Every day, well, most days, I travel along Tatum Boulevard to get to my many destinations. One of them is Tatum’s school! On the way home, between Shea and Lincoln in Paradise Valley, there lies a street that gives me a smile.
Yes, it’s a teeny tiny private road with three enormous houses on it.
Now, the smile comes from the fact that she is quite little, like the road, but she is not at all little in personality (e.g the enormous homes that reside there)
Just this Sunday, I volunteered in her class at church. I even got to teach the lesson that morning.
When we arrived bright and early before the crowds, we spotted the Christmas trees! So pretty.
We headed to the classroom to set it up. As usual, it was a nice group of kiddos. This particular morning, Tatum was a bit needy, interrupting my lesson. This, along with a few other foibles, sent me to the “I need a time out” chair. When we got home, I had to take a few breaths, and then talk to her. She knew I was upset.
She walked into my room with this picture she created:
She pointed out that it was she and I looking at the sunshine. We always see the bright side together. She didn’t realize how symbolic she was being. Our relationship is filled with all sorts of emotions, but one this is never-changing. The bright beautiful sun which God created. This sun shines on both of us at all times, and makes all things work together for HIS good. It’s all part of the journey.
Later that night, I was a bit forlorn, and I mentioned that sometimes it’s just hard doing the momming by myself. She pointed to the sky. “Mommy, God is right there with you as my daddy.” HUHHHHHHH!? From the mouth of this light. This little Tatum. This BRIGHT shining LITTLE Tatum.
Before you were even born, I knew you would be the best thing that ever happened to me. Baby couldn’t wait for you to come too! There he is…on the tippy top of your cake.
So then, 5:47 pm, November 22nd, 2012,
you entered my life….
I cut your cord and your were now a part of me. My life.
Our eyes met, and we bonded forever.
My little love bug….
In five years, we’ve been through so many experiences. Daily. Minute by minute.
The mornings with Coti…
But, do you know what is the best part of our lives?
The day in day out. Every. Single. Day.
At five, I know that you are becoming more independent. You may not need me to carry you or hold you as often. You may not need me to cut your banana or put on your shoes. You may not need me to draw you a circle or unscrew your water bottle. But, I know that our relationship will continue to morph into something more beautiful. Perhaps our bond will only grow as your needs might lessen for dependence, your heart will grow towards love, joy, and strength.
What I do know is that the mission for your life has not changed. I posted on your wall these four words:
And this mission statement
and….”You were created for a purpose.” (Matt 5:14)
I knew this the minute I saw you. Your vibrant personality; your creative mind; your spunk and charm, and might I add…your inner and outer beauty. The minute you walk in a room, you exude energy and brightness.
You turning five created in me a bittersweetness. I will continue to miss the toddler in you where you would attempt to speak in complete sentences. And now you are almost reading and will not rely on me. We will celebrate each day with our “cavotion” as you say (she means “devotion) and our oatmeal. We will still have our fun days since I know they won’t be during the week. We’ll still do crafts from our art cart. We’ll always read many books together and still snuggle at night.
I love you, Tatum Isabella Knight. Five years has flown by, but it’s only going to get better and better as we grow closer and our family grows as well.
This year, we made “Paw”titudes. These are what we are grateful for on little paws.
Then, later that day, not only did we get to go to Doug’s house for a Thanksgiving celebration, but we stretched out Tot’s birthday too.
Doug had been working for three days straight on getting his house ready, and preparing dinner. He works so hard! But, it’s so worth it to make all feel welcome. His two brothers, Rick and Craig (with their wives, Kim and Terri) came. His mom, Darlene, spent some time talking to my mom.
Then, Andy, Craig’s son, captured Tatum’s heart. Actually, I think she captured his heart. They hung out poking each other.
He was a great sport playing ponies with her. Craig’s family kindly bought Tatum this gift. SO kind!
Turkey, all 23 lbs of it, was finally ready.
Delicious. It was unseasonably warm, so we got to sit outside!! Doug has a beautiful gazebo out back on his patio. We joined Craig’s kids, Bethany, her hubby Ryan, Andy, and Stephanie.
Tatum then enjoyed playing with her new toys from Doug, but WHAT could it be!?
Fun cars and signs to add to the mega carpet. And better yet, Paw Patrol!
She played for a while, but honestly, she was more interested in being with the adults.
Dessert too, I think helped..haha
She had a bit of pumpkin, pecan, and chocolate cake with ice cream. We all got sugared up! You can never have too much whipped cream, right?
Well, the piece de resistance was Austin coming home, and he even brought Tot a birthday present.
A Paw Patrol (Marshal) soap!
Thank you, Austin!!!
Then thank you rides had to start with Craig of course.
