Tuesday, April 10, 2018

March - Being Busy is Better than Being Bored

We started off March right where we left off in February - Brailey with her horses and Britt with his basketball and some sales repping by Brady and I in between. It was a whirlwind of a month! In fact, it was such a whirlwind at the end, I am just now able to get this out in the middle of April. Better late than never? Maybe. I'm not so sure. It was really hard to make the time to create this post. It started me thinking, who really cares? Is it narcissistic to write it? Do I really need to blog? Something told me to keep on doing it, to try to make one post a month for the year. It will be a great book for my kids to have someday, which is the reason for it all. And so with that, here we go, straight out of winter and into spring! 
Britt went straight from his middle school basketball team back into his club team. He was so happy to see one of his former teammates and good friends at one of the tournaments. They were inseparable last year and have missed each other. I love those handsome faces! 
Brailey and her boys. Alvin has been lame all winter, but I've been taking him up to the arena while Brailey rides. Below, you can see him looking at Rose, the "Arena Cat." She has decided to make the arena her home and absolutely loves it. Every time we are in the arena, so is Rose. Brailey has actually had to ride around her several times. She is a weensy bit on the wild side at times and other times she can't get enough attention. She is bi-polar, I think. We all get a charge out of her hanging out in the arena with the horses.
The second weekend in March we made our way to Central Oregon for Britt's state basketball championship tournament with his team. It was super fun! My parents, brother and his girlfriend all came, so it was a family reunion! Most of the pictures speak for themselves. And the weather was gorgeous - sunshine galore!
Blurry picture, but Brady helped my brother try on some Tony Lama and Nocona boots while we were in Coastal. Shawn was surprised at how well they fit his feet! It is amazing how something like this can be fun, but it truly is! Just being with the people you love is fun. Below, we had dinner at Baldy's BBQ. (My parents opted not to go since they ate a late lunch.) The six of us had a big time! Check out the photo bomber in the background of our picture - I love a good sense of humor. So fun! 
The second day of our trip started with an early morning game. Uncle Shawn just can't get over the fact that Britt is so much taller than he is. He had lots of great advice for Britt and really enjoyed the games. He was entertaining, to say the least! My mother said, "Are you embarrassed, yet?" Shawn likes to make the calls for the refs right before they do. It is hilarious! And he is almost always right. I wonder if he changed any of their minds?
Above, we have everyone but Britt, and below he is with his State team. They only lost one game, and it was a close one they should have won. This loss caused our schedule to be free until the afternoon, which allowed us to spend more time with family, so it was perfect, especially in the sunny weather.
We discovered an extra hoop in the parking lot! This is probably the only time Brailey will ever be able to hang on a rim. After they jacked it up, the game was on! I can only imagine how sore Shawn was after playing Britt for so long. He gave Britt a lot of great advice - it is a shame we don't live closer, because Britt would love to have someone to play basketball with that can handle him (Brady and I can't anymore), and Shawn would love watching all his games and having someone to "coach."
Brailey Shaye and her Godfather, Uncle Shawn. And the world famous dog, Face!
After the morning game and before lunch, we hit the Goodwill. Britt found two Oregon Duck footballs, so that was great entertainment after lunch, as well. Everyone had fun playing catch! Thankfully, we were entertained until game time in this fun parking lot. And best of all, we had it to ourselves. Perfection!
Good byes are always hard. But it was a great time and we have wonderful memories, which we are all grateful for, and that is what life is all about. 
One Monday in March, we were invited to attend the Harrisburg School Board meeting with Britt where he was recognized for being the Student of the Month at the middle school. This was such a special presentation. When he first learned about winning this award, he was embarrassed and didn't want to attend the meeting, but once he was there, he realized it was a great honor. The middle school principal said she had never received so many kind words about a student before. He was praised for being a kind, compassionate kid who knows what he believes in and is able to stand up for his beliefs, which is rare in someone his age. He was praised for being a good kid, and it made my heart so happy to know they really understand Britt. I had to work so hard to choke back the tears. The principal also mentioned how he well handled a bit of adversity during his basketball season. After she was done, his basketball coach, who is a member of the school board, chimed in and shared that the adversity was a broken wrist for most of the season and that not only did Britt maintain a positive attitude through all of it, he was the only kid to thank him after every practice. It was one of the moments you dream of as a parent, and one that meant a great deal to Brady and I. Britt was never appreciated for being a good kid before this, and it is incredibly refreshing to be around people who appreciate the hard work it takes to teach kids kindness and strength. Being a conservative isn't frowned on at this school, which is a huge blessing to us, because we have been frowned on in the past. I still have people tell me how unfair one of Britt's teachers at Monroe Middle School in Eugene was to him last year, all because she didn't like his political beliefs. Britt's classmates saw this treatment and knew it was unfair, and yet he endured. We are so proud of him! So the award Britt received felt like justice to Brady and I. For once, our conservatism won, and Britt is being treated just like any other kid, regardless of our political beliefs. Have I mentioned lately how much we love Harrisburg?!
More equine affection with Brailey and her horses.
And the Arena Cat on her rock. I should write a book about her. She reminds me of a cartoon character who lives in an arena.
Brady and I were able to travel together a little bit this month. These pictures are from a brand new store in Philomath, Out West Farm and Ranch. This store is owned by the absolute sweetest family. And they are doing a fabulous job!
We also visited another one of our favorite stores, The Tack Box in Corvallis. I love pictures of boots lined up like this. There's just something cool about seeing so many cowboy boots together, isn't there? 
The biggest fund raiser for Britt's middle school is a basketball game between the middle school basketball players, both boys and girls, and the staff. We had no idea how much fun this would be! It was entertaining from start to finish. Britt played really well and was the high point scorer for his team. He surprised one of his teacher's, who didn't realize he was so "athletic." Looks can be deceiving, right?
They were given special shirts for this game, and they each had a nickname on the back. Lucky for Britt, some nice girls helped him out and did his for him. I love this school spirit! We didn't know what to expect, but there was lots of smack talk before the game during school, especially with one of Britt's favorite teachers, Mrs. Borchers. It was too much fun for everyone! 
The tall guy in this picture used to be a professional basketball player, so he had a lot of tricks! He was the assistant for Britt's team and is a teacher at the elementary and also used to attend Harrisburg, himself. He did not disappoint the crowd with all his dunks and amazing shots. If felt like we were watching the Harlem Globetrotters!
Britt's coach (below) got a whip cream pie in his face, as did a couple of other teachers. The kids loved this!
Above, the amazing Mrs. Borchers! Britt surprised us all when he got on the mic when he wasn't playing and narrated the game. He was hysterical! He had us all in stitches! Who would have thought our shy boy that was a little out of his comfort zone at the beginning of the year would be so brave and outgoing? He picked on Mrs. Borchers, but wasn't mean, which made it fun. He tells me she and I have a lot in common. I love that he has a math teacher he enjoys. She is the teacher Britt has been needing his whole life - she challenges him and nurtures him at the same time while appreciating his personality. She is an amazing teacher!
Brailey finally got to go to some barrel races. Her best friend in the world came to watch her in Eugene - she and her mother are the sweetest! These two have the kind of friendship that will stand the test of time. They love each other so much!

