Kids

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No two people have the same personalities, not even when they are siblings. Having the same parents often gives siblings some of the same characteristics, but not all of them, and even growing up together does not give siblings the same personalities. I’ve seen that in my own daughters, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce. While they always were, and still are, very good friends, they had different tastes in most things, from boyfriends to musical instruments.

A few days ago, I was thinking about the girls’ color choices for their weddings, and it hit me that those color choices were, in many way, depictive of the differences in their personalities. Both of the girls chose colors from the red palate, but Corrie chose pink (her favorite color to this day), and Amy chose red (not her favorite these days, but it was then). Still, at that time in their lives, those color choices…looking back now, were very much like my girls.

Corrie has “pink tendencies” and Amy has “red tendencies.” Pink seems more reserved, shy even, and more frilly…for lack of a better choice of words. Red seems more flamboyant, more bold. Neither of these tendencies are better or worse than the other, they are just different. A pink personality is more likely to play a romantic instrument, like Corrie’s choice…the violin. Red is more likely to play a more flamboyant instrument, like Amy’s choice…the clarinet. It’s not that either instrument was better or worse than the other, and I loved hearing my girls play both of these instruments, and their choices fit their personalities…and somehow, their color choices fit their personalities too.

I think that both girls choosing colors from the red palate, shows that they had some similarities too. They don’t particularly like controversy, although they can hold their own in any situation. They are both determined, responsible people who don’t give up on things. It’s not that I think that a person’s color choices determine their personalities, but rather that their personalities, to some degree determine their color choices. I think that makes perfect sense.

Corrie still loves all things pink to this day, and I feel like pink describes her personality. Pink is rosy, romantic, and happy, and that is my daughter. Amy now likes blue as her favorite color, and I think that has very much followed along with her life changes. Moving from Wyoming to Washington, because she loves the sea, makes blue a perfect choice. I think maybe Amy was a blue all along. I think of blue as being peaceful, relaxed, and filled with wanderlust. Amy is a lot like my dad’s side of the family, in that she loves to travel to new places. While Amy has always been a blue, she has always had some red tendencies too, and that suits her well.

My uncle, Wayne Byer is the younger of my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer’s two sons, and the younger of the three middle siblings, of which my mom, College Spencer was one. Those three middle kids, Larry Byer, Collene, and Wayne, seemed to always be into some mischief. Mom told me it had to be because she was in the middle of the two boys…but I think she probably instigated as much as they did. She could be mischievous too.

Uncle Wayne has always loved kids, and especially making them laugh. Maybe that was why we all liked to gather around him. We knew he would do something to make us laugh, before long, and we were never disappointed. He had the ability to be a laugh a minute. I’m told that he loved telling jokes all his life, and from the part I saw, he did.

Of course, Uncle Wayne had a serious job too. Being a mechanic at the school bus garage, and later the head of the school bus garage, he was tasked with making sure that every bus was in good repair, so that the busses would all transport the children safely to their destination. My sisters and I didn’t have to ride the bus to school, but since my husband, Bob and I lived in the country when our girls were little, they took the bus to school every day. It was then that I began to really appreciate the work my uncle did, and my girls always liked the fact that their great uncle took care of the school buses they rode. I think they also liked it when they could tell people that it was their great uncle who headed up the garage. They were very proud of what he did, and they wanted other people to know that their great uncle had such an important job. The girls were trying to gain favor by telling people, they were just very proud of him.

We don’t get to see Uncle Wayne a much as we used to, now that he is retired, not that we saw him at work or anything. It just seemed like before he retired, we saw more of him. Nevertheless, Uncle Wayne hasn’t changed a bit. He is still the same funny guy who was always a laugh a minute, and I’m glad. Today is Uncle Wayne’s 82nd birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Wayne!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Toni Chase is such a sweet natured person. She truly cares about the people around her…and especially their feelings. Toni and her husband, Dave Chase love to travel, going to many exotic places, as well as lots of football games. Dave is a football fanatic, so he and Toni have gone to many games, especially in Arizona…which would be a great place to go during the cold winter months in Wyoming. It’s also nice for Dave’s brother when they come to Arizona, because he gets to spend time with them.

