imageimage My grand niece, Jala is turning 14 years old today, and very soon will begin her final year of middle school. This summer has been a new experience for Jala and her little sister, Kaytlyn. In previous years, their mom, my niece Susan has worked outside the home, so the girls had to be up and heading to daycare by 7:00am. Now that their mom works from home, the girls have been able to sleep in, and then have lazy days around home…something most kids would love to do, but few get to. Of course, with school starting on August 24th, they are getting up early again to get back into the swing of things.

For Jala, the year of sports begins August 22nd with Volleyball practice, so the year is starting out with a busy schedule already. Jala is very athletic, and loves a variety of sports. Last year she participated in Volleyball, Swimming and Diving, Basketball, and Track. I think every parent loves watching their kids in sports, but some things hold a special place in your heart. That’s how it is for Susan with Jala’s diving. Susan loves watching Jala dive. Joann Knox on her colt MollyDiving is such a graceful sport, so I think a lot of people can relate to Susan’s love of Jala’s diving. It is Susan’s hope that Jala will continue to love sports, so she will continue on with them in high school next year.

This summer found Jala, her sister Kaytlyn, and cousins, Weston and Easton traveling to Bear Lake, Idaho in their Great Aunt Pam and Great Uncle Ralph’s new motor home. The kids were very excited about the trip, and about the Cook Family Reunion they were attending. The kids got to stay in the motor home that first night, then they were joined the next day by their grandparents, Debbie and Lynn Cook, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. They rented a little cabin for the rest of the weekend. It had been twelve years since Jala had gone to a reunion, and at two, she didn’t remember the last one at all. Jala got to know lots of cousins and other family members this trip. It almost like having a whole new set of forever friends.

This weekend, Jala got to go with her other grandparents to the Tensleep Music Festival as a birthday present. It was to be a weekend full of concerts, what more could a teenager ask for. Susan is pretty sure that Jala is having a fantastic time, because she has not heard from her once. I guess there is too much going on to have time to call home. That’s the way to know that she was having fun, but it can leave a mom feeling a bit lonely.

Living in the country, on a place with horses, allows Jala the chance to ride once in a while. She loves it. She
imageimageand her Papa Griffith like to ride together, but it hasn’t been often enough to suit Jala. Once the horse gets used to her more, they will allow her to ride alone too, and that will give her lots more time on the horse. Being a horse woman could be in Jala’s blood, since her great grandma, Joann Schulenberg, absolutely loved horses, and spent many hours riding them as a girl. Today is Jala’s birthday. Happy birthday Jala!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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