Tatum actually slept a bit late on Wednesday, so I climbed in her bed for a snuggle or two. She, being five now, is still fond of this, and I reminded her that at five, she must give and receive up to TEN hugs a day. She was fine with that.
I decided I’d sprinkle gifts to her through the day since we had the whole day together. She knew I had a BIG surprise for her in the evening.
So I had her go into her closet to retrieve her tennies, and BOOM!
We are all set to go (notice the crown…she got this yesterday and still is wearing it)
The day began with the usual…gym, errands of which one was Trader Joe’s. She’s been going there so long that she was told that she could pick out anything in the store for her birthday. Seriously! What would she pick?
Yes, not your everyday Oreo but Joe-Joe’s. Vanilla sandwich cookies. Elated, she had one for her snack.
Next stop, home for a craft. I had a little surprise for her here too.
Pop beads are all the rage. Haven’t you heard?
Now, later, it was time for some fashion designing. This is the coolest toy. It’s a mini mannequin (with no head to Tatum’s chagrin) which you design with fabric.
This plastic body instantly came alive as she imagined and created it into different scenarios. (with new clothes of course)
It was getting closer to Doug coming by to open some more gifts and for the surprise.
We waited for Mama to come up and enjoy the opening. We all waited patiently. (with Coti of course)
Doug began with a cool woodworking kit. They can build things together. Very Doug and Tatum loves the together time!
Because here in AZ you can wear boots for about a minute, I got her boots!
Yes, thanks mommy.
We are up to nine hugs!
Now, we are in for a few more fun gifts. A light for her head because she loves to read in bed. And this dinosaur light roars.
And since we are all about things that light up, she got an Avenger watch which I had to set.
Coti was reallllllly wanting some attention.
Ok, now it’s time for Mama to give Tot her present. Coti watched patiently still.
So pretty! Now, what do we do with a pretty dress like this!!???????? Well, here’s the surprise.
Tatum, you are invited to dine with us at Fleming’s. Yes, steak, shrimp, fancy schmancy food. You in, Tot?????
I got the tenth hug.
We got our pretty clothes on and smiled pretty.
And we headed out to our Fleming’s reservation.
She enjoyed a non-fizzy Shirley Temple and we all had a fun drink too.
There was a lot of waiting which I told her is part of fancy restaurants. So you make the best of it, right?
We sit. And we wait. And we wait.
But, the conversation flowed and we all had a wonderful time. She’ll never forget her shrimp and delicious steak. Doug and Mama shared much of their filet.
She was so sleeeeepy, that when we got home, she collapsed.
It was an unforgettable day, Tatum. I love you beyond measure, love bug.
P.S. I got more than ten hugs.
We already had the birthday party for the Tot. But, the real McCoy is on Wednesday. She did not have school on Wednesday, so on Tuesday, the school did not only have their Thanksgiving feast, but they celebrated Tatum’s bday.
She happened to be the snack server today, so she was hard at work serving the water to each kiddo.
I surprised her with some cupcakes, and they surprised her with a serenade from Ms. Donna!
She also got to have a birthday crown, which she wore ALL DAY and then the next!
Her friends made her a birthday book!
Stay tuned to hear about the birthday celebration on Wednesday!
I’m not going to let her turn 5 yet. But, we’ll celebrate anyway. Her real birthday is on November 22nd, but we got ahead of the festivities with family and friends at the train park on Friday the 17th. I had asked Tatum what theme she wanted and she had one word:
Well, ok then. Let’s make it “Paw”ty! That meant paw and doggie everything. Paw pads, paw stamps, paw pencils (these were party gifts)
Ok, back to the start. Mom bought her a Paw Patrol shirt for the party. Paw Patrol became more of the theme.
I headed over early to set up with Bianca’s (her sitter) help. Doug dropped off the PAW balloons (25 of these babies….blown up thanks to Dougie!)
All started coming about 4, but right before, Tot, mom and Doug showed up with cake in hand. Mom made (from scratch!) the cutest cake with Paw Patrol Rings all around.
Tatum took off to play with her buddies and we all just hung at the Ramada.
She did come back for a snack or two,
but she was more interested in playing with her friends from school, Alice, Carly, and Chloe. Ethan, Jack, Vivian, and Adrianna joined us. A few of my friends came to celebrate too.
Finally, it was time to cut the cake!
and Shannon! (with Vivi)Hi Kyle! My favorite mom!
My favorite guy..
My sweet Tot.. I can’t get enough of you.
It was time to have a little train time. Cana took our pic (thanks Cana!) I just realized she is not in any pics. OOPS!
We headed home to open gifts and figure out the system for organizing them (that’s my OCD showing)
Wow. It only has just begun. There will be more to come on Wednesday. I’m so grateful to our family and friends. We love you little Tatum Tot!!!