Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Harlem Globetrotters Experience

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! 
But first, he had his own basketball games, the last he will ever play with this Sheldon team. They had two fantastic wins, and were doing a little showboating of their own. It was a lot of fun to watch the boys laugh and be less serious while playing. We had anticipated being on a winter team with these boys, but it was not meant to be, and Britt will be on a different team. Sheldon is nothing if not political, and their sports rule the roost - once it was known that Britt is attending Harrisburg, he was off the team faster than a speeding ticket. What can we say? We were disappointed to begin with, but everything happens for a reason. We are thankful he at least has a team to play on until his middle school season with Harrisburg starts after Christmas. And we will forever be grateful to the coaches and kids who helped Britt so much over the past few seasons.
Back to my Globetrotters story, though... So Britt was not too excited to see them. He thought all they did were tricks and that he would be bored. I shared with him that it was a dream of mine to take him to see him, and the tender part of him changed his attitude and instead of complaining, he said it would be fun. The timing was perfect, except that we had free Meet and Greet tickets through the YMCA, but we couldn't take advantage, because of his basketball games. But we made it to our seats just in time for the start of the show. And wouldn't you know, he was pleasantly surprised with how much fun it was and how entertaining the Globetrotters were. He didn't realize they actually played a game. And his enjoyment of the experience made me really, really happy. Even Brady changed his tune and enjoyed himself - he was like Britt, and really didn't want to go, but was doing it for me. He ended up having as much fun as Britt and I - we all three had a great time! (In case you are wondering where Brailey was, she was off having her own fun with her best friend Nikki.)
Britt thought it would be fun to have a jersey that said "Too Tall." And number 7 is one of our favorites! The character Too Tall is actually the shortest Globetrotter ever to wear the uniform - he is 5'2". It is a great souvenir.
I got lots of hugs after I got him this jersey and headband. Ironically, on Sunday night, we saw a show on TV highlighting the Globetrotters and their biggest trick shots. It was fun to see after having just watched them perform live. And so now you know the backstory and pretty much everything in between - how a childhood dream I had for Britt was fulfilled. It was a win-win kind of day!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Ten Years in the Making

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! 
Britt was such a rock star, helping Brady did almost all of the post holes. By hand! In restrospect, Brady said he probably wouldn't do it that way. But they did it!
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. 
I was able to get it stained on one of the last sunny days last week. The weather was perfect!
And there it is, all the tops cut off the posts and a perfect fence line. So, so beautiful! Brailey has ridden in it twice, now, and we are super excited to be able to do all sorts of things up there. We can rope our hot heels, shoot the guns, throw a football or baseball around, and ride, ride, ride. Best of all, we have a nice road that leads up to it. Old Man Winter, we're finally ready for you.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Cross Country Experience

Brailey tried something new this year. She made a heartwrenching decision to give up her position on Dance Factory and to go out for Cross Country. She was so lucky to be able to join the team late. She knew it would be important to be involved on a school team at her new school, and it is the first sport that she has loved and enjoyed at the same time. She was blessed with great teammates and the most amazing coaches. The first night of practice, she was so nervous, but she came to the car with a big smile on her face and said, "Everyone is so nice, Mom. They are SO nice!" It was such a welcome change to hear her say that and restored our faith in adolescents today. There are a lot of snots out of there, it is true, but there are still some good, sweet kids, as well. Brailey's experience on the cross country team at Harrisburg could not have been any better for her!
 These are a few of their workouts. It isn't all running at cross country practice.
 At one of her first meets, the first one we were able to experience.
And at one of the last meets. We didn't get to go to many of her meets, but she had lots of support and she loved being on her own and spreading her wings a little. We hated to miss out, but we are grateful for the races we were able to see.
This was at Fern Ridge Reservoir out in the Elmira/Veneta area.
Brailey and the girl below are the Catholic Cuties from volleyball back in 6th grade. They met all those years ago! Ciragh's sister is a freshman on the Junction City team (you will see her pictured with Brailey below). It was great to see them!
Brady and Britt are so funny - Brady was timing Brailey and they would check her time when they saw her at different parts of the race.
And then the District Meet at Lane Community College. Brady and I made it just in time, all the way from Ellensburg WA, with two minutes to spare and were able to see the start. She was so surprised to see us!
She ended the season with a PR and improved so much over the course of the season! She is already excited for next year. The coaches hosted a wonderful party to celebrate the season at Papa's Pizza where Brailey received her Varsity Letter and certificates (including Most Improved Female Athlete) and a darling lunch box full of goodies. Their coach told them to always "Pack a lunch!" It was a metaphor for being prepared, both for running a race and for life. He won Coach of the Year, and there couldn't have been a more deserving coach for this award! Both coaches were absolutely amazing and we feel incredibly blessed they let Brailey join the team. We are also proud of Brailey for trying something new. She cut 8 minutes off her time from start to finish, and that is an accomplishment. We are ready for next year! 

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...