Lately, however, they have been sticking a little bit closer to home. Dave’s dad has Alzheimer’s Disease or some type of dementia, and so he and Toni have spent quite a bit of time in Laramie, helping his mom and making sure that his dad knows how much they love him. The sad thing about dementia of any kind is that the recent past is forgotten, so if a patient is going to know you, you must go often. Having dealt with it myself, I know what they are going through, but they are kind-hearted, loving people, and they will get through this, and make a difference in his parents’ lives. Of course, while they are in Laramie, they managed to take in a few football games too.

When they are in town, Toni likes to be a homebody, when she isn’t working. They have two dogs that they absolutely love. Toni spoils the dogs, cooking for them just like they were her kids. When it snowed this last time, she and Dave went into the back yard and shoveled out a maze for the dogs. They just loved it. They ran back and forth excitedly, getting plenty of exercise for the day. My sister, Cheryl said it was really funny to watch. Most of us would get lost in a maze, but dogs can track their way out and back, so they had a blast. And of course, the snow wasn’t so deep that Toni and Dave couldn’t see over it…to rescue their babies, should they get lost.

For some time, Toni has run an eBay story, where she refurbishes items that anyone else would have thought junk. Now, however, she’s been phasing out her eBay store, because she is too busy with the dogs. My sister fared pretty well from that, because she got to go to Toni’s house a few weeks ago to “shop” for anything she might like. Toni is such a giver. Cheryl came home with a purse full of costume jewelry and a dozen purses! She is very kind in sharing all the treasures she has accumulated over the past few years. And speaking of being a giver, her sister Liz Masterson is reminded of the first job Toni got as a teenager, her greatest joy was to take her siblings shopping. How many teenagers would do that? Most of them want the job to buy things for themselves, but not Toni. Oh sure she got things for herself too, but her first thought was of her siblings. She loves to make people smile. What a great way to be. Today is Toni’s birthday. Happy birthday Toni!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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!!

The other day, I saw on her Facebook, where my grand nephew, Ethan Hadlock’s mom, Chelsea Hadlock had registered him for middle school for the fall semester. Chelsea mentioned that she suddenly felt old, and I found myself shocked that Ethan could be so grown up…already!! My sister and Ethan’s grandmother, Allyn Hadlock told me, “It seems like just yesterday that he was 2 and I was chasing him around our house. He loved the chasing game and I would catch him and give him little love pat spankins.” None of us can believe that he is almost in middle school now. The time has flown by so fast. While Ethan is growing up fast, he is not outgrowing everything he likes to do. He still loves games, but now it’s board games, “I Spy” games, video games, and sports. Typical of kids his age.

Ethan loves to get together with the whole family. He is a very social kid, and the family had a great time at Christmas and New Year’s. They hung out and enjoying each other’s company. They played bingo, letting Ethan and his sister, Aurora Hadlock take turns being the bingo callers. They loved rolling the cage around and getting the numbers out. Ethan is very kind and empathetic, and he truly cares about people. He wants to make sure that family and friends around him are comfortable and feel loved. He really is the sweetest boy, and it is something our whole family knows. Ethan’s dad, Ryan Hadlock is a playful teaser from way back, and Ethan has proven to be a quick study in that art. He has already started giving all of the family a hard time whenever he gets a chance.

Ethan and his cousin, Adelaide Sawdon have formed a special bond and can often be found “securing the perimeter” anytime they are together. Apparently, they both have an interest in spy games. They take their toys guns (whether an actual toy gun or a stick they have fashioned into one) and walk around the area we are in to ensure no spies, enemies, or unwanted guests can get in. He takes care to be patient and kind when explaining the rules of the game to his younger cousins, so they have a chance to play with their older and “adored” Ethan. He is so fun loving and the best nephew in our family…never mind that he is the only nephew!! His sweetness would still make his the best one.

