Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Winter Season Dance Banquet 2017

Brailey's first year of high school dance is officially in the books! She looked so darling in her jumpsuit last night. It was an extra special night, because the Varsity girls won the state title this past Saturday. Mother Nature (they danced to this theme) was AMAZING! It was fun to see how proud Coach Hillary was of them. This is truly a spectacular accomplishment! We are so, so proud of them! It was also special to see all the seniors recognized, and each dancer on the entire team, from Exhibition to JV to Varsity. So much dedication and countless hours of hard work were represented - it is impossible not to be impressed. And best of all for Brailey, she was honored with a very significant accolade, the Coaches' Award. This award means the world to her! 
I am so frustrated with my camera. Why can't it just focus and take the picture properly? I have no idea what the problem with it is - too complicated for me. But nonetheless, if it wasn't blurry, the picture above is very cute! Before the banquet began, the dancers were chatting.
In addition to certificates, they are each given a necklace with a glass keeper for charms they earn. Brailey earned one for JV, one for her GPA, and then one for the Coaches' Award. This is such a fun tradition, and they all end up with different charms, depending on what they earn. Brailey was so happy to have been given the Coaches' Award. She always works hard and does her best to deliver, and it warmed my heart to see her perseverance pay off. Dance is not an easy sport. All sports at Sheldon High School are tough, no matter which one you pick, but I would have to say the dancers spend the most hours practicing. It is a year-long commitment, and we are so proud of Brailey for sticking with it. It has been harder than she anticipated, but she did it! And now we kind of know the ropes. The first year of anything is intimidating. We are looking forward to seeing where the next three years of high school take her. The sky is the limit!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

New Team, Same Dream

Britt's new team for spring basketball kicked off their season early this past weekend. Before we left, we finally managed to take a nice basketball picture of Britt for a magnet frame we have on our fridge. I have several magnet pictures of Brailey in her volleyball uniform, but Britt's team didn't do official team pictures, so we didn't have one for him. And by the way, he noticed. Although we don't have official pictures, we do have a magnetic basketball frame that has been waiting for a picture of Britt to fill it. The frame was recently moved from the side of our fridge to the front, "as a reminder." Kids really do care about these things, it turns out (and it makes my heart smile!). That magnetic basketball frame has been waiting for a picture of Britt to fill it, and now we have one! (Yes, I know it sounds tacky, but I have many years ahead of me with a perfectly-perfect fridge - I am going to enjoy these last few years of fridge fun while I can.) Except all of these pictures are so cute, I can't decide which one to use! Any suggestions?
His new spring team, the Irish Select, entered a tournament in Cottage Grove, and they cleaned house! Britt missed his last game of the winter season a couple of weeks ago due to being sick, and he honestly isn't back to 100% yet, but he got a lot of playing time and did really well. There are a couple of new players on this team, and one of them is a beast! He will be a great motivator for Britt to improve his own skill set and also someone for Britt to learn from. It was a good reminder to Britt that he (Britt) hasn't been playing since he was in kindergarten, as most of the kids on his team have. But it is good to have reminders like this, because they inspire us to new heights in our own abilities. 
We feel very fortunate Britt is on this team. Nearly every kid on the team has been with Coach Brian and Coach Steve since kindergarten. And now, they have one year left until high school! Practically, that is. We are going to enjoy this seventh grade spring season to the max!
Hanging out between games (above). A lot of devices, phones, gadgets, whatever you want to call them. Britt doesn't take his to games, and if he did? He wouldn't be allowed on it. His parents are mean like that. (Hahaha!)
And you may have seen the news on Facebook from yesterday, but in case you missed it, they won the tournament! This was really great for this team. All but two of the boys were on the winter team, so it is basically the same team, and they were playing against some very tough boys all winter long. In fact. some of the seventh graders looked more like high schoolers, and it was hard to believe they were in seventh grade. Very hard to believe. We're talking shaving, hairy-legged seventh graders. In any case, there wasn't a whole lot of winning over the winter. But there was a lot of growing and learning. The tournament win this past weekend was well-deserved (they beat every team by twenty plus points) and much needed. Sometimes, you need those easy victories. Needless to say, we are looking forward to a fun spring season of basketball! Go Irish Select! 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

First Monday at Home All Year

This past Monday, the younger B's and I experienced a rare treat. For the first time since the school year began, not counting Christmas vacation, we got to come straight home after school, and we got to stay home all evening long! No practices for either kid! And we got to watch one of our favorite shows ever, Monday Night RAW. It was great! And it felt kind of weird to not have anywhere to go, to not be in a rush to get everything done. We just relaxed. Relaxing - what a strange concept...

