Monthly Archives: November 2012

I was talking to my boss the other day, and he mentioned that his oldest grandson likes to make the animal sounds, and knows each one correctly and on demand. That reminded me of my oldest grandson, Christopher when he was little. It’s funny how some kids have such an interest in animals. Lots of kids take a passive interest in the farm animals and such, but some kids, like my my boss, Jim’s grandson and my grandson, Chris are so interested that they really learn those sounds and even know what the animal is doing when it makes that sound.

Many people like the wild animals, wearing pictures of them of shirts and hanging pictures in their homes, but when a child shows such an interest, at such a young age, it would seem to be something special. Listening to Christopher make all those animal sounds was always something that we delighted in doing. My very favorite sound was when he would tell you what the wolf says. His little voice seemed so tiny and yet he perfectly and softly howled like a wolf. It was so cute!! He could do all the other animals sounds too, from the domestic animals, to pets, to the wild animals.

I don’t know why some kids are so interested in the animals and the sounds they make. Since they have never been anywhere near some of those animals, how could they feel such a connection. Maybe they are like people who know at a very young age that they want to go into Veterinary Medicine, or some similar career, and others have the interest in animals just for personal reasons. I don’t know what my grandson will do with his life. At almost 17 years of age, he doesn’t seem to have that intense interest in animals that he did as a child. I know that whatever he does, he will be great at it, because he always puts his heart and soul into the things he does. No matter what he does though, I will always remember what he was like as a little boy, when he answered the call of the wild.

I love the way that kids can be so inventive. They have some great ideas, and while they can’t always make their ideas into reality by themselves, with a little help, you will find that they will get it done. No one really knows who created the skate board, but it was designed by attaching wheels from a pair of skates to create a surfing effect. That way they could surf, even if the ocean waves weren’t cooperating. A good idea if you ask me.

Then there were the go carts. Made from things in the garage, they were usually wooden and used the wheels off of a tricycle or some such item. Of course, I would expect that the brakes took a little more figuring. I’m sure those first go carts ended in crashes more than they didn’t, and eventually someone found a way to make them stop. If they hadn’t, I think they would have stopped riding them after a while, since there is only so much crashing a person can take before they decide that this just isn’t worth the ride.

What I find very interesting, is the types of things the kids back in my parents’ day did when they wanted to create a new mode of transportation. It would appear to me that they were trying to make a sleigh, and they had no wheels…or snow, for that matter. I would imagine that it was a bumpy ride to say the least, but them these boys don’t seem to mind that thought much. I’m quite sure they were very proud of their new contraption. It also makes me think of the many kids these days, who have done their very best to hook their dog up to a wagon and have the dog pull them around. While that might work ok with a dog, I’m not so sure I would want to try it with a horse, but then, I don’t know that particular horse, and they surely did. It is quite possible that the horse knew the typical antics these boys pulled, and like any pet, who loves it’s master, the horse was gentle enough to go along with the new fangled vehicle that was hooked up to it.

My niece, Machelle was born almost 7 months after my youngest daughter, Amy, and a year and 5 months after my oldest daughter, Corrie. Nevertheless, due to the height of Machelle’s dad, at 6′ 6″ tall, it was doubtful that she would be shorter than my girls for very long. By the time the first stair step pictures were taken, Machelle had passed Amy up permanently. Amy would be the shortest of the grandchildren in the end.

Machelle and Corrie would go back and forth for a number of years, but by the time Corrie was 12, she was done growing, and Machelle would pass her up permanently too. Through the years, it was hard to tell which of the girls was the oldest, because people naturally expect the tallest child to be the oldest child. As the years have gone by only Eric, the youngest grandchild passed all the girls up, Barry is the same height as Machelle, and JD is shorter than she is. As to the girls, it’s pretty mixed up. Machelle finally lost out in the race to be the tallest, but it was to her own little sister, Susan. Corrie is taller than Amy, at 5’0″ to Amy’s 4’11”. Of course, now, it doesn’t really matter who is the tallest anyway.

Machelle may have lost the height race, but that doesn’t mean that she has lost out as a person. I love the person Machelle has turned into. She is sweet and loving, and very helpful. I can count on her to help out with anything I ask, whenever she is here. My only regret is that she lives in Powell, because I don’t get to see her and her family as much as I would like. All the years of competing to be the tallest are long past now, as are the little girls toys and games…and sometimes I wish they hadn’t gone by so fast. The kids were all so cute standing up straight and tall, hoping to have maybe…just maybe, passed the child who was taller than they were the last year. It was all so cute, and it was over too soon, and now it is Machelle’s birthday again, but the one thing we no longer ask…who’s the oldest, because really…you don’t ask a woman her age, you know. Happy birthday Machelle!! Have a great day!!

My parents have always loved the mountains much more than the lakes. Lakes are beautiful too, but in the summertime, they are hot, unless you spend every minute in the water, and the sun beats down on you all day long. On the other hand, the mountains are cooler because of the altitude and the many trees, and there is a feeling of peaceful relaxation that you just can’t get at the lake. The love of the mountains is something I share with my parents. I could hike through the trees for hours and never get tired of it.

