Sunday, July 26, 2015

Grant Alexander

Today is Grant's 21st birthday!!
Grant was our 3rd grandchild and 2nd grandson.
He's an important part of this large family.
And an even more important part of this smaller family.
Today I managed to catch up with him to conduct this phone interview which isn't easy on someone's 21st birthday.  (But obviously he's always known how important birthdays are.)
Hi Grant!  Happy Birthday!   Thank you!
Do you have any special plans on this important birthday?  Well, I came home last night and I'm spending the day with Mom 
and Tessa
and then Evan will be joining us for dinner at La Casa.  

So you're spending the night there and heading back to Boulder tomorrow night?  Right!  
Well, you just made me a happy grandma!!!  You mean no dangerous, wild partying tonight?  No.  I figure it's better for everybody's stress levels if I stay in!
You've recently started a job to help with school expenses right?   Yes.  How do you like it?  Well it's just at King Soopers over the summer.  It's not really my thing so I've put in my two weeks and I'll be leaving on August 6th.  After that I'll be starting my next school year.
What didn't you like   It's kind of a negative environment.  When school starts I'm hoping to get a job where I can apply my skills and education so far.
How is school going?  Very well.  The last two semesters were very smooth and my grades were better; and this semester I'm looking forward to getting into networking and doing more of what I like to do.
I know you've recently changed your career focus.  Yes I've switched from a military career to a career in computer science.  I'm hoping to get into software development eventually.
Are you enjoying the change in curriculum?  Oh yes.  I guess you could say I'm feeling very in my element.  I really like programming.
What are your long range plans now?   Well computer science to create a solid financial base and then get into software development and operating systems.  Are you thinking of starting a business?  I haven't considered it but it's a possibility.  I was thinking of being on a bigger team working on large projects like for Microsoft or Google or companies like that.
What's your favorite holiday?  Probably Christmas because Christmas isn't one day. I get to see my extended family, it's a break for school, and I get to relax
Did you enjoy our holiday in Gulf Shores?  Yes, I really liked it!
I liked having the beach right there even though the water was kind of cold and playing ultimate Frisbee. 
Also the house was nice and there was plenty to do outside.  It was really fun. Will you be there this year?  Yes, definitely!
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?  You know....that is a really hard question to answer. I guess a few general points would be doing a lot of creative of work independent of my programming work.  I don't intend to be married I don't think.  If I have a place it probably won't be a house - or a real nice place because I want to save my money for a really great place when I'm ready to settle down.
So how do you feel about having grown up in a military family?  I think that it's overwhelmingly positive.  It might have been difficult not having real long-term childhood friends but it turns out that a lot of those young friendships don't last forever anyway and by meeting lots of different people I've learned to adapt better to changing social situations.  I think if I'd stayed in a small, tight knit group, it wouldn't have hampered me but I wouldn't have the advantage that I have now - being able to react and respond to a lot of different situations.
What can you tell us about yourself that we haven't covered in this interview?  I am really into music right now.  And it's more than just a hobby.  I'm actually searching for new things and new sounds and I'm working with one of my friends in his production studio.  I intend to play more club sports at school this year because I've only played on a couple of teams in college so far and I feel like you can really find out what people are like through sports.
Also, I like cats.  I actually have like 6 cat shirts and Tessa just got me one the other day.  Why do you like cats?  I think it's because they can get on your level.  They can match your emotional state.  If you're sad they can see that and act the same way and if you're happy and energetic they can see that and reflect it back to you.   (It must be true.  Note that in this picture the cat is tired and fast asleep - just like Grant.  And the dog is staring at the camera.  lol)
And with that, the interview was concluded.  But as usual, I have lots more to say about Grant.  He's one of the nicest, sweetest, most agreeable people you could ever hope to meet.
He's helpful
and smart and fun-loving and a great sport.

plus he has ALL the moves.
And he has a great sense of humor.  Watch this sequence where Evan is refusing to recognize Grant's hilarity.  You'll see that along with that great sense of humor, he's very tenacious.  He never gives up and finally Evan caves.  So cute!

This family is so much fun which probably helps explain why Grant, in addition to a multitude of other amazing attributes, is such a family oriented guy!  And it just one of the many things that we love about him.  We're very proud of him and we're wishing him his best birthday ever and a year to surpass all others.  Happy Birthday, Grant!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Teresa Kay

And now we come to the third of our June 26th birthdays.  Teresa Kay came into our lives almost 22 years ago and she's been a blessing to us ever since.
Teresa is an important part of this large family.
And an even more important part of this smaller family.
I interviewed Teresa today but unfortunately our interview couldn't be quite as open and forthcoming about her life as it would have been were it not for a few cowardly factions who are lucky enough to live in this country but bitter enough to kill members of our military (as long as they are unarmed and easy targets).  So our interview will cover generalities about Teresa and her life.
 As I look back at your pictures, Teresa, I see quite a few of you and Dan camping.  Have you always enjoyed the wilderness or is this something that happened after you meant Dan?  Oh no.  I've always enjoyed camping but we didn't go much when I was a kid.  However, from the moment Dan and I got together we've camped and I really enjoy it.  And there's nobody better to camp with than Dan because he can do anything.

