Tag Archives: family

Happy 13th Anniversary to My Husband

Song Lyric of the Day:

I belong with you, you belong with me / You’re my sweetheart / I belong with you, you belong with me / You’re my sweet

Lumineers / “Ho Hey

What can I say after 13 years together that I haven’t already said? Rich, you are still my best friend, the best friend I’ve ever had, in fact. Not only do you continue evolving as a wonderful, loving, supportive partner, your continuing evolution as a father leaves me in awe. I also have it on very good authority that Coraline is quite fond of you; you are the “fun” parent, after all (or so she tells me). Thank you for being our everything.



Rich and I on our wedding day, April 8, 2000. So young ...

Our family 2013

Rich, Coraline, and I on our 13th anniversary today.


Filed under anniversary, marriage, personal, relationship

Smack My Rich Up: Happy Birthday to My Blue-Eyed Boy

Today is Rich’s birthday, but we celebrated yesterday with brunch and a nice walk around downtown Knoxville. It’s hard to believe this is the sixteenth birthday of his I’ve celebrated with him, 13 as his wife. We’ve run the gamut of birthdays, from surprise parties to restaurant dinners with family and friends to quiet evenings at home with just the two of us (pre-Coraline) and everything in between. Through them all, I’ve witnessed the evolution of newlywed husband to trusted partner to best friend and, lastly, to amazing father. So it is with boundless love that I wish Rich all the happiness in the world and that his birthday wishes come true. I love you to the moon and back, honey. And so does our wonderful little girl. Happy birthday!

Laughing With Poppa

Sharing a joke with Poppa (2/21/13)

Smiling With Poppa

Smiling for Mommy (2/21/13)

Swinging Poppa

At the park after his birthday brunch (2/24/13)

*Rich — TOLD you I’d use “Smack My Rich Up” someday. Bwahahahaha! 🙂


Filed under birthday, marriage, personal, rich


Song Lyric of the Day:

Ev’ryone can see we’re together / As we walk on by / (FLY!) and we fly just like birds of a feather / I won’t tell no lie / (ALL!) all of the people around us they say / Can they be that close / Just let me state for the record / We’re giving love in a family dose

Sister Sledge / “We Are Family

On Saturday we celebrated my niece Miranda’s first birthday party. We met at Build-a-Bear, where Coraline surprised everyone by not choosing Hello Kitty but instead choosing a pink snowflake-covered bear Rich and I, in a stroke of genius, named Snowflake since Coraline wouldn’t commit to a name for the birth certificate (and yes, I took the opportunity to remind Mom about this again). After Build-a-Bear, the kids hitched a ride on the train that runs around the mall, making Coraline’s day because she LOVES riding that train.

We then adjourned to Chili’s for lunch to be followed by birthday cake, which Coraline and her big cousins Elliott and Stephen all wanted as their main course. Like that was going to happen. And then, by the grace of God and my family — who helped do the wrangling — I got a picture of all five cousins together. Sure, they weren’t all looking right at the camera at the same time, but I got a shot of all five of them. Together. In one photo with five takes. Finally.

The kids had a blast spending time together this weekend, and I love seeing my baby girl having so much fun with my other babies. For all intents and purposes, these kids are each other’s best friends. I hope they know how lucky they are to be close enough to get to see their cousins as often as they do, something my sisters and I were not as fortunate to enjoy growing up. They’re lucky, lucky kids.


Here are a few shots from Saturday’s festivities. You can see all the photos here.

Coraline's bear gets stuffed


Coraline squeezes her eyes shut tight while holding her bear's heart in her hands and wishing good wishes for her. I love that she looks like she's praying.

Sleeping Miranda

Birthday girl Miranda, who has a little cold, fell asleep waiting for lunch. It looks like she's saying grace.

Frosting muzzle

Miranda gets her sugar rush on


Clockwise: Coraline, Stephen, Elliott, Sabrina, Miranda. This was the fifth shot I got of all of them. They were so over it by then.

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Filed under coraline, family, personal, photography

My Valentines

Happy Valentine’s Day to my two favorite people on earth, Rich and Coraline. I love you both to the moon and back.

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Shiny & New

This is my family’s New Year Baby: My new niece, Sabrina Irene, was born on December 21, 2012, just in time for Christmas and the new year. My whole family is in love with her, particularly big cousin Coraline (going in for yet another kiss in the second photo).

Here’s to a wonderful, happy, healthy, prosperous, relatively sane 2013 for us all. Happy new year!


