— What is it with boys and their bowel movements? The other day, Brae wanted to play with some toys outside. He went outside, dropped his drawers, and peed. Then, he decided to take all of his clothes off, except his socks (in February?). I was preparing dinner, so I wasn’t watching him closely. When he trotted in after about 10 minutes, the bottom of his socks were black. And they smelled.

“Brae,” I asked. “Did you go poop outside?”

He nodded approvingly. “Yes, mama! C’mon, let me show you!”

And then he gallivanted me proudly around the backyard, showing me the three places he went poop, and then had stepped in each with his feet.


— The other morning, as I’m waiting for Brae to go pee, he declares, “Mama, I’m going to go pee like a Warrior!”

And then, while pants down, he proceeds to get into a warrior (think yoga-warrior) pose, and remarkably, aimed perfectly into the toilet.

— Every Sunday Tygh takes Brae to the driving range after church. They go to this local golf course called Langdon Farms that has big, beautiful red farmhouses all throughout the golf course. After they finish at the driving range, they have lunch together. The wait staff know Brae so well, his chicken nuggets and chocolate milk are already waiting for him when they step in from outside.

This last Sunday, as Tygh and Brae were driving up to the golf course, Brae began to sing:

“Old MacDonald had a farm, ee-i-ee-i-ooo… and on that farm he had some ….. (long pause) ….. golf balls… ee-i-ee-i-ooo…. and on that farm he had some ….. (long pause) ….. chicken nuggets ….. ee-i-ee-i-ooo…..”

Here are some recent pics of the kiddos (and, drumroll… Sienna. Is. Crawling!!!!!):

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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I was going to post about something completely different today, but then something happened this morning that has completely distracted me.

As I was dropping Brae and Sienna off at their little school, another parent mother approached me. She pulled me aside. I’ve got Sienna propped on my hip, cold wind blowing against us, and Brae sitting in his car seat.

“I need to tell you something,” she begins. “I think Brae may be getting picked on at school. By my son, and by this other boy.”

“Ok,” I said, as a lump wells in my throat. “What makes you think that?”

“Just some things my son is saying, like he doesn’t want to play with Brae because he’s not potty trained.”

“Well that doesn’t make sense,” I respond, “Brae is potty trained.”

“I don’t know,” she continues. “This may just be 3-year-old squalor, but my son said he doesn’t want to invite Brae for a playdate. I told him that if he’s going to invite his other friend, he has to invite Brae.”

“Ok,” I stammer, still trying to process all of this in my head, hoping that Brae isn’t overhearing any of this. “Thanks for letting me know,” I manage, as I readjust Sienna on my hip and start gathering her things out of the car.

I walked to the front door of the school kind of in a daze. Was any of this true? Does bullying really start this young? I’d always been afraid that Brae would BE the bully, not the victim. Why am I so bothered by this? Was it appropriate for this mother to tell me all of this?

I dropped Sienna off, and on my way out the door to go get Brae, I ran into the headmistress of the school. I inquired about whether she’d seen any bullying-type activities from these two boys toward Brae. She seemed shocked, which was comforting to me. “No,” she insisted. “And if we do, we put a stop to it. But you know, one day, these kids are friends, one day they aren’t. Somebody hears that somebody else had a birthday party that they weren’t invited to, so they aren’t friends for a week.”

As I walked toward the car to get Brae, I knew that the headmaster was right. I remember how those school years can be. But why am I still so bothered by this? I don’t even know if it’s true.

As I unstrapped Brae from his carseat, I asked him, “So, are James and Max your friends?” He looked at me surprised and then said, “Mommy! I don’t want to go to school!” and started a little temper tantrum. (You have to keep in mind that Brae has been throwing a temper tantrum just about every morning since Sienna was born when I drop him off at school. He doesn’t seem like he ever wants to go, and yet, he’s never ready to leave when I pick him up in the afternoon. So I try not to read too much into this).

