Reading Between the Lines

I was never a reader.

It wasn’t until I got into graduate school, that I realized the joy of reading. Not the reading of textbooks, but the opportunity to escape with a good book. I also found that I could learn a whole heck of a lot with the knowledge from OTHER people besides my peers and teachers. There was a whole world out there to explore and discover, and it could be done in books.

Next, I heard this. “Readers are Leaders.” It has been noted that business giants are avid readers. According to a Harvard Business Review article, Steve Jobs, Phil Knight (Nike), Winston Churchill were all avid readers. Also, business leaders believe that “deep, broad reading cultivated in them the knowledge, habits, and talents to improve their organizations.” This article also discussed that getting yourself in the books makes you more intelligent through “a larger vocabulary and more world knowledge in addition to the abstract reasoning skills.” ( This jives with my anecdotal experience.

So, what does this have to do with Tatum?

My original intent on having her read was a bonding experience. It gave me a chance to get to cuddle with her at night and share a story, even if it was for 5 minutes which was the best I could hope for at one. She couldn’t sit still and hated to cuddle. Now, at 2 and 1/2, she cuddles up to me many times a day, and we share a book.

My goals with her now are not only bonding time, but an opportunity to teach some character skills, or to share a laugh, to learn a thing or two, or just to enjoy the use of imagination without any need for electronic stimulation.

She now enjoys sitting and reading on her own, and often, reading to me!


I decided to look at the books we are recently enjoying. She often comments that she needs more room for her books! I tend to buy books more than I buy milk, and it is getting a bit out of hand. Thank goodness for used book stores and Goodwill!

We always start the day with Day to Day which is a daily devotion. She then sometimes pulls out another book of prayers. At night, there is a blessing book we read as well.



No two days are alike, and whenever possible, she is pulling out a book, or I am finding one to share with her.

For a little silliness and sing-songy humor, Boynton takes the prize.


Mo Willems makes me laugh louder than Tatum! Great lessons and lovable characters that Gerald and Piggie!IMG_6617

Of course, these board books are favorites. Board books are a great start for any child until they understand NOT to tear the pages. This takes training! It’s also easier on their little fingers. 

The Jesus books are so much fun, and she has internalized Jesus being in her heart. Debby Anderson does such a fine job with the rhythm in these for memory.IMG_6608

Wishing and Waiting. Patiently.

Two more great travel favorites. One with a strong message about perseverance, and one that just teaches them about traveling!


And then there came Thomas. Need I say more? If you have an 18-36 month old….just get to know him. What a fine character with a spectacular vocabulary. 

And luckily next door we have a train park which we can learn about!


That brings me to Elmo. Yep, he has books. Many many books which teach lessons and for some reason, SHE LOVES HIM! We barely even watch the show, but that little red monster makes her laugh.


ABC. 123. Gotta have these!


More funny and more silly, and there is an actual plot in each… Dr. Seuss and Eastman.


Classics. That Little Red Caboose gets my vote for hero. And…don’t run away or the fox will eat you. (good advice for that Gingerbread Boy) I tend to remind her of this when we are in the store. 

Bob, Larry and the other Veggies make learning about God fun..and how to be kind! IMG_6614Just love these little books to cuddle with:
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Then where…oh where is the…..!? Engage her in the book!

It’s Clifford..Clifford. Lovable and adorable. Teaches excellent lessons while being one big goofy dog. IMG_6624Thomas, Elmo, Clifford, and yes…add Minnie Mouse. Her fascination comes from ??? Clueless. 

Now, add a huggable little bear named Pooh, an adventurous little girl named Dora and her friend Boots, and you’ve got some great plots, strong character lessons, and imagination fodder!


Want to add more silly? These books take a pig, a dog, a mouse, or a moose, and personifies them in the most fun way!IMG_6627Being responsible, sharing, appreciating differences, being kind, and doing your dishes after you eat, and of course being careful about what you take that is not yours…these are all nice lessons to read about.

