Category Archives: friends

Weird, amazing, odd… yes … those have been my last several days.

 It’s been SUCH a weird, whacked, thrilling, exhausting, and just different last several days.

We’ve been anticipating the actual “launch” of my husband’s new book….and it was YESTERDAY!

Jim is pretty fabulous at not getting his hopes to high….but I’m not 🙂 

So, the better and better the day went in regards to the “launch” the more surreal, happy, and odd the day seemed.

We are SO thankful that this opportunity came his way. It was a challenge though…he had deadlines, editors, interviews, etc….during the last year while I have continued to have both good and bad days in regards to my (stupid) PTSD.

This book is ‘just paper and words’ to some…but  …. between the two of us …. it is a symbol of perseverance, God’s Providence, and of our commitment to each other to fight through the hard times…even if they are really, really, really hard some days.

So…that was all odd yet happy. 

Now, I think I’ll let some pictures speak a bit now in regards to why the last few days have also been…well…kinda like our normal crazy but more ‘intense’ for some reason…

Somebody tell me these pictures aren’t just a LITTLE crazy!

For heaven’s sake…little girl that hoards, little boy that adores marsupials …. reptiles …. 

When I look at the pictures on my camera sometimes I, literally, laugh at loud at US.  We just are not very normal 🙂 

I’ve come to terms with it. But I will NEVER come to terms with holding a sugar glider on my arm…….ever.  I try. I try. But nope. It’s not in this city girl to have a mini-demonic animal crawling all over her. 

Though Zane seems to have no problem with it. These dang Sugar Gliders…they can sense my fear! 🙂


We added a “eye-lash crested gecko” to Zane’s collection..cuz..ya know..the boy doesn’t have enough animals 🙂

It was actually an award for doing something he was terrified of (competing at the Tae Kwon Do Tournament last weekened)

We never, and I really mean never, “bribe” our kids for good behavior … such as “Johnny, if you are good at the grocery store you can have a sucker.”  

However, we DO reward for achieving LIFE SKILLS.

Now, if Johnny REALLY has issues (like Tye used too) about not screaming, thrashing, and yelling for help in public (smile) then we would tell him, “Tye, if you act nice, do not scream, or hit, you can have a hot wheels car at the checkout lane” b/c for TYE that WAS achieving a life skill.

Anyways, “Mallie” came into our lives because it takes alot for a kid with Zane’s wiring (rather be behind the scenes like his Daddy kinda kid) to get up in front of hundreds of people, and his little friends, and attempt to break boards.  

The deal was as long as he stepped foot onto the mat and acknowledged the judges, did his best, and walked off mat without running (smile) he’s get a new reptile.

The boy got THIRD in his age-bracket. I mighta been “played” but…I’m okay with that. It’s not the first time nor will it be the last.

We have had a kid or two say, “But MOM! Getting to the 432nd level of XYZ game on the PlayStaion IS a life skill! I deserve a new game.”  Even I, the Momma who struggles with “NO”, can say “NUH-UH but thank you for trying honey” to that line!



Although I do like “Mallie”. He/She (can’t tell till it is 3 mos old) feels like suede!!!  

And he/she/it leaps in little springy jumps that are pretty cute 🙂 

Please, God, let her live 🙂

As I mentioned, we had a pretty major Tae Kwon Do tournament this last weekend. “Major” because we only attend two or three, at most, a year.

This is a SUPERB opportunity for my home-schooled (ya know…unsocialized, weird, only happy with adults, can’t make eye contact, only wear hiking boots) kids to step up to the plate, of sorts, in a public fashion and “perform”.  

It is a necessary life skill to be able to handle the stress of public speaking, etc.  The tournaments give our (oh so odd) homeschooled kids a chance to hone this skill.

(ya’ll know I’m playin’ ya with the weirdo homeschool kid thang. It’s fun. I can get people all worked up 🙂

The boys have to write on their “boards” the kick they are doing so the “board holder” knows which way to hold the board. I find this adorable for some reason. 
Maybe it is because they spelled the words correctly?!!  smile

It’s not only “board breaking” competition..There’s also “Forms”, “Sparring”, and “Weapons”.

