Happy 33rd anniversary, Mom and Dad Sturgis!

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HAPPY 33rd anniversary, Keith and Angie Sturgis!

Quite an accomplishment, particularly in 2014. We three kids have spent our entire lives reaping the blessings of your commitment to one another. We benefit from your example and your shared determination to stick together, through thick and thin, and we know enough to know that it’s far from easy.

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We admire and appreciate the qualities you demonstrate to each other… love, trust, partnership, tolerance, and tenacity. As soon as I saw this image I knew I had to share it.

(I plan to follow up with more on this living example of love and commitment, but for now, please enjoy this picture of two of the happiest grandparents in the entire world.)

Love you, Mom and Dad. Thanks for everything.

Happy first birthday, Baby Genius!

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Baby Addilyn is a toddler.

She toddles.

A miracle, I’ve been saying, because for the first year of her life, someone has usually been waiting in line for their turn to snuggle her.

But.

She turned one year old on January 20.

Our baby genius is not so much a baby.

We celebrated with the entire family on January 26.

Pictured below: Aunt Danielle is sometimes tasked with naptime duty, wherein the Baby Einstein channel on YouTube is everyone’s favorite invention.

October 26: homeward bound

addilyn.9 monthsOur baby genius niece, Addilyn Ruby, will soon be nine months old and she’s going to take her first steps any day now.

I’ve averaged one flight home for every 6 weeks of her life and while that’s not nearly enough time to snuggle this baby genius, it’s a blessing to be able to visit somewhat regularly.

This weekend I’m flying home to see the baby the family, and, as usual, will be Instagramming away (my sister made the explicit promise, while pregnant, that both aunts may take “as many pictures” as we want).

Follow along on Twitter for the most fun – and wherever this weekend finds you, make it a great one!

A citizen is “concerned” with my father’s right to free speech

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First, a little context: I grew up in southwestern Illinois, in St Clair Township, where my parents still live on 10 rural-ish acres. Pictured here, my parents and sisters and I are in front of the homestead atop the stump of a giant Oak tree, which was felled in a severe storm  fell shortly before my dad’s 60th birthday in November 2012.

Dad.Sturgis.Controversial.NRA.shirtMy father, Keith Sturgis, is a family man, a proud USMC Veteran, and a patriot, who worked hard to instill a fierce appreciation for our country and its freedoms in his three daughters  – and anyone else who would listen.

My father isn’t a politician. In 1971, on his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After that, he went to the coal mines, working over 20 years underground. Then and now, he serves as the recording secretary for United Mine Workers of America’s Local 1820 – but he’s no politician.

But, as of a few months ago, he is an Elected Official in the St Clair Township. In 2012, he entered his first-ever campaign, joining the Common Sense Team as a candidate for St Clair Township Trustee. He won, though most of his team didn’t, though their platform of reduced spending and increased accountability was popular with voters.If you’re still with me, hang on, because here’s where it gets interesting:My father attended his inaugural St Clair Township board meeting in late June 2013. On July 3, I received an interesting email from my dad. (Subject Line: You’ll Get A Kick Out Of This One.)

“The St Clair Township Supervisor just called to say a person was concerned that I was wearing an NRA shirt to the Township Board Meeting.

… So I told him to have that person address me to my face, and we’ll see how that goes.”

Seriously?

In America?

In my lovely, borderline-po-dunk hometown in Illinois?

A citizen feels threatened by three letters on a garment worn by an unpaid township trustee.

Who happens to be my father.

And those three letters happen to mean more to my father – and to me – than they might to, say, your average resident of St Clair Township.

Dad had the audacity to wear the orange shirt that he’s pictured in above. This shirt is a discontinued style…  I’m 95% certain I purchased it at one of the sales hosted at NRA HQ, where I worked as a Senior Media Specialist until 2010, but I can’t be sure.

Shortly after I was hired at the NRA, my father called to request that I send him a few business cards because, as it turns out, he wanted to hand them out to pretty much everyone he knew.

It’s the only time I can remember my father asking me for anything.

Dad.OliverNorth.KBRThere’s another picture of my father  wearing his offensive shirt: this  one, which I posted on Facebook in May of 2008. I posted it in the middle of the chaotic festival of freedom known as the NRA’s Annual Meeting (in 2008, it was held in Louisville, KY) and I wrote the following caption: “three marines, three personal heroes: Dad, Lt Col Oliver North, KBR.”

My father took time off work to serve as an unpaid volunteer during the NRA Annual Meeting – in 2008, and in 2009, and in 2010 – and also at several CPACs. He worked a booth for 3 days talking to folks about the NRA’s flagship blog, NRAblog, which I happened to help create.

In Louisville, when I saw Lt Col Oliver North talking to past NRA President Kayne Robinson, I took the opportunity to locate my father and arrange the three Marines for this photo. And today, especially, I’m awfully grateful I did.

My father doesn’t question anyone’s right to free speech – but you’d damned well better not question his.

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