My Dad turns 60

Growing up, and even in the recent past, my mom has told me, “You are just like your Dad….”

Man, what a compliment.

My Dad is one of my heroes.  It’s no secret that I adore him.  I’m proud of his accomplishments throughout his career, but I’m even more proud of the man he is personally.  Here’s a few things that I love about him:

He takes things as they come.  He has more patience than any person I have ever met….even Garen and that’s saying a lot.  He’s generous and truly believes in doing what’s right, even if it’s not the popular thing to do.  He’s got faith in what he believes in, even when others around him may doubt.  He loves my mom, his soulmate, with all his heart.  He taught me to get up early and to become a lover of all things breakfast-related.  He treats everyone with respect….and I truly mean everyone.  He can and will talk to anyone.  He is so very smart but also has common sense, which doesn’t always come packaged.  He loves a great debate.  He is passionate about whatever he sets his mind to.  He is a perfectionist and he goes further than measuring twice to cut once.  He can rock a sweater or turtleneck like nobody else I know.  He always wants to find better, more efficient ways to do things.  When he gets on a kick- whether it’s making bread, buying classic wool shirts on Ebay, or designing a custom anchoring system- he focuses in and perfects each process.  He admits when he’s wrong, quickly apologizes, and, on the flip side, also forgives quickly.  I believe him when he says he can fix anything but a broken heart.  And he can build just about anything too.  He believes in good shoes.  He’s an Eagle Scout.  He loves to read, listen to books, go to classes, and is a true life-long learner.  He is not afraid of change.  He’s hilarious and can find a way to make almost anyone laugh….or at least shake their head and grin.  He is an excellent friend to many.  And he truly is an amazing father and now also a wonderful YaYa to five grandkids and four grand-fur-babies, plus a grand-cat.

I could go on and on.  Really.

I’m sure, if you know him, you’d be able to add a few things too.

If you’re reading this, Happy 60th Birthday, Dad.  I hope you know how much I love you and how proud I am to be your daughter, employee, & friend.  I’m so glad for my kids to get to call you YaYa.  

To everyone else– enjoy the photos.  There’s nothing like looking at old photos to provide a bit of entertainment.  Genes run strong in our family, both on the Odom (Dad) and Bottlinger (Mom) sides, right?!?  Most of these photos were from the slideshow that Joe put together for Dad’s 50th surprise party that we pulled off, plus a few since then.  Yes, Mom, that means that I have found the video.  Hallelujah!

The above photo is from Mom and Dad’s 60th Birthday trip.  They climbed Machu Picchu.  Yes, I know they’re awesome!

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Thanks also to Joe for putting the man hours into getting these photos together.

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Photo Friday: A girl and her doll

We got Anna her first American Doll for her birthday. She loves it. Garen got this photo of us “doing hair.”

I love it. So real. So special.

Here’s another great one that Garen took.

Happy Photo Friday!

(Not so) Tall Tale Tuesday: What Makes a Great Mom

Today’s prompt for (Not so) Tall Tale Tuesday is:

Write about the woman who has had the greatest impact on your life.

This didn’t take more than a few seconds for me to know exactly who I’d write about- my Mom.


We’d both freely admit that we don’t always agree about everything- far from it. But I have a long list of the great reasons she’s had the greatest impact on my life and what I think makes her a great mom:

  • She’s taught me to love unconditionally. I was a hard teenager to deal with. If I could take it back I would. But I can’t. What I can do is learn from how she continued to love me despite it all. I have a feeling I might need it- what are the chances that none of my four kids are not going to give me some heartache?!?
  • She loves my dad and he’s her best friend. I have married my best friend I aim to keep him happy and show him how much I love him every day.
  • She’s the money-lady. My mom has diligently kept the financial side of my parents’ companies going for 30+ years. She’s taught me how to save money and how to spend wisely. Many think I was brought up in a house where I got whatever I wanted. Ha. So far from the truth. My mom was pretty close to the budget-Nazi growing up. And while I was sometimes upset that I didn’t get to always have Tommy Hilfiger or Guess brand clothing (am I dating myself???), I sure am glad now that I got to experience that.
  • She gives freely. Part of her above mentioned budgeting always went to either the church or to fundraisers, etc. I don’t remember her ever turning anyone down unless she had already bought more Girl Scouts cookies than our family could eat.
  • She taught me to love to read. Not just because she read to me or made me read. She also was always reading and was always willing to help find me a book that I found interesting. This is something I worry about at our house because my books are now on my phone and iPad so it looks like to the kids that I’m “playing” while I’m really reading my book on my Kindle app.
  • She loves family get-togethers and has hosted them almost every holiday for a long time, especially as my grandparents got older. Getting together with aunts, uncles, and cousins has always been a big part of our life.
  • She’s taught me to party plan and to cook for others. This is similar to the above point but still a little different.  It drives Garen (only a little) crazy but I love planning parties.  I’m pretty sure the cooking doesn’t drive him crazy (unless he ends up cleaning it).  I’m not as good as my Grammy or my Mom but I think, like them, I’m getting better with age.

I could probably go on and on but I’ll stop. She’s a pretty great Mom and an even better Mammy! Happy (not so) Tall Tale Tuesday!  And thank you, Mom, for being a great Mom and friend.

Celebrating MLK



Confession: this is a little more serious of a post than what I usually write. 

I grew up in a small, rural town in Texas where we didn’t ever get MLK day off. We briefly learned about him and his “I have a dream” speech in school. But we never went too much in depth on the impact this great man had on American society. 

In this politically charged time, I think it’s important that we listen to some of the enduring words that he left us with.  Below are a few of my favorite. Tomorrow, as the nation remembers MLK, take a few of these to heart. I know I will be. 

  • “Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”
  • “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
  • “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” 

By far, this is my favorite:

The time is always right to do what is right.

Looking back at history, there are many times that I am embarrassed of the things that we, as a country, allowed to happen. We may currently have a lot of problems, but I’m confident that this country is something to be proud of. So very many people have dedicated their lives to provide us all with freedom and equality. As we get ready to welcome our new president into office, it is my hope that President-elect Trump will pull us together to make America greater than it is already and to move forward. 

Thanks to Garen for allowing me to share this beautiful photo to go with MLK’s beautiful words. I hope you all will share love with someone today through your words and actions, whether it be saying a simple hello with a smile or by donating your time or money to a charitable organization. 

Remembering that today is the right time to do the right thing is how we can make America a little bit greater each day. 

Cherished Moments with One

As a mother of four, moments with only one child- to snuggle, to hold, to play with, or even just talk to-are hard to come by. And when they come, they don’t last long. All the more reason to enjoy and cherish them.     

I got one of these rare moments with Kate earlier today.  I wanted to capture this small moment in time where it was just the two of us- quiet and content.