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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Brailey's First Homecoming - 2016

Brailey's first Homecoming experience was a lovely success! Her day started out with dancing at a Dance Showcase with her dance team (she was amazing!) and of course ended with the Homecoming Dance. In between all the dancing, a lot of fun was had and memories were made. The day was made special by her best friend's family, which is where the girls opted to get ready for the big night. The picture above is the result of all the primping, and below is start of the process. Nikki's sister Alonna, who is a freshman at Oregon State, came home specifically to help the girls get ready. What a sweetheart!
The beauty in the red dress is Sydney, another one of Brailey and Nikki's good friends. Brailey has known her since third grade, when they played volleyball together. Now she plays on the Sheldon volleyball team with Nikki, and the three of them have lunch together nearly every day. She had to leave after she got ready, so she could have a family dinner of her own with her family and her date's family. But she looked truly lovely!
Although Brailey didn't have a date, Nikki did. He and his cousin both came to dinner, and so there were four families celebrating Homecoming, and it couldn't have been more fun. Nikki needed help pinning on her first boutonniere - they are tricky things to pin on, for sure! 
Nikki and her date. Ironically, he and his cousin were in First Communion classes with Brailey back when they were second graders. Small world!
They didn't plan for their dresses to match, but they looked absolutely darling! Both in the same color with glittery heels - they couldn't have looked any lovelier.
The proud dad... A funny story about him. Once we got in the car and were on our way home, he said, "Who was that other boy? He wasn't trying to be Brailey's date, was he?" I had to laugh about this. I shared with him that no, he wasn't. Rather, Nikki's date didn't want to come to dinner alone, and so he invited his cousin. Moral support on both sides, in other words. I never knew Brady would be so protective of his baby girl - I always thought that would be me. But we are protective of her in different ways.
It was raining SO HARD during the day, and it was supposed to rain all night. But for some reason, it stopped at the perfect time for pictures and didn't start again until Homecoming was over. These pictures of the four of them show how much fun they had.
Below, the girls doing their famous "James Bond" pose, and the boys doing "The Dab." 
Below, the girls with the "little brother." In their heels, they almost as tall as he is. Nikki is always so sweet to make sure Britt is included in everything. He hated that his hair was a mess, because he wore a hat and took it off for the picture. But he still looks adorable. I love the happiness in this picture! 
Bray had to help Nikki reattach her beautiful corsage. That's what best friends are for.
After a wonderful dinner, the four of them played a game. They had a big time!
Nikki's dad, Rick, took the four of them to the dance. Afterwards, Brady and I picked them up and met Denise with Nikki. Brady and I got the biggest kick watching all the girls walking out of the dance. Their heels wrecked their feet! Most of them were carrying their shoes and walking barefoot, some were being carried by their dates, and some were walking in teeny tiny steps in severe pain. Brailey and Nikki were of the latter, and came walking to the car gingerly in their sparkling shoes. I said, "Are you feet sore?" And Nikki said, "No. My feet are DEAD!" She then proclaimed that she was never wearing those shoes again. It was priceless! Sadly, the dance was a bust, because the DJ was horrible and only played rap music. There wasn't one single slow song played, so there wasn't an opportunity for boys to ask girls to dance. As conservative as I am, I found this to be utterly ridiculous and sad for the kids. The Homecoming festivities in general were very disappointing and certainly not like the school spirit other schools demonstrate. I find this disgraceful on the school's part. In spite of all this, however, the day was made special because of Nikki's family, who are the best people you will ever meet. The day started, as I  mentioned, at a dance showcase. Denise and Nikki came to watch Brailey dance, and Denise was as proud as I was of Brailey, which makes me so grateful. She then took the girls to lunch, after we all got drenched by the torrential downpour, and from there the girls spent the day getting ready and having fun. Rick, Nikki's dad, took nearly all the wonderful pictures you see here on this blog post, and you saw Nikki's sister Alonna helping the girls get ready. Her brother Cody was also there, and Brady and I had the best conversation ever with him during dinner. And dinner, by the way, was spectacular! Denise is one of those amazing women who is an exceptional hostess and thinks of all the details that make an event special. We are so grateful to them for the special time we had and look forward to many more!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Yesterday morning was an early one for the B's and I. They both had orthodontist appointments. We got done with those in good time, and so we swung by Dutch Bros for a hot chocolate for each of them before school, complete with whip cream, because why not? It's the little things that make life fun. They were so happy to have them and thanked me like the sweet kiddos they are. After I dropped them off at their respective schools, I was happily listening to Fox News on the radio, thinking about what a great day it was going to be, and WHAM! I got rear-ended.

I was in our brand new car that we haven't even had for a year. It wasn't too dramatic of a hit, although it did hurt my neck and gave me a raging headache immediately afterwards for a little while. But the headache went away, and this morning I'm not even sore, really. What a relief! The kicker, though, is that the guy who ran into me is a sales rep. He was on his way to Portland. I'm pretty sure he was looking at his cell phone when he hit me, but I can't say that for sure. It all happened in a split second, of course. I've tried to replay it in my mind a few times. But the irony of his occupation was not lost on me. In fact, I knew it, somehow, before he even told me. Which is why I asked him. I said, "Are you a sales rep?" I told him my husband was, as well. His job gave me some sympathy for his predicament, because I know how hard it is to be on the road in traffic under pressure all the time. I live with that every day.

