Grandchildren

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Without a doubt, the greatest thing to happen to a person in life is becoming a parent. That is the life change that happened to my grand-niece, Siara Olsen and her husband, Nick on October 28, 2019. Now, Siara is celebrating her first birthday since becoming “Mommy” to little Alec Todd Olsen. It is so hard to believe that Siara could be a mom already, and yet, she has stepped into the role as naturally as if she had been a mom for years. Watching her hold her baby puts a smile on my face, and the faces of all her family too. She just looks so content…and, so does Alec. There is nothing like having a baby to snuggle with, to bring home just how precious life is.

Siara is a bubbly, sweet girl who is very capable in her job at Platte Valley Bank, here is Casper, Wyoming, where she works as a personal banker. I don’t think there is one customer at the bank who doesn’t know Siara by the smile on her face and her sweet personality. Of course, going back to work after giving birth to Alec wasn’t easy, as any mother who worked, knows well. I felt so bad for her, because I know how short maternity leave is, when it comes right down to it. Eight weeks or whatever amount each mother has, seems like a long time…if you are waiting for your baby’s birth!! Once your baby has arrived, eight weeks is nothing. It’s over almost in an instant, and leaving your child in daycare, even if you know the people well, is heart wrenching. Eventually thought, you get used to it, and while you miss your baby terribly, you begin to look forward to the end of your work day, when you will be reunited with that sweet bundle of joy. Then, when you pick him up from daycare, your whole world is smiling again. And then, Siara and Nick have the whole evening to enjoy their precious little son, who keeps them smiling with his sweet little face, filled with smiles. The evenings are just perfect for this young family.

Now that little Alec is here, life for Siara and Nick is always looking up. I think that most parents can relate to the tremendous joy they feel with each new day. With each smile, each landmark, each passing year, and each new sibling that comes along after Alec, life will continue to get better and better for them. I am so happy for Siara, as she celebrates her first birthday as a mommy, and for Nick too, as he celebrates his family. The future is bright for both of them, and I look forward to watching little Alec grow up and be such a great blessing to his parents and his family. Today is Siara’s birthday. Happy birthday “Mommy” Siara. Have a great day!! We love you!!

Few days make me dread writing my daily story, but then few days in my life have marked the beginning of such drastic change in my life either. It was December 12, 2007, twelve years ago, and my dad, Allen Spencer had been sick, or recovering for a little over two years, after being hit by Pancreatitis on October 1, 2005. My sisters and I had been caring for Dad, and our mom, Collene Spencer, who was diagnosed with Large Diffuse B-Cell Lymphoma in her brain in July of 2006. Mom’s tumor was gone quickly, and there were no other serious concerns with her, but Dad’s care required much more. Everything seemed to be going well, but Dad’s liver was giving out due to the intravenous feeding, something we couldn’t really see…or at least something we didn’t know to expect as a possibility.

My dad had always been the “rock” of our family. None of us ever considered that he was not as strong as he once had been. We knew that no matter what was going on around us, Dad always knew what to do about any problem. It was a very comforting feeling in a family where he was the only original male. Of course, his daughters were married now, and a few grandsons had also been added to the mix, but for our childhood years, my sisters, Cheryl, Caryl, Alena, Allyn, and I were the kids they had, and so Dad was the only male. He was used to being the man with the answers, and we always looked to him when we needed those answers. It was difficult to see him in a state of weakness, but we would fight for his survival with all we had…never expecting to lose the fight.

With Dad’s passing on that awful December day, our world was forever changed. We were now going to need to take care of our mom, who needed us more than ever. While her health was ok, she didn’t drive anymore, and wasn’t as mobile as she had been before. We had promised Dad, we would take care of her, and as with Dad, we wouldn’t have it any other way for Mom. It wasn’t just the change is our care structure that changed either. Everything changed with Dad’s passing.

We had seriously never expected to live on this earth without our parents, and now that entire perspective had changed. We knew that very likely the day would come when both parents and our parents-in-law would be gone. We knew that we were going to be the leaders of our families. It was up to us to keep our families close, as Mom and Dad would have wanted us to do. There would now be great grandchildren who have never met their Great Grandpa Spencer, and later Great Grandma Spencer. It was up to us to tell the kids about their great grandparents, so they wouldn’t be forgotten. t was up to us to tell them that their Great Grandpa Spencer was a World War II Veteran, who fought bravely for his country…to make sure that his legacy lived on. It is a big responsibility, and sometimes seems impossible, but we must, because our Dad showed us the way we should live, and we must now live it. There is no other choice. Twelve years ago today, my dad began his life in Heaven, and we miss him every day. We can’t wait until we will be reunited again. We love you Dad.

