Welcome! My name is Doni and you have now found yourself in my little part of the blog world. This blog serves multiple purposes. I am first and foremost, proud mama to Tanner, Ty, Tori and Troy. They are priority number one and many of my blog posts are devoted to them – “Mama’s Diaries”. In addition to keeping my plate full with being a SAHM and homeschooling, I am also a photographer. I decided not to separate my personal and business blog so mixed into my personal blog posts are also client sneak peeks for Live Loved Photography. Please visit www.livelovedphotography.com if you would like to see my portfolio. Thanks for visiting!
This post is going to be filled to the brim with adorable eye candy. Last weekend, I, along with my two assistants (Zandi and Karsyn), went up to a private ranch in Prescott to do a DOUBLE session with two families that I dearly love.
It was a COLD and WINDY day and above kiddos had to put up with the elements AND a 3.5 hour session since both families were included.
A little tape measure goes a LONG way. Hee hee!
This is (almost) 4 year old Hudson. Huddy let me know early on that he really was not planning on doing pictures, didn’t know how to smile, and just generally wasn’t up for it. So…..with the help of his Dad…I followed him around. Turns out, he DOES indeed know how to smile…quite professionally in my humble opinion. Love this darling boy. Sometimes I get bummed at sessions when I am working the whole time because I get so fascinated by these little ones that all I really want to do is sit down and play and spend time listening to them. I am confident that an afternoon with this trio would be too fun. I have to give major props to Andy here. Crisis jump starts a dead imagination and that has proved true during sessions many times. When Hudson “lost his happy”, Dad just started playing (and yes, he did take a corner a little too tightly at one point as well LOL). Play time with Dad is a sure way to turn a frown upside down.
We don’t really get a “fall” in Phoenix but we arrived on just the right day for fall in Prescott. The leaves were beautiful (and oh so blessedly entertaining too).
Kylie expertly managed the wardrobe for the entire 12 person crew. She did an awesome job.
And this is Jameson. He was just a baby the last time we did pictures and has grown so much. I’d say he rather enjoyed his day.
And little Miss Amelia June with the beautiful dimples.
Not sure what all that swagger was about but it was too cute. This is a tad out of sequence in the way I briefly arranged it but I loved this story. Huddy happily playing in leaves (top left), Huddy gets an idea (lower left), Huddy dumps leaves on Amelia’s head (top right), Amelia cries and tells her Daddy (bottom right). This scenario is going to play out in about a trillion ways over the next 10+ years. Ask me how I know this. :)
There were never such devoted sisters
Never had to have a chaperon, no sir
I’m here to keep my eye on her
Every little thing that we are wearing
When a certain gentleman arrives from Rome
She wore the dress and i stayed home
All kinds of weather
We stick together
(Doni continues to sing. If you don’t know this song, you have missed out on a holiday classic and I feel sad for you).
I thought Ty was tall since he is in the 97% percentile and is 5 foot at 10. Mason here is 5 foot at 9! Wonder where he gets it? ;)
Love these happy and beautiful four! With Mason 9 and Mylie 6, mom and dad have photo sessions made in the shade now!
Sweet, sweet kiddos and just a pleasure to be around. Tori can’t get over how pretty Mylie’s outfit is and kept wanting to see more pictures of her. Of course my boots loving girl would consider this a “to-die-for outfit”.
Shot above was Mylie’s idea and I loved it.
I don’t know how we got so lucky to get the full colors of fall. AZ photographers dream come true. Right time, right place (and throw some God loves me in too hee hee).
Thank you all for a wildly entertaining day filled with love and laughter (and a tape measure thrown in (I have to say it….) for “good measure”. :)
You might recognize this sweet family. I have had the privilege of working with them since Carson (2nd born son) was a newborn. They are all so precious and adorable. Doesn’t mama do a fantastic job with styling them too? I always love to see what mama S will come up with for their sessions. Complimentary colors, patterns, and layers…well executed!
Miss Sloane Ivy steals my heart. And I LOVE her toddler jewelry. I suspect her mama purchased on ETSY as I have seen like products there. She LOVED her jewelry too. Works well when baby can teethe and play with jewelry that is coordinated to their outfit. :)
I love these birthday signs that are all the rave right now. These can be purchased on Etsy as well. Sloane’s mama made her beautiful dress. If I attempted a project of that magnitude, it would look like a pinterest fail for certain.
