Friday, December 1, 2017


Yesterday was Katie's 18th birthday!
Katie was our 8th grandchild and 3rd granddaughter.
She's a very important part of this large family.
And of course a very important part of this beautiful family!
I wrote about Katie here for her birthday last year.  And visiting that post will show links to all her other posts containing lots of pictures and information about Katie 'through the years'.
So I'll just include a short sequence showing how she's changed 'through the years'

and talk about what's been going on in Katie's life lately.  First of all, to celebrate her birthday, she and her family went out for dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings which was Katie's choice.  And to make her birthday even more special, she and her best friend won $25 on a scratch off!  (I love that since Katie and her family moved out east, I don't remember a time when she and Maria weren't best friends.)
But back to Katie's year.  It's been a time of lasts (after playing volleyball in school and on travel teams since she was old enough to play, Katie finished her career with a bang as team captain!),
firsts (Katie was on the homecoming court
 and got to walk with her brothers at the homecoming game.),
and the sames, (Katie and Thomas have been together for awhile now and no wonder.  Why wouldn't two people, who are both so nice, not be as perfectly compatible as they are?)
And Katie has been busy this year.  First there were college applications to turn in.  She's done three so far and has already been accepted at Temple University!!  Wow!  She's still waiting to hear from University of Pittsburgh and Miami of Ohio and plans to apply to the University of Virginia.  My guess is that she'll get her choice.  She has an amazing work ethic along with an equally amazing GPA.  She gets home from school and 'gets after it'.  Cutting corners or taking shortcuts are never options for her.
And just to fill in her idle hours this year, she started a new job as a swim instructor which she absolutely loves!  She reports that the kids like her but that's no surprise because when the big family gets together in Gulf Shores, her lap is always occupied!  All the kids love Katie!
So Katie has had a busy year but there's lots more to say about her than just what she's been doing.  I really want to talk about the kind of person she is.  I want to recall that when I had an opportunity to spend some time with the kids while their mom and dad were away, Katie was so amazingly helpful.  She not only spent time with Zachary but she was always patient, loving, and encouraging.
She's fun loving
sweet, cooperative,
helpful, a great cook and a genuinely wonderful person to be around.
Really I can't say enough about this sweet girl and her many accomplishments.  We're looking forward to seeing what the future holds for her but somewhere in my mind Dr. Kate has a nice ring to it.  So Katie, I hope your birthday was wonderful and that the year ahead is filled with dreams come true but that it's only half as awesome as the many more to come.

Saturday, November 18, 2017


Today is Lori's birthday!
Lori was our first daughter and our first child.
She's an important part of this core family
and an important part of this big extended family
and of course an important part of this beautiful family.
I wrote about Lori for her birthday last year in this post and visiting there will take you to the links to all her previous posts.
And those links will lead the way to many stories and pictures showing how Lori has evolved 'through the years'.
So I'll just show a few pictures here.

and talk a little about what's been going on in her life during the past year.  First of all lots of things haven't changed.  She still has her sweet Farrah who is definitely the apple of her eye.
And she enjoyed her holiday visit to Gulf Shores last year and is looking forward to this year's visit.
She entertained her parents during the Pella Tulip Time festival weekend and enjoyed a visit from all her kids AT THE SAME TIME a couple of weeks later!
But there is one big change in her life.
She recently started working at Target in Des Moines.  The downside is that it's a 45 minutes drive through wild and crazy deer country but that's the only downside.
She's up at 4 a.m. on workdays to leave the house by 5 and get to work by 5:45 four days a week.  It's a schedule she loves because she gets home early enough to have dinner ready when Marcus gets home and she doesn't ever have to encounter heavy traffic.
She works mainly in Women's Wear and even gets to pick out outfits for mannequins and set up displays - perfect tasks for someone with her sense of style and love of fashion!
Lori has also worked hard on her fitness in the past year which has served her well in her new role requiring her to be on her feet all day.
And top of running to stay fit, she has all the dance moves.
So she's had a busy year with some really positive and wonderful changes and she's doing things she loves and living the life she wants and that's what we want for her!  But there are other things about Lori that need noting.  First of all, she's loving and caring and a lot of fun!  But most of all, Lori is wise.  She's insightful and has amazing instincts and she's more evolved than anyone I know.  She loves nature, animals, kids, and family - and most of all, Marcus.
So, Lori, we're wishing you the happiest birthday EVER and a year that exceeds all others so far but is only half as amazing as the many more to come!  Happy Birthday!  We're proud of you and love you beyond measure!