Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Story of the Dog Poop Cookies

These cookies may look like delicious Chocolate Drop Quickies (official name), but they are affectionately known as "Dog Poop Cookies" in our household. Allow me to explain how this came to be.

Back when I was in high school, I had a boyfriend. For the purposes of this story, we'll call him Ennis. Ennis and I were an on-again, off-again kind of thing, so I really can't remember at what point in our relationship this happened. I am going to guess it was the spring of my sophomore year, because I do remember he broke my heart into a million pieces the fall of my junior year. Who could forget a thing like that? In any case, I lived with my grandparents during the school week, and he lived in the dorm. My high school was the only public boarding school in the nation at this time, and most of the high school kids lived in the dorm. I was lucky that my grandparents lived in town and I didn't have to live in the dorm. Anyway, one day after school I decided I would make my boyfriend Ennis cookies.

I chose to make him cookies that look like the ones pictured above, Chocolate Drop Quickies, which are seriously delicious and yummy. They are simple, no bake cookies and have oatmeal, cocoa and sugar as the main ingredients. What's not to love about those ingredients?

So I made my beloved Ennis the delightful and very tasty aforementioned cookies, thinking he would love them and consequently, love me more. If you are thinking that is not what happened, then you are on the right track - stay with me.

Now Ennis had a friend, one of his best friends, named (for the sake of this story) Wonte. Wonte was a smart alek, and he never did care for me. To tell you the truth, I didn't like him, either. He and Ennis were a grade above me in school. I remember how proud I was that I had made Ennis these cookies, and I happily took them to him after dinner when visiting hours started at the dorm. I really don't know what Ennis thought about them, because Wonte ruined it all by saying very loudly and in front of many other kids, "What are those?! They look like dog poops!"

Being a typical teenage girl who worried about everything, this devastated me. I couldn't believe Wonte would say such a thing. And of course the fact that he said it in front of so many people made it a far worse experience. I don't recall anyone eating even one. Who would want to after an image of dog feces in their head? Long story short, I was humiliated and sad and crushed that Wonte ruined my wonderful surprise for Ennis. And I was also disappointed that Ennis didn't defend me. In fact, he didn't seem to appreciate them at all. It was an absolutely devastating situation, trust me.

Of course many years have passed since then. Many. But every time I make these particular cookies, I remember the mortification I felt back then. Sadly, Wonte died not long after graduation. He was always a troubled kid. And after Ennis broke my heart and ruined my life at the start of my junior year (or so I thought at the time, as teenagers with broken hearts do), he came back to me after the girl he dumped me for dumped him for someone else. He told me I was the right one for him all along. He stopped by my Grandma's house one day in the fall of my senior year after a high school football game and brought me his senior picture and told me he still loved me and that he shouldn't have broken up with me and he was sorry. It did make me feel better, but I was done. We were never meant to be, anyway. I mean, if he didn't like my cookies, then he certainly wouldn't like my cooking. Hahaha!

So one day, I shared the story with my kiddos, because even after all these years, the pain of that memory still kind of hurt. Embarrassing things like that just don't go away, do they? Magically, after sharing that tale with my kids, who thought it was quite hysterical, it changed the narrative from one of shame and sorrow to one of humor and a new way of thinking about these cookies. And that, my friends, is why we call these cookies, "Dog Poops." I will say, "Would you like a Dog Poop?" Or they will say, "Can I have a Dog Poop?" And we know exactly what we mean.

It is funny how things like that stick with you. Brailey and Britt both thought it was a funny story, sure. But it also bothered them, because they also thought it was mean. I didn't anticipate this, but I should have - they are sweet, thoughtful kids who have empathy and think of others. I told Britt to always remember this story and to "Never, ever make fun of a girl's cooking!" The good news is that while it devastated me at the time, I got the last laugh, and not only do my kids and I love Dog Poop Cookies, my mother-in-law does, as well. So these famous goodies have all kinds of fans to enjoy them. And that is the story of the Dog Poop Cookies. Let me know if you would like the recipe!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Last of the Spring Basketball Games

