He Likes Me

You may love me but in truth…not like me.  You may like me but in truth….not love me.  Being greedy, I want both.  I want to be loved and liked.  I have been thinking about the differences between these two this week reflecting on a conversation I had with Ty.  He is sunshine to my soul.  He speaks my love language.  If you have never read Gary Chapman’s Love Language book, you really must.  It is truly a MUST read.  Understanding the love language of those you live with is so important.  Jim’s primary love language is physical touch.  Mine is affirmation.   The boys are tougher to decipher but I think at this stage of life, Ty’s primary language is physical touch and Tanner’s is quality time.  Jim and Tanner both have trouble speaking the love language of affirmation – they are not by nature expressors.  Ty excels at it.  Therefore, on any given day in our household, it is usually Ty that knows what to say to soothe mama’s soul. 

I have had a hard week.  Two different heart breaking things happened this week and I have needed a mental health break for the last two days.  The boys and I will be decorating gingerbread cookies this afternoon – you know how comfort food cheers me up.  (And a big thanks to our dear friends Matt and Amanda who knew to show up last night with Olive Garden and Dark Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream on the night agenda – I needed that).

Where am I going with this?  🙂

The other night I was sitting on the couch watching television with Jim.  Ty cuddled up in my lap and was playing his PSP.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I tend to stare at my kids.  This drives Tanner nuts and he often sits on the opposite side of the couch from me to enforce his six year old boundaries.  He knows if he is sitting within arms distance that I won’t be able to resist touching him, snuggling him, kissing him….etc.  Ty, however, enjoys this attention.

This particular evening I just kept watching Ty.  Every few minutes I would squeeze him, kiss his head, caress his cheek, snuggle my face to his.  Thankfully he tolerates this because I simply can’t resist expressing my flood of love for my boys.  After a bit, Ty looks up into my eyes and very seriously says “I like you too“.

I nearly cried.  It was so precious.  It was as if I had spoken volumes of love to him and he was responding to it but in fact, I had not said a word.  Ty read my eyes though.  He knew exactly what was on my heart.  What I was expressing to him through my love looks and cuddles and kisses and he responded to it.

Later I was teasing my adorable husband and told him that he and Tanner could stand to learn a lesson or two from Ty.  Jim said, “Doni you got to know that Ty just knows how to work you” :).  I then said, “I don’t care!  I like it!  If he is working me, I love it but even if that is the case, he STILL can READ me.  He knew exactly what I was non verbally saying to him and he responded to it like it was natural as breathing!” 

It also did not escape my attention that he said “I LIKE” you.  That in and of itself was a treasure.  We say “I love you” all the time but in this instance, Ty was talking about something else.  He was not referring to the commitment of love we have for one another parent to child, he was simply saying “Ya mom – I know you like me as a person and I like you too”.  How great is that?   Ty – you put mama’s heart in motion and I am so glad you are M I N E.

Baby Baby

By Amy Grant 

Baby, baby
I’m taken with the notion
To love you with the sweetest of devotion.

Baby, baby
My tender love will flow from
The bluest sky to the deepest ocean.

Stop for a minute
Baby, I’m so glad you’re mine, yeah
You re mine.

Baby, baby
The stars are shining for you
And just like me I’m sure that they adore you.

Baby, baby
Go walking through the forest
The birds above are singing you a chorus.

Stop for a minute
Baby, they’re so glad you’re mine, oh yeah
And ever since the day you put my heart in motion
Baby I realize that there’s just no getting over you.

Baby, baby
In any kind of weather
I’m here for you always and forever.

Baby, baby
No muscle man could sever
My love for you is true and it will never

Stop for a minute
Baby, I’m so glad you’re mine
And ever since the day you put my heart in motion
Baby I realize that there’s just no getting over you.

And ever since the day you put my heart in motion
Baby I realize that there’s just no getting over you.
Over you.

