Category Archives: around knoxville

Photoblogging: Mother’s Day 2015

For Mother’s Day this year, Rich and Coraline let me choose what I wanted to do since, as Coraline reminded me at least a dozen times, “it’s your special day!” I decided that I wanted to check out the brunch at The Cheesecake Factory, where I lived it up with a Belgian waffle and Buffalo Blasts, and got a slice of cheesecake to go. We then swung back by our house to drop off our leftovers and so Rich and Coraline could give me my Mother’s Day presents: two dresses from New York & Co., Clinique nail polish and a face mask, and bacon seasoning (for the win!). The gifts were spot on, particularly the pink patterned dress I’d been looking at the night before on my iPad; Rich was amused to discover that I’d been thisclose to buying it for myself.

We then went to the Knoxville Museum of Art, Coraline’s first-ever visit to an art museum. She did pretty well for her first visit, although she is far from being ready for the guided tour. I loved that she asked for me to photograph her in front of the art she liked the best. My favorite was the inverted Mona Lisa made with spools of thread by Devorah Sperber; viewed through a glass orb, the image was then right-side-up. It was recognizable enough even upside-down that Coraline exclaimed, “Hey, it’s Mona Lisa!”

After the museum we changed Coraline into the shorts, T-shirt, and sneakers I’d grabbed at the house so she could play at Fort Kid across the street from the KMA. She had a blast and made some friends, while I tried not to die of heatstroke even sitting in the shade (I think the temperature was close to 90 by then). The heat made Coraline a bit cranky on the drive back home, but her mood improved significantly once she cooled off. During her afternoon nap, I passed out on the couch with Buster since being outside in hot weather pretty much drains me of all my energy. Also, it was Mother’s Day and I didn’t feel like doing housework.

It was my turn for bedtime duty, and as I tucked Coraline in bed, I thanked her again for making Mother’s Day so great. She said, “You’re welcome. And I wasn’t even bad today!” That’s my girl, and I’m so lucky to be her mom.

Cora next to Woman and Child in a Meadow

Coraline by her (first) favorite painting, Untitled (Woman and Child in a Meadow) by Catherine Wiley.

MD 1

Taking in the museum

MD 2

“Mom, take a picture of me in front of this one!”

MD 3

I loved this piece so much.

MD 4

Rich on the KMA balcony overlooking World’s Fair Park

MD 6

Standing in front of another favorite painting

MD 7

Coraline giving her first TED talk

MD 8

Enjoying the giant wall Lite-Brite in the kids’ area

MD 9

Coraline took this picture! Turns out she took 13 more almost-identical ones, but I think she got a great shot of us.

MD 10

Me and my best girl. She was giddy at the thought of us wearing our maxi dresses for Mother’s Day. Of course, she topped off her look with a tiara.



Leave a Comment

Filed under around knoxville, parenting, personal

Around Knoxville: Three Rivers Rambler

Song Lyric of the Day:

Come on, ride the train, it’s the Choo Choo train

Quad City DJ’s / “C’mon N’ Ride It (The Train)

Knoxville has a short-line passenger train. Did you know this? Because I only discovered this recently. I’ve heard rumors the last couple of years, and then a few weeks ago my friend Meghan and her husband took their babies on the train, the Three Rivers Rambler. Meghan told me about the trip, which I then told Rich about, and we agreed that it would be fun to take Coraline on a train ride.

Coraline has wanted to ride a real train forever. It’s basically one of her lifelong dreams. (Did you know toddlers could have lifelong dreams? They can.) Thanks to my parents, Coraline’s ridden the little train at our local mall enough times to qualify as a part owner, so when we told her about REAL trains, her mind was blown.

Last Sunday, agendaless and looking to enjoy some quality family time, we told Coraline that we were going to take her on a REAL train ride. In typical fashion, she jumped up and down yelling “Yay!” which she manages to draw out like you would not believe. We packed her little backpack with snacks, Rich and I grabbed our cameras, and we headed down to Volunteer Landing to board the train.

Lindy, the Washington & Lincolnton #203 steam engine for the Three Rivers Rambler.

Lindy, the Washington & Lincolnton #203 steam engine for the Three Rivers Rambler.

We quickly found seats facing each other, so we had a cozy seating arrangement. The seats also allowed me to keep my gimpy foot elevated during the 2-hour ride. (The website and conductor say 90 minutes, but ours took two hours including a couple of short stops.)

The atmosphere on the train was very friendly, festive thanks to some holiday decorations, and very family friendly — there were tons of families riding with us that day. Coraline loved everything about it, especially the fact that we could walk out onto the following open-air car while the train was moving (it goes really slow).

Coraline holds up her train ticket.

Coraline holds up her train ticket.

I of course took tons of pictures, with Rich handling Coraline-escorting duties; my foot was still pretty tender so hobbling around a(n albeit slowly) moving train with an excited 3-year-old was not on my slate for the day.

I did manage to hobble outside with Rich and Coraline a few times, with the beautiful views totally worth the effort. Not to mention Coraline’s sheer delight at BEING ON A REAL TRAIN. Sorry for the caps, but toddler enthusiasm is contagious. And awesome.

Crossing over the Holston River.

Crossing over the Holston River. Note the train’s shadow on the water.

We heard rumblings throughout the ride that a certain magical jolly fellow was going to be making an appearance. Just when Rich and I had given up hope that the big man would show, there he was. Coraline was giddy waiting for him to make his way back to us (we were in the next-to-last row on the last car). And even though she met Santa outside of the mall, she still told Rich that we needed to go see Santa again at the mall so she could tell him what she wants for Christmas. She is a true believer, after all.


Coraline with Santa Claus on the train, the perfect ending to our first family train ride.

Leave a Comment

Filed under around knoxville, coraline, family, family time, knoxville, personal