Monday, June 25, 2012


On June 23, 2010 I turned 30.  I guess for most people this is sort of a big deal, for me it was not.  I was about to my have my second child in two days and that far outweighed my age.

On June 24, 2010 a microburst hit the Charlottesville area.  I had NO idea this was a sign of the microburst that was about to hit Team Patrouch.

On June 25, 2010 a Gabers was a born and I was never the same.


So the microburst was a pretty big freaking deal.  All I wanted to do the night before my second baby's due date was snuggle with my first baby.  I wanted to fully focus on her and love on her and make sure she knew she was still very much loved.

That didn't happen.

The microburst hit in the afternoon, right before the end of the work day.  It normally took about 45 minutes to get home.  That night it took 2 hours.  Marc and I made it home in time to kiss Carter, hug her and put her to bed.  I didn't like that so much.  I cried.  I felt guilt.  It was terrible.  But it was what it was.

So on that beautiful Friday morning Marc and I woke up hoping we could have a kid that day.  The microburst caused major damage and power to go out across the land.  Also, no phones!  Landline or cell!!  It was nuts. When we arrived at the hospital I was greeted by my very favorite nurse of all time, Lietzle.  Thank God, too, because I was nervous!  There was some scrambling to try and find a room, make sure doctors were coming in, make sure everything was good to go.

Eventually everyone made it and things were ready to happen!  We were about to become parents to our little Deuce.

 I mean!  Look at that belly!

The man that keeps me sane!

So they got me ready, got Marc ready, and wheeled me in.  I am pretty positive you don't want to read all the details but let me just say, c-sections are no joke!  What I remember most about that time was how the doctor (love ya, Dr. Jimmy!) and nurses, and me, were talking about music festivals and what bands we liked.  It was pretty easy-going conversations, light hearted and fun.  Before Marc was allowed in the room he said he could hear us having a great time!  He sat on a chair and spun around.  But eventually they told us it was time to meet our kid!  Marc announced that we had to name him Gabriel or Benjamin!  A boy!! We had a little boy!  And my heart will never, ever be the same.

Me smiling about Gabriel.  My anesthesiologist that I loved very much!

Look at that squishy face! I was IN SHOCK when they told me he was 9 lbs 2 ounces!
PS I LOVED the nail polish color I wore.  I'm actually wearing it right now!

When you have a c-section they clean up the baby and all that, then they send him/her to the nursery.  Don't worry, dad gets to go, the babe isn't all alone in the world! So Marc went with Gabe, his son, while I anxiously waited to be reunited with both.

Father and son, such a cute pair!

 Finally got to really hold him.  Love at first sight!


So after I recovered and was sent to my room, I was ready to see Carter.  I hadn't seen her much in the past two days and I needed my fix.  I was also very curious to see how she'd react to this new little being.

 Sharing my Jello!  And see my red nose? Yeah, pain med makes me a freaking itchy mess.  It's awful!

Staring at her brother!  Those are my folks on the left.

 CJ's face is BEYOND priceless!

 Not sure if she wanted me or Deuce.

One of my all time favorite pictures.  AHH! I tear up whenever I see it.

Most perfect little face.

 He looks so tiny.  But I can promise you, he was not.


 CJ letting Gabe know who is in charge!

 It always amazes me to look back at how tiny Carter was when the second baby came along.  That's Marc's mom!

Gabe telling dad about the crazy journey he just went on! 

 Worn out!

ICE CREAM!  Look at those baby blues!  Marc representin West Milford, NJ!

 Finally home.  A family of four.  And boy does Gabriel's head look wonky.  Oops!

 Kisses for the baby!

 Look at those skinny legs.  Now he's meaty!

Finally at home, sleeping in his bed!

