Reflecting and Refining

My home is my classroom; and that is how I feel raising Tatum. I pour through books, I read countless articles, I ask a bazillion questions, and I pray. A bunch. (asking for wisdom and patience!) I attack parenting like I did/do teaching, and that is to soak it all in, learning as much as I can along the way.

In my never-ending quest of perfection (ha), I picked up a new book, Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids by Turansky and Miller. This will be a  keeper. Why? Because it has helped me develop something I want to instill into Tatum (which will go on her wall!) This magic word is not new, and especially not to our Father:


Honor is: Treating people as special,

doing more that what’s expected,

and having a good attitude

(They give a visual of this: We all wish we could receive a gift, but instead we sometimes receive hurtful words. It’s like receiving dirt.) (11)
I have always discuss the value of respect, but I’m changing that now. Not because respect is not important; I’m just stepping it up a notch. This is why:

Respect acknowledge’s a person’s position; honor attaches worth to that person as an individual

Respect teaches manners and proper behavior in the presence of others; honor teaches an appreciation of that person

Respect can become a technique to make a family look good on the outside; honor builds the hidden bonds that provide strength and lasting unity (19)

When I “discipline” Tatum, my goal is to help her not only act correctly but to have a heart attitude of love. This means I have to guide her in her thinking. This is how God made her to be. “Honor addresses what is going on below the surface and considers a child’s heart.” (23) This means that as they say:
“Honor requires us to ask different questions about life.” This means acting and talking that pleases others (no matter if they are present or not). My job is to help her catch that vision of honor so she wants to please others. Moreover, that she not only does what is expected, but does a bit extra. They give an example of a boy who helped a family mow the lawn. Without asking he swept the driveway as just a kind bonus. This caught on in the neighborhood and soon he was flooded with work requests!

Attitude is everything. As cliche as this is, it’s true. When Tatum is just obedient, she is just acting the part. When she is honoring, she is acting WITH an attitude that goes with the actions. If and when she does do something that is unkind, I become VERY sad. She sees my reaction and starts to realize this is not the way to happiness and success for her. Making others and God sad can evoke a better way to do what she has done wrong.

As adults, we have old tapes playing in our heads from when we were children. Hopefully they are positive; For many they may be, “Big boys don’t cry…carrots will make your hair grow…” Some tapes are helpful and some are destructive. If I can be simple in my reactions to Tatum when she does something dishonoring, then perhaps those can be memorable. For example: She says “NO!” I respond: “That was unkind.” She does something mean to Coti, I can say, “That wasn’t very loving.” As the author’s say, “Over time they create a recording in the child’s head.” (101)


I continue to reflect and refine as I teach her in the way she should go. The CORE VALUE wall is on the make in my head. More to come 🙂

Ending and beginning

Ending an era. The infant stage is officially over, and two has crept up like a speeding freight train with a jet engine.



Her two-year old check up this morning reminded me of my immense gratitude for my little girl. They handed me two separate questionnaires. One was just basic questions that I SERIOUSLY take for granted. Does she smile when I talk to her? Does she play and share? Does she treat toys properly? Does she stare at something for no particular reason? Many of these questions, I assumed, were to screen for autism. It made me so sad to think that could have been Tatum. Then the other questionnaire was about lead exposure. Again, I just had no idea the risks children can be exposed to. And here I was stressed about her pin drop of toothpaste she swallows every morning.

Thank you Lord.

“She is so articulate!” “Her vocabulary is so advanced!” “Wow she is smart!” “Look at that vibrant personality!”

I hear all of these things often, and I enjoy being a part of her growing up and being her mommy. I love you Two Year Old Tater Tot.




Two Two!!! at the Choo Choo Park

TWO TWO IS HERE! I had to arrive early when it was a freezing (for me!) 50 degrees at 7am to CLAIM a table. IMG_5839 IMG_5840


Then it was time to get Tatum so I headed home to say ARISE MY DARLING!
IMG_5846 IMG_5852We headed to the park and awaited the guests. 11:30…The party at the train park was a hit because so many loved ones joined us. I had to share grati”two”de with all of the attendees, so I wrote TWO things I’m thankful for each person.

IMG_5889Nothing else can describe how I feel today.

IMG_5893 IMG_5892 IMG_5891


(thank you Marlena, Addison and Alexa for the signage!!!)IMG_5858 IMG_5862 IMG_5865

All of us sang to her and she just enjoyed all of the eyes on her. IMG_5883IMG_5890IMG_5868 IMG_5869 IMG_5870 IMG_5871 IMG_5875 IMG_5876 IMG_5880 IMG_5879 IMG_5878 IMG_5877 IMG_5881

2014-11-22 12.27.12

Thank you to all who came and enjoyed the thrills of Tot and cake. 🙂

One of the greatest gifts she received was an easel from Jocy, my dearest friend.