Baby, baby
Always and forever
Baby I’m so glad that
Here for you baby
So glad you’re mine
Baby I’m so glad that
When I think about you it makes me smile
Baby, baby be mine
Baby I’m so glad that
Don’t stop giving love
Dint stop, no
Baby I’m so glad that you’re mine
Baby I’m so glad
Baby I’m so glad that
When I think about you it makes me smile.


Egg Nog and Gingerbread

It’s a tradition.  Put up the Christmas Tree, play Christmas music, bake gingerbread cookies, and drink egg nog laced with ginger ale. Yesterday was fun!  True, my tree is a bit ornament lopsided thanks to the boys decorating but I like it that way because it gives evidence of the little hands that sweetly arranged it.  My nativity set looks just like last year – Tanner moves all the buildings, people, and animals in real close to Jesus so they can all look at him.  Brought tears to my eyes to see it again this year.  I wondered if at six he would still think to position it this way.

And I must brag for a moment and tell you that I made the best gingerbread cookies EVER.  I LOVE gingerbread cookies and have a great recipe for them.  Jim wasn’t too pleased that I only made ONE batch however so I may have to remedy that quickly.   My list of “cute stuff” for the boys has been steadily growing but I have been waiting for some quiet time to write about them.  Not much quiet time available lately.  Amazing how hectic life can get and with the Christmas season in full swing, it only stands to get worse.  I ordered most of my gifts online this year but I still have more shopping to do.  That will be fun with two little boys.  LOL.

My Tanner James

One day while reading, The Cat in the Hat, I told Tanner that every kid really should at least try “Green Eggs”.  Turns out, like Sam I am, Tanner LIKES them.  Tanner begged me to make them for dinner and Jim’s face turned about as green as the eggs just to look at them.  Tough to convince a person they taste the same but THEY DO! 🙂

Tanner is doing quite well with his schoolwork I think.  We are having to really work on phonics because he “gets” whole word recognition better than blends.  Aunt Karen (who is a Kindergarten teacher) suggested that I teach him a simple vowel rule that would help with phonics.  She told me to have him locate all the vowels in a word and count them.  If there is one vowel, the vowel will say its sound.  If there are two vowels, the first vowel will shout its name and the other vowel will be quiet.  Even though reading may be the most challenging for Tanner (in the sense that he gets most frustrated with this activity), he also prioritizes it as his favorite part of school right now.  I am soooo thankful for that.  I had him watch the Leap Frog Storybook Factory again recently and when it was over he said “This show just makes me want to get out pencil and paper and just write some words!”  LOL.  Now that’s motivation for you. 🙂  I really need to write those people a letter of appreciation.

Math is going along pretty well too but Singapore math really is getting hard.  To be barely out of the first quarter of first grade and already be subtracting 2 digit figures (example 18 – 6), seems a bit much to me but maybe I don’t have a great global perspective on that.  At any rate, Tanner is handling it pretty well.  I taught him the hungry bug 9 rule and was amazed at how quickly he gets base 10 math.  (Example:  He has to add 7 plus 9. I told him that 9 needs to eat one number to become 10.  Therefore, if he eats one of 7, 7 becomes 6 and nine becomes 10.  Answer is 16.)  Tanner can do base 10 like this in his head rather quickly without manipulative’s.  I was pretty surprised that he caught on to that immediately especially considering I have to explain it several times to adults LOL.  When he demonstrated a couple of weeks ago that he knew all of his 10’s and that was easy for him, it seemed to make sense to teach him to convert everything to base 10 addition.  What do you know…it worked:).

