Archive for the ‘Mama’s Diaries’ Category

Best Days Ever

March 18, 2014

In lieu of a full photography session for my children at Christmas time, I opted to create a short film.  I filmed in January (before Troy’s eye surgery).  The resulting film encapsulates, what my son Ty would call “The Best Days Ever”.  I loved capturing these very real moments of my children’s lives and I know that a decade from now I won’t get past the opening sequence without many tears and the deep longing to hold all my littles in arms they have since outgrown (at least in the rock and cuddle sense).  This 5 minute and 45 second version (let’s call it the trailer from mama’s full 26 minute version) will give you a glimpse into the Brinkman household.  Best. Days. Ever.

 

Watch in HD for better quality viewing!

 

 

Birthday Questions

February 5, 2014

Today is Tori’s SIXTH birthday!  I have long intended to ask birthday questions each year but just finally got around to it.  Since I didn’t post Ty’s when he turned 10 on Jan 17th, I will post them both now.

Birthday Questions – Tori age 6

1. What is your favorite color? Green

2. What is your favorite thing to do? Go to the park and swing

3. Where would you love to go on vacation? That’s a hard one – Camping

4. What is your favorite tv show?  Phineas and Ferb

5. What is your favorite sport? Soccer

6. What is your favorite outfit? A pink dress

7. What is your favorite game to play with the family?  Clue

8. What is your favorite ice cream? Mint

9. What is your favorite animal? Zebras

10. What is your favorite song? Wake Me Up by Aviricci (but she sings Favorite Things from Sound of Music all the time)

11. What is your favorite book? The bunny one (Beatrix Potter books)

12. Who is your best friend? Braxtyn and Cozy

13. What is your favorite breakfast? Cinnamon Toast Crunch

14. What is your favorite thing to do with your cousins? Play a Barbie game

15. What is your favorite drink? Orange Juice and Apple Juice and Water

16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? My pink teddy bear

18. What is your favorite subject in school? Math

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Port O Subs

20. What do you want to be when you grow up (or what seems like a super fun job?) To work with Daddy

 

Birthday Questions – Ty age 10

 

 

1. What is your favorite color?    Blue.

2. What is your favorite thing to do? Play video games.

3. Where would you love to go on vacation?  California

4. What is your favorite tv show?  Phineas and Ferb

5. What is our favorite sport?  Baseball

6. What is your favorite outfit? Phineas and Ferb  T-shirt

7. What is your favorite game to play with the family? Clue

8. What is your favorite ice cream? Chocolate

9. What is your favorite animal? Dog.

10. What is your favorite song? Soilders.

11. What is your favorite book? The Incredibles

12. Who is your best friend? Cookie Monster

13. What is your favorite breakfast? Ice Cream

14. What is your favorite thing to do with your cousins? Play with them

15. What is your favorite drink? Fruit Punch

16. What is your favorite holiday? Hallowen

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Cookie Monster

18. What is your favorite subject in school? Math

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Port of Subs

Troy’s Eye Surgery

February 1, 2014

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Yesterday, January 31st, 2014, Troy had his first (and hopefully only) eye surgery.  His Dr., (Brendan Cassidy), is wonderful and one of the premiere children’s eye specialists in AZ.   Dr. Cassidy has been seeing Ty since he was a baby and performed Ty’s second eye surgery (Amy Leverant did Ty’s first one and she is a great Dr. too).  Troy’s eye issues aren’t as severe as Ty’s (Ty has esotropia/strabismus in both eyes, fourth nerve palsy and cortical visual impairment of the lower field).   Troy has esotropia/strabismus that concentrates mostly in his left eye.   Surgery was performed on both eyes though.

At 7:15 AM, he was put under general anesthesia and the muscles on the inside of both eyes were detached and reattached to a different position.  He was under about 30-40 minutes and the Dr. said the surgery went wonderfully.  Yay!  Jim and I both left Phoenix Children’s Hospital hoping that we would never have need of another over night or surgery stay ever ever ever again!   We love PCH but we have HAD OUR FILL over the last ten years and we are ready for a new season!!!

