First Date Anniversary

It was thirteen years ago that Rob & I went on our first date to see Bed of Roses and who would’ve guessed how much our lives would change in the years to come?

Just last week, we were reminiscing with friends over lunch about how everyone was so shocked to discover that we were dating.   We were a very unlikely pairing, especially considering that we started off on such shaky terms.   Well, let’s face it, I didn’t like Rob at all.   But he was persistent and I finally decided to take a chance.   And here we are 13 years later.   It’s been a wonderful journey!

Happy First Date Anniversary!


Another Loss…

As much as we’ve had an incredible year of gains, we’ve also experienced some painful losses.   Early this year, my Mom passed away suddenly.   Then just a few months ago, our longtime friend Bryan Howell was taken by a tragic & senseless accident.   And we lost another beloved member of our extended family this past week.

Charles “Whit” Smith had long said that he hadn’t even expected to see the year 2000, so everything since was just an added bonus.   What he may have been not so aware of is that the bonus was ours.   Among other things, I’ll sorely miss his sense of humor, always-supportive spirit, and that resonating baritone voice that seemed tailor-made for radio.

Whit and Liam
Goodbye Uncle Whit, we’ll miss you!


Tis Grand

We had such a wonderful & uplifting surprise this morning.   One of our favorite people in the whole world, Sister Margaret Ledwith popped in for a quick visit.   We were so sad when Sister Margaret retired from MCH and returned to Ireland over 4 years ago and although we’ve tried to stay in touch via email, we’ve sorely missed her.   So having a few moments for big hugs all around and to catch up on everything was truly a heartwarming blessing!

Sister Margaret Ledwith

So, since she traveled back over from Dublin to visit us, it only seems fair that it’s our turn to visit her next…   Gotta start saving for another trip to Ireland!

Busted Again

My, what a difference 2 years makes…

Sharp readers (and maybe even some not-so-sharp ones) will readily see what’s changed since Dede & I were first busted at the ballpark back in ’06.

Rob, Dede, & Liam at the ballpark

Suffice to say, this year’s MCH Employee Night at the Citibank Ballpark was definitely unlike previous ones thanks to our own all-star, who April would be quick to point out is:

(Press the "Play" button above to hear a great sound clip
from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
or click here if the audio control doesn’t appear.)


Aunt Ruby and the Ladies Man

Rob’s sister was in town for a couple of weeks following their Mom’s funeral and it gave Liam a chance to get to know his Aunt Ruby.   She showered Liam with kisses & gifts and they enjoyed several mealtimes together.   Ruby agreed that it’s probably no coincidence that Liam Matthew’s initials could just as easily stand for "Ladies Man," because he’s quite good at working the ladies.

Here’s a family photo taken the night before she headed back home to Oregon:

Liam, Ruby and Rob


A Month of Contrasts

I’ve read that seldom does happiness come so pure as to not be also tempered by a measure of sorrow.

And so it was last month, that Dede & I finally completed our adoption of our son Liam from Russia only then to lose my mother to a sudden illness barely 2 weeks later.   The sadness of our loss has certainly felt much sharper than the joy of becoming parents, but Liam has been an anchor for me during this bleak time.   Naturally, he’s too young to have any concept of what has occurred, but somehow just having him to hold onto has made Mom’s slipping away a bit more bearable.

Rob’s Mom

By the way, the outpouring of support from all of you has been incredible.   We’re truly grateful for all of the food, cards, plants & flowers, comforting thoughts, and prayers that have been showered upon us.

Although it was surely for the worst of all reasons, I did appreciate the opportunity to visit with family who I hadn’t seen in quite some time.   Having Uncle Truitte, Aunt Carlene, Aunt Gladys, & my cousin Kathy here gave Rich, Ruby, & me a chance to go through stacks & stacks of old photos to identify people we could never have guessed otherwise.   And we relived some great old memories and shared lots of wonderful old stories about Mom & the whole Tolbert clan.

Among some of the other forgotten nuggets we found was this old photo of us O’Daniel boys:

Rich & Rob (then)

…and here’s a more current pic for comparison sake…

Rich & Rob (now)


Graph It Up!

pencil and graph paperWhether you’re planning to rearrange some furniture, laying out a garden, working on a crafty project, charting some progress, or just doodling, sometimes you need graph paper to do the job right.   At, Kevin MacLeod offers a vast assortment of free graph paper generators so you can create & print your own custom lined & grid papers, ledgers, storyboards, music staves, lettering guidelines, and much more!

(Note: Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

Accidentally Catholic

We attended Ethan’s baptism yesterday.   Little "E" did great!   This was the first Catholic baptism that Rob & I have ever attended so it was quite an experience for us.

First off, we arrived at the ceremony right after attending a funeral (talk about a yin-yang situation).   We were a little early for the baptism (we thought we were right on time) and there were people gathered and singing.   We slipped in on the back row next to Pete & Becky (the only faces we recognized) and tried to get into the flow of the ceremony.   There was a lot of knee-bench kneeling, chanting and other stuff going on.   I asked Pete where the baby was and he informed us that the baptism would take place after mass was over.   Mass???   Uh oh, we had just walked in on the end of a Catholic church service; no wonder we were so lost!   I didn’t even know they’d let you in without a membership card or at least knowing all the hand signals.   😉

After we finished up with mass, we moved up closer to the front so we would have a good view of the baptism.   Finally, Clems & family showed up and we were relieved to see some familiar faces.   We were still lost with all the ceremonial stuff and not sure how much of it was Catholic ways and how much was Filipino ways (see dress attire in photo) but it was a nice ceremony and Little "E" sure has a lot of family that loves him.

After the ceremony, we headed over to Brenda & Barney’s for a celebration dinner with food and family galore.   It was also an opportunity to spend some time getting to know Clems’ family.   His brother Arnold and parents are in from the Philippines and this was the first time we had ever met his parents.   They’re all very nice people and we feel lucky to be an honarary part of the family.

Ethan's baptism


Prince (aka TBFKAD)

Newly-crowned “Prince Dimitry” (TBFKAD) emerged victorious at yesterday’s Spirit of Women’s Fourth Annual Breastfed Baby Pageant held at Music City Mall.   The award-winner was too modest to don the bejeweled crown, so his momma wore it in his honor.

Marsha & Dimitry at the baby pageant