James Thompson, Nicholas Bryan, Jane Elizabeth, Logan Elizabeth, Joyce Magalene

May 26:  James Thompson

How this character arrived in my life:  Called “dad” by my mom, called “Grandpa” by me.  He showed up with a twang and a box full of oatmeal pies.  As a resident of Kentucky, he calls everyone “son” and spent the majority of his career driving for Little Debbie.  

My favorite memory with this person:  Since my Grandpa loves to tell the story….my favorite memory would be when I was little and he took me to a carnival.  I spent all the money I had playing one game just to win the giant stuffed animal prize.  I lost the game and lost all my money and walked away with a janky little knock-off troll doll they gave me as a consolation prize.  My Grandpa claims he’s never seen me get that mad before and continues to tell the story even after all these years.  I’d write about memories more specific to things he’s done/said, but I’m afraid some of them are too inappropriate for my blogging audience.

One word to describe this person:  Hilarious

What I admire about this person:  He’s a very hard worker!  He worked a ton of hours when he was driving, and even after he retired he continues to ride with family members who drive or he’s always doing some sort of home improvement or help around the house whether at his house or his kids.  He works hard and always does a job all the way through to completion.

Fun facts that makes me love this person so much:  If you ever worry someone will tell an inappropriate joke, my Grandpa is that someone.  He makes everyone in a room laugh.  His accent gives away his Kentucky roots in a matter of minutes.  His voice is unique to him that if I heard him speaking from hundreds of miles away…I’d know it’s him.  He loves sports and has a special love for baseball.  He dances at weddings.  He has a handshake/slap on the back that stings for the 15 minutes following.  He always tells me he loves me when I talk to him on the phone.  He asks my mom if she remembers people he knew before she was even born.  He likes to go to the casino!  He has a very quick wit.  We have the same nose.  He had a son sometime when I was prepping for middle school….giving me an uncle who is 9 years younger than me.  He’s the type of man who always has your back.  He tells it how it is.  He’s strong.

Grandpa

May 27:  Nicholas Bryan

How this character arrived in my life:  Called “brother” by Chris, called “brother-in-law” by me.  Nick arrived in my life approximately 2 weeks after I met Chris – we were at a New Year’s Eve party and he brought his girlfriend named Sarah.  I married that Chris.  He married that Sarah. 

My favorite memory with this person:  I’ve had the opportunity to see Nick get married, become a Dad to daughter #1, become a Dad to daughter #2, and become a Dad to daughter #3 among a long list of other life accomplishments.  When Chris and I went to visit Nick and his family at the hospital when his first daughter was born, the 3 of us went to the hospital cafeteria so Nick could grab some food.  Nick proceeded to get a hamburger and smiley face fries.  Chris and I sat there in silence while we watched him place the smiley face fries on top of the burger before he ate it.  I simply said “you do realize you’re someone’s dad now and you just put smiley face fries on a hamburger, right?”

One word to describe this person:  Brother

What I admire about this person:  So much!  A few years ago…it may even be 5+ years ago by now…Nick and Sarah were baptized.  I don’t know a lot about Nick’s faith before that time, but I do know I would call him a man of God now.  I’ve watched his faith grow over the years and enjoy seeing him lead his family with that sentiment.

Fun facts that makes me love this person so much:  Nick has 3 beautiful little girls and he’s an awesome Dad…if there was a Dad award, I’d campaign for him to win!  He totes those girls everywhere and always puts family first.  He is so loyal to Sarah and takes care of her in so many ways like amazing husbands do.  Nick makes Chris so happy and is one of the most influential people in Chris’ life when it comes to decision making whether Nick knows that or not.  He’s so hardworking and handy-around-the-house type.  He is an Ironman and gets up at some crazy hour of the day to bike, swim, or run.  He’s funny.  I’ve always felt like he cared a lot about Chris and I and our marriage in a genuine and unexpected way.  He loves hunting.  He was in the Army Reserve which took him overseas.  He comes up with fun double dates for us to do.  He’s easy to make inside jokes with on the fly.  He’s strong in what he believes in.  He gets an idea and goes all in which I can relate to and love about him.  I’ve never had a brother before but am so blessed Nick fills that slot!

Nick on the left, Chris on the right

Nick

May 28:  Jane Elizabeth

How this character arrived in my life:  Called “cousin” by Chris, and now called “cousin” by me because I think that’s fun.  She appeared in my life at a family gathering with a digital camera.

My favorite memory with this person:  Finding out she was expecting!  That awesome baby will appear in this world very soon…she could literally be delivering her first baby as I type this very blog.

One word to describe this person:  Nurturing

What I admire about this person:  I love how close Elizabeth is with her Grandma Janice.  Elizabeth is the oldest granddaughter (something I can relate to!) and I’m convinced there’s a special bond that comes with Grandmas and oldest granddaughters.  I love when I catch special moments between Elizabeth and Janice when the whole family is together.

