Archive for June, 2012

Can we all say SCRUMPTIOUS?  Meet Isaac.  I met Isaac’s mama many years ago when she was in Junior High and I was so happy when she contacted me to do pictures for her firstborn.   Not only did I enjoy snuggling this sweet boy but I enjoyed getting to catch up with old friends chatting with his mom and dad.  I love my job.

What was ESPECIALLY great about this shoot is that Isaac gave me the opportunity to shoot my very first ELEVEN POUND newborn!  Yes you read that right.  ELEVEN pounds at birth!!!   I thought Tanner’s 9.11 size was significant.  LOL.

Here is what I discovered from this experience.  I LOVE SHOOTING 9-11 pound babies!   After having 3 premature children, I think I have a bit of post traumatic stress associated to low birth weight babies but beyond that, they just aren’t as cuddly.  They really aren’t.  When I picked up Isaac I melted.  He was warm and soft and oh so incredibly cuddly.   It just felt different to hold a dreamy sleeping newborn that was eleven pounds.   Pure heaven.   These little tiny babies that I am accustomed to take a couple of months before they really have that substantial cuddle weight but Isaac arrived fitting perfectly in arms prepared to snuggle.   LOVED IT.   Just look at the darling rolls on this little fellow?   I could just eat him up.

Thank you for bringing your beautiful boy to me Candice and Daniel and it was so wonderful to spend time with you both.

San Diego Vacation

June 11, 2012

On Sunday, we got home from four days in San Diego.  Jim and I LOVE San Diego and we had such a wonderful time with our kids.  We haven’t been to the beach in quite some time and Mission Bay was calling me.  Last year we had a baby.  The year before that we were saving money for baby.  FINALLY we got to get away and it was all that we hoped for.  Troy, thoroughly enjoyed his very first vacation and we were glad to introduce him to the ocean before he was a year old.

I was born in Los Angeles and both my parents were raised in Cali.  My Dad loved the beach growing up and spent lots of time surfing and fishing.  I was younger than Tori the first time I ever surfed.  Dad laid me on his board and surfed.  Wasn’t he gutsy?  LOL.  I loved it.  Loved it so much that the ocean got into my blood very young and it still is one of my favorite places to vacation.

While we were there, Dad couldn’t help but notice the look of envy upon my face watching the body boarders.  I was trying to be a responsible mama and play with my kids but I really wanted a board.  Turns out my Dad wanted to play with his kid too so he went and bought me one.   Papa taught both Tanner and Ty to body board too and they LOVED it.  Tanner looked pretty terrified when Papa put him on it but after one go at it he was hooked.  Ty thought it was amazing.  It’s the first sport I have ever seen Ty truly enjoy.  I think it is because he didn’t think to pull up on the board so his natural tendency to “hang loose” helped him submit to the water and he therefore boarded further up the beach.

I was a little worried that Ty would struggle with a beach vacation but he did AWESOME.  Being a sensory seeker, the sand and the rush of the water fed his senses enough that it really seemed to calm him.  He would bury even his face in the sand smiling the whole time.  Tanner spent his time digging for sand crabs and body boarding.  Tori loved chasing the waves and the sand castles but was very worried about me body boarding.  She asked her Papa if I was going to be okay.   Funny girl.   Amusing that she was worried about ME because the child has no fear and that caused me so much anxiety.    I caught her walking on top of a wall that had a 30 foot (at least) cliff down one side.  Where she was at, the drop was probably 10 feet but she was headed for the center when I grabbed her.  My heart nearly jumped out of my body.  Before I could emotionally recuperate from that event, she stepped between a gap in the fencing on the sea wall where the seals were.  The drop was probably 8 foot straight to seals on the beach.   At that point, I wanted to throttle the little munchkin and I high tailed it out of the area before I had a nervous break down.  What to do with her?