As I was driving away from the school, I could not get all of this out of my head.

We’ve tried so hard to make Brae not an “obvious” target of bullying. He doesn’t have a strange haircut. He wears “cool” clothes. He’s a confident kid. He’s a joker. He’s potty-trained (phew!). He’s learning his manners. He’s a smart kid.

And that’s where it hit me. I can do everything in my power to prepare him to enter this world, but I can do nothing about how other people act. I’m not responsible for the actions of others. My job as Brae’s Mommy is to equip him for this world. And, there are bullies in this world. Heck, there are bullies at my work. But that doesn’t mean I don’t go to work. If I were to teach Brae that every time he’s faced with an obstacle, he quits and turns around, I would be doing Brae a great disservice.

At the same time, no child should be subjected to bullying. School should be a safe place.

The problem with this situation is that I don’t really know what has happened, if anything. And this other mother doesn’t know either. We’re at the mercy of the finite vocabulary and infinite imagination of our sons.

At this moment, I plan to probe a little deeper with some of the other teachers at the school to see if they notice anything. I also plan on asking some non-leading questions of Brae tonight to see if I can elicit anything further.

There is another mother-friend at the school who is planning to take her son out. He’s a little bit older, and a very shy, reserved boy. She believes, based on things he has told her, that perhaps he’s not having the best time at school. He’s an artsy kid and she wants to find a school that may fit her son a little more.

I definitely do not feel at the same place she is. I love this school. It’s a full Spanish immersion school. It’s quaint, organic, a real neighborhood feel. During the summer, I’m able to walk the kids to and from school. I want Brae to stay in this school. But that desire pales in comparison to wanting the best for my son.

In this situation, it’s just so hard to know what that is.

I’m taking suggestions.








On Sunday, January 15, we dedicated Sienna at our church. What this means is that we made a commitment to raise her in a Christian family, knowing and loving the Lord.

My grandmother insisted on buying her dedication dress, and because we were dedicating her to God, we thought the more gaudy the dress, the better. She was a pink poof ball. I loved it.

On our way to church, I tried to explain to Brae what it meant that we were dedicating Sienna to God.
Me: “God gave Sienna to us as a gift, and today, we are going to give her back to God.”
Brae: (Long pause). “Mommy, I want to go golfing.”

Good talk, Russ.

Unfortunately, none of the professional pictures turned out that great, due to lighting, so the only shots that we really got were from my sister’s camera (below).

Some other Sienna highlights:

— Girl weighs over 20 lbs. She’s in 12-18 month, oh heck, yes some 2T clothes.

— She has 7 teeth, and the 8th is bulging.

— She just (like this morning) learned how to get into a sitting position from lying down. She also just recently learned how to get from sitting to lying down. She’s rolling, rolling, rolling. She gets on all 4’s and rocks back and forth, and kind of crawls backward, but no forward motion yet.

— She’s eating solids (pureed), but no real solids yet. She can’t seem to yet figure out how to move the food from the front of her tongue to the back. So when I’ve tried to feed her solids, she tends to gag and puke up what she’s just eaten.

— Still the only person who can get her to belly laugh is her brother. Which is odd, because he likely poses the greatest threat to her safety. But, all he has to do is walk in the room, and she just lights up like a Christmas tree. She adores him.

Brae. Sigh. That boy. I know most parents say this, but our son really is very intelligent. He’s working on spelling out words when we read, he can count up to 50 (well, he could really go up to 100, but who has the time for that? ha ha!), and he can play Jedi Mind Control games on you.

A couple recent moments of fun:

The other day, Brae was downstairs going potty. (He has a different potty in the house that he prefers for different times of the day. The morning pee pee is downstairs). Anyway, I’m standing next to him, and he points to a small brown spot on the bathroom rug. “Mommy, that’s my poop,” he says. “Huh? Your poop?” “Yes, some of my poop fell there the other day.” “Oh, okay,” I say, “Thanks, I’ll put it in the washing machine.” “Yeah, but Mommy, don’t touch it. It’s icky. It’s for the dogs.”