My grand-nephew, Nick Olsen, who joined our family, when he married my grand-niece, Siara Harman, is truly right where he should be. I think he was destined to be a husband and father, and now, with the recent birth of his sweet Alec Todd Olsen…Nick and Siara are parents. Nick is a wonderful daddy to little Alec, and can often be seen holding him, and the picture is beautiful. Alec loves his daddy so much, even at this early stage in his life. Both Alec and Siara feel very blessed to have Nick in their lives, and he feels blessed to have them in his.

Nick is a quiet man. That’s ok, because his face shows his feelings very well. When Nick looks at Siara, you can see how much he loves his beautiful bride. And when Nick looks at Alec, you can see the great love he has for him and the joy he feels from being a daddy. Not every man has such an expressive face, but Nick certainly does. Or maybe, a lot of men mask their faces, so you can’t see how they feel. I think that it’s very sweet that Nick expresses his feelings like that. I think Siara likes it too.

Nick and Siara make such a cute couple. He is very tall, and she is very short. I think they both knew from the day they met, that they would be together for the rest of their lives. Nick is the type of man who will always be there for his family. He will protect them, provide for them, and love them for all time. It is written all over his face. Siara and Alec are very blessed to have him.

Nick is a Seattle Seahawks fan, while Siara is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Since they are both very into football, I suppose that could get to be a battle of the rivals, although I don’t think these two teams are arch rivals. It makes me wonder if little Alec will follow his daddy’s team or his mommy’s team. I suppose he will root for both for a while, because it is my guess that he will love to watch the games as much as his parents do. For Nick, I’m sure this will become another father/son bonding moment, and that is very cool. Nick’s future is bright indeed. Today is Nick’s birthday. Happy birthday Nick!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My youngest grandson, Josh Petersen is a hardworking and very busy guy. Josh works two jobs. He services fire extinguishers at All Out Fire, and at Sanford’s Grub and Pub, where he is a jack of all trades. I guess that five years in the restaurant industry teaches you every job. Josh doesn’t have much time off. His jobs keep him very busy, and we, his family don’t get to see much of him. It’s part of what he does to be able to live as an adult. Sometimes you have to, work more than one job to make ends meet…especially in this economy.

Josh has a couple of pets, whom he loves very much. His little Dachshund dog, named Molly is his best pal. I’ll never forget when he first got Molly, and he loved her so much that he carried her everywhere. I don’t think that dog walk three feet in those days, and she still doesn’t walk much when Josh is around. I think Molly has completely convinced Josh that it is his responsibility to carry her everywhere. He also has Lilly, the cat, who has a couple of kittens.

Josh has such a soft heart, me I think Molly takes advantage of that fact, but I guess it doesn’t hurt anything. It is Josh’s soft heart, in my opinion, that makes him excel in the EMT/Firefighter field. Josh is studying to do both, and is very good at both. He has the heart of a helper. He doesn’t like to see anyone with a need left unmet. It doesn’t matter if the need is medical or some other need, Josh tries to help. It isn’t that he always has the excess to meet a need, but he will sacrifice his own needs for the needs of others in a heartbeat.

Today, as Josh turns 21, I find myself almost in shock that this, my youngest grandchild could already be 21 years old. He is no longer a child, he is a man. He works more than full time, and lives on his own, with two roommates, and a menagerie of assorted pets. Josh is responsible. He gets to work on time, takes care of his animals and his home and he studies and gets good grades. He makes me proud. A grandmother couldn’t ask for anything more. Today is Josh’s 21st birthday. Happy birthday Josh!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Aleesia Spethman is a bubbly little girl, who loves life. She is going to be in 2nd grade this coming school year. She is the youngest child of her parents, Jenny and Steve Spethman, and the youngest grandchild of her grandma, Cheryl Masterson. She is a girl who is full of personality and energy. She is always on the move, doing something…from playing with her big brothers, Xander, Zack, and Isaac, to showing them who the boss is in this family. The boys humor her for the most part, but she gets a lot less “princess treatment” from the youngest of the boys, Isaac, who thinks maybe he is the boss. Aleesia would disagree.

Aleesia and her mom love to do girly things together. Shopping is a big favorite, because they are both fashionistas. Jenny has great fashion sense, and she has passed that to Aleesia, along with how to be in style, and still be yourself. Being the youngest does afford Aleesia some special treatment. She was the last one home all day with her mom, and being the only girl, eliminates the whole “hand-me-down” thing too.