When Troy “woke” in post op, I could tell instantly that he would be sick.  He just had that look.  They rush them out of post op pretty quickly these days.  Jim suggested they would rather kids be vomiting on our turf.  LOL.  We made it to the cafeteria to pick up a little breakfast before he started throwing up.  All over daddy.  Perfect.  (Insert Ty laughing saying “You are being sarcastic mommy!”)

He would open his eyes for short bits or mumble a word but he was super out of it.  When we got home, he didn’t seem to be in pain but he was clearly under the influence.  He couldn’t sleep very long because bouts of vomiting would wake him up.  If he drank a sip or tried to get up it would start all over.  He was highly agitated and didn’t know what to do with himself.  He would walk down the hall, squat and stare a minute, lay down and sleep five minutes on the floor, move to a different spot and repeat.  He even stood beside me on the chair and slept standing up with his head on my shoulder.  So sad.   At one point, he crawled into the bottom shelf of the bookshelf to sleep.  We couldn’t tell if he didn’t know what he was doing or if he was seeking a dark cave to whole up in.  He hid in my closet at one point too.  Maybe he wanted a dark place to shield his eyes?

By 1:30 PM, 6 hours later, I was getting nervous because he had vomited 16 times and I was concerned that we were going to have to readmit for an IV and zofran or phenergan.  He finally fell asleep for a good stretch though and when he woke up he was a new kid.  This morning, he seems back to normal (just a bit crankier than normal).  He told me his eyes hurt before bed so I gave him some motrin but I only needed to offer medicine that one time.   We have to put an antibiotic ointment in his eyes daily for the next 10 days (a $200 medication of course) but other than that, he should be good to go.  It will be about two weeks before the Dr. can make a guestimate as to the overall success of the surgery.  This isn’t actually an eye issue.  It is a brain issue.  For this reason, the surgery doesn’t “heal” it.  It only makes things easier on the brain to align the eyes properly and we have been trying to train his brain for the last year to accept these changes so we’ll see what he can do on his own now.  Ty’s two surgeries were very successful but he had those surgeries at a younger age when the brain had more plasticity so that was an advantage for Ty.

I can already tell a difference though.  He definitely looks straighter.  Hoping and praying the alignment will continue to improve and that it will HOLD.  Time will tell.   These pictures are a little icky but probably better today than they will look 3 days from now.  The body take 2 to 3 weeks to absorb blood so his eyes will look yucky for a little bit.

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Here is a comparison shot.  Picture on the left is from last month.  You can see the left eye turned in.  Picture on right this morning.  Definitely straighter.

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Post surgery in Grandma’s arms.

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Sleeping in the bookshelf (he opened his eyes when he heard me with my camera).

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I know.  Yucky.  I wanted to keep this as part of the story though.

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I think gauging alignment is tough right now in part because the blood pooling in the corners eliminates the inner whites of the eye so all that discoloration makes it more difficult to see how straight he is (or isn’t).  I am hoping for the best though.

Thank you so much for praying for Troy yesterday.  That always helps mama’s heart tremendously.

 

 

 

For years I have wanted to create short films and was excited to work with my new nephew for our first debut.  He was 2 weeks old at the time of filming.  This little guy is certainly cherished and I wanted to capture that.  Film length is about 4 and half minutes.  If you would like to see it in HD, you will need to click on HD and you will taken over to VIMEO to watch it.

2013 Year End Catch Up

December 26, 2013

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!  Let’s pretend that the above shot was taken BEFORE Christmas.  I didn’t quite get to a full Fall or Christmas shoot with my kids this year.  In part because I have a film project in mind that will take the place of a Christmas shoot for 2013.  Production for their short film will begin this month.  :)  Can’t wait.  BUT, I did need a few holiday shots.  Thankfully, they were fairly cooperative and I quickly got some cuties.

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Wow!  Where did 2013 go?  We had such a busy last quarter both personally and with business that I have lost track of the last 3 months.