I was on warm up duty on Tex at one of the races, so I was able to capture this cute action picture of Brailey on Mater. She had a fantastic weekend on both horses! She and Mater are still figuring out the first barrel, but once she gets that handled, they are going to be really fun to watch. She almost has it down. Barrel racing is not easy, but Mater loves it! And Tex beat Mater's times, which is funny, because he is almost 21 years old. Tex loves it, too! He is in amazing shape and happier than he's ever been. We are so proud of Brailey for all the hard work she has put into her barrel racing. Mater is such a nice boy, but he isn't a finished horse, which has caused the road to success to be longer than most for Brailey. We have had some hiccups in the process and had to make some adjustments along the way, but we are finally on the right track, and it won't be long before they are completely in tune with each other.
She won a door prize at one of the races. It had some fun stuff in it!
I cracked out my fun little sign I got months ago on clearance as a little celebration of spring break.
The kids got a kick out of it, so it was worth the effort. 
 Brailey got to have her wisdom teeth removed the first day of her spring break. It was not fun...
It knocked her for a loop! The sedation made her cry, which was very sad, but it was also really funny. We have most of the best moments on film. It was hard not to laugh, because she was so funny, but laughing made her cry more, so we tried to restrain ourselves. Britt is not looking forward to his turn after seeing his sister's experience.
Britt got to spend a little time with his best friends, Daniel and Camdyn. They are the sweetest boys! I love the picture below of them - Daniel's mom took it. Brady's sister Suezy said it looks like a book cover, and I agree! So dramatic and fun all that the same time. We are grateful Britt was able to hang out with his buddies and to reconnect with them. I predict these boys will be friends for life.
Brailey went traveling with Brady and I while Britt was having fun with his friends. We stopped by the famous St. Paul wall and took her picture. She has always wanted to do that, so I'm glad we were able to make it happen. We had a fun lunch at Red Robin, where Brady added some flair to the chalk board.
And a little bit of spring break fun! At the end of the week, Brailey was finally recovered enough to ride and rope the dummy with Brady. They had a great time! Britt even came up and helped out for a bit one day, in between shooting hoops. 

We ended the month with a little burning of our burn piles. It was so nice to get them gone! The day before Easter, which was the last day of March, was beautiful and perfect and productive. Pretty much just like any day of the week in our busy and full lives. Rain or shine, we make the most of our lives, living and loving like there is no tomorrow. These are the days!

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...