With each birthday, the birthday boy or girl gets to choose where the family goes for dinner, and Ethan didn’t hesitate to choose Buffalo Wild Wings for his dinner tonight, so the family will all gather there to eat wings and celebrate their little boy, who isn’t so little anymore. Ethan is now almost 5 feet tall. It looks like Ethan will take after his dad and grandpa, Chris Hadlock, both of whom are very tall. Ethan has so much going for him. He is such a good kid…both kind and tender hearted. He is the kind of kid you like to have around. Today is Ethan’s 11th birthday. Happy birthday Ethan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Allen Beach has led an interesting life. As a child, his family moved several times, giving him the ability to live in several states. After graduation, Allen joined the United States Navy, and became a corpsman. After his training, he was stationed at Bethesda, Maryland at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he cared for, among others, the President of the United States.

Following his time at Walter Reed, Allen was stationed in Japan. I think that of all his travels, it was this period that was his favorite. It was there that he met his wife, Gaby, who changed his life forever. Gaby was also in the United States Navy. He was immediately taken with her, and they soon became an item. Eventually, Allen took Gaby on a trip to Bali, where he proposed, and she accepted. Allen felt complete, but their travels were not over.

Allen and Gaby moved back to Bethesda, Maryland, where both of them finished their Navy time, and began their college educations. After Allen finished his college, with a degree in hospital administration, and Gaby had decided on Nursing, the time had come to move again. This move to a place where Gaby could get into a good nursing program. It was this move that surprised our whole family the most. Gaby looked around, and found that the nursing program right here in Casper, Wyoming, where most of Allen’s family lives, was the best one. So they moved to Casper. It was a good decision for Allen too, because with his degree and his skills, he was quickly grabbed by Wyoming Medical Center to work in administration there. Allen is the department manager over the referral and communications departments. Allen loves his job, and of course, his family all hope that they will stay here in Casper after Gaby’s college is over. We have really enjoyed having them here, close to the family, after so much of his life was spent so far away from us. Today is Allen’s birthday. Happy birthday Allen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My husband, Bob’s aunt, Esther Hein is the oldest child of her parents, Walt and Vina Hein. She was also the middle child of her mother, who had two children from another marriage. Because of the age difference the children, the older children, Marion and Walt were both married while Esther was just a little girl, so she grew up being the oldest child for the most part. Besides her two half-siblings, Esther had two brothers, Edward and Bernard Hein.

The family lived outside of Forsyth, Montana on a ranch, and with the winters in Montana being what they often are, getting her to school wasn’t always easy, so during the winter months, Esther often lived with her brother Walt and his wife Joann, so she could attend school regularly. Those were special days for Esther, who became very close friends with Walt and Joann, as well as little sister. Of course, as with any child, Esther could be trying, to which Joann would exclaim, “Don’t Esther!” A situation that remained with Joann, even when Alzheimer’s Disease stole many of her memories. The three of them would remain close for the rest of their lives. Though they lived far away from each other for their entire adult lives, they talked on the phone often, and visited as often as they could.

Esther is an artist, and many of her pieces of artwork adorned the homes of her family. She is also a good seamstress, and made curtains for Walt and Joann’s bathroom, which they loved very much. She especially liked to paint on unusual objects, like sawblades. She would create beautiful landscapes on both straight sawblades, as well as round sawblades. The effect was amazing. The way that something so mechanical could also take on a rustic look was amazing. Her artistic ability was something that made her brother, Walt very proud. He spoke of it often, and was always quick to point out her paintings to people who visited the house. He proudly told them that the artist was his little sister. Today is Esther’s birthday. Happy birthday Esther!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand niece, Izabella Harman is a sweet little girl, with great big eyes. She is sweet natured, and yet sassy, which I love. She reminds me of me…in the sassy things anyway. I always hope I’m sweet natured, but that isn’t my call. Izabella, on the other hand is definitely sweet natured. She has a smile that will light up her whole face, and people can’t help but love her. Her parents are definitely going to have to fight off the boys with Izabella and her sister Alice, who is a lot like her little sister.

