Fairy Tale Camp and Coti

Tatum has been practicing for her last hoorah at theater camp.

Coti has been taking it all in, and it has made him so sleepy! He loves to rest on Tot’s bed

She was in this camp for Disney back in June, and now she is going back this week for Fairy Tales.

Every morning she gets ready to go with a song and practice. But today, this particular day, she wanted to get Coti involved, and did he ever!

Tomorrow is her big performance, but whatever happens, I think today was the big day with Coti!


Friday’s festivities

Friday in July. What is there possibly to do when it’s One O Hades degrees outside?
Tatum came into my room early this morning to see if it was 7am. At 6:37, she was convinced it was 7. She did not find me on my chair reading my Bible as usual. Confused, she decided to return to her room. I could hear her practicing her vowel sounds. She then came in to say “I love you, mommy; I missed you last night.” MELT.

After cracking my eyes open and brushing my toothies, I told her to check my purse. That is code for SURPRISE INSIDE!
Minion cards! Doubling as her cell phone:

I taught her about the 4 sets of numbers (spades, hearts, clubs, diamonds). She insisted we play N.O.W. ugh. OK. We played 2 rounds of Go Fish. How could I resist her big blue eyes?!

After brekkie and taking Snuggle Bug (Coti) to get his haircut, we did our usual gym, store, whatever-errands deal. We always enjoy seeing all of our friends at our usual places. I’m pretty invisible as they all know Tatum. She is learning how to ask others, “How are you doing today?” She also waves and smiles at basically everyone. Especially the pooches we see.

When we got home, I introduced her to Dominos. She learned how  to instantly view what each pattern looks like from 1-6.


We kept turned our pattern like a snake until she wanted to outline the carpet. She did not want them to fall off the “cliff.”

We exhausted the 168 tiles because they were finally all kissing. She was very proud of her efforts (with a little help from her biggest fan: ME!)

She then felt it was time to draw a family.

This picture is of mom, Tot and me. She knew to make each of us pink. Bright pink.

I love Fridays.

Well, it continued as I had an appointment at GCU to run through my presentation for the upcoming Fall Faculty Conference. I did not want to get a sitter since I thought it would be informal. Tot could just sit in for the 20 minute deal. Bing Bang Boom. No problem. The drive is the thing that takes forever. So, I packed her goodie bag full of coloring, puzzles, and more activities.

We walked in to a room of about 20 Faculty and Development Leaders. Not so informal. Gulp. They were running behind, so we just sat quietly (I prayed) listening to the one person present prior to me. He was delightful and engaging. Gulp. Tatum sat through it too, with a couple of added OOHS and AAAHs from her. Gulp. They laughed.

Then it was my turn, and she did not want to sit in the audience. SO…..she joined me; next to me in a desk. She said, “Yeah, Mommy!” Gulp. They laughed. Anyway, I ran through my prezi with a bit of entertaining singing and dancing on my part if you know what I mean. You see, it’s on the changes in the laws in AZ for Education. Thrilling. I had to liven it up, and so I did.

I waited to be challenged, but they LOVED IT. Tatum was so well behaved too. My GULPs turned into AAAAHs. The feedback form they gave me had ZERO suggestions for improvement, so again. AAAH.

Friday festivities turned into growth for Tatum, overcoming challenges for me, and making the best of every opportunity. Fabulous.


Doug and Tot’s Excellent Adventure – Day 1

The day was finally here! Steph was on her way to North Carolina for a 2 day business trip and I was to have fun and hang out with Tatum for 2 days! One of us who’s missing out on the adventures got the short end of this deal (let’s not tell Steph!).

So, I arrive Sunday morning to gather the ladies (Cheri and Tot) for church. Now, I have added extra time for any possible contingency so as not to be rushed, but everyone was all ready so we just needed a few pics to get us started! Now, they just don’t take a bad picture – wow!

Church was great with Dr. Tim Kimmel’s message on Grace for one another. Tatum told me later Church was her favorite thing that day. I’m sure it was because Reece (a young teen) played with her the whole time during service. Afterwards, we dropped Cheri off at home and gathered Tatum’s things and went to Doug’s house for lunch. While I was getting lunch prepared, Tot honed her BopiT skills. She’s actually pretty good at it!! She said: Doug, can I take this home with me? Cute!


Chicken sausage, carrots and rice crackers with hummus, and milk (with water). That hit the spot!

Of course, wanting to get to our first exciting adventure, we both pitched in to clean up. Tot, you are a great helper.

Our first stop was Don/Leti’s. They have a trampoline, 3 dogs, a guinea pig, and gold fish! First, we got a quick jump on the trampoline but since it was 110 out, we didn’t stay too long out there!

Next Tot got to feed the guinea pig a carrot under the dogs’ watchful eyes. This proves the hypothesis, dogs are fascinated by ANY kind of food!!

Tatum, Millie the dog, and Chiara.

Millie was all pooped! Luckily, Baby 1 and Millie found some mutual friendship.

On our way out, Don and Tatum fed their goldfish and played and splashed with them. Woo-hoo!


