animals

11709663_10153403763842403_5383432000096977059_n13726692_10206769754863650_6707484723834739745_nIt’s really hard for me to believe that my grand niece, Jaydn Mortensen is twelve years old today, but she is, nevertheless. Jaydn has done a lot of living in her relatively few years. She is the only child of her parents, my niece Amanda Reed, and her significant other, Sean Mortensen, and they like giving their daughter a full life. She has never been made to feel like she is too little to be around the adults, and so, she has been four wheeling, boating, and snowmobiling with her parents and their friends. 12108709_1026749597356650_8371223382723240426_nJaydn’s family loves all kinds of outdoor sports, and so it stands to reason that Jaydn does too. I think her extensive time at Seminole Reservoir has probably turned her into a fish…so to speak. He parents spend every possible weekend at the lake, and that means lots of activities.

Sports aside though, I think that Jaydn’s true love…for now anyway…is horses. She has such a way with them. She loves to ride them and take care of them, and she isn’t afraid of them, even though last summer started off badly, when she was bucked off of a horse, breaking both of her arms. What a way to start the summer vacation. That didn’t deter her at all. Jaydn is very much into all things animal, and especially if it relates to the fair and rodeo. She has started showing horses, and is really quite good at it, to which her ribbons will attest. In her first horse showing, she took 4 Grand Champion, and 1 Reserve Champion in horse. She was also voted Outriders Princess last year, which is the best of the best…but then we knew that.

Every year, Jaydn gets better and better at the things she loves to do. I don’t know 10583861_795929897105289_1159109090271531984_n482872_538371786194436_156371790_nawhat her future goals and dreams are, and maybe she doesn’t know either, but I think she would be a great veterinarian or some other such occupation involving animals, because she simply has a way with them. She doesn’t just love horses, although, they are her true love, but she likes goats and rabbits and other animals too. I think she just has a heart for animals in general, and it’s obvious from what I’ve seen, that they love her too. Today is Jaydn’s 12th birthday. Happy birthday Jaydn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Rae & Dustie13680642_1770284973211045_1463273896826347529_nMy grand niece, Raelynn Masterson is turning 13 today. Turning 13 is an exciting, mixed up, trying time in that persons life, but Raelynn…or Rae, as she is known to her family, is taking it pretty much in stride. She has always been easy going, and maybe it’s that style that lets her make a smooth transition into the teenage years. The journey from child to young adult is filled with ups and downs, but Raelynn doesn’t seem to be too shook up about it…unlike her mom, my niece, Dustie Masterson. Dustie is having a bit of a hard time believing that her first born…while no longer a baby, yet always her baby, is growing up so very fast. Dustie calls this by far their “biggest adventure” yet. I think that any parent of children over the age of 13 knows exactly what Dustie means. I don’t think any parent is truly ready for their kids to grow up.

imageRaelynn is the big sister to Matt and Anna, and younger half-sister to Christina, who lives in Colorado. For some time now, Raelynn has been the “little mom” to her younger siblings. She is helpful to her mom and dad, and doesn’t present them with a ton of drama…unless her younger brother and sister provoke her, that is. She is so motherly sometimes that her mom has to remind her that in reality she is not the mom, but that often happens with older children. She is a kind person too, so I’m sure that keeps sibling relationships on an even keel. Many people really have no ability to empathize with others, but Raelynn is compassionate and has an understanding of people that surpasses her years on this earth.

These days Raelynn is into science and boys…and not necessarily in that order. I suppose that might be viewed as an odd combination, but it works for her. The Science Zone is a really big deal here in town, and she loves going there. They even have summer classes for the kids. Dustie signed Raelynn up for three this year. The first one was a Dissection Class, and is definitely the one Raelynn likes the least…probably because of her love imageimageof animals. The second class was on Water, which she really enjoyed, but it was the class where she was able to help the instructor with the animals that really did it for Raelynn. When her mom picked Raelynn up, she was excitedly telling her that the Iguana and the Science Zone doesn’t like anyone, but really took to Raelynn. She was so happy about that. Raelynn loves to read, and is keep a journal, which is seriously private, of course. Raelynn is such a sweet girl, and a great blessing to her family. Today is Raelynn’s birthday. Happy birthday Raelynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

IMG_3718Children are a curious bunch. There is so much in this world that is totally new to them. Things we take for granted as being average, or even boring, they find interesting, and children aren’t alone in this either. Animals can be just as curious about the things that people don’t even think about. Things like taking pictures of seagulls can have them looking at you like you are from outer space. I suppose they have seen enough humans to know what they look like. Then to see one with a camera up to their face, makes them think that this is some new creature. As I scrambled to take this shot of a seagull as it flew over me head, I had no idea that I had snapped a shot of him looking right at me, as if to ask, “What are you doing?”