Brady, speaking of sales reps, was out of town. As he is every week. I was a bit shook up, I'll admit it. I held myself together until I got back in my car to drive home, and then the tears flowed. It was a minor fender bender, yes, but a major reminder of how fragile we all are, myself included. Thoughts I try not to think about passed through my mind, like what if I had been killed? Or seriously injured? How would my kids have felt with me gone or hurt and Brady out of town? Thank goodness they didn't have to worry about it. Thank GOD I am okay. My car has a some dents and scratches, but it is basically okay, as well. I spent the rest of the day being grateful it wasn't worse.

And you know what? I still had a great day. I shook the feelings of unease and fragility off, and focused on being grateful. Am I sad about my car? Yes, for sure. But I am grateful it is built strong enough to sustain the impact as well as it did. Britt said, "Were you so mad at that guy?" And I told him no, I wasn't. I knew it was an accident. And it was a good reminder. Life is fragile. We are all fragile. Be careful out there. And oh-so-grateful for life!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Football and Family Fun

Last weekend was a very special weekend for our family. For the first time since they were babies, all four cousins were together! And it was a fun-filled time full of love and laughter and whole lot of Oregon Duck football. We started off with hamburgers barbecued by Brady. Brady loves to BBQ! He doesn't get to do it as often as he would like, since he is on the road all the time and we are rarely home on the weekends. Lanie gave his delicious burgers a 9, and Shawn gave them an 8. These were very high rankings, and Brady was proud.
After lunch, we made sure to have a picture taking session with several cameras. It is important to document such momentous and fun occasions. Below, Britt stole Brady's new Oregon Duck shoes. On a side note, Britt wears the same size as Brady, now. All of a sudden, his feet grew this summer! If he grows into his feet, he will be very tall, indeed. We are keeping our fingers crossed for some good height. Britt didn't go to the game this time - it was Shawn and the girls who got to go. But in true Duck form, Britt still dressed the part and looked like the authentic Duck fan he is.
It has been a good long time since these two sisters have been able to spend some time together. Lanie lives in Nevada, now, and is all grown up! She is a full-fledged adult, and as beautiful as ever. She got a kick out of "the twins," Brailey and Lexi. They made sure to dress alike, which required Britt letting Lexi borrow his special hat and sunglasses. He was happy to oblige, of course. Aren't they so cute?!
Uncle Shawn and his Goddaughter, Brailey Shaye. And Materbug photobombing in the background.

We all squished in the pickup so we could deliver them to Autzen Stadium. The traffic was easy peasy on the way there. These three cousins are so cute and beautiful. Happy girls are the prettiest!
Brailey had these two pictures on her phone. The one above is so special to us, because it is of our good friend, David. We seriously love this guy and he is one of our favorite people in the world! He works with the players and can be found on the sidelines of every Duck game, right on the 25 yard line. It was a great surprise to get this picture from Brailey. And below, she got a picture of "our guy," Brady Aiello on the jumbo-tron. We met him in the spring, and Brady just ran into him a couple of weeks ago. He is a super nice kid and does a fantastic job for the Ducks. We love having a player we can cheer for that we know - it makes it even more fun!
Meanwhile, at home, Brady and Britt watched the game on TV. It was intense, especially at the end. Sadly, we didn't get the win, but it was still a good game and the weather was beautiful. 
On the field, after the game. Twinsies!
This is a special picture. I think this is one of the first times my brother has been able to do something like this with his girls. His life has gone through a lot of change in the last year. I am so thankful he is in the place he's in. He's had to make some really tough decisions and his character has been completely assassinated in the process, but he is doing better than he has in years. The real Shawn, the person we always knew was in there somewhere, found his way back to his family, and we welcome him with open arms! People can speculate and judge and talk all they want - our family knows the truth of the situation. We also know how destructive and toxic compulsive liars are, and we are grateful to our toes Shawn was able to eliminate this from his life ("this" being a particular person who almost ruined our family, but didn't quite manage to get it done). The only thing that matters is that we have our family back, and family is everything!
After the game, we had a hot dog roast. The weather was so perfect! I wish I could have gotten better pictures, but I have yet to learn about that setting on my camera.
The "twins" above, posting on Instagram. And an array of hats, below. Lexi almost wore the Boise State hat - that is her team, and they were playing the Beavers just up the road in Corvallis (they won!). I'm glad she and Brailey decided to be twins, instead. They got to sit together, all by themselves, at Autzen, and Shawn and Lanie were a couple of sections over. They were close enough they could see each other, so that was cool for all of them and made Shawn feel better. At one point, there was a big commotion, because a drunk Duck fan punched the Colorado mascot. Brailey said she had so much fun watching everything that was going on, she hardly watched the game. I am so happy she and Lexi got to spend this time together!
The next morning, I cooked a big breakfast, and then the girls went for a little trail ride.
Lexi rode ole Texi-Man, and Lanie rode Alvin. Brady made sure everyone's stirrups were just right.
More picture opportunities!
Shawn wanted them all to make an "O," but Alvin and Mater were too distracted by the green grass under their noses. Still, it was a fun idea and another memory.
Lanie picked Shawn a couple of apples from the apple tree before they left.
Blue skies for days! They had a great ride, and we got lots of pictures.
We didn't want them to leave! Thankfully, we got a fun picture of all four cousins, with the oldest on top and the youngest on the bottom. Shortest to tallest, as Britt likes to point out. He is pretty proud to be taller than the girls. It was an amazing weekend, and we are all looking forward to more fun times like this. These are the days, right here. These are the blessed days!