So, this is a picture heavy post because I am not sure I could keep myself composed if I tried to type something out.  A microburst really is the best way to describe my son.  He's strong and comes and goes in a minute.  He can be loud and aggressive.  A bit much to handle. But oh my God is there something about this kid that melts me.  You see, he has these eyes. These big, brown, round, gorgeous eyes.  And he does this thing with them...he looks at me with them.  And I can't resist his charm.  I am a complete push over when it comes to him.  GAH!  This morning I told Marc that today is the day they separated us and he said, "Well, not really."  And it's true.  He's my buddy, my pal, my baby.

Gabriel Benjamin, I love you buddy!  

Friday, June 22, 2012

Dadudrama - Mawk Shawk Edition

I am a bad wife/mother and totally missed doing a Father's Day blog.  In my defense, in this court of public opinion, we were traveling back from a DMB show and I didn't have time.  So, of course, I naturally made Marc do the work. 

Proof that we were at DMB!

I present to you the first, and probably only, "Dadudrama" featuring my baby daddy, Marc.  There are truly not enough words in the English language for me to describe what an amazing father Marc is to his children.  He loves them with every fiber of his being.  When he is home he is present with them, never distracted.  Something he really excels at is taking them out in public.  I can't do this, I am not brave.  But he has no problem taking, one, two, or even three kids with him when he runs an errand.  And with all the love he gives out, he is also really good at being strict and firm with discipline.  This is probably the hardest for him, especially when it comes to CJ, but he does it.  He does it because he knows it will teach them how to behave properly.

 Marc, kids, popcorn store!

Marc and his mini-me

Marc and I have never really sat down and decided what kind of parents we want to be.  We just do what we feel is right in our hearts.  We are a strong, united front, and for that I am grateful.  Kids will push you to your limits and it helps to have a partner that knows how to keep you from going over the edge. We are each other's safety net.  Pretty much I found the best possible man alive to father my children.  Which is really good, because if not, this would be a pretty awkward post.

Marc and his three little birds!

These answers are all Marc!  Honest, witty, funny, and sentimental.  I hope you enjoy reading this, I sure did!  Team P loves ya Mawk!

1. Please give a quick bio about yourself (your name, amazing wife’s name, kids’ names). My name is Marc. My amazing wife's name is Emily, my kids are Harper, Gabe, and CJ

2. What is your favorite part about being a dad? Witnessing the raw emotion that children feel.  It's all or nothing happiness, sadness, excitement, anger, compassion, fear, hurt, etc.

3. What is your least favorite? Witnessing the raw fear and hurt.

4. Best advice ever given to you? Wash out this tired notion that the best is yet to come, and don't burn the day away

5. What advice do you give to new dads? live it up

6. Is holding your child like a football acceptable? Absolutely.  Spiking a child is also acceptable when conditions are appropriate

7. Favorite memories of your kids? Their birthdays. Literally, the days they were born…pretty much gone down hill from there. I kid I kid…those are pretty vivid, and definitely stand out. There are a few memories for each kid that I hold pretty close, but those are mine….

8. Favorite memories of you and your wife?  Montana, in the airport waiting for our flight home…just a simple, content, completely satisfied moment. Each of the kid’s birthdays, Rt. 40, eating in Denver, lazy Blackwood days, car rides to and from work, coffee runs…and of course 8908

9. What skills do you want to teach your kids? Persistence, wait…are these attributes or skills…and is there a difference? Well, persistence, work ethic, patience, and honesty and tolerance of other cultures…except the Dutch. Skills…driving stick, grilling with charcoal, how to manage the DVR when 2 shows are simultaneously recording, making a good cup of coffee. That's all you really need.

10. When you travel for work, how badly do you miss the team? A Lot.

11. What activities do you love to do with your family? Movie time when we’re winding down, big chuck time, anything with water, and trips to Target…or in CJ terms, the popcorn store.

12. If you could go back and tell your pre-dad self something, what would it be?  You are giving up any control you may have ever had…in a good way, just let the days come to you…and be careful around diapers…and rough-housing immediately after chocolate milk time.

13. What has been the most surprising thing about being a dad?  The number of times I’ve inadvertently gotten shit on my finger. Not that I would ever advertently do so….but you catch my drift.