Trey got a hard life lesson when he did not medal in “Forms”. 
There were some quiet tears. I wanted to hug and slurp all over him but I, you’ll be SO proud of me, just sat quietly beside him in the bleachers to let him know I was there and only whispered, “I know you are upset. But I am proud of you.”  
After a bit a gave him a little squeeze and walked away…He did not deserve a medal and he knew it. But, it was still hard.

Chase competed in “Forms” (Placed Second :), “Sparring” (Placed Second :); and “Breaking” (Placed Third:)

I was SO SO SO happy when Trey, deservedly, won First place in “Breaking”.  It soothed his little sport’s mans heart a bit after losing at “Forms”. 
But, at the same time, I am glad, in a weird way, that he learned the lesson he did by NOT winning in “Forms”. Is that so mean to say?!!

Ready to start the board-breakin’!!!

 (Yes, Trey is going to run from the other corner, jump over those three kids crouched on the mat, and break a board his Coach (the guy in purple) will be holding. AND…he did it with STYLE peeps..STYLE!)

 Zane KILLIN’ that board…remember..there was a reptile at stake 🙂
 After a competitor has performed, he/she must turn away from the judge’s table and wait for scoring. 

I always think they look so lonely out there all by themselves…wondering how they did…feet, arms, hands, etc hurts from whatever they just competed in! 

The judges hold up the score for the scorekeeper to see…and…if you get in the right spot, a spectator can see the scores too.

After scores are recorded, competitor must turn back around and bow off the mat.

 SEE!! HE LOOKS SO LONELY UP THERE (that’s Trey).  They should let the Momma’s come hold their hands while they wait. That should really be a new rule. I think I’ll write a letter. I’m sure it will be well-received..cough cough.

Chase and Jim has this “bond” now. They both have gruesome “boy sport feet”. Here, Jim is trying to wrap Chase’s toes to lessen the pain. 
Jim comes home from playin’ basketball several times a week…limping…cuz of a TOE?! 

Good Heavens Men. Try giving BIRTH. fer real. (giggle)

 Chase is a natural-born athlete. One of those annoying males who is good at most sports he tries. 

When we found his birthmomma in Russia, in the letter she wrote him, she said “HE MUST be in SPORTS” …. She would be pleased because Chase excels in them.

The funny thing with Chase, though…is that he is “good” at sports but feels “bad” winning alot. WHA?? 

When he was in the Championship Match to decide First Place and Second Place for “Sparring”…He was LAUGHING because he didn’t want to kick his opponent as hard as we were all screaming for him too!

One of his Coaches said, “Chase is the most annoying kid to watch in a Sparring match! He is SO good at it but he is TOO NICE!”  AND another Coach said, “If Chase kicked as often as he talked, he would be unbeatable!” SO TRUE!!   hahahaha 

Personally, I think it’s from living with little siblings for years and wrestling around with them but never “hurting” them.  Now here we are all yelling..

“Get in there Chase”

“Kick Him!”


and he’s gotta be like…”HUH? This is so weird.”  [huge laugh]

 So, You ask….where is TYE? He is in Tae Kwon Do (achieving new belts on a regular basis…booyah!!!) 

Well….Tye has a…a large attitude the morning of the tournament. Attitude as in kicking, stomping, yelling, throwing…etc. (Parenting is SOOOOO fun, yeah?!)

Dad warned him, “Tye, if you do NOT stop yelling and kicking, you are NOT in the Tournament today.”

Now, I know Tye is all of ya’lls favorite cuz he has so many “difficulites” and cuz he’s stinkin’ cute….BUT..I PROMISE that Tye COMPLETELY understood Dad’s words. So…HERE is TYE at the TOURNAMENT …

Nuf Said. ?!  

So…that’s been my last few weird, crazy, happy, thrilling, exhausting, and odd days.

I wonder what the next few will hold??!!

(this is what Mommys and Daughters do when they are “OVER” boy stuff. They go into the bathroom where there is a  full length mirror and take funny pictures of each other 🙂

Tye has his BIRD!!!!

[This relates to my last post…If you are wondering why the HECK there are so many birds and so much crazy…read that post…and the crazy just comes with being part of the “Cockrum Collection” 🙂 

 We didn’t tell Tye (or Aven) where we were going until we were GOING 🙂 

You can see the completely stunned look on both of their faces 🙂  Tye was ALL smiles after the initial shock…

 Tye almost knocked the door down at our friend’s house to get ‘his’ bird 🙂
 Tye in awe….deciding which bird is HIS bird…HIS bird from God in a beautiful way.
 Sweet birds..they are both over 10 years old. 

