Seeing Life at SeaLife

An Aquarium in Arizona! I had no idea. Yes, we have our own Sea Life here in the sunny state, and it’s pretty fun. Doug and I had the brilliant idea to arrive when they opened at 10am. On a Wednesday morning, how could it be busy? Strollers, pouches of babies, and many mommies had the same idea. But, no worries. It was to be a SPLASH!
They handed Tot a mask, and we were off to see various fish from crappies, zebras, convicts and cuttlefish. Who comes up with these names? A depressed government official?

She peered closely in, and good thing she was a Tot so she could see!


But then there were times it was hard to peer over the side so….tippy toes!IMG_0916Personally, I was fascinated by the expressions of the fish. What were they thinking? Did they want out or were we the joke looking at them?IMG_0967Look at those Mannas and Sting rays!
IMG_0965 IMG_0964Then, we saw it. The porcupine fish. Again, what!? There is already a porcupine. Let’s think of something more inventive why don’t we? He was adorable. Doug told me that predators have eyes in the front and prey have eyes on the sides. Definitely a sought after fish those eyes!IMG_0917IMG_0968The stingrays were magnificent. Honestly, they were the most graceful beings present in the water.

IMG_0963Tatum enjoyed the sea horses, starfish, and even got to touch the shrimp which did not look fun at all.IMG_0922 IMG_0948 IMG_0947

The aquarium boasted of “Ziva” the turtle. I guess he is still en route because we couldn’t not find this guy anywhere. Tatum was determined!


Well, the many sights… it made me want seafood!  We just ATE it all up! IMG_0961

Of course afterwards, we headed out towards the food court since this was the first thing on her mind. Alas.. we see it…THE CAROUSEL. $3? We have one of these within walking distance of our house and it’s SO MUCH cooler. So, I had the little talk with Tot. “Honey, don’t you want to wait for the REAL carousel next to our house?”IMG_0959Thank goodness for these rides that don’t require quarters in order to look cool and inviting.
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This was the best…it had TWO ..count them TWO steering wheels! Dream come true. What control!

We had a great time with “Dougie” and our many wet friends. Thank you for hanging with us, carrying Tot, and being the best host ever! Plus, you were the best dressed one at the aquarium in a sea of yoga pants.

Evidence of a good time.


I’m going home to make salmon now.



Paws, Pause, and Applause..and AAH’s :-)

Tatum has a new friend. He’s a furry guy who comes with clothes and shoes. I think she’s a bit jealous of the shoes being for the dog because she forces her toesies into the different pairs and attempts to walk around.

IMG_0886He watches and probably is happy he doesn’t have to wear the shiny silver sandals. They don’t look that comfortable for his paws. Paws…that’s  a perfect name. Do you think Coti will be jealous?
Well, Paws won the opportunity to sit and watch Tatum learn her Big K and Little k. Coti? He watched from below. Good sport he is!

IMG_0891Upon this, Tot drew some lovely design of scribbly colors. Masterpiece; I had to pause and just clap! Good job, little Tot

IMG_0892I continue to be in awe of her little sweet heart. I needed to pause because these past two weeks, I’ve been uber-busy, beyond what is healthy for me…and for her. She just looked at me today and said, “Mommy, I love you.” *MELT*. At church today, I was reminded of how much I love her, and how GRATEFUL I am to have her in my life. IMG_4582 IMG_4587 IMG_4586 IMG_4585


Where is the cake!?

Tatum wants to know!

Is this what birthdays are all about? Heck yeah! No, really it was about celebrating our friends and making them feel special.

She’s practicing her “Happy Birthday to you” as we prepare for our first party. IMG_0839

First stop: Robert and his Firetruck extravaganza. This three year old little cutie is of course Tatum’s choice of the best of the best. IMG_0849

Jennie (and her hubby Scott and the LO in her tummy!) made us feel so special with a nice display of yummies. The big hit of the spread was the teeny marshmallows in the dairy less ambrosia. 

Janette, Levi, and Tot all enjoying the hot dog. Darn, the vegan dogs I give her won’t taste so yummy now!IMG_0848

She of course had to be the only girl among a sea of boys, as usual. She’s learning to hold her own, I’d say!

Robert’s theme was fireman, and Tatum had to take a spin in the suit. She’s ready to put out the fire, but first, she had text Robert to tell him she’d be right there!


Now, here is the cake!IMG_0852

(Tatum snuck in a quick kiss to the birthday boy)IMG_0857IMG_0856
This party was fiery hot, dear Robert.

Now, where is that second cake? Next stop, Sophia’s 5th birthday. Melissa made this party awesome by having and even bigger PINK cake.

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We had such a great day with our friends, and we found TWO cakes!



Puppy Love

After Tatum drinks her milk in the morning, she often comments, “I’m cold, mommy!” As much as I love to help her solve her dilemmas, I told her to go upstairs and get her blanket (her kiki, as she calls it)

So, she ran upstairs, came down with kiki in hand and plopped on top of Coti’s place to cuddle.
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She figured Coti might be cold too.  IMG_0834 It’s pure puppy love!IMG_0835

Paying attention

One of the things I’m teaching Tot is to notice things around her. Also, when she is engaged in activity, focus! This Playdoh activity kept her focused and engaged for a solid hour.

IMG_0820This morning, we read our Bibles together in my bed for about thirty minutes. Awesome.


She focused and paid attention today in gymnastics to Taina, and she seemed to enjoy it immensely! Alton and Avery are wonderful classmates also. Taina said Tatum seems like an old soul.IMG_0823 IMG_0824 IMG_0828 IMG_0829

This concept also leads to LISTENING. Sometimes, she makes the choice not to listen. For example, today, she really wanted one of the Lysol wipes, and freely took it from under the sink and grabbed a few too many. As she was doing this, I repeatedly asked her not to do this and to put it back. So, she threw it. Ah…a moment of learning opportunity. I just stared at her and she knew that wasn’t nice. She did not listen and knew it. Immediately, she picked it up, put it back and apologized. BIG KISS! Awesome. Gosh, getting mad is normal, but how we react and carry out being mad is another thing. She may have wanted some wipes, but sometimes you don’t get what you want. Mad.. Instead, let’s stop, take a breath, and say, OK, maybe next time, Mommy. Practice!

I’m so proud of how she is responding to learning. Sure, she makes mistakes everyday, and so do I! Shoot, why would we need Jesus if we were perfect? But, her recovery time is so quick, and she is also quick to apologize and learn from it.

I’m paying attention, Tatum. I love you!


There is a battle brewing in the world. Some would say it’s war against nations. Some would say it’s a battle in the workplace. Others say it is among familiies. According to our Pastor, Terry Crist, he says the REAL issue is the issue of identity. We all struggle with  the question, “WHO AM I?  WHO WAS I CREATED TO BE?”

It makes sense that the common man wants to belong and be important somehow.

WE have a choice: One can listen to how the world defines him/her or one can listen to how GOD defines him/her. This is the message I want Tatum to hear. Her identity, our identity, is what GOD says about her and us.

So, Tatum here it is:

YOU ARE LOVED BY GOD; that is your identity. You will struggle with wanting to be affirmed by people. This is natural! But do you know what? A mistaken identity will lead to wrong behavior. This comes from Proverbs 23:7, As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he!”

Honey, spend time on your inner man. Spend time nurturing your soul and getting to know God. Know that He loves you with All that He is. You must understand who GOD made you to be. (too many people spend time on their bodies and minds and relationships and although VERY IMPORTANT, they can’t define you.)

Sure, you have your hard work. Some will say, “She is such hard worker.” Awesome!IMG_0811 IMG_0812That may be true. But that is not WHO you are.

Others will say, “Oh, that Tatum…she is so smart and well read!” She keeps on the latest world news, reads the funnies, enjoys books.. Again, wonderful! But this is not WHO you are.IMG_0817 IMG_0816 IMG_0815 IMG_0814 IMG_0813And then others will try to define you by your relationships. You have many loved ones, and even in church, when others are running amok, you listen and are kind. IMG_0819This is all important and good. BUT your identity is being at the HEART of God and His HEART is Jesus, His gift to us. YOU are more than the identities the world gives you. Ephesians 1:11 says IN Christ, we found out who we are. As a follower of Jesus, your identity comes from your relationship with him. 2 Corinthians 5:15-17 “and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.…”

Tatum, you are a NEW creation. Not as a little beautiful girl (although true), but ONE LOVED AND ADORED BY GOD. He has GIVEN you Jesus. Jesus gave HIS life so you could not only have Him live in your heart but also to have a relationship with GOD!

1. It’s a complete transformation. AND now..We live with a GREAT expression of gratitude and great expectation. 1 Peter 1: 3-4″ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” WE ARE IN HIM!

2.  We now live a resurrected life. HE CAME TO GIVE US LIFE! (A new one!) and He came to give us life abundant. You’re a new self, Tot. Colossians 3: 1-3 “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.…”

3. SO this world gets tough and the people in it may disappoint, but know that your citizenship is in heaven and you’re a new citizen with a REAL Father. Jesus is your LORD (God is your FATHER!) Phil 3:8-10: “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;…”

Tatum, your identity is that of a child of THE Father. God. He gave us Jesus, His son, who died so that we may LIVE LIFE ABUNDANTLY and to HIS glory! Let’s do that. Let’s make the most of our life, loving others, being a light, leading others to the truth, and putting our FAITH in Jesus.

I love you darling, and may you always remember WHO YOU ARE.



I’ll do it on Saturday

Potty training is so fun.

Just today, Tatum was throning and did her thing. The only part missing was the #1. Being Sunday, and worried that she’d have an accident at church, I said, “Honey, you really need to pee in the potty because we have to go!”
She just looked at me.

“Ok honey, when do you think you’ll go?”

She replied, “Saturday, mommy.”

OK, then. Saturday. She’s got a way to go in holding it.