Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Brian

Today is Brian's 35th birthday. He and our daughter, Beth, have been married for twelve years and just had their fourth child. Last night I conducted a phone interview with Brian. Here's how it went (and as always the pictures accompanying the questions may or may not have anything at all to do with the questions):

So Brian are you surprised that I'm calling you and the reason has nothing to do with computers? Yes I am a little surprised it's not to do something with your computer.You're going to be 35 tomorrow. Does that feel like kind of a milestone birthday for you? It does. Does that bother you? I'm trying not to think anything of it.

I know you work tomorrow and then have class tomorrow night so are you doing anything special to celebrate this year? No No, Never? Hahaha, not that I'm aware of. Well, we haven't celebrated your birthday yet so we have to do that right? I don't know. I really never have to do the planning. What do you want for your birthday? I would love a longer day. I'm afraid we'd have to talk to God about that but what might you want from Dad and me? I think the seven Harry Potter movies are out on Blue Ray.

Do you have any other special birthday wishes or gifts that you're hoping for? Besides the extra hours I'd sure like a new Guitar Hero.

How do you like being the dad of four children? Very exciting. There's never a dull moment from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed so there's never a reason to be bored.

Do you every find it overwhelming to be part of such a large and growing extended family? It's really amazing because every time I see the nieces and nephews they've changed so much and there's more of them; and seeing everybody again is pretty cool.

What do you enjoy doing in your downtime? Usually, after I finish with the kids' stuff and I get done with work stuff and school stuff and then I try to do some house things like honey-dos, I like to play the Wii or watch a movie.

I know you do a lot of driving for work, what's your favorite way to pass that time? Hahaha, I typically listen to talk radio. Why do you laugh? I don't know.

If you could play any professional sport, what would it be? I think I'd like to be the long snapper for the Bears. Theirs just got injured.

You're an IT Server and Storage Architect. What do you like best about your job? The flexible work hours. It's really helped us make things work at home.

What do you find the most challenging? People don't know what they want and they expect you to deliver something they can't really define. How about trouble calls in the middle of the night? Oh, I don't mind those. They're exciting.

Is this anywhere near where you saw yourself being ten years ago? Yes it actually is. There are more kids than I had envisioned but I knew we'd be in Indiana and I'd be working in Chicago doing computer stuff and I'd be happily married with Beth.

What do you see ahead - say ten years from now? The same amount of kids and absolutely attending lots of sports activities, math competitions, and creative writing contests.

You're taking MBA courses and you should graduate in a year. How will that change your work status? I'll be better qualified to move into senior management.

How do you feel about always being on call for the whole family's computer needs. I don't mind that at all.

You like to party? Absolutely!

What haven't I covered that people might find interesting about you? I watch a lot of movies. When? Usually in the middle of the night when I'm trying to get the baby to sleep. I'm really not interesting. I was an Eagle scout and I'm very happy that Noah's interested in scouting. I'm really looking forward to watching him grow up in scouting.

There's lots more I could tell you about Brian. He's unfailingly kind and considerate and probably one of the sweetest, most considerate people I've ever meant. He's patient, smart, and hard-working. And, if we call with a computer problem when he's right in the middle of the four other things he's trying to do, we don't know it because he makes everything work. Brian, you rock!

We hope your birthday is the best ever but not as great as the many, many more to come!

Happy Birthday, Katie!

Today is Katie's 12th birthday. She's our eighth grandchild and third granddaughter; and she lives in Virginia on the outskirts of Washington DC with her mom and dad and three brothers. Right now her dad is in Afghanistan. Last night I conducted a phone interview with Katie. Here's how it went (as always, the pictures may or may not have anything to do with the questions they're attached to):

Are you excited to be turning 12? Yes Why? Ummm, well I'm younger but taller than all of my friends but now I'll be the same age as all of my friends - just taller.

Do you have any special plans for your birthday? Well, I have a dentist appointment tomorrow but it's not really special - just a routine dental appointment and since I have volleyball practice tomorrow, we went out to eat today.

Where'd you go? Five guys! Was it fun? Yeah. What was the most fun? Getting Mello Yello because I never get Mello Yello since it's rare in the VA area and it's my favorite soda. Did you have a cheeseburger? Yes, and I ate it all but I got really full afterwards.

Are there any special wishes or gifts that you're hoping to get? Since we went out to eat, we did presents today also and I got what I really, really wanted - a cell phone.

What was the best thing about being 11? I don't know - just having double ones in my age. But nothing else was very special about it.

And what do you think will be the best thing about being 12? Umm, going into seventh grade because that's when I start middle school. Will you be going to the same school as David then? Yeah, I guess it will embarrass him a little bit. I hope so anyway.

Any special plans or events that you're looking forward to in the coming year? Yes, my dad's coming home in February.

Do you like school? I like Social Studies, Reading and Writing; but my Math and Science Teacher is really boring so I don't like that very much.

How are your grades? They're good. All A's.

You're in volleyball now? Yes, I love it. How do like having your mom for a coach? I like it because I'm new to the team and she's always there so I won't feel all alone before I make friends. But sometimes she's gets kind of embarrassing like when she makes us do push ups or tuck jumps.

What's your favorite sport? Probably volleyball. And your second favorite? Soccer.

What's your favorite pastime? Playing outside is fun and hanging out with my friend Maria. I do that a lot.

If you had to decide right now what you'll be when you grow up, what would it be? Probably a teacher.

How do you like being the only girl AND having three brothers? It has it's ups and downs. Downs like I live with the boys so I'm kind of the odd one out but the up is that I always have someone to play outside with. And you could say they make me a littler tougher.

How do you like being part of such a large extended family? It's really cool. Whenever we talk about where we're going for Christmas I get to say we're going to Indiana where I have like twenty cousins.

I know your dad has been in Afghanistan for almost ten months now? What's the hardest thing about that? For me it's him not being here and him not being completely safe over there. We all worry about him a lot.

What chores and responsibilities do you have around the house. My brothers and I share them. We usually take care of the trash and we work on the lawn together and sometimes we'll do a deep cleaning where we clean the entire house really, really well.

What's your favorite holiday? Probably Christmas because it's just a joyful season and I get to see all the decorations and hear all the Christmas music.

What else would you tell us about yourself? I think you got everything.

Do you play any instruments? I play the violin and sometimes I enjoy it. (She also plays the Zachary toy guitar, the Guitar Rock guitar, and the air guitar.)

Do you like animals? Yes. My favorites are dolphins and then dogs.

Also, I get my braces off around this time next year and I'm look forward to it. I just wish it were sooner .

After talking with her mom I also found out that she and her mom went clothes shopping for her birthday and one of the outfits she tried on made her look so old that her mom cried and Katie laughed.

And, she's doing very well in volleyball. She's among the top three even though she's a year younger than everybody else on the team.

She loves to cook and made her own cupcakes for her birthday complete with icing and sprinkles and then creatively arranged them in the letters KT.

And she's very helpful with Zachary which I knew because of how much she helped me when I was out there to babysit for a couple of days this summer.

She's also close with her younger brother Matthew, even though sometimes they pretend that's not true.

And no, of course I didn't have to edit rabbit ears from this picture. You mean you think that just because you can see Matthew standing next to her?

And she knows the value of a dollar. Here she is after we were handed free tickets for the Metro last summer saving us lots of money!

And she's sweet, loving, smart, cheerful, fun-loving, and helpful in every way. Happy Birthday, Katie! We love you very much and hope this is your best birthday yet!