Friday, July 26, 2013

Happy Birthday, Grant

Today is our grandson, Grant's 19th birthday (which really doesn't seem possible).  He was our third grandchild and our second grandson.  He lives in Colorado Springs with his mom and dad, Teresa and Dan and younger brother and sister, Evan and Tessa.  I spoke with him earlier and conducted this phone interview:
Happy Birthday, Grant.  I hope you're having a great day.  Yeah, it's been alright.  I just got off work a few minutes ago.

Do you have any special plans for tonight?  We're going to Red Robin where they'll sing me the birthday song and I'll get the whole shebang there.

Does it feel any different to be 19?  I mean you're getting up in the big leagues now.   Actually it doesn't.  I've made a lot of friends at school of different ages and now it seems like all the ages kind of mesh together. 

How soon will you be going back to school?  I'm going to move into our apartment on August 17th.
Are you looking forward to an apartment as opposed to a dorm?  Yes, very much so because I'll be rooming with people I like instead of a roommate I didn't care for.
Are you looking forward to school starting then?  Yes, I'm primed and fired up and ready to go!
Why?  Just so I can get back in the swing of things, back into ROTC which I really like, and seeing all my friends that I haven't seen over summer.
What course of study are you pursuing?  It was Psychology but this semester I'll be changing to biochemistry.  Why are you changing?  Psychology wasn't that challenging and biochemistry will be.  Also switching will better prepare me for med school after college which is what I hope to do.
I know you earned an ROTC scholarship.  Does that mean when you finish school you'll owe some time to the Army?  Yes, eight years.  But I plan to stay in for twenty-one anyway so I can get the retirement.
Have you had a good summer?  It's been alright.  It's my first one with a real job so that was new but I think it's prepared me a lot for different parts of college and I might even get a job in Boulder. I knew you were working part time at Wal-Mart.  How do you like it?  Actually I'm working full time now and I can say it's better than fast food.  I like cashiering but some of the other jobs not so much.

How many hours do you work?  40  What departments have you worked in?  I've worked in Lawn and Garden, Home Department, Sporting Goods, and as a front end cashier.  What do you like best about your job?  Definitely my co-workers.  All the other temporary workers are about my age and everybody's going to either CSU or UNC.  We all plan to get together once we're back in school.

It must be hard having your dad deployed again.  I know your mom always depends on you a lot during these times.  Are you able to help out as much when you're working full time?  Not as much around the house as I have before.  Mostly on my days off, I take care of the lawn and a couple of things around the house.  On work days, it's just daily duties like cleaning up the kitchen, doing laundry, and keeping up my room.

She told me that last night you made dinner and cleaned up afterwards.  I thought that was awesome.  Do you enjoy cooking?  I think it's fun when I do it right.  I haven't cooked that much but I'm working on it so that when I go to school, I can make a few different things.
Is there a significant other right now?  I'm kind of bouncing between a couple of relationships right now.
Tell us some things about yourself that most people might not know?  I really like going to concerts like the festival last weekend called Global Dance.  It was at Red Rocks amphitheater and they had 16 or 18 electronic artists, a laser light show, and pyrotechnics.  We danced and had a great time.  I went to a few at Boulder and those were always fun too.  (Here's Grant being such a good sport with his younger cousins on New Year's Eve)
What else?  I haven't really been spinning much lately.  But last year weren't you on the ROTC drill team?  Yes  Didn't you compete at a pretty high level?  My friend and I went to the Nationals in Florida and placed in the upper 10%.
I played the guitar quite a bit in college.  And just the last couple of days I've picked it up again and I'm trying to learn some new songs. I've really tried to open up to different kinds of music lately like Michael Jackson and some of the older bands like AC/DC, the Beatles and some of the other bands from the 60s and 70s.
Anything else?  My friend Issac taught me how to play racquetball and now we play a couple of times a week on a court at the Air Force Academy.  I like it a lot and feel like I've picked it up pretty quickly. 
 (Grant is very athletic.  Here he's making an almost impossible catch on a recent picnic in Colorado Springs) 
And that was pretty much all I could coax out of him tonight.  There are other things that should be mentioned though.  Grant is a wonderful son to his dad and mom,
A responsible and loving big brother to Evan

and Tessa,
and a wonderful grandson.  He's kind, smart, sweet, hard-working, and loving to his entire extended family.  We're so glad he's part of our family and we're proud of his many accomplishment.  And, we're looking forward to what the future will hold for this excellent young man.  We love you, Grant, and hope that your birthday was awesome but only a sample of the many wonderful years to come.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Happy Birthday, Amber