Tanner is also very good at memorization.  We work on scriptural memory verses everyday and also the Westminster Catechism for young children.  I was not raised in a denomination that practiced catechisms but in the case of the Westminster, it is full of fundamental theology and I thought it would be a wonderful tool for teaching my kids foundational truths.  We are through the first 20 questions and Tanner whizzes through them like a pro.  I don’t work with Ty on this yet but he knows quite a bit of it just from listening to us.  (There are 172 questions so it will take us until the third grade to finish this I think:)

While I am on the subject of what he excels at, holy cow you should watch him play Halo 3.  For awhile I thought everyone was just commenting on how good Tanner is…FOR SIX YEARS OF AGE.  Now I realize that he is very fair competition for his daddy and uncles.   Jim allows him to play live but only because Tanner has a family account setting and can only interact with people that Jim chooses (who are of course only a short list of friends and Tanner’s Uncles).  It is pretty funny for me to get phone calls from my brothers asking if Tanner can come out and play.  LOL.  He must have great hand eye coordination but according to Jim, he is also a good strategist. 

My one complaint about Tanner as of late is that he is NOT a snuggler.  It’s killing me!  I just stare at him and try to hold myself back from smothering (and then he sees me and does the “aw mom” thing and giggles).  Those incredible kissable lips just drive me crazy.  I get to the point of not being able to take it anymore and then I pounce him and just cover him.  Can’t help myself. 🙂  At least he KNOWS he is loved.

Most Common Words Out of Tanner’s Mouth

“TY your NOT posed to do that”!

“That’s it!  I am telling!  RIGHT NOW!”  (The background noise to this is “I am sorry Tanner.  I am sorry!  I said I am sorry!)

My Ty Jordan

The list gets lengthy when I start writing about Ty because he is three.  Three year olds have a plethora of wisdom to impart and trouble to brew.  Where to even start?


Catechism – As I mentioned earlier, Ty also knows a good percentage of the Westminster Cat.  One of the questions pertains to the trinity and the answer is “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”  I get such a kick out of letting Ty answer this one because he says “The Father, the Son, and the HARRY Spirit”.  LOL


Cerebral Palsy – More and more I notice the subtle traces of Ty’s CP.  I think as he grows, certain aspects draw a tad more attention.   Still, we are so grateful that he really isn’t limited by CP.  I am not planning on putting him on the top bunk bed anytime soon but most things he handles just fine.  Jim and I have had an ongoing debate the last few years as to how his CP impacts him.  Every time Ty is out with us and we are walking for any extended length, he will tell us that walking is too hard and he is too tired and needs to be carried.  Usually we say NO.  I have to wonder though if his CP does in fact make him fatigue earlier than others (and I strongly suspect that I am right).  Daddy on the other hand, believes that Ty knows how to work a deal.  Probably a little bit of both. 🙂  I love it when he says “Mommy I am hard at walking”.  He never gets that grammatically correct.  Recently we were going somewhere and Ty says “That is going to take TOEVER to get there!”  I liked that one too.


Brothers – Definite sibling rivalry going on around here.  Some days it is funny and other days it isn’t.  This was a funny one.  Ty was planning what he would have for breakfast the next morning before bed and was very worried that Tanner was going to wake up first and get the last pop tart.  He said “Mommy when Tanner wakes up he is going to rip my pop tart off!!”   Ty has also started to notice that Tanner has been getting special time with Daddy at night and he has been left out.  Jim has told bedtime stories to Tanner since Tanner was tiny BUT Tanner has a LONG attention span and could listen.  It has taken Ty a long time to get to the point of being able to sit still for this.  A couple of weeks ago, I was tucking Ty in and he started interrogating me on this topic.  “Mommy what is Daddy doing in Tanner’s bedroom?  Is he telling him a story?  I want a story!  What is daddy doing in there with Tanner?  Is he tickling him?  I want him to come tickle me!”  Needless to say, Ty is now participating in nightly story time with Dad. 🙂


General Funny Stuff –

“Don’t mess up my hair cut” – if you have noticed Ty’s hair lately, it is nearly buzzed.  How on earth could I mess up his haircut?

“Tummy in my soup” – Don’t ask me what that means but when he is being silly he says it often.

Ty woke up one morning last week (actually was awakened) and was clearly not quite ready to be up.  His first question when I went in to get him was “HOW COME I AM UP?” 