Thank you S family for giving me the blessing of time with your family in 2014!
Above picture taken on a recent trip up North. We were fishing at Deadhorse Lake.
So what has Tanner been up to lately???? Soccer. Minecraft. Minecraft with Noah. Minecraft with Tori. Minecraft with TROY who LOVES it. Cooking. Tanner has been learning to cook and we worked out a deal that if he cooks, he doesn’t have to clean so that is a pretty great incentive. He is quite the perfectionist and will likely cook more ssimilarly to Sweetie who actually levels every teaspoon with a butter knife. My haphazard way of doing things drives Tanner a little batty.
Algebra is driving us both crazy (detailed that in the homeschool post). He has been babysitting his siblings more and Jim and I have seen a couple of late movies which has been great for us.
Paralysis by analysis is still one of his greatest foes. In an effort to encourage him towards making (and living with) decisions, I have found myself singing this old tune (that I may have learned on Sesame Street as a child)?
“There’s a hole in the bucket dear Liza, dear Liza, there’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza a hole.”
“SO FIX it dear Henry dear Henry so FIX it dear Henry, dear Henry the hole!”
He loves it when I sing that (insert wink).
In September, we visited a trout farm up in Paige Springs.
The biggest Ty event this season has been Ty’s tonsillectomy but I devoted a post to that so I won’t rehash that again here.
I continue to get a kick out of how many people tell me that Ty is such a social kid. People watch shows like Parenthood and get a one sided view of Asperger’s. Or…maybe Ty just expresses it more uniquely than most.
When Jim and I were first married, we went on a trip to the midwest. While there, we were staying with some relatives. Before going out one evening to the movies, we offered to bring a couple of kiddos with us. Right before we left, we were informed that we better bring medication for one of the little guys because he had tourette’s. In that moment, I think both Jim and I had serious deer in the headlight going on. I was fighting a nervous giggle all evening because the only frame of reference I had for tourettes was the sleep over scene with Bill Murray in the movie “What About Bob?” (a personal favorite!). Both Jim and I kept imagining that at any moment the child with us was going to break out in a fit of screaming obscenities. Thankfully, he did not and later in life, after Ty was diagnosed with tourette’s, we learned that coprolalia is not particularly common, in fact only 10% of people with Tourette’s experience that (and Ty does not have that – he has primarily motor tics).
In late August, Daniel and Brooke offered to take Ty and Tanner to the movies with them. They had planned a night out with Noah and decided to bring our two boys along with. Right before they went out the door, Jim gives them a big grin and says “By the way, our kid has tourette’s”.
Instantly I was transported back nearly two decades to that evening and I busted up laughing (and then had to explain the insider to Daniel and Brooke).
As my luck would have it, Ty said all kinds of interesting things to Brooke and Daniel including “I always put a butt load of stuff on my popcorn” – a phrase we don’t allow around these parts. Daniel and Brooke were laughing through their entire evening and later texted me that the kid with tourette’s did indeed show up. Not only that, but I should have reminded them of his OCD as well. After a bathroom trip, Brooke requested that he stop drinking his soda so he wouldn’t need to go out again. That backfired because then a parched mouth was all he could think about. “Aunt Brooke – my mouth is really dry. Is yours?” “Uncle Daniel is your mouth SO dry?” LOL. You know, I enjoy it when other family members get to experience a night out with Ty. Never a dull moment around here and this kind of wealth (and joy) needs to be shared!!!
At 6, Tori can go through more paper than anyone I know. I finally bought her a jumbo pack of yellow lined pads from Costco and am amazed at how much of it she has already gone through. Yellow paper EVERYWHERE. She is still the messiest kid I have by far too.
I do love her art work though so I keep the paper supply coming.
Me: Hey! Who destroyed those blinds?
Ty: Tori did that!
Tori: No. Ty did it!
Ty: No. She did it first. She was playing it was Christmas and (blah blah blah)…so it is MOSTLY her fault.
Tori: STOP JUDGING ME!!!
Tori: Mommy can you pretend to be the teacher and I’ll pretend to be the student?
Me: Tori I AM the teacher and you ARE the student.
Tori: Ya but let’s pretend we are in a real school.
Meanwhile she was doing her math facts while dancing like a ballerina all over my bedroom. I was tempted to make her sit in a desk for a pretend five minutes because she would last 45 seconds.