Filed under personal, photoblogging, photography

The Family That Ails Together: It’s Snot for Everybody

Song Lyric of the Day:

Once you get the feeling it / Wants you back for more / Says it’s gonna heal it but / You won’t make the call / One step back you’re leaving it

Bombay Bicycle Club / “Shuffle

It has not been a lot of fun around our house of late. First Coraline got diagnosed with a double ear infection, then Rich got sick, then I got sick, and we’ve all been sick since. I think I’m on day eight or nine of this sinus infection/bacterial infection. It’s been an utter delight, not being able to breathe through my nose, coughing so hard my chest hurts, feeling so run down I get exhausted just thinking about doing stuff (forget actually doing it), and the phlegm. Oh dear God in heaven, the phlegm. The good people at Kleenex should be sending me thank you notes at this point for driving their stock up because it turns out my sinuses are the respiratory equivalent of a bottomless pit of snot.

I was put on an antibiotic, Cefdinir, on Friday. Even though I started it immediately, I kept getting sicker and sicker over the weekend. I ended up taking half a sick day from work Monday I felt so bad. Yesterday morning I called my doc again and he called in a Z-pack for me, so I’m hoping I start improving over the next couple of days. Rich got put on it first thing when he went to the doctor on Monday.

And Coraline, my poor baby, developed such a horrible, painful-sounding cough over the weekend that I took her to the doctor on Monday, a day early, for her already-scheduled ear recheck. It turned out to be the worst office visit with her so far. Not only are both her ears still infected and she almost certainly has allergies, but her lungs sounded rattly enough that her doctor ordered a chest X-ray to rule out pneumonia. I had to help a nurse hold Coraline still while she screamed her lungs out as they took X-rays as quickly as possible, with her crying and saying “mama, mama” over and over; it was horrible to see, let alone have to contribute to her misery. Then another nurse had to help me forcibly hold Coraline still so she could get a breathing treatment — she kept trying to knock off the mask. Coraline fought so hard and cried so much that I almost started crying. We don’t know why, but Coraline is now terrified of the nebulizer, which has made it next to impossible to give her breathing treatments at home. Her doc wants us to give her four treatments a day; we’re lucky to manage three. I think it’d be easier to give a cat an enema than it is to get Coraline to just breathe in that medicated mist.

Too Many Prescriptions

Coraline got four prescriptions yesterday: a steroid, an antibiotic, a nasal spray, and Singulair. We already had the Xoponex.

The worst part of all of us being sick the last few days is that we’ve missed out on seeing my aunt, uncle, and cousin from New York who are renting a cabin in the mountains nearby; I last saw my aunt and uncle in 2006, while my cousin and I last saw each other when we still lived in Houston (so circa 1985, 1986). I also only got to see my sister, who was in town this weekend, for all of three minutes on Monday when she dropped something off at our house; we didn’t even get to see Elliott and Miranda this time around. So being sick these last several days has really, really sucked. The only upside to me being house-bound has been catching up on season one of Once Upon a Time (only 10 more episodes to go!).

This Z-pack better work its magic but fast. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. And I haven’t bought any Kleenex shares yet.


Filed under personal


Song Lyric of the Day:

Words don’t come easily / When most I need them / I do not have a key / I am breaking in / There’s people / People going out of their mind / Right into each others’ arms

A Silent Film / “Driven By Their Beating Hearts

Our weekend started out well enough. Fun family time, a movie with my sisters. Everything changed with a phone call from my mother-in-law late in the afternoon. In a panic, I listened as Rich’s voice rose, his mother’s crying audible from several feet away. I let Coraline continue happily watching Olivia even as I burst into tears when Rich repeated the news to me; I didn’t want her to get scared.

A young member of our extended family had died unexpectedly, on his 23rd birthday. I didn’t know him very well, but every time I saw him, he was so happy and so sweet and so fun to be around. I’m trying to process how someone I met when he was only 8 1/2 years old is gone. And his family … my God, I can’t even begin to imagine what his family, especially his parents and siblings are going through. Except that I can. I can imagine it. I’m a parent now, I have siblings.  And I start crying all over again for them, for their loss, for our whole family’s loss. Life can be so unfair. Right now it seems exceptionally cruel that these wonderful people, people who I love, who greeted me with open arms from day one, who have invited me into and hosted me in their home, are going through every parent’s worst nightmare. My heart breaks into another million pieces every time I think of what they and their other children are facing. And it’s all so very unfair.


Filed under family, grief

Road Tripping With Abuelo

Song Lyric of the Day:

You show the lights that stop me turn to stone / You shine It when I’m alone / And so I tell myself that I’ll be strong / And dreaming when they’re gone

Ellie Goulding / “Lights

On Saturday, Coraline and I drove with my dad, her abuelo, down to Alabama so she and I could finally meet Miranda, her new cousin and my new (and first) niece. Cora and I got up at the same time we do on weekdays, got to my parents’ house at 8:30AM, and were on the road by 9AM. Three hours of salsa music later (¡Ay caramba! — it all sounds the same to me. Guess who picked the radio station?), we pulled into Ken and Vanessa’s driveway, where my nephew Elliott ran out shouting, “Auntie Pattie, I missed you!” before hurling himself into my arms. Not too shabby a greeting. Then he hopped into the backseat of my car to say hi to Coraline, who was groggy as she was just waking up from a two-hour nap. We made our way inside, where I finally got to meet and hold Miranda, who is 10 weeks old today. And if I do say so — in my completely unbiased opinion, of course — she’s a little beauty. See?

