Welcome to the kick-off post for my birthday bash! I was going to let you guess my age, but since it is given away in this post, I will go ahead and tell you … I will be 30 on Friday the 17th! Since that is such a big birthday, I decided to do a BIG week long celebration, complete with guest posts, interviews, and – you guessed it – GIVEAWAYS!
For this first day, I figured what better way to kick it off than to let my mom take the reins. She decided to do a list (I LOVE LISTS, they make my OCD happy) of 30 things you probably didn’t know about me. Including pictures of me as a little kid. I am only slightly taller now … :-/ Any notes in italics are my own comments. Everything else is from mommy dearest!
THIRTY THINGS YOU MAY OR MAY NOT WANT TO KNOW ABOUT LAURA
1. She was born on August 17, 1982 at 8:23 am, in a small town in Iowa. I had a C-section because she was breach. Yes, she had strong opinions about how she wanted to enter this world before she was even born. She weighed 7 lbs, 12 ½ oz, and was 18 ½ inches long.
2. She was born with black hair and dark eyes. We assumed they would stay that way. NOPE. Her hair is auburn and her eyes are a beautiful blue that sometimes even look violet. A funny story – the day after she was born the nurse had bathed her and washed her hair and made that funny curl on top of her head that was so popular in that era. When the nurse brought her to us she said “This baby has curly hair, where did she get it?” I responded that I had no idea. As soon as the nurse left the room Laura’s dad said, “She could have gotten it from me, I have curly hair you know.” I was pretty embarrassed. (or you know, the milk man)
3. She has 2 siblings, a younger brother and sister. And, she really did draw the short stick in the family. She is 5’2”, her sister is 5’6” and her brother is 6’2”. They love to introduce her as their “big” sister.
4. This next story is not a momma bragging – it is the honest to goodness truth. Those of you that know her in real life won’t be surprised to know that she said her first words at 4 ½ months. Yes, she was only four months old when she began to talk and she hasn’t stopped since. (Love ya baby girl.) Yeah yeah.
5. From the time she was a baby she loved books. She would bring book after book after book after book to us. After reading six or seven books we would say no more and she would cry. I still cry when there is no more.
6. As a baby Laura wouldn’t eat solid foods. We tried cereal at 4 – 6 months. NOPE! We then tried soft table foods. NOPE! She would eat nothing solid and would gag until she threw up if we tried to feed her. Finally, at 14 months, she began eating and walking the same week. As a toddler she ate things that most kids wouldn’t even try. She loved all vegetables and many fruits. She continues to love a wide variety of foods. Sushi!
7. When she was little she loved playing in her closet with her My Little Pony’s. Are you surprised that she now works with animals? I’m not. What ever happened to those ponies, I bet they are worth some $$ now.
8. When Laura was around 2 years old her dad used to wrestle with her. He would say, “Come here and I will rough you up.” They would play and play and run around the house and he would tickle her and throw her up in the air, etc. Every once in a while she would say, “Daddy, I need to be roughed up.” And, he would do just that. Now that is just adorable.
9. She only played with only one doll her whole life. It was a Cabbage Patch Preemie that she named “Creamy”. She received the doll when her brother was born.
10. At 3 years old she stated that she would never have her own babies. She still says that today. I will make a great aunt. Spoil them rotten and send them home.
11. When Laura was in preschool she insisted on wearing dresses every day. And, they had to be fancy ones. Boy that changed fast.
12. When her brother was little he couldn’t say her name. He called her WaWa. It drove her crazy. She would say LAURA and he would say WaWa. We thought it was cute but she did not. Then, in Kindergarten she met a friend whose name was Lauralyn. Guess who could say that name correctly? Yes, her brother could say Lauralyn but not Laura. We were kind of sad when the nickname went away. He did that on purpose. Ass.
13. She taught herself to read at about 4 ½ years old.
14. When Laura was young she did gymnastics and was really good. She later played several sports including t-ball, softball, & basketball. When she was a teenager she loved to play football with the boys in the neighborhood. Because they played “touch” football and she was the only girl, she got to be the quarterback for both teams. She could throw a pretty mean spiral. She still loves football. GO CHIEFS!!!!
15. Growing up her grandparents had great places for kids to play. One set owned a motel in a small town and the other had a small farm. She got to run in and out of motel rooms and feed lambs bottles. How fun is that? Best summers ever.
16. On my parents farm there were a few cows that were in a fenced (electrical) area near their house. One day, Laura wanted to go pet the cows. I was holding her brother and helping her reach through the fence. She couldn’t quite reach the cow so I pushed her forward a bit to help. The only problem was when I pushed her, her head came in contact with the electric fence. She screamed A LOT!!! The best part, it is on video. Not many people have their first memory on video. I didn’t understand how people could laugh when I was in pain. I totally get it now.
17. When she was in elementary school she figured out how to speed read and could read a 200 page book after she got her work done.
18. About this same time, in school, they had to read a certain number of pages a month. In 3rd and 4th grade she read more than 10,000 pages each year. Then, in 5th grade we got her report card and she had a bad grade in reading. How in the world could that happen? It was because she read the books, but didn’t write the reports. That changed pretty quickly. I am still bad about “writing the reports in a timely fashion”
19. The only thing we had to ground her from was books. Do you know how horrible I felt when I took books away from my kid? Do you know how often I capitalized on that guilt?