And yes, Brailey and I were on our phones a little. But not overly, if that is a word. And I appreciated every second of this time. I was able to chat with them, we laughed at our favorite characters (WWE is an ongoing soap opera), and I found myself just trying to soak it all in, appreciating the moment. Britt isn't as in to WWE wrestling as Brailey is, so he went back and forth between his room and the living room - when he heard something exciting on the TV, he came to check it out. He heard every word that was said, which was nice, because even though he wasn't with us for all of the show, he was still present. And that is the gift of the evening - we were present with each other.

It might not seem like a big deal to most people, but to me it was a special evening, one that made me miss the good old days when my B's were little and I didn't have to share them with anyone. Those were truly the days! I wish I could have them back, and I would appreciate them so much more, even though I felt like I appreciated my kiddos when they were little. Even though I work hard to appreciate them every day, it never feels like enough. As Train says in their Marry Me song, "Forever could never be long enough for me to feel like I have long enough with you." Forever could never be long enough for me and my B's. All three of them! I love my B's, I live for my B's and I cherish every second I have with them.

I made them pose for a quick picture this morning on our way to school. Brailey is in her Macho Man tee, which is fitting for this blog post. My B's - they are the coolest of the cools! And I am so blessed by their love. ♥

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

In Like a Busy Lion

Wooooooo-wee! March in like a lion to say the least, and a busy lion at that! Brady and I are so proud of Brailey for persevering and making it through two practices a day for two weeks, both golf and dance. Last week was the last of this hectic schedule, at least for a little while. It wasn't easy, that's for sure! But she has decided to stick with golf and seems to be enjoying herself. The girls on the golf team are super nice. She was even invited to a birthday party (sadly, she was unable to go because she was under the weather after pushing though all week - by the time the party came, she was down for the day, exhausted and bad sore throat.) In any case, golf has been a nice change of atmosphere for her. And even though it has been raining every practice, she has enjoyed being outside and getting some fresh air (in more ways than one!).
I was so, so happy Brady was home on Thursday morning last week. He usually isn't, but thank goodness he was, because THIS was in our barn! I went to feed the horses, was just reaching in to get the grain, and I happened to glace up and saw this body laying a few feet in front of me. I choked my scream down, in case it was sleeping, and ran out the barn and into the house. Brady was on his way back from taking his boss to the airport, thankfully. I called him and told him I had "an emergency." It was so creepy! It actually didn't look like a raccoon from the back, which is what was facing me. I know how mean these creatures are, so I am happy to report this one was dead. Brady scoped the situation out and hauled him off. He had a bloody hind foot, so maybe he was hit by a car and died in our barn from internal injury. We have no idea, but I am relieved Brady was home to save the day. It took me all day long to shake off the creepy feeling this dead raccoon gave me.
Britt was sick all week long and didn't make it back to school until Friday. He actually still has the sore throat, as do we all. Not fun! As soon as he got home on Friday, he painted his castle from art class. He is so proud of his work and I am proud of him for caring about it. He told me many times about making this castle out of clay. It had a few pieces fall off during the cooking process, I guess, but he was still thrilled to paint it. He did a great job!
