A Bray Say…about making DVDs

Bray was in Ricky’s office, watching his dad carefully as he wrote with a sharpie, the title of a CD, after burning it. He didn’t see the burning part. 5 min.s later, Ricky noticed Braylon taking a sharpie, and writing on a blank CD. He wrote, “Jungle Book”. R. asked, ‘what are you doin’?’ and he replied, “I’m making a DVD, like you.”

He really thought that just by writing the title on the disc, it would magically transform a blank one into one that plays. When R. tried to explain it all, Braylon didn’t quite understand & couldn’t quite keep the alligator tears from flowin’. It was a sad day for Bray.


Birthday wishes for me and my boy

Today’s the birthday of  my favorite 7 yr old, Mr. Braylon Emmanuel Russ! After just returning from Oregon & lettin’ both sides of the fam dote on him w/2july 09 039 parties, we caved & let him have one here w/his 4 closest friends ~ Abigail Llanas (who lives behind/right of us), Andre’ (who lives 3 houses down & across Orgain St. from us), Chaney & Brady (who he met in Kinder. @ Nadine Johnson Elementary & never lost touch with). A strange bunch, but I love them all.

july 09 036

july 09 051

This mornin’ I got lots of party goodies @ the Dollar Tree and then came home and baked a strawberry cake, frosted and decorated it. Cut some watermelon, put up streamers & a few helium balloons – let’s p-a-r-t-…why? because who said you can’t have three stinkin’ birthday parties in 8 days?! Right now, they’re at the theater watching “Aliens in the Attic” w/Ricky. After they come home, it’s pizza, cake, & presents – speaking of which, Bray is really into spy stuff this year – and tricking people (so a lil birdie told me Chaney got him some fake poop!) He also got an Mp3 player w/$ from Aunt Kim & Uncle Jeremy, and “Horton Hears a Who” from Papa Rick & Granny. There was more, but let’s keep this post simple, yeah?

Update: After gifts, there was one more thing ~ a little competition &  a lot of good, clean fun for just $1.89: the egg toss / egg launch (where we all threw eggs as high as we could throw eggs into the sky and still have them land in our yard). Too bad I was busy officiating & didn’t catch it on film. At bedtime, Ricky asked B. what his favorite part of the day was…and this was it. It doesn’t take much for a 7 yr old!

july 09 037

july 09 046

(Above is the moment when Ricky presented our gift to him, an artist’s easel, to which he was exclaiming with full force, “YES!!!!”)

july 09 042

(Princess Angel stuffing her pizza hole)

Even though we have to move out cause our home’s owner wants to sell this place vacant, we are only moving about a mile away (if that)! We just want Bray to feel secure and familiar with his surroundings…not to mention still close to those 4 crazy friends of his.  For 2nd grade, it looks like he may get to return to NJES where he spent Kinder.

God has given us wisdom, steady income, great health and a close-knit family, even the ability to fly to Oregon now & then. He has been so faithful.

I’m sure Bray could come up with a list of things he wishes for today, but as for me, I’m good. I’m trusting God to provide every lil need & not afraid to throw in some wants.  I hope & believe that my trust in him will stay strong when life throws us a curve…cause it will.  But until it does, I’m dancin’ in his unmerited favor…and I’m making the most of this time I get to spend with my babies. It’s been a long Saturday. I’m going to bed now.

july 09 050

Field Day Fun

Today was filled with relay races, water hoses, baseball tosses, sponges & a lot more outdoor adventuring.It was the 2nd year I’ve been able to attend Braylon’s Field Day. While I was there, taking pictures with my phone,  memories came flooding back from all my Field Days at Community Christian School.

See, my dad wasn’t just my dad – he was my school Principal. Continue reading

Field Trippin’ at Aquarena Springs

This is just a story of a short-term memory from today. I had to jot it down before it became a long-term, vague recollection.

Field trips used to be my favorite thing about elementary school. Today, it was Braylon’s. “The best day ever” in his words. I was blessed to be able to go along with him & his 1st grade friends to San Marcos’ Aquarena Springs. The day started out with what I call “spit rain”, but cleared up just 10 minutes into our visit, climbing into the mid-80’s. By lunch, as the 70 6-yr olds sat down to damp, steaming picnic tables, I snagged myself a spot in the shade of an oak. “Steaming tables” – I guess that was a perfect example of one of lots of lessons we learned…

We started out with phase 1 ~ Tour-guide, Daniel, walked us through an “underwater” cave: aquarium-walls filled with all kinds of endangered species, eels, blind shrimp, tetras…6

 and an almost prehistoric looking soft-shell turtle.



After phase 2 (watching a movie about eco-systems & water conservation on a big screen) we moved on to phase 3 ~ a couple of hands-on activitiesp10302201 explaining the water cycle & the earth’s water distribution. Rivers, lakes, atmosphere, soil, ground-water & of course, the oceans all got a say.


But the real reason we had such a great time, (besides the one-on-one-ness)…7 was all about the phase 4 ~ takin’ a ride in a glass-bottom boat! The kiddos spent a lot of time looking down & learning about8 underwater pressure & submerging springs, native or exotic wildlife & the food chain. Sand at the lake’s depths would shift & bubble.


The Blooming Cabomba, like gracefully dancing freshwater seaweed, would let a large-mouth bass make his quick cameo. Birds played in the water.


And turtles were swimming and sunbathing all around us.

12 Braylon smiled & nodded to my comment about how it’d be great to live the life a lake-turtle. I knew he’d agree…he’s such a lil waterbug.  He’s still under 50 lbs and only to my chest, so I claim the right to still say he’s little. Behind his back.13


The day was filled with fun facts, warmth and adventure, and Braylon loved every minute of it. He kept searching the sea of classmates & volunteers, for11 me – & when he’d find me, he would give me the squeeziest hug. I was only among 5 moms from his class.

Bray totally & seemingly understood why no dads could make it. Later on, I picked up Angel & we three met up w/Daddy. We thought we’d try out Austin’s famous Tex-Mex restaurant, Chuy’s, to show and tell him all about it.

Ricky is so great about assuring Braylon of his love. I just can’t help smiling when I see them together. He & angel, too. But it’s a different, more protective, tender love he has for her.

After a little bargain shopping at the outlets, we drove our tired butts home. Angel, in all her two-yr-old-ness, was wearing us down fast. We were spent. Our money was spent. And this day was spent, but spent well. And there’s really no other word to discribe my thoughts about it all, but thankful.

A Bray-Say…

As we were eating our McD’s ice cream cones in the parked Scion, trying to figure out where to go next, Bray unbelts & takes a deep breath, 

“I know!  A PIGNA!”

I knew exactly what he meant but just smiled and said, “What?”

“I mean… a PIGNIT!”

This time he knew he was saying it right. He wanted to get out, sit on the grassy patch in front of us, and eat our ice cream cones by a tree in the sun. a.k.a: a picnic.

There are just some words that are too damn cute that even after 6 & a half years, you can’t bring yourself to correct.


well, hello bello

this mornin’, i thought i’d take a moment to shamelessly promote some photos recently posted by my hubs on braylon.com. (i needed to go ‘meet the teacher’ at his school, but ricky & braylon were able to experience their 1st real circus with gramma janis while in town for his birthday) …what a special memory it turned out to be. bray earned his ticket from the library by participating in their summer reading program. he was sittin’ on the edge of his seat the whole time & kept yelling, “awesome!!”.

he had the best timeexcept for when he got so excited about eating the cotton candy off his hand, that he chomped on his thumb (ricky was right there with the camera to capture the cry-face). click this pic for more snapshots of bello and the greatest show on earth!