One was attacked by a dog and only has one eye. Aven wanted that one, Pete, so “She could make him all better.”  🙂

 Our friend who gave us the birds..I think Tye hugged her  20 times. BUT then again..Tye hugs any pretty lady he can 😉  

BUT…he said, “THANK YOU! THANK YOU!” over and over.

 Kiddos realizing we are really taking the birds home WITH us! 

[I don’t know why they were so isn’t like we don’t come home with some sort of random rodent or something quite often! smile]
 Tye’s new BFF, “Nelson”, was a rescued cockatiel and had spent most of his life in a cage. 

[I don’t know how one ‘rescues’ a cockatiel but that is Nelson’s sweet story. I, personally, think it is perfectly fitting for Nelson to be rescued again by Tye…sigh.]

  Even though Nelson was not used to nor did he even like being held, Tye acclimated Nelson very quickly!!! 

And, get this, Tye knows the bird’s name is “Nelson” but has nicknamed him “NOON NOON“…which was TYE’S CHINESE NICKNAME 🙂  cry.
 Just like “Noon Noon”…Tye has a whole new world to FLY …and maybe this small miracle of events falling into place has put some pieces of his mental puzzle together for him.

No..not a maybe. I KNOW it has.

Tye really understands how God stepped in and got “Noon Noon” to him in a neat way. 

(After Mommy and Daddy had said “No!” haha I still find that hilarious.  God was like, “Sheesh Jim and Andrea…Do have to do EVERYTHING for you?”  Um. YES? 🙂

 Aven giving “Pete the Pirate” a kiss. 

This is a PERFECT bird for Aven. 

Pete is not “perfect” in appearance but he already LOVES her. Crawls all over her. Jumps to her. Kisses her 🙂  

She’s getting a wonderful heart-lesson from “Pete the Pirate” [get it…he’s a pirate cuz he only has one eye … wink…]

 Within two days, Tye can hold Nelson/Noon Noon without any “barrier” like a thick glove, etc. “Noon Noon” really seems to love Tye 🙂
 We’ve had our “Icon” [on the right] for two years. We tried to introduce him to “Noon Noon” and “Pete” but “Icon” was NOT interested. 

I think we’ll keep them separate for quite awhile longer 🙂

 This is just “good ol’ normal” in the Cockrum household 🙂 Which I think is really fabulous 🙂
 Zane was feeling sorry that “Icon” was feeling ‘left out’ [the boy with the softest heart in the world I swear it!] so he was telling “Icon” he was still “King of the House” ….
 Our birds’ wings are not clipped. 

(cuz I’m scared to do it. I ‘clipped’ Trey’s newborn baby fingernails and made him bled profusely. Since then, I REFUSE to ‘clip’ anything. No joke.)

So, sometimes, they ‘take flight’ and it becomes a “find the bird” type of game. 

Then a “get the bird” adventure”…..

 “Noon Noon” has BIG feet (?) claws (?) talons (?) ha.  Took Tye a bit to get used to the feeling of them…but it wasn’t long before “Noon Noon” was climbing all over him….
 Another “Find the Bird” adventure. 

Can you find the bird in this picture?

 Yes, sometimes poop happens 🙂 

But, honestly, the birds usually keep this in their cages. I promise. My house does NOT smell. 🙂 

I ask my ‘would tell it to me straight’ friends if it does smell and they continue to say “NO”. 🙂

 Yet another “find the birdies” game……

Yep! My lovebirds love hanging out ‘in’ the light. They never leave our bedroom…cuz…that would be just crazy to have five birds all about the house at once 😉


It was, needless to say, a wonderful time adding the birds into Tye and Aven’s lives … It felt like pieces just fell together in perfect ways. 

That God orchestrated what, to myself and so many, would seem SO minor…but, apparently, to Tye’s heart is a MAJOR.

It’s really thrilling to be “corrected” by God and to watch it happen as it is SUPPOSE to happen.

Thank God for God 🙂

We also got to spend some “family” time with some of the “Guat Girl” families in our lives. Some of us were  together celebrating The Holloway’s new home 🙂

Again….Thank God for God 🙂  

Who else could have orchestrated and laid it upon the hearts of FIVE families, who were all friends but weren’t comparing notes that intently, to start the adoption process all within 6 mos of each other? 