Troy was so cute.   Troy was very hesitant about the sand and didn’t want much to do with it at first and he never did care much for the water.  Sensory overload for an 11 month old.  However, early on, I caught my little genius using his sister’s flip flops on his hands to crawl across the sand.  I was shocked that he thought to do that.  Once he got far enough out on the sand, he determined it was okay and let go of the flip flops and was okay playing after that.  He was such a good baby.

Papa and Sweetie came with us and the kids switched off staying in their hotel room at night.  They loved that.

We also spent a day at the San Diego Zoo but by that time, the kids were so tired out from 3 days on the beach that I am not sure they enjoyed it much.  At one point Ty told me “I am not enjoying the animals but I really like this bus.”  (The tour bus at the zoo).  I had to laugh at that.

I had big plans for beach pictures but when it got down to it, I just wanted to play so I only took the above snapshots.  It was the right thing to do while on vacation.

Recently Liza and I had a discussion about how to raise children uniquely.  I thought in my mind that I did that because I think I was raised that way but sometimes I am not sure we see ourselves “rightly”.  On this trip though, I enjoyed watching Jim with the kids.  Have I told you what an amazing husband and daddy he is lately?   He spoiled each of them based on their unique needs and desires.  At Bennigan’s, I noticed that Ty got a special ice cream dessert (as well as cotton candy at the zoo and funnel cakes at the beach).  Ty spends vacation time planning every meal and dessert.  That is what he loved the most and Jim knew that.  Tori got beach toys.  Tanner got shrimp appetizers and pier fishing (that actually never manifested because it was FREEZING on the pier).   Not once did any of the kids comment on the individualized gifts that the others got.  I assume that they too realized the individual needs and it didn’t occur to them to ask for “fairness”.    I loved seeing that.

Got me thinking about my relationship with God and how lovingly He treats me.   He is patient with where I am at on my journey and He tells me only what I need to know and am ready to hear right now.  He gives me gifts that are unique to what I need and desire.  He teaches me lessons in ways that I will understand.  In all of these things, He is a tender Daddy loving me in a unique way.  That, in and of itself, is such a beautiful picture of His love to me.

While at the beach, Jim commented on how blonde Troy’s hair looked.  I think there is a very good chance that Troy will end up blonde with green eyes.  Before adopting our fourth child, I had daydreamed about the possibility of God giving me all the colors of the rainbow.  I already red hair/blue eyes, black hair/black eyes/ brown hair/brown eyes.  The only combination I didn’t have was a blond hair and green eyes.  Does God have a sense of humor or what?  Even in the little things of life, He delights me and I know that He delights in doing it just as I LOVE showering affection and gifts upon my children.   Pretty cool.

Whose with Me?

June 4, 2012

(Picture taken in March)

My list of notes for future blog posts is getting long so I thought I would post an update this fine afternoon.


Tanner celebrated his 11th birthday in May and I sure can tell my boy is growing up.    More and more my shy boy is coming out of his shell.  (Clients will never believe this though because when he goes on shoots with me he says next to nothing the entire time).

When Tanner was about four, Jim and I were going CRAZY with Tanner’s refusal to answer direct questions.    We would ask his thoughts or opinions and he would give us a deer in the headlight look.  To this day, you don’t ever want to ask Tanner to make an immediate decision.  Having him shop on Amazon has been a lifesaver for us after too many trips painfully wandering store isles waiting for him to make up his mind.   I will never forget an incident that occurred when he was about 4.  We had asked him some opinion question at the dinner table and he wouldn’t answer us.  We both got so frustrated (meaning Jim and I) that we finally sent him to the couch in the other room and told him he could return when he was ready to answer our questions.    We were determined to see it through so we let him sit there for quite some time.  Finally, I couldn’t take it and went in to see him crying on the couch.  I’ll never forget what he said to me.  “Mommy!  I have no finks in my mind!”

We laughed at that and gave up.  What can you do when a person just has “no finks in their mind”?  Nothing.

So this phenomena has continued for all these years.  Lately though, we are noticing a bit of a change that at times is rather disconcerting.   Tanner, does, in fact, have an opinion.   I have been surprised at how often he is engaging me in controversial dialogues.  It is usually something simple and goes like this:

Me:  Can you go get the orange juice out of the other fridge?

