Tag Archives: personal

Thanksgiving 2013

This year I’m incredibly grateful for where I am in my life. I have a wonderful family and friends, my and my family’s health, and the means to help keep a roof over our heads and food on our table. Growing up I often took what I had for granted, so it’s important to me to be thankful for what I do have, something I hope to instill in Coraline, too. I hope you take a moment today to say a quick thanks for your lot in life, too.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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No Words

Song Lyric of the Day:

You’ll never hear me complaining, I’m certain the sun will shine / I don’t care how the weather vane points / When the weather vane points to gloomy / It’s gotta be sunny to me, when your eyes look into mine

Louis Armstrong / “Jeepers Creepers

I haven’t run out of things to say (the hubby can vouch for that). I might not always find/make the time to update here, but I still have stuff to say. There are still words I want to write. Rather, the “No Words” title of this post is a mandate issued by my doctor in the last couple of weeks to rest my eyes. That’s right: My doctor literally said “no words.”

Work has been so busy of late (yay, job security!) that there have been nights where it has felt like my eyes were going to fall out of my head; it even hurt to blink at times. With other life stressors wearing me down mentally, physically, and emotionally these last few weeks, the strain of looking at a computer screen all day has really gotten to me via blurred vision, dry eyes, and near-constant headaches.

So my doctor said, “No words,” when it comes to downtime. Which means no reading my book, no reading news or blogs online, and no updating this blog. Instead I’m to watch TV or a movie, or play a game on my phone or iPad (helllllo, Candy Crush Saga). So that’s how I’ve been spending short breaks away from my computer screen during the day. I’ve also tried stepping outside on the patio more, for the fresh air as well as to distance myself from the temptations of reading, both my book and online. I’ve not only barely updated here the last few weeks, I’m now behind on reading my favorite blog. First-world problems, I know. But I’ll catch up again soon enough, after my peepers have had time to recover.

Image courtesy of Unique-Optique.com via a Google search.

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Counting Back to One

Song Lyric of the Day:

Hey, little baby, what would you say / If I took you further away? / Countdown’s begun / Counting backwards to one / On and on, the endless debating / You get home, but nobody’s waiting / Countdown’s begun / Five, four, three, two, one

Beautiful Small Machines / “Counting Back to 1

The last few weeks have been rough, so stressful that at times it was next to impossible to see any light at the end of the tunnel. You know the saying “your worst day is your worst day”? My worst day kept repeating itself. Add to that stress the grief over Grandma Lee‘s passing, and I have been one hell of a weepy, moody, anxious mess for seemingly forever now.

Things have finally turned a corner recently, with a big, positive change that I (and Rich) had been waiting for for some time. It doesn’t solve all of life’s current problems, but it certainly helps and, to me, at least, it feels like a MASSIVE weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I can finally start to look forward and feel optimistic about things again. Because when I go to my dark place it is really fucking dark, and I was worried I wasn’t going to make it out of there alive. So here’s to making it out (relatively) sane and looking forward to, well, everything again.

I discovered this band, Beautiful Small Machines, via Pandora, and their music has been a bright spot for me of late (I also LOVE “Superconductor,” which my fellow Castle fans might recognize.) Add to that the fact that Bree Sharp is in the band, and I am one happy fan, since her song “David Duchovny” is my go-to karaoke song. OK, would be my song if I ever sang karaoke. Alright, I’m probably never going to sing karaoke, but I DO sing the shit out of that song. In my car. Alone.

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Photoblogging: A Book of Memories

This is the beautiful hardbound book my aunt-in-law sent Coraline commemorating her meeting her Great-Grandma Lee for the first time. We think Coraline will grow to love this book as much as we already do.

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Grandma Lee

Song Lyric of the Day:

Somebody saved me from the world you left / If you’re gonna cry my tears / If you’re gonna hold my breath / If you’re gonna let me see the sun you set / Oh, I am lost and found / Oh, I am lost and found

Katie Herzig / “Lost and Found

My grandmother-in-law is being laid to rest this morning in Iowa. Grandma Lee passed away last Thursday after suffering a stroke. And even though she reached the impressive age of 99, I think I took it for granted that she would live forever — she was just so spunky and full of life that it’s hard to imagine that life would ever come to an end.

