Reunited Part 2: The day off

Tatum and me. Just the two of us all day long; this was my goal, and it ended up going superbly.

We had the privilege of having Monday off since the 7th grade trip began on the weekend, and since it was lovely weather, we opted for a morning at the Railroad Park. Let me in!!! 

IMG_4731 IMG_4730She woke up with green goop emanating from her nose, so I was not sure of her stamina. Praying that it was just a passing virus, I opted to try the activities. She has not been on the carousel ride yet, and since the train didn’t come for 1/2 hour, vertical moving horsies it was! Immediately into the ride, she started freaking out! She screamed, “Shoe!” She pointed to the ground and there it was: her other pink Croc….on the sidewalk. Great! Now we go around and around and she sees Shoe…Shoe…Shoe. So much for Kodak moments. She clutched onto Baby the whole time.

IMG_4734 IMG_4735 IMG_4740We arrived home, and she popped the wheelies a few times

IMG_4742, then wanted, “UP!” on my lap so she could work the computer. Not thinking this was a great idea, I put her baby in the bag so she could find it. Again, not such a brilliant idea. She could not find it amidst the large folds in the bag.

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But then TA DA!!! Found it. Hoooray!

Wrapping up the day was a few rounds with Coti and the ball, squeekie hot dog, cow and alligator. He rough houses a bit too much with Tatum, so we are trying to calm him down. At one point, Tatum just got tired of his antics and walked to her bookshelf. She proceeded to bring me a book. Actually, it was a children’s Bible with colorful pictures. She handed me the book then plopped down between my legs. We read about Noah’s ark and she pointed out the elephants, sheep and lions. After reading, I asked her to return the book, please. She gladly put it back on the shelf and brought me another. I was in awe of her responsibility with returning the book to its proper place. Gleefully, I pronounced, “Thank you!” and clapped. (she repeated thank you).

What a gal. What an amazing little bundle of joy.


and it feels SOOOOO good. Speeding and breaking multiple laws, I drove like a demon home to Tatum. We landed at 7:05 pm, and I knew she was probably in bed, but it did not matter. I was going to wake her up and embrace her. Being away from Taters for 6 days was more than a mommy can stand! However, coming back, I realized how much she has changed my life.

IMG_4723More importantly, having my mother to help me, I am keenly aware of how blessed I am. Tatum did not miss a beat with the love that surrounded her (and that is from all sides). My friends contacted  my mom while I was away and offered to help, and for that I am ultimately thankful! Now, I can embrace her even tighter each day knowing that she is surrounded by love in all directions.


One week in a lifetime

When I calculate it in my heart, it feels like forever; like it will change everything. Logically, I know it’s a blip in the timeline of our lives together. Much of the emotional challenge is my need to be needed/loved/wanted. This, inherently I know, is unhealthy.

Adaptability, sure..she can be a super-chameleon and this is a goal of good parenting. Do I want a clingy child whose world revolves around mommy? Selfishly and in the moment, I do! But play it out as the root of a healthy person, and it is uber-antithetical to all that makes a solid human being, God-loving and people-focused.

Raising Tatum is currently my world and I owe her a healthy mommy. Her development must include the part where she loves others and those who surround her and that not just being her mommy. Love is not a pie! It is limitless and there is always room for the love “pie” to expand into a larger and larger pie. The bigger the pie, the larger the ability to love and the larger the love one gives and can thus receive.

This is a growing experience for both of us; to appreciate and savor the moments we have together.



Put it to rest

A death is putting something to rest.

GOOD Friday. What makes it GOOD? Something good cannot be a death, and especially Jesus’ death which was horrific and gruesome. However, can something that is such be made right? Be made good?

Understanding good means we need to first understand the opposite: Our condition. I only need to think of my heart as not always pure to understand my fallen nature. Raising a daughter from birth helps me see the power of our sin in a baby. The beautiful is not always perfect, and no human is. Proving our hopeless condition, the law pointed out how impossible it was to achieve perfection.

Sin cannot live in God and He cannot justify it without a sacrifice. Who would be the sacrificed? Who would be big enough to take this on? How could he make it right with us once and for all? Good Friday HAD to happen in order for the beauty of justice and LIFE to occur. Forgiveness. Salvation….all coming from the CROSS: Psalm 85:10 praises the moment when “righteousness and peace” will “kiss each other.” God’s justice (Good Friday) intersected and crossed with his love and mercy (Easter).

Ignorantly, we don’t comprehend how God created us to have free will to make poor decisions; ones that allow us to then sin. But, little did we know that he had a plan of redemption. He knew that there would be suffering, and as we question it and shake our fist at it and Him, He has omnipotent knowledge of the GOOD. His plan will reunite us back to him and forgive this ultimate sin of separation, but also the grace to proceed after we continue to mess up.

C.S. Lewis even writes about God creating us as His own “parasites” and he is allowing us to “take advantage of Him.” But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8-9, NIV). He died so we could live back with Him for now (in this fallen difficult world) and in eternity. That is truly love.

So what? So what!? What does it all meant today and tomorrow when I wake up and go about my day? Gratitude. Peace, right? Can I now rest in the hope of tomorrow and the knowledge of how much LOVE there is for me and for others (when I don’t “feel” it) in today? That is the significance.