Early in their marriage, Mom and Dad went up to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and took the opportunity to ride the ski lift to the top of the ski area in the summertime. Bob and I have done that too, so I know how beautiful it is up there. The view of the Tetons, standing majestically in the distance is a view that many people have captured on film, simply because it is so breathtaking. You can see the beauty of the view, even in the black and white photos they had back then. Mom and Dad looked like they were having a wonderful time. If you have never taken a ride on a ski lift in the summertime, it is something I highly recommend, because you get a totally different picture of things without all the snow. And for me, no snow is a good thing.

Mom and Dad shared, with my sisters and me, the beauty that can be found in nature, and in my opinion, the mountains are one of the most beautiful places on earth. So many wonderful family outings have been spent right here on Casper Mountain. My parents felt like the mountains were so magestic, whether it was the towering peaks of the Tetons or the rolling hills of Casper Mountain or The Black Hills. Each one had a beauty all its own…a beauty that was worth seeking out. The mountains have a magesty all their own, and I will always love to go and drink in the peacful beauty that resides there

I never knew my Great Grandpa Byer, because he passed away in 1930, long before I was born. Most of what I know of him comes from my genealogy research, pictures I have found, and the stories I have heard from my mom. The first time I remember hearing about him was when I gave birth to my oldest daughter, Corrie. My mother mention that I might want to name her Cornelia, so that it would be after her great great grandpa. I was not willing to go so far as to change the name I had chosen, but the name did attach itself to Corrie anyway, in the form of a nickname…that I loved, by the way.

My research told me that my great grandfather was born in Russia, which very much surprised me, as I thought that part of the family came from Germany. My mother filled in the blanks there, by telling me that in the 1780’s, my 6th great grandfather, who was concerned because of wars in Europe, and wanting to keep his family, and especially his son safe from the increasing German interest in jumping into the war. So, he moved his family to Russia, where my part of the family would live until, my great grandfather’s family immigrated to the United States. He eventually settled in South Dakota, where he married my great grandmother.

Picture documentation, at the point, places my great grandparents on a homestead in Nebraska. During his time in South Dakota and Nebraska, he befriended many of the Indians in the area. He was well respected by them and was invited to their Pow Wow’s. It is at this point in the family history that I came across another picture that made me wonder about its inclusion in the other family pictures. It still seems odd to me, but my mom assures me with her story, that it indeed fits in the family history. The picture is of a group of men in a pool hall. When I asked mom about the picture, she told me that she didn’t know the men in the picture, but the pool hall had belonged to her grandfather. I am still trying to figure out how he went from homesteading to a pool hall owner, but that is what he did. I’m sure that like most career changes, the decision was based on the income possibilities, because the main thing is to be able to support your family. The pool hall is not surprising to me because of what it was, but because of the fact that he had been a homesteader and farmer by trade for so long. Things change, as the needs change, and that is as simple as that. He saw a way to make a living, or even supplement the family income, and he did it. It is an interesting twist to my history.

Every grandchild is special, but you will always remember when your first one arrived. It is a day you most parents have waited for since their kids reached marrying age. I don’t mean that you wanted grandkids since your kids became teenagers, but as they grew, your mind…maybe deep down, maybe consciously, wondered what their children would be like. We were no different. As my girls grew up, I wondered what my grandchildren would be like. No matter how hard I tried, my thoughts of who they might be, came up very short of the great kids they are, or the fact that after having two daughters, I would end up with only one granddaughter, and 3 grandsons.

Every one of my grandchildren is very special and very unique. Christopher, from the beginning, had the best smiley faces. His eyes were so expressive. You couldn’t help but laugh with him. He loved doing goofy things, like dumping all the clean clothes out of the basket they were in, so he could get into the basket himself. Then, he waited to see what you were going to think of it. His great big eyes were always so expressive, and in them you could totally see the delight that he was feeling. And he seemed to be able to play to your sense of humor, because he never seemed to fail to do things that were just funny.

People call people like that a ham or a clown, and maybe he was, but all I can say is that it was just Christopher’s way. Also, I don’t know if he even realized what he was doing, at least at first. After a while, I’m sure he did, and he seemed to hone his skills as he went along. I remember the first time I saw him talking and shaking his head side to side, when he was about 3, and that is something many adults can’t do, but again, on Christopher it just came naturally. And I have laughed at that one over and over, because I can still see it in my memory. He was so funny as a little kid, and still is today. It was his unique talent.

This time of year seems to be filled with family traditions. Family dinners, shopping, and decorating all play a part. For our family, the day after Thanksgiving, being Black Friday is shopping day, and the Saturday after Thanksgiving, is decorate the Christmas tree day. Since my girls are grown and married, it is the grandkids and me doing the decorating each year. We always have such a good time. The kids are getting older now, all teenagers, so there is a fair bit of goofing off and yet, they are much more help now too. The boys can handle the lights and garland, where before they always had to wait until I got the lights and garland on before they helped with just the ornaments.

This is a tradition I really enjoy, because it gives me time to be with my grandchildren doing something that is lots of fun and that we all enjoy. I think the kids look forward to it too. If one of them has to work, they are really disappointed, so we try to make sure that doesn’t happen. That can mean doing the decorating at different times each year, but that is ok, as long as there is a way to do it together.

