Saturday, August 24, 2013

Happy Birthday, Tessa

Tomorrow is Tessa Mary's 7th birthday.
(Yep, 2 1/2 weeks after I got a namesake (Mary Addison), I got another one - Tessa Mary.  It just doesn't get any better than that).
Anyway, Tessa lives in Colorado Springs with her Mom Teresa, and her big brother Evan.  Her biggest brother, Grant, is in his second year of college in Boulder and her dad, Dan, is currently deployed.  It's important to get her post up extra early on her birthday so that her daddy who is in Afghanistan can see it before he goes to bed.  (I think he is about 10 1/2 hours ahead of us.)
 So earlier this evening I called Tessa for our phone interview.

Here's how it went.

Hi Tessa.  Hi Grandma.
I hear you have a big day tomorrow.  Umm hmm, tomorrow is my birthday.
Are you excited?  Umm hmm, but I have a cold.
Oh no!  Where'd you get that?  I don't know.  Maybe from school.  Maybe.
I pulled another tooth out.  How?  I pulled out my tooth and it didn't even hurt a bit because it was really loose.

Do you have any special plans for tomorrow?  My friend Maddie is having a birthday party.  Are you going to that?  Yes, and tomorrow's my birthday.  After Maddie's party we're going to have dinner.  Do you get to pick where you'll eat?   Yeah I get to pick.  I want to go to Red Robin.

And will you get to talk to Daddy tomorrow?  Umm hmm  How do you do that?  Skype.  You can see him them right?  Umm hmm.  I like skyping with Daddy.

And how is school going?  Good and I made some new friends.  And one friend is named Grant.  What grade are you in?  2nd.  Wow that's getting big.  Do you feel bigger?  Umm hmm  What do you like best about school?  Recess.  And second I like books because I like to read.
I know you like to plan things like the picnic you planned when we visited you.  Have you planned anything lately?  Mommy and I went to a fancy hotel and I planned it.  Was it fun?  Yes and at the pool I could reach the ground with my feet.
Are you hoping for any special presents for your birthday?  Yeah, I want a Stuffy and you're supposed to stuff things in it.  Like what?  Toys, cars, and food.

Grandpa wants to know if you have a boyfriend.    No!

Do you like having two big brothers?  Yes.
Why?  Grant and Evan sometimes take me to the park and they play with me at the park.

What do you like best about coming to Indiana at Christmas time?  I like to see my cousins and play with them.  Which ones?  Mary, Anna and Jenna, and Jack.

What else can I write about you?  I take ballet classes and I have a best friend at dance.
Anything else?  I'm an artist.  Oh, you like to draw?   Yes, I'm drawing a story right now.  It's about seasons.
Then I told her that we'd sent her some presents that should get there tomorrow and that we hoped she'd have a wonderful day.  Her parting words:   Thank you for the presents so much!
Because she is sweet and poised like that.  There are so many things I could say about Tessa but first let me talk about Tessa with regards to her family.  They all adore her.  And they are all unfailingly kind and sweet with her and I think that's why she's so kind and sweet with everybody she meets.  When we visited last summer, she wanted to play with sidewalk chalk.  Here's an idea of how that played out.
And look at these patient and loving guys when Tessa wants to play Frisbie with them.
And although Mom is probably the only one who keeps her from being hopelessly spoiled, she also understands when a girl needs somebody to swing with.
Of course Tessa has many more wonderful attributes.  She's amazingly generous, patient, kind, loving, smart, and sweet.  She'll wait for hours for us to get up when we visit and then gift us with notes and pictures and love.  She is such a joy and we're wishing her a wonderful birthday and a year full of happiness.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Happy Birthday, Laurel

Today is my sister, Laurel's, birthday.  She is a tiny bit over 2 years younger than me but for most of the years I've known her that hasn't mattered at all.  (It does seem like there were a couple of years in our teens when we didn't have much in common but that was a short time a long time ago.)

In honor of her birthday, I thought I'd share a few things that not everybody might know about her.

And we'll start with the very early years.  She's always been blond but when she was really little, she was a real towhead.  Here she is with our little brother whose birthday is also today and who was born exactly a year after Laurel.
There were two girls and two boys in our family and Laurel and I were almost inseparable during our growing up years.

