Saturday, November 30, 2013

Happy Birthday, Katie!

Katie is our 8th grandchild and our 3rd granddaughter.
She was born in Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, an Army post in the Missouri Ozarks.

Yesterday was Katie's 14th birthday and although we were able to wish her a happy birthday, we weren't able to conduct her birthday interview until today.  Here's how it went.

So you were 14 yesterday.  Does 14 feel older to you than 13?  It doesn't feel different but 14 is more fun to say.
 Did you have a good birthday?  Yeah, I think it was my favorite yet.
Did you do anything special?  Well, we had tea ring for breakfast and then my mom and I went black Friday shopping.  Did you get any good deals?  Oh yeah, it was so fun!
So I know the day before your birthday was Thanksgiving, your birthday was on black Friday, and the day after your birthday you start decorating for Christmas.  Did your birthday get lost in the commotion or was it part of a big, busy celebration weekend?  Umm, it was a great weekend!   So fun!  My family definitely made my birthday really special.  We went out to eat at Cheesecake Factory, I got a ton of clothes from our shopping trip, and I got two of my favorite movies - Safe Haven and Grown Ups.
Has volleyball started yet?  Team meeting is tomorrow and then we start practices for club volleyball.   So will your mom be coaching again this year?  No, she's not coaching this year.  Awww, will you miss that?  Well when she coached I always thought she was hardest on me so I think I'm going to be okay.
So are you and David in the same school now?  Our school has a high school side and a middle school side so we're technically in the same school but we really don't see each other much.  Is it neat when you do see him?  Sometimes.  If he's in a good mood he'll say hi but sometimes he'll just walk by.

 Do you play any other sports?  No, just volleyball.
Do you like being in an Army family?  I think it's really cool.  I get to move around every few years.  And although, at first I don't like it, I get to meet new people and go to new places and it makes it all worthwhile.
 What were the highlights of the past year?  I got my braces off!!!!  
We were there last Spring for an awards program where you were on the stage multiple times.  Obviously you were a good student with good grades.  Is this year as successful as last?  Oh definitely!
I'm not slacking off at all!!
Do you have any goals or special plans for the coming year?  For Christmas I asked for a guitar.  If I get one I'd like to try to learn how to play.
What can you tell us about yourself that might be interesting?  I'm into photography and I'm a perfectionist so it takes me forever to do anything.  Also, we got a dog and he is so cute AND he was my idea.  
And that concluded our interview.  But as usual, there's lots more I could tell you about Katie.  First of all I'm sure she'll be great at guitar because she's not only a great Wii guitar player...
but she's a gifted air guitar player too.
Also, she's a friend and helper to her little brother Zachary
And to every one of her younger cousins who adore her.
And she's sweet and helpful to everybody else too.  She and her mother were our landscapers when we renovated the exterior of our house and she worked as hard and as tirelessly as anybody.
She's very athletic and has excelled in many sports.
She's a sweet and loving sister to her three brothers,
 She's loves her whole family of course
And she's a really great turtle catcher.
 But most of all, Katie is one of the sweetest loveliest girls you could ever know!  She's truly a blessing to our family and we're wishing her the happiest year ever!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Happy Birthday, Lori

Forty-four years ago today, my eyes were opened in a whole new way.  I couldn't have imagined what motherhood would feel like.  I couldn't have dreamed of the love I would instantly feel for this amazing baby.  It was a feeling like no other and in 44 years it hasn't faded a bit.  Lori has been an amazing person since the day she was born.  She's always been mature well beyond her years and not only a phenomenal daughter but a loving and wise friend.
A little while ago, I conducted a phone interview with her.  Here's how it went.
Happy Birthday, Lori!  Are you having a good day? Yeah, we just sat down to watch TV.

