Saturday, July 26, 2014

Grant Alexander

Today is our grandson Grant's 20th birthday.  He is our third grandchild and 2nd grandson.
Grant is an important part of this large family.
And an even more important part of this smaller family.
 It doesn't seem possible that it's been twenty years since his birth which I described in more detail in this post but it has; and here is Grant 'through the years'.
 Although he's changed a lot over the years, from an early age it looked like he would be be athletic,
some day have ties to the military,
and be very cool.
And it turns out that he is athletic,
is going to school on an ROTC scholarship,
and is definitely very cool.
He also loves his little sister and has from the moment she was born,
is a good friend and loving brother to Evan,
loves hanging out with his dad and always has,
 and loves and appreciates his adoring mom.
Grant is smart, hard-working, and goal oriented.  He's fun-loving and thoughtful, helpful and kind-hearted,
 and laid back but not too laid back.
We're proud of Grant and the wonderful person that he is and we look forward to watching his life unfold.  AND, we're wishing him the best birthday he's every had but one that's only half as good as the many more to come.  Happy Birthday, Grant!  We love you!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mary Beth

I was born 68 years ago today at St. Anthony Hospital in Michigan City.  My parents, older brother Steve, and I lived in an apartment on Manhattan Street where we apparently ate ice cream.
and visited Washington Park.
 When my younger sister was born, we moved to a house on Hwy 20.  My dad worked as a welder/mechanic and we visited his work site occasionally.
 We had woods behind us with a creek where I used to pick jack-in-the-pulpits and where we once found a blue racer frozen in the ice.  We had a sandy driveway where we kids would shuffle through the dust and make 'smoke' much to our parents' chagrin.  We also had a dog named Ruffy who would be the cause of a traumatic event in my life but that's a story for another post.

 Some of my earliest memories involve visiting my grandparents on their farm in Wanatah
And where I was lucky enough to have a best friend cousin, Rosanne, who is still a dear friend today.

 When I was 8, we moved to a farm in Pine Township and after years of fervent and daily prayers, we finally got a horse, Ginger.
 Before I knew it, I'd graduated from high school and after Laurel did too, we got an apartment together on 10th street in Michigan City.
Getting the apartment was necessitated by meeting our future husbands and our Dad not letting us go out as often as we wanted.  We were such rebels.  LOL  (And isn't it funny that Harry and I had the same haircuts?!)
 Before long we were married.
 and moved to an apartment in Denver.
 We were only there about 5 months before Harry was assigned to Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.  Since there was no housing available at all, we moved into this resort cottage in Cloudcroft about 15 or 20 miles away from Holloman (seven miles on the desert and then about 8 miles almost straight up.)
 As soon as we could, we got this house trailer and this pregnancy.
 And just before Thanksgiving, I found out what true thankfulness was.
 About 19 months later we were blessed again with another girl.
 Harry got out of the service after 4 years and we moved back to northern Indiana.  We stayed with my parents for a few months and then bought this house which we live in to this day.  Oh and since we had so much room, we added a set of twins.
 And didn't wait long to add two more girls.

 We wouldn't have believed, as our children were arriving and growing, how quickly we would become grandparents but it really does happen in a blink of an eye.  And we kept on feeling blessed.
 Soon our youngest and last unmarried child tied the not.
 And we found ourselves traveling about the country to visit our kids.  Here we are at Tybee Island in Georgia while the boys were stationed at Ft. Stewart.
 I worked for Jaymar Ruby and Wal-Mart and got what I thought was my dream job with the post office.  As much as I loved my job, I couldn't wait to be home doing things I loved more.
I've been so fortunate to be in the delivery room when most of my grandchildren were born and when most of my great grandchildren were born.  And when we couldn't be there for the birth, we were always there to visit.
 We had our pictures in the paper numerous times,
 and were on television a few times when the boys were in Iraq.
 Here I am in Louisville KY after getting a surprise phone call from Iraq.
 And our family just kept on growing.
 We got to attend the Mardi Gras a few times,
 I've tried to learn photography and am just now getting good enough to realize how good I'm not.  LOL  But we have mastered the selfie....kind of
I had two granddaughters, born 2 weeks apart, named after me - Tessa Mary and Mary Addison
 And we've lost four grandbabies before we ever got to know them.

 I love my two brothers and my sister.  And of course I loved my mom and dad who are both deceased now.
 I broke my hand at work once but it didn't stop me from working on my computer.
 And our family kept growing and growing.
 All of a sudden our granddaughter was married.
And after almost 40 years, I finally got to be maid of honor in my sisters wedding.  (We were in New Mexico the first time around.)
 And I use this as my profile picture not because it's a good picture but because it always reminds me of something I was deathly afraid to do, but I did it.  Dan took this picture right after we got off the tram at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo .
 I enjoy fishing, traveling, and taking and editing pictures of my family.  I have a file for every one of them where their pictures are in chronological order.  Most of these files have anywhere between one and five thousand pictures.
As a child, I dreamed of having lots of kids but I never thought I'd even get married much less have a family.  Recently it occurred to me that someone up above must have looked down on me and and decided to give me the thing that would make me happiest - a wonderful family.  To borrow and take a twist on a phrase from a Jimmy Buffett song, "some of it's tragic but most of it's magic and I've had a good life all the way.

But it's not just my family that's made my life complete and made me who I am.  There have been loved ones and friends throughout my life - some I'm still connected with - who have made me happy and blessed.  I have nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends who I'm grateful for everyday.  And I often marvel at how fortunate we are to have vehicles like Facebook to help us stay connected with or re-connect with people we never meant to lose track of.

And our family has continued to grow.  Here we are at Christmas with only one family member missing.
Well, that's it - my birthday post and my life in a nutshell.  Aren't I the lucky one!