What a good time it was to bring Tatum over the Meyers. They loved finally meeting her. We will return soon I promise. On our way back to Doug’s, we stopped off at the pet store to investigate the gold fish and other critters. We actually bought a bag of crickets. Yes, that’s right! Paid actual money for 30 crickets to feed Austin’s Leopard Geckoes. Tot was fascinated holding the bag! But, after a while watching them, she decided this was not her thing. Not at all!! We fed the Leopard Geckoes and readied for swimming.

Oh, quickly before we swim, there is a homemade orange Popsicle to take outside with us

Then we made gigantic humongous bubbles!


The last adventure we did to get our appetite up was flying airplanes before dinner!

It wasn’t long before we lost one in the tree top.

Well, after many adventures, we had an appetite and were ready for some seriously delicious food. We went all out and had seasoned salmon, rice pilaf, and a small tossed salad. Two thumbs up – that’s mighty generous Tot! Thank you!

We were all tired from our first day of adventures! It was soon time for bed. Tot helped me inflate the air mattress with the built in fan which was very exciting but not as much fun as bouncing on the newly inflated mattress! Good night Tot. I had a lot of fun with you today. We will have more adventures tomorrow

Doug and Tot’s Excellent Adventure – Day 2

The night went smooth and no fire drills, or talking in our sleep, or snoring (I think?). I hear at 7am – Doug are you up yet? Yes. …and we quickly got started on our day. First, we had oatmeal and banana slices before we left for school.

We discover drips of orange Popsicle on the kitchen floor. Tot to the rescue!

We are off to school for the morning. I’m trying to figure out which is bigger – Tot or the backpack?

After school, we went to Subway for lunch. We also had in mind to get another Cars 3 watch!

The Subway attendant could see that Tatum was into the kid toys and brought over a couple of extras that they had. What a nice gesture!   THANK YOU!

Our final adventure was to visit the Odyssey Sea Aquarium. First we visited the Paddlefish – the fish that has a paddle looking nose!

Yeah, you kinda look like a paddlefish!

A penguin seems very curious about Tatum? The Toucan not so much.

SHARKS! Now that’s pretty cool we thought…


We had a Musicology class to hit on our way home and that would end our adventures. There was a point in the day where I thought we lost Baby 1. So, for about 3 minutes I started to panic. I mean, I would probably be forgiven for a trip to urgent care but if I lost Baby 1 on my watch I’d be forever toast! Phew, we found him pretty quickly. Unfortunately, no so lucky for my wallet. I must have lost it when we were loading up in the parking lot to leave the aquarium. Forget about the money, cards, license, I also lost all of the pics of my Steph, Tot, and Austin. Well, I can get new ones. Otherwise, Doug and Tot’s Excellent Adventures were a super great success!!! We can’t wait for Steph’s next trip – seriously!


Phonically Speaking

As everyone knows, Tatum loves to sing.

She usually does it with an audience in mind, engaging the “crowd.”

Sing with me…..Clap everyone….Sing it up, church..!

This is now coupled with a new excitement brewing in Tatum’s head. She is learning to sound out words and finding individual letters’ purpose in reading!

How? Mama is teaching her phonics from her Recipes in Reading book when she used to teach.

Tatum is reading these sentences now.

It’s so exciting to see her get excited about it too. When we read everyday, I see her put her phonics into practice as I stop and have her read the words (that she can).

I’m so grateful to Mama for helping her. This daily ritual is a great way for them to bond too. They have been at it for a few months, and within a year, she will be reading at a third grade level.

Don’t give up!

Sometimes, it’s out of our reach: Our GOAL

That thing we MUST HAVE NOW is going to require a bit of work to get.

You just can’t jump high enough to reach it!

Or the GOAL becomes harder to get and requires a bit more creativity.

Take heart, my Tot. If you set your mind to that GOAL, get a little creative, and pray pray pray, it just might be attainable.

Don’t ever give up, sweet girl.

The virtual locket

Dearest Tatum,

This morning, you told me you wanted a locket to wear with my picture in it. I love this idea for many reasons. Mainly, it warmed my heart. Every day, every single day, we get closer in our bond. It’s made me appreciate the value of TIME and given me perspective on how much we have grown in just 4 ½ short years. Just imagine how much more we have to grow together!

This can be equated to how God works so slowly, but in HIS perfect time.

Think about the last problem that was in our life.

It was monumental at the moment, but looking back, we can see how it made us stronger, closer, better. It also isn’t a problem or issue any longer. Doesn’t this make you value the challenges even more? It also makes me value the PROCESS of growing together. It’s one day at a time, setbacks and all.

It was said the prosperity is a terrible teacher. Well, Tatum, this doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy our blessings. This merely means that the time we grow and become better people and more appreciative of our blessings is in the hard times. You will have struggles. Being a follower of Jesus will not inoculate you from this. It WILL give you someone to go through the struggle with, giving you hope of a brighter future and a closer bond to your Father. It also will grow your character and into the woman God made you to be. We cannot be used quite as effectively until He does a mighty work in us.

So embrace your life! It will be a beautiful story; a rich story of good, bad, beautiful and sometimes hard. But, you will always always always have me as your biggest fan as I’ll be in your virtual locket wherever you go, as you’ll be in mine; you also have a family and friends who adore you; The best part? You have the TRINITY: a Father (ABBA/Daddy)> as Jesus (friend) and Holy Spirit (guide and counselor) with you ALWAYS.

I love you with my whole heart, love bug. You’ll always be in my virtual locket and I in yours.