Loving Like There's No Tomorrow
The 4 B's ~ Established 17 November 2001

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

One Busy, Rewarding December Weekend

Yes, I have posted a ton of pictures from this past weekend, and I probably could have added even more! But someday, when I am reading a book of this blog, I will be so very happy and grateful to look back on this special weekend, and that is really what these posts are all about, for me - preserving memories the best I can. If you saw my Instagram post from last week, then you know I have been behind on everything - laundry, shopping, stalls, cleaning, you name it, I'm probably behind in it! However, the weekend was a crowning moment in a two week period of intense scheduling stress. It started on Friday with the Kidsports volleyball tournament, which we were lucky to even get to. Our pickup's alternator went out at the Coburg Dari Mart on our way home from picking the kids up at school. Some intense moments there! But our awesome mechanic down the road and a good Samaritan got us started, and we were able to get home, feed Brailey and get her gear and made it to the tournament in the nick of time. Phew! It could have been a different story, entirely, and we are grateful it turned out so well. The girls had four games. They won their first three in a row easily. They had a little break in between the third and fourth, though, and they had to fight for their fourth game - they weren't playing their best. But they did it! Below, the referee is one of my friends - she hired me when I worked at the Law School. Her name is Della, and it was fun to see her after all these years. She was at the school when Brailey was born and the little mascot of the Law School (they let me bring her to work with me for a while, and the Dean would make his way up to see her every single morning - he just loved her! All the faculty and staff did.) Who would have thought she would be reffing Brailey's games twelve years later?
Brai (as she likes to be called, now) in her bright pink Nike Elite socks from our beloved Renee. She loves these socks!
They were taking selfies and having a nice time with each other in between the third and fourth games. This team was special and full of incredibly sweet and kind girls. Brailey made some wonderful new friends! Two of the girls are on her Webfoot volleyball team, as well.
Saturday and Sunday required early morning wake-up calls, as we had to be at the pool for Britt's warm ups. This was his big TEAM Winter Open Meet, and he did really well! On Sunday, he clocked a new time standard in his 100 Free, so he is on his way to improving and getting faster. Lots of folks remarked on how much his strokes have improved. He is still planning on being in the 2020 Olympics, and Brady and I are so proud of him for his dedication and try. He has also made some good friends, and they were both at this meet, which was really nice for them.
Checking in with Coach Britta. My goodness, when did he become as tall as her?!
His buddy Charlie - Charley moved up to another group, and so they haven't been able to see each other for months due to different practice times. Charley's mom told me he has really missed Britt and been a bit lonely without him. In fact, I think it was summer when they last saw one another. They had a big time playing games on the Kindle and just talking and being boys.
Below, their friend Varun, who is also a great kid. I thought it was so cute how all three of them were checking their arms for their races to see which ones they were in together. All three of them swam amazing races and did well!
And that's a wrap for the swimming portion of our weekend. I would like to note we were able to fit Mass in on Saturday evening, so that was a nice plus for us, as we struggle to fit it in at times with our work schedules.
And here we are, Sunday afternoon, in the Championship Bracket of the tournament. I grabbed Coach David before they went into the gym for some fun candids. In the one below, they are smiling their sweet smiles. In the next one, I said, "Give me a pose!" And he said, "Okay, how about a police line up pose?" And they said, "What's that? How do we look?" And he said, "You look very serious, like you are in trouble but trying not to be." Of course, they couldn't pull it off, and lots of giggles ensued. David is a Lieutenant in the police force, if you didn't know. He was such a blessing to these girls and they were so lucky to have him for their coach - he didn't even have a kid on the team and dedicated himself to their success. He is an amazing person! And his wife Kristen came to the tournament and kept books for the team, which was really great of her to do, and thank goodness she did, because the score keepers had the wrong scores many times! It was so fun to get to visit with her for even a few minutes - I am an excellent judge of character, and I knew she was an amazing person the second I met her!
Above, the two Catholics. They prayed before their games on Sunday, right on the court, complete with the sign of the cross. It was darling! I am so proud of them for being proud Catholics. Brailey and Megan (that's her name) have become good friends, and I predict seeing them go through their Confirmations together someday.
And they won! They had to fight for it - it wasn't easy. But in the end, they out played and out coached the other teams. They were the only team in their division with all overhand serving and "three hits" per ball - most of the teams they played were ping ponging it instead of passing, setting and hitting. Did I mention we had a really good coach?!
Coach David may be a tough cop, but he has a tender soul. He gave the medals to the parents to put on their daughter. It was a really special moment for everyone. Brailey said, "I almost cried when Dad put the medal on me!" So did her mother... I had to work hard to choke those tears back.
WINNER-WINNER-WINNERS! Happy girls!
And happy, proud parents, too!
Brailey gave Coach David a volleyball signed by everyone with their numbers and then she made him a card that looks like a donut on the front and a volleyball with a thank you on the back. Above, they are sharing a hug after she gave him her card and thanked him.
I was so excited, my hair got all mussed! This picture of the four of us cracks me up - we had two people taking our picture, so Brailey and Brady are looking at one camera while Britt and I are looking at the other one. We're a funny family, to say the least, and funny lookin', too!
Brai with Megan above and Sara below. She and Sara were so lucky to be the setters on the team, and they did a great job! They've been in the same class since second grade. They are also setting on their Webfoot team. We love Sara and her dad!
Proud moments. We celebrated the weekend with dinner at Applebee's, and it was delicious! It was an incredibly busy weekend full of activities, but one we will never forget.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Hunt for a Perfect Christmas Tree