The end result is giving our “Guat Girls” a sense of community that these girls seem to really need AND giving the five family’s involved a sense of beautiful history and sense of ‘family’ that WE ALL desperately need.

I’m gunna say it ONE more time…

Thank God for GOD 🙂

 Chase and Delaney. 

Delaney’s Momma used to watch Chase will I worked when Chase first came home from Russia!  And..for the record…Delaney has always had a bit of a cute, little girl crush on her “Chase”  🙂

 SEE! These girls need each other :)))
Bad Girls! 

These two fashionista raided Jessica’s closet … and come down to show their creations!  Happily, Jessica laughed. She’s cool like that 🙂

 Sophia…the Guat Girl that we are ALL rootin’ and prayin’ for. 

Her and Tye have alot in common…unfortunately. 

BUT, I know her parents are fighting the hard fight for her. She’s come a LONG way.  Silly girl can fall asleep ANYWHERE though! Makes me jealous!

There were boys screaming, adults talking, etc….but Sophia decided it was time for a nap?! lucky girl. 

I wanna nap like that!

 Emily (Sophia’s Momma..and Delaney..and Addie’s 🙂 and I have been family for about 19 yrs now. Not by blood but by bonds.
 My husband has another lady in his life…it is Tessa. I admit it. The man swoons over that girl 🙂
 I sorta kinda really luv her too 🙂 She’s Aven’s “Special Sister” as they call each other 🙂

Thanks for reading, commenting, encouraging, and lovin’ on us here in blog-land.

I don’t think you all realize the happiness you all bring me.

Knowing you are “out there” and I can always “come here” and be ME.

You all make me feel exceptionally happy…thank you Readers :))


Me and My Girl chattin’ with ya via video…about purple hair, hard choices & then (oodles) of pics from an impromptu weekend get-outta-dodge !

(if play button doesn’t work, hit your ‘space’ bar..that starts the video too)


I’m a daggone LOON!  🙂  I think the Cartoon Network may be contacting me soon for a leading role in their next show 🙂

Here’s those pics I mentioned…FAIR WARNING…There are more than ‘a few’ 🙂 But…would it be the “True Moments of Family” blog any other way??!! NEVA!!!

 “Aunt” Laura came with us for part of the weekend! Lucky us!! We love her mucho!
 For the record, Aven is SCREAMING her lungs out. 🙂 She not a lover of the water so much. It musses her hair and all 🙂
 AMAZING ZOO…looked not so much on the outside…but inside? BRILLANCE!
 Uh? Really?
 We sorta kinda really have a big crush on each other 🙂
 WHATEVER! MY sweet, precious, angels were MOCKING their Momma! bbwwhahaha

and that…folks…is the ending of a very fun-filled, God-breathed weekend that we all needed but didn’t know how much it was needed until it happened.
This is also the end of an epic blog post!
Oh vey!

I talk and write and picture ALOT don’t I ?!! 🙂


THIS IS MY 1,000th POST!!

Who knew I had so much to say?!!

I’ve been thinking what I might ‘say’ in this benchmark of posts.

I thought about reminiscing a bit …. Maybe about one of our dog’s leaping through the window as we drove…


I thought about reliving the day that our family decided to climb a volcano and almost didn’t make it back down.


the reason I started blogging in the first place …
Apparently, once I started this whole blogging endeavor, I was addicted!  I did not expect to continue blogging past that first “family adventure”…

But…well…I sure have!
Then I thought about talking about how “ANDREA” has changed over the last 1,000 posts.

You see, when I started blogging….I was not as good at being  ‘transparent’ or as ‘real’ as I am now. 

I was several ‘Andreas’ – with the ‘right’ “Andrea” appearing in certain situations.

Now, I am just “me”.  

Always “me”.  

It is alot easier this way. AND, I like the ONE “Andrea” that is around all the time now.  WAY easier to keep track of 😉

I NEVER knew that blogging would make ME a better person. But…it definitely has. My courage to be myself has been encouraged via your comments. THANK YOU!

You all have been here to encourage me in this “being real” endeavor and in SO MANY additional ways.