We let Britt stay home Friday evening since he had been sick all week. He took this picture of Brady and I before we left for Brailey's Dance Sendoff performance. It was such a wonderful show! 
Brailey and her friend from the middle school dance team, Kaelyn, both made the Top Ten in the Novice Drill Down! Brady was so, so happy and proud of his girl. He boasted to her, "You made the Top Ten TWICE in less than a week!" It is an amazing accomplishment, and we are incredibly proud of her. Drill Down is not easy, period. These two sweet girls have a lot in common and I was thrilled to sit by her mother during the show. It was actually her birthday, and I am glad I was able to give her a birthday hug. Even better, our dear friend Denise and Brailey's best friend Nikki came to watch the show, and it was fun to see them! I miss Denise - I don't get to see her often enough. We love The Reeves!
Nikki brought Brailey the most beautiful flowers, and Brailey was so touched. Nikki was looking everywhere for Brailey, who came up to the bleachers, and then I stole her for the picture with Kaelyn, and Nikki didn't know where she was. When Brailey ran back down the bleachers and found her, it was so cute! I love these happy pictures!
Below is a hodge podge picture of most of the Colleens - a few of them had already gone out into the hallway for ice cream. The seniors are in the front, and I just can't believe how fast the year went by. Just last year, I watched them as juniors. I have met some of their sweet mothers, and my heart hurt for them as they watched their daughters in their last Sendoff Showcase. I admit I saw a few tears. It is a bittersweet experience. It is hard to think in only three more years I will be in their shoes.
This is Brailey with one of the seniors, Brandon. He was a cheerleader in years past, and this was his first season of dance. He has been very nice to Brailey and all the girls. I give him a lot of credit for trying something new as a senior. Not many kids would do that. 
After a restful Saturday (at least for the younger B's), on Sunday we met our neighbor, who used to be on the PGA Golf Tour, for a golf lesson at Fiddlers. It was a great session, and he helped Brailey immensely! He said she has a great swing and is a good student. He also figured out some things about her clubs, and we had to get her a new driver. We are so grateful he is our neighbor!
Britt, Brady and I hit a few balls, too. At least I could hit, this year! But I still have a lot to learn. Britt is doing great! Brady has his hands full with me. What can we say? I'm not exactly a natural, but I still love the game.
Brady knows one of the owners at Fiddlers, and he helped pick out the most perfect driver and woods for Brailey. And he gave us the deal of the century on them! We also got her a ball marker that is magnetic and goes on her hat. There is the nicest senior girl on her team, Kelsey, who told her she highly recommended Brailey get one. Kelsey has been so welcoming and sweet to Brailey and gives her a ride back to Eugene from Creswell on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On their last ride, they discovered they both played Webfoot volleyball under the same coach. And they both quit after that season for the same reasons, as well. So they have a lot in common! We are bummed that Kelsey is a senior, but Brailey is enjoying her time with her while she can. Nice girls - they do exist! In any case, Brailey is ready to hit the golf course this week and hopefully everything she learned from our neighbor will stick with her. Only two weeks until Spring Break - bring on the sunshine! The 4 B's are ready for summer! But we're going to enjoy every second of spring on our way to the end of this school year. We are two thirds done, but who's counting? One thing is for sure - it will be here and gone in the blink of an eye.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Marching into March

