Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Happy Birthday, Sarah

Today is our baby's 37th birthday.  Sarah is an important part of this large family.
And an even more important part of this smaller family.
  Last night I conducted a phone interview with her.  Here's how it went:  Happy Birthday, Sarah, just a little early.  Thank you!
Do you have any special plans for your birthday?  Ummm.  Mike's throwing me a birthday party this weekend.
Are you excited about that?  Yeah!  Very excited.
How about tomorrow - your actual birthday?  Do you have plans for then?  No I really don't.  Mike's trying to pretend like we're not going to do anything tomorrow because of the party Saturday but I know we will.  LOL
So you're the youngest of our six.  What do you like best about being the 'baby'?  Everything.  It's awesome.
 What do you like the least?   Nothing.  So you're grateful to us for having you last?  Oh yes, very much so!
What do your siblings mean when they refer to you as The Clarkster?  Ummm  When I was little they used to force me to go get their candy from the Clark gas station down the street.
They forced you?  Well yeah.   They bought my candy if I went.  It's not like I could say no to that.
You were on the state championship volleyball team in 1996.  What has that meant to you?  It's always something that I'm proud of.  It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
Were there life lessons in being part of that team?  Yeah, I definitely learned how to work with people because it was all about teamwork.  I also learned a lot about responsibility and working hard.
What's your favorite thing about being a wife?  That's a hard question.  I mean I could answer better if you asked what my favorite thing is about being married but I guess I never thought "wow, one day I want to be someone's wife", I never thought of it as that being a privilege for me.
I always thought it would be great to find someone (and it was) but I never thought of being a wife as being a special role for me.
What's your favorite thing about motherhood?  I think the kids are fun.  I feel such happiness when I see them because they make me so happy and proud.  I love being involved with them and I feel like they're the best three little people I've ever known in my life.

And your least favorite thing about being a mom?  I think the hardest thing is putting other things aside to spend time with them because there's never free time.  It's hard to make sure that you have time for them.  I'd love to just hang out with them all the time but there are other responsibilities.
You've recently moved into a much larger house.   Any regrets?  No!!!  Nope.  None.
What do you like best about it?   I feel like everybody has their own space.  Each kid has a bedroom that reflects his or her personality.  And I love that Mike and I can be in the kitchen at the same time without wanting to kill each other .... we still comment when we're both doing things in the kitchen together that it's not a problem.  Also, I love the neighborhood and that their are lots of kids for our kids to play with and that they all seem like really great kids. I feel really lucky that we've found this house in this neighborhood.
What are you looking forward to in the upcoming year?  Summer.  I can't wait for summer.  It will be the first full summer that I've been able to be home with the kids.  For the first time, I know in advance that I will not be working while the kids are out of school.
And I can't wait for Christmas.  I'm already envisioning where we're going to put our Christmas tree - and maybe even  more than one.  Before we had to figure out where we were going to cram it in.
What has been the most difficult/challenging part of your life?  Two years ago when I was really sick for about 8 months.
What has been the absolute best part of your life?  I remember the summer that I worked part-time - 4 days a week and I thought it was the greatest thing in the world.   It was that first taste of being home with the kids more.  Just having one more day to be home with them meant everything to me.