We grew up on a farm and spent all our leisure and work times together.  We shared responsibility for breakfasts, helping with supper, cleaning up after, feeding the rabbits, and weeding the garden.  We shared hours playing with the kittens and lambs, riding our horse, playing baseball in the orchard, and walking down the field road.

She always carried her babies like this:  (She's 7 months pregnant here)
We spent the most time together as our kids were growing up.  In fact, we used to take turns cleaning our houses.  It was so much more fun with two doing the work instead of one.
 She's a mover and a shaker.  She stayed with us a short time a few years ago and we finally got the wallpaper taken down in our hall and living room.  We also re-designed one of our ponds and probably did lots of other little projects that don't come to mind right now.
She bought a house all by herself, improved it (a lot!), and now rents it out.

She has three beautiful daughters and two handsome sons.
She's a baby and little kid magnet.  They all seem to fall in love with her at first sight.  (Even my little namesake.)
She's fun-loving.
But quiet and un-assuming.
Her legs and hand were once featured on a billboard on I-94.
She's married to a wonderful man who shares her love for almost everything including travel.
She and I took an overnight trip to Missouri and returned on a bus a couple of days late.

And we took a trip to North Dakota and returned on a bus a couple of days late.

We shared an apartment, rode the South Shore together every morning and every night when we both worked in Chicago, dated and later married two guys who worked on the South Shore, and shared every secret, confidence, joy, and pain that two sisters could share.

And most importantly, she's a wonderful person who would do anything for anybody.  She's never one to let grass grow under her feet and has always striven to improve herself and help those around her improve as well.   She's an excellent landscaper, decorator, and even a great golfer.  For all these things, I should be a little jealous, but I'm not.  I know I'm the lucky one.  She's my sister.
So, happy birthday, Laurel.  I hope it's awesome!!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dane

Yesterday our second great grandson, Dane, turned 3 years old and we drove a little over 200 miles each way to celebrate with him. There's not the slightest doubt that sharing his birthday with him was worth every single mile.

A little while ago, I conducted a phone interview with him with his mom as interpreter.  Here's how it went.

Yesterday was your birthday.  How old are you?  Three.
Do you feel bigger now?  Yep.
What did you do on your birthday?  I played golf at Putt Putt and I drove a race car and I saw the pirate at Putt Putt but I didn't like him.

What did you get for your birthday?  Ummm presents.
What kind?  A pirate suit and a bat and a golf thing and a basketball thing and a buzz thing and a minion.

Who's your best friend?  Daddy and Jack

And my favorite animal is the tiger.

What's your favorite color?  Green.  What do you like that's green?  Paint, a spider with a red thing and stripes.  (He recently had a green spider painted on his cheek)

What's your favorite toy?  Buzz and I want a Buzz bike.

What's your favorite food?  Apples.  And chicken nuggets.  I thought you liked mac and cheese.  Yeah macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets.

How did you get so big already.  'Cause I just growed up in my bed.  Lookit.  I'm so big.  

(Last night when we asked how he'd gotten so big already, he said it was because he ate vegetables.  When Amber reminded him that he didn't eat vegetables very well, he said he did at Grandma's. 
And that pretty well concluded our interview which I thought went pretty well since he's only just three.  However, as usual there are a couple of things I want to add.

First of all, a lot of people - especially little people - get nervous when they hear that noisy group coming to shout a happy birthday to them in a restaurant but not Dane.  Here's how he reacted from the moment he heard them coming.


We'd been to this restaurant twice recently for birthday celebrations so he knew exactly what to expect and no one has ever enjoyed it more.

Then I want to mention that we got him the pirate outfit and, although he seems to really enjoy the dress-up box at our house and Amber says he likes to play construction guy roles, etc at home, we weren't sure how he'd take to the pirate getup.  And at first he was a little tentative:
But once he got the whole thing on, he not only looked the part but he acted it too.  I've never seen a sweeter little pirate.
As soon as he said "Aaargh, Captain", I knew we were home free.
So we're wishing this authentic little pirate an awesome year.  He's not only a sweet pirate, but he's smart, fun, affectionate, and a joy to be around.  
Happy Birthday, Dane!  We love you so much!!!