Twenty-five years ago today, our first grandbaby was born and she was truly a grand baby.  She never met a heart she didn't steal and there wasn't a member of this family that wasn't wrapped around her tiny, sweet little finger.
Today, in addition to being a wonderful daughter and granddaughter, she's a wife and a mother.  And she's just as beautiful and just as sweet as the day she was born.  What a blessing she has been to our family!  (Note.  Some of my pictures were taken during a photo shoot set up by Beth Fletcher Photography)
 A little while ago, I spoke with her on the phone to wish her a happy birthday and to conduct a little phone interview.  Here's how it went:
Happy Birthday, Amber.  Are you having a good day?  Yes.  Very good.
Have you done anything special so far?  Yes, Chris got off work early and when the kids woke up this morning, Jack had a card for me under his pillow that Chris got for me last night.  Jack had signed all the kids names all by himself and they surprised me with that.
Does it feel any different to be 25?  I think I feel  I think 25 is the official adult year and now I'm not young anymore.
Do you have any special plans for the day?  We're going out to eat to one of my favorite restaurants, Texas Roadhouse, with Chris' mom and grandma.
Tell me about when you met Chris.  Was it love at first sight?  Yes, it definitely was.
How soon did you know he was the one?  Pretty much right away.  I had been out with an acquaintance of his a couple of times and we went to Chris' house and I was instantly attracted and instantly knew he was the one.  I remember the first night that I saw him, I went back to my mom's and they were asking how my night was and I said, "oh good.  We went to his friend Chris' house", and I started smiling real big and they were like "Amber, who's Chris?"  And I kind of told them that I did think he was really cute and after seeing him a couple more times I finally had to tell him and it turned out that he felt exactly the same way about me.
It appears that motherhood really agrees with you because you are so good at it.  Do you find it challenging to care for so many who are so young?  Yes!  It's very stressful at times and it often feels like I'm running a daycare business.  It's also very loud...especially when I'm on the phone.
And do you suspect that it's easier having them close together?  Or was that your plan because you felt it was best for the kids?  I thought it would be better both ways.  Better for the kids because they'll all be close and hopefully good friends.  And easier for us because we'd be younger when they're little and they'd grow up together and be out of diapers and those baby stages together.  Then it will be easier to do things as a family.
Do you feel like you're a 'natural'?  I think....  I don't want to say yes.....I would say that having experience helping with my younger cousins made it easier.  And I've always loved kids.
Do you have any special goals or plans for the coming year?  Well, I started the C25K so I hope to run my first 5K in the fall with my mom and Jeremy and Jenna.  And I hope to get down to my goal weight and be healthier.
How might you feel different now that you're 25 than say when you were 20?  Do you have a different outlook on life?  I've definitely grown up and matured a lot.  Before I had kids I never really thought about the future and consequences.  Now that I have kids I always think about how everything I do affects them.  I want to be around and healthy for as long as I can for them.   And for Chris.
You are such a talented singer.  Do you think you might ever pursue any type of musical career?  No  I think that once I hit puberty my voice disappeared.  It's not bueno.
Back to the c25K.  Do you enjoy running?  Yes, I find it relieves stress, it's a break, and it's becoming easier and better the more I do it.  It's really not a chore anymore.  I'm finding that I look forward to it instead of dreading it like I used to.
Do you like to cook?  Not so much.  I'm not the best cook but someday I'd definitely like to learn to be better.  I think it will be easier when the kids are bigger and I have more time to dedicate to recipes and cooking.  What's your favorite meal to prepare?  I actually like making my meatloaf recipe and, it sounds lame but I like to make burgers.  And, I like to make your chili recipe.
If you had the opportunity to go back to school, would you do it?  Yes!  I think I definitely want to do that once all the kids are in school all day.  And what career field would you be interested in?  I really have no idea.  I think that's one of the things that would hold me back because I'm really not sure.  I might be interested in being a CNA and working in a home-type setting or maybe a nursing home.  I know people say it's bad or nasty work but I don't think I'd mind that.  I really like old people and I have since I was really, really young.  My mom says that from the time I was a toddler, I'd never walk by an elderly person without stopping to talk to them.
How did you like growing up in such a large family?  I loved it and that's the reason I wanted to have a big family.  I love that we're all so close and we get along so well together.  I've always felt my aunts and uncles were more like siblings to me.  And I love that.
What can you tell us about yourself that most people don't know?  I don't really love animals anymore.  At least not my own.  I do love other people's though and I do love my cat, Sylvester.  Which is odd because I've always loved dogs - at least until I had 4 kids. 
Also, I've recently lost 8 pounds, I like to watch reality shows, and I love to sing to my kids and they all sing with me.  It's funny because I sing old songs and now my kids know songs like Telephone Man, Brand New Key, and the Unicorn song.  And they always remind me of you when I sing them because you always played them for me.
And that pretty much concluded our very fun interview.  Amber is always fun and cheerful and loving.  
It makes me happy to hear that she sings songs to her kids that remind her of me.  What could be sweeter. But that's the way she is and always has been - loving, sweet, considerate, helpful, and all-around wonderful.  Amber's been a blessing to this family since the day she was born.  We're so happy she's part of our family and we're wishing her the best birthday EVER!!!