Tanner:  There isn’t any out there.

Me:  Yes there is.

Tanner:  Nope.  I was out there earlier and there is no orange juice in that fridge.

Me.  I bought it this morning!  TRUST ME.

Tanner:  It’s not out there.

Me:  Fact alert.  It is.  Get out there.  Now.

In walks Tanner with a bottle of Orange Juice and big sheepish grin on his face.

I was telling Jim about this and we both covertly giggled because we are so thankful that he is finally speaking his mind but sometimes, let’s face it, it’s annoying.   The other night I hear him talking with Jim about something and he disagrees with what Jim says.  I grin and raise my eyebrows at my honey indicating that he is about to engage in a circular argument with Tanner and to pay attention so that he sees what I am going through all day.

Jim:  Yes it is Tanner.

Tanner:  No I don’t think so.

Jim:  I am telling you it is.

Tanner:  Are you sure about that?

He did not.  He did not just say to his Dad “Are you sure about that?”.  I cracked up.   He turns 11 and this is what happens?  My boy is finally finding his FINKS!!!  Isn’t that awesome?

Having said all this, I recently had a discussion with Tanner that I later regretted because I was WAY in the wrong.   The week before Mother’s Day, I took the kids on a walk to the park.  Tanner was on his bike and he fell on the asphalt and gouged a small hole in his knee.  It did look pretty deep but it wasn’t bleeding that much.  Tanner, has a notoriously low pain tolerance (red head thing) and I wasn’t taking it very seriously.  I gave him the option to go back to the house but assured him he was fine.  For days he complained about this knee and kept bringing it up and I kept saying “Good gracious it is just a little scratch.  Your fine.”   After a couple of days though, it started looking really red around the injury.  Jim and I were keeping an eye on it because it just wasn’t looking right and we were starting to change our tune.  On Mother’s Day, Jim had Tanner take a bath because it was now looking infected.  We decided we were going to have to soften the scab and clean the infection out.  (Uh…should have done that in the first place – bad mom).   Jim sat down at the table with a pair of tweezers and noticed a black spot.  I took a look and confirmed his suspicions.  Asphalt in that hole.   About that time Papa came to the door.  All three of us were watching in horror as Jim dug around in the knee and realized the piece of pavement was huge.  Way bigger than the hole.

Dad is saying “Jim your just going to have to yank it out!”

Tanner is crying.

I am cringing and remembering what my Dad did to me when I had asphalt in my arm and was OH so thankful for Tanner’s sake that Jim was the Dr. on call instead of his Papa!

Jim, Mr. Patience and Persistent, calmly worked at it until he removed a piece of asphalt that was the size of two BBs.


Tanner is up over 40 wpm now with high accuracy.  He is so proud of himself.   I wrote a note about this on my blog notes and he saw me.

Tanner:  Why are you writing that?

Me:  Because I like to keep a record of things about my kids so I remember someday and that seemed like a good one.

Tanner:  But that is not my record!  My record is 43 words and 96 percent!

I had written 40/96.   Such a first born performer.  I wonder where he gets it?


Another burst of extrovert moments I have been observing is Tanner’s interaction with Noah.  They use fake accents all the time.  They are hysterical.   I heard him singing country music (it was Garret Hedlund’s Silver Wings if you must know) with Seth in the back of the car this week.  He was singing out loud and strong and mocking the song as best as he could.  Jim and I smiled away from the front seat and didn’t dare turn and look at him.



Remember the whole sarcasm discussion?  We are making some headway.  :)  Here are two recent events:

Me (to Tanner):  You are making absolutely NO progress on those dishes.

Tanner:  I know.

Me:  Thank you for validating that point Tanner.  That actually does make me feel better.


LOL.  Nope.  That time I was serious.

Then yesterday we were driving and Ty spilled his orange drink in the backseat and we had to pull over.