In the car one day, I asked the boys if they wanted to drive over to Sweetie’s and show her our Dear Birthparent letter (they have no idea what that means by the way).  Ty’s response was “Well of course we should!”  Alrighty then – and off to Sweetie’s we went. 🙂

Ty has been asking me if he is getting “Presidents” for Christmas.  LOL.  Should I be worried that my child confuses presidents and presents?  Only my kid huh? LOL

Ty kept asking me for Daddy’s “galera” for breakfast and I finally figured it out.  “Granola”. 

Cuddle Bug – While Ty lacks the attention span for long cuddling, he is by far more cuddly than Tanner.  Every morning he insists on cuddle time (which lasts 15.7 seconds) and more and more, he likes cuddle time at night.  He also has learned that mommy can massage and softly tickle his extremities during tickle time and is now begging me to tickle his back, and his arm, then his other arm, this his foot….etc.  Daddy gets jealous.  🙂  I told Jim though that Ty always says “Oh that feels sooooooooooo nice.”  Jim is trying that out but he doesn’t emphasize all the words quite as well as Ty.  As Jim says, Ty DOES know how to work it.  The one thing that I find aggravating though is that often times Ty climbs into Daddy’s lap, THEN puts his feet in my lap so I can tickle.  Nice.  Ty also has decided that he loves me to put baby powder on his feet at night and tells me how niiiiiicccccceeeee it feels.  One evening when I got him ready for bed he surprised me with “These jammies are sooooo cozy.  They make me feel snug as a bug in a rug.” 

Potty Training – Nope.  Yes Ty will be four in January (but remember May would have been the true date).  He is totally disinterested.  We were at the library a week ago and Tanner was complaining about a smelly diaper.  I took Ty out to the car to change him and Tanner said “Ty!  When you feel it you need to go to the restroom!”  Ty’s answer sums up my reason for waiting.  He looked at Tanner and said, “Ya right!”

Smart Stuff – Ty has known his letter sounds since he was two but lately I have noticed him walking around the house saying things like “B.  B.  B say’s bbbbbbbbbbb.  Bbbbb as in “BBBrinkman”.  In the family, we tease and say that Ty can read because his recognition is so great (just like Tanner ironically).  Yesterday I watched in amazement and was nearly convinced that he can indeed read.  🙂  He asked me if he could watch the Upside Down Show.  I said he could but before I could get to the remote and find the recorded program on our DVR, Ty had already grabbed it.  I watched in utter fascination as he took all of about 7 seconds to (a) press guide (b) choose the right option for recorded list (c) scroll through a lengthy list of text names and select the Upside Down Show (d) hit the play button.  I had NO idea he could do that especially since I never let him have that remote.  Does he wake up during the night and practice or what?  How could he have done this so proficiently and how did he know which program in the list said “Upside Down Show”??????  Scary.

Those two make me giggle every day.

Off to decorate the Church for the annual Christmas party soon.






I Need A Girl

Pictured above – my niece Braxtyn on the left and my niece Karsyn on the right.

I will be VERY happy if I have a third boy however, digital editing is much more fun with girls don’t you think?  The above animated gif is a throwback to Sleeping Beauty when Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather kept changing Beauty’s dress color.  🙂  I could have made the animation smoother but a) it was my first attempt and b) I didn’t want to increase the file size by adding several dissolving transitions.  And yes Jodi and Brooke, I will make you a copy.  Which color do you prefer?  Pink, Green or Blue?  🙂

The Monday before Halloween, our little homeschool group had Fall Festival day at Brooke’s.  All the kids had to do book reports.  Tanner did his very first book report on “Cowboy Christmas” and he did quite well I thought.  Anyhow, Brooke’s mom (pictured above), dressed up for the event as a Fairy Godmother.  As far back as I can remember, Dawn has entertained me with her Halloween costumes.  She is too much fun.   I was driving behind her on the way to Brooke’s and I kept wondering why it looked like she had wings on.  🙂  She kept traffic smiling too.  🙂  Brooke had several pumpkins sitting on the porch and I asked Dawn to pose and try to turn the pumpkin into a carriage for me.  Wasn’t sure why I need that shot but I knew I would think of something LOL.