(Apparently he remembers that both of our dogs fondly liked eating the others’ poop. Yummy.)

We went to the doctor’s on Friday. We were in the waiting room. They had a water cooler. Brae filled up a Dixie cup of water and proclaimed to the waiting room: “I am going to drink this water like a dog.” And then he placed the Dixie cup in the middle of the room, got on all fours, and lapped up the water like a dog.

A proud moment for me as a mother.

Last night, for the first time ever, I became a prop in one of Brae’s imaginations. I was sitting in Sienna’s room, watching her roll on the floor. Brae declared to me that he was going to cut my hair. So, he took blanket after blanket after blanket and draped them around me, around my neck, trying to tie them in the back, and preparing to cut my hair. And then he got the eraser from the chalkboard and pretended to shave my head.








Sienna was dedicated at our church this last Sunday (I will post about that awesome dedication next week). But the event got me thinking about Brae’s dedication when he was just shy of 3 months old.

It was January 2009. It was Sanctity of Life Sunday. Our church asked us to give our testimony about Brae’s adoption.

As I was speaking before the hundreds of people in the congregation, I got to the place in the story when Rachael (Brae’s birth mom) and I talked about her decision to not abort.

Brae was a mere several hours old. It was Halloween night. Rachael and I were in her hospital room. It was late and it was dark. Brae was asleep. Rachael was in the bed, and I was on the couch beside her. We’d just finished a long, wonderful conversation about her life and dreams. Then, the conversation turned to when she found out she was pregnant, and what decision she was going to make. She and her longtime boyfriend were having problems and she did not think they would stay together.

Me: “Did you think about abortion?”
Rachael: “Yes.”
Me: “And what did you think about?”
Rachael: “I decided that I was not going to abort this child because it was not the baby’s fault. Getting pregnant was not the baby’s fault. I was not going to punish this baby for something I did. That’s when I decided that God had placed this baby in me as a gift for someone else. I was merely the vessel.”

I told her that she’d had three options, and she chose the most unselfish. She could have aborted him, and he wouldn’t be here. She could have said, “I’m going to keep him because he’s ‘mine,’ no matter what his life may look like. But, she did the most loving — she carried him for 9 months, gave birth to him, and said “I love you so much, I want a better life for you.”

As I was sharing the testimony, Tygh was holding Brae up on stage. Then, all of a sudden, when I got to this part of the testimony about Rachael choosing life for our son, Brae got the BIGGEST smile on his face. The crowd erupted with laughter and tears.

So, on Sunday, as we were driving to church to dedicate Sienna, I thought back on this story. And I decided to text Rachael:

Me: “I don’t think I ever told you about Brae’s dedication. When I was giving our testimony and got to the part where you told me you were going to choose life for Brae and not abort him, Brae got the biggest smile on his face. We have it on video.”
Rachael: “I’d love to see it.”
Me: “Ok. I will send you a copy.”

I have a copy of Brae’s dedication and I’m going to send it to her.

She will see living proof that, even as an infant, Brae was ecstatic that his birth mom chose life for him.








A series of coincidences, or something more?

I have a very good friend, whose privacy I have agreed to maintain, but we’ll call her Zoe.

Zoe has been trying to get pregnant for many years, and a couple years ago, adopted a son. She and her husband have gone through many rounds of fertility treatment, unsuccessfully.

Recently, Zoe and I made an informal pact to step up our quiet times in the morning, reading the Bible, and sharing what we’re learning with each other. A couple of weeks ago, we decided to earnestly be praying that we would each spontaneously get pregnant. (You heard that right — Tygh and I are open to a 3rd child, but only if it happens spontaneously.)

We each know the medical diagnoses we’ve received, so that if we did get pregnant spontaneously, it would be no small miracle. And, because we believe it’s important to pray specific prayers so you receive specific answers, we’ve each boldly and with great faith and expectation have begun praying to spontaneously get pregnant this year.