Fun facts that makes me love this person so much:  Elizabeth always takes pictures and I hear rumor from her husband she creates photo books for most all events.  She lives in Chicago which is obviously cool.  She’s very thoughtful.  She’s close with all of her siblings and their significant others.  She’s great with kids.  She has a fun spirit about her and laughs at most things.  She seems up for anything.  She’s the type that puts a lot of thought into her gifts…or the type to knit you a scarf.  She’s smart.  She’s personable and gives you her full attention when you talk to her.  She loves her family and could probably do the drive to and from Chicago with her eyes closed by now.  You’d never know she lived out of state because she’s always present for all the important stuff.  She had the first wedding I’d ever been to with a live band…which was awesome!  She’s going to be an amazing mom.

Elizabeth

May 29:  Logan Elizabeth

How this character arrived in my life:  In a dorm room a few floors up from mine which was full of art projects and bright or sparkly things.  Logan was roommates with my college cheerleading friend (Jen) and happen to live in the same dorm as me.  She quickly became someone I’d see regularly at Campus Crusade for Christ meetings and parties and by the time the fall of junior year rolled around – she was moving in down the hall from me in our apartment where we would live together for 2 years.

My favorite memory with this person:  When I think of Logan, I think of all the nights we were getting ready to “go out” in college and she would play music from her Dell computer in her bedroom really loud.  No college-aged group of girls ever go out without some sort of popular song remix playing while they straighten their hair, borrow each others clothes, and put on way too much make-up, of course.

One word to describe this person:  Compassionate

What I admire about this person:  Logan has a compassion for people and is sensitive in nature.  Her heart breaks when her friends hearts break, she’s happy when her friends are happy.  She makes close bonds with friends and you feel like she’s emotionally in things with you.

Fun facts that makes me love this person so much:  She’s creative.  She’s a teacher and I know she’s awesome at it.  She has an adorable little daughter.  She used to straighten my hair in college for me and it made me feel pretty.  She loves the Lord.  She laughs a lot.  She has pretty eyes!  She’s fun to be around and would always be up for matching outfits for theme parties.  She used to make pancakes on Sunday mornings in college and invite people over for breakfast and I thought that was awesome.  She loves music.  She used to burn me CDs of my favorite workout songs that I may still listen to on long drives.  She’s smart.  She’s close with her family.  She’s so pretty.  She’s always up for fun group pictures.  I’m sure she’s an amazing wife.

This is an old picture from college – Logan is in the middle.  This was from a picnic lunch we decided to do in front of our apartment which was probably Logan’s idea because she’s fun like that.

Logan

May 30:  Joyce Magalene

How this character arrived in my life:  Called “BFF” by my mom, called “my mom’s BFF” by me.  Somewhere around middle school….poof….she just appeared.  She worked at the same company as my mom (and moved companies when my mom did so they are still work buds) and I remember many Fridays watching my mom come home and get ready to go out with Joy for fun dinners, concerts, etc….so I always equated Joy with fun.  Once I became an adult and got a grown-up job, I had a short stint of working with Joy too and it became that blurry line where she was not just my mom’s friend….she became my friend too!  Joy has been there for my mom (and me) since I can remember – we just consider her family.

My favorite memory with this person:   I’m not saying Joy is a bad singer…but I am saying the time I heard her sing a line from Destiny’s Child “Independent Women” was both entertaining and interesting.  I’m also not saying she messed up the words….but I am saying it may have been a little hard to guess exactly what song she was singing.

One word to describe this person:  Hard-working

What I admire about this person:  Joy will outwork someone any day of the week.  I’ve known this about her since my mom became friends with her.  My mom has always described her as hard-working and I had the fortunate experience to see that when I worked with her for a few years too.  Joy is the type to get up at 4am and clean her house, work a full day, help someone paint an entire house, cook homemade lasagna, and then help my mom with any other type of work she needs done.  She is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and dive in.

Fun facts that makes me love this person so much:  Joy is my mom’s partner in crime.  She’s one of those non-judgmental friends that would praise you when you’re up or bail you out of jail when you’re down….no questions asked.  She loves gambling and is willing to go along with any superstition we make up of how we can win more on slot machines.  She’s a grandma now to the cutest baby ever.  She’s close with her family.  She has this scary memory where she can tell you the specific day that something happened and what you were wearing and where you were standing and why you were doing whatever you were doing.  When I think back to big moments in my life…Joy was always there.  She’s loyal.  She’s honest.  She laughs at my mom’s jokes.  She’d probably kick someones butt for me if I asked her.  She’s independent.  She’s supportive.

This picture is from my very first trip to Las Vegas…which would not have been complete without Joy!  Joy is on the far right. 

Joy