Vivi turned 4 Last Week

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Is this girl not the most beautiful you’ve ever seen? Photos were taken by her pawpa Jeff Atchley. For her birthday, her most prised gift was a magnifying glass. She loves to look at things close up. We haven’t made much headway with her ear. Her Doctor says he can make her a prosthetic ear canal in a few years. Dave & I are torn at the moment.   I can’t help but think about the band Smokey Lonesome. The girl, Julia Dill has the same affliction as Vivi. Should I even say affliction? Julia can rock it! Anytime I get sad about Vivi, I think about Julia. Listen to their song Inner Skinnered.  It rocks. And Vivi Rocks. She sings like there’s no tomorrow. Specific speech patterns are something else.  But that doesn’t stop her from singing. Currently we go through 3 hours of speech therapy a week.  Other than the speech, she LOVES make up, Polly Pockets, bugs and really wants an ipad. She’s a normal girl. They are wanting us to get her an assistive hearing device for school.  We probably will. But, it’s not covered under insurance. And it’s 2500$ Drug addiction? covered under the disability act. Same as alcohol. Does this make sense to you? A hard of hearing child is not covered, but if she had an alcohol problem, maybe she’d get in. I’m trying to get her to like beer, but so far, it’s not working. JUST KIDDING.  This child is fun, and beautiful and full of imagination. She’s perfect. Check out Smokey Lonesome for more from Julia!

3 Year Old Logic: Ice Cream and Car Exhaust

vivi icecream

“I have chocolate ice cream and you have white ice cream. I want to lick your white ice cream. We should SHARE.” As she holds out her drippy, sloppy, soggy ice cream in my direction.

You’re passing on sharing ice cream you evil mother? Just wait. I’m going to let you clean me all up from the ice cream fiasco  get new clothes on and just when you sit down on the porch, I’m going to run over to the car for no explainable reason at all and jam my arm into the exhaust pipe as far as it will go and when I’m covered in black carbon I will laugh maniacally as you try to catch me and you will rue the day you would not swap cones. RUE IT!

vivi tail pipe

Bella is a Middle Schooler

I know they say not to blink when your kids are young, that everything happens so fast. And apparently it’s true. It feels like maybe a month ago that I was bawling my eyes out on the first day of kindergarten for Bella. And now she’s finished grade school. She’s like this whole complete person. Always my daughter but no longer my baby. If it weren’t for cash and transportation, I don’t know that she’d need me for anything. I tried to get her to hold my hand in the parking lot the other day, for old times sake. You should have seen the look that got me. What? Vivi was doing it!

Bella and Katie at the 6th grade send off.

Bella and Katie at the 6th grade send off.



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This is Bella & me before her very first grade school dance in kindergarten. And before her very last grade school dance in 6th grade.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post of her prom pics.

Luke turned 7!

In keeping up with the theme of actually getting the kids photos uploaded…. Luke turned 7 in *sigh* December. Yes, you read that correctly.

Luke is all things Pokemon, ninjas, Minecraft and Doctor Who. He is also a very photogenic little devil!

Luke is 7

Egg Salad For dinner!

Liza: I hate eggs.
Luke: I love eggs, but this egg hates me.
Liza: I just wanted to crack some damn eggs!
Me: sigh let’s refocus on the learning moment.


Dear Children:

Things I don’t care about:
1) what you just built in Minecraft.
2) how many snails you can fit in your hand.
3) why your bedtime is unfair.
4) what the difference is between the red Lego ninja and black Lego ninja.
5) that your sibling has 1/6 more cake than you.
6) that you lost your phone
7) that the world is against you because it’s raining and you can’t swim.
8) that the old Star Trek movies aren’t quite up to par of the new Star Trek movies
9) that your sister has the last small bag of Cheetos.
10) that the cat prefers (insert any name here). Frankly, I agree with the cat.

Just to name a few…..

Liza Turned 6! (March again)




Liza is something else. We call her the bear. Sometimes she’s my “little bear”. I want to say this past year has been fantastic, but frankly, it’s been hard. For several years we’ve been fighting an uphill battle with a mood disorder. She’s very young to diagnose, so we’re leaving it at “general mood disorder” for now. She’s sweet as apple pie with a 2nd cup of sugar dumped on top, sometimes. Others, she can rage, destroy things and injure people, including herself. This isn’t normal 6 year old stuff, like it wasn’t 5, 4, or 3 year old stuff.

But, we live day to day and take things one baby step at a time. Really, that’s all there is to do. Focus on her great days.

She had a cowgirl party for her birthday. She loved it. There were friends, family and lots of snacks renamed to have “Old West” names.

Grandma Marge had a rootin tootin good time!

grandma marge


Liza likes to help cook. One night she made dinner mostly by herself. I posted the recipe HERE.


She’s all about the camera! She’s beautiful and SO funny. This child cracks me up more than the rest of them combined.

Liza Birthday Collage


I hope this is your year, Liza! We can do it!

Vivi’s First Haircut

She has been talking about a haircut forever & I told her after her birthday photos. Her birthday is in August, but we went ahead and did them last weekend so that made today salon day! She squeeled all the way in and all the way out but in the chair she was so nervous she couldn’t speak. She watched the stylist like a hawk. A hawk with scissors near its head.


Bella Turned 12… (in March)

I know! Wait, are we more surprised she’s 12 or that it’s the end of May & I’m just posting pics? Let’s go with the 1st one.

This girl makes me so proud. She’s had a fantastic year! She finished grade school. She’s writing. She’s kind. She’s concerned. She’s beautiful. She’s very low key. And most importantly, she’s learning how to think for herself.  She’s figuring out her own opinions on the world and other people, and even when they differ with my own, I think it’s amazing!

If you follow my twitter or FB page, you might notice I joke about her being a moody teen. The truth is: she’s 5% moody & 95% awesome.  Don’t get me wrong, during that 5% we’re all ducking for cover, but I’m ok with that.

Bella & Katie (BFF4E) decided they needed to play “fluffy bunny” at 2am. I believe the goal is to say fluffy bunny every time you stick a marshmallow in your mouth and the last one who can actually speak, wins. It was amusing, to say the least.

Bella & Katie


Funny girl.



She chose a Red Velvet birthday cake. No writing. (12, you know?)





It’s good to see them take a break from trying to be so grown up. Although, I think I caught Dave on this thing too, so I’m not sure what that says.



No formal photos this year. (yet!)



We’re only 2 months in, but so far, 12 has been pretty great.

I Can’t Figure Out This Child!

Bella just got done taking her placement tests for middle school classes. I know, I can’t possibly be old enough to have a middle schooler. Except the back pain that screams at me when I bathe the younger 2. Wait, this isn’t about me.
Anyway, I’m very proud of her. She tested at half way through 8th grade math level & half way through 12th grade reading level.
Then today I check her homework. She wrote a beautiful essay on the history of Islam, and then in a different class, had the question: explain the differences between erosion and weathering. To which her answer was, “erosion and weathering are different because they are different”.
I’m thinking that class was at the end of the day.