IMG_5833This will grow with her as she becomes more paint and art literate 🙂 She also received many train gifts, books, and of course CLOTHES. Nancy had a shirt made with her name on it and Psalm 139. Bobby even adopted an elephant in her name! An elephant! My dear mom made a delicious train cake FROM SCRATCH! Marlena and her girls made sure we could see the party with their designs!


IMG_5894 Her enjoyment of Thomas the Train continues, and she makes that known to all with her knowledge of Percy, Henry and James. Percy seems to be her favorite right now due to his friendly smile and helpful attitude for Thomas. (I’d like to think so)


The end of the day ended with Tatum grabbing a balloon saying, “clip to me?”, grabbing her hat and hiding in the corner. IMG_5896 IMG_5897

We read her new Thomas books, Devotionals and Prayers. These two years have been the best (and biggest growth!) of my life. I’m honored to be your mommy.





Thomas comes tomorrow

And Tatum and I had to go purchase the trays of food as my mom made her Thomas the Train cake. The balloons was all she cared about, and the idea of holding it because it would escape pervaded her head.

She would not even let go in the car even though the travel of the balloon was 2 inches up. 
IMG_5835 IMG_5836 IMG_5837And when it did escape, “HELP MOMMY!!!” She held that balloon so tight that I’m surprised it did not POP and cause me to fly off the street.

Tomorrow, we go to the train park with many friends to celebrate the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. Infant to Toddler with THOMAS the train. She is practicing.

IMG_5828My heart aches to keep her young, but she continues to wow and ZOW me with her preciousness. Tot is on her way to a greater purpose and life with HIM. 🙂 XOXOXO. I love you Tata




Yes, it hit 46 at night and in the morning. And with that, Tatum has her lid on. 
IMG_2928 IMG_2926


Tatum and mommy just get cozier. Her VIBRANT personality truly keeps me on my toes. Her ability to communicate has helped immensely when she is whiny or crying. However, when she does whine, my ears go bye-bye.  😉

Is it me??

It’s a bit scary when you start seeing your child do things you do. You PRAY that the things they copy are positive.

Tatum loves to clean things. Floors, balls, books, chairs. You name it, she is in the kitchen with a paper towel and some type of bottle with liquid in it for wetting the area to wipe.

Today, however, she decided she needed to clean Coti. She had watched mommy clean his paws the other day, so poor Coti was subject to Tatum’s towel magic.


His choice? To just roll onto his back and be subject to Tatumness. Such a good sport. HE HATES when I do it.


Now, this is not the only thing Tatum copies from mommy.
When I was a little girl, I used to hide under my mother’s desk. This became not only a hiding spot, but also a bit of a safe zone when needing a place to just be. You a “make the world go away..” spot. Well, today, it was time for Tot’s nap, and I could not find her. Crazy..she usually just is waiting by her bed dying to get in and get to sleep (HAHA!!).

Well, I heard a teeny tiny laugh come from my mother’s office. Somehow, someway, she channeled mommy’s inner child because there she was…under MY MOTHER’S DESK. (the same one I used to hide under!!) Purely bizarre.


I peaked under to look and I could not find her (!?) (Did you know children disappear when they have their hands over their eyes?) Then all of a sudden:


Wow. Lesson: Your child may become you. Make sure you are happy with what you do! 🙂


Kick Balls not Walls

She repeats this now when we eat. She looks squarely at me with a full mouth and says, “Mommy? Kick balls…not the walls.”

Yes, she is correctly repeating a bit of admonition I shared with her the other day while eating breakfast, as she was kicking the wall with her feet while sitting in her lobster. 

Saying “NO” and “DON’T DO _____ XYZ” is ineffective. It also teaches her that nasty N word we just love to hear from our toddler. Instead, I’m trying out positive statements.

Yes, you may have your baba at dinnertime!
Yes, you may have a snack when we get home.

Yes, you may sit on the chair and not on the table.

Absolutely! You may have the brush when I am finished….

You get the idea.

The NO statements come in the form of pure reprimands like letting go of my hand when in the street. OR..running away from me when I come to get her from a dangerous situation. (etc.) I want to make those times seriously NNNN OOOO!!!

These simple little ideas help her to be kind also at public places and it comes in handy. At Starbucks with Nyla and Kelly, she sat in a big girl chair and ate with us. When she was finished she figured she would get down. First, Nyla had to have a selfie




Then Tatum plopped down and what did I say?

Yes! you may get down when we are all finished. She looked at me, hopped back on her chair without too much fuss.
Reality? We only lasted a few more minutes, but …hey!…it worked for that moment, and for that I am thankful.