We usually try to add Christmas carols to the mix, to put everyuone into the Christmas spirit. I don’t so much like it when the stores start playing Christmas music before Halloween, but once Thanksgiving is over, it’s just the right time.  By then I’m ready…or as much as I ever will be…to start thinking about all that shopping, decorating, cooking, cleaning, and…fun!!! Here comes Christmas everyone!! Are you ready!!

It is tradition in our family, as in many families, to get up at 3:30 in the morning the day after Thanksgiving, and head out to the stores for the Black Friday sales. I know that many people think we are crazy, but if you want some really good deals on all the things you want to get your family for Christmas, then Black Friday is your day!!

Our morning starts out with a trip to the local convenience store for cappuccino and donuts. We stuff down the donuts, and sip our coffee as we shop. We usually go with our kids, and that is helpful for buying for the grandkids, but this year the grandkids wanted to go as well. I did amazingly well in my purchases this year, even with the kids there. We had to dodge them a little bit, so they didn’t see the things we had purchased, but it all worked out.

I’m not so sure all the grandkids thought shopping so early in the morning was a great idea, but you never know until you try, right. I was surprised, however, that it was my granddaughter who thought the whole thing was a waste of time. My three grandsons seemed to have a great time…or at least I didn’t hear any complaints.

Our shopping day ends around 8:00 in the morning, and when we break for breakfast. We sit around the table at Johnny J’s Diner, and discuss what great deals we got, and try to figure out what things we need to get next, eat good food, and drink a little more coffee, to get woke up, then we head home to relax and probably take a nap for a while, before deciding if we should venture out for one more shopping trip before Black Friday is history for this year.

The first Thanksgiving in the fall of 1621 and was shared between the Pilgrims and Indians, was a day complete with new foods to try. The purpose was to spend time together, getting to know each other. I have often wondered if some of those present were ancestors of mine. I have not come across anything in my family’s past that could prove the presence of my family at that first Thanksgiving, but I would not be surprised.

Many of those early traditions are still being carried on today. The big meal, with foods we don’t eat every day. The gathering of friends and family and the celebration of those relationships. We find ourselves reminiscing about the past, and missing the loved ones who are no longer with us, but we also find reasons to be thankful for the things we have and the people who are still in our lives. So often during our day to day lives, we can find ourselves dragged down by the mundane details of daily living, and the stresses of deadlines and daily obligations. We forget the blessings we have.

For that reason, it is important to take the time once in a while to look back on the year and really see all the good things we have. The difference between those mundane details and stresses in life, and blessings is just a matter of perspective. When we look at the memories and abilities that an aging parent has lost, we feel sad, but if we look at what they have left instead, we can see that it is a blessing to still have them in our lives, and that what they have left is a blessing too.

Today, I am thankful for the people in my life. I am thankful for the time I had with those loved ones who are in my past, and soon in my future, like my dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and nieces who have gone home to Heaven. Your lives were a blessing to me and while I miss you right now, I look forward to the time when I will see you again. I am thankful for those loved ones in my present. The people who support me when I am feeling down, and help me in the obligations I have in my life. I am thankful for the loved ones who will come into my life in the future. Your lives will bring me new joy and blessing. I am thankful for friends, past, present, and future who have and will bring kindness and friendship into my life. I am thankful for my job and a boss who goes above and beyond the expected every day to allow me to do the things I need to do. And most of all, I am thankful for my God, who saw that I was lost, and even though I didn’t earn or deserve any kindness, He sent His only begotten son, Jesus, to die for me, to pay for my sins, and through the grace and mercy of my Father, He redeemed my life. He brought me back from the brink of Hell, and gave me the best He has to give…eternity in Heaven with Him.

Our nephew, Barry’s wife, Kelli has always been an outdoor girl. She loves hiking and long drives…going  just about anywhere. Saturdays often will find them heading out for a drive, and posting pictures of the things they see on Facebook or Twitter. Kelli loves to travel and, while Texas is the place she likes the best, so far, you never know if, in their travels, she just might find a place she likes better.

During various vacations, Kelli and Barry have hiked in a number of places. On trips down to Colorado to visit her mom, they have hiked in the Rocky Mountain National Park. They have also hiked in the Black Hills, the Oregon Trail, the Big Horn Mountains, and many other places. A love of hiking and the mountains is something Kelli and I definitely share. We also share a love of beautiful nature scenes, and I have really enjoyed the pictures she has posted.

Kelli loves animals. She likes the wild animals in nature, and she loves her dog, Dakota, but the thing that surprised me the most is her love of donkeys. I can relate to that in that when we go to the Black Hills, one of the highlights of the trip is being able to see the wild donkeys there, but Kelli would love to raise donkeys. That is something I had never considered doing. Donkeys are so sweet though, and I think that would be a really cool thing to do, and I hope she will get the chance to make that dream come true someday.

Kelli has been a part of our family since she and Barry were married in 2004. They share so many common interests, and it seems like they have always been together. Today is Kelli’s birthday. Happy birthday Kelli!! We love you!! Have a great day!!