At Noah’s party I kept noticing Tori with a sucker stick hanging out of her mouth. I finally confronted her and asked her how many she had. She paused and deliberated on her response and then dipomatically said, “This is my last one”. LOL. How astute to avoid the answer by solving the problem.
Little known fact. I was working towards a Public Speaking Minor in College. Loved it. One of the required classes was storytelling. I wasn’t particularly great at that skill but my children do get the benefit of me using different voices for different characters when I read to them. Tori loves this and is now insisting on her own creative voices when she reads. I have had to mark up and highlight her books so that she can keep track of who is speaking because it drives her crazy when she is struggling to read the words AND has to figure out who the speaker is so she can change her voice. Too cute. I love her little voices and it makes me smile every morning.
I just started reading the Fablehaven Series by Brandon Mull and am anxious to start reading this to her at bedtime. I love fantasy books. This one is about guardians of a sanctuary for fairies and magical creatures. It is Young Adult and has been a fun read so far (I am in book two).
I love how Tori ends so many of her sentences with “so……”
On November 7th, Tori accepted Jesus into her heart…and it was all very anti-climatic…for her. Here is why…
I have long believed that people don’t come to saving belief by uttering “magic” prayers. I knee jerk a little bit to “salvation prayers” for this reason. Having said that, I do believe that there is a time in everyone’s life that they make decisions and choices to believe though they happen at different intervals. For example, I distinctly remember choosing to place my faith in Jesus on a particular night (June 29, 1978) during bedtime prayers with my parents. That was a moment when I really considered my own personal choice even though I was only five years old. When I was in Junior High, I remember some very personal conversations that I had with God as I again deliberated my faith.
I couldn’t tell you when Tori really had a “I believe in Jesus” type of epiphany. She couldn’t either. She would tell you that she has always believed in Jesus and that would be true. Now when she gets older, she will re-examine her beliefs and faith…probably many times over her life but I think she will never really claim a specific moment in her childhood.
On Friday, Tori and I were reading in her children’s bible and we were reading about John the Baptist baptizing Jesus. When I was finished reading she said, “Mom should I be talking to my friends about Jesus?”.
We had a conversation about that and then I dived into the subject of her own faith. I told her that I knew she was a Christian because her faith in Jesus was obvious to me but we decided to pray together and she really put words to that faith for the first time in her young life. Precious moment with my daughter.
On Sunday, she came up to me after church and said, “Mommy I did it. I talked to Braxtyn about Jesus today”. Ty’s participation in the conversation made it pretty comical from there…
Me: Oh ya? That is great. What did you say?
Tori: I told her that my mom already knew I was a christian but that we prayed together anyhow and I told her that if you believe in Jesus, that one day you will go to heaven.
Ty: You said ONE day? Only ONE day?
Tori: Ya I said one day.
Me: It’s fine Ty. She meant one day in the future – not only one day.
Tori: I DID say ONE day. Aaaaaaghhh! Have I been telling it ALL WRONG?
All stated with a panic stricken voice. I laughed.
I love the conversations the kids and I get to have about Jesus. The faith of children is so precious and solid and simple with such a purity to it. It so often humbles me.
My blogs will get shorter and shorter as my children age and grow past the toddler years but since I still have a three year old…I still have plenty to say.
He is still my messy-get-into-everything kid. This was a red marker:
That took a bit to come off.
He is also afraid of very odd things. Makes me wonder about mild sensory issues. He cries nearly every time I put shoes on him. He gets over it quick but he hates the feeling of getting shoes on.
A couple of weeks ago Troy asked for a bath with bubbles. As an added bonus, I decided to add “blue” to his bath thinking he would enjoy that. Wrong. He started screaming. “Get me outta here!!!! Make dat go away! I don’t wike bwoo!”
I still have to sing “I Love You, You Love Me” at naptime and bedtime. Bedtime ritual requirement.
On August 21 st, Troy had a hearing test at PCH. I have long felt his hearing was fine but decided to check because of his speech delays. The audiologist did two different tests and he passed both. One of which was where they watched if he turned his head to the corner of the room where sound was coming from and then was rewarded with Winnie the Pooh or Rabbit dancing. I thought it was a great test for Troy and it made it obvious that he was hearing well.
