Getting Personal #114: Happy Birthday, Dad!

Father-daughter dance. Dad and I danced to "Carolina In My Mind" by James Taylor. This was a surprise for my mom as well - Dad played this song when he proposed to Mom!

Image Credit: Stellar Exposures

Today is my Dad’s birthday!

Writing this post makes me realize we need to take more pictures.

This is one of my favorite photos. This was taken during my birthday dinner last August, when Mom and Dad surprised me with “the gift I’d always wanted” – So many laughs!

I think this is the most recent photo of us, taken in October at Nick and Savy’s wedding.

Have a wonderful day today, Dad! We can’t wait to see you on Saturday for the 18th Anniversary blood drive, and take you out to dinner to truly celebrate soon.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth ๐Ÿ™‚

Beautiful Birthdays

I’m starting a new series of posts. I want to highlight the birthdays of special people in my life, with the goal of publishing each post on the person’s actual birthday ๐Ÿ™‚


I’m kicking off the series with not one, but TWO people who were born on April 3rd!

April’s birthstone is the Diamond. The Zodiac signs are Aries (March 21 – April 19) and Taurus (April 20 – May 20).

Today, these two share a birthday with writer Washington Irving, actress Jan Stirling, astronaut Virgil Grissom, Jane Goodall, President Obama, Eddie Murphy, Alec Baldwin, skier Picabo Street, and Amanda Bynes, to name a few.


First and foremost, is the man who loved me first – my Daddy!


Can you guess when and where this picture may have been taken? ๐Ÿ˜‰

My dad’s the best. He’s been a major role model for me. Here’s 10 of the best things about him:

1. We have an awesome relationship. He’s always made me feel loved and appreciated. He’s definitely taught me hard lessons, but every minute has been worth it. The title of this blog comes from him – He started calling me “Hot Shot” forever ago. We have no idea how it started, but it’s stuck and I love it. It’s our nickname, so to speak.

2. I can call him at any time. He’s always willing to listen and offer non-emotional advice to me, even if I’m having a meltdown at 12:30 a.m.

3. Dad made me consider (stressing the wordย consider) the military as a career. I’m so proud to have been a Coast Guard brat.

4. Dad taught me how to do handy things – I watched him change the oil in our station wagon for the first time when I was in elementary school and that’s what started it all. I now change the oil in my Camry like clockwork, I know how to change a tire on a car and a truck, I’m decent at driving a stick, etc. And it’s not limited to just cars – I know how to change window screens, clean gutters, build a proper fire, use a chainsaw and a ton of other power tools, paint a room, and even a little bit of plumbing.

5. Dad is mission-oriented. I have seen him give so much time and effort to both local and international organizations for over 20 years. When we joined our Methodist Church in 1992, that’s one of the first things he got involved with, and he’s never left. Everything from feeding the homeless, to wrapping Christmas gifts for kids that have incarcerated parents, to blood drives, to mission trips; it never ends.

6. ย Dad has an awesome talent for music. Growing up, he dabbled in the trumpet, drums, percussion. He was in the high school marching band and I’m sure he did something musical at the USCGA. Now, he’s been one of four men in the church handbell choir for the last 15 years and loves it!

7. Dad was my inspiration to start volunteering at blood drives and start giving blood. This is one of our shared passions. First, he gave blood for me when I was born at 25 weeks – That’ll be 26 years in a few months. He’s kept a folded piece of paper in his wallet that lists the date and location of every blood donations he’s given, and that’s been since the early 70s! Fast forward to the late 90s – Dad saw a need for a blood drive and thought our church could fill it. One of our church members had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1999 and we held a joint blood / bone marrow drive for her. That was in April 2000. We went from two drives in 2000 to our clockwork drives – The second Saturday of every even-numbered month (six times per year). We’ll celebrate our 14th anniversary drive in about a week – April 12th – and we are closing in on reaching 5,000 total units collected. We average around 55-60 units per drive, so we hope to celebrate 5,000 in June or August ๐Ÿ™‚

8. Dad’s an amazing husband to my mom. They’ve been married for 32 years!

9. Dad was my savior when it came to math (until college, anyway – I was on my own for Honors Statistics). Mom was all thumbs after I got to middle school. Plus, being an engineer by trade certainly doesn’t hurt in this department. Some of my funniest memories were when we did my homework over multiple lines of communication. Example – He had to move to Florida for a work contract when I was in 7th grade; he was gone for almost 10 months. When I brought home my Pre-Algebra work, I’d finish it to the best of my ability, scan it, and email it to him. He’d review it, and then fax it back to me at home with any corrections (or suggestions as he likes to say). One of us would call the other and we’d discuss it until everything seemed right in the math world! We repeated this process when I was in high school Geometry and he was on the West Coast for work for a couple of months. It was certainly interesting!

10.ย Dad was / is a great role model for keeping me active. It started in the pool. He took me water-skiing when I was 6. We rode bikes all over the neighborhood with my mom. When I started rollerblading, he and Mom would ride their bikes and when I started to slow down, he’d throw me a tow rope and he’d pull me all the way home at breakneck speed. I played rec soccer for 7 years, so there were lots of pick-up games in the backyard. I played rec softball for one season, but Dad worked with me for a couple years before that to help condition me. We played catch in New York’s Central Park. When we flew to Florida to visit my grandparents, we packed a bat, gloves, and this crazy contraption of a softball on a fiberglass pole that tremendously improved my hitting. You get the picture. Dad also learned to ride a unicycle years ago – and we still have it in the garage.

I love you, Dad!


The second amazing person is Michaela Leigh D’Angelo!


This is her and her sweet doggie!

10 fun facts:

1. She has an older sister, Karen. Karen’s a year older than I am and Michaela Leigh is two years younger than me, so we’re tight. We three have been friends for literally forever – This is what happens when your moms are literal best friends that met through teaching 30+ years ago!

2. She’sย an assistant at a local marina. It all started with an opportunity to sail on a couple’s yacht a couple summers ago. Apparently you can’t take the boat out of her now.

3. She loves dogs – particularly dachshunds. Her family had sweet Sadie for almost 15 years until recently. But she has Ruby now and she’s just precious!

4. She’s gone back and forth between her first name and middle name. For years, it was Michaela. For a couple more years, it was Leigh. I’m starting to abbreviate to ML now ๐Ÿ™‚

5. She studied French language and literature in college. I’m almost certain she’s fluent too. I would call her a linguist!

6. She studied abroad in France. I was so jealous of her the entire time she was overseas!

7. She dressed up as Rosie the Riveter one year for Halloween – That’s awesome. To this day, that still is one of the most BAMF costumes that I have ever seen.

8. Her makeup is always perfect, and she’s known for her signature red lipstick.

9. She and Karen both have had the most beautiful long hair (Karen’s kept it short for a long time, but ML’s left it long and it’s awesome!). Again, I’m jealous – My hair gets weird if it grows past a certain length. But their hair – On point.

10. She learned the cello early on and was amazing at it!


Well, there you go. First birthday post. I don’t think that I’ll do 10 fun facts every time, but I’ll learn as I do more of these. Many more to come!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth ๐Ÿ™‚