14. What aspects of your wife’s parenting do you admire?  Her patience (we’re talking about the kids here, not my story telling), ability to listen to and comfort those little beings. She just seems to always know what to do in any situation. She makes everything better.

15. If you had to pick one movie for your kids to watch, that best describes your taste in movies, which would it be? Caddyshack. That’s a peach hon. ;)

16. Quick, think of a band you love and write out one of your favorite lyrics of theirs!  Red is the color of the sun with my eyes closed.

Now it’s stuck in my head and I can’t get it out of my brain. Thanks.

17. If there was a “Dad’s Olympics” which events would you win Gold? Silver? Bronze?
Gold –Swaddling, sticking KIX cereal to children’s foreheads
Silver – dodgeball in the 3 and under division (one always ends up crying or else I’d get gold...I mean, I do win)
Bronze – diapering, as evident by the response to # 13   
Did not compete – Nail Clipping

18. CJ just asked “Get a new present for him?”  So what present would you like? Bucky

19. What line did your parents use that you swore you’d never use, but do? I don't think there's one I use at this point, I'm pretty sure the, "what were you thinking....that's because you WEREN'T thinking" one will come up soon.

20. Ok, let’s end on a big one…fourth bird for the tattoo or not? If another branch were to show up on your back, I may be inclined to have a bird rest upon it.

Since he referenced this and it's a song he loves, I present to you DMB's "Pig"!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Have It Better Than the Best

So, I was in a funk.  In my head I called it the "baby blues" but in person I didn't say much about it.  Obviously I told Marc and I told my bestie that I was a crazy person, and I talked to my doctor.  That was kind of it though.  I didn't need everyone to know I was losing my mind.

But I was!

Now, I'm not talking postpartum depression or anything.   That is an extremely serious medical condition and I'm not trying to say I was anywhere near that.  It was truly just a bout o' da blues.

I will go ahead and blame it on two things - hormones and life stressors.  When I decided to breastfeed I never thought about the long term effects of it.  I never thought about how months later I'd still have hormones raging through me, still up at all hours to feed, and what the combo of both of those would do to me.  And I won't get in to the life stressors, but something pretty major went down with one of my closest of friends.   All of this led to me having some pretty dark moments.  At least twice I cried for absolutely no reason.  No reason at all.  Pretty sure that's when Marc was the most worried about me.  But the times I didn't cry I was still in a very bad place.  I was just...unhappy.  And as a mom you can't say that.  You can't admit that even though you have everything you ever wanted, you aren't happy.  Honestly, I was happy, just not enjoying that fact I guess.

Talk about a total mindf--k.

All of this led to more thinking, which led to more sleepless nights, which makes the cycle worse. I was spiraling.  Luckily I scheduled a check up with my doctor in time to get it checked out.  I had originally made the appointment because I needed a PCP.  I wasn't making it for a specific reason.  But when the time came I had a lot to talk about.  I was tired.  Very tired.  And I was sick of everyone saying "You have three small kids, of course you are tired."  It was a different kind of tired.  I was exhausted, drained, and didn't feel like myself.  I truly felt crazy.

But my doctor came through in a big way and his words steered me in the right direction.  Since that day I've focused more on me (again, something moms aren't supposed to do, you're supposed to take care of everyone and everything ELSE).  I've tried hard to keep drama/stressors at a distance and only take on what I can handle.  The doc said that we can't control everything (wait, what?! I'm a control freak!) and a meteor could fall out of the sky on bloink us on the head.  We can't predict it, so don't stress about it.  And he also mentioned that overall we have it pretty good.  For whatever reason everything he said made a big difference in my head.  He was the start of my washing away the baby blues.  I must also give a shout out to my BFF, Lisa.  In a text convo she told me to not put so much pressure on myself.  She wrote that no one says her mom is the best vacuumer, they say she is the best mom.  Basically that a clean house isn't what people remember, it's the love and attention.  Side note, her mom really may be the best vacuumer, I have no clue, but she is one damn fine lady and mom!  Anyhoo, that made an impact on me and I thank you, Lee Saa!