As a quick summary, we had a great Christmas with the kids and spent the first week of December in Disneyland.  Troy’s first trip (and the first for Tori that she will actually remember).  I didn’t take any pictures either.  I intended to but I was just too caught up in living the moment with little time for capturing it.  I will probably regret that later too because my kids love the Disneyland videos I created from years past but I just didn’t have it in me this year.  Troy was an AWESOME baby for this trip.   He did so great.  He was ready to play and party from gate open until gate close (we went Mon-Wed so gates closed at 8:00 PM).  He would clap for nearly every ride and just loved everything.  Tori swore to never ever go on the Matterhorn with me ever again and Ty thought the Snow White ride was way too scary.  Tanner and Ty loved Splash Mountain and we did that several times a day.  Papa and Sweetie joined us for the first two days of the trip and that was super fun.  I do NOT recommend traveling the Sunday after Thanksgiving however.  THAT was a nightmare.  Added 3 more hours to our trip.  We only lost Troy one time for a couple of minutes when he slipped around us during the Christmas Holiday Parade and went off to venture on his own.  Daddy found him in quick order but I had a mild heart attack for a minute.  The baby has his own agenda and doesn’t look back.  We ended each night with spa time at the hotel.   So much fun!  Our family likes to squeeze every second of fun out of vacation so you can’t waste a minute.  No nap times or sleeping in or even walking slow while on vacation!  Play, play, play, and play some more until you can’t even walk another step.  That is how we roll. Even Jim would race to get in line for rides seconds before 8:00 so that we could get every last ride in.  (By the way, Tori was not so convinced that 15+ hours of playtime is a good thing.  She would have loved to relax a bit more and be pushed around in a stroller.  I was just thankful that at 40, I can still outplay a 5 year old).

Jim had time off this month so we got to see several movies and went to the Zoo and had lots of lazy days as a family.   I have a long list of stuff I have written notes about that I wanted to blog that goes back a few months probably so this will get long.  I told Tori yesterday that I had so much to do that I didn’t know where to start.  She wisely suggested “the beginning”.  (To which I replied “thank you little grasshopper”).

 

Troy

I’ll start with the baby this time.  The biggest news with Troy is that he is FINALLY, after 18 months of patching, ready for surgery.  His surgery is scheduled for the end of this month and they will be performing surgery on both eyes.  This is an out patient procedure but putting children under anesthesia is never fun.  This surgery has an 85% success rate so hopefully it will not have to be repeated.  (Ty did have the surgery twice).  He is patching 5 hours a day right now on his right eye (down from 8) and will (hopefully) only have to patch 2 hours a day post surgery.  We gave up on the glasses for now because he kept throwing them away and after purchasing 2 or 3 new pair in the same year, Jim and I just couldn’t take the stress of the weekly (sometimes daily) glasses hunt.  It would be one thing if he took them off and tossed them on the floor.  He didn’t.  He would take them off and hide them in very random places.  That is what overwhelmed us to the point of exhaustion.  I just ordered two pairs of frames with FLEX money before the end of the year so after surgery we can try it again but I am not holding my breath.

Troy loves trains, blocks, balloons, syrup, marshmellows, ketchup, chocolate, books, tools, grandparents (he really loves grandparents), my orange lifewater, Toy Story, Curious George, anything that Tanner has or does (today he wants Tanner’s helicopter really badly) and his pacy.  He also got a brown, leather, baby recliner for Christmas which he LOVES.   For whatever crazy reason, the kid loves chairs so I knew that would be a big hit.  We have recently discovered that Troy LOVES almond flat bread (thank you Debbie Main).  He isn’t a big bread eater but he will steal my ziplocs of almond bread off the counter whenever he gets a chance.

He is talking so much better but is still difficult to understand sometimes.  He has come a long way in the last few months though.  He is still behind for a 2.5 year old but the progress has been great.  He tries to be very polite with please, thank you, sorry, and even excuse me.   I love the way he often says “I love you Mommy.  I love you too.”   Not sure why he follows it up with the “love you too” part but it is so cute.   He still loves cuddle time at night and I typically have two kids in my lap by 7:30 PM.

