We are a family of 7. I know big families are rare in the times we live in. Our children cover each developmental stage minus infancy. I love seeing the reactions of those who meet us for the first time. Especially those poor souls who invite us to their birthday bashes or barbecue. I am so grateful for my big family.  We are a Christ centered, conservative, snuggli, music loving, adventure seeking family. We are also slightly chaotic. Praise God that children are so adaptable.

Introducing The Tribe:

Chief- The first thing most people do when they meet my husband is comment on his size. Don’t be fooled, he is a big hearted teddy bear. He runs a local dental lab. He loves sports and has turned my boys into walking statisticians. I am not talking about mathematical equations, more like professors of ESPN. If you are selling something Maurice is your guy. Unfortunately every girl scout, cub scout, and band member within 2 miles of our home has figured that out. Most importantly he is an amazing father. He enjoys being known as a hands on dad and does not take his position or the impact that it has lightly.

2nd in command- That would be me. My full time job is obvious, I am also a RN. My specialty area is L&D/Postpartum. I also enjoy working in the community. My latest cause is the increased infant mortality rates in the African American culture. I enjoy reading, quiet time at the beach, and spending time with The Tribe. (That sounds like a dating site):)

Victoria- My 15 year old who feels she cannot live without cheerleading. I am amazed by my firstborn. She sees people from the inside out. She is loyal to a fault, and would give away everything she had if someone else needed it. She is logical and level headed. I tell her often and it is true, God knew I would need her first. I love seeing her interact with her siblings. By the time she was 18 months I knew she was going to be the little mother. She would wipe her baby brothers mouth or scold him when he was being a stinker. She prayed for a sister and did not give up until she got one. I remember when Natalie was born Tori would wake up early for school so she could pick out her baby sister’s out fit and get her dressed for the day. She still enjoys dressing her up. I pray God continue to guide her path and that she always has an ear to listen. Tori’s current goal is to be a Pediatric Physical Therapist. She wants to go to school at The University of Florida. She is always on the honor roll and is well on her way to accomplishing those goals.

Tres- a.k.a T-Dogg Tres is the angel that lead me to my relationship with God. He was born at 37 weeks with just 2.5 hours of labor. It was not until 10 months later that he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Most kids with CP get it from a loss of oxygen at some time during the birthing process or from an accident. Tres case was much more rare. When the brain is forming, cells migrate to very specific areas to form very specific functions. There is one small pinpoint in Tres brain where the cells did not migrate to their designated area. Tres held up his head, babbled, and scooted at developmentally appropriate times. It was not until he did not progress from there that we took him to the doctor and learned of his diagnoses. I was raised in the church my whole life, but I did not have a relationsip with God. The bible was just stories that I had learned about growing up. There was no power behind it. After Tres diagnosis I begin regularly attending a church at the new base we had been transferred too. I learned about grace, faith, and healing. I began to pray every night for Tres. It was not until later that I realized, every time I went on my knees for my child, God was healing ME. Prayer is not always answered in the exact way we think it should be. Sometimes God says ,”No”, sometimes God says, “Wait”. I am not sure what my final answer will be for Tres. I do know this, every person that Tres meets is changed. No one can hold a conversation with him without being amazed at how intelligent, funny, sensitive, and creative he is. His dream is to write rap songs for famous singers. He currently has a journal of raps he has been working on since 5th grade. Tres teaches people to see beyond his physically challenged body. His teachers are impressed by how he advocates for himself. I pray that when I meet my maker, I will be able to say that I have changed as many people for the good that Tres has in his first 14 years of life.

Jordan- Before Jordan was born I thought I had the whole parenting thing down. When we would go to doctor appointments I would see all these undisciplined children running around not listening to their very disheveled and frustrated parents. I would think to myself, “If only they had some parenting class they could attend. What is wrong with them! They need to get those kids under control!” Then I would look at my two little quiet toddlers sitting so nicely beside me and shake my head. Did I have much to learn. Tip # 1: Never assume your children’s behavior is a direct reflexion of your parenting skills and #2 never form opionions about other parents based on your experience’s. (Especially if you only have a couple of kids) Jordan is my David. He is aggressive, passionate, smart, and loyal. By the time he was 4 months old he was snatching things out of our hands. He has a ferocious temper that has gotten much better with time. It became obvious by about 12 months that Jordan’s personality was polar opposite of my first two children. Maurice and I began reading every book we could on raising strong willed children. We realized early that spanking only increased his aggression. We became very creative when we disciplined Jordan. He has so far responded well. I read a book called “Raising Boys” about 3 years ago. I wished I would have read it earlier. I did not agree with everything the author had to say, but I did learn one huge thing. Children are not cookie cutters of each other. If one is more active, loud, curious, hands on, or defiant, it does not mean we should jump to the conclusion that that child is a “problem child”. Instead we should explore that child’s strengths and find ways to teach caregivers, teachers, and family the best way to bring out the positives. Jordan is also my curious child. The 3 year old “why” stage has never ended. When we realized he liked war stories, we pulled the mighty men of the bible as examples for his devotions and bedtime reading. He continues to love devotions and makes a point of reminding me if I forget a day. We also discovered that sports helped to balance out his energy. He is a great athlete and our current goal is teaching him to be an athlete of good character.
Natalie- Natalie is our drama filled 4 year old. She is very matter of fact and honestly believes she is the expert on most subjects. She is miss creative. She loves to paint, make up stories, and reinact events. She came 6 years after Jordan. I am so gratefull for the time in my life when I had Nati. Our first years of parenting were so hectic and stressfull as we tried to learn to be adults and parents at the same time. When we had Natalie it was the first time we could relax in our parenting. We knew from the first three that every moment mattered and would quickly go bye. I decided to only work part time or take positions that would allow me to bring her with me. Amazingly God provided the opportunites.

Kobe- The baby bear of the family. Kobe definetely knows how to get what he wants. He is over indulged by all his siblings. He follows behind Jordan like a chick behind his momma. It is so sweet to see how much Jordan has softened since Kobe. Kobe demands many hugs and kisses from his siblings and loves snuggle time. He is the onery one of the group and has figured out how to get out of trouble with one big smile. His speaking has been slower than the others, i’m assuming because his first year he never had to talk. He would point and someone would jump to do his bidding. Kobe’s latest phase is refusing to wear shirts that do not have some sort of ball or sport on the front of it. He also seems to enjoy terrorizing his big sister Natalie.


  1. Yay–welcome to the blog world–so glad to have you here!!!! Loved reading about your family and their unique personalities. What a beauuuuutiful family inside and out. So glad we have reconnected. Love you,Jenny


  2. I had a half hour to spare before leaving for track practice, so I read your new blog. So glad you started it, Tonya. Will look forward to keeping up with you guys. I shared the pictures you sent a few months ago with people at school who knew Tres. Everyone was tickled to see them. Take care.–Coach Carol


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