Jim:  Awesome.  (Said in a low grumble).

Ty:   When Dad says “awesome” when something really bad happens, he must be being sarcastic.

RIGHT!!!  I had to laugh at how he processes this.  Also has occurred to me that Jim and I are sarcastic quite often so I guess we are giving Ty lots of opportunities to recognize clues of sarcasm.


After a full day of the flu with Tori vomiting over a total of 15 hours and Tanner 8 hours, we all stared at one another wide eyed when Ty pipes up from the couch “I just love this place”.  This said after eating a zinger in front of all of us.


In the car listening to Casting Crowns At Your Feet…

Ty:  MOM!   Tori said that God is dead!

Tori:  Well!  He said that dying he saved me!  (Song lyrics)

I explain.  Then Ty gets onto the topic of age and how old I will be when he is different ages.  He is obsessing about this and this has become a regular car discussion.

Ty:  Well what about when I am 50?

Tori:  I am 30 years older so I will be 80.

That doesn’t set well with him.

Ty:   What will happen when your 100?  Who will take care of me?

(This question didn’t settle well with ME because wow that question is hard on a mother of a disabled child and I try to not let my mind go there because that is way too far out to consider).

Me:  I will be dead Ty but you’ll be 70 so you’ll be okay.

Tori:  You’ll be dead?????   Oh I am going to miss you when your dead!  What are we going to do?

This is at least the third time we have had this discussion and it ends like this every time.  They kill me off and then mourn and I sit there wondering how we got “here” again.


Ty was talking to a woman at the mall the other day.

Woman:  You have a grandmother!  That is wonderful!  Mother’s are great but Grandma’s are FROSTING!

Ty:  Ya.  My Grandma makes me cupcakes with frosting.

I had to laugh.  He had no idea what to do with her comment but was trying quite hard to relate.


For whatever reason, Ty and Tori have been wanting to talk about God a lot in the car and I am guessing it is the Casting Crowns CD that is often playing.   The other day, out of no where Ty says “Mommy.  I love God and I have a relationship with him.”

I know he is repeating portions of conversations that he and I have had lately but I also know that he is taking in these things because he keeps bringing them up of his own accord (and frankly, Ty doesn’t bring up very many topics outside of his usual three.   The age talk and God talk are pretty outside his normal boundary).   You wonder about these things when your a parent…what your child is processing and understanding and it’s on a whole different level when you have an ASPIE but God is showing me that He can speak to Ty just fine.  :)  So many things I have to learn to leave in God’s domain.


I have been frustrated with Math lately.  I love the program we use (Teaching Textbooks) but because Ty can’t write, he can’t cipher out the long addition, long subtraction, long multiplication, etc.   Therefore, I have to write everything for him and wait on him to give me specific directions about where to put the number and what to borrow or carry (which frankly is tedious for me).  I have searched and searched thinking there must be something that a person with a writing disability can use for math but haven’t been able to find anything.  I finally searched under Drag and Drop Math (thinking that might be intuitive) and found this website:

Finally a solution!!!  It has an app for IPhones but since I am a droid user that doesn’t help me.  Ty can use it on the computer though.  The program allows you to drag numbers to the correct spots so that you can cipher the math without having to physically write.  Awesome.  I am surprised though that this is the only tool of this kind I have found so far.  Anyone else know of anything?   Writing isn’t a big deal because Ty can type but math is a whole other issue because you have to line everything up.


Last week Jim took the kids while I was doing a newborn shoot.  While he was out with them, he noticed that Ty had removed the air vents from the Excursion ceiling in the backseat.  Daddy was not happy.  He spent a considerable time detailing just how unhappy he was.   Jim HATES it when people mistreat things so Ty really pushed Daddy’s button big time with that bit of hooliganism.     At one of their stops, Jim was SHOCKED when Ty came around to his side of the car, looked up at him, and said “I am really sorry I did that.”   Choked both of us up.   Ty has NEVER EVER shown that kind of independent ownership over something E.V.E.R.    You wouldn’t think that hearing a simple apology would bring tears to both parents eyes but when you are raising kids with disabilities you celebrate everything and that was HUGE.  I mean incredibly HUGE.  We didn’t know if he would ever do that!    We are not going to count on it happening very often but the fact that it happened even once is so incredibly encouraging to us.