His word list is (finally) too long to write and his sentences are typically 3-4 words or so (still short).  For example, he woke up one morning and said “Don’t pop it!”  He was talking about the balloon he was saving from the day before.  If you have contextual clues, you will get the gist even with short sentences.   He copies everything and I giggle when I hear him saying “Mommy Ty is being mean” (copying Tori) or “Ty’s not bein nice ta me”.  I do have a few favorites though:

Chalk It Ilk – Chocolate Milk
Mere Mom! – Come here mom
Upper – Up there
Mar Meh Oh – Marshmellow
Appoo – Apple
HEY! – He says this ALL the time when he is mad.
I need mom!
Hi Daddy!  Say hi Daddy! – he tells me to say Hi to Jim after he does
Come wif me
Show me – I am going to show you something
Help You – I want to help you OR I need you to help me
Aa – instead of saying Yes or Ya – he says Aa.  Soft a sound.  Very cute.
Baby Schoo – Troy asks for baby school meaning he wants crayons and paper while his siblings are busy doing their schoolwork.  The kids taught him that.
Mommy where’s my Shuper Shoot?  (LOVED this line today because I know this to be a learned quote from brother Ty.  That is Ty’s favorite line from The Incredibles)
I go seepy now. – Most of the time, Troy is a fan of bedtime.  Probably because that is the only time he is allowed his pacy.

At two, he is a real trouble maker.  Because he is such a sensitive little guy, I assumed he would have a performer personality and therefore be fairly easy to restrain.  So far I have been wrong.  He is quite attached to his agenda and can be really demanding.  We hear a lot of “No!” and “Mine!” and he runs when you tell him to come here most of the time.  He is also really independent and likes to do things himself.  He has broken several pieces of my Precious Moments nativity set this year, including baby Jesus!  I have had that set for probably 20 years and none of the kids have harmed it until Troy.  Grrrr.  I think I can glue most of the pieces thankfully.  Just today he was well on his way to the tippy top of the entertainment center to get to the XBOX cases before his brothers caught him and rescued him.  I am not looking forward to sharing that with his Daddy.

He loves engineering projects.  I had a pvc pipe frame set out (for my backdrops).  I had not secured the last pipe and next thing you know, Troy had found it and put it into the frame where it belonged.  I was impressed because the pipe was probably 3 times his length so moving it alone would have been a challenge, much less connecting it correctly to the frame.

One day I found him trying to open a gogurt in the kitchen.  He was sitting on the floor and had a butter knife, vegetable peeler and a can opener.  Surely one of those would get the job done.  He has also been known to get the plunger out of the garage to work on the toilet.  After I saw him using my makeup brushes on his train as a screwdriver, I asked Grandma to purchase him a toolkit for Christmas.  He loved that.  Maybe he will have Jim’s “fix anything” abilities.  That would be pretty awesome.  I have a feeling though that the path to learning to fix is riddled with a ton of breaks.  Not looking forward to that leg of the journey so much.

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Me:  Troy can mommy have a hug?

Troy:  No!  I mean No!

Me:  Did you just say “I mean no?”

Troy:  Aa!  I mean no!

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Our first night at Disney, the kids had trouble settling for sleep.  At long last, I thought they were finally out for the count.  After 11:00 PM, I hear a plastic crunching sound and Tanner and I get up to investigate.  Troy had pulled a package of donut holes off the counter and had his cheeks stuffed with them in his playpen.   Midnight snack?

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Troy cut his hair.  He got a pair of scissors at Sweetie’s and cut a chunk off.  Sweetie was busy interrogating Karsyn and Braxtyn trying to figure out where the clump of blonde hair came from.  I knew who the culprit was instantly.  I am so tired of trying to keep everything out of the kids reach.  Little monkey.

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I am starting to wonder if he will be left handed.  I see him use his left hand a lot.