Last week, Aleesia, Jenny, and Aleesia’s Aunt Liz took girl trip to Denver for Aleesia’s birthday. They got to go to the Denver Zoo and Aquarium. They had a great time watching all the animals. Aleesia loves to go to the Science Zone in Casper. The zoo and aquarium are along the same lines too, so it’s right up her alley. She really isn’t afraid of any animals…even bugs, which make me cringe, so she had a great time checking it all out. She takes after her mom in that respect. Jenny has had just about every kind of animal, including an Iguana…which really creeped me out, because it would appear next to you, when you least expected it…usually scaring the daylights out of you.

Most evenings find Aleesia visiting her grandma, and Cheryl is quite happy about that, because this is her last granddaughter, so she wants to make the most of the time she had left before Aleesia decides that she has other things to do. It is inevitable with all kids. Grandparents have them for a time, and then they are pushed out of the way for friends, sports, and after school activities. Aleesia does enjoy her girl nights, and I have had the opportunity to be a part of her girl gang, which has been great. On Thursday nights, Cheryl, Liz, Aleesia, and I go out to dinner, and then to Cheryl’s for a movie. Aleesia and Liz don’t always go for the movie. Liz has papers to grade, or photos to edit, and Aleesia either has homework, or she just missed her family, and wants to go home. She is a bit of a homebody too. Today is Aleesia’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday Aleesia!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My great grand-niece, Alice Green is the bonus baby of my grand-nephew, Jake Harman. She is her mother, Melanie Harman’s daughter from a prior relationship, but for Jake, Alice completes his family. She was his first child, coming into his life before the younger two kids, Izabella and Jaxx. They became best friends right away. Alice was never one to be angry about Jake’s entrance into her family. I think she viewed him as the best bonus dad she could have ever asked for. I love to see their smiling faces as the play together, and with the other kids. They seem to have a similar sense of humor.

Alice is an amazing big sister, and her little sister and brother really look up to her. When she was in school, I think the house felt a little bit lonely, especially for Izabella, who thinks her sister is awesome. Jaxx wasn’t really as aware, but he will be this year, because both Alice and Izabella will be in school this year. Alice is going into 2nd grade, and Izabella will be in pre-school. Jaxx is an easy going guy, especially with two older sisters, but I know he will really miss them this year. It’s hard for me to believe that Alice is going into 2nd grade this year. Though I have not know her all her life, she was a shy little girl when I first met her, so seeing the confident 2nd grader she has become is amazing to me. She has really become friends with the whole family now.

Alice has a great smile, and uses it often. She has a great sense of humor, and loves to entertain her siblings, which is a huge help to her parents. She loves school, and is a good student. It seems like it was just yesterday that she was graduating from Kindergarten, but in reality, that has been over a year ago already. How can that possibly be? Our Alice is growing up so very fast, and I can’t imagine our family without her in it. She is a sweet little girl, who has brightened out lives at every turn. Today is Alice’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday Alice!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, JD Parmely is a hard working man, who lives a quiet life in the house he purchased from his grandmother, Joann Schulenberg after his grandfather, Walt Schulenberg passed away. She was living in a nursing home by then, and the purchase allowed her to life out her days in peaceful happiness. I can’t imagine a better person to live in the house where we had all spent so many happy times. I think it felt like coming home for JD, because he had never known a time when his grandparents didn’t live there.

Those were happy days for little JD…for the most part. JD really didn’t life food when he was little. I remember that he made a face at almost everything. A pickier eater, there never was. I remember times when his mother, my sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely resorted to M and Ms to get some calories into him. Thankfully, those days faded into the days when JD had a hollow leg, and needed a heavy duty platter of food to fill him up…after having seconds, of course.

I remember JD playing “horsey” on his grandpa leg, and loving every minute of it. He also loved being with his grandma, and being rocked to sleep on her lap. The good times JD had at the house that is now his home will always live in his memory. He helped his grandpa with his projects, and his uncles and his grandpa with work they were doing on cars. It was in this garage that JD learned the ropes on mechanics, as well as from his own dad, Keith Parmely in their garage at home. With all these mechanics in his background, I think it was pretty much a given that JD would grow up to become a mechanic, even going to college for mechanics in Arizona, before coming back home, where it wasn’t for “blazing hot.” JD loves his cars, and has about twelve of them at any given time, so having a double garage on his house makes it even more perfect for him. A double garage and the memories from his childhood…it doesn’t get better than that. Today is JD’s birthday. Happy birthday JD!! have a great day!! We love you!!

After spending most of his life driving trucks of some kind, and being out of town a lot, my brother-in-law, Lynn Cook, who goes by LJ, got a job in on of the mines in the Powell area. He didn’t want to be so far away from his family anymore. I think a lot of people realize that as our kids grow up, we start to realize just how quickly time passes. Before we know it our kids are adults and they are married with kids of their own. I think it is often at this point that we wish we could go back in time. It’s not that we would trade the grandchildren, for anything, but it seems to be at that point that it occurs you that you really feel the loss of the childhood years of your babies.