I love watching Alice, Izabelle, and their brother, Jaxx when they play. They genuinely like each other, not just love each other. These three bring so much joy to their parents, Melanie and Jake Harman. Watching them run around the house playing and giggling would put a smile on anyone’s face. These kids are all happy and healthy, and full of energy, so when they get going, it’s no holds barred. And little brother Jaxx, has no trouble keeping up with his sisters.

Izabella is a little shy around people she doesn’t know well, but that isn’t a bad thing. Once she gets to know you, she is quite talkative, and her cute little voice is fun. I remember when she first started talking. Her little teeny voice and those big eyes were totally charming. I can’t believe she is 4 years old already. Where has the time gone? Before we know it these kids will be all grown up and married. That’s how it feels with their daddy. It seems like just yesterday he and his little sister were babies. Now they have their own babies. Slow down Belle. Today is Izabella’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Belle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Isaac Spethman has always been an innovative young man, wanting to work from a young age, which we were all proud of, but also found to be really cute thing for a little boy to want to do. Isaac hasn’t changed much over the years, other than his size of course. He is still in the process of shaping up to be an excellent young man, and one who makes us all proud.

Isaac isn’t perfect, of course, what boy is, or girl for that matter. He plays rough with his siblings, Xander, Zack, and Aleesia, and fights with them too, picks on his little sister, Aleesia. Kids can be enough to drive their parents crazy sometimes, but they are also a very rewarding part of life. I don’t know one parent who would trade one minute of fighting for peace and quiet.

Isaac started wrestling this year and seems to excel at it too. He won his first match. Not bad for a new wrestler, but then he does have brothers and I know they do a lot of wrestling, although probably not the legal kind. Isaac is quick, and seems to be able to break out of a hold pretty easily. I know he will have a very successful year, and while I wont be at the matches, I’ll cheer him on from home. Have a great year Isaac.

Recently Isaac has been asked to be an usher at church. It is a job he takes very seriously, and he does an excellent job. I think he is the youngest usher we have, and the people of the church are very pleased with him too. Isaac is and always has been a boy who takes responsibility very seriously. He remembers what he is supposed to do, and does it exactly as he is supposed too. He is meticulous about it. That is very unusual in a young boy, but then Isaac isn’t your average young boy. And he is shaping up to be a great young man. Today is Isaac’s 13th birthday. Happy birthday Isaac!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

It hardly seems possible that it can be two years ago already, that our family’s little Reece Balcerzak arrived in what was destined to be the beginning of a long time away from home for her parents, while they waited in Denver for their daughter to get strong enough to go home. It was a tough time, with an amazing ending. The little family came home victoriously with their precious girl. I guess that makes her middle name very much appropriate…Victoria, which means “victory” in Latin.

Reece has so much more going for her than just her name, however. The little girl is not only a fighter, but she smiles more than just about anyone else I have ever seen. It is amazing that a little girl who has been through such a tough beginning can be so filled with joy, but then I guess that it was her parents and family who actually went through all that. Reece was just there, smiling at everyone through it all. Even as a tiny…and I really mean tiny…girl, she was filled with joy and always smiling. I find that so awesome!!

Since her very early arrival at 28 weeks into her mother, Katie’s pregnancy, Reece has been going at break-neck speed to make up for the time she spend in the hospital in Denver. She is a very busy little girl. She never ceases to amaze all who know her. Her parents don’t really need much in the way of entertainment, because their daughter is really good at that. She is talking very well now, and chatters about the things that interest her, some of which we probably have no idea, because they are her happy things alone. Ahhh, the life of a child. To have such innocence, and such joy with the things around you. Reece has such a bright future ahead of her…so many things to learn and to explore. It will be exciting for us, her family, to watch this happy, smiley girl as she grows into the wonderful adult she will one day become. Keep smiling smiley girl. We love it. Today is Reece’s 2nd birthday. Happy birthday Reece. Have a great day!! We love you!!

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