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On Christmas morning, I found Troy trying to eat the gingerbread house for breakfast with a fork.  Not a bad tradition really.

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I am so grateful that my baby is still such a lover because I so enjoy the cuddles and kisses  He loves eskimo kisses and I love to give them.  As the youngest of 4, I have to admit, he will get away with way more.  Partly because mom’s get tired.  Mostly because I am not the same parent I was 12 years ago.  I smile and giggle much more easily at all the antics (and yes, sometimes the defiance too).  It’s part of being 2.  I love who he is and I love that he has such a strong personality.  Tori and Troy are such mischief makers but they keep my life oh so interesting.  Wouldn’t change a thing.

TORI

Tori Tori Tori.   She is still so mini-mama in so many ways (and that is too fun) but I also see many things that are unique to Tori.  For example, she loves the great outdoors.  For Christmas she wanted a pink BB gun and a pink nerf rebelle bow.  She also wanted soccer stuff as Daddy registered her for her first season of soccer in Feb.  That will be too fun to watch.   She is pretty competitive so I don’t know what to predict.  She insisted on playing this year and thankfully, Jim loves Dad time at soccer practice.  I can’t manage Tanner’s soccer schedule and Tori’s so that is all on Dad’s schedule.  Jim is going to be busy this spring!  For his sake, I hope practice is on the same night for both kids.   In addition to the above, she still wanted loads of makeup, nail polish, and hair chalk.  In fact, she put nail glitter in her hair and I STILL can’t shampoo it off her scalp.  What in the world is up with that?

She is still very tiny in the bone frame sense and weight but she is a lot taller than I thought she would be.  She has long legs!  I have long thought she would be the little runt of the family but now I have to wonder if I will get stuck with that title.  We’ll see.

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Tori loves to talk on the phone and she can carry a conversation for an impressively long time.  One night she asked if she could call and chat with Sweetie.  A LONG time later, when I was putting Troy to bed, I noticed she was making fish lips in the mirror and said “Do you know what I am doing right now?  I am making fish lips like Papa showed me.”   I started to respond and then realized she was STILL talking to my mother.  I quickly rescued my mom and found out that she had tried to get off the phone with her several times but Tori would just keep starting up new topics to keep Sweetie on the line.   She had to have been scraping from the bottom of the barrel though if she resorted to descriptions of fish lip expressions in the mirror.  Oh the teen years are going to be something aren’t they?    She really loves to chat and begs me to sit in her room on her bed for chat time.  I must admit, it is a fun experience to gab with her.  You never know what she will say and I am always giggling away at her.

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She is still the BIG sister in every sense of the word.  In October, there is a house in our neighborhood that decorates very scary for Halloween and Ty hates it.  When we walk to the park, he laments over and over about having to pass that house.  This year I heard the following:

Tori:  Here.  Hold my hand.  It will be okay.  I will be with you.

Ty:  Aren’t you scared?

Tori:  No!  I am five.

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“Is there a fire in my nose?” – Tori after a long bout with allergies.

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Ty:  When you are finished helping mommy with the dishes would you help me with my room?

Tori:  Ya.

Tanner:  No!  Tori would you help me clean?

Ty:  Tanner!  You are the oldest!

Tori:  Ya Tanner.  You are the oldest.

To my way of thinking, her brothers think SHE is the oldest.

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My independent girl was helping herself to a bowl of cereal.  As I watched her pouring the milk, I wondered if that was such a good idea.  As I predicted, she splashed a little out onto the table.  I was going to say something but I was then pouring milk in Troy’s bowl and was distracted and oops – spilled a little.  I was hoping she couldn’t read my mind in that moment.  My hope was deferred by this comment:

“It is not so easy is it?”

What could I say?  Not a word.  :)

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One day I was talking to Jim on the phone and Tori kept (rudely) demanding my attention.  In no uncertain terms I told her to hush up and quit being disrespectful.   After I was off the, admittedly, long call, she says this to me:

“Mommy.  You have dye running down the side of your face.  I was trying to tell you that when you were on the phone.”