I made the above picture in a small format and then could have kicked myself because I wanted to print it for Dawn and Brooke.  I made a new one and didn’t compare to the old as I went and it turned out quite different.  Not sure which I like better.

Farewell my Fairy friends….


P.S.  I totally forgot to include this year’s pumpkin project!  Jim is so great at pumpkin carvings:).  You’ll never guess the who or the why!  (LOL – YES that is sarcasm – who else would have inspired this year’s pumpkin?)


Give Thanks

Heidi asked me this week where I am finding time for graphic creativity.  She guessed at the answer and she was right – HALO 3!  I just love Halo nights sometimes.   Playing in photoshop is therapeutic for me.  My little haven of fun.  Stuff I want to do but don’t have to do.  When I browse other blogs, one thing that keeps me going back is pictures.  I really like blog posts that have good pictures.  Angie Hunt has interesting graphics all the time and I often wonder where in the world she finds them.  I am trying to get in the habit of including interesting shots when I post so that means I get to play around in photoshop more.  🙂

Tomorrow, we will be going out to Brooke’s parents house for Thanksgiving.  It is so convenient for me that my MIL and Brooke’s mom are best friends.  🙂  This allows for very easy family holidays (Thanksgiving and Easter anyhow).   

I have been intending to blog about a topic dear to my heart all week and it seems even more appropriate with Thanksgiving on the horizon.  In short, I am trying to learn to count my blessings and kick my fear habit to the curb.  But first, I will backtrack a bit….

Ever since we made the decision to submit our birthletter, I have found myself having bouts of post traumatic stress.  The tears will just come on at a moments notice.  If I see a baby, I will cry.  If you talk to me about premature babies or babies with health issues, I will cry.  If we talk about loss or miscarriages, I will cry.  If we talk about adoption I will cry.  If we talk about infertility…get the picture?

Just over a week ago I was talking to my friend Laurie at church and we were discussing the possibility of her granddaughter being born at 27 weeks.  The silly thing was, I knew the baby was okay as was the mom.  Her daughter had been hospitalized the week before and there was a very short lived fear that turned out to be unsubstantiated.  Even knowing all was fine, I found myself choking back a sob.  That’s when I knew I was coming totally undone. 

This past weekend was the Women of Faith Amazing Freedom Conference.  It was awesome, as usual.  I went with a group of 17 ladies from our church and several of us stayed over night at a hotel for the fun of it.  I had the blessing of rooming with Jodi and Amanda.  We were having a late night talk about the many things that plague us and I brought up my list.  Here it is:

What if it takes forever to be chosen?  What if we get chosen, and the baby dies?  What if we get chosen, and the baby is born premature?  What if the baby has extreme medical issues….again?  What if, God forbid, we get chosen and the birthmom changes her mind and we leave the hospital empty handed?  Worse yet…what if we take the baby home and then birthmom decides NOT to sign the relinquishment and we lose the baby after having him/her in our home and heart?  What would I tell the kids?  Do I tell everyone to come see the baby before the relinquishment’s are signed or do I make them wait?  What do I tell my children?  Should I send them to grandparents for a few days and only let them meet baby IF relinquishment’s are signed?  How can I make these decisions?

Dad has been teaching on faith and continually mentions God’s sovereignty and purpose in our lives.  Each time I hear these messages I nod my head in agreement.  I don’t dispute that.  In fact, through the years of watching God in action, I AM UTTERLY CONVINCED of His goodness.  That isn’t my issue.  My issue is simple.  Grief still hurts.  Period.  My trust isn’t removing the pain of the grief.  So what do I fear?  More grief.

