Sienna has a unique personality. It’s actually probably the most unique I’ve ever seen. It’s so unique that I can’t even find the right word to describe it. Several suggestions by friends and family have been posed, but none seem to fit quite right:
— divine diva
— pugnacious
— tenacious
— precocious
— spitfire

Perhaps you can help find the right word.

A bit more about her…

She’s feisty. Brae tries to hug her and she bites back (course, he’s also trying to steal her toy as he’s hugging her). She has this I don’t care what you think attitude that is strangely endearing and admirable. She walks with her chin up in the air, almost daring you to give her a punch only so she can knock you silly.

She doesn’t want you invading her bubble, except when all she wants is to cuddle in your lap. She likes to scream. But not always because she’s mad. Sometimes she screams because she’s happy, scared, uncomfortable, or just wants to fill the room with her voice. She loves dogs, food, and carrying around her baby dolls, which dolls she will also hurl into the corner when she sees a remote control car that she’d rather play with.

She doesn’t like baths. She’d rather climb into the sink and stick her face under the faucet. She doesn’t stop talking. Ever. She loves giving kisses, except when she’d rather hit you instead.

In a word, the girl is a complete contradiction. And she totally keeps me on my toes. But there has to be some word that describes this rare ball of fun.

Maybe that word is just . . . Sienna.

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Brae is a complete chatterbox. In fact, at our recent family vacation (pictured below with Sienna and their cousin), he attracted the new nickname “Comma.” (because there are no periods when he talks). With that, here’s the latest edition of Brae-isms:

1) Brae: “Mommy, will you marry me?”
Me: “Aww, I love you, son, but I can’t marry you. I’m married to Daddy.”
(Wheels turning)
Brae: “If I were taller, would you marry me?”

2) I was upstairs in the laundry room getting ready to take Brae to the park. He’d just peed his pants (which he often does if he hasn’t gone for a while, and starts playing really hard). He was taking off his wet pants, putting them in the washing machine, and putting on a new pair. As he was doing this, I thought, “It’s really hot outside. I should probably change out of my jeans.” So, I pulled a pair of my shorts out of the dryer (yes, clean clothes often stay in our dryer for days, and sometimes require re-drying to get the wrinkles out). As I was taking off my jeans, and putting on my shorts, Brae looked at me, wide-eyed, and said, “Mommy, did you pee your pants, too?”

3) Brae has learned the word “stupid.” I think from the older kids at school. I scold him whenever he says it, and sometimes he has to go to time out if he doesn’t stop saying it. The other day, I caught him singing, “Stupid, you so stupid, stupid, alalalallaaaaaa, you are s-t-u-p-i-ddddddddd!” “Brae!” I said. He turned to look at me, in bewilderment. “Brae, I’ve told you we don’t say that word. It’s not nice.” “But Mooommmmmyyyy,” he began, “I’m just singing my song.”

4) I was hosting my friend’s baby shower. She and I were outside by the front door just chatting, watching some of the kids play in the front yard. Sienna was sitting on the front stoop. Suddenly, I turn to see Brae standing at the open front door, above Sienna. And before I could even catch my wits about me, he had dropped his trousers to his ankles and was peeing right over Sienna’s head. It was like the McDonald’s golden arc right over my daughter’s head. I thought my friend may have gone into labor right then and there, she was laughing so hard.



Brae: “Mommy, is Satan a bad boy or a bad girl?”
Me: “Ummm… (long pause) … Satan is a bad boy.”
Brae: “Does that mean no one wants to go to Satan’s house to play?”


Brae: “Mommy, do not go into my room and see what I did.”
Me: “Okay.”
Brae: “But if you did go into my room, do not look in the closet.”
Me: “Okayyy …”
Brae: “But if you did look in the closet, do not look in the back of the closet.”
Me: “Okayyy …”
Brae: “But if you did look in the back of the closet, do not look in the box.”
Me: “Okayyy …”
Brae: “But if you did look in the box, you’d see that I took all of Sienna’s clothes and hid them in there.”

Sienna was taking a shower the other day (yes, the girl likes to take showers). Brae stripped off his clothes and hopped right in with her. I was getting ready for work and had my back to them, looking in the mirror, when I heard Brae say, “Now, Sienna . . . don’t move!”

I turned around to see him dumping an entire gallon of shampoo on her head.

It took me an hour to get her clean.



1. A spider crawled across the floor. “Ewww,” I said, crinkling my nose. Brae looked up at me with an “oh, puleeezze” look and said, “Mom, when you get older, maybe you won’t be scared of spiders. Like maybe when you’re 3.”

2. Brae and I were standing at his chalkboard, writing our letters. All of a sudden, and for no apparent reason he put down the chalk and licked the chalkboard. He paused. “Hmmm,” he said, eyes wide. “That’s good.” (????)

3. Brae: “Mom, when is my birthday?
Me: “It’s on Halloween. That’s far away.”
Brae: “Too far to drive?”

4. We’ve been teaching Brae about “stranger danger.” The other day, we practiced. I was the stranger.
Me: “Brae. Pretend I’m a stranger. What’s your name?”
Brae: “NO!”
Me: “Where do you live?”
Brae: “NO!”
Me: “What’s your phone number?”
Brae: “NO!”
Me: “Do you want to come into my car and get some candy?”
Brae: “Ummmm….”



These two cannot get enough of each other. I have 3 older stepbrothers, but they didn’t join our family until I was around 10 years old. So I don’t really know what it is like to have an older brother-younger sister relationship.

From watching these two, I think it must be pretty special.

Sienna’s first word (before even “Mama” or “Dada”) was “Brae.” The first word that comes out of her mouth when she wakes up each morning is “Brae,” as she’s looking around the house for him.

