Taking a breath on the way to Avery!

For the life of me, I could not find our destination today. It was a birthday party and if I did not give her a promised slice of cake, I’d never hear the end of it. I kept trying to tell her we celebrate birthdays to make that person feel special, not to eat cake. However, that is a nice bonus!

She could see I was a bit flustered driving, and she said, “Mommy, now, take a breath and ask Jesus to help you.” Brilliant. My kid is brilliant. Where did she get this piece of advice!? Isn’t it amazing when our child gives us back what we give them? And, it’s so simple full of child-like faith. Just like Jesus modeled and shared. Upon my breath and short prayer, she said, “Now, mommy, don’t you feel better!?” As a matter of fact I did. I felt even better knowing my daughter is full of wisdom.

Happy 3rd Birthday  Avery! You have a  fellow Thomas lover in Tatum!


Mommy, watch me!

It’s so fun to be an audience. Tatum is constantly wanting to be watched or played with. Now, this sounds like a tall order, however,  the girl is so dang cute I could easily do it without being commissioned.
IMG_0318 IMG_0327


Her swim lesson today was worth seeing. She kept watching to see if I was watching!
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But the best part was when I came in to get her from her nap. She had somehow retrieved the keyboard and was playing tunes. IMG_0344She had heard me say that I did not want her to touch my computer please, so when I came in she said, “Mommy, I told the babies not to touch my ‘puter.”

If not tempered, her ability to tell others what to do and her strong sense of self could become haughty and pious. But, we mold, shape and focus her behavior on the way she could be strong AND kind.

Organization and Appreciation

No agenda today! Seriously, this is like the first day in forever that we had nowhere to be at no particular time. So…I planned on going to the zoo bright and early. Unfortunately I shared this plan with Tatum, and she expected to go. Upon pleading with her to go another day, and that we would have a blast at home playing in her house, she agreed.

Before we went down to have brekkie, I asked if she wanted to grab a book. She plopped on my bed and started reading Polka Dot Puppy. 

IMG_0271Great! She is over going to the zoo and we can have a great day. I figure I will work on organizing her closet and making more Tot Books. That means laminating laminating laminating cutting cutting cutting and pasting pasting pasting. Much effort but worth it.

Luckily, she just stayed busy. I love that she loves to read. The toys she tends to gravitate to are now Bella, her kitchen, and well…books! Tot grabbed a book and a Highlights magazine. We popped up the tent in her room so she could hide and play. 
IMG_0275Next thing I knew, she pulled up her ladybug,

IMG_0272read, then disappeared for a minute. Then…I found her on the stairs reading to Bella!IMG_0276

Aahhhh, the joy of her independence while I laminated!IMG_0273

My Tot Books are going to be so great thanks to this site!

Her room is getting there…


(organization of children’s things should be a business!!!)IMG_0279 IMG_0280Room…IMG_0281 IMG_0283 IMG_0285 IMG_0286 IMG_0287

Work in Progress. Also..rotation. Tatum kept finding things in her closet that she poo-pooed before and now loved! It was a great strategy to keep her busy while I laminated AND she discovered old toys/books new again.

We then ran out to the store, and she got her daily dose of friends. She asked everyone she could see, “Hi, what’s your name? I’m Tatum.” In the car ride home, “Mommy, let’s have a conversation.” It never ends, my little chatterbox social butterfly.

Even when she slips up, she still maintains her sweet demeanor. Right before nap, I wanted her to come to me, and she just stared and did not respond. I had to ask her a few times, and finally I just plopped her in her bed for 2 minutes. She cried, and I returned for her only to apologize. She looked me straight in the eye and said (without any prompting from me), “Mommy, I’m sorry I did not listen to you. I did not honor-love you.” (This is straight from her wall and she remembered!) Wow. This is all about learning and her growing.

I couldn’t hold back but I had to surprise her with her new Minnie suit. This made her want to go swimming, and I couldn’t believe the growth in her stroke! Man, those lessons give her confidence.IMG_0290

While I cut out all the laminating, she put Jack and the Beanstalk storyboard together and I made more!

IMG_0291 IMG_0292 IMG_0293Then we played cards after dinner. We did the fishy find (match the fishies!), and then embarked on Memory cards (match the two based on memory) IMG_0294 IMG_0295 IMG_0296
What a fun day! We always end in prayers, prayer sticks and a “conversation” about our day and what is to come tomorrow. (And of course a series of games to get her to go to bed!)