I know you and Dan, along with Tessa, did some camping in the last month or so prior to this PCS. Where did you go and which was your favorite location?  We went to Arrowhead in Buena Vista, Colorado and Mueller State Park in Divide, Colorado.  Mueller was by far my favorite!  It was absolutely gorgeous with breathtaking mountain views and fishing and everything you'd want to do.  It was so perfect.

So, as always, Dan's permanent change of station means a permanent change of status for you and the kids.  How does everybody adapt to these changes so frequently.  Well we just look at each one as a new adventure.  We try not to focus on the hard parts and missing people and missing home but focus on the new changes and places to explore.  It's a new experience and it will be great.  It is what you make it.

Along with some of the things that aren't so great about being a military family are some things that I think you do find enjoyable - like the military balls.  Am I right?  Yes,  I love them.  And I can see why because Teresa is beautiful all the time but never more beautiful than when she's going to a formal event.

Which has been your favorite duty location so far?  Probably Ft. Carson.  It's beautiful and there's so much to do all the time.  We love hiking and being outside and we can be outside all the time here. It's really wonderful.

 I thought sure Hawaii was your favorite but not so much?  Hawaii was like wow.  But it's a place where I wouldn't want to stay for a really long time like six years.  We were just so far away from family and visiting wan't an option so it was hard.  But it still ranks #2
You've always managed to juggle a career along with being a wife and mother.  Do you find that as challenging as it seems?  Yes it's very challenging.  It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities and sometimes it'a hard to find a good balance.  Now I'll be working part-time so I'll have more time with Tessa while she's still in school.  I've found that working three days a week works perfectly for our family.
Back in 2005 Dan was deployed and you were in Slidell, Louisana when Katrina paid a visit.  You packed up the kids, the dog, and your family's most precious valuables and hightailed it to Indiana while Dan made his way home from the middle east.  Can you describe that whole experience?  Oh my gosh!  That was probably the scariest situation I've been in when I was alone.  Normally i'm very self sufficient and competent because you have to be but I left my house with not a board up and not knowing if it would be leveled when I got back.  It was so chaotic and everybody here was in such a panic trying to get out.  We couldn't get gas for such a great distance but I stayed in touch with family and we made it.  It truly was a scary experience but we did it and Dan came back and made his way to Slidell from where he was able to land in Texas.  That was the first time we didn't have a great reunion where I could decorate the house and have a big celebration.  We met at the house and he got there before me.  I hadn't seen him for six months and to meet like that was really difficult.  Fortunately the house was standing and the two of us were able to pretty much get it back to it's original condition.  Dan replaced the roof himself and fixed the fence and we cleaned up all the downed trees that covered our property.  But Slidell was never the same for us after that and we were glad to leave.
Teresa, Maggie, Evan and Grant right after they got to Indiana.

 Teresa took pictures when she and Dan first got back to Slidell.
And then they dug in - in the heat and humidity and got everything cleaned up and repaired. 
What else can you tell us about yourself that we haven't covered in this interview?  Well Dan and I were on TV once which was crazy but cool.

 I'm training for my second half marathon this year and my 7th overall which will be at the end of September.  Dan actually taught me to run when we were in Hawaii where I ran my first 10K.  Then Lori convinced me to try a half marathon and I was hooked.
  I love tennis and I enjoy golf and other games

 but I'd have to say running is my favorite sport.
And I love animals.  My favorite was our dog Maggie.  

And that was the end of our interview but there's lots I can tell you about Teresa.  For one thing she walked into this large family, a tiny little girl meeting a whole bunch of people for the first time that were about to become her family and she never missed a beat.  With five new sisters-in-law, she fit right in from the getgo.
She's really not afraid of anything.
She's crafty and creative.
 (She took this amazing picture - of her flower bed )
She's loyal, patriotic and supportive;
and she's a devoted and loving mother,
who makes childbearing look like a cake walk

She loves running but loves running with her kids the most!

and she's a loving and devoted wife to our son.
  (I'm pretty sure she and Dan invented selfies.)

who thinks her husband is hilarious.

Teresa is the daughter-in-law/sister-in-law that most families can only hope for.  We love her dearly and hope her birthday was amazing and that the current relocation is filled with wonderful experiences and lots of love and happiness!