And so begins the book….

Tori found out that Ty chose the name Sophie for her as a baby.  She is asking to change her name.  As if.


I love how she says “WWWoooooohooooooo” in her girly girl teenage voice.


I love how she takes care of Ty.


Tori:  Hey.  You’ve gotta a little something there on your mouth.  Let me clean it off for you.


In her bed…

Tori:  Mommy I need a rubber band (band aid) for my blister.

Me:  I told you that if you wore those shoes again you would get a blister.

Tori:  We went to the park and I put those shoes on and I got a blister and then I said “Mom.  You are right.”

Music to my ears.


While on a recent hike…

Tori:  Oh no!  I don’t see Daddy or the boys!  They left us!

Me:  Oh no!  We don’t have food or water or anything!  What will we do?

Tori:  Well…..welll…..welll……………………………welll……..well………….We can scream.

Mostly she is powerful.  Sometimes she is four and all girl.


Speaking of trips (sort of)…

Today I was remembering back to a trip we went on when Tanner and Ty were small.  We were spending a week at the Hyatt in San Diego because of a training thing Jim was attending.   Not liking to pack and realizing that it took WAY too much luggage to pack for kids (including a baby), I decided to grab big backyard lawn trash bags and make my job simple.  Just throw everything in there.  Easy peasy.

When we got to the hotel and were toting a stroller loaded with a zillion lawn and leaf trash bags up to our room it then occurred to me that we looked rather shifty.   Criminals engaging in nefarious crimes haul large trash bags in and out of hotel rooms.   I then realized my mistake.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Live and learn right?   :)    (And now my sister in love Brooke is swooning with horror over what I just admitted to but I hope she takes notice of the nice pink bag that Quinn’s gift was wrapped in yesterday before judging too harshly. I have come a long way baby but I still think it makes way more sense to buy a larger gift than spend some of the budget on wrapping and cards that they could care less about.)


Me:  I am going to take a shower and you need to go to bed.

Tori:  Can’t I please take a shower with you?

Me:  Okay but the moment you get out of the shower, you need to put pajamas on and GET. IN. BED.

Tori:  Oooooooorrrrrrrr I could take a shower with you, put on my jammies, and get in YOUR bed and watch some TV.

Me:  There will be no counter offers.  Take it or leave it.

Sheeeshhh.  Every single day.


Overheard her talking to Papa on the phone.

Tori:  I made two piles.  One for toys that I am going to save and one for toys that I am going to donate.  I put all the crazy girls in the donate pile.

LOL!  Don’t have any idea what that was all about but it was funny.


While playing dolls with her…

Tori:  My girl’s name is Victoria.

Me:  Oh.  Mine is Ellie.

Tori:  Or how about Katie Perry?

Me:  Okay.  Katie Perry.

Tori:  Well you have to ask my permission to change her name first.

Me:  (Sigh).  Tori may I change Ellie’s name to Katie Perry?

Tori:  If you want to.



Over Mother’s Day weekend I was still recovering from the stomach flu.  My mom, feeling sorry for me called to check on me and I told her that Tori was telling her daddy that he needed to take her to the store because she had to buy a card with butterflys on it and she needed to buy me a cake.  Sweetie decided she would do Tori’s shopping for her and cracked up when Tori gave her very specific directions that included a cake with pink on it.   Awwwww….I love having a girl.


While getting ready for bed.

Tori:  Mom I need tissues in course if I blush.  I sometimes blush in bed.

Translation:  I need tissues just in case I sneeze.  I sometimes sneeze in bed.


After watching The Avengers…

Me:  So who is your favorite Avenger?  Mine is Iron Man hands down.

Tori:  Mine is Captain America!  Hands up!