You held my hand through the terrifying accident and, now, as I fight PTSD, I know you are here to encourage and acknowledge the fight.


Blogging has given me new, true, real friends…even if we’ve never met “face-to-face” 🙂

So, yes, I have changed over the last 1,000 posts. But so have many other things….and things will continue to change I am afraid! smile

I am terrified and excited that we all might verbally walk through…
my Chase falling in love (?) or at least getting his license 🙂 
my Trey snagging his first patent on the next great invention.

my Zane opening his own petting zoo in our backyard. 🙂

my Tye JUMPING over mental hurdles that still block him but that he WILL conquer and then trying to explain to him that, even though he’s 12, he cannot marry 🙂

my Aven dancing in her first fancy recital and, eek, entering the world of being a “big girl” and all that entails…(No Aven! You cannot wear that itty-bitty shirt in public!! Nada! Never! No!)

Regardless….. Blogging about the feelings I have while I transverse different seasons in my life has been exceptionally helpful to me. 



I LOVE YOU GUYS….I would NEVER have blogged this long  nor would I continue to blog my fears, hopes, ideas, experiences, confusions, and happy’s WITHOUT YOU ALL HERE 🙂
I would LOVE to hear from you guys about this ‘benchmark’ in my blogging ‘life’. Give me some luv me friends! 🙂 


Enough pictures to last us a…..few days :) AND…What is YOUR child’s "ELEMENT"?


Um …. just a “few” pictures of mi familia :O)  Alot of summer fun along with amazing memories and plenty of silly antics.

“Why so many pictures Andrea?”

Oh there are many reasons …. a few:

1. to prove to my kids they had a great childhood 😉

2. to look at when I am wondering which continent Chase is currently in, how Tye’s doctor practice is going, if Zane got bit by a boa constrictor at his Zoo, if Trey gets a sabbatical from Oxford after he earns tenure, and if Aven will be home by curfew 🙂

 Zane was a hot mess with that cast at the Lake last week.

We tried …valiantly…truly! 

But, alas, the day after we spent at the Lake…

Zane & Jim spent at the Ortho getting a fresh cast 🙂


We were trying EVERYTHING to keep it try. Nothing worked.

Only today, on, did I discover “vacuum sealed swim covers”” for casts! 

And THAT was only after our neighbor told us about them! oh vey….

But…we think the day was worth a ruined cast….

You can replace a cast…You cannot replace a day with family!


I am IN THE WATER!! Not only ‘that’…but I am IN THE WATER on a skinny raft with a 4 yr old AND a little pup on my lap!  

Somebody “ROAR” for me! booyah! (see I don’t “do” cold water…but this lake water was -literally- past warm! JUST the way I like it 🙂

My sweet nephew, Bruce.  He is his own person. Sticks to his guns about his ideas. I like that about him…He preferred to sit by a hot fire on a  hot day than splash in the water. And that’s exactly what he did 😉

What a divine picture of my Zane…He is IN HIS ELEMENT.

Does your kid(s) have an “element”? Some environment in that they seem to think all is right with the world?

Zane’s is fishing/outdoorsy stuff

Aven’s is her bedroom 🙂

Trey’s is behind a guitar!

And Chase’s is working within  a leadership position….

It is FUN to see the kids’ hearts flutter and leap when they get to experience “their” element.

I feel like it is free therapy of sorts 🙂 (not that they NEED therapy..but..well…I AM their Momma so ….maybe!) but…

A therapy that EVERYONE needs….to be in ‘their environment’…

…Where your heart feels lighter, your cares slight, and your contentment soaring…

My element is my art studio…I FEEL LIKE ANDREA IN THERE! phew.  She IS still under there after all these years of parenting! good to know!

So, I ask again, what is you and/or your kids’ elements?

Then there are those AMAZING times…

When “life” is put away…When time “settles”…When a moment becomes breath-taking…awe…sweet heaven.

I feel “that way” when  I see my kids “liking each other”.

Seeing your kids love on each other is SURELY one of the best rewards a Momma could get.  

I want my kids to be siblings but also FRIENDS. There IS a big difference and we are FOREVER encouraging their friendships!

It seems to be ‘taking’ …. perfectly?! ha. no. never.  

But – improvements are happin’ 🙂 


I have a newly discovered passion..UMBRELLAS! I think we should move to Seattle so that I can use one almost EVERY day!