The calendar may say March, but it feels like December. The weather is so cold and dreary! Nonetheless, winter activities are wrapping up and spring activities are already in full swing. At the end of February, we were lucky to have sunshine for these beautiful dance team pictures. The wonderful photographer, Scott Olmos of Scott Olmos Photography, took these pictures. And while it had just been raining, the sun peeked out for the five minutes he needed for these amazing photos. He takes these pictures for the Sheldon Colleens free of charge - I highly recommend using him if you need a photographer!
Sadly, Brailey's individual picture caught her with her eyes in the middle of a blink. But she still looks gorgeous! The varsity girls had the idea for black dresses and black heels, and it sure was a good one. They all look so beautiful and the pictures turned out looking so classy!
The end of February and the beginning of March meant the start of golf for Brailey. She has joined the Sheldon golf team. This means she has two practices - golf for two hours after school, and then dance practice after that. She actually isn't sure if she wants to continue with golf, after the first week. The weather has been really nasty, and it is super cold outside, which isn't much fun. She is giving it one more week before she makes a final decision, though. She does love golf, and the girls on the team are nice, so we shall see what happens. Her life is full, to put it mildly. 
And while Brailey was golfing, Britt was taking selfies on my phone with his headband and shades on the way to one of his basketball practices. This was on the one sunny day we had was last week. He does look mighty fine in those shades. He also really needs a haircut, but we can never find the time to get it done! 
This past Saturday, Brady and I left the house at 6:30 in the morning and got home at 9:00 at night. It was a long day, but a good one. In the morning, Britt had basketball up in Salem. He had some great post moves and was 100% on his shooting! We were super proud of him! But despite that, he didn't look quite right to me. He just seemed a little lethargic and "off." Turns out he was sick, but we didn't know it until that evening.
Britt and his best friend, Camdyn, are both wearing one of Britt's headbands in the picture below. They have become such good friends, and we are so happy about that! Sadly for Britt, Camdyn is not going to play spring basketball, since he is doing track. Britt is really going to miss him! I thought it was so cute that Camdyn wore one of Britt's headbands. After the game, Coach Steve said, "Keep wearing that headband - you played great in it!"
Like a dummy, I forgot to check my camera battery. Or rather, I checked it a couple of weeks ago, and it was good. However, it was dead when we got to the games, and so I had to rely on my cell phone for pictures. All I can say is, thank God for cell phone cameras!
After dropping Britt off at home on our way by, we rushed to get to Brailey's afternoon dance performance. We were afraid we might be late, but we really needn't have worried. Not only were they running a bit behind schedule, the fire alarm went off during the first dance, so we all had to evacuate the building. Not fun! But once they determined a kid had pulled the alarm, we were able to go back in. After the dance, I found the girls in their room. Alyx was cutting their wigs out for them and happened to be working on Brailey. So cute!
Although Brady and I really wanted to go home, we stayed so Brady could see Brailey in his favorite event, the drill down competition. Here is a link to the video in case you want to see it: Thrill Down. Brady has renamed it Thrill Down, because he loves it so much. Brailey, for the first time ever, made the Top Ten! They usually give medals away, but this time they gave beautiful pink ribbons! She was very happy, but not even close to as happy and proud as Brady (okay, and me, too!) was. It is not an easy thing to do by any means! On this particular day, she was the only Sheldon Colleen to make the Top Ten.
 A quick JV team picture with Coach Hillary.
Brailey with Coach Hillary and Coach Karsyn and that beautiful pink ribbon!
Going back in time to the week before last, these are pictures from the dance competition in Salem at Sprague High School. And here is a link to the video if you want to see the whole dance: Creepy Snow White Dance. It was a really fun one! These are pictures I bought from the photographers there - you picked them out on the computer and they printed them on site. It was great! They captured Brailey's facials in this dance so perfectly. She is a master at facials!
I was happily surprised at this competition at Sprague, because some of my favorite people were there! As I walked in, looking for a place to sit, I heard some folks calling my name, and it was our dear friends, Steve Daily, his daughter Heidi and her husband Troy. They were there to watch Heidi and Troy's son Brady, a senior at Sprague, perform in the Guy/Girl dance. I had a big time talking to them, and it turns out Heidi used to do dance team in high school, also, so Steve was very familiar with the way things worked. And bless their sweet hearts, they were able to pick Brailey out of the Snow White dancers. That isn't easy to do! Heidi thought they should have won their division by a mile, but they lost by .5 of a point (they got second). It was seriously fun to watch Brady do his dance, too. Them being there totally made my day! 
And back to the present, as I mentioned above, Britt was down with the flu by Saturday afternoon. And by Sunday, he was really down. So unfortunately, he had to miss his last two games with his winter TRBO team. That made him sad, but he will soon be on to spring basketball, and we are looking forward to that adventure. Hopefully he will get over his flu bug today. Rosin, our pug, has been keeping him company on the couch. Ironically, this is the first year we've gotten flu shots, and apparently they were a bad mix and only about 30% effective. Oh well! We've kept healthy until now. Hopefully this will be the end of it. In any case, March is here and so is nasty weather. Our fingers are crossed for good health and warmer temperatures to finish the month out. As they say, in like a lion, out like a lamb! 

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...