It also helped/helps that I have the most amazing husband on the face of the Earth who held my hand throughout all of this.  One night, when I was especially low and not talking, he tried to get me to share what was on my mind.  When I said I didn't want to bother him with it, he responded with, "But isn't that kind of what this is all about?  Us helping each other."  That man, he sure is good.

But now I am starting to drift out of the fog and in to the light.  Life is so sweet and so good and I fully recognize that.  The past month has been pretty awesome with a lot of great times.  This weekend I'll be celebrating my birth by celebrating my son's birth.  Friends and family will be here, plus ice cream cake.  That always makes things better!

"Seeing things from a
Clearer side than most can dream
On a better road I feel
So you could say she's safe
Whatever tears at her
Whatever holds her down
And if nothing can be done
She'll make the best of what's around."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Patrouch Children and Their Names!

Father's Day is coming up and it's making me quite reflective on the time we've been parents.  Not sure why Father's Day is doing this to me and Mother's Day didn't?

Anyhoo, the thing I've been thinking about the most is how we came up with our kids' names.  If you know me, you know I am addicted to babies.  Actually all of it.  I love finding out I'm pregnant, telling people, tossing out name ideas, hearing the heartbeat, the anticipation of a little one coming, finally having the baby and telling people if it's a boy or girl.  GAH! All of it is SO exciting!  Side note, a good friend is having her second baby today and I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to hear the news that she is finally here.  Yippee!

So, much like my tattoo, the name ideas came pretty easily, but not without true meaning.

Flashback to a movie there would be a transition scene where Marc and I suddenly appear in a doctor's office.  Me looking all fat and gross, Marc looking all cute and skinny.  So there we were after our first ultrasound, waiting to speak with the lady that handles the insurance.  I'm doing whatever, when I feel Marc bump my arm and point to the elderly gentleman sitting near us.  I'm like, "Ok.  Old, black man, great!"  And he bumps me again and says, "No.  LOOK! It's Carter from DMB."  So I look again and say, "Nope, you're wrong. Not him."  "Emily, that's him.  I know five famous faces in this world and that is one of them."  Look again, sure enough it's Carter Beauford, the drummer of the Dave Matthews Band.  In my defense he had his legs crossed and little reading glasses on.  Totally did not look like him.

So we leave the office and Marc says, "You know we have to name this kid Carter."  No way, Jose!  I told him that we were NOT naming our kid after a drummer.  Not no way, not no how.

Fast forward to me driving up to my BFF's bachelorette party thinking of names in my head when it hits me, Carter! Carter is an amazing name for a baby.  Works for a boy or a girl, sounds cute for a kid, nice for a teenager, and still works for an adult.  AND it sounds good with Patrouch.  I was done, our kid was going to be Carter!!  On that drive I thought maybe we should use the child's Godparent's names for middle names.  But when I got home and Marc and I discussed names we ended on Joseph for a boy and Jean for a girl.  Joseph is Marc's middle name and happens to be a HUGE name on my side of the family.  So many people have it I can't even type them all out!  Jean is Marc's Mom's middle name, his sister Lor's middle name, and his niece Taylor's middle name. So CJ was our first kid.  Loved the name then and I still love it today!

Spring 2010 Marc and I decided to see Ben Harper play an Earth Day show at the Charlottesville Pavilion. I must tell you, before this concert I loathed Ben Harper.  Could not handle his music whatsoever.  Marc desperately tried, too.  But I took my big pregnant self to the show because 1) Marc loved him and 2) he was in Charlottesville and I thought that was pretty cool.  SO GLAD I WENT!  That man is an amazing live performer.  To this day I prefer his live stuff over a studio album.  Marc and I are standing there when I turn to him and say, "Ben. Or Harper. We have to use one of these names for this kid.  I love him."  Marc got all geeked and agreed.  If a penis popped out his name would be Gabriel Benjamin or Benjamin Gabriel.  We figured once we saw the little booger we'd know.  And for a girl it would be Harper.  But you know what, I can't really remember what middle name we chose.  I was 100% sure it was going to be a boy, so we must not have worried too much about it.  What's funny though, is the name Gabriel just came to us. We were watching television, heard the name, we both agreed it was a great name, and there you have!  So once the little baby was born and Marc had to tell me if it was a boy or girl, he said, "You have to decide, Gabe or Ben!"  And we decided on Gabe.  Interesting fact, I referred to him as "Ben" a few times in the hospital.  Even now it'll slip out sometimes.  Usually in the form of Benji.