We didn't know if it would work out, but we should have known it would - life has a way of doing that, afterall. Britt was on two different basketball teams this spring. We signed up with one (TRBO) before we knew he was going to be invited on another one (Irish Select). There are no refunds when you sign up with TRBO, and so we just thought, "Well, let's see how it works out." If it worked out that practices and games were different, great! If it didn't, then it wasn't meant to be. Lucky for Britt, it turned out that his practice times were different. We were thrilled! However, the practices were back-to-back every Monday and Friday. This was not easy, but it was completely doable, thanks in great part to the TRBO coach being so understanding. We explained our situation to Coach Jaylen and shared with him that we would be at every practice and game we could be at, but the other team was our "priority." He was more than understanding, and it all worked out perfectly. Britt only missed three TRBO games due to his other team having games at the same time. And he only missed one TRBO practice, which was the very first one, because both teams were practicing at the same time. And that brings us to the end of an amazing and fun journey for Britt. This past weekend was his last with the TRBO team. Spring basketball is a wrap!
Britt was one of two seventh graders on an eighth grade team. We were a little apprehensive about this, but every kid turned out to be super sweet! They were all from Cal Young, except for Britt and the other seventh grader, who was from Triangle Lake. This team was a hodge podge of sizes, as you will see in the pictures below. Britt, for his part, was middle of the road. He wasn't the shortest nor was he the tallest. We are so happy he made some new friends! 
Below are the two seventh graders, Britt and Dillon. Dillon was born prematurely, and he is about a year and half behind in his growth. I found him inspiring in his courage! He was eager to get out on the court to play with those big eighth graders and not one bit scared!
Britt is setting a screen below. He got to play a lot in these games and he also got to play a new position, which was fun for him and more excellent experience. These games allowed him to develop some confidence to try new things and not worry so much about messing up. Although a short season, the experience is bound to serve him well in future play.
Check out this kid next to Britt in the red. He is an eighth grader from McMinnville. Seriously! And he looks like a man, complete with lamb chops. He was humongous. I mean HUMONGOUS!
I thought this was a great picture to show the variety in their sizing on this team. They had tall, medium and short.
Whenever a season like this ends, it is bittersweet. It wasn't easy for Britt to go from one practice to the next and to give his all at both of them, but he did it. He wasn't sure he could do it and was fearful it would be too hard, especially after the first week. His feet hurt terribly (we soon discovered he had grown out of his shoes!), his legs hurt and he was tired. But we encouraged him to stick it out for a couple of weeks, and before we knew it, he was hooked on both teams. He loved (and loves!) both teams for different reasons. For our part, Brady and I are grateful to our toes that Britt had good coaches this year. What a blessing! I mean, truly a blessing. Good coaches are key to success. After last spring's season, which was a total fiasco and nothing more than glorified rat ball, Brady and I made a decision that we would never let Britt be on a team like that again. Britt absolutely could not have been more lucky in his coaches this year. And thanks to their stellar help, he has improved greatly and has grown as a player in so many ways. He still has a lot to learn, but it's coming. And he is continuing to put in the work. Thankfully, his Irish Select team is still carrying on, and we are super excited about the future. A little hard work and a tiny bit of luck, and Britt's dream of making the high school basketball team just might come true. Thankfully, he has one more year to get there. In any case, seventh grade basketball was a year we will always be grateful for. Go Irish!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Winner of Most Spoiled Mom Award Goes to Me - Mother's Day 2017

Truly, I am spoiled every day by my B's - they give me more joy than I ever imagined feeling in my lifetime. On this Mother's Day, they really went the extra mile and made me feel so loved and special, I am humbled with love and gratitude for them. I may be the Queen B of the 4 B's, but they are the reason I live and breathe, and yesterday was a fun, loving, relaxing, perfect Mother's Day. It was a celebration of love, and best of all, I didn't have to cook or clean stalls! Brady and I had a long day of work on Saturday, and we let Brailey and Britt stay home by themselves. It is hard to believe they are old enough to take care of themselves. I came home to these beautiful cupcakes, made by Brailey. She went above and beyond to make sure my Mother's Day was special! Below, they made me the most darling handmade cards ever. I will treasure them forever!
After I opened their gifts, we went to our favorite restaurant, Texas Roadhouse. On the way there, they all participated in my car selfies. We struck a few poses. You can get away with this kind of stuff on Mother's Day! Also, the talented Brailey Shaye did my makeup, which is why it actually looks decent, for once. She is an artist, through and through. It is always a treat to have her do my makeup. She's already a pro!
The food at Texas Roadhouse in Eugene is seriously to die for! It is so good it melts in your mouth! Brailey and I always get the salmon, and it is incredibly delicious. Britt has a new spring contraption on his braces in his mouth, and it has made his teeth super sore, so he wasn't able to enjoy his steak like he normally would. Thankfully, they had delicious bread and french fries to supplement.
After we got home, we tried to take a fun picture on the fence stairs, but they didn't turn out too well. But Brady got this fun shot of Britt trying to carry me. So funny! They don't call me Big Mama for nothin'. He said, "I'll carry you to the door, Mom!" And then I broke his back. Hahaha! What can we say? I wintered really well, and this trend has continued on into spring. My metabolism is not working too well, these days, but that's a story for another day. Lucky for me, my family loves me, curves and all!
After our delicious lunch, Brailey got to ride Alvin around and swing her rope on him and Brady exercised Mater a bit. Mater has been recovering from some issues with his front feet. He looked great, so that was a relief to see. He appears to be all healed up. One thing is for sure - he is full of energy!
My little Republican boy and I in our matching shirts. I howled with laughter the first time I saw this shirt, because I saw the press conference where it was said, and frankly, it is the truth! Of course we don't wear these around town, but at least we can express our freedom of speech at home. And in "very real news," how can Britt be so much taller than me?!
While Brady and Brailey were up on the hill with the horses, Britt was shooting hoops. He spends most of his free time shooting baskets and working on his post moves.
We had planned to go back into town to watch a movie, but we decided to stay home instead, and we watched The Magnificent Seven in the comfort of our home. It was a great movie! Afterwards, Brady and I went out to the world famous Golf Pad and he helped me get my golf swing together. My swing took a hike and left me for a while. Golf is so dang hard! I love it, but I also hate it. My three B's are so natural and good at it, and then there's me. But I was hitting well by the time we were done, and I am grateful Brady never gives up on me. He is ready to hit the golf course, but the weather has not been cooperating. Hopefully things will begin to dry up and the sun will come out to stay for a spell.
This painting is one of my precious gifts. Brailey painted this in one day, on Saturday! I can't believe how talented she is. This is a picture of ME! She painted it from a picture we have of me running barrels on Herman. This was at a rodeo in Canyonville back in the 90's. I loved this horse so much and will never forget this run. When I called on Saturday to check on Brailey and Britt, Britt would say she was working on her homework. I thought, "Man, I didn't think she had so much homework!" But really, she was painting this beautiful picture, which is more special than words can ever describe. I know I brag on my family and especially my kids too much, but they are seriously thoughtful and amazing people, and I am so lucky to be a part of their lives. They went above and beyond to make me feel loved on this Mother's Day, and I am brought to tears with gratitude for their love. I am the luckiest mom and wife in the world!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Moving into May