You've recently moved into a new career field which involves working with  kindergartners. How has that worked out for you?  It's been good.  I love my job because I work with a wonderful teacher and my days go by quick and I feel productive; and I get to leave with Trey everyday after lunch and that's pretty awesome.
What do you like best about being part of such a large family. I like having this group of adults that I can connect with and relate to.  I think of that with my kids.  I'd like them to have the experience that I've enjoyed with all my brothers and sisters.
What do you like least about it?  Nothing.
Did you enjoy going to Gulf Shores for the holidays?  Oh yeah.  It was the best! 
What was the best part?  I think for me the best part was that we weren't able to take vacations as kids  like others did but now we get this experience as adults and most people don't.   NOW, we are the lucky ones.
That's what's so great about our family.  We never, ever felt like we were missing anything.  I always felt like we had a wonderful childhood.  Other people got more stuff but we didn't miss a thing.  It's like we're being rewarded for having the happiest childhood EVER!
That concluded our interview but as usual there's lots to add about Sarah that she didn't share with you in this interview.  To begin with you can read previous birthday posts here: 2011 2012 2013 and
But if you don't want to go through all those posts I can tell you that she's very, very sweet and thoughtful.  Sarah would rather you not get her point than have you feel bad for being wrong.  
She's hard-working, understanding, conscientious, and has an amazing, quirky sense of humor.
We knew we were blessed the day she was born.  After all, she was cute, healthy, and perfect but we couldn't know that one day she'd be the person that she is.  How lucky we are to know her much less have first dibs on her because she's part of our family.  Sarah, as you know, we love you beyond belief and we're that proud of you too.  That's why we're wishing you the best birthday ever and a year that surpasses every one you've ever known.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Happy Birthday, Dan and Dave

Today is our twin sons' birthday!  They are both a very important part of this large family.
And Dan is an even more important part of this smaller family.
And Dave is an even more important part of this smaller family.
Forty-two years ago was perhaps the happiest day of our lives.  Every one of our kids' birthdays was a happy day but on this day we had two babies - and they were big (6 lbs 8 oz and 6 lbs 14 oz) and healthy and they were cute and they were BOYS after we already had two girls!  It just didn't get any better than that.
And the blessing that was these two boys had just begun.   They were really young when their Cub fan training began.
 They were cute and sweet together in Jr High.
 They were among the forerunners of computer game players and were very competitive.
Later they went to Airborne school and jumped out of airplanes..
 They've always been hard workers.
 and generous about posing for pictures.
 They golfed together,

 went to war together,
 And came home - almost together.
 They were interviewed on New York television together,
 and still played video games together - every once in awhile.
And they definitely laugh together.
They met their wives when they were going to school in Muncie and I'm proud that they're devoted husbands and fathers and that fatherhood was something that they both looked forward to.
But you can see all this in previous birthday posts.  2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011,  And then you can learn more about them from posts like these  their wives, Independence Day post about them, and deployment posts like 20102011, and An email from Iraq.

What I should be sharing is what they've been up to in the past year.  Both continue to work and both never seem to stop updating their homes.  They'll be leaving those homes soon though because both were selected for War College in locations far from where they live now.  War College, according to Wikipedia is a place where "Mid-level and senior military officers who are likely to be promoted to the most senior ranks are selected to study at the War College in preparation for higher staff and command positions".  So that's certainly an honor and seems to bode well for their futures. 
But here's what they've really been doing. Last summer, they (along with our grandson-in-law, Chris and my brother, Steve) completely remodeled our house.  They added a bathroom, remodeled the laundry room, rewired, put in a complete new kitchen, new floors, new interior doors, and in some cases new walls.

The exterior didn't have to be done because they did that last year - new driveway and sidewalks, new windows and doors, and new siding.  No wonder 42 years ago today was perhaps the happiest day of our lives - maybe it wasn't just about what had happened.  Maybe it was also about what we knew in our souls was going to happen - these boys would be a blessing to us all our lives - and not just to us but to everyone they encounter.  We couldn't be more proud of them and we're wishing them an amazing birthday (despite the fact that Dave is camping with one of his sons' Boy Scout troop and Dan is batching it  while his wife enjoys a much deserved girl getaway, his older son is at college and his younger son is at the prom. I suspect that Dave will have a campfire birthday dinner and Dan will have a special dinner with his sweet daughter.

But I know that neither will feel slighted or unhappy because they are two of the most unselfish, generous, kind-hearted people you could ever know.   Plus they have pride in their country, integrity in their positions, and a work ethic few can match.  For these and so many more reasons, we're inordinately proud of them and wishing them a wonderful birthday and a successful, happy upcoming year!