LJ has taken a hands on approach with his kids and grandchildren now, more than he could in the past. We all do it. Then we realize that if our kids hadn’t grown up, we wouldn’t have these precious grandchildren either…or our children’s spouses either. So, we accept that the kids are grown, and rejoice in the gift of grandchildren. That time happened for LJ a number of years ago, and now, the oldest of his four grandchildren has graduated for high school, with more to follow very soon.

Suddenly, just like it was with his kids, LJ realizes that soon the grandkids will be married and having children…his great grandchildren. Suddenly it seems, time is slipping away again. There will be times when the grandkids are away at college, and then you never really know if they will move back to your town, or relocate somewhere else, making it harder to see them as often, and suddenly you realize that you may never get to be as close to your great grandkids as you were with your kids. Still, you will always love those precious little ones, because they are a part of you…and they always will be. Today is LJ’s birthday. Happy birthday LJ!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

It’s not a common thing…having your first child on your birthday, but it is what my grandmother, Anna Schumacher Spencer did when she gave birth to her first daughter, Laura Spencer Fredrick, on August 3, 1912, when grandma was 25 years old. It would be ten years before my grandparents would have another child, but no one in the family knows why. After my Uncle Bill was born in 1922, my dad, Allen quickly followed in 1924, and my Aunt Ruth in 1925. Nevertheless, they had just Aunt Laura for ten years. I really wish Grandma had known that her 2nd great granddaughter, Elliott Stevens would share in that joint birthday too. I think she and Aunt Laura would have liked that very much.

Grandma and Aunt Laura did everything together. They were not just mom and daughter, but best friends too. They shopped and traveled, and they worked around the house together. Grandpa was often away working, so Aunt Laura was Grandma’s companion much of the time. They were very close, and Aunt Laura was a big help to her mom.

When Uncle Bill came along, Grandma was running a hotel, and ten year old Aunt Laura became her right hand helper and almost full time nanny. I don’t know how Grandma could have done it all without the help of her dear daughter. They shared much more than just their birthdays, they shared the workload, the child rearing, and their memories I’m sure. When Aunt Laura married in 1932, just before her 20th birthday, she and her husband, Fritz moved to Minneapolis from their home in Holyoke, I’m sure that Grandma felt the loss deeply. Minneapolis isn’t that far, but too far to visit daily. Today is the day 132nd anniversary of Grandma Spencer’s birth, and it is the 107th anniversary of Aunt Laura’s birth. Happy birthday to both of you in Heaven. We love and miss you both very much.

One year ago today, a sweet little curly haired girl named Elliott Stevens was born to my nephew, Garrett Stevens and his wife, Kayla. Elliott is my sister, Alena Stevens and her husband, Mike’s first grandchild, as well a the first grandchild for Kayla’s parents, Lynette and Wes Smiley, so it was an exciting day. Time marches on, and as with all children, so much has changed in just one year. Elliott now has lots of curls as her hair has grown. Her little smile is sporting teeth these days, and she has learned to walk. That, of course, means that she is “exploring” her world, i.e. getting into things. Her personality is showing now, in so many ways…one of the biggest being her giggle. When she gets into things, and gets “caught” at it, she just laughs and laughs. Her parents ask her what she is doing, and her response is always the same…that infectious little giggle!! She already knows that her giggle can get her out of a sticky situation.

Elliott is a happy little girl, who loves her dog, Charlie. And the feeling in mutual, because her dog is very patient with her little baby ways. Kids aren’t always gentle with their furry friends, but Elliott’s dig doesn’t seem to mind, because Elliott is his baby too. In fact, sometimes he feels like he is in charge of the baby. It seems to be a dog thing. They love to cuddle the family babies…especially at nap time.

Elliott loves the water, and she’s not picky. The bathtub, the wading pool, or the beach. All of them are fun for Elliott. She got to go to California with her parents a few months ago, and if fact, she turned 8 months while she was there. Less than a year old, and she’s already been sunning herself on the beach. Of course, she doesn’t care if it’s a beach in California, she just liked the water and the sand. I think a lot of people would agree with her on that.

Elliott has been such a blessing to her family. She has three wonderful aunts, Michelle Stevens, Lacey Stevens, and Lexi Smiley, so she is very blessed too. Life is great for Elliott and her family, and we are all very excited to see what the next year will bring for our giggly girl. Today is Elliott’s 1st birthday. Happy birthday Elliott!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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