Third kid comes along and we know if it's a girl her name will be Harper.  Somehow Riley came to us, don't remember exactly how, but much like with Gabe, we weren't sure if it should be Harper Riley or Riley Harper.  We actually didn't decide until the afternoon/evening she was born.  But if she had been a boy, his name would have been Zachary, Zac for short.  I became a HUGE fan of Zac Brown Band while I was pregnant and I thought Zac was a cool name.  Especially since it ends in a "c" like Marc's name!  At first it was going to be Zachary Wyatt, but it eventually changed to Zachary Joseph.

Who knows, maybe a fourth bird will be Zac?


So all three kids have musical names.  And it's good we didn't call Gabe "Ben" because then we'd have Carter, Ben, and Harper.  Might be weird!  Also fun, they are all named after a black man.  Marc and I are two of the whitest people ever, but we love a black musician!

And for the people that jumped on the Harper bandwagon, we had that name two years ago, thank you very much!

Another fact, we didn't really come up with names until half way through each pregnancy.  And we didn't have a problem telling people because we loved the names and didn't care what anyone had to say.  So, be confident when telling people, they are less likely to tell you they went to middle school with a kid named that and they hated them!

What are your kids' names?  Any inspiration behind them or did you just like them?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Nice Bubbly Cold One

Some weekends are really just full of happiness.  You can't plan for them, you don't know when they'll happen, but when they arrive you happily greet them at the door, welcome them inside, and offer them a nice bubbly cold one.

This weekend I offered a few bubbly cold ones.

It started with Marc and I traveling, for one night only, to our Mother Land to celebrate my brother's 30th birthday.  He's not much in to birthdays but I bullied my way in to taking him out.  I will say, I had my sister-in-law helping me with the bullying, thanks Gretchen!  We started with drinks on The Corner, then on to dinner at The Local, and more drinks on the Downtown Mall.  It was a fantastic time.  It's always nice when Marc and I get to be sans kids and it's even more fun when it involves fun folk.  Scott and Gretchen are fun folks.  The craziest part though was meeting up with my youngest brother's friends.  I'm not sure I'll ever get used to them being old enough to be adults.  Aren't they still little kids playing video games?  Anyhoo, it was a great night, I really had a lot of fun.  Bonus to the trip, a stop at Spudnuts to get my potato doughnuts. Yum.

On Saturday Marc and I drove home and rescued Mom Mom and Pop Pop from the clutches of the kids.  When CJ woke up from her nap she and I headed to buy Gabe a birthday present.  Carter was INSISTENT on getting Gabe something.  I think it's incredibly cute that she wanted to get him something so badly.  She picked out Jake and the Neverland Pirates toys because the boy is obsessed with that show. When we got home we sent the boys out to Sam's and Fresh Market.  So the girls and I just hung out doing girly things, while the men went off to modern day hunt and gather.

Then we shipped the kids off to dreamland and we went to bed.  Special note, when I put Gabe in his crib he asked for a story.  FIRST TIME EVER!  It was so cute and I had to choke back tears.  Not sure why that was a such sentimental moment, but it was!  Shockingly, and awesomely, Harper slept until 5 in the morning.  Then she went back to bed and all the kids got up at 7:30. I got up at 9, which is AWESOME!