Dogs are especially curious about things, and since they aren’t afraid to come near humans, they come and Dog and Camerastick their curious little noses right in the camera lens…and they are very likely to lick the camera lens…whether you like it or not. In a way they are like babies. The best way to figure out what something is, is to put it in your mouth…right?? Well, that’s just like a dog. If it’s cool enough for their human to have up to their face, it must taste good. Or maybe it’s a new kind of toy that their human bought for them. Maybe if they lick it and let their human know they want to play, their human with throw it for them. As funny as that sounds, the photographer probably isn’t so thrilled with that dog slobber all over their lens, but their dog is having a great time.

When it comes to kids though, they have a little bit more ability to get their hands on things. A wise parent knows that there is a time to kid proof your house. It doesn’t matter what it is, if their parents think it’s cool, so do the kids. And they don’t understand the concept of something being broken. They just want to see what it is.

My grand nephew, Jake Harman was very much that Curiositycurious little boy, when his mom or grandma was trying to take his picture. I can’t say that the picture turned out the way they had planned, but you must admit that it turned out pretty cute anyway. If I didn’t know what he looked like as a little boy, I suppose this picture could have been a picture of any baby, but it isn’t, it’s Jake. Jake was always a curious little boy, and I suppose that like most kids, that got him into a certain degree of mischief, but he was, in all reality just a normal boy, curiosity and all. And while the picture didn’t turn out as planned, it takes me back to when my first grand nephew was born. It was a new experience, and we were all curious about who he would become. Hmmm…curiosity isn’t just a quirk of children and animals. Even adults have that tendency.

The Zoo 2Most kids love to go to the zoo, and it is a special treat if they have to go to some other town to go, such as visiting relatives. I don’t recall going to the zoo as a kid, but I’m sure we must have. I remember taking my girls to the zoo in Denver, and they loved it. These days the zoo usually even includes the aquatic area. You can go and spend the whole day there.

Back when my Aunt Laura was a little girl, the zoo was very different than it is now, but the draw was the same. When a child can find themselves so close to wild animals, it is as much a rush as it is for adults. For Aunt Laura, this was a red letter day. I think it was for my grandmother as well, because she wanted pictures to remember the event. I have to wonder what a zoo looked like back then…was it primitive, with just fenced areas around the animals’ habitats, or was that just what the particular area they were at when the picture was taken. My guess is that no matter what it looked like, my Aunt Laura was beside herself with excitement to be going. I know that is how I would have felt at her age. I can imagine how wonderful the day was for a little girl. Strolling along in the sunshine with her mom, looking at all the different animals. It must have been almost like a class field trip for her, except that she was not in The Zoo 1school.

These days, the zoo is pretty much a common thing. Most people have been to one at some time in their lives. But back then, not so much. For my Aunt Laura, it was a day she would always remember, and I think it felt that way for her mother too. It appears to have been a ladies day out with family, and that probably made it even more special. Nevertheless, the most special thing to any kid is going to be the animals. There is always time to be excited about being with relatives, after all. But the Zoo…well, that’s the coolest thing ever!!

Ruth on a horseAnytime you read through a well written family history book, you are bound to find things out about your family members that you never knew…even if you knew them all your life. The big thing is, I guess, that sometimes when things are in the past, they are viewed as ancient history. We all do things when we are young that we don’t continue into adulthood. I knew many things about my Aunt Ruth through the years. She loved animals, gardening, and the mountains of Washington. She was an artist both in paintings and music. She painted a picture of herself that I would have thought was painted by a professional artist…along with other paintings. She could play any instrument that she picked up, as if she had been playing it all her life. She knew things about the weather that surprised me as a child…like the time they were at our house. Aunt Ruth suddenly jumped up and looked out the window. She said there is a tornado somewhere. I thought she saw something, but it was the way the wind suddenly stopped where we were that caused her to think that. I heard later that a small twister was reported on Casper Mountain. I never forgot that she had somehow known.