I first met her back in 1998 when I accompanied Rich to Iowa for the first time. Grandma Lee was a tiny little thing — tiny but mighty. Mighty enough to have raised four kids. Mighty enough to have been a nurse. Mighty enough to beat breast cancer. And lord, was that woman quick with a comeback. Her snappy wit could (and probably did) cause whiplash in those fortunate enough to be witness to it.

The last time I saw her was September 2011. It’s really hitting home for me that the last time I saw her was truly the last time I would ever see her. Which is why I’m writing this through yet more tears. But I was lucky enough that my last visit with her was also the first (and only) time she would meet her great-granddaughter Coraline, which was a wonderful thing to behold. Coraline was almost 1 year old and more interested in running around the nursing home than sitting still, but I still managed to get some nice shots of her with Grandma Lee. While Grandma Lee didn’t quite remember me, she did remember her grandson Rich and knew that Coraline was his daughter.

I wish with all my heart I could be there with our family in Iowa to not only say my final farewell to Grandma Lee, who treated me like one of her own grandkids, but to be there to console my husband and father-in-law and our many other relatives as they lay this sweet, incredibly beloved woman to rest. I may be mourning from afar, but I hope everyone there knows I’m with them in spirit.

After our visit to Iowa, Rich’s Aunt Linda sent Coraline the most amazing birthday present, a hardbound book of photos from our visit with Grandma Lee. And while Coraline will never remember on her own meeting her great-grandma, Rich and I will never forget.

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Filed under family, grandma, grandmas, grandparents, grief, personal

Photoblogging: Mother’s Day 2013

Today was pretty much the best Mother’s Day I could have hoped for. I thanked Rich and Coraline repeatedly throughout the day for making my day so incredibly special, fun, and memorable. Getting to swing by my parents’ house to wish Mom a happy Mother’s Day was the icing on the cake. And now, because it’s late at night and I have to get ready for bed and work tomorrow, I’m just doing a quick little post to commemorate the day. I’ll *try* to write more in depth tomorrow night since we did a lot today. I hope all my fellow moms had a great day, too.

Me and Mom Mother's Day 2013

Me with my mom, who I am lucky enough to live close to. Notice the tiny person popping up in the lower right-hand corner.

Mom, Coraline and Me Mother's Day 2013

I absolutely love this photo of me, Mom, and Coraline. She's still wrapping her head around the fact that her Abuela is MY mom.

Coraline and Abuela Mother's Day 2013

I love this photo of Coraline and her abuela more than I can say.

Cora and Mommy Mother's Day 2013

During bedtime, I realized I forgot to ask Rich to take a picture of me and Coraline, so I set my camera's timer since Rich wasn't around right then. I got Coraline to smile like this by promising we'd work on a puzzle together. This sweet little girl is my heart and made my Mother's Day so wonderful. (With help from her dad, of course.)




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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.


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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

And Bajingo Was Its Name-O

Song Lyric of the Day:

You want me to change, change, change / You want me to change

Churchill / “Change

Several months ago, Coraline started expressing interest in and naming body parts: “Mommy’s nose! Poppa’s eye! Coraline’s bell butt!” (In case you need a translation for that last one, “bell butt” is her way of saying belly button.) Her unrelenting interest in learning the names for various body parts led to an interesting discussion between Rich and I. We decided easily enough that her butt was to be called either — you guessed it — “butt” or “tush.” As for her girl parts, well, that was a different story.

Calling her girl parts “vagina” seemed awfully formal for such a small child. So me being me, I suggested “bajingo.” For you non-Scrubs fans, that’s the term the uptight female doctor, Elliot, used for lady parts.

Everything was hunky-dory for a long time. Then we started potty training and lo and behold, our preliminary research taught us that in addition to not giving your child a complex about bodily functions (no “Oh dear God, what just came out of you?! So gross!”), you’re supposed to use the proper (formal-sounding *cough*) terminology for private parts. This is where I should mention that Coraline pronounces “bajingo” as “bingo,” leading to my recurring nightmare in which I get a call from her daycare about Coraline grabbing her crotch when the class sang “B-I-N-G-O.” So, on a subconscious level, I guess I already knew that it was time to teach her the proper word.

Coraline now knows that the correct name for her bajingo is vagina, although she will occasionally use the wrong term for it. We gently correct her when she does. God help me, though, because last Wednesday when I was getting her dressed for the day, she placed her hands over her chest and said, “These are my boobs.” I won’t even get into how she thinks her nipples are boo-boos.

At least we never used the term “whizzy winkles” with regard to potty training.

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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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