A couple days ago, Zoe and her husband were wrestling with whether to do another round of fertility treatment. Yesterday, I was flipping through FaceBook, and found this verse on a friend’s page: “The Lord will fight for you. You just need to be still.” Exodus 14:14. (Other interpretations are “You need to stay calm” and “You need to hold your peace”).

I texted this verse to Zoe. Immediately, she wrote back that was the confirmation she needed. She and her husband decided that they would not do any more fertility treatment, but instead “be still” and fervent in prayer that God would indeed bless them with a spontaneous pregnancy.

For many months, she and her husband have believed that God would bless them with a pregnancy, with a daughter, and that they were to name her “Abby”. (Does any of this sound familiar?!) “Abby” was one of their son’s first words, and lately, Zoe has been seeing that name EVERYWHERE.

Zoe and I emailed most of yesterday. During one of the emails, I told her I had this very strong “picture/vision” in my head. It was of a forest. I was looking at a forest full of trees, and yet could see this very bright, multi-colored light behind the trees. The light was moving. I told Zoe I felt very strongly that this “picture/vision” was from God and that He was using it to tell us that even in the midst of the forests of our lives (infertility), He IS moving. He IS working. He’s already in the forest, working on our behalf.

Last night, as I was driving home, I texted Zoe, “So what does Abby mean, anyway?”

Zoe: “It means ‘Joy of the Father'”.

When I received that text, my heart stopped. I almost couldn’t breathe.

I texted back, “You know that Bible verse I sent you this morning? You know how I told you I saw it on a friend’s FaceBook page? Do you know which friend it was? It was my friend Joy’s page.”

(I still get chills).

And, then, this morning, Zoe sent me an email with this picture, below. “Look what randomly popped up on Pinterest last night. It’s your vision.”

Again, full. body. chills.

A series of coincidences?

I think not.








Over Christmas, my sister-in-law (thank you!) made the most amazing video about Sienna’s journey to us. Warning: you may cry.

The lyrics of the first song are most poignant (from Norah Jones, “Seven Years”):

Spinning, laughing, dancing to
Her favorite song
A little girl with nothing wrong
Is all alone

Eyes wide open
Always hoping for the sun
And she’ll sing her song to anyone
That comes along

Fragile as a leaf in autumn
Just fallin’ to the ground
Without a sound

Crooked little smile on her face
Tells a tale of grace
That’s all her own

Fragile as a leaf in autumn
Just fallin’ to the ground
Without a sound

Spinning, laughing, dancing to her favorite song
She’s a little girl with nothing wrong
And she’s all alone

She’s alone no more!








— Sienna’s top toofers are coming in — one has broken through (the girl now as 3! At 6 months!). Their arrival has not been nearly as easy as her bottom toofers, and suffice it to say I have not had a lot of sleep the last several nights.

— Sienna is sitting up like a champ. Her neck is still getting better, and the PT has now released us from any more appointments. It’s been a long 4 months of sometimes 3 doctor appointments a week. We will continue to go to the chiro appointments, but I’m hoping those will taper off, too.

— We went to the family cabin in the mountain for the long NYE weekend with Tygh’s sister and her husband and their 19-month-old son, who is Brae’s cousin brother. He is also adopted, and Brae adores him. It was so great to get away with some family and ring in the new year together (even if we were in bed the second after midnight).

— Here are some fun pics through the eyes of Americana: public sledding down a random hill off the highway = mass chaos. I alone witnessed three separate incidents that probably all require some kind of medical treatment.

Last week, Brae also attended his first professional basketball game with Tygh. Tygh’s company has courtside seats, so he took Tygh and a friend of Tygh’s and his 5-year-old son. It was a complete blast that Brae is still talking about (and wearing his jersey to bed each night). If you know my son, he LOVES basketball. It didn’t get much better than this!

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