As I said, I knew Aunt Ruth loved animals, and I had seen pictures of her with several horses. I could tell that she was a pretty good horsewoman. I never had very much to do with horses, so seeing her seated firmly on her horse as he reared up, struck me as an amazing feat. And I knew that the family owned horses, and all the kids, my Aunt Laura, my Uncle Bill, my dad, and Aunt Ruth, road regularly, but never was there any mention of racing except in what I read today. Uncle Bill was describing the scene of one of the pictures he had put in the book, and he said that the horse was Aunt Ruth’s race horse, which she did ride in some races. He doesn’t specify how she did in the races she ran, but if it is like pretty much anything else Aunt Ruth and her race horseAunt Ruth did, she was probably pretty good at it.

I had to wonder why I had never heard about her racing before, and if I was the only one in the family who didn’t know about it? Why was it that Aunt Ruth never talked about racing? I also wondered if it was something that she thought about doing professionally as a young girl, or if it was always just something she did to pass the time and to test her horse. If no one else in the family knew about her racing either, I suppose that it is something that will drift into the unknown past…except for that one little mention of it in Uncle Bill’s family history books.

Playing ChaseAs I started up the walk to my house today, two birds, who were chasing each other buzzed by my head.  They were so busy with their play…or was it an argument, that they didn’t even notice me, as they flew very close to my head. I have always liked watching the birds in all their activities, but have normally had very little real contact with them. And while I find it fascinating to watch them playing chase, I’m not sure I really want them to be buzzing my head, or dive bombing me.

I watched as the birds flew here and there, chirping and chattering, and I occurred to me that they were probably having a little argument, and if the one bird caught the other…well, someone was going to be sorry they said or did what they did. I guess things in the animal kingdom must be similar to things in our world, because when you get in trouble, you have to pay the consequences in both.

The thing was that these two birds didn’t seem like parent and child, so I figured that this was an argument between two adults, whether they were male and female, or two males fighting over a female. It is, if course something I will never know, nor will I know if they were fighting or playing. It was a chance encounter with the animal kingdom that will likely not happen again.

I suppose that when we live in the same world space as the animals, these encounters are going to happen once in a while. One or the other of us, or even both, simply aren’t paying a lot of attention to those around them. Like most of us, when we are in an argument, they pay very little attention to anything but the argument. That is exactly what those birds were doing. I might not have even been in the area for all they noticed. They were simply too busy chasing each other.

Hate that tieEaston is like most little boys. He hates the whole dressing up thing that many parents are always wanting their kids to do. In fact, if he could figure out a way to get out of ever dressing up, he would do it. I think most men would have a tendency to agree with Easton…especially when it comes to wearing a tie. They just hate that tie. It chokes them, and if they are at all claustrophobic, it can make them feel like the walls are closing in. And for a little boy, it is even worse. I suppose it could be likened to sitting in a corner, or time out. In fact, time out probably says it all, because just as soon as they dare, little boys are asking, “Can I please take this tie off??” That is, if they ask to take it off at all.

Easton had finally had enough, and so he untucked his shirt and loosened his tie. He hoped that his mom wouldn’t notice, and in the end, his hopes were realized. His mom, my niece, Machelle took the picture without even noticing the tie was loosened and the shirt untucked. It was Easton’s Aunt Susan who would notice the sneaky maneuver her nephew had pulled off. By that time, there was nothing left to do but laugh at the fact the Easton had won…that battle anyway.

Now, if you were to put Easton, and most other little boys, in a different situation, you would find that they are totally comfortable. That situation would be, of course, camping. There is nothing better, in the mind of a little boy, than the adventures you can Camp boyshave while camping in the wilderness. All sorts of things can happen out there, and everyone will need a hero to save them from whatever danger might lurk just outside of the eye view of the camp. There could be wolves, bears, snakes, and many other such wild animals, but their moms can relax, because these boys will save them from that. They are big tough campers, and everyone knows that any self respecting wolf or bear, or even snake, would run from them. And that is the main reason why moms must understand that real boys, hate that tie. They are simply too macho for their tie!!

Today is Easton’s 9th birthday. Easton, I hope you don’t have to wear that horrible tie!! I mean, really Machelle, get a clue!! Real boys are too macho for a tie!! Happy birthday Easton!! Have a great, tieless day!! We love you!!