Finally, an empty life is what I had for years although it seemed meaningful with work and relationships. However, focusing on those things, it was found to be futile and a dark hole. In John 6:35, Jesus said, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst’.

Find the “it” and Put it to rest. He has it in His hands and lifts it from ours.

May it be a “Good” Godly Friday.


Plays of the Week(end): POW!

When I imagined what it would be like to be a mother, I had no idea that it would be so awe-inspiring. Of course I knew it would be a constant quest for “what do I do now”? But much of the time, I use common sense in raising her. Treating her like an adult, she takes in my common sense as I talk to her with reason and love. Responsive, loving, occasionally laughing out loud, and many times crying a bit, she listens. She listens. This has been proven by how she reacts and now behavior.

My weekend goals are this: Make the most of my time with Tatum, but also make sure I continue to include her in what I do! This way, she understands her importance in my life, but she also knows she is not completely in charge 🙂 This means, I try to visit with many people during the weekend, including her in these interactions.

Blue-faced, Saturday began. Blueberries, albeit healthy, are not for the neat freaky type, are they?

Breakfast time (really any eating time) is a bit of a wrestling match, figuratively. “Ba-Ba..Ba-Ba…B-Ba!!!” rolls off her tongue and continues. I have learned to ignore it and remind her that she will have it shortly; she must finish her breakfast. Now, she is FINALLY gladly eating her breakfast, then when she is finished, she hands me her bowl, smiles and says, “Ba-ba?” and “Peeees”. I hand her milk. Wrestling match over. (til the next round at least) The next round is usually where I have to give her an alternative because she can’t have milk all day! (Wrestling match part 2!)

Swim class, next, to fish around. She is graduating to LITTLE SNAPPER 2 now!! Tatum is such a ham as she claps after she goes under…she just loves being the star. Upon this, we went to visit Susan and Jason. Jason is a natural with Tater; she was mesmerized by his side-hat! Still, she won’t let anyone else hold her/carry her, but she will goof around with another.


We always end the day with: A story: Good Night Gorilla is her current fav, a brushing of her teeth with banana brush, a prayer and a kiss. Yes, she kisses me on the lips and smiles!

The next day, Sunday, Tatum found me hiding below her crib as I surprised her with a “Good morning!” We played peek-a-boo with her blanket and then pick out her outfit for church. The silliness continued after breakfast. She discovered a container (well, actually emptied out the container onto the floor) and decided it was a hat.

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Pooped, she plopped down on Coti for a rest..yes ON Coti (her pseudo pillow)


Then it’s a pose for her virtual kitchen audience (with Mr. Bear of course also known as “baby.”)


Once we get to church, after singing, we head to the private room, and Tatum can play while mommy listens to the sermon on the TV screen. She shows off that she is a big girl drinking from a cup. I’m no dummy, for it was only water.



Then…boom! Onto the pillow for a rest as I comfort herIMG_4650We spent the rest of the day visiting friends and playing. I relish each minute, even the wrestling events, as we are learning to love, live, laugh, and listen TOGETHER.



Every day with Tatum is an investment. I invest in her building character and having a God-loving, people-loving, courageous heart.

This week was a challenge in that endeavor. WHY? Because Tatum was not only overcoming her supposed HFMD, but she was in the midst of developing an ear infection. Little did I know as she cried or fussed every time she was horizontal which meant changing her diaper was a
 thrill. Moreover, for two nights AND nap time, she cried. I had no idea until Marla gave me this clue: her ear hurts! Of course! Upon a visit from the Dr., this was exactly what she had; a right ear infection. Now I know why I had sleepless nights all week. Now I know why I felt like a failure as a mother since she was always crying and I felt like I wasn’t meeting her needs.

One investment we did make was in teaching Tatum how to eat out; could she last an hour eating and playing at the table? The bears were dancing… until our waitress Holly came up to see how she was doing.


IMG_4574Tatum then shared her bear. Sharing…Very kind.IMG_4575

Investing continued this morning, but Tatum took over today. Investing in piggy 🙂 









Manners 101

The idea is brilliant, and I should have thought of it myself since I am a teacher! Modeling with a picture book. This idea came from a dear person in my life who I deeply respect (and I fellow educator I might add).

So, I am trying to teach Tatum the simple concepts of “please” and “thank you.” I also want her to understand it appropriately and genuinely. I plan to create a picture book of her doing some of the behaviors I desire by snapping a shot of her doing them! Then we can read them together as she sees herself engaging in the sought behavior.

Today was perfect. She loves her gummy vitamins and always asks for “MO MO…” I reached down and said, “Please?” She smiled and then she actually said, “Tank you!” SNAP! We got it on film! (the phone! 🙂


 What happened next, however, was priceless. She handed the gummy to Coti and let him lick it. Then she put it in his mouth!  She never does that, but that was so thoughtful of her. So, we decided to give her a doggie treat to give to Coti since this seemed to be her modus operandi at the moment. She took the dog treat, let Coti lick it, then ate it herself!!!! NO!!! Yuk. We both winced and shook our heads…”Not for Tatum..YUK…” Thank goodness it was a Natural Peanut Butter treat with no weird pig feet meal or odd ingredient. But still…..!