May - the last of the "Mohicans" as far as school months go. June will fly by, but May is the last big test. And like all the other months, it will zip by, as well. We finished out April this past weekend with six basketball games for Britt, a little golf, and a lot of hard work in between. Here's some fun pictures from the weekend as we close out April and move into May.
Britt, like many kids this spring, has been pulling double duty with sports. We didn't know he would be invited to be on his winter team moving into the spring under the YMCA, and so I signed him up for another team with TRBO. There are no refunds from the TRBO, but rather than stressing out about it, we decided to see how it would work out. TRBO only had two seventh graders, and so they put them on one of the eighth grade teams. The rest of the seventh graders are playing on YMCA teams. We were hoping the practice times for each of his teams would be different. Thankfully, they are! Except they are on the same day, back-to-back. It hasn't been easy, that is for sure, but a lot of kids are doing track and baseball and basketball, so it isn't all that unusual. And both teams have amazing coaches, so that has been great blessing! Britt is holding his own with the eighth grade team and learning some nice tips. His coach has been very understanding about Britt's situation and knows that his Irish Select team is the priority. So far, he has only had to miss one TRBO game. This weekend, he had three games each day. His coach for the eighth grade team is a college student, and his friend has been helping him. They are also referees for the YMCA games. It has been really fun to get to know them, and they are teaching the boys great things, like the fact that basketball is a team sport. One coach said, "If you don't want to play as a team or be a good teammate, then pick another sport. Basketball is a TEAM sport. If you want to be do an individaul sport, try swimming." He also shared with them that basketball is a very physical sport. "If you don't like physical contact, then go out for track - basketball probably isn't the sport for you if you don't like to get physical." He's right!
After the TRBO games above, we went to his next two games with his "priority" team, the Irish Select.
And then we started Sunday with the Irish Select. Although it is a seventh grade team, they have been playing some eighth grade teams. They beat the eighth graders pictured here. The Irish Select went undefeated in all three games - as Coach Brian says, "Winning is fun!" It sure is!
Brady got Britt some new shoes. He told us his other shoes felt a little tight. After trying on the new ones, Brady is amazed he was able to play at all. No wonder his feet were killing him! These shoes feel much better, and his feet actually haven't been hurting as badly, which is truly good news. 
After the YMCA game, we finished the day with two more TRBO games. These eighth graders are a little bigger. Britt is still right in there as far as height, but he definitely doesn't stand out as a tall kid. Of course there is one ball hog on the this team who drives everyone crazy (probably me more than anyone - I loathe selfish players!). He is notorious throughout the basketball channels for being a self-indulgent player. Thankfully, the coach sees it and is working on this issue, and the other players are great! It is nice for Britt to get to know these older kids.
Brailey got to spend the weekend with her best friend, celebrating Nikki's birthday. She love, love, loves going to the Reeves' house! As usual, she was spoiled rotten by Nikki's mom and had the absolute time of her life. They had manicures, pedicures, a fancy lunch, went to the movies, and had a truly wonderful time. After we got home from basketball Sunday afternoon, she was able to get a lesson with our neighbor, Bryan, who is more like her personal golf coach. We are so lucky to know him! He truly loves helping her. She was having trouble using her driver, and by the time they were done, she was hitting it perfectly. The "pad," as we have taken to calling it, that Brady made over Spring Break is so perfect! Also, it was a rare, beautiful and sunny evening, which made the experience even more enjoyable. If it were up to me, golf season would just now be starting for high schools in Oregon. Golfing in the rain is not my idea of fun. Luckily, it is supposed to be nice for her tournament on Thursday - hooray! She is pulling double duty this week, as well. She has golf and dance tryouts and her dance classes. Yikes! It will be over in the blink of an eye, though, so we are going to enjoy these last few crazy weeks as we kick off summer in May. Hello, Sunshine! Please feel free to stay. We are ready for you! 

So Far, So Good

The first two weeks of school are under our belts, we are well into the third already and so far, so good! Honestly, I wasn't sure wha...