Tatum will soon see that she is MORE special because she was prayed for and wanted.
And so we cuddle up more at night with these bedtime favorites. 
Truly picture books are not only beautiful, they have great plots and wonderful lessons. Many of these stories are about being grateful of who God made you to be. 
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And more about being thankful along with how wonderful it is to read…especially on Mommy’s lap!IMG_6647
Tot can tote books too! 

Or just read a magazine and find the hidden pictures. Sitting in the dentist office, I used to love these magazines because they had great stories, puzzles and games. IMG_6654

 I love this quote from Charlie Munger: “In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time – none, zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren(Buffett) reads – at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book with a couple of legs sticking out”. (

Tatum has the world at her feet, and her opportunities can be endless; all I can do is give her this potential (by developing her love of reading), love her unconditionally, and …….love her even more!














Making Memories on Memorial Day

Memorial Day with Mama, Mommy and Tot. We started with Musicology as Mama watched. It was a small, but lively class today..

Bells are ringing, I can hear them singing; bells are ringing it’s time to gather round…
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Can you hear them shaking high? Can you hear them shaking low? Shaking high!! Shaking low!! Oh Oh Oh Oh…Bells are ringing..IMG_3431

Flies in the sugar bowl, shoo fly shoo!
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Put that toe in…and polka!

Bing Crosby Hopscotch Polka!

Discovering new instruments and shaking, hitting, tapping…
IMG_3447 IMG_3451 IMG_3458Then…if you want a music stamp, sit with Mary!

IMG_3468 Done. Now, where are those babies!?IMG_3470

Can’t leave Musicology without a stop at Rocket Fizz and a ride on the train. Do you know this store sells Tart and Tinys? (so my candy when I was a TOT!)sd2428-tart-n-tinys-candy-3-pack-three-15-oz-tart-and-tiny-80s-favorite-w-new-blue-4



Lunch was at Nordstroms, so this meant we had to take the moving mountain up three flights. She had only seen an escalator in Courdoroy where he escapes to the “palace” on the 2nd floor. She found this to be like a new ride. OK, I’ll take it! And it’s free; gotta love that one.
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Lunch. Big girl fork. Big girl booster, and Big girl food. Not Big girl coffee.

IMG_3493Thanks MAMA for a great day! 🙂 WE will always REMEMBER on this MEMORIAL DAY 2015.

And we shall never forget the heroes who fought and stood for our country. God Bless America.


Love Abounds on THIS Day

Every day after we eat, Tatum likes to sit on Coti’s place and cuddle with Coti and me. Today, she decided to cuddle just with Coti. However, Coti is a bit confused. Where is Tatum’s head?
IMG_6601 IMG_6602 IMG_6603She happened upon the hat that she had on when she was born; it was in a box under her bed, and it fascinated her. Actually all of her baby things thrill her lately. (Note the monkey socks) Ironically, when she was a baby, she removed anything from her feet. Now? All the time. Socks..socks..socks. Baby ones of course.
The hat she found is so appropriate for today, because it was 2.5 years yesterday she entered this world and TWO years TODAY that she became officially my Tot.


This little Tot had her teeny head covered with this striped cap. Now? Tatum’s brain is maturing into reading stories of rainbows,
IMG_6594 IMG_6595 IMG_6596and her spirit grows as a little jokester who loves to have fun..hat and all.
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This wondrous child continues to keep me in AWE.

Chugging along

When the number on the chronological time line of my life counts up one, I tend to get reflective. In fact, I ponder what my life has added up to in these 36  years.

I would say it’s chugging along quite nicely. Tatum discovered this choo-choo in front of this vintage store by her music class. It’s now a necessary stopping point. This day, in particular, she made a great discovery. When she pushed the button, the train started to move and whistle.




It was then that she perked up and started to really steer the engine. How did she miss this button before? And, what if she had missed it all along?

She would have stayed still.



But no, she reached for the button and pressed it on faith that it would awaken the choo-choo and liven up her life.