This time last year, I was disorganized, unsure how to be with a 2 year old all day, ill-equipped on how to teach her…and the list goes on. Now, I see her become independent, kind, helpful, and introspective with a true conscience.

This organization day helped me organize her room AND gave me a whole new appreciation for my Tot.



Stephie is that you?

Nope, it’s the Tot!

My dear mom has been resurrecting clothes I wore at Tot’s age. Raggedy Ann and Andy were the Winnie the Pooh of the “olden” days supposedly. Well, I have not seen them around much, but Tot sported my little outfit just the same. 

Our resemblance to each other is no coinkeedink…It’s pretty HOLY AMAZING! God is so Good. IMG_0261 IMG_0260





It’s never too late to have a happy childhood

What is it about trains that brings out the child in us? Maybe it’s the child we have with us! Today was one of those days where you realize the best things could be right in your own backyard!

It’s darn hot here, and there is not much to do in the outdoors. But today, a little surprise awaited us at the train park.

First, the time I spend with Tatum is one huge investment. Every little second, I imagine I am making deposits into her memory banks and every little experience in our day, including the roller-coaster emotions, well, these are part of the journey. It’s like any relationship. She sometimes does not understand me nor I her, but we communicate it through. I love the twists and turns, the ups and downs, and the give and take we share. Man, sometimes I just want to yell, “Calgon, take me away!” but I just go with the moment because I know they are short-lived and they are so special. It’s hard being with someone 24/7 with little or no breaks, but you know what? It’s pretty awesome when you think of it like a bank account and “dollar cost-averaging.” A teeny bit each day will build to a million dollars in a few years.

So, with all of this said, I take on the day when I am dog tired. Today was one of those days. I had little energy to fight the heat and the sand on my feet. We decided to have our brekkie there, and then we would ride the first train. All Aboard!IMG_0239It sure never gets old..even in 100+ weather. The other 2 passengers enjoyed the ride with us.

Then, we discovered a WHOLE NEW SIDE to the train park. There is a MUSEUM there!!! YES! Indoors, air-conditioned and F..R..E..E! So we ventured in. It was so amazing that I promised to take her back in the afternoon after nap and get her ice cream. What is funny is that we have a book about the park, and we have been reading it for about a year or more. It talks about the HO, O, N and Z trains being the smaller model trains, but I had no clue they were in the museum. I figured I had seen all of it. WRONG!

Well, easily, she could hang there for an hour or so. But first….Strawberry Ice cream.

IMG_0243 IMG_0242Delish…

Then, into the museum to find Mickey, Thomas, and other characters she recognized. Also, she can ‘control’ parts of it with one touch. This touch makes the train go, the circus come alive, and other things move and groove.

The helicopter starts its propeller….


The circus starts up….IMG_0248 IMG_0247
Mickey and Minnie come around and around…

IMG_0251 IMG_0252and this little truck starts shoveling dirt. Fascinating!

IMG_0254And all of it is right next door at the train park. The man who greeted us as we walked in shared that the city of Scottsdale maintains the outside, but volunteers keep this place going on the inside. Honestly, they are just model train enthusiasts who spend their time tinkering and tinkering with every little nook and cranny of these amazing pieces of work. What dedication, and I sure do appreciate all of their hard work!

It’s never too late to be a kid again, and I will keep making that investment in TATUM AND ME and in helping that laughing, childlike side of me never die!


I love you, Tot.

Girl Day

And it was…truly blessed to have Melissa as my buddy. She has the most delightful kiddos, Sophie and Gabby. They took Tot in and made her feel so special. We sure love you!

Thank you for coffee talk, Mel. IMG_0227

The English Teacher’s Kid

She knows about my obsession with commas. How? She discovered a book in my closet Eats, Shoots, and Leaves. It’s become her favorite new obsession. She especially likes the page:
“What’s this thing called, honey?”  (it’s a comma sitting on the floor) vs. “What’s this thing called honey?” (the guy is pouring honey all over himself) Aahhh…the importance of a comma!


No later do I find her stealing my crossword puzzle and working on it!IMG_0225 IMG_0224And..she’s even doing the NY Times one. It must be the glasses.



Doug let her sport his spectacles, and she tried to discuss the latest development in space.


Well, maybe she better go back to the drawing board….

IMG_0222Yep, this English teacher’s kid reads books about commas, does crosswords, discusses the latest news, and well…likes things in space. (or at least a guy who works with rockets)