious... If only we could eat there every day! 
From there, we went straight to the golf course at Fiddler's. It was not the best golf dau for me - I am in a "slump," and I finally just gave up and took pictures, which was much more fun. If you've ever played golf, then you know how frustrating it can be. The kiddos did great, and of course Brady did, too. They are all naturally gifted when it comes to golfing. Brady was thrilled we were all out there together. Once I finally figure out my swing and develop some consistency, I will try it again. For now, I enjoy watching them and playing paparazzi, which is what I do best. That said, I will admit golf is not for the weak-hearted. I have never had a sport test me so strongly. It's a character builder, to say the least. Britt said it isn't as much fun without me to watch. That's because I am so bad, right now, it is highly entertaining! Haha. And Brailey is sure we could be millionaires if they did a reality show on us. That's probably true... It's a hoot to watch, I'm sure! Unless, that is, you happen to be me. But I am thrilled golf has worked out so well for Brailey and Britt, even if I am a bit jealous of them.
This is Britt's favorite place to find stray balls. He gets the biggest kick out of it!

You can see from Brady's face how much he enjoys the game. He shot a really good game! And the weather could not have been more beautiful or perfect. He was thrilled!
His Live Lucky hat looked so perfect on him. He is a rep for this line, which is one of his favorites. They are officially known as Live Lucky Black Clover hats. These are taking the nation by storm and they are the next big thing in the western world. But if you can't find them in your local western store, don't despair. Just go to your nearest golf shop, and you will find them there. Fiddler's actually has a wonderful selection. And Brady has slowly but surely been getting them into some of "his" stores. They are the coolest of the cools, for sure!
These two are so blessed to have Brady for their dad. There's nobody else like him! He loves them more than anything, and he works so hard to provide for them and to make sure they have every opportunity available to them. His B's are his world, including me, and we are the luckiest B's in the world!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fifteen and Fabulous - Brailey's Birthday Celebration

Birthdays on a Tuesday are never as fun as birthdays on a weekend, but we made the most of it! Brady was out of town, so we had to save a few traditional celebrations for later in the week after he got home, but we like to celebrate birthdays all month long in our family, so it worked out perfectly. Above, the traditional before school birthday picture. And below, the traditional birthday table picture.
Britt was supposed to have basketball practice on her birthday, but he came home with a bad headache, so he wisely decided to stay home, which meant we all got to stay home. Nice surprise! I knew his head must really hurt, or he wouldn't miss practice. But I also think a small, sweet part of him wanted to help Brailey have a good birthday. Her day at school wasn't the best, and Britt is a soft-hearted brother who wanted to do his part to make it better. I think we managed to turn her day around, as you will see in the pictures below.
She wanted the Pirates of the Caribbean makeup as soon as she saw it come out, and Britt was bound and determined that she would have it. They used to be obsessed with pirates when they were little, Britt more than Brailey, but watching all those movies as a little kid stuck with Brailey, and she was so happy he got it for her. These are the moments that make a mother's heart smile.
Whenever Brailey gets new makeup, this is is what we see. She sets it all out on the living room floor and admires it. Most all of her gifts were makeup, this year. And even better, Tuesday Night Smackdown was on, so she got to watch one of her favorite shows while arranging it all. It takes quite a while for her to organize it. She is not like me in this regard. Makeup terrifies me! I always slop it on and pray it will look okay, whereas Brailey sees a fresh new canvas to have fun with every day. It is a refreshing perspective, especially considering she is the least vain person in the world.
The envelopes below are from her best friend, Nikki, and the time and thought she put into them just melts my heart! She was so sweet to Brailey at school during the short time they had together before school and at lunch and gave her the most wonderful gifts - spoiled her rotten, in fact! But these envelopes are just too sweet for words and had to be shared. Brailey is so blessed to have Nikki in her life. What a wonderful friend! 
Brailey couldn't decide what kind of a cake she wanted, this year. Did she want a cheesecake or a real cake? She finally decided on a cheesecake. We had to save that part of her celebration for when Brady was home, so I got her this mini "real" cake, too, for her actual birthday, which she loved. It was a great surprise!
Our theme this year was yellow and purple, which I will be telling you more about soon. Stay tuned for that revelation and a glimpse into her future.
The day after her birthday, she tried out for Dance Factory's Urban Fusion group. The tryouts were tough, and she thought she did horribly. She fully expected not to be on the team. But we got the official word on Friday, and she made it!
On Friday night, we went to the movies. We saw the final Pirates of the Caribbean show. It was soooooo good! We ran in to two of her classmates, Sarah and Miriam. So I snapped a quick picture of them, because that's what I do - take pictures. 
On Saturday, to wrap the celebration up, we went to Texas Roadhouse for the traditional birthday dinner. It was, as always, more delicious than words can describe.
And then, last but not least, after mass, we had her "real" birthday cake, which was a cheesecake from Coscto. I tried to decorate it up a bit. A little cheesy (pardon the pun!), but still fun.
Her main present didn't come on time, so we saved it for the cake ceremony. The new shades were a huge hit, and I am so grateful she wasn't upset or disappointed that they didn't arrive on her birthday. Her first Ray Bans - she is thrilled!
And she made a wish and blew the candles out in one breath. It was a wonderful celebration of our sweet girl. She is so precious to us, and we are more excited than we have ever been to see where this next year takes her. Fourteen wasn't the greatest year of her life, but we're making some changes and have big plans for the next year, and I predict it is going to be amazing and full of all kinds of wonderful things!

Bullies Beware

I wrote this a couple of months ago. I wasn't going to post it, because it is very, very personal. Most of the time, writing is my th...