When she spots him, her face lights up like a Christmas tree. And his does, too. Then they race (or in her case, crawl) toward each other, laughing and embracing.

It absolutely melts my heart.

They hold hands in the car. When he leaves the room, she cries. When she’s taking a bath, he has to take one too, even if he’s already taken one. He feeds her. He sings to her before bed. She carries the clothes he’s worn that day around with her.

Quite frankly, it’s a sibling love affair.

And they don’t share a single gene between them. Because, well, it just doesn’t matter to them.


A couple cute Brae stories:

1) Brae has been in a Spanish immersion daycare/school since he was 13 weeks old. He’s now over 3.5 years old. The boy speaks Spanish. My skin-is-whiter-than-snow boy speaks Spanish. We went to the park this weekend, and he saw a younger boy playing by himself. He overheard him speaking Spanish to his mother. Brae approached him near the teeter totter and said, “Esta caliente, no?,” pointing to the teeter totter seat (It’s hot, isn’t it?). The boy nodded, and then looked to his mother, her mouth gaped open. I was so proud.

2) Brae is obsessed with basketball. Yup, still. He’s not content with our 8-foot basketball hoop in the driveway. He wants to go to the regulation-level basketball hoop down the street. He’ll be there, pj’s and barefoot, until the sun sets or until Dad drags him back into the house, kicking and screaming. This weekend, I took him to his basketball camp (normally Tygh takes him). As I sat on the bleachers, another mom came up to me and sat next to me. “You may not know this,” she says, “but your son is quite advanced with basketball.” No kidding.



Brae: “Mommy, what’s your name?
Me: “Britney.”
Brae: (stunned that I have a name) (long pause) “Daddy, what’s your name?”
Tygh: “Tygh.”
Brae: (stunned and puzzled) (another long pause) “What’s Sienna’s name?”
A conversation you never think you need to have with another human:
Me: “Brae, we don’t actually urinate in other people’s yards.”
And yet, another one:
Me: (noticing that Brae is digging mightily with his hand into his pants, into his underwear, and into his bum) “Brae, what are you doing?”
Brae: (wide-eyed) “Mommy, I have birds in there!”
And now, some sobering statistics in honor of Mother’s Day that makes you grateful for the people in your life who are your mothers or you treat like your mothers, and for the kids in your life that are your children, or that you just baby like your children (and P.S., I come from a divorced family):

1. 98% of mothers and 90% of fathers hugged their children ages 0 to 2 years of age daily, compared to only 74% of mothers and 50% of fathers who hugged their children ages 10 to 12 years of age daily

2. In 2008, 67% of children ages 0–17 lived with two married parents, down from 77% in 1980

3. Parents in two-parent families spend an average of 2 hours a day interacting with their children compared to only 50 minutes for single-parent families.

4. Moms are getting older and more educated. In 2008, 14% of new moms were 35 or older, and 10% were in their teens. Those numbers were the exact opposite in 1990: There were more moms in their teens back then.

5. Almost 20% of children are cared for by stay-at-home dads.

6. Seventy-two percent of moms with kids over one year old work, which is about the same rate as childless women. In 1976, that rate was only 39%, indicating that working mothers are on the rise. In addition to working, women average 2.2 hours a day on chores each day, and 2.7 hours each day on primary childcare. Working outside the home typically means less depression for mothers, but research indicates that it’s only if moms let go of the idea of being “supermom.” Experts suggest that having it all is too much to shoot for. Instead moms should be satisfied with knowing that you can almost have it all.

7. The 2000 Census indicates that 5.7 million grandparents live with their grandchildren. These grandparents invariably play a role in raising their grandchildren, in whole or in part with the child’s parent(s). Of the grandparents living with grandchildren in 2000, 42% were responsible for them as a primary caregiver. Newer research indicates that as many as one in 10 children in the US lives with a grandparent, a figure that has risen sharply since the recession began in 2007.

8. Research indicates that children from divorced homes have more psychological problems than those who come from homes disrupted by death. This bothersome fact is made worse when you consider that half of all American children will witness their parents’ divorce, and of those children from divorced families, almost half of them will see a parent’s second marriage end in divorce as well. Children in divorced families are 50% more likely to develop health problems than two parent families, and are at greater risk of injury, asthma, headaches, and speech defects.

9. Percent of married women ages 15-44 that are infertile or have difficulty carrying to term : 11.8%.

10. 19% of parents in the United States have lost a child, any age, any cause.

Now go hug someone you love.



There has been an E-coli breakout in our area with now 15 reported cases, and 5 people in the hospital. Three of those 5 now have kidney failure. The public health department has traced the source back to raw milk at a local farm.

One of those 5 people in the hospital is a precious little girl (18 months) in Brae and Sienna’s school. In Sienna’s class, in fact. She has been in the hospital for over a week.

The health department was at the school several days last week and determined that the contamination did not come from any food served at the school.

But the health department wanted to talk specifically to me. Why? Because just a few days before the breakout, and this child’s hospitalization, Sienna was sick. We had to pull her out of school for 2 days with low-grade fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. I just thought it was a stomach bug and she’d get better. And she did. But, because of the time and location proximity to the breakout and this child’s hospitalization, the health department came to my house twice to collect stool samples from Sienna.

We heard this morning that the first test came back “equivocal.”

We just heard that the second test came back as negative.

What this likely means is that the first test was either a false positive or there was cross-contamination during the testing.

It is likely just a fluke that Sienna was sick around the same time as this breakout, and happens to be in the same class as this little girl that is fighting for her life in the hospital.

Thanking God for healing my daughter, and sparing her a more severe illness, and praying for the children that remain hospitalized in quarantine.