In my immediate family, my granddaughter Gretchen (Warden) and Joe Stark are The Newlyweds. That’s because they were married only 3 years ago today, and because they always seem to be basking in the glow of honeymoon bliss.
Today’s blob is written by Gretchen’s sisters – Elizabeth Smith and Josie Warden. That little sisterhood constitutes an unbreakable union of solidarity and affection. They wrote the following to acquaint you better with two of their favorite people.
“Gretchen and Joe currently live in a condo in Kirkland and it is such a cozy nest of a home. It is also occupied with three giant dogs (two dobermans and a bulldog) which makes it quite a safe place to be.
Their walls and decor are definitely a good reflection of who they are. The kitchen is filled with Gretchen’s cow collection and various other statues including one of St. Joseph. The St. Joseph statue was actually buried upside down at their condo when they were first looking at places to live together. This is because there is a tradition that if you bury a St. Joseph in the yard of the house you want, it is supposed to help you get it, and it worked!
Then, inside their living room are shelves filled with Joe’s large movie collection with one of his favorites being The Boondock Saints, and Gretchen’s books with a lot of them relating to psychology.
Elsewhere in the house you can find family pictures lining the walls of the stairs, as well as many pictures of their dogs Colt, Tyson, and Whiskey. As for the inside of their fridge, you can often find their infamous barbeque chicken burritos, which are sent from Heaven if you ask me. They also always have large quantities of Spagettios, coffee creamer, and granola bars. Clearly, Gretchen and Joe’s house is a great place to be.
Gretchen and Joe are also both very family oriented people. Gretchen works for Ford Video, the family business, and also takes care of our other grandma during the week. Then Joe is always willing to help with any sort of project or chore that needs to be done for our parents like mowing lawn or painting. I remember when my parents were re-doing the floors, Joe came over and spent hours on-end ripping out the carpet and old floorboards. He even made sure that every single nail was off the floor so that no person or dog would step on them. It is things like that that make them a very generous and giving couple; always putting family first.
It is weird to think back to a time when Gretchen and Joe weren’t together. It is actually hard to imagine because Joe fits into our family so seamlessly it’s like he has always been a part of it. I think that’s when you can tell that it was meant to be. They balance each other out very well and are both completely hilarious.
Some things that they enjoy doing include watching countless episodes of Dog the Bounty Hunter, making trips to Cold Stone to get ice cream (birthday cake remix to be exact), playing with their dogs, going to movies, and throat chopping. For those of you who don’t know what throat chopping is, it is basically where you pretend to chop the other person’s throat with your hand in a blade like fashion. They are always trying to sneak up on each other or catch each other off guard; it is very funny to witness.”
“Gretchen and Joe are an incredible couple. They amaze and inspire me in so many ways!
They are somehow able to juggle so many tasks and activities that I get exhausted just thinking about it!
Gretchen, for example, cares for our grandmother Bonnie during the weekdays while also simultaneously working for Ford Video and keeping the house immaculate so there is less cleaning for our hardworking mother, Susy. On top of all that, Gretchen is attending school for her PhD, maintaining her own household along with Joe (which includes keeping up with three high energy dogs!), and being a huge help and support to her family and friends. Gretchen is a great cook and out of this world dessert master. Her cookies, cupcakes, and other baked dessert goodies are truly professional quality! Sean raves about them after every family event!
Joe, meanwhile, in spite of working incredibly long hours at Costco and other jobs (including multiple jobs at once!), somehow has the energy to participate in several sports and to help family and friends with all sorts of tough tasks!
Joe is always willing to jump in and help out, and he anticipates what will help people most and does it without being asked. He has been often known to show up and mow my parents’ lawn or wash their vehicles, and he is always there when needed. Joe is also a wonderful husband and dog parent who often gets up at the crack of dawn to exercise the dogs and is not afraid to do all sorts of household chores.
Joe and Gretchen are naturally both such supportive, generous, and thoughtful people. They share such strong values and are very serious about their responsibilities and commitments. They are close with both of their families, and I know they are a big support to my parents!
Don’t get the wrong idea though–even though they behave very responsibly, they are not overly serious people. They have such positive attitudes and are not discouraged by difficult tasks! They both have a fantastic sense of humor and know how to see the humor even in situations that might seem frustrating, like when dealing with dog messes and other icky situations–and you know they’ve seen many of those with three big dogs! They are always full of funny stories and are so fun to spend time with.
Gretchen and Joe also plan fun events for their friends and families. I especially enjoy board game nights with them, because I know it’s guaranteed to be a hilarious time! Their fight night pay-per-view gatherings are also lots of fun.
Gretchen and Joe are both very special people, and they make an amazing team. They are supportive of one another and true to themselves and their values. They are kind and loving not just to their family and friends but to everyone!
I admire and love Gretchen and Joe very much! They are such a blessing to their families and friends. I feel very lucky to be in their family.”
Me, too, Elizabeth. I am unbelievably lucky to be related to each of you.
Happy Anniversary, Gretchen and Joe. Even though it’s a work day, I hope you at least get to live it up this evening with some fun, frivolity, good food, throat chopping, and fine company. Kinda sounds like a normal day at your house.
Go for it!