The morning was spent doing whatever but as the day turned to noon we all went outside, minus the littlest P who was napping.  The older kids helped me clean out Marc's car to get ready to sell and Marc cleaned out our wreck of a shed.  Then we played in the backyard and ate some lunch.  There's something so magical about a summer day.  You can be doing not much of anything but playing with a hose and it's fun.  And coming in from the hot, sweaty outdoors in to a nice cool house to take a nap, bliss.

Being a parent can get pretty busy.  Always worried about this, always concerned about that, always thinking thinking thinking.  So to sit back and just watch your kids play is a nice treat.  Seeing your kids play together is heaven.  Having your husband clean out the shed that drives you batty and you complain about, even better!

I'm a pretty neurotic bitch that gets wrapped up in my head, so to have it relax and just enjoy a moment is something I strive for more.  I want to really enjoy my kids, not just tolerate them, not just get through the day.  I know rough days happen, but for this one weekend I am enjoying the days.  I'm enjoying Carter's "heart dance", I'm enjoying Gabe's big brown eyes, and I am definitely enjoying Harper's ear-to-ear smile.  And most of all, I am enjoying the fact that I have a husband who so badly wants all of us to be happy.

I'm about to turn 32 and it feels good.  I'm in a good place.  Some crazy shit has gone down the past few months, but it's made me realize just how amazing I have it.  How lucky I am to have the husband I do, the friends I do, and the family that surrounds me.  To everyone that has kept me grounded, been my shoulder, been my uplifter, thank you.  And I have to give two special shout outs to my Roanoke friends.  Julie, our WBCs do more for me than you will ever know!  Thanks for being my Roanoke BFF!! Kelly, our text convos make me feel like a normal mom because we both worry about EVERYTHING! And I'm glad we can share mom stories with each other.

I'm enjoying life and offering it a nice bubbly cold one.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Three Little Birds - Tattoo Edition

Since Carter was brand spanking new, I'm talking tags not even off yet, Marc swaddled her up and started singing Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds".  You see, it's the perfect baby song, it's slow, you can whisper it, and the lyrics are so easy and repetitive you can sing it over and over again, even when sleep deprived. Each baby/child has been sung this song a countless number of times.

When Marc, Carter, and I were snowed in and the electricity was out, we had to pull a mattress in to the living room so we could sleep next to the fire to stay warm. Well, CJ (almost one) was trained to sleep in her crib, which meant she really didn't sleep anywhere else.  So, I cuddled up next to her, started rubbing her head and sang this song.  She was out in minutes!  "Three Little Birds" truly does put a spell on my kids.

Even today if they wake in the middle of the night and are upset, I cuddled up on the couch with them, rub their head/back and sing this song. I have no doubt that I will sing "TLB" to my grown children! And, very likely, their kids!

My entire adult life I've wanted a tattoo.  But I could never decide on what I wanted or where I wanted it on my body, so I never pursued it.  Then one day it hit me, I needed three little birds!  So I drew a rough sketch and met with Chrisitina Davie at Blue Lotus Tattoo.  I actually met with her husband, but since she's the one that drew it, I'll reference her! Handed over my sketch, and said that I wanted three birds, wanted it to be cute and girly, but awesome, and just black (for now).  Didn't really give much more than that, not size, where, or anything.  So when I received the tattoo and it was exactly what I wanted, I was blown away!  She captured what was in my brain!!!

On 6-4-12 I went to get my tattoo, with my husband along for the ride.  (Thanks, Lor, for watching my birds!)  I was VERY nervous about the permanentness of the tattoo and not so much the pain.  I mean, I had 3 c-sections and subsequent recoveries, so I've handled some pain in my life.  The whole process took less than twenty minutes and it really wasn't painful. There was pain, don't get me wrong, but it's more of an annoying ick.  If that makes sense.  Christinia was light to the touch and speedy!  And I have to say, I think it's badass that a chick did my first tattoo!  Gotta support local women, y'all!!

So I am now a part of the tattoo club!  I absolutely love it and highly recommend Blue Lotus for anyone that wants one!

Here are my tattoo form!