Soap, alcohol, microdermabrasion, spinner brush, nada.  I had black hair dye on my face for several days.   Figures doesn’t it?

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Ty:  Tori put taco sauce on my plate for my hot dog and it is so good.

Tori:  I was afraid he was going to put WAY too much on so I did it for him.  That would have burned his mouth off.

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Tori saw something on tv that she judged inappropriate for Troy’s viewing so she gently put her arm around his shoulders and with her other hand covered his eyes.   Cute.

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“Well clearly that didn’t work” – Tori lamenting about the makeup towelette not cleaning her mirror effectively.

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Me:  You did a good job on your song on Sunday and you didn’t even seem scared (She and I sang Silent Night at Church together)

Tori:  Why would I be scared?  I am FIVE.  I am only afraid of monsters.

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I love the way she still says and “den” instead of and “then”.

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This past week Tori was upset because it was after 11:00 PM and I said we had to stop playing dolls on her bed.  I promised to play more the next day if she would quit fussing about it and go to bed.

Tori:  BUT…(wail)..what if you forget?…(wail)

Me:  I am sure you will remind me.

Tori:  (Wail)…BUT what if I forget? (wail)

CLEARLY…it was past bedtime.   We did have a good time though.  We laughed so long that all the boys joined us and tried to play with us.  We had to kick them out though because Tanner made fun of everything, Troy would throw the dolls, and Ty kept trying to get us to agree to go shopping with our dolls at Gamestop and pretend like it was Black Friday.  Hee hee.

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Tori:  Mommy I am going to show you a show off.

Me:  What is a show off?

Tori:  I am going to show you how I swim.

Aha!

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Ty:  Mom, Tori and I are pretending like we both work at Gamestop.

Doni:  Oh.

Tori to Ty:  So I heard you got fired…(then she notices me looking at her out of the corner of my eye)…and you got hired right back again.

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My girl regularly leads me around in conversations until I end up just where she wants me.  One has to really work at it to stay ahead of her.

Tori:  Mom who bought me this doll?

Me:  I did and it was expensive.

Tori:  Well don’t buy any for your grandkids.

Me:  Why not?

Tori: It’s too much money.  Are you going to buy one for anyone else?

Me:  No. I am not.  I bought that just for you when you were around 2 years old.

Tori:  Why not?

Me:  Well…because that doll was too expensive.

Tori:  That is what I said.

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Tori:  Mom!  Ty turned the light out in the garage and shut the door WHEN I was out there!!!

Ty:  That is what you did to me first!

Tori:  Well it isn’t nice to do it back!

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TY

My little Ty is almost 10 years old (Jan 17th).  He is going to be so tall.  Well over six foot I am sure.  As ever, he is my funny child.

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One morning before archery practice, Ty put on one of Tanner’s ball caps.  Tanner was not happy and demanded he take it off.

Me:  Tanner!  Come on!  What is going to happen to your hat at archery?   Give it a rest!

In literary terms, let’s call this a foreshadowing event.

So at archery practice, Ty needs to go the bathroom.  The nearest jay-john was quite some distance so I offered to walk with him.  While in the jay-john, I hear…dum dum dum…

“MOM!!!! THE HAT!!!!!”

No FREAKIN’ way!!!!   He bent over to pull up his pants and said hat falls into the port o john.  NO JOKE.  I laughed until I cried thinking about having to call and tell Tanner.  What are the chances of that?  Seriously there was nothing in a five mile radius that could have destroyed that hat minus the port o john.  Never did I predict that problem.  And um yeah – no way I was going after it either.

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I am afraid Ty might grow up and be a hacker.  Recently I took him with me to the dentist.  I allowed him to play my kindle while I was getting my teeth cleaned.  He opened up Kindle Free Time and later decided he wanted out of the parent protected playground.  Once you are in though, you are stuck.  That’s the point of the boundary.  They need a password to get out.  He wanted me to put my password in but I declined because, again, I was busy with my teeth cleaning.

Then I hear this “uh oh”.

Somehow he had wiped my kindle clean.  Everything totally gone.  I was so mad.  He tried telling me what he did but his descriptions of things rarely make sense so I tuned it out.   Jim later explained that Ty has learned that he can back door around passwords by doing system reboots.  Apparently, this has worked well in the past on other devices.  Thankfully, my stuff was all on the cloud so I could get it back after I set my account back up.  Needless to say, he is no longer allowed to handle my kindle.

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And if you think the above story is bad…

Last month while doing my bills I called Jim at work because we had about 15 different Xbox live bills on the same day.  Worried about fraud, I filed a dispute.  Later that evening we discovered that Ty knew Jim’s live password (he had been watching him input it and memorized) and Jim had forgotten and saved his debit card number on the account.   Ty purchased all kinds of stuff to the sum of $133.00.   We tried working it out with Xbox but I don’t think they ever gave us any money back (actually I need to follow up on that).

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While at Disney, Ty insisted on going on the Tower of Terror with Papa.  He talked about it NON STOP.  I was rather excited to get to that ride myself figuring that once it was done, I wouldn’t have to hear about it anymore.  Dad, Ty and I got in line.  Once we were in the building, Ty chickened out.  I tried and tried to talk him into it because I knew what would happen if he didn’t end up going on the ride.  He became pretty frantic and we had to bail on it.  And guess what…I heard about that ride for a week after that.  If it wasn’t so aggravating, it would have been funny.  After telling him 100 times he couldn’t talk about it anymore, we started hearing things like this:

“I am SO glad that ride is FINALLY out of my head.  I am not thinking about it at all.  I am so glad that it is out of my head and I am not talking about it or thinking about.  You know that ride that I am not thinking about?  I can’t say the name of it but whew I am so glad that I don’t see it or think about it anymore.”   Repeat variations of this another couple hundred times.

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Ty got in trouble for something recently (I forget what) and he asked me if he did it because he had Asperger’s.  The truth was, yes – that pretty much was a major contributing factor.  I didn’t want to give him that though and allow it to be an excuse.   Is there a handbook for this kind of stuff?  LOL.  I have got more to learn than he does I am afraid.

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Uncle Dale:  Hey Lizzy!  Do you know what Lizzy means?  It means Lizard Lips.

Ty to Me:  Why is he being so mean to me?

Me:  He isn’t.  He is just teasing you.

Ty to Uncle Dale:   Why don’t you just say you love me?

Loved it.

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Jim took Ty to his archery competition back in November.  I have been so proud of him because it only took about 4 weeks before he could load the arrow himself and shoot independantly.  Not an easy task for a person with cerebral palsy and dyspraxia.  That was amazing all by itself.  His shooting is pretty random.  I am not sure if it is because he (a) doesn’t care or (b) hasn’t figured out the fundamentals of where to aim and adjusting your aim.   At any rate, at the competition he asked his coach what she would do if he hit a bullseye at15 meters.  She told him she would do a happy dance.  Delighted, guess what he did?  Yep.  Hit a bulls eye at 15 meters.  Daddy was cracking up and called me immediately.  It was so sweet too because the coaches all did a happy dance for him at practice the next week and had the other kids do it too.  Several of the kids placed at the competition and got medals.  Ty’s scores were overall pretty low (minus that one shot) but one of the coaches made him a bullseye medal and put it on a ribbon.  I thought that was absolutely precious of her.  Brought tears to mama’s eyes.  This group has been so good for Ty.  The kids and coaches are so kind and patient and Ty has really done well.  I am so glad we did it this year.

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We did get good news at the eye Dr. for Ty.  NO MORE PATCHING!!!!  Yeah!   Finally, Ty is done with that stage and only needs annual eye exams now.  Of course, I will still be there with Troy for another DECADE but better one than two.

TANNER

If I had funny stories on Tanner, I probably wouldn’t share them.  :)  Respect for a tweens privacy you know.  I sure love my Ginger boy though.  He is really growing up in so many ways but I am so glad that he is still a snuggler.  He often cuddles me on the couch just like the rest of them and I love it.  I think Tanner’s love language is physical touch.  With other people, he might not initiate it, but don’t assume that it isn’t welcome.  Tanner loves a good tight hug (even if he gives you a bashful expression about it).  You will see a big smile.  He has been lost in the world of League of Legends lately and today is playing a game on his kindle called Dragonvale.  He still loves soccer and is anxious to play again in Feb.  We got him a soccer goal net for Christmas and Jim and Tanner go to the park by our house a lot and practice.  Tori pretends like she is going to practice with them but inevitably ends up on the playground.  I can’t wait to see what ACTUALLY happens at soccer.  Will she play or is she anxious for the social time?  Can you even imagine being a soccer coach to a group of five year old girls?  Oh my.  I really can’t wait to see it.

Last week Jim and I were watching the Garth Brooks Live in Las Vegas show on primetime.  When Trisha came out and sang with him, I teared up (oh how I love those two).  I remember being at a concert over 20 years when Trisha opened for Garth out at Country Thunder (and Heidi and I were really close to the stage because us two teens spent the entire day camped in line to ensure that outcome.   Anyhow, I got the biggest smile when Tanner says “These guys are even better than Blake! (as in Blake Shelton)”.   Jim and both felt pretty cool that our kid thought our music legends were indeed amazing.

I am really proud of how well he is doing in his Institute of Excellence Writing Class.  He puts a lot of effort into it and is become more and more proactive about his study.

Brooke and I were talking about boys fashion the other day and she was telling me that Noah insists on skinny jeans only.  I asked Tanner in the car what he thought of skinny jeans and he said, ‘I will never in my life wear skinny jeans.  Never.”  I had to laugh at that.  Tanner and Noah are the best of friends but they are about as opposite as two could get.  I am so glad they have one another because they have very complimentary strengths.

Tanner is quizzing me on what I am writing since I asked him what the name of that kindle game was so since he is on to me and may look this up later, I’ll hush up on my big kid…for now.

 

JIM

My man is still sporting his beard and I truly do love it.  Is it possible to be MORE in love with him than I was even 20 years ago?  I can’t take my eyes off him sometimes.  He is beautiful to me in so many ways.   At Christmas, our tradition is that Jim shops for the boys and I shop for Tori and the baby and then Jim does all the stocking stuffer stuff.   Every Christmas, we have the same discussion.  He gets aggravated because he can’t figure out why I bought such “small” (in truth very average size) stockings.  He went to Walmart to purchase stuffers at 9:00 PM and didn’t return until after midnight.  Is it any wonder that Santa couldn’t fit everything he bought into those stockings?  He is a great stocking stuffer dad too.  He got Duck Dynasty playing cards, small flashlights, racing cars, lots of good candy, lip glosses and bath toys for Tori, trains for Troy…all kinds of stuff.  The kids LOVE it.   He is pretty much a hero in this house.

 

DONI

I got a new mop in the mail today!  Woohooo!  I LOVE new mops!!!  This time I am trying the Twist and Shout.  When I shared my excitement with Jim he asked if I could please do something about the 20 other mopheads in the garage.  He claims that I am keeping a museum that details the last 20 years of marriage in mopheads.    I am never satisfied with floor cleaners.  They are too flimsy, don’t wash out well, too high maintenance, don’t scrub hard enough….always something.  I don’t think the Twist and Shout will have a long life span with me either but at the moment, I don’t have a single usable mop despite the collection in my garage (and my floor is out of control because of it).  I am seriously excited to mop my floor.  Crossing my fingers.  Update:   LOVED IT!  I really did dance.  I will likely break it too but it works well enough that I will immediately replace it.   GREAT mop.

School starts back next week and my 2014 calendar is open for business so let the winter craziness begin.  I have a long list of 2014 goals and am anxious to get started.  Posting this will allow me to cross one of fmy list.  Yippeee.  Mops and check marks make me really happy.