The more I look at them, the more intriguing I find them. 

They have SO much utility – keep you try, coordinates an outfit (smile), a weapon (!), a great photo prop?!! 

{weird. I know. whatever. I can hear ya’ll rollin’ your eyes!!!}

Then there’s my Trey….

Trey was mesmerized all day by keeping “the fire going”. The boy would make a GREAT cowhand I’m telling ya!

This is my twin “in Heaven”….

A new phone (that has internet access which she has never had or at least not in India) AND a can of the REAL ‘Mountain Dew”…

Heaven for her!

My kids seem so “big” in these pictures. I think I will only photograph them from the knees up now! 

HOW the heck did Chase (above picture) suddenly become a “man-boy”?  No one asked MY permission..No one asked if I wanted my first baby to grow up all of a sudden…growl.

But his is dang cute isn’t he?!!! To bad he can’t date until he’s about 28 🙂  bbwwwhhhaaahahahaha

How much do I LOVE (like oh so LOVE) that my girl though that hair band around her waist was “just where I thought it should go today Momma!”  

Oh my heck I LOVE her sass and her creativity. 

Thank you Sweet Jesus for giving her to me…THANK YOU FOR ALL FIVE OF THEM PRECIOUS GOD!!! What would I do without my Collection??? sigh. 

YOU knew JUST what my life would need…I, personally, had NO idea that THIS is what my heart would long for….You started giving me the desires of my heart before I even had them 🙂 shiver.  [i hadn’t a CLUE nor inclination to be a Momma to Many when I was younger or even newly married….God smiles at my cluelessness surely :)]

YES! Tye caught a fish!

BOO that he thinks it is now a true pet and has a meltdown when, after an HOUR of kissing, watering, and petting it Jim has him release the fish back into the lake.

Tye really might need therapy for that one!  But, really people…If Tye gets his hands on ANYTHING new (alive, dead, just needs to be tangible!) he DEMANDS to take it home.

Either I am raising  a ‘hoarder’ or Tye is still working out some mental difficulties about ownership, etc….Which he never had the opportunity to do in his orphanage. 

Everything, except his shoes, were communal property. 

As a result, the boy gets a massive snap of HAPPY when he “owns” a new thing…..I wonder when this phenom will end with him?!

If you are new here…beware.

I have a “FEW” areas where my self-control goes out the blogging window…

A few are:

*My kids’ toes! oh how I adore them!

*I write ALOT here 🙂 I lose track of time when I am blogging.

*An abundance of pictures…as you can tell from this post 🙂

*Opinions…MY opinions but I’d always love to hear yours!

*Art (I pretend to be an artist during those 23 free minutes I have every 4 days or so 😉

*Truth. I love writing IN a truthful way but also about how truth/trust are SO very important…and I’m always asking my readers for advice…So count yourself duly warned!!! 🙂

That, pretty much in pictures, was our “day at the lake” last week…Our first FULL day spent with my sister and her family. 

It was beyond awesome to see how resilient kids are…the kids just pick up where they left off and “get ova it!”  I want to be more like them!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures…. 🙂  

And…as I am about to close my eyes for the night…I SURELY hope it is not another 31 hours of sleep that will sneak up on me ….. because then who will be ornery and dorky to the kids tomorrow? 

Who would pretend to have forgotten Trey’s name and call him “Fred” all day?! huh? who?!

And, WHO, I ask would remind all these little people to  put the milk jug AWAY ..

,,,AND WHOOOOOOO would remind my 5 males to put the stinkin’ (pun accidentally intended but I’ll roll with it!) toilet seat down?!

No One! Only ME! 

I have to be up & at’em and get on “Toilet Seat Duty” asap tomorrow!

So…I need to be fully charged and roaring when my eyes open! (well…let’s not get CRAZY…I will be happy with one OR the other of those too!  *wink*)


Well…Oh Snap..Who Cares…Even a Momma of Many can still be super silly…See…

I wasn’t going to include these due to the high level of “stupid” that I look in these here pictures…but….I will [this whole ‘transparency thing I got going on here on my blog bites me in the buttocks sometimes!]

They are of myself [in the middle] with two of my high school “girlz” … and their spouses, friends.  Yep, we were and still are THAT dorky 🙂