“Mom?  We need to talk.  Why do we always have birthdays on tomorrows?”


Me:  I am going to go take a shower.  Do you want to come with me?

Tori:  Your supposed to say ” WHOSE WITH ME?”


While sitting at my desk listening to the kids cause all kinds of ruckus behind me.

Me:  What are you kids doing in here?  Your supposed to be cleaning!!!

Tori:  I am SAVING TY’S LIFE!!!!

I turn around and see her standing between her brothers with a foam rubber sword in her hand.  Tanner has two squirt bottles aimed at Ty.

The knight on the white horse wears pink.




Jim was giving me a sinus massage because I had a headache.

Tori:  Mom can you try to stop doing that?

Me:  Doing what?

Tori:  Making that angry face.

Me:  I am not angry Tori.  I am in pain.

She watches awhile concerned.  Finally she can’t abide a passive stance any longer and she marched to Jim and tears his hands off my head.



While I am typing this…

Tori:  I ate the goldfish.  (Crackers)

Me:  Oh.

Tori:  Why don’t you say “OH!  Maybe you WERE hungry!”

I love how she directs our dialogue.  I think she was trying to get her point across that she had been starving for quite awhile before I finally gave her a snack.

She is hysterical.



Years ago I heard a story about a family friend that has always stuck with me.   A young toddler had started limping and his parents brought him to the Dr. only to discover there was not a thing wrong with his leg.  Sometime later, they watched him walking behind his grandfather.  He was imitating his Grandpa’s limp.

I was starting to get apprehensive about Troy because I was noticing that he was shaking his head back and forth often.  I had mentioned it to my mom and she said that she she had seen it to.  While at her house, he started it again while I was holding him.  Suddenly, the light bulb went off.  Ty was talking to him and Ty was ticking away.  Troy was responding back to Ty but shaking his head in imitation.  How did I not realize that earlier?  LOL.  Ty’s tics are catchy.   Funny.  I can only imagine what Troy may imitate in the future.  Yikes.

I am starting to get anxious for Troy to walk just so he will leave my end tables alone.  Every time I go to set my drink down I am annoyed because my youngest has relocated our end tables all throughout the house.  He is using them as walkers.  They glide quite nicely across the wood floor.  We are also realizing that he seems to be deliberate about his timing because he has been caught moving the table THEN going for the drinks and remote controls once he is out of mama’s reach.  Today he made off with my dinner.

He will take one step between objects and can stand alone for a second but we are not quite there yet.

His word list now is as follows:  Dadda, Mama, Hi, Up, Ya, Papa, Nigh Nigh

We laughed when we saw him break out dancing for the first time recently.  It was to Bruno Mars Runaway.   The rhythm got him and it was adorable.

I love how he puts his feet up on everything.  If I am holding him at my desk, he kicks his feet up.  If I am holding him at the table, he (rudely hee hee) puts his feet up on the table.  He has done this since he was tiny.  Not sure why but cute.

Eight teeth are now broke through and he looks as cute as can be.

Wheeeewwww… I think that is enough for tonight.   Over and out.


How He Feels

June 1, 2012

Twice now I have taken the kids to splash pads and twice Troy has told me he is not a fan.  Yesterday we tried again while at the Anthem Outlet.   Troy is just so expressive.  You don’t wonder what he is thinking and feeling.  He makes it oh so clear.  Love it.

At both splash pads, Tanner and I cracked up because he clung so tenaciously to his big brother.  Tanner coined it “The Cat Near Water Hug”.  He grips with every prehensile appendage he has.  He wraps his arms tightly around the neck, like a cat tries to climb up the chest with his feet and grip Tanner’s shirt with his toes, and he even resorted to biting down on Tanner’s shoulder for extra security.  It was hilarious.  This video doesn’t capture the full scope of “The Cat Near Water Hug” because he had already worn that out on this adventure but it does show him letting mama know how he felt about splash pads.  This video is only one minute.  (Please ignore my mommy talking to my baby voice hee hee).