We FINALLY took his pacy away on Nov 2nd. It took him until well after midnight to go to sleep. He was not happy. The other kids all had to give up their pacy’s just before 3 but Jim and I just weren’t ready with Troy. (In fact, Jim kept asking me if I was SURE I wanted to take this step now).
When I put Troy down for his first nap without a pacy, I could hear him angrily talking to himself. “She said NO! She said I too big! I NOT too big!“ So far, nap times and sleep times have been greatly challenged by no pacy and we have the same conversation every day over and over “I NOT TOO big – I TOO LITTLE – I a baby!!!”. My father is enjoying this and he has lamented for decades about having to get up in the night to drive to my grandparents to retrieve my pacy because I refused to accept any substitute but ONE particular pacifier.
Troy HATES car windows being rolled down. He will scream if the air is blowing on him (or if the a/c vent is blowing hard directly on him). He has coined it “rocketship air“. Don’t ask me where he got that. It makes us all laugh when he screams “Rocketship Air! Rocketship Air!! I don’t wike it!”
Troy is a stickler for apologies. He absolutely insists. AND no one can apologize on behalf of someone else. He wants full accountability from the perpetrator.
Me: I am sorry that happened Troy.
Troy: YOU not say soweeee! Toe-wee say soweee!!!
I hear this sing songy phrase often.
Troy: Mom! Tanner being meeeeeaaaaaan. (Substitute any sibling name)
One day I heard him say in a very angry voice:
Troy: TY! YOU BEIN’ MEAN!!!!
Me: Troy talk nice.
Troy: Ty! You bein’ mean (said in a very soft, sweet voice) LOL
His grammar could use some help.
“Here I are!” ; “Here me am!”; “No I aren’t!”
I love it when he says, “Toot toot!” (Cute cute!) or “Otay Tootie!” (Okay Cutie). Apparently, I say these things to him often because he directs those phrases at me all the time.
One night, I was having a conversation with Tanner and Jim in our bedroom and Troy kept running through the room hollering like a wild Indian. I finally shut the door and locked it so we could finish our conversation. Next thing I know, he is banging on the door. In frustration, I say in a loud, staccato voice, “GO. AWAY.” Through the door, I hear the same, loud, stacaato inflected voice return, “O. TAY. TOOT. EEE.” We all busted up laughing. Troy hears us laughing and says, “What Tootie? WHAT?????”
Greeting the Safeway delivery guy at our front door:
Troy: Hey Safeway! You got my apple juice?
He wrote his first song. We call it the “Underwear Song”. He was watching Daddy get ready for work one morning and while Daddy was rifling through his underwear drawer, Troy starting singing “Underwear, Underwear…etc” to the tune of Spiderman. It stuck and we hear it quite frequently.
Troy was wearing his batman shirt one afternoon.
Me: I love you Batman.
Troy: I love you Supermom.
Adorable and smart.
Troy LOVES minecraft (minetaft). Last night he sat on Tanner’s lap for over an hour as Tanner built him his favorite thing, a big roller coaster (woller toaster). When I came in for the presentation, Troy screamed like he was on the thing as it rolled along on the tracks. Minecraft looks so simple and cheesy but it is such a great online building game. Lego lovers dream come true.
Troy is by far our most sensitive child. I have several examples of this.
I was having an angry day.
Troy: Mommy are you mad?
Then he repeats his question in a bear growl voice, “ARE YOU MAAADDD????”
One day mommy was mad at Tori.
Troy: That’s MY sister!!!!
As in “stop yelling at her – that is MY sister!”
We were watching Pompeii one night and I must have had a concerned look on my face because Troy crawled up beside me, starting gently patting my arm and starting saying, “It otay mommy. It otay.” I asked if I looked scared and he said that I did. My soft hearted little guy. I got tears in my eyes watching a show and Troy was right on it. He climbed up beside me, started patting my arm, and kept saying “Don’t be sad mommy. Don’t be sad.” Tori said her tummy hurt and she went into the bathroom. Troy remained outside the door yelling” Tori! You otay???? You otay????
He watched his first “scary movie” with the boys. It was Zathura. He was totally hooked. He would cover his face and hide his eyes through several parts but he was GLUED to the TV. It was a “love to be scared” kind of thing. Tanner’s favorite at this age was Jurassic Park. I think it might be time to introduce him.
And my personal favorite…
JIM AND DONI
On September 16th, we celebrated 20 years of marital bliss. Here is a blast from the past: