cenes from a Family Vacation: Part 1


We just returned from an awesome 12-day family vacation. We started off at Eagle Crest (Central Oregon) for 8 days with my side of the family, and then 4 days at Black Butte (also Central Oregon) with Tygh’s side of the family.

And since pictures are worth a thousand words…

537837_10151813943534462_244659255_n 539089_10151813943019462_326650965_n 556466_10151813943819462_400944944_n 1157433_10151813943719462_322504959_n image IMG_0026 IMG_3660 IMG_3660_1 IMG_3668 ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? IMG_4251

They provided the blueprint; we are building the house


We are off on our annual summer family vacation to the Central Oregon high desert (pictures next week!).  It’s been many months since I’ve got to spend time exclusively with my children for an extended period.  What I’ve really noticed is how much of a bond I’m creating with Sienna on this trip.  The first time she came, she was barely 8 weeks old.  Last year, she was just 14 months old.  Each of those times, she still felt very much like a baby.  Drinking bottles, waking in the middle of the night, barely walking, not talking.

This time, it’s so very different. She’s a toddler.  And she knows it.

She is talking up a storm, is SO active, and thank goodness the bottles are behind us. (I wish I could say the same about the waking in the middle of the night – but that’s just vacation – none of us sleep well.  And on a side note what IS it with not sleeping well on vacation? Seems like an oxymoron).

What is becoming so apparent on this trip, though, is that she has the most fun personality. She is still as spunky as ever, but now she’s FUNNY.  And she’s always talking, and laughing, and making faces, and just cracking us up.  She is still fearless, and on a regular basis, strangers comment on her daredevil personality.  Be it from jumping without looking off the top of the playground set, to jumping without looking into the deep end of the pool.  (My sister-in-law reminded me that this is actually a good personality trait– no one will ever take advantage of her. I agree.  As long as I can keep her alive).

And intertwined in this so fun personality is …. me.  She has my mannerisms.  She says things I do, with the same intonation and inflection that I do.  She imitates me. She is becoming my mini-me.

What I love about this is that she’s also so very uniquely her own person, with her own separate set of genes.  My genes didn’t cause her to talk like me, giggle like me, make the same faces I do.  She does that because I’m her mom, and she looks up to  me.  She wants to BE like me.

It is beyond humbling and honoring.

Our donors – God bless them – gave Sienna her genetic blueprint.  But, Tygh and I are building the home that is Sienna.



Three year olds are strange and funny creatures.

We are knee deep in potty training now and this has allowed for some entertaining moments.  Maria has decided that she wants to wear her Dora underwear, with the first time being during our trip to the state fair.  One can imagine my skepticism at this prospect considering she still hasn’t done #2 on the potty and we were going to be at the fair in the time frame of her normal poo.  Not wanting to discourage her, I allowed the underwear, and packed extra clothes and undies with us.  I had to let go of my disdain for public restrooms knowing there was no way she was going to be able to hover.  We discussed not touching anything, especially the toilet seat.  We came through our three hour trip successfully.  We made four trips to the potty – three successful and one aborted mission with the phrase “my pee not coming.”  I asked her to put on a pull-up during naps and she complied and promptly pooped in it.  When I asked why she didn’t go on the potty she replied “because I don’t want to.”  I let it go…after all this was her response regarding peeing on the potty only a month ago.

Grant, on the other hand, has pooping on the potty pretty well mastered as long as he’s not “too busy” and now asks me to close the door so he can “have privacy and surprise me.”  I look at him one more time before I walk out and he says “this is going to take a few minutes.”   I close the door and he’s gripping the sides of the toilet seat as if’s he’s preparing for blast off.  Sure enough, a few minutes later I get the call “Mommy!  I have a surprise for you!”

Grant is also pushing the limits with his hard headedness.  Their lesson at church this weekend was about Naaman and how God told Elijah to tell Naaman to dip into the water 7 times and he would be healed.  Naaman obeyed and was healed.  Grant was telling us about this and we reiterated how important it is to obey because when we obey God it can heal us and keep us from getting hurt.  Fast forward to bedtime the next night when he didn’t want to do anything we asked.  I was looking at him and said “buddy, you need to obey and that will make life easier, I promise.”  Through tears he says “I don’t want to obey God.”    Sigh.  I picked him up and sat in the rocker and prayed with him.  I felt that asking for help was a better option than giving into defeat.

Waiting for Prince Charming


This last weekend was one of my best girlfriend’s bachelorette parties. I’m also a bridesmaid in her wedding, along with two of my other closest friends. It is indeed cause for great celebration.

And as we drove off in the Barbie-pink extended Hummer limo (oh, yeah), I got to thinking about my precious Sienna. How one day, she may be all dolled up, with a .75 cent plastic crown from Dollar Tree on her head, heading off for an afternoon of wine tasting with her friends in celebration of finding her Prince Charming.

Is Sienna’s husband even born yet? What will he look like? Will she choose a man of integrity, honor, and humility? Will he love and respect her like she deserves? What will her new last name be?

I remember Tygh’s dad telling me after Tygh had proposed that he and his wife had been praying for their son’s wife since he was a little boy. What an honor to think that I was in response to their prayers. Wow.

I have not yet specifically set out to pray for Sienna’s husband on a deliberate and regular basis, but this last weekend convicted me that perhaps I should. My dear friend has found her Prince Charming, but she indeed had to kiss a lot of frogs (don’t we all). Do I pray that Sienna will be spared the same heartache? Do I pray that she won’t, in the hopes that it will promote endurance and produce character in her?

It’s tough being a mom of kids, period. But I feel a particular responsibility being the mom of a girl. In a lot of ways, this world is a lot rougher on girls than it is on boys. (And yet, I have to say my son cries a whole heck of a lot more than my daughter).

It’s a lot to shoulder, but also a proud and mighty burden to bear.

Too much to take in during just an afternoon of wine tasting with the girls, but the grape is starting to grow on the vine.



A few weeks ago I bought some little tokens that say “I got caught being good” and a couple of items from the $1 Spot at Target (which is like crack for a three year old).  I told the kids that if they earned 10 tokens they could get a prize from the newly created prize closet.  They can earn tokens for good behavior and using the potty.  They can also lose tokens for undesirable behavior.  Maria is rather compliance driven and likes to get stuff, so she took quite well to the idea.  Grant started out okay, but quickly lost tokens and we thought he might never get his bat.  Maria would declare “I WINNING!” and would also tell us when Grant needed to lose a token if he wasn’t behaving (she stopped when we told her she would lose tokens for telling us how to deal with Grant).   It was no surprise that she made it to ten first.  Grant eventually declared “I don’t like tokens” out of his frustration with his progress.  However, the child is hard headed and his stubbornness leads to loss of rewards.  The following conversation will shed some light on his thought process:

Grant: I’ll do better on Sunday.

Me: Well buddy, today is Sunday.

Grant: What day comes after Sunday?

Me: Monday.

Grant: I’ll do better on Monday.

It’s one of those things where you can’t help but laugh.  He didn’t miss a beat.  He’s a smart one for sure.

Grant finally did earn enough tokens for his prize and we went to Target with them to stock up.  It was like torture not getting to immediately play with their stuff, but also allowed us leverage since they know some of the goodies that await them.  In fact, it only took two days for them both to earn another prize and Maria even went to the potty at the nursery at church the other day.  She gets so excited when she goes to the bathroom.  She looks up and smiles and says “I peed!  Want to see?”  She also gets excited for Grant and wants to see his potty deposits as well.  We’ve definitely come a long way since her absolute refusal to sit on the potty a month ago and I’m hoping this means we are on the road to being diaper free.   $30 spent on cheap gimmicks will be worth it!



Had one of the scariest experiences of my life the recently.  I had taken the kids to a Waterfront Park with my parents for a concert.  An old railroad bridge was recently converted into a pedestrian bridge and there are nice playgrounds along the river so there were plenty of sights and sounds.  We walked the bridge and listened to music and on our way back to the car I told the kids they could play on the playground for a few minutes.  Both kids were on one play set and I was watching Maria go through a tunnel.  I looked up and couldn’t put my eyes on Grant.  I asked Mom if she could see him, thinking he was just behind or under something in the same area…he wasn’t.  We both started to panic slightly as we couldn’t find him.  She went one direction with Maria and I went the other.  I was yelling his name and someone asked who I was looking for…I explained my three year old son.  They asked what he was wearing and pointed to a child who was wearing the same colors, but it wasn’t Grant.  My heart was racing when I heard my Mom call my name and thankfully she had found him.  He had wandered to another play set and even though I had initially looked that direction, I didn’t see him.

Relief doesn’t even begin to explain how I felt when I put my eyes on him.  In that 2-3 minutes of him being “lost” I processed bad scenario after scenario.  I immediately picked him up and explained how scared I was and that he cannot wander off like that.  It was then he started to cry.  Partially because I was fussing at him and partially because I said we were leaving.

We made it to our car, buckled in and headed home.  I felt like I wanted to throw up while Maria lectured Grant.  “G, you can’t wun away wike that anymore!”  The rest of the evening was normal but for the fact that I spent extra time holding them and reiterated a previous conversation about strangers and how we have to stay close to Mommy and Daddy and not ever go with strangers.  I’m grateful that he was fine and pray I never have to experience that feeling again.  Not only can I not imagine something happening to one of them, I can’t imagine them not having each other. They were a package deal and I want to keep it that way!



You probably know by now that I have a daughter, who recently turned 2. Her name is Sienna.

God has blessed her in many, many ways. She is genetically gifted (she’s gorgeous). She’s funny. She’s spunky. She’s pugnacious. She’s tall (over 3 feet). She loves to eat. She loves to sleep.

But what you may not know is that this girl is f.e.a.r.l.e.s.s.

This point has been driven home as of late.

Some recent examples:

1) She insisted on going down a 50′ spiraled water slide, by herself, head first, the very first time we took her to the pool. She went completely underwater, bobbed right up, with her toothy smile, and shouted, “Again!” And then she climbed out of the water, and marched right over to the long spiraled staircase, elbowing the older kids out of the way to get to the top. I just stood in the pool, at the bottom of the slide, aghast.

2) At her gymnastics class, she does belly flops into the foam pit, while the older kids delicately climb in.

3) At her tumbling gym, she climbs head first into a tall bucket, no idea what’s inside the bucket. Her little legs sticking straight up in the air.

4) At the park, if you look away for even a second, she has run into the forest, and lain down in the brush so you can’t see her. And when you find her to try and scold her, she just looks up at you, giggling amongst the weeds.

5) If Brae so much as breathes wrong on her, she kicks her foot into his face.

6) She prefers to drink water from the dog’s bowl.

7) She eats bugs.

8) She rolls in dirt.

9) During snacktime, when another kid isn’t looking, she has traded her empty milk carton for his full one, and has taken a bite of his sandwich.

10) She puts on her shoes, throws her sparkly doggy purse over her shoulder, and walks out the front door without even saying ‘goodbye.’

I know that, channeled correctly, these are envious traits that will serve her well in life. However, as a toddler, my fearless daughter has stricken fear into the heart of her mother. It makes me wonder, Did 10 years frozen in a test tube incite this balls-to-the wall zest for life? I may never know.

pic1 pic2