Until Tatum came along, I was moving very fast. In fact, I was moving so fast, I never stood still long enough to hear God’s voice. But, for some reason, Tatum has given me the opportunity to get back on the train and push that button. However, this time, I’m not moving fast, I’m enjoying the ride.

This ride I’m on now is giving me new opportunities. For one, to be a parent. Not just a mommy, but a  parent who is guiding her child into the wisdom of life. What she does in return is teach me to take it slower and enjoy the ride. It does not last long.

Next, this ride is giving me flexibility to be in the career I love without the tight strings. Teaching and working within the educational world gives me energy! I can still make a difference but in a new way: empowering, encouraging, and educating teachers. What a blessing.

Finally, this ride is given me a chance to grow in being the woman God wants me to be.
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This little Tot of mine; I’m going to let her SHINE!


Jesus is crying

And He did not stop all afternoon. Tatum just wanted to cuddle on the rocking chair and watch the rain. As that occurred, I told her God must be needing a good weep because it’s pelting down. After we got up, she went and told Grandma that Jesus was crying. What fascinates me about this is that I told her God was crying. I did not say “Jesus.” She put the two together herself. God is Jesus and Jesus is God. Divine. Absolutely Divine.

We eventually had some down time, and she chose to sit by the window

IMG_6543and have her easel nearby to multitask.
She could chill by the window while drawing a picture. Brilliant! I wonder where she got that multitasking skill? Now, we just need her to get the “focus” skill down because within two minutes, she was telling me some story about the kids at Bible Study. Talking is her favorite activity. Next to reading. After her story, (squirrel!) she grabbed a book and sat to read. (out loud of course!)IMG_6546


Musical Mother’s Day

IMG_6524My doll. My Tatum. I don’t regret ONE SECOND of being with you all day everyday. You truly light up my life and make me laugh out loud. You also are the music in my step.

In music class, you have rhythm and share your instruments. 

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You also have curiosity and a mind like a parachute. It’s always open and ready to balloon out. I won’t let it pop, Tot. I’ll keep finding things that inspire, grow, and encourage you. 

Lately, you have become a little cuddler and my heart sings with joy. Mary adores you!
IMG_6535I love you more than I thought was ever possible.


It’s hard to wait!

Tatum loves to say this, but she is also proud that she is mastering the waiting game. If she can at this age, she’s ahead of the rest of the world. For me, “waiting is not easy,” as Gerald and Piggie have portrayed. 51I4wh8pIfL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Why is it so hard? Sometimes, you don’t know if what you are waiting for will even happen! You just go on faith. Or, maybe, it won’t be what you expect! But, you stomp your feet in hopes it will happen, and that still small voice says, “You will have to.” Spoken like a true sage, that Piggie!

9781423199571_default_pdp_xl_alt2Well, God knew all along that Tatum would be a cuddler, but He did not let me in on this secret. I used to watch the mommies in swim class (with envy!), and their LO would wrap their arms around the mommy so she wouldn’t have to hold as strongly. I wondered if it was a female/male issue, but nope. Little girls cuddled with their mommies too. When I would carry her, her arms would flow freely, not touching me. Even as a baby, she did not want to be really cuddled and held tightly. It KILLED ME, but I did not take it personally. I read somewhere by another mommy that her LO all of a sudden wanted cuddling when she was 3. I had to wait. Waiting is hard. It’s hard to’s not easy. What if it never happened?

Sometimes I ask Tatum what she wants to do. Lately, she says, “I want to cuddle.” At first, I thought she was saying she wanted to ‘color.’ Nope. Then I asked, “You want to cuddle your babies?” NO! She wanted to cuddle with ME! Now, it’s an everyday occurrence. Even yesterday on  our walk, she pronounced as we walked doggie, “Mommy, I want to cuddle!”


So, now, she wraps her arms around me and says, “This is my mommy!” I melt.

It is worth the wait. 
IMG_6518“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12


I love you little Tot.