This fear quickly leads to anger, frustration, and moments of bitterness over infertility because when in this mode, I just want the path of least resistance and believe you me this is NOT it.  I AM thankful for my infertility – holy cow I AM I AM I AM – but when I am in this place again…waiting for another baby….I remember all the grief and heartache over the years and I guess it haunts me.

So while Jodi and Amanda and I were talking I told them “I know that I am missing something here.  I need a “word” on this topic but I don’t know what it is. I just know I need it and don’t have it yet.  I am praying that tomorrow, someone will say something to help me.”

The next day during the conference, one of the speakers started talking about infertility.  Within minutes I get a note from Amanda.  She is wondering if my “word” is about to be delivered.  I want to run screaming from the building because as much as I knew I needed to hear something, I also knew I didn’t want to discuss anything related to infertility.  I wanted to close my ears and sing so loud I would drown everything else out.  But then it came….

It wasn’t what was “spoken to me” – it was a verse that was presented on the video monitor – Philippians 4:6-7.  (Bunny trail…isn’t that text super cool?  Loaned a book from the library that had that tutorial in it.  The font on the “N” wasn’t the best because it jittered with the effects but still….cool.  Sometimes I over do it:) )

When I saw that verse, I had this moment of clarity that was an answer to prayer.  The Lord just spoke to my heart and reminded me that it is OKAY to grieve.  Grieving is not a symptom of faithless behavior.  What is NOT okay though, is to grieve things that haven’t happened yet!!!!!!!  God will give me permission to grieve IF He asks some hard things of me but as for today, who can know but Him what will happen?  Why assume the worst?  I’ll tell you why…because the things I wished wouldn’t happen DID happen and in multiples…BUT there are plenty of things that DID NOT happen as well.  Somehow we tend to focus on the glass half empty when we sit in fear.  I have been making excuses for worrying.  The way to avoid labeling it “sin” is by calling it grief.  What a bunch of garbage though.  While I have been mourning my past losses because I have been so focused on them (ie. thinking about my 10 babies in heaven a lot lately)….most of what I am focusing on is all the things that MIGHT happen.  The “mights” are not real grief – that story is still unwritten.  Oh the trouble I would save my soul if I would learn to live IN today.

Ty lives IN today. Never have seen anyone more accomplished at living in the moment than my TyJo. (Photo taken this week)

I have mentioned before that it amuses me that when I lay Ty down for the night, he never cries or gets upset until I actually shut the door.  He believes it isn’t final until it is FINAL.  This behavior is getting more and more pronounced.  Sometimes I wonder if all three year olds are this way or if Ty really has a terribly morphed sense of time.  Either way it works to his advantage. 

I am finding that the words “In a minute”, “In a second”, “Very soon”, “In two minutes”, “Right after…”, “In one moment” – all mean one thing to Ty –  “WOOOOHHOOOOO…it isn’t RIGHT NOW!”  🙂

If I tell him that in a minute he is going to take a nap, he thinks that is GREAT news.  In a minutes isn’t right now.  “Right now” the verdict is – he is NOT taking a nap and that is cause for celebration.  This baffles me.  Ever heard of the saying “An eternal optimist is one who thinks a housefly is looking for a way out.”?  Sheeshhhh…is this not optimism at its fullest?

I don’t predict Ty will be a worrier.  He grabs every bit of sunshine from every second of his day.  What will happen in “just a moment” is simply not relevant.  Only this moment matters.  What would my life be like if my heart were as full with the many “Thanksgivings” of the moment as Ty’s?

Dear Jesus – thank you for the gift of Ty.  What a blessing and privilege to know him, to learn from him, to witness the wonder of a life lived fully.  Please help me to spend my Thanksgiving holiday in full appreciation of your great goodness.  Help me learn to expect good from your hands – not necessarily easy or pain free – but good.  Father I love you and stand in awe of who you are.  Amen