There is so much controversy these days concerning guns and gun control, and while I don’t usually write about political events, this one hits close to home for me and my family. For many years, my Uncle Bill was a gun dealer. He and his family had always had guns. He became interested in antique guns at some point and began to collect, deal, and show the guns at gun shows all over the north central part of the United States, and possibly even in the north west part, as well. Uncle Bill and my dad, as well as their sisters were raised around guns, and yet not one of them ever killed someone.

My family and my husband’s family have been around guns all our lives too. Our parents have hunted, as have many of us children and our spouses. If you live in Wyoming, as in many other places, owning a gun is really not so unusual. It doesn’t, however, give any indication that the gun owners here, or anywhere else are likely to commit murder. And, while people who torture animals, often move on to killing people, hunters usually do not. Legal hunters have a respect for the animals they hunt. It is to provide food for their family, that the hunter hunts.

For centuries, people have owned guns, and during all those years, mass school shootings were unheard of…until recently. Christians, like myself, mostly agree that it is largely because we have kicked God out of our schools. That makes so many people angry, because they think we are talking about God being angry at the schools because He was kicked out, but that isn’t it at all. In my opinion, when we removed God from our schools, we stopped teaching morality. Generations of kids have grown up with a changed view of right and wrong. Then those same kids are out there making television shows, video games, writing books, creating pictures, and so many other things that our impressionable kids are viewing. Wrong has become right…if it seems right to the person doing the wrong. It has become a matter of “the devil made me do it” or simply a matter of not allowing anyone to step on our feelings. It has become a good thing to be bad, and a good show is called wicked.

I think, that is we want to change things in this nation, we need to change what we are teaching our kids in school, and in life. Guns don’t kill people…people kill people, and very often, guns are not the weapon of choice, in fact, guns are used the least amount of the time. We can’t remove every possible weapon for the hands of people, unless we want to live in a Nerf world, and even then, people will use their hands, or they will just use rocks. We have to start teaching our kids and our adults the value of human life, and to respect each person’s right to life. We have to realize that few people intentionally set out to hurt the feelings of others, and as with bullying, the ones who do need to be swiftly punished. We need to stop looking at others as less important than we are, and treat each person with respect, no matter how the look, talk, and no matter what their race, gender, or age is. Our ancestors carried guns for many centuries, and did not shoot up schools or other public places in order to make a point, possibly because of the values our nation started on. Maybe we need to work to make all people feel like they are a person of value, because it isn’t the gun that kills, it is the person bent on revenge who kills people.

My daughter, Corrie’s family all love pets. No matter how much work they can be, they cannot imagine life with out their furry friends. Their newest addition was Molly, who is a miniature dachshund. Like many animals, Molly has her favorite person/pet out of the family. For Molly, that person is Josh, my youngest grandson. Molly does not appreciate it when Josh is not there There are rules, after all, and Josh is supposed to always be at home, or at the very least, take Molly with him. The latter doesn’t seem to bother Josh much either, in fact, last night he tried to take Molly to Youth Group at our church, which would normally be a problem, but last night it wouldn’t have mattered too much since Josh was the only kid there, and the teacher is my niece, Jessi. I’m quite sure they would have had a wonderful time with Molly. Nevertheless, Corrie caught Josh, and wouldn’t let Molly go. I’m quite sure they were both unhappy with her over that one. In fact, I’ll bet Molly practically glared at Corrie.

As far as Molly is concerned, Josh is her pet, not the other way around. She has it in her head that Josh should be with her all the time. School and other activities are just not allowed unless Molly gets to go too. That is ok with Josh most of the time too, but there is the small matter of homework. Molly doesn’t understand that Josh might be busy. That is when she takes matters into her own hands…or paws, or in this case, teeth. No, she doesn’t bite Josh. She would never do that, but she will use her teeth to pull off Josh’s sock and nibble on his toes. Now nibbling on someone’s toes is…well, eeeewwww, but Molly just doesn’t care what we think. If it will get Josh’s attention, she will do whatever it takes. I guess it is a way of telling Josh exactly how she feels, but I still think it is gross.

Josh and Molly are practically inseparable. There is no doubt that Molly is Josh’s best friend…at least in the animal world, and he is hers.  If it were possible, they would never be apart. It’s funny how animals have a certain member of the family that is their favorite, and the animal seems to thinks that the human is the pet. It is a show of love and dedication that you don’t get anywhere else. It is why we have pets I guess. Unconditional love and devotion to another being, whether it is man or animal is something very special.

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.