Tag Archives: Becky

Welcoming Our Newest Family Addition

My big sis (aka Bubbie) kisses Maddie.

My main reason for visiting Chicago always is to see my mom. But there was an added bonus for last weekend’s trip: I got to spend time with my big sis and her #1 daughter Becky’s family.

Kate has fun on the floor.

Last year Becky and her husband, Ken, hauled baby Kate from Seattle to the midwest to introduce her to family and friends.

Such a cute family!

This time it was six-month-old Maddie’s turn. Kate and Maddie are Irish twins, both having been born in 2011 (Kate in early January and Madds in late December). Becky and Ken literally have their hands full—especially when Ken’s five-year-old daughter Lily is added to the merry mix.

Four generations together: My mom, my big sis, Becky, and the two darlings.

The event was at Giordano’s, a great pizza place. I got to visit with my relatives (always a treat) and admire my two gorgeous great-nieces.

A little girl talk among the generations

Meeting her new great-granddaughter was so special for my mom. She and Becky—her first grandchild—enjoy a wonderful bond.

Great-grandma and great-granddaughter

And now that strong link continues to the much-younger (albeit sleepy) generation.

Welcome to the family, Maddie!

A Floral Apology

Indian Blanket: What a wonderful name for a wildflower!

Whenever I write a post like yesterday’s that features wildflowers, I must admit that I chuckle.

Same name but different look

I’m imagining the looks on the faces of my beloved oldest nieces, Becky and Lisa, as they read it.

Mexican hats: Another great name!

When I saw the sisters last month, they both admitted that they much prefer when I write about and show off photos of people in my blog. Enough with the flowers, they said. Gently, of course, because they care about their old aunt’s feelings.

Pink phlox drummondii is sparse but pretty.

Now I do really appreciate feedback about my blog. It’s nice to know that I’m not writing in a vacuum.

A fly enjoys its perch on the coreopsis.

But asking me to stop posting flower power photos? That would be like asking me to stop loving both of my wonderful nieces.

I’m not sure what kind of wildflower this is, but I love how delicate it is.

Sorry, kiddos, but you’ll just have to put up with your aunt’s wildflower obsession once again. I just can’t help it if these pretty posies remind me of how beautiful both of you are!

The Royals Steal My Date

Where could this invitation be?

I must admit that I’m miffed at Prince William and Kate Middleton. And it has little to do with the fact that my invitation to their wedding tomorrow obviously was lost in the mail.

Sidebar: I prefer to think that my invite merely failed to fly from England and land in my mailbox in the Houston area. It would be too traumatic to be lumped with disgraced-royal Fergie as a noninvited guest!

The lovely couple on our wedding day 21 years ago tomorrow

Actually, I’m annoyed that the two picked my own wedding day as their own! Which means we’ll share an anniversary for years to come (but maybe not forever, knowing the royals . . . or knowing the Mister and myself).

Kate and William, the wedding date thieves

I guess it’ll make it easier to remember my own wedding anniversary in the future!


My niece Lisa holds her two-year-old son Zeke.

With my oldest sister Fran and her two daughters, my beloved number one and two nieces (I have six total), living so far away from me in Seattle, I have to quickly seize the rare moments that I can see them.

My oldest niece Becky and baby Kate share a laugh.

One of those was earlier this month, when all of them traveled to Chicago to visit family and show off the newest addition to our clan, baby Kate. So I punched out of my mom-duty clock and joined them last weekend, which gave me a chance to also see my mother (who Fran and I stayed with), aunt, uncle, cousins, and brother’s family.

Kate seems intrigued with my sister-in-law Fran.

It was a whirlwind yet wonderful 48 hours!

Sidebar: Long-time blog readers probably are wondering how smoothly my travels went. Need you really ask?!? My flight to Chicago was delayed four hours due to nasty weather in the windy city, and I got sick on the bumpy return flight. No fun at all, my friends. Glad I don’t have to take to the unfriendly skies again for awhile.

My baby brother, the hot-shot Chicago lawyer, and my sister-in-law Fran hosted our immediate family at their lovely swankienda. There I got my fill of holding my niece Becky’s three-month-old baby. Does “adorable” adequately describe Kate, who looks just like a doll? She had me at her first toothless smile.

Zeke slows down just long enough for a quick pic.

I must say that both nieces have done an admirable job at producing the cutest kids ever (well, after my two sons, of course). My niece Lisa’s toddler Zeke loves trains, just like mine did, and is a whirlwind of activity. I almost got dizzy trying to keep up with him and his über-cute grin.

Becky and her husband Ken pose with their darling daughter after her naming.

The next day was Kate’s baby shower and Jewish baby naming at Giordano’s, a wonderful pizzeria in the suburbs. The little cutie pie was almost perfect, as everyone oohed and aaahed over her. Must be tough being so adored!

Four generations: My sister Fran, our mom, Becky, and baby Kate

So now my oldest niece, who I so well remember as a baby, has a daughter of her own. She, Ken, and Kate truly are a family, just like her sister Lisa, her husband Chris, and Zeke.

Families—they’re worth braving my travel jinx for!

Is It Spring Already?

A beautiful pink rose is opening up.

When I look at the calendar, I see that it’s January 7. Definitely winter.

A red rose struts its stuff.

But when I check out my front yard, I see spring!

The pink roses complement their red counterparts.

There are so many Knock Out roses blooming that it doesn’t seem like Old Man Winter is about to hit us with some cold weather next week.