Do you have any special plans for the day?  Actually I'm not having a birthDAY.  I'm having a birthday weekend. 
When I got to work Friday they had cake for me and my cubicle was decorated which included about 50 balloons.  And I got a 'Happy Birthday' painted wine glass, a bottle of wine and along with the cake, tons of other pastries.
When Marcus got home that night we drank wine and watched 'What Does the Fox Say' on Dancing with The Stars about 30 times in a row and it was the most relaxing, fun night.  On Saturday I was battling maybe a small, tiny hangover.  It wasn't really a hangover but it was close but we went to the brand new outlet mall, Nebraska Crossings, that opened this weekend just for me where Marcus followed me into every store, held my purse and my bags, and was so sweet.  It was a beautiful day with a full moon.  In one direction there was this beautiful mall and if you turned around, about a stone's throw away, there was a dried corn field.   When we left there we went to my favorite restaurant Carrabas and had delicious food and tons of water only.   Then today before I got up, Marcus went to the grocery store so I wouldn't have to, Emily left a happy birthday note on the fridge, Jared gave me a card and wished me the best birthday and Marcus is waiting on me hand and foot.  I'm one lucky, happy girl.

Are Marcus and Ryan both home?  No.  Marcus and Jared are here.  Ryan called earlier and tweeted at me.  It was very sweet.  And Emily was here but has left now.
Were there any special highlights in the last year?  ummmm, Well, I started streaking on Memorial Day and have walked or run at least one mile every single day since then so streaking really works well for me.  But what I feel best about is that I've inspired other people to do the same thing and we actually started streaking with a mind to cover the miles to Afghanistan where my brother Dan is right now.  And I love that so many people have joined to support him and all the troops over there.
So you work for Pharmaceutical Technologies.   Can you tell us a little about your job?  I help people and pharmacies with their insurance inquiries and coverages and provide processing assistance.  I also work with Medicare plans and their members to answer questions regarding coverage and benefits.

Has the Affordable Care Act complicated your job?   No not at all.  Changes are in the works but not everything was effective October 1st.  When people ask questions about what doctors or tests are covered regarding those specific changes we direct them back to their plan.  We help with pharmacy benefits and medications and the insurance plans deal with their own medical isssues.

So the Affordable Care Act hasn't changed pharmacy coverage much?  No, most changes will take effect after the first of the year.
What are the most challenging aspects of your job?  Calls I don't like are hospice calls or calls that have to do with children or infants.  Really the most challenging is dealing with angry people because some medications are not covered.  Because they're very, very angry.
What do you like most about your job?  The people I work with and I do like helping people figure out their pharmacy benefits or alternate medications that are covered.
 How did it feel to have a son old enough to go out and enjoy cocktails with? ( It was nice... the whole night was fun and comfortable.  I thought it would be odd but it was really great.  He was very responsible which made all the difference.
Do you have any special goals or plans for the coming year?  I would like to run maybe two or three half marathons.  I'm  99% sure I'm going to do the Indy 500 race on Memorial Day weekend.  Also, Jared graduates this year and he'll be going off to college. 

What else can you tell us about yourself that might be interesting?   I have two shelties named Lolly and Lilly who look a lot alike and two black cats named Coco and Cola that look a lot alike.  I like living in Nebraska where I never thought I'd live.  I like Omaha.  And I feel like this area is safe and it's very scenic.
Also, my newest obsession is vintage clothing and styles from the 50's, 60's, and 70's.  I've been daydreaming about opening a vintage consignment shop with brand name clothing like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Anne Klein with lots of outfits like Jackie Kennedy wore.   A couple of weeks ago I spent the weekend with Marcus in Pella, Iowa where I found a vintage coat.  It fit perfectly but most of all, there was such a difference in quality and workmanship.  Just trying it on made me feel glamorous
And that was pretty much the end of our interview.  She does look glamorous, doesn't she?  There are many things I could tell you about Lori too.  For one thing, she's hilarious whether she's mocking her Dad watching the weather
or mocking her mother when I loaned her an extra plaid shirt I had,
or one of the instigators in one of my favorite shots of my kids.
 She's a good and creative cook
and she loves her nieces and nephews but probably not as much as they adore her.
And of course her family is everything to her
I love Lori's wisdom, sense of humor, and helpfulness.  But most of all, I love the person that Lori is.  She's had her share of troubles but she's indomitable and resilient.  She's the voice of reason and the calm in the storm.  I believe she has the gift of insight, a connection to nature, and a special spiritual awareness.  She's also blessed with the creative eye of a photographer, she's a gifted landscaper, and she has an extraordinary sense of style.   We're so glad Lori was our firstborn.  No wonder we had so many kids!!!
Happy Birthday, Lori!  We're hoping your day and the upcoming year are equally phenomenal!