20. On Laura’s first Christmas a friend gave us “First Christmas” pajamas. Who knew that this would start a family tradition that is still going strong? Every year, on Christmas Eve, the kids got to open 1 gift. In it was a pair of Christmas pj’s and a stuffed animal. They would hurry and put their new pj’s on while I was fixing popcorn and hot cocoa. Then, we would read a few books so that they would remember that Christmas wasn’t just about the presents, but also about Jesus’ birthday. The last book would always be “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. The kids then all slept in the same room. We still do some of these traditions – they still get pj’s, we still have popcorn and hot chocolate and we still read the books.
21. When she was a teenager, Laura and her sister (6 years younger) shared the basement in our house. Every night that Laura was home she would sing her sister a good night song in a funny voice. It is still one of my favorite memories of the 2 of them.
22. Laura was in her high school plays and did competitive drama (NFL). Again, I am sure those that know her in real life, are SHOCKED that she did the “drama” stuff in high school. (Laura, aren’t you glad you asked me to do this?) Err, yes?
23. We only had one time when Laura really rebelled. She was 15 and had her own phone line (pre-cell phones). Her phone curfew was 10 pm. One night she refused to get off the phone. She was ALWAYS trying to “save” her friends. Things escalated. I finally took her to a relative’s house for a cool down period. The next day I fretted about the appropriate punishment. When she got home from school she apologized and asked what her punishment was. We had listed everything that was a privilege and she could earn one thing back a day and she could decide the order. Guess what the next to the last thing she picked was? Yes, the phone. The first thing? Riding to and from school with friends. She hated riding that darn school bus. Lord that makes me feel older than anything … pre-cell phones … Raise your hand if you remember “car phones” and if you had one you get a gold star.
24. Laura had some of her high school senior pictures taken in overalls and she was barefoot. She also had her pictures taken when she was 19 months old in the overalls her dad wore when he was a baby.
25. Laura LOVED to travel. In high school she went to Santa Fe, Los Angeles, Virginia, and France. And I would go back to any of them in a heart beat … except LA. It was gross.
26. When Laura left for college she was 17 and turned 18 a week later. Well, Laura being Laura, she wasn’t afraid or embarrassed to do most things. Anytime a friend would want to go to the town’s adult store she would go with them. So one time a friend wanted to go and Laura tagged along. As she walked in the worker told the person at the door, “You don’t need to ID her; she comes in here all the time.” What a proud moment for this momma AND I never went back after that. Probably the single most embarrassing moment of my adult life. *facepalm*
27. When in college she did an internship at a zoo. She worked at the Herpetarium with all the reptiles – mainly the snakes. I thought this was a wonderful opportunity and even though it wasn’t a paid, it was too good to pass up. Then, one weekend we visited and got a behind the scenes tour. We were taken into this secure room where they kept all the snakes that weren’t on display. As I walked through the rooms I noticed cards on the cages. Some were white but many were red. On the red cards it stated what anti-venom to use if you were bitten by that particular snake. On the plus side the anti-venom was in a fridge in the break-room … right next to the lunch table. Reality sunk in that this wonderful opportunity was also dangerous. The zoo also had a komodo dragon. Their saliva is deadly. Well, the Komodo dragon got sick and suddenly stopped breathing. Laura gave the animal CPR, including mouth to mouth resuscitation. Of course, she used some type of “tube” breathing apparatus but it was just one more time for the girl to give me more grey hair. Sadly, she didn’t make it. On the plus side, I got to see the necropsy. Did you know that a 7 foot Komodo dragon has a brain the size of a marble?
28. Laura has had some interesting jobs in her life. She worked at Disney (that is how she landed in Florida), she worked for a zoo (not the same as her internship), an aquarium, and a potato farm. Yeah Jungle Cruise!
29. One day Laura’s fiancé went in their back yard and heard a noise and found a kitten that was maybe 10 or 11 days old. The mother had abandoned it. He called to Laura and she began care to save its life. He was flea infested and hungry. She zoomed to the nearest pet store and got a kitten bottle and formula. She hand-raised the kitten and then when she was flying home 4 weeks later for her sister’s high school graduation, she brought the kitten to us. Tigger continues to be an important part of our family. The other part of this story is, that just a couple of days before they found Tigger, we had had to have Laura’s childhood cat, Friskie, put to sleep. Friskie was 17 years old. Friskie was the best cat; he scratched the crap out of my brother.
30. Last but not least, I have to say that I love this baby girl (yes, I still call her that and will for the rest of my life) with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my life. I am so proud of the wonderful woman she has become. She has done so many things with her life. She is not only passionate about reading but she is passionate about animals. Happy Birthday sweetheart. This momma couldn’t be happier for you or prouder of you. I LOVE YOU SO VERY MUCH.
Thanks … I think … mom for sharing all the info about me! I had forgotten about a lot of that! And of course, I love you too!
Now, the real reason you all read all of that … (my mom can be long winded, now you know where I get it from!) a giveaway! I will be giving away a $30 Amazon (or Barnes & Noble if you would prefer) gift card, $1 for each year. All giveaways this week will run for a full week, so you have several chances to win! Good luck!