Happy Miranda (4/28/12)

Not only was Coraline giddy to see and hang out with her cousin Elliott, she fell in love with Miranda. Coraline loves babies, and her new cousin was no exception. She kissed her so many times while we were there she reminded me of one of those little glass drinking bird thingies, constantly standing up then bending over to kiss Miranda.

Coraline kisses her new cousin, Miranda, for the hundredth time.

While there, we enjoyed lunch at a Mexican restaurant, a trip to Barnes & Noble where I picked out books from me and Rich to Elliott and Miranda (Elliott’s unexpected selection was Angry Birds Space), and a fruitless-for-me visit to DSW. After hanging out another couple of hours back at their house, it was time for me, Dad, and Coraline to head back home. For the return drive, I selected The Airborne Toxic Event on my iPod, my preemptive strike against more salsa music. We stopped for dinner at a Quiznos, where Coraline wasted time playing with olives and cucumber slices before deigning to eat any of the turkey and cheddar slider I got her. Dad took over driving from there, so it was back to the salsa music. Sigh.

Even though this was just a day trip, it meant a  lot to me, not only because I got to see my sister and her family, who we’ve missed since they moved, but because — believe it or not — this was my first-ever road trip with my dad. And despite having fears of not knowing what to talk about (Dad’s not a chatter), it was actually fun for me and Dad and I did have some nice talks. Coraline won’t remember this trip, but it made a big impression on her: Saturday night was the first night she slept with her little baby doll, who Rich took great care to tuck in under the blanket next to her.


Filed under family, travel

The Strong Arms of the Ma

Song Lyric of the Day:

See the problem was I / Was fully consumed / With all of the petty things that I couldn’t do / All of the plastic products, shows and woes / I didn’t ever show, I let it go

Electric Guest / “This Head I Hold

It’s been a while since I posted with any regularity. What happened? First, my beloved cat, my sweetest cat, Belle, passed away. The next day my mom had carpal tunnel surgery on her hand. Two days after that, Rich had shoulder surgery, making him our home’s official one-armed man. And since he was obviously temporarily incapacitated, that meant I had to pick up a lot of slack around the house. Rich could no longer help with Coraline’s bedtime ritual and overnight wakeups, gather and haul the trash to the curb, wash dishes, buy the big honking bags of dog food we buy, or help with unloading anything heavy out of the car, leaving yours truly to pick up the slack. (I tried teaching Coraline to poop on command so I could exact my vengeance as soon as Rich was able to change her diapers again, to no avail.) Make no bones about it, though — while Rich is right-handed and the surgery was on his right shoulder, he still managed to be helpful around the house, albeit on a limited scale.

Then — you knew there was a “then,” didn’t you? — my mom had her right knee replaced. Since one sister works at a bank across town, the other sister lives out of state, and our dad works in Oak Ridge, that left me as the best option to take Mom to physical rehab twice a week (Dad takes her the third time, on Fridays). (Here’s where I once again thank God and my lucky stars I work for such a wonderful company and, more importantly, such a wonderful boss.) My work schedule now consists of me working from home on Mondays and Fridays, the days Mom normally watched Coraline, and me working in the office Tuesday through Thursday, the days Coraline is at day care. Tuesdays and Wednesdays I leave work at 10AM to pick up Mom for rehab and — thanks to the wonderful magic of free Wi-Fi — work on my laptop the full hour she’s put through her paces. Then I drop her off at home and head back to the office, which works out — thanks to that hour of work at the rehab center, I’m still only taking an hour lunch (give or take a few minutes) via travel time.

Coraline visiting with Abuela (4/20/12). Coraline was in her "operator" mode, ready to call it a night.

So that’s what’s been going on the last few weeks. I can no longer keep track of what day it is, most days I would happily nap under my desk George Costanza-style, every time I sit down to watch TV upstairs I’m reminded Belle is gone, and I’ve been eating badly, to say the least, since I’m now on the go a lot more than before (damn American fast food for being so convenient and so, so awful).  And yet I’m grateful: Mom is already moving/walking better than she was before the surgery, Rich is just about back to being a full-time husband/father/errand boy (love you, honey!), I’m healthy, Coraline’s healthy — you get the picture. Things could be worse. So even though I’m so stressed right now I could probably turn a lump of coal into a diamond, I’m doing my damnedest to look at the bright side.


Filed under personal, Uncategorized

Today Coraline Is a Big Cousin

My first niece, Miranda, was born this morning in Alabama, making Coraline a big cousin. I can’t wait for them to meet.

Welcome to the World, Miranda

Miranda, 7.2 lbs., 18 inches


Expressing her ennui while her Abuela holds her

Proud Big Brother

Elliott is giddy over his baby sister's arrival

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