After last year's fiasco of trying to find a decent Christmas tree, we knew we had to find a new place to get one, and so we made our merry little way (pun intended) to Monroe and happened upon the most adorable Tree Farm ever! Luckily for us, we were the only ones there, and as we are prone to do when looking for that "perfect" tree we can all agree on, we inspected every single tree on the place.
"Look Mom! We found the perfect one!" My B's have such a fantastic sense of humor, acting the whole scene out for me so I could get it on film. That's a dandy one, isn't it?
Brady always has to check to make sure the stump is straight. If it doesn't have a straight stump, then forget it. I'm sure you can  hear this commentary in your head, "Hold it up so I can see if it has a straight stump, Britt."
LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! (Sang in a high falsetto voice.) We found it - the most perfect one on the farm! Brady started the saw for Britt to cut the tree down.
 Britt's arm got a little tired... But he finished it!
And wah-lah! At this point, it is the only thing up in our house - a bare tree. Time got away from us, this year. The people at this farm were so sweet, though. They had fresh, warm gingerbread and hot chocolate with whip cream for us after we were done - it was so delicious! They also had a place to rinse our boots off and the price of the tree was affordable, as well. Even better, they are volleyball fans! We told them we had to get home in order to get Brailey to her games, and it turns out they did Oregon Volleyball Club and Webfoot with their daughter. So, we had a lovely time, and we know just where to go to find another perfect tree for next year!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Kidsports Volleyball

There she isssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss, Miss Suuuuuuuperstarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (sang to the tune of Miss America)! Okay, she may not be a superstar to you, but she sure is to her mother! And her father and brother. Just sayin'! She has worked so hard, and it is wonderful to see all that hard work paying off. She still has a lot to learn, but she's come a long way, baby! We almost didn't do Kidsports volleyball, this year. In fact, we signed up for a YMCA team, originally, and thought we would go that route. Last year's experience with Kidsports wasn't the best. However, after the first practice with the YMCA team, we knew the coach was not good and she came home crying and said, "Please don't make me play for that lady - she is telling us to do things we aren't supposed to do and she'll ruin my game. I'm just now starting to get it figured out!" Brailey never cries about things like this, so we knew it was important. We were able to get our money back from the Y, thankfully, and she decided to try out for Kidsports, which turned out to be one of the best decisions ever made! She made a great team, right in the middle of the pack, and it is a team full of nice girls, mostly 8th graders, with a fantastic coach! And if we have learned anything at all about sports, it is that the coach is very, very important. Even better, she and her 7th grade teammates made the same Webfoot team, as well (Webfoot is the club volleyball team she will be playing on this year)! She is one of only three 7th graders on her Kidsports team, and she has been playing the setter position, which is what she loves to do. It is such a fun team to watch! One girl's parents was super generous and bought the team the nice shirts you see, and the team building their awesome coach has had them do has really bonded them in a short amount of time. One of the 8th graders Brailey met turned out to be Catholic, and they now pray together before every game. I love that! And even better, Brady ran into Brailey's coach at the beginning of the season one day at Les Schwab, and after talking to him, Brady has fallen in love with volleyball, too! He even wants to take Brailey to her practices and games when he can and seems to be Brailey's good luck charm. Cool beans! Anyway, below are some fun pictures from one weekend of games - picture day first, then the games. Volleyball. We LOVE it!
With Coach David. He is an incredible gift to this team - he doesn't have any kids on the team, and yet he makes time for this team in his busy schedule. Special person, right there! 
Praying... 
They "sign in" and "sign out" before and after every practice and game. GO IRISH BLACK!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Back to November, The Day Before Thanksgiving

Now I'm taking you back in time, to the day before Thankgiving. Brailey had the day off - YAY! Britt, however, did not. To give you a bit of background, Britt has the same fifth grade teacher that Brailey had when she was in fifth grade, Sra. Bradley, or as I call her, Carmelita. Brailey loved her so much, and I was thrilled that Britt got her, too. She prepared Brailey extremely well, and she is already getting Britt in shape to join the middle school ranks. At the beginning of the school year, she asked Brailey if she would mind coming in to speak to her students about what middle school is like and why she (Sra. Bradley) has them do the things they do, reinforcing the message that everything has a greater purpose. And so last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, Brailey and another favorite teacher of hers (and mine!), her middle school Spanish teacher, Sra. Colon, gave a presentation to all the fifth graders. It was darling! Sra. Colon is extremely entertaining and a special person - she is a retired teacher the school district keeps luring back for "one more year." We are very grateful Brailey has her this year. And we are just as grateful Britt has Sra. Bradley, because not only do we love her, it feels really, really good to know he is in such good hands. Below, some fun pictures from the middle school briefing.
 
From left to right, Brailey Shaye, Sra. Colon in the red and black and Sra. Bradley in the black and grey. Three beauties, inside and out!
We are so super proud of this girl! We LOVE HER SO! (Hey, can't a mom brag on her girl?!)