But if the forecasted lows of 30 degrees do actually interrupt the Houston area’s much-loved (by me!) mild winter, I just hope that all our rosebuds and roses continue to flourish. They warm us with their beauty and the belief that spring really is around the corner.

A red rosebud soon will be a pretty flower.

Bloom, Bud, bloom!

Another addition to my extended family

Baby Kate joins dad Ken, mom Becky, and big sister Lily. (Photo by Grandpa Howie)

Speaking of new blooms, my oldest niece Becky gave birth to her first child Wednesday! Baby Kate joins dad Ken and Lily, the Beck’s stepdaughter. And she gives my great-nephew Zeke another cousin to play with. My oldest sister Fran is the very-proud grandmother. Welcome to the family, Katie!

Skedaddle to Seattle . . . Very Slowly

The *!@#* garment bag

The *!@#* garment bag

This is a sad tale of what happens when several dumb decisions plus poor timing multiplied by awful luck equal missing a flight to Seattle.

And it all centers around a garment bag.

Last Thursday we were supposed to be on the 8:55 a.m. flight from Houston’s Intercontinental Airport to Seattle. The main purpose of the four-day trip? My beloved #1 niece’s wedding. Oh, we made it to Seattle, but we had to wait until 2:20 p.m. to board the plane. Then again, who wouldn’t want to spend their first Pacific Northwest vacation in the airport for five and a half hours?!? The excitement, the thrills, the drama!

The #2 son is momentarily happy in the airport.

The #2 son is momentarily happy in the airport.

The bottom line is that when you’re a little bit late getting out of the house and into the car, as we were by five or 10 minutes, every extra minute of delay seems to increase exponentially. There’s bound to be more traffic. And the shuttle bus driver is bound to pick up two more slow passengers. And then you’re going to make a fatal mistake: You’re not going to see curbside check-in when the line inside to check bags is really long.

The #1 son reads in the airport.

The #1 son reads in the airport.

The basic problem for us was that we rarely fly anywhere. That’s because we rarely go anywhere. But when we do fly, we carry everything on. Each of us has a wheeled carry-on case (love those wheels!) and a backpack. But because we were going to the wedding, we had to have our grown-up clothes with us. You know, fancy duds. Yep, I even had a dress! There’s no stuffing that kind of garb in a carry-on. Hence the too-big, too-heavy garment bag that needed to be checked.

The Mister reads.

The Mister reads.

Suffice it to say, by the time we got the garment bag to check-in, we had less than 30 minutes before our flight was to take off. Did you know that you can’t check in a bag for a flight that has less than 30 minutes before taking off? I didn’t before, but I sure know that now! Very stressful!! The check-in gal suggested that the guys make the 8:55 a.m. flight, while the garment bag and the old bag travel on the next one at 12:30 p.m. I gave the guys their boarding passes and told them to make like Usain Bolt and speed to gate 39. Which, of course, was the furthest one from the security checkpoint.

A bored #2 son checks the Tour de France results on my iPhone.

A bored #2 son checks the Tour de France results on my iPhone.

I went back and leisurely finished checking in the garment bag and then went through security. Of course, by this time, which was almost 9 a.m., there were hardly any people around. Figures. My one thought was that as long as I don’t get a phone call from the Mister, all was well, and they’re on their way to Seattle.

#2's self-portrait taken with the camera upside-down.

#2's self-portrait taken with the camera upside-down.

“When a Man Loves a Woman” started playing from my iPhone at 8:55 a.m. Oh, oh . . . that’s the Mister’s ring tone. Not a good sign. Sigh! They missed the flight. We didn’t realize that the gate had been changed from 39 to 31; by the time they got there, the doors were closed to them. And the Mister was very tired and winded. And, of course, unhappy.

Yay, we made it!

Yay, we made it!

So I gave up my 12:30 p.m. seat, and we were confirmed on the 2:20 p.m. plane. Which meant lots of time together in the airport. The highlight was probably seeing the Houston Dynamo soccer team’s players, who eventually were on our flight. I don’t think the Mister and I were ever so happy to get on a plane! And then to finally land in Seattle, where the temperature was about 20 degrees cooler than in Houston. I loved that part the best!

Safeco Field—home of the Seattle Mariners

Safeco Field—home of the Seattle Mariners

That night we attended the Seattle Mariners baseball game at Safeco Field with our relatives and my niece Becky’s friends. The Mariners were playing the Texas Rangers.

Sidebar: Even though we live in Texas, we are not Rangers fans; we are Houston Astros fans! We prefer the National League. I’m originally from Chicago, and I’m a lifelong Cubs follower. I will never like the White Sox. Hope I’ve made that clear!

A Mariners' wild pitch gets past the catcher.

A Mariners' wild pitch gets past the catcher.

Of course, I had my Nikon D300 with me with the Nikon 105mm lens. We were in the upper deck near home plate, and I was able to get a few good photos from that vantage point.

The Rangers score their only run.

The Rangers score their only run.

It was great relaxing with my mom, her two sisters, and my oldest sister Fran (Becky’s mom). The Mariners managed to win the game 3-1, the boys got to see a major league baseball game in a park in a different state, and I was beginning to shed the airport-saga stress.

And the irony of the whole flight-missing tale? The garment bag made it to Seattle before we did! It was on the 12:30 p.m. plane and was waiting for us in the airport. Hope it had a good time!