Archive for the ‘Mama’s Diaries’ Category

Darin + Jodi + 3

December 15, 2014


Some of my very favorite people in the world!   We did a quick shoot for Christmas up on the hill at Papa and Sweetie’s.




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My beautiful niece Karsyn – 9 years old.  She looks so much like her daddy but her expressions are all mama.
My Cooper – 4 years of age.  Love the lower left shot.  Typical toddler.

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Snazzy Ryker – age 6
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LOVE this shot of my brother and sister.
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Shaking all their silliness out?   Don’t think it worked.  :)

You Broke My Heart

November 11, 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.
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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:  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…



On September 16th, we celebrated 20 years of marital bliss.  Here is a blast from the past:

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Fall Pictures

November 10, 2014



My beautiful four!   I needed some white on white shots because I want to redo my bedroom and I wanted to frame some kids shots on the wall.

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I love how he always wrinkles his nose when he grins.
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And my girl always gets the most picture time because she is much more interested in sitting in front of my camera than her brothers.



Here is the current state of my room:

I recently moved the bed to the center and added sheers.  This one change made a HUGE difference to our living space.   I have long wanted to redo our bedroom as we have never had “real” Master Bedroom furniture in 20 years of marriage.   I realized that I am in dire need of my own quiet space and it needed to be conducive to alone time or even quiet tv time with Jim.  We get next to none of that (we put our kids to bed quite late).

My plan is to stage this.  1.  Have mom repaint and add crown molding.  2.  Pictures of kids above bed  3. Switch to a darker wood laminate floor.  4.  Convert bedding to white  5.  Consider an interim fabric or iron headboard  6.  EVENTUALLY add cherry bedroom furniture.

I can’t decide though if I want individual frames of the kids, or gallery wraps, or standouts, or individual shots with a group shot, or a storyboard….????   Considering this for a storyboard option (gray background not included):



State Fair 2014

November 10, 2014



Daddy took the day off so we could spend a day at the AZ State Fair.  That is one of the highlights of our fall.   I took some snapshots (above) with my phone but for a professional photographer, I am TERRIBLE with my cell phone.  I hate shooting with it.   I finally ditched it and took a bunch of short video clips instead.  I put a 4 minute video together of our fair day and ended up glad I took video instead of images.    I would post it but I used commercial music so I can’t put it on the internet.


Troy was a crack up.   He was TERRIFIED of the petting zoo and was screaming that the animals were going to bite him and he tried to run out of the Dinosaur exhibit but he LOVED the rides including the roller coasters.  I have him on one roller coaster with his hands in the air copying his big brothers and just having the time of his life.  No ride looked too big.  He was so excited about the roller coasters at the fair that he could not stop talking about it the day prior and I was SO sorry that I told him in advance.  He was persevering on the topic to the point of insanity.  I finally had to ask him to stop talking about it because he kept asking if we could go now over and over.  He even went so far as to put his fingers over my mouth and say, “Don’t say no mommy!  DON’T say NO!”  Can we go wide the woller toasters now? Wook at me!  Wook at me mommy!  Can we go now?”  I kept telling him “Tomorrow Troy” over and over and he finally asked me to apologize for saying that “Say sowwee mommy!  Don’t say no!”  He even woke me up at 7:00 AM on fair day to ask if it was time to go get on the “woller toasters”.

We decided that the chicken strips at the BBQ place were some of the best in Phoenix.  SUPER good.   Speaking of good food, we went to a mini fair at CCOJ on Friday with Jamie and Jodi and Jodi introduced us to the Waffle Crush truck.  YUM!

GFF Camping Trip 2014

November 10, 2014

As always, we had a fantastic time at family camp this year.   Jim and I booked a cabin at the Happy Jack Lodge for 3 nights (which is cheating I know) and stayed in camp during the day.  We just weren’t quite up to tent camping this year and were looking for what was simplest.

One MAJOR win this year was that Troy FINALLY made friends with Missy (Jodi’s dog).  Missy is Troy’s very first furry friend and the ONLY animal he is brave enough to go near.  It took some convincing but he eventually accepted that Missy would not eat him.  All other animals in the world are still suspect though.

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Tanner got him in the eye with a flying object and Troy was pretty worried about him.
I am sure my mother will LOVE this picture but I couldn’t resist – us five kids have seen that look and that finger a time or two hundred.  LOL   No one was in trouble – I think she was retelling a story.
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You just have no idea how big of a deal it is that Troy is walking that dog.  HUGE.
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Troy and Lucy
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I love my GFF family and family camp is a highlight of our year!