Halloweening! 2015

Of course we had to start at Trader Joe’s! Bev was dressed as a Minion as well, so they had to pose! She was playing “Dave.” Tot? She is more like Bob, but he only had one eye!IMG_1289Then, when we got home, Tot’s bed became “toddlerized.” IMG_1290And she was bouncing around like a monkey! She pretended a bottle was a microphone and belted out some tunes. Then collapsed in laughter.

We eventually got Coti in his Bat costume. (after much consternation)IMG_1297And voila!

Tatum is ready to hit the road. IMG_1300 IMG_1302She ended up having a bite of Butterfinger and Heath Bar.

I told her she could have her lollipop tomorrow. She asked me if she could have one lick after church. Should I? We shall see! (Don’t you love it when a parent says that!?)

Dem Bones…dem TROMbones! MIM Part 2

We had the MIM to ourselves today! And…we had no idea that it would be the treat of all treats!

Upon visiting the European instrument portion, and avoiding the school that just arrived, we ventured down for the show. What show!? Supposedly, once a month, they have a concert, and today, it was to be the trombones from ASU! Now, would Tatum be able to sit through an hour long concert? Let’s find out.

First, these ASU students were dressed in nice rainbow shirts, and they had quite the array of talent to boot. The conductor, was Douglas Yeo, and was he a gem!

Supposedly, he was with the Boston Symphony for 30 years and now teaches at ASU.

IMG_1258Tatum sat quietly enjoying each piece as well as these short interludes.

The best part was when the conductor performed his solo from “Peter Gynt.” Dem tromBONES! Wow!IMG_1264He introduced it with saying that he never expects his students to do something he wouldn’t’ do, so one of his students did the conducting, and he did the performing! What a sound message: MODEL! HE paused at one point (and we all thought it was over), and Tatum yelled, “Good job!” Douglas became red in the face and smiled. I became red as well! Excuse us! HE played with poise, preciseness and perfection.

It’s a definite that we will attend each of these mini-concerts since the venue is small and it’s so easy and inexpensive. She is learning so much culturally as well (as am I!)

Finally, we hit the gift shop and guess what we found?IMG_1266Yes, besides these…(which I had to buy of course!)

A HARMONICA! She couldn’t say it quite correctly, so she called it her trombone. IMG_1269IMG_1267She puffed away at it making various sounds, discovering it has quite a range of noise! Her delight made it all worth it. When we got home, her first thought was to show/scare Coti! *wince*

“Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.”-Martin Luther

(even if sometimes the music isn’t so musicy!)

My little Minion

Dress rehearsal. The goggles! Yep. It has the “Oh my GOODNESS! Look at her!” effect. IMG_1214And so it was. The little minion idea was created, and she was into it because she likes to be funny. The goggles are not the most comfortable eyewear, so she knew that for music class, she’d have to bear it for a few Kodak moments. This week, it was the “Pumpkin Patch” party, so she had to sport her costume. Finding the right jumper was a challenge, but bingo! We got it.

IMG_1219 I could just eat her up!IMG_1224 As usual, each class, she has to choose a way to tap her name on the drum. This week, it was the pinky finger. Ms. Mary, our bumbly bee teacher, couldn’t stop laughing at Tot this week because she just had that effervescence. IMG_1233They visited the virtual pumpkin patch and Tatum pretended she was grabbing the largest pumpkin on the lot.IMG_1235IMG_1253IMG_1252

My little Minion posed with Sullivan (firefighter), Morgan (Princess Elsa), Harley (Marshall from Paw Patrol), Berkeley (a pink cat), and Emma the angel (and she really is)
IMG_1242IMG_1240Now if you look up Minion, you’ll find it means, “a loyal servant of another person.” Yes, my girl is truly LOYAL as she shows her love and joy daily to her family and friends.  Another term she is learning is to have a “Servant’s Heart” like her Savior, Jesus. My little Tatum, may you shine!


I love this girl so much. Loving someone this much, unconditionally, takes no work when it comes to Tatum. My daughter, my sweet little girl, absolutely knocks my knickers off. So, I might not wear knickers, but if I did, they’d be flying off into outer space with the amount of awe I have for this kiddo. She actually reminds of a juicy grape. But, she did not start out that way.

IMG_1178This little raisin has been producing more plumpness as time has gone on. Now, what is it that makes me crazy about her? Our negotiations. I have become the prime negotiator as she usually has to have her way. (I know..a little girl wanting her way. Whoda thunk!?) For example, every single morning, we have to decide what will come first: Coti going out, her baba or the morning “ride.” When we finally get to her ride,….well, I should say morning push because she doesn’t really “ride” the bike quite yet….she sports her grapey little jacket. It keeps her cozy warm as she learns to turn right and left and not run into the wall. Ha!IMG_1202Then, there are the lessons. She wants to please! We discuss the desired behavior incessantly. Tatum, you will listen and honor your teacher. Of course, she knows that she must obey if she wants a big smile from mommy. But more importantly, she is learning the concept of respect. Today, she wanted to wear these grape-colored Cressi Crabs. They sure helped her see more clearly. Wouldn’t it be great if all we needed was a pair of grape Cressi’s to be able to see the clear picture?

Tatum, FOCUS! (sometimes I have to remind her)IMG_1205

Then, of course there is the little shopper’s need to empty the basket and hand and name each item to the cashier. (Hopefully, it’s Kevin, her favorite TJ’s employee).IMG_1208 IMG_1209 IMG_1210She finishes, pushes in the tray, returns her cart and rushes to get her stickers. This kiddo has it down.

Every single solitary day, I understand how fruit is produced. Pruning must occur. As John 15 points out that without the struggle and the pruning of some challenges , plump juicy grapes could not be produced on the vine. So is it with raising Tot. We fall forward every day as we work through being the best we can be (with what God has given us!) Some may wonder what it is that makes me so crazy about her? Well, just hang around her for more than one second, and you’ll see why. She’s charming, funny, creative, and will keep you on your toes! She’s as sweet as a bunch of grapes. And the great thing? This little orb continues to get more and more juicy and plump every day. How can it not be with God’s love and her family’s love pouring all over her.

I can only be “grape”ful.

The job hunt is over…

For Tatum that is…

Yes, we do go to Trader Joe’s quite often. In fact, when we first enter the glass kingdom de Joe, Tatum’s name is heard around the store. She’s here! Seriously, it’s pretty sick. Me? I’m pretty invisible.

Before we even arrived at TJ’s, music class was a blast with Mary. The kiddos danced in the middle and we circled them with the colorful elastic. IMG_1190

Then Tot got to reel it in….IMG_1193 IMG_1194
And done. Good times there at Musicology. She is truly the ham of all hams.

So, we get to Trader Joe’s, and Alisha, who is behind the sample station, says, “Tatum, I made this for you!” What!?

My first thought is PHEW! She has a job! I don’t have to worry. Upon this, I wiped my brow, had a sip of mini cup TJ coffee and thank God for my Tater Tot who knows how to run the place basically. They comment that she always returns her cart, greets everyone by name, always says thank you for my snack, and unloads the groceries onto the shelf naming each item. It’s no wonder she’ll be the star employee one day!IMG_1198Where does the time go? But at least she’s set occupationally. Discount, here I come!

Walking for Freedom

This is something I don’t want Tatum to ever know. However, there is a secret tragedy going on all around us, and we don’t even see it. It’s now come to Scottsdale. HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS MODERN-DAY SLAVERY. According to A21, Human trafficking fuels the growth of organized crime, undermining health, safety, security, and the basic needs of humanity. It is the fastest growing crime in the world.

City of Grace participated in a walk on Saturday, and we walked with people all over the world to spread awareness.

Tatum joined me in this 3-mile trek around Scottsdale Fashion Square mall. This is where most of the crime takes place. Unassuming, handsome young men approach young teens and “recruit” them to be models. Next thing you know, they are kidnapped and taken into slavery to perform horrific acts to make money for the leaders. It’s the fastest growing issue right now, and it scares me.
Pastor Terry spoke to us early and encouraged us on our journey:


Dear Denise and her mom joined us too!IMG_1142She just cozied up and enjoyed the ride

But at one point, she wanted out to hold a sign

Janette and I celebrated the journey at the end, and we hope more people can become aware and make a difference. http://www.a21.org/IMG_1153

Old MacDonald had a FARM and he had PUMPKINS!

IMG_1081Hat: Check. Sunscreen: Check. Tennies: Check. Music: Check. We are off to Old MacDonald with our Mom’s group! Oh, yes, did I bring my stroller to carry a pumpkin? Nope. Did I bring extra water? Nope. Ok, so I’m not completely prepared, but we arrived early enough that it was not too busy, and I figured we could get some help.
As usual, the car ride is a karaoke party. Tot and I sing along to Laurie Berkner songs like “We are the Dinosaurs, I’m Gonna Catch you, There’s a Mouse in my Toolbox, The Cookie Bakers of the Night..” It’s one big songfest. Good thing nobody can hear me but Tot!

Arrival time: 9:04. Wow! How many acres is this place? It’s Old West Disneyland!

HI MOMS and Kiddos!!!

20151015_100007We are ready. First stop: Pony Rides!IMG_1085 IMG_1086Cricket, the pony is a great sport, because Tatum cried for a few moments when she first plopped down. Is this going to hold me? She’s thinking I’m sure. Plus her helmet was flopping all over the place. I held her steady on the pony the whole time and she was so brave. If it wasn’t for the floppy top, she’d be a star on that Cricket!

After realizing she couldn’t reach the pedals…

IMG_1088We opted for the petting zoo. For 3 bucks, we bought a cone of pellets for these aggressive little dudes. They jumped right on top of her, so I took over…

And here he comes…!IMG_1090 IMG_1091

Hello Mr. Goat!

IMG_1092More animals to see now….finally a nice little one. Whatcha got in your hand?IMG_1095
Let’s go this way to see the….
IMG_1103 PigIMG_1102 Sheep, goats..IMG_1101
and..oh, now he wants some love!
IMG_1097Ok..enough of the petting thing. Let’s go where the action is! There’s GOLD down here in these parts!
IMG_1109Painted gold rocks. Hmmm.

OK, so now, where was that pumpkin patch? On the way to the hayride, we got distracted with a carpet covered bull and lasso. Ride ’em cowgirl!

An opportunity to show our strength. Tatum could barely lift the tool to test it. IMG_1114
I of course wanted to show my strength  (LOL) but…oh look! There it is!!! We found the hayride.IMG_1119 IMG_1121 We got lucky with a hayride almost all to ourselves so we could chat with the driver. Lovely ol’ chap. IMG_1120

To the pumpkins we go!


This one will work. C’mon kiddo, it’s 95 degrees in October. Let’s pick one!IMG_1124Yahoo! On the way back, more distraction. IMG_1126 All I can say here is Thank God for indoor plumbing. IMG_1125Say goodbye to the ducks and hello to our cool car. The shower is the first stop when we get in the house. Thank you Ol’ MacDonald for a “HAY”PPY Day!